Categories
Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music

Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music – May, 2018

Welcome to May 2018 edition of Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music.

We begin our May, 2018 episode with two very different subjects – The Heat of Summer and 114th Birthday of K L Saigal (which was in fact in April)

Heat and dust and cinema  – Uday Bhatia / Jai Arjun Singh  recollect memorable scenes from films old and new that show the Indian summer in all its uncompromising glory.

K L Saigal’s 114th birthday – Created by guest artist Vidhya Nagarajan, here is the   Doodle that celebrates Saigal’s illustrious career with a portrait of the singer doing what he does best.

Early concepts of the Doodle below:

And, now, we take up the tributes in May, 2018:

Director Arjun Hingorani dies at 92 – The filmmaker had directed Dharmendra’s debut film, ‘Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere’, and collaborated with the actor several times.

Balraj Sahni would turn ‘Jailor to Prisoner in Sixty Minutes!’ while shooting for Hulchul (1951).

Noted lyricist, poet, politician Balkavi Bairagi dies in MP (13 May, 2018). His short Hindi Film lyricist career took roots in 1966 film Gogola. His songs had a very natural earthy flavor. Along with Talat – Mubarak Begum duet – Jara Kahe Do Fizzaon Se – another duet of Minu Purushottam and Usha Mangeshkar – Dekho Dekho Balma Pyara – was also very popular in those days.

The most Popular Mothers Of Bollywood is a tribute to mothers on the silver screen on Mothers’ Day.

Second Sunday in May presents an alphabetical list of actresses who did exceptional work as mothers, with just one film per person, along with the actor or actress they played a mother to… and then goes on to narrate a very depressing, but real, story of bitter war over property after Nirupa Roy and then her husband’s passing away.

Shyam: The Big Heart behind the Swashbuckling Hero – By Antara Nanda Mondal – Shyam – the screen idol of the forties with his irresistible charm, good looks, style and panache left behind a brief but redoubtable repertoire of films. Even 67 years after his untimely death, Indian cinema remembers this actor with awe and affection. Bimal Chadha, the nephew of Shyam, (eldest son of Shyam’s younger brother Harbans Chadha), and his family have lovingly treasured Shyam’s memories, photos, letters, handwritten cards, books and belongings.

Talat Mahmood: A Mesmeriser  – DP Rangan pays a tribute to Talat Mahmood on his 20th death anniversary (24 February 1924 – 9 May 1998) by remembering his less heard songs.

Raat Aur Din’ is a fitting swansong for Nargis’s wide-ranging talent –  Satyen Bose’s much-delayed movie features Nargis in the dual role of a demure housewife and her bold alter ego.

Sebastian D’Souza: The Master of Counter MelodiesDr Padmanabh Joshi – The “parallel tune for a song” technique, known as a Counter-Melody, created with violin, cello, piano, Spanish guitar or an organ was introduced in Shankar-Jaikishan’s music by a musician – a violinist from Goa – Sebastian D’Souza.

My Favourites by Prem Dhawan – Prem Dhawan was a multi-talented personality. He was basically a poet and a choreographer, but also a lyricist, a good dancer and a competent music director too.

Greatness in the shadow of the giants: Bulo C Rani is a tribute to Bulo C Rani on his 25th death anniversary (6 May 1920 – 24 May 1993)

May, 2018 episode of Fading Memories, Unforgettable Songs is dedicated to Manna Dey to remember his less heard songs from 1943 to 1946..

Manna Dey: A Rare Voice That Excelled In All Music GenresAntara Nanda Mondal – Manna Dey’s expertise in complex classical renditions helped him excel in a variety of genres of Hindi film music and modern “adhunik” songs, creating everlasting songs.

And, now the posts on other subjects:

Funny Songs on Biwi/Shaadi in Hindi Films  showing how life changes after marriage, or how they are fed up with their wife, etc –

Male Voices, Female Feelings where the song, picturised on the heroine, is actually a male solo, with the male voice expressing the woman’s emotions e.g. Subah na aayi shaam na aayiCha Cha Cha (1964) / Singer: Mohammed Rafi / Music: Iqbal Qureshi / Lyrics: Neeraj

‘Twinkling Stars’ in Hindi Film Songs enlists songs with word ‘Sitara’, or its other forms in it.

The path, the traveller, the journey and the destination captures all the romance and diverse emotions of raah, musafir, safar and manzil in Hindi film songs.

Copy Cat Songs Of Bollywood Part 1 and (Part 2)  which are copied or respectfully say Inspired from International songs.

Engagements With Shama is an interesting tale of relationship between shama and parwana (a flame and a moth) which then revolves around songs in which the flame waiting  for the guests. Interestingly, the  moth dones the role of a crazed lover.

Ten of my favourite Khwaab/Sapna songs that talk about dreams, Dreams in which the beloved features, dreams about a rosy future alongside the love of one’s life.

A Story of Broken Dreams has listed songs that actually describe broken dreams

Chand Kabhi Tha Bahon Mein – Sapan Suhane (1961) Sabita Bannerji / Salil Choudhari – Shailendra

Toot Gaya Hai Sapna – Nishani (1942) Naseem Akhtar / Pandit Amarnath – Aziz Kashmiri

Sapane Toot Gaye – Daak Babu (1954) Asha Bhosle / Dhaniram – Prem Dhawan

Naam Gum Jaayega is about people like Michael Caine, Manna Dey or Harivanshray Bachchan changing their names,

Dance and drama: Vyjayanthimala is at her sinuous best in ‘Nagin’ – The 1954 popular classic has some brilliant Hemant Kumar tunes, which have been performed to perfection by the gifted actor and dancer.

Rhythms of Shankar Jaikishan – Legendary music composers Shankar Jaikishan created not only a mammoth repertoire of hit songs in Hindi film music, they also set many a style and precedent in the use of instruments to create sounds and rhythms. Anand Desai picks five songs from SJ’s ocean of music to exemplify their creativity in using classical Raags, Taals, acoustics, instruments and sounds to craft everlasting music:

We have commenced Micro View of Best songs of 1947: And the winners are? with male solo songs of Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey, G M Durrani, Surendra and K L Saigal.

In our tradition of ending our post with article on Mohammad Rafi or a topical song of his, I have picked up songs that basically have link with the topics discussed in the present post.

Paigam Kayamat Ka Katil Ne De Diya, Sajde Mein Sar Jhuka Ke Mere Dil Me Le Liya  – Kshitij (1974)  – with Preeti Sagar,Krishna Kalle,Manna Dey –  Sharda – Bal Kavi Bairagi

Phool Sa Chahera Chand Si Rangat Chal Qayamat Kya Kahie – Raat Aur Din (1967 ) – Shanker Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri

I earnestly seek your suggestions / inputs / criticisms so as to make our Film Blog Festival more interesting and live.

Categories
Music from films The Books I read

More Than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music

–Guest Article by  Tadatmya Vaishnav#

More Than Bollywood - Studies in Popular MusicI recently had opportunity to read through most of the book titled “More than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music “. It is a collection of essays on popular, film and non-film, Indian music. The book is edited by musicologists Gregory D. Booth and Bradley Shope. The essays are in a scholarly style and were meant to be a formal study of Indian film music as well as certain non-film music genres, such as pop, rap and rock.

‘More than Bollywood’ includes many of the leading scholars currently working on Indian popular music and culture. The volume offers a wide perspective on contemporary and historical popular music in India, and confronts the inescapable importance of the Indian film song; but it also offers the largest collection to date of research on “non-film” popular music in India. It can be treated as one of the most comprehensive single volume on a subject that is of growing interest to scholars and students in music, ethnomusicology, film studies, popular music studies, and South Asian studies. It is intended to stand on its own as a work of scholarship, but it is also simultaneously intended as a fundamental resource for courses on popular music and music in India.

All the chapters were not, in fact, interesting, as far as I am concerned. So, I take up the three chapters that I did find interesting.

Chapter 1 – A Moment of Historical Conjuncture in Mumbai

In this chapter, Gregory Booth presents an interesting case of how the Hindi film song, as we knew it until 1990 or so, was shaped substantially in the five year period of 1948-52, immediately after Independence. He treats the 1931 – 1947 period as a period of aesthetic and professional transition. Among major changes, he identifies growing sophistication in cinematography of song sequences and a change in the sound of the female voice in film songs. During this period, the film song also got to occupy the role of the most important form of popular song. He has taken a set of three representative music directors – Naushad Ali, Shanker Jaikishan and C Ramchandra- and two arrangers – Antonio Vaz and Sebastian D’Souza and only one full-time playback singer (Lata!) as having played a major complementary role in shaping the Hindi film song. Collectively, they effected sophistication of film song orchestration, explicit engagement with classical Indian and foreign popular music and redefinition of the sound of female playback singing, among others. Destiny seemed to have chosen them as ‘right person in the right place at right time.’

The musical and professional patterns that were established during 1948 and 1952 remained almost unchanged till at least until 1970. For a further 20 years, the rise of a new generation of musicians took over major roles. The shift in the basic structural composition of the film music is seen by examining the proportion of composers who composed more than one film in a year. Only a few, generally two or three, music directors dominated the year in terms of those soundtracks that were ‘most heard’. By 1952, the percentage of music directors with multiple releases had increased to 62%. For the next ten years this figure hovered around 50%, declining back to 30% in in 1967. The corresponding figure for 1932-1947 was seen in the range of 60%. Of the 60 highest net grossing films during 1947 to 1957, 32 % were during 1948-1952. Of these, Naushad, SJ and C Ramchandra had 68% share.

The rise of an oligarchy in the world of playback singers was also equally pronounced. Among male singers it was Mohammad Rafi who ruled the roost before Kishore Kumar took over in 1969. Nevertheless, the number of important male singers was greater as compared to that of female singers. In the case of female singers, the shift was far more dramatic and extreme. 1952 was the year that virtually brought an end to the richly textured and individually timbred voices of the earlier era. Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt collectively recorded slightly over one-third of the songs recorded in 1951. With the fading away of Geeta Dutt, by end of 1950s, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle shared between them more than one-third of all songs. Having given a quantitative background, the author has taken up the examination of more interactive musical, aesthetic and industrial practices in this chapter.

One may disagree, as I did, with some of the conclusions – that it was Naushad who “tightened” the concept of a ‘film song’, as distinct from ‘singing in the film’, by way instrumental interludes, tempo, orchestral size, recording techniques and professionalization of the singers. Or, that the style of the male voice in Hindi film songs followed mainly from Saigal’s style while the style of the female voice changed radically with Lata (I agree only with the latter part).

The statistics quoted at various places are useful and some of the points do note important conclusions. The last point about the technology that enabled separation of on-screen voice and playback voice and the emergence of the playback singer as a distinct role, is well-made and pivotal to Hindi film music.

Chapter 2 : Global Masala – Digital Identities and Aesthetic Trajectories in Post-Liberalization Indian Film Music is written by Natalie Sarrazin.

It is a very well-written account of how globalization, as well as new technologies, has influenced the creation of popular music, mainly film music, in India since the 1990s.

The author goes into a very detailed, second-by-second, analysis of the prelude music of the title song of Roja, in order to show how digital recording techniques can marry the audio to the video much more effectively than in the past.

Another good section is the one titled “Aesthetic Decisions”. It shows how the role of the music director has changed and how the sound engineer may be the most influential person behind the final finished song. This change may be revolutionary, but like many revolutions, the outcome may not be anything to be proud of. The author seems to take this major change in her stride, perhaps because she is a Westerner and does not have emotional ties to old music.

In her concluding remarks, the author notes that ‘Hindi film must project carefully crafted identities and desires onto the world stage, embodying Indian values in musical idioms palatable to an international music market and appealing to interesting non-Diaspora audiences. India’s active embrace of and enactment upon the promise of globalization require new Indian sonic agents, ones that portray India’s current energy, as well as image as a suitable global economic partner. Such music, to be successful, must create space for dreams and desires of Resident Indians and NRIs, while offering up musical fantasy escapism to the rest of the world.’

In Chapter 10: Latin American Music in Moving Pictures and Jazzy Cabarets in Mumbai, 1930-1950 Bradley Shope explores the period between mid-1930s and early 1950s when Latin American music in Hollywood films influenced jazzy cabarets that some of the Indian communities like Goans, Anglo – Indians and Parsis. The first half of the chapter traces the popularity of a native Brazilian dance, the Carioca – introduced to the world in the 1933 release Flying Down the Rio[i] in Mumbai and explores the relationship between this film and development of Hindi film songs containing Latin American sounds and images. The second half of the article uncovers the relationship between live cabarets in Mumbai and the development of Hindi films songs containing Latin American sounds and images.

The film Flying Down to Rio (1933) was successfully screened in urban India in 1934. The carioca dance shown in this films attracted vast audiences in Mumbai in nightclubs, restaurants, hotel ballrooms, social clubs and cabarets. Audiences learned the dance by watching the film or through lessons at local dance schools. By the 1940s, many jazz orchestras understood that learning Latin American repertoire could help secure jobs in a larger scope of avenues. It was no coincidence that when C Ramchandra composed Gore Gore O Banke Chhore (Lata Mangeshkar, Amirbai Karnataki, Samadhi, 1949),

he heavily borrowed from Chico Chico from Puerto Rico (Doll Face, 1945).

Latin characteristics were heard as early as in Naushad’s score for 1943 film Kanoon in the song Ek Tu Ho, Ek Main Hoon (Suraiya). The staged cabaret sequence Deewana Yeh Parwana from 1951 film Albela showcased great fusion of the chief arranger of ‘His Music Makers’, Chic Chocolate, and C Ramchandra. Chic Chocolate and his orchestra are dressed in stylized Latin American costumes in this song.

Carmen Miranda’s song sequence of ‘Week-End in Havana’ from 1941 film of the same name bears noticeable similarities to this song. And that includes not only the music, sounds or dance, but even Geeta Bali’s costumes as well.

One can find a similar beat of three+two clave (Dil Dhadake Nazar Sharamaye) or a music sound of rolling piano (Mere Dil Ki Ghadi Kare Tick Tick) in some other song sequences of ‘Albela’. Since the audiences of Hindi films were not typically exposed to these Latin American films or songs. That helped in creating that tantalizing element of fantasy in the Hindi film songs which brought up the entire effect far above real-life limitations of mundane restriction in the Indian society.

To be sure, other thematic, such as Hawaiian, Island, Spanish, Arab, French and the like, also suitably found way into Hindi films songs. Barring a few cases, the credit should also be given to director or music director that these adaptations were seen as highly innovative depictions that completely fused into the Indian cultural environment.

To illustrate each chapter author’s points, and to make available music not easily accessible in North America, the book is ably and vividly supported by Oxford web music companion website of audio and video tracks.

Bibliographic Information:

Print publication date: 2013 ǁ 380 pages ǁ Print ISBN-13: 9780199928835

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

Paperback edition: Published: 12 December 2013 | 384 Pages | ISBN: 9780199928859

Other books:

Behind the curtain: making music in Mumbai’s film studios – Gregory Booth

American Popular Music in Britain’s Raj – Bradley G Shope

# Tadatmya Vaishnav can be contacted @ tavaishnav@gmail.com

[i]