I think, the Maula likes my voice: Kailash Kher

You are known for songs that start with the word ‘Maula’, including the famous song from Delhi 6, composed by legendary A.R.Rahman. Is there any connection in such songs?I had a ‘Maula’ song in The Rising too. You know, Sufi songs are spiritual meditative numbers. You cannot place such songs in a movie for the sake of entertainment. You cannot use the term ‘Maula’ for a random reason. Naqli duniya mein asli kaam karne ke liye aapko asli hona padega.

Is ‘Maula’ your favourite word?

Ha ha. I think, the Maula likes my voice. Do you know that I have also sung Hanuman Chalisa for Aadesh Shrivastava and a Gujarati prayer for Devi Maa etc. In our country, whenever you sing songs related to the almighty, you need to be careful. You will be accepted only if you sound genuine.Continue reading “I think, the Maula likes my voice: Kailash Kher”

In Search of A.R.Rahman

There’s an interesting paragraph in Baradwaj Rangan‘s post about A.R. Rahman‘s music for “I“, Shankar‘s latest magnum opus where he tells how he feels that the album is wholly individual and free.   “Free from the constraints of Tamil cinema. Free from hewing to situations. Free to leap off a cliff and land on a passing cloud and float away for a while. Whatever you think of Shankar’s filmmaking, you have to give him this: he wields one hell of a hammer. He liberates Rahman.”

The greatest thing about art is that it affects everyone differently. It brings forth opinions and a deeper understanding of pop culture if not society as a whole. In many ways, A.R. Rahman is like Bob Dylan in the 60s. They both changed our general perception of a form of music till their arrival. Dylan changed songwriting, Rahman changed arrangements. And after a period of unparalleled adulation, they both became less prominent. If the last 3 years are any indication, Rahman’s throne has all but been captured by other musicians. Continue reading “In Search of A.R.Rahman”

In Conversation with Aditi Rao Hydari: "I have moved on from Rockstar"

Aditi Rao Hydari in BikiniIn a freewheeling chat  with MAM, Aditi Rao Hydari tells us that she is not in any race to reach the top in the industry. From her bold new avatar to her earlier girl next door image, the actress takes us through her slow yet assured career in showbiz. You can listen to and also downloadContinue reading “In Conversation with Aditi Rao Hydari: "I have moved on from Rockstar"”

Prasoon Joshi: A 'GULZAR' In The Making?

prasoon-joshi
Woh noor ka jharna hai
Main pyaas puraani
Maine aankh se ghattak liya
Uss husn ka paani

Usse takte takte takte umar guzaaroon
Koi aur khayal jo aaye jhat se utaaroon

Ishq karoon ya karoon ibaadat
Ikko hi gal ai..

These wonderful lines from the song Mera Yaar of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, pushed me into re-posting an old piece of mine, along with a few updates.

When I look around at all the lyrical mockery that’s happening and all the poetical gimmickry, I wonder what will be the fate of lyrics in cinema, going ahead. Its not a very happy picture, let me tell you. Barring a few new generation of lyricists like Amitabh Bhattacharya & Irshad Kamil, I don’t see much talent around.

Now, coming to the crux of the post; although we do have lyricists who churn out a few good songs, they all lack depth and versatility. That’s where my search begins for a ‘gulzar’ of the next generation. A lyricist/poet who can write sensitively, with sublimity, with progressive ideas and write on innocent situations as well as controversial stuff, who can make your blood boil as well as cool your senses, who can write about society at large as well as for the individualistic/common man, who has knowledge of historical events and keeps pace with contemporary issues. If we see the growth and maturity of Gulzar, we would all be befuddled by it. Starting with Mera Gora Rang Lai Le to Mera Kuch Saaman to Aye Zindagi Galey Laga Le to Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi to Goli Maar Bheje Mei to Fatak; his range is unfathomable.

The only person who comes to my mind, who can carry forward the legacy of Gulzar, or who can write Gulzarian lyrics seems to be Prasoon Joshi. The talent that he has displayed through his variety of work is impressive. In fact, quite a few times his lyrics sound like its from gulzar’s school of thought. The lyrics like Maa from TZP and Khoon Chala from RDB have that distinctive Gulzar touch. Let me pick a few more works of Prasoon which seem to be the silver-lining around the dark clouds of movie lyrics.

Arziyan from Delhi-6:

Written as a quwalli, its a prayer with a lot of heartfelt thoughts. The first two lines in itself conveys the pathos of the soul. Face is the mirror of the soul; if the soul is wrankled, so will the face be. There is nothing more to explain than the expression of disdain written all over the face

Arziyaan sari main chehre pe likh ke laaya hoon
Tumse kya mangu mein tum khud hi samjah lo

He goes on to explain how people have gotten all their wishes fulfilled whenever they have approached him. The thirtsy ones who asked for a drop have received an ocean of blessings etc. I do not wish to translate it, it loses the feel. Just read it :

Jo bhi tere dar aaya, Juhkne jo sar aaya
Mastiyan piye sabko, Jhoomta nazar aaya

Pyaas le ke aaya, Dariya woh bhar laya
Noor ki barish mein bheegta sa tar aaya

 Toot ke bikharna mujhko zarur aata hai
Varna ibbadat wala shaoor aata hai

Sajde mein rehne do, abb kahin na jaunga
Abb jo tumne thukraya to sawar na paunga

Sar utha ke maine to kitni khwahishen ki thi
Sar jhuka ke ek pal mei maine kya nahi paya

Really sublime!

Rehna Tu from Delhi-6:

When I first heard the song, I mistook it to be a love-song and I imagined AB Jr singing this for Sonam Kapoor. But I was pleasantly surprised that the song is dedicated to Delhi. That was a stroke of genius, where even Delhi is made to sound like a dilruba and jaaneman who is not supposed to change for anything.

Rehna Tu Hai Jaisa Tu
Thoda sa dard tu Thoda Sukun

Tujhe badalna na chahoon Rati bhar bhi sanam
Bina sajawat milawat Na jyaada na hi kaam

The character of Delhi is brought out very well and the spirit of romance is all over the song, sample these lines:

Mujhe teree barish mein beegna hai ghuljana hai
Mujhe tere lapat mein jalna rakh ho jana hai

I would like to make a mention of the song Dil Gira Dafattan, which has been written with immense feelings and emotions. And we also had Masakali which is such a fun number. So, in one album he packed a punch with such variety and depth of thoughts. In fact, in Delhi-6 he also co-wrote the screenplay which means he not only understands the medium but has also gained fine grip of it. He is looking to expand his horizons and we can expect some good story/screenplay out of him.

 

Maa from TZP:

I don’t get moved that easily, but this song creates the magic which can melt a stone. A beautiful peice of poetry, a dedication to every mother that echoes the sentiment of every child who has been showered by mother’s love.

Mai kabhi batlata nahi
Par andhere se darta hoon mai maa

Yun to mai dikhlata nahi
Teri parwah karta hoon mai maa
Tujhe sab hai pata hai na maa

Mom knows everything, mama’s boy, mom knows best and so many other phrases come to mind. But most of all, I recall what Mother Teresa said that God created moms so he could be everywhere.

Jab bhi kabhi papa mujhe
Jo zor se jhula jhulate hain maa
Meri nazar dhoondhe tujhe
Sochun yahi tu aake thamegi maa

Unse mai yeh kehta nahi
Par mai seham jaata hoon mai maa
Chehre pe aane deta nahi
Dil hi dil mein ghabrata hoon maa
Tujhe sab hai pata hai na maa

His delving into child psychology and coming up with such gems shows us a glimpse of his sensitivity and emotions. The ease with which he brings out those feelings is amazing.

Kholo Kholo from TZP:

I chose this song only to highlight the playful lyrics that Prasoon can come up with. This not only establishes his range but also the imagination that he is capable of.

Kholo kholo darwaze, parde karo kinare
Khute se bandhi hai hawa, Milke chhudao sare
Aajao patang leke, apni hi rang leke
Asaman ka shamiyana aaj hume hai sajana

Tu dhoop hai chham se bikhar
Tu hai nadi o bekhabar
Beh chal kahin, Udd chal kahin
Dil khush jahan, teri to manzil hai wohi

His handling of situation with such creative thoughts is beautiful. Prasoon’s lyrics in TZP is commendable because it shows the understanding that he has of children. Of course, he must have been guided by the sensitivity of Amole Gupte; but yet, to come up with such poetic lines is sheer genius. In fact, the title song of the movie and the Bum Bum Bole are songs which are at perpendiculars with each other, but Prasoon writes them both with such ease without ever losing the message in it.

Khoon Chala from RDB:

A call for revolution, a call for change, a call for new enthusiasm and a call for blood akin to what Bose once said – give me blood and I will give you freedom. Echoing those very sentiments are these wonderful lines.

kuchh kar guzarne ko khoon chala, khoon chala
aankhon ke sheeshe mein utarne ko khoon chala
badan se tapak kar, zameen se lipatkar
galiyon se raston se ubharkar, umadkar
naye rang bharne ko khoon chala, khoon chala

It brings out the pangs of revolt beautifully. Everytime I hear this, I get goose-bumps. It makes me sit up and think about how we take things so lightly instead of speaking out against it.

khuli si chot lekar, badi si tees lekar, ahista ahista
sawaalon ki ungli, jawaabon ki mutthi sang lekar, khoon chala

The movie demanded such lyrics, such pain and the subsequent actions that follow. Prasoon has very effectively described a revolt with such less words which actually translates to a whole lot of ideas.

Lukka Chhupi from RDB:

Another ‘mommy’ song but in a ballad format, sensitively written. The innovation in the song is the fact that its an ode from a dead son to his mother, which hasn’t been done before.

Luka chuppi bahut huyi, saamne aaja naa
Kahan kahan dhoondha tujhe, thak gayi hai ab teri maa
Aaja saanjh hui mujhe teri fikar
Dhundhla gayi dekh meri nazar aaja na

The manner in which the son, who is no more, describes the nether world is awesome.

Kya bataoon maa kahan hoon main
Yahan udney ko mere khula aasmaan hai
Tere kisson jaisa bhola salona
Jahan hain yahan sapno vala
Meri patang ho befikar udd rahi hai maa
Dor koi loote nahin beech se kaate na

The mother’s concern for the son and the son’s free-spirited reply makes for an enigmatic listening. This is one of the best songs to be written, not many people realize the beauty of it.

Teri raah takey aankhiyaan jaane kaisa kaisa hoye jiyaa
Dheere dheere aangan utre andhera, mera deep kahan
Dhalke suraj kare ishara chanda tu hai kahan

A couple of more songs worth mentioning are the Khalbali and Pathshala. While Khalbali brings out the angst in the youth and the boiling passion to do something, Pathshala describes college fun times and those moments of frolic and playfulness.

Let me quickly list a few more songs that would bring out Prasoon’s versatility and paint a bigger picture of his wonderful thoughts and imaginations. Two songs from Ghajini stood out, Guzarish and Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gayi. The two songs are written for different situations, but both are nice.

In Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, he has written Seedhi Sapaat Zindagi which has some nice similies and Lazy Lamhe which is a totally fun song. And how can I forget the Chand Sifarish  from Fanna which was a light hearted romantic number. Now this takes me back to his songs in the movie Hum Tum where he wrote Ladki Kyon Na Jaane Kyon to Chak De Saare Gham to Gore Gore Se Chhore and finally to the romantically poetic title song of the movie.

Even in a drab movie like Teri Meri Kahani, he was able to come-up with gems like Mukhtasar Mulaaqaat Hai, and a few good numbers in the movie Break Ke Baad

gulzarWhile I refrain from comparing Prasoon to Gulzar, I do believe that Prasoon has the pen with which he can put across creative thoughts and myriad ideas. If Gulzar is the clear stream of reason, Prasoon is a trickle of that spring, if Gulzar is that blazing sun of heated thoughts and words then Prasoon is a spark of those ignited flames, if Gulzar is the peak of serenity and calmness then Prasoon is but a hillock belonging to the same range of mountains. I just wish he continues to write, write well and touch people’s lives with his writing. I am ending this post with an ode on Prasoon using his own words …

naam -o-nishaan rahe na rahe
ye caarvaan rahe na rahe
ujaale mai pee gaya
roshan hua jee gaya
kyon sehte rahe
ruu-ba-ruu roshni hai

 

Rahman at 20: Rehna Tu Hai Jaisa Tu…

ARRAs A R Rahman completes 20 years of his stupendously imaginative work and creations on 15th August and the only person who I will ever bow down with RESPECT in the field of cinema & music, my memories and experience of the man & his music. 20 songs which I will take to my grave till now and entirely my personal journey from 13 to 33.

The genesis of this post has to go back 20 years but my association with listening to ARR‘s soundtrack and music will be a year late. Somehwere in the month of June’ 93 scratching the audio tapes of Subhash Ghai‘s Khalnayak which was a rage at that time and listening to a lot of Nadeem Shravan, Anand Milind, Laxmikant Pyarelal etc. I landed up at my Uncle’s home for some work and at the background there was a Tamil song being played. Was not able to identify why my ears were having a crystal clear reception of sound (Ok for the record I was a big sucker for sound & great audio equipments because of my dad’s job being based in Gulf and his penchant for the same). The song being played was Kaadhal Rojave but I was instantly hooked to find out how Illaiya Raja scored such music away from his tradional style (For all your information I always associated Tamil music with Illaiya Raja as the flow of information was the lowest during those years). I caught hold of my pattar tambrahm friend, and he introduced me to a world of music and to a man who will remain a very important part of my life and existence.

(1) Roja: So lending that audio cassette from my Uncle’s home I went home at double speed to listen to the songs of a movie which was called Roja. The only thing I knew was that it was directed by Mani Ratnam and I had seen some portions of it in a Prannoy Roy DD special on friday called ‘The World This Week’. But the moment I heard this song on my Pioneer audio equipment(In those days it was called as Deck system) which was a neighbour’s envy and only my pride, Rahman became a talent to look out for. It was so mesmerising, this track that I was feeling ashamed of the music that I listened in those days. Puthu Vellai Mazhai was pure and serene and if you ever want to get transported in a world of dreams this song can do it without fail. For the record even its Hindi dubbed version carries the same imapct.

(2) Pudhiya Mugam: As I was hooked and wanted to know the man and more of his music, there was an audio shop just located outside Thane station by the name of Jai Ganesh Music Centre. This place was a treat to watch in its hey days as there was never a dull moment ever witnessed outside this store. And most importantly it was the only music shop in Thane which sold regional music and so were the sales guys informative too, who at the name of A R Rahman handed me 2 cassettes from Magnasound. One was Pudhiya Mugam & the other being Thiruda Thiruda. ‘Kannaku Mai Azhagu’ has a female version by P Susheela and a hindi disaster by the name of Vishwa Vidhaata. But for me this is pure vintage stuff and remains a personal favourite which is sung by Unni Menon.

(3) Thiruda Thiruda: If you are expecting me to write anything about ‘Thee Thee‘ then you are on the wrong page and the wrong post. I was and will always remain speechless for this compostion.

(4) Karuthamma: During the cable invasion there used to be a channel called Jain TV which was very popular for various reasons. But the one good thing about the channel was that they used to play regular Tamil music and had a Top 10. And one song which consistently featured there was ‘Thenmerku Parvakattre’. Though it was ARR’s second collaboration with Bharati Raja after Keezhaku Cheemayile, but this was more popular among guys like me who had limited knowledge of Tamil. Had travelled a distance till Matunga to obtain the cassette for the same as it was not available anywhere near.

(5) Kaadhalan: In those days I made it a favourite pass time to walk once in a month to Jai Ganesh Music Centre from my residence which was around 5 kms and collect all Rahman cassettes whichever got released or available and proudly walk back home. During such instance I got lucky with a tape which was told to be selling like hot cakes and only a single copy remained. Needless to add any more facts, Kaadhalan was such a huge rage in non Tamil speaking states too that finally all could say that ARR has truly arrived. It had some of the biggest chartbusters of the year but my personal favourite remains this song which fetched its singer P.Unnikrishnan his National award.

(6) Bombay: Rahman & Ratnam went for the kill with the soundtrack of Bombay which changed the way Hindi music was ruling during those times. This soundtrack catapulated ARR to feverish levels where even his lesser known albums where dubbed and films released solely on his name. Though I was personally never a great fan of his dubbed versions but Bombay was perfect with no feel of gibberish words inserted. This theme is a truly outstanding piece of creativeness conveying all pathos and even made it to the Hollywood flick, Lord of War.

(7) Indira: Between all the hype and appreciation for the music of Bombay, therein slipped a film directed by Mani Ratnam’s wife, Suhasini. This song Thoda Thoda is so mellifluous that even S P Balasubrahmanyum ranks it among his personal best with ARR. He even wanted to sing the Hindi dubbed version of the same where Harhiharan was handed over the mike. Listen from 0:42 to 1:15 and one will know why ARR is considered as the best even now.

(8) Indian: Rahman’s first collaboration with Kamal Hassan and one of the most expensive films to come of India at that time, Indian was highly anticipated even outside the Vindhyas and eventually dubbed as Hindustani. There are some songs which are meant to be sung by certain singers and when it comes to Yesudas then it has to be the best. This song is still a delight if you have a great audio system and gives the perfect example of how stereo sound travels in different speakers.

(9) Minasara Kanavu: The audio of this had just released around Dec 1996 and my board exams for the 12th grade were round the corner in March. But nothing could stop me from listening to the soundtrack infuriating my parents to dizzying heights. ‘Vennilave‘ has ARR written all over it and a great listen with some effective choreography.

(10) Dil Se..: During the second year of my college if any individual possessed an audio cassette it was shared among the rest, Dil Se.. remained a sole exception of everyone having their own copy. It has my own personal record of 3 cassettes for the amount of time it was scratched, used and abused extensively. Lata Mangeshkar‘s first song with Rahman had to be great with expectations to match from all and they do deliver in spectacular style. If most of the world population knows few words of Malayalam all the credit goes to this song alone. It’s difficult to pinpoint any particular track from this movie and a serious advise for all who want to judge how good your audio equipment is should mandatorily check out the soundtrack of this film.

(11) Taal: Now the time had come when Compact Disc was the future of music and being in the final year of my graduation did not know how to upgrade purchasing a CD of Rs.299 from a cassette of Rs.40. My pocket money could not afford one and had to manipulate my college fees at home because I was very sure that beg, borrow or steal; the day the music of Taal was supposed to release it will be in my hand. ‘Nahin Samne‘ shows a different side of ARR with minimal orchestration and a surreal feel, that whenever I listen it seems there is rain in the air.

(12) Alaipayuthey: After my graduation there was a phase in my life when I was disconnected from music and was not keen with movies too. As soon as I joined up with my first assignment for work and subsequent salary that was recieved, got my hand on 2 CD’s out of which one was Alaipayuthey. Hariharan and ARR have teamed up for a lot of gems, but this to me remains an absolute favourite for the portions from 3:00 to 3:30. Hariharan is unrecognizable and the melody is unmistakable. And yes you wont find a better picturized song than this.

(13) Zubeida: There is something about this song which never lets me go and seems time comes to a still whenever I listen to it. An under rated track from an equally under rated soundtrack & film, Rahman till now had mastered his stamp in Hindi music with equal gusto and nobody could point a finger that his music had lot of western & South Indian influences.

(14) Lagaan: If Lagaan is considered among the best of Indian & World Cinema a part of the credit also goes to A R Rahman’s soundtrack and all the themes composed for the film. The film has many small pieces and large orchestras to stimulate and blow one’s mind. This is a rousing theme and a great one at it.

(15) Kannathil Muthamittal: Another song that I don’t have enough words to write about and will let the song and its lyrics do the talking.

(16) Swades: Though Rahman is a master at creating Patriotic themes & songs, this song from Swades still gives me goosbumps everytime I hear it. At some point of time one even feels if ARR has really sung it because like the title song of Dil Se.., this one pulls all the right strings and straight goes inside the heart. Had seen Javed Akhtar conveying in some TV show that to sing this song, “Ache Achon ke paseene chhoot gaye the” and maybe thats why ARR must have taken it upon himself to complete his labour of love. A song that has my eyes moist even now as I listen and write about.

(17) Rang De Basanti: A song about a mother & son, to be interesting; should be an achievement in itself. Typically Hindi films have a lot of such melodramatic songs but Rahman goes straight from the heart into our heart with terrific emotions along in the company of Lata Mangeshkar.

(18) Jodha Akbar: No compilation of ARR can go without atleast one religous song in it and Khwaja Mere Khwaja is an electrifying one at that. Rarely does such kind of song feature in personal favourites but this stands tall with even some of them very serious about converting to Islam and the reason being ARR’s soulful & divine approach to such songs.

(19) Delhi 6: This must have been the most personal tune that ARR must have composed in recent times and it shows in the compostion. There is an unhibited laziness about this track but distinctly complex and will always find a place in my top 3. The Continuum at the end is so heavenly and he has learned the art to play it; that even his contemporaries can feel proud to be in his era. The video below does not give any justice to the entire track, so would advise you all to listen to the entire audio track.

(20) Rockstar: After going through a lull phase after the high of Oscars where as usual everyone feels he has the ability to pull down and criticize a person, Rahman gave a kick ass to all his detractors with an album having 16 songs. The impact of the songs has been revealed in detail at my review here, but Nadaan Parindey is what you call as a chartbuster with a soul. “Sau dard badan pe phaile hain…har karam ke kapde maile hain” is still one of the best worded lines in recent years for me.

For a generation who has listened, ate, drank and slept with his music there are some great memories for 20 long glorious years. Have missed on a lot of tracks that deserved attention and am sure everyone will have their own personal choices too. Would be equally thankful to the people who have made his music memorable along with the lyricist and singers whom I have not touched upon here and also to the Yahoo fan club which forms an important part of my life too.

Will continue to get excited about an audio release, anticipate upon the release date, watch it in a movie hall and will continue to be your fan even if the whole world go against you.

Looking forward to such happiness & joy in the coming years and my heartfelt thanks for your wonderful music SIR.