Category Archives: Songs & Albums

Thorny felt

Maine dekhaa ik sapnaa, kya dekhaa, bolo naa, bolo naa, please bolo naa .. *giggle*

That be a Lata-Kishore sung and R D Burman composed song from movie Samadhi (1972). This song also reminds me why I don’t like Lata’s giggle, but that is a different story. For those whose exposure to old Hindi film music comes from remixes, may you be tied to a chair and be made to listen to endless repeats of Sridevi singing. There, now that I got that out of my system, let’s continue with what I was saying. This is the same Samadhi of thorny felt, yes felt, come o king .. behind your bungalow, under the berry tree, haay re drunk, aha re drunk fame. That’s kaantaa lagaa, hayy lagaa, aajaa raajaa .. bangle ke peeche terii, berii ke neeche, haayy re piya, aha re piya for you.

Of course, the original song has Asha Parekh singing to garam-Dharam. Which leads to one of the most disturbing visuals in Hindi cinema — Asha Parekh being coy. No seriously, there are few sights worse than Ms Tanpura trying to be cute. This is a lady who cracked one of the eternal unintended jokes of Bollywood when she went to the temple in the climax of a film (any film, specifics don’t matter) and said — bhagwaan, main tumhaare dar pe badi ass leke aayi hoon. Yep, priceless moment.

But moving onto pleasanter things, Samadhi has quite a listen-worthy soundtrack. One of those wish-more-people-knew-of-it types. Has the middle-eastern influenced, Asha crooned o yaaraa yaaraa (whose second line I can never understand), another exceptionally sung Asha solo — jab tak rahe tan mein jiyaa, vaadaa rahaa o saathiyaa, the racy Kishore solo jaan-e-jaanaa jaao kal phir aanaa besides the bubbly Kishore-Lata maine dekhaa ik sapnaa and of course, the most famous of them all — Lata’s kaantaa lagaa. Whether you can blot out the accompanying visual of Shefali Jariwala’s thong or focus your attention on it depending on your preference, the song (and we are talking of the original, thank you very much) is wonderfully composed and sung and a winner through and through. Kudos to Pancham!

Samadhi also has the distinction of being one of the only TWO movies I know of with Dharam-paaji in a double role — one moochwala (not to be confused with Detective Moochwala from Target) and one without (paired with Jaya Bhaduri). The other movie being the Dharam-Rekha starrer — Ghazab (1982) where he plays a buffoon with buck teeth, one of his underrated comedic performances. Thanks to Sagnik for the Ghazab trivia. Interestingly enough, neither movie was much of a hit. Twice the usual number of doggy-abuses can be too much to sit through, I suppose.

The original point of the post was about more earth-shattering matters. I intended to tell you about a weird dream I had last night, hence the opening song and all. Ah well, will save it for the next post instead. By the way, as good readers you are all expected to head over to Musicindiaonline while reading this post, listen to the songs of Samadhi and come back and write comments full of effusive praise for R D Burman. In return, I promise not to giggle like Lata-bai. Thankoo.

Pyaar ke mod pe..

When it comes to Hindi film music, there are tons of songs I love. People make fun of how I have songs I love, songs I looove, and songs I luuuuuuuve. But amongst the many, there’s a smaller subset that truly touch my heart. Be it the lyrics, the singing, the music or some altogether indescribable element .. there are some songs that make me go weak in the knees and a li’l wet in the eyes. This is one such number.

The music of this movie came as a welcome relief at a time when noise still ruled the scene. And in the midst of a powerful and violent movie, soft melodies like this brought peace and calm, much like the bird that symbolizes its title — Parinda (1989). The soundtrack has the more famous and universally favorite duet — tumse milke aisa lagaa tumse milke. But this song is my pick from the album. Outstanding music by R D Burman, exceptional singing by Asha & Suresh Wadkar, and simple, beautiful lyrics by Khursheed Hallauri, a rare female lyricist for Hindi films.

The scene — near the seashore. The moment — just around sunset, surrounded by the gold and orange hues of the twilight sky. The strains of the santoor, the bass guitar, the saxophone in the interludes, and Asha’s mellifluous voice .. the way she completes the antaras and returns to the mukhda, giving it a slightly different twist each time, something extra .. something more that tugs at your heart. Pyaar ke mod pe chhodoge jo baahein merii .. tumko DhuunDhengii zamaane mein, nigaahein merii ..

pyaar ke mod pe chhodoge jo baahein merii
tumko DhuunDhengii zamaane mein, nigaahein merii

zindagii mein jo kahin aur main kho jaauunga
tumse milne ke liye lauT ke phir aauunga
ae merii jaan-e-wafaa dekhnaa, raahein merii

aisaa naa ho ae sanam jaao to phir aa naa sako
merii ye tamannaa hai tum mere paas raho
kyon tumhein bhaatii nahiin aaj, panaahein merii

koii ban jaaye meraa aisii taqdiir nahiin
dil ke aaine mein ab koii tasviir nahiin
ye haqiiqat hai, asar kho chukii, aahein merii

saath main tumhaare huun, ab koi gham naa karo
khud ko tanhaa mere hote humdum naa karo
hoke maayuus naa dum tod dein, chaahein merii

Film: Parinda (1989); Singer(s): Asha Bhosle, Suresh Wadkar; Lyrics: Khursheed Hallauri; Music: R D Burman

Love, from a woman’s point of view. No red roses, no pink teddy bears, no chocolate-covered candy-hearts. Just a gentle assurance that I’ll always be there.

Swades

aka Musical ramblings (Part 5/42)

After Lagaan, all eyes are now on Ashutosh Gowariker’s Swades. I for one, find the basic premise of the movie, quite interesting. The living-abroad desi returns home, wants to do something to give back to his desh, and the ‘even one person can make a difference’ theme is something ex-pats can find close to heart. Listened to its music over the weekend. Seven songs and two instrumental tracks. Here’s my thoughts on them.

Disclaimer: Opinions on most ARR soundtracks change on multiple listens, and since this review is being written after just a couple of listens, I might decide to contradict myself tomorrow.

(Music links on raaga.com)

Swades (Music: A R Rahman; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar) — The first thing that struck me was that ARR is in Lagaan mode here. By that I don’t mean the tunes are similar/identical to Lagaan, but the implementation is definitely more in that direction. More folk-influenced, more melody-based and tending to rely on the strength of the voice of the singers. His arrangements continue to remain his forte, but play more of a background role in the album, in my opinion. The lyrics by Javed Akhtar are nice and go well with the music, but none stand out as truly remarkable.

  • Ye tara woh tara‘ — Simple lyrics about the strength in unity make this song click for me, and the music is nice although nothing exceptional. I like the way the kiddie voices of Vignesh and Pooja join in the latter half to give Udit Narayan support. This is the kind of song that one cannot help sing along with!

  • Saanwariya saanwariya‘ — A really beautiful melody that would have sounded much better in a voice other than Alka Yagnik’s. She sounds so disinterested with the goings on in the song. Sadhana Sargam please?

  • Yun hi chala chal‘ — The longest song of the album, I like the level of enthusiasm that Rahman infuses in it. Will need to listen to it some more to come to any conclusions about it. The ‘allah ke bande‘ singer Kailash Kher resurfaces in this one after a while, with Udit and Hariharan for company.

  • Aahista aahista‘ — Minimal use of instruments and Sadhana and Udit’s singing makes this beautiful lorii a definite winner for me. Melody-wise this song reminds me of a mix of ‘o paalanhaare‘ and ‘mitwa‘ from Lagaan.

  • Yeh jo des hai tera‘ — The token ARR sung song on the track, this one is about asking the expatriates to return home. The not-too-preachy lyrics and the lilting background shehnaai makes this song come together beautifully. An instrumental version of this song on the shehnai appears later in the album.

  • Pal pal hai bhaari‘ — Sounds like a very situational song. The use of instruments reminds me of ‘radha kaise na jale‘ (I just cannot seem to stop making the Lagaan connections!) Am guessing this has a theatre/stage setting on screen, with the end of the Aranya kanda being enacted. An instrumental version of this song on the flute appears again in the album.

    (Digression — The exchange between Sita and Ravana, when he asks her ‘If your Rama is so great, then where is he? Why don’t I see him around to come and save you?‘ and she replies ‘Rama is everywhere, he is in my heart, my soul, my breath, my life.. — is this in the end of the Aranya kanda or at the start of the Kishkindha kanda? My childhood Ramayana fundas are foggy.)

  • Dekho na‘ — Generic sweet romantic song, but didn’t really stand out for me, lyrically or musically. I was recently educated by a friend that Rahman reused his own tune for this track, from ‘baba kichchu tha‘ of the Rajnikanth Tamil movie Baba. Thanks Zaph!

Overall, this is a nice album that is worth multiple listens, but it has a distinct Lagaan hangover that is hard to ignore. But then again, I love Lagaan, so I guess I cannot complain.

Musical ramblings (Part 4/42)

Come September, I am back. What? You thought I was kidding about the 42? Aw, such naiveté. So here goes — opinions and rants about a movie recently on the charts — Dhoom.

(Music links on musicindiaonline.com)

Dhoom (Pritam Chakraborty) — This being a Yash Raj film, one might expect the heroine in a white saree, foreign locales, mist covered mountains, santoor playing in background.. *screeeech of brakes* Wait. Dhoom is kinda a desi cops-and-robbers story, The Fast and The Furious and Torque all rolled into one. This cinematic theme change is also apparent in the music. This album is about pace and general catchiness so the sarees will have to remain in the costume cupboard for this one. Three songs of this soundtrack are worth mentioning —

  • Dhoom machale dhoom‘ — The energy of this song and Sunidhi Chauhan’s spirited singing work in its favor, although it gets noisy in parts. It falls flat in the antaras at times, but the mukhda picks up the pace once again. Though I don’t really care for the ‘do you want more.. are you sure? oh-kayyy‘ in the middle of the song, it is fortunately short-lived so I can tune it out. Incidentally, this is the song that plays in the promos, with bikes, cars and trucks falling over each other and dutifully exploding into flames.

  • Shikdum‘ — A playful and catchy composition (which at times, sounds suspiciously like some other song i’ve heard, although I cannot place it) that is further enhanced by the singing chemistry that Shaan and Shreya Ghoshal share. Their voices have been altered a lil, to give it a synthesized feel. The Soca/Calypso influence is apparent throughout the song, even more so in the interludes (steel drums et al). What in the world does ‘shikdum‘ mean, you wonder? Don’t. Sameer is the lyricist. Watch the movie and figure it out.

  • Dilbara‘ — This song started out sounding average, but Abhijeet’s singing, a rather interesting chorus and an assortment of percussions (especially at the start of the song) have made it worthy of more listens. Sowmya Raoh joins in the latter half of the song. This song is definitely better for its music/interludes than its singing though. Nice breezy number this.

The soundtrack isn’t one to stay in your head for long, but it fits in well with the mood of the movie. The movie itself — a timepass flick that has plenty of eye-candy for all. Bad boy John Abraham on a bike. Abhishek Bachchan, period. Hmmmmmm. And for those who want to know — Rimi Sen and Esha Deol. Well, we all know what I think of the latter, so i’ll be nice and not say a word. Uday Chopra, who so far has excelled in roles that annoy you, finally seems to have found his niche as the tappori-dude-with-a-heart-of-gold. (A role Aamir Khan redefined in Rangeela but its best not to compare.) All in all, paisa vasool.

Sidenote — If you’re suffering from withdrawal symptoms from the lack of the mountains and sarson ke khet in Dhoom, not to worry. The trailer for the upcoming Yash Chopra Diwali venture Veer-Zaara, shown along with Dhoom more than makes up for it. Indo-Pak love-fest this is gonna be, it seems. Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan playing a desi fighter pilot, good grief) falling in love with Zaara Hayaat Khan. (Preity Zinta playing a Pakistani cutie) Doomed love and all that goop. Not to fikar though. Yash Chopra has a solution to your problem is the form of Rani Mukherjee — ‘a lawyer who fights to bring the lovers together’. Hm, we’ll see. Love and justice ek saath? Bhai wah. Gotta watch out for the music though. The late maestro Madan Mohan’s unused tunes being arranged by son Sanjeev Kohli. Sounds promising.

The love and justice thing reminds me of an Utpal Dutt dialogue from Rang Birangi, in which he plays a cop (with a zabardast name like Dhurandar Bhatwadekar) and is yelling at some paploo who has just been arrested for selling movie tickets in black. He goes — Cinema ke ticket?! Woh bhi black mein?! Yaani ki paap bhi aur jurm bhi! Utpal Dutt ROCKS!

Musical ramblings (Part 3/42)

This post started out as a review of some recent soundtracks but once I started to ramble about Phir Milenge, I got carried away. (If you thought brevity was one of my virtues, heh heh, think again) So, in light of the ever-increasing length of this post and its inverse effect on the reader’s sanity, I have decided to babble about the other albums in a separate blogpost.

(Music links on musicindiaonline.com)

Phir Milenge (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Bhavatha Raja, Nikhil-Vinay) — The combined talents of S-E-L and Bhavatharini (Ilayaraaja’s daughter who provided the music for Mitr, Revathy’s first film, now back with a slight change in nomenclature) give us a consistent and quality soundtrack. But why on god’s green earth do we have Nikhil-Vinay in this mix? Their ‘contribution’ to this soundtrack is as dispensable as the dhink-chak dhink-chak dholak rhythm that they use. Uff. Groan. Anyways, my picks —

  • Jeene ke ishaare‘ — The beauty of this song lies in its simplicity. Minimal instrumentation, the solo acoustic guitar start, the clapping rhythm, all come together nicely to create a very relaxing and uplifting feel that perfectly complements the wonderful lyrics by Prasoon Joshi (henceforth referred to as PJ). This chap has clearly arrived in a big way after Hum Tum. There a scale(?) change towards the end of the song which is nice too.

  • Yaad hai vo pehli mulaaqaat‘ — Melody-wise this is a slower version of ‘jeene ke ishaare‘ although there are some changes in arrangements, the finger snapping instead of the clapping and a change in singer as well — Abhijeet sings a slow song that is usually not his forte, and does a decent job. Now if only we had PJ’s lyrics to sing instead of Sameer’s rehashed blah.

  • Khul ke muskuraale‘ — This is *the* song of the soundtrack, for me. A seductive and soulful number, asking you to live the moment and seek happiness in it. PJ’s magic with words and the wonderful vocals of the ‘zara zara mehekta hai‘ lady — Bombay Jayshree, along with a simple rhythm and the near absence of instruments make this song a winner. In lines like —

    Utaar gham ke mozey, zameen ko gungunaane de,
    Kankaron ko talwon main gudgudee machaane de

    .. the metaphor of ‘gham ke mozey‘ is just a lil odd, but lovely nevertheless. When was the last time you walked barefoot and let the pebbles tickle your feet? Hm, nice.

  • Kuchh pal‘ — PJ once again shines in this second-generation song (Ilayaraaja’s daughter + Yesudas’s son) Vijay Yesudas’s voice is much like his dad’s and fits perfectly with the philosophical lyrics about the passing moments.