Wednesday, July 21, 2010

S. D. Burman: Taxi Driver (1954/1977) Pakistan

Ok, ok. I actually enjoyed the Taxi Driver soundtrack more than Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. And I have to admit that I am finding some S. D. Burman songs which I enjoy very much (hey, don't even think about it...this doesn't mean that I am a S. D. Burman Fan). I have still to find an entire "Dada" album that impresses me. To date, this is the closest, if you don't count Aradhana (composed by S. D. Burman/R. D. Burman). And bizarrely enough S. D. Burman won the Filmfare Award for best music director in 1955 for the song "Jahen To Jahen Kahan" and not for the entire album. Actually, the first two years the award was given, it was awarded for a song not an album (Naushad won it in 1954 for "To Gauga Ki Mauj" from Baiju Bawra).

I agree with Filmfare on this one, I very much enjoy Talat Mahmood's version of "Jahen To Jahen Kahan". I usually associate Mahmood with Dilip Kumar, and Dev Anand with the equally talented Hemant Kumar (aka Hemanta Mukherjee), but this combo does just fine in the picturization of this lovely tune. Lata also takes a stab at the same song but I it's left emotionless next to Talat Mahmood's version.

I also admire "Dil Jale To Jale", an "almost vamp song" for Lataji with its catchy and fine swaying melody. Do like the two little gore playing instruments in the band (I just had to post pics...).

The duet "Dekho Mane Nahin Roothi Haseena" is good and playful. Yet I still don't know exactly who the male playback singer Jagmohan is? My closest guesses are either Jagmohan Bakshi a music composer, associated with Sapan Sengupta for the Sapan & Jagmohan team, or Jaganmoy Mitra the Bengali singer.

Also worth a listen is "Ae Zindigi Aaj Raat Jhoom Le". But I would have liked it if the intro to the song (shown in the link) would have been on the record. To bad.

Overall, this album is worth a listen, and I hope you appreciate it more than I do.


Side 1
1. Asha Bhosle: Jeene Do Oji O
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Jaen To Jaen Kahan
3. Asha Bhosle & Jagmohan: Dekho Mane Nahi Roothi Haseena
4. Lata Mangheshkar: Ae Zindigi Aaj Raat Jhoom Le

Side 2

5. Kishore Kumar: Chache Koi Khush Ho Chahe Galiyan Hazar De
6. Talat Mahmood: Jaen To Jaen Kahan
7. Lata Mangeshkar: Dil Se Milake Dil Pyar Kijiye
8. Lata Mangeshkar: Dil Jale To Jale

Lyrics: Sahir

Stella_1's score: 3.5

Get the music Now: S. D. Burman Taxi Driver

Monday, February 15, 2010

S. D. Burman: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958/1989)

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi is not my favourite soundtrack nor is S. D. Burman my favourite composer. None the less, this hindi comedy does have it's own charm. Kishore Kumar's "Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si" is the best song on the record, and is today considered a classic.

For a comedy, which usually tends to lack in the song department, this record tries its best to cater and reach out to the common city folk with it's modern upbeat music. I like it because its, in a way, unsophisticated and humble which makes it easy to relate to and accessible to everyone.

One of my favorite songs on the record is "Tum Tumare Hain". It's performed by the lovely Helen with her dance mentor Cukoo.

But the most important figure on this album and the "soul" behind the songs comes from Kishore Kumar's voice. He acts through his singing, this very strong asset of his makes listening to the record worthwhile. Enjoy.


Side 1

1. Title Music
2. Kishore Kumar & Manna Dey: Babu Samjho Ishare
3. Kishore Kumar: Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si
4. Kishore Kumar: Hum The Who Thi
5. Kishore Kumar & Chorus: In Hathon Se Sabki Gaadi

Side 2

6. Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar: Haal Kaisa Hai Jabab Ka (with dialogue)
7. Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar: Main Sitaron Ka Tarana
8. Asha Bhosle: Ruk Jao Na Jee
9. Asha Bhosle & Sudha Malhotra: Hum Tumhare Hain

Lyrics: Majrooh

Stella_1's score: 3/5

Get the music now: S. D. Burman Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

Friday, February 12, 2010

Satyajit Ray: Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

While many westerners know Satyajit Ray as a director, most famously for his Apu Trilogy. The famous Bengali also gained some recent popularity as a composer with Wes Anderson's 2007 film Darjeeling Limited. The soundtrack for the film holds five compositions of his. You can also see a homage to Ray in the film as a painted portrait on the train (I posted the screencap at the bottom of the page.) One of the tracks featured on Darjeeling Limited's soundtrack called "The Desert Ballroom", the shortest track on the record, is originally from the 1965 film Shakespeare Wallah.

Shakespeare Wallah is yet another Merchant-Ivory production (see my Bombay Talkie post), directed by American James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The story is set in India, and borrows from the real life adventures of the Kendal family (in the film they are called the Buckingham's), a British travelling theater group who mostly performed Shakespeare across the sub-continent.

This is mostly an instrumental soundtrack. Ray uses, leitmotif, the classical western method of musical theme associated to a person, situation or other which in turn is used several times throughout the film. He also incorporates and mixes both western with traditional Indian music and instruments. The only actual "song" on the record is "Manjula's song". It is the only one with vocals, and is inspired by folk music as well as commercial indian soundtracks or filmi music with its dreamlike qualities. I also enjoy "Manjula's Possession" as well as "Lizzie and Sanju Backstage".

Overall, the album is melancholic and atmospheric, sometimes emotionally and sometimes to be used to describe the little unique universe in which all these characters are living in.

It's interesting how Satyajit Ray's films are very much influenced by neo-realism, but this specific soundtrack is not realist in this sense. Not to say they live in a fantasy world the characters do not live in reality per say and the music illustrates that.

I am looking for a film documentary mad e in 1984 by Utpalendu Chakrabarty called The Music of Satyajit Ray. If anyone has seen it I would sure like to hear about it. Thanks, and enjoy the music and the lovely screencap below.

Portrait of Satyajit Ray (top right corner) in Darjeeling Limited (2007) accompanied by Jason Schwartzman.


Side 1

1. Title Music

2. Cleopatra's Barge

3. Arrival of the Troupe in the Rain

4. Manjula's Procession

5. The Good Old Days

6. Mubarak Begum: Manjula's Song-Dil Dharke (Heartbeat)

Side 2

7. Pantomime

8. Bobby's Funeral

9. Love Theme - Sanju and Lizzie

10. Carla begs Lizzie to Return to England

11. The Desert Ballroom

12. Lizzie and Sanju Backstage

13. Lizzie Sails for England

Get the music now: Satyajit Ray Shakespeare Wallah

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bombay Talkie Quiz #2

Again in the title sequence, a magazine/newsstand is being shown.

Quiz # 2: Name the three actresses on the magazine covers ?

1. Filmfare - ???
2. Film World - ???
3. (Top right) - ???

Good Luck!

Bombay Talkie Quiz #1

I was watching the opening credits sequence, and noticed some movie billboards up behind the Helen Poster.

Quiz # 1: Which 4 films are being displayed on billboards in the background of the Helen credits? (I already found Abhinetri)

1. Upper Left - Abhinetri
2. Upper Right - ???
3. Lower Left - ???
4. Lower Right - ??? Starts with "B"?

You can also checkout the opening sequence itself.

Hope you can figure it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shankar Jaikishan: Bombay Talkie (1970)

Bombay Talkie is quite a find. The music, by Shankar Jaikishan, is the only collaboration between themselves and the famous Merchant-Ivory film team (Ismail Merchant and James Ivory). The english film, starring Shashi Kapoor, his wife Jennifer Kendal and Zia Mohyeddin, mostly takes place in Bombay of the late 60's early 70's. Vikram (Shashi Kapoor) is an aging hero stuck in an unhappy arranged marriage with his wife Mala (Aparna Sen). Lucia, a three time married middle age novelist, takes a liking to Vikram while Hari, a Bombay screenwriter, madly in love with her, does as she pleases. This has to be my favorite Merchant-Ivory film ever! But I won't say any more than that, as I will probably review the film one day. For now, let me talk about some of the soundtrack's great songs.

The tracks comprise, mostly of various versions of the Bombay Talkie Theme, "Title and Theme" can be heard in the Title Credits along with "Tum Mere Pyar Ki Duniyamen" a few seconds before that. In this particular sequence, the "Title and Theme" is played as hand painted portraits (filmi style) of the cast and crew are shown around the streets of Mumbai.

Besides the theme variations, five, of what we can call conventional, songs are found on the record. Along with the previously mentioned "Tum Mere Pyar Ki Dumiyamen" you have to start with the great and famous "Typewritter Tip Tip Tip" song because, well, just because. With the fantastic Helen and Shashi dancing on a giant typewriter, what else do you need. A young and spunky Usha Lyer gives us two versions of "Hari Om Tat Sat" (हारी ॐ तट सात). One is the orchestrated version which is
the film version and the other version is the "official" version. She also sings the vocals to the Bombay Theme tune "Good Times, Bad Times".

As for the variations I enjoy the "Rajput Suite" "Now I Shall Call You Ma" and especially "Picnic in the Cave" with it's new wave synthesisers.

Overall, though it's not entirely a commercial Hindi film soundtrack, it is very enjoyable and interesting to listen too. As much for it's filmi songs, instrumentals and some rare Usha Lyer (now Usha Uthup) tunes. Just listen for yourselves!

Oh, and once your done listening to the music, those who have not seen the movie yet, rent it or buy it NOW!


Side 1

1. Instrumental - Title and Theme
2. Mohd. Rafi - Tum Mere Pyar Ki Duniyamen

Variations of theme:
3. Instrumental - Incidental Music
4. Instrumental - Devotion
5. Instrumental - Rajput Suite
6. Instrumental - Now I Shall Call You Ma
7. Instrumental - More Incidental Music
8. Usha Uthup - Hari Om Tat Sat

Side 2

9. Usha Uthup - Hari Om Tat Sat (with Orchestra)

Variations of theme:
10. Instrumental - Picnic in the Cave
11. Instrumental - Birthday Party 1
12. Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar - Typewriter Tip Tip Tip

Variations of theme:
13. Instrumental - Meeting and Birthday Party 2
14. Usha Uthup - Good Times, Bad Times

Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri, Usha Lyer/Uthup only for "Hari Om Tat Sat"

Stella_1's score: 4/5

Get the music now: Shankar Jaikishan Bombay Talkie

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Compilation: Film Favourites of the Fifties (1962)

The 1950's were a time when the Hindi film industry was in full bloom. It was a golden age for filmi music but sadly this record only showcases a fragment of the classics of this period. Personally, the songs on this vinyl this would not make my top picks (not because they're not good, I just think some are better), but it is still well rounded with a good variety of noted composers and playback singers. For the most part, the songs are based on folk (Naushad usually derives from Rajasthani folk and O. P. Nayyar from Punjabi) so you won't find any songs falling under the categories of classical or "westernised".

Two songs I was glad to see "made the cut" were "Bol Ro Kath Putli" from Kath Putli and "Chali Radherani" from Parineeta because they are rarest of the bunch to find on vinyl.

My favourite songs are all the ones on Side 2, in addition to Talat Mahmood's male version of "Ai Mere Dil" from the classic Daag. I like the song from Mother India but I prefer other tunes from the film. In all, it's a good record.

Something I found weird was the Aan song. It's not the same in the video as on this record.


Aa Ha Ha...

Aaj Mere Man Me Sakhi Basuri Bajaye Koi*

Aaj Mere Man Me*

Aaj Mere Man Me Sakhi Basuri Bajaye Koi

Pyar Bare Geet Sakhi Baar Baar Gaye Koi

Basuri Bajaye*

Basuri Bajaye Sakhi Gaye .....

* missing from this record (not film version, either cut or variation)

Here is the video version:

Mini Challenge

Hey, if you could make film favourites from the 50's, which songs would you absolutely have to put on the record? Tell me some or all of them? I will try and figure out my top picks as well (its hard for me there are so many). Anyway, can't wait to hear from you, and I hope you enjoy!


Side 1

1. S. N. Tripathi - Janam Janam Ke Fere: Zara Samne To Aa O: Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi
2. Shankar Jaikishan - Daag: Ai Mere Dil: Talat Mahmood
3. S. D. Burman - Pyaasa: Jane Woh Kaise Log: Hemant Kumar
4. Naushad- Mother India: O! Mere Lal Aaja: Lata Mangeshkar
5. C. Ramchandra - Nastik: Kitna Badal Gaya: Pradeep
6. Arun Kumar Mukherjee - Parineeta: Chali Radherani: Manna Dey

Side 2

7. O. P. Nayyar - Naya Daur: Reshmi Salwar Kurta: Asha Bhosle & Shamshad Begum
8. Naushad - Aan: Aaj Mere Man Men: Lata Mangheskar & Chorus
9. O. P. Nayyar - Phagun: Ek Pardesi Mera Dil Le: Asha Bhosle & Mohd. Rafi
10. Shankar Jaikishan - Kath Putli: Bol Ro Kath Putli: Lata Mangeshkar
11. O. P. Nayyar - C. I. D.: Leke Pahla Pahla Pyar: Shamshad Begum & Mohd. Rafi
12. Shankar Jaikishan - Ujala: Ya Allah Ya Allah: Lata Mangeshkar & Manna Dey

Stella_1's score: 3.5/5

Get the music now:
Compilation Film Favorites from the Fifties