Thursday, 30 January 2020

50 Years of Prem Pujari

50 Years ago Dev Anand’s directorial debut was the most awaited film of the 1970.
The music of the film was the highlight of the film . Composed by S.D. Burman and written by Gopaldas Neeraj, the songs were (and still are) a bigger hit than the film, which actually flopped at the box office.
This film cleverly talks about patriotism and the Army — two of today's favorite subjects.
The film progressively takes you from being anti-war to pro-war by not only making you sympathize with the protagonist, but also villainising the other side.
 Songs like Shokhiyon Mein Ghola JayeRangeela Re Tere Rang Mein and Phoolon Ke Rang Se, sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar are Immortal. 
Song of Prem Pujari 1970

Song of Prem Pujari 1970

Song of Prem Pujari 1970

Song of Prem Pujari 1970

Song of Prem Pujari 1970

Monday, 13 January 2020

Shakti Samanta - A Filmmaker who gave us many Great Films

Shakti Samanta (13 January 1926 – 9 April 2009) a filmmaker of the Golden Era of Bollywood gave us films such as Howrah BridgeChina TownSawan Ki GhataKashmir Ki KaliAn Evening in ParisAradhana, Kati Patang, Amar Prem.and many more.
He wanted to become an actor but became a director. He joined the film industry in 1948 as an assistant director starting with Satish Nigam in Raj Kapoor starrer "Sunhere Din.".  He got his break as an independent director fro the 1954 film "Bahu".
He started his own production company, Shakti Films, in 1957, and the first release of his independent banner was the murder-mystery Howrah Bridge, with Ashok Kumar and Madhubala as the lead, With the huge success of this film, his banner became one of the great banners of the 60s and 70s.
Shakti Samanta was among the directors who worked with Shammi Kapoor in the late 1950s and up to the mid-'60s, then with Sharmila TagoreRajesh Khanna, creating a number of classics such as AradhanaKati PatangAnurodh, and Amar Prem.
He directed 37 Hindi films and 6 Bengali films. He worked with many actors of his time  Most popular among the lot was Ashok Kumar, with whom he did as many as nine films which include Inspector, Shero, Isi Ka Naam Duniya Hai, Howrah Bridge, Aradhana, Amar Prem, Anuraag, Anurodh, and Anand Ashram. 

Shammi Kapoor was also his favorite actor with whom he did 6 films, the first film he did with him was "Singapore" released in 1960. 
China Town was the next film released in 1962  It was a black-and-white movie, starring Shammi Kapoor in a double role, as a gangster and his look-alike. Shakila was the leading lady, alongside Helen in a supporting role.
Kashmir Ki Kali was the next film released in 1964. The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore in her debut role, Pran, Dhumal, Nazir Hussain, and Anoop Kumar. It was a great hit and its music became super hit.
An Evening In Paris was the next film released in 1967, it was again a hit. After that Pagla kahi ka and Jane Anjane in 1971

Rajesh Khanna became his favorite hero after the success of Aradhana in 1969. Rajesh Khanna also worked with him in 6 films. Kati Patang was the second film with him and then came Amar Prem in 1971.

He received Filmfare Awards for Best Film for Aradhana (1969), Anuraag (1973) and Amanush, which was also made in Bengali
He died of cardiac arrest at his suburban Santa Cruz residence at approximately 5pm on 9 th April 2009,

Song of Howrah Bridge 1958

Song of Jaali Note (1960)

Song of China Town (1962)

Song of Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)

Song of An Evening in Paris (1967)

Song of Aradhana (1969)

Song of Kati Patang (1970)

Song of Amar Prem (1971)

Song of Mehbooba (1976)

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Milap (1955) - Not a Typical Dev Anand Film

Could you imagine a film in which Dev Anand not singing a song? He once rejected the film Zanzeer (which later Amitabh Bachchan did) because there was no song for him in the script.  Hard to comprehend how Raj Khosla could pass a script where the hero does not sing a song. In fact, there is a very beautiful solo song by Hemant Kumar which was also sung by lata Mangeshkar as solo but Hemant Kumar version was not included in the film.
The film was released in 1955, the year that saw Dev Anand in great form. “Insaniyat” featured him with Dilip Kumar and he enjoyed hits like “House No 44”, “Munimji” and “CID”. A year earlier, “Taxi Driver” had showcased his acting talents.
 Dev Anand had hits like “Ziddi”, “Baazi” and “Jaal” before “Milap” graced the screen and this was his sixth movie with the hugely talented Geeta Bali.

 Dev Anand playing a dreamy-eyed villager, dressed in shirt-pajama, unthinkable and unacceptable, we miss his mannerism. Lovely and talented Geeta Bali is the heart and soul of this movie.KN Singh makes for a great, slimy, sophisticated villain as always but the Johnny Walker comedy act is a big, big weakness in the film. In particular, the tacky endless sequence with Johnny behind the wheel of the car just seems to go on and on and gets on one’s nerves after a while.
This film was the first film by Raj Khosla as a director, before that he was an assistant to Guru Dutt. The music was composed by Datta Naik, while Sahir Ludhianvi wrote the lyrics for the songs
Song of Milap 1955

Song of Milap 1955

Song of Milap 1955

Song of Milap 1955

Song of Milap 1955

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Mahendra Kapoor - The Vibrant Voice of India

He was one of the pillars of the Golden Era of Hindi Music, he had his own style of singing and was different from other singers of his time. Mahendra Kapoor had a very large vocal range, and he is sometimes known as The Vibrant Voice of IndiaHe was the first Indian playback singer to record music in English. He was asked by the group Boney M to sing their songs in Hindi with Musarat from Pakistan, which resulted in the Pop Album M-3.
Mahendra Kapoor (9 January 1934 – 27 September 2008) was an Indian playback singer. Best known for the song MERE DESH KI DHARTI from Upkar.He started his career as a playback singer in V. Shantaram's Navrang in 1958, singing Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi, under the musical direction of C. Ramchandra.
 At an early age, he was inspired by singer Mohammed Rafi but he started learning classical music under classical singers like Pt. Hussanlal, Pt. Jagannath Bua, Ustad Niaz Ahmed Khan, Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan and Pt.Tulsidaas Sharma.
 He is perhaps most notable for lending his voice to actor Manoj Kumar in most of his films, mainly in the patriotic genre of music.He was a favorite singer for B R Chopra's films. Some of the films of BR Chopra camp were Dhool Ka PhoolGumrahWaqtHamraazDhund and Nikaah
He sang in a large number of Indian languages and was the playback singer who has performed in the largest number of in GujaratiPunjabiBhojpuri and Marathi movies. He also performed the title song for the TV series Mahabharat. In Marathi, he was very popular for being the voice of Dada Kondke in all his movies. In spite of being associated with Dada Kondke's colloquial style, his singing for Marathi movies was not limited to Dada Kondke's movies only.

.He remained a respected and popular figure across his five-decade cinema career. During his singing career, he sang more than 2500 songs in various languages.In 1972, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
On 27 September 2008, Kapoor died following cardiac failure. He was survived by his wife, children, children-in-law and grandchildren.

Song of Navrang 1958

Song of Dhool Ka Phool (1959)

Song of Ghunghat 1960

Song of Gumrah (1963)

Song of Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966)

Song of Upkar (1967)

Song of Hamraaz (1967)

Song of  Purab Aur Paschim (1970)

Song of Gopi (1970) 

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Nadia- India’s original stunt queen

She was also called as Fearless Nadia or Nadia- The Hunterwali. Born as Mary Ann Evans in Australia, she came to India when she was 5 years old. By the time Mary reached her mid-twenties, she had trained herself in horse riding, ballet, tap dance, and gymnastics. She is most remembered as the masked, cloaked adventurer in Hunterwali, released in 1935, which was one of the earliest female-lead Indian films
Nadia proved a huge hit with the audience, whereupon, considering her skills at performing circus and other stunts, J.B.H., by then joined by his younger brother Homi, chose to develop her into a star.

Born on January 8, 1908, she wanted to be a singer and dancer and learned Scottish dances from her father and Greek songs from her mother. She went on to sing in church choirs in school but even as a young girl, she was different. While her classmates played with fluffy soft toys, she spent most of her time with a pony that became her best friend. She also spent time learning fishing, hunting, horse riding and everything normally considered audacious for girls of her age at the time.
Her father died when she was only 15 so she started to look for a job. Nadia tried her hand at several other jobs. From working in a secretarial position, traveling as a theatre artist to performing as a trapeze artist at a circus, she did it all. She also worked hard to train herself as a gymnast and her graceful cartwheels, daredevil stunts and charming presence soon won her a lot of fans.
 Eruch Kanga, a cinema owner from Lahore, spotted her in performance and suggested her name to J. B. H. Wadia and Homi Wadia, the brothers who owned a major production house called Wadia Movietone. Initially, she was given a small role in two of their upcoming movies, Desh Deepak and Noor-e-Yaman. Her cameos as a slave girl in the former and as a princess in the latter were well-liked by the audience.
Her big break came with the 1935 film Hunterwali.  This movie was the first one to showcase Nadia’s fearlessness, her athletic prowess, and her affinity for the stunt genre. The audience loved her. Over the next decade, Nadia went on to star in over 50 films, performing her own stunts in every single film. She went on to achieve great stardom and became one of the highest-paid actresses in the Indian film industry during this period. 
Nadia married Homi Wadia in 1961 and thus became Nadia Wadia  In 1967-68 when she was in her late 50s, she appeared in a James Bond spoof called Khiladi (The Player). That was her last film.
In 1993, Nadia's great-grandnephew, Riyad Vinci Wadia, made a documentary of her life and films, called Fearless: The Hunterwali Story. After watching the documentary at the 1993 Berlin International Film Festival, Dorothee Wenner, a German freelance writer, and film curator wrote Fearless Nadia - The true story of Bollywood's original stunt queen, which was subsequently translated into English in 2005. She died on 9th Jan 1996 due to age-related diseases.
Song of Hunterwali 1935

                       Dile Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai - Hunterwali Ki Beti - Fearless Nadia

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

60 Years of Kala Bazar

Today in the period of Multiplexes and Online ticket booking of films, this generation would not believe that there was a time when there used to be black on cinema tickets. On this subject, a film could be made?
For many of you, the idea of a Kala Bazaar might be alien. but this happened 60 years ago by Dev Anand and Navketan Films.
In Kala Bazar, Dev Anand plays Raghuvir, a common man who becomes a successful black marketer by selling cinema tickets to earn money for his family. Raghuvir's dark trade flourishes and he is able to move into a more comfortable home with his brother, sister (Nanda) and mother (Leela Chitnis).
 Raghuvir meets his match in Alka (Waheeda Rehman), the beautiful girl who stuns him with her idealismThough aware that Alka is in love with someone else, he prodigiously pursues her. The script has plenty of twists, Just when we think that Alka's rejection of Raghuvir will spell the end of their romance, Vijay Anand's character resurfaces and fixes everything. It's awesome how the film shows that a girl is very much capable of falling in love twice. Alka falls in love with Raghuvir.
“Kala Bazar” is indeed a timeless classic. With a director like Vijay Anand to make use of their genius, every actor played his part in a composed manner. Some close to reality sequences in this movie only underlined the importance of his direction. No wonder, Dev Anand regarded his brother “a great asset. The rare part of the film was the presence of the three brothers( Dev, Chetan, and Vijay Anand) playing important characters.

But the most entertaining part is the first scene where there is a real-life premiere show of Mother India, Mehboob Khan's 1957 blockbuster. The camera captures the excitement breeding heavy amongst the audience who are waiting for a rare glimpse of their favorite movie stars. We, sitting on the other side of the screen, also get to catch the likes of Dilip Kumar, Nargis, Naseem Banu, Kishore Kumar, Nadira, Kumkum, Mohd Rafi, Guru Dutt, Geeta Dutt, Raj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Sohrab Modi, and Nimmi. It was the genius of Vijay Anand who thought of creating a unique scene that was followed by many filmmakers.

Vijay Anand's direction and attention to small details contribute to make the movie memorable. There is so much to admire in Kala Bazar, starting with the incredible music by S.D Burman with lyrics by Shailendra. Each innovatively picturized song is a stand-alone classic – Khoya Khoya Chand, Rim Jhim Ke Tarane Leke Aayi Barsaat, Apni Toh Har Aah Ek Toofan Hai and of course Na Mai Dhan Chahoon. 
Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Song of Kala Bazar 1960

Saturday, 4 January 2020

R D Burman- The RDX of Music

From a very young age, he started taking an interest in music. When he was nine years old, R. D. Burman composed his first song, Aye meri topi palat ke aa, which his father used in the film Funtoosh (1956). The tune of the song Sar jo tera chakraaye was also composed by him as a child; his father included it in the soundtrack of Guru Dutt's Pyaasa His father sent him to learn instruments from the great maestro of that era. In Mumbai, he was trained by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (sarod) and Samta Prasad (tabla). He also considered Salil Chowdhury his guru. He served as an assistant to his father and often played harmonica in his orchestras.
When he was in his teens, he was signed as an independent music director by none other than Guru Dutt for a film starring himself and Waheeda Rehman. The lyrics of this Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman-starrer film were written by Shailendra. Burman recorded two songs for the film before it was shelved. The first song was sung by Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle, and the second one had vocals by Shamshad Begum. Unfortunately, the film couldn't be completed, he had to wait for 2 more years.
When the noted Bollywood comedian Mehmood decided to produce Chhote Nawab, he first approached Burman's father Sachin Dev Burman for the music. However, S. D. Burman declined the offer, advising he was unavailable. At this meeting, Mehmood noticed Rahul playing tabla, and signed him as the music director for Chhote Nawab
His first hit film as a  music director was Teesri Manzil (1966). Nasir Hussain the producer of this film  went on to sign R D Burman and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri for six of his net  films including Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) and Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973). Burman's score for Padosan (1968) was well received. Meanwhile, he continued to work as his father's assistant for films including Jewel Thief (1967) and Prem Pujari (1970).
He was always lookout for new and different sounds. A lot has been written about R D Burman creating sound from various sources, like a broom and a comb, a glass hit by spoon, blow wind into a bottle or beat the table or the human back. It is not important to create that sound, in my mind the genius is to apply that sound into music and make it part of the melody. 
In Padosan song Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein the beginning sound was created by rubbing Comb with a grooved pipe. The same sound again was used in "Chingari Koi Bhadke" from Amar Prem Song.
Song from Padosan 1968

Song from Amar Prem 1972

In the "Mehbooba Mehbooba" song from Sholay (1975), the song begins with the sound he created by blowing from his mouth into half-filled cold drink bottles. Nobody before or after him has had these ideas.
Song of Sholay 1975

Similarly, the sound from a bottle was used in the Warrant song "Ruk Jana O Jana", watch this video.

                         The bottle used by R.D.Burman in SHOLAY and WARRANT

We have all heard the most popular song  'Chura Liya Hai Tumne', from Yaadon Ki Baaraat  The song starts with a  spoon-on-glass sound . It is is an actual recording of a glass being struck by a spoon.
Song from Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973)

He created a different sound by a school bell dipping in a bucket full of water, Watch the above song "Yeh Din To aata Hai Ek Din Jawani Mein" from 1983 film Mahan.
Song from Mahan 1983

R D was very fond of new and different types of musical instruments.He introduced Thumba to Bollywood, Pancham and his group had gone for some shows in Africa. There they saw this African Instrument called Tumba. This triggered Pancham and thus he brought TUMBA to India. The legendary TUMBA played in “Aya Hoon Main Tujhko Le Jaunga” from Manoranjan is a classic example of his rhythmic playing.  
In the film Jawani Diwani in the song "Samne Yeh Kaun Aya", he invented an instrument called Pedal Matka to produce a different sound. watch this video below.

                                                      R.D.Burman's Pedaal Matka Effect

Friday, 3 January 2020

Chetan Anand – The man behind Neecha Nagar

Long before the Art Cinema or Parallel cinema’s existence, Chetan Anand’s passion for filmmaking gave birth to the Art Cinema in 1946 by making Neecha Nagar. This was his debut film as a Director.
This film was a social drama and also the debut film for Pandit Ravi Shankar who scored the music, the debut film of Kamini Kaushal. It also starred his wife Uma Anand as a heroine, Rafiq Ahmed, and Zohra Sehgal. 

Neecha Nagar was awarded the Grand Prix Prize (Now Golden Palm) at the first-ever Cannes Film Festival in 1946.It had to compete with many amazing films that year like Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (Italy), David Lean’s Brief Encounter (UK), and Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (USA). It is indeed a proud thing to say that it won the hearts of critics and viewers alike and emerged as a winner for the category.
You would be surprised to note that this film was not released in India even it won the prestigious award. Neecha Nagar was an expressionistic take on a social problem where a town is divided into an upper Ooncha Nagar and a lowly Neecha Nagar. 
The villagers of 'Neecha Nagar' harbor hate for Sarkar and their hatred is fueled even more by the fact that Sarkar plans to direct all the sewage into the village in order to make way for his housing project. The villagers protest this move with their head, Balraj (Rafiq Anwar) leading a movement against Sarkar's plan. Sarkar's daughter Maya (Uma Anand) joins the movement against her father and falls in love with Balraj.
 It is a poetic portrayal of destitution and deprivation of rural India and highlights the exploitation of the poor peasants by the aristocracy. The music of the film is noteworthy for its lyrics as much as for the fact that it happens to be the first film of Pandit Ravi Shankar as a Music Director. Two of the songs are revolutionary battle cries and it is surprising how the British authorities allowed them uncut.
Song of Neecha Nagar 1946

Song of Neecha Nagar

Song of Neecha Nagar 1946

Song of Neecha Nagar 1946

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Patita (1953) - A Heroine Orined Film

Released on 1st January 1953, Patta was a musical hit film of Dev Anand. After the success of Jaal and Rahi, it was Dev Anand's rare film being heroine oriented. Usha Kiran was the heroine of this film.

  The film is especially well known for some very melodious and popular songs  Shankar Jaikishan has used Talat Mahmood for Dev Anand’s playback voice in this film. He sang three songs in this film – Andhe Jahan Ke Andhe RaasteTujhe Apne Paas Bulati Hai Teri Duniya and  Hai Sabse Madhur Woh Geet – all these three got etched into the All-Time Best of Talat Mahmood songs. The lyrics were written by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri. Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the only song, a Hemant Kumar- Lata Mangeshkar duet – Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kaha Ho Tum – for the film, which also has been an all-time hit. The other two Lata Mangeshkar songs were thus destined to remain in the shadow of the brightly shining glory of these four songs, even though each of them remains a very special  Lata Mangeshkar songs.
Song of Patita 1953

Song of Patita 1953

Song of Patita 1953

Song of Patita 1953

Song of Patita 1953

Song of Patita 1953