( 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!
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:
I must confess that I am Hindi songs addict! I am not at all ashamed to reveal this great truth. One reason why Hindi movie songs come to stir the emotions so often is because they are based on elements defining Indian classical music. The raga and tal employed often connects us with newer plane of consciousness. In this very land, the various forms of art are ways to explore and establish our connection with the Absolute. So we can see that some addictions are good.
Listen to the “Mere Naina Sawan Bhado ” moulded in Raga Shivaranjini. It immediately makes you get lost in a strange unknown realm of a mysterious world. Listen Talat singing ” Aye Dil Mujhe Aise Jagah Le Chal”(Arzoo) and you get transported to a world embedded in total silence.
A sincere lover of Indian movie songs would also take note of the picturization of these songs. The geniuses like Gurudutt, Raj Kapoor , Vijay Anand and Manoj Kumar, to name few, had mastered the art of perfect picturization. The dream sequence songs like “Hum apki aankho me ” (Pyasa) and ” Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi” (Awara) epitomizes song picturization. Even ”Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass ” from movie ‘Blackmail’ is a treat for the eyes. One interested in knowing how to use light and shade needs to watch “Saqiya Aaj Mujhe Neend Nahi Ayegi” (Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam).
One thing more. We always tend to ignore and downsize the contributions of music directors and lyricists. The lyricist is the most unfortunate creature in terms of eliciting credit. Anyway, Shailendra, Sahir, Shakeel, Indeevar, Rajendra Krishn and Pradeep would never get lost into oblivion. The composers like Shankar-Jaikishen, SD Burman, Ravi, Kalyanji Anandji, OP Naiyyar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and RD Burman would continue to keep providing few moments of bliss in the world gone to the dogs.
It’s time to sing for Hindi songs “Chura Liya Hai Jo Tumne Dil Ko,Nazar Nahi Churana Sanam!”( You have stolen my heart and so never ignore me) .