The book also provides some interesting nuggets /anecdotes.... Here are some of my favourites!
When recording the song "aayega aanewala" from the movie "Mahal", the music director Khemchand Prakash wanted a rising pitch/ tone to indicate that the 'ghost' is coming closer. The technology to achieve this sound effect wasn't available at that time . So he placed the microphone in the middle of recording room and Lata didi stood in one corner of the room, gradually walking towards the mike while singing.
The song "yeh mera prem patra padhkar", written by Hasrat Jaipuri, was a rage in the 1960s. But very few people know that he had actually written this as a poem for the love of his life, a girl named Radha. Hasrat sahab could never express his love for her, and she eventually married someone else.
Raj Kapoor was so touched by this that not only he included this poem in his movie "Sangam" but also named the heroine as Radha.
In the 1940s-50s, working in film industry was considered 'below standard'. So when Naushad was about to get married, his parents hid the fact that he was a budding film music director and instead told his in-laws that he was a tailor.
The height of irony was: When the wedding procession arrived at his place, Naushad was stunned to see the 'baaraat' folks dancing to the songs from the movie "Rattan", blissfully unaware that the music for this film was composed by…. Naushad.
Here a song composed by Naushad, one of my all-time favourites.
The song "jara saamne to aao" is a Lata - Rafi duet from the movie "Janam Janam Ke Phere ". Its picturization shows a prayer to God urging Him to make an appearance.
In reality, lyricist Bharat Vyas wrote this song in memory of his son who had run away from home. When seen in this context, the words of the song take on a completely different, heart-wrenching meaning.
The movie "Mera Naam Joker" was a dream project of Raj Kapoor, and it had many beautiful songs penned by his favourite lyricist, Shailendra. Unfortunately, Shailendra passed away after writing a few lines of "Jeena yahan marna yahan".
His son Shaily, just aged 17 that time, found the unfinished poem and completed it. Such a great job he did, that, when we listen to this song, it is impossible to differentiate between the lines of father and son.
"Hai apna dil toh aawara"… Whether you've heard this beautiful melody by Hemant Kumar or not, listen to it once again, this time with special attention to the fantastic mouth organ piece after each stanza. Guess who has played the mouth organ?
Rahul Dev Burman.. He started his musical career as an assistant to his father S D Burman and played harmonica and mouth organ in his music troupe.
When R D Burman saw the lyrics of a song written by Gulzar, he said , "अरे यार ! मै इसपे धून कैसे बनाऊ? कल तुम मुझे टाईम्स ओफ़ इन्डिया के हेडलाईन्स पे म्युझिक बनाने कहोगे! (Oh dear! How do I set these line to tune? Tomorrow you'll ask me to compose music for Times Of India headlines!"
Gulzar left the song at Burman's home. A short while later, Asha Bhonsle found the pages lying around, picked them up, and started humming them. R D was impressed. "I have found my tune", he said… And thus was born the unforgettable song…. "Mera kuch saaman"
Everyone has a favourite Lata Mangeshkar song, even politicians. During a film award function, the then-Home Minister L K Advani mentioned in his speech that "Jyoti Kalash Chhalake" was his all-time favourite. When Lata ji began her speech, she surprised everyone by singing a few lines of this song impromptu, and you could see the stalwart politician deeply touched.
As much as I love this song in the mellifluous voice of Lata ji, listening to its Sudhir Phadke version, who composed music for it, makes me wish that Babuji had sung/composed more Hindi film songs.
My mornings during the bachelor days in Pune usually begia with a Vividh Bharati programme on old Hindi film songs, at 7 AM. I do not recollect the name of the programme, but what I clearly remember is that every day it ended with a K L Saigal song.
So… It's quite apt that I close this miniseries on anecdotes of film songs with a Saigal song that I like.
I have always wondered why old film songs are more dearer than recent ones. The answer came when reading lyrics written by Sahir Ludhiyanwi… They are good poetry first, film songs later.
Here's an expressive non-film ghazal from Sahir…
न मिलता गम तो बरबादी के अफसाने कहां जाते
दुनिया में सिर्फ बहार होती तो वीराने कहां जाते
अच्छा हुआ अपनोंमें कोई गैर निकला
अगर होते सभी अपने तो बेगाने कहां जाते
दुआएं दो उनको जिन्होनें खुद मिटकर मोहब्बत निभा दी
न जलती शमा मेहफील में तो परवाने कहां जाते
जिन्होनें गम की दौलत दी, बडा एहसान फरमाया
जमाने भर के आगे हाथ फैलाने कहां जाते