Category Archives: Shamshad Begum

Listening to: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Mughal E AzamA prince, the heir apparent of a vast empire, falls in love with a slave, a dancing girl, and wants to make her his future Empress. The Emperor, his father, puts a stop to it. This legend  about Salim (later known as Jehangir), the son of Akbar, and Anarkali has caught the imagination of generations of Indians. I have a post on Anarkali, another film made on the same story. Mughal-E-Azam is a much better version with better production, better actors and better music.

But before I say more – this is not an unbiased review. Some films have such an epic status that they cannot be viewed in an unbiased manner. Can one ever criticize Ben Hur, the Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind? Mughal-E-Azam has the same status and I can only view it with awe.

Madhubala as Anarkali glows and dances her way into our hearts. Dilip Kumar is dark and intense as only he can be and delivers some wonderful lines.  It is indeed poignant that Madhubala and Dilip were in fact doomed lovers in real life as well; with life echoing the film, Madhubala’s father was opposed to the match. Prithviraj Kapoor is majestic as Akbar and Durga Khote gives great support as Jodha Bhai as does Nigar Sultana as Bahaar.

There are some clever touches throughout the film. The sculptor as the voice of truth, the observer, is nicely integrated. A glimpse of Salim as a spoilt little boy makes us wonder if by fighting a war with his father for his slave girl, is he just being a spoilt little man? It also made me think of Edward VIII who abdicated the British throne for an equally unsuitable woman. Anarkali first comes into the court with anklets tinkling; this is nicely contrasted when she comes later in the movie with chains clanging. In the beginning, the story revolves around her but in the later half, she seems to become no more than a pawn in the ego-game between father and son. The father-son fight for supremacy was not so extraordinary in those times; in real life, Salim will go on to blind his own son in a political move.

Dialogues are impressive and kept me on my toes, given that my Urdu is not so good. The subtitles were indeed useful. Often, I forgot about the story and just enjoyed the words, like for example when Salim faces Akbar with या परवर दिगारे आलम से आप ने मुझे इसी लिए माँगा था कि ज़िन्दगी मुझे मिले और उसके मालिक आप ? साँसें मेरी हों और दिल के धडकनों पे आप का कब्ज़ा रहे ? दीन-ए-इलाही क्या मेरी ज़िन्दगी आप की दुआओं का कर्जा है जो मुझे आंसुओं से अदा करना पड़ेगा ?

The music by Naushad is extraordinarily beautiful and  Shakeel Badayuni has written beautiful poetry in the form of lyrics. But it is Lata who makes this album a triumph with her absolutely impeccable singing.

  • More Panghat Pe Nandalal – Lata Mangeshkar. A slow and incredibly sweet song with nice lyrics to which the stunning Madhubala dances enticingly. It is unusual to have a slow song which sounds so happy. Lata does great justice to  Raga Gara. The lyrics are simple but really nice!
    मोहे पनघट पे नंदलाल छेड़ गयो रे
    मोरी नाज़ुक कलैय्या मरोड़ गयो रे
    कंकरी मोहे मारी गगरिया फोड़ डाली
    मोरी साडी अनाड़ी भिगो गयो रे
    नयनों से जादू किया जियरा मोह लिया
    मोरा घुंघटा नज़रिया से खोल गयो रे
    Dilip Kumar emotes falling in love so well with just his eyes that my heart gave a little flip!   Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Shubh Din Ayo – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Only part of the song seems to have been used in the film. It did not catch my attention.I don't know smile
  • Teri Mehfil – Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum. A qawwali with female voices, the lyrics are excellent and beautifully illustrate the feelings of both ladies. Bahar says
    ‘मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
    तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें भरना घुट के मर जाना
    किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’The story of those who love is to suffer quietly, sigh deeply and die silently. One day I too will watch this act out with a smile’.
    and she goes on to try and destroy the grand romance. Anarkali likewise says
    ‘मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
    ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे दुनिया याद करती है
    किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’I agree that love destroys life. But isn’t it enough that once you die the world will remember you? I too will like to see how it is to lose my life in the name of love’. See footnote for lyrics. An important song in the narrative and truly memorable.Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Hamen Kash Tumse – Lata Mangeshkar. Slow song. A little confusing because though there is no need to be sad, it sounds very sad. I don't know smile
  • Prem Jogan Banke – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. This classical song was sung by the illustrious Maestro in raag Sohni. Very touching, deep. Love it without reservations. There is an interesting story connected with this song, click here to read. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Ae Ishq Yeh Sab Duniya Wale – Lata Mangeshkar. I don’t remember this song from previous viewings – and I know why! Not included in the colour version. Disappointed smile
  • Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – Lata Mangeshkar. The combination of memorable lyrics, great melody, Lata’s voice, Madhubala’s dance and a great set makes this THE iconic song of this film. The defiant परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से बंदों से परदा करना क्या (When there is no hiding from God, why hide before men?) is a defining moment. See footnote for lyrics. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Mohabbat Ki Jhooti – Lata Mangeshkar. How effortlessly and sweetly Lata’s voice traverses the octave! Lovely sad song.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye – Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely little prayer song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Mohabbat Zindabad – Mohammad Rafi. This is the message song and has a rousing, political style with a chorus, it is said, of a hundred voices. I am not sure I like it much.  I don't know smile
  • Jab Rat Ho Aisi Matwali – Lata Mangeshkar. Beautiful poetry, Kudos to Shakeel Badayuni for writing these lovely words.
    नगमों से बरसती है मस्ती छलके हैं खुशी के पैमानेआज ऐसी बहारें आयीं है कल दिन में बनेंगे अफसाने
    अब इस से ज़्यादा और हसीन ये प्यार का मौसम क्या होगा
    जब रात है ऐसी मतवाली फिर सुबह का आलम क्या होगा  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuda Nigehban Ho – Lata Mangeshkar. The farewell song, sad. But not gripping.Smile

This album would probably feature among the All-Time-Best-Top-10 from Bollywood. To listen to the whole album, click here.

For my selection of the day, I cannot but present the iconic song of the film first :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

Teri Mehfil : Because I like Qawwalis and because the lyrics are outstanding,

If you’ve caught the Mughal-E-Azam bug and want to listen to two more outstanding songs :

More Panghat Pe Nandalal : For Madhubala’s dance and Dilip Kumar’s expression.

Prem Jogan Ban Ke : For the pleasure of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s singing and for the simmering and sultry chemistry between Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.

 


 

Footnote (Lyrics) :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

इन्सान किसी से दुनिया में इक बार मुहब्बत करता है
इस दर्द को लेकर जीता है, इस दर्द को लेकर मरता है

प्यार किया तो डरना क्या जब प्यार किया तो डरना क्या
प्यार किया कोई चोरी नहीं की छुप छुप आहें भरना क्या

आज कहेंगे दिल का फ़साना जान भी लेले चाहे ज़माना
मौत वही जो दुनिया देखे घुट घुट कर यूँ मरना क्या

उनकी तमन्ना दिल में रहेगी, शम्मा इसी महफ़िल में रहेगी
इश्क़ में जीना इश्क़ में मरना और हमें अब करना क्या

छुप न सकेगा इश्क़ हमारा चारों तरफ़ है उनका नज़ारा
परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से  बंदों से परदा करना क्या


Teri Mehfil :

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
घड़ी भर को तेरे नज़दीक आकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
तेरे कदमों पे सर अपना झुका कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

बहारें आज पैगाम-ए-मोहब्बत लेके आयीं हैं
बड़ी मुद्दत मे उम्मीदों की कलियाँ मुस्कुराईं हैं
गम-ए-दिल से ज़रा दामन बचाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

अगर दिल गम से खालि हो तो जीने का मज़ा क्या है
ना हो खून-ए-जिगर तो अश्क पीने का मज़ा क्या है
मोहब्बत मे ज़रा आंसू  बहाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें  भरना घुट के मर जाना
किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे  दुनिया याद करती है
किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

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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: 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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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum