Awara Hoon. Ya gardish mein wo aasman ka taara hoon.
Welcome to this first “episode” of Mehfil Mastee blog, titled Swar Baaware. I say “first”, which clearly means this is not meant to be the “last”; indeed, I plan to post a series of thoughts here, hoping to involve many artistes – professional or amateur. It would be all about Art and music would probably dominate the theme. With my love for Hindi film music, popularly called Bollywood music, the initial posts are more likely to be dominated by Bollywood music, but I do hope to build this into all kinds of music.
Hindi film music is integral to Bollywood films – right since the first talkie, Alam Aara, in 1931. Music gives a distinct differentiation to Bollywood, or rather all Indian films, compared to films made elsewhere in the world. Western movies will have a song sometimes, or a musical sometimes. Contrast this with films made in India. How many films have we made with no songs in the film? A rare “Kanoon” or “Ittefaq”?
This is not to say that every Indian movie goer likes songs in our films. Indeed, there used to be a large bunch of movie goers at least till the seventies, who would routinely walk out of the hall as soon as a song broke out on screen. Call of nature, a smoke or both later, they would happily re-join when the song ended. Interestingly, this lot seems to have nearly vanished now. More importantly, though, they must be a minority, since film makers were very afraid of making films without songs.
It is said that Raj Kapoor was making Boot Polish (1954), the original idea was to make the film with no songs. However, after RK’s 1953 film Aah did not get the desired commercial success, the great showman found it risky to release a film without songs. He summoned his favourite team of musicians, the great Shankar-Jaikishan (SJ), and asked them to weave their magic by including songs in the film. The team of SJ, lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri, with a team of great singers (Rafi, Manna Dey, Talat Mehmood, Asha Bhosle and others), came up with an unforgettable album, including the iconic “nanhe munne bachhe teri mutthi mein kya hai”.
Bimal Roy’s Parakh (1960) is also said to have been planned originally to be a film without songs. Luckily for us, that changed and we had some gems churned out by Salil Chaudhary (Salil Da also wrote the story of this film) and Shailendra, Lata and Manna Dey.
So we will talk a lot of music. I would like to talk to artistes, get their views on our film music. Get them to sing a song, and post it all here. Hope you will join me in this journey.
Feel free to share your opinions about this blog, comments, suggestions, criticisms, whatever. If you have any useful information to share on above trivia, please feel welcome.
Let us get started, and since this is the first post, I will have to sing a song to you myself. But I promise this will not be a permanent feature. Would you like to sing to us all? Write to me today.
Hear me out, RK’s great international hit: Awara Hoon. Lyrics by Shailendra, Originally sung by Mukesh.
Headphones recommended, always.