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A melody for the evening…

We have just returned from grabbing a lungful or two of Oxygen, detoxing my system of urban noise, pollution and heat and dust. The temperature was a good 6 degrees lower than our urban abode and we had a stiff breeze thrown in. The wind chill got through to the marrow and out came the jackets, hoodies et al. Our niece’s son, the irrepressible Anay livened up the proceedings and kept four generations busy and ensured he remained the focus of everyone’s attention. Such a blessing to have a bright young kid who declared at 10 pm after dinner he wanted to play the new card game he had learnt earlier in the evening till midnight. His poor parents put paid to that plan, though, and as a result the trio slept well after the two of us returned from our morning walk amongst pristine nature full of lush green new vegetation and hundreds of warblers of various kinds that I can’t even identify confidently.

Today is also Pancham’s 82nd birth anniversary. A restless genius who was so prolific and sadly left us way too soon….

82 years ago to the day

The time was just right for me to be reminded of this classic melody that has stayed with me for nearly half a century. Absolutely top drawer. The movie truly gave Jumping Jack Jitendra’s stagnant career a huge fillip.

‘Beeti Na Bitayee Raina’ from Parichay was a forerunner to the special creative bond that would form between Gulzar and Pancham. The storyline at first glance very looks similar to The Sound of Music, the movie was beautifully made by Gulzar. I actually loved Pran’s role the most, better than I liked Jitendra or Jaya Bhaduri.

The song is forever etched on my mindspace and musical memories. Based on the extremely melodious evening raga Yaman Kalyan, the Lata-Bhupinder duet fetched Lataji a national award for best playback singer that year. Isn’t it amazing that Pancham was not given the award for the song or movie?

Pancham is aptly more famous for his more innovative offerings, compositions and entirely “out of the box” thinking when using instruments (some of them not even musical instruments ) to create the sound effects in his many movies. But one should never forget his unforgettable songs based on Hindustani Classical Music and the amazing concepts (that his legendary father was more famous for) in blending two or more raags to create an amazing composition. I can never forget that the man debuted in Bollywood with the amazing composition in Chhote Nawab sung by Latadidi Ghar aajaa Ghir Aaye Badra Saanwariya. An amazingly accomplished composition for the man who was all of 22 years when he thought of this creation in the rarely performed raag Malgunji. Apparently Latadidi had promised him (and got him to promise in return) that his debut song in Bollywood as an independent composer would be hers. Pancham went on to create so many more compositions in Shuddha Hindustani Classical Raags, the accusation that he was too “Western minded” was hollow and utterly misplaced.

Yaman Kalyan is a wonderful raag that evokes tranquility: shaant rasa and also evokes bhakti rasa. Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshiji’s Yaman Kalyan is so different in effect from his energetic and vigorous Miyan Ki Malhar or Megh Malhar.

And I will wind up with an even more evocative rendition of the raag by the unique musical genius, Kumar Gandharva.

Stay safe, and listen to the two maestros sing the raag apt for the hour.

Stay away from the malicious virus unleashed by the empire of evil on humanity

Take the jab when you get the opportunity.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

14 replies on “A melody for the evening…”

amazing..one of the favourites..👌

Last night after watching Denmark vs Wales Euro Cup match just happened to listen to Pancham Da..started with “roj roj akhon tale”, “mera kuch saman” and Aandhi songs in loop.. was just so soothing..

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Wow…..Excellent treat for the evening…. with fabulous and melodious Gulzar / Rd burman / Lata and Bhupinder singh song….Beeti na beetai raina….
Bhimsen Joshi’s Yaman kalyan …..Too good to listen to….so calm and tranquil….. And Kumarji’s Rendition with his unique singing style with small Tana’s…..Simply wonderful…..
All this with a very cute photograph of R.D Burman from his childhood….as an infant..

Thanks a bunch Aniruddha sir for this wonderful share ….👌🙏🏻

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Gulzar’s Parichay might remind one of The Sound of Music, (1965), the American classic that featured Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer which spawned many remakes in India. The American movie was actually shot in Austria & the mind blowing locales shown in the movie still haunt you. Gulzar used his creativity & ingenuity to write a script that is loosely based on this leaving an everlasting impact. However the message in all the remakes remains the same , love conquers all.
But it is much more about Gulzar’s inimitable directorial competence & his chutzpah as an avant garde script writer. The characterizations in the movie are well-etched out & each actor performs his or her role with the sincerity demanded by the script. 
This is one of Jeetendra’s best performances ever (alongside other memorable performances in films like Khushboo, Kinara, Jeene Ki Raah, Caravan & Mere Hamsafar). It is rather unfortunate that the actor never got enough opportunities to take up similar roles that could do justice to his acting talent. Kudos to Gulzar for showing to the world that even Jeetendra can act when presented with an opportunity. Asrani, Veena, Leela Mishra & A K Hangal lend good support. The narrative though slow in the beginning manages to gain momentum soon after Jaya Bhaduri is at her usual best. None can deny that she is one of the most talented actresses on the Bollywood skyline & the best student that FTII has produced. 
Pran delivered one of his career best roles & thus the film’s title “Parichay” gets justified. The child actors have performed well but mention must be made of master Raju & his antics.
The film boasts of evergreen & immortal songs like “Saare Ke Saare”, “Beeti Na Bitai Raina” & “Musafir Hoon Yaaro” that will continue to be popular a hundred years from now.
The nightingale of India,
the greatest singer ever,
Goddess Saraswati incarnate , Latadidi; no amount of praise is lavish enough to describe the supremacy of her voice as it enraptures generation after generation, year after year & song after song as her body of work is a deep sea of melody sings this song along with Bhupinder based on raag Yaman Kalyan which emerges from the Kalyan Thaat, & is sung during the teesra Prahar, or
between 6 PM & 9 PM.
Every drop/ note of this song by the genius RDB is a powerful ode to the Gods of music, moods & language set to the evening raga. The Latadidi -Bhupinder duet fetched them both a national award for best playback singer that year.
The story is about a deadlock. The proud & disciplinarian Rai Sahab (Pran) is entrusted with the care of his late (& estranged) son’s five children. The kids hate their grandfather & drive away all the tutors who dare to home-school them. Their pranks run from the banal (breaking the legs of a chair) to downright ingenious (placing a candle on a tortoise). Enter the sweet-natured, empathetic teacher, Ravi (Jeetendra), who follows a simple philosophy: Musafir hoon yaaron…Na ghar hai na thikana…Mujhe chalte jaana hai…Bas chalte jaana. He wins the heart of badi didi Rama (Jaya Bhaduri) & bridges the gap between Rai Sahab & the children prompting Rai Sahab to admit that Ravi helped his reintroduce his grandchildren to him.
Parichay is a guaranteed joyride. The film is the first of the Gulzar- Jeetendra combination (Khushboo & Kinara followed). According to Gulzar, Parichay began with Rajkumar Mitra’s Bengali story, Rangeen Uttarain.
Gulzar made his directorial debut with Mere Apne. Parichay was revived when Jeetendra’s brother-in-law VK Sobti & Jeetendra went on to produce Parichay.
Jeetendra gives his most effortless performance. While watching it one also notices his unhurried laughter. Sanjeev Kumar as Jaya’s father was an inspired choice.
For the sublime song Beeti na bitai raina, Amitabh Bachchan had a big part to play in its destiny. The story goes that Jeetendra didn’t like the song at all when it was recorded. When Bachchan came to the sets to meet Jaya, Jeetendra played the song for him on his car’s music system hoping to get him to convince Gulzar to nix the song.
“Once Amit heard the song, he was quite moved. ” Jeetu came to me with a stupefied expression & told me, ‘Yeh toh ro pada gaana sun ke.'” Gulzar was vindicated & Lata Mangeshkar & Bhupinder went on to win the National Award for the song. Creativity takes mysterious turns & it’s all a part of a process. It’s fun when you refer to something which is a known inspiration & give it your touch. In sare ke saare, there’s a moment in the song, when Gulzar gives a cute nod to his dear friend, RDB as Jeetendra asks mid-song, “Kahan tak pahunche they hum,” & Jaya replies, “Pancham tak”…

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