Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dooba Dooba Nashe Men Behka Yeh Samaa

It is always difficult to return to a blog like this after a long time. One never knows, what would be the right song to choose. Should it be a subtle one or should it be like Back with a Bang kind of. 
Well, this time I choose to feature a composition which is more of the latter kind. 

This one is from Drohi, a Ram Gopal Verma movie, from early 90s, the time when Pancham was going through his leanest patch. It is easier for people to write off almost all his music from those days, and in the bargain lose out on some real gems, like the one featured here.

This one is a real treat, created for an interesting situation in the movie, almost similar to the situation of Le Kar Hum Deewan Dil from Yaadon ki Baraat. Of course, this was 90s, so here one has Silk Smitha, at the peark of her career, performing with her raw sensuality, while a lot more is happening in the background with Nagarjuna, taking the narrative of the movie further. 

It was easy enough for a viewer to get distracted from either, and hence was left to Pancham to balance both. And he does it with a killer of a composition, using the rhythm that to me seem to have a delicate fusion of Calypso with Jazz. 

During the vocals, the instruments used are such that keeps the focus on Silk. However, the pattern changes during interludes, with photography & composition both working together to underscore the grittiness of the situation. An added touch is the Maestro himself rendering his voice, alongwith Jolly Mukherjee, in a building up crescendo that culminates into Asha taking it over before the first stanza. 

The second interlude is used to build up on the action with a jazz kind of trumpet going all the way, stopping only at the beginning of the second stanza with Silk, rather Slithering, Smitha; and just for a brief moment rejoins it as the stanza is about to end. 

The composition was tailor made for Asha who did not have to really stretch herself too much, carrying out the task brilliantly & effortlessly, adding those Silken touch to Javed Akhtar's poetry. At the core of course remains, at the cost of repeating, indeed the killer of a composition; from the days when Pancham was not supposed to be at his best. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pyar Se Yeh Jahan Kahe Na Mil Ke Rahe

After the breathless rendition of Bamchiki Chaam Chiki, here is another rarely heard composition of Pancham - once again involving Kishore Kumar & Biswajeet. However, before that, kindly bear with me as I take you on a trip down my memory lane. You will soon know the reason.

As a child, I always felt privileged to visit my Dad's office, on a rare occasion, in that building which is popularly known as the Old Lady of Boribunder. After travelling through a crowded local train and crossing the busy road outside, as the massive gates of that awesome stone structure would close down behind me, silence of the passage could actually be deafening.  

A few steps would bring me to an old, mahogany paneled elevator, which would creep upward elegantly, carrying me through a strong waft of freshly inked newspapers & magazines, and deposit me on the floor where my Dad's office was. 

Stepping out of the elevator would be the time when I used to hear the noise that, till the advent of personal computers, was synonymous with any well-established office: a constant mechanical staccato of typewriters hunched upon which, like orchestra players on their respective instruments, would be the typists of all hues & ages, using their fingers to push the keys for striking the paper in the carriage. The sound would be regularly embellished with a tinkling or a bell sound as the carriage having travelled from right to left across the width of the paper would be brought back, with a slash of hand, to begin the next line. I am sure most of you still remember that sound. 

Now, Pancham is known for his penchant to use all kind of sounds in his compositions. I am not surprised, hence, when I found one of his compositions largely based on the roll & rattle – and of course that tingling bell - of a Typewriter. This is from Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Phir Kab Milogi. Yes, the same movie which took about 4-5 years in making and had that immensely popular Mukesh – Lata’s  Kahin Karti Hogi Woh Mera Intezaar.

The success of Kahin Karti Hogi & failure of the movie otherwise, meant that other compositions were never well appreciated. Amongst those remained hidden this lovely song; well composed, very hummable with Kishore da gliding ever-so-smoothly through the contours of the stanza, and with the verse from Majrooh that one finds relevant even now:   

Kahne Ko To Hum Hain Babu
Par Jeb Hai Khaali Aksar
Hai Dard Se Bojhal Kursi
Aahon Se Bhara Hai Daftar
Savere Ko Mukh Pe Khushi Thi Zara Si
Labon Pe Suhaani Hansi Thi
Shaam Ko Jab Babu
Ghar Chale Apne
Fileon Ke Neeche
Dab Gaye Sapne
Khaali Khaali Aankhen Hain Bechaara Hairaan Hai
Sar Jhukaaye Huye
Palkon Mein Dhool Bhare

Bharpoor Hai Jiski Muthhi
Duniyaa Mein Wahi Hai Tagdaa
Paise Ke Liye Har Uljhan
Paise Ke Liye Har Jhagdaa
Jo Kaho Kar Guzarta Hai Logon
Jise Dekho Paise Pe Marta Hain Logon
Jaane Kyun Paise Par
Main Bhi Marta Hoon
Jo Na Karna Chaahoon
Wo Bhi Karta Hoon
Ab Samjha Main
Phir Bhi Kyun Dil Ko Itminaan Hai
Ham Bure Hain To Kya
Jag Men Sabhi Hain Bure

Khit Pit Khit Kare
Aur Kat Kat Ke Mare
Pyaar Se Ye Jahaan
Kaahe Na Milke Rahe

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Baam Chik Chaam Chik

Indian Cinema has seen a number of great artists but there have been very few who can be rated as versatile performers as well a complete entertainer. Kishore Kumar was one of such few artists - a maverick always wanting to do something unexpected; one of those persona, full of character, who enriched whatever they touched.

He might not have been close to the heart of purists, the way Rafi or Manna Dey were. Yet, his charisma and his popularity has remained unchallenged, unmatched. A sensitive artist & a quick learner who could sing songs in a manner that made it sound so effortless. If you have a doubt, just listen to his rendition of Mere Naina Sawan Bhado from Mehbooba. Despite no classical music training, he could perform better than the one sung by Lata Mangeshkar, and only by learning from the manner in which she had performed. 

Think of songs for any mood and most of the time an immediate recall would be of more than a couple of Kishore Kumar songs. Be it any genre; romance, melancholy, pathos, compassion, philosophical or any other one can think of and one would find his gems amongst the top notch ones. 

Yet, one genre which he really excelled in was also the one that matched his personality to a T. In one word this could be called Joie-de-vivre. The dictionary defines this French word as "Exuberant enjoyment of life". Truly, that was his entire persona. 

Unlike Rafi or Mukesh who had sober demeanour, in Kishore da's case, such songs seemed to be the ones which were natural for him. Just think of songs like O Meri Pyari Bindu from Padosan; Aa ke Seedhi Lagi Jaise Dil Pe from Half Ticket, Guni Jano re Bhakt Jano from Ansoo aur Muskan, Rafta Rafta from Kahani Kismat Ki or even his own introduction which he used to start his concerts with - Mere Nana Naniyon, Mere Dada Dadiyon.

Here is another song from the same genre where he has excelled himself, not heard so often, but is another example of his zest of living life to the fullest. This is from a 1975 movie Kahte Hain Mujhko Raja, starring Dharmendra & Biswajeet. The movie  was produced & directed by Biswajeet, perhaps as his last ditch effort to extend his career. It seems, looking at the clips that by then it was already quite late. As a result, along with the sinking of the movie also were lost the compositions despite being of the same class that one expects from a Pancham & Kishore Kumar combination. It is indeed unfortunate that this number did not get the attention it deserved. 

Perhaps this could be my opinion, and hence I invite you to judge it yourself - on Kishore Kumar's birth anniversary, this breathless performance of Kishore Kumar that is matched only by its verse & composition.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se

Charisma is a word that tries to define something which is otherwise unfathomable.  It means compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.  If ever, there was a star with Charisma on Hindi screen, it was Rajesh Khanna.

How else can one decode a phenomenon like him - average looks, good performer who could speak a lot with his eyes, broke through the accepted mould of a hero to create his own style, and then got confined within that. 

His fame was also like a comet that dazzled everyone with it for a while, and then disappeared as suddenly as it had arrived. During the brief period – relatively brief as compared to other superstars who followed him – that he shone through, his fan following was not only unprecedented but could always make even the later & bigger stars envious of it.

Apart from his charisma, another factor going for him was a troika that gave soulful songs for his screen avatars; songs which coupled with his crinkling eyes and a disarming smile could woo not only the actress on the screen but the entire female fan following to the extent that many of them were willing to lay their life for him.

The troika comprised of; yes, Kishore Kumar, Pancham & Anand Bakshi. In fact, even as his movies started faring badly, the songs created by these three continued charting new waves. Here is one such song, from Ajnabee, another movie by Shakti Samanta - whose Aradhana, Kati Patang & Amar Prem had ensured a golden run for Kaka earlier.

As a composition, with hardly any prelude, what make it interesting are those interludes – specially the first two, where Pancham mixes Santoor, Guitar & Sax so brilliantly. 

Kishore’s throaty rendition, the mischievous smile of Kaka & the subtle blushes of Zeenat, while he hints about their previous interaction, and all I can think of is the lost innocence of that era, where a serenade was an essential part of the life itself:

Woh Achanak Aa Gayee, 
Yun Nazar Ke Samane
Jaise Nikal Aaya Ghata Se Chand
Chehre Pe Zulfen Bikhari Huyi Thi,
Din Men Raat Ho Gayee
Jaan-e-man Jaan-e-jigar, 
Hota Main Shayar Agar
Kahta Ghazal Teri Adaaon Par
Maine Yeh Kaha To, Mujhse Khafa Woh
Jaan-e-hayat Ho Gayee

Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se
Yun Mulaqaat Ho Gayee

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Bade Achchhe Lagte Hain

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

You may find this an inopportune place for these verse from Rudyard Kipling’s “If” – a poetical advice by a father to his son. However I have a reason to do so. Today, my son is completing 24 years – 24 years of my being a parent too – and about to get out in the world to seek his own destiny.

While he is exploring the world his parents have not known, and as a parent, I wish that he will be able to carve out a niche for himself, I am thinking of two very talented artists; both progeny of two genius of Hindi movie industry; and talented in their own way. Both chose the same profession which their father had. Yet their fortunes differed.

One – a prodigal genius himself did create his own place amongst some very talented artistes, and went on to become a trend setter for the generations to follow. The other, despite being very talented, somehow could neither grow out of his father’s shadow; nor outshine other peers – some of them actually lesser talented then him. As a result, he never could get the place his talent actually deserved under the Sun.

Of course in the creative field, the first one was more of an exception. More often than not, a child of a talented artist always finds it difficult to live up to the reputation of the parent.

The first one is – of course Pancham, while the other one – who celebrated his birthday yesterday on 3rd July, is Amit Kumar – son of Kishore Kumar.

Coincidentally, Amit Kumar was also 24, when his first major solo was released. Today almost after 4 decades, it has remained amongst the best serenades of Hindi movies; as much for the voice as for the composition of Pancham.

This was one of the few compositions where Pancham used Violin (played by Uttam Singh – who later on composed music for Dushman (starring Kajol), Dil to Pagal Hai, Gadar & Pinjar) as the key instrument – in that long melancholic prelude as well as during the song. There is also a bit of flugelhorn and sarangi – and Pancham himself using his voice in between – as a boatman – literally carrying the composition alongwith Anand Bakshi’s simple verse that still make people go back to this song while wooing their lady love:

Hum Tum Kitne Paas Hain
Kitne Door Hain Chaand Sitaare
Sach Poochho To Man Ko Jhoothe
Lagte Hain Yeh Saare
Magar Sachche Lagte Hain
Ye Dharti Ye Nadiya Ye Raina Aur Tum
Bade Achchhe Lagte Hain

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tum Aa Gaye Ho

Last few days, one has seen a plethora of articles & posts about Emergency, that was imposed in India on 26th June 1975 & lasted for a period of 19 months.

Amongst some of the casualties that censorship imposed at that time, was a movie that was released in 1975 & was banned after a few weeks . It was allowed to be released only after the lifting of Emergency & subsequent defeat of Congress in 1977. Of course, the movie went on to become a classic, also getting Best Movie Award in the Critics category for that year from Filmfare.

This was Aandhi, a political drama which saw confluence of an amazing array of artistes;  Gulzar, at the helm of the affairs,  who collaborated with Kamleshwar – one of the leading media & literary persona of the time, Sanjeev Kumar, Suchitra Sen (in her last Hindi movie) & Om Prakash brought their characters alive  on screen. In the background, it was time for Gulzar to also play the role of a lyricist, and with Pancham, Kishore Kumar & Lata Mangeshkar, the movie gave some of the most romantic songs of Hindi cinema.

Though it seems that the key protagonist Aarti Devi (played by Suchitra Sen – her last Hindi movie) was inspired by Nandini Satpathy, a leading politician of Orissa, her gate-up, specially the white streak in her hair led I & B Ministry to believe her to be modelled on Indira Gandhi. As a result, despite the movie being very sympathetic to the character, it was banned for a short while. The music of the movie  became an instant hit, till even that was banned in May 1976 – not because of the movie, but due to an unofficial ban on Kishore Kumar, who had refused to sing in a Congress Rally in Mumbai.

Be as it may be, even after 4 decades, the compositions of this movie have remained amongst the best of Pancham; often compared to Amar Prem for the class of rendition & depth of verse.

It is indeed difficult to really favour any one particular song from this movie, but the one I am showcasing is special for today – this being Pancham’s birthday.

The song has very little prelude & has all favourite instruments of Pancham – Guitar, Sax & Madal, with violin that act as a bridge to carry the tune seamlessly. 

However, what is special are the verse that – despite being penned for a romantic situation, also manage to convey the feelings that all the fans may have about Pancham & his music.

So here is wishing all his fans, a very special day with this lovely song:

Tum Aa gaye Ho
Noor Aa Gaya Hai
Nahin To, Chiraagon Se
Lau Ja Rahi Thi
Jeene Ki Tum Se
Wajah Mil gayi Hai
Badi Bewajah
Zindagi Ja Rahi Thi

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rimjhim Gire Saawan

Two years ago, when I started sharing my favourite Pancham songs, little did I know how interesting & fulfilling this journey would be. On one hand, it helped me exploring such different facets of Pancham, also enriching my knowledge about the music itself. On the other hand, I got to know so many other die-hard fans of his music – much more passionate & aware of the magic that R D Burman created during his life time & of his legacy.

This 150th post is, hence, dedicated to that legion of Pancham fans for whom his music is a window to another world altogether - for whom Pancham's sur is the whole sargam. It would have been difficult to choose a befitting song but the weather outside made it easier.

I am sure the moment it starts raining, there are a number of songs one can think of from RD’s repertoire, but the one that comes uppermost to everyone’s mind is this one – a perfect song – more so because it has two solo versions sung by two most preferred singers of Pancham – Lata & Kishore

Yes, it is Rimjhim Gire Saawan – from Manzil, a Basu Chatterjee movie with Amitabh & Moushami, released in 1979.

The song was featured in two different situations in the movie with two – though not strikingly –different moods.

One is picturised outdoor in the real rain, with K K Mahajan’s incognito camera following the pair (Moushami at her natural best) through the city, and capturing South Bombay’s beauty in monsoon. The other is an indoor song, set in a party to celebrate a wedding.

One is of a girl in love, experiencing the rain with her beloved, letting her feelings & thoughts take flight. The other, in a male voice, is more about the feeling of getting attracted, but being unsure if the feelings are right or will be reciprocated.

The composition – set in Raga Kirwani - remains same yet the treatment differs with the situation.
The one sung by Lata has faster tempo, more instruments and with Lata’s aalaap during each stanza, and the way it extends to meets the notes of Santoor & Guitar, really soars.

The one sung by Kishore has lesser number of instruments, Sitar being the major one, but brings out the feelings of that growing attraction. The verse, or rather really the poem, penned by Yogesh, differs too – again to match the moods.

Normally it is always the case of at least one version having an upper hand, but for this particular song, it really is difficult to choose which one would be my favourite – specially since both bring to you that whiff of petrichor that comes with the very first rains. So here is the combination – giving you both the versions together:

Mahafil Men Kaise Kah Den Kisi Se,
Dil Bandh Rahaa Hai Kis Ajanabi Se

Haye Karen Ab Kyaa Jatan, 
Sulag Sulag Jaae Man
Bheege Aaj Is Mausam men
Lagi Kaisi Yeh Agan
Rimjhim Gire Saawan

Is Bar Saawan Dahaka Hua Hai 
Is Bar Mausam Bahaka Hua Hai

Jane Pee Ke Chali Kya Pavan, 
Sulag Sulag Jaye Man
Bheege Aaj Is Mausam men
Lagi Kaisi Yeh Agan
Rimjhim Gire Saawan

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pyaar Ke Mod Pe

Post Saveray Wali Gadi in 1986, Pancham created a few more compositions that brought Asha Bhosle & Suresh Wadkar together. Most of these were lacking that punch which Pancham was known for. This was also the time, where Pancham’s score seemed to be jaded – at least in a few movies including Dacait & Joshilaay. This changed however in Parinda - a movie by Vidhu Vindo Chopra - an unabashed Pancham fan.

Parinda was amongst one of the early noirs about Bombay's realistic gangland wars intermixed with a love-story of Karan & Paro that heads towards a brutal ending. In the course of their love story comes a time where Karan - wanting to vindicate his friend's murder - decides to get out of Paro's life and tries to break this to her; who in turn is trying to convince him not to do so. He seems lost, yet determined. She looks fragile & yet hopeful.

A situation full of dilemma indeed – made further so with the brilliant use of deep colours of a setting Sun’s sky – just watch out for that orange ball melting into mellow gold so beautifully captured by Binod Pradhan! Such dramatic visuals needed a composition that could bring out the hope-filled poignancy; and Pancham did precisely that. In the process he created a composition that remains amongst his best works.

To underscore the basic mood, he chose Flugelhorn  – perhaps for its darker & mellower sound –as compared to a Sax or a Trumpet; and juxtaposed it with the sounds of Indian instruments - Santoor, Tabla, Madal & Flute.

While the composition begins with Santoor & Tabla, the sound of Flugelhorn follows immediately, and works in tandem through-out the song.  However, it is the interludes – specially the second one that bring out the magic of this heady concoction of Flugelhorn & Santoor.

Though it is a duet, it is the out-of-world kind of rendition by Asha Bhosle - in her prime, then - as Madhuri Dixit (Paro – on screen) tries to hold back Anil Kapoor (using the words penned by Khurshid Hallauri – whose contribution to Hindi cinema was only this movie), and one cannot but get & remain under the spell of the magic forever:

Saath Main Tumhare Hoon
Ab Koi Gham Na Karo
Khud Ko Tanha Mere
Hote Humdam Na Karo
Ho Ke Maayus Na Dam Tod De
Chaahen Meri
Pyaar Ke Mod Pe Chhodoge Jo Baahen Meri
Tumko Dhundhegi Jamane Men Nigahen Meri

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dekho Yeh Kaun Aaya

The chemistry of Kishore Kumar & R D Burman is by now one of the most discussed phenomenon of Hindi movie music. If there were compostions that seemed to be tailor made for Kishore Kumar; there were also compositions which only Kishore Kumar could infuse life into. Even if a movie had other male singers, the song that Kishore sang always sounded more special. Perhaps Pancham had paraphrased the learning from Goerge Orwel's Animal Farm - For a music composer, all singers are equal but some are more equal than others.

Saveray Wali Gaadi was an exception to this rule. Despite there being a couple of solos reserved for Kishore, It was Suresh Wadkar, the other male singer for Sunny Deol who got better compositions - a solo and a duet with Asha Bhosle.

It is the duet specially that is really noteworthy. Beginning with plain vocals - too plain for a romantic song - the song takes off with the mix of Santoor, Tabla & Flute - all combined in a manner to create a lovely melody. Within each of the stanza, there are two different parts - the first part with Tabla while the second part seems to also have Bongo accompanying the beats - and both change seamlessly. Add to that the pause in between  - a clasp of a finger followed by what sounds like a temple bell - and the effect is beautiful as well as at some place very sensuous - matching the mood of an absolute romantic poetry penned by Majrooh.

Suresh Wadkar carrries out his part competently - suiting Sunny Deol's persona on screen. However the song actually belongs to the females - on screen as well as off screen. Poonam Dhillon portrays the playfullness sensuality of an innocent & vulnerable girl, and is aided by a perfect mellow gold rendition by Asha Bhosle - sepcially the way she carries off at the end. Between both of them, they manage to serve an audio-visual treat for the audience which keep you hooked on for a long time. 

Aa meri bahon me 
Baitha hoon kabse
Main teri raahon me
O main teri raahon me

Jalti hoon main bhi
Jabse pada hai
Dil pe tera saya

Dekho yeh kaun aaya
Dekho yeh kaun aaya
Meri sada pe bhul ke rasta
Ae dil yeh kaun aaya

Friday, May 1, 2015

Din Pyar Ke Aayenge Sajaniya

Bharathiraja, the director of Red Rose, has remained amongst one of the most prolific directors of Tamil Cinema - having won as many as six national awards for his films. Most of his movies were love stories entwined with social issues - largely of the South India. 

The times were differerent & hence not many of his movies were remade into Hindi. He himself also ventured into Hindi Cinema only a little. 

His first foray in Hindi movie was Solva Saawan - a remake of his own first movie as a director - which had introduced Sridevi. A few years after Red Rose, he directed another movies - Saveray Wali Gaadi - which was produced by Dharmendra & starred Sunny Deol, and Pancham again went on to create some stellar compositions.

Unfortunately, this movie, too, did not do well, and it was only a few years later that the music of Saveray Wali Gaadi got its due recognition. In fact, now, its rated as one of his finest works from the 80s.

Of all the songs this movie had, there is one which has also been ranked amongst the best that Pancham created with Lata Mangeshkar. With the name of the movie itself based on the morning train - used in the movie by Sunny & Poonam to exchange messages -  this composition had RD using the sound of a moving train as the constant rythmic refrain (Guitar, with perhaps, Madal) while its whistle - seems to be created through electronic synnthesizer - works as the harmonic pattern to combine vocals & interludes. The prelude itself, with the whistle like sound, makes one look forward to the romance. The composition that follows ensures that you remain hooked on.

Lata of course is at her best - portraying the hopes of a girl in love, while the song itself is picturised on an absolutely gorgeous & innocent villege belle - Poonam Dhillon - who makes this song - a lyrical treat anyways with Majrooh penning the verse -  a visual treat too.

Enjoy it.

Teri raah men, o Sajan, Teri dhun me chur
Khuli dhup me ithlati, phiri  door door
Mil ke sunaungi, kaise hans hans ke, 
Jhela maine dukh intezar ka
Din pyar ke aayenge sajaniya

Friday, April 17, 2015

Kiski Sadaayen Mujh ko Bulaayen

(It is always difficult for a blogger to find out a perfect way to return to his blog - specially after such a long gap. The last strand is long forgotten; too brash a post may be frowned upon while too dull a post may not even make people realise that he is back. 

Fortunately for this blog, all that I have to do is select one of the gems from Pancham's vast repertoire and post it - and more often than not, it works.  

So, after all this verbosity to wake up all Pancham fans, here is a lilting tune from one of the flop movies of 1980s.)

Rajesh Khanna, the first ever superstar of Hindi Cinema, was at that point in his career by late 70s where nothing seemed to be going right for him. There were a string of flops and audience had unanimously decided to reject his romantic hero and accept the angry young man & anti hero - brought alive by Amitabh Bachchan.

Kaka needed an image makeover and perhaps that is why he chose a few movies which were an absolute anti-thesis to his established image. One such movie was Red Rose, a remake of a Tamil movie Sigappu Rojakkal that had originally Kamal Hasan & Sridevi in the lead roles.

The movie was directed by Bharati Raja, also the director of original Tamil movie, and had Kaka reprising Kamal hasan's character that had a hidden dark side - a sex-maniac preying on young females before killing them. 

Unfortunately, despite an interesting story line - quite misogynist in its treatment though - the movie remained trapped in the cliches of those times. As a result, it was befitting for the main character, if having a negative shade, to have no choice but to die in the end - in this case due to efforts of the heroine. 

However, just imagine, the interesting possibilities this movie could have had in the current age of sequels & dark-noir movies - with perhaps each new movie with the same hero & a different - may be tougher - heroine. 

The female lead in Red Rose was played by Poonam Dhillon - who celebrates her birthday today - for whom this was first major movie outside Yash Chopra productions, and she performed the interesting role with quite an ease. 

The movie's background score was a tailor made opportunity for Pancham and he excelled in that. However, there was limited scope for the songs, and yet the two songs that Pancham composed for the movie, have remained amongst some of his best compositions.  

The one showcased here remains amongst my favourite duets from 80s. It begins with the strings of Irani Santoor - played by Pt. Ulhas Bapat - and the instrument remains the back-bone of the song through-out. Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle bring in their expert & flawless rendition - you just need to listen to their variations while singing Adaayen & Sadaayen in the mukhda - bringing alive the romance that was penned by Nida Fazli.

Kiski Sadaayen Mujh ko Bulayen
Anjane Sapne Neenden Churaye
Teri Adaayen Jadu Jagaye
Dharti Sanware Mausam Sajaye

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dil Machal Raha Hai

What was the connection RD had with RK? It could be quite coincidental, but the movies which had RK as a hero always inspired Pancham more.

RK, who? Of course Rajesh Khanna!

An easy enough answer, except that this also holds true for two more heroes - Rishi Kapoor & and who else but one of Pancham's best friends in the industry - Randhir Kapoor.

Beginning with Rampur ka Laxman, Randhir Kapoor & Pancham did about 14 movies together. A large number of them did not really fare well. If Jawani Deewwani, Rampur ka Laxman, Dharam Karam & Kasme Vaade did extremely good business, there were movies like Khalifa, Harjaee, Dhongee and many more which turned out to be quite a damp squib.

Damp squib, only as far as their commercial success or artistic value is concerned. Their scintillating musical score was always the saving grace – perhaps the only reason for which even now these movies merit a recall.

Take Khalifa, for instance. This 1976 movie, directed by Prakash Mehra, had Randhir Kapoor, in double role - one good & one evil, along with Rekha. The movie had nothing much to write home about - except its compositions - specially this one.

The composition is very stylish – pacy and very unpredictable as it moves. If the interludes are sensuous – the structure of stanza, with its pulsating beats arrangement & high octave singing that effortlessly glides into seductive crooning, carries hallmark of what Pancham was famous for. Add to that Kishore Kumar in play-full yet romantic full- throated rendition & smooth as honey singing of Asha Bhosle – it was a perfect recipe for creating the magic. This was also the first movie where Gulshan Bawra, till then more of an actor & less of a lyricist, & Pancham collaborated first time. Later they went on to do many more movies, including Kasme Vaade, Harjaae & Satte pe Satta.

On screen, while RK’s acting fortunately does not really create a jarring note, what is worth noticing is Rekha – specially the nuances that she brings to her face while singing. Those were early days – “Ghar” was still a couple of years away - but watching her you would know for sure that the process had begun of her evolving into the beautiful swan that she went on to be.

Look at it yourself. I am sure you will agree too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bhanwara Baavra Baavra..

Last year, this date, I had used this page to wish happy birthday to Waheeda Rahman. I have always admired her as much for her ethereal beauty as much for her grace & elegance.

Now is it not a coincidence that the only other actress, in my opinion, who could match her grace & elegance was also born on the same date - though 19 years later. 

There were lot of things which were different between both of them - apart from the generation itself. One was a south Indian, while another was from Punjab. One was a dancer par excellence, another - nothing much to write about. One looked ethereal, while the other was beautiful with a girl-next-door kind of presence. 

Yet, these differences in-fact underscored the basics common to both of them - one, they both arrived like a fresh breeze for their time, and went on to win the heart of the millions; two - they both were performers par-excellence; and three - in a world where heroines past their hey-days find it difficult to give up on glamourous looks, they both aged so  gracefully and continued to look as beautiful as they were - without resorting to any kind of gimmickry. 

So today, while I wish both of them a very happy birthday, the song is devoted not to Waheeda Rahman, but to - Deepti Naval!

The song is from that all time classic comedy of Gulzar - Angoor, based on Shakespeare play, Comedy of Errors. In fact, this is also the only song which Pancham composed with Deepti Naval rendering it on-screen. 

Pancham used Raag Yaman Kalyan, a raag in which he had created some more memorable songs - like Is Mod se jaate Hain & Beeti Na Beetai Raina. Well, the one played here is also no less. Pancham used Sitar & Tabla as the base instruments to bring out the absolute flawless & mesmerizing rendition by Asha Bhosle of Gulzar's verse - which are as simple & beautiful as Deepti Naval herself. 

बीते हुए मौसम की कोई निशानी होगी
दर्द पुराना कोई, याद पुरानी होगी
कोई तो दास्तां, होगी ना
रोज रोज डाली डाली, क्या लिख जाए
भंवरा, बावरा, बावरा

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jeena to Hai, Par Ae Dil Kahan..

Sometimes, I really wonder what makes a movie song really hit – good lyrics, great composition, flawless rendition or the way it is presented on-screen?

I am sure there is no clear answer to it. Yes, verse, vocals & composition are a must, but somehow, I have observed that a movie being a visual medium, its picturisation, the actors involved & finally the success of the movie make a bigger difference. This held true at least for the movies produced till late 70s, where in the absence of a 24x7 television, and lack of easy availability of music other than radio (Record players were not so common then!), in case a movie did not fare well, there was hardly any scope for the music to survive. Of course, there were exceptions where the good music became popular, despite dismal performance of a movie, due to sheer star power of the performers; but as I said, these were exceptions.

What else could have been a reason for the song that I am presenting today not to be rated amongst the evergreen classics from Pancham-Kishore?

No, it is not an exaggeration. Since the time I have heard this song a couple of weeks ago, I have been absolutely mesmerised - reeling under its spell.

This one, as promised earlier, is from Paanch Dushman. Yes, the same one which was first released in 1973, and later as Daulat ke Dushman in 1983. 1973 was the same year where Kishore & Pancham combination was on an upswing – what with super-hits like Tera Mujhse Hai Pahle Ka Naata Koi, Kiska Rasta Dekhe, Diye Jalte Hain & Main Shayar Badnam – just to name a few. Yes, amongst their own repertoire, 1973 was a tough act to beat. I am sure, among those sterling releases, a movie like Paanch Dushman with only villains being the noteworthy performers, it would have been perfectly justified, had Pancham not bothered to be at his usual self. However, such was never the case with him.

He still gave his best and the result is this composition. It begins with the notes derived from “The Sound of Silence” of Simon & Garfunkel, and then charts a course which has Kishore Kumar giving a no-holds-barred rendition – changing scales & pitch so effortlessly - that coupled with the very subtle notes of flute & guitar, brings out the melancholic mood of the situation in the movie. Majrooh, of course one of the mentors of Pancham, ensures to add depth with his verse – bringing me back to the question – why is this song not amongst Kishore & Pancham’s all-time bests?

Perhaps Majrooh’s verse were also wondering about this:

Naaraaz koi, Na koi Meherbaan
Naa kahin koi Bijali, Naa koi Aashiaan
Are baithun to, Nahin milti hain Zameen
Main Udana chaahun to, Hai door Aasmaan
Jeena to hai, Par aye dil kahaan

Listen to this yourself, and I am sure you will agree with me.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Main Aur Meri Awargi..

In my last post, I had promised the other song, a Kishore Kumar solo, from that rare - twice released under different names movie. However, let me first take a detour and take you to a Kishore classic, but from a different movie -Duniya, a 1983 release. The movie was a typical pay-back revenge drama with Dilip Kumar & Rishi Kapoor in lead, and did fare quite well.

However, the reason for this detour is very simple. Today one of the most prolific poets of the recent times - Javed Akhtar, has turned 70. After having worked for a long on various movies together - but as the story writer & the composer, this was the first movie where Javed Akhtar & Pancham collaborated together for music. In fact this was the first movie where Javed Akhtar had penned the lyrics.

Though there is no original movie clip available on internet for the song featured here, the reason to choose it was very elementary - It showcases the simple play of words that Javed Akhtar always manage to bring out while detailing the emotions. Quite possibly that is why, once again, more than a decade later, the same lyrics were used by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for his Sufi music album – Sangam – in collaboration with Javed Akhtar.

Perhaps it is the lyrics itself, written as if emanating from the inner most emotions of a nomadic soul, that found resonance in Pancham & Kishore Kumar. As a result, though not sufi-ish in style, yet the composition & rendition they came up with is also very simple – almost zen-like when one really think about it.

Hum bhi kabhi aabad the
Aise kahan barbaad the
Befikar the, azad the
Mashhoor the, dilshad the
Woh chal aisi chal gaya
Hum bujh gaye, dil jal gaya
Nikle jalake apna ghar
Main or meri aawargi

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jaana Hai Humen To Jahan Karaar Mile

Movies that take a long time to make are innumerable and they do tend to fare miserably. Adhura Aadmi was not an exception. However, rarely does one come across a movie that gets released twice – under different titles. Pancham had this distinction too.

In 1973, a Mumbai based builder, enamoured with the cinema & related glamour produced a movie that was supposed to be anti-smuggling. Unlike a multi – heroes, this was a movie with multi-villains - five to be precise and all top notch in early 70s: Pran, Manmohan, Prem Chopra, Shatrughan Sinha & Vinod Khanna – all pitted against one hero – who alone graced the posters of the movie. Movie was aptly titled Paanch Dushman. The movie tanked, and tanked big time.

Not to be deterred though, and perhaps because of the misplaced notion of being ahead of the time, the producer re-released the movie in 1982-83, this time with a new title – Daulat Ke Dushman. A few of the dynamics though had changed in the intervening years, and hence Vinod Khanna & Shatrughan Sinha got the top-most billing this time. Well, the change of name of the movie or the billboards did not alter its fate – justifying that Shakespeare was right when he wrote - What’s in a name?

Oh, yes, a few more trivia that I should have mentioned, the producer of the movie also decided to cast himself as the hero. Perhaps his success in his other business interests - involving construction & hospitality – did make him feel eligible enough to take on these 5 stalwarts actors. After all he also owned one of the key & an iconic hotel of its time in Mumbai . This was Manu Narang – also known as Manohar Lal Narang who owned Ambassador Hotel at Churchgate – the first one to have a revolving restaurant in the country.

Getting back to the movie, it had two lovely compositions of Pancham – a Kishore Kumar Solo & a duet featuring Kishore- Lata.

Let me play today the duet because once you see the performance of the lead actors, you will understand the reason why even Pancham’s music could not help it survive – neither first time nor in its re-christened avatar.

However, the song is an absolute gem with verse by Majrooh. Listen to it here:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tumse Hi To Shuru Hai..

Namkeen was released in 1982, a year which was an exceptional year for Pancham. Not so much because of the quality of his music, which was like any other good year of his, but more so as this year got him his first Filmfare award. Perhaps, time had come for the powers that were to finally recognise his talent, after his enthralling the cine-music lovers for more than a decade and a half.

The award was for a Kamal Hasan & Reena Roy release – Sanam Teri Kasam, a mega hit of the year and his second movie after the block-buster Ek Dooje Ke Liye.

As I said, however, his quality of music was superlative like any other year; with movies like Namkeen, Shakti, Sanam Teri Kasam & Yeh Wada Raha being the chartbusters. My favourite, though, from this year, other than Namkeen, is a song from a movie, which took inordinate years to complete and sank within no days. It featured one of Lata’s loveliest numbers, which finally got its dues years later when HMV released it as part of a compilation.

This was from a movie – Adhura Aadmi – Amjad Khan’s first directorial effort, which took almost 5 years to complete, and had featuring Vidya Sinha besides Amjad Khan himself. The movie is so buried in the archives, that even the song that I am featuring year has no video available, except a clip from the trailer of the movie.

Once again Pancham used the fusion of Hindustani & western instruments. The song itself starts with very subtle notes of Guitar just lending back-up to the vocals of Lata. Once the composition goes in full flow, you can hear the lilting medley of Sitar, Santoor & Flute, and the verse from Yogesh, that unsung but one of the classiest poets of Hindi movies. All combine together, playing a perfect foil to her voice, as it soars and takes you into an ethereal world of sweet and self-less love and adoration.

Here it is:

Tere Jeevan Mein Ban ke Kiran
Teri Kasam Bikharungi Sada
Tere Kadamon Ke Kaante Saare
Palakon Se Chun Lungi Main Piya
Janam Ka Naata Jo Tumse
Baandha Bandha Rahega Sada
Tumse Hi Toh Shuru Hai
Khatam Bhi Tum Par Hogi
Jindagi Ki Kahaani Mere Devata

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Khush Raho, Ahal-e-Watan..

It has been a long time since I visited this page. There have been reasons - the procastination being one of them, and finding a suitable occassion being another. I realised that today could be a good day to begin another phase where we explore the genius of Pancham.

It was 21 years ago, this day, when he moved away from this world and yet his legacy has lived on. In fact, his music is sounding as fresh and is as popular now, as it was then. While writing about him today I was looking for a suitable song and came across this gem .

Words – especially those which are well thought out lasts forever. The times may change and one fine day the same phrase re-appear again, looking as befitting and as apt as they were years ago – or in this particular case – centuries ago.

Around 1857, Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh was forced to abdicate his throne & was exiled from his beloved city Lucknow. It was this pain that made him pen a couplet that has been used many a times.

Our history tells us that one of the earliest user was Shahid Bhagat Singh when he wrote his final farewell letter from the gallows to his brother.

Almost 50 years later, in 1982, Gulzar was making a movie based on a truck driver’s life and his interaction with a family full of women. Perhaps taking an inspiration from the truck art – this couplet is quite often seen on the trucks - Gulzar used the last line of this couplet and penned lyrics of what could be an eternal journey song, in Kishore Kumar’s inimitable baritone for movie Namkeen.

Pancham of course was at his prime when Namkeen was produced, and created a composition where simplicity of instruments and the creative use of Hindustani Ragas – Malkauns for the night drive & Megh Malhar for the rainy season – turned it not only a classic, but also a perfect song as his legacy for his fans.

So here it is:

Aise Ujade Ashiyane, Tinke Ud Gaye 
Bastiyon Tak Aate Aate Raaste Mud Gaye 
Hum Thahar Jayen Jahan
Usko Shahar Kahte Hain 
Raah Pe Rahte Hain 
Yadon Pe Basar Karte Hain 
Khush Raho Ahal-e-Watan, Hum To Safar Karte Hain