Sunday, June 23, 2013

Inhi Logon Ne Le Leena ‘Gaana’ Mera

There is no shortage of instances in Hindi film music where traditional folk tunes, classical bandish and other popular tunes have been used again and again by various composers. In this post I’m talking about one song that has been used as is three times, and slight variations of the tune another three times.

Everyone knows about Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah, a film that was so long in the making that between the time it was conceived and finally released, more than one and a half decade had passed. Its composer dies during the making of the film, and the lead actress passed away a few weeks after the release of the film. The film and its soundtrack eventually turned out to be a huge success. One of the most popular mujras in the film was Inhi Logon Ne Le Leena Dupatta Mera. The song was first shot in black and white on a much younger Meena Kumar around 1956. The film then went into cold storage for some time, only to be restarted in colour. The song, therefore, had to be filmed again. How I wish the film was made when it was started, as the black and white clip of the song looks much better not only because of a young Meena Kumari, but also the sets that look much more grand in black and white.

Here is a brief clipping of the original as well as the version that was finally included in the film:

Inhi Logon Ne - Pakeezah (1972) - Lata Mangeshkar - Ghulam Mohammed - Majrooh Sultanpuri

It wasn’t until a few years back that I came to know that this song with almost the same tune and lyrics was used many years earlier by Pt. Gobindram, who composed it for the film Himmat (1941) in Shamshad Begum’s voice. It is believed that this song was probably popular among the tawaifs of that era and Pt. Gobindram based his song on that. Aziz Kashmiri was credited with the lyrics, although it cannot be ruled out that he borrowed heavily from the original song.

Inhi Logon Ne - Himmat (1941) - Shamshad Begum - Pt. Gobindram - Aziz Kashmiri

A couple years later, Pt. Gobindram used it again in a comic situation in Aabroo (1943), with Yakub doing the singing honours. Tanvir Naqvi got the lyric credit, but the lyrics were almost exactly the same except for an opening verse.

Inhi Logon Ne - Aabroo (1943) - Yakub - Pt. Gobindram - Tanvir Naqvi

I have also found some similarities of this tune with some other songs. I wouldn’t say they’re exact replicas but my untrained ear senses some similarity.

Let’s look at this song from Achhut Kanya (1936). This film marked the debut of Ashok Kumar as a leading man. The film had a ‘performance’ song in a village fair. Try humming the first line - Choodi Main Laaya Anmol - and chances are that it would take you to Inhi Logon Ne.

Choodi Main Laya Anmol Re - Achhut Kanya (1936) - Mumtaz Ali & Sunita Devi - Saraswati Devi - J. S Kashyap

Now I come to a set of three songs that draw a little from this tune, make considerable changes, but are almost like exact replicas among themselves. Incidentally, all these three songs are female-female duets and composed by composer-duos.

First, this Lata Mangeshkar – Shamshad Begum duet from Sartaj (1950) compsoed by Husnalal Bhagatram. The similarity between this song and Inhi Logon Ne is not very apparent, but I do sense some similarity. I leave it for the more knowledgeable people to comment if at least some of the notes are similar in the first line.

Dil Ki Qadar Nahin Jaani - Sartaj (1950) - Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum - Husnalal Bhagatram - Majrooh Sultanpuri

then we come to this song from Beti (1969), composed by Sonik Omi.

Lehenga Manga De Mere Babu - Beti (1969) - Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar - Sonik Omi - Shakeel Badayuni

The next song came more than two decades later. This song composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal for J. P Dutta’s Kshatriya (1993) borrows heavily from the Sonik Omi song. Not only is the tune of the mukhda the same as the Beti song, even the first antara follows a similar pattern. Judge for yourself.

Dil Na Kisi Ka Jaaye - Kshatriya (1993) - Lata Mangeshkar & Kavita Krishnamurthy - Laxmikant Pyarelal - Anand Bakshi

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Demystifying Ghalib - A Hundred Glories


Here is my amateurish attempt at demystifying some of Ghalib’s verses. This was attempted by me a couple of months back on Swar Sutra, a Facebook Group dedicated to non-film music.

The ghazal I selected was one which is not often picked by ghazal singers to sing, primarily because of its complexity and esotericism.

सद जलवह रू-ब-रू है जो मिज़हगां उठाइये
ताक़त कहां कि दीद का अहसां उठाइये

(सद = hundred; जलवह = glory; मिज़हगां = eyelashes; दीद = sight; अहसां = obligation)

It is all a matter of lifting one’s eyelashes and all glory will manifest before one’s eyes. But, does one have the strength to behold all the glory? This is a beautiful verse. At a very literal level it could be talking of the beloved before the lover’s eye and the burden of obligation the lover feels just by the fact that the lover has presented herself before him, but looking at it from a spiritual angle, it could be about the God manifesting Himself in a hundred glories. There is an implication in this verse of Prophet Moses’ experiences on Koh-e-Toor, when God revealed himself before him as a divine light (barq-e-tajalli) and Moses could not bear to see it and fainted.

है संग पर बरात-ए-म`आश-ए-जुनून-ए-`इशक़
य`नी हनूज़ मिन्नत-ए-तिफ़लां उठाइये

(संग = stone; बरात = writ; म`आश = livelihood; मिन्नत = obligation; तिफ़लां = children)

Children usually throw stones as madmen. Ghalib says that these stones are like livelihood for madmen. That is, those mad in love are obliged by children who throw stones at them, as that is important for their existence.

दीवार बार-ए-मिन्नत-ए-मज़दूर से है ख़म
ऐ ख़ान-मां-ख़राब न अहसां उठाइये

(बार = weight; ख़म = bent; ख़ान-मां-ख़राब = one whose house is destroyed)

Like the previous two ash'aar this one also talks about obligations and almost in a preachy tone tells people not to take any obligation. Equating life to a house, the poet opines that your life is disheveled because you have taken so many obligations and you’re now totally supplicant to the ones who obliged you.

या मेरे ज़ख़म-ए-रश्क को रुसवा न कीजिये
या परदह-ए-तबस्सुम-ए-पिनहां उठाइये

(ज़ख़म-ए-रश्क = wound of envy; रुसवा = disgrace, reveal; तबस्सुम-ए-पिनहां = hidden smile)

This one is trickier than it appears. There is an either-or situation here. The beloved has a hidden smile on her face, and this makes the lover extremely jealous as not knowing the reason for the smile makes him assume the worst, possibly the time the beloved spent with his rival. The more he is kept in the dark, the more obvious his jealousy becomes and he is disgraced in public. So, the lover wants the beloved to either stop smiling so that he doesn’t feel jealous, or reveal the secret of her smile. Revealing the secret can lead to two outcomes – one, the reason is quite innocuous and the lover stops feeling jealous; and secondly, the reason could validate his assumption and his jealousy becomes even more obvious. In the second case, we’re back to square one. The jealousy persits. So what does the lover eventually achieve?

Now let’s listen to this ghazal in the voice of Tarannum Naaz.