Thursday, 27 June 2019

R D Burman and Asha Bhonsle - A Jodi that Gave Us Memorable and Melodious songs

Though they both were completely different from each other, came from different backgrounds, and had a considerable age gap, these two legends of the Bollywood music industry, fell in love, in the course of creating memorable and melodious songs for us.

Music brought them closer,her voice and his music were just made for each other. They created foot tapping, heart pounding, and even endearing melodies together, which stay in our hearts even now, so many years after their releases.
Asha Bhosle first met RD Burman in 1956, she was an experienced playback singer, and R D Burman the teenage son of a legendary composer. Ten years later, they would collaborate on their first film, Teesri Manzil. From this film started a creative and romantic partnership that revolutionised Hindi Film Music. 
After Teesri Manzil both sang together a song in 1970 film The Train,Meri Jaan Maine Kaha which became hit.Asha Bhosle and R D Burman created nostalgia from Dum Maro Dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna.The same year released Caravan,it's song Piya Tu Ab To Aaja became a cult song of this Jodi.
Asha and R.D. tied the knot in the year 1980, and it was much evident, that these two lost souls had finally found the notes to complete their unfinished song of love. Their varying tastes, the criticism of people due to Asha being 6 years elder, nothing mattered to them. The only thing that mattered was their unending love for each other that lasted till the last breath of Pancham Da. 
Song of Teesri Manzil 1966

Song of Teesri Manzil 

Song of The Train 1970

Song of Hare Rama Hare Krishna 1971

Song of Apna Desh 1971

Song of Caravan 1971

Song of Jawani Diwani 1973

Song of Sholay 1975

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Madan Mohan'- Wohi Bhooli Dastan Phir Yaad Aa Gayi

The man, who was acknowledged as a genius by people who understood and appreciated music, was never at the top rung in the hit parades or with the big banners or the big stars.He had very few Hit Films but His Music was always Hit.
He had no set method of conjuring a tune. New tunes floated into his head at the most unexpected moments - while going up a lift, driving his car, or sometimes while leaning over the balcony of his Pedder Road flat to watch the traffic below.
The famous "Madan Mohan style" was established in the true sense with Adalat (1958) when he composed some outstainding melodies - Jaanaa Tha Hamse DoorYoon Hasaraton Ke DaaghUnko Ye shikaayat HaiJaa Ja Re Jaa SaajanaaZameen Se Hamein Aasmaan Par... so many great melodies in one movie. This was the movie which made Madan Mohan the uncrowned king of ghazals. After this, he composed many ghazals and with each composition, he attained great heights of popularity and fame. A situation came when every producer wanted him to compose at least one ghazal for his film.
In Madan Mohan's initial period, the trend of film making was for heroine-oriented subjects which gave him ample scope to improvise upon his talent. Some even called him a "ladies composer". Moreover, he had composed comparatively more catchy tunes for female singers than male. After 1960, hero-oriented films became the trend. But during this period also fortunately the subjects which came by Madan Mohan's way had more scope for female songs than male songs. 
The year, 1964 witnessed eight releases in a row having Madan Mohan's compositions, including Aap Ki Parchhaiyan (a love story), Ghazal (a musical), Haqeeqat (war film), Jahanara (costume drama), Pooja Ke Phool (family drama), Suhagan (social theme) and Woh Kaun Thi?(mystery). Madan Mohan handled each subject gracefully and came out with many all-time hits for these films. 
The following years saw the release of Rishte Nate (1965), Dulhan Ek Raat Ki (1966), Mera Saaya (1966) and Naunihal (1967) full of typical Madan Mohan melodies. 
In the year 1970, Madan Mohan's film Dastak was released. It was like a musical art movie giving full scope to the composer to showcase his talent. The songs Baiyaan Naa DharoMai Ri Main Kaase Kahoon and Ham Hain Mataay-e-Kuchao fetched him the National Award for best music direction for that year.
Dastak was followed by Heer Ranjha, a totally unique experiment nobody dared the way Chetan Anand handled it. Lyricist Kaifi Azmi wrote the dialogues and lyrics of the film. he composed romantic songs like Milo Na Tum To Hum Ghabaraye and Meri Duniyaa Mein Tum Aayiand on the other hand, soulful songs like Do Dil TooteDoli Chadhale Hee (traditional Heer moulded in his own style) and Yeh Duniyaa Yeh MehfilThe song Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil from the film is a unique composition of the maestro.
During his last days, he was offered Mausam (1975) and Laila Majnu (1976).Laila Majnuwas a traditional love story for which Madan Mohan composed a very beautiful number Husn Haazir Hai Mohabbat Kee Sazaaa Paane Kosung by Lata Mangeshkar. Mausam was a very soft romantic subject and was handled with equal softness by Gulzar. Madan Mohan understood the mood of the film composed songs like Dil Dhondtaa Hai (in happy and sad version) and Ruke Ruke Se Qadam, which really helped the film to convey its theme effectively. 
The King of Melodies, who was at the peak of his popularity, died at the age of 51. He died on 14th July 1975 
Song of Bhai Bhai 1956

Song of Pocketmar 1956

Song of Chhote Babu (1957)

Song of Dekh Kabira Roya (1957

Song of Sanjog 1960

Song of Anpadh 1962

Song of Anpadh Aap Ki 1964

Song of Woh Kaun Thi 1964

Song of Gazal 1964

Song of Sharabi 1964

Song of  Haqeeqat (1964) 

Song of Mera Saaya 1966

Song of Naunihal (1967)

Song of Dastak 1970

Song of Heer Ranjha 1970

Song of Heer Ranjha 1970

Song of Dastak 1970

Song of Laila Majnu 1976

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Amrish Puri - The Mogambo of Bollywood

Amrish Puri (22 June 1932 – 12 January 2005) best known for his roles in Bollywood. His most memorable character is that of megalomaniac terrorist leader Mogambo in Shekhar Kapur's science fiction film Mr. IndiaThe phrase " Mogambo Khush Hua"became very popular and remains one of the most famous dialogues till date in the industry.His dominating screen presence and baritone voice made him stand out amongst the other villains of the day. He became a popular villian of Bollywood
He also portrayed several positive characters, including his famous role as Baldev Singh in the Indian blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), a kind-hearted American businessman in Pardes (1997) and a genial grandfather in the film Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001).
Very few people know that he failed his first screen test, and instead found a job with the Employees' State Insurance Corporation Ministry of Labour and Employment.Along with his he started taking part in Plays at Prithviraj Theatre.
In 1970 he appeared in his first film, Prem Pujari although the first film he had signed was Reshma Aur Shera which released in 1971. This was followed by many negative or supporting roles in numerous art films such as Shyam Benegal's NishantManthan, and Bhumika and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda. His finest and most memorable art film role was Govind Nihalani's Ardh Satya in which he was cast with Om Puri. 
He got recognition in 1980 from the film Hum Panchi. 
After that, he started getting cast as the main villain in other movies. In 1982, Puri played the main villain, Jagavar Choudhary in the Subhash Ghai super-hit film Vidhaata. That same year, he again played the main villain, JK in the movie Shakti starring two legends- Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. Next, in 1983, Subhash Ghai again cast him as the main villain, Pasha in the hit movie Hero. Puri regularly featured in subsequent Subhash Ghai films.
In villainous roles, Puri is best remembered as "Mogambo" in Mr. India, "Jagavar" in Vidhaata, "Thakral" in Meri Jung, "Bhujang" in Tridev, "Balwant Rai" in Ghayal, Barrister Chadda in Damini and "Thakur Durjan Singh" in Karan Arjun. His comic role in Chachi 420, that he acted alongside Kamal Haasan was highly appreciated.Since the 1990s until his death in 2005, Puri also featured in positive supporting roles in many movies. Some of his notable positive roles are Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Phool Aur Kaante, Gardish, Pardes, Virasat, Ghatak, China Gate and Mohabbatein. He received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor award for Meri Jung and Virasat.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Roop Tera Mastana - The Song that completes 50 Years

The song Roop Tera Mastana burnt up Indian film screens on September 27, 1969, redefining the depiction of sensuality in a Hindi film song. The song was sung by Kishore Kumar and picturised on back ground on Sharmila Tagore and not an established hero Rajesh Khanna
The song broke new ground by being shot in one take. The camera placed on a trolley circles the couple, as they go round the fireplace, The shot lends a breathless feel to the sequence, mirroring the emotions of the couple as they struggle to come to terms with their longing. 
The situation was that the hero and the heroine caught in a rainstorm and have to take shelter in a cabin. Hero keeps his wet, but unbuttoned, shirt on, while heroine changes into a towel — a really long, bright orange towel — that is wrapped around her. 
The scene makes the couple’s sexual desire apparent, and it is after this song that heroine finds out she is pregnant — a revelation that sets the course for the tragic turn her life takes. 
There are countless Hindi songs where sex is implied through shots of birds, bees, flowers, fire, waves or lightning but this song was different. The eroticism in the song lies in the possibility of sex rather than the sexual act itself. 
The beauty of this song is its composition,musical rise and fall in each of the stanzas operates as a musical metaphor of sexual tension”. The way Kishore Kumar sings the song mirrors this as well. Soft, caressing notes, almost a whisper, lead to a full-throated climax.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Hemant Kumar-The Romantic Voice of Dev Anand

Hemant Kumar once confessed in a Doordarshan interview that it was the efforts of Burman and Dev that made him popular. Burman Dada took Hemant Kumar for the first time for Dev Anand was for the song ‘Aa Gupchup Gupchup Pyar Karen’ in Sazaa.
S.D. Burman and the majestic Hemant Kumar created musical and cinematic magic  for the song ‘Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni’ in Jaal. 1952. Inspired by Burman’s success, Shankar-Jaikishan opted for Hemant to sing for Dev, along with Lata Mangeshkar, the haunting ‘Yaad Kiya Dil Ne’ in Patita in 1953. 
Dev Anand and Hemant Kumar together created some of the most memorable songs of Hindi film music.Hemant Kumar once said that the most hit songs of his career were those he sang for Dev Anand. He had a great respect for Dada Burman ,  Kumar sang only 16 songs as playback for Dada Burman and 10 of those were on Dev Anand and all of them were hits! What a stupendous record!
Burman, the musical soul of Dev, kept using Hemant in one hit after another. ‘Teri Duniya Mein’, ‘Chup Hai Dharti’ ( House No. 44), ‘Shivji Bihane Chale’, ‘Dil Ki Umange’ with Geeta Dutt ( Munimji) and ‘Hai Apna Dil To Awara’ ( Solva Saal). 
In 1955, Hemant Kumar scored music for Hemen Gupta’s Ferry, starring Dev and Geeta Bali. Hemant sang inimitably the background number ‘Naav Badha Le Maajhi’ in Ferry.
One of the biggest hits of Dev Anand-Hemant Kumar, the mesmerizing Na tum humein jaano, was the last of their songs together. Haunting and romantic, this duet with Suman Kalyanpur had the audiences falling in love with the number over and over again.
Song of Sazaa 1951

Song of Jaal1952

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Suraiya- The Top Singing Actress after Independence

She had great looks, natural expressions and a sweet soothing voice. 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 had a natural talent for singing, acting and dancing from childhood. She received basic training in music, when her mother used to take her to Hindustani music teacher or 'masterji' for training.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).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 heroine,
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 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.
The most striking and much-publicised episode of Suraiya’s life was her romance with the upcoming young actor Dev Anand in the early 1950s. It was then the ‘talk of the town’, the very stuff legends are made of. She was Dev Anand’s heroine in seven films which had moderate success . 
The two did seven films together — Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shair (1949), Afsar(1950), Nili (1950), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951). They never met after the last meeting and did not work together any more in spite of all of their films were hit.
She chose to remain unmarried throughout her life and died a lonely woman on 31st January 2004. Here are few songs from their films starring together
Song of Vidya 1948

Song of Shair (1949)

Song of Jeet (1949)

Song of Nili (1950)

Song of Sanam (1951)

Friday, 14 June 2019

Bharat Bhushan - The Actor Who Gave Many Musical Hits

Bharat Bhushan,he  may have never been a swashbuckling hero, but he was just right as the sensitive, suffering poet-musician in several hit musicals in the fifties and sixties.He came well before Dilp Kumar,Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor ,was not as popular as the trio but, was a hit hero.Remember the films Baiju Bawra, Mirza Ghalib, Basant Bahar, Kavi Kalidas, Barsaat Ki Raat and Sangeet Samraat Tansen where he portrayed an artist who was at odds with a cruel world but still retained a song on his lips.
Bharat Bhushan was born on 14 June 1920 Meerut, Uttar Pradesh.He began his career in his early forties with a supporting role in the controversial Chitralekha (1941). He had to struggle for over a decade to make a mark in Hindi movies till Baiju Bawra (1952), which gave him instant stardom and legendary status along with Mohammad RafiMeena Kumari and Naushad Ali.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1953), for which Bhushan bagged the Filmfare Best Actor Award,Sohrab Modi's Mirza Ghalib (1954) saw Bhushan playing a poet (the eponymous Ghalib) whose wife and lover were played by Nigar Sultana and Suraiya respectively; in Basant Bahar (1956), he played a singer once again.
His list of leading ladies included Meena Kumari, Nargis and Nutan. His well-liked pairing with Madhubala began with his cameo in the Madhubala-centric Gateway Of India, escalated with the success of the musical, Phagunand reached its peak with Barsaat Ki Raat
The 1960s began well for Bhushan with Barsaat Ki Raat and the ensemble hit, Ghunghat (opposite Bina Rai), but there were several younger heroes on the scene now. In 1964, his ambitious colour starrers like Jahan Ara (opposite Mala Sinha) and Dooj Ka Chand (opposite B Saroja Devi) failed.He incurred heavy losses, he had to sell his properties and even cars to clear his debts.
He swiched to character roles,his stint as the older man began on a hopeful note with Rajshri's Taqdeer (1967), but the film failed.He played father role of Shashi Kapoor in Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) In the 70s and 80s hewas reduced to accepting minor roles till he died ln 1992
Song of Baiju Bawra 1952

Song of Baiju Bawra 1952

Song of Mirz Ghalib 1954

Song of Basant Bahar

Song of Barsaat Ki Raat 1960

Song of  Sangeet Samraat Tansen 1962

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Once Indian Cinema was ruled by the Jews

These days for the past 2 months I am in Australia and watching a lot of T V programmes. A few days ago I heard about Danny Ben Moshe,  a documentary filmmaker and an Associate Professor at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. He has an interest in studying the Jew community in various trades and settling in various part of Globe. He also came to India to make a documentary on Jews contribution to Indian Cinema. 
On this subject, I wrote a blog in July 2017 on the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit to Israel. In continuation of this subject, I am writing another blog on this subject.
We all know that Jewish people are a very innovative and enterprising community. They were the first to make a studio and made cinema in Hollywood. In India also they entered into the Cinema industry. Initially, they financed Silent Cinema but later they entered into the other fields of cinema.
The ‘30s were a key decade for Indian cinema. Sound — and the dancing format that has characterized Bollywood ever since — was introduced in 1931 with “Alam Ara,” written by Indian Jewish playwright David Joseph Penkar. In 1932, another Indian Jew, Ezra Mir (born Edwin Myers), created a sensation with “Zarina,” which included a record 86 kiss scenes.
 The Jewish were active in Bollywood during the period – the ’30s and the ’40s – when anti-Semitism was at its peak in other parts of the world.

 In the early days of Bollywood,  it was a taboo for Hindu and Muslim women to act in movies. so initially female roles were played by men, the Jewish community in India was more liberal and progressive and they were prepared to take these role[s]. The fact that they had lighter skin made them all the more suited for celluloid. Initially, the cinema was silent so it was easy for the Jewish ladies to play the female lead as the language was not a barrier to them. They couldn't speak Hindi or Urdu.
During the silent era, most of India’s film stars were Jewish. But barring a few, they could not continue with their successful careers once the talkies were introduced as they were incapable of delivering dialogues in Hindi because of their Anglicised upbringing.
While in the early days of Hollywood the Jewish influence was behind the camera, in India it was front-and-centre onscreen.

The first female superstar was the Jewish actress Sulochana (aka Ruby Myers), and she and other Jewish stars had a formative impact on the development of Indian cinema. In her heyday, she was the highest paid actresses of her times, when she was pairing with, 'DinshawBillimoria' in 'Imperial Studios' films. In 1930, Sulochana made headlines when filmgoers saw her do a protracted kissing scene in the film “Hamara Hindustan." In mid-1930 she opened 'RubiPics', a film production House.
Among her popular films were Typist Girl (1926), Balidaan (1927) and Wildcat of Bombay (1927) where she essayed eight roles including a gardener, a policeman, a Hyderabadi gentleman, a street urchin, a banana seller and a European blonde! In 1953, she acted in her third Anarkali, but this time in a supporting role as Salim's mother. She received the Dada Sahab Phalke Award in 1973 for her lifetime contribution to Indian cinema. She died in 1983.
Sulochana was joined by other Indian Jewish actresses. Miss Rose, nee Rose Ezra, had endured a divorce and financial difficulties before finding silent-screen success in the 1920s. Rose’s cousin Pramila, who was born Esther Victoria Abraham, began her long career in the 1930s. Sulochana and Pramila would go on to become producers as well.

In the 40s another heroine made the name, Ramala Devi was born as Rachel Cohen. She is known for her work on Hit film Khazanchi (1941) where she appeared in the famous cycling song Saawan Ke Nazaare Hain. , one of her famous movies was Hum Bhi Insaan Hain (1948) with Dev Anand and. Jhooti Kasmen (1948). And as was the fashion with famous film stars of the time, she endorsed Lux soap in the 1940s. 

Post-independence Jewish Indian star Nadira was born Florence (or Farhat) Ezekiel Nadira, and debuted as Princess Rajshree in the 1952 film “Aan.”
In 1955, she played a rich socialite named Maya in Shree 420. She played pivotal roles in a number of films such as "Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai", Hanste ZakhmAmar Akbar Anthony and Pakeezah. She was often cast as a temptress or vamp and played opposite the chaste heroines then favoured by the Bollywood film industry. She was well paid for her efforts and was one of the first Indian actresses to own a Rolls-Royce. She won a Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress, her role as Julie's mother Margaret, 'Maggie', in the 1975 film Julie. During the 1980s and 1990s, she entered a new phase of her career, playing elderly women as a supporting actress. Her last role was in the film Josh (2000). She died at the age of 73 at the Bhatia Hospital at TardeoMumbai,

David Abraham Cheulkar (1908 - 1981), popularly known as David was a Jewish-Indian Hindi-language film actor, who started his film career with 1941 film Naya Sansar and went on to act in over 110 films. He was a member of Mumbai's Bene Israel community. With the help of his close friend Mr Nayampalli, a veteran character actor, he managed to land himself his first role in a movie. The movie was Zambo (1937) it was being produced and directed by Mohan Bhavnani. Beside Character actor   David is best known for his portrayal of "John Chacha" in the 1954 hit and Filmfare Award for Best Film winner and Palme d'Or nominee, Boot Polish, directed by Prakash Arora, for which he won the 1955 Filmfare Best Supporting Actor AwardThe song "Nanhe Munne Bachche" from the film, picturized with him became a memorable song of that era. David was one of the best and the well-known anchor, compare and the host of the prominent award shows and other functions, He hosted many Filmfare Awards in the early years of Filmfare Awards. Some of his memorable films were  Anupama (1966),Ek Phool Do Maali (1969), Abhimaan (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975), Gol Maal (1979) and Khubsoorat (1980).He was awarded the Padma Shri award in 1969 by Government of IndiaHe died on 28 December 1981 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada of a heart attack at the age of 73.