Thursday, 17 January 2019

Javed Akhtar - A journey from a Ghost Writer to Super Star Writer

Javed Akhtar was born on 17th Jan 1945, His father was a  famous poet and Lyricist but he had to struggle in his early days in Bombay. He came to Bombay On October 4,1964  Within six days of his arrival he had to leave his father's home. He had 27 paise in his pockets. He had no certainty of either food or shelter.
 He managed to write dialogue for a minor film for Rs100. Sometimes he gets some work as an assistant or otherwise but often even this work eludes him.
He used to write a few scenes for the producers as Ghost Writer, The credit went to the ScreenPlay writer of that film.For this, he was paid a meagre amount of Rs 100.
For a year he had been living in Kamaal Studio (present-day Natraj Studios). He slept wherever he fancy-sometimes in some verandah, sometimes in some corridor, sometimes under some tree. He also slept for few days at the Mahakali Caves (these ancient Buddhist Caves in crowded East Andheri near Kamalistan Studio were a part of a desolate landscape in those days where hemp smoking mendicants layabout).
For a few days he lived with a friend who was a gambler, he taught him the tricks of gambling. For a few days, the cards provided the means of survival. After some days a famous and successful writer called and offered him a job at Rs 600 per month. The work was to ghostwrite for him. There was a struggle of 5 years for him. At last in November 1969 he got some work which in film parlance is called a "break"..
 He got a job as an independent scriptwriter on Yakeen which flopped. Akhtar then joined with his friend Salim Khan to develop the story for Adhikar.After that both wrote for G P Sippy for Andaz, the film was hit and after that Rajesh Khanna asked them to write the screenplay of Haathi Mere Saathi.
Their first big success was the script for Andaz, followed by Adhikar (1971), Haathi Mere Saathi and Seeta Aur Geeta (1972). They also had hits with Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Zanjeer (1973), Haath Ki Safai (1974), Deewaar (1975), Sholay (1975), Chacha Bhatija (1977), Don (1978), Trishul (1978), Dostana (1980), Kranti (1981), Zamana (1985) and Mr. India (1987). They have worked together in 24 films including two Kannada films – Premada Kanike and Raja Nanna Raja. Of the 24 films they wrote, 20 were hits.
Javed is an Urdu poet before writing songs for films he was writing poetry.It was Yash Chopra who insisted him to write songs for his film Silsila(1981). After that he gave us many memorable songs He won 5 National Awards for his songs and also 5 Filmfare Awards for lyrics. In 2013, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, India's second highest literary honour, for his poetry collection Lava.
He was also nominated a Rajya Sabha MP.from Nov 2009 to Nov 2015.
He married to Honey Irani, with whom he had two children, Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, both film directors and actors. The father-and-son duo has worked together in films such as Dil Chahta HaiLakshyaRock On!! and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with Zoya. He divorced Irani and later married Shabana Azmi, the daughter of eminent Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi.
Some of his Popular Songs

Song of Silsila 1981

Song of Sagar 1985

Song of 1942: A Love Story 1994

Song of Tezaab 1988

Song of Refugee 2000

Song of Lagaan 2001

Song of Veer Zaara 2004

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

50 Years of Satyakam

Corruption and Honesty was the relevant subject 50 years ago. Unemployment, continual poverty and rampant corruption are severely undermining institutions all around. This subject is more relevant today but no film on this subject is being made today. Satyakam is a classic movie on this subject released in 1969. This film was produced by Dharmendra and directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, based on a Bengali novel of the same name by Narayan Sanyal. The film stars DharmendraSharmila TagoreSanjeev Kumar, and Ashok Kumar. The film was scored by Laxmikant Pyarelal.
This is considered to be Dharmendra's finest acting performance of his career. This film also won the National Film Award For Best Feature Film in Hindi. Today we may laugh at the sarcasm contained in Rajinder Singh Bedi's acrid dialogue in the film: "Yeh aadmi (about dharmendra) bahut hi badmaash aur paaji hai. Rishvat vagerah nahin khaata 

The film opens with Sanjeev Kumar's voiceover describing the plight of the mythical Satyakamjabala who takes on his mother's name because of his questionable fatherhood. While the drama begins in 1946, the narrative actually takes place in post-Independence India.
Satyapriya (Dharmendra)  is raised in an ashram by his grandfather, Satyadarshan Acharya (Ashok Kumar), a staunch nationalist and a Sanskrit scholar. He studies engineering gets a job in United Paper Mill in a princely state soon after Independence but is disillusioned when repeatedly asked to compromise his ideals.

While struggling between his principles and conscience he meets Ranjana (Sharmila Tagore), daughter of a prostitute, who is pregnant after a criminal assault. Satyapriya marries the hapless girl, and soon a son is born. This relationship was not acceptable to his graHe moved He  moved from one town to another, from one job to another because of his unwillingness to compromise his honesty. Destiny lands him a job where he has to work under Narendra's supervision. Narendra(Sanjeev Kumar) was his class fellow in engineering. Narendra's philosophy of life was that to succeed and survive one has to make adjustments.
Satyapriya and Ranjana also have their share of marital conflicts. She tries to lead a normal life and longs to forget her past. Satyapriya is constantly reminded of his failure and appears to make up for it by increasing rigidity about applying his principles in real life. 

Struggling professionally, he is struck by an incurable and fatal illness. In the end, hospitalised and unable to even speak, Satyapriya is pursued by an unscrupulous contractor seeking approval for a badly executed civil project, in lieu of which the contractor would give him a substantial sum that would take care of Satyapriya's wife Ranjana and their child after his death. One moment he thought of accepting the offer but Ranjana, his wife does not want to see him falter at the end stage of his life. She tears apart the documents and finds him smiling at her. Although unable to speak, Satyapriya is clearly happy that he was able to convert at least one person to his idealist worldview.
On learning of Satyapriya's condition, his grandfather "Daddaji" comes visiting him.After his passing, the grandfather makes some excuses about not feeling responsible for Satyapriya's widow and child, and is about to leave for his Gurukula. At that moment, Satyapriya and Ranjana's child (Sarika) publicly speaks out saying the real reason is that the grandfather is unsure of his, i.e. Satyapriya and Ranjana's child's paternity.
Sanjeev Kumar shows all signs of an actor on the rise. He plays the sutradhaar, whose voiceover carries the entire movie till the end. Ashok Kumar in a strong cameo heightens the drama and brings justice to the irony of the climax.

The film was one of the best films of Hrishikesh Mukharjee, the only drawback of the film was it's music. The film didn't do well on the Box Office.Like a torch bearer of truth in the darkness of the present age, Satyakam will live on as long as the validity of truth will exist.
Song of Satyakam 1969

Song of Satyakam 1969

Song of Satyakam 1969

Monday, 14 January 2019

Kaifi Azmi - A Multifaceted Personality

Kaifi Azmi was a poet, an activist, and a member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement. He was a screenwriter, dialogue writer and also acted the ailing patriarch in Saeed Akhtar Mirza’s Naseem (1995). So it’s difficult to contain the multifaceted man under one label. 
He had the unique distinction of penning Chetan Anand’s Heer Ranjha(1970) entirely in verse. 
He was the Doyen of Urdu Poetry. Together with Pirzada QasimJon Elia and others, he participated in the most memorable mushairas of the twentieth century.
He was born on 14th Jan 1919 in Azamgarh UP. At age eleven, Azmi wrote his first ghazal Itna To Zindagi Mein Kisi Ki Khalal Pade and somehow managed to get himself invited to a mushaira and over there, he recited a ghazal, rather a couplet of the ghazal which was very much appreciated. He abandoned his studies of Persian and Urdu during the Quit India agitations in 1942 and shortly thereafter became a full-time Marxist when he accepted membership of the Communist Party of India in 1943. During this period, the leading progressive writers of Lucknow noticed him. They were very impressed by his leadership qualities.  His association with the Progressive Writers' Movement and Communist Party made him embark on the path of socially conscious poetry. In his poetry, he highlights the exploitation of the subaltern masses and through them, he conveys a message of the creation of a just social order by dismantling the existing one. Yet, his poetry cannot be called plain propaganda. It has its own merits; the intensity of emotions, in particular, and the spirit of sympathy and compassion towards the disadvantaged section of society are the hallmark of his poetry. His poems are also notable for their rich imagery and in this respect, his contribution to Urdu poetry can hardly be overstated.[4] Azmi's first collection of poems, Jhankar was published in 1943. His important works including anthologies of poetry, were Aakhir-e-ShabSarmayaAwaara SajdeKaifiyaatNai Gulistan, an anthology of articles he wrote for Urdu BlitzMeri Awaaz Suno, a selection of his film lyrics, and the script of Heer Ranjha in Devanagari
At the age of twenty-four, he started activities in the textile mill areas of Kanpur. He spread his area of work, He was asked to shift his base to Bombay, work amongst the workers and start party work with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm and at the same time would attend mushairas in different parts of India. In Bombay, he joined Ali Sardar Jafri in writing for the party's paper, Qaumi Jung. 
He wrote his first lyrics for the film Buzdil, directed by Shaheed Latif and music by SD Burman, released in 1951. His early work as a writer was mainly for Nanubhai Vakil's films like Yahudi Ki Beti (1956), Parvin (1957), Miss Punjab Mail (1958) and Id Ka Chand (1958). 
His greatest feat as a writer was Chetan Anand's Heer Raanjha (1970) wherein the entire dialogue of the film was in verse. It was a tremendous achievement and one of the greatest feats of Hindi film writing. Azmi also won great critical accolades for the script, dialogues and lyrics of M.S. Sathyu's Garam Hawa (1973), based on a story by Ismat Chughtai. Azmi also wrote the dialogues for Shyam Benegal's Manthan (1976) and Sathyu's Kanneshwara Rama (1977). As a lyricist and songwriter, though he wrote for numerous films, he will always be remembered for Guru Dutt's Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959) and Chetan Anand's Haqeeqat (1964)
Some notables films for which he wrote lyrics include Kohra (1964), Anupama (1966), Uski Kahani (1966), Saat Hindustani (1969), Shola Aur ShabnamParwana (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Pakeezah (1972), Hanste Zakhm (1973), Arth (1982) and Razia Sultan (1983). For Naunihal (1967), he wrote the song "Meri Aawaz Suno Pyar ka Raaz Suno" (Hear my voice, hear the secret of love) sung by Mohammad Rafi. The song is picturised over the funeral procession of Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru.
He died on 10 May 2002 at around the age of eighty three. He was survived by his wife, daughter and son. His autobiography is included in a collection of his works, Aaj Ke Prashid Shayar: Kaifi Azmi.

He was the recipient of Padma Shri,

Sahitya Akademi Award

Song of Kaagaz Ke Phool 1959

Song of Shola Aur Shabnam 1961

Song of Shola Aur Shabnam 1961

Song of Haqeeqat 1964

Song of Anupama 1966

Song of Naunihal 1967

Song of Heer Ranjha 1970

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Raga based Bollywood Songs- Raga Pahadi Part-1

I must appreciate the Musicologist and bureaucrat KL Pande who compiled 14000 Raga based Hindi film songs in a book in 7 volumes. The most interesting thing he noticed that The use of ragas in Indian cinema kept changing with films and composers. “In the ’30s and ’40s, there was extensive use of Raag Kafi and Khamaj as these correspond to serious moods of mythological films. You won’t see a lot of sweet-sounding ragas such as Bhairavi and Pahadi. They appeared in the ’50s and ’60s with the advent of composers like Shankar-Jaikishan and Lakshmikant-Pyarelal,
In this blog I have selected a few songs based on Raga Pahari. This Raga is the most popular Raga used in Hindi film songs.
Song of Anmol Ghadi 1946

Song of Dulari 1949

Song of Baazi 1950

Song of   Albela 1951

Song of  Udan Khatola 1955

Song of Chaudavin Ka Chand 1960

Song of Aarti 1962

Song of Shola Aur Shabnam 1961

Song of TajMahal1963

Song of Dosti 1964

Song of  Kashmir Ki Kali 1964

Song of Waqt 1965

Song of Mamta 1966

Song of Aradhana 1969

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Shayar 1949 film Review

Shayar is a 1949 film. It is a triangle love story between Dev Anand, Suriya and Kamini Kaushal. In the same year, another triangle love story film Andaz was released but the difference was the triangle was between two heroes and a heroine.
The film was written & directed by M S Chawla and produced under the banner of Jagat Pictures. Dev Anand plays a poet who is caught between his childhood sweetheart and a girl from the city who sings his poems on the radio. spends an inordinate amount of time with light comedy in-between by Agha, contrived even by the standards of missed identity farce. would probably rate this higher, just in light of the charming cast and very good music. There are 10 songs in this film, all composed by Ghulam Mohammad and written by Shakeel Badyuni.

 There is a duet sung by Mukesh for Dev Anand.and Lata for Kamini Kaushal

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Mahendra Kapoor - The Most Popular Voice of Patriotism

Mahendra Kapoor's voice has always been associated with Manoj Kumar. His many songs filmed on Manoj Kumar, most of them are patriotic. He won a National Award in 1968 for the patriotic song Mere Desh Ki Dharti in the film Upkaar, the topmost playing song in All India Radio.
He was one of the golden era singers when Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey was ruling the main platform of playback singers of the Bollywood. He remained as one of the most popular singer in the Bollywood who has given his voice to almost all of the popular heroes like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Shashi Kapoor, Biswajeet, Raj Kumar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bahchcan, Manoj Kumar, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha and many more. 
He was born in Amritsar, on 9th Jan 1934. He was a fan of Mohammad Rafi and created a style of his own moulded largely on Rafi, and won the Metro Murphy All-India singing competition, which led to his debut as a playback singer in V. Shantaram's Navrang in 1958, singing Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi, under the musical direction of C. Ramchandra.
In a career spanning five decades, he sang more than 25,000 songs in various regional languages, including memorable hits like ‘Chalo ek baar chalo’ (Gumrah), ‘Neele gagan ke taale’ (Hamraaz), and in various language.
He got 3 filmfare awards and one National Award as best singer, he was also awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India
He had three daughters and also one son. His son Rohan Kapoor is an actor and singer, who acted in a few films in the 1980s such as Yash Chopra's Faasle (1985) and Love 86(1986), and Prakash Mehra's Imandaar, and later did stage shows together with his father. He died on 27th September 2008,  following a cardiac failure at his home in Mumbai, aged 74. 
Song of Upkar 1966

Song of Purab Aur Paschim 1970

Song of  Navrang 1959

Song of Shaheed 1965

Song of Watan Ke Rakhwale

Song of Purab Aur Paschim 1970

Song of Rajput 1982

Monday, 7 January 2019

The Lengthiest Songs of Hindi Cinema

Generally, a Hindi film song is of 3 to 4-minute duration but there are many songs which are more than 6-7 minutes long. The title song in the movie 'Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon' (by the same name) is one of the longest Hindi film songs. The song is around 15 minutes and is shown in a couple of instalments (sung by various singers) in the film.
The most obvious category where most of the songs are typically long is the qawwaliProbably the most famous, and my most favourite, qawwali of all time is the one from Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) - the mother of all filmi qawwalis. Running for more than 12 minutes, the words, the music and the singing all come together brilliantly. Another Qawwalli, Humein to loot liya mil ke husn waalon ne from the film Al Hilal (1958) was of 11 minutes.
Song of   Al Hilal (1958)

Song of  Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) 

Beside Qawwali there are many genres where long songs were created.  There have been several instances in Hindi films where a number of songs that appear separately in the audio releases, are filmed as a single unit i.e as a medley of multiple songs. In some cases, such a medley is used to show the simultaneous state of mind of different characters. Nasir Hussain the famous producer-director of the Golden Era who had this fascination of Medleys to show competition between various characters. Remember the songs of Yadon Ki Baarat, Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin etc.
Song of Yadon Ki Baarat 1973

Song of  Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin 1977

Apart from medleys, single long songs have also been used in films to narrate a story. One the longest songs ever filmed in Hindi films is from Rani Aur Lal Pari (1975). The sequence tells the story of Cinderella in the form of a song running for more than 20 minutes. More often than not, such songs are only meant for watching and have virtually no audio-only appeal.

Song of  Rani Aur Lal Pari (1975)

Many films feature really long songs with the primary aim of showcasing the dancing prowess of the lead characters. Such songs typically have long instrumental passages. Here is one song from Raj Tilak (1958) where two exceptional dancers are pitted against each other as a sort of competition.

Song of  Raj Tilak (1958)

Similarly, multilingual songs are often used in films to depict national integration and many times, such songs end up being quite long. Like, for example, this song from Pyar Ki Pyaas(1961)…and also from Teen Batti Chaar Rasta (1953) where family members from various regions of India sing praises of their respective regions through a medley of songlets in different languages.
Song of  Pyar Ki Pyaas(1961)

Song of Teen Batti Chaar Rasta (1953) 

Song of Bawarchi 1972

Recently in Half Girlfriend a long song was picturised Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga sung by Arijit Singh and Shradha Kapoor. Here I am posting a few songs which are over 8 minutes long.

Song of Guide 1965

Song of Maine Pyaar Kiya 1989

Song of  Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994)

Song of Border 1997

Song of Hum Saath Saath Hain 1999

Song of Mohabbatein 2000

Song of  Mujhse Dosti Karoge 2002

Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon

Song of L O C Kargil 2003

Song of  Shaandaar 2015