Even a poor re-creation works better!
Trivia Tunes: From the chasm between lyrics and poetry to meaning behind songs; here’s looking at the changing face of music
For the umpteenth time, it has been proved that the re-created song is the ace of a hybrid score. This is not to hit out at the fate of Selfiee but to point out that mere item songs and tunesmiths of multifarious origins are never competent sources of film songs that add to the appeal of the parent film and often give it repeat value. I am sure that the 1994 Main Khiladi Tu Anari must have been revisited in movie-halls by many viewers just for the audiovisual experiences of ‘Churake Dil Mera’, ‘My Adorable Darling’ and the title-track, among others. And it is the re-creation of ‘Main Khiladi Tu Anari’ that is the only saving grace, though redone in a raucous manner.
On the chasm between lyrics and poetry
The fact that both lyricists and composers agree that words are what make a song live on is true even in a seemingly playing-to-the-hoi-polloi song like the above, which is written by one of the finest Hindi poetesses who we lost recently, Maya Govind. Because lyrics by definition mean something expressed from the heart and not necessarily in a literary manner, like poetry. And that explains the endemic popularity of songs like ‘Ek Do Teen Char’ (Tezaab) and innumerable others that are not about rich words. And yet, to prove the same point, a concept-based lightweight song still scores over the total fluff, like ‘Churake Dil Mera’ from the same Main Khiladi Tu Anari, which was incidentally written by another female lyricist, Rani Malik. This was the true-blue chartbuster then.
When a song’s meaning is given importance by the composer
M.M. Kreem (the Hindi film name of M.M. Keeravani) often talks of the interaction between the lyricist and the composer. He narrated one incident about the hit song from Jism, ‘Chalo Tumko Lekar Chale’ sung by Shreya Ghoshal and written by Neelesh Misra. Not a man who always composed a tune first, unlike most of his compatriots in Hindi cinema, Kreem was scanning the words mentally when a semblance of a tune that was perfect for the situation came to him. But there was a hitch. So he asked Neelesh: “Tell me, will the words ‘Chalo Tumko Lekar Chale’ make a difference to the meaning of the mukhda?” Now that is the difference a proper composer-lyricist interaction makes in the genesis of a timeless song.
Needlessly ‘splitting’ a duo’s work
Music duos by definition are about collaborative work, and only some die-hard fanatics and musicians in the know split their work. Like there were any number of inimical forces who, usually based on knowledge but more out of needless malice, chose to name songs as either Shankar’s or Jaikishan’s. Each of the duo’s knew that Shankar and Jaikishan would always compose and arrange songs separately, but would both be present at the recordings. Recently, a self-styled (and musician) S-J fan sent me a famous song, which he asked to forward as Shankar’s creation. I asked him why he wanted to ‘split’ the duo. His reply was that they had already split in the mid-1960s. I told him that it was not healthy to disclose such details, and he seemed to suddenly realize that he was only showing off his knowledge at the cost of those legends!
Unity is strength
Almost every duo, of course, has had their ups and downs, including Husnlal-Bhagatram (the oldest ones), Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Anand-Milind. And that was truer in recent times when petty issues or bloated egos led to problems between Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and Nikhil-Vinay. Oddly enough, neither party tried to make amends and thus salvage their careers that went downhill very fast after their separation.
When Anandji dedicated a song to his wife
As Anandji of Kalyanji-Anandji celebrates his 90th birthday on April 2, the legendary veteran reveals a special fact: that ‘Chand si mehbooba ho meri / Kab aisa maine socha tha / Haan tum bilkul waisi ho / Jaisa maine socha tha’, the Anand Bakshi-written and Mukesh-rendered hit from Himalay Ki God Meini (1965) was dedicated by him to his wife, Shantaben.
Will good music be now heard outside cinema?
Recently, Sujeet Shetty, a composer who scored music for small films like Hum Dum (2005) and Unns…Love Forever (2006), and has been doing varied work since, sent me a message requesting me to listen to his compositions in the recent web series Jehanabad. The music of this show (out on Spotify) has the kind of lyrical and musical substance that we crave for in cinema nowadays. So is that what we are coming to now—with great songs heard mainly outside Hindi cinema? Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s brilliant work in Bandish Bandits stood out in 2020 as one of these composers’ finest work, and this is another example.
The fount of musical inspiration
Film songs and their origins remain a fascinating study all through. Recently, a R.D. Burman fan sent me the video of The Carpenters’ ‘Sing a song’, inspired by which the composer ingeniously fashioned the Kishore Kumar beauty ‘Phir wohi raat hai’ in the 1978 Ghar. And that led to something interesting indeed. The same producer, the famous N.N. Sippy, later produced a horror mystery with R.D. Burman again as composer. And Phir Wohi Raat became a film title!
When an actress was credited with a musical film title
There is nothing really new about hit songs forming future film titles, as we all know. And in so many cases, the words form a glove-like perfect fit for the new story. The all-time great example is of the 1995 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge¸ which was a part of the Rajkavi Inderjit Singh Tulsi-written Kishore Kumar-Asha Bhosle chartbuster, ‘Le jayenge le jayenge / Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge’ from Chor Machaye Shor (1974). Kirron Kher, who thought of this title, was even given special mention in the credits of the film.
When one soundtrack gave seven future film names
And here, a record has been set by the 1980 film Karz, whose immortal lyrics by Anand Bakshi spawned the titles Dard-e-Dil (1983), Paisa Yeh Paisa (1985), Main Solah Baras Ki (1998), Ek
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