Saturday, September 20, 2008

Once upon a time I watched a reality show on TV

Saas bahu serials
When cable TV came into India, they did not have much idea what to do in the early days.Initially, they had song and dance shows like chitrahaar. Then came serials. Then came Ms Ekta Kapoor, daughter of the erstwhile Jumping jack of Bollywood movies, and she hit upon the jackpot- in the form of Saas Bahu serials. Now, Ekta means unity, but her saas bahu serials have actually caused disunity in many families which have been avid watchers of such serials.

Quiz shows
Then came quiz shows.These quiz shows, hosted by celebrity actors,would reward participants who could reach the hot seat. Of course, reaching the hot seat through by dialling the given numbers was tougher than the tasks that mythological heroes were called upon to perform in the past. These quiz shows in turn were often used to launch new saas bahu serials which followed just after the quiz show.

Reality show
Now, these channels have hit upon another formula. It is called "reality shows". In these shows,people typically sing and/or dance,and their performances is judged by celebrity judges. After their performance, jugdes give them marks. A few participants, getting the least marks get eliminated. Not just the jugdes, public is also asked to jugde the fate of the participants. After the performance, the participants has a message for the audience in which he requests the audience to vote for him through SMS.

Presenter of the show takes sadistic pleasure in announcing which participants are in danger zone, and then it is with great fanfare and melodrama that the eliminated participant is thrown out of the contest.

Dissenting Participants/Judges
Often, some participants who get poor marks allege foul play and stage a walk out. Not just that, sometimes, one of the celebrity jugdes also alleges foul play when his favourite participant gets eliminated, and he too stages a walk out.

Vote through SMS
And there are a huge number of audience who enjoy watching these "reality" shows, but the people who really enjoy it the most are the serial makers and the mobile companies, who roll in megabucks through the millions of SMSes that the public sends to vote for their favourite participants. The revenue thus generated in a matter of hours is easily more than what the sponsors of these serials pour into the coffers of these serial makers.

Watching a reality show
I am one of the few who can never watch these kind of shows, and I make no secret of my aversion for such serials.And as if to tease me, every channel has got this kind of serials at prime time. And incidentally,there are quite a large number of Indian channels these days.

Against the best of my judgement, I decided to watch one such show on 26th january.

What was this show
It was a Zee TV show called "Sa Re Ga Ma" where kids special contests were going on. Kids would sing songs and they would be judged by two celebrity judges- viz playback singers Suresh Wadkar and Sonu Nigam. The show, like all such shows had a host too, the host being son of another playback singer (Udit Narayan).

topic of show for 26 january
So, the programme begins with music, and the teenage host welcomes all, like the grown up hosts do in other such shows, using big high sounding words. The show apparently has songs sung by kids on a particular topic. The topic for 26th january was patriotic songs.I had actually managed to find out beforehand that the topic had to be patriotic songs. You see, I have access to a cluster of supercomputers, which we Rocket scientists use to decode such hard to guess information.

Chief guest arrives
These programmes have one more mandatory member- viz the chief guest. And the host welcomes the chief guest- the one and the only Bipasha Basu. She arrives on the stage, accompanied by background music of "back to the future". And before you have any naughty ideas, she was properly covered in a white sari, which, it appeared to me was not washed with Super Nirma. Not surprising, as she, like Mallika Sherawat, does not have any endorsements with companies that have anything to do with garments.

The kids may be only 10-12 years of age, but they appeared well versed in the manners of such reality shows. It appears that one of the kids had thrown a tantrum in yesterday's programme, like Rakhi Sawant throws in another such reality show, and had walked out of the show. The judge lectured her against such conduct- "buri baat hai", "hamare show me aisa nahi hona chahiye" etc. And if the kid was anything like kids of her age,the message fell on deaf ears ( ek kaan se sunkar doosre se nikaal diya).

Contest begins. A kid comes, and she sings a patriotic song which was at least 50 years old. I am stumped, because I have never heard this song. The judges are equally clueless, going by their facial expressions. But after the song was over, Sonu Nigam must have found out about the song by googling, and he displayed his knowledge nonchalantly by saying things like" How come you sang this song. You are a girl, this was sung by Rafi, even boys would shy away from singing such a difficult song". The girl mouths some sentences memorised by rote- viz I love this song, this is such a nice patriotic song, I always wanted to sing this song, and the jugdes go, wah wah wah wah, bahut achche, bahut acche, taaliyan. After the song, the girl requests the audience to vote for her through SMS, just like the participants do in other such programmes.

Another participant, a boy this time, comes and sings another patriotic song of equally old vintage. But I could vaguely recall having heard the song sometime in the past. And I feel so pleased about myself.

Chief guest intervenes
Then a girl participant comes, sings another patriotic song. Judges, like me, are on a strong wicket this time,as both have actually heard this song before. So, they start finding fault with the performance, something which they could not do with the earlier songs. You misspelt one word- says one judge. You lost the sur at one place,comments the other judge. Bipasha Basu, unable to take this nitpicking, compliments the girl in Bangla that she sang well, and do not get discouraged by such criticism. And it turns out that the girl is Assamese ! Does not matter, Assamese people can understand and talk in Bangla, but the two jugdes are once again stumped. Sonu Nigam tries to curry favour with Bipasha by trying to speak some Bangla, but not with much success.

Another participant sings, followed by another nitpicking by the judges on the diction of the singer. When Bipasha basu intervenes, Sonu Nigam pulls her leg ( figuratively- you naughty!) saying that yes, the singer at least did not get her "ra" and "da" mixed, insinuating that Ms Basu gets them mixed.

Then one kid came, and he sang the song "kar chale hum fida jaan o tan saathiyon" from Haqeeqat. This was one song that everyone had heard about, and everyone appreciated the singer.

Voting by public
Then audience are urged to vote for their favourites, and it turns out that whichever singers are praised the most by judges are kicked out by the audience. Lovely. I enjoyed this part ( wearing my sadistic hat) to see the expressions on the face of the judges.They express their disappointment that the best singer should be kicked out of the show. Their reaction, as well as the reaction of the public is priceless.

I will let you know when I watch another such show. May be I should watch a saas bahu serial next and present my report. So keep watching this space.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kishore Kumar's sad/serious songs- part II

When I decided to post a list of Kishore Kumar's sad/ serious songs, I thought that one post would be enough, since Kishore Kumar is associated more with happy, romantic and comedy songs and I did not think he may have sung more than a dozen or so sad songs.

But when I started digging deep, I began to find many such songs. So I decided to post them in two parts. Now that I am presenting part II, I have come to realise that even two parts are not enough to accomodate all the memorable sad/ serious songs of Kishore Kumar. And that has been quite an eye opener for me.

Kishore Kumar may have sung nearly as many tragic songs as many singers associated with this kind of songs. And I am only talking about those songs that are truly memorable and ever green.

In fact, I even found songs which are not very well known, but they deserve to be bracketed among the list of all time great Kishore Kumar songs. If they are rather unknown today, then it is mainly because these movies where these songs featured had flopped badly.

Now I have become certain in my mind that this is by no means the last part of my my lists of Kishore Kumar's sad/ serious song. I already have enough material for at least two more parts.

I had already presented some 20 memorable sad songs in part I , and here in part II, I present 20 more memorable sad songs of Kishore Kumar. Just go through the list of songs. Wow! I just cannot believe that Kishore Kumar had such a large number of such classy songs under his belt. And as mentioned earlier, there are more to come.

Song 1

Kishore Kumar, otherwise known for his funny roles and lighthearted exterior, made one funny movie "Chalti ka naam gaadi", but afterwards, he tended to make movies on serious subjects, starting from "Door gagan ki chaaon mein." I had presented one song from this movie in part I. All the songs in this movie were serious songs.Here is one more such song from this movie.

Aa chal ke tujhe (door gagan ki chaaon mein 1964) Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Kishore, MD-Kishore

Song 2
This is one of the first sad songs that Kishore Kumar sang under the music direction of Laxmikant Pyarelal.
Ye dard bhara afsaana (Shriman Funtoosh 1965) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 3
This was one the first sad songs sung by Kishore Kumar for Rajesh Khanna under the music direction of R d Burman. Since then. this combination churned out songs after sad songs, all memorable and evergreen, as we have already sen in part I and will see in this part too.
This song finished third in Binaca geetmala final of 1971.
Ye jo mohabbat hai ye unka hai kaam (Kati patang 1971) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi,MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 4
Kishore Kumar sang most of his classic sad songs under the baton of R D Burman, but papa Burman was the one who mentored and nursed Kishore Kumar into a legendary singer. Here is a memorable sad song sung by Kishore Kumar under the baton of S D Burman and picturised on Dev Anand.
Dil aaj shayar (Gambler 1971) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Neeraj, MD-S D Burman

song 5
When most other music directors were being threatened under the onslaught of the Kishore Kumar-R D Burman hurricane, it was Laxmikant Pyarelal, who turned this threat into an opportunity and composed some memorable sad songs on Kishore in 1970s. Here is one of them.
Mere deewanepan ki bhi (Mahboob ki mehandi 1971) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi,MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 6
"Amar Prem" had three memorable sad songs sung by Kishore Kumar. Here is the first of them. This song was fifth in Binaca geetmala final of 1972.
Chingari koi bhadke (Amar Prem 1971) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-R D Burman

Song 7
And here is the second memorable sad song of Kishore from "Amar Prem".
Kuch to log kahenge (Amar Prem 1971) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-R D Burman

Song 8
This was a Kishore Kumar song sung for an offbeat movie. This song finished 8th in Binaca geetmala final of 1972.
Ye jeewan hai is jeewan ka yahi to hai rang roop (Piya ka ghar 1972) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 9
This song finished 25th in Binaca geetmala 1973.
This song paints such a vivid picture of the protagonist leaving his familiar surroundings and venturing into the unknown. And one can visualise it even without watching the video. And the picturisation of this song on real locations is quite impressive.
Musafir hoon yaaron (Parichay 1972) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Gulzar,MD-R D Burman

Song 10
Here is just one of several sad songs from the movie "Namak haraam"
Nadiya se dariya (Namak haraam 1973) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-R D Burman

Song 11
And here is a memorable song from Majboor, composed by laxmikant Pyarelal. It was one of the first sad songs of Kishore picturised on Amitabh Bachchan.
Aadmi jo kehta hai aadmi jo sunta hai (Majboor 1974) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 12
One of the most memorable songs sung by Kishore Kumar was this Laxmikant Pyarelal composition
Gaadi bula rahi hai (Dost 1974) Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Anand Bakshi,MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 13
Mili was a remake of Anand, where Jaya played the role of Rajesh Khanna. This movie had two extremely moving Kishore songs. Here is the first.
Aaye tum yaad mujhe (Mili) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Yogesh,MD-S D Burman

Song 14
And here is the secong haunting Kishore Kumar song from Mili.
Badi sooni sooni hai Zindagi ye Zindagi(Mili 1975) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Yogesh, MD-S D Burman

Song 15
This song was 12th in Binaca geetmala final of 1975. But I would rate him at the very top of my personal rating. This song is magic, pure magic !
O manjhi re (Khushboo 1975)Singer-Kishore,lyrics- Gulzar,MD- R D Burman

Song 16
It may not be mere coincidence that a large number of Kishore Kumar's songs were picturised on Rajesh Khanna. Here is another such song.
Mere naina saawn bhado (Mahbooba 1976) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi,MD-R D Burman

Song 17
A superb song from "Anurodh".
Jab dard nahin tha seene mein (Anurodh 1977)Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD- Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 18
and here is another song from "Anurodh".
Aate jaate khoobsoorat awara galiyon mein (anurodh 1977)

Song 19
Kalyanji Anandji, another survivor of Kishore Kumar-R D Burman onslaught, makes good use of Kishore Kumar's talent in this song. This song topped the list of hit songs in Binaca geetmala final of 1979.
O saathi re (Muqaddar ka Sikandar 1978) Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Anjaan,MD-Kalyanji Anandji

Song 20
This movie was made with such hype by the makers of Sholay that one felt this was going to be the biggest blockbuster of all time. But when the dust settled, the only thing that survived from this disaster called "Shalimar" was this memorable song.
Hum bewafa hargiz na they (shaalimar 1978)Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-R D Burman
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Mad ads and fads in India in 1960s and70s-part II

After sartorial fashions, we were subjected to a different kind of fashion. It was not associated with clothes, but with physical appearance. People were subjected to the magazines ads of bullworker where skinny 95 pound kids were shown getting transformed into a clone of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 14 days, else your money back. And at Rs 273/- for one bullworker set ( including VPP charges), it was lots of money those days.

But I do not think bullworker ever refunded any money. In case someone asked for their money back, they would point out fine print which the user did not follow which prevented them from bulking up, hence no refunding the amount.

Then there were ads to increase one's height. Lesser the price of the product, higher the result promised. For instance, for Rs 85/-, you could increase your height by 15 cm, where as Rs 300/- for another product increased your height only by 5 cms. Ads showed the heights of the leading film actors- Amitabbh Bachchan 188 cms, Vinod Khanna 185 cms and Dharmendra as 185 cms. Now I agree to the heights of Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna, but I cannot accept that Dharmendra was 185 cm. He looked much shorter than Vinod Khanna in the movies in which they acted together.

I wonder what has happened to those height increasing ads now a days? Instead of the average height of the leading heroes increasing, now a days, we have the leading heroes half a foot shorter than the heroes of 1970s.

Now a days those ad givers have a much easier job, if they decide to mention the height of the leading heroes of today- something like Aamir Khan 167 cm, SRK 168 cm, salman Khan 166.37 cm, etc. But considering that most leading ladies are taller than the leading heroes, there may not be too many takers for these ads now a days, what with even Rajpal Yadav becoming a celebrity that would make Mukri green with envy.

These days, we have teleshop marketing on TV, in which foreigners tell us, in dubbed Hindi, how they were losers in their lives and how buying the teleshop product made them winners.

I think I have digressed a great deal. It was like going from Bombay to Goa and landing at Kashmir. There was actually a bollywood movie in which it happens.

What I wanted to say was that all these improve your height or get bulky ads required you to sweat out a lot, in addition to parting with your hard earned money. And we Indians being the way we are, we want things for free without sweating it out in the process, and we want results instantly. And "martial arts" offered exactly that. It promised people that they need not improve their height or physique, but they could still thrash big built people by making use of martial arts.

Mainstream audience would not go for "English movies", unless it promised some eye candy. And in case of desi movies, they would keep away from "art" movie. So it was a big paradigm shift for people when they began to throng for movies that were in "English" and moreover they were called art movies- viz "Martial art" movies.

It was the first time in India when tickets of a non desi movie were actually sold on black even in smaller cities, like the one where I was growing up in those days. These movies, called "Enter the dragon", followed by "Return of the dragon" had a skinny hero called Bruce Lee, who was regarded as the best martial art expert in the world. Of course, he was already dead by that time, and that helped add to his legend. Indians could for the first time identify themselves with a hero who was of similar built as compared to most movie goers, and that must have enabled the audience to feel a rapport with him, which they never felt with big built Western actors. Chinky looks suddenly became fashionable.

And believe it or not, people who earlier used to adopt boxing pose while in a street brawl, began to adopt "martial arts" pose while fghting. And in absence of background "dishum dhishum" noise, they would make this noise themselves, accompanied by the yelling, which every self respecting martial artist was required to use as part of his arsenal. No, I am not making this up. I have actually seen people fight in a "martial art" or in more simple terms- "judo Karate" method.

Bollywood too tried to jump into the bandwagon. The resident chinky Danny was roped into a few movies. One new chinky looking actor, Ardhendu Bose, who also had the formidable credentials of being the nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, was signed in a movie. But all these ventures failed.

There was a vacuum in Bollywood movies.Bollywood badly needed a desi Bruce Lee.

In came Mithun da. He proved a package deal. Front stallers could readily identify with him as he looked like one of their own. And he was supposedly trained in martial arts, and looked more convincing in fight scenes than say Rajesh Khanna, Sanjeev Kumar and Dev Saab. And that was enough of a credential for Mithun da to become public's desi Bruce Lee.

In addition, Mithun Da, in between his fights, would also dance ( pronounced as "dense" by him) gyrating around his pelvis. So he got the additional sobriquet of desi John Travolta as well.

Not content with that, his film makers would cast him as top secret agent too. His designation with the word "TOP SECRET AGENT" would be written in big bold letters on his car. In short, Mithun da was Bruce Lee, John Travolta and James Bond, all rolled into one. What more do you want ? His fans simply loved him. The less charitable fans and critics called him poor man's Amitabh Bachchan.

So that sums up my discussion for the day. I will be back for more, obviously.

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Mad ads and fads in India in 1960s and 70s- part I

When I was a young kid a few years old in mid to late 1960s, I noticed that "twist" was a craze among the happening crowd. People would wear tight pants and swivel over the front of their left toe, as if crushing a cigarette butt with their toes, their hands hanging behind their back. This was how one twisted. Bollywood movies those days had a dance scene showing a twist, which was like an item song. One popular "twist" song sung by Manna Dey was "aao twist karen".

People, both men and women, at least in movies, wore very tight dresses. Just look at the Salwar Kurta that bollywood actresses wore those days. To this day I have not yet understood how they managed to get inside such dresses, and once inside, how did the blood circulation fare in their bodies. My admiration for actresses like Mumtaz goes sky high, when I see her dancing and singing with abandon in such tight outfits, and even seen enjoying them.

And as "Om Shanti Om" has shown, the fashion for women those days consisted of hairdo that now appears like Khosla ka ghosla. The women in their 20s looked like Behenjis. Look at Vijayanti Mala in 1950s or Hema Malini in 1970s, for instance.

Just as 1960s was giving way to 1970s, Hippy craze hit India, and the person who capitalised on it was Dev Anand, with his "Hare Rama Hare Krishna". People would keep long hairs and that was called hippy cut.

On the other end of the spectrum was Rajesh Khanna. Though his pants were tight, he would wear Kurta ( or shirt that looked like Kurta to me), and would remain untucked. It was called Baba kurta, I have no idea why this name was given to this dress. But he was the superstar, and his mannerisms and dress had millions of adherents.

When Rajesh Khanna was upstaged by Amitabh Bachchan, we suddenly saw the hair style of people changing. Everyone would instruct the barber to cut his hair in Amitabh style, even though Mukri style may have suited them better. When emergency came, Hippy style (mentioned earlier) became untenable. One of the emergency excesses was on Hippy cut hairs. policemen would round up hippy cut youths and have their hair cut short. I feel that their orders must have been to round up eve teasers, and they decided that eve teasers were those who wore hippy cut, so all people with hippy cut hairs had to pay the price.

Not just fans, even other leading actors like Shashi Kapoor etc started sporting Amitabh Bachchan's hair style. In case Amitabh Bachchan had to be shown growing up as a child, that child too would sport the same Amitabh Bachchan hairstyle- for instance, look at Muqaddar ka Sikandar, where master Mayur, playing young Amitabh has the same hairstyle. I suggest that we should make a movie with Amitabh in lead role called Muqaddar ke Sikandar ka Shahanshah, and in this the kid playing childhood role of Amitabh should sport the same hair style, and in addition, he should sport a while goatee as well, lest viewer are left in any doubt.

There were people, especially in small towns ( farmaish sending towns), who would model themselves on their favourite actors. Filmy magazines often published pictures of people who resembled their idols the most. I recall a filmy magazine publishing the picture of such people, and that included one "Gondia ka Amitabh"

Stars and super stars were not the only ones who had fan following. Small budget movies,e.g. Rajshri Production movies, or those made by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Bhattachharya, Basu Chatterji ( frankly I cannot tell one Basu from the other) had their own following. Amol Palekar, who played the roles of friendly next door neighbourhood youngster, was forever getting outsmarted by a street smart Asrani (Bhondu is the Hindi word that comes to my mind), like in the cartoon serial road runner show. These movies tended to have nice music and it was this which may have saved the day for these movies.

Bell bottoms also came into vogue those days. Look at the movies, and one can find actors and actresses looking ridiculous ( with hindsight), but I, who call this ridiculous now, too wore bellbottoms those days. And naturally I too looked just as ridiculous.

The fashion of bell bottoms which raged like wildfire vanished one fine day, and people no longer wanted to be seen wearing them. What is this fashion, where people suddenly start avoiding to wear that they wore proudly till the other day ? It can only be herd mentality, I am sure.

Fashion for narrow pants was there for a couple of years and then a milder form of bell bottom threatenred to make a comeback, and it did for some time.

And during those days, some other types of fashion were also emerging that would soon take the nation by storm.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ravi- composer of iconic songs in Bollywood movies

1950-60 was the era when Bollywood had an embarrasment of riches as far as quality music directors were concerned. There were so many of them that it was difficult to keep track of all of them unless you were a statistian or a historian of Bollywood music. The songs that they composed are popular to this date. Sometimes we may remember the songs and hum them, without being aware about who the music director was. The present generation have heard about the more prominent among them, but even those whose names are not that well known gave us songs that are very well known.

One of the lesser known music director from that era was Ravi. Like Roshan,he bacame popular by his first name whereas His full name was Ravi Shankar Sharma.He started his career in Hindi movies in 1955 with "Vachan" and his last movie was as late as 1990 in a movie called "Aulad ki Khatir". In addition, he gave music in some Gujarati and Malayalam movies as well in 1980s for which he got best music director's award for the state Governments of Gujrat and Kerala as well.For all practical purposes he can be treated as a music director of 1950-70 ( the golden era) though he gave us some good music in as late as 1980s as well.

He may be lesser known today, but when I looked at the list of his popular songs, I was simply amazed.There are quite a few movies under his music direction, where almost every song ( not just one or two) were huge hits and are popular even today. For example movies such as Chaudhavin ka chand(1960),Waqt( 1965), Kaazal(1965),Do Badan ( 1966), Hamraaz ( 1967),Ankhen ( 1968), Ek phool do mali ( 1969)had Ravi's music and almost every song( there used to be 7-8 or more songs in each movie in those days) is popular. These movies were hits, and Ravi's music played a role in making them hits.

In fact, Ravi gave some memorable music even in movies that have been long forgotten.For example, who remembers now that there were movies called Ek Saal(1957),Dilli Ka Thug( 1958), aaj aur kal ( 1963) and Ustadon ke ustad( 1963). The only reason why these movies are still remembered is because of their songs.

Ravi had a long career, spanning over three decades. There have been very few music directors enjoying such long and fruitful career. Here is a list of some of the most memorable songs that Ravi has composed ( or help compose, e.g. in case of the first song). There were many memorable songs that I had to omit from my list.

Here are some of the more memorable contributions of Ravi in Bollywood filmy music

Song 1
Man dole mera tan dole(Nagin 1954)-

No, Ravi was not the music director of this movie, Hemant Kumar was, but Ravi was his assistant in this movie. The been music in the Nagin song was played by Ravi on harmonium. There is a general misconception among fans that Kalyanji had played that on claviolin ( a new instrument- that could be called a synthesiser of that time). He was playing the claviolin but the main tune was on harmonium played by Ravi and not on claviolin. Kalyanji was called only for the tone. Ravi was the chief assistant, rather only assistant of Hemant Kumar and he was the incharge of this song. This fact was brought out by Ravi in a very long freewheeling interview on Vividh Bharati. When Hemant Kumar got the prize of the best music director of the year, he went down to the rear of the hall where Ravi was seated and handed over the trophy to Ravi saying that Ravi too deserved to share this award.
This song finished in Binaca geetmala top three in two consecutive finals- viz 1954 and 1955.

Song 2
Chanda Mama door ke (Vachan 1955)Singer-Asha,Lyrics-Prem Dhawan, MD-Ravi
This was the debut movie of Ravi as a movie director and he delived this song that became one of the first great lullabies to come from Bollywood movies. In this same movie he also composed a song that became popular with beggars all over the country, viz "Ek paisa dede babu". In fact, almost all songs of this movie became very popular at that time.

Song 3
Sab kuch luta ke hosh mein aaye to kya kiya
(Ek Saal 1957)Singer-Talat, Lyrics-Prem Dhawan,MD-Ravi
An iconic tragic song, as everyone would readily agree. It was the first time Ravi worked with Talat, and the result was this fantastic song.

Song 4
CAT cat, cat maane billi (Dilli ka thug 1958) Singer- Asha, Kishore, Lyrics-Majrooh, Ravi

And this was the first time Ravi worked with Kishore Kumar. The result was several outstanding comedy songs in this movie sung and acted by Kishore, ably supported on screen by Nutan, and on playback singing by Asha Bhosle. Other memorable songs from this movie being- "hum to muhabbat karega" and "ye raatein ye mausam, nadi ka kinara". This song finished second in Binaca geetmala final of 1958.

Song 5
Chaudhvin ka chand ho ya aftab ho ( Chaudhvin ka chand 1960) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Shakeel Badayuni, MD-Ravi
Producer Guru Dutt had signed Shakeel Badayuni as lyricist, but Ravi wondered if Shakeel Badayuni would agree to work in a movie without Naushad. But Shakeel Badayuni agreed and put Ravi at ease by grabbing his hands and telling him- "maine baahar kahin kaam naheen kiya hai, mujhe sambhaal lena" (I have never worked in outside movies .So please cover up for me.) And the result of this partnership between a nervous lyricist and a nervous music director was a spectacular musical blockbuster.
This sond finished at number 2 in Binaca geetmala final of 1960.

Song 6
Ek woh bhi diwali thi ek yeh bhi diwali hai( Nazrana-1961)Singers-Lata,Mukesh, Lyrics-Rajinder Krishan,MD-Ravi

Need one say anything about this song ?

Song 7
Wafa jinse ki, bewafa ho gaye ( Pyar ka saagar-1961)Mukesh, Lyrics-Prem Dhawan, MD-Ravi

Ravi used Mukesh's voice sparingly, like Talat and Kishore's voice heard earlier, but when he used them, he made their voices count.

Song 8
Ai mere dile naadaan tu gham se na ghabraana (Tower House)-Singer-Lata,Lyrics-Asad Bhopali,MD-Ravi
Surely this song is a music aficionado's delight.

Song 9
Yeh wadiyan, yeh fizayen bula rahin hain tumhe (Aaj aur kal 1963) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Sahir,MD-Ravi


Song 10
Sau bar janam lenge( Ustadon ke ustaad 1963)Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Asad Bhopali,MD-Ravi

A divine voice at its most divine.

Song 11
chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen hum dono (Gumrah 1963)Singer-Mahendra Kapoor, Lyrics-Sahir

Creating great songs using the voice of great singers is alright, but Ravi could make the most of the voices of less gifted singers too. For instance, it is Ravi who utilised Mahendra Kapoor's voice the best. This song is just one of the earliesr example of this fact.

Song 12
Chhoo Lene Do Nazuk Honthon Ko (Kaajal 1965) Singer-Rafi , Lyrics- Sahir, MD- Ravi
Every song in this movie was hugely popular.

Song 13
If Lata/ Asha ever had a Deevar like showdown about singing Rakhi songs, and Lata says- I have sung a great rakhi song like-"Bhaiya mere rakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana", what rakhi song have you sung, haain ?. Then Asha can calmly point at this song.
Mere bhaiyya mere anmol ratan (Kaajal 1965)Singer-Asha, Lyrics-sahir, MD-Ravi

Song 14
Incidentally, this movie is a musical treasure trove. In addition to the above two all time great songs for dipsomaniacs and Rakhi tying sisters,It had an alltime great bhajan too,
Tora man darpan kahlaaye (Kaajal 1965)Singer-Asha, Lyrics-sahir, MD-Ravi

Song 15
Ae meri zohra zabeen (waqt 1965)Singer-Manna Dey,Lyrics-Sahir, MD-Ravi

What a mast song ! It give one goosebumps every time one listens to it.
Waqt was the first multistarrer movie of Bollywood after Kismat (1943). It was thought that a word like "zabeen" would turn off listeners from this song, but that was not to be. It became perhaps the most popular song of the movie where every song was popular.

Song 16
Aage bhi jaane na tu(waqt 1965)Singers-Asha,Mahendra Kapoor,Lyrics-Sahir,MD-Ravi
Another very popular song from Waqt. Incidentally, this movie was the one that pioneered the lost and found formula where familiy members would be lost in a tragedy only to unite in the last reel.

Song 17
Gareebon ki suno (Dus lakh 1966)Singers-Rafi,Asha,Lyrics-Prem Dhawan,MD-Ravi

Just as beggars were despairing, having to sing old songs, they got this brand new song which became their anthem all over the nation, and local train commuters in Bombay those days would readily vouch for this fact.

Seriously, there were quite a few nice songs in this movie, as was usual in most movies with Ravi as the music director.

Song 18
Lo aa gayi unki yaad( Do Badan 1966) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Shakeel Badayuni,MD-Ravi

There were half a dozen memorable songs in this movie, and this is just one of them.

Song 19
Neele gagan ke tale (Humraaz 1967) Singer-Mahendra Kapoor, Lyrics-Sahir, MD-Ravi

This suspense movie ironically became a hit not because of its story, but because of its songs. This movie provided Mahendra Kapoor with his finest moments in his singing career. I recall this song and other songs from this movie being played on loudspeakers on carts selling ice cream in those days, it was that popular with ice cream vendors.

Song 20
Babul ki duayen leti jaa, jaa tujhko sukhi sansaar mile ( Neel kamal 1968)Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Sahir, MD-Ravi

This mother of all bidaai songs ( or should it be the baap of all bidaai songs ?) was Ravi's composition. A song that has transcended the barriers of time and this song continues to be uppermost on the mind of every bride's baap in Indian weddings.

Incidentally, there was a very popular timepass song in this movie too that went "khali dibba khali bottle lelo mere yaar".

Song 21
Milti hai zindagi me muhabbat kabhi kabhi ( Aankhen 1968)Singer-Lata,Lyrics-Sahir,MD-Ravi

Song 22
Tumhari nazar kyun khafa ho gayi (Do kaliyan)Singers-Rafi,Lata, Lyrics-Sahir, MD-Ravi
A nice duet song in a movie which had a story of twin siblings. This double role was played by Ranbir Kapoor's mom, who was a kid at that time.

Song 23
Tujhe sooraj kahoon ya chanda (Ek phool do mali 1969)Singer-Manna Dey,Lyrics-Prem Dhawan,MD-Ravi
I can count 8 very popular songs from this movie, and this moving song is just one of them.

Song 24
O Neele parbaton ki dhara (aadmi aur Insaan 1969) Singers-Asha, Mahendra Kapoor, Lyrics-Sahir, MD-Ravi
Like many other movies of Ravi, it had quite a few nice songs.

Song 25
Aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai (Aadmi Sadak Ka,1977)Singer-Rafi,Lyrics-Sahir Ludhianvi,MD-Ravi
Another very popular song for Indian weddings

Song 26
Dil ki ye aarzoo thhi (Nikaah 1983)Singers-Mahendra Kapoor,Salma Agha,Lyrics-Hasan Kamaal, MD-Ravi

The topic of this movie was not a mainstream topic for a bollywood movie ( unlike 1960s), and public taste had undergone a sea change, still Ravi came up with songs that became very popular, and this song finished at number 2 in Binaca geetmala 1983 final, ahead of another Nihaah song at number 3 ( Dil ke armaan aansuon mein bah gaye).
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Monday, August 18, 2008

India in Olympics-proposed plan

Enough of looking back at Indian sports in the past. Let us look ahead. For the last four Olympic games, Indians have been managing to win one medal each, and the medal's metal is improving too. If it was bronze in 1996 and 2000, it was a silver in 2004 and gold in 2008.

But one medal in one Olympics is just not good enough. It is time when India sports authorities did some thinking.

Knowing fully well that Indian authorities are not likely to exert themselves in such strenuos tasks like thinking, planning, etc, I have done all the hard work for them. So ladies and gentlemen, here is my master plan.

Ancient Olympic games only had individual games. Modern Olympic games too should have included only individual games, but the Olympic movement has been vitiated by the inclusion of team games. With the inclusion of many modern games, each with their own rules, Olympics games no longer offer a level playing field for participants of different disciplines.

For example, look at a team game vis a vis an individual game. In football or Hockey, about two dozen people and officilas huff and puff for many matches before coming up with one medal. On the other hand, an individual game like swimming offers individuals the chance to win many medals. Surely one cannot say that a team winning Hockey of football gold is aless worthy Olympian than someone like Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz. So it makes sense to expend one's energy in individual events rather than team events. If one looks at the most successful Olympic nations, they indeed have adopted this plan.

But even the individual games cannot be said to have level playing fields either. In swimming, we have different events, where you are required to swim differently ( freestyle,backstroke, breaststroke etc) and for different distances and each of these events have medals. Often the same swimmer can participate in many of these events. On the other hand, sports like boxing, wrestling,weightlifting etc have entirely different rules. Here one individual can only participate in one event, but there are many events based on weifght categories, and a team can have participants in all these weight categories. Now, it is not as if the boxing methods are any different for the different categories, so why should we have people of different weight categories take on opponents of similar weight only. Why the same principle should not be followed in atheletics, for instance.In atheletics too, we have huge discuss throwers from European countries having undue adbnatage over small built South Asians. Why not have different weight categories in throwing events too? Then I am sure cricket playing nations from the Indian subcontinent may find a few of their players in the podium in the lighter weight categories.

But I agree that old habits die hard. Indians and their neighbours are so used to playing cricket that they will find it difficult to take to individual games, so instead of turning bowlers with congenitally defective elbows into javelin throwers, why not try and get cricket itself into Olympics. If team sports like Hockey, football etc can be played in Olympics, then why not cricket?

But while trying to get cricket introduced in Olympics, the ICC ( BCCI by default) should not make the same mistake as Hockey or football bodies do. BCCI should try and ensure that there are many sets of medals available in cricket events,like in individual sports. Having many sets of medals in a team game like cricket will be possible, if we can have different formats of limited overs cricket in Olympics. Thus we can have T20, F15, T10 and F5. This is not my idea incidentally. This was the idea of my friend Raja. So I hereby call this idea Raja Babu method of playing cricket ( Raja Babu sounds similar to Duckworth Lewis, and it incidentally is also the name of a tharki Bollywood movie starring Govinda).

OK, if this idea goes through and gets implemented, what is going to happen ? We may find out that India may once again find themselves on the lurch as teams like Korea, Argentina, Netherlands etc may soon catch on and start beating India the way they have started beating India in Hockey these days. Just as England's T20 euphoria evaporated as Chris Broad's over went for six sixes, Indian euphoria with IPL may vanish ( of it has not vanished already) once T20 and its lower variants become Olympic events.

What to do then. I have another plan. and this draws inspiration from events of weightlifting, boxing etc. Just as we have these individual sports based on weight, let us have the team sports of cricket played on the basis of height. There could be cricket events for three height categories- viz short ( players below 5'6"), medium ( 5'6" to 6'), and tall ( over 6' tall players). This will not only ensure that the number of sets of medal will triple ( 3 sets of medals for T20, F15, T10 and F5 each), it will also ensure that India will stand some reasonable chances in the lower height categories. I can visualise Australia, South Africa etc struggling to put up playing XIs in the short category. But Indians should not get complacent. Team like Bangladesh may really become a powerhouse and capitalise in the F5 (short) category.

I would have given this method of playing cricket my name, but I could not come up with the name of a suitable bollywood movie including my name and featuring a tapori set of actors. So I have decided to name this method on a movie featuring another set of tapori actors. Yes, I hereby name this method of playing cricket as Munna Bhai method of playing cricket.
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India in Olympics- In the past

For those who have followed India fortune in Olympics for many decades, Indians used to pride themselves that they were the best in the world in Hockey, and that would cover up for their ineptitude in other sports. In typical India style hype, handed over to us for hundreds of generations, we were also told that Milkha Singh was the best runner in the world ( unfortunate not to win a medal). But the biggest hype that we were fed was that Dara Singh, the wrestler was the strongest man in the world, and if he did not participate in Olympics then it was because he was a professional. Another version was that Dara Singh did not participate in Olypics because it was beneath his dignity to participate among such lowly opponents.

Come 1970s and India stopped winning gold in Hockey too. And in any case Indians were just not good enough in any other Olympic sports. During those days, India had won three test series in a row, and some Indian fans actually thought that India was the number 1 cricket team in the world.

Come 1974, and Indian team was beaten black and blue in England. The fact that Indians did not have a pace bowler hurt their cause badly, as even mediocre batsmen made merry against the Indian bowling attack. Indian spinner Chandrashekhar was the quickest bowler in the side.It is like Kumble being the quickest bowler in the present day team, that is how pedestrian the Indian pace bowling attack used to be.

India sucking in Hockey as well as cricket meant that India sports fans were a dejected lot. The negative thinkers were on to their familiar rhetoric- " We are world's second most populous nation, and we cannot win a medal. Look at small nations, they win so may medals." Others would say that India did not win medals because there was so much poverty, and so much corruption in the country.But there were countries poorer and more corrupt than India that were doing better than India in Olympics. So it would be said that Indians were weak because of their dietary habits, for instance they did not eat meat in general and beef in particular. But then our neighbouring countries which had no such dietary taboos were not doing any better than India in Olympics either. Then apologists would point out that Pakistanis had fast bowlers in their ranks and Indians did not have.

Some fans actually thought that Dara Singh, the strongest man in the world, should be included in the Indian cricket team to bowl fast. Experts said that it was not a wise move, because in cricket you do not have to wrestle with the ball.

Just as there was this myth about Dara Singh being the strongest man in the world, there was this counter myth that Muhammad Ali, the heaveyweight boxer was a Pakistani. My argument that he was an American, cut no ice with my school mates, who simply refused to believe me.

Then there were the proponents of past Indian glory who would suggest that India was the greatest country in the world in all spheres, including sports in the past, and it was the conspiracy of the European invaders like British etc that the native know how and skills in all fields, including sports was lost.

Another suggestion was that India would certainly do well if Indian native games like kabaddi, khokho, marbles etc were included in Olympics.

What about the thinking in the official circles? The IAS babus sitting in the corridor of powers would ensure their smooth and unobtrusive participation in Olympic games as officials, whereas the actual players would be running from pillar to post,first to willy nilly qualify, and then to get the paperworks ready.

Qualifying for the Olympics was the main aim of the players. If players of other teams thought about qualifying for finals in the Olympics,then India players thought well in advance, and finished their thinking well in advance too. The thought uppermost in their minds was to somehow achieve the qualifying mark which was arbitrarily set low enough, something like the mark achieved by third place finisher in the previous Olympics or so. And interesingly, a few of the participants actually managed to "meet" these marks. Of course, once they actually participated in the Olympics, they would come nowhere near the mark that helped them qualify for the Olympics.

The Indian officials and media maintained that participation in Olympics would give Indian sportsmen good exposure that would help them gain experience. Was Olympics about winning or about getting experience and exposure ? Gaining experience and exposure for what ? For Asian games ? But such rubbish was actually bought by all without any murmurs.

There was a "celebrated" case in 1984 Olympics when one Indian weighlifter qualified to participate in a certain weight category, but when it was time for his participation in his event, he was found overweight. And what did the Indian contingent do? They fielded him in the next higher weight category. Simple !

Having discussed Indian Olympic efforts in the past, I will discuss what Indian needs to do in future, in my next article.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Card games and I

When I was growing up in 1960s and 70s, playing cards were considered bad in many "respectable" circles. In fact playing card games was considered as synonymous with gambling. As a result, I never had any exposure to cards, a nice and properly brought up kid that I was.

I was finally introduced to playing cards in 1980s in my hostel, and the card game that was popular among card players was bridge. Us freshers were given a list containing rules of bridge by our seniors, and we were required to learn them. There were some of us who were already exposed to cards and bridge, and their expertise was much in demand among the other freshers. We would seek these knowledgeable people out and request them to enlighten us. They would condescend to help out, but for a consideration. Their charges were - cad ( cadbury chocolate), double omelette and other such goodies.

Despite the crash course we underwent, there were some who found the rules more difficult to crack than a jigsaw puzzle.They would memorise the bridge rules by rote, without actually understanding them, and hoping that their learning by rote would help them pass muster with the seniors.

And this was not the only thing we were supposed to learn. We were also given the rules of billiards and snooker to learn. But that discussion will have to wait for some other day.

I had great difficulty understanding the concept of suit and colour, bid and trick,deal and trump etc. When I finally managed to have an idea what a suit was, I found myself struggling to remember the terms for them. I had heard of hindi terms like "paan, "eent" "chidi" and "faawda" in my younger days when exposed to such talk by some less reputable school mates. But associating them with their English equivalent terms turned out to be a giant mental step for my limited mental faculties.

Having learnt about suits and colour the hard way, it was the turn to grapple with bidding. We were given the rules of bidding in what was called strong club, semi strong diamond convention, which was suitably amended in house and renamed as CCC. The acronym shall remain unexpanded to public, the hint is that none of the C's stood for cricket.

I was among those who just crammed the rules and managed to pass muster. I never put this "knowledge" to practice.

A few years later, I finally got interested in playing brigde, and I brushed up on the CCC rules once again, and started hobnobbing with bridge players. Initially I would just watch the experts in action from the sidelines, hoping to pick up valuable tips on how to play the game.

After a period of apprenticeship, I was finally offered the chance to be one of the players. Boy, I felt like a debutant Indian cricketer who finally gets selected in the playing XI.

Cards were shuffled ( fentna was the hindi term) and then dealt ( baantna). I got my 13 cards and tried to arrange the cards spreading them into a fan like structure, as I had seen others doing. And I started sweating. The cards seemed to stick to each other and would not come to the V shaped figure that the other participants managed with such ease. Manging to make the cards took like an untidy fanlike shape, with a few cards looking like they would slip off any time, my next worry was to find out what carrds I actually had. All the cards were in left hand i a haphazard way.. Others would bid and I would struggle to make head or tail of my cards.

Keep the cards of one suit together, came the friendly advice. Yes, it was a very good advice, why did not I think of it earlier?

My bidding would often be wrong and my partners, never very patient men, would give me a mouthful of their tongue lashing. In case our team won the bid, my partner would be the active player and I the dummy, literally as well as figuratively, and I had little role in that hand. But in case the opponents won the bid, then I had to be an active player. I would not know which card to play. "You should have played that card, I had such good cards of the other suit to take advantage of, if only you had played that card"- this was a standard criticism I would cop from my partner.

I was always amazed how other players in general, and my partner in particular always knew what card I needed to play, and if our team lost, it was always because of me.

But I was loving the game, and when you love something, you take such pinpricks in your stride.

I began taking interest in the saturday English paper where there was one bridge column and one bridge game would be discussed. I started reading that. I started cutting that clipping every saturday. In fact, I began to look for bridge articles on all news papers and sports magazines. I even bought bridge books when I went to bigger places like say Calcutta or Delhi.

But the published games showed who had what cards, and what cards were left after a few tricks. In real life contests, I as a player had no way of knowing who had what cards. Others appeared to guess the cards of others, and even knew who had what cards left. I could never acquire that ability to visualise the cards.

Once a bridge tournament was held in the hostel, and I too decided to participate. The most dificult part was to find a partner. Seeking a good player as partner When you were not good enough as a bridge player took guts, and it was like an ineligible bachelor going around proposing to eligible girls.Most good players had already formed pairs and I finally managed to convince one person to be my partner.Fortunately he was a decent and a patient man. We managed to do decently well. Of course we did not go too far. I am not aware how we got eliminated. To me we seemed to have done reasonably well.

Cut to present- I no longer play bridge as that needs 4 players and those bridge enthusiasts are now spread over to various parts of the country. But that does not mean I have lost touch with cards. My daughter likes to play cards. She has learnt one card game from my wife ( no idea what it is called) which can be played by any number of players. Here one starts with a card ( say 7 of diamond or 7 of other suits) and every participant has to play the next higher or lower card available with them. The person who disposes off all his cards wins, people left with cards get points depending on cards left with them. Player who has the lowest points after a few rounds wins.

I am not interested in the game, but I am dragged into playing. "We will play only 15 rounds", my daughter assures me.

If I deal the cards, the two would accuse me of giving them bad cards. "I have got two kings", one would say, "and I have got two", another would say, and I could very well see that they were lying because I would have three kings in my hand.

At the end of the 15 rounds, when I invariably finish last, the two have a hearty laugh at my expense. I tell them that the match was fixed, because the two of them were liberally exchanging information about their cards. I also tell them that these card games are like Sharjah cricket tournaments, they were like Pakistan, and I was like India. I would also threaten to pull out of these games like BCCI pulled out from Sharjah tournaments. On rare occasions when I win and one of them finish at the bottom, the loser throws lots of tantrum unlike me, the graceful loser.

Of course, pulling out of these fixed matches has never been a viable option for me, though it is not for want of trying. May be I need to do some introspection why I am so bad in cards- or as they say in cards lingo,Playing cards has never been a strong suit for me.The only way I can finish off their entusiasm for cards is if I start beating them regularly. Just as England's enthusiasm for Twenty20 cricket ended when Yuvraj hit Chris Broad for 6 sixes in an over,I need to hit their card craze for a few sixes.Yes, let me start playing bridge with them.My CCC notes, here I come.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kishore Kumar's sad &serious songs (part I)

He was almost a complete film personality, and if I had my way, I would vote for him as the bollywood star of the millenium.

Kishore Kumar as a comic actor and as singer of light hearted songs is popular not only among older generation, but also among generations who were born after Kishore Kumar had passed away. And it is no small feat for a person who left this world nearly two decades ago.

Like most people, I too was under the impression that Kishore Kumar was mostly a singer of bubbly, happy songs. When it came to sad songs, it is other singers whose names often come to our mind. Kishore Kumar sang just a few sad songs, that is all- it is the commonly held view.

I too subscribed to this view. But when I decided to research Kishore Kumar's sad songs, I was in for a surprise. I kept on discovering songs after sad songs which still have the ability to move the listeners. And the number of such songs is not just a dozen or so, there are many more such songs.

When Kishore Kumar sang happy songs, the listeners felt the joy. When a person of such sunny disposition as Kishore Kumar sang sad songs, he could make his listeners feel the pain. It would seem to me that people who sing great happy songs are capable of singing great sad songs too. It is certainly the case with Kishore Kumar.

Here, I will present a list of Kishore Kumar's sad songs. There are quite a few of them, and I will just present a few of the best such songs.

Song 1
This was perhaps the first sad song sung by Kishore Kumar.Kishore Kumar had a few happy songs as well in this movie, but it is this song that stands out even today.

Dukhi man mere (Funtoosh 1956) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Saahir, MD-S D Burman

Song 2
Jhumroo was a movie in which Kishore Kumar was seen at his versatile best. He was a one man work force in this team. In addition to being an actor and singer, he was even the music director of this movie, and there were very popular happy songs in this movie, but the song that finished higest of them all in Binaca geetmala 1962 final was this song-
Koi humdum na raha (Jhumroo 1962) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Majrooh, MD-Kishore

Song 3
Perhaps one of the gtreatest nostalgic songs of all time
Koi lauta de mere beete huye din (Door gagan ki chaaon mein 1964) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Shailendra, MD-Kishore

Song 4
Awesome song on the topic of spurned love. Superb lyrics penned by Asad Bhopali.

Ajnabi tum jaane pehchaane ( Hum sab ustaad hain 1965 )Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Asad Bhopali,MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 5
Wonderful song which finished 6th in Binaca geetmala final of 1964.
Mere mahboob qayamat hogi ( Mr X in Bombay 1964) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD- Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 6
This song was sung by Rafi and Kishore separately, and the Kishore version filmed on a character artist became more popular.This song finished 17th in Binaca geetmala final of 1969.
Tum bin jaaoon kahan (Pyar ka mausam 1969)Singer- Kishore( Rafi in other version),Lyrics-Majroh,MD- R D Burman

Song 7
Wo shaam kuch azeeb thi (Khamoshi 1969)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Gulzar,MD- Hemant Kumar

Song 8
This philosophical song on life was 21st in Binaca geetmala final of 1970.
Zindagi ka safar (Safar)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Indeevar, MD-Kalyanji Anandji

Song 9
Another song that could move its listeners.
Jeewan se bhari teri aankhen (Safar) Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Indeevar, MD-Kalyanji Anandji

Song 10
Teri duniya se hoke majboor chala (Pavitra paapi 1970)Singer- Kishore,Lyrics-Prem Dhawan,MD- Prem Dhawan

Song 11
Koi hota jisko apna (Mere apne 1971) Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Gulzar,MD-Salil Chowdhary

Song 12
Geet gaata hoon main gungunata hoon main (Laal Patthar 1971)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Dev Kohli, MD-Shankar Jaikishan

Song 13
Khilte hain gul yahan (Sharmili 1971)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics-Neeraj, MD-S D Burman

Song 14
O mere dil ke chain (Mere jeevan sathi 1972) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Majrooh, MD- R D Burman

Song 15
Kiska rasta deke ai dil ai saudaai (Josheela 1973)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Sahir,MD- R D Burman

Song 16
Mere dil mein aaj kya hai (daag 1973) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Sahir,MD-Laxmikant Pyarelal

Song 17
Meri bheegi bheegi si (Anamika 1973) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Majrooh, MD- R D Burman

Song 18
Zindagi ke safar me guzar jaate hain jo mukaam (Aap ki kasam 1974)Singer-Kishore,Lyrics- Anand Bakshi,MD- R D Burman

Song 19
Ghungroo ki tarah bajta hi raha hoon main (Chor Machaye Shor 1974) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics-Ravindra Jain, MD-Ravindra Jain

Song 20
Mera jeewan kora kaagaz (Kora kaagaz 1974) Singer-Kishore, Lyrics- M G Hashmat, MD- Kalyanji Anandji

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

My encounters with mice- part I

Dogs, cats, horses etc are animals that mankind have domesticated over the last few thousands years, but mice appear to have moved in with them uninvited, like refugees. And these mice have continued to torment mankind ever since.

Conventional wisdom has it that women are afraid of mice, but men are not. I think this wisdom is not entirely true. I am a male and I was afraid of mice as a young kid. Of course, admitting to it was a different matter altogether.

Women can actually admit to it and demonstrate it when opportunity presented itself, that they were afraid of mice, and everybody would accept it as a matter of course.But a man cannot admit to it without running the risk of being ridiculed.

Well, as I said, I was afraid of mice, but I managed to hide it ( I feel) by putting up a brave face when face to face with a mouse. In case there were other men in the house, they would take care of the mouse.

But there were cases when I was on my own, and I needed to act. I would try to ignore the mouse, hoping that it would go away and leave the house on its own. But it rarely happened. I would try to scare it off, but all that would only cause the mouse to hide behind some articles, only to come out in the open as if to mock me.

When I could no longer ignore it, I would be forced to contemplate strong action ( similar to the strong action that Govt of India threatens to take every time there is some terrorist attack in India).

I would arm myself for the war. I would wear shoes, and full trousers, and also full shirt. The head would be left unguarded, because there was good probability that the mouse would not be able to target that high. Another reason could be that helmets were not yet in use either in cricket or while riding a two wheeler. Incidentally, two wheelers those days meant bicycles, not scooters or motor bikes.

I would also wear gloves ( one could not take any chances) and carry a stick which needed to be atleast 4 feet long.

Suitably armed like this, I would cautiously approach towards the battle field which was the space behind some furniture in the house. I would move the stick in air menacingly, hoping to score a few browny points over the mouse. I would detect no reaction from the opposition. I would hit the floor with my stick in the general direction where the mouse could be hiding. No reaction.

I would move the furniture around hoping to clear the room a bit for freer movement of the arm. Suddenly I would jump in the air in a reflex action, and the mouse would scurry around to the other corner of the room, missing me my millimeters. Despite my nervousness, I would manage to have a glimpse of the mouse vanishing behind books.

That would really make me uncomfortable. Mouse eating off my prized possessions viz magazines ( Chandamama, Lotpot, Nandan, Indrajal comics, Manoj Bal pocket books etc) was something too painful to even imagine. I needed to do something and fast to protect the books.

I would move towards the books gingerly, and hit the stick against the wall, trying to make the mouse run away from the books. I would even leave one corner free offering the mouse free passage to escape. Like Indian government dealing with terrorists, I fully respected the rights of the mouse.

It appeared to me that the mouse was not interested in my generous offer. More than the mouse, it would put me a tight corner, as then I would become obliged to carry out my threat. I would go to the book shelf, and remove some books, and then jump up in the air, startled. There was the mouse, hiding behind that very book.By the time my airborne frame would land back on the ground, the mouse would have run away.

Sigh of relief, the mouse has run away from the house, I would rationalise and start relaxing. My feelings would be mixed. Certainly it was a stalemate. It would have been better had I managed to kill the mouse instead of just scaring it away. But just like the Indian bowlers did not know where from their next wicket was going to come from, I too had no idea how I was going to notch my first kill against a mouse.

Just as I would almost forget all about the mouse, it would reappear again. By that time I was in no doubt that the mouse had sized me up and was regarding me as a pushover. Big mistake, Mr Mouse,one should not underestimate one's opponent. Like the Indian cricketers, the mouse would tend to become complacent. I would aim at the mouse with my stick, and miss it entirely. The mouse would run away, and again hide, this time behind a huge box.

I would go to the box, and push the box against the wall with all my strength, and I would continue to keep pushing for many minutes. No movement from behind the box. I would pull the box away from the wall, and search for the mouse. There is nothing on the floor. There is nothing on the wall either. Where has the mouse gone? Suddenly, I would jump up in air, startled, as I would notice the mouse hiding on the side of the box. The mouse would run away again, and this time behind the books.

This time I would not pause, I would go to the bookshelf and push the thick book under which the mouse had vanished. I would keep pressing it against the wall for some time. Carefully, I would release the pressure, and then remove the book. This time, just as I was on the verge of jumping up again, I would manage to control myself. There it was, the mouse had got squashed between the book and the wall. And it was not merely dead, it was most sincerely dead, as they say in the "Wizard of the oz".

My chest would swell a few inches, and I would feel like Vetaal ( Phantom)feels just after vanquished an army of baddies singlehandedly. This time my feeling would be unalloyed. I managed to kill a mouse. A 'mouse', can you believe it. No one ridicules Atul and gets away with it. The mouse learnt it the hard way, let it be a lesson for other mice of the world. Hopefully, this would send a strong message to the other mice that I was not to be trifled with.

I would feel happy with myself and with the world. I would tear a piece of paper from an old newspaper, and carefully wrap it around the tail of the mouse, ready to run away, in case the mouse miraculously came back to life. Luckily it would not. I would lift the mouse triumphantly by its tail, and pose with it for the benefit of non existent cameras. Then I would go out of the house, and give my body a rotation , like a discuss thrower, and in a discuss thrower's motion, throw the discuss.., I mean the mouse, away. It would only lands a few feet away, but that did not matter. What mattered was that I had finally triumphed against a mouse.

(to be continued....)
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Explaining old filmstars to new generation

Sholay may be a blockbuster for people of my generation, but those who were born two decades after Sholay was released are just as unimpressed with this movie as I used to be with Devdas and Mother India, movies that were released before I was born.

I tried to introduce my daughter to Sholay, and she was not impressed. I realised that she did not know any of the characters and as such she could not identify with them. Telling her the names of these actors also did not help matters. Then I got a brain wave.

"Look, that person in the movie is Amitabh Bachchan- father of Abhishek Bachchan."-I informed her.

"But he is Mr Crorepati."- She corrected me.

"Yes, he is the anchor of Kaun banega crorepati but he was a famous film hero before that."- I informed her.

"And look, that is Jaya. She is the mother of Abhishek Bachchan."- I continued.

" Crorepati's friend in the movie is called Dharmendra. He is the father of Sunny Deol,Bobby Deol and Esha Deol. And look, the tangewali is Hema Malini, mummy of Esha Deol".

Adding 2+2=4 ( she is good in maths),my daughter said-"Why dont you just tell me that she is the mother of Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol and Esha Deol."

"Err, she is not,... I mean..Look that is Helen. She is the mother of Salman Khan."

My daughter took a closer look, trying to find any resemblance between Helen and Salman Khan.

"And look, that is Sachin.You know him, he comes in TV serials."

"Yes, I know him", she was pleased to see someone whom she could identify from her TV watching.

"See, look at that bearded fellow Sambha,his name is McMohan and he is the uncle of Raveena Tandon. And that fellow Kaalia, he is the brother of the lady who plays the role of Principal in the serial Zabaan Sambhal ke".

By now she was getting interested by the realisation that these oldtimers were relatives of present day actors whom she knew. She brought me a piece of paper, and asked me to write which of the oldtimer actor was related to which present day actor, so that she could memorise it and later impress her friends with her knowledge of these retro actors.

I started to make entries, but soon I found myself making flow charts, where every film personality was somehow related to everyone else.

I started with Kapoors. See, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh are the papa and Mummy of Ranbir Kapoor. Randhir Kapoor and Babita are the Papa and Mummy of Karishma and Kareena. Their grandfather was Raj Kapoor, and great grandfather was Prithvi Raj Kapoor.

Realising that such explanations would be boring to her,I decided to show her some movie clips and explain to her who those people were. I showed her a clip of Tanuja, and explained that she is the mom of Kajol and saas of Ajay Devgan. Nutan, well, she is the mother of Mohneesh Bahl and mausi of Kajol. Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor are brothers of Raj Kapoor and uncles of Rishi Kapoor and Randheer Kapoor.Feroz Khan is the father of Fardeen Khan and father in law of Hrithik Roshan.Premnath, and Rajendra Nath, they are brothers, and they were the brothers in law of Raj Kapoor. Sharmila Tagore is the mom of Saif Ali Khan and Soha. And look this is Jeetendra, papa of Ekta Kapoor, who makes all those saas bahu serials that you watch like an old lady.

" But you too watch cricket on TV,papa."

" Yes, I do, but in cricket you never know the result so there is suspense. But these serials are all similar, where everyone is conspiring against everyone else."

" that is why I watch reality shows." she pointed out.

" Err.. well.. where were we, yes,we were talking about old actors."

"Papa, it means that every film actor is related to everyone else in Hindi movies."- she observed.
Even I was coming to the same conclusion. I realised that Rajendranath was related to Ashwarya Rai, and Mumtaz to Roshan through marriages that took place many decades ago, or many decades later.

When I showed her the clips of Kishore Kumar's songs of "Chalti ka naam gadi", she was hooked. She herself enquired about Kishore Kumar and she quickly grasped the fact that Ashok Kumar and Anup Kumar were his brothers, and that Amit Kumar was his son. In fact, she on her own initiative watched the entire movie, enjoying it to her heart's content. Later I showed her Kishore Kumar's songs from Asha ("eena meena deeka"), Half ticket ("chel cheel chilla ke"), and Padosan ("Ek chatur naar"). She was mightily impressed with Kishore Kumar, and I was pleased that here was one great film celebrity from the past whom even the younger generation finds worthy of admiration.

"Papa, where is Kishore Kumar now ?"
"He died 20 years ago"
"Oh", she was genuinely sorry-"How old was he?"
"He was 58."
"He should have taken better care of his health." She opined, and I wholeheartedly agreed.

"Who were the top hero and heroine those days"- She enquired.

Thinking that now I could sell her on my favourite stars from 1970s, I played a rain song filmed on Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz.

" See, this is Rajesh Khanna, father of Twinkle and father in law of Akshay Kumar. And this is Mumtaz, mother in law of Fardeen Khan."

My daughter watched the video, accompanied by the song sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata. Then she commented- "Papa, India was a poor country those day, was it not? "

" Yes, it was, but how did you know ?"

"See, Fardeen's saas is getting drenched in rain, but she does not change her clothes even once in the song. These days, people change their clothes so many times in a song even when it is not raining. Twinkle's papa is also dancing in the same clothes throughout the song."

"Well, err.. you see..Look.. here is Joy Mukherjee, uncle of Rani Mukherjee..." I exclaimed.
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