Guest article by DP Rangan
(After riding the high horse, Mr Rangan now explores the romance of moon. I have earlier mentioned he is always bubbling with energy. A seventy-plus going on seventeen, he is a great romantic – don’t be misled by his astronomical wanderings. This piece is another evidence of his zest for life. Coincidentally, today is Full Moon day – the best time to enjoy this post written by a person young at heart. Thank you Mr Rangan. – AK)
What is a moon one may wonder. Wikipedia will probably define it as a heavenly object going round a planet. It evolved either as a part of the original planetary system or a captured asteroid. Hubble telescope has identified numerous planets around stars in our galaxy. Probably many of these exoplanets may have their own moons. But, the present day technology is not adequate to confirm them. We are concerned more with our solar system where there are many more mysteries to be unraveled. The four gaseous giants – Jupiter (67), Saturn (62), Uranus (27) and Neptune (14) together have approximately 170 moons orbiting them. More moons could be discovered in future. Even the tiny Pluto, recently dethroned from the family of planets and downgraded, has 4 moons.
When we look at the four inner rocky planets, two innermost – Mercury and Venus – have no moons. Our next neighbour Mars has two moons – Phobos and Deimos. Phobos has an orbital period of 7.6 hours. If we were to stand on Martian soil, we can see it racing across the sky going through all the phases from invisibility to full.
I delved into the abstract details of the moons in our solar system solely to emphasise our position therein. Thank God, our earth has no such complication. It has a solitary moon tidally locked up and showing the same face during its journey round our planet from the time of its birth.
The moon hanging in the sky as it appears in night time has been an object of fascination for humanity from time immemorial. It has been orbiting our planet in a regular cycle and causing tides in our ocean, helping to form mangroves and stabilizing the eco system in estuaries. Film makers in Mumbai and Chennai, the first two centres of film studios, had also fallen under its influence and used it as scene creator ab initio, and music directors had risen to the occasion and composed immortal musical pieces for the heroes and heroines to cavort about in joyful abandon. Well, not always. There are also instances of heroines looking at the full moon and pining for their elusive dear ones like Nutan does in Paying Guest through the song – Chand phir nikla.
I am a bit late in acknowledging the creators of the technology which enables us easy access to interesting material and also its sharing with one and all. Let me repair the omission. One cannot adequately appreciate in written language the advantages conferred by the creators of internet, the World Wide Web, which has shrunk the world into a shell of knowledge easily accessible to all. We are forever indebted to the creator of YouTube for gaining access to snippets from our old films portraying the scene and the songs. This has opened up the frontiers of knowledge about film songs very wide.
I have been an avid follower of film music for 60 years and have not looked beyond the 60s. Hailing from south India, I still cannot grasp the meaning of the lyrics in full. The music alone has satisfied my soul. I venture to put forth my idea about the moonlit scenes and the songs that poured forth in my rudimentary English. I entreat the patrons of this blog to bear with me and ignore the peccadilloes that may surface in my write up. I am indebted to the founder of this blog AK for encouraging me in my current endeavour.
Getting down to brass tacks, I trawled through YouTube with my old collection as base and have identified around 50 songs under this category. Many more obscure songs on this theme have to be fished out from the YT, which I conveniently leave out to the senior members of this community who are far more knowledgeable than me. I have kept in mind the golden rule of the blog as far as possible. Spreading the web wide, I have tried to bring out pieces composed by less known music directors so as to stimulate interest in their works and publicise their creations. In any such venture Lata Mangeshkar, God’s gift to all music lovers, stands first. I am following a chronological order of presentation as far as practical.
1. Chanda mama mere dwar aana by Asha Bhonsle, Baby Naaz and Manna Dey, from Laajwanti (1958), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music S. D. Burman
I begin with this music opera presented by the school children, contrary to what I stated above. Moon himself descending to the stadium and interacting with the children is a great directorial piece and Manna Dey in his inimitable voice has livened up the entire song sequence. S D Burman has woven his magic. Another song Chanda re chanda re in the same film by Asha Bhonsle could double as a lullaby.
2. Haye chanda gaye pardes by Lata Mangeshkar from Chakori (1949), lyrics Mulk Raj Bhakri, music Hans Raj Bahal
I now present this great piece from Chakori. I searched far and wide and yet could not come across the film or any live video of any of the songs from this film. In fact I am unable to gain access to any other song from this film. The bird Chakori is very near death because its favourite heavenly body – The Moon – proceeding elsewhere disappears altogether, probably behind the earth. The poor bird does not know it is only a temporary phenomenon and he or she will have a glimpse of it again. The song is full of pathos and the lyrics of the song seem to confirm the mood.
Another song on Chakori is Chakori ka chanda se pyar from the film Daman (1951), MD K Dutta and lyricist Raja Mehindi Ali Khan. Another of Lata Mangeshkar delights by this MD.
3. Bata ae chand ab kaise kahein hum daastan apni by Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar from Meharbani (1950), lyrics Anjum Dehlvi, music Hafeez Khan
Sweet composition from Hafeez Khan, another of the lesser known music directors who straddled the scene in those golden years. Talat and Lata combine as a duo and croon their way. Once again regret no live video is available. Another delightful duet by the same pair is – Tumse ho gaya pyar from the same movie. The film had ten songs written by five lyricists – Khumar Barabanqvi (3), Anjum Dehlavi (2), Khawar Zaman (3), Mashhar (1) and Shevan Rizvi (1).
4. Yeh chaand sitare kya jaanein by Suraiya from Khubsurat (1952), lyrics Shams Azimabadi, music Madan Mohan
Suraiya outpours her inner feelings through this musical piece created by that Great Master – Madan Mohan. Live video is not available. This was chosen over the other piece, Ae chaand ab tu ja, sung by Suraiya as the better of the two in my estimation. Another notable song is Mohabbat mein kashish hogi by Talat Mahmood for the hero Nazir Khan.
A Gemini production, it has two music directors – the above named and BS Kalla. Madhubala watched by an entranced Ratan Kumar is plucking the veena strings and Lata Mangeshkar does the rest. E Shankar Sastry is a well known veena vidwan. Delight to the ears is this piece based on classical raga. To me it looks like Raga Bhimpalasi. Very sweet to hear.
6. Chanda chamakti raat by Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood from Do Dulhe (1955), lyrics Pt. Indra, music BS Kalla
What a sweet tune at par with the established music directors of the period that has been created by BS Kalla. Lata-Talat pair have lived up to the expectations, adding zest to the scene. Shyama’s face, lighted up in intense delight, probably overshadows the full moon shining in the sky. AK may like to apply his mind to bring the MD alive in his blog. Another nice song in the movie is Naihar ke geet main gaaun by Lata Mangeshkar pictured on Shyama.
7. Chanda mama door ke by Asha Bhonsle from Vachan (1955), lyrics Prem Dhawan, music Ravi
A delicious piece dished out by Ravi. It could double as a lullaby. Asha Bhonsle has created a mother and child picture with her lisping voice and right intonation. Geeta Bali is fondling the munna and ultimately putting him to sleep with the full moon shining in the background as viewed from the balcony.
8. O raat ke musafir by Mohmmad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar from Miss Mary (1957), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Hemant Kumar
Original story is of Bengal origin. The Tamil movie Missiyamma of 1957 was a roaring success. The great actress Savitri played her role of a Christian girl faking a marriage with the hero Gemini Ganeshan, a matinee idol but affectionately dubbed as ‘sambar ’ by his fans, who also presents himself as a devout lover with no ability to convince the heroine with his credentials. In Miss Mary it is Meena Kumari and Gemini Ganesan. A rare instance of a south Indian actor acting as a hero in a Hindi movie in those days. Hemant Kumar has proved exceptional and has scored a great musical hit. In this song both are appealing to the moon to judge the other and towards end of the song Meena Kumari is dragged as a magnet capturing iron pieces to the hero.
9. Wo chaand khila wo taare hanse by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh from Anari (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan
Very difficult to describe the song scene in adequate words. Nutan is smiling in an impish manner and taunts the hapless hero Raj Kapoor, a simpleton, and outsmarts him in his crude effort to express his love by meekly offering a flower. The beat is in absolute harmony with the song and is fast paced. SJ duo had their trademark stamped and presented a sweet and enticing piece for the listeners’ delight. Technically a duet, but Mukesh contributes only one line admitting the hero is a Anari.
10. Main to chanda ki nagari se aayi re by Sudha Malhotra and chorus from Bansari Bala (1957), lyrics Saraswati Kumar ‘Deepak’, music Kamal Mitra
A film with star cast of minor actors – Chitra, Daljeet, Minoo Mumtaz. This appears to be a period film. A typical chorus depicting a dancing damsel surrounded by a bevy of extras going through the act. It would have been mistaken for a dream sequence but for the gawking males. You see a rotating plant and the director has picturized an elliptical moon in place of circular full moon as we see in the sky. A few philosophical songs by none other than Manna Dey – Ma teri mamta kitni pyari, Maya moh ke mahal sunahre and Krodh na karna re sansari are pleasing to the ears.
11. Chaand ko dekhoji by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar from Chaand Mere Aa Ja (1960), lyrics IC Kapoor, music Chitragupta
Nanda and Bharat Bhushan are singing their heart out in the presence of the moon which is playing hide and seek in the sky laden with clouds. A typical piece of music from Chitragupta whose distinct style is plainly discernable.
12. Chaudahvin ka chaand ho by Mohammad Rafi from Chaudahvin Ka Chand (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badauni, music Ravi
All songs presented above were sung by a female artist or as a duet in conjunction with a male singer. Here is a classic from Mohammad Rafi. Very well written piece and equally well composed by Ravi. Mohammad Rafi never fails. Any lady would love to be described in the manner done so in this song. I chose this over the other from Dulari, as a perfect ode to the beauty of a woman.
So far I have faithfully adhered to the basic policy followed in this blog. Now with humble supplication, I would like to present just two more pieces. Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to leave his imprint on the moon surface sometime in 1969. I am sure we all would love to make a journey to the moon in a rocket. Our Bollywood producers had preempted NASA and successfully sent two of their heroes in a rocket to the moon a decade earlier as you will see from the scene depicted by this song of the movie. They obviously land there and find a flourishing civilization and the usual Bollywood masala follows. I have two more songs of the film. A solo by Rafi is so funny, it can be best appreciated as a video. Its link is also included for enjoyment.
13. Hoke rocket pe sawaar by Mohammad Rafi and SD Batish from Chaand Ki Duniya (1959), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Nirmal Kumar
We have now been to the moon. As you all know mankind is looking towards the stars. Earth is doomed to be swallowed by a bulging sun in another three billion years and humans have to flee the earth long before, i.e. one billion years hence, if they are to survive as a species. The search for a solar system similar to ours and colonization of an earthlike planet revolving around a young sun within our own galaxy would become vital and I am sure future technology will cope with it provided the light velocity barrier as predicted by Einstein and confirmed by current observation is broken . Day by day new exo-planets are being discovered in our neighbourhood but none in the habitable zones around the stars. Interested viewers can access site for exo-planets here.
Here is another duet sung while travelling in a train. It is early morning time and the couple are singing to the stars with fond hope of a future together. A Shantaram movie with a bold theme of childhood widow rehabilitation. In the end society prevails and the heroine commits hara kiri. Let us enjoy the song.
14. Gaya andhera hua ujala by Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar from Subah Ka Tara (1954), lyrics Noor Lakhanavi, music C Ramchandra
I am submitting my musings for the critical appraisal of this blog followers who are veterans and I am prepared to face the barrage as Pandit Nehru told the great cartoonist of his time – “Do not spare me Shankar”. I have left out another thirty songs, and many of them may appear more meritorious. There is enough material with me to post a second part though it would suffer from the defect of being repetitive. My attempt has been to post rare songs covering as many music directors and singers as possible. Only Ravi is repeated at 7 and 12.