Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Salil-da's Chhaya

To this day, people (musically sensible) regard 1950s & 60s as the Golden Period in Indian Film Music. The number of composers who created legendary compositions were many. And compositions too. Naushad, S.D.B, Anil Biswas, Shankar-Jaikishan, Jaidev, Madan Mohan, Sajjad Hussain, C.Ramchandra, Hemanth Kumar, O.P.Nayyar, Kalyani-Anandji, Roshan...and many more. Each had a very distinct style. One composer who was a cut different from the entire lot, when it came to innovative ideas, was Salil Chaudhary.
Salilda's combination was unique. Infact, he was one of the pioneers of Fusion, as his elements were Indian Classical+Bengali-Folk blended with his Favourite Genre "Western Classical Music".try "O'sajna" from "parakh", the tune is indian classical while his counter-melody ideas are western. Many people in those times, felt that, when it came to western classical, Salilda was a player. He was mad about symphonies and had the biggest collection in those times. Infact, if any of you heard "itna na mujhse pyaar bada", from the film "chhaya",you realize that it is borrowed from chopin's symphony. also, his characteristic style was that the notes of song used to be very tricky and difficult, sometimes to the extent that instrumentalists+singers wondered if the notes belonged to the same song they were playing.also, the music tested their skill.

I recollect a lesser-known song from the same film,"chhaya"(dir:Hrishikesh Mukherjee). the song,"aansoo samajh ke" sung by Talat Mahmood ranks among my most favourite songs of salilda. The song opens with a typical western harmony. the tabla beat is simple. the complexity lies in the tune of the song itself.before that, check the lyrics.Rajinder Kishen came up with some fantastic lines...

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..aankh se tune giraa diyaa..

moti kisee ke pyaar kaa mittee mein kyon milaa diyaa..

jo naa chaman mein khil sakaa,
main woh gareeb phool hoo..
jo kuchh bhi hoon bahaar kee,
chhoti si ek bhool hoon..
jis ne khilaa ke khud mujhe.. khud hee mujhe bhulaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..

nagma hoon kab magar mujhe..
apne pe koii naaz thaa..
gaayaa gayaa hoon jis pe main..
Toota hua woh saaz thaa..
jis ne sunaa woh hans diyaa, hans ke mujhe rulaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..

meri khataa maaf hai,
bhoole se aa gayaa yahaan..
warna mujhe bhi hain khabar,
meraa nahii hain yeh jahaan..
doob chalaa thaa neend mein, achchhaa kiyaa jagaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe.....aankh se tune giraa diyaa..
moti kisee ke pyaar kaa mittee mein kyon milaa diyaa..

The complexity of the tune is the classicalization. "aansoo samajhke" is ok..but the way Talat sings "kyon mujhe"..salilda made him ascend the notes in spiral at the word "kyon"..and then "aankh se tune giraa diya" is logical end to give the beauty.."moti kisee ke pyar kaa" again tests talat's careful ascent to higher note..and immediately in the line "mitti mein kyon milaa diya"..its an odd compared to the descent in previous line. also, check the violin counter melodies in between..(u can hear them in-between the words..background).
The interlude is western-classical again with violins and cellos. i just wonder "what is this man giving and how is he going to arrive back to main-melody?". and he does. The charanams are so beautifully composed. Talat is the most-apt singer to this song because the tune, as such, touches you at a different level and it can be supplemented by only a velvety kind of voice which belonged to only Talat Mahmood(then..or even now...). Even the ending lines of charanams have that peculair descent. Infact, being a non-musician, i cannot explain the logistics involved but i do believe that people who can play any instrument or atleast understand the notations can appreciate the genius of Salilda.try singing it or playing it.i tried singing it and i always went wrong at the "kyon" in the opening line itself.

when i heard this song for the 1st time in my life, i felt that if a person cannot appreciate/feel the beauty of this song, then his ignorance is irrepairable.Salil Chaudhary was one real maverick who broke the conventional styles. when i listen to any song of his, i think,"what is there up in his does he get these unconventional ideas?". this song is one of them.

Also try : cham cham nachthi aayi bahaar (a classical song by lata..can anyone analyze this one?)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Sunday Kalyani..

Recently, Ilaiyaraaja composed music for a tamil film,"Oru Naal Oru Kanavu". My sunday morning began with this album.i had this album in my previous hard-disk which crashed. thankfully, i remembered the film name and immediately got hold of it yesterday.

i jumped out of my bed and played the best song of the album ," Kaatril Varum Geethamae". Sung by ilaiyaraaja's current favourite shreya Goshal, along with his previous fav sadhana sargam,bhavatharini & hariharan, this fantastic song is set in "kalyani" and very beautifully crafted with simple chords. the instruments used in this song are keyboards(synthesizers) & flute only..along with the basic rhythm(percussion instruments) like tabla.

the wonderful start, sets the feel followed by a very simple 1st interlude(quite Un-ilaiyaraaja-like) on keyboards.then,1st charanam..this charanam is backed by key-board chords intelligently..if what i have noticed is right..the keyboard just supports the vocal part..after 1st line(which connects the 2nd line with a s.d.burmansque flute) the aalaap just elevates the classical feel in the song. and the way he ends the charanam(logically) is as if he is completing the crescendo.

the 2nd interlude has flute playing basic notes of this raaga.the tune of 2nd charanam is different from the first one..yet, so beautifully composed...there is some sense of maturity reflecting in it..the charanam gets into some swara-jugglery finally coming back to Pallavi.

the beauty of this song lies in its simplicity in handling the raaga..forget purists, even a lay man feels so cool listening to this song that he just wants to sit back..close his eyes and enjoy the rasa.there are no heavy/elaborate frills...with more emphasis on vocals and the composition as such..
the 1st time i heard this song, i was really dumb and folded my hands bowing to the invisible ilaiyaraaja infront of me. i bet, u will keep humming this tune, after listening to it only once.and then, you would be playing it..on & on...
(check it @ raaga )

Today, Ilaiyaraaja has reached a stage where he doesnt need to prove things to anyone.Yet, he does...
Salute the Emperor

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Gulzar's Nostalgia

Filmmaker and lyricist Gulzar is happy with his new anthology Mera Kuch Samaan, which features hit songs Dil dhoondta hai from Mausam and Chaiyyan chaiyyan (Dil Se).

The compilers have "managed to pack in some surprises" in the album, says Gulzar.
"When HMV expressed a desire to do a compilation of my songs for my birthday I was skeptical. 'Not another anthology. Hasn't the public had enough of my compilations already?' But they were adamant.
"I'm glad I went along. What I like about Mera Kuch Samaan is that it has been very beautifully produced and packaged," Gulzar said in an interview, reminiscing about old friends and favourite singers.
"I had nothing to do with the selections. The compilers have taken whatever they wanted. Of course the selections are familiar.
"After all listeners do expect to hear certain songs when they pick up an album of my lyrics. You can't get away from Dil dhoondta hai or Chaiyyan chaiyyan. These are songs that are too closely associated with me to be given the miss.

"However, they've managed to pack in some surprises, like a very old song of Hemantda (Kumar) Abhi na parda girao. It's interesting to know how HMV got hold of this rarity... Because neither they nor I had a copy of this song.
"I suggested they try Pavan Jha, a gentleman who manages a website called This website contains information about my songs and films that even I don't know. I often go there to collect information on myself."

On Hemant Kumar, Gulzar says: "Hemantda brings back a flood of memories. He was as tall in physique as he was in temperament. God's chosen one, is how I remember him. What a fabulous human being!
"When our team - Hrishida (Mukherjee), Salilda (Chowdhary), Asit Sen - broke up after the death of Bimalda (Roy), Hemantda rehabilitated us. He picked up the broken pieces of our camaraderie and gave us the courage to go on.
"From Ganga aaye kahan se to Tum pukar lo... I worked in close collaboration with him throughout his life. In fact HMV is going to bring out an album of Hemantda's songs with me...."

On the Mangeshkar sisters, Lata and Asha Bhosle, he says: "What can I say about their contribution to my songs? As Pancham (RD Burman) would say, they are like the Gary Sobers and Don Bradman of music. Lataji's numbers for me say it all.
"Pancham, Lataji and I shared many golden moments. I remember during the recording of 'Aapki aankhon mein kuch mehke huey se raaz hain' ... Pancham was petrified to show the word 'badmashiyon' (mischief) to Lataji. 'It's not a proper word for her. You do it,' he said and ran off.
"When Lataji read the word she not only smiled but also added her own inimitable 'harkat' while singing it...

"As for Asha I've never treated her as in any way inferior to the elder sister. In fact I'm partial to her. I have to be. I've no choice. She's my Boudi (sister-in-law) ... married to my dear friend and confidant Pancham.
"I've always maintained that Neil Armstrong got to the moon first. Asha is the one who got there second. It doesn't make her achievement any less remarkable.

"If Lataji has sung all the songs in my Aandhi, Mausam and Libaas, Asha did the entire score in Namkeen and Ijaazat and of course our collaborative effort Dil Padosi Hai with Pancham which is a personal favourite."
On Kishore Kumar, he says: "He was a dear friend of Pancham, and therefore mine too. To wriggle out of answering who his favourite singer was (Lata or Asha) Pancham would quickly name Kishore Kumar.
"He sang some of my best songs like Musafir hoon yaaron and O majhi re. Terrific company and a great entertainer."
On RD Burman: "Not a day passes when I don't think about this friend of mine. What he gave to my films was of course crucial. But what he gave to me as a friend is irreplaceable. Of course I miss him all the time. How can I not?
"Pancham and I spent hours and hours together. My lyrics would drive him up the wall. But he'd finally come up with just the right tune for even those lines that he didn't understand.

"After Pancham I've enjoyed my tuning with Vishal Bharadwaj and AR Rahman immensely. Vishal's songs in my Maachis and Rahman's tracks in Dil Se and Saathiya are outstanding. Of the newer lot Shankar-Ehsan-Loy has got what it takes.
"I hope Mera Kuch Samaan strikes a chord in music listeners' hearts. To assume that today's generations have lost touch with poetry and music is unfair. Let's not make excuses for mediocrity. Didn't MM Kreem come up with some fine music in Paheli recently?"

Link :,00110005.htm

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Jaane Kya Soch Kar...Nahi Guzra..

The "Kinaara" continues :

"Jaane Kya soch kar nahi Guzra" happens to be one of the best songs of R.D.Burman-Kishore Kumar.When i heard the song for the first time, i felt that it was Dada Burman's composition. The composition as such is very mature and made only for kishore kumar. or i must say he proves that it was only for him.
R.D.Burman uses "Khamaj" -flavour (if i am right!! experts..plz clarify) in this song, which is again difficult to categorize into a particular genre. Is this semi-classical or ballad or what? Gulzar came up with some fantastic lines. and R.D adorned with the best music. i particularily like the way he changes the taala of tabla when the line "ek pal raat bhar nahi guzra". even in the charanams, he changes the taala between two lines.the song starts off with a santoor descent...

jaane kya soch kar nahi guzraa..
ek pal raat bhar..nahi guzraa..

The 1st interlude is beautifully woven..with violins, santoor and a tar-shehnai..

Apni tanhaayi ka auron se na shikwa karna..
the saarangi piece is the logical extension (like an aalaap) of the previous line.

Apni tanhaayi ka auron se na shikwa karna..

(the way kishore uses gamakas for word "auron se"...he should have been called pt.kishore kumar)

Tum akele hi nahi ho sabhi akele hain..(tabla beat changes)
Yeh akelaa safar nahi guzraaa....(and he connnects guzraa with gamakas to jaane kya..wah!R.D..)
jaane kya soch kar nahi guzra..
ek pal raat bhar nahi guzra..

the 2nd interlude is one helluva piece..the guitars change the mood as if it is some energy-filled song..overlapped by santoor ( R.D loves santoor a lot..) and everything end with xylophone..followed by saxophone which gets ack to the mood..the notes of saxophone are peculiar with uthar-chadao (high-low) notes..

Do Ghadi jeene ki mohlath tho mili hain sabko..
again that saarangi..
Do Ghadi jeene ki mohlath tho mili hain sabko..(same gamakas by pt.kishore)
tum bhi miljaao..ghadi-bhar eh kam hotha hain..(table beat changes..)
yeh ghadi kaa safar..nahi guzraaaaaaaa...

jaane kya..(tabla..) soch kar ..nahi guzra...
ek pal raat bhar nahi guzra...

every time i listen to this song..i just wonder at the way R.D gave importance to each and every tabla changing beat for a brief duration..for just 1 line..that actually doesnt get noticed much because of the weight of Kishore's voice..and the santoor..saxophone..
today, i cannot just imagine any other singer this song...that heavy reverb of Kishore's voice...that was the time when R.D composed only for kishore...
today so many singers duplicate kishore's voice..i dont see them reaching atleast 1/10th level of what kishore has achieved in a song like this. And there are so many composers...but why not another R.D.