Categories
Romantic songs Usha Khanna

An intoxicating blast from the past…

We chanced upon this song after a long long time yesterday while being tuned in to a golden oldie’s musical program. A throwback to the Golden age of Hindi Film Music. The mid 60s movie, Shabnam and the cast is unusual. Shaikh Mukhtar the tall hefty Pathan who was seen frequently in movies of the time as the strongman/baddie is the ruler of a fiefdom.  His daughter, the princess looks like a lady who’s a famous dancer. L. Vijayalakshmi is the leading lady. The movie was produced and directed by Aspi Irani. A fantasy straight out of the Arabian nights with a difference. Mehmood is the leading man, an opportunity not coming his way too often in a very long career that mainly exploited his comic skills and timing. Helen figures in the movie as well, showing off her USP: her formidable dancing. The leading lady, L Vijayalakshmi , a wonderful dancer herself has enough opportunity to showcase her cavorting skills, too.

The movie has one of the best scores in a decades long career by the composer, Usha Khanna. Some of the best songs of a wonderful panoply of melodies through the ages by Rafisaab are to be found in this movie. I just love this song and it’s rhythm. Rafisaab brings in a unique tone which only he could. Just listen to this amazing song. I could listen to this song on a continuous loop for multiple iterations and not be tired/satiated. https://youtu.be/dpNBRUkEAm4

I was amused by the premise that a buxom, voluptuous lady would pass as a man just because she is wearing trousers and a shirt, and has hidden her locks under a hat. Amazingly the directors and movie going public of the time believed that this ruse would actually work. The musical score and Rafisaab’s wonderful songs make an otherwise ordinary movie truly outstanding. https://youtu.be/lpDwjc_rLSI

Have fun, folks, and enjoy the Sunday. I will sadly return to the dust and din of what we call civilisation .

Stay happy and healthy.

P.S. It was amiss of me not to mention this vignette in the original write up which I mentioned to my wife and our singer friend, the renowned Infertologist from Kolkata, Dr S Madanki. : The lyricist of the song is none other than Usha Khanna’s father, Manohar Khanna, who would use the nom de plume Jaaved Anwar while writing for films. Manohar Khanna, was a lyricist and singer, and worked as Assistant Superintendent in the Water Works Department in the then Gwalior State. When he came to Bombay for some official work in 1946 he by chance happened to meet Jaddanbai (a music director with an interesting family history, and whose daughter was Nargis, and her son was the famous character actor, Anwar Hussain). On her request he started writing gazals for Hindi films by the name, Jaaved Anwar. At the time he drew a monthly salary of ₹250 and Jaddanbai offered him ₹800 for writing 3 ghazals

Categories
Romantic songs Usha Khanna

Addictive intoxication….

I heard this song on the car radio coming back from the hospital, the car got miraculously converted to a time machine and I was instantly taken back half a century in time.

Rafisaab in this mood is truly matchless. He brings in a sweetness, an intensity of ardour that would make the most misanthropic of people to turn extremely soft, and make him/her fall in love head over heels with the first person that chances into his ken.Satin smooth. Like the best chocolates, finest wines or gourmet food, the effect lingers on, much after you’ve experienced this.

First things first, let’s listen to this song. https://youtu.be/ZuqjSF5Gxus

That’s a clearly very love lorn Shamsher Raj Kapoor aka Shammi Kapoor pushing his suit with a PYT: Asha Parekh was not yet 17 when this movie was being made and the adolescent glow clearly shows on her countenance. The movie, Dil Deke Dekho was made by Sashadhar Mukherjee for his own production house, Filmalaya, located at Andheri. Sashadhar Babu started with Bombay Talkies in Malad, then broke away with Gyan Mukherjee (director) , Ashok Kumar (Dadamoni was his brother in law), and Raibahadur Chunilal (Madan Mohan’s father) & started a production company called Filmistan a few kilometers to the south in Goregaon , and then broke away a few years later to start Filmalaya. All 3 in the Northwestern suburbs, all along the arterial road that was once called Ghodbunder Road, that was then named Swami Vivekanand Road. Dil Deke Dekho, made in the late 50s, is a milestone for many reasons. It was Nasir Hussain’s second film as a director after Tumsa Nahin Dekha made a couple of years earlier, which became a big hit and gave the then struggling Shammi Kapoor (whose career was in the doldrums) a rejuvenated career as a dancing hero with unique contortions and a strong comic slant. It was natural for Nasir Hussain and Shammi Kapoor to team up once again for this film. Asha Parekh, a former child actress, made her debut as the female lead, and what a memorable debut it turned out to be. Amazingly Sashadhar Babu also gave a break to another teenager as a music composer, breaking another glass ceiling. This was  Usha Khanna‘s first film. Although there had been 3 female composers before her in Bollywood, none achieved her volume even after she made such a massive impact.

Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the poetic lyrics for this song that I really love. https://youtu.be/ig8PF-Oo1jw

Sheer romance, treacly sweet and eternally capable of giving me goosebumps, any time, anyplace.

Stay safe, folks, stay healthy and happy. I will play the song in a continuous loop inside my head.

Categories
Romantic Duets

Flirtation in the Force

Balraj Sahni is one of my all time favourite actors. He was prepared to take on any role. Handsome and slim, I can recount many scores of his roles. The one kind of role he wasn’t much seen in was the romantic hero prancing around in gardens, chasing the leading ladies in Figures of Eight around trees, a clichéd sequence in Bollywood.

This is a favourite duet of mine oozing affection, even romance from every pore. I have heard and loved the song for decades and it is one of the hundreds where I chased the origins in the era of the www. Listen to the wonderful song first. https://youtu.be/Q1lDsEpLwDI

The first shock when you see the visuals is that the movie has Balraj Sahni romancing a lady who was wasted and typecast into just one type of act by Bollywood. Undoubtedly Minoo Mumtaz, Mehmood Ali’s older sister was a wonderful dancer. But her acting abilities were only rarely tapped into and that too mostly in the mujra/kathak dance sequences she was in. Lead roles were infrequent for her, although she had all the elements necessary for the job. The wonderful poetry (unfair to call it derisively as mere lyrics of the song), was by Jan Nisar Akhtar ( it was his 46th remembrance day yesterday), the lisping story and dialogue writer turned lyricist turned bigamist turned holier than thou master of doublespeak, who has the incongruous handle of Jadoo. https://youtu.be/uQCszrD2aZM

With a name like Black Cat, you would expect the movie to be doomed. But the movie actually did fairly well commercially when released in the late 50s. The music director was N Datta, who was hugely talented and definitely deserved many more projects than he did get, he was great friends with the mercurial Sahir Ludhiyanvi. Balraj Sahni is the undercover Inspector Rajan ( can you believe it?) who is a hot detective assigned the task of nailing and nabbing the elusive and very clever head of a criminal gang who leaves a calling card at every scène de crime. The gang is tough to crack and the one member ( No 14) that the courageous cop manages to get to turn informer has his cover blown and he is sent to an early funeral pyre by the baddies. He then makes further investigations and tries to collect the dope on the criminal (who’s actually a respected Professor in his alternative existence) by wooing the sister: ergo, Minoo Mumtaz. Despite the odd name, the movie is actually well made and worth a watch (luckily available in a decent print on YouTube). The movie was produced by G P Sippy and directed by Nisar Ahmed Ansari who also doubles up as the two faced eponymous baddie. Another reason to watch the movie is one of my favourite actors in Bollywood. A bumbling private detective Popat (Johnny Walker) and his side-kick/crony/secretary/fan Bulbul {reminiscent of Karamchand & Kitty in the TV serial} (Shammi). Popat belongs to the Sherlock Holmes school of detectives. He believes in the importance of crawling all over the floor, a magnifying glass in hand and tabulating every grain of dust and every speck of fibre he finds. He also firmly believes in classifying all sleeping forms as corpses despite the corpses’ loudly expressed denials!!! Their rather unique, offbeat approach to detection of crime or rather because of it, the two jokers manage to provide our hero with really invaluable information about the Black Cat, although they don’t really realize it.

Have a wonderful weekend, folks as I get lost in this awesome duet. Lata Mangeshkar and Rafisaab at their very best.

Categories
Inspiration Patriotic Songs

The blood soaked path of sacrifice

Today, 15th August, marks the day when an alien occupying force left the shores of the country after nearly 2 centuries of unspeakable brutality, avarice and unmitigated disaster for the country with the oldest civilisation. The robbers looted till their coffers burst, every aspect of their ‘wealth’ so proudly and shamelessly on display (including the crown jewels worn by the reigning monarch) representative of the scale of the theft from many countries, chiefly Bharat. After tens of millions had died in a century of war against the cruel and brutal oppressor, the death knell was sounded by the very instrument that the white man used to rule a gigantic country: the armed forces. The army men broke ranks and joined Netaji Subhashchandra Bose & his Indian National Army and in the immediate aftermath of a 6 years long Continental war in Europe , the trusted Navymen rebelled too. The Naval Uprising of 46 just a year after the INA making inroads into the far east convinced the Brits it was time to pack up. Staying on in a time that wasn’t like 1857 meant certain conflagration and loss of British lives. The island nation wasn’t quite prepared to lose more of its own post ’46. And so it made a show of “granting” independence (which the rivers of Indians’ blood that had flown had won anyway) & while doing so, created a schism and divided a land into 3 pieces based on an artificial narrative that led to loss of millions of lives and the largest forced migration of people within any country. The song of the day is representative of this reality. https://youtu.be/Ayoz6q4FtxE

The song sung by Rafisaab with back up vocals by Khan Mastana had lyrics (unusual for the genre) by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. The music was composed by Ghulam Haider. The movie Shaheed was made immediately after independence was achieved.

Shaheed was a movie written and directed by Ramesh Saigal, and produced by Filmistan. The film depicts India’s struggle for independence. The cast included Yusuf Khan ( aka Dilip Kumar), Kamini Kaushal, Chandra Mohan and Leela Chitnis. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Shaheed was the biggest blockbuster Indian movie of the year. https://youtu.be/j4k2bcecBrQ

वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो
पुकारते है ये
ज़मीनो आसमाँ शहीद हो
पुकारते है ये
ज़मीनो आसमाँ शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो

शहीद तेरी मौत ही
तेरे वतन की ज़िन्दगी
तेरे लहू से जाग
उठेगी इस चमन की ज़िन्दगी
खिलेंगे फूल उस
जगह पे तू जहाँ शहीद हो
खिलेंगे फूल उस
जगह पे तू जहाँ शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नॉजवाँ शहीद हो

ग़ुलामुत: वतन के, दुश्मनो से इंतक़ाम ले
इन अपने दोनों बाजुओं से
खंजरो का काम ले
चमन के वास्ते
चमन के बागबां शहीद हो
चमन के वास्ते
चमन के बागबां शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो

पहाड़ तक भी
काँपने लगे तेरे जूनून से
तू आसमाँ पे इंक़लाब
लिख दे अपने खून से
खून से
ज़मीन नहीं तेरा
वतन है आसमाँ शहीद हो
ज़मीन नहीं तेरा
वतन है आसमाँ शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो
वतन की राह में
वतन के नौजवाँ शहीद हो.

A reminder of a task not yet complete, a job still not done and dusted. Here’s to continued efforts at rebuilding the nation. Stay focused and committed, folks, and let’s look at building a future that will eclipse the atrocities of the past.

Join me in the Independence day special on AIR Delhi FM Gold at 1120 am.

Categories
Romantic songs Shankar Jaikishan

Breathless in anticipation

Rafisaab had this great ability to emote with his voice. He could bring in all kinds of feelings into his voice, unmatched by most others. From frothy joy to a sozzled slur to a lovelorn lament, to pious devotion, he had them all and could be mystic, mysterious, as well as being maudlin and mirthful in a flash at will. Today is his 42nd remembrance day as well. He passed away way too soon.

Check out this song from Love in Tokyo a blockbuster made by Pramod Chakraborty, with Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh in the lead. Mehmood and Shubha Khote provided the comic relief and earned Mehmood the Filmfare for the year. The music is by Shankar Jaikishan and the lyrics are by Hasrat. https://youtu.be/6Q83QjF5nlA

The movie isn’t worth the trouble of watching, unless you want to watch half a century old Japan. The storyline is utterly predictable and anyone who has seen Bollywood movies can anticipate with accuracy what is about to unfold.

Check this lovely version on the Sax by Stanley Samuel. I love the gusto and élan with which he plays all the songs. A good saxophonist is so encouraging and energizing. The energy gets through to you as well. https://youtu.be/U-lMnljXp-I

Have a lovely rain soaked Sunday, folks. It’s a great idea not to do anything specific and just chill.

Go ahead, reenergize and recharge. Stay healthy and happy

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
Ghazals

Trusting your promise… 

I first heard this immortal melody on AIR’s “Gair Filmi Geet” program when I was still in school. The composer was none other than Mohammad Zahur Khayyam Hashmi, who was better known mononymously as Khayyam.

The composition is typical of Khayyam, an unforgettable melody that grips the listener and refuses to let go. The singer  is one of the legends who sang in my lifetime: Mohammad Rafi. From the first heady notes that only he could manage to sing ( without ever touching alcohol) & the first zhankaar of the sitar ( I wonder who was the sitariya- could even be Khansaheb Vilayat Khan or Raees Khan saheb, considering the composer and singer were top drawer) the ghazal drenches me with raw emotion, enchants, entices and entraps me.

I must’ve first heard it close to half a century ago, but isn’t it amazing I can recall every nuance of the immortal melody? All top singers of the time, Rafisaab, Hemantada, Talatsaab, Mukesh, Manna Dey sang lots and lots of non-filmy songs of such superb quality, I’ve always wondered had the audience for such music been well developed by these worthies, (instead of the decades of Herculean efforts of Jagjit Singh) would Jagjitji have soared to greater heights or would he have remained one amongst equals? A question that begs to be asked because Rafisaab , Mukesh and Mannada were so good at the genre. Just that films took such a heavy toll of their time they had no energy left to sing such stuff. An intriguing and truly mouth watering, lip smacking prospect, methinks…  https://youtu.be/ZkQYUh9RLr8

Rafisaab, despite being limited by the temporal limits is pure magic. I just melt in his treacly sweet voice every single time I hear this one.

The ghazal by Daagh Dehlvi is amazing, and really long for one that is virtually impossible to be included in its entirety in any rendition. Even others who have sung it in live programs (Mehdi Hassan, Farida Khanum) would find it impossible to sing it fully.

ग़ज़ब किया तेरे वादे पे ए’तिबार किया
तमाम रात क़यामत का इंतिज़ार किया

किसी तरह जो न उस बुत ने ए’तिबार किया
मेरी वफ़ा ने मुझे ख़ूब शर्मसार किया

हँसा हँसा के शब-ए-वस्ल अश्क-बार किया
तसल्लियाँ मुझे दे दे के बे-क़रार किया

ये किस ने जल्वा हमारे सर-ए-मज़ार किया
कि दिल से शोर उठा हाए बे-क़रार किया

सुना है तेग़ को क़ातिल ने आब-दार किया
अगर ये सच है तो बे-शुबह हम पे वार किया

न आए राह पे वो इज्ज़ बे-शुमार किया
शब-ए-विसाल भी मैंने तो इंतिज़ार किया

तुझे तो वादा-ए-दीदार हम से करना था
ये क्या किया कि जहाँ को उमीद-वार किया

ये दिल को ताब कहाँ है कि हो मआल-अंदेश
उन्हों ने वादा किया इस ने ए’तिबार किया

कहाँ का सब्र कि दम पर है बन गई ज़ालिम
ब तंग आए तो हाल-ए-दिल आश्कार किया

तड़प फिर ऐ दिल-ए-नादाँ कि ग़ैर कहते हैं
आख़ीर कुछ न बनी सब्र इख़्तियार किया

मिले जो यार की शोख़ी से उस की बेचैनी
तमाम रात दिल-ए-मुज़्तरिब को प्यार किया

भुला भुला के जताया है उन को राज़-ए-निहाँ
छुपा छुपा के मोहब्बत को आश्कार किया

न उस के दिल से मिटाया कि साफ़ हो जाता
सबा ने ख़ाक परेशाँ मेरा ग़ुबार किया

हम ऐसे महव-ए-नज़ारा न थे जो होश आता
मगर तुम्हारे तग़ाफ़ुल ने होश्यार किया

हमारे सीने में जो रह गई थी आतिश-ए-हिज्र
शब-ए-विसाल भी उस को न हम-कनार किया

रक़ीब ओ शेवा-ए-उल्फ़त ख़ुदा की क़ुदरत है
वो और इश्क़ भला तुम ने ए’तिबार किया

ज़बान-ए-ख़ार से निकली सदा-ए-बिस्मिल्लाह
जुनूँ को जब सर-ए-शोरीदा पर सवार किया

तेरी निगह के तसव्वुर में हम ने ऐ क़ातिल
लगा लगा के गले से छुरी को प्यार किया

ग़ज़ब थी कसरत-ए-महफ़िल कि मैं ने धोके में
हज़ार बार रक़ीबों को हम-कनार किया

हुआ है कोई मगर उस का चाहने वाला
कि आसमाँ ने तेरा शेवा इख़्तियार किया

न पूछ दिल की हक़ीक़त मगर ये कहते हैं
वो बे-क़रार रहे जिस ने बे-क़रार किया

जब उन को तर्ज़-ए-सितम आ गए तो होश आया
बुरा हो दिल का बुरे वक़्त होश्यार किया

फ़साना-ए-शब-ए-ग़म उन को इक कहानी थी
कुछ ए’तिबार किया कुछ न ए’तिबार किया

असीरी दिल-ए-आशुफ़्ता रंग ला के रही
तमाम तुर्रा-ए-तर्रार तार तार किया

कुछ आ गई दावर-ए-महशर से है उम्मीद मुझे
कुछ आप ने मेरे कहने का ए’तिबार किया

किसी के इश्क़-ए-निहाँ में ये बद-गुमानी थी
कि डरते डरते ख़ुदा पर भी आश्कार किया

फ़लक से तौर क़यामत के बन न पड़ते थे
आख़ीर अब तुझे आशोब-ए-रोज़गार किया

वो बात कर जो कभी आसमाँ से हो न सके
सितम किया तो बड़ा तूने इफ़्तिख़ार किया

बनेगा मेहर-ए-क़यामत भी एक ख़ाल-ए-सियाह
जो चेहरा ‘दाग़’-ए-सियह-रू ने आश्कार किया

Phew! Quite a ghazal, this one!! Daagh Dehlvi is actually a nom-de-plume or Takhallus for Nawab Mirza Khan who wrote copiously and was a very famous poet. Some 16000 couplets written by him are in  existence in 4 volumes.

Daagh Dehlvi’s honorifics Dabeer ud Dawla, Faseeh ul Mulk, Nawab Nizam Jang Bahadur, Sipah Salar, Yar-e-Wafadar, Muqrib-us-Sultan, Bulbul-e-Hindustan, Jahan Ustad, Nazim Yar Jung, were the titles bestowed upon him by the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Mahbub Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VI.

His father was actually executed by the Brits/Moghul Sultanate on charges of killing a British man. He was just 4 years old. His mother got remarried and that too to an heir to Bahadurshah Zafar. He therefore was lucky to receive tutelage from the best tutors.

He was also fortunate to receive tutelage of the then poet laureate, the legendary Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq. Later, he was also privileged to be taught by Ghalib on finer nuances of Urdu literature and poetry.

He was also trained in calligraphy and horse riding.

He started reciting poetry at the age of ten and his forte was the romantic verse, the ghazal. He became popular for his poetry. Unlike the heavy use of Persian language by his contemporaries his style was simple and he abjured using Persian words and he was thus always well received by both, the common man and the elite.

Contrary to the opinion one may form from reading his poetry, he never consumed wine. He remained a teetotaller all his life. He mentored several famous poets including Allama Iqbal, Hassan Raza Khan , Jigar Moradabadi, Seemab Akbarabadi and Ahasan Marharavi.

He passed away after having suffered multiple strokes in the early 20th Century in Hyderabad.

The ghazal has been rendered by many others including the Shehenshah e Ghazal, Mehdi Hassan sahab. Check it out: https://youtu.be/gRvAN3e9JBg

The ghazal is very long, I have only given my understanding and interpretation of the ash’aar that are used in the vocal rendition. The order in which the ash’aar appear in the ghazal is also flipped often in the vocal renditions. Those who are more fluent in the language can feel free to add /correct me. I will be happy to benefit from your wisdom.

ग़ज़ब किया तेरे वादे पे ए’तिबार किया
तमाम रात क़यामत का इंतिज़ार किया      It was such a mistake to believe in your promises. I waited through the night only to meet this tragic consequence.

हँसा हँसा के शब-ए-वस्ल अश्क-बार किया
तसल्लियाँ मुझे दे दे के बे-क़रार किया…. You filled the night of our union with tears from all the laughter you invoked in me, you consoled and comforted me, and left me restless…

हम ऐसे महव-ए-नज़ारा न थे जो होश आता
मगर तुम्हारे तग़ाफ़ुल ने होश्यार किया….    I was not so overpowered by your love, that I would come to my senses, but it was your indifference that alerted me (to your deception).

फसाना-ए-शब-ए-ग़म उनको एक कहानी थी,                                                 कुछ ऐतबार किया और कुछ ना-ऐतबार किया…   

My tale of sadness from that night was like a story to you, you chose to believe in some of it, and disbelieve the rest….

ये किस ने जल्वा हमारे सर-ए-मज़ार किया
कि दिल से शोर उठा हाए बे-क़रार किया

Who is the one who honoured my tombstone with their presence, the cry of my heart made me restless.

तड़प फिर ऐ दिल-ए-नादाँ कि ग़ैर कहते हैं
आख़ीर कुछ न बनी सब्र इख़्तियार किया

Suffer once again, my naïve heart, as everyone says, when nothing else worked, I opted for patience.

भुला भुला के जताया है उन को राज़-ए-निहाँ
छुपा छुपा के मोहब्बत को आश्कार किया

I tried hard to forget and showed him the secrets hidden in the deepest recesses of my mind, after hiding for a long time, I have finally revealed my love.

तुझे तो वादा-ए-दीदार हम से करना था
ये क्या किया कि जहाँ को उमीद-वार किया

You were to promise a rendezvous with me, what have now done that the entire world is now hopeful (of being able to see you)..

ये दिल को ताब कहाँ है कि हो मआल-अंदेश
उन्हों ने वादा किया इस ने ए’तिबार किया

Where does this heart have the ability to doubt you or think of the consequences, one promised and the other believed

न पूछ दिल की हक़ीक़त मगर ये कहते हैं
वो बे-क़रार रहे जिस ने बे-क़रार किया

Don’t ask about the real state of my heart, but they say that those who made others restless will be restless themselves.

कुछ आगे दावर-ए-महशर से है उम्मीद मुझे
कुछ आप ने मेरे कहने का ए’तिबार किया

In the future, I will only have expectations from the Almighty, but you did believe in some of what I said…

Khansaheb has recorded several renditions of the ghazal for us to savour, and this is a longer one of the same, take a listen. 20 plus minutes of sheer auditory bliss…. https://youtu.be/l1p68WEEQiU

I wonder and frequently fantasize a great ghazal singer give a rendition with the entire ghazal, each and every word and ash’aar of this beautiful timeless classic. It will probably last close to an hour (if not longer) and would be the kind of stuff an aficionado can lasciviate over…

Stay happy folks, hope all of you loved all the renditions. For me each has a beauty of its own that’s unique and each distinct from the other while it remains the same. Enjoy the Sunday. Let the rain Gods be generous with their distribution of the precipitation from the heavens.

Categories
C Arjun Romantic songs

Are pairs truly made in heaven?

Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jaffrey was the name he was given at birth. He is a very famous person in his own right and carved a niche for himself in a very crowded industry. Yesterday was his 2nd remembrance day. He was much better known by his stage name Jagdeep, and was an actor who became more famous as a comedian and appeared in more than 400 films.

He played Soorma Bhopali in Sholay , Machchar in Purana Mandir , Salman Khan’s dad in Andaz Apna Apna and even directed the movie Soorma Bhopali, with his character as the protagonist.

Jagdeep actually started his film career as a child artist extra in B. R. Chopra’s Afsana, then went on to do films as a child artist in films like Ab Dilli Door Nahin, K. A. Abbas’s Munna, Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar, Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin and AVM’s Hum Panchhi Ek Daal Ke.

He was actually launched as a leading man by no less a production house than the giant AVM in the films Bhabhi, Barkha and Bindiya, and went on to do a few more films as a leading man. The song is from a movie called Punarmilan, with Ameeta as his leading lady. https://youtu.be/C2L18SWM2Ac

Punarmilan focussed on the vexatious issue of caste, and had a very interesting plot.

Dr. Mohan (Balraj Sahni) comes from a decent upper-caste Brahman family. He is of marriageable age, and is in love with Shobhana Bakshi (Shashikala). They plan to get married soon. The marriage takes place, and during this process, someone raises a question about Mohan’s caste, and when Mohan is asked repeatedly whether this is true, he replies that he does belong to a lower caste – the untouchables. Everyone is shocked, and the marriage is duly cancelled, leaving Mohan’s family to wonder as to why he claims to be an untouchable person. Jagdeep was cast with Ameeta as the younger romantic pair, and he had a significant role in the movie. It was directed by Ravindra Dave. It met with modest commercial success. It’s music was composed by C Arjun, who was a less celebrated but very talented composer

Jagdeep established himself as a comedian after Brahmachari with Shammi Kapoor. He also had “In pyar ki rahon mein” filmed on him from the same movie Punarmilan, as well as “Chal ud ja re Panchhi” and “Chali Chali re Patang“, from the superhit movie Bhabhi, where he is paired opposite the top heroine of the day Nanda, and “Aa Gaye Yaaro Jeene Ke Din” from Phir Wohi Raat.

He is also known for his appearances in many horror movies, especially in projects of the Ramsay Brothers. He appeared in famous hits of this genre like Purana Mandir and 3D Saamri.

Bollywood took him to great heights as a male lead with a huge production house, but when the cookie didn’t crumble for him, he showed the sagacity to adapt, recast himself as a comedian and then reinvent himself. In that process he achieved much fame and etched his name in the history books of Bollywood films. I’ve seen Damaad a few times only for his short cameo and can’t forget that line “Meri Pyaari Anuradha

Stay healthy and happy, guys. Take care and enjoy the weekend.

Categories
Romantic Duets

A morning melody of longing

The morning was overcast, dark and a tad gloomy.

It is amazing how environmental conditions affect our moods and thinking. I am sure had the day started off bright and sunny with birds chirping incessantly, I wouldn’t have thought of this song.

The movie had Nanda and Sunil Dutt in the lead. Aaj aur Kal was made in the early 60s. The story and screenplay was by the multifaceted genius P L Deshpande, who every Marathi speaker knows simply as Pu La. Directed by Vasant Joglekar, it had a great cast in Ashok Kumar, Deven Verma & Tanuja apart from the lead pair. Ashok Kumar is the dictatorial monarch with 2 daughters: (you guessed right, Nanda and Tanuja) Nanda has been paralysed from the waist down. The King tries several doctors to try to cure his daughter but they all fail. Now he hires a young physician to do the trick. Sunil Dutt is not just young, but also has radical ideas, specifically against silly protocols that hamper laughter, fun and frolic. (Traces of Jeetendra’s character in Parichay ) Now the young quack’s quirky experimentations provide greater mobility and are a source of joy to the gennext, giving them a new set of ideas and vents their frustration. Transcending normal barriers of doctor-client confidentiality and professional ethics, the Doc actually falls in love with his patient (a strict No-No) and the romance makes miraculously her walk in a jiffy! That Saibabaesque miracle apart, the younger daughter (Tanuja) now falls in love with a log of wood (Soodesh Kumar) who contests an election against the ruler and defeats him. The defeated King (pun intended) now has to actually accept the younger daughter’s choice as well for a son-in-law!

The song is sung in the morning raag Asawari as a beautiful duet. Sahir wrote beautifully and this is Rafisaab and Asha Bhosle in top form. Ravi’s composition is sublime. A wonderful melody indeed https://youtu.be/3rMZhb6F7Y0

Stay safe, folks. Stay healthy and enjoy the long overdue rains.

Categories
Film Ghazal Madan Mohan Romantic songs

Transfixed in love….

Movies in the 60s usually suffered from wooden, inexpressive emoting mainly from the male leads who as a class avoided showing any emotions on their face if they could help it. The steadfast manner in which they stuck to their singular task is indeed admirable (?). The leading ladies were much less emotively challenged and wasted no opportunity in driving home the point their superiority in the matter.

Many (if not most) of these Titanics would surely have sunk without a trace had it not been for the saving grace of the truly sublime, eternal musical scores and also the leading ladies who provided ocular relief to the hundreds of millions of film goers in a country that had no other means of entertainment than AIR ruling the airwaves (& Binaca Geetmala on Radio Ceylon ) & the numerous films dished out by Bollywood- the good, the bad and the ugly ones.

Let’s look at Aap Ki Parchhaiyan made by Mohan Kumar. If the movie did not have Madan Mohan (with his trusted partner in “crime”, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan) on the roster, it would have been just a run of the mill “family drama”. Dharmendra, the handsome jat had at the time not realised he was supposed to show emotions on his handsome face. As a result his expression remained nearly identical when he is wooing the love of his life (Supriya Choudhary in this case, who we have also seen in Kishoreda’s brilliant and touching Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein), beating up the goons (” kutte kameene, main tera khoon pee jaoonga” ), or lamenting the death of his mother (which happened fairly regularly in movies of the time: it is tough to imagine that Leela Chitnis was once a beautiful young woman with Ashok Kumar, she had patented the role of the long suffering mother for so long, I suppose when she smiled in real life, tears must have flown freely). He showed the same unruffled countenance with the identical degree of flaring of his nostrils. At this stage of his career, he might have been mistaken for a ventriloquist’s dummy.

He actually was made to cruelly change this stoic expression by subsequent generations of unforgiving movie directors who actually could get him to the impossible and at this stage, the inconceivable: ACT. (Kind of a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde transformation in Chupke Chupke)

So the movie has all the ingredients thought necessary at the time: Family of two parents, now suddenly helpless , two songs, older one pretty much the henpecked one who has surrendered his voting rights to his shrewish wife (Shashikala in this movie) & the younger more devoted son moves away in search of a job (& de rigeur falls in love with a beautiful young lady- Supriya Choudhary who unfortunately doesn’t get too many chances to emote) & his parents are pretty much left at the mercy of the older sister in law who wastes no time torturing them in every conceivable manner (Shashikala did this so convincingly on-screen, I wonder if her own in laws could ever dare to smile at her without trepidations at their own unwise act) , evoking litres of tears from the audience and after the theaters had been awash with the flood and the audience reduced to a sniffling mass of humanity, succour would finally displace suffering.

This song by Rafisaab is sublime. His vocals convey all the feelings Garam Dharam couldn’t at the time: https://youtu.be/bHF3sA6B_sA

The 2 songs by Madan Mohan in the score stand out. This one and the ghazal by Lata didi: Agar Mujhse Mohabbat Hai.

Barring the music , the movie is eminently forgettable unless getting an emotional catharsis is your primary motive.

Stay safe, folks, stay healthy and enjoy the Sunday. The delayed onset ( due undoubtedly to the Met Department promising they would come around 25th May ) of the monsoons has reduced the temperature significantly. I loved the cold weather this weekend. Hope you do, too