Category Archives: Music

The Compositions Of Lesser Heard Indian Music Directors

Indian Film Industry Gave Recognition To Many  Talented Souls But There Were Many Great Souls Who Failed To Get Due Credit!

Indian Film Industry Gave Recognition To Many Talented Souls But There Were Many Great Souls Who Failed To Get Due Credit!

Indian movies are incomplete without music. Music in Indian movies provide them a distinguished appeal making them stand apart from Western movies relying heavily on storyline. In fact, movie named Indrasabha which was released in 1932 had more than 70 songs! It holds the world record for maximum number of songs in any musical. Let’s not forget that it was the second year after Alam Ara -the first movie to have sound in 1931.  And in the very second year of introduction of sound we created record number of songs in one feature film! That substantiates our craze for songs! Anyway, we are now living in ultra-modern age wherein Indian film music differs hugely from days when it first came into existence in 30’s. The musical journey which began in first half of 1930  witnessed  until now host of talented music directors who provided listeners haunting tunes set upon Indian classical music. Some of them gained huge popularity but there were unfortunate ones as well who despite providing real good music failed to shine brightly. However, the few songs which they came to compose remain evergreen in memories. They are priceless gems for any music lover who has got refined taste for music.

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This song is from movie “Aag” (1948).  Raj Kapoor made his directorial debut with this movie. It was made on complex theme that true beauty is more than skin deep! Raj Kapoor was pretty young when he directed this movie but his mature treatment of this complex subject proved beyond doubt that India was about to see rise of great film maker. Ram Ganguly gave memorable music in this movie. The song sung by Mukesh” Dil Jalta Hai To Jalne De” and “Dekh Chand Ki Aur” sung by Sailesh Mukherji and Meena Kapoor left listeners spellbound. Mukesh virtually imitated K L Saigal while rendering “Dil Jalta Hai To Jalne De” but he went on to develop his own style of singing in later years. Ram Ganguly gave fabulous music in this movie but he failed to strike rapport with Raj Kapoor. That ensured arrival of Shankar- Jaikshan in Raj Kapoor’s life. This song sung by Shamshad Begum is picturized on Nargis.


This song from movie Saranga (1961) composed by Sardar Malik and penned by Bharat Vyas. It’s based on Raga Yaman Kalyan- a raga sung in night hours. Saradar Malik was a very talented music director  but unfortunately he belonged to era wherein great composers ruled the roost. The period between 1950 and 1960 set high standards in field of Indian music with likes of Shankar Jaikishan, Hemant Kumar, Naushad, Ravi and Madan Mohan, to name a few,  delivered their best work. It was a Herculean task  for a new composer to make itself known in that period since not much space existed. However, some of the songs composed by Sardar Malik have managed to retain their charm even after so many decades. They are “Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karu” (Talat Mahmood in Thokar), “Ha Diwana Hoon Main” (Mukesh in Saranga) and “Mai Gareebo Ka Dil Hoon Watan Ki Zubaan” (Hemant Kumar in Ab-E-Hyaat). He died in 2006 after battling with long disease. And yes, he was  father of Anu Malik- the talented musician of current era.


This song composed by Snehal Bhatkar was written by Kidar Nath Sharma. Kidar Nath Sharma was a genius in a sense that he introduced giants in Indian movie landscape like Raj Kapoor, Madhubala and Geeta Bali! He was also a lyricist besides being a legendary movie maker. Anyway, this song sung by Mubarak Begum received a lukewarm response at initial stages. However, it’s mesmeric haunting tune and brilliant picturization ensured that it became a huge hit. It’s one of the few songs which did not let Snehal Bhatkar and Mubarak Begum fade into oblivion. This song is picturized on gorgeous Tanuja who was then struggling hard to ensure her place in film industry. This movie finally let her had desired stardom. Snehal Bhatkar mainly worked for the production of Kidar Nath Sharma. Besides this song, this number “Lehron Pe Lahar Ulfat Hai Jawan” (Chhabili released in year 1960)  in voice of Heman Kumar made Snehal Bhatkar a household name in his era.


Hansraj Behl
started giving music in late 40’s and  managed to carve indelible impressions on minds of music lovers. Although he stayed in world of music for nearly three decades, he did not get much chance to explore his talent. His music appeared in movies which failed to do good business. As a result of that not much opportunity came his way, leading to manifestation of just few good songs on his part. However, songs like “Bheega Bheega Pyar Ka Sama” ( Sawan released in 1959), “Zindagi Bhar Gham Judaai Ka” ( Miss Bombay released in 1957) and “Jahan Daal-2 Par Sone Ki Chidiya” (Sikandar-E-Azam released in 1965). This song is from movie Changez Khan released in 1957 and is  written by Qamar Jalalabadi. It has such a soulful prelude that it makes the song immortal. The unusual depth exhibited by Rafi in this song makes this song very special at least in my eyes!



Iqbal Qureshi
did not get much opportunity to exhibit his talent in Indian movies but he still managed to carve a niche for himself by composing beautiful songs which refuse to part ways from memories of listeners. Love In Shimla, Panchayat, Yeh Dil Kisko Doon, Cha Cha Cha, Umar Qaid and Banarasi Thug, to name a few, were some of the prominent movies which featured his music. “Do Badan Pyar Ki Aag Me Jal Gaye Ek Chameli Ke Mandave Tale” is technically a Nazm which is different than a Ghazal. Famous Urdu poet Shahryar speaking about Nazm says that in Nazm poet deals specifically with the theme while Ghazal is more a generalized take on a certain theme. In movies we so often find Ghazals but Nazms are a rarity. This “Nazm” which appeared in movie Cha Cha Cha (1964) was penned by famous Urdu poet Makhdoom Mohiuddin. Chandrashekhar and Helen played the lead roles in this movie.

6. S. Mohinder: Guzra Hua Zamana Aata Nahi Doobara


To understand the depth of his music one needs to listen songs from movie Shirin Farhad released in 1956. S. Mohinder who became associated with Filmistan Studio learnt the basics of Indian classical music in Varanasi. He was born in Pakistan but later migrated to India. The movies in which he gave music were commercially not successful  which prevented this talented musician from attaining desired fame. However, he got National Award in 1970 for movie Nanak Naam Jahaz Hai (1969). This sad number  sung by Lata Mangeshkar has been written by Tanveer Naqvi.

Ramlal Choudhry, Ganesh, Dan Singh,  Lachhiram Tamar and G.S. Kohli:

The common link among all these talented music directors is that despite exhibiting their talent in exceptional way, they just could not withstand the dirty politics played by vested interests in film industry. Ramlal Chaudhary who gave  memorable songs in Sehra (1963) and Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964) was unhappy the way well-known music directors of his age campaigned against him in vicious manner. That forced him to start his own production but this did not augur well for him.

Dan Singh also became victim of negative publicity done by powerful music directors who felt threatened by his talent. In his later years, he could not hide his pain and brought in light the dirty tricks employed by reputed music directors to crush the emerging talents in film industry. He accused few well-known music directors of stealing his compositions. Anyway, Dan Singh’s melodious numbers in My Love (1970) made his presence immortal. “Zikra Hota Hai Jab Qayamat Ka” sung by Mukesh makes any good listener go into trance!

G.S Kohli assisted music director O P Nayyar in many of his hit movies before giving music independently. His career as independent music director did not last for long. After giving music in movies like Shikari, Faulad, Mr. India (1961) and Bhai-Bahen, to name a few, he faded into oblivion. However,  anybody who comes to listen this Shikari song “Tumko Piya Dil Diya Kitne Naaz Se” is bound to become curious about maker of this evergreen song!

Ganesh gave beautiful songs in movies like Kundan, Anjam, Thakur Jarnail Singh, Husn Aur Ishq , Badnaam and Chalak, to name a few. However, this song picturized on Helen made his name eternal in Hindi film music: Hum Tere Bin Jee Na Sakenge (Thakur Jarnail Singh). Interestingly, Shikari’s (music by G.S. Kohli) famous song also features Helen!

Lachhiram Tamar made his presence quite early in Indian film industry. Champa which was made in (1945) was followed by  Badnami, Kahan Gaye, Shalimar, Mohini, Ameer, Razia Sultana and Mai Suhagan Hun (1964) He gave music in as many as twenty movies. His fame rests upon songs he composed for  Mai Suhagan Hun (1964). The songs like “Aye dil machal machal ke yun rota hai zar zar kya” (Lata) and “Dhalti Jayen Raat Kahle Dil Ki Baat” ( Asha/Rafi in Razia Sultana {1961} ) enchant the listeners even in this age marred by loud music!

Pic Credit:

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Unleashing Magic Of “Triple S” Of Indian Cinema: Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni and Shailendra!

Sahir: The Poet Very Close To My Heart!

Sahir: The Poet Very Close To My Heart!

  

         (Also published in Northern India Patrika, December 22, 2013)

Once upon a time Hindi movie songs acted as anti-depressants. Now Hindi film music gives rise to depression! Modern songs devoid of meaning and set upon incoherent beats in the name of music give rise to headache instead of removing it! Earlier songs depicted certain philosophy, which added a new dimension in the script of the movie. The movies made by Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor effectively used songs to introduce new twist in the story. It’s altogether a different story in modern cinema. There are item numbers or poorly inserted hopelessly romantic numbers.

First, there is dearth of talented lyricists and, second, there is lack of good music directors. The bunch of music directors that we see are primarily technocrats, relying heavily on technology. Some will argue that we have talented lyricists but the ability to write one or two catchy one-liners doesn’t make anyone a lyricist! Listen the lyrics and it would be hard for you to decide whether it’s an English song, or a Punjabi song, or a Hindi song.  Look at the music compositions. It’s either for the hip-hop generation or it’s for the night clubs. It’s not merely that times have changed and we need to adjust to new trends. There is something terribly wrong with the creativity involved in making of songs! Should we not assume that capitalistic traits have murdered real creativity? Overseas rights of distribution, heavy fees extracted from rights of satellite channels and numerous other equations enjoy greater concern than ensuring bliss! 

I do not wish to appear stupidly nostalgic caught in the time warp. As an evidence of the creativity, which prevailed in 50s and 60s, I am presenting four songs of lyricists who have really inspired me a lot. Every time I come to hear a song written by them, it leaves me in state of intoxication. I am referring to trio comprised of Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badauini and Shailendra. These “Triple S” always stirred my emotions to no extent.  

Shakeel Badayuni: Great Poets Are Always Down-To-Earth!

Shakeel Badayuni: Great Poets Are Always Down-To-Earth!

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1. Ye Raat Ya Chandni Phir KahanListen this song from Hindi movie Jaal (1952). The heavenly voice of Hemant Kumar, wonderful composition by S D Burman and soul stirring  verses by Sahir Ludhianvi made this song timeless!  Guru Dutt was the director of this movie- a thriller which involved Dev Anand, Geeta Bali and Purnima. Excellent cinematography by VK Murthy has made this song a poetry carved on silver screen. As I said the songs of this era were borrowed from literature. This song echoes the eternal theme that “time and tide wait for no man” – “Ek baar chal diye ager tujhe pukar ke laut ke na aayenge kaafile bahar ke”. The movie depicted Goan Christian culture and so we find the music having western effect based on sweet Guitar pieces. However, the most important aspect about this song is that it’s based on Raga Kafi, which is a midnight raga. That matches with the picturization of the song, depicting a moonlit night! 

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Shailendra:  He Always Lived A Simple Life. That's Why He Emerged As Icon Of  Simplicity!

Shailendra: He Always Lived A Simple Life. That’s Why He Emerged As Icon Of Simplicity!

2. Suhana Safar Aur Ye Mausam Haseen

Bimal Roy’s Madhumati (1958) is very close to my heart. Not only it strengthens our belief in re-birth, a prominent concept in Indian philosophy, but also it makes us believe in the power of true love. As per this movie the impact of true love transcend many generations. This movie is really a classic in world cinema. Right from the first scene till the last frame of this movie, it keeps the viewer in state of trance with its gripping presentation of the story and its enchanting music. I remember when I went to see this movie in a theater couple of months ago in a film festival, the theater was jam-packed. Not a single seat was available. And I saw many of the viewers sitting on the floor of the balcony and many others still having argument with the gate-keeper to move inside even as the movie had started. Shailendra and Salil Chaudhary made each song a masterpiece. Well, this time I wish to introduce first song of this movie “Suhana Safar Aur Ye Mausam Haseen”. Every time I move on a beautiful passage passing through the valleys, I always come to remember this song. Shailendra has borrowed the appeal present in poems of Wordsworth. Nature has come alive in this song where one can actually feel that clouds are kissing the earth! – “Ye Aasman Jhuk Raha Hai Jameen Par”. Notice the wonderful prelude of this song. It’s so impressive that it has virtually become part of my consciousness! Immediately you come to realize that this song features mountains! That’s the magic of these songs. One of my favourite past-time in school and college days was to identify the song after listening clip of prelude. Anyway, it’s time to listen the whole song! Also notice the way how great maestro Bimal Da has picturized this song! 

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3. Aaj Purani Raho Se Koi Mujhe 

That’s  a song which speaks volume about the singing ability of Mohammed Rafi. It’s been so deeply and soulfully sung by Rafi that it leaves you speechless. Aadmi was released in 1968 which had music under direction of Naushad and songs were penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Naushad had a special place for Shakeel in his heart and he went out of the way to help Shakeel in his last days troubled both by financial crisis and bad health. The movie highlighted love triangle and fascinating performances on part of Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rahman and Manoj Kumar made it an unforgettable movie. The song makes it clear that one can be strong willed even if one’s heart and mind have been shattered by the cruel twists and turns of the fate. The song has tragic melody which not only depicts personal loss but also highlights that pain ultimately leads to realization of highest type- perfect union with the Lord! The camera work is wonderful in this song as it captures the roaring sea waves hitting the rocks! The song makes an appeal that someone who has begun a new journey should not be haunted by the past episodes of life! 

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Shailendra’s fame attained new heights after the release of Vijay Anand’s Guide (1965). It is considered to be one of the finest movies made in Bollywood. Hats off to the courage of Vijay Anand, who went ahead with the release of this movie despite failure of  movie version of  R K Narayan’s ‘The Guide’ in English. The distributors were very much impressed with the efforts of Vijay Anand. The Hindi version proved out to be phenomenal success. S D Burman was seriously ill during making of this movie but he regained health to create some unforgettable numbers. “Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai” became one of the representative songs of women’s emancipation. However, I wish to present this number which represents the pinnacle of love, commitment and togetherness. Shailendra was a class poet, who had gifted ability to write verses in most simple language without losing sight of loftiness. When I hear these immortal songs and contrast them with songs made in present era a sense of discomfort prevails within. Well, instead of lamenting about the loss of creativity, let’s hear this song which is an ode to love and get lost in an era when music was a way to connect with higher forces!
 Pics Credit: 

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Vishal Bhardwaj: A Genuine Music Composer In Times When Indian Music Directors Have Become Copycats

Vishal Bhardwaj: The Really Talented Filmmaker And Music Composer

Vishal Bhardwaj: A Truly Talented Filmmaker And Music Composer


( Also published in  Northern India Patrika, December 08, 2013 ) 

One needs a great musical mind to appreciate the music of Vishal Bhardwaj. We are well aware of his directorial skills, having seen his ability to deal with complex themes in movies like Omkara, Maqbool, Kaminey and Saat Khoon Maaf, to name a few. In my eyes he is a music director par excellence, who still have guts to introduce original compositions in Bollywood given way to borrowed tunes. If we analyze deeply the happenings inside Bollywood’s musical landscape what prevails is recycling of works of others in most blatant manner with no credits to original composers who composed these compositions in the first place.  

Very recently I watched “Ek Thi Daayan” which dealt with supernatural elements. It was a theme which had not much scope for a romantic number. However, Vishal managed to create magic with his “Yaaram” song. Gulzar after demise of his best friend RD Burman felt a great sense of loneliness. He wasn’t all wrong in feeling that way. Only RD Burman had that capability to lend perfect musical notes to newsy type lyrics penned by Gulzar. Thanks to the arrival of Vishal Bhardwaj, which allowed Gulzar to breathe a sigh of relief. Vishal didn’t disappoint Gulzar. The chartbusters like ” Yaaram”, “Naina Thag Lenge”,  “Darling”, “Chod Aaye Hum Wo Galiyan”, “O Saathi Re”,  “Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji”, “Raat Ke Dhai Baje”, “Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola” and “Sapney Me Milti Hai” etc. are the ones which bear testimony to the fact he knows what treatment very sensitive verses of Gulzar actually need.

This very highly conscious music director, dealing in experimentation and improvisation in unorthodox manner, loves to introduce best of the literary works, which until now remained unexplored by Indian movie-makers. The cinematic versions of Shakespeare’s Othello, Macbeth and Hamlet really impressed all film-goers. At the same time, movie versions of Ruskin Bond’s “Susanna’s Seven Husbands” and “The Blue Umbrella’ also left the lovers of cinema spellbound. In fact, even in movie meant for kids like Makdee you can notice the variation he introduced in his music. He has received National Award for his music in Ishkiya and Godmother. Today Bollywood is dominated by musicians who first don’t know what music really means, and second, they are not musicians but technocrats depending on arrangement of music done by the computers. A reason why film music sounds so mechanical and jarring to the ears. Worse, it’s so humiliating when foreign composers make allegations that Indian music makers totally copied their compositions in the name of inspiration!

Happy That This Man Has Got So Many Awards!

Happy That This Man Has Got So Many Awards!

Against this backdrop, this genuine music composer evokes a sense of self pride within with his creativity. Let’s hope his fabulous compositions which make wonderful use of various instruments like Piano and Guitar keep enthralling music lovers. One is not against Western music and use of latest technology but against ignorance of richness present in Indian music. There is calculated attempts on part of movie makers to diminish the aura of Indian classical music. Vishal Bhardwaj is the best example of how to blend western notes with Indian classical music. This art needs to be learnt by new age Indian music directors, who, sadly, are more interested in making money instead of truly enriching the world of film music. Anyway, Vishal Bhardwaj needs to be complimented for keeping the roots of Indian classical music green and fresh.

Some of the songs composed by him: 

1. Chod Aaye Hum Wo Galiyan

2. Naina Thag Lenge

3. Maine To Maanga Tha 

4. Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji 

5. Raat Ke Dhai Baje 

6. Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola

Pics Credit: 

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