Category Archives: Bollywood Music

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.

6 Comments

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).

19 Comments

Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music

Babul Mora

Oh father mine, my natal home is slipping away from me! Four bearers are decorating my palanquin. That which was mine belongs to others, it is slipping away from me!

Wajid Ali ShahA decadent voluptuary? Or a patron of arts and intellectuals? How should we remember Wajid Ali Shah (1822-1887)? He ruled as the last Nawab of Oudh (Awadh) from 1847 to 1856. Even when he ascended the throne, much of the kingdom was already under the hands of the British. At about the same period, the sun was setting on the great Mughal Empire in Delhi as well, under the hands of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Is it a coincidence that both men were patrons of art ?

Wajid Ali Shah started out, it is said, by being a good administrator, in being interested in reforms. However his passion was not for statecraft but for the arts. Statecraft in those times was no easy beast to handle, was it? It is little wonder that he quietly retreated into his own world of pleasure filled with singers, dancers, actors and courtesans. They say that Nero fiddled while Rome burnt. Awadh did not burn, but it did disintegrate while Wajid Ali immersed himself in his life of pleasure. The British called him debauched, saying that his kingdom was maladministered and lawless. They used it as an excuse to annex his kingdom  and exiled him to Kolkata. Historians today are looking with a more kindly eye at him.

But what do I know of matters of State? My interest in him is as a patron of arts. He himself was a composer and had had vocal training as well as training in Kathak. He is said to have created a number of ragas and written prose, poetry and song. Those of you who missed seeing Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977), do take time to see an interpretation of the last years of Wajid Ali’s rule in Oudh. It is a classic, well worth your time. After seeing the film, if interested, click here to read a critique the depiction of Wajid Ali and Ray’s defence.

It is said that when Wajid Ali left his beloved Lucknow, all his subjects lamented his exile. On March 13, 1854, the royal caravan of about 1000 people left towards Kolkata (source). Wajid Ali Shah was distrait. It was in this grief stricken state that he burst forth with Babul Mora.

Oh father mine, my natal home is slipping away from me! Four bearers are decorating my palanquin. That which was mine belongs to others, it is slipping away from me!’ he wails. It  is written as a bidai song, in the voice of a bride as she leaves her father’s home. It is possible to interpret it as the final farewell to the world as four bearers carry one to the final resting place. For lyrics and translation, see footnote.

Babul Mora is the most famous of Wajid Ali Shah’s works and remains in the public consciousness of India due to K.L.Saigal’s memorable rendering of the song in the film Street Singer (1938). It is set to Hindustani Raga Bhairavi; if you want to know more about this raga, here is an excellent resource.

Coming back to my first question : Was Wajid Ali a decadent voluptuary? Or a patron of arts and intellectuals? Somewhere in the middle I would say. I feel a sneaking sympathy for him despite his having let his kingdom get into British hands with nary a fight. You see, I come from the same mould – my furniture is covered with dust, my cupboards look like disaster zones, my ironing pile is taller than I am, but I am spending all day today with my music and my new painting! I will remember him with kindness for he did help preserve, propagate and enrich the wonderful world of Indian music .

K.L.Saigal’s rendition has to come first. Is it even possible to think of this song without thinking of him? The music was composed by Rai Chand Boral.

Too short to satisfy? Listen below to a more detailed, brilliant rendition by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, a master of his art form. This is Bhairavi in despair, exquisite and memorable.

 


Footnote (Lyrics) :

(Saigal’s version)

बाबुल मोरा नैहर छूटो ही जाए |

चार कहार मिल मोरी डोलिया सजावें
मोरा अपना बेगाना छूटो जाए |

अँगना तो पर्बत भया और देहरी भयी बिदेश
ये घर बाबुल आपनो मैं चली पिया के देश |

Transliteration

bAbul mOrA naihar chUTO hI jAyE

chAr kahAr mil mOrI DOliyA sajAvE.n
mOrA apnA bEgAnA chUTO jAyE

a.nganA tO parbat bhayA aur dEhrI bhayI bidesh
yE ghar bAbul ApanO mai.n chalI piyA kE dEsh

Translation

Oh father mine, my natal home is slipping away from me!

Four bearers are decorating my palanquin. That which was mine belongs to others, it is slipping away from me.

The courtyard has become a mountain (=insurmountable) and the threshold, a foreign country. This house is yours now father, I am leaving for my beloved’s land.

21 Comments

Filed under Bhimsen Joshi, Bollywood 30's Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Wajid Ali Shah

Listening to: Purab aur Pachhim (1970)

Purab aur Pachhim To celebrate India’s Republic day on the 26th of January, I decided to watch a film by Bollywood’s own symbol of patriotism, Manoj Kumar. Browsing through his works, I picked Purab aur Pachhim with vague memories of some likeable songs. ‘The East and The West’ says the title, and I knew I was in for some Indo-centric worldview which will appal me in its exaggeration, bias and fabrication. Is this the definition of Patriotism? Not to me. Preparing myself mentally, I readied myself for the film.

 

The film bravely starts with Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’’s soul-stirring words

सरफरोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारे दिल में है।
देखना है जोर कितना बाजु-कातिल में है?”

sarfarOshI kI tamannA ab hamArE dil mE.n hai
dekhnA hai zOr kitnA bAzu-E-qqAtil mE.n hai

The wish to sacrifice is now in our hearts
It is to be seen what strength there is in the arms of our executioners

The tale starts in 1942, in Allahabad. A freedom-fighter falls, betrayed by his a neighbour Harnam (Pran). As he breathes his last, his wife Ganga (Kamini Kaushal) goes into labour and gives birth to a boy, Bharat, who will grow up to be the hero (Manoj Kumar) of our story. Harnam and his wife Kaushalya (Nirupa Roy) break-up over his betrayal and he steals away in the night with their young son Omkar (adult role by Prem Chopra). Kaushalya soon gives birth to a girl, Gopi. The two ladies and the children live with their Harnam’s father (Ashok Kumar).

A grown-up Bharat goes to UK to complete his studies and is invited by his father’s friend Sharma (Madan Puri) to live with his family. His family (wife Rita (Shammi), daughter Preeti (Saira Banu) and son Shankar (Rajendranath))  are not Indian in their outlook, though they are decent folk. Bharat’s coming affects them all in different ways. Sharma remembers again his connection with India and wallows in nostalgia. Shankar is attracted to Indian spirituality and starts exploring it. Preeti is bewildered at first but then starts admiring and later loving Bharat. Rita rests bewildered.

Coincidentally (well, this IS Bollywood!) the Sharma family is acquainted with Harnam and Omkar. Omkar is obsessed with Preeti and wants her at any cost. Preeti is more interested in Bharat and by the time he finishes his studies, they have an understanding that they will marry. But she wants him to stay back abroad while he wants to go back to India. Bharat agrees that if she dislikes India even after an extended stay, he will return to UK with her.

In India, the Sharma family (sans mum) are drawn to the way of life. Drama arrives when Harnam returns and then later Omkar, with evil intentions. After a complicated climax, everything comes to a happy conclusion.

In general, this is a decent enough plot. An Indian family is alienated from its roots; the presence of a patriotic and good Indian man makes them question their values and find a new way of life which they like better. No harm in that at all. Yet there are these not-so subtle messages which are piously put forth in the name of patriotism, but are galling to any intelligent person, especially to an Indian woman like myself who lives outside India. See what Manoj Kumar says

  • An unfaithful and violent husband who abandons a woman is still to be considered God and begged to fulfil his wife’s life !
  • Non-resident Indian women are chain-smoking, alcohol-swigging ladies with no value systems. By the way, this view has not changed much over the years; I recently saw Cocktail in which Deepika Padukone plays a NRI woman who is shown as a party-girl and Diana Penty is, in contrast, the ‘good’ Indian girl!
  • Non-Indian women are all easy!
  • Indians have a monopoly on culture, wisdom, sobriety etc.

‘Love India’  is a message I can live with but ‘Disrespect all other cultures’  is the subtle-undertone of this message, and that I cannot live with. It is to be noted that while spouting Indian values, the writer-director-producer of the film does not hesitate to use nubile sparsely-clothed young ladies to titillate and sell the film at the box-office. Such hypocrisy!

Leaving my (serious) objections aside, the film is well made and watchable. Manoj Kumar’s acting is very low-key which I quite like. Saira Banu is ideally cast for this role and though she does not handle her one emotional scene well, she does a decent enough job for the rest. Supporting cast are all better than the lead actors, especially Pran. Vinod Khanna is totally wasted.

The music by Kalyanji-Anandji is melodious, with Mahendra Kapoor as the star performer – and he does very well indeed!  I found that his voice suits Manoj Kumar very well. The lyrics are mainly by Indeevar with a song contribution each by Santosh Anand and Prem Dhawan.

  • Dulhan Chali – Mahendra Kapoor. Lyrics: Indeevar. Despite the 42 years which have passed by, I reckon this song is still well-recognized in India thanks to its suitability for both baratis and for telly-time on patriotic occasions! A rousing song, well sung. Smile
  • Hai Preet Jahan Ki Reet -Mahendra Kapoor. Lyrics: Indeevar. Though I am not much for over-preachy songs, I was struck by the words. Well done Indeevar! Another patriotic song, with a catchy refrain भारत का रहने वाला हूँ भारत की बात सुनाता हूँ . Shot in a revolving floor of a restaurant, I remember watching the clip as a kid and being quite amazed! Open-mouthed smile
  • Raghupati Raghav – Mahendra Kapoor & Manhar. This traditional and well-loved chant is used in multiple places in the film. Too much drama in some renditions, but Mahendra Kapoor is in good voice. Smile
  • Koi Jab Tumhara-Mukesh. Lyrics: Indeevar. Sad songs somehow sounds sadder in Mukesh’s voice! Well written, well sung song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Purva Suhani Aayi Re – Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Manhar. Lyrics: Santosh Anand.  The rather sad melody doesn’t match the cheerfulness of the words. Shot like an ad for tourism, it is an entertaining watch. Smile
  • Om Jai Jagdish -Mahendra Kapoor, Shyama Chittar, Brij Bushan. This traditional aarti song always sounds good to me. Smile
  • Twinkle Twinkle – Mahendra Kapoor, Asha Bhonsle. Lyrics: Prem Dhawan. Naaaaah…doesnt work for me, this strange mix of nursery rhymes and bhangra music. Sad smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

For today, I have selected Dulhan Chali as my featur song simply because you can enjoy a glimpse of the Republic Day parade in its picturisation. Enjoy!

4 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Mahendra Kapoor

Listening to : Zanjeer (1973)

Zanjeer 1973I picked this film today out of my big stack of yet to see films almost with a sense of duty. You see, my movie watching was censored by my parents in the seventies and violent films like this never made the list. My own leanings also kept me away from this genre. ‘My’  Amitabh Bachchan was the Amitabh of Anand, Abhiman, Silsila, Chupke Chupke and Mili. Realising that I had quite missed the whole ‘Angry Young Man’  phase, I picked up a DVD with three of Amitabh’s action films.  Today I come to the first of these, to a film which was a super-hit and propelled Amitabh to the top tier of Bollywood stardom.

A little boy watches his parents being murdered, traumatised and scarred for life. Vijay grows up to be police officer, an officer who doesn’t hesitate to go out of established procedures and boundaries to deal with criminals.  In short, he has the personality of a vigilante in the garb of a policeman, not a man I could like at all. But I have to say that Amitabh does this ‘brooding, suppressed violence’ personality very well.

Sher Khan (Pran), who runs gambling dens, comes to Vijay’s attention and he takes him on. In a very unconvincing episode, Vijay challenges Sher Khan to a fist fight, after which Sher Khan magically reforms! He also gives his hand in friendship to Vijay. Pran as the Pathan is very well cast and does an impressive job as Sher Khan. Mala (Jaya Bhaduri) is a knife sharpener+ street performer who also comes in contact with Vijay. The gentrified Mala from the later part of the film is more suited to Jaya rather than the loud and rough-edged Mala at the start.

The Big Bad Man in his locality, Teja, who coincidentally happens to be the man who killed his parents, is the next one Vijay unknowingly takes on. In one of the episodes, Mala comes to risk and Vijay invites her to stay with his brother and sis-in-law for safety. They develop a rapport and an understanding. Again, I find this relationship unconvincing. How did they breach the divide of the classes so easily? How did a rough, uneducated woman become so easily gentrified? Its telling that the sis-in-law calls Mala’s clothes as ‘fancy dress’  when she first meets her. The chasm between the educated middle-class and the uneducated low-income workers is real; intimate relationships cannot be built that easily.

Teja manoeuvres Vijay into being convicted of taking bribery and he is jailed for six months. When he comes out of jail, he is an embittered man. Mala convinces him to give up revenge, which he tries but Teja still comes after him. With Mala’s permission Vijay returns to the fray and the ending is satisfyingly predictable.

The film is well-paced with good performances not only by the leads but also by the supporting cast. The script, with coincidences galore, stretches one’s credulity but no more than other Bollywood films of that era. I dislike revenge as a theme; I consider it to be one of the baser instincts of mankind, why celebrate it? I neither admired nor respected the protagonist, so I could not quite like the film. But I am in the minority evidently, this film enjoyed a huge success.

Coming to the music by Kalyanji-Anandji, I can only call it average+. The lyrics are by Gulshan Bawra; there is some decent poetry in places.

  • Chakku Chhuriyan – Asha Bhonsle. A pedestrian song. Asha’s high pitched vocals do not suit Jaya at all. Confused smile
  • Dil Jalon Ka – Asha Bhonsle. This is a club number with Bindu shimmying and wriggling to this song. I like this better than the previous Asha solo, still it is not something I am going to pick out to listen.Thinking smile
  • Diwane Hain Diwanon Ko – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. A nice song with good harmonium interludes. Smile
  • Bana Ke Kyon Bigade Re – Lata Mangeshkar. Well written lyrics and a beautiful melody, sung well by Lata.  Smile
  • Yari Hai Iman Mera – Manna Dey. Undoubtedly the most celebrated song from this film, it is the ultimate ‘bromance’ song. Memorable words. Listen to this :
    जान भी जाए अगर, यारी में यारों ग़म नहीं
    अपने होते यार हो ग़मगीन, मतलब हम नहीं
    हम जहाँ हैं उस जगह, झूमेगी नाचेगी ख़ुशी
    Such a positive spirit !! And then there is this :
    तेरा ममनून हूँ, तूने निभाया याराना
    तेरी हँसी है आज सबसे बड़ा नज़राना
    यार के हँसते ही, महफ़िल पे जवानी आ गई, आ गई
    What a lovely sentiment!
    The music director has delivered the spirit of the words. It is an excellent composition with a lovely melody and interesting changes in tempo. Add to it Manna’s impeccable singing, Pran’s naturalness, Amitabh’s brooding intensity ..and you have a truly memorable song.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart 

My choice for today must be evident by now, enjoy!!

7 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Manna Dey

Listening to: Mere Apne (1971)

Mere Apne 1971Talking to a friend about the films from the seventies which made an impression on me, I remembered Mere Apne and went searching for it on Youtube. Glad to find it, I sat down expecting a treat. I still loved the songs but the movie…hmmm…..

The film opens with an old lady, Anandi (Meena Kumari), who lives alone in a village. We see her being visited by a slimy man (Ramesh Deo) who claims to be a distant relative. He invites her to come and live with his wife and him in the city. Of course our antennas are up, expecting disaster, but Anandi quite innocently accepts his invitation. The director succeeds quite consciously or unconsciously to show us how very cynical we are, how our innocence has been lost.

Anandi is bewildered by the ways of the city. She realises only after being clued in by a servant that she has been brought by the couple to act as an unpaid nanny for their child. दूसरे को अपना कहे जब अपना काम पड़े she says to herself, understanding finally the ways of the world that she has come to. It is a dark world of disillusionment and the disillusioned, of joblessness and violence, of hunger and selfishness that the movie makers want to show us. She acts as our eyes as we are introduced to a world where family values have disappeared and selfishness rules, where the young are lost with none to guide them, where unethical politicians use strong arm tactics and violence rules the streets.

When she gets thrown out of her so called relative’s home, it is Shyam (Vinod Khanna), the leader of one gang, who takes care of her. She in her turn showers affection on the gang members and is slowly making progress in weaning them out of their destructive lives. But will she be able to turn them around? Or will she be destroyed herself? You’ll have to see the film to find out!

When I saw this movie in the eighties, it was already a decade old. It made an impact on me then. Now, in my advanced years, it seems to be too contrived. It is the script which I object to (sorry Gulzar, I do admire you normally!) The cast does a reasonably good job. Meena Kumari is competent if uninspired as the story teller. Vinod Khanna looks young and dashingly handsome and if he looks wooden at times, one is (well, I am) inclined to ignore it! Shatrughan Sinha is a strong and fascinating presence. Asrani, Danny Denzongpa, Paintal and Dinesh Thakur all have roles as gang members and make an impact in their own way. You’ll find many other well-recognizable faces in this cast rich film. Yet no one person stands out. Is that good or is that bad?

My issues with the script are manifold. Why is a woman praiseworthy when she puts up with a man threatening to beat her at every turn? Why is a woman bad because she dresses in western clothes and goes out to work? Why are old ways always better than new ones? Why is village life always better than city life? Why is being progressive evil? There are some skewed perceptions here…

The music by Salil Chowdhury is beautiful and Gulzar has written some memorable words. There are only three songs, all three very pleasing.

  • Haal Chaal Thik Thak Hai – Kishore Kumar, Mukesh. This sarcastic and political song is very well crafted and sung. Interludes on the mouth organ and the whistling add a nice touch. Kishore does his trademark yodelling making me nostalgic for that era of music!Open-mouthed smile
  • Koi Hota Jisko Apna – Kishore Kumar. One of my all time favourites. Gulzar’s words touch the heart, see how well they are scripted!
    कोई होता जिसको अपना हम अपना कह लेते यारों |

    पास नहीं तो दूर ही होता लेकिन कोई मेरा अपना  ||

    आँखों में नींद न होती आँसूं ही तैरते रहते |
    ख्वाबों में जागते हम रात भर ||
    कोई तो ग़म अपनाता कोई तो साथी होता || (कोई होता)

    भूला हुआ कोई वादा बीती हुई कुछ यादें |
    तनहाई दोहराती है रात भर ||
    कोई दिलासा होता कोई तो अपना होता | (कोई होता)

    Salil Chowdhury’s music adds a melting pathos to the words but it is Kishore Kumar who raises the song from good to great. Superb.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

  • Roz Akeli Aayee – Lata Mangeshkar . This is somewhat of a hidden gem ; though I remembered the other two songs distinctly, I had forgotten about this one. A gentle and beautiful melody. Smile

To hear the whole album, click here.

My today’s choice was a forgone conclusion, even before I sat down to see the film. Here is Kishore’s Koi Hota. Enjoy!

8 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar

Listening to: Gharonda (1977)

Gharonda2Gharonda1

The title ‘Nest’ is an excellent one for the film, one of the few I have seen on the subject of lack of housing in Mumbai. An interesting and well made film with a good cast and excellent music, it has been largely ignored by Bollywood bloggers. The only review I read was scathing which surprised me as I found the film to be a good watch. 

A young woman Chaaya (Zarina Wahab) joins a small business as a typist. She had been interviewed and selected by the well-to-do, middle-aged owner Mr. Modi (Shreeram Lagoo). A widower, he is introduced to us as recovering from a heart problem.

At work, a rather chaloo young man, Sudeep (Amol Palekar), stars a flirtation and soon the two start spending a lot of free time together. One would think that they are in love. Puzzlingly the song Tumhe ho na ho, which shows the mental status of the young woman, tells us that much as she enjoys his company, she is certain that she is not in love with him. It is puzzling because we see that they seem to be much engrossed in each other and soon decide to marry. The one big hurdle is the lack of housing in Mumbai and when they put a deposit for a flat in a new construction site, they are both very happy.

In the meanwhile, Chaaya is uncomfortably aware of the interest shown towards her by Mr.Modi. She learns early on that she was hired for her resemblance to the late Mrs.Modi. Even though there is no overtly inappropriate advances by Mr.Modi, he shows her favouritism and her guard is up. There is soon a confrontation with her saying ‘आपके मन में पाप है ‘ (you have sin in your mind) while he responds gravely saying ‘तुम मुझे अच्छी लगती हो’ (I like you) and that he would like to marry her.

The construction the young couple have invested in turns out to be fraudulent and it leaves them both in shock. ‘I cannot fight this battle where one is lost before one starts’ says Sudeep. ‘It looks as if one can climb here (in this city) only by putting one’s feet on someone else’s head’. In this important scene of the film, we come to know the mind-sets of the two protagonists, which is critical in understanding their actions to come. Sudeep wants Chaaya to accept Mr.Modi’s proposal as he is unwell and would not live long. After he dies, his wealth would be theirs. Her first response is ‘छी! किसी की कब्र पे मेरा घर बनाऊँगी ?’ ‘Shall I make my house on someone’s tombstone?”. I enjoyed Gulzar’s unmistakable hand in the dialogues, like for example इस शहर के लोग रोने के लिए नहीं कंदा देते, मरने तक इंतज़ार करते हैं कंदा देने के लिए .

But the seed planted takes root. Chaaya is disillusioned with Sudeep. She also wants to help her brother with his higher education and agrees to marry Mr.Modi with a mercenary intention. She tries to fit into her new life but is conflicted in many ways. But she finally manages to reconcile her conflicts and accepts her husband whole heartedly. He also thrives in this marriage and his health improves.

But Sudeep doesn’t fare well. He can’t accept the loss of his girl. Perhaps he never meant her to follow the suggestion he thought of in despair? He is also hunted by the loan-sharks from whom he had borrowed for the disaster of a flat purchase.

How will it all resolve itself? Will it resolve itself? The ending seemed a bit hurriedly put together and I didn’t find it well convincingly scripted but then I’ll let you see it and decide for yourself.

Shreeram Lagoo carries the film ably with Amol Palekar and Zarina Wahab doing good jobs in their roles. Jalal Agha has given an excellent performance in a supporting role, as also Sudha Mehra whom I have always admired for her acting skills.

The music is excellent but I give first credit to Gulzar and Naqsh Lyallpuri’s beautiful poetry which Jaidev has moulded expertly into music.

  • Tumhe ho na ho – Runa Laila. Excellent lyrics and charmingly sung by Runa Laila. After seeing it, I wanted to eat chaat in Chaupati too! Jaidev has made his music match Naqsh Lyallpuri’s poetry perfectly. I had mistakenly thought this to be Gulzar’s work but thanks to a reader, I stand corrected.  Open-mouthed smile Red heart

    मुझे प्यार तुमसे नहीं है नहीं है मगर मैं यह राज़ अब तक न जाना
    कि  क्यूँ प्यारे लगते हैं बातें तुम्हारे मैं  क्यूँ तुमसे मिलने का ढूँढूं बहाना
    कभी मैंने चाहा तुम्हे छू के  देखूँ कभी मैंने चाहा तुम्हे पास लाना
    मगर फिर भी इस बात का यकीन है मुझे प्यार तुमसे नहीं है नहीं

  • Do diwane sheher mein – Bhupinder and Runa Laila. Well written by Gulzar, beautifully sung and charmingly filmed, it shows how songs can be incorporated convincingly even in a non-masala film. When the hero and heroine caper, they give in now and then to giggles at themselves and are very aware of making a spectacle of themselves!Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Ek akela ik sheher mein – Bhupinder. The sad version of the above song. Very beautifully written and sung. Gulzar always shines in his sad poetry . How cleverly he writes! Take for example : जीने की वजह तो कोई नहीं मरने का बहाना ढूंढता है  Open-mouthed smileRed heart

To listen to the full album, click here.

As there are basically only two songs, and both very good, I am going to embed both for you. Enjoy!

 

12 Comments

Filed under Bhupinder, Bollywood 70's Music, Runa Laina

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 !!

6 Comments

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

Listening to: Talash (1969)

Talash 1969Help! Something is seriously wrong with me! My brain has been gobbled up by aliens! I watched Talash last week and although the movie stars Rajendra Kumar for whom I cannot find one complimentary adjective, although the comedy track, which is not in the least comic, seems to have more screen time than the main story, although the story stretched my credulity to its limits, I was riveted by it! I need Help (capital intended)!

Demand On Credulity(DOC) 1: So there is this young man Raju, just out of college, played by Rajendra Kumar who is all of 40 years old in real life! DOC2: His bosom pal and class mate is played by O.P.Ralhan, who is only a few years older at 45! Raju’s stated ambition in life is not just to be rich, but super rich. He takes up a clerical job in Ranjit Rai’s (Balraj Sahni) business and after some hiccups, impresses his boss.

DOC3: On a holiday in…now where was this? I’ve lost my notes..let’s call it a hill station, he is mistaken for a prince. And from where does he get his princely garments pray? This prince thread is quite superfluous to the story, just an add-on to enhance sex-appeal of a star with very little sex-appeal. He meets a village girl Gauri (Sharmila Tagore, who is a nubile young this and an age appropriate 23 years old in real life) with whom he falls in love and thankfully for us, sings some nice songs with. He promises to come back on a particular festival day and marry her. She says if he doesn’t come she will kill herself.  Any sensible person would have been put off  by this statement, googling ‘self destructive psychosis’ to find out what’s wrong with her and how fast he can run away from her, but not our hero. Sounds risky then to leave it until the last day then, wouldn’t you think? And yet, DOC4: we will see that the hero will make no allowances  for transport issues, bad weather, villains and such but leave it all until the very last moment!!

Back at work, he gets invited to a party at his Boss’s home to celebrate the return of his only daughter, Madhu, from abroad. Sharmila and her dimple look delightful in spite of weird hairdos. DOC5: Though she is a dead ringer for Gauri, Raju though confused does not recognize her! But of course, she is none but Gauri. To test his love, she sends out lures (tut-tut!) and is upset when he succumbs finally. Surely this is entrapment? DOC6: Worse still, she gets her father to offer unbelievable amounts of money to lure him to marry Madhu and poor Balraj Sahni has to use his not-to-be-sniffed-at histrionic skills for a most inappropriate action. The ending is obvious enough. DOC7: When Raju realises what Gauri/Madhu has been about, he laughs aloud instead of strangling her!!

O.P.Ralhan, who is both the writer and director of the film, gives himself a most undeserved, meaty role as the sidekick. This secondary plot has more drama than even the main one! Helen has a nice role and the supporting cast do a decent enough job.

Now that I have revealed all, you would think that I sat through it with a supercilious air, sniffing my nose at the odd goings on. Not so. I was riveted to the screen and at times even abandoned my ironing so I could pay better attention to the dialogue!! I have no explanation. It must be the brain-slurping aliens. That’s what it is. And the music by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. You will notice that I have given a big smile to all songs except one! Here are the tracks:

  • Meri Duniya Hai Ma – S.D.Burman. I have a great liking for songs sung by S.D. and this is no exception. He has an ethnic and plaintive note to his voice which I love. But honestly, this absurd ‘ma’ devotion! I am a mum and I love my mum too and we are a super-species, absolutely. But this level of dripping sentimentality? Yikes!  And surely its a bit too much for a 40 year-old Rajendra Kumar pretending to be 20 something to say ‘My life is in your aanchal’ to his mum, played by Sulochana who is – hold your breath – only 1 year older to him in real life! But what a song!  Open-mouthed smile
  • Kar Le Pyar – Asha Bhonsle. This is Asha singing for Helen’s cabaret number and the combination is fantastic! Who but Asha can flutter down the scale saying ‘haseen’ just so? Asha and Helen at their best. Nice 60’s club-style instrumentals. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Palkon Ke Peeche – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. Very unique composition, with rather a staccato feel to it, unusual for Indian music.  Nice sitar & flute interludes. Very well sung. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aaj Ko Junli Raat – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. A memorable duet. I felt though that the sound was a bit sad, not suitable for the celebratory feel that the occasion warranted. It also struck me on seeing poor Rajendra Kumar make his moves that its not often that yesteryear heroes had to actually dance, not just strike poses and look admiringly at the wriggling heroines. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tere Naina Talash – Manna Dey. Excellent song. Manna Dey is the king of this genre. S.D. has outdone himself with this song based on Raag Chayanat. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khai Hai Re Hamne Kasam – Lata Mangeshkar. S.D. has incorporated some nice folk-sensibilities into this slow and gentle song. Lata’s voice is velveteen. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kitni Akeli – Lata Mangeshkar. Another very melodious solo by Lata. The very simplicity of the song is its strong appeal. Open-mouthed smile
  • Mera Kya Sanam – Asha Bhonsle, Mahendra Kapoor. Even an album as good as this one needs a black-spot, kahin nazar na lag jaye. This is my least favourite and yet its not too bad. I don't know smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My choice for the day is the title song by Manna Dey.

And to admire Asha’s expertise in this genre and Helen’s shaking of her tail feathers, here is Kar Le Pyar by Asha Bhonsle.

10 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 60's Music

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!

17 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Mukesh