Dhak Dhak Song

Ever since Madhuri Dixit returned to India she is trying very hard to enter the Indian film industry. She is sitting as one of the judges in the dance show on television channels where her songs are extolled by the dancers. Also doing a couple of advertisement endorsing the toothpaste that remove all the tooth troubles and shines our teeth. She has appeared in item songs against Ranbir Kapoor and worked in the Dedh Isquiya against Naseerudin Shah. But she is still to hit the limelight. One of the negative factors is her advancing age and availability of fresh faces in plenty. She seems to be desperate.

In her hey days, she really set the screen ablaze with her sensuous dances. One of these was from the movie Beta and it was titled “Dhak Dhak”. It was so provocative that she earned the eponym of being the “Dhak Dhak” girl. The song was not original as is the case with many songs which have been lifted from South Indian movies and foreign movies. It has been happening since old days. The only difference is that in those days due to the lack of so many sources of information nobody could suspect the copy. But today with the explosion of information available through internet nothing remains hidden long and soon becomes exposed.

So this song was adapted from an Illayaraja composition called “Abba nee teeyani debba” from the Telugu movie Jagadeka Veerudu Atikola Sundari featuring superstar Chiranjeevi and Sridevi. Sridevi looks much graceful and devoid of any sensuousness.

Not So Khamosh

Kalicharan

Khamosh” , meaning keep your mouth shut, is a signature dialogue spoken by the ace villain, anti-hero and good man actor Shatrughan Sinha of Bollywood movies.

kali

This is about his 1976 film in which he played a fearless cop Prabhakar and his look-alike, the ferocious Kalicharan. The movie directed by Subhash Ghai became an instant success. It not only gave Hindi cinema the famous item number Jaa Ra Jaa O Harjai, but also created one of the biggest bad men of Bollywood, Lion or as he pronounced his name as “Loin”. We are talking about Ajit. Following picture, captured in the year 1975, by ace lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar, on the sets of the very film, Kalicharan, lead actor Shatrughan Sinha as the title character is seen pulling on his prison chains. The picture brings back memories of the film that made women named Mona and Lily famous. It also reminds one of the days when Shatrughan Sinha, the level headed politician, could be a bad man and fight bad men even on screen.

A whiff of Freshness: Poetry of Irshad Kamil

I am sure many young people may not be knowing his name but humming the songs written by him. The young writer hails from Malerkotla, Sangrur, Punjab. His name is Irshad Kamil. He has breathed a freshness in the Bollywood film songs. It is just a beginning. I am sure, he shall blaze a trail in this field.

Man of many gifts, he has dabbled in various professions like a reporter for newspapers in Chandigarh. He wrote scripts of many serials for television. Some of the films he had written the songs for are Jab We Met, Rockstar, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani.

Recently, I watched his interview on Rajya Sabha television. Besides discussing so many things, he told the interviewer about a popular romantic song from Jab We Met. He met a woman who told him that she listens this song daily in the morning as a prayer song. Just have a look at the lyrics.

Na hai yeh pana,

Na Khona hi hai,

Tera Na hona jane Kyun,

hona hi hai
Tum se hi din hota hai,

Surmaiye shaam aati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi
Har ghari saans aati hai,

Zindagi kehlati hai,

Tumse hi tumse hi

It is just a matter of perspective. Lyrics are just like a prayer. Kamil said he was himself surprised and went through the lyrics in his mind and realised that they are really like a prayer in the praise of God.
Well done.

Sepia Memories from Bollywood

Mumbai Mirror, a very popular news paper from Times of India Group, is bringing on every Wednesday a photo article on the rare sepia colored photos which had been shot by the ace lens man Jagdish Aurangabadkar on different occasions. These photos bring out the different moods, personalities and the clothing style made popular by the stars or became their trademark. Besides each photograph, is the analyses of various personalities seen in the picture. The analyses seem to be very penetrating and the person doing has a very keen eye for the details. Here are some examples.

Cricket and Gentlemen.

Cricket is the sport of Bollywood. Dalliances between actors and players have long provided grist to a prurient press. And in this season of cricket madness we thought it appropriate to dig out this gem. This picture was shot at a benefit match soon after the end of the Indo-China war of 1962. Two of Mumbai’s biggest film icons, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar pose here before the start of the match. From their formal footwear you know that their stint on the pitch is not going to be a long one. Kapoor’s mischievous grin and Kumar’s more restrained smile are indicative of the widely contrasting personalities of the two and their sometimes uneasy equation.

The picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a celebration party for the highest sale of records of, no prizes for guessing this one, Qurbani,has the three leading actors, Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna and Zeenat Aman taking over the stage in style.
With songs like Laila Main Laila, Aap Jaisa Koi and Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain Aise, the songs of the Feroz Khan directed film were an instant success. Half the reason for the success of the music could be attributed to the singers Asha Bhonsle, Nazia Hasan Kishore Kumar and Mohhammad Rafi alongwith the music directors Kalyanji Anandji. And the other half? Well, that just goes to the three stylish actors who made them look so beautiful on screen. The sexy Zeenat Aman in her swimsuit probably made the slow number Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain racier than it was meant to be.
At this event, the always-stylish Feroz is seen demonstrating a two-step in his signature silk shirt unbuttoned down to mid chest while the suave Vinod Khanna in a simple shirt accessorised with what looks like beads from the Osho ashram seems to be providing the background score for his friend.
Dressed in a salwar kameez much unlike her onscreen persona in the film in which she played a cabaret dancer, Zeenat Aman stands behind her two co-stars cheering them on.
Also check out the cord coming out of the microphone held by Khanna. In this day and age of cordless equipments, it is hard to even imagine that the cinestars did use such regular instruments once upon a time.

This picture captured by veteran photographer Jagdish Aurangabadkar at a mahurat in RK Studios makes for the perfect family portrait. Randhir Kapoor surrounded by the three women in his life, Babita, Karisma and the young Kareena in flowing long dresses, looks happy. Taken probably during the 20-yearlong separation between Babita and husband Randhir Kapoor, the picture talks a lot about the Kapoor family traditions that both hung on to even during the long years they stayed apart. It is funny to see both Karisma and Kareena fully covered from neck to toe, whereas nowadays one hardly gets to see both the Kapoor sisters in that same avatar.

Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan take direction from Hrishikesh Mukherjee on the sets of their 1973 blockbuster Namak Haraam. And by Khanna’s expression, this must have been a real eye popper of a scene in discussion. Immortalised on reel by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, this picture brings back memories of the good old 70s when printed shirts made from the same fabric worn by two actors were a popular fad. Remember how Amitabh and Dhramendra in the song Sa Re Ga Ma from Chupke Chupke, also directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, wore the same shirt? In this picture however, Amitabh shares the shirt chemistry with his costar Rajesh Khanna. After a striking onscreen shared by the actors in the 1972 Hrishikesh Mukherjee film Anand, they were brought together once again by the director to essay the roles of the two friends Somu and Vicky in Namak Haraam. Ironically, in real life, they were far from being friends. Rajesh Khanna who had ruled the silver screen till Bachchan came on the scene had major ego clashes with the younger star. They later went on to have a cold war that ran over decades until a couple of years back, while presenting the lifetime achievement award to Khanna at an award function overseas, Bachchan mentioned that the term ‘superstar’ was originally coined for Rajesh Khanna.
In the picture, however, all seems to be well between the two actors. While Bachchan is busy concentrating on what Hrishikesh Mukherjee is saying, Khanna seems to be shocked with something on the other side. Or perhaps it was the scene that got his eyes popping out. We’ll never know.

Circa 1979. One of the biggest films in Bollywood history was launched. And this was the party.
This picture taken by Jagdish Aurangabadkar on September 30, the same year, captures some of the icons of the Indian film industry in a single frame. It was the launch of Yash Chopra’s blockbuster film Silsila at Rajkamal Studios.
Prem Chopra standing hand in hand with Amitabh Bachchan seems to be sharing a joke with the three Kapoor men Shashi, Randhir and Rishi standing to one side with Sanjeev Kumar holding on to his cigarette.

Their clothes reveal a lot about the men in this picture. While upcoming Rishi Kapoor and the ruling star of the industry then, Amitabh, can be seen in fashionable jersey shirts, the elder Shashi Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar look relaxed in the desi kurta-pyjama.
The two leading ladies of the film, which released two years later and went on to become a blockbuster, Jaya Bachchan and Rekha, would have made the picture look even better. But maybe their presence would have been a hindrance to the uninhibited laughter being shared on stage by the men

Dharmendra and Hema Malini fell in love in the mid seventies on the sets of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay. The couple who became a rage as much for their chemistry on screen as off it, came together again in Pramod Chakravorty’s Dream Girl. The 1977 film had Hema Malini play Sapna alias Padma alias Champabai alias Dreamgirl alias Rajkumari with her real life lover

The scene captured by lensman Jagdish Aurangabadkar is on the sets of the 1977 film Dream Girl. The picture has director Pramod Chakravorty describing the sequence to his lead actors Dharmendra, Hema and Ashok Kumar. And while the older actor Ashok Kumar seems to be having a problem with Chakaravorty’s explanation, Dharmendra seems to be amused by the same. Hema on the other hand seems to be lost in her own dream world.
Ashok Kumar in his trademark silk dressing gown and Dharmendra sporting a retro striped shirt make the scene a particular favourite. The scene stealer is however the pillows. Yes, the pillows which fill in for the missing cushions on the wooden sofa, are our particular favourite. Now, that’s what we call effective production. Wonder how they dreamt that one up!

RD’s Birthday

It was Rahul Dev Burman’s 36th birthday party. Panchamda had invited his close friend Randhir Kapoor for the big day, on June 27, 1975. And considering it was Randhir who had helped Burman pave his way into the RK Films camp with the film Dhongeein 1975, inviting Randhir’s wife Babita and younger brother Rishi was obvious. In this picture, captured by Shyam Aurangabadkar, we can see the three special guests sharing the frame with RD.
Rishi ‘Chintu’ Kapoor came as the bearer of the birthday gift. Babita, clad in a transparent chiffon saree and a sleeveless blouse that dipped dangerously at the neckline, looked resplendent as she held hands with the birthday boy RD.
The simplicity of a birthday party in 1970s Bollywood can be spotted in the floral decoration at the door to Burman’s residence. Unlike 21st century, a birthday party did not essentially need a fancy location. It did not need blaring music. What it needed was a heart and some really good friends.
Another thing that deserves a mention is Panchamda’s open mouth. While everyone is busy smiling at the lens, the music composer is caught with his mouth wide-open, probably singing ‘Happy birthday to me’.

Anand Bakshi: Master of Simplicity

One lyricist dominated the Hindi films scene as no one has done before and after till yet. His name was Anand Bakshi. From seventies to the end of 2nd millennium, he penned innumerable songs for Hindi films. So many of his songs were instant hits. The secret lies, I think, in simple words and day to day human chat which touched the chords in simple folks. Many songs were describing the simple dialogues between two lovers on the trivial things like color of bangles and clothes. It may be due to the fact that he was a Punjabi and simplicity of the land found an outlet in his songs. It is also a fact that many of his song had their echoes in Pakistani Punjabi songs. This does not mean he could not write the serious songs. He was able to express the sentiments in simple words as against the difficult style of many of his contemporaries like Sahir Ludhiyanvi and Shakeel whose poetical standard was much higher.

Like so many Indians who bore the trauma of partition and had to leave their established homes in the Pakistan, Bakshi’s parents had migrated to Lucknow after partition and rebuild their lives. Many of the migrants were wise and foresaw that East Punjab which is now the Punjab state in India cannot accommodate all the migrants and besides that East Punjab had its economy based almost entirely on agriculture and was inferior in many aspects to its sibling Punjab which was then West Punjab. The land there was more fertile, weather was better and most of the rivers passed through that area. Then there were industries and education centres. So these people fanned out and settled in big cities like Delhi, Dehradun, parts of Hariyana and cities like Kanpur, Lucknow and Bariely in Uttar Pradesh. Being the diligent they have once again rebuild their lives and even surpassed the original standards. They have also become cleverer due to hindsight.

Anand Bakshi wrote songs and poems when he served in the Indian Army. His heart was set on making it big in the Hindi cinema. After leaving the job, he resolutely stayed and struggled in the filmdom and when chance came became the most prolific song writer. He was nominated 20 times for best song writer and won the prize for 4 times.

He also wanted to sing. If you are a lyricist and your songs are being sung by so many singers, then you must also be thinking of trying to sing what you have written. He only got 1 chance to sing a full duet with melody queen Lata Mangeshkar in a movie called Mom Ki Gudiya. The song is “Baghon mein bahar“. Incidentally, a Punjabi song similar in tune to this song had been sung by Noorjahan in Punjabi for a Punjabi film in Pakistan. I have somewhere read an anecdote that Anand Bakshi came wearing his best suit for the recording and when Laxmi Kant commented jokingly about his, he told that today is a big day as I am singing with the greatest singer of this world and surely cameramen would take many snaps.  In addition to this he has sang the opening lines (mukhdas) in some other songs like “aaja teri yaad aiye” in charas movie. He paired up with Laxmikant and Pyarelal duo of music directors in more than 100 films followed by R.D.Burman.

Ethereal Whistling

When we were growing up, whistling was considered as a bad habit. Many of the boys dared to attract the attention of young girls by whistling and invariably landed the boys in trouble. In many songs whistling has been so sweet that everyone likes to try it or at least enjoys it. Who can forget the whistling by Aamir Khan in the song  “Chaand Sifarish” from the movie “Fannaa”. It totally dominates the whole song. In fact, the music director duo of this film Jatin-Lalit complemented the man who actually do the whistling and not without reason. In fact it is the leitmotif of background music in the film.

The man is Nagesh Surve also known as Rishiraj, who is now about 59 years of age and considered as the unchallenged king of whistling in Bollywood. He is in this industry for more than 33 years. His range and whistling is so melodious that it is often thought that the notes are issuing from the flute not from the lips of any human being. In fact, when late Pt Bismillah Khan happened to hear whistling snatches of raga Yaman Kalyan, he assumed that Surve was playing it on the flute. Kishore Kumar’s compliment too rings in his ears: “You whistle just as I sing — effortlessly and flawlessly.”

Every music director who has used his whistling lavish praises on him. From Pyarelal — of the Laxmikant Pyarelal team — to Pritam , who has used his whistling prowess in the much-awaited Dhoom II, everybody agrees that “he is not just the best but the only whistler in the film industry who has a tremendous sense of mike balancing”.

From Julie to Karz, Hero to Tezaab, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Koi Mil Gaya, Satya to Lage Raho Munnabhai, not to forget the bird calls in Paheli and Krrish, Surve has whistled his way unfailingly through tinsel world. His career as the ace whistler in 1400 Bollywood flicks.

His modest recording studio, which doubles as his residence, is tucked in one of the flats in a housing estate in Goregaon East. The room — with its perforated walls, two huge sound boxes, spools and microphones — exudes an old world charm in keeping with the avuncular image of the man himself.

“The other day my doctor was telling me casually that the Subhanallah ring tone is just incomparable. ‘Kya whistling ki hai,’ he had exclaimed. He didn’t know that I was the one who had whistled the tune. I didn’t tell him, or else he would have hiked his fee,” chuckles the unassuming Surve, interspersing his words with some impromptu whistling.

In an interview to a TV channel, he told how he developed the whistling into this art. All the friends will stroll on Chowpatti after dinner. Since they lived in different places in the neighborhood, he used to call them by whistling. He is also unhappy about the lack of recognition for his work. He says that his whistling is used as ringtones by mobile service provider companies without paying him anything. Interested readers can listen to his interview on the TV channel.

Most people in the locality know him as music director Rishiraj, who has done the background score for several Hindi and Marathi films. In fact, last year he won a state award for his score in the Marathi film, Mi Tujhi Tujhich Re. “In the Seventies, there was another person in the film industry by the name Nagesh. So I decided to rechristen myself,” he explains.

Surve has a firm grounding in both eastern and western classical music — he is both a sitarist and a violinist. He spent his childhood in Dadar which in the older times was the nucleus around which the Mumbai grew. There were so many studios and many high names likes of Laxmikant Pyarelal, Vasant Desai and Jaikishan lived in Dadar. “I was friends with Pyarelal. We went to the same Bombay municipality school. It was from his father, Ramprasad Sharma, that I learnt to play the violin. Of all the musical instruments, I think playing the violin is the toughest,” he says.

The exposure to both eastern and western classical music helped hone his skill as a musician while his visits to a nearby recording studio where he would attend sessions for hours on end drew him gradually into the vortex of Hindi film music.

Initially, he played the sitar and then the violin in the orchestra. Whistling happened by chance. “Kishore Sharma, who was then assistant music director to Usha Khanna, heard me whistling once and said that he had never heard such melodious notes before. He said that they would use my whistling in the film Pyasi.” Later, Lakshmikant Pyarelal gave him a break in Subhash Ghai’s Hero.

That marked the turning point of Surve’s career. Whistling took centrestage though the whistler himself preferred to remain in the wings. “Anyone can whistle,” says Lalit. “But Surve whistles by just looking at the notations. He knows how to improvise, and his sense of cadence and technique is excellent.” Pritam, Dhoom II’s music director, agrees. The whistling in Dhoom II is restricted to a song which virtually has no musical instruments. “It has the sound of objects of daily use like, say, the trash can. So whistling is an integral part of that number.”

Surve has set himself another goal now. He plans to cut an album of ragas. “Many companies have asked me to whistle tunes of old Hindi film numbers. But that doesn’t excite me. What I would like to do is cut an album comprising Indian ragas.” His face glows as he puckers his lips and gives a quick demonstration of how he would whistle an alap or a jhala.

That denotes a long journey for whistling which hasn’t quite been able to rid itself of its derogatory association with eve teasing. “That is why it’s not taken seriously,” Surve laments. True, there have been singers in the West — like Roger Whittaker and John Lennon — who have been known to whistle and sing with equal dexterity. Back home, the late R.D. Burman made it an indispensable component of filmi music.

Whistling as a source of melody, will always have to come from within. It can never be reproduced digitally as the keyboard — which dominates today’s world of music — can never capture the subtle nuances of the sound of whistling.

But Surve is continuing the whistling art by grooming his younger daughter Rupali who has whistled alongside him in films like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Dhoom II. And with Eves like Rupali taking to whistling, maybe they will succeed in teasing out the derogatory connotation of whistling and help it gain due recognition.

What is in a name?

In Bollywood, if a movie is hit then the star name is repeated in other of his films because it is thought lucky. Thus Amitabh‘s character has been called “Vijay” in as many as 19 movies. We had a boy who was attendant in our office whose name was also “Vijay”. I asked him his name and when he told “Vijay”, I jokingly said that this is the name Amitabh has in many movies, he said reel life is not the real life. Although, in most of the films, Vijay came from a very poor background and destiny catapulted him to riches- all rags to riches kind of stories. May be our Vijay was in the initial stages of his role in the life although the chances of his becoming a man covered in moolah seem to be remote.

Similarly, there is another name which is very popular in Hindi movies and that is Rahul.  This name was adopted by Shahrukh Khan in as many as seven movies. Before that he had repeated another popular name called “Raj”. Then Salman Khan thought that “Raj” is also lucky for him, so this was repeated in four of his movies. But now he thinks “Prem” is very lucky for him.

Similarly when in some of Salman’s movies, the songs for him were sung by southern singer S.P.Balasubramaniam, he for sometimes insisted on the music directors to get the songs synced by him to be sung by this singer only.

As for as the girl’s names are concerned, Pooja is the most popular name. Almost all the popular modern heroines like Karishma Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit used this name for their characters in movies.