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बस यूँही……


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What are dreams made up of but unfulfilled aspirations and desires?
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After seeing the clouds enchantingly sit on mountaintops, I was reminded of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet VI.
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Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface,
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distilled:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure ere it be self-killed.
That use is not forbidden usury,
Which happies those that pay the willing loan;
That’s for thy self to breed another thee,
Or ten times happier, be it ten for one;
Ten times thy self were happier than thou art,
If ten of thine ten times refigured thee:
Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart,
Leaving thee living in posterity?
   Be not self-willed, for thou art much too fair
   To be death’s conquest and make worms thine heir.
William Shakespeare
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#Power_Of_Dreams,
#Hopelessly_in_love_with_nature ,
#Environment,
#Mountainscapes

Categories
Introspective melodies Memories Romantic Duets Uncategorized

Not always the funny man

Today is the 19th remembrance day of a famous actor from the 50s and 60s who during the two decades was pretty much top of his game and genre. He was born Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi and acted in more than 300 movies. Although he was hopelessly typecast by Bollywood as a guy who is perennially sozzled, and usually in a funny role, his acting skills were never really tapped into till very late in his acting career. Known by the famous brand of a whisky, (arguably more famous and sought after in India than its country of origin), Johnny Walker was the name he would always be remembered by, the Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi moniker known only to those who care to know and to remember.

His onscreen persona was , I daresay, made much more effective and durable as a brand by his amazing partnership with the maestro, Mohammad Rafisaab. I honestly would stick my neck out and say that Johnny Walker would have been just another of the comics (say like Keshto Mukherjee who took over the patented role of the cross eyed drunk after Johnny Walker retired, rather sadly faded away) had it not been for the unforgettable slew of songs picturized on him and sung by the insanely multifaceted singing of Rafisaab.

Look at this one song from a mid 50s movie produced by Guru Dutt, and directed by Raj Khosla who later went on to virtually own the genre of the romantic horror/thriller in Bollywood . The music is by the extremely successful O P Nayyar, who incidentally almost totally owed his success to being introduced to Guru Dutt by the latter’s wife, Geeta Dutt, and sadly, discarding Geeta Dutt after she had served her purpose. OPN used Geeta Dutt as a mere stepping stone and almost forgot/ shunned her when he “discovered” Asha Bhosle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd9x6_ieUoU

Unlike many of the songs picturised on Johnny Walker, this one isn’t exactly a rib-tickler, a funny one. Instead, it’s a rather sombre, even pessimistic commentary on the dehumanising nature of the megapolis even in the 50s—a city that Johnny Walker, shown as a petty thief, traipses through, either sauntering along by himself or by hitching a ride in a Victoria with his beautiful girlfriend. Kumkum, always a favourite actress, is seen in one of my favourite roles enacted by her, as an energetic, upbeat, optimistic, even feisty and vivacious fighter, the perfect counterpoint to her somewhat namely-pamby boyfriend. The lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri (Who had to suffer imprisonment for 2 years without a trial, just because he criticised the definitely autocratic and even dictatorial Nehru, where were the leftie sickulars at the time????) wrote the superb, introspective lyrics, a very incisive commentary on the state of life in the city.

Johnny Walker owes his entire career to Balraj Sahni. Johnny Walker and his family had moved to Mumbai in search of a livelihood after his father lost his job in Indore. Going through tremendous hardship and having dropped out of school in the 6th grade, Johnny Walker actually took up a job as a Bombay Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) bus conductor and earned a princely salary of Rs 26 a month (!!), but stood out in his job as he took it upon himself to entertain his passengers with his comical way of calling out bus stops, his hilarious impressions and tricks. Throughout his youth, he had always dreamed of being in films, and as a child and teenager had idolised Noor Mohammad Charlie , (the guy who can be considered Bollywood’s first comic who had styled himself on Charlie Chaplin), and practicing stunts that he saw on-screen. Balraj Sahni, a frequent traveller on the BEST bus route where Johnny Walker would ply, was always amused and impressed by the man’s mannerisms and joie de vivre. He engineered a meeting between his good friend, Guru Dutt without the latter’s knowledge after being frequently entertained by Badruddin Kazi’s antics as a bus conductor. So Badruddin Kazi became Johnny Walker and despite his hundreds of Drunk Man roles, was said to be a teetotaller.

So much mirth was generously shared by Johnny Walker with my generation (and one generation senior to mine as well), it is only fair I remember him on his remembrance day. A man who was given an opportunity late in life (famously in Anand and his unforgettable characterisation of Isa Bhai Suratwala / Morarilal) to prove that he could not just make you smile, guffaw, chortle, and laugh but also make you feel maudlin, and extract a tear or two….. https://youtu.be/HlAOZrst6fQ

Rest in peace, Sir, the industry is much the poorer without you. You gave me so much joy in my childhood, I will always be indebted to you .

Categories
Rahul Dev Burman Sad Film Songs Uncategorized

A duel to remember

I remember seeing this movie in Goregaon in Anupam theatre. I had seen the original English movie a few months ago and also watched the Marathi play (which was never credited sadly by Hrishikesh Mukherjee) . It featured a memorable acting duel in every one of its avatars.

It started off as a  1935 play by T S Eliot on the same subject, Murder in the Cathedral, which was intended primarily as a religious treatment. However, there are one or two similarities in the interpretation with the play by Jean Anouilh , Becket which was published and staged nearly a quarter of a century later , a world war apart and in French, but based on the same state vs religion conflict of It is a depiction of the conflict between Thomas Becket and the then King, Henry II of England,  that resulted in Becket’s murder (Contract Killing in today’s parlance) in 1170. The French play contains many historical inaccuracies, which the author acknowledged. But that was a liberty taken by a playwright to improve the dramatic effect of the narrative. Thomas Becket also known as Saint Thomas of CanterburyThomas of London and later called Thomas à Becket was the much respected and venerated Archbishop of Canterburyfrom 1162 until his murder in 1170. He is widely venerated as a Saint and even as a Martyr  by both the Catholic Church as well as the Anglican Church. He engaged in conflict (Church vs State) with the then King of England, Henry II, over the rights and privileges of the Church. The conflict started creating much discomfiture for the King who asked his cronies to bump off the Archbishop, ironically and cynically carried out in the Canterbury Cathedral itself, following which the dead Archbishop was immediately canonised by the then Pope, Alexander III. At that time, the British Monarchy still paid obeisance to the Vatican, the break and establishment of the Anglican Church happened during the reign of the polygamous and sex-crazed King Henry VIII who wanted the pope to solemnise his marriage(s) to a divorcee, which of course the Pope refused. So our man Henry broke away from the Vatican and established his own Church (shades of what is happening on the Political Scene in India?)

The movie based on the late 50s play was called, expectedly, Becket, a must-watch for all serious students of cinema. It has a feast of acting talent: Richard Burton as Thomas Becket, Peter O’Toole as King Henry II and the legendary John Gielgud as King Louis VII. It won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for eleven other awards, including for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and twice for Best Actor. Jean Anouilh’s play was adapted by the great Marathi Playwright Vasant Kanetkar as Beimaan. Satish Dubhashi and Prabhakar Panashikar were just terrific in the original Marathi Play and every one of my generation (and one senior) who has seen the play will remember and relish their acting duel. Sparks flew and I was very influenced at the time and used some of the lessons in my own attempts. Hrishikesh Mukherji was a very big fan of Marathi dramas. Theatre, Literature and Music are all shared passions for all Marathi and Bangla speaking people. He adapted Beimaan to make Namak Haram but didn’t credit Vasant Kanetkar properly. This song is from the same movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4IKtYalRW4

The movie has a fantastic acting duel between Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, the movie was made soon after Anand. It is said that according to the initial script, Bachchan was supposed to die at the end. When Kaka got to know this, he insisted that Hrishikesh Mukherjee to change the ending so he dies in the end instead of Bachchan. It was Khanna’s view that death in the end gets viewers’ sympathy. The same had happened in Anand, and had succeeded in getting a lot of popularity for Khanna. Although Mukherjee did not want this change, Khanna was such a big star, he had to do this. This made Amitabh very angry and he vowed never to work with Khanna again. I personally don’t believe in this version at all on the grapevine. The original story from history has the priest getting killed by the King’s men and so it would be logical for the poor worker being killed by the rich milliner’s henchmen by logical continuity.

Great lyrics by Gulzar, Great composition and singing by R D Burman and Kishore Kumar, respectively.

All in all, a great movie despite the alleged controversy.

Take care, folks, and stay happy and healthy

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बस यूँही…….


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The skies were covered with dense clouds this buck moon night. A sighting was impossible for me. An earlier sighting of the moon on Hanuman Jayanti..
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The moon has always fascinated me and always will in times to come as well.
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#Moonlit_Nights ,
#Nightscapes

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बस यूँही….


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Consistent heavy rains in the last ten days has significantly depleted the population of a local park. Otherwise resonating with the chatter of people in every corner, it bears a rather morose, deserted look these days.
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#Loneliness,
#Solitude ,
#Sounds_Of_Silence

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बस यूँही……


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A second bloom of the delicate Queen of the night brought the same sense of awestruck ecstacy. The ephemeral beauty is even more admired due to its delicate structure , pristine white colour and nocturnal evanescent bloom with a faint fragrance. A perfect balance and symmetric geometry that’s evident in its many whorls of petals.
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Epiphyllum oxypetalum, the Dutchman’s pipe cactus, Princess of the night or Queen of the night, is actually a species of cactus.
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#Flowers_in_our_garden,
#Delicate_Beauty,
#Beauty_Around_Us ,
#Nature

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बस यूँही…..


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A single rain drenched fully bloomed white hibiscus silhouetted against the clear blue sky a few days ago while the clouds hadn’t yet crowded it completely, turning it dark grey was such a happy sight: defiantly cheerful and standing tall against the skies, telling the world about its unshaken self trust and unbroken spirit. An epitome of firm resolve and of fresh commitment. It looked pretty and decked up with its string of pearls glistening in the rays of the sun.
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#Flowers_In_our_Garden
#Nature
#Beauty_Around_Us ,
#Inspiration

Categories
Jagjit Singh Sad Songs Uncategorized

The indescribable hurt and void…

This is one of most favourite songs that I’ve loved ever since I first laid my hands on the album Saher, just over 20 years ago.

Jagjit Singh remained the most prolific musician in India to produce so many albums in 3 decades of really active performing career. Little wonder he has the highest sales amongst the non filmy genre. He actually ended up selling more records than anyone else in Indian music history.

His selection of wonderful pieces of poetry from relatively unknown poets ensured his fame and success would rub off on to them and they could bask in the reflected glory, too. So many shayars benefited by his generosity.

This ghazal brings in the pain of longing, of separation , of loneliness so poignantly, it brings more than a tear to my eyes every time I hear it. The composition has a touch of class. Classical Jagjit Singh!

This is truly the quintessential Jagjit Singh at his very best. https://youtu.be/HzOFJXhpiV4

The lyrics by Meraj Faizabadi are sublime. Very meaningful and touching. The true essence of pain of parting and longing is brought out beautifully.

तेरे बारे में जब सोचा नहीं था
मैं तन्हा था मगर इतना नहीं था

तेरी तस्वीर से करता था बातें
मेरे कमरे में आईना नहीं था

समंदर ने मुझे प्यासा ही रखा
मैं जब सहरा में था प्यासा नहीं था

(सहरा  = रेगिस्तान)

मनाने रूठने के खेल में हम
बिछड़ जाएँगे ये सोचा नहीं था

सुना है बंद कर लीं उसने आँखें
कई रातों से वो सोया नहीं था

गुज़र जा इस तरह दुनिया से ‘मेराज’
कि जैसे तू यहाँ आया नहीं था

-मेराज फ़ैज़ाबादी

A ghazal that sounds the same on the disc as well as in a live concert. https://youtu.be/GAalfyLJ7aQ

Love these bitter sweet lines , an admission of contrition, even of guilt…

मनाने रूठने के खेल में हम,
बिछड़ जाएँगे ये सोचा नहीं था..

Just savour each word and line as it rolls over your ears into your mindspace. It will definitely leave you more pacifically inclined after hearing the melody.

तेरे बारे में जब सोचा नही था,
मैं तन्हा था मगर इतना नहीं था..

Here is to every lover of poetry and music. My life is so much the richer thanks to both. Have a great day ahead, folks, as the rains finally found us

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बस यूँही……..


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I am always impressed and inspired by the optimism of birds. No matter what the situation, they will soar high and seek a solution. Rains bring about a situation of plenty for egrets, more insects will come up to the surface for them to feed. The fields are ploughed, rice plantation has started and more food comes out for the birds to feast on.
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#Nature,
#Survival,
#Flight,
#Inspiration.

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बस यूँही…..


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The skies in the golden hour that evening were mesmerizing.

The cool, gentle breeze, the waves gently lapping on the shore, the wordless silence broken only by the murmur of the breeze and the waves.

The birds returning to their nests were silent, too.

The afterglow of the twilight reminded me of a heavy lidded gaze.

Could it be that Nature had seen it too and got inebriated?
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#Sunset_Sky ,

#Nature,

#Nature_Photography ,

#Golden_Hour,

#Ethereal_Magic,

#The_Celestial_Painter

तसव्वुर: imagination

मख़मूर: intoxicated,

ग़ुरूब-ए-आफ़ताब: sunset