Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mera Woh Samaan Lauta Do..

For a person who plays with simplest of the conversational words to create magical verse, has an amazing array of stories, screenplays & directorial ventures to his credit, it is indeed an interesting combination that his names create. Yes, I used the plural “names”, because he has two – one the real and another the pen name. The real name “Sampoorna” which means encompassing everything & the pen name that means a garden full of flowers - Gulzar.

Gulzar and Pancham gave some of the finest songs to Hindi movie buffs. In fact, there is hardly a movie where they both collaborated without creating a magic. Starting their journey together with Parichay they took us on a route that had milestones like Aandhi, Khushboo, Kinara, Ghar, Basera, Sitara, Golmaal, Khubsoorat, Massom, and Namkeen before culminating in – at least as far as a released movie is concerned - at Ijaazat – which according to me is Gulzar’s best work forever.

The movie - a poignant tale of the eternal love triangle, comes across like a poem on celluloid. Absolutely stunning locales, breathtaking photography, very mature handling of the story, crisp direction and power-packed performances by three protagonists – Rekha, Naseer & Anuradha Patel ! The movie had everything going for it, and if this was not enough, the troika of Pancham, Gulzar & Asha lent that extra something which made Ijaazat into an all time classic.

While all the compositions of the movie were superb, since Gulzar is well-known for turning simple conversations into lovely verse, it is befitting to present a composition where Pancham, after hearing the verse, asked him – are you going to get me a newspaper headlines next to compose a song on!

The song, picturised on uff-so-ethereally-captivatingly beautiful Anuradha Patel, finds Pancham at his creative best. The composition – difficult one to suit a metre-free verse – finds him using santoor, sitar, tabla and guitar – in manner that enhances the mellifluous vocals of Asha Bhosle. The impact is sensuous yet full of a heart-ache and as mesmerising off screen as much as on-screen when you hear Maya sing:

Ek Akeli Chhatri Me Jab 

Aadhe Aadhe Bhig Rahe The
Aadhe Sukhe Aadhe Geele, 
Sukhaa To Main Le Aayi Thi
Geela Man Shaayad Bistar Ke Paas Padaa Ho
Woh Bhijavaa Do, 
Meraa Woh Saamaan Lautaa Do

It was interesting that while the music of Parichay got Lata Mangeshkar & Bhupendra their National Awards, Ijaazat got Asha bhosle & Gulzar get their national awards for this song. Pancham, however, remained un-rewarded. That however is a story for some other time. Just now, listen to this simply amazing song:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Yeh Raat Hai Khwab Ki..

Sing, Sing a Song

Sing out loud
Sing out strong

Born 85 years ago, his was a voice for all seasons. Calling him merely a singer though would be a terrible injustice to the genius that he was. In the history of Hindi cinema, he has remained the only genuine one-man industry. A genius who tried & succeeded amazingly in each field related to movie making. No prize for guessing! He was Kishore Kumar, an entertainer par excellence.

And if at all there was one person who could bring out each of his moods in singing, it was Pancham. From masti to romance to melancholy - Pancham created some of the most magical compositions and Kishore brought it alive for the listeners.

Talking about romance & melancholy, here is a song hovering in the zone in between. One of my most favourite songs from this duo, this is a composition that is yearningly romantic, and yet at its core has a deep underlying feel of tragedy.

Movie: Ghar , a sensitive masterpiece dealing with the topic of rape & the trauma relating to it. 

Situation: Vinod Mehra, the husband in the movie is trying to normalise the situation for his wife Rekha, wooing her with a smile that was so infectiously sensuous. Yet, the event of the recent past is casting its shadow on their moods.

A difficult situation – portrayed so well by the performers, and brought forth superbly by the composition itself. As was his wont, Pancham used the opening strand of The Carpenter's classic "Sing, Sing a Song", mixes with delicate notes of guitar; and then ensembles his instruments to match the mood. Listen to the interlude pieces, that is so subtly arranged to bring out both - pain & love.

And the sheer poetry that goes with it! Gulzar toys with an imagery as fragile as a dream and a glass. It would be difficult not to get that extra beat in your heart when Kishore renders these simple yet such eloquent verse:

Kaanch ke khwab hai, 

Aankhon me chubh jayenge
Palkon me lena inhe, 
Aankhon me ruk jayenge
Yeh raat hai khwab ki
Khwab ki raat hai