Nuptials in Bollywood

January 14, 2018

Guest article by DP Rangan

(With Makar Sankranti and Pongal, as the month-long ‘inauspicious period’ comes to an end and the wedding season is set to resume with full vigour, our indefatigablete  DP Rangan comes up with a very nicely-timed post on nuptial songs from our films. In his characteristic style, Mr Rangan packs in a lot of sociological information on the evolution of the institution of marriage across cultures. He also comes up with an outstanding collection of songs of different hues. Thank you Mr Rangan for yet another excellent article. Coincidentally, a message is doing the rounds that the state of Virginia (US) has resolved to designate 14 January every year as Pongal Day in their calendar. Let me also wish the readers Happy Makar Sankranti and Pongal. – AK)

Pi ke ghar aajMale and female interrelationship among Homo sapiens tended to be loose in ancient days when they started to spread over the globe, starting from Africa. They migrated on foot in close-knit groups and colonised Europe and Asia over a period of more than several thousands of years. At that time they were primarily a hunter gatherer group wandering all over following their prey. There were no permanent settlements. Life expectancy was low and mortality rates quite high particularly among males who were the prime hunters. There was no fixed bond between male and female and change of partners was quite common.



Wishing the readers a very Happy New Year

Multiple version songsLong ago there used to be a popular game show on the American TV titled: ‘It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman’. The host would invite the participants in pairs, one of whom would be given a clue, which could be a famous proverb, or a quotation, or a film or a song title. This person was allowed to draw, sketch or mime, but not to speak or write words or numbers, and his partner was to guess the clue. The game was exciting because the audience in the show and the TV viewers were shown the clue. If you imagine its Indian version, supposing you are given the clue ‘Mere sapne mein aana re sajna’. You may draw and mime to the best of your ability, but your partner might falter from Sapna ban saajan aaye, to Sapne mein sajan se do baatein, to Sach huye sapne mere, to Kaun hai jo sapne mein aya, to Mere khwabon mein jo aaye, with the audience rooting all along, wishing he reached the correct clue.



And the Songs of Yore Award for the Best Music Director goes to?

Naushad_C Ramchandra_Ghulam Haider_Husnlal-BhagatramI start with wishing the readers  Merry Christmas. After the Overview post and the three category-wise wrap ups – Wrap Up 1 for the best male solos, Wrap Up 2 for the best female solos, and Wrap Up 3 for the best duets – we now have a fairly good idea of who the dominant music directors were. Naushad with all his songs in Anokhi Ada and Mela – totalling about two dozen – being super hits, is undoubtedly top of the pack. Anil Biswas in Anokha Pyar, Gajre and Veena; C Ramchandra in Nadiya Ke Paar and Khidki; Husnlal-Bhagatram in Pyar Ki Jeet; Ghulam Haider in Shaheed; Ram Ganguly in Aag; and Khemchand Prakash in Ziddi gave some everlasting songs. The underrated genius, Ghulam Mohammad never fails to create outstanding songs, and he did so in Grihasthi and Pugree. There were others, too, whose one or two songs featured in the best lists.



OP Nayyar unlike OP Nayyar

December 14, 2017

Guest article by Ravindra Kelkar

(OP Nayyar lived life king size. Even when he was in financial difficulty in his later years, he was immaculately dressed and had a regal bearing; there was no dent in his famous pride – he refused the Lata Mangeshkar Award for music, which carried a substantial cash award for those days, when he was in need; he never cared for winning friends and impressing people. His music was as much in-your-face – the infectious rhythm and joy was recognizable from miles. It was impossible for such a person to be unlike him.

Ravindra Kelkar started his series on OP Nayyar with an overview of three phases of his career. After covering his peerless combination with Geeta Dutt, his influence on other music directors, and his duets in two parts, he brings the curtain down on the OPN series with his sixth and the last article – befittingly with his unique songs which are very different from his characteristic style.

This theme was first suggested to me by a reader Mukund Gadgil a few years ago, who also sent me a draft article. I made some suggestions with regard to the write-up and the song selection to fit with the general style of SoY, but I did not get any response from him. I tried a couple of times later to establish contact with him, but didn’t succeed. When Mr Kelkar came on board to write the series, I suggested the theme to him. The write-up is entirely his. I suggested some songs which fitted the theme according to me, and I am happy to note that most of those songs have been included. I thank Mr Kelkar for his highly acclaimed series, and this excellent concluding article. I also take this opportunity to thank Mr Gadgil for the theme idea. This may be the last on OP Nayyar, but I trust this is not the last of Mr Kelkar. Hopefully, we will have more from him on other themes. AK)

OP NayyarThis is the last post on OP (did I hear a collective sigh of relief?) and this interesting theme was suggested by AK. Before, we get into it, let us take a summarized look on OP’s career highlights.




Duets of OP Nayyar: Part 2

December 3, 2017

Guest article by Ravindra Kelkar

(Of the 223 total duets composed by OP Nayyar, the most conspicuous are male-female duets in which the male voice is Rafi and the female voice, either Geeta Dutt or Shamshad Begum or Asha Bhosle. These are 119 in number, and were the subject matter of Ravindra Kelkar’s last post on OP Nayyar’s duets. That leaves 104 duets, including 60 ‘other’ MF duets – Rafi with other female singers, and male singer other than Rafi – and 44 duets of mixed type, i.e. male-male, female-female or more than two singers. Thus, in spite of the smaller number, these 104 duets present immense variety. With this second part of the two-part post on OP Nayyar’s duets, Mr Kelkar completes the comprehensive review of OP Nayyar’s duets. Thank you, Mr Kelkar for your painstaking effort. – AK)

OP NayyarIn part 1 we listened to Rafi-Geeta Dutt, Rafi-Shamshad Begum and Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets. Now let us listen to some other combinations.



Duets of OP Nayyar: Part 1

November 23, 2017

Guest article by Ravindra Kelkar

(SoY readers would recall that Ravindra Kelkar has been making valuable contributions on OP Nayyar through his guest articles and, thus, filling up a gap in SoY. He has contributed three articles so far: ‘Three distinct phases of OP Nayyar’; OP Nayyar-Geeta Dutt: A peerless combination’; and OP Nayyar’s influence on other music directors. As we inch towards the conclusion of the series, Mr Kelkar covers OP Nayyar’s duets in two parts. The first part is on his most conspicuous duets in which Rafi is the male voice, combining with his three most important female singers – Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum and Asha Bhosle, in chronological order.

Mr Kelkar observes OPN was among the four best music directors in composing duets. His choice of musical instruments, his rhythm and special features like either the male or the female singer entering late in the song, giving it an effect of solo, make OPN unique. The romanticism in his duets was a reflection of his fascination with women, observes Mr Kelkar. Thank you Mr Kelkar for another excellent piece. – AK)

OP NayyarI consider C Ramachandra, SD Burman, Shankar Jaikishan and OP Nayyar as the four best music directors (MDs) in composing duets. Of course, all other MDs have composed outstanding duets, but the sheer numbers and variety make these four MDs stand apart.



Best songs of 1948: Wrap Up 3

November 12, 2017

And the Songs of Yore Award for the Best Duet goes to?

Kyun unhe dil diyaAs per the long-term average, female solos outnumber male solos by a big margin, with duets somewhere in between. The same is true for the year 1948. My list of 114/115 MEMORABLE SONGS in the Overview post has the following break-up:


Male solos        –  26
Female solos    –  53
Duets                  –  36
       TOTAL    –   115

Besides the significant number, the duets present  interesting variety of combinations of singers. This category also includes all male or female duets, and songs by more than two singers (which could be all male or female or mixed). I count the chorus songs in which there is only one identifiable dominating voice as a solo of that singer.



Waterfalls in Bollywood

November 2, 2017

Guest article by DP Rangan

(DP Rangan is a man with boundless energy. Even with a late debut on the Songs of Yore, at the rate he is writing he will soon overtake the regular guest writers. After the horse series, he switched to romantic themes of moon and stars. This post on Waterfalls in Bollywood can be seen as a continuation with similar romantic possibilities. Mr Rangan has, as is his wont, packed in a great deal of information. He had also added some science which I have cut out, but what is left is still impressive. The song selection is equally good. I thank Mr Rangan for another informative post. – AK)

Our planet is predominantly a body of water and will glimmer in blue hue when viewed from satellites or from our satellite moon. Water covers 71% of earth surface. Picture taken from a satellite is reproduced below:

Waterfall 1

There is no positive evidence which would describe how water was formed in planet Earth beyond doubt. Several concepts have been advanced but remain mere conjectures. It is believed that water was part of the earth as it emerged by adhesion and gradual accretion of planetary material into a rocky planet.

The young earth was quite hot initially and all the water was locked up in the atmosphere as water vapour. When it cooled sufficiently there was continuous rain for hundreds of years and the oceans were formed. Thanks to the water cycle, there was profuse rain falling on land. As it fell on mountainous area, it came down to the plains as river and as the body of water fell over rock face down, waterfalls were born. They were not uniform. The height from which water cascaded downwards and the width of the water body varies from waterfall to waterfall. I will elaborate on this further when I deal with specific waterfalls. When the river gushes through narrow valleys you can have a series of shallow rapids.

But for the availability of water, there would have been no life of any sort in any planet and Earth is also no exception to this. It is the basic source of all life and when one studies it in depth, unique properties of water will be unraveled.

In fact, water as it exists is amazing. It should have been a gas at the prevailing atmospheric pressure and temperature. Had it been so, our planet would be a barren one devoid of life of any kind. Because of its unique properties, water is the only molecular body which can exist as gas, liquid or solid. Everybody knows that two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen bond together to form a water molecule. The theory behind it is too complicated for a general forum like Songs of Yore.

I am reverting back to ‘waterfalls’. All the continents have mountainous areas. America has the Rockies and Andes. In India it is Himalayas and Western Ghats. Some of the most spectacular waterfalls are to be seen in South America. Some prominent waterfalls are listed below:

North America        Niagara Waterfalls
South America        Angel Falls, Iguazu Falls
Africa               Victoria Falls
Asia                 A few falls in China, Vietnam
India                Nohkalikai Falls, Jog Falls

Victoria Waterfalls

Zambesi river thunders down the mountain ledge as a waterfall and it is located in the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It plunges from a height of 108 metres (355 feet). David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer was the first whiteman to see the falls from an island named after him on 16th November 1855 and named it in honour of Queen Victoria. Its native Tonga name is

Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders” and continues in common usage as well. In UNESCO Heritage List both the names are used. You tube link for viewing this waterfall:

Now I will give particulars about the highest waterfalls in the world.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls (Spanish: Salto Ángel; Pemon language: Kerepakupai Meru meaning “waterfall of the deepest place”, or Parakupá Vená, meaning (“the fall from the highest point”) is located in Bolivar State, Venezuela. It is the highest waterfalls in the world with a plunge of 979 metres (3212 ft.) over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in the Canaima National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Canaima), a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Gran Sabana region of Bolívar State.

The outside world was not aware of this natural wonder till 1933. Jimmie Angel, an American aviator, while searching for precious ore bed flew over this waterfall on 16th November 1933 and was bowled over at the amazing vista that unfolded. Returning on 9 October 1937, Angel tried to land his Flamingo monoplane El Río Caroní atop Auyan-tepui. It was a perfect landing, but the wheels sank in the morass atop the plateau. He, his wife and a companion had to travel for 11 days on foot climbing down the table mountain from the other slope in the back before reaching civilization. News went around the world and the waterfall was named after him and recognized by government of Venezuela. There was an interesting sequel to this. Angel’s plane remained on top of the tepui for 33 years before being lifted out by helicopter. It was restored at the Aviation Museum in Maracay and now sits outdoors on the front of the airport at Ciudad Bolívar. Visual presentation is the best means of conveying the full measure of beauty and a snap and a you tube link are given below for this waterfall.

DP Rangan_Angel Falls

Nohkalikai Falls

Tallest water falls in India with a drop of 340 metres (1115 feet). It is located near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya. The pool formed at the foot of the waterfalls is green in colour.

Interesting material is available for all the major falls. If anyone wants to pursue further, he can trawl the internet and reap rich dividends.

Cinema producers had included a few outdoor scenes in most of the pictures. Heroes wandering amongst hilly terrain, heroines floating like an angel against the waterfall in the background accompanied by a chorus, duets of love in the hilly meadows were a representative sample of the scenes shot.

I had completed the post but was unable to get more than two songs on this theme. I was in a position similar to a sugar factory erected in cooperative sector and finding itself starved of sugarcane in its area and had to procure it across the state border from neighbouring state. I appealed to Arvinder Sharmaji to help me and promptly he sent me a list of nearly 30 songs and I am now spoiled for choice. I thank him profusely for enabling me to overcome a no-win situation. I will now post a few songs on this theme. My effort has been to ensure they are outdoor scenes with waterfall included.

1. Hawa mein udta jaye by Lata Mangeshkar from Barsaat (1949), lyrics Ramesh Shastri, music Shankar Jaikishan

The song is in perfect harmony with the surroundings and sounds like a flowing river over hilly beds. Shankar Jaikishan burst forth on the picture and with the wonderful music composed started their climb to the summit. Lata Mangeshkar, already known, also added to the lustre.

2. Aayi bahar jiya dole by Lata Mangeshkar and Chorus from Arzoo (1950), lyrics Prem Dawan, music Anil Biswas

The song is set in perfect idyllic rural surroundings. Kamini Kaushal dances around and her coterie accompanies her in the song, while a pleased Dilip Kumar looks on munching on his sugarcane. Anil Biswas has given a good tune.

3. Tere dwar khada hai ek jogi by Hemant Kumar from Nagin (1954), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Hemant Kumar

Vyjayanthimala and Pradeep Kumar are the principal actors. They belong to different tribes of snake charmers who are in conflict and their love affair lands them in trouble. Ravi was assistant to Hemant Kumar and created the snake tune through use of been, a path-breaker. Pradeep disguised as a hermit pleads with Vyjayanthimala immersed in the river. It was a great music by Hemant Kumar for Filmistan who had broken from C Ramchandra. (We have discussed earlier on this blog the controversy as to who created the been tune in ‘Man dole mera tan dole’.  The popular impression was that it was played by Kalyanji on the clayvioline. Goa-born pianist Lucila Pacheco’s name is also taken in this regard. Here is a nice article on this controversy – AK)

4. Suhana safar aur ye mausam hasin by Mukesh from Madhumati (1958), lyrics Shailendra, music Salil Chowdhury

This is a Bimal Roy production and the basic story was lifted from Mahal of Aayega aanewala fame. This is a great outdoor song full of bubbling joy and coming from Mukesh it is all the more to be appreciated. Salil Chowdhury had given superb music for the film. (The assertion that the basic story was based on ‘Mahal’ may be open to question. – AK)

5. Pyar bhari ye adayein by Manna Dey & Lata Mangeshkar from Qaidi No. 911 (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Dattaram Wadkar

A B grade film with Mahmood and Nanda in the lead role, the scene of the song is entirely outdoors with prominent waterfall in the background. This is a well known duet and good to hear at any time.

6. Ho maine pyar kiya by Lata Mangeshkar from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1961), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor is the producer of this film about dacoits being reformed into law abiding citizens. The usual love triangle of two men, one girl is played with the hero emerging a winner. Padmini is enjoying her bath in the river just down the waterfalls.

7. Badalo barse nayan by Lata Mangeshkar from Sampoorna Ramayan (1961), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music Vasant Desai

As expected, Mahipal and Anita Guha are the main actors in this film based on the epic Ramayan. Combination of Bharat Vyas and Vasant Desai has created great songs and this one sung by Seeta Devi in mental pain can be added to that genre.

8. Sau bar janam lenge by Mohammad Rafi from Ustadon Ke Ustad (1963), lyrics Asad Bhopali, music Ravi

An all time great song rendered superbly by Mohammad Rafi and composition by Ravi is par excellence. Pradeep Kumar is in search of his love Shakila and meets her at the end. There is a nice qawwali song – Milte hi nazar tumse hum ho gaye diwane sung by the triad Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Asha Bhonsle.

9. Mere pehli arzoo ka by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle from Pyar Ka Bandan (1963), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Ravi

The scene is certainly outdoors and the couple going through the motion look like Helen and Dhumal. This is a standard Ravi tune and can be easily recognized as such.

10. Aaj koi pyar se dil ke baatein kah gaya by Asha Bhosle from Sawan Ki Ghata (1966) lyrics S H Bihari, music O P Nayyar

Mumtaz wallows in turbulent waters while crooning this song. Asha Bhosle had excelled and O P Nayyar has composed his trademark tune, but very good to hear.

To the best of my ability I have posted songs where waterfall figures prominently. I request the blog followers to improve upon my selection.



And the Songs of Yore Award for the Best Female Playback Singer goes to?

Lata Mangeshkar-Shamshad Begum-Suraiya-Surinder KaurThe readers may recall from my Overview post, and the detailed review of the best songs of 1949, that one significant difference between the two consecutive years was in Lata Mangeshkar coming as a tsunami wave in 1949, leaving her competitors awestruck, whereas in 1948, i.e. just a year before, she was behind Shamshad Begum in terms of ‘Memorable Songs’. Suraiya, not far behind, can be regarded as the third leg of the Triad Power that dominated the female playback singing in the year. Surinder Kaur and Lalita Deulkar had a short-lived career in Hindi films, but their best was in 1948. Uma Devi and Amirbai Karnataki also had noticeable presence in the year. Given this overall picture of the female playback songs, I have decided to do away with separate posts for Lata Mangeshkar and ‘Others’. In the remaining three years of my planned review, i.e. 1947, 1946 and 1945, there would be no dilemma – Lata Mangeshkar sang (and acted) some songs, but she would be virtually invisible.



A tribute to Kishore Kumar (4 August 1929 to 13 October 1987) on his 30th death anniversary

Kishore KumarA later version of an operating system is considered superior to its earlier version. That is, ‘Windows 1o’ is superior to ‘Windows 8’, which is superior to ‘Windows 7’, and so on. However, that is not true for music. A singer or a music director’s career follows an inverted U-curve. After progressively rising to the peak, there is a plateau and, thereafter, there is decline. Kishore Kumar must be the only exception to this law. After 20 years of singing career starting from his debut in 1948, post-Aradhana (1969) his career zoomed to a higher trajectory, reaching another peak when he became the pole star of male playback singing. I have metaphorically said Kishore Kumar became the new Rafi in my post titled Mohammad Rafi versus Kishore Kumar, which specifically addressed how an era changed after Aaradhana. Kishore Kumar 2.0 (i.e. post-1969) sang about four times more songs than his previous two decades’ career, i.e. Kishore Kumar 1.0.