Thursday, October 16, 2008

#1. Of Hindi Film Songs :In A Reverie

In A Reverie

Sometime back there was a serial programme on TV named Junoon in which artists from three different schools of light vocal music participated. Everybody in India hears, enjoys and hums film music whether it is ‘anubhavam pudumai’and chinn chinn asha’ or ‘chalo dildar chalen, chand me par chalen’ and ‘suraj hua maddhim, chand jalne laga’ .. But very few have heard Sufi and folk as such and appreciated as such. Not that they haven’t been used in film music. S.D.Burman used Bangla folk and gave some memorable songs. Good old days there was a movie ‘Nadia ke Paar’ which had Bhojpuri dialogues and songs and one Moti B.A.had composed them. Now scores of Bhojpuri movies have been made at a fraction of the cost of a normal commercial film. In one of them even Big B has acted. Sufi has been widely used mainly in association with gangsters and baddies (don’t ask me why!). But hearing the three vidha (schools) separately in a one hour programme by trained singers was a treat. This time when I was in a metro, I casually picked up a Sufi album-and what a gem it turned out to be, with eternal ‘dama dam’ to the classic ‘Afreen’. I remember that one of the judges in the programme refused to recognize ‘Afreen’ as a Sufi song which is love for God. He quoted lines from the lyric which were sensuous and bodily. It would be good to know what these lines are: Haven’t seen anybody as beautiful/ the body as if an Ajanta statue/ body as if it is magic on the eyes of the beholder/ body as if fragrance incarnate/ body as if it is an exciting tune/ body as if it is the sea of moonlight/ body as if it is the first light of the day….One can only say that the judge had genuine reasons for his assertion.


Counterpart of Sufi in Hindi will be Bhajans., and many a time they touch the heart of the listener. Dev Anand films always had one or two bhajans with haunting melody, peaking with ‘Allah Tero naam’ and ‘Prabhu tero naam’ in Hum Dono (The first is more famous, but the second more melodious). Anup Jalota and Hari Om Sharan have given us some lovely bhajans.


Long ago when I was a child (it was early fifties ) I read an article in which there was an anecdote about a famous Hindi poet of ‘40s of the last century. ( I think it was Makhan Lal Chaturvedi). He had gone somewherefor a puja, and at the time of the aarti (worship with lamp burning ghee or camphor) the all time favourite ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’ was being sung. After the puja was over, the poet asked the host whether he knew the name the writer of those few lines. On his reply in the negative, the poet confessed that it was composed by him. And he told the story behind it. It seems that there was a puja at his place, and his wife asked him to give her a bhajan with which aarti can be done. The poet composed it in a few minutes, and it became an all time favourite. I only hope that I have named the poet correctly. Makhanlal Chaturvedi was more famous among the students for his patriotic poem ‘Ek Phool ki Chaah’ where the wild flower wishes not to go for the head of the gods, nor the hair of some beautiful maiden, but wished that it be thrown on the path by which the brave were going to die for the country

One of our Vedas is a collection of hymns (Samveda). I remember one poem of Mahadevi Verma, one of the few romantic poetesses of Hindi: ‘Saamgaana gaa gaye jahan rishi/ Kyon na wahan main gaoon. (Where the sages have sung the hymns from Samveda, why should I not sing.). It must be a challenge to the conservative cognoscenti of those days who must have raised their eyebrows on a romantic poetess.

How deeply music affects us! My wife says that in order for a certain piece of music to be likeable, it is not necessary to understand the meaning of the lyric. I agree only to an extent. Songs from other language I could appreciate only when I understood it. Bhupen Hazarika’s famous Rangaman song was explained to me by an Assamese classmate. I still don’t have a cassette or cd of the song. Maybe I pick up a copy on my next visit to Guwahati or Kolkata, the chances of which after retirement are slim indeed. Being a catalyst to your emotions for love, war and patriotism, some songs have refused to die. ‘Vande mataram’. ‘Suraj ban ke jag par chamke, Bharat naam subhaga’ or ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai’ are almost interwoven with our freedom struggle. However, many patriotic songs have been lost in the abyss of time. During my boyhood days, I had come across a collection of such songs which were used during the days of colonial rule. I am not sure whether those songs are alive today or whether that small book is still in print.

8 comments:

c. ratna said...

wow, I like it cyber uncle.....!!!

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

My friend Prabhunath informs that 'Ek Phool ki Chaah' was written by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. I stand corrected. ...........A.K.Bhatt

c. ratna said...

You were right in the first place.Makhan lal Chaturvedi composed this poem. But the title of the poem is "Ek Phool Ki Abhilasha", not "EkPhool Ki Chaah".Do you want to know the name of the collection?

c. ratna said...

Makhanlal Chaturvedi composed "Ek Phool Ki Abhilassha" when he was in Bilaspur Jail,on 18thFeb.1922.It was published in in his collection "Yug Charan"(year 1956). As this book is not available now,one can find it in complete works of Makhanlal Chaturvedi, published from Vani Prakashan.

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Thank you Ratnaji.I am happy that my memory did not fail me.

bandhavgarh said...

Interesting reading.
Would like to know more about your early working days. What were the conditions and how much political support or interefrence was there in comparision to present time.
I still have Late R.P.Naronha ji's book which shows us the days of 1950's and 60's.
And ofcourse the stories from your childhood.
Satyendra K Tiwari, Bandhavgarh

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Satyendra: Your questions cannot be disposed off in a few sentences. Probably one of these days when we sit down together, we can discuss it. Your invitation to visit Bandhavgarh stands and I am seriously thinking of visiting your place sometimes next month. Let my fractured leg be a little better.
give my regards to Kay.
ak

Anand Kumar Bhatt said...

Ratnaji! There is a short write-up on Makhanlal Chaturvedi's jail days where he wrote the poem 'Chah nahin main surbala ke.......' in Aarambh. The link is:
https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/127cbf721dc47e81
All the best
ak