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Entries on Friday 31st August 2007

entry Aug 31 2007, 12:45 PM
Music in Films of Eminent Director Gulzar.

By: Souvik Chatterji
Master of Law, case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, ohio, USA.
Master of Law, Warwick University, Coventry, UK.
Flat-204, Golden Oak Apartment
D105B, Devi Marg
Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India
Ph: 91.141.5109990.
Email: souvik_chatterji2000@yahoo.co.in

The 1970s is characterised as a period of change in Indian film music. Although popular music continued to be created by the innovative compositions of Laxmikant Pyarellal, Kalyanji Anandji, R.D. Burman, yet the classical flavour of Hindustani music started losing predominance during that time. There were few reasons for the change.

Firstly the neo-realistic film movement by Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Tapan Sinha, Rajen Tarapdar, had inspired filmmakers like Shyam Benegal, Govind Nahalani to make realistic films in the 70s. Shyam Benegal started his journey with the film Ankur, 1974, where he gave the biggest break to Shabana Azmi, one of the most powerful actress of Indian cinema. Govind Nahalani made Akrosh, where he brought out one of the most daunting performance of Om Puri in a mute role. These films depicted the lives of the rural Indian folk with powerful story telling and theme music. At the same time Directors like Basu Chatterji made Chitchor, 1974, Hrishikesh Mukherjee made Milli, 1975, Golmaal, 1979, where the stories were picturised on the lives of middle class Indians. In the same era, corruption became rampant in the Governmental and non-governmental sector, thereby invoking the Directors to make anti-establishment films. Ramesh Sippy came up with Sholay, 1975, Prakash Mehra made Zanjeer, 1973, Yash chopra made Deewar, 1975 where Amitabh Bacchan played the roles of the angry young man who had raised his voice against the anti corruptive practices throughout the country.

Music took a turn in the 1970s due to a number of reasons. A number of musical giants died in that period. Jaikishan died in 1971, Roshan died in 1969, SD Burman died in 1975.In that era arrived Gulzar with a treasure of offbeat films which were backed by classic literature and soft meaningful music. Gulzar had the background of composing quality lyrics for Bimal Ray at a time when he had not started his career in film direction.

His song in the film “Mausam”, 1975, titled “Dil Dhoondhta Hai, phir wohi, phursat ke raat din”, composed by Madanmohan, brought the music lovers back to the cinema hall who got frustrated with the loud music that used to be composed in the commercial films at that time. The song was sung by Bhupinder Singh who was predominently eminent as a ghazal singer. The film was picturised in Darjeeling and Sanjeev Kumar recollected his past experience after returning from abroad. In the film “Gharonda”, 1977, Gulzar brought back the melody of the violin with the song “Ek Akela is shahar me, raatme aur dopeher me, abodana dhoondhta hai, ashiana dhoondhta hai”. The composer Jaidev, the winner of a number of national awards was a loner in his life, the song almost told his story through Amol Palekar with a tragic note. Bhupinder Singh performed the song with his intoxicating appeal. In the same film Jaidev used urbanised folk song in “do diwane shahar me” and “tumhe ho naho mujhko to itna yakeen hai” where Runa Laila accompanied Bhupinder Singh. The lyrics were written from the core of the heart by Gulzar.

In the Film “ Kinara”,1977, Gulzar was successful to extract the best possible music from RD Burman. In the song “ Naam Gum Jayega, Chehera Yeh Badal Jayega, meri awaz hi pehchan hai, gar yaad rahe” he complimented the poetic excellence of urdu poets like Sahir Ludhianvi, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Shailendra, Shakeel Badayani and others. Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh were at their best. In the song “ Ek hi Khwab kaibaar dekha hai maine”, sometimes the music stopped, there were dialogues and Bhupinder Singh’s voice almost brought life into the role of Dharmender who was killed in an accident by the car of Jeetender in that film. Lastly RD Burman used the Bengali classical song of SD Burman ( Madhu brindabone) to create “Mithe Bol bole” sung by Bhupinder Singh.

In the film “Dooriya”, 1980, the song “ Zindagi, zindagi, mere ghar ana, ana zindagi” composed by Jaidev and picturised on Uttamkumar and Sharmila Tagore , the height of the location of the song and height of the composition matched each other. Both of them had differences in opinion which led to separation with their children and were united at the end of the film.

In the other films like Parichay,1972, Kitaab, 1978, Aandhi, 1975, the songs played a significant role in bringing out the mental complexities of the characters. Notable songs include “Biti na bitayi rehna”, “Is morse jate hai”. Later on he contributed with a flavour of Rajasthani Folk songs in the film, Lekin, 1989. Gulzar’s creations are even noteworthy in films directed by other noted filmmakers , an example being “Masoom”,1983, the song “huzur is kadar bhi na itrake chaliye” and “ tujhse naaraz nahin zindagi hairan hoon mai” showing the feelings of the poet. It was directed by Shekhar Kapoor and Shabana Azmi and Nasiruddin Shah had performed to their potentials. Inpiration should be taken from the works of Gulzar to create space in the films these days for creation of soft, thoughtful, meaningful music.

entry Aug 31 2007, 12:43 PM
Laxmikant Pyarellal’s immortal relationship with Mohamand Rafi.

By: Souvik Chatterji.
Master of Law, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Master of Law, Warwick University,Coventry, UK.

Laxmikant Pyarellal emerged into the Indian film arena at a period when the main stream cinema was flooded with extremely talented music directors, lyricists and filmmakers in the 60s.Already the film industry has created its own unique standard due to the sheer brilliance of Musical Giants like Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad, Madanmohan, Roshan, Khayyam, SalilChowdhury and many others and the versatile performance of Mohammad Rafi for over 15 years.

Laxmikant Pyarellar the legendary musical duo included Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar(1937-1998) and Pyarellal Ramprasad Sharma (born in 1940).Laxmikant was quite impressed with Mandolin and learnt to play it by his own. He used to play mandolin in street functions. Pyarellal was the son of renouned trumpeter Pandit Ramprasad Sharma and his specialisation was violin. Laxmikant and Pyarelal met at Sureel Kala Kendra, a music academy for children, run by the Mangeshkar family. After Lata Mangeshkar came to know about their financially poor backgrounds, Lata recommended their names to different music directors in the film industry.

Both of them started their career with the film Parasmani(1963).Two songs of Mohammad Rafi "Woh Jab Yaad Aye, bahut yaad aye" and "Roushantumhi se duniya" brought fame for the musical duo. Laxmikant was fond of the orchestration of Shankar
Jaikishan to such an extent that some of their earlier tunes were similar to a huge number of Shankar's compositions.In the next film Dosti,1964, Laxmikant Pyarellal got inspired by a very extraordinary standard of musical performance by Bengali Music Director Robin Chatterji who composed music for the Bengali film Lalu Bhulu,1958.The story depicted a blind boy and a his friend who did not have one leg. In the bengali film all the
songs were sung by Manobendra Mukherjee who was a genius in hindustani classicals and has rich collection of Bengali modern songs, Kirtan, Nazrulgeeti and Bhaktigeeti.

The notable songs include "Dukkhoamar shesh kore dao probhu", "Jar hiya akasher neel
nilimaye", "Ei pranjhorona jaglo". The striking part of the film was that no conventional hero or herione were depicted in the story, as the tragic story of the two handicapped friends was the central attraction. Laxmikant Pyarellal had a huge challenge to match the
music of the bengali film and create the same standard of excellence. Both Laxmikant Pyarellal and Majrooh Sultanpuri sat together to compose the songs. The result was history. Rafi's song "Chahunga mai tujhesaanz sawere", "Mera to joh bhi kadam hai","rahi manwadukh ki chinta kyun satati hai", "janewalonzara" brought tears in the pandemonium hall. Rafi was so impressed with the compositions of Laxmikant Pyarellal that he had taken just one rupee for singing the song because it was the custom of a singer to take something in return for a professional song. The film became a huge success. Laxmikant Pyarellal won the filmfare award in 1964 for composing best music in a year when Shankar Jaikishan has composed songs for Sangam, 1964, Naushad had composed songs for Leader, 1964, Madanmohan had composed songs for Woh Kaun thi, 1964,Roshan had composed songs for Aarti.

From that time onwards Laxmikant Pyarellal never looked back and their everlasting bond with Rafi just grew with time. Their similarity with Shankar-Jaikishan is evident in the composition of the songs "woh haizara khafa khafa" in the film Shagird, 1967 picturised on Joy Mukherjee and "Nazar na lag jaye" in the film Night In London, picturised on Biswajeet, 1967.These compositions had led to Shankar Jaikishan transforming their own style as people started getting mixed up with their composititions. But one factor was unique. The amount of affection Shankar Jaikshan had for Mohammad Rafi, the same passion was carried on by Laxmikant Pyarellal till Rafi's death in 1980 as his last song in the film AasPaas , 1980,was composed by Laxmikant Pyarellal. Dharmender and Jeetender had different story lines in the films of late 1960s and early 70s, but one thing was common. both had some of the extraordinary songs of Mohammad Rafi composed by Laxmikant Pyarellal. Examples can be "Hui sham unka khayal agaya" from the film Mere Humdum Mere Dost, 1968, "Baar BaarDin yun aye" from the film Farz, 1967.

Besides LP pair had provided tunes sungs by Mohammad Rafi in the films of Jeetender namely Jigri Dost, Banphool, Humjoli and the hits of Dharmender namely Aya Sawan Jhumke, Jeevan Mrityu, etc. Lastly after the death of Jaikishan in 1971, Raj Kapoor engaged Laxmikant Pyarellal for his films starting with Bobby in 1973.The song "hum tum ek kamreme bandh hai" had the same effect with the accordion as Shankar Jaikishan used to have in RK films. That led to LP pair ruling the film industry in the 1970s when
most of the legendary music directors died and his only rivals included RD Burman and Kalyanji Anandji. In a very action pact scenario when the films of Amitabh Bacchan, Vinod Khanna had more concentration towards violence, LP pair created soft songs for RishiKapoor. Rafi's songs "Dafli wale", "Ramjiki niklisawari" in the film Sargam, 1978 and"Parda hai Parda", "Shirdiwali Saibaba" in Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977 and "Darde dil" in the film Karz, 1979, had brought filmfare awards for Laxmikant Pyarellal one after the other.

He had tremendous combination with Rishi Kapoor and Mohammad Rafi and balanced romantic songs with the popular taste of film music. As they survived for the longest period of time, substantial number of Rafi's songs are composed by them. So the creations of Laxmikant Pyarellal involving Rafi should be preserved in the Archives where Rafi's other songs are restored.

entry Aug 31 2007, 12:29 PM
OP Nayyar’s immortal relationship with Mohammad Rafi.

By: Souvik Chatterji
Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,UK
Master of Law from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Omkar Prasad Nayyar (better known as O.P.Nayyar) is known to be one of the trend-breakers of the traditional music in the Golden Age of Indian film music, in the 50s and 60s. During that period although the Film arena were glorified by Giants of different specialisations, namely Naushad with his Brilliant Ragas, Roshan with the use of Sarengi and providing immortal mujras and qawallis, Madanmohan with his everlasting Ghazals, the general trend of Hindustani classicals and folk songs were used by most of the music directors. Excepting Shankar-Jaikishan who worked on diversified subject matters like Hawaiian flavour in ‘Ajeeb Dastaan hai yeh’ in Dil Ek Mandir,1963 to European Chorus Background in ‘Meherbaa likhoon’ in Sangam, 1964, and Salil Chowdhury blending Russian March in Do Bigna Zameen, 1953, to Indian Chorus in ‘zindagi kaisi hai paheli’ in Anand, 1971, there were not many Music composers who experimented with a blend of Eastern and Western Music.

O.P.Nayyar came with an unique trend of merging Punjabi bhangra with Spanish tunes. The other unique feature of OP Nayyar is his association with Mohammad Rafi, the greatest singer India can ever produce in the world of playback singing. Rafi was a genius by his own standards and the way a person gets mesmerised in a historical monument in respect of admiring any part, the diwan-i-khas in Agra Fort, or diwan-i–aam in the same Fort, the same way experts on music have a very tough time judging the best performance of Rafi, whether his ghazals are the best, or his songs with an intoxicated atmosphere, or whether his pure classical numbers. Rafi had sung probably the maximum number of songs for OP Nayyar who knew the westernised andaz would not have suited anyone else in the same way as Mohammad Rafi.

Born in Lahore in 1926, OP Nayyar was fascinated by music. He was not trained in music, but left home to pursue a career as a composer. He got his first break when he composed the background score for the film Kaneez, 1949. He started his journey with Guru Dutt in the film Baaz and the first successful break he received in Guru Dutt’s film AarPaar, 1954. Also he stormed the film world with his outstanding performance in the film CID, 1956, Mr and Mrs 55, 1955.

One striking feature in the songs of the film CID, 1956, is that the female voice used by OP Nayyar varied according to the requirement of the film. The main playback singers included Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle, the noted songs being “ kahin pe nigahen, kahin pe nishana,” “ puch mera kya nao re”. Yet the male playback was provided by Mohammad Rafi for all the characters of the film. It included Johnny Walker in the song ‘Ai dil mushkil jeena yahaan, zara hatke zara bhachke yeh hai bombai meir jaan’, further Dev Anand in the song ‘Ankhon hi ankhon me ishara ho gaya’. It is even amazing that there was a street song being sung by a road peddler in the film titled ‘Leke pehela pehela pyaar’ which could have been sung by any playback singer, OP Nayyar even engaged Rafi to sing it. There were other hits in Mr and Mrs 55, 1955, like ‘Muhobbat karlo, aji karlo’, ‘jane kahan mera jigar gaya ji’ and ‘Dilpe hua aisa jadoo”.

If the 50s were characterized by the fast numbers of OP Nayyar, the 60s provided him the honour of being rated as one of the most elegant music directors with the same esteem at which Roshan, Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishan, Madanmohan used to be rated. The two films Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, 1962, and Phir Wohi dil Laya Hoon, 1963, stands out as the films where OP Nayyar had experimented the most. There was a duet of Rafi and Asha titled “aap yuhin agar humse milte rahe, dekhie ek din pyar ho jayega”. The dance sequence on actress Sadhna impersonated the way a peacock welcomes the monsoon. The effects produced by OP Nayyar was so outstanding that the background, the picturisation and the voice of Rafi and Asha synchronised together. The other two songs of Rafi “Mujhe dekhkar aapka muskurana” and “Mai pyar ka rahin hoon” had absolute western tunes with odd chords. Rafi had left the audience speechless with his performance in a slightly classical andaz in the songs “Phir tere shahar me” and “Humko tumhare isq ne kya kya bana diya, jab kuch na ban sake to tamasha bana diya.” The lyrics of OP Nayyar’s songs were mostly written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and S.H.Bihari who had brought out their most romantic passion while composing the lyrics which could very well be categorised as Shayeris.

In the film Phir Wohi dil Laya Hoon,1963, picturised on Joy Mukherjee, OP Nayyar had made a very stylish endeavour towards the traditional blend of the western and eastern music. Rafi’s song “Nazni bara Rangeen hai wada tera” starts off with the traditional folk sequence with Punjabi where as the antara has “humdum mere naam na janu” which has the effect of Guitar. In the other song “Aji kibla, mohe tarma, kabhi shola, kabhi nagma” has the same blend of Punjabi Folk with Guitar effect. In the song “zulf ke chaome chehere ka ujala lekar” OP Nayyar had made Rafi and Asha answer each other in almost a contest of Shayeri, the way urdu writers used to face each other through their poetic verses. Besides OP Nayyar’s beat oriented composition having effect of the tanga (Cart-pulled by horses) titled “Banda parwar, thamlo jigar, banke pyar phir aya hoon” in the film was equally melodious as “Maang ke saath tumkara” in the film Naya Daur, picturised on Dilipkumar, “Yuh to humne laakh hasin dekhe hain” in the film Tumsa Nahin Dekha, 1957, “Kisi na kisi se kabhi na kabhi kahin na kahin dil lagana parega”, in the film Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964.

Besides Rafi’s western romantic mood is utilized by OP Nayyar in a very stylish way in the songs “Diwana hua badal, sawan ki ghata chayi” and “Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehera” in the film Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964 picturised on Shammi Kapoor and “Humne to dilko aap ke kadmome rakh diya, is dil ka kya karenge yeh ab aap sochiye” in the film Mere Sanam, 1965 and “Phir Miloge Kabhi is baat ka wada karlo, humse ek aur mulakat ka wada karlo” in the film Yeh Raat Phir Na Ayegi, picturised on Biswajeet. In all these songs the sarengi and santoor had played a very pivotal role accompanied by the intoxicating appeal of Rafi’s voice.

Besides OP Nayyar had a reputation for stubborn individuality all along his career. Many remember him as being aloof and imperious, but always generous with struggling new-comers and those marginalized in the industry. The press and electronic media frequently referred to him as a rebel composer, as did many columnists labelling him a maverick. During the fifties the state-controlled All India Radio found OP Nayyar too trendy and had put in place a ban on most of his very famous tunes from being broadcast.This ban was in force for quite some time. Reports suggest that he was unfazed by this rigid government order and went on to create more of such tunes most of which were national hits. The far away Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation of the then Radio Ceylon was the only source from which his new hits could be listened in.

Although lack of compromise resulted in OP Nayyar fading away from the film arena in 1970s, whenever anybody has to choose some of the most stylish andaz of Rafi, they have to reflect back on OP Nayyar for the unique compositions which have not been obsolete with the fading time.The Archive of Mohammad Rafi should equally restore the compositions of OP Nayyar as well.