Category Archives: Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Sachaa Jhutha (1970)

Sachaa Jhutha (1970)Since Rajesh Khanna passed away last month, I have wanted to review one of his films but have been deliberately procrastinating. I think perhaps I am having trouble coming to terms with his death. He represents an era in the Hindi film world which is personally meaningful to me. Through his films I passed from childhood to my early teenage years, learnt to appreciate filmi music and became more aware of the world in general. A coming of age as it were. With his passing away a bit of my world has passed away too. The sand castle of my life has already been assaulted as the tides have started coming in; this is one more step towards its destruction.

So when my husband picked up Sachaa Jhootha as our late night watch yesterday, I did have a few moments of reluctance. Surprisingly, I have never seen this film before! On the whole it was not a bad film; the first half was well-scripted and brisk but the director somewhat lost control of the plot in the second half.

Bhola (Rajesh Khanna) is a dirt-poor young man from a village. He lives with his disabled sister under the cruel treatment of his step-mother. Uneducated but with some musical skills, he decides to go to the city to earn a living. Good hearted but extremely naive, I could not find this character as appealing as the film makers wanted it to be.

Ranjit (also Rajesh Khanna) is a rich diamond merchant by day and a jewel-thief by night, a leader of his own gang. He is clever and cunning but ruthless, not stopping at even murder. Thankfully there is no background story to wring sympathy for him. Bhola and Ranjit look, as you can well guess, exactly alike. And no, they are not long lost twins, thank God!

When Bhola comes into town, he gets mistaken for Ranjit at a costume party. Ranjit, who is in disguise, sees this and immediately thinks of all the opportunities this presents. He cons Bhola into training to be his double. His in-house moll Ruby (a meaty role for Faryal) is Bhola’s trainer.

The police have suspicions that Ranjit is the jewel thief but have no proof; they make elaborate plans to trap him. The plot is devised by Inspector Pradhan (a very dashing young Vinod Khanna). Another officer, Rita (a gorgeous Mumtaz), is to act as the lure to catch Ranjit who has an eye for a pretty lady.

What follows is typical Bollywood fare of the 70’s. There are uses of unspecified chemicals by the thieves  – a truth serum and some kind of stunning mixture. There are police bugs and inefficient snipers. There is a clunky recording device. There is a sword fight. And best of all, there is a really clever dog chasing a car, two cars chasing the same dog, and the dog finding its way to the court to identify the bad man in the climax!!

Rajesh Khanna is adequate as Bhola but quite good as Ranjit. His representation of innocence and naiveté borders on imbecilic which I quite object to. His dancing has always been abysmal and surely he could have done better with his wardrobe choice? Red trousers with a bright red shirt, a bottle-green suit..honestly!! However he does know how to deliver dialogue and has his signature charm. And as Ranjit, he does ‘cold-hearted’ very well. This role won him a Filmfare award.

Mumtaz is not at all convincing as a police officer. But in her role within her role to attract Ranjit she just has to look pretty and she does that and how! This film was one of her stepping stones from being a supporting actress to a lead one, and she looks tentative at all times.

Vinod Khanna too seems somewhat amateurish at times but so very handsome that I didn’t much care! Again, this was before he started playing lead parts and his skills are obviously raw. The supporting cast members do reasonably well.

The music by Kalyanji-Anandji is not of uniform quality. There are two good songs but the others left me cold. The lyrics are by Indivar, Gulshan Bawra, and Qamar Jalabadi.

  • Meri Pyari Behaniya – Kishore Kumar. The song which was to be played in thousands of baraats (marriage processions) in the future has a slightly melancholic air. Normally the baraat songs are cheerful and the bidai songs are sad, but this is a strange mixture of two emotions! Well tuned and well sung, I am unable to judge its true merit as it is overly familiar! Open-mouthed smile
  • Dil Ko Dekho Chehra Na Dekho – Kishore Kumar. Rajesh cannot dance but Kishore can certainly sing! The melody is not too bad but somehow doesn’t quite hit the mark. Thinking smile
  • Duniya Mein Pyar Ki – Asha Bhonsle. A totally pedestrian tune warmed up slightly by Mumu’s wriggles. I am sorry to say that even her dancing at places is stiff and unconvincing. Don’t bother listening. Sad smile
  • Yunhi Tum Mujhse Baat – Mohammad Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar. This superb gem is a surprise in the otherwise middling album. Kishore Kumar was in his ascendency at this time yet it is Rafi who strikes a chord with this song. Melodious and beautifully sung. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • O Kehdo Kehdo – Kishore Kumar & Lata Mangeshkar. Another rather pedestrian song, I can’t recall this song ever playing in the radio. Did it? But this is at least well sung. I don't know smile

My song choice for the day is evident I guess. Enjoy !!

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Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi

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: Aadmi (1968)

AadmiRemembering the glorious music of this film, I picked this from my long list of to-watch films. On reading the synopsis, I didn’t have much expectation but no matter. For me, the story is just the space between songs!

The theme of the film is reflected by the protagonist saying at the end of the film ‘मैंने भी इक भूल की थी | और अनगिनत आंसू बहा के यह जाना कि ग़लती करने वाला आदमी होता है और पछताने वाला इंसान |’  The first half was quite enjoyable. The unbelievable plot twists and melodrama of the second half bored and frustrated me but still, it wasn’t too bad on the whole.

The story is about Rajesh (Raja Saheb), a wealthy young (introduced as Naujawan)  man  played by a 46 year old Dilip Kumar!! By his own words, he needs to win at everything and has a greed for all that his mind wants.  In a childhood incident he kills his friend over a doll (a doll? young boys? !!!). This haunts him and leaves him mentally instable yet there is much that is honourable about him.  Dilip Kumar is very good at portraying deeply conflicted characters such as this one, but I appreciated his effortless and natural style more in the simple scenes, like the one in which his friend Shekhar talks to him of his lost love.

Shekhar is a young doctor played by a 31 year old Manoj Kumar. He is a friend but his obligation to Rajesh seems to take precedence over friendship. I am not much of a Manoj Kumar fan but he was decent enough. His struggles in emotional scenes is a bit pitiable to watch. His misfortune is to be up against the smooth strength of Dilip Kumar’s acting.

The triangle is completed by Meena played by a 32 year old Waheeda Rehman. I have always admired this beautiful actress and she delivers a quiet and dignified performance.  A class act.

Shekhar and Meena love each other secretly but circumstances lead to Meena being engaged to Rajesh.  An accident leaves him disabled. When Rajesh’s suspicions rear-up, the negative side of his personality takes hold. How will everything be resolved? Who will get the girl?

Able support is provided by an excellent Pran as Mayadas, who is conniving to ‘catch’ Raja Saheb for his daughter Aarti, an elegant but very bland Simi. Sulochana does well as the normal filmi weeping mother. Padma Chavan as Meena’s sister and Agha as Prem, her love interest, provide a small side story and a bit of comedy.

It is the music by Naushad which is the real strength of this film. It is quite glorious! Shakeel Badayuni pens the words which are equally good.

  • Kari Badariya – Lata Mangeshkar. How lovely Lata sounds! A lilting song with immediate appeal, Lata does it full justice. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Kal Ke Sapne – Lata Mangeshkar. A song which enjoyed a lot of popularity, it is very appealing. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kaisi Haseen Aaj – Mohammad Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor/Talat Mahmood. Simply Fabulous!! A rare combination of a wonderful melody matched by lovely poetry (see footnote for lyrics) sung to perfection. The song was recorded first with Talat Mahmood but Manoj Kumar requested a change so it was recorded again with Mahendra Kapoor. The film features this latter recording but the album features the Talat version.  Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Main Tooti Hui Ik Naiyya – Mohammad Rafi. A sad song, not bad. I don't know smile
  • Na Aadmi Ka Koi Bharosa – Mohammad Rafi. The title song is a beautiful, heartbreaking song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aaj Purani Rahon Se – Mohammad Rafi. A gem. Naushad ably demonstrates his genius yet again. And Rafi conducts a masterclass in singing. I am in awe of his voice which scales the octaves so effortlessly and with such beauty! Shakeel Badayuni’s poetry has a ring of truth and quite beautiful. (see footnote). Open-mouthed smileRed heart

To listen to the whole album, click here.  An album to be treasured; one can seldom find music like this nowadays!

My selection from the film is Kaisi Haseen Aaj. Listen first to the Mohammad Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor version from the film. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiZRLZX59nM?rel=0]

Now listen to the Talat version. Which do you like better?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvQf_NaqBM4?rel=0]

Given the beauty of my other selections from the film, I include them in this post as well.

Kari Badariya – Lata Mangeshkar

Aaj Purani Rahon Se – Mohammad Rafi


Footnote (Lyrics) :

कैसी हसीन आज बहारों की रात है |
इक चाँद आसमां पे है इक मेरे साथ है ||

ओ देने वाले तू ने तो कोई कमी न की |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||

छाया है हुस्न-ओ-इश्क़ पे इक रंग-ए-बेख़ुदी |
आते हैं ज़िंदगी में ये आलम कभी कभी ||
हर ग़म को भूल जाओ खुशी की बारात है |
इक चाँद आसमां पे है इक मेरे साथ है ||

आई है वो बहार के नग़मे उबल पड़े |
ऐसी  खुशी मिली है कि आँसू निकल पड़े ||
होंठों पे हैं दुआएं मगर दिल पे हाथ है |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||

मस्ती सिमट के प्यार के गुलशन में आ  गई  |
मेरी  खुशी  भी आप के दामन में आ गई ||
भँवरा कली से दूर नहीं साथ साथ है |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||


आज पुरानी राहों से कोई मुझे आवाज़ न दे |
दर्द में डूबे गीत न दे ग़म का सिसकता साज़ न दे ||

बीते दिनों की याद थी जिनमें मैं वो तराने भूल चुका |
आज नई मंज़िल है मेरी कल के ठिकाने भूल चुका ||
न वो दिल न सनम न वो दीन-धरम |
अब दूर हूँ सारे गुनाहों से ||

जीवन बदला दुनिया बदली मन को अनोखा ज्ञान मिला |
आज मुझे अपने ही दिल में एक नया इंसान मिला ||
पहुँचा हूँ वहाँ नहीं दूर जहाँ |
भगवान भी मेरी निगाहों से ||

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Mahendra Kapoor, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Amar Akbar AnthonyClichés? No worries! The film provides Bollywood’s version of secular harmony, coincidences after coincidences with impossible odds,  tight shirts in myriad colours,  obviously staged fights in which opponents have time to make conversation, decorative ladies, disguises galore, miraculous cures  and an evil villain who even has a good twin! How could anyone not like it?

The storyline itself is a huge Bollywood cliché. A family is separated by evil machinations, poverty and bad luck. Three brothers are brought up following three religions. The evil man continues in his evil ways and even the good father seems to have become part evil – but then he is Pran, so what do you expect? There are three pretty ladies who look decoratively helpless on demand. But it all resolves itself after many unbelievable plot ploys with more holes than Swiss cheese! The pace of the film is brisk and there is never a dull moment.

Rishi and Neetu make a handsome young couple and they play their parts with ease. Vinod and Shabana make a rather mismatched couple. Vinod is good as a police officer but Shabana…I prefer her in her serious roles.  Amitabh has great comic timing and for his fans, there is even a dialogue with God! Parveen I am not a fan off but she looks quite beautiful and they make a good pair. Jeevan and Pran have undemanding and clichéd roles. Amitabh has the most screen time amongst the leads and he does a good job.

Watch this film with suspended judgement and a healthy sense of humour and you’ll have great fun!

The music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal has some numbers which made the charts at the time of release. It doesn’t really stand the test of time but provides good nostalgia value. Lyrics by Anand Bakshi are adequate.

  • Khoon Khoon Hota Hai – Mohammad Rafi. Pedestrian. Sad smile
  • Pardah Hai Pardah – Mohammad Rafi. This very well-known  Qawwali deserves its success. Rishi and Neetu glow with youth and Rafi is very good even though he is past his best phase. Open-mouthed smile
  •  My Name is Anthony – Kishore Kumar. This fun song became very famous with Kishore’s voice suiting Amitabh’s comic timing and long-limbed prancing. A song to make you smile. Smile
  • Hum Ko Tum Se – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad, Mukesh. A melodious song which is still very enjoyable. I like that it has three of the great male voices of that era singing the same song.Open-mouthed smile
  • Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman – Mohammad Rafi. Don’t remember this song and won’t in the future. Sad smile
  • Shirdi Wale Sai Baba – Mohammad Rafi. A song which used to be run often in the radio, it seems ordinary now. I am normally much attracted to Qawwalis but not this one. Disappointed smile
  • Amar Akbar Anthony – Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh. Familiarity made me listen to the song with pleasure rather than it’s musicality. Smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

In honour of three great male singers of Bollywood, and to see all the leads on screen, here is Hum Ko Tum Se.

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Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh

Listening to: Kala Pani (1958)

Kala PaniMy today’s movie selection is in honour of Dev Anand, who passed away this week. Though I was never fond of his films, I respect anybody who has lasted so long in the cut-throat business that Bollywood is.

The last time I saw Dev on the big screen was in 1978, when I went to see Des Pardes. I was a teenager and I found the thought of a the 55 year old thespian romancing the young Tina Munim very objectionable. I walked out after 30 mins of the film.  Subsequently, I have never been able to see his films without a rather bad taste in my mouth. And also, I absolutely disliked his mannerisms.

Kala Pani was therefore a wonderful surprise! He is young (35) and handsome and thankfully makes minimal use of the mannerisms which annoy me.  The movie starts with Dev discovering that the father he thought was dead was in fact serving a life-sentence for murder. He meets is father, is convinced that he is innocent and decides to find the true killer and clear his father’s name. The beautiful Madhubala is the owner of the guest house where he stays and the gentle take-off of the romance is very convincing -there is neither stalking, nor over-ardent behaviour! Nalini Jayawant is a tawaif, a dancing-girl, who has proof of the real killer. The two ladies look beautiful and add a feminine touch to this semi-dark crime story. In spite of some loose bits (for example, confrontation with the lawyer at gunpoint, the speech making in the court), the script is good, the editing brisk, the black-and-white cinematography is quite beautiful, music is melodious and performances are very good indeed, especially by Dev Anand and Nalini Jayawant. A very stylistic film; a recommended watch. 

The music by S.D.Burman is very melodious and Majrooh Sultanpuri provides some memorable lines. I must bring your attention to the background score as well; it is especially beautiful. Listen to the music when Dev is in the newspaper office, quite lovely.

  • Najar Lagi Raja – Asha Bhonsle. A very good Mujra song, Nalini Jayawant adds to the allure of the song with her own beauty. I love the sound of Ghungroo integrated into the music. Open-mouthed smile
  • Hum Bekhudi Mein – Mohammad Rafi. SD has produced a masterpiece. Rafi displays a mastery which leaves me in awe! What an interesting mood the song creates! Its not sad, but rather reflective and accepting of lost loves and lost chances.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Dil Lagake Kadar Gayee – Asha Bhonsle. Another Mujra song but this didn’t please me as much. Disappointed smile
  • Jab Naam E Mohabbat – Asha Bhonsle. SD has tried a new concept, mixing traditional poetry delivery style of singing with ‘modern’ bits interspersed.  I liked the traditional part which reminded me strongly of the later (1963) song ‘Ham Tere Pyar Mein Sara Alam’ with music by Shankar Jaikishen. But the mix of the two styles, I found very jarring. Disappointed smile
  • Acchaji Mein Hari Chalo – Asha Bhonsle, Mohammad Rafi. When it comes to expressing emotions with her voice, Asha is just incredible. Listen to her say मान जाओ ना – the modulations in her voice!! Oh!! Add to it Madhubala’s superbly expressive face and you have a winner. The heart is for Asha’s voice.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Dilwale Ab Teri Gali – Asha Bhonsle, Mohammad Rafi. A banjara song, quite good. Smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My pick for today is Rafi’s Hum Bekhudi Mein, a most well-known and well-loved of songs. Enjoy!

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Set to Raga Chhayanat

हम बेखुदी में तुमको पुकारे चले गये
साग़र में ज़िन्दगी को उतारे चले गये (हम)

देखा किये तुम्हें, हम बनके दीवाना
उतरा जो नशा तो, हमने ये जाना
सारे वो ज़िन्दगी के सहारे चले गये (हम)

तुम तो ना कहो हम, खुद ही से खेले
डूबे नहीं हम ही यूँ, नशे में अकेले
शीशे में आपको भी उतारे चले गये (हम)

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970)

Ishq Par Zor Nahin

A few weeks back, with the good intention of ‘attacking’ my mountain of unironed clothes, I dragged the ironing board in front of the telly and channel-surfed to find something to watch while I attempted my Herculean task. I landed on this film; had it not been just when a beautiful song was on, I might not have stayed. I didn’t know how much of the movie I had missed but I stayed anyway.

There is no other word for it – the movie was EXECRABLE! So idiotic that I watched in fascination, wondering what twisted mind made it! The story seems have to be made up as they went along.  Did Hindi films always show girls getting slapped by the ‘heros’ for the slightest things? And still the girls spreading flowers where his feet have passed and laying their heads there? Please!!! Did they actually think that ‘sacrificing’ one’s love and pushing her into another relationship is moral? Did films treat suicide as an honourable out? Did the audience find it funny when women were molested in the name of comedy? Did the hero who didn’t get the girl always have to die in some mish-mash idea of heroism?

In between all this, one has to cope with Dharmendra acting morose and with a false docility that Indian films often give the poor, Biswajit acting manly and macho but oh so badly, Kamini Kaushal pretending to be a Japanese woman and Jagdip an Arab..sorry, all this is not worth talking about. On the whole, just their attitude towards women churned my stomach.  For God’s sake, don’t see this film!

On the positive side, my ironing got done as I transferred my wrath against the film makers to my arm!! Unfortunately the pile has grown again…

Do listen to the music by S.D.Burman set to the lyrics by Anand Bakshi. There are a couple of lovely  tracks here.

  • Mehbooba Teri Tasveer – Mohammad Rafi. A dreamy, slow song, it is very well sung by Rafi. Smile
  • Yeh Dil Diwana Hai – Lata Mangeshkar & Mohammad Rafi. The music is truly inspired. A slow pace, a beautiful melody and Rafi and Lata’s voice gentling you in all the places you didn’t know existed in your soul. Anand Bakshi has some nice lyrics here – बेचैन रहता है चुपके से कहता है मुझको धड़कने दो शोला भड़कने दो and also यादों में खो जाऊं जल्दी से सो जाऊं क्योंकी सांवरिया को सपनों में आना है ..lovely!! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Sach Kehti Yeh Duniya – Lata Mangeshkar. The title song could have been better. Thinking smile
  • O Mere Bairangi Bhanwara – Lata Mangeshkar. An unsual tune, with an other-world touch, I really liked it. Lata Mangeshkar at her best. Open-mouthed smile
  • Mitwa Mere Saathi – Lata Mangeshkar. Shown in the movie as a bhajan, it is totally forgettable. Sad smile
  • Tum Mujhse Door Chale Jana Na – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata’s sad solo has a haunting melody. A well loved song. Smile
  • Pyaar Bhari Ek Baat Chali – Asha Bhonsle. Poor Asha got the quite the worst song in the album. Not for re-listening. Sad smile

Here is my top selection from this album.

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Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi