Category Archives: Asha Bhonsle

Nigahen Milane Ko Ji Chahta Hai

Nigahen MilaneHow I have been neglecting my blog! Summer is always a busy time for me; this summer has been no different. I’ve been busy first with family visitors and then with my own travels. And it’s not finished. My September is fully booked up with more travelling and more visitors, so I am taking advantage of this brief lull for this post.

My travels took me to India this time. It was a hectic schedule which included four cities in two weeks! This India trip was a font of inspiration for me; you’ll no doubt hear of them in future posts. My song choice of today is also triggered by this trip…but I will come to that by and by..

The first part of the trip was a get-together with a select group of alumni from my husband’s alma mater. They have been organising meets every two years for a while now. There is invariably plenty of reminiscing and reconnecting, eating and drinking, jokes and laughs and some tourism if the mood takes us. It’s nice to see the guys relax and be ‘boys’ again. When they are fooling around, its difficult to reconcile that one of them has been decorated with a Padma Shri, a number of them are Heads, Deans or senior academic members of some of the greatest academic institutions in India and outside, one is a policy advisor to a Head of State, another is an entrepreneur whose company is now worth more millions than I can count, one is a COO of an outstanding global tech company from India, another is an enterprise architect of a multi billion dollar company and yet another is a CTO of a large bank in India ….a high achieving bunch indeed!

One of the most entertaining parts of these get-togethers has been a themed photo-and-music presentation by my husband’s pal each year. As he is a veritable encyclopaedia of filmi music from the old-is-gold period, these presentations are always very enjoyable. This year there was a quiz based on the musical choices by the alumni members. It was fun to see how well they all knew each other as they invariably named the person by the song choice almost immediately!

That set me wondering, can I name one song by which people who know me will be able to identify me? After pondering a while it was evident that it was quite an impossible task to choose that one special song which has a strong connection with me. There is so much music out there, how can I name just one? Could you? However, I could short list a number of songs which have a great appeal in each genre that I listen to. My song choice of today falls into that short list for filmi music. The combination of Roshan’s admirable music, Sahir Ludhianvi’s beautiful words, Asha’s flawless rendition, Nutan’s lovely expressive face and the Qawwali style makes this quite irresistible to me. The song is so well known that I am sure you have heard it many times before. Still, join me now in listening to this song….

राज़ की बात है मेहफ़िल में कहें या न कहें
बस गया है कोई इस दिल में कहें या न कहें

rAz kI bAt hai mehfil mE.n kahE.n yA na kahE.n
bas gayA hai kOI is dil mE.n kahE.n yA na kahE.n

It’s a secret (rAz) matter (bAt), shall I say (kahE.n) it in (mE.n) this gathering (mehfil) or (yA) not (nA kahE.n)? Someone (kOI) has taken root (bas gayA hai) in (mE.n) this (is) heart (dil), whether I say it (kahE.n) or (yA) not (nA kahE.n).

The first couplet sets the mood of the song : a girl, newly in love, wonders if she shall talk openly about it. Qawwalis always include hand clapping to enhance percussion. It is lovely in this passage to hear the clang of the ghungroo (dancers’ belled  anklets) in addition to the claps.

निगाहें मिलाने को जी चाहता है
दिल-ओ-जाँ लुटाने को जी चाहता है

nigAhE.n milAnE kO jI chAhtA hai
dil-O-jA.n luTAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

My (implied) heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to share glances (nigAhE.n milAnE kO) (implied : with my loved one). My(implied) heart (jI) longs to (chAhtA hai) to lose (luTAnE kO) itself  heart and soul (literally dil=heart, jA.n=life).

Who can resist the glances of Nutan when she drags her arms across her face and peeps smilingly?  The theme of the song is the repeated phrase ‘jI chAhtA hai’ – what the heart longs for, yearns for. On an aside, isn’t it interesting that both in English and Hindi/Urdu, to ‘lose one’s heart’ works well to describe falling in love? And how different it is ‘to lose one’s heart’ vs. ‘to lose heart’!

वो तोहमत जिसे इश्क़ कहती है दुनिया
वो तोहमत उठाने को जी चाहता है

wO tOhmat jisE ishk kehtI hai duniyA
wO tOhmat uTHAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

That (wO) aspersion (tOhmat) that (jisE) the world (duniyA) calls (kehtI hai) love (ishk) – my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to take on (uTHAnE kO) that aspersion (tOhmat)

Isn’t tohmat a lovely sounding word? The poet implies that the world views being in love as a crime, and to say someone is in love is slander, an aspersion, an allegation. And yet, the heart longs to be in love. Musically, this is composed very cleverly to bring attention to the lyrics. The phrasing of the first line goes as ‘wO tOhmat..duniyA’, ‘kehtI hai duniyA’, ‘wO tOhmat’, ‘jisE ishk’, ‘kehtI hai duniyA’ thus emphasising each part beautifully. The second line of the couplet becomes a chorus, the repetition adding weight to the words. And Asha is simply superb with the phrasing and connection between phrases, isn’t she? Listen to how easy she makes it look at 2:33! I bow my head in respect!!

किसी के मनाने में लज़्ज़त वो पायी
कि फिर रूठ जाने को जी चाहता है
kisI kE manAnE mE.n lazzat vO pAyI
ki phir rUTH jAnE kO jI chahtA hai
I (implied) found such pleasure (lazzat) in being coaxed (manAnE mE.n) by someone (kiSi kE) that (ki) my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to sulk (rUTH jAnE kO)

How prettily the lyrics talk of the pleasure of making up after a tiff!! And isn’t Nutan amazing in her moment of ‘rUTHnA’ at 3:14? She makes me smile! The musical phrasing of this couplet follows the previous pattern.

वो जलवा जो ओझल भी है सामने भी
वो जलवा चुराने को जी चाहता है

wO jalvA jO Ojhal bhI hai sAmnE bhI
wO jalvA churAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

That lustre (jalvA) which is (hai) both (implied by bhI=also) hidden (Ojhal) and apparant (sAmnE, literally ‘in front’). My heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to steal (churAnE kO) that lustre (jalvA) (implied- for myself).

People in love do have a certain lustre about them, don’t they? Its as if the glowing of the soul is so much that it cannot be contained within one’s self and seeps out of your skin!

जिस घड़ी मेरी निगाहों को तेरी दीद हुई
वो घड़ी मेरे लिये ऐश की तमहीद हुई
जब कभी मैंने तेरा चाँद सा चेहरा देखा
ईद हो या कि न हो मेरे लिये ईद हुई

jis ghaDI mErI nigAhO.n kO tErI dId huI
wO ghaDI mErE liyE aish kI tamhId huI
jab kabhI mainE tErA chA.nd sA chehrA dEkhA
Id hO yA ki na hO mErE liyE Id huI

At the moment (ghaDI) when (jis) my (mErI) glances (nigAhO.n) caught sight (dId huI) of you (tErI), that (wO) moment (ghaDI) became (huI) a prelude (tamhId) to a life of pleasure (aish) for me (mErE liyE). Whenever (jab kabhI) I (mainE) saw (dEkhA) your (tErA) moon like (chA.nd sA) face (chehrA), whether (implied) it was Eid (Id hO) or (yA) not (nA hO), for me (mErE liyE) it became (huI) Eid.

At this point, there is a melody change and a change to a masculine persona both in the lyrics and it’s portrayal by Nutan. The poet points to that first glimpse as a prelude to a life of happiness and says that her moon-like face (a traditional simile for the beauty of a woman) makes everyday a day of festivity. For those unaware of the tradition, it is a moon-sighting which declares the start of the festival of Eid. What a romantic verse! I wonder, is it what a man would say or is it what a woman would wish her man would say? Again, the music director has cleverly made this section stand out before returning to the refrain of the previous couplet, thus returning to the feminine persona. Asha does an expert job of the swaras/sargam/solfeggio which follow.

मुलाक़ात का कोई पैग़ाम दीजिये कि
छुप छुपके आने को जी चाहता है और
आके न जाने को जी चाहता है

mulAkAt kA kOI pai.gAm dIjiyE ki
CHup CHupkE AnE kO jI chAhtA hai aur
AkE na jAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

Do send (dIjiyE) me (implied) a message (pai.gAm) of (kA) a meeting (mulAkAt), for  my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to come (AnE kO) meet you (implied) secretly (CHup CHup kE) – and (aur) having come (AkE), my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to not go back again (na jAnE kO).

With another melody change, the music comes to the concluding verse. The final longing is that for her to be with her loved one forever. There is a melancholic air to the melody of this last phrase, for this is a dream which may or may not come true. The first two lines have a staccato feel; I am not sure I like the phrasing with  ‘ki’ and ‘aur’ dumped at the end of the previous phrases instead of the start of the phrase in which they belong.

I hope you enjoyed this walk-through of one of my favourite songs from Hindi films. I would love to hear from you about the one song above all (if possible) that you would choose as yours.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Bollywood Music, Qawwali

Ab Ke Baras Bhej

Ab Ke Baras BhejDo we live in a society where isolation and alienation is rife? This in spite of the innumerable ways that one is ‘connected’ ?  I look at the world busily and constantly ‘communicating’ around me and wonder if it really does make people feel connected! Perhaps it is just me, but all this communication rushes over me like water over a duck’s back. I remain untouched. Isolated. At times even alienated.

My thoughts are triggered by a recent message I received from a batch mate from school. He invited me to join a whatsapp chat group that he is forming. I promptly declined. You see, a few years ago I had joined an email group of school mates,  foolishly expecting a meeting of minds. Instead, most of the mails were just re-distribution of junk mail. The communication on most social media sites follows the same pattern. People call themselves ‘friends’ but seem content to remain the most superficial of acquaintances. Is it only me who clings to the old fashioned meaning of a ‘friend’?

What happened to conversations where one talked of everything with mates, from the very personal to the very public? What happened to sharing of real feelings and emotions? What happened to ‘adda’ sessions when one talked of nothing but felt so connected nonetheless? I honestly don’t remember when I last had a conversation which left me intellectually or emotionally stimulated. What happened to me? Why cannot I not connect with anyone anymore?

In comparison, my husband has a much more nourishing circle of friends. His mates from university are not only in touch on a daily basis via various media, but they talk on the phone and even get together every couple of years. This is not as easy a matter as you may think as his friends are spread around the globe. From what I have observed, they have somehow managed to hold on to a connection which goes beyond the superficial. I am envious! So today’s post is in honour of his friends, especially his ‘Pal’ who I hold in great esteem, and who says he misses my features on Hindi film music.

My song choice of today is a perfect little gem from the Hindi film Bandini (1963). Composed by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Shailendra, it is sung by Asha Bhosle. It is a song from another time when women married and left home, sometimes without being able to go back for years. But even in today’s time of facetime calls and whatsapp chats, it strikes a chord. The song talks of the longing for family, of the sadness for innocence lost, of the grief for a time that will come no more, of the need for re-connection. But under it all, it is a song of alienation. It is a song for all who struggle with the changing roles that life throws on them.

Asha is perfection in this song. Listen to the oh so gently done vibrato over the word ‘talE’, the almost abrupt enunciation of ‘chalkE’ in contrast to the wringing of the word ‘kaskE’, the lovely transition to the next phrase in the word ‘churAyI’…what singing! And while you are about it, look at Nutan’s swan neck and perfect profile..a timeless beauty!

(28/4/2015 : Sorry, the video has been removed for copyright seasons; I found an audio only version below)


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Hindi

अब के बरस भेज भैया को बाबुल सावन में लीजो बुलाय रे
लौटेंगी जब मेरे बचपन की सखियाँ दीजो संदेशा भिजाय रे  ||

अम्बुआ तले फिर से झूले पड़ेंगी रिम-झिम पड़ेंगी फुहारें
लौटेंगी फिर तेरे आंगन में बाबुल सावन की ठंडी बहारें
छलके नयन मोरा कसके रे जियरा बचपन की जब याद आये रे ||

बैरन जवानी ने छीने खिलोने और मेरी गुड़िया चुराई
बाबुल थी मैं तेरे नाजों की पाली फिर क्यों हुई मैं पराई
बीते रे जुग कोई चिट्ठिया ना पाती ना कोई नैहर से आये रे ||

Transliteration

ab kE baras bhEj bhaiyA kO bAbul sAvan mE.n lIjO bulAy rE
lauTE.ngI jab mErE bachpan kI sakhiyA.n dIjO sandEshA bhijAy rE

ambuA talE phir sE jhUlE paDE.ngI rim jhim paDE.ngI phuhArE.n
lauTE.ngI phir tErE A.ngan mE.n bAbul sAvan kI THanDI bahArE.n
chalkE nayan mOrA kaskE rE jiyarA bachpan kI jab yAd AyE rE

bairan javAnI nE chInE khilOnE aur mErI guDiyA churAyI
bAbul thI mai.n tErE nAjO.n kI pAlI phir kyO.n huI mai.n parAyI
bItE rE jug kOI chiTTHiyA nA pAtI nA kOI naihar sE AyE rE

Translation

O Father (bAbul), do send (bhEj) my brother (bhaiyA) to fetch me (lIjO bulAy) this year (ab kE baras) during monsoon (sAvan mE.n) . When (jab) my childhood (bachpan) friends (sakhiyA.n) return (lautE.ngI), do send (dIjO bhijAy) news (sandEshA).

Swings (jhUlE) will be set up under (talE paDE.ngI) the mango trees (ambuA) while light showers (phuhAr) will fall (rim jhim paDE.ngI). The cool (THanDI) breeze (bahArE.n) of monsoon (sAvan) will return (lauTE.ngI) again (phir sE) to your (tErE) courtyard (A.ngan), father (bAbul). My eyes (nayan) spill over (chalkE) by the squeeze (kaskE) of my heart (jiyarA) when (jab) I remember (yAd AyE) my childhood (bachpan).

Youth (javAnI), my enemy (bairan), snatched away (chInE) my toys (khilOnE) and (aur) stole (churAyI) my dolls (guDiyA). Father (bAbul), I was brought up tenderly (nAjO kI pAlI) by you (tErE), why then (phir kyO.n) have I become (huI mai.n) an outsider (parAyI)? Ages (jug) have passed (bItE) without my receiving any letter (chiTTHiyA nA pAtI), nor has anyone (nA kOI) come (AyE) from my natal home (naihar sE).

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music

Listening to: Mere Mehboob (1963)

Mere MehboobFor those of my regular readers who are wondering where I had disappeared to, I was blogged-out (new adverb: to be blogged-out, to be exhausted from blogging too much) after a marathon effort in organising my photos and writing up my recent trip to Spain. If you enjoy travelling and would like to read my photo-journal, click here.

In need of old, familiar and well-loved music, I picked up Mere Mehboob to watch for my post today. No self-respecting blog on Indian Film Music can ever ignore such an iconic album. Fifty years have passed but the charm of this music has not faded. How Naushad has waved his magic wand!

Muslim socials are a genre which were quite popular in the sixties. The settings talk of another place and time – women in purdah, the lives of nawabs, the splendour of their homes and most of all the beauty of Urdu.

Anwar is a young man at university, a poet. He falls in love with a glimpse of a fellow student behind her burqa. This is love at first sight at its minimalist best! As I watch the lead pair in their throes of love, I say to myself ‘Ah yes, a glimpse of pretty eyes, a touch of a hand are enough to decide who your mate is for life, the father/mother of your children. HA! Fools!!’ and then scold myself for getting old and losing the romance in my soul. Husna at least knows more of her man; she not only sees him but also has read his poetry. His poetry being that of Shakeel Badayuni, I can sympathise with her for falling in love, for who can resist such words? When they go back to their respective homes from university, they are resigned to not meeting each other again.

Chance or fate brings them into each other’s lives again. Anwar is asked by Husna’s brother, the Nawab, to help her with her poetry. The pair finally get to know each other and their love is strengthened.

But there are secrets and undercurrents which will bring disaster upon their lives. Anwar’s sister Najma had had to take up a life of public singing and dancing to support her brother; as a Muslim woman she is forever disgraced in decent company. The Nawab  happens to love her but can never marry her because she is a fallen woman.  And as to the Nawab’s respectability, even that may come crashing down for he has inherited huge debts which, if called, will break him. Naseemara, Husna’s friend, is also in love with Anwar – another love at first sight! The evil Munne Raja, catches a glimpse of Najma and wants to immediately marry her – and is prepared to use any means to achieve it. It all comes to a head about 2 hrs into the film and with some drama and some melodrama, our loving pair come together.

On the whole a simple enough story from more innocent times when the height of romance was holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes and the height of villainy was when an evil man wants to wed the heroine. These stories of those gentler times suit me much better than the cynicism and blatant sexuality of today’s films.

The mark of a good film is that all actors, small and big, do their parts well and add to the strength of the film. I am not a fan of Sadhna or Rajendra Kumar but both of them are very convincing in the lead; in fact, I am wondering if I have been unfairly biased so far. Ashok Kumar as the Nawab is impeccable, and Pran as Munne Raja is nicely slimy. Nimmi as Najma I found quite annoying but then Nimmi always annoys me! Ameeta as Naseemara is fine at the start but rather artificial in a crucial scene in the climax. She gets to say some really good lines – फिर तो अपने मोहब्बत को अरमानों के कफ़न में लपेट कर यहीं दफ़न कर दो | and towards the end मोहब्बत इबादत है | इबादत की जाती है, न बेची जाती है न खरीदी जाती है | Johnny Walker as Binda Din Ghayal has a lot of screen time in the first half of the film; sometimes the comedy is too farcical but it is not too bad.

The music is the true winner in this film. This is a gem of an album from the genius of Naushad with Shakeel Badayuni weaving incredibly beautiful words to match.

  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe – Mohammad Rafi. An unforgettable song. The lyrics are the epitome of romantic poetry (see footnote), the melody has the grace typical of Naushad’s music and it is performed by Rafi with an effortlessness that comes with mastery. Very rarely do we hear music of this calibre. To be savoured forever.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tere Pyar Mein Dildar – Lata Mangeshkar.  A lovely solo, with an innocent love expressed in beautiful poetry.  तेरा मेरा साथ हो कुछ दिल से दिल की बात हो जी भर से मुलाकात हो | ‘That we should be together, that we should talk heart-to-heart, that we should meet to heart’s content’. What more could be simpler? What could be more romantic? Open-mouthed smileRed heart 
  • Allah Bachaye – Lata Mangeshkar. Brings a smile to one’s lips. Smile
  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe– Lata Mangeshkar. I do like Rafi’s version better but it doesn’t take away the credit from Lata’s beautiful singing. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Husn Zara Jaag – Mohammad Rafi. I do object to actors pretending to play the piano without making the slightest effort to get it right! The song however is quite lovely, slow and seductive. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tum Se izhare-haal Kar Baithe – Mohammad Rafi. Aaah. Romance melted and infused into a song!! There is such happiness in this song, a joy from a romance fulfilled. And how clever are the lyrics! सोचे समझे बगैर कातिल से ज़िन्दगी का सवाल कर बैठे says the poet beautifully expressing the conundrum of love, where you give your heart in the safekeeping of the one against whom you are most vulnerable.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. A lovely duet by the Mangeshkar sisters, both in fine form. The teasingly competitive lyrics and exceptional music by Naushad, this is a true gem. Sadhna and Ameeta are pretty dancing. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Jane Man Ik Nazar Dekh Le  – Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle. A lovely little marriage song. Smile
  • Yaad Mein Teri Jaag Jaag Ke Hum – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. This fantastic sad-duet suffers from bad placement in the movie; it is too near to the climax and feels abrupt. Otherwise the song is exceptionally beautiful and very well sung.  Open-mouthed smile 

This album is an all-time great; click here to listen.

I have no choice but to present the timeless title song for nothing can match the beauty of the poetry. 50 years old and still the song has the power to melt hearts.

And for the glorious singing by the Mangeshkar sisters, the exuberance of the melody, the exaggeration of the lyrics and the qawwali like clapping rhythms, listen to Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin. 

 


Lyrics
:

mere mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki kasam
phir mujhe nargisee aankhon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

aye mere khwaab ki taabeer meri jaan-e-ghazal
zindagi meri tujhe yaad kiye jaati hai
raat din mujhko sataata hai tassawwur tera
dil ki dhadkan tujhe awaaz diye jaati hai
aa mujhe apni sadaaon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

bhool sakti nahin aankhen woh suhaana manzar
jab tera husn mere ishq se takraaya thha
aur phir raah mein bikhre thhey hazaaron naghme
main woh naghme teri aawaaz ko de aaya thha
saaz e dil ko unhee geeton ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

yaad hai mujh ko meri umr ki pehli woh ghadi
teri aankhon se koi jaam piya thha maine
meri rag rag mein koi barq si lehraayee thhi
jab tere marmari haathon ko chhuaa thha maine
aa mujhe phir unhi haathon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

maine ik baar teri ek jhalak dekhi hai
meri hasrat hai ke main phir tera deedaar karoon
tere saaye ko samajhkar main haseen taj mahal
chaandni raat mein nazron se tujhe pyaar karoon
apni mehki huyi zulphon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

dhoondhta hoon tujhe har raah mein har mehfil mein
thhak gaye hain meri majboor tamanna ke kadam
aaj ka din meri ummeed ka hai aakhri din
kal na jaane main kahaan aur kahaan tu ho sanam
do ghadi apni nigaahon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

saamne aake zara parda uthha de rukh se
ek yahi mera ilaaj e gham e tanhaayee hai
teri furkat ne pareshaan kiya hai mujh ko
ab to mil ja ke meri jaan pe ban aayee hai
dil ko bhooli hui yaadon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Phir Wohi Dil Laya HoonI admit I am amazed! This film was a super hit? Whatever were audiences thinking of? Granted, the music is excellent. But if an insipid film like this with a lacklustre script, unlikeable characters and pedestrian performances became a hit, I can only shake my head in disbelief!

Like all masala films of the ‘60s, this Nasir Hussain film gives low importance to the very predictable script. But normally there are at least some characters one likes in masala films but not in this one. Here are the players – would you like them?

The Mother (Veena): After a marital separation, Mohan’s mother  abducts her son (!) and brings him up on her own in Kashmir. Even when the opportunity arises when he is a grown boy, she denies him the right (!) to make himself known to his father.

The Father (Krishan Dhawan): After losing his wife and son, he brings up the orphaned daughter of a friend. He arranges her marriage sight-unseen (!)  with an idiotic young man and is not deterred even on seeing his antics !! And this is the daughter he loves! He is also arrogant. When he is fooled into thinking that he has found his long lost son, he manipulates / emotionally blackmails (!) his daughter into agreeing to marry him – even though the said son is unstable and suicidal! All for what? ‘Mera Khoon’ which, let’s admit, is not looking that good now!

The Hero (Joy Mukherjee) : On discovering his father’s foster daughter’s engagement, he sets to breaking it up (with no facts other than a newspaper article) by romancing the heroine with lies (!). Joy Mukherjee has the acting ability and the personality of a well-kneeded lump of dough – actually the dough may come out looking better! When found out, he still doesn’t come clean with the lady, resorting to stalking (!) (a BAD thing, you young men out there). And she still falls for him!!

The Heroine (Asha Parekh) : When she is forced into an engagement with an idiotic young man, she joins her friend in playing very unkind pranks on him. Other than that, she is quite spineless (!), has questionable taste (she falls for Joy!) and gives in to dumping him for her foster father’s pretend-imbecilic son. She is much too often seen in pants, which doesn’t suit her one bit. She looks quite lovely in a plain white Salwar Kameez in a dance practice scene.

The Comedy Track (Rajendranath) : The comedy track is much too long and very very unkind. Not to my taste.

The Villain (Pran) : Normally an excellent actor, he disappoints in this film. His portrayal of a depressive and suicidal young man is accompanied by constant nail-biting and shifty eyes – makes him look like an imbecile!

When you hear the music though, you’ll know why this film was a hit. A wonderful album by O.P.Nayyar with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, it has a number of lovely songs.

  • Dekho Bijli Dole Bin Badal – Asha Bhonsle, Usha Mangeshkar. Lovely song, set to the beautiful raga Basant Mukhari. On screen, there is a good dance sequence – a competition between Asha and another dancer. They both perform very well. Open-mouthed smile
  • Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein – Mohammad Rafi. A quintessentially Rafi number, he is in very good voice.  A well loved song which linger’s in the memory of fans all these years. Its a pleasure also to see the pre-terrorism innocence of Kashmir. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Aji Kibla Mohatarma – Mohammad Rafi. A so-so melody but was a popular enough song in its time. I don't know smile
  • Aanchal Mein Saja Lena – Mohammad Rafi. Rafi is in fine form again in this lovely song. The lyrics are worth paying attention to.
    रस्ता जो मिले अंजान कोई, आ जाए अगर तूफ़ान कोई
    अपने को अकेला जान के तुम,  आँखों में न आंसू भर लेना
    ऐसे ही कभी जब शाम ढले,  तब याद हमें भी कर लेना Open-mouthed smile
  • Aankhon Se Jo Utri – Asha Bhonsle. A beautiful solo by Asha; O.P has given a sensational melody. Asha scales the octaves with amazing ease. Lyrics are pleasing as well. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hamdam Mere – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle. The different parts of the song such as the refrain, the verse, the clapping-interlude etc though pleasing on their own, did not gel together well. It seemed as if they all belonged to different songs! Sad smile
  • Banda Parwar Tham Lo Jigar – Mohammad Rafi. This cheerful title song is very well sung by Rafi. I always have a weakness for ghoda-gadi songs with the nice clip-clop of hooves!! The lyrics are very good, especially the second stanza :
    मेरी निगाह-ए-शौक़ से यार कहाँ जाओगे
    पाँव जहाँ रख दोगे अदा से दिल को वहीं पाओगे
    रहूँ जुदा ये मजाल कहाँ, जाऊँ कहीं ये ख़याल कहाँ
    बन्दा दिलदार का, नज़राना प्यार का, फिर वही दिल लाया हूँ  SmileRed heart
  • Mujhe Pyar Mein – Asha Bhonsle. A sad song sung reasonably well but did not catch my attention, perhaps because I was out of patience with the characters! Sad smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My choice for today is Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein to listen to Rafi at his peak.

I also present Ankhon Se Jo Utri to enjoy Asha’s beautiful singing to O.P.Nayyar’s lovely little melody.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Paying Guest (1957)

Paying GuestMy feelings after seeing this film is ranging between frustration and anger. The music was the draw when I sat down to see it, but surely I had the right to expect some entertainment from the story as well?

In the earlier part of the film there is a debate between Nutan and Shubha Khote, ‘Is love or money  more important in a relationship/marriage?’ I thought then that perhaps that was the theme of the film. Unfortunately the movie did not settle down to any sane theme.

We have Dev who is a lawyer but with no income who comes to live as a paying guest in Nutan’s home. I disliked the character immediately. A ‘hero’ in films of yesteryears got away with a multitude of sins – in this case, criminal fraud (he misrepresents himself, doesn’t pay his dues), molestation (he grabs Nutan’s hand, stalks her on the road), breaking and entering (he enters Nutan’s room without permission), cheating (he pretends to be grievously hurt to win Nutan’s hand), tackiness (his reaction to a cat fight), questionable judgement (goes out to clubs and gets drunk with a married woman) – just to name a few. Tell me again, why is he a ‘hero’ ? I do not like Dev Anand and this film didn’t make me change my mind. 

Nutan on the other hand is quietly brilliant. I am more and more in sympathy with fellow-blogger and Nutan worshipper Yves from Let’s Talk About Bollywood. The industry has more than its share of beauties but Nutan quietly outshines them all. I much prefer her style of warm beauty than the perfect but cold touch-me-not look of some beauty queens. When Nutan smiles, her eyes, her face, why even her hair light up! And what an actress! She makes even ridiculous lines seem good and in an effortless and natural manner. She lip-synchs better than any actress I have seen and carries herself with grace. And truly, she radiates a goodness of heart which permeates all the roles she plays. Even in this poor film, she delivers her part with élan.

The first part of the movie is about Dev ensnaring Nutan. They enjoy a bit of a romance. Maybe it was just the chase for him? For he soon gets distracted by Shubha Khote who, after having found a rich husband she wanted, is now realising that she wants romance after all. There is Nutan’s evil brother-in-law who gets mixed up in this business. Shobha’s rich husband is killed and then the evil brother-in-law for whose death Nutan goes to court. It is upto our hero, who we have so far thought to be a good-for-nothing lawyer suddenly develops brilliant court room tactics and rescues the damsel in distress. PSHAW!!

The music by S.D.Burman is  brilliant and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics are excellent.

  • Mana Janab Ne Pukara Nahin – Kishore Kumar. Lovely ‘stalking’ song. Thank you S.D for a lovely melody – especially like the बंदगी तो दीजिये जनाब  part of the verse. Kishore sounds very good. Open-mouthed smile
  • Chod Do Aanchal – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. This is a superb example of the fun-conversational-duets that Hindi film music fans have enjoyed over the years. There is an inherent rhythm in the words which is very attractive. Kishore and Asha are outstanding! Asha emotes especially well and her voice is liquid gold…Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • O Nigahen Mastana – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. Nice song but not very original. It reminds me of many other similar ones. Smile
  • Chupke Chupke – Lata Mangeshkar. Not very appealing.Disappointed smile
  • Hai Hai Yeh Nigahen – Kishore Kumar. The ubiquitous club song, for a change in a male voice. Kishore does a good enough version but I am not charmed. I don't know smile
  • Chand Phir Niklaa  – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata shows why she ruled the Hindi film music world for so long. Wonderful melody, lovely mood, great instrumentals and good lyrics.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

You can listen to the whole album here.

As I cannot decide between my two favourites, one a happy song and another a sad one, I present you both.

Chod do Aanchal

Chand Phir Niklaa


Lyrics : Chod Do Anchal

छोड़ दो आँचल ज़माना क्या कहेगा
इन अदाओं का ज़माना भी है दीवाना
दीवाना क्या कहेगा

मैं चली अब खूब छेड़ो प्यार के अफ़साने
कुछ मौसम है दीवाना कुछ तुम भी हो दीवाने
ज़रा सुनना जान-ए-तमन्ना
इतना तो सोचिये मौसम सुहाना क्या कहेगा

यूँ  न देखो जाग जाए प्यार की अंगडाई
ये रस्ता ये तन्हाई लो दिल ने ठोकर खाई
यहीं दिन हैं मस्ती के सिन  हैं
किसको ये होश है अपना बेगाना क्या कहेगा 

ये बहारें ये फुवारें ये बरसता सावन
थर थर काँपे हैं तन मन मेरी बैंयां धर लो साजन
अजी आना दिल में समाना
इक दिल इक जान हैं हम तुम ज़माना क्या कहेगा 


Lyrics: Chand Phir Niklaa (Raga Shuddha Kalyan)

चाँद फिर निकला मगर तुम न आये
जला फिर मेरा दिल करूँ क्या मैं हाय

ये रात कहती है कि वोह दिन गए तेरे
यह जानता है दिल कि तुम नहीं मेरे
खड़ी हूँ मैं फिर भी निगाहें बिछाये
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये

सुलगते सीने से धुंआ सा उठता है
लो अब चले आओ कि दम घुटता है
जला गए तन को बहारों के साए
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to: Lal Patthar (1971)

Lal Pathar1यह है फतेहपुर सिकरी | इसे शाहंशाह अकबर ने बसाया था | इसकी वीरानी और ख़ामोशी में अजीब कशिश है| जादू सा है | इसलिए मैं यहाँ बार बार खींचा चला आता हूँ | और फिर भी दिल नहीं भरता |

“This is Fatehpur Sikri. Emperor Akbar established it. There is strange attraction in its emptiness and silence. A kind of magic. That is why I am drawn to come here again and again. And even then I remain unsatiated.”

Thus starts the film in Raaj Kumar’s Lal Pathar2impeccable voice. How could I not like this film? I feel exactly the same way! Here’s the Durgah of Salim Chisti where I heard the most beautiful music many many years ago.

The protagonist is Prince Gyanshankar, a man tortured by what he considers to be his inherited ‘bad blood’ – there is madness in the family. He lives a controlled life to keep a reign on himself. His character is briskly established at the start of the film and though I did cringe at the tiger hunt, it added to describing him as a man.

He rescues a young and beautiful widowed woman from bandits and then from her in-laws who ill-treat her. He establishes her as his concubine in his palace, going so far as to give her the jewellery his mother had left for his future wife. He says ‘तुम्हे इन गहनों पे पूरा अधिकार है’ – you have full rights over this jewellery. It sounds like a defining moment in their relationship. He gives her a new name to cement their relationship – does that symbolise a cut-off from her previous life? Saudamini is dead and Madhuri comes to life. 

Hema is gorgeous once she sheds her window’s whites. Gyanshankar seems to have Pygmalion like intentions, trying to change an illiterate and uncultured woman to be a suitable partner for a Nawab. But Madhuri is no Eliza.  Her English teacher says ‘Rani sahiba is rather dull-headed’. Though she cleans up well and learns to read, she falls short of his needs in a companion.

Ten years pass. When he realises it, he is shocked. But why? Was this not the life he chose? In spite of his apparent acceptance of his ‘tainted blood’, he must have had some expectations of his life which did not come to pass.

He chances upon a Lal Pathar3young and lovely singer and as before, he selects another woman to adorn his life without really getting to know her. Its consistent with his character but not normal for a prince who is marrying ‘to do his duty’, as he puts it. In effect, he buys her from a drunkard father with gambling problems. History repeats itself; once more he picks a beauty in a helpless situation. Does he have a need to be needed, to be looked up to ? Does he not feel equal to women of his own social level? What happens when the concubine and his wife have to share his favours?

Well, you’ll have to see the film to answer that! I have to warn you that the climax is a bit of nonsense, totally illogical. Script-writers seem to like mad characters so as to get away with anything, but it doesn’t work. However the strength of the first half carries the film. Raaj Kumar gives a controlled performance and Rakhee does reasonably well. Hema Malini has lost an opportunity to shine as her role is strong, but she doesn’t impress. Her interview  here seems to be a bit of an excuse. Vinod Mehra provides very decent support.

Shankar-Jaikishen have given a solid album with some very good music here.

  • A Aaja Dikhaoon – Asha Bhonsle. Disappointing. Sad smile
  • Unke Khayal Aaye To – Mohammad Rafi. A beautiful ghazal with some memorable lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri.   इस दिल से आ रही है किसी यार की सदा, वीरान मेरा दिल था बसा के चले गए Open-mouthed smile
  • Sooni Sooni Sans – Asha Bhonsle. A classically based song, with good lyrics by Neeraj. Open-mouthed smile
  • Phoolon Se Meri – Asha Bhonsle. A beautiful poetry recitation with next to no instrumentation. Admire Asha’s voice and these beautiful lines by Neeraj.
  • फूलों से मेरी सेज सजादो आज मैं लूंगी जनम दुबारा
    चंदा की बिंदिया  तारों का कंगन सपनों की लाओ हार
    साँसों में मेरी केसर महके अंगों में झूमे बहार
    ऐसा करो सिंगार सखीरी सुध-बुध भूले श्याम हमारा Open-mouthed smile

  • Geet Gata Hoon Main – Kishore Kumar. An excellent melody with superb singing by Kishore. Lyrics by Dev Kohli are quite touching. I was going to give it a heart but I found the instrumentation to be below par and also the beat of the songs seems too fast. Open-mouthed smile
  • Re Man Sur Mein Ga – Manna day, Asha Bhonsle. A superb classically based song in Raag Kalyan (Yaman) with lyics by Neeraj. Manna Dey is in his element and Asha proves that she can out-sing any singer when she sets her mind to it. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

You can listen to the full album here.

My selection for the day is Re Man Sur Main Ga. The movie has used only one stanza, so listen to the audio version below.

And as a fan of Kishore, I cannot help but feature this song as well! You can admire the pretty ladies too!

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 70's Music, Manna Dey

Listening to: Dilli Ka Thug (1958)

Dilli Ka Thug

A recently torn knee ligament and many hours spent on the recliner in front of the telly  has left me with plenty of scribbled notes which I have yet to transcribe. This is the first of them.

It was with great excitement that I sat to watch this film with my husband last weekend. If Kishore’s talent and goofiness wasn’t enough, there was Nutan’s acting prowess & astounding beauty to look forward to. And some fabulous music of course!

We lasted 30 mins. Surely no script-writer can be so illogical? And no editor so inept? Surely the producer should have noticed something? We watched with incredulity as they took perfectly good actors and put them in scene after disconnected scene leading nowhere. Then we gave up and just watched the songs. I read an online review which was all praise for the film. And also that it was a hit! Did we watch the same film? !!!

The music by Ravi is a mixed bag, but a couple of fantastic songs makes it a must-listen album. 

  • Kisi Ka Dil Lena Ho – Asha Bhonsle. This is the first time I heard this song. It struck me as similar to some ‘club’ numbers from that era. There is a bit of Been sound and a bit of Arabic sounds thrown in – a strange mixture but I quite enjoyed it. Smile
  • O Babu O Lala – Geeta Dutt. I love Geeta Dutt’s voice but this song didn’t appeal at all. Sad smile
  • Yeh Bahar Yeh Sama – Asha Bhonsle.  A lilting number by a young Asha, it has a fresh and happy tune which I like. Smile
  • Seekh Le Babu – Asha Bhonsle. Filmed on a stunningly beautiful Nutan in an atrociously bad dress, this song left me quite cold. Thinking smile
  • Hum Tho Mohabbat Karega – Kishore Kumar. Just the song to showcase Kishore’s eccentric talent! It is not without reason that this song is so famous! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Cat Mane Billi – Asha Bhonsle & Kishore Kumar. To watch emotions flit across Nutan’s flawless face is such a treat! Kishore shows off his dancing skills too! Asha does a commendable job. Very enjoyable ! If I was scoring only on watchability, this song takes the prize!  Open-mouthed smile
  • Yeh Ratein Yeh Mausam – Asha Bhonsle & Kishore Kumar.  What can I say about this fantastic song except its a ‘classic’? I love Asha’s voice quality here, Kishore woos me as always and Shailendra’s lyrics are very romantic. A melt-your-heart kind of song. ps. A reader points out that there is much to say about this piece of music. There is, and there isn’t. There is a whole generation of Indians who have grown up with this song, thinking of it as THE romantic song. Classic and peerless. And in that sense, it defies description. It is one of the most well-loved songs of Indian cinema, and deservedly so!  Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart

You can listen to the whole album here.

I have no choice but to play Yeh Ratein for you, I’ve loved it for too long !

Post script: Click here for lyrics, translation and analysis of this song by Yves, a fellow blogger and worshipper of Nutan’s extraordinary beauty and talent.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar