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