Raja Nawathe: Gumnaam (1965)

You know I had never quite been a huge Hindi cinema buff. No doubt, I had watched numerous films over decades of my life in India, but had never really bought film magazines, nor bought tickets from the fellas who paced up and down, muttering something under their breath while you’re waiting in queue with that occasional mood to go to the movies to watch a Hindi film.  More often than not, by the time you reached the ticket window, they would have no good seats left, except the stray ones in the first few rows, and you certainly did not ever want to sit that close to the screen… instead, we ended up going for lunch, or dinner. But that’s so far back I can barely remember what we did. Well, every now and again I seem to be writing something about Hindi cinema… nothing quite of consequence, I guess. But, this came as a surprise just now.

A few years ago, I had created this page about a not-so-widely-renowned film director, Raja Nawathe. Again, if I had told someone at the time I created that page, they would have said, “Yeah, so…  who’s that again?” Not much was known about him on the internet search at the time… so I pieced together the little I could. What do you know!  I just came across this scholarly article by Dr Iain Robert Smith, Lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London. In it, I found a link directly to that page. So I’m smiling, at least someone found that page useful. 🙂 Although Raja Nawathe himself directed only a few films, the songs from his films are by no means gumnaam (or loosely translated, forgotten… ) e.g. here are a couple of Shankar-Jaikishan composed favorites, one is the haunting title  song that Lata Mangeshkar sang in the background song where actresses Nanda and Helen, hero Manoj Kumar and others  seem lost; and the other one is while feisty Laxmi-Chhaya is in rock-n-roll mode in a club scene for which Mohammad Rafi sings with such pizzazz.  🙂

Surprise, the lyrics for this one are written by Shailendra, while the sombre one is Hasrat Jaipuri’s writing. Enjoy both… listen to whichever you feel will fascinate you more. 🙂

 

 

 

Dev Anand, in conversation…

Varsha Bhosle, an ardent fan of Dev Anand interviewed the legendary actor somewhere around April 1997. Many others like her, and as fans of Hindi cinema may have already read this long interview, which I just came across minutes ago. As I do occasionally, on finding something interesting, especially unexpectedly, I share the treasure right-away; because in cyberspace one can never be sure, it may vanish from sight, and you may never find it again.

Just in case you’re new to Hindi film journalists, or to Indian reporters, Varsha Bhosle was a reporter/writer. She passed away four years ago on 8th October 2012, causes of which are shrouded in mystery, but broadly deemed as suicide. No doubt, she was known for her writing, but as the daughter of playback singer Asha Bhosle, also a living legend today at age 83, there was little secret about her lineage.

Now, Dev Anand, whom Varsha had interviewed so far back, also passed away on 3rd December 2011. Effectively, this interview carries even more weight today than when it was published on April 04, 1997.

 

devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_1devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_contd2devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_contd3devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_contd4

 accord. I have lost the battle of the ages

devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_contd5devanand_varshabhosleinterview-_contd6

 

Pancham’s Debut – Chhote Nawab

 

mehmood_helen_chhotenawab

Mehmood dances with Helen in a very classy performance. Both, a pleasure to watch, as she plays the castanets onscreen; as well as a joy to listen to. Pancham’s score for the comedian’s home production is wonderful.

Indeed, Rahul Dev Burman, ‘Tablu’ made his debut as a music composer with the film “Chhote Nawab” (1961) – an apt title for the young ‘prince’ who hailed from the royal family of Tripura. His father, Sachin Dev Burman’s unavailability to score music for this film was perhaps a blessing in disguise.

Although Chhote Nawab’s musical success did not bring a mad rush of film makers to Pancham’s doorstep, in no way does that undermine the beauty in the songs here; and speaks of a gifted RDB, as time would tell. Whether it was a classical-based “Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye”or one with a Latin beat “Matvali Ankhon Vale”, here was a music composer making his mark in no uncertain terms. Deserving as much credit, in no small measure, are Shailendra’s lyrics, and the voices of the playback singers Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Shamshad Begum. But these were artistes who had arrived a long time ago. Some extra credit to the young Tablu is certainly in order.

वाहिला या या ला ला आ
ह ला ला ला ला लू लू ला या या
ला ला ला ला ला ला ला

हो ओ मतवाली आँखों वाले
ओ अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले
ओ अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले

हो ओ तुझको शायद होगा हो गया
सुन ऐ हसीं मैं वो नहीं
मैं वो नहीं
हो तू है तो महफ़िल में रंग है
तू जो नहीं कुछ भी नहीं
हाए हाए कुछ भी नहीं
हो ओ मतवाली आँखों वाले
हो अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले

हो ओ जब से तुझको दखा एक नज़र
मुझे क्या हुआ मेरे दिलबर मेरे दिलबर
हो ओ मुझ पे अपना जादू न चला
कहा मेरा सुन कहीं और जा कहीं और जा
हो ओ मतवाली आँखों वाले
ओ अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले

हो ओ मैं तेरी दुनिया में अजनबी
कहीं और है मंज़िल मेरी मंज़िल मेरी
ओ कह-सुन ले दो बातें प्यार की
दुनिया तेरी महफ़िल तेरी महफ़िल तेरी

हो ओ मतवाली आँखों वाले
ओ अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले
ओ अलबेले दिलवाले
दिल तेरा हो रहेगा
गर तू इसे अपना ले
मतवाली आँखों वाले

 

The song: ‘Saanvre, Saanvre’ – Film “Anuradha” (1960)

Outstanding in every way, ‘Saanvre, Saanvre’ is a splendid example of lyrics, composition and the singer’s voice unifying into a sublime creation! Shailendra the poet-lyricist, sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, and melodious Lata Mangeshkar were all in their prime, as was the gorgeous actress Leela Naidu making her Hindi film debut with the title role “Anuradha” (1960). Paired with Balraj Sahni, my favorite actor from that era, the film has an interesting role for Abhi Bhattacharya also (I’ve surmised from another song that I listened to).

I was so overwhelmed by Saanvre Saanvre feeling compelled to transcribe it straightaway, lest it escaped me and was forgotten from my memory. Of course, it is in Hindi. Someday, if I get a chance, will transcribe in English as well… As the film begins, this ‘ten-year-old’ song plays on the radio, with the announcer/anchor introducing the listener to the singer “Anuradha Rai”. The film credits begin to scroll onscreen, but I’m not certain if this song appears again later. I should watch this award winner some point when I have time. https://youtu.be/ikeys1kkQCs

फिल्म: अनुराधा
गीतकार: शैलेंद्र
संगीत: पंडित रविशंकर
साल: १९६०
गायक: लता मंगेशकर

सांवरे … सांवरे

सांवरे सांवरे
जाओ सांवरे सांवरे
काहे मोसे करो जोरा-जोरी
बैयां ना मरोड़ो मोरी
दूंगी दूंगी गारी हटो जाओ जी
सांवरे सांवरे

संग ना सहेली, पाएके अकेली
संग ना सहेली, पाएके अकेली
अब ना जाहते मोरे शाम
रोको ना डगर मोरी
हा आ आ आ

सांवरे सांवरे
जाओ सांवरे सांवरे
काहे मोसे करो जोरा-जोरी
बैयां ना मरोड़ो मोरी
दूंगी दूंगी गारी हटो जाओ जी
सांवरे सांवरे
जाओ सांवरे

गोपी-ग्वाले, देखने वाले
गोपी-ग्वाले, देखने वाले
बिन विचारे कहेंगे सारे
पकड़ी राधा की चोरी
हा आ आ आ

सांवरे सांवरे
जाओ सांवरे सांवरे
काहे मोसे करो जोरा-जोरी
बैयां ना मरोड़ो मोरी
दूंगी दूंगी गारी हटो जाओ जी
सांवरे सांवरे

मुरली बजाओ, गैयां चराओ
मुरली बजाओ, गैयां चराओ
हमरी गैल छोड़ो ऐ छैल
मिलो जब आवे होरी
हा आ आ आ
सांवरे
हा आ आ आ
सांवरे
आ आ आ
सांवरे
आ आ आ
सांवरे

Watch your kite soar!

In Indian cinema, poets and lyricists have expressed the joys and sorrows of people, through songs using the humble kite as a metaphor. Watching your kite soar, caressing the skies on a clear day is a simple delight.

Across the oceans to the west, or bending far over in the orient’s east, you see kites in exotic shapes and sizes but with staggering prices. Father and son leaving the neighborhood park after an hour of structured fun, is a far cry from kite-flying around “Sankranti” – celebrated annually on 14th January, unfailingly. Restless kids practice to perfection their skills, honing them in anticipation of the battles that are waged on ‘The’-Day. 🙂 Onward of December, sales of colorful ‘patang‘ (kite) and reels of “maanja” (string) begin to soar.

I remember from my childhood days – a ‘fast’ friend of my maternal uncles. “Kanu” maama, was a seasonal ‘stockist’, but an immensely gentle soul who loved kids. During the summer season, just before the onset of monsoons, he stocked umbrellas and raincoats of all shapes and sizes. We always stopped by his Station Road store to say hello to him during our vacation in the summer holidays. Again, almost towards the end of a month-long Christmas vacation spent at my grandparents’ home, a visit to his store was a given. This time around it was more exciting for us kids.

What fun, all the way to the top were arrays of kites, neatly stacked. Hanging from the ceiling, in the store’s narrow, tunnel-like space were all these colored kites and reels of string that beckoned us! In awe, we wanted as many as Maa could handle carrying these fragile paper kites back to Mumbai on a crowded train. Without doubt, boarding a train headed back to Mumbai at the end of Xmas season would be a nightmare, but this shopping was a must! It did not matter – two kids in tow, a couple of carry-on (sans wheels) bags, a few pishvis packed with food – goodies that were a specialty of Surat — think Mazda bakery’s butter biscuits, naan khatai, surti papdi (for Maa to make undhiyoo), ghee-coated pistachio ghaari, and paunk (fresh soft grain from the fields) to be savored with a bunch of other delightful, sweet-n-savory items… and the firki-patang!  A stockpile of kites is a must.

Who wants to run out on kites when you could be running across the streets, or from the top, on your building’s terrace to match kite-flying skills, with that of your opponent’s — usually that guy across on the neighboring building! Slashing his maanja requires tact and skill, when that kite sails downward, you cry out – not unlike a war-cry “Kai-po-chhe“! Yes, those strings that you tie the papyrus thin kite with, in strategic knots, is actually coated with fine glass… you’d say that’s not child’s play… but oh well, politically correct or not… I haven’t heard of anyone being sued for flying kites this way in India. That said, for the urban lot — ‘occasional’ kite-fliers like us, maanja without the glass coating was mandatory. Kanu maama had ensured that.

The soaring kite, a hard feat to achieve, that comes with practice may be used as a figure of speech for dreams unlimited — masculine; while the fallen kite — “kati patang” may be a depiction of a crestfallen maiden.  The fun and fury of flying kites surpasses the delight of flying drones or remote-controlled airplanes… any day! So… here are some songs to last you week-long… hum along! 🙂

Here is a medley of moods, music, situations.

Film: Bhabhi (1957). Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan. Composer: Chitragupt. Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Mohommad Rafi. Actors: Nanda & Jagdeep

 

Film: Zameen ke Taare (1960). Lyrics: Anand Bakshi. Composer: S. Mohinder. Singers: Sudha Malhotra & Asha Bhosle. Child Actors: Daisy & Honey Irani

 

Film: Raagini (1958). Lyrics: Jan Nisar Akhtar. Composer: O P Nayyar. Singers: Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar. Actors: Kishore Kumar & ?

No kite flying visible in this song… and yet…

Film: Nagin(1954). Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan. Composer: Hemant Kumar. Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Hemant Kumar. Actors: Vyjantimala & Pradeep Kumar

Again, this is depicted as a dance ballet on stage. Lyrics speak of patang & maanjaa.

 

Film: Patang (1960). Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan. Composer: Chitragupt. Singers: Mohommad Rafi. Actors: Om Prakash

A hard fact of life…

Film: Kati Patang (1971). Lyrics: Anand Bakshi. Composer: Rahul Dev Burman. Singers: Lata Mangeshkar. Actors: Asha Parekh

This post would be incomplete without this one… the crestfallen maiden!

 

This is colorful — Gujarati flavors and colors. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a Gujarati, whose opulent Marathi-flavored Bajirao-Mastani is playing to packed houses currently, was writer-producer-director of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). Ismail Darbar, the music composer debuted with this film. He is a Surti. Now, Surat, Gujarati and kite flying are virtually synonymous. Ask anyone… oh well, just enjoy this song! 😉

Film: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999). Lyrics: Mehboob Kotwal. Composer: Ismail Darbar. Singers: K.K., Shankar Mahadevan, Jyotsna Hardikar, Dominique Cerejo.

 

 

 

 

Bollywood fans? Awaara Dream Sequence Interpretation

By sheer accident a few minutes ago, came upon this site… Now what was I searching for? Yeah, Awaara – interpretation of the dream sequence in this film. For a project I’m working on in collaborative mode, I’d considered a very different interpretation for the end of this song… (without having ever watched the iconic classic of the early ’50s; had just read the storyline).
Wondering whether Raj Kapoor calls out Seeta, Seeta Seeta at the end, or is it Rita, Rita, Rita… or as someone suggested – Neeta Neeta Neeta… 🙂 I thought he utters “Seeta Seeta Seeta” – his mother is banished by her husband on grounds of infidelity when she’s abducted by a rogue character. But in fact, the rogue had learned that she’s an expectant mother. So he leaves her untouched. After a few days, he allows her to return to her husband (he’s a judge by profession, and the abduction by Jagga was some vendetta of sorts). But the Judge would not accept his wife on grounds of possible tainted chastity. She’s now a destitute. Her baby grows up into this young man, a role played by Raj Kapoor. Nargis, leading lady in the film, is the daughter of the Judge (well, he had raised her, it seems and she’s a lawyer by profession). For Raj Kapoor’s misdemeanor she stands as his advocate. (He’s obviously smitten by her beauty+brains). As a consequence of the inner conflicts of his mind and heart this dream sequence conjures up in his head. It could also be a nightmare of sorts. Towards the end of the sequence he calls out to Nargis, who’s being pulled by this evil genie like Jagga and she’s fast fading away. Raj Kapoor calls out… now was he all mixed up and calling out to save his mother who’s the virtuous Seeta Maiyaa  type character in the film? Seeta who was abducted  by Ravana in the epic tale Ramayana? On her return to Ayodhya, she’s banished by her husband Rama (who had rescued her from Lanka)  under pressure from the people. She had to prove her chastity! Oh well, so… I viewed RK as calling out to Seeta… Never mind all of the above. 😉
If you’d like to watch the dream sequence here it is:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLCmhNeaYfA
If the storyline I wrote in a mish-mash manner piqued your interest, bookmark this page for further info.
For the plausible interpretation, check this out… http://www.letstalkaboutbollywood.com/article-20545057.html
Now I just found yet another reference to the ‘direct inspiration’ for the dream dance from Uday Shankar’s “Kalpana” (1948). Check this out. http://cinemanrityagharana.blogspot.com/2013/04/simkies-choreography-in-awara-dream.html  This page also has the link to the older film itself. (Am watching it here now). 😉

 

The About Me reads: “I’m a French lover of Indian cinema, but I’m also interested in literature, science, art, and reflection in general. This blog will reflect these tastes more or less!French lover of Indian cinema, but I’m also interested in literature, science, art, and reflection in general. This blog will reflect these tastes more or less!” Wow… kudos to him/her for the interpretation. We may never learn the late actor Raj Kapoor’s true metaphoric intentions.  A bit more about the actor for those who’re interested is an interesting read @ http://southasiainstitute.harvard.edu/website/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Raj_Kapoor_film_comments.pdf

Dancer, Photographer, Soprano Singer, Writer, Director, Movie maker… Dreamer?

A short while ago a couple of people ‘followed’ me i.e. this blog. Now that can seem mighty flattering, if you too blog, be it on Blogger, WordPress, or wherever else… By the way, can someone tell me if there’s a ‘word’ for someone who blogs on WordPress?

Pronto, like for the 99.99% out there, curiosity got the better of me so I checked out these followers, and whoa, what do I see? One of them is an actress with her very own IMDb page. But for me, this lady is accomplished in ways that hold a greater significance. Well-traveled across four continents, that too solo; a photographer, a dancer, beautiful and bold enough to battle with a baboon… no, kidding I’m not! I won’t plagiarize, or re-post what Lena has posted, photographed or written about. To get to know a bit of her very interesting character, you may want to begin here, and she will lead you thereon. 😉 Thank you, Lena. I recall visiting your page many months ago and then again moments ago. What a fantastic journey you’re on. Lovely, and my best wishes to you for even more exciting times ahead.

Another person that I listened to yesterday is a soprano singer. It is simply amazing when I learned of her achievements. It speaks to her sheer dedication, and in no small measure her determination. Searching for a link to add here, I visited Charlotte‘s blog even as I’m typing these words. It’s just fascinating to see the dreams of people taking shape, in one form or another… music, dance… wow!

Recently, I wrote about an indie film. It took the writer/director over seven years to bring his dream to fruition. I do wish his film too meets with the success it deserves… both, for his effort, for taking on a subject that is both intricate as it is difficult to explain in a few scenes.

Thank you people, for allowing me, and the world, to peek into your vast universe that’s brimming with dreams. Pray, where’s the dream catcher?  About some of the others I will write again another day. 🙂

The Wisdom Tree film… a spiritual journey that traverses farther yonder!

On a dark, stormy night, driving on an empty road in Northern California, Steve Hamilton, a self-conflicted quantum physicist meets with an implausibly bizarre car accident! Dr. Trisha Rao, a compassionate but unwavering neurologist attending to Steve’s injuries, and an anguished FBI Agent, Mike Parker, attempt to untangle this baffling accident. The mystery deepens as the trio stumbles upon clues rooted in fine art, music, mysticism, spirituality, and science. The confounding clues trigger a cascade of questions; before long, the troika foresees the inevitable — the human race is at risk! With twists in the plot, this sci-fi drama progresses to avert a looming catastrophe.  A haunting background score with ethereal vocals, integral to the story, lends to the timeless dimension of The Wisdom Tree film, essentially a fiction story.

The Wisdom Tree melds quantum physics with eastern mysticism in a riveting mystery that swirls around human desires and their latent fears. The knotted plot of this sci-fi drama tangles around an exquisite backdrop of fine art paintings, Indian classical music, and new age elements, alluding that the universe is multidimensional, strange, and harmonic; and, as some eastern spiritual traditions have long maintained, “All is One”. Amidst this harmonious confluence of colors, shapes, shadows, light, space, time, mystery, math, music, and the mystical, lurks a profound question, “Could this be true?”

Recently, did you watch the film première at AMC Metreon in San Francisco? Or, their next screening in Orinda, East Bay, California? Well, if mysticism, mystery, sci-fi, spirituality, art, music are your scene, you may not want to miss this film. Ever since its private screenings earlier in 2013 at Emory University, Atlanta, and at the Science and Non-Duality Conference, San Jose, audiences and invitees have been intrigued by this indie. Here’s the small catch… it isn’t mass-distributed. Hence, you may want to sign up to request a screening in your town. If this subject excites you, you may even want to volunteer and get your friends, family, like-minded folks near you at your Meet Ups or Groups to sign up. The sooner you all sign up, and the more number of folks express interest, the sooner it will be screened in a town near you. Well, I’ll make this easy… watch The Wisdom Tree film trailer. 😉

Oh, I almost forgot to mention… the ravishing Sheetal Sheth is in the key role as neurologist, and Patrick Alparone, a fine theater actor you may know of already, plays his first film role as quantum physicist. Check them out. There are many fine actors this film has drawn. The crew also includes some eminent Oscar winners and other award nominees. Personally, it all speaks well of Writer/Director Sunil Shah, and the co-producers of the film, Laura Techera Francia and Renu Vora. There are many names you may recognize. Visit their facebook page, or join their growing number of followers on twitter… indeed, they’re active.

O, Sajana Barkha Bahaar Aayi

“Parakh” – 1960

 

ओ सजना
ओ सजना, बरख़ा बहार आयी
रस की फुहार लायी
अखियों में प्यार लायी
ओ सजना, बरख़ा बहार आयी
रस की फुहार लायी
अखियों में प्यार लायी
ओ सजना

तुम को पुकारे मेरे मन का पपीहरा
तुम को पुकारे मेरे मन का पपीहरा
मीठी-मीठी अगनि में जले मोरा जीयरा
ओ सजना, बरख़ा बहार आयी
रस की फुहार लायी
अखियों में प्यार लायी
ओ सजना

ऐसी रिम-झिम में ओ सजन
प्यासे-प्यासे मेरे नयन
तेरे ही ख़्वाब में खो गये
ऐसी रिमझिम में ओ सजन
प्यासे-प्यासे मेरे नयन
तेरे ही ख़्वाब में खो गये

सांवली सलोनी घटा
जब जब छायी
सांवली सलोनी घटा
जब जब छायी
अखियों में रैना गयी
निंदिया न आयी

ओ सजना, बरख़ा बहार आयी
रस की फुहार लायी
अखियों में प्यार लायी
ओ सजना बरख़ा बहार आयी
रस की फुहार लायी
अखियों में प्यार लायी
ओ सजना

Has this song ended? Really? Why! O, why hasn’t Shailendra continued writing more  stanzas? Did it stop raining? Salil da, what an outstanding composition! Lata ji – her voice  with just the right timbre, her high notes in sync with the rim-jhim. Sadhana, beautiful, expressive, simple… standing there watching the downpour, pouring her thoughts in song… thinking of her beloved… “O, sajana!”… O, Sadhana!

 

O Machalti Arzoo… Salil da

usnekahatha_collage_chitralekhan_sept2012

Vivacious, filled with youthful joy, refreshing, with an element of awaiting to live life to its fullest. Joie de vivre… just enjoy this song, its exuberance and actress Nanda, bubbling, day-dreaming, in Usne Kaha Tha (1961)… a black and white film.

ओ ओ ओ ~

मचलती आरज़ू
खड़ी बाँहें पसारे ~ ओ
ओ मेरे साजना रे
धड़कता दिल पुकारे
आ ~  जा

ओ ओ ओ ~

मचलती आरज़ू
खड़ी बाँहें पसारे ~ ओ
ओ मेरे साजना रे
धड़कता दिल पुकारे
आ ~  जा

मेरा आँचल पकड़ के कह रहा है मेरा दिल
मेरा आँचल पकड़ के कह रहा है मेरा दिल
ज़माने की निगाहों से यहां छुप छुप के मिल
यहीं तन्हाई में दिल की कली जाएगी खिल
ओ हो ओ

ओ ओ ओ ~

मचलती आरज़ू
खड़ी बाँहें पसारे ~ ओ
ओ मेरे साजना रे
धड़कता दिल पुकारे
आ ~  जा

मिलन के मदभरे चंचल ख़यालों में मगन

मिलन के मदभरे चंचल ख़यालों में मगन
मैं तो तकती हूँ तेरी राहों ओ मेरे साजन
बहारों के लिए हो मुंतज़िर जैसे चमन
हो ओ
मचलती आरज़ू
खड़ी बाँहें पसारे
ओ मेरे साजना रे
धड़कता दिल पुकारे
आ ~  जा

हो ओ
मचलती आरज़ू
खड़ी बाँहें पसारे ए
ओ मेरे साजना रे
धड़कता दिल पुकारे
आ ~  जा