Film: The Train (1970) Music: RD Burman Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Mohammad Rafi
This racy, catchy and foot-tapping track is as energetic as the name of the movie! This one has the magician, Mohammad Rafi, at his best and leaves a big impression in a short burst of time. He makes you believe that his dil has really become sharaabi and you need to sambhaalo him. RD Burman keeps it simple with fast-paced percussion but also embellishes it with the saxophone that follows the vocals and the accompanying bass throughout but lets Rafi do the rest. One of my all-time favourites!
The immensely talented Rafi could magically take a composition to a different level altogether. He started his film singing career in the mid-40s but his popularity began to fade in the early 1970s when Kishore Kumar took over after the big success of Aradhana (1969) especially Roop tera mastana. Rafi’s untimely/early death at 55 in 1980 left a big void in film music. Maybe one of the reasons many people consider 1980s to be one of the worst decades as far as film music is concerned.
Film: Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi (1993) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Qateel Shifai Singer: Sadhna Sargam
As soon as haunting opening merges silently into the piano riff and the violin starts ‘singing,’ you know there’s something special coming your way! Sadhana Sargam induces a lot of feel into the ‘chale aaye’ so much so that you feel the beloved’s homecoming. Anu Malik sprinkles some real magic here with the tabla accompanying the soothing vocals within the mukhada, single/primary instrument pieces with others as support, the guitar and the saxophone in the appealing interludes. All these lead to a beautiful antara that has Qateel Shifai’s expression via my favourite lines – ‘Dil ko dhadkaa lagaa tha pal pal ka, shor sun le na koi paayal ka, phir bhi teri qasam chale aaye’. This one touches (and can pierce!) the heart, is extremely hummable and I get goosebumps every time I listen
Sampooran Singh Kalra, better known by his pen-name Gulzar, turned from a car painter to a lyricist/filmmaker way back in 1963. His heart-touching words have been set to an appealing composition by Ilaiyaraaja in this re-make of a Tamil film. With lines like ‘Humnein bhi tere har ik gham to gale se lagaaya hai’ and ‘Chhota sa saaya tha, aankhon mein aaya tha, humnein do boondon se mann bhar liya’, this number is a treat to hear every time. The mukhda has some excellent bass and the use of sitar, flute, santoor and tabla in the interludes and the antara brings the song even more alive. To top it all up, classically trained Suresh Wadkar highlights pathos beautifully with his soulful rendition
Film: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988) Music: Anand-Milind Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri Singer: Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik
RD Burman’s loss was Anand-Milind’s gain as the young Mansoor Khan opted for change after taking over the reins from his illustrious father, Nasir Hussain, primarily because it had to be a new-age love story comprising new faces. The new music-director duo exceeded expectations and had the nation humming their songs back then. This number, along with others, also propelled the career of Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla’s voices in the film – Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. This melodious and extremely hummable track has a couple of different beats and has excellent use of percussion especially the tabla and the dholak
Film: Dil To Pagal Hai (1997) Music: Uttam Singh Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Udit Narayan, Lata Mangeshkar
Uttam Singh, Yash Chopra’s hand-picked arranger-turned-music-composer, heralded a new era with his brand of racy, youthful and neatly-packaged romantic numbers in this score. A simplistic but appealing tune on this track with Anand Bakshi’s easy-on-the-lips lyrics coupled with Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals interspersed with the whistle, flute pieces and chorus complement the on-screen dance sequences beautifully. Lata’s alaap and ‘hums’ in the antara juxtaposed with a different rhythm pattern is magical too
Film: Akhiyon ke jharokhon se (1978) Music: Ravindra Jain Lyrics: Ravindra Jain Singer: Hemlata
This soothing, semi-classical and beautiful timeless classic has the ‘other’ classically-trained Lata – Hemlata – rendering it in her unique but effective voice and style. Amongst the other yesteryear tunesmiths, there was a visually impaired but talented gentleman called Ravindra Jain who made his presence felt with some good classical-based albums and hummable melodies like this one primarily comprising his own lyrics. This number is arguably one of his best pieces of work. Go listen and it will keep haunting you!
This number topped the Binaca Geetmala charts in the year 1978. Ravindra Jain was primarily active in the 70s and the early 80s with some his notable albums being Saudagar (1973), Chor Machaye Shor (1974), Chitchor (1976), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) and Henna (1991) among others. He was a mentor to many singers like KJ Yesudas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._J._Yesudas) and Hemlata (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemlata) and got them to sing many of his good numbers
The longish but serene opening 2-flute piece ‘takes you to the mountains’, flows into female chorus and Lata Mangeshkar’s mellifluous vocals take over in the raag bhairavi-based mukhda. She takes this song to a different level with her skill and murkis especially in the antaras and reaches a beautiful crescendo while ending them. This lovely track will stay with you after you have listened to it. The instrumentation and packaging is also top-class here. Take a bow, RDBurman and Lata!
Countless forgettable movies especially in the 1980s had some really hummable numbers…and this one’s a clear case in point. The legend of RD Burman continued to shine through a lot of cacophony around and sometimes it is tough to understand why and how he lost ground big-time in 1980s and 90s. Maybe, this was the reason Lata Mangeshkar claims that RD died (1994) ‘too young and unhappy’
Udit Narayan is at his vocal best in this Shiv-Hari album – they are none other than the santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma and renowned flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia! The track is so energetic, expressive, catchy and hummable that you’ll have ‘tu hai meri Kiran’ ringing in your ears and lips for some time. The use of guitar in the prelude and interludes – with a 2-octave play – is exemplary. Simplicity is the key for this number …in tune, Anand Bakshi’s words, instrumentation and vocals!
These 2 instrumentalists par excellence got together for a few film scores starting Silsila (1981) and ended with this one in 1993…mainly Yash Chopra films! Perhaps one of the reasons why one of the instruments – the guitar – is so prominent and effective in this number. Of the other tracks in the movie, I really like the Udit Narayan and Lata Mangeshkar sung Tu mere saamne (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-klQkGJEsIg)
This timeless classic comes from the Kalyanji-Anandji stable with the iconic and legendary Kishore Kumar’s baritone voice and vibrato adding a different dimension to it. His alaap in the prelude, stretching of a few words – re, jeena – combined with the keyboard, the saxophone, a violin ensemble and chorus in the interludes and makes this number even more endearing. Lyricist Anjaan personifies days and nights in the antra – tujh bin jogan meri raatien, tujh bin mere din banjaare! Very appealing number and extremely hummable
The opening line of this nostalgia-inducing number has been sung in 3 different tunes to start with. This is from the era when the multi-faceted Vishal Bhardwaj was just a music director and not a filmmaker yet…but his mentor – Gulzar – was. Double him up as a lyricist and you get lines like ‘Teri qamar ke bal pe nadi muda karti thi, hansi teri sun sun ke fasal pakaa karti thi’. This track does not follow the standard mukhda-antara pattern and the beauty lies in how seamlessly each antara enters the mukhda. Also has 4 top-class vocalists playing their roles with élan.
Film: Naaraaz (1994) Music: Anu Malik Lyrics: Qateel Shifai Singer: Kumar Sanu
There are some filmmakers who have a keen ear and are quite particular about music in their films – Mahesh Bhatt is one of them. This may not be the best score of those days but this track created quite a flutter! Bhatt’s favourite melody-maker of the 90s – Anu Malik – got the instrumentation just right with the opening piano riff, the santoor, the whistle, tabla, saxophone and little somethings that support the vocals and Qateel Shifai’s beautiful poetry. Kumar Sanu too pours his heart out. Very soulful and appealing number!
When you have words like these from Qateel Shifai, all you do is wonder if there can ever be a replacement to the great Pakistani shaayar …especially in this day and age. Sample this – nazar yun behakne lagi hai ke jaise mere saamne koi jaam aa raha hai or main samjha ki jaise meri dhadkanon ko teri dhadkanon ka payaam aa raha hai. This one’s also from the Anu Malik era of the 90s – after years of ‘struggle’, he had finally ‘arrived’ after the triple success of Baazigar, Sir and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee (all 1993). Still distinctly remember how his name was bigger than the Bhatts on the Naaraaz cassette cover. In this number, he borrows from the antara of his own Chura ke dil mera (Main Khiladi Tu Anari; 1994; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_qyLs1SJbQ) or the other way round – listen from 2:59 onwards in Chura ke (agar main bataa doon mere dil mein kya hai) and compare with 2:24 onwards in Sambhaala hai (banaaya hai maine tujhe apna saathi) and you’ll know what I am saying
It seemed as if even the die-hard RD Burman fans gave up on/deserted him in the late 1980s and early 90s. However, methinks he kept churning out decent scores – Gardish was one such album and this number was special. Primarily a sad one, this one is quite catchy has the typical ‘RD-beat’, has some great wordsmithing by Javed Akhtar – khwab sheeshe ke duniya pathar ki – and soul-stirring vocals from the inimitable SP Balasubrahmanyam.
Unfortunately for film music lovers, this was one of the last RD albums and he wasn’t near his best. However, he had an ace up his sleeve with his swan-song 1942: A Love Story which would go on to be a chartbuster and fetch him the multiple awards including Filmfare albeit posthumously. I liked another track from Gardish quite a lot – Yeh mera dil to paagal hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AjiKd07N5I)
Film: The Great Gambler (1979) Music: RD Burman Lyrics: Anand Bakshi Singer: Asha Bhosle, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharad Kumar
This number provides one of the reasons why people across generations love RD Burman! A little known Sharad Kumar starts soulfully rendering Italian verses and a hindi dialogue – between AB and Asha Bhosle (while Zeenat lip-syncs) – gets us into the beautiful ballad that has Asha Bhosle’s awesome rendition of Anand Bakshi’s romantic and philosophical words. The lag effect in the chorus ends this one on a high. I kept searching for the replay button and kept humming this after …and I think you’ll do the same!
Film: Rajnigandha (1974) Music: Salil Chowdhury Lyrics: Yogesh Gaur Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Such melodies are just too good to describe in words but I should just say that this one’s as sweet as honey and I like it so much that I’d want another helping! With such tunes, the accompanying instrumentation just doesn’t matter though it complements it well here. 2 of the 3 stars of this track are so underrated that you may not have heard their names – music composer Salil Chowdhury and lyricist Yogesh (both Kahin door jab dil dhal jaaye fame) – the 3rd one being the one and only Lata Mangeshkar
The mukhda of the number is based on one of the most popular and oft-used raags (Bhairavi) in hindi film songs. The other very popular number of this small-budget next-door-people film was the Mukesh-crooned Kai baar yun hi dekha hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPwbi-hfenI). That Salil Chowdhury was quite inspired by western classical music/symphonies is quite well known – Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen (Madhumati, 1958; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSU74fpWsfQ) and Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badhaa (Chhaya, 1961; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87CcAeWkeiw) being cases in point. However, he also seems to have inspired the new generation of tunesmiths – on closer listening (0:38 – 0:43), you’ll notice big-time similarity with the opening riff of Anand-Milind’s Ae mere humsafar (Qayamat se Qayamat tak, 1988; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzPmymwMDw4)
YRF! Rab ne banaa di Jodi? Close enough as we look at another similar period drama from them. Does the music live up to what Rab… had to boast of? Does it create enough interest in listeners to be able to push them to visit the theatres?
A period drama with a feel of the ‘90s? Old wine in a new…er old, bottle? Enter the never-say-die, interview-loving, egotistic, harmonium-and-attitude-accompanied, like-it-or-not-I-am-the-best tunesmith…your very own – Mr. Anu Malik! If you can’t love him, you can’t hate him either. Yes, he was the one who gave you moments and songs you could cherish – unbelievable melodies in Phir Teri Kahaani yaad aayee (1993), big commercial successes like Baazigar (1993 again) and albums with high critical acclaim like Border (1997) and Refujee (2000). There were a bunch of others that entertained and enthralled a generation! Not to mention the overworked man and also-ran so-called ‘melodies’ with numbers that sounded like their elder cousins. I was as surprised to see his name in the ‘Music’ credits as you are. He hasn’t been in the thick of things off late with being content in playing the judge on reality shows and cracking some weird shers and jokes that even his co-hosts didn’t want to hear! However, in Dum laga ke Haisha, he is back to what he is best at (no pun intended!) – composing music …with some inspiration (!) during most instances. Anu is accompanied by a couple of debutantes – Lyricist Varun Grover and director Sharat Katariya.
Let us see what the album has in store for music lovers…
Moh Moh ke dhaage (male version) is really fresh and a great start to the score. Hariharan-like sounding Papon adds a new dimension to the melodious number. Varun Grover makes a clear mark in the days of ludicrous lyrical escapades… and proves that clean, well made and romantic melodies can never go out of fashion. This will take you back to Anu’s older melodies that used few/minimalistic instruments vs. a cacophony of all of them together. The flute strains, the guitar riffs and the harmonium lend a lot of life to this semi-classical composition. Moh Moh is very hummable and you will keep finding the replay button for this one! On repeated hearing, you will notice slight similarities to Anu’s Panchhi nadiya pawan (Refujee, 2000) and Yaadien (Yaadien, 2001). Nevertheless, it’s great on your ears and you can’t resist turning to it every now and then.
My rating for the song: 8/10
Dum laga ke haisha opens with strikingly similarity to Ainvanyi Ainvanyi (Band Baaja Baaraat; 2010)…that’s about it. This one is not even a patch on the very popular Salim-Sulaiman composed number. The word-play will also remind you of Dum dum mast hai (Band Baaja Baaraat; 2010; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ZgPw79f5c). Kailash Kher and the Nooran sisters go through the motions and so will you. Nothing more to remember than a small part of the mukhda which is catchy. Varun’s words also disappoint. Give this track a miss…
My rating for the song: 4/10
Tu…croons Kumar Sanu (surprised?) who is also supposed to play a cameo in the film. The alaap and whistle-laced opening makes you believe you are listening to a trademark Anu Malik package of the ‘90s…and that’s where the excitement ends. The number too does not take too long to end but has a nice saxophone play.
My rating for the song: 6/10
Sundar Susheel is cacophonous at best and borrows heavily from Anu’s Pyaar hoga pyaar hoga someday (Imtihan; 1994) which also started with ‘Lovely haseen koi decent dhoondenge, not temporary permanent dhoondenge’ (you can listen it here online: http://www.saavn.com/p/playlist/ali_southhall945/Imtihan). Also proves how bearing Malik would have been on the wordsmith! Malini Awasthi and Rahul Ram, thoroughly wasted I think, do provide the much-needed raunchiness to the number.
You will almost thank your stars when you notice another Moh Moh ke dhaage (female version) in Monali Thakur’s voice! She does justice to the number and you wonder why you had to go through an ordeal to get to another ear-friendly number.
My rating for the song: 8/10
Prem’s theme is in the Moh moh ke league and Papon’s alaaps demonstrate why he is considered one of the better talents in the industry today! His voice coupled with the guitar-laced rhythm makes this a worthy hear too. Folks with attention to detail will find the theme similar to Yaadien title song (2001; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lH7DLOdTwc).
My rating for the song: 8/10
The score is decent but could have been much better. You would like to go back and re-play Moh Moh ke and you may not mind a couple of others along …but that’s about it!
Final verdict: DLKH should have been a ‘comeback’ of sorts for Anu. Given that, the score is a little bit disappointing …and there should have been no excuse assuming Malik does not have much to do anyway. Another issue is that it isn’t completely fresh and innovative (can’t expect that from Anu, can you?). Having said that, Anu, Papon and Varun do take you to a different world with Moh Moh ke. ‘Ho hum’ I say…or just a tad above that!
Songs to look out for: Moh Moh ke dhaage and Dard Karaara