Category Archives: Bollywood 70’s Music

Listening to: Lal Patthar (1971)

Lal Pathar1यह है फतेहपुर सिकरी | इसे शाहंशाह अकबर ने बसाया था | इसकी वीरानी और ख़ामोशी में अजीब कशिश है| जादू सा है | इसलिए मैं यहाँ बार बार खींचा चला आता हूँ | और फिर भी दिल नहीं भरता |

“This is Fatehpur Sikri. Emperor Akbar established it. There is strange attraction in its emptiness and silence. A kind of magic. That is why I am drawn to come here again and again. And even then I remain unsatiated.”

Thus starts the film in Raaj Kumar’s Lal Pathar2impeccable voice. How could I not like this film? I feel exactly the same way! Here’s the Durgah of Salim Chisti where I heard the most beautiful music many many years ago.

The protagonist is Prince Gyanshankar, a man tortured by what he considers to be his inherited ‘bad blood’ – there is madness in the family. He lives a controlled life to keep a reign on himself. His character is briskly established at the start of the film and though I did cringe at the tiger hunt, it added to describing him as a man.

He rescues a young and beautiful widowed woman from bandits and then from her in-laws who ill-treat her. He establishes her as his concubine in his palace, going so far as to give her the jewellery his mother had left for his future wife. He says ‘तुम्हे इन गहनों पे पूरा अधिकार है’ – you have full rights over this jewellery. It sounds like a defining moment in their relationship. He gives her a new name to cement their relationship – does that symbolise a cut-off from her previous life? Saudamini is dead and Madhuri comes to life. 

Hema is gorgeous once she sheds her window’s whites. Gyanshankar seems to have Pygmalion like intentions, trying to change an illiterate and uncultured woman to be a suitable partner for a Nawab. But Madhuri is no Eliza.  Her English teacher says ‘Rani sahiba is rather dull-headed’. Though she cleans up well and learns to read, she falls short of his needs in a companion.

Ten years pass. When he realises it, he is shocked. But why? Was this not the life he chose? In spite of his apparent acceptance of his ‘tainted blood’, he must have had some expectations of his life which did not come to pass.

He chances upon a Lal Pathar3young and lovely singer and as before, he selects another woman to adorn his life without really getting to know her. Its consistent with his character but not normal for a prince who is marrying ‘to do his duty’, as he puts it. In effect, he buys her from a drunkard father with gambling problems. History repeats itself; once more he picks a beauty in a helpless situation. Does he have a need to be needed, to be looked up to ? Does he not feel equal to women of his own social level? What happens when the concubine and his wife have to share his favours?

Well, you’ll have to see the film to answer that! I have to warn you that the climax is a bit of nonsense, totally illogical. Script-writers seem to like mad characters so as to get away with anything, but it doesn’t work. However the strength of the first half carries the film. Raaj Kumar gives a controlled performance and Rakhee does reasonably well. Hema Malini has lost an opportunity to shine as her role is strong, but she doesn’t impress. Her interview  here seems to be a bit of an excuse. Vinod Mehra provides very decent support.

Shankar-Jaikishen have given a solid album with some very good music here.

  • A Aaja Dikhaoon – Asha Bhonsle. Disappointing. Sad smile
  • Unke Khayal Aaye To – Mohammad Rafi. A beautiful ghazal with some memorable lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri.   इस दिल से आ रही है किसी यार की सदा, वीरान मेरा दिल था बसा के चले गए Open-mouthed smile
  • Sooni Sooni Sans – Asha Bhonsle. A classically based song, with good lyrics by Neeraj. Open-mouthed smile
  • Phoolon Se Meri – Asha Bhonsle. A beautiful poetry recitation with next to no instrumentation. Admire Asha’s voice and these beautiful lines by Neeraj.
  • फूलों से मेरी सेज सजादो आज मैं लूंगी जनम दुबारा
    चंदा की बिंदिया  तारों का कंगन सपनों की लाओ हार
    साँसों में मेरी केसर महके अंगों में झूमे बहार
    ऐसा करो सिंगार सखीरी सुध-बुध भूले श्याम हमारा Open-mouthed smile

  • Geet Gata Hoon Main – Kishore Kumar. An excellent melody with superb singing by Kishore. Lyrics by Dev Kohli are quite touching. I was going to give it a heart but I found the instrumentation to be below par and also the beat of the songs seems too fast. Open-mouthed smile
  • Re Man Sur Mein Ga – Manna day, Asha Bhonsle. A superb classically based song in Raag Kalyan (Yaman) with lyics by Neeraj. Manna Dey is in his element and Asha proves that she can out-sing any singer when she sets her mind to it. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

You can listen to the full album here.

My selection for the day is Re Man Sur Main Ga. The movie has used only one stanza, so listen to the audio version below.

And as a fan of Kishore, I cannot help but feature this song as well! You can admire the pretty ladies too!

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Listening to : Chor Machaye Shor (1974)

Chor Machaye ShorI confess. I chose this film because of a pair of incisors. In my teenage years, I thought that the smiles these incisors graced were the most charming ever! To indulge my curiosity to see if the smile felt as charming as it did then, I picked this film for today’s music review.

This film, like a number of other Bollywood films, has left me feeling as if I am in some alternate universe which looks and feels like mine, but is disturbingly different. It suffers from the normal shortcoming of films from India, a bad and manipulative script. How they insult the intelligence of the viewer! They throw in random elements together into a bizarre story where these is neither logic nor sense. For the curious, this movie offers Mumu in weird and wonderful wigs,  Shashi in a  variety of colourful shirts and neck clothes, a ridiculously easy prison break, a most inept police chase, even more inept villains, simplistic conversions of ‘bad men’ into ‘good men’, Shashi as action man (!!), corrupt politicians, corrupt rich people and corrupt dacoits.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence of the incisors but when they appear, the smile is as charming as it always was.

The music by Ravindra Jain is good and includes two very memorable songs.  Lyrics are by Gulzar and Inderjeet Singh.

  • Ek Dal Par Tota Bole – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar  A pleasant romantic duet, quite enjoyable. Smile
  • Le Jayenge – Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle. This superhit song has wonderful verve and energy. I have heard it so many times that I am not sure whether I love it or its familiarity.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Ghungroo Ki Tarah – Kishore Kumar Great voice. Beautiful melody. Good lyrics by Gulzar कभी टूट गया कभी तोडा गया सौ बार मुझे फिर जोड़ा गया यूंही लुट लुट के और मिट मिट के बनता रहा हूँ मैं  Very well Put!! That’s life, hmmm?  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Paon me dori – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle. This lovely melody reminds one of the hills of India, I like it well. Smile
  • Agre se Ghaghro – Asha Bhonsle. Not catchy and the melody is common. Achance for Mumu to show her dance moves. Disappointed smile

Click here to listen to the full album.

As my top choice doesn’t offer even a glimpse of a charming smile, here is my second choice :

And for Kishore fans, here is the fantastic Ghungroo Ki Tarah.

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Listening to: Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970)

Ishq Par Zor Nahin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is my top selection from this album.

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Mata Saraswati Sharada

Saraswati2

On this eight day of Navaratri, Ashtami, I continue to pay homage to Goddess Saraswati. I have chosen the painting of Prince Ravi Varma for today’s illustration; a print of this  painting used to be in my mother’s prayer room, a very well loved portrayal of the Goddess.

This past week I have written on traditional hymns and prayers. I wrote about Ya Kundendu to Goddess Saraswati which is ~7000 years old, Mahishasura Mardini to Goddess Durga which is a much more recent ~1200 years old . Do prayers have to be in Sanskrit or that old to be effective? Of course not! A hastily muttered ‘Please protect me’ is a prayer as much as any other.  But the old prayers carry a strength with them, as if by years and years of heartfelt repetitions the very sounds become an effective conduit to the Divine. Or perhaps it is the sound itself  which is Divine.

To contrast, my today’s prayer is from the Hindi Film industry. One day I will write one or more posts on the lovely bhajans which have come from Bollywood. Mata Saraswati Sharada is from the film Alaap (1977) and is my favourite bhajan on Saraswati.  The music is by Jaidev set to Raga Bhairavi  and the lyrics are traditional. It is exquisitely sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Yesudas.

माता सरस्वती शारदा
विद्या दानी दयानी दुःख हरिणी
जगत जननी ज्वालामुखी (माता सरस्वती)

कीजे सुदृष्टि सेवक जान अपना
इतना वरदान दीजे तान ताल और अलाप
बुद्धि अलंकार (शारदा, माता सरस्वती)

Mother Saraswati, Sharada, bestower of knowledge, merciful, remover of sorrows, mother of the world, bright faced (Mother Saraswati)

Please look at us, your worshippers, and bless us with melody, rhythm and cadence, intelligence and the right words (figure of speech). (Sharada, Mother Saraswati)

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Listening to: Sholay (1975)

Sholay

The first time I saw this film in 1985, it was already ten years old, a legend even then. What at impact it had! Sometimes, very rarely, different facets of a movie come together and magic happens because the movie becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Sholay is one such film.

Today I watched it 26 years after I saw it last.  It still had tremendous  impact. People who know my dislike of bloodshed would wonder at my statement about a film which has so much violence. Yes, I cringed in places and hid my eyes in quite a few others but in spite of that I say emphatically – if you haven’t watched it, do.

A Wild-West story Indian-style, it seems to be inspired by films such as the Magnificent Seven, except the odds are even worse, there are only two to defend the village. Yet the movie is 100% Bollywood Masala – there is a great mix of action, violence, tragedy, emotion, drama, comedy, love. Its a buddy movie, an action movie, a romance and a drama. And it has nice music too!

There are funny little cameo roles by Asrani, Jagdip and Keshto Mukherjee but its Dharm, Hema and Amitabh who provide the best comedy. Dharm is a natural, his performance in the water-tank suicide attempt scene had me in giggles. Amitabh is no less when he goes to speak on Dharm’s behalf to Hema’s aunt. Even though I am not a big Hema fan, I think she’s great here; she has a definite flair for comedy. Jaya’s performance is understated but excellent. I did not much like Sanjeev’s take of the avenging Thakur. His teeth-clenching to show anger in every other scene quite tired me. I would have a preferred a colder, more controlled performance. The supporting cast have done a commendable job.

Dharmendra and Amitabh carry the film with their contrasting styles. But I give the award to the superbly evil Amjad; he is just unbelievably good.  His eyes, his dialogue delivery, his smile – everything is as evil as can be!

There are, of course, holes in the script. Why don’t they organise better defences? Why spend so much time drinking and romancing instead of keeping lookouts? Why would Hema plan to meet Dharm  in so lonely a place when they know they are surrounded by villains? Is it still important to capture the enemy alive when one’s life is in danger? Why do they attack the enemy with so little smarts and so much emotion? And isn’t the idea of a handless Sanjeev beating up Amjad quite ridiculous? And really, does it have to be SO long? There are many whys but we shall ignore them because its still a good film.

R.D.Burman weaves his magic wand for the music with good lyrics by Anand Bakshi.

  • Yeh Dosti – Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey. This is THE buddy song of that era. Is the sidecar a metaphor for friendship? Smile
  • Holi Ke Din – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar. There are better Holi songs but its not too bad. Smile
  • Mehbooba – R.D. The song is so famous that it is difficult to make an unbiased judgement. Helens gyrations and RDs gruff voice made an impression the first time I saw it, and it still remains startlingly good. I don’t have the qualification to critique RD of all people, but sometimes the voice seemed to be getting ahead of the beat..it disturbed me, so no dil. Open-mouthed smile
  • Koi Haseena – Kishore Kumar. This always make me smile; the song suits Dharm so very well! The picturisation is very amusing too. Open-mouthed smile
  • Haan Jab Tak Hai Jan – Lata Mangeshkar.  Hema’s big dance number is very good, Lata does a good job. Smile

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Listening to:Chupke Chupke(1975)

Chupke Chupke

Deviating from my norm of choosing a film for its music, I searched out my DVD of Chupke Chupke looking for a good giggle. What an amusing film it is!  Truly, if you haven’t seen it as yet, do – you’ll soon add it to your list of ‘cheer-me-up’ films.

In essence, it is a story about an elaborate practical joke played on an unsuspecting Om Prakash and the ensuing mayhem. It has a nice pace with never a quiet moment. Well scripted, well directed (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) and well acted, its a welcome change from the jaded and boring fare handed out by Bollywood much too often. The dialogue, in particular, is fun throughout. People who like Hindi would enjoy Botany correctly referred to as वनस्पति शास्त्र, a driver as a वाहनचालक , never as कदापि and a train as लोहापथ गामी अग्निवाहन!

Dharmendra in the leading role is excellent and heart-stoppingly handsome – in fact I doubt whether I find any Bollywood actor as handsome as I find him here.  Amitabh is refreshingly different from his normal angry roles; for me, this is a much better display of his acting talent than many of his more famous films. A scene in the latter half of the film in which he shares his frustrations in convoluted sentences with Dharm & Asrani had me giggling helplessly! The ladies are equally good with a mature Sharmila much more natural in her role than she ever was as a young woman and more beautiful too!   In short, a five-star film! Its available on Youtube on the Shemaroo channel for free, so go for it!

The music by S.D.Burman is melodious and if not up to par with his great compositions, there is enough to enjoy. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics are acceptable.

  • Sa Re Ga Ma – Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar. Its lovely to hear both these incredibly talented singers come together! Kishore wins this bout hands down – and no I am not biased! Smile
  • Baghon Mein Kaise Yeh Phool – Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh. It’s truly a lovely song, well sung by both singers but I am not too keen on Mukesh’s voice for Dharmendra. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ab Ke Sajan Mere Saawan Mein – Lata Mangeshkar. This has a nice melody, nice lyrics and even situational comedy! Open-mouthed smile
  • Chupke Chupke – Lata Mangeshkar. A light, uplifting song sung very nicely by Lata. It doesn’t have as much variation as I would like but then it has a lulling quality instead. Smile

I would have chosen Ab Ke Sajan but I have already used it for a post on Sharmila so here’s my second choice, Baghon Mein :

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Listening to: Aap Ki Kasam (1974)

Aap Ki Kasam

Remembering how good the songs of this film are, I bought a DVD of this film recently and set down to watch it yesterday. Oddly enough I remembered the first part of the film very well but had totally forgotten the later half so it was almost like watching it anew. I am surprised to have forgotten it; its quite a good film.

Rajesh Khanna’s character is not the typical Bollywood hero, all glitter and gloss. He has his good side, but also suffers from irrational jealousy, lack of trust and is unable to recover from setbacks – essentially a weak character. Rajesh Khanna does a commendable job of portraying the descent from happiness to jealousy & anger and then to realisation & despair. Towards the end he hams it up a bit, but as I spent the last 10 mins of the film sobbing into my tissue, I didn’t notice it much!

Mumtaz is also not the typical heroine. She shimmers as a young girl in love, stands up for herself against an irrationally accusing husband and leaves him, breaks down after the eventual divorce and dazedly follows her father’s decisions for her. Her performance is very good and she looks delectable in some scenes.

Rehman & Dina Pathak are her non-typical filmi-parents. On her choosing a man not from their own well-to-do background, they happily support her (it’s rare as a dodo in a Hindi film!) and when she comes back to them, they are supportive in quite another way. Both actors are SO good, I admire them tremendously!

Only Sanjeev Kumar’s character is not that convincing, but he does a remarkable job as always. My only gripe is his not taking even the minimal effort to convincingly portray playing a sitar! Very annoying!

Should you watch it? Oh yes! If all these interesting personalities don’t grab your attention, the 70’s wardrobe surely would !! Stitched-into-tight pant-suits in bright colours at the start and glorious saris later, Mumu looks alluring at all times. As for Rajesh, remember Guru-shirts with belts outside? Safari suits in vivid colours? Its such fun to re-live all these old fashion trends! Available free on Youtube (legally), click here to watch the full movie. There is a good review and synopsis of the story in this site.

The music by R.D.Burman is very good indeed, just as I remembered.

  • Suno, Kaho – Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar : Nice perky duet, beautiful scenery, Mumu in a super-tight yellow gharara, what’s not to like? Smile
  • Karvate Badalte Rahe – Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar : Very VERY romantic song with the leads cavorting happily in the snow (thankfully well dressed unlike normal Bollywood leads!). My husband remarked that Mumu seems to have put on weight..but I reminded him that she was always like this, and much admired too! Our eyes have started to expect slimmer ladies.  Rajesh looks handsome & stylish in a cap and Mumu glowing as always. Any female heart would melt if Kishore were to croon तुम चले जाओ नहीं तो कुछ न कुछ हो जायेगा . Lovely song. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Paas Nahin Aana – Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar : A playful song, its quite melodious and easy to listen to. Smile
  • Jai Jai Shiv Shankar – Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar : Now this is a seriously fun song, exuberant, joyful and Mumu & Rajesh have acted it out very well. I love Mumu’s orange sari with black applique work, I want it!! As for Lata & Kishore, they have outdone themselves! Unforgettable song.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Chori Chori Chupke Chupke – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata’s solo is beautifully sung, another lovely song.Smile
  • Zindagi Ke Safar Mein – Kishore Kumar. Kishore’s solo is the better one, he is helped by a sombre note to the music which he does so well. The lyrics are very meaningful and well written – पतझड़ में फूल जो मुरझा जाते हैं वो बहारों के आने से खिलते नहीं  Kudos to Anand Bakshi for penning these lines. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

I recommend listening to whole album here, there are no duds in it! As I am finding it too hard to select just one song, here are my top selections :

Jai Jai Shiv Shankar which is so very happy..

and Zindagi Ke Safar Mein to showcase the talent of Kishore, RD & Anand Bakshi, a superb combination! (sorry, no embedding)

http://youtu.be/j2K0VGzQ8gY

Enjoy!

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Listening to: Loafer (1973)

Loafer 1973

The memory of this song has haunted me for 38 years now. Every now and then my brain will trawl through its old and ill-used cells and savour the pleasure of Rafi’s voice with the beauty of Dharmendra’s  presence. Yet, I have never seen this film. My memories are fuelled merely by viewings of the song clip on television during the seventies.

So today, when I sat to watch the film, it was rather exciting! Seeing movies from the seventies is rather distracting though. I kept trying to assimilate the interesting wardrobe choices of the leads : Pants with large brown checks! Grey shiny suit with extra large black lapels! Tiny red skirt with tinier hot pants! Black long dress with a weird overcoaty thing! If I am not distracted by wardrobe, its by Dharm’s disarming English accent : sa-late->slate, un-cull->uncle and the like. Must say though that Dharmendra looks heart stoppingly handsome and Mumtaz quite luscious to match!

On the whole its a good time-pass. If one doesn’t look for meaning or anything deep, it’s enjoyable enough.

The music is by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics by Anand Bakshi, both worthy of respect.

  • Kahan hai woh diwana – Asha Bhonsle. Padma Khanna gyrates well but I don’t see this rather plaintive song for a cabaret number.  Disappointed smile
  • Motiyon ki lari who main – Asha Bhonsle. This time it is Mumu who gyrates in a short red skirt. I remembered this song well though, so a smile for the sake of nostalgia. Smile
  • Aaj Mausam Bada Beiman Hai – Mohammed Rafi. Unbelievably good. Impossibly good. Wonderfully good. I just melt when Rafi croons

    ऐ मेरे यार ऐ हुस्न वाले |
    दिल किया मैंने तेरे हवाले ||
    तेरे मर्जी पे अब बात ठैरी |
    जीने दे चाहे तू मार डाले ||
    तेरे हाथों में अब मेरी जान है ||

    Rafi is the absolute king of this type of singing and can never be replaced, absolutely never!Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heartRed heart
  • Teri Ishq Mein – Lata Mangeshkar. A beautiful song and Lata is in great voice. Mumu looks good too! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Duniya mein tera hai bada naam – Mahendra Kapoor. Very proficiently sung but not to my taste.Disappointed smile
  • Koi Shehri Babu – Asha Bhonsle. Mumtaz is in her element with songs like this. A good dancer indeed! The song is lovely too and Asha does justice to it. Nowadays marriage songs are almost always group dances with intricate steps. This feels so different! Open-mouthed smile

You can listen to the whole album here. But for today, my choice is a no-choice.

Enjoy!

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Brochevarevarura

Mysore VasudevacharyaWhat imbues certain songs with an incredible sweetness which lingers forever in memory? What makes certain compositions much much more than the sum total of their ‘ingredients’ of notes, words and rhythm? I don’t know but Mysore Vasudevachar (1865-1961) sure did when he composed this beautiful song!

Vasudevachar belonged to the direct line of Tyagaraja’s disciples and therefore of impeccable musical lineage. His gurus were Veena Padmanabhayya of Mysore and Patnam Subramania Iyer of Tiruvaiyaru. He became the asthana vidwan of the Royal Court of Mysore.  Much later in life he joined the faculty of Kalakshetra School of Music and Dance, finally becoming its principal. He composed more than 200 compositions in Telugu and Sanskrit. A list of his compositions is available here.

Brochevarevarura is composed in Telugu in Raga Kamas (click here to read more about this raga). Like so many bhaktas before him, and so many after him, the poet begs of Rama ‘O Sita’s husband, don’t you have regard for me? Can’t you listen to my pleas? Aren’t you Vasudeva who rushed to rescue the king of elephants. Dispel my sins, hold my hand and do not let go’.  As I listen to this beautiful song, I too pray ‘Rama, I have neither beautiful words nor melody, but I plead the same; Please don’t let go of me’ !! See footnote for lyrics and translation.

Today I present an instrumental version of this song by the wonderfully talented Maestro U.Shrinivas (1969) on Mandolin.

For a vocal version, listen to this excerpt from a full concert by the Malladi brothers. I like their voice quality very much indeed.

I cannot finish this post without mentioning Brochevarevarura sung by S.P.Balasubramaniam and Vani Jayaram for the film Shankarabharanam (1979). Somayajulu as the Maestro emotes very convincingly and Manju Bhargavi shows that neither a stage nor expensive clothes and jewellery are needed to dance as our classics are meant to be danced!



Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language: Telugu

As I do not speak Telugu, I have transcribed the song in Devanagari script. The translation is heavily dependent on multiple online sources.

ब्रोचेवारेवरुरा निन्नु विना रघुवरा ननु
नी चरणाम्बुजमुनु ने विडजाल करुणालवाल

ओ चतुराननादि वन्दित नीकु पराकेलनय्या
नी चरितमु पोगड लेनु ना
चिन्त दीर्च्चि वरमुलिच्चि वेगमे

सीतापते नापै नीकभिमानमु लेदा
वातात्मजाश्रित (alternate वातात्मजार्चित) पाद नामोरलनु विनरादा
आतुरमुग करिराजुनु ब्रोचिन
वासुदेवुडवु (alternate : वासुदेवुडे ) नीवु गदा
ना पाद कामेल्ल पोगोट्टि गड्डिग
ना चेय् बट्टि विडुवग

For notation, click here.

Transliteration

pallavI
brOchEvArevarurA ninnu vina raghuvarA nanu
nI charaNAmbujamunu nE viDajAla karuNAlavAla

anupallavI
O chaturA nanAdi vandita nIku parAkElanayya
nI charitamu pogaDa lEnu nA
chinta dIrchchi varamulichchi vEgamE

charaNam

sItApatE nApai nIkabhimAnamu lEdA
vAtAtmajAsrita (alternate: vAtAtmajArchita) pAda nAmoralanu vinarAdA
Aturamuga karirAjunu brOchina
vAsudEvuDavu (alternate: vAsudevuDE) nIvu gadA
nA pAdakamella pOgoTTi gaDDiga
naa  chei baTTi viDuvaga

Translation

O Rama, descendent of Raghu, who will save me other than you? O compassionate one, I cannot leave your lotus-like feet.

O Who is worshipped by the four-faced one (Brahma) etc, why are you so aloof sir? I am not competent enough to (assumed sing) your story. Please grant me a remedy quickly.

O Lord of Sita, don’ you have affection for me? O the one at whose feet stays (worships) Hanuman, cannot you hear my pleas? Aren’t you Vasudeva who saved the King of elephants?  (refers to Gajendra moksha). Cleansing me of all sins, will you not hold my hand firmly?

 

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Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Carnatic Music, Malladi Brothers, Mysore Vasudevachar, S.P.Balasubramaniam, U.Srinivas, Vani Jayaram

Listening to Namak Haraam (1973)

Namak HaramOnce upon a time, a Phenomenon called Rajesh Khanna ruled in India. He was a true romantic and wooed the world with his twinkling eyes and charming smile. All that he touched became gold. He had it all – name, fame and a young Dimpled Queen. Into his kingdom came a dark and morose man. Who knew then that he would be the new King; in fact that he would set up his own Dynasty? But we should have known…yes..there was this unleashed power, a violence, within him…and it was in Namak Haraam that we had the first inkling of this.

As I re-watch the film today, I am surprised that this was the role which was the turning point for Amitabh. I didn’t find his role particularly appealing; it was rather one-dimensional and contradictory. Take, for example, how he looks down on his household staff and the workers at the factory. Would a man like that have a friend who is so middle-class? How can he miss the fact that his manipulations to make Rajesh popular make him look weak and ineffectual? Shamed by apologising to Hangal, why did he accept losing face to Rajesh publically? I see holes in Gulzar’s development of Amitabh’s character. But Amitabh does a good job of his material, especially towards the end.

Rajesh definitely has the better role. You can see how the character grows and changes over time and Rajesh is very convincing in his role. I was sold on him, cynical as I am. The ladies, Rekha and Simi, appear decorative but have very little to do. Other supporting actors like Hangal, Asrani, Om Shivpuri and Raza Murad have small roles but impress nonetheless.

One mustn’t forget the part played by Alcohol !  It is ever present as the young men bond over their shenanigans, its over alcohol (and bhang!) that Rajesh bonds with his new friends, Rajesh’s ‘conversion’ is complete when he realises that one peg of Amitabh’s whisky costs more than a month’s wages of his other friends and its over alcohol that the friends have their final confrontation. Ah, the power of nasha !

But I was drawn to the film by the memory of one particular song and it doesn’t disappoint. The rest of the album is average and Anand Bakshi’s lyrics are adequate.

  • Suni Re Sajaria – Asha Bhonsle. A mujra song, its rather formulaic. Not bad. I don't know smile
  • Diye Jalte Hain – Kishore Kumar . A good ‘Bromance’ song, its too slow to be truly light hearted. Kishore’s singing carries it through. Open-mouthed smile
  • Nadiya Se Dariya – Kishore Kumar. Sharabi songs have quite a place in Bollywood and this is a good example. Smile
  • Main Shair Badnaam – Kishore Kumar. I was moved when I heard it the first time all those years ago; I was moved again by Kishore’s fabulous singing. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  •  Holi Ke Rang – (unknown chorus) I always look for fun in a Holi song but this was isn’t that interesting. Sad smile
  • Woh Jhoota Hai – Kishore Kumar. Kishore has obviously had fun singing this, but it doesn’t quite grab me either. Sad smile

You can listen to the whole album here. But for my post today, I have no choice really;  it has to be Main Shair Badnaam!

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Filed under Bollywood 70's Music