Category Archives: Mohammad Rafi

Listening to : Aan (1952)

Aan 1952

Naive village belle, this I understand. Proud princess, this too I understand. Why don’t the script writers or directors? Don’t they know the difference between naive and stupid? And between pride and arrogance? Both Nimmi and Nadira had such unappealing characters that I found the movie hard to watch.  Dilip Kumar’s character wasn’t much better. But his smile is so charming that I forgive him!  The supporting characters come across in a more sympathetic light; Mukhri and the queen’s attendant in particular. It can be seen as a kind of ‘taming of the shrew’ I guess. 

Consequently, I really don’t understand why it was such a hit at that time. Was it just because it was the first Indian technicolour film? Or am I missing something? Was this important, this breaking of the pride of the whip-swinging jodhpur-clad princess to the newly independent India? Did this reflect the real mood of those times against the rule of the princely states and of the British lords? So many questions, so few answers.

I must note that I simply loved the dungeon entrance through the perfectly fitted teeth of a monster!! And then there is the den door with red teeth! And real live lions for the heroine to escape from!! And the princess in the pool has a gigantic lotus to cover her modesty! So I did find things to amuse me after all..

As to the songs, I was in a rather strange place compared to the normal songs I write about becaause I knew only a couple of them. Knowing the composer to be Naushad (1919-2006) whom I admire tremendously, I went in expecting a real treat. It wasn’t quite that but very enjoyable all the same. The lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni (1916-1970) are poetic in the old fashioned way, which I enjoy.

  • Aaj Mere Man Mein Sakhi – Lata Mangeshkar. It sounds as if Lata was trying to be Shamshad! This sounds like a ‘formula’ type of song used for village girls..I don't know smile
  • Main Rani Hoon Raja Ki – Shamshad Begum. I have always thought Shamshad to be very talented and here she proves her talent yet again. Very well sung. Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Muhabbat Choome Jinke Haath – Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A young Rafi with very few instruments to back him up  sounds wonderfully clear and crisp. Smile
  • Aag Lagi Tanman Mein – Shamshad Begum. One of the songs which I remembered from my childhood. I like it except for the ‘oh’ , ‘hmm’ and other ‘enhancements’. Nice phrasing like तन का सिंगार मेरे मन को न भाए देखो नैना भर आये   Smile
  • Khelo Rang Hamare Sang – Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely holi song which I enjoyed very much, especially the contrast between Lata and Shamshad’s voice.  Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Dil Mein Chupa Ke – Mohammad Rafi. A familiar beat for old Bollywood-music lovers to the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. A song I remember well, it still has a nice appeal. Rafi’s voice is lovely. Open-mouthed smile
  • Takra Gaya Tumse – Mohammad Rafi. A sad and contemplative song which I would have liked much better if I didn’t know the scenario. Rafi does this kind of song very well indeed. Smile
  • Man Mera Ehsaan – Mohammad Rafi. Was this the most famous of songs from this film? This is the one I remember best.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Tujhe kho diya – Lata Mangeshkar. A song of loneliness, it reminds me of other songs of the same genre from the fifties. Doesn’t stand out. Disappointed smile
  • Gao Tarane Man Ke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A very bice catchy song, especially the ‘cham cham’ bit! I also enjoyed hearing Rafi, Lata and Shamshad sing together. Open-mouthed smile

I present you this song, not just because its lovely and lively, but also because there is a lot of on-screen colour and drama ! Enjoy! If you want to hear the whole album, click here.

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Listening to: Professor (1962)

Wednesday evenings were special when I was growing up for it was Chitrahaar night on the telly. For half-an-hour I would happily watch the song-and-dance clips from Hindi films, both old and new. Over time I would see most of the songs from a given film and for films I hadn’t seen (i.e. most of them!) I would make up my own story to link the songs all together! Professor is one such film.

I remembered well Shammi Kapoor horsing about in an old man’s disguise in one song. Today at last I decided to find out why. I will leave reviewing to people better qualified to do so,  I just have a few messages to pass on to the cast & crew:

  • To the casting directors : Good choice, Shammi is a natural at comedy. No wonder he got a best actor nomination! You’ve done well with everyone else too.
  • To the  script writers : Good plot. BUT It is NOT funny to poke fun at the overweight, the short and middle-aged single woman who has soft feelings for a man. Have some taste for God’s sake!
  • To the script writers again: In a caper story, think carefully how to rescue your hero at the end. Muddled endings leave a bad taste. Going from comedy to melodrama leaves a worse taste.
  • To Shammi: blue eye-shadow? Really? And you let them do it to you?
  • To Shammi again: Looking a bit portly in some scenes, aren’t you? And you’re still quite young..Just a friendly warning: you are going to end up obese if you don’t do something now!
  • To Darjeeling: I want to see you too, you look a bit like where I live now but with an Indian touch !
  • To the music composers and lyricists : Shabaash!!! Bravo!!! You deserve your Filmfare award – lucky too, lots of good competition that year..

Shankar-Jaikishen, the composing duo have indeed done a wonderful job. The songs sound lovely even after the passing of nearly 50 years. You can hear the whole album here. These are the songs :

  • Hamare Gaon Koi Ayega – Asha Bhonsle & Lata Mangeshkar, Lovely lilting tune with the flavour of the hills of India. Beautiful scenery, pretty girls in colourful costumes dancing on the hillside…what else can one want? Smile
  • Yeh Umr Hai – Asha Bhonsle, Manna Dey, Usha Mangeshkar. Not bad. If you watch the clip, you can admire Shammi’s fantastic old-man-moves. I don't know smile
  • Main chali main chali – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. A happy little tune. Rafi at his best can melt one’s bones. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aye Gulbadan – Mohammed Rafi. If bones not already melted, this can absolutely finish the job! Admire Rafi’s vocal range. Good lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuli Palak Mein – Mohammed Rafi. Enjoyable. Smile
  • Awaaz deke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. Lovely song. Good lyrics too. Lata and Rafi at their best. But doesn’t suit the movie at all. The song has so much depth and emotion, doesn’t fit in this comic romp of a film.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

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Listening to: Piya Ka Ghar (1972)

This is a charming film based on a slender storyline – the difficulties of communal living in a Mumbai chawl (tenement) for a newly married young couple.  Written and directed by the talented Basu Chatterjee, this movie managed to keep me interested in the fate of these two likeable leads and the equally likeable supporting cast. That I think is the charm of the film; they are all likeable! However difficult their situation, they have a certain something in that household which one longs to have.

I remember the songs well from the old days, I even remember the words to a couple of them! It was the memory of those songs which drew me re-watching this film on youtube today. I am glad I did, its a gentle little story and it suited my tired mental & physical state. And the music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal is very pleasing, gently so. The lyrics by Anand Bakshi are adequate.

  • Yeh Zulf Kaisi Hai – Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. Rafi’s voice is gentle and soothing in this very beautiful song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Piya Ka Ghar Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata emotes well in this song, giving voice to a young woman’s dream of her own home. Smile
  • Yeh Jivan Hai – Kishore Kumar. A rather sad song, it is about acceptance and Kishore does a wonderful job. This is song I remembered best. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Bambai shahar ki – Kishore Kumar. I was surprised by this song as I don’t remember ever having heard it before! Didn’t make any impression on me.Sad smile

Instead of offering my favourite song, which is rather sad and contemplative, I present instead the rather charming duet by Rafi and Lata. Yeh Zulf Kaisi Hai indeed – Jaya’s long and beautiful tresses made me quite envious!

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Listening to : Baiju Bawra (1952)

Since I started this blog, I keep drifting again and again towards the music my mother loved. I feel her presence in this music, as I do in so many other areas of my life; the music feels even more dear now that she is gone.

As with much of the music from old films, I was familiar with the music in my childhood before I saw the film. My memory from a viewing on television during my teenage years is unclear; but as an aid to writing this, I saw the film again a few days back. It seems to me that the cast has done an excellent job though the film could have been better edited. But the music, oh the music!! I was awash with tears with the beauty of the music.

The story is that of a classical musician from Chanderi, Baijnath Prasad or Baijnath Mishra (1542-1613) called Baiju Bawra (the crazy). However the film bears only vague resemblance to the account of his life as published in Chanderi’s website. Like Tansen, he was the disciple of Swami Haridas (1512-1607). There is no mention in this film of his connection with the court of Gwalior, which seems to be an important one in real life.

The music of this film about a musician needed to be brilliant, and there it delivers, absolutely. Naushad (1919-2006) won his only (!!!! how’s that possible?) Filmfare award for his music. But he did win the well deserved Padma Bhushan in 1992 many years later. The Filmfare awards being newly instituted, there seems to have been no awards for singers. If there had been awards, Mohammed Rafi would no doubt have swept them all. Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, does a memorable job as well.

I list the tracks with my reactions to them :

  1. Jhoole mein Pawan ke (Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi) Smile  A very nice duet, light and romantic. 
  2. Tu Ganga Ki Mauj  (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Brilliant. Brilliant!!!  The picturisation is very good too. For once, when the hero sings, people actually stop to watch and the girl is embarrassed, as she would be in real life.
  3. Door Koi Gaaye  (Shamshad Begum, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar)Open-mouthed smile  I love the sound of Shamshad Begum’s rustic sound set against Lata’s more polished voice.
  4. Insan Bano (Mohd Rafi) Thinking smile This didn’t appeal, especially in the company of such fantastic songs in the album. 
  5. Bachpan ki Mohabbat (Lata Mangeshkar)   Smile Slow and sweet.
  6. Man tadpat hari darshan ko (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Perfection!!! Everything fits beautifully – Rafi’s voice, the beautiful lyrics, the melody which touches the heart. I do not like the last 1 min 10 secs, which I skip normally.
  7. Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya (Lata Mangeshkar) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Oh what pathos !! The words are written by a man scorned; surely they come from the heart – प्रीत है झूठी प्रीतम झूठा, झूठ है सारी नगरिया  (love is false, my lover is false, the whole world is false) laments Lata. This is her genre, her music. Nobody comes close to her in this kind of song.
  8. O Duniya Ke Rakhwale (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Again, impossibly perfect !! Whom should we praise? The composer, the lyricist and the singer have all come together to form a perfect whole. A showcase for Rafi’s vocal range.
  9. Aaj Gawat Man Mero (Ustad Amir Khan, Pundit Paluskar) Thinking smile A classical number which is not as good as it should be – surely a competition between Tansen and Baiju should have been earth shattering!
  10. Tori Jai Jai (Ustad Amir Khan) Smile Another classical piece, adequate.

With four brilliant songs, I am in a quandary. Presenting just one is impossible, so I shall  feature one of Rafi’s and one of Lata’s. For those who want to listen to all the songs, here’s a link to Musicindiaonine.

 

Tu Ganga ki Mauj–Mohammad Rafi

 

Mohe bhool gaye–Lata Mangeshkar

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Listening to: Aar Paar (1954)

  

  

Music : O.P.Nayyar

Lyrics : Majrooh Sultanpuri

It seems to me that the music of Aar Paar was written to showcase Geeta Dutt’s sultry voice. There are three duets but no male solos at all. I offer my two bits on the songs as listed on Music India Online . The order does not follow the one in the film.

  • Shamshad Begum sings Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar, the title song, a light hearted and melodious track. Listen to the lyrics, they are very well written. The song is delightful, both playful and wistful at the same time.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hoon Abhi Jawan, by Geeta Dutt, has great instrumentals at the start with an Arabic sound. But the rest of the song doesn’t make an impression on me.  Disappointed smile
  • Sun Sun Sun Zalima is a hummable duet by Geeta and Mohammad Rafi. Geeta’s voice is perfect for the ada needed and Rafi sounds very good. Ok song.  I don't know smile
  • Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa is a slow, sad and melodious song  by Geeta.  It has a gentle appeal but does it have longevity in our memories? I think not.  I don't know smile
  • Geeta croons Babuji Dheere Chalna, a  smoky and sensuous number. The action is set in a nightclub, and the song is perfect for that, as it is for Geeta’s voice.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Ye Lo Main Hari Piya is another great song, the melody of which sticks easily in one’s mind. Geeta Dutt performs beautifully as usual. Open-mouthed smile
  • The duet Mohabbat Kar Lo Ji Bhar lo by Mohammad Rafi and Geeta Dutt does not appeal to me. Very pedestrian, in my opinion.Sad smile
  • Na Na Na Na Tauba, a duet by Geeta Dutt and Rafi is picturised on Johnny Walker; it’s a comical number. Rafi is excellent in mimicking Johnny’s style but I still don’t like this song. Sad smile

Do you already have a favourite track? Vote below :

With three good tracks and a couple of ok ones, this album is worth a listen (or re-listen). I present my favourite song here. Check out the talented kids !

Kabhi Aar Kabhie Paar–Shamshad Begum

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A Song for Jaya’s Simplicity

I confess. The moment I think of Jaya Bachchan (Badhuri), I know exactly which song I want to feature in this blog! Still, I sift through the considerably impressive list of her movies and remember them with great pleasure.

It strikes me now that I have a very strong sense of identification with Jaya. I was a young school girl in plaits when I saw her as a school girl in Guddi (1971). I loved ‘Bole re Papihara’ which my sister used to sing so beautifully. My mother loved ‘Main ek raja hoon’ from Uphaar (1971); I can clearly remember her singing the song in a strong Tamil accent as she pottered in the kitchen.  But in these movies Jaya was yet to mature to her full skills as an actress. Jaya grew up just ahead of me, it seems to me, and as I matured in life, so did she in her films.  When she did her matronly and motherly roles, I played the same role in real life.

Bawarchi (1971) was more of a Rajesh Khanna film  so I skip to Parichay (1972) in which I love ‘Beeti na Bitai Raina’, especially Bhupinder’s voice.  I am reminded of ‘Patta Patta Boota Boota’ in Ek Nazar (1972), a personal favourite.  The songs which please me from Shor (1972),  Anamika (1972), Zanjeer (1973), Kora Kagaz (1974) are of male voices. In Chupke Chupke (1975), a movie I adore, her songs don’t stand out, nor do they in Sholay (1975) or in Koshish (1972).

As I sift through her movies, I am amazed at how many excellent movies she has starred in within a short span of time. Did she ever sleep? Overall she leaves us with an impression of simplicity and strength.  In Silsila (1981), the song ‘Sar Se Sarke Chunariya’ is a serious contender and as I watch it now, I am impressed by her ability to emote with every fibre of her being. It also strikes me that Shashi Kapoor was indeed nice eye-candy material! However, I never found any dance numbers, not something in her core-competency I think. The song-and-dance numbers being integral to the success of an Indian film, her achievements without being able to dance well is a testimony to her acting skills.

And so I come to the all time favourite songs I had selected as soon as I thought of Jaya, featured in a brilliant movie in which she gave an outstanding performance.  Now, does that sound like too many superlatives in one sentence? I say no, not for this movie.

Album : Abhimaan (1973)

Music : S.D.Burman

Lyrics : Majrooh Sultanpuri

Singers : Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi

 

Tere Bindiya–Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd Rafi

 

In the clip above, Amitabh impresses me even more than Jaya. But that is for another day. Nobody who has seen the movie could go without mentioning the other equally brilliant song, ‘Tere Mere Milan’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. On hearing it now, I fall in love once more with Kishore Kumar’s voice, which I think is simply peerless.

Tere Mere Milan–Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

 

For those who have not seen the film, I strongly recommend it. You can watch it here. Enjoy!

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Na to karavan ki talash hai

Album : Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)

Song : Na To Karavan Ki Talash Hai

Lyrics : Sahir Ludhianvi

Music : Roshan Lal

Singers : Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra, Shiv Dayal Batish

Form : Qawwali, Hindi Film

For this first post from Hindi films, I hesitated but a few minutes before choosing this song.  There are innumerable pieces of Hindi film music which have become part of my musical world. However, with my deep love of Qawwalis, the absolute mastery over music by Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey, Roshan’s musical genius and the beautiful poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi’s words, this song belongs to the very pinnacle of Hindi Film music.  Just see what the poet says :

woh hanske agar mange toh ham jan bhi de de,
ha yeh jan toh kya chiz hai, iman bhi de de, kyonki

How much more easy to give up ‘jaan’ than ‘iman’ ! One a coward’s way out and the other, the most difficult of things…

and again,

nazo andaz se kehte hain ki jina hoga
zeher bhi dete hain toh kehte hain ki pina hoga
jab mai pita hu toh kehte  hai ki marta bhi nahi
jab mai marta hu toh kehte hain ki jina hoga

How beautifully put !  Hindi/Urdu is certainly the language of poets, don’t you think?

People seem to often come to my site looking for lyrics. As there are other sources on the net which provide exactly that, I shall just redirect you to one of those sites. For the lyrics to this song, look here.

For ten minutes of beautiful music experience, watch the clip below.

Na To Karavan Ki Talash Hai-Mohd Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle

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