By admin | November 18, 2008 - 11:34 am - Posted in Uncategorized
This post may look like a sequel to one of my earlier posts “For Records’ Sake”. But in all earnest, it is not. Mr. Lakhwant Singh an engineer by profession and in the business of building bodies for buses, saw the post that I had done for Shah Music Centre. He called me up one day and asked if I could come over to his place as he had something similar to show to me, that I had done for the Shahs. Like the Shahs, Lakhwant Singh too is a collector of vinyl records of the yesteryears. But the similarity ends there. Unlike Shahs – who have been into collecting records for three generations and are into the business in a hardcore way – Lakhwant Singh does it purely for the passion and pleasure of it. It all started during his hostel days at Pant University,where he was pursuing a degree in engineering. He bought his first 78 rpm record of ‘Udan Khatola’ to listen to the song ‘Na Toofan Se Khelo Na Saahil Se Khelo, Mere Paas Aao Mere Dil Se Khelo’. He shelled out two-and-a-half rupees for it solely for the listening pleasure. Hardly did he imagine at that time that collecting records would become a passion for him. While other fellow students were collecting stamps and coins as a hobby, Lakhwant gradually developed the hobby of collecting records. Today, after five decades, Lakhwant has almost all the hindi film and non film records released so far. Apart from Hindi numbers, Lakhwant has a huge collection of old Punjabi records too.

An ardent music lover Lakhwant swears by the quality of sound of vinyl. According to him, vinyl records might have long ago vanished from the shelves of music shops throughout the world, surpassed in quality and convenience by cassettes and compact discs. As older recordings are transferred onto the newer mediums, one might think that progress has plied its logical course. But lost in the grooves of those unwieldy wax discs is the treasure trove of valuable heritage. This seemingly inevitable march toward the digital future has prompted a widespread misunderstanding; while digital media is undeniably more convenient than its analog equivalent,it is by no mans guaranteed to be superior. And there’s no better example of this than the vinyl record. This ‘dead’ technology offers the potential for sound quality that’s far superior to what one hears from a CD or MP3 players, so much so that the joys of vinyl are being redicovered by a new generation of music fans. Had this not been the case, Yash Chopra, in this era of digital sound, would not have come out with the vinyl version of the music of two of his great works, ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ and ‘Veer Zaara’.

There are times when you can feel and smell the music coming from the vinyl record, especially, if live musicians were playing at the time of the vinyl recording. (Like it was done when Lata Mangeshkar performed live at Albert Hall London in 1974 and Naushad had conducted the orchestra). It retains a retro appeal and a visceral aural aesthetic that an endless stream of bits and bytes will never be able to equal.

Apart from being a music lover, Lakhwant is a historian and encyclopaedia of sort as far as trivia of anecdotes and events that had happened while making of various films and recording of various songs, is concerned. While playing a record on his old and favourite Garrard 301 turntable, he pleasurably narrates interesting incidents that took place while making of that film. For instance, while playing a record of ‘Sholay’ he told about a track of Qawwali which was recorded for the film but was chopped off as the film had already become too lengthy. Lakhwant Singh then played that eight minute track which was sung by Kishore Kumar, Bhupender, Manna Dey and Anand Bakshi (the famous song writer who also wrote songs for Sholay). The Qawwali, “Chaand sa Koi Chhehra na Pehloo Mein Ho, To Chaandni ka Mazaa Nahin Aata, Jaam Peekar Sharaabi Na Gir Jaaye to Maikashi Ka Mazaa Nahin Aata”, was picturised at Soorma Bhopali’s shop.

Old English records also are a part of his vast library. He proudly displays a rare collection of a set of thirteen LPs of Beatles’ records, which were released in a hard bound pack with the signatures of the Fab Four – John Lenon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) – on the pack. It’s a rare piece of collector’s item, nearly impossible to find.

Andy Williams, Billy Joel, Cliff Richard, Micheal Jackson and many more pop stars’ of 50s and 60s add to the collection of Lakhwnat Singh’s treasure trove.

Among these is one particular record of Cliff Richard – CLIFF RICHARD AND THE SHADOWS – a rare red coloured vinyl 12-track Odeon label stereo LP made in Japan, complete with near impossible to find 3/4 length ‘hankake obi strip’ – A stunning addition to any Cliff collection.

Apart from the Hindi, Punjabi and English records, Lakhwant has a huge collection of Pakistani films and non-films records. Ranging from the rendition old and all time stalwarts like Mallika Pukhraj, Mehdi Hasan and Sabri Brothers to the not so old Mussarat and Munni Bai

The glossy picture cover sleeve of Lakhwant’s records remains in excellent condition with just minor creasing around the perimeter and a very slight ringwear impression on the covers (considering that some records are as old as forty years). The curved flipbacks are secure, there are no seam splits and distinctive pinched-edge spine is strong, with clearly legible print along the length. And to maintain all the collection of records, he is ably assisted by his disciple Gurmeet Singh and nephew Ramanjit Singh

(This post in no way is a comparison between the collections of Shah Music Centre and Lakhwant Singh. Shahs would always be ‘SHAHS’ as far as the collection of records is concerned. Lakhwant in his own esteem is passionate about the collection – Shahs are ‘SHAHENSHAH’ and ‘SINGH IS KING’ !

By admin | November 13, 2008 - 6:27 pm - Posted in Uncategorized

It took ten years to complete Mughal-e-Azam. No, wrong ! In fact it took almost fifty years to complete Mughal-e-Azam. It was K. Asif’s wish to have made the film in colour (though he did make it partially in colour). Ultimately, the wish came granted when the film was digitally made into colour ! The most expensive film till date. (considering the cost of the film when it was made and the cost incurred to render it digitally

Yaahoooooo !!!! The cry became synonymous with Shammi Kapoor. So much so that When Yahoo opened its office in India) several years ago he was invited by Jerry Yang. As the launch festivities started building towards a climax, Kapoor was pleasantly surprised to hear the band playing his Yahoo song from the film Junglee made famous years before the internet existed, and so called for his famous cry of ‘yahoo’. Later, Yang told him how inspired he was by the Yahoo song that he has named the company YAHOO (Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) !! Till now, many people have the notion that Shammi Kapoor owns YAHOO ! Mohd. Rafi who sang the song did not cry Yahoooo. It was done by one of the assistant directors, Prayag Raj, instead !!!

This Guru Dutt directed (he was in the lead role too) film, had Shyama singing “kabhi aar kabhi paar, laaga teere nazar” and “Ye lo main haari piya…..” to the lilting music of O.P. Nayyar. Shakila who played the gangster’s moll had a cabret number to her credit. Geeta Dutt invested a lot of soul in Shakila’s cabret number, “Hoon abhi main jawan…..” and animates the light numbers with abundant vivacity. It is a rare treat to hear her sing, “Ja ja ja ja, bewafa, kaisa pyaar kaisi preet re…..” in two vesions (one happy and the other sad) with such audible difference !!

Most prolific in the 50’s and the 60’s. Also an eloquent interpreter of Rabindranath Tagore’s songs (Rabindra Sangeet). A versatile composer, he scored films such as Nagin – it had seventeen (!!) songs (and each of them was a hit, Kohraa(Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat…. and O beqarar dil, ho chuka hai mujhko…..) and Bees Saal Baad (“Kahin deep jale kahin dil….” and “Beqarar karke hamein yoon na jaaeye…”). One of his songs from the Hindi film Jaal “Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan…” opened and closed the syndicated television series ‘Movie Mahal’ series on Channel 4 in Britain even if the viewers did not understand the language ! Hemant Da – that’s how he was known in the industry – was ably assisted by Kalyanji Anandji

AVM film company of South, famous for making family dramas, had the unforgettable songs “Chal ud ja re panchhi, ke ab yeh des hua beganaa” and Chali chali re patang meri chali re…” both sung by Mohd. Rafi., written by Rajinder Krishan and tunded by Chitra Gupta. Balraj Sahani, Nanda and Jagdeep, starred in the film.

Kamal Amrohi produced this film which was directed by Kishore Sahu (remember, Marco in Dev Anand’s Guide). This Raj Kumar, Meena Kumari and Nadira starrer film had some foot tapping music by Shankar Jaikishan. Ajeeb Daastaan Hai Yeh., Kahan Shuru Kahan Khatam…… Sheeshaye Dil Itna Na Uchhalo…. Mera Dil Ab Tera O Saajna… Jaane Kahan Gayee …

Based on the story by famous Hindi writer, Premchand, Godaan had Raj Kumar playing the character of Hori and Kamini Kaushal as Dhaniya, his wife. The film had music by Pt. Ravi Shankar, who has scored music for only two hindi feature films. The other one, Gulzar’s Meera

One of the first films that started the perinneal trend of shooting films in Kashmir. Nanda the city bred damsel falls for the simple Kashmiri ‘house boat wala’ Shashi Kapoor, who sings for her “Ek tha gul aur ek thee bul bul…. and separately they sing, “Pardesion se na akhian milana….. They also sing a duet, “Na na karte pyaar thumhee se kar baithe……Kalyan ji Anand ji scored the music assisted by Laxmikant Pyarelal !!

First colour film from the RK Camp had the locales of Europe captured beautifully. The songs, “Bol Radha Bol Sangam Hoga ke Nahin…. “Main ka karun Ram, mujhe buddha mil gayaa…. are still as fresh as they were, almost half a century ago.

It comes as a surprise to many that the Mangeshkar Sisters are actually not three but four in number. Meena Mangeshkar, somehow, never came to lime light ???

Ranjan, the swashbuckling hero of the south did not make much of an impact on the hindi screen, though he acted with Naseem bano, Madhubala,Meena kumari and others.The first song that comes to my mind is one of my favorite ‘Roop Tumhara aankhon se pee lu’ from the film ‘Sapera’.

Jadoo had Nalini Jaywant as his heroine.

They look like the Three Musketeers. But they are (from L to R) Van Shipley (the famous guitarist), Talat Mehmood (needs no introduction) and Enoch Daniels (the famous accordianist).

Set in the background of mid-19th century Benaras, the film dealt with the clash of two groups of ‘Thugs’. Directed by H.S Rawail, the film had powerful performances by Dilip Kumar, Jayant, Balraj Sahani, Sanjeev Kumar, Vayjanti Mala, Sapru and Ulhas

The RK banner movie was shot and directed by Radhu Karmakar (Raj Kapoor’s favourite cinematographer) on the locales of difficult terrains of Chambal. And with the help of his favourite music directors Shankar Jai Kishan, Jis Desh Mein…. turned out to be a classic. It is said that the movie was instrumental in the surrender of many dacoits of Chambal. Simpleton ‘Raju’ singing “Hothon pe sachhai rehti hai, jahan dil mein safai rehti hai…… ,and Padmini’s O Basanti Pawan Paagal…… and Pran countering with, “Hai aag hamare seenay mein….. are still unparalleled. Not to forget the climax song, Aa ab laut chalein…

None of his colleges at the Remington Typewriters could have ever imagined that the sales man who sold typewriters in Calcutta would become a legendary star singer in the Hindi Film Industry. Discovered by R.C Boral of New Theaters, Saigal rose to such heights that even today, the name K.L. Saigal conjures up images of the great Indian singing film star of the 1930s and 1940s with the unmatched golden voice.

Shahrukh Khan may have claimed after Bazigar that he dared to do a negative character. Dev Anand did that with aplomb, long ago when Shahruk was not even born. This film written and directed by Guru Dutt had flamboyant Geeta Bali playing the lead opposite Dev Anand who mellowed her down by singing “Yeh raat yeh chaandni phir kahan…. tuned by S.D Burman

This Sridhar directed love triangle Rajendra Kumar as a doctor and Raj Kumar as the patient and Meena Kumari, torn between the two. “Yaad na jaaye, beete dinon ki… Yahaan koi nahin, tera mere siwa…. Hum tere pyaar mein saara aalam kho baithe…. were nicely tuned by Shankar Jaikishan. And of course the title song, Dil ek mandir hai…

Shammi Kapoor in his first directorial venture brought Irma La Douce to India. The ‘bindass’ prostitute Zeenat Amaan and the ‘simpleton’ police constable Sanjeev Kumar gave the perfect ‘entertainment’ to the public. The 1974 film is considered to be much, much, much, ahead of it’s time. R.D. Burman provided some befitting tunes to the ‘manoranjan’ of the audience.

A favourite of B.R. Chopra and music director, Ravi. Mahendra Kapoor won his first film fare award for “Chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabee ban jaayen hum dono”. Patriotic songs were his forte. The voice of ‘Mr. Bharat’, he rendered, “Mere Desh ki Dharti…..” Hai Preet Jahan ki Reet Sadaa…..” “Ektara Bole…..” and made the Indians feel proud of being Indian ! He passed away recently on 28th September.

This, Pradeep Kumar as ‘Salim’ and Bina Rai as Anarkali’ starrer film had some melodious songs by C. Ramchandra. Mubarak played the role of Akbar.

The film was planned to be made in B&W. V. Shantaram had injured his eyesight during the fight sequence with a bullock in his earlier film, “Do Aankhen Barah Haath”. When he regained his eye sight, he realised the importance of colours in life. He then made NAVRANG in colour. Shantaram has expressed the reason of making the film in colour in his brief but telling address at the beginning of the film itself. Shantaram lends credence to the rumours that he nearly lost his sight in an accident on the sets of his last venture, Do Aankhen Barah Haath. An eternal optimist, Shantaram reveals that during that temporary blindness, he saw some hitherto unseen colours of life.Critics trashed the kitschy and convoluted tale but the audience loved it. Dances by Sandhya and the music by Vasant Desai were superlative ! Indeed, NAVRANG is A RIOT OF COLOURS !!

“C” stood for “Chitalkar” in C. Ramachandra. As a music director his name used to appear on the covers as C. Ramchandra. As a singer it used to be Chitalkar. For a long time the public considered the names to be of two different people !
“Ina, Mina, Dika……” Shola Jo Bhadke…..” Kitna Haseen Hai Mausam….” Aana Meri Jaan Meri Jaan Sunday ke Sunday….” That’s C. Ramachandra. His biggest success was Anarkali. “Muhobbat Aisi Dhadkan Hai….”, “Yeh Zindagi Usi ki Hai…..”, “Jaag Dard-e Ishq Jaag…..” became huges hits and were highly acclaimed as masterpieces. After the China war in 1962, C. Ramchandra composed a song written by Kavi Pradeep and sung by Lata Mangeshkar, which was to become history – “Aey Mere Watan Ke Logo……” After hearing this song, Nehru had tears in his eyes and he said to Lata, “tumne to hamein rula diya…..”

This 1966 film, a remake of Tamil film, Kaadalikka Neramillai, was as straight as a ‘jalebi’ ! Sridhar who had made tear jerkers like Dil Ek Mandir, made audience laugh to tears this time ! Om Prakash, Kishore Kumar and Mehmood made audience fall off their seats. Laxmikant Pyare Lal scored some hummable songs. But it was Rajinder Krishan’s witty dialogues that was the life of the film.

Raj Kapoor was once asked as to which of his films was closest to his heart ? He replied that for a Father all his children were equal but the Father gives extra care and affection to the child who is, unfortunately, handicapped…….

This, mother (sorry, it should be Father) of all the double role films, to come was the Hindi adaptation of the Telegu film “Ramudu Bheemudu” directed by Chanakya for producers B. Nagi Reddy. The original theme of these movies was derived from Alexandre Dumas’ story “The Corsican Brothers”. The story charts the growth of two twin brothers who having separated at a very early age of their lives develop absolutely contrasting temperaments. The mix up between the brothers causes a many hilarious situations. Naushad rendered some beautiful musical score for the film.

When Meena Kumari married Kamal Amrohi at the peak of her career she wrote this about him

“Dil saa jab saathi paya
Bechaini bhi woh saath le aaya”

“Tum kya karoge sunkar mujhse meri kahani
Belutf zindagi ke kisse hain pheeke pheeke”

When he divorced her, this is what she wrote,

“Talaak to de rahe ho Nazare kahar ke saath
Jawani bhi mere lauta do Mehar ke saath”

She had fervently wanted to release an album of her poetry sung by herself which was ultimately achieved, with Khyaam providing the music to her ‘Shairi’.

This one is an odd man (and women) out, in the whole lot. But Yash Chopra still made a vinyl record from the original soundtrack of the film in the times of CDs and DVDs !

When Sholay was released on 15th August 1975, it was written off as a flop by almost every critic and trade magazines. “A great and costly mistake” – Filmfare, Film Trade Magazine, India Today and many more had the same opinion about ‘Sholay’. K.M. Amladi wrote in the India Today – ‘dead ember’, thematically, its a gravely flawed attempt’. Bikram Singh wrote in the Filmfare – ‘The major trouble with the film is the unsuccessful transplantation it attempts in grafting a western on the Indian milieu”. The Film Information said, “The classes and families will find no reason for a repeat show”. Not only the most knowledgeable of the critics but the black marketeers too had written off the film. Inspite of all said, Sholay picked up business in it’s fifth week and then went on to create history – the first film in the history of Indian Cinema to have celebrated silver jubilee in more than hundred cinemas across the country ! In spite of a thundering success of the film, the music records of the film did not sell to the expectations of the recording company, Polydor. The reason for that was that the strong dialogues of the film overpowered the music. On realising this, Polydor, released a double album of dialogues of the film that had just a line or two of the songs. The tactics paid off and there was a huge sale of records all over again ! Nevertheless, the songs, “Koi Haseena Jab Rooth Jaati Hai To……” Holi Ke Din…..” Yeh Dosti……” and, of course, “Mehbooba Mehbooba……” too became popular, though much later. Believe this too – Shoaly bagged only one Filmfare award and that too for Best Editing (M.S Shinde). However, at the 50th year of Filmfare Awards, Sholay received the ‘Best Film of 50 Years’ award !!

‘A flight of Pigeons’. The story by Ruskin Bond was transformed into Junoon by Shyam Benegal. Produced by Shashi Kapoor, the film was set against the backdrop of unrest of 1857 in the country. Shashi Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Jennifer (Kendal) Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah starred in the film. Nafisa Ali (then a national swimming champion) was introduced in this film. Vanraj Bhatia scored the music for the film. “Ishq Ne Todi, Sar Pe Qayamat…” sung by Mohd. Rafi and “Ghir Aayee Kaari Ghata Matwaari……” sung by Preeti Sagar became popular hits. “Khusro Rain Piya Ki Jaagi Pee Ke Sang….” a qawwali sung by Jamil Ahmad was also a highlight of the film. Made in 1978, Junoon went on to bag the National Awards for the Best Film, Best Cinematography (Govind Nihalani) and Best Audiography (Hitendra Ghosh) in 1979. A year later it captured eight Filmfare Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Recording (audiography) Best Dialogues (Pandit Satyadev Dubey), Best Editing (Bhanudas Diwakar), Best Supporting Actor (Naseerudin Shah) and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Kendal Kapoor)

The second directorial venture (after Dhool Ka Phool) of Yash Chopra, Waqt pioneered the ‘lost and found’ trend in the Bollywood. An ensemble caste of actors (Balraj Sahni, Raj Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapur, Sadhna, Sharmila Tagore and Rehman) had the two most famous songs, composed by Ravi, “Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu….” and “Aye Meri Zohra Zabeen……”, apart from the two dialogues, which are still popular today after almost half a century. “Chinoy Seth, jinke apne ghar sheeshe ke hon, woh doosron par patthar nahin phenka karte !” and “Ye bachhon ke khelne ki cheez nahin, haath kat jaaye, to khoon nikal aata hai !” spoken by Raj Kumar in his indomitable style. All of this and the court room arguements between Sunil Dutt and Moti Lal, in the climax, makes the film all-time-popular.

Produced by Tarachand Barjatya for Rajshri Films (famous for making clean films), Dosti was directed by Satyen Bose. The debut film of Sanjay Khan, (though in a small role) revolved around two friends played by Sudhir Kumar and Sushil Kumar in the lead. The songs “Chhahoonga Main Tujhe, Saanjh Savere…..”, Mera To Jo Bhi Kadam Hai, Woh Teri Raah Mein Hai…..”, “Raahi Manwa Dukh Ki Chinta Kyon Satati Hai…..”, “Jaane Waalo Zaraa Mud ke Dekho Mujhe…..” and “Teri Dosti Mera Pyaar…..” became superhits. The film won the Best Film award at the Filmfare Awards and so did the music directors Laxmikant and Pyarelal, Mohd. Rafi for singing, “Chahoonga Main Tujhe…..” and Majrooh Sultanpuri for penning that song. Schools made bulk bookings at the theaters to take students for the show.

By admin | November 2, 2008 - 1:37 pm - Posted in Uncategorized

So, Anil Kumble, the “Jumbo” of the Indian cricket, has bid farewell to the game. The highest wicket taker for India chose his favourite hunting ground, The Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi, to call it a day. Nine years ago, it was on the same ground when Anil Kumble had created a Jumbo history by bowling out all the ten players of the visiting Pakistan team – all alone by himself !! Academically, a trained mechanical engineer, Kumble discovered early the virtues of precision and accuracy, which he put to telling effect on the field. Savour this! Ball one…. the batsman fumbles trying to play defensively. Reaction : the batsman doesn’t know where did the ball go after pitching and Kumble constantly looks with perched lips at the spot where he pictched the ball. Ball two ….. lands a couple of millimeters away from the earlier spot. Reaction : the close-in fielders all, raise an appeal but the ball has just missed the bat. A confident smile on Kumble’s face and calculations in his mind. Ball three ….. pitches right on the spot. Reaction: the Indian players are shouting and running jovially with hands raised to give a high ten to Kumble and the batsman walking back to the pavillion with a feeling of despair for his team. That’s how Kumle used to ‘engineer’ the ball !

Making a test debut in 1990 when India toured England, Kumble established himself as a quality international spinner, taking eight wickets in a test when India toured South Africa in 1992. Later that year when England toured India, Kumble took 21 wickets in just three test matches. By the time he had played ten test matches he had already scalped 50 wickets. He reached the mark of 100 wickets in his 21st match and became the fastest wicket taker after Prasanna. Then 200 wickets in 47 matches; 300 wickets in 66 matches; 400 wickets in 85 matches; 500 wickets in 105 matches and finally the 600th wicket in his 124th match.

Dedication and commitment were the middle names of Anil Kumble. Inspite of the worst of injuries, Kumble rose to the occasion and stood for his team. Remember that dare devil, with his face packed in bandages to hold his broken jaw in the West Indies series taking a hard hit return catch from Lara. Why go far. Only till his last match today, Kumble’s fingers had been dipped in general anaesthesia and were bandaged, as he insisted to play on.

619 wickets in 132 test matches (No.3 in the world after Shane Warne and Mutthia Murlidharan); 10 wickets in one innings (Jim Larker of Englandbeing the only one to have done it in 1956); 10 times the Man of the Match (Sachin Tendulkar being the highest at 11) and a century to his credit. These are no mean feats.

Delhi feels proud for Jumbo, who chose this venue to declare his retirement. ‘Hip Hip Hurray’ !!

(the images are a grab from the various channels of TV)