Tag Archives: Javed Akhtar

Listening to: Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)

Zindagi Na Milegi DobaraAs I sat down to watch the film, I had no plans of writing in this blog about it. I write in appreciation of the music I enjoy and the music of this film has only very limited appeal to me. Yet here I am!

I was not surprised that I enjoyed this road-movie so very much. I have a serious travel bug and if nothing else, I would have been happy enough to ogle at all the lovely scenery. The cinematography is delightful and Spain has been shot with a loving eye.

What I liked especially is that the three lead characters (the women are just addendums) have shades of grey and hidden depth. One is a man who is in a straight jacket of work-ambition-need for money & security, sharp and bitter, losing life as he lives it. Another is a boy-man who has not outgrown his teenage years, an extroverted-introvert, shallow in parts, conflicted in others and a poet in secret. The third is a pacifist who fears confrontation, he is the cement which holds these three together, a team player, heading towards marital disaster for lack of backbone. With three main leading men and three stories to be told, nothing is delved into with too much detail but what there is, is well-told. Except for Arjun (Hrithik) who takes a 180 towards the end, the others remain true to character. Unlike other reviewers, I didn’t mind the stupid jokes and horseplay at all; I have seen much older men behave in a similar fashion when they get together with old friends!! I liked also that it is fast paced and well-edited. The performances are above average and the film very enjoyable.

The music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy remained unobtrusive on the whole. I shall not dwell on it; it is not my genre of music and I don’t have the ears to appreciate it.  The one song which caught my attention was Senorita. I enjoyed the dancing and the spectacle and the song was fun without being memorable. It added to my pleasure that the actors sang for it themselves.

But today I am writing this post to showcase the poetry by Javed Akhtar featured in this film. I moved to Delhi when I was 11 years old with no Hindi. Those first months of struggle in understanding and coping at school in this alien language was quite horrible. I learnt the language soon but didn’t really appreciate it. The next year I had a teacher called O.P.Sharma who was a hasya-kavi, quite a well-known poet whose verses would leave you in helpless giggles. He was not good at following the syllabus but his classes were fun as he would recite his poetry to us. That, more than anything else, made me fall in love with this language and to this day I have a weakness for a well-written phrase in Hindi. Javed Akhtar weaves his words with enviable mastery. Listen to the clip below with four poems recited by Farhan Akhtar  (see footnote for lyrics).

Poem 1
पिघले नीलम सा बहता हुआ यह समाँ

नीली नीली सी ख़ामोशियाँ
ना कहीं हैं ज़मीन
ना कहीं आसमान
सरसराती हुयी टहनियां, पत्तियाँ
कह रही हैं कि बस एक तुम हों यहाँ
सिर्फ मैं हूँ मेरी सांसें हैं और मेरी धडकनें
ऐसी गहराइयाँ
ऐसी तनहाइयाँ
और मैं सिर्फ मैं
अपने होने पे मुझको यकीन आ गया

Poem 3
जब जब दर्द का बादल छाया

जब ग़म का साया लहराया
जब आंसू पलकों तक आया
जब यह तनहा दिल घबराया
हमने दिल को यह समझाया
दिल आखिर तू क्यूँ रोता है
दुनिया में यूँही होता है
यह जो गहरे सन्नाटे हैं
वक़्त ने सबको ही बांटे हैं
थोडा ग़म हैं सबका किस्सा
थोड़ी धुप हैं सबका हिस्सा
आँख तेरी बेकार ही नम हैं
हर पल एक नया मौसम हैं
क्यूँ तू ऐसे पल खोता हैं
दिल आखिर तू क्यूँ रोता हैं

Poem 2
इक बात होंटों तक है जो आई नहीं

बस आँखों से हैं झांकती
तुमसे कभी, मुझसे कभी
कुछ लफ्ज़ हैं वोह मांगती
जिनको पहनके होंटों तक आ जाए वोह
आवाज़ की बाहों में बाहें डालके इठलाये वोह
लेकिन जो यह इक बात हैं
अहसास ही अहसास हैं
खुशबू हैं जैसे हवा में तैरती
खुशबू जो बे-आवाज़ हैं
जिसका पता तुमको भी हैं
जिसकी खबर मुझको भी है
दुनिया से भी छुपता नहीं
यह जाने कैसा राज़ है

Poem 4
दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो,
तो जिंदा हो तुम!
नज़र में ख़्वाबों की बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो जिंदा हो तुम!
हवा के झोंकों के जैसे आज़ाद रहना सीखो
तुम एक दरिया के जैसे लहरों में बहना सीखो
हर एक लम्हे से तुम मिलो खोले अपनी बाहें
हर एक पल एक नया समा देखे यह निगाहें
जो अपनी आँखों में हैरानियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो जिंदा हो तुम!
दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो, तो जिंदा हो तुम!


Filed under Bollywood 10's Music

Listening to: Swadesh (2004)


I remember this ‘uncle’ from my childhood who would always go on and on about how only K.L.Saigal was worthy of being called a singer and how Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi were nothing to him. I also remember thinking what a bore this uncle was! Fearing that I will turn into a similar bore with my liking for old music, I try to keep up with the music of today. Like ‘uncle bore’, I too find much to complain about modern music but thankfully I find nuggets which I enjoy as well. Remembering a lovely melody from Swades, I decided to re-watch it today.

I am mystified as to why I don’t remember this film well from my first viewing. It was engaging and surprisingly sensible at places. Shah Rukh puts in a good performance. Being a NRI, I felt a strong sense of connection with this film.

What I liked about the film :

  • From caravan to string bed, from shower to well water, from jeans to Dhoti, from bottled water to not, from a view through a camera to becoming part of the scene, the journey of the protagonist is well depicted.
  • Supporting characters were very convincing – the loving nanny, the cook with ambitions of travelling abroad, the stick-in-the-mud traditionalist, the garrulous friendly postman – I recognised all these people. Even the lead was an egg-head like so many fellow NRIs (and no, not the top boss but a cog-in-the-wheel! Even that small point won me over!)
  • An excellent discussion in the second half of the film about customs and rituals. I too have heard people who have never set foot outside India tell me ‘We have something others don’t have, our customs and heritage’ as if the customs and heritage of all other people of the world is somehow less important! The protagonist takes the side of the argument  I normally take.
  • Touched on some major ills of Indian society without much melodrama. Even knowing it was cinematic manipulation, I was touched.

My complaints :

  • अपने ही पानी में पिघलना बर्फ का मुक़द्दर होता है someone says in this film. Is that not quite contrary to the forward thinking views which this film supports? This statement may be used to imply that Indians should stay in India (as in the film) but also to say people should stay within their own castes and limitations. As a lifelong expatriate, I feel that my family has contributed not only to our adopted countries but to our birth country in equal measure. I resent the implication of this statement.
  • The leading lady was not likeable. Even her introduction was so…cold. Her perpetually irritated expression was not becoming at all. Even in an important emotional scene later in the movie, I found her very unconvincing.

I’ve talked more about the film than I normally do. Let me get to the music. A.R.Rahman has done a good job and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very appropriate at times. The choice of placement of songs is a bit formulaic – it includes a road song, a children’s song, a religious song, a romantic song and a patriotic song!

  • Yun Hi Chala Chal – Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, Hariharan.  I admire Kailash Kher’s sufiana music and he does a good job here. Udit Narayan, I always admire. Good song. Smile
  • Ahista Ahista – Udit Narayan, Sadhna Sargam.  Very little instrumentation allows us to enjoy Udit Narayan’s voice to its full extent. Sadhna sounds good too. Like! Smile 
  • Yeh Tara Woh Tara – Udit Narayan. Good lyrics, good message and well sung. Open-mouthed smile
  • Sanwariya Sanwariya – Alka Yagnik – Lovely melody. Alka normally has a great reach but her voice is strained in the higher octave. Nice instrumental interlude. Open-mouthed smile
  • Pal Pal Hai Bhari – Madhushree, Vijay Prakash, Ashotosh Gowrikar. Boring tune. Enjoyed the Ramlila though.. Sad smile
  • Dekho Na – Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan.  Soft. Romantic. Smile
  • Yeh Jo Des Hai – A.R.Rahman . I can’t say I am a fan of Rahman’s singing but sometimes it works for me. Not this time. Thinking smile

You can listen to the whole album here. But for today, my song choice is purely for its charming melody. Enjoy!


Filed under Alka Yagnik, Bollywood 00's Music

Listening to Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

I remembered the movie as being refreshingly different when I saw it first. ‘Will it feel the same on re-viewing?’ I wondered, as I slid the DVD in. It did not disappoint. Its story is predictable enough but there is a feel to it which is indeed unique. It was longer than I would have liked it but then its a Hindi film. A few things which caught my attention:

  • Akshaye was good! He plays his role very low-key and still makes a very good impression. Why is his career in the doldrums ten years on?
  • One end of Akshaye’s lips go up when he smiles and the other end dips!! Reminds me of Mowgli from Jungle Book !
  • Saif was leaner than he is now..suits him better. And he has legs made of Jello –check out his dancing in Koi Kahe.
  • Hasn’t Saif played ‘my heart on my sleeves’ role a bit too often?
  • Aamir Khan is always good but..… I suppose I didn’t sympathise with his character like I did with the other two. His fault? or is it the script?
  • The ladies are decorative. Dimple has a good role but its too small to make an impact. Preity makes a better impression.

Is it a film worth watching? Yes!

The music felt very young when I heard it first. Given my taste for old fashioned music, I might not have listened to it very often but for the fact the my husband was addicted to it and played it non-stop in his car until I begged him to stop! But I did listen to it often and it made an impression. On seeing the movie this second time, I found much to like in the music. This album was a turning point for the composing trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, whom I admire very much. They have gone on from strength to strength since then. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are very good indeed. Click here to listen to the whole album.

  • Dil Chahta Hai – Shankar Mahadevan. The title song is a male-bonding-on-the-road song, an old Bollywood tradition! Nice beat, I love the instrumentals. Definitely East-meets-West but well done. Smile
  • Jaane Kyon Log – Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan. This song makes me home-sick for Australia! Shot in Sydney, the locales are stunning. Kudos to the music directors for incorporating the sounds of a Didgeridoo. The music is unique and the lyrics tell the story well, showing the two opposing perspectives that the protagonists have. Open-mouthed smile
  • Woh Ladki Hain Kahan – Shaan, Kavita Subrahmaniam. I laughed aloud when I saw it the first time and it still makes me smile. Retro dancing and styling, Saif and his Dev impersonation, a most obviously studio-shot driving, a bit of Spanish influence and best of all, a most ridiculous hand flapping dance – its all so endearing!! Shaan and Kavita sound excellent. Of all the songs in the album, this is the one I associate with this movie.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Kaisi Hai Yeh Rut – Srinivas. Gentle music to suit a gentle song. Smile
  • Koi Kahe Kehta Rahe – Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, Kay Kay. Another East-West synthesis, this song works very well indeed. A dance song where the three male leads get to strut (really!) their stuff, it has a very youthful feel and a great beat. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tanhayee – Sonu Nigam. A song of loneliness and sadness, it is very well sung by Sonu. The composition is lovely and Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are on the nose. I like how Sonu well emotes with his voice. There is a charming flute interlude which reminds me of Payalein Chunmun from Virasat. A bit of inspiration perhaps? Open-mouthed smileRed heart

As usual I am in a dilemma, a song to smile or a song to cry? I like them both..so here they are. Hope you enjoy them.


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Filed under Bollywood 00's Music