Monday, November 01, 2010

Love or Lust, Simple or Flashy, Subtle or Pompous...

Busy work schedules precluded clear thinking on pretty much everything other than the most  basic needs of food and sleep. From the length of the post, you can pretty much understand why it took me so long to post it.
But before we start, the classic disclaimer: Extreme criticism for current-age Bolly-noise, err... Bollywood Music follows, so if you would take offense at that, then don't bother reading any further.You have been warned!

One of the major turn offs of current era Bollywood songs is that they are too corporeal, too much focus on glamor, s_x & vulgarity. And are always lewd in nature.  If I were allowed to go on with the list (btw, for the fear of sounding slightly arrogant, who the heck is going to stop me!), then other problems include showoff, over(x bazillion times) acting, under(x 100 bazillion times) acting, close-to-nothing clothing, flashy (read: blinding) movie sets, apparently formless random (yet sometimes skillful) body movements (allegedly called dance), earth shattering noise (somebody told me it is called the music!), and last but not the least, utter nonsensical and meaningless amalgamation of words (again, the misinformed in me was told it is the lyrics of songs).  Well, at least this stands true for 97.251%* of the crap they churn out these days.
(*under standard test conditions approved by SDA, Some-Dumbass Association, sample data collected from 1930s through forever).
If I didn't know any better, most songs are composed this way, at least this is my firm stand: take all the words you want to be in the song, arrange them randomly, straighten them out to conform to some semantic and grammatical rules of the language (in fact, many choose to totally ignore this step, and earn lots of 'Vhoas' as praises in return!), and then shove them up as songs! If you are slightly more demented...err.. I mean talented, choose the initial word set from many different languages into the mix instead of using just one language. And, this, allegedly is also the same formula for music, except words are replaced with "utensils of different sizes and metals".
Of course, I mean no offense to my buddies who enjoy them (I will still love them for who they are!), admittedly I too indulge in noise myself, but only rarely (and often forcibly).  And, No No I'm not partial, I am totally objectively against such blasphemy of what once was otherwise a perfectly fine musical art.
Ok, enough trash-talk, now go back in time say half a decade from now, and what you discover is you didn't need all the above crap to get across the message of affection through musicals.
(I will refrain from using the word love in this context, because, today, it is *the* most abused, misused and misunderstood of words. Not to say unreasonably overloaded & overused!)
Song under consideration is this...

Tujhe Kya Sunaoo Mein Dilruba, (linky).
  • Movie  : Aakhri Dao, 1958
  • Music  : Madan Mohan
  • Lyrics : Majhrooh Sultanpuri
  • Singer : Mohammed Rafi
If the Youtube link ever gets taken down, don't worry, get it as an MPEG-4 video from here!
I strongly encourage you listen to the (not just hear the) song before reading rest of the nonsense err... post, I meant.
Just so that you can connect (now, wait, who the hell wants to do that!) to what I'm trying to blabber...
Let's start with easiest of the things first: Expressions!
0. Expressions: Simply priceless.

Nutan (the lead actress) without saying a single word is conveying so many messages back to her sweetheart. You want to look at her again and again and yet again for such beautiful expressions, even though she's not showing any valley-deep cleavages, mountainous endowments, surgically sculpted face, curvy figure not even digitally perfected makeups, or for that matter, not an inch of skin, other than her face and hands of course.
Often not sure if she should repent the fact she forced him to sing, or agree with his words, or just shrug in denial and or shyly accept the proposal.
So innocent, delicate and yet lovely and provoking in its own right.
Shekhar (the lead actor) on other hand is reciprocating all that with utterly confused looks wondering whether she is liking the words coming out of his mouth and at the same time totally oblivious to the presence of other friends of hers around them. Classic!  No flashy sets, or flashy (read: fleshy?) clothes, and no lecherous gestures. Yet message is clear: He madly wants Nutan to be his soul mate.  In fact, you could turn of the damn volume and still make out the essence of the whole affair.
Show me _one_ current-era song that can achieve this message with volume turned off!
In my view, this should easily be one of the few most precious gems of what is dubbed as the Bollywood's era of Golden Music.
The day I rediscovered this song (about 3 months back), I listened to it at least 20 times in continuous loop keeping aside everything I was doing. Yes, that is close to two hours without breaking a sweat! And I still couldn't get enough of it.  The only reason I had to take a break was  the fact that my phone went off shaking me out of my trance back into the reality.  Since then it has clocked at least a thousand play counts.  Such is the chord this song has struck in me, I almost go in trance when I listen to this song.

When you get past that the visuals, you get stuck with the music.
1. Music: Madan Mohan
Madan Mohan's masterful artistry with the tunes... oh God...  So soft, non-pompous and in-tune with rest of everything.  Unlike current age music that more often than not gives you a severe headache if you hear it more than twice in a row, best described as a well-organized (that's about the praise it can earn from me!) fall of a bazillion metal utensils of varying sizes! Well, at least, most are, if not all.
I doubt if this piece of artistic music used more than a handful variety of musical instruments, by far only a small fraction of the instruments used today and none of the today's musical electronic gadgetry for pre-post-and-on-the-fly processing.
Again simplicity at its best. I find this to be one of the best musical creations of Madan Mohan.
Yet again, my faith in my own long standing belief is reinstated: "Simple things are always the Best'est".  That doesn't mean simple in terms of effort, trust me, making things simple takes at least a hundred times more effort and not to mention an unfathomable streak of genius to achieve it!
When you have enjoyed the visuals and music, you come to the lyrics, ~~~bowing so low in respect, that my back's cracking~~~
2. Lyrics: Majhrooh Sultanpuri
So pure, without slightest hint of lust, or use of off-color language and yet the insatiable desire of togetherness is conveyed so effortlessly.
Not even explicit mention of love and it's associated madness (illness, to be more precise!).  And still you can feel how deeply the lover is in love with his lover (well that is too many loves in one statement, but you get the point, don't you!).  His mental state is so beautifully conveyed in poetic form. There is only one of the handful few who could have penned this simple yet magical craft of words: Majhrooh Sultanpuri.  (And you would have NEVER heard of him in your life, and never will, unless you listen to the only true radio station: Vividh Bharati).  I tried my best, really hard actually, but not even my best was good enough to describe the lyrics.
You ought to listen to it for yourself to let its magic work on you.

Last but not the least, comes the final stroke of master himself, The Singer!
3. Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Just as it on to the shoulders of a master polisher to bring out the real ferocity in strength and delicacy of artistry in the Katana (Samurai Sword), so is the onus of bringing out the best of a song on to the shoulders of the singer. It is almost as if a singer has the power to make or break the whole song.  His masterful and final finishing touch is what eventually reveals the real beauty of everything that music composers and lyricists have been working hard to conjure up (conjuring might be the right verb, because I see no other way of creating such things!).
The words when flowing out of Rafi Sahab himself mingle with not only great music but also effective cinematic direction of the situation, to create something which is nothing short of but a goblet full of Ambrosia, an ambrosia, you suspect, God Himself must have orchestrated and personally blessed!

This song impresses upon me, yet once again, Lucky Are Those Who Have Found Their True Loves.  Lyrical, cinematic and musical representation of what such a lucky person would feel when he finds that one thing which all of us so desire to attain one day, only deepens my desire to reach that Nirvana-like state.

But that is not all, what is not so obvious behind all this is the fact, which I now totally believe to be true, (fact, true, believe... in the same sentence, man you are nuts!). ~~~aaargghh~~~
But what is not so obvious behind all this is the fact, which I now totally believe to be true is, that each one of the artists (the singer, music director, lyricist, cine-director) who made this possible must have found their true loves. And not only in their respective arts, but potentially in human-forms too, a far more difficult feat to achieve.  For, it would otherwise have been simply impossible to achieve such a feat of connecting so deeply with the audience. Even if that audience was just the singular nuts-crazy author of this post!

Now you see, why it requires more than a hundred iterations to enjoy this song!  When I listen to this song, I can choose to enjoy it as a whole package, or just the song without the video, or focus just on music, or just the lyrics, or even just the vocals, and last but not the least, the subtle yet not totally amiss, the [in]direct philosophical implications! I can enjoy this song in so many ways, dare I say, it is a Swiss Army Knife of the Musicals!  Wish I knew a little about Indian Classical Music to dissect this song more scientifically (artistically, to be technically correct).

I had so much to share when I contemplated the post in my head the first time my half-century loop count on this song was over, but now that I actually want to pen it down I'm falling short of appropriate words and praises.
If you have listened to the song, then endured my blabbering all the way this far, you deserve to be treated once again with this song, what say, because I bet it is way too far up, and you don't want to gloss over all that again :)
Listen to the song, and discover the joy and magic from the era of Golden Music: Tujhe Kya Sunaoo Mein Dilruba, (linky).
  • Movie  : Aakhri Dao, 1958
  • Music  : Madan Mohan
  • Lyrics : Majhrooh Sultanpuri
  • Singer : Mohammed Rafi
If the Youtube link ever gets taken down, don't worry, get it as an MPEG-4 video from here!
Some useless facts about this post:
  1. This song has easily clocked a thousand+ play counts, and still counting
  2. I was listening to the song continuously for the few hours it took me to compose this post, which was not done in one single sitting. First words of the post were (digitally) inked in early Oct.
  3. I'm so glad one of my most favorite songs is sung by my only favorite singer: Rafi
  4. I had to use a thesaurus and a dictionary to dig through and find the most appropriate adjectives. If you feel I could have done a better job at some (or all?) places, feel free to email me or leave me a comment.
  5. Something I often say, I'm serious about the fun I have! And this is but one example of it.
P.S. For all of you scratching your heads in vain, the answer is NO! Nada!  You know that I know what you are thinking, so the answer is negatory!  So stop scratching your heads and get back to enjoying this masterful composition with no strings attached :)