Categories
Bhupinder Singh Introspection Introspective melodies

Another gem lost ….

I first heard and saw him in the aftermath of the China war where our pusillanimous and delusional leadership that was steeped in treasonous corruption to boot, so sordidly let down a great institution, the incredibly brave men and boys in uniform. We were in Hakimpet close to Bhagyanagar, when Haqeeqat released. Directed by Chetan Anand, it held a mirror up to the Delhi Sultans high on absolute power. Notionally an (s)elected self styled leader, he threw every democratic institution out of the window, trampled on every civil right and even jailed a poet for 2 years for the flimsiest reason imaginable. The guy ruled ruthlessly like a monarch, systematically demolishing all opposition and destroying every possible political adversary, using means more foul than fair; while at the same time projecting a larger than life image of himself, going to the extent of shamelessly naming every conceivable structure in the nation after himself while still alive and even giving himself the highest civilian award, a “feat” repeated by his dynastic successor.

I was touched by the song of despair in the barren, desolate, rocky landscape sung with other all time greats of the time. My Dad told me the young faced actor was also the singer. I was struck by his unique voice quality. Hoke Majboor Mujhe is the ultimate in poignancy of a group of men abandoned by the country they seek to defend, the sacrificial lambs to the slaughter.

Bhupinder passed away yesterday in Mumbai, the first of the male vocalists in the Indian Music Industry who was unabashedly different and proud of it. To his credit, he never tried to mould his voice to be in line with the others. The huskiness, the kharaj, the lazy drawn out unhurried drawl was his own. I really felt a part of me had died with the news of his dying. His active years coincident with my life, others have in one way or other predated me. It was extremely difficult to choose just one song to dedicate to this unique legend. Aruna chose this for me, from a Dharmendra-Hema Malini movie, Kinara. https://youtu.be/9xsiYMX24LY

Kinara was an interesting Gulzar movie. He produced and directed it, the production company was named after his child. Gulzar was the amazing director who must have learnt the basics of filmmaking from the great Bimal Roy, who gave him his first break in Bandini as a lyricist. Only Gulzar could get duds like Jumping Jack Ravi Kapoor to actually act, and this movie is a prime example. Hema Malini, a dancer, is in love with Dharmendra. The guy responsible for Dharmendra‘s death in a car collision is none other than the guy who falls in love with the grieving Hema Malini, (both surprisingly not aware of the ID of the other and the relationship to the accident, this to me is Gulzar stretching the limits of credulity a bit too much) an architect, Jeetendra. Much of the movie was shot in Mandavgad in Madhya Pradesh, and the movie is therefore a visual delight. The storyline naturally meanders along the path of perceived betrayal and blame game once the true identity of Jeetendra is disclosed to Hema Malini. The movie had music by the unquestionable genius, and a prolific one at that, who could have set the Shah pages in the Mumbai Telephone Directory to music. Gulzar’s Vers Libre was hardly a challenge to Pancham. What better example of that than this song which showcases all three: meaningful verse, a great composition and amazing vocals that are heart warming.

एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने
एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने
तूने साडी में उदास ली है मेरी चाभियाँ घर की

एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने
तूने साडी में उदास ली है मेरी चाभियाँ घर की

और चली आयी है
बस यूंही मेरा हाथ पकड़ कर
एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने

टीकू

मेज़ पर फूल सजाते हुए देखा है कई बार
मेज़ पर फूल सजाते हुए देखा है कई बार
और बिस्तर से कई बार जगाया है तुझको
चलते फिरते तेरे क़दमों की वोह आहात भी सुनी है

एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने

क्यों चिट्ठी है या कविता, अभी तक तो कविता है
ला ला ला ला ह्म्म्मम्म

गुनगुनाती हुई निकली है नहा कर जब भी
गुनगुनाती हुई निकली है नहा कर जब भी

अपने भीगे हुए बालों से टपकता पानी
मेरे चहरे पे
छिटक देती है तू टिकू की बच्ची
एक ही ख्वाब कई बार देखा है मैंने

ताश के पत्तों पे लड़ती है कभी कभी खेल में मुझसे
ताश के पत्तों पे लड़ती है कभी कभी खेल में मुझसे
और कभी लड़ती भी है ऐसे के बस खेल रही है मुझसे
और आगोश में नन्हे को लिए

विल यू शट अप

और जानती हो टिकू
जब तुम्हारा ये ख्वाब देखा था
अपने बिस्तर पे मै उस वक़्त पड़ा जाग रहा था.

Imagine making a song out of these lines, and then singing it, too. The combined genius of Pancham and Bhupinder make random ramblings into a memorable, nay unforgettable, song. Take another listen: https://youtu.be/XE0aX22y7yI

A natural voice, who mainly adorned the world of ghazals later, and a gifted guitarist who performed for more composers than any other in innumerable melodies, owning the instrument ( much like the legendary Manohari Singh and the saxophone), a star that glittered alone but brightly in a corner of the musical sky that he made his own, Bhupinder Singh is gone. I will look up in skies tonight in the fond, if forlorn, hope that the clouds will part just enough to allow my lonestar to twinkle, chuckling at his faithful, at peace with himself as he had always been all his life. Stay one with The One, Bhupinder, you gave me much succour in my moments of lonely pain

Categories
Lata Mohammad Rafi Romantic Duets

A seriously funny guy….

When I was growing up, the most reliable go-to guys film producers would go to for humour would be either Johnny Walker or Mehmood. Johnny Walker acted in hundreds of movies but in almost all, remained confined to comic roles with lovable, if somewhat predictable, mannerisms. He rarely got opportunities to showcase his acting skills ( when he did, like in the classic milestone Anand, he made capital of the rare opportunity) apart from his uncanny ability to tickle the funny bone. Mehmood, on the other hand , did get the chance and showed us more skills than his on-screen buffoonery would allow us to give him credit for.

Mehmood’s father Mumtaz Ali was a famous choreographer and dancer who had his own dancing troupe and toured with it all over the country. He actually debuted as the younger version of Ashok Kumar in the milestone and landmark Kismet , the first real blockbuster in Bollywood that broke the ₹1 Crore barrier in box office collections. His family fell on bad times and Mehmood worked very hard at all kinds of jobs to shore up the precarious finances and keep the wolves away from the door. He even worked for a while as a Chauffeur for P L Santoshi. He did get some minor roles in many movies, including the villainous and avaricious brother of the poet Vijay in Pyaasa, one of my most favourite movies and easily one of the top three I’ve seen in my lifetime. He longed to be a male lead in movies, too, and had to wait nearly 2 decades after he entered the world of films. The opportunity was created by a home production, Chhote Nawab , produced by his father Mumtaz Ali who also wrote the story. The movie was notionally directed by S A Akbar, and I am not sure he actually got to do it. The movie marked the film debut of a very prolific genius, RahulDev DevVarman ( changed for films to R D Burman), he was, after all from the erstwhile royal family of Tripura. His legendary father passed up the opportunity to be king for his passion of music. Chhote Nawab came to be Pancham’s debut almost by happenstance. Mehmood , his director and Mumtaz Ali had gone to SD Burman for requesting him to take on the project, Burmanda refused, saying he was too busy, and pointed to Pancham who was playing the tabla at the time. Mehmood reluctantly agreed but what a memorable debut. Latadidi’s immortal melody in Malgunji “Ghar aa ja, ghir aaye” is Pancham’s first recorded song and first one credited to him. Another song from the movie is one of my favourites as it showcases a rare facet of Latadidi’s oeuvre, and is a very enchanting and intoxicating melody. Latadidi didn’t get too many chances to sing such songs. On-screen one sees a very effervescent danseuse, Helen giving it all with Mehmood, with some chords sounding distinctly like the Spanish Bolero. https://youtu.be/3l6Wf5owzIg

Mehmood matches Helen’s dancing skills toe to toe and step by step. A somewhat puzzled Johnny Walker and Ameeta sit befuddled and bemused in the audience. Ameeta was one of my favourite actresses. Some errors on her part led to her career graph going quickly southward.

Amazing song and dance routine from a memorable first movie for both Mehmood and Pancham. R D Burman showed his mastery over diverse genres in his very first movie, in Hindustani Classical and a very Western form in this song.

Incidentally another trivia is the fact that all the lyrics for this movie were written by Shailendra. It is also the only movie where Shailendra worked for Pancham. Why they never worked together again is a mystery to me.

Have a wonderful weekend folks, stay safe, folks, stay healthy and happy that the monsoons will finally provide the much needed succour