Thursday, 31 January 2019

Suraiya - A Great Singing Star of the 1940s

 She was the heart-throb of the nation in the 40s and early 50s. In a career spanning over 20 years, Suraiya acted in about 65 films and sang close to 350 songs. She lived like a star all her life. She did not turn to playback singing past her prime age nor she switched to character roles. Her beauty coupled with melodious voice captivated the hearts of generations of movie and music lovers.
There was a time when traffic jams at Marine Drive (Mumbai) were caused not due to a long line of cars, but because of a young charismatic actress - Suraiya.
During the mid-forties, the two faces which dominated the film world with their music were Suraiya and Noor Jehan. 
Noorjehan left India after Partition so she became the Top Leading Singing Star of Bollywood.

She was born on 15 June 1929. She was the only child of her parents. She received basic training in music when her mother used to take her to a Hindustani music teacher or 'Masterji' for training. She first sang for a children's program for All India Radio in 1937. Later on, Naushad gave her on the job 'training', while recording. She went on to become one of the most successful singing film stars of Bollywood.  
She made her debut as a child artist in Madam Fashion in 1936 as Miss Suraiya, along with Nargis as Baby Rani. The film was directed by Jaddan Bai, mother of Nargis, with Jaddan Bai herself as heroin

,Her first song as a child-singer was "Boot karun main polish babu" (as a playback singer) in the film Nai Duniya (1942), composed by Naushad. Suraiya sang as a child playback singer for actress Mehtab in Sharda (1942), Kanoon (1943) and Sanjog (1943), with Naushad as the music director. 
As a child artist, she acted and also sang in Tamanna (1942), Station Master (1942), and Hamari Baat (1943). As an adult, Suraiya initially played as a heroine in K. Asif's Phool as Shama, with Prithviraj Kapoor as hero,and as a co-star in Mehboob Khan's Anmol Ghadi (1946), (which was written by Aghajani Kashmeri, also known as Kashmiri) and Dard (1947).
She acted as a heroine in the film Tadbir (1945) on the recommendation of K. L. Saigal, who liked her voice during a rehearsal of a song for Jayant Desai's film Samrat Chandragupt (1945) in which she was acting. He recommended her to Desai, opposite himself in Tadbir (1945). She went on to co-star with K. L. Saigal in Omar Khayyam (1946) and Parwana (1947 film). Suraiya appeared in scores of films, including at least 25 between 1946 and 1950, and at her peak was one of Bollywood’s highest-paid stars. She worked only a few films after 1952 and retired in 1963 at the age of 34.

 Her swan song is supposed to be “Yeh kaisi ajab dastaan ho gayi hai” composed by Sajjad Husain for the film Rustom Sohrab (1963).
 Rustom Sohrab (1963) was her last film.

The film Anmol Ghadi was a major milestone in Suraiya’s career as she got to work with another mega singing star Noor Jehan in this film.The film was musical hit and still remembered for its music by Naushad.She played the second lead and had three solos to her credit.All the three songs became popular,the two songs Main dil mein and Mann leta hain angdaai are happy songs and the third song"Sochaa thaa kya, kyaa ho gayaa" was a sad song.

She played the leading role with almost every famous star of her time and also sang with the leading playback singers like Mohammad Rafi, Talat Mehmood and Mukesh
After her mother's death in 1987, Suraiya started feeling lonely in her rented apartment (owned by Aswin Shah) in Krishna Mahal, Marine Drive in Mumbai, where she lived from the early 1940s until her death in 2004 at the age of 74.

The first recorded song of Manna De and Child Suraiya
Song from Tamanna (1942)

Song from Tadbir (1945)

Song from Anmol Ghadi 1946

Song from Anmol Ghadi 1946

Song from Dard 1947

Song from Pyar Ki Jeet 1948

Song from Vidya 1948

Song from Dillagi 1949

Song from Mirza Ghalib (1954)

Song from Waris 1954

Song from Rustom Sohrab (1963).

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Second Look - Cha Cha Cha 1964

There are films which are Popular, commercially successful, some are critically acclaimed but not successful at the Box office. Many of such films are forgotten.; In this Blog, I wish to refresh your memory by bringing back these films. This would also help the new generation who are not familiar with these films
This film was written, produced, directed and acted by Chandrashekhar. The film was a Box office success. The film has Helen as its Heroine for the first time and the last time. The highlight of the film is its music by Iqbal Qureshi. This was also the first film of the Poet, lyricist Neeraj.

Two memorable songs are written by Neeraj. Sung by Rafi "Woh Hum Na The, Woh Tum Na The"and "Subah Na Aayi, Sham Na Aayi". Another outstanding song is "Ek Chameli Ke Mandve Tale"

This is a story of a girl Lali played by Helen who returns from abroad. She adjusts to life in India along with her devout Hindu mother, Laxmi; an easy-going father, Dinanath; two sisters, Kalpana and Geeta, and spends most of her time dancing along with her sisters and friends. On her way to the Mandir, she assumes a singer, Puranchand, is teasing her and she slaps him but ends up apologizing when she is told that he is blind. Guilt-ridden, she makes arrangements for him to be taken to Bombay, has his vision restored, and both fall in love with each other. Dinanath takes a liking to Puranchand and not only gets him a job but also wants him to wed Lali. About to inform his parents, Puranchand does not know that Dinanath has actually instructed Lali not to see him anymore as he is a Harijan (Lower-Caste).

The unique thing in this film a twenty minute non-stop songless sequences of dance like Twist, waltz, foxtrot and Cha Cha Cha 
Song of Cha Cha Cha 1964

Song of Cha Cha Cha 1964

Song of Cha Cha Cha 1964

Dance Competition of Cha Cha Cha 1964

Song of Cha Cha Cha 1964

Monday, 28 January 2019

O P Nayyar-Jaadu Nagagri Se Aaya Yeh Jadugar

O. P. Nayyar (16 January 1926 – 28 January 2007  ) started his career as a movie music composer by composing the background score for the movies, Kaneez (1949) and Aasmaan (1952). He became famous with the music of Aar Paar released in 1954 and CID released in 1956. All the songs of CID were super hit especially "Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar" and "Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahaan"
O P Nayyar was a genius and multitalented. He was not only a great Composer but also singer-songwriter, music producer, and musician. He wrote, "Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawaanonkaa" (featuring Dilip Kumar and Ajit) for Naya Daur (1957). 
 He won the 1958 Filmfare Award for Best Music Director(for Naya Da ur). Nayyar worked extensively with singers Geeta DuttAsha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi later Mahendra Kapoor gave us many memorable songs.

OP Nayyar was among the Top 5 Composers of the Golden Era. Some of the great films were Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), Howrah Bridge (1958), Jaali Note (1960), Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Mere Sanam (1965), Baharen Phir Bhi Aayegi (1966), Kismat (1968) and Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1973)
His songs had a unique freshness, a rare robust beat, a flowing style similar to what you feel when you dip your hand in a running stream, blending Punjabi folk music with a rare Western-style orchestration, never heard before or since. His variety of rhythm patterns baffles the film industry, even today.
Song of Aar Paar 1954

Song of Mr. & Mrs. '55 (1955)

Song of C I D(1956)

Song of Naya Daur (1957)

Song of Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957)

Song of Howrah Bridge (1958)

Song of Jaali Note (1960)

Song of Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Song of Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)

Song of Mere Sanam (1965)

Saturday, 26 January 2019

The Patriotic Songs Before Independence

Patriotism has always been an important theme in Hindi films. There were many films and songs which were banned or censored during British rule. It was this censor board that had forced V. Shantaram to change the name of his 1935 film from “Mahatma” to “Dharmatma”.  After Independence, many Films and songs were created in this theme. I talk about 10 songs that made exhortations for a free India before 1947.
The first song in my list is the song Chal Chal Re Naujawan from the film Bandhan released in 1940. It was in 1939 that the film studio Bombay Talkies hired a young and energetic Hindi poet, Pradeep, to pen lyrics of the songs. “Bandhan”,  
Song of Bandhan 1940

The next song in this list, sung by Ashok Kumar and Renuka Devi, is by a poet who would go on to be called Rashtrakavi – Kavi Pradeep for the film Naya Sansar in 1941
Song of Naya Sansar 1941

 In 1941, Sohrab Modi’s ‘Sikandar’ hit the screens. Pandit Sudarshan penned the lyrics for the movie while Mir Sahab and Rafiq Ghaznavi composed the music. The soundtrack has a song “Jeete desh humara, Bharat hai ghar baar humara, Bharat hai sansar humara” 

Song of Sikandar  1941

Kavi Pradeep wrote this song for the film Kismet during the Quit India movement. “Door Hato” was quite literally a demand for the British to quit India. To avoid objections by the censor board, Pradeep used the line “Tum Na Kise Ke Aage Jhukna German Ho Ya Japani” to make it appear that the song was against the Axis powers of World War II. 

Song of Kismet 1943

Here is one such pre-independence patriotic song. This song is from “Koshish”(1943). This obscure movie was directed by Rafiq Rizvi for Deen Pictures, Bombay. This song is sung by G M Durrani. Bashir Dehalwi is the music director. Lyricist of this song is not known.

Song of Koshish 1943

This song is from the film  Pehle Aap released in 1944. This was the first song of Mohammad Rafi.written by D N Madhok composed by Naushad.

Song of  Pehle Aap 1944

Now you would be surprised to find our National Anthem Jana Gana Man which was used before independence in a film called Hamrahi released in 1945. The song was recorded by the film’s music director R.C. Boral and rendered by a choir. While the original Rabindranath Tagore hymn had five stanzas, the first of which became the national anthem, the film recorded only four stanzas.

Song of Hamrahi 1945

This song is from the film Humjoli released in 1946. The song was Composed by Hafeez Khan and written by Anjum Pilibhiti, the song is sung by Noor Jehan,

Song of Humjoli 1946

This song was written for the film Paro during the turmoil of Independence of India. By early 1947, it was clear that India would be divided and a new nation, based on religion, would be carved out by bifurcating United India. The name Pakistan was also known to everyone. This film was released in 1947

It was Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay who wrote the lyrics for the powerful “Vande Maataram”. It was Sanyasi Rebellion (1763-1800) that inspired Bankim to write the historical novel ‘Ananda Matth’.This song is from film ‘Andolan’. It is not a film song actually, but our National Song, suitably woven into the film story. “Vande Mataram” could have been our National Anthem, but things were manoeuvred in such a way that it did not get that place of honour. Let us see a brief history of Vande Mataram through the years.

Song of Aandolan 1951

Friday, 25 January 2019

The musical Journey of Kavita Krishnamurthy

Kavita Krishnamurthy was born in a Tamil Iyer family in New Delhi, India to T.S. Krishnamurthy, an employee of the Education Ministry. She began her music training at the insistence of her aunt, Protima Bhattacharya who enrolled her with Suruma Basu, who taught her Rabindra Sangeet. She began her formal training in Hindustani classical music under Balram Puri, a classical singer. At the young age of eight, Kavita won a gold medal at a music competition. She won many medals participating in the Inter-Ministry Classical Competition in New Delhi in the mid-1960s
Jaya Chakravarty, Hema Malini’s mother, suggested Kavita that she sing for Bollywood and try her luck in filmdom. Though her father was apprehensive initially, yet later Kavita managed to assure him that she would complete her college education first.
She took admission in St. Xaviers’ College, Mumbai. Here she came across Ranu Mukherjee, a singer and the late composer-singer Hemant Kumar’s daughter, who was her classmate. She introduced Kavita to her father. Kavita’s first recording was a Bengali film duet with Lata Mangeshkar in 1971. Hemant Kumar was impressed by her performance and gave her a chance to perform on stage with him. Later she sang with Manna De. She was widely noticed in the TV music show — Aarohi, with Manna De and got chances to do jingles. 
After the TV show, Hema Malini's mother took the initiative of introducing Kavita to the music director Laxmikant (one of the composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal) in late 1976. Kavita impressed Laxmikant with her extremely strong grasp of Hindustani classical music. Laxmikant gave her an opportunity to work as a dubbing artist.
In 1978, she first sang the Kannada song "Ondanondu kaaladaga" in the film Ondanondu Kaladalli directed by Girish Karnad. This song became a hit and earned fame for Kavita Krishnamurthy. Then she went on to sing many Kannada songs.
She got her solo break in 1980 film Maang Bharo Sajana composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. In 1985, her career took off with her first major hit, "Tumse Milkar Na Jaane Kyon" from the Hindi film Pyaar Jhukta Nahin (1985) - Tumse milkar.Na Jaane kyun Post the success of the song, it opened up opportunities beyond the Laxmikant–Pyarelal camp. However, "Hawa Hawaii" and "Karte Hain Hum Pyaar Mr. India Se", two popular songs from the equally popular movie Mr. India (1986) - Karte Hain Hum pyaar Mr. India se, roved to be a turning point in her career. (The songs were composed by music composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the latter being a duet with Kishore Kumar and lip-synced on screen by actress Sridevi.) Her collaboration with Laxmikant-Pyarelal produced several hits.
The 1990s thrust Kavita into being known as one of the leading female playback singers. In 1994 released 1942 A Love Story which won her much popular acclaim.She went on to work with several music directors of Hindi films of the 1990s, such as Bappi LahiriAnand-MilindA. R. RahmanRajesh RoshanRaamlaxmanIsmail DarbarHimesh ReshammiyaAadesh ShrivastavaNadeem-ShravanJatin LalitViju Shah and Anu Malik. Her work with A. R. Rahman and Ismail Darbar remains some of the most critically acclaimed renditions of the last two decades. During her stint as a playback singer, she sang duets with the leading male singers of her times. Early in her career, she sang duets with Kishore KumarMohammed Rafi, and Shailendra Singh. Her most prolific work was with the leading singers of the 1990s: Amit Kumar,Mohammad AzizUdit NarayanKumar Sanu, and Abhijeet Bhattacharya. She has also sung extensively with younger singers in the 2000s such as Sonu NigamShaan, and Babul Supriyo. Her female duets mostly have been with Alka YagnikAnuradha Paudwal and Sadhana Sargam.
She married  to violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam in Bangalore on 11 November 1999, Kavita got extremely selective and cut down on her film singing. She started expanding her artistic range to areas which were never explored. She was the main featured soloist in the Global Fusion album released by Warner Bros. featuring musicians from five continents.
She also lent her voice for many pop and devotional albums. The most prominent ones being: Pop Time
Together Tagore, Athens etc.
Kavita Subramaniam has been making appearances in various music reality shows as a guest judge owing to her popularity as a playback singer.
Song of Teri Meherbaniyan 1985

Song of Pyar Jhukta Nahin 1986

Song of Mr India 1987

Song of Chaalbaaz 1989

Song of Ram Lakhan 1989

Song of Hum 1991

Song of 1942 A Love Story

Song of Khuda Gawah 1992

Song of Yaarana 1996

Song of Khamoshi: The Musical 1997

Song of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam 1999

Song of Kya Kehna 2000

Song of Devdas 2002

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Teen Deviyan - A Film way ahead of its time.

Teen Deviyan was released in 1965. That was the era when ideal Hindi film heroes were largely variants of epic heroes Ram and Yudhishtir but here Dev Anand romancing with three heroines. The movie panders to the male ego as the three attractive women throwing themselves at Dev while he gently keeps stepping aside. The women want him but they were also willing to move on if it doesn't work.
Teen Devian starts off to a commentary by Ameen Sayani, as the camera moves through Calcutta's streets, the pretty Nanda (Nanda) finds herself, as she sees it, being followed. She even sees this man following her to the house where she visits. At this point, Nanda loses her temper and yells at Dev, threatening to call the police. The house owner clears the misunderstanding. After some time they fell in love.

Dev  Anand plays Dev Dutt who is a salesman in a music store in Calcutta. He also writes poems. One day he comes across a celebrated actress Kalpana (Kalpana) to whom he proves in their first confrontation that he is not overwhelmed by glamorous women and does not allow them to dominate him. In the course of a series of meetings, Kalpana also starts liking Dev.

The third Devi(heroine) comes to his life in the form of Radha Rani (Simmi), a socialite who is intelligent and an ardent music lover. Torn between his three beloveds, Dev has a tormented life which is a mixture of uncertainties, pathos and restlessness. He ultimately opts for the simple middle-class Nanda in whom he finds his real love and life partner.
Dev Anand as Dev Dutt is confident, smart and looks divine in his urban costumes many of which became trendsetters of that period. 

The highlight of the film is its music. The lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri tuned to immortality by S.D. Burman. All the six songs, “Aise To Na Dekho”, “Likha Hai Teri”, “Are Yaar Meri”, “Khwab Ho Ya”, “Kaye Be Khayal Hoke” and “Kitni Sardi” rendered by Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle are super hits, well conceived and picturised. All the songs are listened and watched even now and create the same euphoria as at the time of its release. 

Teen Deviyan despite of great music and Dev Anand is at his peak was an average earner in Box Office. The reason being, it was given A certificate and was in Black & White, that time colour films were attraction The film was released on 1st Jan 1965

Song of Teen Deviyan 1965

Song of Teen Deviyan 1965

Song of Teen Deviyan 1965

Song of Teen Deviyan 1965

Song of Teen Deviyan 1965

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Ramesh Sippy - Always wanted to do Big

Ramesh Sippy, the director of Sholay is the son of the great producer and filmmaker G P Sippy. His head was full of ideas. He desperately wanted to do something different.He was 6 years old when he visited the sets of the film Sazaa, his father's first film, Since then his fascination for cinema begun.
He worked in both the production and direction departments in films like Johar-Mehmood in Goa and Mere Sanam, which his father was producing. He worked for 7 years as an assistant before becoming the director of Andaz, in 1971 which starred Shammi KapoorHema Malini and Rajesh Khanna in lead roles and was a box office success.

 His second film Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), featuring Hema Malini playing dual roles was highly successful and propelled Malini to superstardom. However, it was his 1975 blockbuster film, Sholay's blockbuster success which catapulted him to one of the most successful directors in Indian cinema.

After the Sholay, Ramesh went on to Direct "Shaan" in 1980 and this time also Film was with stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sunil Datt, Shatrughan Sinha, Bindya Goswami and Parveen Bobi but like the Sholay's Gabbar Singh highlight of the Film was the "Shakal" a villain role played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda. "Shaan" proved a milestone film for Mazhar Khan for his role of "Abdul" in the film but this film has also established Ramesh Sippy as the Director of Star.

His next film was Shakti in 1982, he brought two most popular stars and actors in his Film, the veteran actor Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. The film was moderately successful at the box office. After that, he went on to bring back the teenage silver screen romance of Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia [Debut Film Bobby] in the Film "Sagar" released in 1985 and looked at the comeback Film of Dimple.
The filmmaker is also responsible for giving Indian television one of its all-time classics in the form of Buniyaad (1986). Made roughly a decade after Sholay, it was a TV series that revolved around the Partition of India in 1947 and its consequences.