The continuum

I saw this movie in Mumbai in the mid 70s. It was Gulzar at his creative best. The year that Indira Gandhi unleashed the brutal Emergency on our country for no other reason than being disqualified for electoral malpractice, and trying to justify it by the most ridiculous of excuses, claiming fiction as being fact. Thousands died at her police brutality, disappeared without a trace. All to keep her throne intact. And the saddest part is such undisguised fascism is never visible to our presstitutes nor has the party of murderous looters ever apologized for the unlawful act even once in the last 50 years.

Gulzar had three releases that year, Mausam, Aandhi and Khushboo. All entirely different storylines and amazing movies. Sanjeev Kumar figured in two movies: Mausam and Aandhi, and Sharmila Tagore in two: Khushboo and Mausam.

Mausam had the musical score by Madan Mohan, but the background score was completed by Salil Chowdhury. The other two had music by RD Burman. Gulzar, Pancham & Asha Bhosle enjoyed a very fruitful creative relationship. I cannot ever forget Dil Padosi Hai, the amazing album by the trio.

Gulzar reinvented and recast two male leads whose talents were being wasted in Bollywood: Vinod Khanna and Jitendra. The former would certainly credit Gulzar for rescuing him out of the morass of inane roles. Mere Apne and Achanak are easily two of his all-time best roles. Jitendra would have passed off through his life as Jumping Jack doing stupid roles (despite the memorable debut in V Shantaram’s Geet Gaaya Pattharon Ne) had Gulzar not seen a spark in him that had not yet been spotted been seen by anyone thus far. Parichay showed Jitendra’s emotive abilities.

Khushboo was produced by Jitendra and his brother. Based on a Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s Panditmashai which had been made into a Bangla movie two decades earlier, it is a beautiful movie with Jitendra, Hema Malini and Sharmila Tagore.

The sublime music is by Pancham, with great lyrics by Gulzar. It has a couple of other lovely songs too : Bechara Dil Kya Karein, and Do Naino Mein Aansoo Bhare Hain. I loved the music for virtually all its aspects, storyline, music, acting, cinematography and direction.

My tribute to the amazing genius Pancham on his 82nd birth anniversary today.

Stay safe folks, stay away from the malicious Wuhan Virus and stay healthy.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “The continuum”

Wow…..lovely song…..a beautiful combination of three great people…Gulzar, R.D. Burman and Kishor kumar…..
Soulful song……great philosophy…..
Thanks a lot Aniruddha sir for a wonderful share this sunday morning…..💐💐👌👌👍👍

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Oh…sir ji …waaaaah….baaaahuut hi benmun geet …’ O mazi re….” Gulzar saab…burman ji …and the great magic al …megnetic…aishwariy aavaz ke dhani kishor saab …
Thanking a lot …lot…and lot….sirji

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Boat songs, where the singer sings about maajhi ( boatman) & the boat was the speciality of SDB as a singer & music director but here, his son RDB creates magic!
And the voice of Kishoreda & his singing is nothing short of magical. It has been chronicled that the people present at the time of recording of this song were so much moved by his stereophonic voice with echo effect that they cried. His voice full of pathos had that effect on them.
Gulzar is at his creative best as a lyricist as he indulges in some rather complex word play.
The coming together of these three great talents has given us this gem of a song. As it was raining all night RDB, the legendary composer was unable to sleep. The raindrops falling on the window panes were producing some very deep, throbbing sounds that resonated in the ears of the great musician & an idea was born!
He was a creative genius & for him, it was just a matter of mixing his own emotion with the emotion of the ambience. He recorded the sound, enhanced it & used it as a beat together with his percussion.
The song is a sheer masterpiece by the Trio Magicians – RD+KK+Gulzar.
There are many notations & places in this song which makes it standout like, the dipping tune on the word “Kinaraaaaa”, the interlude music with flutes, the sound with the bottles…He used bottles with different levels of water & produced a series of haunting beats. The creator is skillful, imaginative & unique .
From rhythm to tune, the masterstroke in this song is RDB’s innovative use of ethnic, traditional Bengali “Bhatiyali” tune. This is a song of the boatman (“maajhi” in the native term). These kinds of folk tunes inherently contain a mixture of pain & separation. These are tunes handed over through generations & their themes have not changed over the years.
In the movie sequence we can see a boatman visible & his presence makes the choice of the genre credible. The lead actors too produce great emotion on the screen. The song appeals visually too.
Apart from picking up this folk flavor, Pancham also used his tune-design skills to perfection in this song. If one hears minutely one can find out how effectively the notes are used. While some have more emphasis & thrust, others are kept soft & serene.
There is also an equally great interlude music in this cult song. The piece alone could have been converted to an independent song. This is one piece of interlude that never goes over the top. It makes sure KK’s voice comes back at the right pitch & takes forward the song. Only a great composer who is at his peak performance can be so sure about his composition.
Gulzar has been a master story-teller & is one of the finest poets of all times. The earthy feel of “Khushboo” needed earthen words. Hence came “Saahil”, “Kagazon ki kashti”, “Sahaara”, “Kinaara”, “Majdhaare”. These are words & expressions that reflect common man’s life. Through these words the poet establishes a connection between the audience & the boatman.
For someone who had shared a long association with RDB, it was not difficult to understand that this tune required a watertight meter. Throughout the song, words & notes reach an absolute assimilation. The choice of words is spot on! Kishoreda”s understanding of human emotions came directly from his own life experiences. He has himself often mentioned that. As an actor & he knew how to express pain & anguish. He gives the right flow & thrust to every word. When he sings “O Maajhi Re”, it pierces through the heart of the listener. The singer never goes over the top, he keeps true to the tune, to the words & to the very significant boatman (Maajhi).

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