Guest article by Ashok M Vaishnav
(Ashokji has been recently exploring songs that have a solo version and a duet or chorus version. In this series within the Mega series on Multiple Version Songs, he wrote on January 20, 2015 on songs that have a male solo and a duet or chorus version. This guest article is a sequel to that post, arising out of the comments and responses of the readers to his last article. Ashokji’s perseverance in exploring a subject to the minutest detail is quite impressive. – AK)
‘Multiple Versions Songs (20): Male Solo and Duet or Chorus’ received an overwhelming feedback from the very learned, active and passionate SoY fraternity. That makes a writer like me overwhelmed by a sense of great joy and deep gratitude. The feedback has thrown up quite a few more songs for this particular variation of A Male Solo and its Duet or Chorus Version as well as for other variations. So, it is matter of a great pleasure to do this sequel to the ‘Multiple Versions Songs (20): Male Solo and Duet or Chorus’.
Book Review as a tribute to Naushad on his 9th death anniversary (25 December 1919-5 May 2006)
By Raju Bharatan
Hay House India (2013)
The most important thing about Raju Bharatan’s Naushadnama is that it is Raju Bharatan’s Naushadnama. Which means, if you are familiar with his writings, that there is a good deal of Raju Bharatan in the book, besides its principal character, Naushad. And as you expect from him, he is not only an observer and chronicler of Naushad, he was also his trusted friend and confidante, as he was of C Ramchandra, Anil Biswas, Shankar-Jaikishan, SD Burman, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Lata Mangehskar, Shamshad Begum, Suraiya, and all the major characters that appear in the book. The blurb on the book modestly describes him as “widely recognized as the last word on Hindi film music in India – as the only one physically there ‘on the scene’, through the decades, when music sittings and song recordings took place”.
A tribute to Shamshad Begum on her 2nd death anniversary (14 April 1919 – 23 April 2013)
This year started with Naushad, who was followed by C Ramchandra. We have since seen their close duel with Amirbai Karnataki. Consequently, some readers were surprised not to see a similar comparison in my last post on Shamshad Begum’s songs by Naushad on her 96th birth anniversary. Indeed there is a comparison, but their work with her is so important and large that fitting them in one post would not have done full justice. So here is Shamshad with Naushad’s formidable rival, C Ramchandra, for the readers to judge the match.
A tribute to Shamshad Begum on her 96th birth anniversary (14 April 1919 – 23 April 2013)
In my mind the best of Shamshad Begum always meant Naushad. I would be surprised if any of her famous songs, which I would automatically attribute to him, turned out to be composed by a different music director. Much later, when I was better informed and I had an overview of her career, I knew she was discovered by Ghulam Haider, she sang for most of the famous composers of the vintage era, and she was already at the top when Naushad first used her in 1946 (Shahjehan). She continued her great run concurrently with C Ramchandra, SD Burman, Ghulam Mohammad and later with OP Nayyar, but the 60 odd songs she sang for Naushad still remain at the highest pedestal for me. Naushad publicly acknowledged that she played an important role in giving a boost to his career at a critical stage when he was looking for a voice which did not have the ‘nautch-girl’ tinge. She, too, acknowledged Naushad’s role in her career, even though he did not hesitate to jettison her when he firmly settled for Lata Mangeshkar (giving her about 160 songs).
(SoY regulars would recall that discussions have often given rise to questions for which I have suggested a multi-disciplinary team of film/music experts and mathematicians for more precise analysis. It seems the experts have not come forward out of modesty. They must be looking for someone to take the initiative. In this post, I am summarising three main areas for study and also suggesting the composition of the teams. I am sure the experts would appreciate the seriousness of my intent, and spare their valuable time and energy for the larger good of the society. – AK)
That I am an inveterate fan of Lata Mangeshkar is nothing exceptional. She was ‘the’ female playback voice of the Golden Era. Now the readers are aware I am fascinated even more by Naushad. Therefore, I took it for granted that I have already written on Lata Mangeshkar’s best songs by Naushad, as I have done on her songs with other composers. When I tried to recall the songs I had included in that post, I realised, to my surprise, that I have not written it at all. Had I done that, ‘Tere sadke balam’ would have come in for some special mention. A fellow blogger has written he could listen to this song a hundred times continuously without getting tired of it. I have done that, and more, because it was more than a song for me; it was a binding element, an anthem with which are associated my memories of some most fascinating people at the Patna Secretariat tennis courts, where I was a regular for about eight years, until I shifted to Delhi.
A tribute on the 50th death anniversary of Amirbai Karnataki (c.1906 – 3 March 1965)
(As her death anniversary was too close to my scheduled post on Holi songs, I am posting my tribute to Amirbai Karnataki, with her songs by Naushad and C Ramchandra, with some lag.)
Which is the most popular Amirbai Karnataki song which even the new generation is aware of? Gore gore baanke chore kabhi meri gali aya karo (her duet with Lata Mangehskar) is a perennial favourite. If one is asked to name another song, the most likely answer would be O janewale baalamawa laut ke aa laut ke aa (her duet with Shyam Kumar). One by C Ramchandra, and the other by Naushad. In the vintage era, ‘A’ stood for Amirbai Karnataki. And the Great Mughal Naushad and the Mighty Maratha C Ramchandra were the two Ace music directors whose battle royal continued over Amirbai Karnataki too.
Wishing Happy Holi to all
This is the fifth year of Songs of Yore, and I have not yet done a post on Holi songs. Every time Holi came, I thought everyone would be doing a list of Holi songs, and my doing one would be trivial, and may contain overlapping songs. Along the way, I strayed into writing ‘serious’ articles on Holi, culminating in a review of ‘Sangam’ last year.
A tribute to Talat Mahmood on his 91st birth anniversary (24 February 1924 – 9 May 1998)
There was every reason for Talat Mahmood to have a long innings with Naushad. Both coming from Lucknow, they represented a similar Urdu sensibility and cultural milieu. Talat’s entry into Bombay Hindi film music was spectacular with Ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal jahan koi na ho (Arzoo, 1950), composed by Anil Biswas, picturied on Dilip Kumar. Sure enough, Talat Mahmood became Dilip Kumar’s voice under Naushad’s baton in Baabul (1950) with great success. This was a perfect launch for a long career at the top, because Naushad had emerged as the undisputed No.1 and the preferred composer of Dilip Kumar – Naushad-Dilip Kumar notching at least a dozen films together hence. But in a twist which must be unparalleled in the annals of film history, Baabul became effectively the first and the last film in which Talat Mahmood could sing for Naushad. The reason given in popular writings is that Talat managed to give some offence to Naushad by his behaviour during the recording of a song for this film.
Guest article by Subodh Agrawal
(Pilu is one of the most popular Ragas in Hindi film music. Naturally, many songs based on Pilu have appeared on SoY, and some interesting discussion has taken place about KL Saigal being mesmerised by SD Burman’s ‘Ami chhinu eka’, and speculating which of his song it was similar to. Now, our expert Subodh writes a formal article on the Raga, in which he discusses the best film songs based on this Raga and some fine classical pieces. It comes after a long wait, which I can ascribe to Writer’s Block. Let us hope that 2015 would see more from him. – AK)
I have been rather lazy about writing this article. The list of songs was ready months back, but I just couldn’t get down to writing. What spurred me into action is the realization that it is nearly a year since the last article of this series. My apologies to AK and to the amiable readers of SoY whose comments are something I always treasure.