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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

The musical instrument ‘Guitar’ has always been associated with love, romance and a youthful vigour in Hindi cinema. From the Black & White era to the present scenario we have had various actors and actresses lip-syncing to some fabulous songs in different situations in our films.

Many songs were picturized in clubs and party settings while others were solo numbers sung by the hero to the heroine and in rare instances vice versa. Still others became part of the film’s story when the actor concerned was playing the role of a singer in a band in the film. Some directors imaginatively picturized guitar songs as part of the background in a situation.

Ironically many of our popular stars like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra, Salman Khan, etc., never got the opportunity to have a full-fletched guitar song picturized on them. On the other hand some of the…

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer 

The rich repertoire of our century-old Hindi film music boasts of a wide range of songs based on a variety of classical Hindustani ragas. There is no denying that the reach of Hindi films and Hindi film music in our country is far beyond any other form of music. Therefore instead of composing these songs in a typical classical style which may appeal only to a select audience with in-depth knowledge of the technicalities of classical music, our music directors draw inspiration from our vast legacy to compose either semi-classical songs or just touch upon the raga lightly. 

These subtle modifications in the raga allows them to compose apt songs to suit the mood and setting of  the story and the character keeping in mind the visual medium of cinema. Therefore, such compositions not only help to enhance the appeal and reach of these ragas to the large…

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My Views On Bollywood

By

Sharada Iyer

Lyrics impart soul to the song and form an integral and important part of any song. Not only do the lyricists have to use their talent to express in words a variety of feelings and emotions but they also need to have the knack to fit the words into a 3-minute song format to suit the character and the demands of the scene as conceived by the director. Indeed it requires tremendous skill, a lot of imagination and mastery over the language to come up with winning results.

Our film industry has been blessed with some brilliant poets and lyricists in every era but not all of them attained the same level of popularity. Though we may recollect the names of some top lyricists like Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, Sahir Ludhianvi, Anand Bakshi, Indeevar, Majrooh Sultanpuri, etc., not many of us can remember lyricists like Naqsh Lyallpuri, S…

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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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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

KalidasaKalidasa, said to be born in the 4th century AD, is widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language.  Had he been alive today, he would have been a very busy man, possibly assisted by a huge team of research assistants, dishing out scripts, dialogues and lyrics for a vast majority of our dream merchants in Bollywood.

His emphasis on capturing the innate beauty of nature might not have enthused many of our present day producers and directors. However, his evocative portrayal of female beauty and the passionate depiction of the affairs of the heart would have surely had the Bollywood movie makers in enthrall.

In his ‘Ritusamhara’ (Medley of Seasons), Kalidasa describes six seasons in his inimitable style: Summer (Greeshma), Monsoon (Varsha), Autumn (Sharad/Patjhad), Pre-winter (Hemant), Winter (Shishir) and Spring (Vasanta). Each one is dealt with evocative descriptions of the elements of…

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