RSS

Tag Archives: shashi kapoor

Kaala Patthar : Adaptation of Lord Jim

Joseph Conrad’s novel Lord Jim, first published in 1900, finds a resonance even today; so timeless was his tale. And many a movie has been based on this book, only the setup has changed with the changing times.

It’s a tale of living an ignominious life and how the protagonist redeems himself. Very recently, we saw this theme being played out in Chak De India, with SRK in the lead role. And before that, Abhishek Bachchan in Zameen got an opportunity to re-live the character of Lord Jim.

But many years ago, it was Salim-Javed who brought this fine tale to Yash Chopra, Indiansed it, added the much needed entertainment quotient by introducing new elements into it and roped in Amitabh Bachchan to breathe life into the character.

After Deewar, Kabhi Kabhie & Trishul, this was the fourth collaboration of Yash Chopra, Shashi Kapoor and BigB. But for this movie, where Amitabh & Shashi gel well and are on the same side, in the three previous encounters they have always crossed swords with each other. In this movie, we don’t get to see that. Here we see Shashi’s calm and cool attitude being the best response to Amitabh’s smouldering anger, equal and opposite in effect.

Among the star cast, Rakhi and Neetu were again regulars who had worked with Yashji earlier; but Shatrughan Sinha and Parveen Babi were new to his school of direction. Their discomfiture in the movie can be gauged by the fact that neither of the two acted in a Yash Chopra movie again. Shatrughan has always indulged in theatrics in his characterisation, as seen in Vishwanath & Kalicharan. And such characters are rarely found in Yashji’s movie. And what can one say about Parveen Babi; she always had the looks but lacked substance.

Much before Coalgate scam and mine block allocation, there was a Seth Dhanraj, played by Prem Chopra, a capitalist who believed in making money by looting the mineral resources and depriving the coal miners of a decent livelihood. And the entire story revolves around this coalmine setup.

Before getting branded as the tour guide of Switzerland, Yash Chopra was known for capturing various industries with good detailing in his movies. In Deewar, the movie begins with a trade union meeting in the rain, and how they discuss the terms and conditions of the factory owners. Later, the movie goes onto capture smugglers lifestyle and how wheeling and dealing goes on in the underworld. In Trishul, Yashji dives deep into real estate development, opening and closing of tenders, and what underhand tricks are used for winning a tender etc. In Kabhi Kabhie too, poet Amit retires into a life of an industrialist. Even in later years, the movie Vijay had the modern outlook on Mahabharat with the backdrop of competitive industrial war. That’s the mark of a good director, they work hard on the characters and the detailing. They are never afraid to try a new setup, a different storyline or unique situations.

Here too, the coalmine workers and their living conditions are captured pretty well. Their working environment, the siren that marks the start of the working hours, the tea stall and the entire setting and backdrop is done with lot of effort.

We see a brooding BigB, playing Vijay Pal Singh, who is nursing a deep pain in his heart, some guilt of the past, a hurtful truth that he cannot runaway from. In his attempt to hide from the world, he takes up a job at a nondescript location where nobody would recognise him. He goes about his job silently, without interacting with fellow workers. The only person who seems to understand him is doctor Sudha, played by Rakhi, and she is the only person with whom he ever speaks.

Sudha can see through the hollowness in his heart and the vacuum in his life, but she can do nothing to fill it as he has built a wall around himself that nobody but him can break. In such a situation, Salim-Javed drops in two characters – Ravi, an engineer who marks the mining zone and looks into the concerns of the workers, and Mangal, an escaped convict who is just looking to have some fun while he keeps the police busy.

Mangal, played by Shatrughan Sinha, annoys Vijay, challenges him to a duel and behaves cocky just to cause an imbroglio, but for no particular reason. And on the other hand, Ravi, played by Shashi Kapoor, tries to assuage the animosity between Vijay & Mangal. BigB and Shatru were pitted against each other just for some whistles and cheap thrills. But it didn’t add much value to the movie. It was just the coming together of two huge actors, UP ka bhaiyya and Bihari babu.

The movie keeps you interested as we are still unaware of the cause of Vijay’s inner turmoil. But the additional characters of Ravi’s & Mangal’s love interests weighs down the movie. It not only reduces the pace but also the intensity of the movie.

Just when the movie starts drifting, Salim-Javed pull another fast one to bring about a sudden mood swing. A mishap takes place and how the lead characters change themselves for the better, and how they all come together to help save lives of the coalminers, takes the movie forward.

Vijay’s hour of redemption finally arrives, where he faces fear dauntingly and exorcises the demons of the past. The shadow of his inglorious act finally vanishes as the sunshine of guilt floats behind the clouds of a brave act, and he is ready to face the world again, with his head held high. He had the author backed role, and Amitabh Bachchan did complete justice to the character.

But the movie didn’t do very well at the box office. Only if Shatrughan Sinha or Shashi Kapoor had been given a meatier role, the movie might have fared better. It was Bachchan’s show all the way. Although, Rakhi did well to get noticed. Rest of the characters just became a supporting cast, in this show largely driven by Vijay.

The movie had some rather mediocre music and forgettable lyrics. Rajesh Roshan was the composer and Sahir Ludhianvi was the lyricist; needless to say, they never worked together again. Ek Rasta Hai Zindagi, sung by Kishore Kumar is the only memorable number from the movie. Rest of the songs were passé and uninspired. One of the few movies of Yashji with such indifferent musical score. Later, Faasle and Vijay were added to this list.

Overall, the movie was no great shake. Salim-Javed probably missed out on that elusive x-factor, which they usually get it right in most movies, but not this time. This was the beginning of a long and listless time that Yashji had to endure for a whole decade. From 1979, when Kaala Patthar released, to 1989, when Chandni released, was a muted period for Yash Chopra. All his movies fared badly in this 10 year period, starting with this movie. Silsila flopped, Vijay and Fasle were disasters and Mashaal was average.

But the story of Lord Jim is eternal, and it shall be played out again and again, in different regions with different flavours and a different backdrop. And Kaala Patthar will always be mentioned, even as a footnote, only because of its honest effort and a good adaptation.

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in bollywood, movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Waqt : Yash Chopra’s Magnum Opus

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
John Lennon

Lala Kedarnath was a joyous man, celebrating his success and singing to his lady love Aye Meri Zohrajabeen. He was a self-made man who never believed in astrologers or predictions; and making it on his own was one of the reasons for his pompous party. But little did he know that destiny had other plans for him.

Soon after the song and dance, a massive earthquake shook Lala Kedarnath off his feet. The entire town was in chaos, and a stampede took place. With people running helter-skelter in search of safety, his entire family was separated from each other. This was the grand premise of the movie Waqt. A premise that soon became a formula for many a lost-and-found movies. Not just that, Waqt was also one of the first multi-starrers. Manmohan Desai mastered this genre and made a name for himself, but much before him, it was Yash Chopra who provided the template for Naseeb, Amar-Akbar-Anthony, Suhaag etc.

The movie had a vast scale at the production level itself. Yashraj’s elder brother Balraj Chopra, wanted to cast Prithviraj Kapoor and his 3 sons in the movie. But Yash was quick to point out that the audience would easily recognize the three brothers and then the movie would just be a matter of ‘when’ , rather than ‘how’ the entire family comes together. After much thought, Balraj Sahni was cast as Lalaji. And only Shashi Kapoor stayed on from the original casting, owing to his previous performance in Dharamputra which was also directed by Yash Chopra. He played the role of the youngest brother Munna who grows up to become Vijay. Rajkumar entered the scene and was cast as the eldest of the 3 brothers, Raju who becomes Raja. Sunil Dutt was cast in the movie due to his previous association with BR Films, and of course his acting skills. He played the middle brother, Bablu who becomes Ravi, who is older than Vijay but younger than Raja.

Although the movie was already getting bigger in grandeur, the Chopras went ahead and signed the biggest actresses and the most beautiful faces for the female leads. There was Sharmila[as Renu] opposite Shashi, earlier she had starred opposite Shammi in An Evening In Paris; Sadhna [as Meena] was cast opposite Sunil Dutt.

Back to the story, when the 3 brothers were separated, Munna being a toddler was in his mother’s arms. So, he grew up with his mother, in abject poverty. Munna wasn’t able to pay for his education while Bablu went to vilayat to study law. Blame it on luck! Munna even takes up driving to eke out a living.

Ravi was adopted by a rich family while Raja ends up with the anti-social elements. While Vijay lives an impoverished life, his brother Ravi and Raja have a lavish lifestyle. This was one of the first movies which celebrated opulence. Chopras did not shy away from showing people from higher strata of society indulging themselves. Ravi’s family while away their time in clubs and holiday spots, they swim and play badminton. All this was being picturised when socialism was at its peak and film makers shied away from showing richness.

But Chopras were always liberal, traditional but liberal. And here in this movie, we see the prototype of Rahul/Raj’s character in Ravi. He was the kind of guy who could sweep women off their feet with his smooth talk and suave style. His ‘gul-e-gulzar, jaan-e-bahaar, toofan-e-humdum‘ was an oft repeated phrase for addressing his lady love. Ravi is a nonchalant guy with no hang-ups, and he handles life with ease. He forgets about the party that his family has hosted to celebrate his becoming a barrister and is instead found fishing in the blue waters and under the blue sky soaking some sun; there was a similar scene in DDLJ where SRK forgets about the valedictory function. Ravi also indulges in a car race with Raja to woo the woman with speed and machismo. He loses the race and still walks off with the heroine, very graciously. Ravi was the ‘cool dude Rahul’ of those times.

Interestingly, the sript-writers also managed to squeeze in a love triangle here, in an already formulaic setting. Raja’s affection for Meena is more than obvious by his overtures. And in a classic sequence, to showcase that his love will not bloom, Raja gives a buoquet to Meena at the airport, Meena gives that buoquet to Ravi as she welcomes him back home, Meena introduces Ravi to Raja and in a flash Ravi gifts that buoquet back to Raja to mark the start of their friendship.

The movie had some really romantic moments, again a first for the silver-screen was the locker room conversation after a swim, and the sweet-nothings exchanged between Ravi and Meena which were brow raising for those days. Sadhna was so sexy and comfortable in the bikini, and Sunil Dutt in his boxers was a hunk; both singing Hum Jab Simat Ke Aap Ki Baahon Mei Aa Gaye. The two get so cosy that we become uncomfortable after a point. But that’s how Yash Chopra shoots lovey-dovey scenes, he gets into the moment and captures it so well. Its never vulgar, just sensual; this is one of his trademarks.

Fantastic composition by Ravi and lovely lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi to express the closeness of the couple. The movie had good hummable music. There was another beautiful song Din Hain Bahar Ke that was filmed on Shashi and Sharmila. Both songs were sung by the duo Asha Bhonsle and Mahendra Kapoor. The album is an Asha Bhonsle special, as she has leant her voice to 4 of the 6 songs. Kaun Aaya Ki Nigaahon Mei Chamak Jaag Uthhi sung by Asha and the title song still rings in our ears, Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu. Manna Dey has of course, immortalised the song Aye Meri Zohrajabeen. Yashji’s keen sense of music is another notable feature. All his movies had great music and meaningful lyrics.

Great directors etch memorable characters and Raja was one of them, created so well by Yashji. He gave the character an edge and made him stand out. Rajkumar walked away with the meatiest role and all the accolades. Who can forget the ‘Chinoy Seth, jinke apne ghar sheeshe ke hon woh doosron par pathar nahi phenka karte‘ or even the line ‘yeh bachchon ke khelne ki cheez nahin, haath kat jaye to khoon nikal aata hai‘. He had a heart of gold but his hands were blackened with illegal deeds, his suit was clean but his job was dirty, his words were harsh but his mannerisms were soft, Raja was a character immersed in gray.

In a scene of passion and desperation, Raja is shown trying to murder Ravi and thereby remove the thorn and pluck the rosebud Meena. Many years later, this particular love triangle gave rise to Darr where SRK played out Raja’s character of an obsessive person wallowed in one-sided love.

In comparison, Vijay’s life was much more simpler than Ravi and Raja’s. He was poor and so he had very limited choices in life. Renu loved him, but then love is the propriety of the rich who can indulge in such luxuries. Vijay always took it that, he was born to serve and work his way up in life. His priorities were clear, his ailing mother and his incomplete education was to be taken care of.

How the trio’s life shapes-up and what kind of situations they face as they cross paths many a times, unbeknownst to themselves of their kinship, is interesting. Multi-starrer, lost-and-found, love triangle, and if all this was not enough, they even added a murder mystery and a court-room drama in this magnum-opus. In a twist of fate, Raja is prime accused in a murder and Lalaji gets him arrested while he was trying to flee from the scene of crime, Vijay became the key witness and implicated Raja and Ravi defends Raja in the court. Such was the whirlwind story and screenplay, that inspite of being long it keeps you hooked.

The court-room proceedings flouted all norms of legal procedure, but it did make for a thrilling watch. The manner in which Ravi tries to sway the jury and the strange ways that he adopts to establish Raja’s innocence was fresh and filmy. What Yashji did in Waqt, inspired Subhash Ghai to do the same in Meri Jung.

Be it the love sequences or the brotherly affection or the scene of the murder or the court-room setup, everything was perfect. The setting was great, music was good and acting was awesome. The movie won 5 Filmfare awards – Best Director, Best Story, Best Dialogue [Akhtar Ul Iman], Best Supporting Actor [Rajkumar] and Best Cinematographer [Dharam Chopra]. Only Sadhna lost out on the Best Actress award which went to Meena Kumari for Kaajal; and rightly so.

Yashi ji took the story written by Akhtar Mirza to a different level with the casting and direction. It isn’t an easy job to handle so many stars and give them all meaningful roles to play. But Yashji was excellent at that. He managed to give justified screen time to all characters, big or small. This is reflected even in his later works. And he always believed in casting mature and good actors, one of the reasons being that, with mature actors even a simple scene looks great. Actors like Sunil Dutt, Rajkumar, Balraj Sahni etc lent credibility to the character, they made it look believable. After 180 + mins of laughing, crying, romancing, singing and dancing, the entire family finally re-unites and the film ends on a happy note.

“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”
John Lennon

This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2012 in bollywood, movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

aamir khan aur remakes ki daastaan – part 2 of 2

Click here for part 1 of 2

I thought I would assimilate the entire thing into a single post, but I was unable to do so. It has taken me 2 weeks to complete this because I was not able to dedicate myself totally to it. Anyways, here’s the next part, continuing with the number series.

Raja hindustani6. Jab Jab Phool Khile – 1965 : One of the earlier movies of Shashi Kapoor where he plays Raja, a houseboat owner-cum-guide. Rita, played by Nanda, visits Kashmir and she falls in love with the valleys. Not just the valleys, she falls in love with the charming boatman Raja too. She  promises Raja that she will convince her dad and get back to marry him. But Raja is shattered when Rita does not return for a very long time. Meanwhile Rita is being introduced to suitors as her dad presses for marriage. Rita returns to Kashmir and explains the situation to Raja, and they together hatch a plan to showcase Raja as a wellbred citizen who is prim and proper in his habit and mannerism. That is when Raja notices the difference in cultures and the superficiality of the city dwellers. What happens next and how Raja copes with this and finally gets Rita, forms the rest.

In 1996 Dharmesh Darshan along with Robin Bhat rehashed this movie and titled it Raja Hindustani. Aamir Khan played Raja, the cab driver-cum-guide and Karishma Kapoor played Arti Sehgal who visits the small town of Palankhet. The only thing that they added was the newborn child for whom Raja fights it out with Arti. The highlight of the movie, apart from the wonderful songs, was the drunk-scene of Aamir. Legend has it  hat Aamir being a method-actor actually got drunk so that it would look natural. Aamir won the Filmfare for Best Actor, but as usual he did not  turn-up and quite justifiably so, because it was a mediocre performance. Karishma looked amazingly beautiful and she walked away with Filmfare Best Actress. The movie also won the Fimlfare for Best Film, Best Music Director and Udit Narayan won the Best Singer for the Pardesi song. But this song was not as good as the original Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana song.

7. On The Waterfront – 1954 : A story about corruption and total control of a dockyard was made starring Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy. Johnny Friendly rules the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey and Terry’s brother Charley is his lawyer who does all the cover-up job. Terry moves around as an aimless guy so johnny asks him to pry over the gathering of the dissenting voices against him and report him the events. Very innocently Terry reports Johnny about certain dock workers who want to lodge a complaint to the crime commission against him. Johnny is also involved in other illegal activities like betting on boxing matches and in one such match he wants Terry to lose the match since the odds against the opponent is high. Terry is disappointed by this but what actually turns him against Johnny is the incident where Johnny’s men throw over a dock worker into the railway track of an incoming train. But Terry lives with the guilt that he has been made use like a bait and the only way to find peace within himself is to depose against Johnny. The deceased’s younger sister Edie and Father Barry. When Terry becomes a threat to him, Johnny decides to get him eliminated. Terry and Johnny have a final confrontation where Terry testifies against Johnny and then fights him in front of all dock workers and decimates him.

This movie has been a source of inspiration for quite a few Bollywood movies. Let me start with Yash Chopra’s Deewar, which was supposedly
lifted from this. But the only thing common was the dockyard. In fact, Mukul Anand’s Hum was more of this movie than Deewar. Hum had the docks, the martinet Danny Dengzongpa as Bhaktavar, Gonsalves who dies fighting for the cause and his sister Jumma played by Kimi Katkar who wants Tiger aka Amitabh Bachchan to stand against the tyranny of Bhaktavar. So, Mukul Anand almost had the entire plot covered but he took it to a different logical conclusion with the reform of Tiger as Shekhar and how Bhaktavar returns 20 years later to haunt him.

In 1988, a lesser known movie called Kabzaa directed by Mahesh Bhat, was released. The movie starred Sanjay Dutt as Ravi and Raj Babbar as
Ranjit. Ranjit is a lawyer who works for Veljibhai[Paresh Rawal] who is a small time ‘dada’. Ravi is sent on small assignment to forcibly vacate the house of an idealist gandhain Ali Mohammaed [Alok Nath]. Ali reforms Ravi and Ravi turns against Veljibhai, and to avert a face-off between the two, Ranjit requests Ravi to flee from the scene as Veljibhai’s men are looking for him; he also hands Ravi a gun for his protection. All this was taken from OTW, but the backdrop had been changed from dockyard to Mumbai streets and from small time corruption to big time dadagiri.

Finally, 10 years later in 1998, Ghulam was made. The writer Anjum Rajabali, maintained the same setting of Mumbai and laid out the entire screenplay of OTW. He avoided the twists and turns that Kabzaa had taken, thereby remaining faithful to the original. Aamir Khan as Sidharth Marathe struck a chord with the audience. They related to him and sympathised with him in his pain and guilt of having been used as a pawn to eliminate Alisha’s [Rani Mukerjee] elder brother. Sidhu’s elder brother, played by Rajit Kapoor, advises Sidhu not to testify against Raunak  Singh[Sharat Saxena] and when he is not able to convince Sidhu he gives him a gun for protection. The same scenes were played out as in the original, and the audience cheered for Sidhu as he beat up Raunak Singh in the end. Aamir playing tapori for the 2nd time [1st being Rangeela] was amazing. He played it so differently, his mannerism and dialogue delivery and the Khandala song, which became the anthem of the nation, just added to the movie viewing experience. The 10-10 ka daud was shot brilliantly in Shanpada junction. Aamir gave it his all, the conviction in his performance was evident. He did total justice to the character and was almost there when compared to Marlon Brando’s performance.

8. Love Affair – 1939 : One of the most romantic movies to adorn the silver screen was released. It was about a French painter Michael Marnet, played by Charles Boyer, who meets Terry McKay[Irene Dunne] while they are on a cruise across Atlantic Ocean. They both are already engaged to other people but that does not prevent them from falling in love. The ship has a minor stop-over in a beautiful island where Michael’s grandmom stays; she finds Terry really charming and wishes the newfound couple all the luck. At the end of the cruise, Michael and Terry decide to meet on top of Empire State Building exactly after 6 months. While both are gearing up for the big day, Terry gets hit by a car and she is unable to make it. When she finds out that she cannot walk anymore she does not want to spoil Michael’s life and so she does not get in touch with him. But destiny brings them together again during a stage-play, where she successfully hides her handicap. After this meet, Michael wants to see her one last time and visits her apartment where he gets to know the truth. But her handicap cannot come in the way of true love and the two lovers unite.

So brilliant was the story-screenplay that this movie was remade in 1957 and titled An Affair To Remember based on the same screenplay,
without any changes. Cary Grant played the painter Nickie Ferrante and his love interest was played by Deborah Kerr who retained the same name Terry McKay. This movie did much better than its original and people remember this version and have almost forgotten the original one. Cary Grant and Deborah were perfectly cast and they did a wonderful job. The romance was so believable and so heart-warming that the American Film Institute considered this this as one of the most romantic movies of all time.

So timeless is the romance that Sleepless in Seattle, made in 1993, revolved around this movie. The character Annie Reed [Meg Ryan] and
her friend make references to AFTR and there are clips and dialogues from AFTR which appear all over the movie.

Anything as famous as AFTR had to come to Bollywood, sooner or later. So, in 1965 Ramanand Sagar re-wrote this with a role reversal of the two main leads in the movie titled Arzoo. Rajender Kumar as Gopal plays a doctor who meets Usha[Sadhna] in Kashmir during one of those yearly skiing events. They fall in love and decide to marry, but tragedy strikes as Gopal meets with an accident and loses his legs. He voluntarily walks out of Usha’s life so as to give her a better life. Finally, in the end sequence Usha sees him again, with the crutches, in a similar skiing  contest, and accepts him despite his handicap. All this happens after a whole lot of tear-jerking moments and sacrifices from Feroz Khan who plays Gopal’s friend.

Mann PosterAnyways, Inder Kumar anad Ashok Thakeria took it up to themselves to remake this movie again, retaining the original plot of a playboy painter. In 1999 they came-up with Mann, starring Aamir Khan as the painter Dev, and Manisha Koirala as his love quotient Priya. When the first few sequences were being shot in a ship a rumour spread that Titanic was being remade. But Mann was a blot in the name of AFTR. It did not retain the spirit of the original and the screenplay was tampered with the induction of unnecessary characters like Neeraj Vora[Nattu, Dev’s side-kick], Rani Mukherjee and Anil Kappor in guest appearance. The comic sequences of Dev and Nattu marred the movie, and the romance came undone due to some sleepwalk acting by Manisha. The music by Sanjeev-Darshan was the only saving grace of the movie. The grandmom sequence with Sharmila Tagore lacked sensitivity and warmth, it seemed like a gimmick. All in all, it was crass.

9. Memento – 2000 : A movie about anterograde amnesia [short-term-memory-loss] was made by Nolan brothers. The movie starred Guy Pearce who played an insurance fraud investigator. During a burglary his wife is killed and he is hit hard by severe psychological trauma where-in he is incapable of making new memory and his memory lapses every 15 minutes. He devices a method to recall things, he walks around with a polaroid camera and shoots every image and makes detailed notes about the person/place which can help him in recognizing them later. He is on a search for the killer of his wife. How he finds the killer with all the various clues forms the rest of the movie.

https://i1.wp.com/indihot.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/amir-khan-ghajini-photo-gallery2.jpgAR Murugadoss picked up the idea and the original plot of this movie, added the usual Indian tadka with songs, romance, violence, revenge
and came out with Ghajini in 2005, in Tamil. Surya essayed the role of the STML patient who was out there looking for a man named Ghajini, to avenge the death of his love Kalpana[Asin]. I dont think there is need to write anything else.

Inspired by the success of this movie, Murugadoss wished to remake this movie in Hindi. He roped in Aamir Khan, tweaked his screenplay to
remove some of the glitches like the double-role of Ghajini etc, asked Aamir to work-out and develop 8 packs to make the action sequences look believable. In 2008, the movie was released by the same name Ghajini. The rest is history, the movie raked in 200 crores in 2 weeks. By the way, I thought Aamir was brilliant in the movie. He brought out the angst of the character very well. The romance between him and Asin was  refreshing, and Rahman’s music gave a flair to the movie.

Let me end this by saying that Aamir Khan has made quite a few movies based on literary works. His famed debut with QSQT was straight out of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1947-Earth was the movie adaptation of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novel ‘Ice-candy Man’. And his next movie ‘3 Idiots’ is based on Chetan Bhagat’s ‘Five Point Someone’. I hope they expand the horizon of that movie to include the educational system machinery and expose the flaws.

Click here for part 1 of 2

This post was first published on PFC

 
1 Comment

Posted by on May 24, 2010 in bollywood, hollywood, movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Discerning Few : Rafi Sings For Bachchan

Today is Rafi’s 29th death anniversary. Hope his soul is in peace.

na fankaar tujh sa tere baad aya
mohammed rafi tu bahut yaad aya

– A song from movie Kroadh

Just the other day I was watching the song and something struck me. I felt that the song was ironical in so many ways. Although its a tribute to Rafi Saab, it was sung by Md.Aziz, a so-called Rafi clone, whose voice is such a far cry from the soothing and melodious voice of Rafi. And the fact that the song was filmed on Amitabh Bachchan, whereas Rafi hardly sang a dozen songs for him.

That got me thinking of all the songs which Rafi Saab rendered for AB. Among the pearls of Kishore da songs, I really had to try hard to find the gems that Rafi had sung. And quite truly I found very few of those. I still wonder why the legendary singer was given such few songs to sing for the megastar. While I do agree that Kishore had become the defacto voice for AB, but you still had Mukesh singing for him in Kabhi Kabhie, Manhar Udhas sang a song in Abhimaan, Shabbir Kumar sang a dozen of them during the mid-1980’s in movies like Coolie and Mard, Md.Aziz sang for him in Khuda Gawah and more, Kumar Sanu gave us a nasal AB in Jaadugar and Geraftar; then why did music composers of 1970’s not give more songs to Rafi Saab? Anyways, instead of cribbing about what did-not and could-not happen, let us just enjoy whatever little that’s available of this actor-singer combination.

While I was making a quick list of the songs, much to my surprise I found that Manmohan Desai was the only director who got Rafi Saab to record for a lot of those BigB songs. And invariably, Laxmikant-Pyarelal was the music composer for the Desai flicks like Desh Premee, Naseeb and Suhaag. In fact, even outside of Manmohan Desai films, LP made use of Rafi’s tones for Dostana and Ek Nazar.

Let me start with one of the most melodious duets of Indian cinema, Teri Bindiya Re, what a composition it is! Everytime I hear it, I go into a wonderland of my own dream sequence. Lata-Rafi, at their very best, just take us back to the basics of classical training; and without straining a single chord deliver such fantastic melody. SD Burman, the music director who made this possible, should be given huge credit for this evergreen song. I only wish that Majrooh Saab had written a few more stanzas so that Lata-Rafi could cast a longer spell of magic. Why the hell is this song so short? Under 4 minutes! Ok, here I go cribbing again….forget it. Let me enjoy, thanking God for those little mercies that the song still exists in the hearts and minds of people.

Another Lata-Rafi duet, which did not get much airtime because the movie did not do well, was the song Patta Patta Boota Boota from the movie Ek Nazar. It was a LP composition, much in sync with the movie but not with the times that were. Its a forgotten song which comes up only when people talk about Mir’s poetry and/or Rafi’s voice and the effortless rendition. What a fine song, and it does not look odd on Bachchan’s persona either.

Let me stepback for a minute, one of the first songs which Rafi sang for BigB was for the movie Parwana and the song was Yu Na Sharma . Madan Mohan was the music composer and the situation was party-like where Kishore da sang the happy version of the song picturized on Navin Nischol. The same song is later sung in a sad version by Rafi for AB. The mood changes, the flavor changes, the voice changes, face changes but the melody remains. AB’s sullen expression and Rafi’s tones of dismay makes for such a beautfiul watch.

Another somber song which Rafi rendered wonderfully for AB was Mere Dost Kissa Ye Kya ho Gaya in Dostana. The strained relationship between AB and Shatru is brought out so well in this song. A restrained Rafi and a clean-shaven, boyish hair-cut and yet a grave-looking Bachchan was a treat. There is so much emotion in those words sung by Rafi and the expression on AB’s face is just unforgettable. In fact, except for this song, all other songs of Dostana were sung by Kishore da; including the title song, Dillagi Ne Di Hawa etc. And yet, for this song LP chose Rafi who did total justice to this gloomy song.

Having mentioned the above songs, let me now come to the Manmohan Desai and LP combo. Desh Premee was quite a long winded movie with so many twists and turns, typical of any Desai movie. The movie was based on patriotism, regional, caste, creed and racial differences. Kishore da sang the fun songs Khatoon Ki Khidmat Mei, Gore Nahi Hum Kaale Sahi etc. But it was Rafi’s song of unity in diversity that won hearts. The title song, Nafrat Ki Lathi Todo, was symbolic of Desai’s movies. Though this song may not count among best of Rafi songs, but its the perfect song for national integration. And keeping in tradition with all the patriotic songs that Rafi has sung.

Teri Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi song, which later gave the title to Adi Chopra’s movie, was sung by Rafi for another Desai movie Suhaag, with music by LP. BigB in the disguise of a ek tara strung sardar and Rekha behind the garb for almost the entire song could have spelt disaster. But AB and Rekha carried it off, with Rafi crooning this playful number and Shailendra Singh lyrically rebutting him.

Another song from the same movie was the dandiya number, Sabse Bada Tera Naam O Sherowali, was devotionally sung by Rafi. Much later, Mehul Kumar copied the same sequence in Krantiveer, where the hero sings for Maa Sherawali while waiting for the villain to arrive on the scene. Anyways, Suhaag was an exceptional case where Rafi sang entirely for AB. There were two other songs, Athra Baras Ki Tu Hone Ko Ayi filmed on AB and Rekha in her kotha; and Aye Yaar Sun was a silly song where AB was training a blind Shashi Kapoor to ride a bike on his instructions, basically AB literally doing a backseat driving. Nowhere in the movie do we feel that Rafi’s voice does not suit BigB, at least this movie should have opened more doors for this combo. But probably the box-office report and producer’s superstition held them back from doing so.

Betwixt Desh Premee and Suhaag came Desai’s Naseeb. And much before the Hey-Baby’s and the Om-Shanti-Oms, there was John Jaani Janardhan. A star-studded song which was opportunistically filmed during the golden jubilee celebrations of Desai’s Dharam Veer. Desai made the best of the situation by shooting the song as guests kept coming in; they swayed a little, lip-synced a little and the song created history. This was another song which is a symbol of Desai’s secular credentials and all-inclusive approach. And Rafi singing to the tunes of LP was icing on the cake. He gave the song the much required gaiety and enjoyment without missing a single beat. It was one of the more overtly commercial songs of Rafi that went very well with AB’s merriment.

I would like to mention two more songs which were not sung for AB, but nevertheless AB was the proxy of the voice. The song was filmed on unknown faces, but the thoughts and feelings were of AB. One of the song is Deewane Hain Deewano Ko Na Ghar Chahiye from Zanjeer which reflected AB’s thoughts in the movie; and the other is Ruthe Rab Ko Manana Asaan Hai from Majboor. Both songs were sung with great enthusiasm by Rafi Saab, although they were not to be shot on the main lead. That goes on to show the humility of this man who valued the song for what they were, nice compositions.

Amidst all these amusement let me not forget one of my favourite romantic songs of Rafi which also happens to be picturized on AB, which is Tumse Door Rehke. The movie was Aadalat and the music composer was Kalyanji-Anandji, perhaps the only time that the duo got Rafi to sing for AB. The song has such a nice ring to it, filled with fondness and yearning and the magic of Rafi’s voice and expression.

Although Kishore da has sung more songs of AB, memorable ones too, I cherish these Rafi tracks as well. These songs should not be lost in the vast ocean of AB songs.

This post was first published on PFC

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 31, 2009 in bollywood, movies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,