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When Bollywood directors decide to etch out the character of either a mother or a soul mate in finer detail, lullabies come in handy.

It is widely believed that lullabies, when sung with minimal words and unaccompanied by any kind of music, have more of a soothing effect on a baby. However, given the penchant of the Indian audience to lap up lyrics only when dished out along with some lilting music, our directors make some compromises and come up with songs which not only boast of some soulful lyrics but are also accompanied by a wide range of musical instruments playing softly in the background.

The result is that many of these tend to soothe the frayed nerves of not only a baby but even some adults who appear to be passing through a challenging phase in their lives. In other words, the lullabies on our silver screens not only put babies to sleep but also get deployed as a clever device to provide succour to anguished souls in other age brackets.

Let us recapitulate some of the outstanding lullabies dished out by Bollywood over the past few decades.

For kids in all kinds of circumstances

A key feature of parenthood is the desire to protect one’s child from the harsh slings and arrows of Life. A lullaby could get sung in a protective environment. It could also get rendered when either a mother or a caretaker is seriously concerned about the future of the child.

 

Do Bigha Zamin

(1953, Music: Salil Chowdhury, Lyrics: Shailendra)

 

Vachan

(1955, Ravi, Prem Dhawan)

 

Do Ankhen Baarah Haath

(1957, Vasant Desai, Bharat Vyas)

 

Pardesi

(1957, Anil Biswas, Prem Dhawan or Ali Sardar Jafri)

 

Sujata

(1959, S D Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri)

 

Mujhe Jeene Do

(1963, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi)

 

Brahmchari

(1968, Shankar Jaikishan, Shailendra)

 

Koshish

(1972, Madan Mohan, Gulzar)

 

Mukti

(1977, R D Burman, Anand Bakshi)

 

Masoom

(1983, R D Burman, Gulzar)

 

Zubeidaa

(2001, A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar)

 

Swades

(2004, A R Rahman, Javed Akhtar)

 

Providing solace to adults

When a weary soul is on the lookout for some solace, help comes from a loving and devoted companion, who could either be a soul mate or an empathetic person who believes that it is his duty to comfort the other. The music is so soothing as to put the weary person to sleep, thereby helping him or her to cope with distress.

Zindagi

(1940, Pankaj Mullick, Kedar Nath Sharma)

 

Albela

(1952, C Ramchandra, Rajinder Krishan)

 

Shabaab

(1954, Naushad, Shakeel Badayuni)

 

Hum Dono

(1961, Jaidev, Sahir Ludhianvi)

 

Khandaan

(1965, Ravi, Rajendra Krishan)

 

Sadma

(1983, Iliyaraja, Gulzar)

 

The deep yearning to bear a child

Some of you might agree with me that a soothing song which poignantly captures the deep yearning of a woman to bear a child could also be labelled as a lullaby. Even though it expresses tender thoughts for a child who might still be on the horizon, the feelings portray the same love and affection as the ones articulated in a lullaby.

Filhaal

(2002, Anu Malik, Gulzar)

 

Most of these songs have a different context. But the underlying sentiment of empathy, compassion and love remains the same. The fertile imagination of a director, coupled with the creativity of a music director, ensures a wide spectrum of the genre of lullabies in Bollywood, ranging from yet-to-be-born children to those who are much past the phase of childhood.

Diminishing returns from lullabies?

This post is surely not an exhaustive one. But while compiling the songs, yours truly was struck by the relative absence of lullabies in the movies released in recent decades. For the 1950s, I could come up with 7 of the songs listed above, whereas for the 2010s I could barely trace 3 songs in  this genre!

Perhaps, our producers and directors no longer appear to believe that the presence of soothing lullabies in their offerings to the gullible audience makes the box office ring any louder. It is not that scripts centered on kids do not find favour with them. In fact, the converse could be true. Think of Tare Zameen Par, Nil Battey Sannata, The Blue Umbrella, I Am Kalam, Stanley Ka Dabba and many others which have been eagerly lapped up by the audience in the recent past. But the character of children has undergone a change. No longer are they to be pampered with lullabies. Instead, they are showcased as being smarter kids, somewhat grown up and awash with dazzling inputs from the digital world that surrounds them. They no longer appear to be vulnerable, needing the emotional support of a lullaby to get to sleep.

Perhaps this has to do with the setting of most scripts having become an urban one. With the rise of the nuclear family and the ready availability of technological gizmos, the space for lullabies appears to be shrinking. Choices for hapless parents who are caught in the vicious circle of materialistic pursuits of life have narrowed down. In children’s formative years, perhaps a soothing touch is getting gradually replaced with cold metallic screens streaming inane cartoons and animation movies which are replete with violent sequences. With each passing decade, the threshold of innocence appears to be getting lowered, thereby reducing the utility of a soulful lullaby to add to the box office collections.

But parents and soul mates need not lose heart. Bollywood’s repertoire of lullabies of the past is a rich one. Many of the songs alluded to above could still be of immense utility when it comes to putting their wards to a restful slumber.

Also, there is the hope that the future may somehow see a revival of this unique genre of Bollywood music. However, given the creative imagination of our script writers and lyricists, one would not be surprised to find a humanoid being shown to be crooning a lullaby wherein the moon has got replaced by inter-galactic travel, the stars have given way to the twinkling city lights and a cool breeze has got substituted by gentle air conditioning!

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/bringing-up-kids)

 

 

 

 

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

“Your classicism is of value only if you know how to fine-tune it to the peculiar visual needs of instant cinema. In the end in the recording room it is not who knows classical singing but who has the ability to modulate classicism to the adolescent needs of mainstream cinema”

– Raju Bharatan (taken from his book- ‘A Journey Down Melody Lane’, 2010)

The repertoire of our century old Hindi film music boasts of a wide range of songs based on a variety of classical Hindustani ragas. As the object of a raga is to express a certain emotional mood and sentiment each music director has captured the essence of the raga in his/her own way to fit into the milieu of the narrative- ranging from deep love and longing, to the agony of separation, a heart-felt devotional ‘bhajan’ or just a peppy dance number.

Instead of…

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The #MeToo allegations which have popped up recently in Bollywood go on to show the extent to which the virus of the infamous Director’s Couch Syndrome has not only permeated our entertainment industry but also morphed into a more disgraceful version of itself.

Perhaps a part of the solution lies within Bollywood itself. The gender insensitivity which is showcased and glorified in our movies is something which leaves us gasping for some innovative scripts. Exceptions are there. But these remain just exceptions.

When it comes to winning the affection of a heroine, a typical Bollywood hero spares no effort. He charms. He dazzles. He pursues. He flexes his rippling muscles. He shows off his biceps. He chases away a gang of baddies who try to harass his lady love. He poses as a well-endowed person. He even threatens and imposes himself.

Our heroes are adept at expressing their emotions in a song and dance routine. It would be worth our while to look up some such songs which showcase different shades of romancing our Bollywood heroes use to fulfill their romantic ambitions.

When chivalry works

The importance of a chivalrous approach towards impressing one’s lady love was etched out in the movie Shagird (1967). Sample this song:

 

The reluctant wooer

A hero of this kind is at one end of the spectrum. He could either believe that he is not good enough for the lady of his dreams, or is simply not interested in a romantic alliance. The reason could either be social, financial, or the phase through which he happens to be passing by. The burden of convincing him otherwise falls on the heroine. There are occasions when he does not mind getting wooed, though!

Saath Saath (1982)

 

Woh Saat Din (1983)

 

Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

 

The sacrificing lover boy

The guiding principle of such a wooer is that when it comes to bringing some sunshine into the life of the heroine, no sacrifice is small. There are times when such selfless love is shown to lead to a failure in the relationship.

Sangam (1964)

 

Teesri Kasam (1966)

 

Ek Vivah Aisa Bhi (2008)

 

The post-marriage wooing

In many cases, love blossoms in the post-marriage phase. The hero goes to great lengths to win over the affections of his wife.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

 

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008)

 

Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015)

When a choice has to be made between a pre-matrimonial lover and a husband, the heroine keeps social sensitivities in mind and walks into the arms of her husband. Movies like Gumrah (1963), Woh Saat Din and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam attest to this trend in the past.

The empathetic wooer

The heroine has just had a rather traumatic experience at the hands of her spouse. But support is at hand, in the form of an empathetic hero. At times, a soulful song makes the heroine fall into his loving embrace.

Guide (1965)

 

Arth (1982)

 

The quintessential romanticist

He is soft and gentle. He is often diffident but tender in his approach. His soft power often wins over the heart of the heroine in question. The impression he conveys is that chivalry works well.

Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962)

 

Baton Baton Mein (1979)

 

Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)

 

The playful wooer

The value system of a hero of this kind permits him to tease the heroine a wee bit, hoping that he would not only be noticed but also accepted as a suitable candidate for a romantic alliance.

Aradhana (1969)

 

1942 A Love Story (1994)

 

The dashing lover

He is the one who believes that a relentless chasing of the party of the other part would bring home the bacon. Irrespective of the time and the place, he continues with his efforts with gay abandon. Flowers, chocolates and even pumpkins come to the aid of the dashing hero. He is so very self-obsessed that he is clueless about the career aspirations of his lady love. Needless to say, he wins, thereby conveying a message to all wannabe lovers that mild aggression in pursuing the heroine indeed works.

Jaanwar (1965)

 

Sholay (1975)

 

Satte Pe Satta (1982)

 

Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya (2017)

 

The tormentor

At the other end of the spectrum, we have heroes who suffer from an excessive dose of supreme self confidence. They treat the heroine as chattel and think nothing of even terrorising her to get results. Physical intimidation is taken recourse to. Stalking becomes the norm. Threats of rape not only get made but even get executed.

Amar (1954)

 

Dil (1990)

 

Darr (1993)

 

A wide spectrum of chivalry

Bollywood movies offer a very wide range of the kind of treatment that women receive at the hands of their wannabe or ex-lovers.

If a Rajendra Kumar in Dil Ek Mandir (1963) sacrifices his life trying to save the husband of his ex-girl friend, a Dilip Kumar in Amar (1954) rapes Nimmi, a principal character in the movie. If a dacoit played by Sunil Dutt abducts a courtesan in Mujhe Jeene Do (1963), a Good Samaritan played by Dharmendra marries a lady who has been sexually abused by a prince in Satyakam (1969).

If a Kamal Hasan provides shelter and care to an unfortunate accident victim in Sadma (1983), a Vivek Oberoi mistreats his wife in Sathiya (2002). If a Sanjeev Kumar does not get distracted by a lady in the buff in Aandhi (1975), a Manoj Bajpeyi abducts and forcibly marries a damsel in distress, and even persuades her to change her religion, in Pinjar (2003). It is another matter he eventually develops a soft corner for his wife.

Distorted messaging

When heroines happen to respond favourably to either dashers or tormentors, the message conveyed to the audience is crystal clear – that a macho image and a misogynist attitude help in romantic pursuits. Add to this the tendency of our directors to objectify women so as to keep the box office collections alive and kicking, and the recipe for a wrong kind of social messaging is ready.

Since films influence the society in a big way, our dream merchants would do well to churn out more movies which have gender sensitive portrayals. Scripts which are based on negative societal attitudes towards women could be readily avoided.

In a study conducted by IBM India, gender stereotypes in as many as 4,000 Bollywood movies released between 1970 and 2017 were examined. Of these, researchers came up with only 30 movies in the last couple of years where such stereotypes were broken.

According to the study, females were the central characters in 11.9% of Hindi movies released between 2015 and 2017. Back in the 70s, this figure was closer to 7%.

The solution within

The power-puff girls of Bollywood have recently done well in such movies as Jalpari, Gulaab Gang, Queen, NeerjaPink, Nil Battey SannataMargarita with a StrawMardaani, Parched, Jai Gangaajal, Ki and Ka, Dear ZindagiAkira, and the like.

Our future generations cannot be made to live in a world where men are encouraged to harass and rape women. Sexist behaviour is passé. It no longer attracts women. What does is unalloyed chivalry, where the old notions of a patriarchic mindset find no place; where violence and intimidation has no place.

This could be a solution to the #MeToo tsunami that appears to have hit Bollywood in the recent past. Perhaps Bollywood can start a self-certification process which rates movies based on their gender sensitivity.

Charity begins at home, as they say.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/bollywood-divas-join-in-at-metoo

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/the-powerpuff-girls-of-bollywood

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/women-through-the-bollywood-lens-part-1)

 

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ashokbhatia

Bollywood’s take on corruption differs across various time zones. Just as the society has evolved, so has the approach taken by Bollywood on depicting and tackling corruption changed over the past few decades.

In the black and white era of Gandhian simplicity, it was often more about the bad guys being urban gentlemen and the good guys being rural urchins. Movies like ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ (1953), ‘Jagte Raho’ (1956) and ‘Parakh’ (1960) readily come to one’s mind.

Jagte_Raho_1956_film_poster

We have also had movies where the lead cast suffered in dignified silence. The audience was often left with a feeling of disgust towards all those who were shown as corrupt. Movies like ‘Satyakam’ (1969) left us with a fond hope that things would somehow improve in the future. satyakam

Then came the angry-young-man phase. Here, we had the revenge theme. Muscular power ruled and the…

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ashokbhatia

Many amongst us chug along in life somewhat dissatisfied with our life partners. A neighbour’s wife always looks smarter. A friend’s husband sounds more dashing and practical. Our own spouse invariably sounds duller and listless in comparison. We are never quite satisfied with what we have. We often yearn for what we do not have.

What do we expect from a soul-mate? An unqualified acceptance by the party of the other part, perhaps? A companionship which comforts and soothes? A fulfillment of some of our basic needs?

At a deeper level, the illusory search for a perfect soul-mate, The One, begins with a realization that we cannot become more perfect all by ourselves. We need another person’s help to chisel ourselves better. To do so, we search for a person who is perfect in more ways than one.

Some Bollywood movies have dealt with this aspect of our relationships…

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When the brow is furrowed and the pangs of separation from one’s beloved have dethroned reason from its coveted seat, the mood turns a shade of deep blue.

Like all other strands of emotion captured by Bollywood, separation from the beloved has also not escaped the attention of our dream merchants. There are several songs which depict the intense feeling of desolation experienced by someone when the soul mate has gone missing. Whereas some herald the end of doom, so to say, few others are easier on the frayed nerves, laced as they happen to be with uplifting optimism and point to the possibility of a rosier future.

There is a beauty to sad songs which cannot be captured in words. These tug at one’s heart-strings and provide solace to a tormented soul. First off, let us relish a composition which celebrates the genre of sad songs.

The beauty of sad songs

(Patita, 1953, Shankar Jaikishan)

When the heart pines away for the missing soul mate

Here is a random selection of songs which capture the pangs of separation effectively.

(Hemant Kumar, Non-filmi song, Kal Teri Tasveer Ko)

 

(Dulari, 1949, Naushad)

 

(Baiju Bawra, 1952, Naushad)

 

(Navrang, 1958, C Ramchandra)

 

(Bandini, 1963, S D Burman)

 

(Arzoo, 1965, Shankar Jaikishan)

 

(Khamoshi, 1969, Hemant Kumar)

 

(Hero, 1983, Laxmikant Pyarelal)

 

(Ijaazat, 1987, R D Burman)

 

When the sense of separation has attained a state of permanence

(Mera Naam Joker, 1970, Shankar Jaikishan)

 

(Anand, 1970, Salil Chowdhury)

 

(Shor, 1972, Laxmikant Pyarelal)

 

(Parichay, 1972, R D Burman)

 

Songs with a dash of hope

(Mera Saya, 1966, Madan Mohan)

 

(Prem Pujari, 1970, S D Burman)

 

(Chhoti Si Baat, 1976, Salil Chowdhury)

 

(Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, 1988, Anand Milind)

These songs represent different shades of separation. Some are rendered in a mood of despondency, with nary a ray of hope lighting up the heart which pines away in a state of intensive sadness. Then there are some which reflect a sense of finality and fatalism, coming in when a realisation has dawned that there is absolutely no hope of a reunion. Some are sung in the fond hope that the two hearts torn asunder by the harsh slings and arrows of Fate would soon get reunited.

Which are your favourite songs of separation from Bollywood?

 

(You may also like to visit:  https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/an-illusory-search-for-the-perfect-soul-mate-bollywood-style)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

To encompass the greatness of a singer of Mohammed Rafi’s stature into one blog-post is not only impossible but will also not do justice to this incomparable jewel of Hindi film music. On the occasion of his 94th birth anniversary, this blog-post attempts to trace his early steps in the forties which eventually set him on the path to become the emperor of Hindi film music.

Right from childhood he had the rare gift of picking up any song he heard and singing it exactly like the original much to the surprise of the people around him. As a little boy he was drawn to the songs sung by a wandering ‘fakir’ (minstrel) in his village. Enchanted by the fakir’s song little Rafi would follow him everywhere and was able to reproduce it to perfection. The fakir was so impressed by the little boy that he…

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ashokbhatia

Smart managers are always keen to ‘sharpen their saw’. They always remain alert to new ideas from all sides. Movies are no exception. These provide valuable inputs to managers at all levels – from green-behind-the-ear beginners to CEOs and owners.

Here is an update on the key take away lessons from some of the movies I am aware of: some from Kollywood, some from Hollywood and many others from Bollywood.

ENTERING THE CORPORATE JUNGLE

  • Setting Realistic Goals (Manal Kayiru: A Rope/Thread of Sand)movieposter-_manal_kaiyru_2

Be Realistic, whether looking for a life partner or a job! The hero sets impossible conditions to be met while seeking a life partner. As a result, he gets conned into marrying a girl who is exactly the opposite.

In the arena of management, we work with customers, suppliers, employees, service providers and other stakeholders. It helps us to be realistic about what we want from…

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ashokbhatia

Movies reflect what is happening in the society. In some cases, like literature, they also hint at what could be in store for us in the days to come. They not only influence what happens in the society, but also take a harsh look at its ills – including their own! There are a number of spoofs, created by some of our best known dream merchants, which reveal the level of maturity the film industry has attained.

Somehow, movies examine only some segments of the society; that too, mostly along predictable lines. Politicians, cops, industrialists and others are mostly depicted in a stereotyped manner. Business and management have so far not merited much attention from our film makers.

If business has been captured, it has mostly been depicted to be ruthless. Catering to mass appeal, the film makers have propounded the belief that big money is invariably bad. The fact…

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Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, occupies a very prominent place in the minds of its citizens. Given the propensity of Bollywood producers and directors to cash in on events which touch the audience’s lives, one would presume that the festival would have had a major role to play in many of the flicks churned out by our dream merchants.

In quite a few story lines, Diwali does form the background of some events of major importance in the lives of the principal characters. The villain and his henchmen decide to massacre an entire family just when the latter happen to be celebrating the festival together. However, they willy-nilly leave behind a survivor who grows up with the single aim of identifying the villain and liquidating him even as the law enforcing authorities take their own sweet time to troop in.

But when one starts looking around for songs which are inspired by this magnificent festival, one is likely to be disappointed. These are few and far in between.

Here is a small collection which was recently brought to my attention by an elderly cousin who has a personal collection of movies and songs which could beat any museum professing to represent the best that Bollywood has to offer.

Aayi Diwali Deep Jala Ja: Pagdi (1948)

 

Deep Jale Ghar Ghar Mein: Lata: 1955

 

Deep Jalenge Deep Diwali Aayi: Paisa (1957)

Kaise Diwali Manayen Lala: Paigham (1959)

 

Mele Hein Chiragon Ke: Nazrana (1961)

 

And here is a famous song from the movie Guide (1965) where an entire stanza is devoted to Diwali.

 

Happy Diwali: Home Delivery (2005)

Perhaps, there are several reasons for Diwali songs being very few.

One could be that the joint family system has given way to unit families. Main protagonists in Bollywood movies have become more self-centred, pushing the broader family into the shadows. Over time, the importance attached to a family-focused festival like Diwali has gone down. We still get to see it, but merely as a backdrop to the small part of a song where the hero and the heroine are shaking their legs and limbs with much gusto.

Another could be the fact that Diwali was earlier considered a private family affair, with sweets getting distributed amongst neighbours after the traditional puja had been performed. But the current trend is that of a socializing event where those who could assist us in fulfilling our ambitions receive gifts much prior to the festival. In other words, if it was a single transaction between a family and the Goddess of Wealth in the past, it has now taken the shape of a multi-dimensional event of a transactional nature where one’s circle of influence plays a far more important role.

It is remarkable that Holi, the Festival of Colours, has found better attention from our film makers. Bollywood specializes in glorifying eve-teasing and this is one festival which provides ample scope for amorous advances to be showcased on the silver screen.

Here is wishing all of you a great Diwali!

(Note: Yours truly is grateful to the senior cousin who facilitated this post.)

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