Thumak Thumak – Film: Ek Ke Baad Ek
Sung by SANJEEV RAMABHADRAN
Composer S.D. Burman nearly always got the best renditions out of his singers at various points in their careers. He and playback singer Mohammed Rafi collaborated on many musical masterpieces of the Hindi Film Industry during the 1950s and 1960s, particularly the films of never-say-die actor Dev Anand. The soundtrack of the film “Ek Ke Baad Ek”, while fully representative of the artistes’ respective styles, is not nearly as well-remembered today as some of their other hits.
Rafi-sahab’s original rendition of the song presented here carries the velvet touch and impish mischief for which he was well-known. Though not framed in a traditionally classical setting, the song has conspicuous moorings in the sprightly Hindustani raga Gaud Sarang and should dispel any doubts about the strong presence of classical elements in the film music of decades past.
Mohammed Rafi’s musical connections with actors Dilip Kumar and Shammi Kapoor and composers Naushad and Shankar-Jaikishan are well recognized. Similarly, the multi-talented Kishore Kumar is often remembered as the “voice of Dev Anand”. However, it is our considered opinion that the music of the Rafi-Dev-S.D. Burman synergy was characterized by a special sweetness, vibrance, and sheer abandon unlike any other in Hindi Film Music. Amongst all the songs of “Ek Ke Baad Ek”, this song particularly exemplifies these traits.
Thandi Thandi Saawan Ki Phuhaar – Film: Jaagte Raho
Sung by ARMEEN RAMABHADRAN
“Jaagte Raho” is easily of one of the most colorful and best-loved soundtracks to come out of R.K. Studios. While the Shankar-Jaikishan duo was surely the mainstay for R.K., the task of scoring the music for this award-winning film was given to the innovative Salil Choudhury.
Each song of the film is unique – no singer has been repeated and each composition shows the influence of a different musical style. While the film may be best remembered for everlasting hits such as Lata Mangeshkar’s “Jaago Mohan Pyaare”, Mukesh’s “Zindagi Khwaab Hai”, and the Mohammed Rafi-Balbir duet “Aive Duniyaa Deve Duhaai”, the song featured here is our favorite. As the hero (Raj Kapoor) scurries from home to home in the city building seeking refuge from the angry mob, he encounters a drunken vagabond (Motilal) and his disconsolate wife (Sumitra Devi). Finding her husband in a sour mood, the woman tries to soothe him, though she has long felt helpless to relieve him of his bad habits. At her husband’s insistence on some entertainment, she pours out her heart in this song in the hope of emotionally reaching him, but to no avail. Her husband, enamored by things modern, has been set on hearing the latest “hit song”, “Loshe Vai Vai” (sung by Sandhya Mukherjee later in the film). He is, unfortunately, not the least bit impressed with her song, steeped as it is in traditional Indian music.
Hearing the song makes one wonder what sort of heartless man, sober or not, could remain unmoved by such a call. The composition itself is based on the popular Hindustani raga Desh, heard predominantly in light classical forms such as thumri. Asha Bhosle‘s original rendition is a poignant and highly emotive one, and is yet another example of her ability to do justice to all types of songs. While many have unfairly typecast her as the voice of the bold, brash, and modern, she sings with a plaintive sweetness and a sincerity she could summon at will, but which was perhaps not exploited to the fullest by composers of the day.
While Sanjeev has always considered himself a huge fan of Asha Bhosle, this song is, without a doubt, Armeen’s contribution to the Sureele Sapne repertoire. “Thandi Thandi” seems to be, unfortunately, rarely, if ever included in any definitive collection of Asha Bhosle’s film songs. However, it is the song by which we remember this movie and, indeed, one of the favorite songs by which we like to remember the versatile Asha Bhosle.
Husn Bhi Hai Udaas Udaas – Film: Fareb
Sung by SANJEEV RAMABHADRAN
The late Kishore Kumar has long been celebrated throughout the Hindi film music world as a multifaceted genius with superb comic and musical talents. So many listeners know and love the robust-voiced Kishore who could deliver many moods from the melancholy to the romantic to the outright raucous.
Fewer are acquainted with the softness and sensitivity he has displayed, particularly early in his career. This song, a wonderful composition under the baton of veteran composer Anil Biswas, is from the movie “Fareb”, whose soundtrack is perhaps best known for the beautiful Kishore-Lata duet “Aa Mohabbat Ki Basti Basaayenge Ham”. In this song, Kishore’s voice moves with wonderful ease between registers, and has a charming suppleness that deftly negotiates some intricate passages. Our first listen to a snippet of this piece left us dazed and begging for more.
Those who claim Kishore lacked technical ability or refinement should listen to his rendition of this song. After hearing it, one is forced to wonder why composers did not give him many more such songs to sing. Kishore himself had gone on record to list it as one of his ten favorite solos of his entire career. “Husn Bhi Hai”, which has become a hot favorite of ours as well, is rendered here by Sanjeev.
Tum Kya Jaano – Film: Shin Shinaki Boobla Boo
Sung by ARMEEN RAMABHADRAN
The film “Shin Shinaki Boobla Boo” is likely best remembered as another shining example of one of Hindi Film Music’s most memorable creative synergies, that of Lata Mangeshkar and music director C. Ramchandra. Unlike some of his contemporaries, C. Ramchandra was largely against having Lata sing at very high pitches for sustained periods of time, and chose his song scales accordingly. This insight enabled him to fully exploit the warmth of Lata’s lower vocal register, and many of his songs in Lata’s voice thus carry a special sweetness that entirely faded away in the decades to follow.
This song is carried almost entirely by the vocal melody, with sparing support from the tabla, mandolin, and an organ-like drone. The subdued cry of the sarangi (replaced here by a violin) further emphasizes the pathos in the song. Presented here is Armeen’s rendition of “Tum Kya Jaano, Tumhaari Yaad Men Ham Kitna Roye”.