Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blackmail (Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas) : By ~ Niilesh A Raje



As we celebrate Poet's Day today (21 August 2017) I thought it’s time to pick up my pen and write what’s in my heart today and let my words keep flowing like a river. Writing that reflects one's inward state of mind.

I would like to pen down a short piece on this song, Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass from the 1973 movie Blackmail. A lovely romantic number casted on Dharmendra and Rakhee which still continues to soothe the ears of the music lovers. Voice of Kishore Kumar and his valley of emotions resonates straight from the heart.

Film maker Vijay Anand (Goldie Anand) was contemplating on his next project it was producer Vinod Doshi who felt it would be apt for Goldie to take up this new project as its director. Goldie was the leading director those days and Dharmendra was equally keen to work with Goldie the director of repute. Around the 70’s Dharmendra and Rakhee as a pair had worked together and became popular in the movie Jeevan Mrityu. Looking at their good work and growing popularity amongst the masses Goldie decided to have the same couple in his new project Blackmail.



Now that the cast was fixed Goldie decided to work on the song aspect in this film. Music composition in Blackmail was done by Kalyanji-Anandji. Rajendra Krishnan the richest writer in Hindi Cinema was the lyrics writer chosen to be part of this project. He was considered the richest writer reason being he had won a jackpot worth 4,600,000 rupees in horse racing which was indeed a huge amount then in the 70’s.

Having done all this Goldie now wanted one romantic song to be part of the project. He was already clear in his mind that he would shoot this song in the Queen of Hill Station namely Ooty. Independent luxury cottages peace and quiet and away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Goldie had this situation in mind which he had told the lyricist and music director. Situation revolves around matters of heart where in the lead male star Dharmendra is unable of express his love to his lady love Rakhee due to his timid nature. How true the words in this song says it all, “Mein soch mein rehta hoon daar daar ke kheta hoon”. To express his love the man keeps writing love letters daily to his lady love.

However, his shy nature does not give him the courage to post these letters to his lady love. One day he (Dharmendra) gathers courage takes all these letters and showers in the lap of his lady love (Rakhee). His lady love reads all these letters written to her by her admirer and that’s when the romantic number unfolds with passage of time.

The creative direction by Goldie is evident if you see the flow of the letters and eventually the courage gathered by the lover. First letter states, Priya(Dear) Miss Mehta. Second, Priya(Dear) Asha Ji. Third, Priya (Dear) Asha. Fourth, Asha and the fifth one finally says it all, Meri Asha. Goldie wanted these letters to sing the song in the movie Blackmail. How to make the letters sing in the given situation was something even the music directors were not getting the pulse right initially.

Many days were spend on composing the tune but nothing seems to be working out in the positive direction. Goldie had planned his dates to shoot this song in Ooty. A night before going to Ooty Goldie sat down with Kalyanji-Anandji. Morning turns into afternoon, afternoon into evening and evening into night but still nothing was seen working positively as expected as far as musical compositions went.

It was here Goldie suggested how about these words, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho. Jeevan Mithi Pyas Ye Kheti Ho”. Immediately tune was created revolving around these words. Next day before departure to Ooty Goldie sat down with both Kalyanji-Anandji and lyrics writer Rajendra Krishnan. He told Rajendra Ji clearly that he is not a prolific poet as he is and also conveyed the words, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho” that came across in his mind a night before. Now whether to include it or drop these words is your final choice. Rajendra Ji was speechless but after given thought for a couple of hours came up with the wonderful lyrics for, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho”.  
Finally the song was ready with the words so was Goldie to depart to Ooty. What was pending was the recording of the song. Goldie being creative and genius person decided to go ahead with his shoot in Ooty for this song. The difference, he told Dharmendra just to lip sync the words as per the requirements of the song. Recording of the song in the studios is something Goldie decided to do it after his arrival from Ooty. Also, Dharmendra being busy and Rakhee being pregnant getting mutual dates wasn’t easy. But the creativity of the director Vijay Anand (Goldie) had the romantic pot finally in place after overcoming all the obstacles. The song, “Pal Pal Dil Ke Pass Tum Raheti Ho” is so popular even today that it’s difficult to believe that the shooting of this song took place first and recording of the song later.

Not to forget as I mentioned in the beginning today (21 August 2017) is Poet’s Day. Time to pick up the pen and write what’s in the heart today and let the words keep flowing like a river.

Happy Poet’s Day . . .          

        
      

         
      





      


Friday, August 18, 2017

Happy Birthday !!! Gulzar Saab : ~ by Niilesh A Raje


18 August 2017 - Happy Birthday to the living legend octogenarian Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner Gulzar Saab !!! 83 years indeed a long and eventful journey that was and many more years to come. Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai . . . Bus Chaltey Jaana . . . Ek Raah Rukh Gayi . . . Tho Aur Judh Gayi

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

SHOLAY : 42 Years Epitome of Box Office Success by Niilesh A Raje



Forty-two years ago on this date, 15th August movie “SHOLAY” was released which till date has proved to be indeed a defining moment in the history of Indian Cinema. The greatest story ever told. Out of the many songs featured in this movie, I would love to pen down short piece on this toe tapping number from the movie namely, “Mehbooba Mehbooba”.

Just before the start of this gypsy number is the climax and electrifying dialogue from Sanjeev Kumar (Thakur), “Ye Heera Gabbar Ko Badukein Aur Goliyan Bhejne Ata Hai. Ek Do Din Mein Gabbar Use Jaroor Milega. Loha Garam Hai Mar Do Hatoda”. 

While R D Burman composed the songs for the movie the lyrics were penned down by Bakshi Saab (Anand Bakshi), “Phool Bahaaron Se Nikla, Chaand Sitaaron Se Nikla Din Dooba”. Song was sung by the music composer himself R D Burman that later gave him a good identity as the lead singer.  

It was planned for a five-day shoot for which sets were constructed and the shooting location for the song was none other than R K Studio at Chembur. Screenplay writer Salim Saab used to drop in between during the shoot of this song. Yes, matters of the heart speak and we see Helen play a pivotal role in this super hit song.




Actor Jalal Agha played the role of the gypsy singer opposite Helen. In the song actor, Helen has played her role well where she is seen neither speaking nor singing anything in the song in front of the ruthless Gabbar Singh. 

Shooting scheduled dates were already communicated to Jalal Agha in advance but it’s learnt that he failed to report on day one of his shoot as he was out of station working on other assignment. Ramesh Sippy was obviously upset and decided to go ahead and complete the solo shots with Helen required in this song. Ramesh Sippy had made up his mind to do the role himself in an unlikely event if Jalal Agha did not report on the second day for the shooting. He did report on the next day and we see him wearing European gypsy costume playing the mandolin.

The song was indeed toe tapping however the curiosity and thrill amongst the masses in this song being Jai and Veeru seen in the background who are preparing for an explosion within the vicinity of Gabbar Singh.

R D Burman was later seen as plagiarist for using the tune of Demis Roussos’s, “Say you love me” in the song “Mehbooba Mehbooba”. The reality being the tune was indeed recommended to Pancham Da by Ramesh Sippy only who had heard this song earlier at his brother’s home and developed instant liking towards its tune.

Its forty two years now since SHOLAY was released both the movie and songs still continue to be the epitome of box office success.

The veteran lyricist of this song Bakshi Saab (Anand Bakshi) went way ahead with the same word "Mehbooba" and two years later post release of Sholay in the year 1977 came up with another lovely number from movie "Dharam Veer", "O meri mehbooba mehbooba mehbooba tujhe jaana hai toh jaa teri marji mera kya".
  


Sunday, August 13, 2017

36 Years “Silsila” ~ by Niilesh A Raje



14th August 2017 completes 36 years for the release of Amitabh Bachchan Ji's movie 'Silsila' (The Affair, 1981).  The advertisement proclaimed boldly, “Love is faith and faith is forever”. The movie was controversial right from the beginning much before its release date especially with extra marital themes addressed boldly by Yash Ji in his film.

The original cast was Padmini Kolhapure but it did not work out as she was tight on time with her dates and availability. Then next choice then made was Parveen Babi and Smita Patil.  Both were not considered apt for the roles and were eventually dropped from the choice list.

The film witnessed average business at box office and was trashed by the media then as 'silly sila'. However, today's age the film has gained a strong cult and is considered to be classic. The movie's soundtrack became "super-hit" upon the release and still continues to be equally popular.

Silsila was shot in Yash Ji’s house in Kashmir, Delhi and Netherlands. Netherlands is another beautiful country in Europe, where the evergreen song ‘Dekha Ek Khwab’ featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha was shot.



“Dekha Ek Khwab To Ye Silsile Hue” the popular song from the movie is also the first Hindi Film song release written by Javed Akhtar after the duo Salim-Javed split. Tunes were composed by Shiv Hari. It is learned that Javed Saab ended up spending one full day with composers and words started flowing like a river end result was a musical hit song. 

The song was shot at Keukenhof Tulip Garden, Netherlands giving more power to the lyrics "Dur Tak Nigahon Mein Hai Gul Khile Huye" with Keukenhof. Keukenhof (Kitchen garden) is also known as the Garden of Europe, and is situated near Lisse, Netherlands, and is the world’s largest flower garden. Several hit movies and songs from our Indian Film Industry have been shot here. The costumes worn by Amitabh Bachchan in the movie were his own clothes.

Yash Ji's choice of lyricist had always been Sahir Ludhianvi and he was his obvious choice when it came to “Silsila”. He never replaced Sahir with anyone else until Sahir passed away. It is learned that Yash Ji had requested Sahir Saab to write all the songs for the movie within five days. Sahir Saab said, "He would give all the required songs after a span of two weeks only and not a minute before". He did not understand the obvious reason why this rush in delivering it within next five days. The reason, the music director was busy post seven days and Lata Mangeshkar Ji was travelling abroad for 10 days. Yash Ji’s recording staff had kept the pot in place for whatever was required to complete the recording.

Sahir Saab was deeply hurt as he felt his very own viewpoints were not considered at all even while the recording dates were being planned by Yash Ji. He bluntly refused to write any songs for the movie “Silsila”. Yash Ji tried to convince Sahir Saab there were many lyricists ready to write all the songs within two days but he still wanted him only to write all the songs. Sahir Saab said, “In that case, he should go with other lyricists and have the songs written from them”. The end result was an abrupt end of this long professional relationship they both shared over a decade. To sum it up I would quote this song from the movie “Silsila” here, “Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum Yunhi Saath Saath Chaltey”. “Love is faith and faith is forever”.   


Saturday, July 29, 2017

35 years of 'KHUD-DAAR’ : by Niilesh A Raje



Thirty-five years of release for Amitabh Bachchan's movie "Khud-Daar" (1982). "Khud-Daar" was released around the same time when Amitabh Bachchan was admitted to Breach Candy Hospital (Mumbai) after he met an accident on the sets of "Coolie". The same year 1982 also witnessed the release of four other movies starring Amitabh Bachchan namely, "Namak Halaal", "Shakti", "Satte Pe Satta", and "Desh Premee". "Khud-Daar" movie performed extremely well at the box office and also turned out to be a musical hit. Lyrics were penned down by the prolific lyrics writer Late Majrooh Sultanpuri and music was by Rajesh Roshan. Two songs from this movie I would like to amplify here in my piece:

In the song "Mach Gaya Shor Sari Nagri Re" Amitabh Bachchan plays the main character in the small neighborhood and is seen climbing up the human pyramid to reach the top and then breaking the Dahi handi. The song was shot over several days a little away from Powai at Mumbai's Chandivili Studio.

Usually, the Dahi handi is broken by the hands of the individual who has climbed way up to the top. But, to add some thrill to the dance sequence the dance director instructed Amitabh Ji that he smash the handi with his head and not with his hands. Amitabh Ji true to his words went ahead and was successful in breaking the handi with his head but also ended up hurting himself and smashed his head too. His forehead was hurt and blood was seen oozing out. Everyone on the sets got apprehensive and suggested that they wrap up the shoot and have Amitabh Ji admitted in the infirmary at the earliest. However, Amitabh Bachchan got straight into his car and drove off to meet Dr. Shah who was then the Film Industry's family doctor. In his clinic, he stitched and taped Amitabh Bachchan and he was once again back to the studio within no time to resume his shooting with brimming confidence coupled with greater applause from the whole crew on the sets.



The crucial dates and time of the stars coupled with the expenses involved in film making nothing could be compromised then. Amitabh Ji was working double shifts those days (7 am to 2 pm and 2 pm to 10 pm). "Khud-Daar" was scheduled for the morning shift. After completing the shoot for the day in the afternoon he went to Mehboob Studio at Bandra to complete the shoot for Manmohan Desai's "Desh Premi". The passion and pride showcased by Amitabh Ji in his chosen craft is incredible and the justice he gives to the whole crew with whom his work is associated. Even today after 35 years post release of "Khud-Daar" when ever it's Janmashtami we can hear the song, Mach Gaya Shor Sari Nagri Re"  being played loudly. 



The other song from "Khud-Daar" movie was, "Angrezi Mein Khete Hai Ki I Love You" another powerful lyric from Late Majrooh Saab. If there was a musical hit given by the duo Rajesh Roshan and Majrooh Sultanpuri after the success of "Kunwara Baap" then it has to be the movie "Khud-Daar". Majrooh Saab was well known for his creative imagination and dexterity over different languages (Angrezi, Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi). The same was effectively leveraged by Majrooh Saab in the song, "Angrezi Mein Khete Hai Ki I Love You"



Saturday, July 22, 2017

Aashiqui Twenty Seven Years A Journey That Was : by ~ Niilesh A Raje


Twenty-seven years the journey that was when Gulshan Kumar along with Mahesh Bhatt presented the musical rage Aashiqui. The curiosity of this romantic movie started right from the time the poster was released. The way the couple was seen to be making love passionately under the coat and smooching each other followed by the tagline "Love Makes Life Live". Even today after almost over two decades the love story of Rahul Roy and the dusky girl from Delhi Anu Aggarwal still resonates fresh in the hearts of the lovers. 

Aashiqui was the love story of youthful love between a homeless parentless orphan girl (Anu Aggarwal) and a singer guitarist (Rahul Roy). The venue was Sea Rock Hotel, Bandra a common friend's luncheon that Anu chanced to meet the director Mahesh Bhatt of Aashiqui. 

Anu wasn't too keen to get into movies her only aim then was to fly back to Paris. Each time Mahesh used to call her Anu used to reply, "I will call you back". Finally, when Anu went to meet Mahesh Bhatt couple of days later at his shoot location she politely declined the offer as she had to return back to Paris before the next season of haute-couture begins. Pat came the reply from Mahesh Bhatt, "We will complete the shoot in three months". This response was like, "There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip". 

The next day, in an old house in Chimbai Village in Bandra, Anu lip-synched the song - "Jaane jigar jaane man . . . jaanam jaane jahan". Chimbai, the 400-year-old beach in Mumbai was once a quaint fishing village. Rahul Roy and Anu Aggarwal who came from nowhere became the talk of the town. Even the signature style of actor Deepak Tijori became a rage. Not to forget the hair style of Rahul Roy. It looked as if the masses had accepted this new theme of love namely Aashiqui. People were able to connect to them as the cast was seen to be somewhere from daily walks of life. Apart from the great story line was the haunting music that captivated the ears of many music lovers. Having good songs in a movie can alone make the movie hit looked to be a distant dream for many film makers then. Aashiqui had indeed a good storyline as well.



Aashiqui was actually as inspiration from the personal life of Mahesh Bhatt. "I couldn't forget the day when Gulshan Kumar came to me and he lived up to his words. He was an unusual man". I was shooting in the suburbs when Gulshan Ji approached Mahesh Bhatt and said, "Aap Ka Naam Mahesh Hai Na. Will it be ok if you and I work together in synergy towards a musical film in which there would be roughly about 8 or 9 songs I guarantee you we together would set the nation a blaze. I would take the music into every home and heart. Gulshan Kumar came from nowhere but he could take a thousand MBA Graduates and teach them lessons in Management. Aashiqui was launched in Sudeep Studio in Mumbai" admits Mahesh Bhatt.

Director Mahesh Bhatt wasn't apprehensive taking new entrant like Rahul Roy or Anu Aggarwal. Right after his first take with Anu, he said, "Ok" happily. That only shows the creative confidence of the director. It was, "Love In The Times of Cholera" book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that really helped Anu Aggarwal study and prepare well for the role. 

The film also marked the career of singer Kumar Sanu and music composers Nadeem-Shravan. The first song that got recorded was, "Nazar Ke Saamne Jigar Ke Pass".  The movie swept away with four Filmfare awards to its credit. 

Nadeem Shravan (Filmfare Award for Best Music Director) 
Kumar Sanu (for "Ab Tere Bin") Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer
Anuradha Paudwal (for "Nazar Ke Saamne") Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer and 
Sameer (for "Nazar Ke Saamne") Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist

Starting with the movie Aashiqui Kumar Sanu's career took him to exalted heights. He was awarded the Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award for five consecutive years. He also holds the Guinness Book world record for recording the most songs in a day, 28, in the year 1993.  

We also had seen the anger in the eyes of Tom Alter and Reema Lagoo playing their part equally well in the movie. Reema Lagoo began her journey with Mahesh Bhatt in the world of movies with Aashiqui in which she played the role of a single parent to Rahul Roy supporting her son in his matters of the heart. 

The letter from Anu to Rahul which read, "Rahul aagle shanivaar library ke baju wale classroom  mein milna 7:30 baje Anu" and the song follows, Dheere Dheere Se Meri Zindagi Mein Aana. Director Mahesh Bhatt reminisced how he used to meet his crush then when he was in Bombay Scottish School in the late 60's.     

Today's generation of songs may bore listeners after a week of their production whereas songs of Aashiqui have been soothing the ears of people for several decades. Not to forget the curtain opens up with the song only and the voice of Kumar Sanu, "Bas Ek Sanam Chaahiye Aashiqui Ke Liye" where the title of the movie comes in the first opening lines only. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

39 Years of DON ( Anecdotes of an Iconic Thriller ) : by Niilesh A Raje


With Amitabh Bachchan's movie DON completing 39 years of its release I would like to share few interesting anecdotes with respect to the following song from this movie - "Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana".

While there have been many hit songs that feature Amitabh Bachchan but "Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana" song from the movie DON is amongst the first few songs of Amitabh Bachchan which feature just him and the opposite cast (Helen) in this song and no one else. We had earlier seen him feature in the song say from Bombay to Goa but that was amongst a group of people. Hence this song sets him apart from the rest of the pack. Yes, later after the movie DON we did see Amitabh Bachchan feature in many more toe-tapping numbers who came up with his own dancing style.



The song, "Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana" was the first song from the movie DON which was shot in the leading studios in Mumbai, Mehboob Studios (Bandra). The look and feel gives one the impression it was shot in one of the leading hotels in the suburbs. The check style jacket and the emerald green colored shirt which Amitabh wore in this song was the same one he had purchased it from Cecil Gee - London's Leading Stylist for men's wear. Not to forget Amitabh Bachchan's graceful entry in the movie impeccably dressed with his personal Ray-Ban glasses was also bought from London during his visit.      

DON, a Spanish word which means “Gentleman” or “Nobleman” indicating the term of respect for a man usually followed by his first name. Director Chandra Barot who directed the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer “DON” was right when he showcased Mumbai as the city of opportunities and success stories, a city for dream and dream merchants and a city of Gold.

The song, "Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana" was the first song from the movie DON which was shot in the leading studios in Mumbai, Mehboob Studios (Bandra).  Lyrics were by Indeevar Saab and melodious voice was of Asha Ji for this pulsating song. The word Dil in this song makes it sound that this song is romantic but in reality, it was never a romantic number. On the contrary, in this song, Helen tries to seek revenge with Amitabh for having killed her fiance. Helen had already performed earlier in numbers like, "O Haseena Zulfonwaali" and "Piya Tu Aab Tho Aaja". So, far Helen to perform this number "Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Deewana" wasn’t too difficult. Kalyanji Anandji's music continues to soothe the ears of music lovers even today. I equally love the background music heard during thriller or action sequence in this movie. Dialogues none other than Salim-Javed.

The choreographer for the song was P L Raj (birth name Devraj Peter Lewis) who was in his early 30's while the movie DON was in the making. He was amongst the leading choreographer during 60s and 70s within Hindi Cinema. In 2001, P L Raj was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for technical excellence. Today, his son Lesle Peter Lewis is a popular composer and a member of the duo Colonial Cousins.      

Director Chandra Barot’s DON attained the cult status in India, proved to be an iconic thriller and dialogues constantly mouthed by innumerable fans. The primary reason for the project DON being the director Chandra wanted to help his friend the producer of the movie Nariman A Irani who had suffered a big financial setback. 

Director Chandra Barot finished his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1959 and had spent most of his life in Dar es Salaam. Between his Senior Cambridge Examinations and results, he had 6 months time frame. His father mentioned him about part time vacancy at Barclays Bank. Chandra immediately took up the offer at Barclays Bank and worked with the organization, not for 6 months but full time for a brief period of nine years making it as his full-time profession. Very few can imagine a Corporate Executive from an MNC goes ahead in life to become a Creative Director. Chandra was known for dressing well and flaunting fancy accessories he possessed then.

I dedicate this piece to all the fans of the 1978 movie DON. Watching the movie (several times) I had the impression that DON means a Man in Powerful Position but now I also view it from Spanish angle meaning “Nobleman” or "Gentleman" expressing honour or respect to highly respected Mr. Amitabh Bachchan Ji and also to the whole crew of the 1978 starrer DON for giving each one of us an iconic thriller.