Poocho na kaise maine rain bitai

When the film Meri Surat Teri Ankhen was released in 1963, the already venerable Ashok Kumar had been a leading man in Indian cinema for nearly three decades. He would go on to act for an equal number of decades after this point, so this could be seen as a middle point in his career. This was a classically melodramatic film with all the sufferings and tragedies you could throw at the protagonist, and the songs were accordingly heart wrenching. Not the least of these was the song Poocho na kaise maine rain bitai, which remains one of singer Manna Dey most well-loved renditions.
Continue reading

Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh

Songs stick in our memory and become important to us for various reasons, often coloured by our associations with them, rather than the songs themselves. In my case, there are a whole range of old Hindi songs that have childhood memories for me, to do with when I first heard them or how. from the 1960 film Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai is one of these songs. Not only is the song itself about memories and how things have changed in some ways, but to me the song will always be associated with memories of my Mother singing it, either to herself, which she did often, or on stage on quite a few occasions.
Continue reading

Hum matwale naujawan

In the black and white Hindi films of the 1950s, it was fairly common for them to shoot a scene or two, or at least a song, on the streets of Bombay. Part of it was probably the relative ease of taking over a little piece of side-street in some suburb for the shooting while keeping away crowds, and the other was likely newer and more portable equipment that made it more practical. The crowds were not a problem, however, if your song incorporated them, like Hum matwale naujawan from the 1959 film Shararat.
Continue reading

Mere saajan hain us paar

There isn’t enough that can be said about SD Burman‘s talent as a music director. He brought to it an old-school class and memories of folk music and classical music, while also imparting it with a surprising modernity. What he also did on occasion was to sing his own songs for films, with a voice that sounded ancient and timeless and had a rustic tone than none of the professional singers he always had access to could possibly have brought to it. One such classic song with Burman’s voice and music is Mera saajan hai us paar from the 1963 film Bandini.
Continue reading