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.

 

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 accord. I have lost the battle of the ages

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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

Lata Mangeshkar ji… kudos to you.

Lata Mangeshkar_Raj Kapoor_Krishna
Photo Courtesy:

 

Now this is a story about conflict between two of Indian Cinema’s biggest names who had worked together with great success since the beginning of their major film careers. A fall-out between the two occurred when Lata ji asserted herself raising the issue of royalty to be paid to her; while Raj Kapoor believed that her request was preposterous. Many years later, the two did work together again… RK passed away in 1988; but a little bit first, about Lata Mangeshkar ji.

Lata Mangeshkar is endowed with an inherent talent for music. Under her father’s tutelage, her formal training had commenced when she was six. Upon her father’s death, when she was thirteen, Lata turned towards classical singing as a means of livelihood. Her struggles continued for almost seven years. One day in the late 1940s, her melodious voice caught the attention of a new film production company – RK Films. At 20, Lata was in the prime of her youth. She sang all the songs for the film (film history), composed by music director team  Shankar-Jaikishan, lyrics written by Shailendra ji and Hasrat Jaipuri ji. The film, its music, and Lata’s singing were a stupendous success. There was no stopping Lata  after that. With her head held high, her career graph went higher and higher but she stood her ground, and refrained from songs and music which she viewed as crass. In an era of films that relied heavily upon music for their success, one success followed another. There was no stopping her. As a playback singer, she worked long hours. At the time of her fast-rising success, her youngest brother was not even a teenager.

Time went by, and as playback singer she was much sought after by filmmakers, and music composers across Hindi cinema and also in regional cinema. A voice that was popular and recognized by the people, reached the ears of the nation’s leader. In 1963, by the end of the Sino-Indian War after India had suffered many casualties, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India then, invited 33-34 year old Lata to sing at the Republic Day celebrations. As a true patriot, she rendered Kavi Pradeep ji’s Aye Mere Vatan ke Logon, astounding everyone. Her crystal clear voice was like balm in the aftermath of war that had taken away many soldiers, leaving behind weeping families.

When her own father had died, almost twenty years prior, Lata was just a budding teenager. There was nobody at the time to wipe her tears. As the oldest among her siblings, she assumed the role of breadwinner while her widowed mother cared for the other four children. She had little choice but to forego her own future and her education so as to fulfill filial duties. There was no time to indulge in frills or fanciful thoughts. She had three younger sisters, and a brother almost eight years junior to her. Their education, their well-being, their future was her responsibility. To this day, even as Lata ji is pushing 87, she has remained single… this lady never did marry. She pursued her passion for music since childhood; and embraced it as a career even before reaching adulthood. Her own personal reasons must be respected for who she is today – single, with head held high, and one who knows her own worth and value. She learned that a long time ago. Therefore, one day, she raised the issue of royalty fee for her singing. Well, she was snubbed by him — the one who was born and raised and had lived like royalty, living up to his name.

Raj Kapoor was born in the mid-twenties, with the figurative ‘silver spoon’ in his mouth. He was the oldest among six siblings. Their grand ancestral home in Peshawar now stands as a museum. When Raj was just four-five years old, his father, the grand Prithviraj Kapoor (recall ‘Sikander’ 1941, or Shehenshah Akbar of latter day ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ 1960) was training to be a lawyer. But he had started to lean towards cinema, playing his first roles as an actor in films. Thereafter, many movies followed – both, in the silent era, as well as in Alam Ara (1931) India’s first talkie film. As is oft stated, success begets success, so this saga of success continued to flourish across generations in this opulent family. In the meanwhile, Raj and his two brothers studied at elite schools, and colleges.

When he was 10 years old, Raj Kapoor had already appeared in a film role. By 1948, at the age of twenty-four Raj had struck out on his own, setting up is own film banner that went on to make many films… R.K. Films not only made their own films, but the Kapoor family was even deemed as the First family of Hindi filmdom. History of hindi cinema is filled with stories about the entire Kapoor clan, their successes… and even their occasional failures. But then decades in the film industry – making films, stars, and film history is bound to have its ups and downs… it is, after all, a business, right?

Now… in a rare interview with Lata ji, the host asked the lady about her fallout with Raj Kapoor. Finally, after years of riding the wave of success, Lata ji had requested Raj Kapoor to discuss her ‘royalty’ for the songs she sang, going forward. To him her request was preposterous. RK responded thus: (Lata ji narrates on camera as:) “Tumhein kya lagtaa hai, mein yahaan kya karne aaya hun? Main yahaan business karne aaya hun.” Transliteration of RK’s words: “What do you think I’m here for? I’m here (in the film industry) to do business.”  Lata ji’s response (also on camera:) “Aap ko kya lagtaa hai, mein yahaan rani ke baagh mein ghoomne aayi hoon? Lata Mangeshkar ji’s repartee to Raj Kapoor ji was: “So what do you think I’m here for, to take a stroll in the Queen’s park? (referring to Mumbai’s local Zoo, then known as “Victoria Gardens”) Even in this interview, many years after the fallout and subsequent reconciliation, her eyes gleamed. She said, that was it! Raj Kapoor took away all the songs that were assigned to her for his forthcoming film and brought on another singer/s.

In my view, Lata Mangeshkar’s request for royalty on the songs she sang was not misplaced. She was not an employee, and no longer on any fixed payroll. Lata’s voice, her singing, and the records that were selling… it was all a rip-roaring success. Heroes and heroines were increasingly demanding astronomical signing fees, while music composers and lyricists had their own standards. There was little harm done, isn’t it, if Lata Mangeshkar asked for this change in remuneration structure for all the songs that were lining the pockets of film folks across the board. So… yes, she knew her worth, was astute and made a business-like call in an industry where everyone was in it for oneself.

How can anyone think or believe that Lata Mangeshkar was being ‘greedy’! You must be in Lata ji’s shoes to visualize those ominous days she must have faced after her father died. Ironically, today, those who fail to ask for a raise, or demand a fair competitive fee, are viewed by others as fools.

Lata ji’s continued success over the decades cannot erase the past she had faced… alone! That must have shaped her own beliefs, steered her own path… whether or not others concurred with her or not.

In lyricist Anand Bakshi ji’s words (and he was a huge fan of Lata ji), “Kuchh toh log kahenge. Sita bhi yahaan badnaam hui (“Amar Prem”). Now, if a woman asserts herself, there will always be those who condemn her.

In any case, I think of the heroines of that past era — when it was viewed as taboo —  who bared bosoms before they became ‘stars’ in RK Films. Was it necessary? I mean not for the ladies, but for RK to have at least one scene in each of his films — sort of the secret sauce — for assured success? Wasn’t it enough to have an outstanding music team of prolific lyricists, dynamic composers and mellifluous singers? Plus wouldn’t he rely on his own skills as an actor, director, and/or producer, just wondering. Albeit, there’s little doubt that many fans in RK’s defense would say, it was all part of RK’s artful film-making… but I’m guessing… he was wary of hinging the entire success of his films to just one basket. Therefore, he had to include something — there had to be a sure-success reason — the singular draw for popular masses for whom he made films… after all, wasn’t making films foremost his business!

 

 

I say, have a heart… for this lady, who has withstood the test of time. Just because she appears stoic while being successful, pause to ponder, before you condemn her. Somewhere along the line, it’s her gender that’s bothersome to those who do point a finger at her… some even happen to be the same gender. Women can be a woman’s worst enemy.

Her voice will prevail… and continue to entertain generations. Although he may have played those ‘overly-humble’ roles often, RK as a filmmaker was no one’s fool… he was, after all, a shrewd businessman. You may — or may never – watch those films portraying RK as ‘clueless’, but somewhere around you, there’s always a song playing… that will move you deeply, emotionally… and that voice is that of Lata Mangeshkar.

 

 

 

Disclaimer:

This post is in no way meant to hurt anyone’s reputation, nor to disturb anyone’s feelings. This post is because I was saddened by someone’s unsavory remarks about Lata ji after they watched this interview. RK has gone.  He had entertained the world. May his soul be at peace. May this world let Lata ji live in peace. Her voice calms many a crying soul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can replay your favorite song, but…

Life moves on, and you can never rewind nor replay it, ever. That is a fact, my friend, even if this song is drawn from fiction.

Aap Ki Kasam
Rajesh Khanna in “Aap ki Kasam” (1974). Background score “Zindagi ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hain Jo Makaam”

 

Over four decades ago, for a film situation, a very special lyricist wrote a song sprinkled with beautiful metaphors. Today is his 86th birth anniversary.

Story Context: A man, blinded by suspicion, throws his wife out from his life. Much later he realizes his folly. Alas it is too late; she is now married to another man. Deeply saddened, forlorn, he wanders around, regretting his rash decision, aching for the love he had recklessly abandoned.

Here is my transliteration of that iconic Hindi song.

Flowers will bloom, but some will fall off in autumn, to never bloom again next spring. Consider this, you meet thousands of people along life’s journey, but although you call out for some over a lifetime, alas, they may never return… you may never again meet those who had parted – disappointed with you – a long time ago some day.

A note of caution. What your eyes see may not be the entire truth. Don’t open your doors to suspicion… it is the darkest foe of friendship. Pay heed, ’cause if you don’t, you will regret it deeply, and all through your lifetime. No matter how often you call out to your friend (read ‘beloved’), your ‘hello’ will meet a deep ‘silence’. Those who have gone, will never return… ever. Refrain from such recklessness.

A new day will dawn, and dusk will bid goodbye, then another day will dawn, and this cycle of night and day will go on. Time moves on, the moment is here, and before you realize it, it’s gone… it won’t ever return. Man barely takes in the scene on screen, but in a flash it’s gone.

In life, the milestones that go past, will never return.

Here’s the song, I’ve just transcribed in Hindi.

ज़िन्दगी के सफ़र में गुज़र जाते हैं जो मक़ाम
वो, फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

ज़िन्दगी के सफ़र में गुज़र जाते हैं जो मक़ाम
वो, फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

फूल खिलते हैं, लोग मिलते हैं
फूल खिलते हैं, लोग मिलते हैं मगर
पतझड़ में जो फूल मुरझा जाते हैं
वो बहारों के आने से खिलते नहीं
कुछ लोग इक रोज़ जो बिछड़ जाते हैं
वो हज़ारों के आने से मिलते नहीं
उम्र-भर चाहे कोई पुकारा करे उनका नाम
वो, फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

आँख धोख़ा है, क्या भरोसा है
आँख धोख़ा है, क्या भरोसा है सुनो
दोस्तों, शक़ दोस्ती का दुश्मन है
अपने दिल में इसे घर बनाने न दो
कल तड़पना पड़े याद में जिनकी
रोक लो रूठ कर उनको जाने न दो
बाद में प्यार के चाहे भेजो हज़ारों सलाम
वो, फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

सुबह आती है, रात जाती है
सुबह आती है, रात जाती है यूँही
वक़्त चलता ही रहता है रुकता नहीं
इक पल में ये आगे निकल जाता है
आदमी ठीक से देख पाता नहीं
और परदे पे मंज़र बदल जाता है
इक बार चले जाते हैं जो दिन-रात सुब-ओ-शाम
वो, वो फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

ज़िन्दगी के सफ़र में गुज़र जाते हैं जो मक़ाम
वो, फिर नहीं आते, वो, फिर नहीं आते

The melancholy that seeps through Rahul Dev Burman‘s music composition, and Kishore Kumar‘s voice, along with the visual portrayal of Rajesh Khanna‘s helplessness, his forlorn state in the film, especially during the height of his career, has made this song from “Aap ki Kasam” (1974) memorable. These lucid lyrics, the mastery of Anand Bakshi saab’s metaphors in this film’s context are endearing, easy to sing along, soulful.

Trotting on your high horse?

Headed to Buckingham Palace? Chances are you’re more than likely not going anywhere near there. Then why this compulsion to speak the Queen’s English, eh?  Here’s what I think the issue is…

It’s an instant giveaway that although you’re a product of independent India, you haven’t quite broken away those shackles of your colonial past – even if you were born two generations later. See this invisible long chain… your parents’ thinking influenced your childhood. They in turn were a product of parents amid an entire generation who believed that speaking English with the appropriate vocabulary, specific diction, pronunciation – ‘a command of the language’ would get them in high places. What does ‘high places’ really translate into? It meant a better paid job, access to an ‘elite’ inner circle, a membership into a club reserved for those not just with the means, i.e. wealthy, but also with a certain ‘polished’ look and feel about them. In other words, knowing which spoon to ‘not slurp’ that mulligatawny soup with, which fork to jab the paper thin phulka roti, or dosa with… and which knife to stab the steak with. No… you can’t pretend to be shocked! This was hurtful… because it’s true…

Well, in a desperate effort to give their kids a head-start parents work even harder in urban metros, I hear, paying an arm and a leg to see their kids sail through an International Baccalaureate program offered by a school that may even be tens of kilometers away from their residence — which is hard on young kids. Ostensibly, there’s the  ultimate payoff i.e. easier access to an Ivy League School, or at least better chances of admission to a good university in the US; or even to Cambridge, Manchester, Stirling, Oxford in the UK; or even down under in Australia! Isn’t that true? On the other hand millions of kids and youth strive, struggle and must elbow their way to come out ahead through education at poorly-funded municipal schools (not ‘Public Schools’ since those in India are the elite schools), or ordinary primary, middle school and high schools that are  close to home. In rural areas, they have to walk miles and overcome challenges to get anywhere near a school.  And that’s another story. I’ve digressed.

What crossed my mind is the following. Remember Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam? 11th President of India? Ever listened to him speak, whether he addressed the nation, or in an interview on Knowledge at Wharton? He spoke in English, but with an accent that is construed as ‘thick’, not just in the western world, but among his own people – the ones from elite schools. Listen to him, and say you don’t think so… but wait, pay attention to the content and his line of thinking? Amazing…

The point is, with the spread of languages we are exposed to routinely, we are at such a huge advantage (as compared to those who speak only one language — English)! Even the Eastern Bloc folks learn English, but foremost each one speaks their own language, may be even a different dialect. We know that the Japanese, Chinese, in the Philippines, natives of numerous African nations, the French, Spanish, Greeks, Hungarians, Scandinavians, Portuguese… they all are proud of their respective languages. As Indians, to express ourself, if we don’t find an appropriate word in English, there’s always another language we can borrow from… I often do. Just dip into your ‘mother tongue’ – no, chances are English is not your mother tongue, even if your entire family speaks in English! The joy of sprinkling your everyday parlance with your native lingo is immense… it’s so satisfying. It’s like having a complete meal – tangy, salty, spicy, sweet, and oh, with even with some bitterness in the mix! It’s all made so very flavorful…

When I hear Indians say with a hint of pride, “Oh, I only speak English, and am unable to read or write in any other language”, it makes me sad. What if one day, our human race turns into a homogeneous society where everyone speaks and thinks in just one language… how boring will it get! Science, math, technology is all boiling down to zero and one (0,1, 0, 1, 0, 1…) If all the languages of this world are reduced to just one, society, I’m afraid may be reduced to zero. They world may feel, “Know thy English“, but all I would like to say is, “No, to thy English.” “Ride, no?” 😉
QE On Horse_archive_hourseandhound_CO_UK

On 11th June 2016, Happy Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II… Her Majesty turns 90! 🙂
Photo Courtesy: Horse and Hound

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.

 

 

 

 

Another Take on Art, Music, Film, Remix… Priceless!

“… Remix voh hota hai ki kisi ka bhi banaya hua gaana aap pakadiye, yaa chura leejiye. Phir uss mein chaar naye saaz ander daaliye, phir ussey record keejiye, remix keejiye, aur khud maalik ban jaaiye. Bhai kalaa toh kalaa hoti hai, chaahe apni ho yaa paraayi; buss, Laxmi aani chaahiye, chhan-chhan, chhan-chhan, chhan chhan…” ~ Vikrant Kapoor’s dialogue in Taal (1999).
Screenplay written by Subhash Ghai, Sachin Bhowmick and Javed Siddiqui. The film was also produced and directed by Subhash Ghai. He has high regards for the larger than life lyricist, the late Anand Bakshi ji and respects his work immensely. Hence, the songs in his movies are a huge draw…just fabulous – lyrical, aesthetic, evocative and fun… all at once. They had collaborated in numerous movies ever since Karz (1980) until Yaadein (2001), which was released soon after Bakshi ji’s last birthday on July 21st, 2001. A few months later, on March 30th, 2002, Anand Bakshi saab paased away, leaving behind numerous memories for this film director, screenplay writer, producer, and his dear friend.

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After over 14 years I am watching this film again; the last time was with a bunch of friends, at the cinema, its glamor sparkling from the silver screen in Toronto. We had missed several minutes of its beginning. This evening, I was drawn to it again — a bit of nostalgia, and for the added treat of its memorable music.
Watching this alone, enjoying it in the quietude of a Saturday evening, was jolted by this dialogue, halfway through the movie. Essence of the dialog for non-Hindi speakers – “… Remix songs are those where you get someone’s song – by hook or by crook – add a few notes to the original, record the song, remix it, and become owner of that song. Call it your own creation. After all, art is art, whether it’s your own, or belongs to another. All that counts is the jingling sound of money money money…”
Recognize the satire, the irony? All those artists — creative souls — who accidentally find their work portrayed by someone else as their own, will recall the pang, the hurt, the anger, the frustration. There’s no solution… those who have no qualms, will carry on with their Re-Mix. Will you be party to this song-and-dance?

Crickets herald the onset of Fall… Jhingur Bole Cheeki-Meeki

usne-kaha-tha_cd-cover

Crickets herald the onset of Fall… Jhingur Bole Cheeki-Meeki…

Well, remember this song from the film “Usne Kahaa Tha” (1961)? With lyrics written by Shailendra ji, and some fabulous music by Salil Chowdhury, this is one of my most favorite songs from Hindi Cinema. Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood sing off-screen, while a charming Nanda, and the youthful Sunil Dutt sing with abandon on the silver screen.

Think of the monsoons, and even during hot summers, crickets make an immense racket come nightfall… We don’t quite hear those in the cities, but if you’ve ever had the opportunity to spend summer holidays in rural India, I think, you could not have missed this sound especially come evening.

Not just in the wet monsoons of India, but even in the west, crickets must be singing now. Heralding the onset of Fall in the US, Jhingur sounds must be audible.

Usne Kaha Tha | 1961 | Salil Chowdhury | Shailendra | Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood

आ हा
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आयी रात सुहानी देखो प्रीत लिये
मीत मेरे सुनो ज़रा हवा कहे क्या आ
सुनो तो ज़रा, झींगर बोले
चीकी-मीकि चीकी-मीकि
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये

आ हा
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आयी रात सुहानी देखो प्रीत लिये
मीत मेरे सुनो ज़रा हवा कहे क्या आ
सुनो तो ज़रा, झींगर बोले
चीकी-मीकि चीकी-मीकि
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये

खोयी सी भीगी भीगी रात झूमे
आँखों में सपनों की बारात झूमे
खोयी सी भीगी भीगी रात झूमे
आँखों में सपनों की बारात झूमे
दिल की ये दुनिया आज
बादलों के साथ झूमे
आ हा
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आयी रात सुहानी देखो प्रीत लिये
मीत मेरे सुनो ज़रा हवा कहे क्या आ
सुनो तो ज़रा, झींगर बोले
चीकी-मीकि चीकी-मीकि
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आ हा हा
आ हा हा

आ जाओ दिल में बसा लूँ तुम्हें
आँखों का कजरा बना लूँ तुम्हें
आ जाओ दिल में बसा लूँ तुम्हें
आँखों का कजरा बना लूँ तुम्हें
ज़ालिम ज़माने की निगाहों से छुपा लूँ तम्हें

आ हा
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आयी रात सुहानी देखो प्रीत लिये
मीत मेरे सुनो ज़रा हवा कहे क्या आ
सुनो तो ज़रा, झींगर बोले
चीकी-मीकि चीकी-मीकि
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये

हाथों में मेरे तेरा हाथ रहे
दिल से जो निकली है वोह बात रहे
हाथों में मेरे तेरा हाथ रहे
दिल से जो निकली है वोह बात रहे
मेरा तुम्हारा सारी ज़िन्दगी का साथ रहे

आ हा
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आयी रात सुहानी देखो प्रीत लिये
मीत मेरे सुनो ज़रा हवा कहे क्या आ
सुनो तो ज़रा, झींगर बोले
चीकी-मीकि चीकी-मीकि
रिम-झिम के ये प्यारे-प्यारे गीत लिये
आ हा हा
आ हा हा

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!