The duo of Laxmikant-Pyarelal were one of the most prolific composers in Bollywood. They started with a musical score with a very memorable debut in Parasmani, a movie now remembered for their score, rather than the juvenile fantasy that passed for the storyline. Much of their voluminous output was directed towards the masses, rather than the connoisseurs, but once in a while, given the opportunity, would conjure up a score qualitatively far superior to the usual stuff they would come up with. Such a happy event happened in an early 80s movie produced by Shashi Kapoor.
Utsav was based on Shudraka’s Mricchakatik, and to me was totally Rekha‘s movie. Her characterization of Vasantasena was beyond exceptional. Shekhar Suman came across as a rather effeminate Charudatta. Shankar Nag (who was underutilized by Bollywood), Anuradha Patel and Shashi Kapoor have other significant roles. The outstanding aspects were the art direction (Nachiket & Jayoo Patwardhan won a National Award) and the costumes apt for the period. The musical score was outstanding. In my books one of LP’s very best of a long and amazingly productive career.
I was reminded of this song first up today . I had gone to bed thinking of the centenarian Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi ji’s Bhairavi Bhajan and woke up with a morning raag Bibhas ( “Vibhaas”) in my head. The song by Suresh Wadkar (who has a solid grounding in Hindustani Classical Music, having trained in it for a number of years with Jialal Vasant) is very dear to me. It has lyrics by Vasant Dev, who was Professor, HOD Hindi and Vice Principal at Parle College when I spent 2 years of my premedical college years there. It is a beautiful composition. https://youtu.be/UkAYoTiX72Y
The movie is shot wonderfully too. The same raag Bibhaas , a morning raag usually sung at daybreak (Bhairav thaat) is used as a template for another beautiful melody from the same movie. This one is beautifully rendered by the one and only Lata Mangeshkar, such a pleasurable composition. I just love it. https://youtu.be/vWD3DFXN9Ak
The movie was tastefully directed by Girish Karnad who had had a long experience with multilingual theater. An interesting vignette is that Amitabh Bachchan was to act in the movie. But he met with an accident at the same time near Bengaluru and the role was enacted by a very corpulent Shashi Kapoor , the producer, who stepped in at the last minute as the very lecherous Samsthanak.
A landmark movie, it didn’t unfortunately do well at the box office and Shashi Kapoor burnt his finger tips in the project’s bombing. It is a brilliant piece of movie making with every box ticked in the check list.
Have fun, folks and stay happy and healthy as I get oxygenated with Gold, our furry companion for the last three months who returns tomorrow to his forever home. Stay away from the Chinese bioterror