Category Archives: Mukesh

Listening to: Kati Patang (1970)

Kati PatangSeeing my ironing pile increase to an Everest-like magnificence, I decided to get down to some movie-watching. What’s the connection you ask? Well, I can’t iron without entertainment! I checked my list of to-see films and chose Kati Patang.  Though I know the music intimately, I have never seen this film before.

A young-woman, Madhu (Asha Parekh), runs away to her beloved on the day of her arranged marriage to a man unseen (which era is this?!!). Her beloved does not deserve the title, for he is a cad, only after her money. She is shocked (but why? this is Prem Chopra, what can she expect?) only to find her uncle and guardian is dead. She leaves then (no funeral?), running to nowhere, when she meets a widowed friend travelling with her small child to meet her in-laws for the first time. The train crashes and her friend dies, demanding a death-bed promise that Madhu pretend to be her (but why?) and go to her in-laws with her baby. The taxi she catches turns out to have a dastardly driver and she is rescued by Kamal (Rajesh Khanna) who happens to be the groom she has run away from!

Do the coincidences befuddle your brain as much as they do mine?

Kamal and Madhu fall in love, but she is a pretending to be a widow and re-marriage is not easily accepted in society. Kailash the Cad (Prem Chopra) is alerted by his girl-friend Shabnam (Bindu) and comes to blackmail Madhu. She tries to resist but it is not easy. In the meanwhile, Madhu writes to Kamal confessing her story but the letter falls in the hands of her father-in-law Dinanath (Nasir Hussain). He is angry at first but then he accepts her and even talks to Kamal’s father, arranging Madhu’s marriage with Kamal.

Tragedy strikes when Kailash the Cad poisons Dinanath the FIL and Madhu is taken into custody by the police. Will her innocence be proven? Do Kamal and Madhu have a future together? Well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out!

I do hate it when script-writers pretend to give a social message but are in fact manipulating the audience. Is this film meant to encourage widow re-marriage in traditional families? But then Madhu is not really a widow, is she? Blast, I am not supposed to see through their ruse, am I? There were other instances of audience manipulation which I found distasteful but I admit, I am just being picky. This is Bollywood, its par for the course.

Rajesh Khanna proves why he was such a success. He has this certain intensity….hmmm, I am a woman after all, you must forgive me if I fall for a man’s charm now and then!  Asha is not my favourite but she does a reasonable job. Prem Chopra is as slimy as a badly cooked okra and Bindu is Ooooomph incorporated, especially in her next-to-nothing costume for her dance sequence. I imagine she caused a sensation in those more innocent times!  Overall, the film is watchable especially given the lovely songs.

The music by R.D.Burman is the highlight of this film and Anand Bakshi has done a superb job of the lyrics.

  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar. Charming. Truly. Is there anyone who can emote so beautifully with their voice like Kishore? Is there anyone who can emote to Kishore’s voice like Rajesh? A masterclass in Bollywood singing-lip synching. Open-mouthed smile
  • Pyar Diwana Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar. Its impressive how Kishore never over-does things, however capable he is. This is a simple melody and he has sung it simply without any flourishes. I like the simplicity of the lyrics too – सुनो किसी शायर ने यह कहा बहुत खूब, मना करे दुनिया लेकिन मेरे महबूब (Some poet has wisely said, the world may deny it, but my beloved is still my beloved). Well said!  Smile
  • Mera Naam Hai Shabnam – Asha Bhonsle. Hmmm. Not much to my taste but Bindu looks sensational! Disappointed smile
  • Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh. I love this song! I know there are many Mukesh detractors out there, but when he does a superb job, what’s there to say but वाह वाह ? Anand Bakshi has outdone himself with the romance of his lyrics.

    जिस चमन में तेरे पग में कांटे छुबे
    उस चमन से हमें फूल चुनना नहीं
    (In the garden where your feet are hurt by thorns,
    I don’t wish to pick flowers from that garden)

    Ah, I melt! Open-mouthed smileRed heart

  • Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar. A cheerful number with Kishore showing his yodelling skills. And his masterful rendition of  ऐसा लगे जैसे की तू हसके ज़हर कोई पिये जाय !  Oh! Smile

  • Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata’s voice is flawless and the interludes lovely. The lyrics are excellent, if a bit depressing. Judge for yourself :
    आकाश से गिरी मैं इक बार कट के ऐसे
    दुनिया ने फिर न पूछो लूटा है मुझको कैसे
    ना किसी का साथ है ना किसी का संग है
    मेरी ज़िन्दगी है क्या इक कटी पतंग है
    (I have been cut (like a kite) and fallen from the skies
    don’t ask how the world has treated me hence
    I have no one by my side, I have no one to be with
    My life is but like a kite with its string cut
    )
    Beautifully written and sung. Open-mouthed smile

  • Aaj Na Chodenge – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeskhar. A popular enough Holi song, sung with enthusiasm by Kishore. See how different his voice sounds compared to Yeh Sham Mastani – he brings a roughness, an earthiness into his singing. Clever. And R.D has created an equally clever mix between the exuberance of Kishore’s singing and the sadness of Lata’s verses.Smile

My choice for today is Mukesh’s song. This in no way denies my worship of Kishore’s voice!

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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

A Song for the Khanna Charisma

 

Rajesh Khanna was named a ‘Phenomenon’ by the press of those times. There was a period when he ruled the box office like no other actor before him. His films were all super hits, he had a crazed fan following, and the songs he lip synched were lip synched by all of India.

How did he do it? A man of average looks and average stature has an uphill task in the mainstream Indian film industry; this is a land where a beautiful actor with no talent can succeed more easily than a talented actor with no looks. So why did he succeed? I think perhaps because he had Charisma with a capital C!

In trying to choose a song for him, I am overwhelmed because many of the songs associated with him are very dear to me. I was an impressionable young girl in his times of success and though I didn’t watch many films I was passionate about the music. I remember hours of late evenings spent on our छत, the flat rooftop/balcony, looking up at the stars while holding a transistor radio to my ears (no you young ones, we didn’t have mp3 players at that time !)  Let me mark the ones I remember best.

I start down memory lane with Mere Naseeb Mein Ae Dost (Kishore Kumar) from Do Raste (1969), a perfect song for Rajesh Khanna. In the same year, there was Woh Sham Kuch Ajeeb Thi (Kishore Kumar) from Khamoshi (Thank you Priti!), a beautiful song with the black-and-white cinematography being a perfect setting for its introspective mood. My friend from Bangalore admits to an addiction to Jeevan se Bhari Teri Aankhen (Kishore Kumar) from Safar (1970); this addiction I understand, its a lovely song indeed! Kati Patang (1970) with its bold theme for those days offered good music; what I like best is Jis Gali Mein Tera Ghar sung by Mukesh. Though the voice match is not that good, Rajesh Khanna was a master of lip-synching and he made it convincing. While Kishore’s Ye Shaam Mastani from the same film is a better voice match, I prefer the soulful and sad songs for Rajesh Khanna.  I believe that was his niche.

The other song by Mukesh which I consider to be a Rajesh Khanna gem is Zuban Pe Dard Bhari Dastan from Maryada (1971). This and Manna Dey’s Tum Bin Jeevan from Bawarchi are the rare exceptions in my long list of Kishore Kumar songs. Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna were such a superb team that at one stage it was difficult to think of one without the other, Kishore was Rajesh’s voice.

I’ll start with Amar Prem’s two gems, Chingari and Kuch to Log Kahenge. A movie with such fantastic music that I will need to write a separate post for it. O Mere Dil Ke Chain  from Mere Jeevan Sathi (1972) was a favourite when it was released as was Mere Dil Mein Aaj from Daag (1973). From Namak Haram (1973), Main Shayar Badnam comes to mind.  The only duet I offer is Karwate Badalte Rahein (Kishore, Lata) from Aap Ki Kasam (1974), a movie with excellent music. Rajesh Khanna’s chemistry with Mumtaz is remarkable. I will not mention Aradhana again as I have already done a post on that album.

I add two more songs to my Kishore-Rajesh list : Yeh Lal Rang from Prem Nagar (1974) and Mera Naina Sawan Bhadon from Mehbooba (1976). That was the end of Rajesh Khanna’s rule as the film Sholay in 1975 had already established Amitabh Bachchan at the top.

Inspite of the perfection of the Kishore-Rajesh team, the song that I have picked to feature today is not by Kishore Kumar but by Mukesh. The film Anand (1970) was a tear-jerker. When it ran, it was adulated to an extraordinary extent. I remember as if it were yesterday the lights coming on at the end of the film and the whole theatre streaming out, tears rolling down their faces. The song Kahin Door is blessed with a beautiful melody from its composer Salil Choudhury. The lyrics by Yogesh are equally memorable. As I grow older, they seem more and more meaningful to me. Who in my generation will not resonate with :

ये मेरे सपने यहीं तो हैं अपने मुझसे जुदा न होंगे इनके ये साये  (these dreams of mine, aren’t these the only things truly mine; their shadows will never part with me).

The song seems almost prophetic. The poet writes of an approaching sunset to a life which must end soon. The clip below features a silent Amitabh Bacchan, who, within a few years, would tumble Rajesh Khanna from his throne, whose sun would indeed set.

Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye–Mukesh

 

For those who would like to wallow in nostalgia, like I have, and listen to the songs I have mentioned, you can listen to this playlist in Youtube. Enjoy!

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Listening to : Anari (1959)

 

Music : Shankar – Jaikishen

Lyrics : Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri

 

 

 

What a nice album! I am not surprised that it won the Filmfare awards for Music, Lyrics and Best Playback Singer (Male) in the year it was released.  The music feels fresh and lovely even now. I am listing the songs in order of the tracks in Music India Online but they are again not in the order of appearance in the film. I must say that disturbs me, as the songs have their own narrative which is lost by this strange order.

  • Sab Kuch Seekha Maine (Mukesh) The song suits Raj Kapoor to a T. a very popular title song. Smile
  • Dil Ki Nazar Se (Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar) is the second duet in the film by order of appearance. A joyous song, sung to perfection.Open-mouthed smile
  • Tera Jana (Lata Mangeshkar) A sad song, it is interesting in that its beat is not that slow. A genre in which Lata excels. Smile
  • Woh Chand Khila (Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh) is  the only track with lyrics by Hasrat  Jaipuri. Beautifully composed and sung, it is enhanced by Nutan’s luminous screen presence. Has there been any actress as beautiful as Nutan looks in this song? Its almost unearthly !Open-mouthed smile
  • Kisi ki Muskuharat (Mukesh) This song introduces Raj Kapoor’s character in the film. An upbeat song with a catchy tune, it has a staccato feel to it. Cleverly composed and well sung.Smile
  • Nineteen Fixty Six (Lata and Manna Dey) Totally fails to capture my interest. A Helen dance number, it isn’t up to the standard of the rest of the album.Sad smile

To admire Nutan’s beauty and this brilliant song, listen to the clip below :

Woh Chand Khila – Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh

 

I must say though that I don’t see the appeal of the persona that Raj Kapoor so often adopted in his films. I am perhaps in the minority, as his films were very successful. He has a dialogue about social conscience in this film, near the end, which explains what he was trying to say however he seems to associate honesty, integrity and humanity only with poverty and with naivety touching upon ignorance. The line differentiating the unworldly, the  unsophisticated with the ignorant and the foolish is a blurry line indeed. As much as I admire the stellar qualities I listed above, I would only truly admire it when it is a result of a mind as sharp as sabre, a mind which arrives on these qualities by intellectually assessing their superiority and mindfully selecting them, not arriving upon them by mischance or naiveté. But we are talking about the music in this blog, and the music of Anari is stellar indeed.

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