Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Music & Lyrics

I had a sudden urge to listen to Hindi music day before yesterday. It’s not that I don’t listen to Hindi music. I do – sometimes. But only to a few songs. Because by default Hindi music has become Bollywood music and other than a few good soundtracks (usually by A.R. Rehman) that usually entails stuff like “Where’s the party tonight?” and “Crazy kiya re” (which, I wasn’t able to listen to in totality, even once). But then once in a while I have this sudden overwhelming urge to listen to Hindi music. And then I go and pull out some of my most precious music discs.

I have a compilation of songs from Dev Anand’s movies that I simply love. When it comes to music in movies no production house came close to matching Navketan. When I was living with my mausa he would make me watch old black and white movies every weekend. At one time Set Max had a one month Dev Anand festival going on and I saw pretty much every movie they showed – Munimji, CID, Paying Guest right up to Hare Rama, Hare Krishna (after which he hasn’t done one remotely decent film). Almost every movie the man did in his heyday had fabulous music. My favourite is of course Guide. Dev Anand had already started overacting by then, his hair was ridiculous but he managed to be really good in spite of all that. Waheeda Rahman is marvelous, gorgeous and absolutely brilliant as Rosie. And then there are S.D. Burman’s fabulous, fabulous, fabulous songs. Not one wrong note.

Then there’s Pakeezah. I saw the movie fully, for the first time only a few years back. I hadn’t expected to like it – I always thought it would be similar to the Sanjay Leela Bhansali version of Devdas – pretty to look at it, but soulless. But I loved it. And can I just say Raj Kumar deserves kudos for mouthing the dialogues, “Aap ke paon dekhe, bahut haseen hai. Inhe zameen par mat utariyega. Maile ho jayenge” with such sincerity that I remember thinking “No wonder she fell in love with him!” And oh, the music. The gorgeous music. I still can’t listen to Chalo Dildar Chalo at night without getting goose bumps.

And since we are on the subject of film music, I can’t not mention Gulzar. Yes, I know he is not a music director, but has there ever been a better lyricist? From Bandini to Guru, he has written one beautiful song after another. Just letting his words wash over you is such pleasure. I doubt anyone could capture the spirit of Bunty aur Babli the way he did. Or the cheerful banter in Do Deewane Sheher Mein . And can I just mention the brilliance of the crass lyrics of Beedi?

Incidentally, I have been listening to Dil Se on repeat all day. Like I said, this happens sometimes. It’s almost as though it’s a new single and I have to listen to it till I am sick of it. The thing with Dil Se is that I quite frankly think it was probably the best song from a Hindi movie for the entire decade of the 90’s. It has such drama. And there’s that one line that always, always gets to me Dil To Aakhir Dil Hai Na, Meethi Si Mushkil Hai Na. Now only if they made more music like this, I would be more inclined to listen to the stuff that comes out of Bollywood.

14 comments:

MISSquoted** said...

guru's soundtrack was brilliant. i aquiesce.

i was once watching bunty aur bubli with english subtitles. you'll be amazed that even when the lyrics were translated, they were poignant and just beautiful.

but i cant say i like beedi. you like, really??

and how could you mention sd burman and not rd burman? blasphemous almost...

niTin said...

It's amazing.
Mani Ratnam has to have his music directed by A.R Rahman. And A.R Rahman won't create music until and unless Gulzar pens the lyrics. Incestuous geniosity.
Excellent post.

Swathi said...

don't get me started on oldies of Dev Anand 'coz one of my all time favorites is his song - 'abhi naa jao chod kar' and Gulzar's 'dil dhoond ta hai' is timeless..
n talking about Pakeezah, I hope u have 'Umarao Jaan' in ur list.

neha said...

This was such a good blog - comment. Due to a recent moving my CDs are all beyond reach. I most often love Gulzar's lyrics - Machis, HuTuTu and Takshak come to mind, but somehow when Gulzar gets them wrong, he completely loses the plot - "peele hassi" were his lyrics werent they?

Nobody mentioned Hrsishikesh Mangeshkar and Lata Mangeshkar combination? Lekin?

Szerelem said...

miss**: I liked 'Beedi'. The lyrics were so apt for the setting!
The song amuses.
Well, yes R.D. Burman of course. Some of my favourite songs have been composed by him, but I have always liked his fathers music more.

Nitin: Hmmm, well A.R. Rahman has given music to lyrics penned by people other than Gulzar hasn't he? I think Mani Ratnam has always worked with both of them together - smart man.
And thank you :)

Swathi: OMG! I love 'Abhi naa jao chod kar'.
And yes i do have Umrao Jaan on my list. In fact I have the songs from from Pakeezah and Umrao Jaan on the same cd!
Did you see the new version of the movie, btw? I heard one or two songs and they were quite terrible. And Aishwarya Rai as Umrao Jaan - lets not even go there.

Neha: Thanks. And yes, Gulzar has come up with some pretty random stuff hasn't he? It's still compatatively rare though. Considering he's been churning out lyrics for the last 35+ years I'd simply overlook the bad ones :) Not to mention the fact that other than lyrics he has written and directed (some excellent) movies as well.
Lekin is one of them as you mentioned. 'Yaara sili sili' is such a haunting song. Sigh. It's really unfair the talent some people have.

TS said...

Bebbe, 'Aye Ajnabi' from Dil Se is my front runner.

Thanks for writing this one, can't remember the last time I opened the CLASSICS folder on my computer (doing that as we speak!).

anonymouse said...

Have you seen the Dilip Kumar version of Devdas? Or the Saigal one?

As for music, here's a partial list of my teeny collection (by movie or singer):

12oclock
mother_india
aag mughal_e_azam
aah
albela
nagin
namak_halaal
anari
neel_kamal
asli_naqli
azad
bahu_begum
bandini
padosan
pakeezah
barsaat
bazaar
roti
caravan
rudaali
safar
chalti_ka_naam_gaadi sahib_bibi_aur_ghulam
saigal
chitralekha
sangam
saraswatichandra
daag
sargam
devdas (1954)
do_aakhen_baarah_haath
shaheed
sharaabi
sharmilee
funtoosh
guide

Most of the music of the 90s doesn't even compare.

bricks said...

Awesome post. I could agree with everything except current-hindi-songs-are-no-good part.

I was surprised lately (& many might agree) by none other than by a Himesh Reshamiya song from Namaste London - Main Jahaan Rahoon.

Gulzar has been a wizard/ maverick with words.

Loved ur post for the sheer nostalgia it evokes. Cheers.

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Hi! Ditto your views on music...the title track from Dil Se being my favourite too from that film. But, among the newer lot, you must listen to the music from Dor (I got to hear it on my Bombay trip) - it's really good. And, then there's this really small film called Anwar, which also has really good music, with one track being exceptional. Go get it!

Have you heard the music from Taal? There is one truly outstanding song in it but, unfortunately, it's the least popular and least heard. It's called Nahin Saamne - you must listen to it.

There're some other good songs in the newer lot but, unfortunately, can't recall any at the moment. Wait for my next trip to Bombay - shall send you a long list :-)

MockTurtle said...

I'm not really a Hindi music buff, so I don't have much to contribute here. But nice post, regardless.

the wannabe indian punkster said...

OMFG I thought 'Dil Se' from Dil Se was the best song I had ever heard (atleast in the 90's) and I could not understand the 'Chaiyya Chaiyya' frenzy even then. I mean it was a decent song and all, but nothing compares to 'Dil Se' IMO.

Szerelem said...

ts: You're most welcome. I pulled out my old cd's after ages as well!

anonymouse: I have seen the Dilip Kumar version of Devdas, but not the one with Saigal. And wow long list...have heard most of them and found myself nodding in agreement.

bricks: Ok, in all honesty I haven't heard much of the new stuff thats out there. But Himesh Reshamiya? Really?? Aren't all his songs the same?

ghost: Hmmm shall have to hear your reccomendations. Though I have heard Dor is good. And I liked the songs from Taal including Nahin Samne :)
Btw, where have you been?

MT: But you must listen to some hindi music??

Punkster: I KNOW!!! Though I heard Chaiyya Chaiyya on repeat recently and I got why it was such a craze. But Dil Se is still waay better.

anonymouse said...

Lemme know if you want some of them.

hedonistic hobo said...

you listed some of my favourite hindi filmi albums.

my personal addictions are
pakeezah
waqt (for aage bhi jaane na tu)
kabhi kabhi
qurbani (hah!)
a lot of rehman i guess
and whichever movie jeeya ho, the dev anand song was from.
guide.