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.