Film: Darr (1993)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singer: Udit Narayan
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)
Film: Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978)
Singer: Kishore Kumar
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
Interestingly, Kishore Kumar wasn’t a classically-trained singer. However, he was extremely gifted when it came to voice quality and the feelings he used to convey when singing be it a fun number, a romantic one or a hopelessly sad one. Muqaddar Ka Sikandar was one of the best music albums of that year some great numbers like the title song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuQMjuvMugk), Pyaar zindagi hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7-8x64PxAA) and Salaam-e-ishq (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bfF5ABzeyw)
Film: Maachis (1996)
Music: Vishal Bhardwaj
Singer: KK, Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar, Vinod Sehgal
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.
Politically-sensitive cinema has always been understandably controversial and Maachis wasn’t different – the focus here was on youth in Punjab after the 1984 riots – ‘dil dard ka tukda hai, patthar ki dali si hai’ emotes the pain rather beautifully…ending with Suresh Wadkar’s rendition of ‘ik chhota sa lamha hai jo khatm nahi hota, main laakh jalaata hoon yeh bhasm nahi hota’. All other numbers from this movie were also loved by listeners – Chappa Chappa charkha chale (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwtWQxFMfxw), Paani paani re (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io8k1atUqRI), Tum gaye sab gaya (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZJwt-rNDrA), Yaad na aaye (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahm_62tEPBQ)
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
Film: Gardish (1993)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singer: SP Balasubrahmanyam
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!
One of RD’s strengths was his flexibility. On one hand, he could make you dance to his tunes and on the other make you cry with melodies like this one! Though this score wasn’t anywhere near RD’s best, this romantic number stands out and has been very popular over the years. This Venice-shot number has the desi Elvis Presley – Sharad Kumar (https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/01/08/markhams_bollywood_elvis_sharad_kumar.html; http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0474886/) – start off quite well. I also like the other popular track from this movie – Pehle Pehle Pyaar Ki Mulaqaatein (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odFBlamoNEk)