Tag Archives: Gulzar

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!


Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar

Listening to: Gharonda (1977)


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!



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

Listening to: Paheli (2005)

PaheliWhen I first saw this romantic fantasy, I was surprised to hear of its poor reception in the box-office and by the critics because I enjoyed it very much indeed! Today, I watched with more critical eyes – and I still found it great fun! It reminded me in parts of the traditional folk tales I read as a child in Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama; hints of Aladdin’s genie reiterates this view. Even the use of a narrator (with two puppets in this case) reminds me of traditional theatre. It is uncomplicated, light-hearted fun, full of beauty, colour and fantastic locales and some excellent music – for me that translates as a treat. To hell with the critics and the Shah Rukh nay-sayers !!

The story is set at an unspecified time in the past, somewhere in Rajasthan. The tale commences with the preparation to Lajjo’s  (Rani Mukherjee) arranged marriage.  She seems an excited bride, eager to start a new life with her man and his family. After the wedding, the bridegroom’s party, along with the new bride, makes its way back to its own village.

(Kishen Lal) Shah Rukh is a really berasik fellow, dry as dust. He is more interested in his business and accounting than his bride. His father advises him ‘vyaapar ka sukh hi sabsa bada sukh hai’– the pleasure of business is the greatest pleasure’!! That seems to be his creed. Generally I can understand ineptitude with women, especially in men who have not had much to do with females. But such indifference towards his bride, even on his wedding night? Especially when she looks as lovely as Rani does?  Kishen leaves on a trading trip for 5 years the morning after they arrive home, his marriage unconsummated.

But here comes the fantasy part of the tale. On the way back from the wedding they stop at a haunted place and a ghost falls in love with the bride. Finding out that Kishen is leaving on an extended trip, the ghost – with genie like powers- takes up Kishen’s form and returns home. The bride is delighted to see her husband return within 3 days. And that too a very changed husband! The ineptitude has gone; here is a man who is the romantic hero that can only be the fantasy of a woman’s mind! [Girls note: Men will not spout poetry to the beauty of your eyes so don’t melt if they say things like एक बार इन नैनों में झाँकने के बाद कुछ और देख सकता है कोई? In case they happen to be nascent Byrons, they would probably be totally impractical, drunkards or of loose morals. So if you meet a poetry-spouting, good-looking, sober, practical, hard-working fellow, be suspicious! He’s probably a phantom!] Even when the ghost, in a spurt of conscience, confesses all, Lajjo accepts him as a substitute husband.

Four happy years pass.  The ghost brings happiness not only to Lajjo but to the family and to the community. Lajjo is soon to be a mother when the real husband comes back. Will Lajjo lose her fantasy husband? How will it all sort itself out? You have to see the film to find the answers.

Shah Rukh and Rani are impeccable in their lead roles. Shah Rukh does the comedy side of the role very well indeed and brings nice nuances to the two distinctly different men he plays – well done!! Rani glows. Anupam Kher is his amusing best as the father and Juhi Chawla is flawless as the sister-in-law; other supporting roles are competently performed. Sunil Shetty and Amitabh Bachchan impress in their special appearances.  The real star of the film, however, is the cinematographer Ravi K.Chandran who has painted such a glowing, loving canvas that it seduces us from the start to the end.

The music by M.M.Kreem is very very good. He borrows from Rajasthani folk and melds it beautifully with Bollywood flair. The lyrics by Gulzar are written with his sure hand.

  • Minnat Kare – Shreya Ghoshal and group. A nice melody, it does well as a multi-emotion wedding song. Starts with an upbeat pre-wedding celebration song, it takes a more serious turn with a Shehnai interlude and then continues to a sad bidai tune. The colour and atmosphere of the song makes it a visual treat.Open-mouthed smile
  • Dheere Jalna – Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal. A beautiful song,  it is contemplative, even sad at places. It changes pace from slow to fast; I did not like how some hurried phrases squashed or elongated words to suit the beat. Sonu and Shreya are wonderful singers and this song gives them the opportunity to display their vocal range to the full. The first part has a beautiful flute and sitar interlude, and the second (female) part has an excellent Shehnai interlude. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kangna Re – Shreya Ghoshal and group. A lovely song with a catchy and melodious refrain. The dancing by Rani can only be called seductive. The Shehnai is again used to good effect. I like the little interlude of the Viraha Bhava,  the sadness of separation, with Juhi and Sunil Shetty. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khali Hai Tere Bin – Hariharan and Bela Shinde. A nice instrumental is followed by Hariharan’s crooning this pathos-filled song. Nice poetry by Gulzar. Beautiful! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Laaga Re Jal Laaga – Sonu Nigam, M.M.Kreem and Shruti Sadolikar. Sonu is excellent in this lively song which reminds me of rain songs from other movies. I have a weakness for a nice group dance routine – and this one sure provides one! Colourful, joyful, the cheerful beat of the Dholak and the colours of the dancers together gives a very nice effect.Open-mouthed smile
  • Phir Raat Kate – Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan. Not my fav but good puppet-like dance.I don't know smile

To listen to the full album, click here.

Kangna Re – For the joyful dancing and beautiful refrain.

Khali Hai Tere Bin – For Hariharan’s smooth voice and the poetry. The video shows only half the song.

And for the choreography, Laaga Re Jal Laaga :


Filed under Bollywood 00's Music

Listening to: Gol Maal (1979)

Gol MaalI always fear re-watching old favourites – what if they are not as good as I remembered? Would it not take away the residual pleasure which has lingered over the years? I had seen this film as a young woman, in a theatre in Green Park, New Delhi along with my giggling friends. We had lovely chaat and kulfi-falooda afterwards – oh how it makes me long for those days! It was with trepidation that I sat down to see a film for I did so want it to be good!

And it was more than good!

The most natural of actors, Amol Palekar, is a young man who, for the sake of finding a job, lies about himself. His weird and rather manic boss is the incomparable Utpal Dutt. His daughter, Bindiya Goswami, is Amol’s love interest. Soon one lie adds on to another and Amol not only has to be his own evil twin, he also has to acquire a mother, the wonderful Dina Pathak. Devan Varma, Shubha Khote and David are very good in their small supporting roles. How does it all end? Hrishikesh Mukherjee has made a film which provides a gamut of emotions, from smiles, giggles, guffaws to hysterical laughter. Bindiya is the only weak link in this film, otherwise its a great watch! Highly recommended.

Amol Palekar may be the ‘hero’ but it is Utpal Dutt who is the real lead of the film. When the film finished, I got up in my little living room to bow to this man who makes it all seem to easy. Utpal Dutt is  man of immense talents coming with an illustrious career as actor and playwright in Bengali theatre and film as well as forays into the Hindi film world. His contribution to Indian theatre and cinema is to be lauded. If you want to read more about his career, click here.

As the music is by R.D.Burman and lyrics by Gulzar, one can always expect a certain standard.

  • Gol Maal Hai – R.D. & Sapan Chakravarthy. This very popular title track has a very nice beat and good lyrics. RD has thrown in some harmonies, making it ‘modern’. I was in awe of Amol Palekar’s lip-synching, he does such a wonderful job! The song reminded me of ‘Haal Chaal Thik Thak Hai’ from Mere Apne which has the same mood.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Sapne Mein Dekha Sapna  – Kishore Kumar, Amit Kumar. What fun lyrics! Made me smile.  Kishore is great in this genre of song.  Hema, Zeenat and Rekha make brief appearances adding to the fun factor. Smile
  • Aanewala Pal – Kishore Kumar. Lovely song. Beautiful lyrics. Kishore’s voice strumming the strings of my heart. These words really speak to me-

    आनेवाला पल जानेवाला है, हो सके तो इसमें जिंदगी बिता दो
    पल जो ये जानेवाला है
    and also
    थोडा सा हँसा के, थोडा सा रुला के, पल ये भी जानेवाला है
    What’s not to like? Open-mouthed smileRed heart

  • Ek Baat Kahoon – Lata Mangeshkar. After listening to the Lata of the 50’s and 60’s, I did not quite enjoy her voice here. The melody is quite ok but the final effect did not appeal. Disappointed smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My selection for today is Kishore’s voice in Aanewala Pal.


Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar

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.


Filed under Bollywood 70's Music

Listening to: Aandhi (1975)

I admit, I tend to have very critical eyes when I watch films. It is rather sad because very often I am distracted by what doesn’t work – the plot, the dialogue, the chemistry, the music or even the leading lady’s hairstyle – and end up not enjoying even the enjoyable bits.

Very very rarely there comes a film where I have next to no complaints. Maybe I am so mesmerized by the good parts that my mind glosses over everything else. Maybe there are no bad bits. No matter. This week I re-watched Aandhi after many many years and amazingly, I had only one complaint, that too a minor one! This, dear readers, is a very good film and I shan’t hesitate to recommend it.

The script is tightly written and Gulzar directs his own screenplay in his inimitable style. The lead characters are interesting, not black-and-white as in many Bollywood films but painted intriguingly in shades of grey. Wikipedia tells me that the story is inspired by the life of Tarkeshwari Sinha and not Indira Gandhi as I had supposed. The leading pair, Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar, are SUPERB. The supporting cast including Hangal as the old retainer, Om Prakash as the weasel of a  political agent, Om Shivpuri as the opposition leader, Rehman as Suchitra’s dad, all of them give fine performances. And the ending leaves enough threads hanging to make it interesting.

And ah, the music. Aah! R.D.Burman’s compositions shine like stars. I can wax lyrical about the lyrics by Gulzar. The playback singers sing like angels. I see no shortcomings. None. These are the songs:

  • Is Mod Se Jaate Hain – Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar. Hmmm to that kharash (that certain grittiness) in Kishore’s voice….I absolutely adore his voice! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Salam Kijiye – Mohammad Rafi, Amit Kumar, Bhupinder. An excellent Qawwali in an unusual milieu! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tum Aa Gaye Ho – Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore KumarOpen-mouthed smileRed heart Aaaaaaah Kishore’s voice!! I love Lata too but Kishore strums my heart’s strings…Gulzar excels himself with the lyrics.
    दिन डूबा नहीं रात डूबी नहीं जाने कैसा है सफ़र
    ख्वाबों के दिये आँखों में लिए  वहीँ आ रहे थे
    जहाँ से तुम्हारी सदा आ रही थी
    How beautifully the poet expresses that irresistible call of the siren that we all have followed at one time or the other!
  • Tere Bina Zindagi Se – Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar. Open-mouthed smileRed heart A strong woman, a need – no, a compulsion – to go on a chosen path alone, an inability to stop and take refuge. All that is expressed simply in this line  – जी में आता है तेरे दामन में सर झुकाके हम रोते रहें.  A man who has stayed still why life has passed him by, waiting for the one who wouldn’t – couldn’t – come back says
    तुम जो कह दो तो आज की रात चाँद डूबेगा नहीं
    रात को रोक लो
    रात की बात है और ज़िन्दगी बाकी तो नहीं
    Lata and Kishore put their hearts into this song.

As you can see I give all songs the top score! This is one good album. You can listen to the whole album here. I have chosen to present the song where the lead pair have happy smiles in this rather serious film. Enjoy!


Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Music to keep from 2010 (Part 2)

2nd Place

Album : Ishqiya

Song : Badi Dheere Jali

Music : Vishal Bharadwaj

Lyrics : Gulzar

Singer : Rekha Bharadwaj


My choice for 2nd place in my ‘Keepers for 2010’ list is this little gem from Ishqiya.  I admit, I am biased towards classical music, and even within Bollywood music, I tend to like the more traditional songs. Compliments to Rekha Bharadwaj for having beautifully rendered this song in Raga Lalit. I paid attention to the words once I realised they were by Gulzar but honestly it works for me on music alone. The clip below plays the songs to the stills from the movie.

Badi Dheere Jali–Rekha Bharadwaj

There is another song in this film which is noteworthy, though it doesn’t make my list  – ‘Dil to baccha hai ji’ by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. The clip below is wonderful, see how Naseeruddin Shah emotes with his eyes. What a fantastic actor !!

Dil To Baccha Hai Ji–Rahat Fateh Ali Khan


Filed under Bollywood 10's Music, Hindustani Classical Music, Rekha Bharadwaj