Solidity of “Is But Is Not”

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Shri Shrikant Gautam has presented a wonderful concept of “Is But Is Not” in the Hindi Films, in his article, the title of which is roughly translated as “Solidity of Is  But Is Not”, in his weekly column “Rang Raag” in Madhuvan supplement of Janamabhoomi Pravasi, Mumbai in its issue of 19th August,2012.

The concept that he has picked up for discussion is absolutely novel. The subject of the discussion is that character, which has significant impact on the story of the movie, but the character itself is, physically, not to be “seen” in the entire film, but is to be “felt” only –through the dialogues which refers to that character or the actions that protagonists take [or do not take, as the case may be] under the ‘unseen’ guiding influence of that character.

To explain the concept, he uses a very simple, by highly effective, hypothetical story: Shekhar boasts with his friend circle that he has played a role in the latest Hritik Roshan starrer. So, naturally, the whole team visits the cinema hall, on the first day, first show, to see that movie. They fail to locate Shekhar. Thinking that he must be under some form of disguise for that role, they repeat seeing the film in the successive shows, but with no positive result. When they ask Shekhar , Shekhar says” Did you not listen  Hrithik’s mother telling him of a letter received by his younger brother, from Kochi. I am that younger brother.”

Shri Gauatm has picked up five case studies.

In Shakti Samanta film, Amar Prem, (1972)  [Eternal Love] starring Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore, the hero, Anandbabu is wealthy, but dejected and lonely. The reason is his wife, who is ‘shown’ to be busy in her own world, so much so that Anandbabu hardly seems to exist in her world. This is the fundamental undercurrent that fashions the whole films.

Similarly, Sunil Dutt’s mono-character film, Yaadein,  (1964)[Memories] would be rated as one of the most experimental films ever on Hindi Film arena. The film moves through the “eyes’ of the chief protagonist, through his monologues. He talks to his wife, his children, he remembers the moments he has lived with them, but these characters are to be felt only – by their dialogues, their images, two songs which run in the background. The storyline of this movie which revolved around fights between a husband-wife, her leaving the house and then her return was appreciated all over.

The [virtual] Trivedi is the root-cause for a  growing, close friendship between two chief protagonists –Anand (Rajesh Khanna) and Dr. Bhaskar (Amitabh Bachchan) in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s epochal film ‘Anand’ (1971). It was that Delhi-based Trivedi’s note which introduces Anand , and his terminal disease, to Dr. Bhaskar in Mumbai.

Govind Nihalani’s ‘Rukamavati Ki Haveli’ (1991) [Rukamavati’s Mansiom] was an all-female cast film. The story is about friction among advanced- middle-age women, the daughters and their maid on account of that ‘presence’ of the man whom one of the daughters courts love.

Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986)  [A Stalled Judgement] is the story of 12 male Jurors, assembled to arrive at a verdict on a case against a juvenile boy, who is alleged to have committed murder of his father. The story is about prejudices of the individuals, their right or not-so-right beliefs and their emotional, many a a times quite heated, discussions to reach a unanimous decision about that in-absentia boy. Incidentally, the story is considered to be based on a English film –“Twelve Angry Men” (1957), which in turn was adapted from a 1954 play by the same name.. A Gujarati stage play ‘Maanas Naame Kaaraagar’ [A Man Named as Prison] is also a quite creative adaptation from this film.

Shri Shrikant Gauatam’s column is known to pick up quite a different points-of-view-hypothesis, and then build equally interesting case studies to validate that hypothesis. But the present article has surpassed own high standards of the column in picking up the topic of “Be [always there] by not Being’ characters and /or “ Is Not by Being [virtually]Is” cinematic personalities.

Version Song – A song rendered by two or more different singers or in different moods – 3 of 3

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Beifore I commence documenting the third part of the post, I should acknowledge that Shri AKji [SoY] has put the matter in the further clear perspective in his comment to the first part of the present series here. He has, very rightly, called the songs as “hybrid” ones, when we see a deviation form the classic format of the “version” songs. In fact, the second part of the present series would be considered a total digression.

So at the cost of expanding / further digressing the subject even further, let me add one more variety to the subject.- there are several ghazals rendered by a large number of different singers, bringing in their own subtle variations in the style, structure and all that
Here are some of the samples:

DIL HI TO HAI

CH Atma and Talat Mahmood

Chitra Singh

Jagjit Singh

Noor Jahan

Begum Akhtar -

DIL-E-NADAN TUJHAY HUA KYA HAI

Noor Jahan

Talat-Suraiya

Mehdi Hassan

Jagjit & Chitra Singh

Suman Kalyanpur

YEH NA THEE HAMARI QISMAT

Ustad Amanat Ali Khan

Begum Akhtar

Abida Parveen

Farida Khanum, Ustad Sabri Khan

RANJISH HI SAHI DIL HI DUKHANE KE LIYE AA-

Runa Laila

Mehdi Hassan

Iqbal Bano

LAGTAA NAHI HAI DIL MERA –

Habib Wali Muhammad Sahab

Mohammad Rafi

If anyone has reasonably good command of classical music, the subject can be extended to same Raag rendered by different singers, particularly male and female vocal artists to identify the differences in the singing and possible reasons.

Version Song – A song rendered by two or more different singers or in different moods – 2 of 3

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In the first part of this post, we looked at some of the additions to the already documented the songs in the classic versions songs model.

In this second part,we  now take a look at a slightly different model of the version songs:
In the first version Dev Anand woos stunning Sadhana by ‘Abhi na jao chhod ke’ – Hum Dono – Jaidev, and Sadhana soothes the frayed impatience in the duet –

whereas the second version is based on the same tune, but has altogether a different mood. Sadhana calmly goes on restore the sagging confidence of Dev Ananad. In Jahan Men Aisa Kaun Hai. This clip –

shows the connection between two versions by triggering Sadhana’s response with ‘Adhuri Pyas Chhod ke’ moment of the previous occasion.

In Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena – Deedar – Naushad –

the version with which we are so familiar is the one rendered by Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar, a jovial ride by two friends, their childlike innocence does not recognise the distance between their social class. The clip has  a piece by Shamshad and Rafi which then goes to the time when times have separated the friends  @ 3.17 and then @4.44 has Rafi extolling his love to his beloved child friend and the anguish that flows out at the end, @6.17, evident to all the protagonists.

Film Gumrah – Ravi-  had a couple of interesting use of version songs. The first version of Tujhko Mera Pyar Pukare-

is the statement of romance by the two person’s love for each other, whereas the second version -

truly reflects the physical separation but not the severance of emotional bond [Asha’s part is from the background in the picturisation of the song.

In “EK THI LADKI MERI SAHELI- FIRST VERSION” BY ASHA BHONSLE –

the mausi turned-mother aims to win the two children by an [autobiographical] story, whereas in the SAD VERSION –

[now accepted as[ mummy is not able to prevent her dilemma of her past and future – but  does remorsefully hopes that whatever shall happen will be for the good.

Aa Laut Ke Mere Meet from Rani Rupamati is probably more standard form of version songs Here is one by Mukesh –

and the one by Lata Mangeshkar –

It is the filming of the second version –  you will see in the video clip of female version that male member of the regal family is enjoying the worldly pleasures, whereas our heroine suffers her loss of love  –  that brings out the difference between two versions.

Similarly, it would be an interesting study to document some of the Hindi film songs, recorded either originally by another singer [or may be the same singer] in a different language. I would present just one such song here to drive the point of essential difference when two singers present the same tune –  Rafi – Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukaare Chale Gaye – Kala Pani :-

and here is its original version in Bangla by S D Burman [himself] Ghoom Bhulechi (Hum Bekhudi Mein in Hindi) -

or

We can see a very different being enacted in – Ye Mera Prem Patra Padhkar Ke Tum – Sangam – primarily a   Mohd Rafi  solo but you can trust Raj Kapoor to always come with very special. Here Lata’s pitching in later in the film sequence adds another dimension to the subject of the post.

We will look at more possible variation in the next, concluding part, of this post.

Version Song – A song rendered by two or more different singers or in different moods – 1 of 3

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This blog post is essentially a by-product of two quite erudite posts –   Twin Songs  on Songs Of  Yore and It’s The First Anniversary Of My Blog on Conversations Over Chai.

When the first post had appeared, I was still a passive reader of the blogs on this genre – Old-time Hindi Films. Whereas when I placed a well-thought out comment on the second post, it somehow got ‘lost’ on way to the final appearance on the blog.

Hence, motivation for this post – wherein I have regrouped my responses to both posts and (re)documented here:

The songs by two different singers had been an interesting and intriguing subject for the program executives of Radio Ceylon, Vividh Bharati and AIR’s Urdu channel in the days when we had radio as THE source of listening to films songs that were not only popular , but had a distinctive common trait, at a common platform – 1960s and till mid-70s, when we were avid listeners of Hindi Film Music on Radio.

Of course, these programs would bring songs together at the common platform, but had not raised [to the best of my recollection] the issue of whether the male singer or the female singer renders the song better and why. In my own view, at all the times, one is likely to find as many different choices as the  class of listeners  – someone for the inherent preference of the particular singer or someone for the musical aspect or someone for the impact created by the mood and situation in the film.  I would not dare venture offer any opinion of mine, since I neither have the requisite knowledge of music nor have the reason to choose. I belong to the category that would ‘listen’ to something that appeals ‘hearing’ compartment of the brain and be happy. .

I would begin, by  first adding  to the list of versions songs presented in these posts and the  eminent add-on comments by highly informed participants of the discussions on these two forums:.

KHILTE HAIN GUL YAHAN – SHARMILEE 1971- S D Burman :- – classic twin version songs, both set in different moods and serving different purposes in the flow of the story of the film.

Lata

and Kishor

Humein Tumse Pyar Kitna – Kudrat [1981] – R D Burman :- The reasons seem to remain same, but bringing in the leading classical vocalist adds to the flavour of the genre [and possibly, providing some more fodder to the ‘who renders better’ debate].

Kishore Kumar and Parveen Sultana

LAHRON PE LAHER ULFAT HAI JAWAN-CHHABILI -1960 Snehal Bhatkar:- I have not seen the movie hence I am unable to place the purpose of the differing versions. However, singing by Nutan was a novelty to begin with, which gradually turned in strong liking for both the versions.

  Hemant Kumar & Nutan

and  Hemant Kumar [Solo]

Dil Chhed Koi Aisa Nagma – Inspector-1956 – Hemant Kumar:- No additional comments.

 Hemant Kumar

Lata Mangeshkar -

Aye malik tere bande ham..  Do Aankhen Barah Haath – Vasant Desai :-  This time one version is rendered by chorus.

Lata Mangeshkar

 (Male) [Full Version]

We would continue with this subject in subsequent posts …………..

Rich Like Us – Nayantara Sahgal

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Rich Like Us – A novel by Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal is already an acclaimed name in the field of Indian – English fiction and “Emergency” still rings bells to all those who have had lived in that period of “Emergency’ – 26 June 1975 to 21 March 1977. So when you flip through the covers of the novel “Rich Like Us”, and mark Nayantara Sahgal as the author and Emergency as the theatre of the story, the brain-watering juices are bound to be released. Add the factor that the author is the cousin of the chief protagonist of that period – Nayantara Sahgal, is the daughter of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s sister, Vijayalaxmi Pandit, and the then Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi is the daughter of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.

The fact that I belong to the band of ‘the impressionable young common citizen’ social, or political, class at that time, it was obvious that the book was a ‘must-read’ the moment I saw on the shelves of the library.

Politics is the central running theme in this novel. Though worked around an interesting premise, the story did not match up to my expectation of having the socio-political points of views of a novelist of a very critical period of India’s post-independence history. The narrative jumps from one character to another, and from past to present in a manner, which is far from smooth.

The narrative flows from the perspective of an idealist IAS officer, Soanli, educated in the post-independence Britain but revolves mainly around the life of a British woman, Rose, who is hopelessly charmed by the young Indian Ram and ‘jumps’ into a matrimony that her family neither understands nor approves. When she comes to India, India is under the last phase of the Raj. She also comes to know that Ram is already married and has toddler son from that marriage.

The story flip-flops through Rose’s life – her acclimatization in the Indian social milieu and Ram’s family, Ram’s Indian wife’s attempt for suicide and Rose saving her, Rose trying to collaborate with Sonali to prevent the fraudulent means of her stepson of using his paralytic father – with Sonali’s narrative of her own life in the new ways of the Government under the new equations of Emergency, her student days at Britain – and en passé references to the realities of clamp down of the culture of impersonated sycophancy and corruption seemed to be germinating in the new ways of the regime.

As such, the book touches upon many issues – the lives of upper class during British rule, the accumulation of wealth, injustice to the poor, the sufferings of lower class during Partition, the role of women over the years, political situation, Indian family values, patriarchal society, the injustice meted out to people during Emergency, and so many others.

If one reads through the book purely as an Indian-English fiction, “Rich Like Us” does make an interesting at-least-one-time read.

The Wikipedia has presented the detailed literary analysis of the book, from different angles. Hence I would request a visit to that article for an in-depth analysis.