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Fading Memories….Unforgettable Songs

Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: June 2020

Dattaram – Ham Aap Ki Mehfil Mein Bhule Se Chale Aaye

Dattaram (a.k.a. Dattaram Lakshman Wadkar), popular for his  ‘dattau’s thekka’ in the Hindi film world circle – B: 1929 | D: 8 June, 2007    –  is one of those musicians, like N Dutta, Ghulam Mohammad, Jaidev, G S Kohli etc.- who have played stellar role in making the Hindi film music of 1950s and 1950s as THE Golden Era of Hindi Film Music. Basically, a table / dholak player, he rose to efficiently handle rhythm section for Shankar Jaikishan, later assisted them as Assistant Music director, while he simultaneously also composed music for films on his own. He was also called to play dholak by other music directors as well, for example  Dholak in  Sari sari raat teri yaad sataye ( For Kalyanji Anandji in Aju Bas Sukriya (9158) or Tabla in Aaja Re Pardesi and Ghadi Ghadi Mera Dil Dhadke and Suhana safar aur ye mausam hansee.(all for Salil Chaudhury in Madhumati)

Dattaram (left) rehearsing with Mohammad Rafi (on right)

However, the focus our series on Dattaram is his work as a music director. We have imitated  Dattaram’s songs from 1957 to 1959 in June,2018 and followed up those from 1960 and 1961 in June, 2019. Each of the films that we have covered had several songs that epitomized the capabaility and range of Dattaram’s creative talent as a music director. Therefore, we had been selective in presenting few of the representative songs from each film in these two articles.

For the article today, we have selected all songs form the two films. Each song was so is representative of Dattaram’s creative caliber, that leaving out any song would have been unfair to the basic purpose of the present series.

Neeli Aankhen (1962)

Ajit and Shakila starrer Neeli Aankhen was a film cast in the mystery film genre., with Ajit playing a double role. Unfortunately, shabby script, far from ordinary acting, unimaginative directorial approach resulted in the film to flop on the box office. The spectators who had seen the film in the cinema hall had only the songs of the film to carry home as sweet and likable memories of the film. The songs were popularly heard on radio and records t that time. However, the stigma of failed film left its shadow on the career of Dattaram as an independent music director.

Panchhi Ab Tu Hai Jaal Mein – Suman Kalyanpur – Lyrics: Gulshan Bawra

The song is conceived as a club /dance song on Helen on the screen. The rhythm and orchestration does create that effect but the basic composition has lost the touch of melody .

Nazar Ka Mil Ke jhuk Jaana Mohabbat Ki Nishani Hai- Suman Kalyanpur, – Lyrics: Gulshan Bawra

On the other hand, this song which is also . a fast-paced composition, set  in club / party setting has been able to retain melody across the whole song. Dattaram has bended use of piano accordian with sitar very well, as countermelody as well as interlude orchestration.

Dekhiye Na Is Tarah Jhoom Ke – Geeta Dutt – Lyrics: Gulshan Bawra

Dattaram successfully experiments with Geeta Dutt for this club dance song, retaining all the charm of Geeta Dutt’s mellifluous tone, filmed on Helen. Dattaram has very skillfully blended chorus voices with the orchestration.

Teri Nazron Ne Aisa Kaata – Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics-Gulshan Bawra,

This is a mandatory Johnny Walker song. Dattaram has set the tune and the spacing of words to suit Johnny Walker’s signature style of acting out a song on the screen.

Ae Meri Jaan-e-Wafaa Maine Dekha Hai Ye Kyaa – Mukesh – Gulshan Bawra

The song opens on the screen with movement of the clouds in the sky around what is supposed to be moon (n the broad dayligt!), which is supported by a brief orchestration. Then we see drops of water falling on the surface of the river, which is supported by matching strokes of a string instrument. The scene moves to a group of fisherfolk humming their folk tune, which is supported by a string instrument in the counter melody. Then the main song commences. Each interlude music is also composed mainly with the humming sound of the chorus.. The tone is set to match the tonal quality of Mukesh.

Ye Nasheeli Hawaa Chhaa Rahaa Hai Nashaa  – Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur – Lyrics: : Gulshan Baawra

This is a duet that people so easily remember, but that memory may not have captured the fact that its creator was Dattaram! The song opens with a pleasing prelude that sets the mood of the song. The way Manna Dey moves up and down the first word Yeh or extends a gap @ Nash….aaa is the ample proof of Dattaram’s creativity so effectively used in the final delivery of a song. Similarly, the variations built every time both singers begin their sentences in each interlude adds to the charm of the song. The song ends with the song gradually tapering off. This can be termed as strong influence of Shankar Jaikishan style song composition, who would use this tapering effect with the scene gradually going into a long shot on the screen. In this particular instance, the protagonists merge into the silhouette background. in a long shot.

Jab Se Tumhe Dekha Hai (1963)

The film was an easy-paced social-thriller drama where events happen as expected, with even obstacles cropping at regular intervals. This was an immensely popular narrative style in those days. Pradeep Kuamr, and ever adorable and lively Geeta Bali were in the lead roles. Dattaram’s music also must have made people feel worth their money spent on the tickets. Such films may not make very roaring business, but di make satisfactory score on the box office.

Tumhe Husn De Ke Khuda Ne Sitamgar Banaya Banaya – Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics: Anand Baxi

The sufi prayer form, Qawaali,   had become a very standard item song in Hindi films after roaring success of qawaali n Mughal-e-Azam (1959) and Barsat Kir Raat (1960). The film Jab Se Tumhen Dekha Hai (1963) is no exception to the norm. The qawwali set here – even by filmi qawwali standards – extremely pleasant to listen to. It has all the mandatory elements of a qawwali – a competition between parties, lovely music with the trademark harmonium and table, all the participants in traditional muslim dress code, . And of course, the synchronized clapping. A bonus of dance performance is also added.

The masala stuffing does not end at only this point. We have Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Kumkum, Shyama, Om Prakash and Bhagwan together in a qawwali scene – in a rarest of rare cameo roles – to add to the falvou. This songs can perhaps should take the honor of being crowbn=ned as  “mother of all item numbers” !

Ye Din Din Hai Khushi Ke Aaja Re Aaja Saahei Meri Zindagi Ke – Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur – Lyrics: Shailendra

It seems Dattaram has mastered the knack of composing beauties in the form of Manna Dey – Suman Kalyanpur duets. Manna Dey’s alaap, soft intro of flute and fast beat rhythm instruments make an interesting prelude. He has used that ‘alaap’ taan in the orchestration of interludes as well. Suman Kalyanpur joins in that taan in the third interlude. The song end with a tapering off alaap in the voice of Suman Kalyanpur.

Aside Trivia: The young boy playing flute on the screen in the first stanza is Aditya, son of Geeta Bali and Shammi Kapoor.

Mohammed Shah Rangile  Gaawat Aaj Prem Rog – Manna Dey – Shailendra

This song is not available in the digital form.

Chand Tale Jhum Jhum Thirak Rahi Hai Ghungharwaliya – Subir Sen, Suman Kalyanpur- Shilendra

Dattaram has very deftly composed a folk-based fast dance tune here.  He has used his famous thekkto a special effect by way of chorus clapping. Dattaram’s moves like using voice of Subir Sen here probably went on to strengthen the impression that Dattaram could never come out from the shadows of Shankar Jaikishan school of music

SJ had used Subir Sen earlier in Kathputli – 1957- (Manzil Wahi Hai Pyar Ki ); Chhoti Bahen – 1959 – (Main Rangila Pyar Ka Rahi), Aas Ka Panchhi – 1961)  (Dil Mera Ek Aas Ka Panchhi), Roop Ki Raani Choron Ka Raaja -1962 (Aaja Re Aaja Aaja Prem Duware), and later on in Apne Hue Paraye -1964 (Gagan Ke Chanda Na Puchh Ham Se)

Are Re Dil Kho Gaya Dhundu Kaha, Dhundu Kaha Ae Dilruba – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Shailendra

For this ‘masala’-formula song for a comedian, Dattaram has blended western and eastern rhthm instruments alternately in preude-interludes orchestration and actual singing .

Ham Aapki Mahafil Mein Bhule Se Chale Aaye…. Ho Maaf Khata Apani, Gardish Ke Hai Bahakaye – Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics: Shailendra

Delivering a song, full of litany of complaints for the beloved one, in full-fledged celebration party, mostly at the drop of a request, was a popular genre in Hindi film songs. As listeners of such songs, we were normally not disappointed by the overall quality of the song. So, for a music director, it would be always a challenge to come up with a song that would stand the competition. Dattaram passes the test with honors.

With the benefit of hindsight of having knowledge of how Dattaram’s career moved hereafter,  the opening line of this song rings so prophetic. Dattaram too could never be accepted as A grade music director, even he had delivered a slew of successful songs, with varied moods, styles and playback singers.

We will have to wait for next episode to see what the future had in store for Dattaram.

We will continue remembering Unforgettable Songs that seem to Fading away from our Memories every second Sunday of the month……..

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from net. All copyrights of the respective image remain with the original owner of the image.

By ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging!
One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems.
So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation.
At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships.
I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator.
And yet,
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

5 replies on “Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: June 2020”

Ashok Vaishnav ji,
Covering every song of a movie is a good idea.
One gets to see the complete range of a composer.
Yes, Dattaram is among the largely unsung hero.

‘ Mother of all item numbers’ could be John Jaani Janardan , NASEEB. Of course, the guest artistes didn’t ‘perform’.

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