Balaji Vittal and Anirudha Bhattacharjee gained the Nationwide Award for greatest movie e book in 2012, for RD Burman: The Man, The Music. Their new collaboration, Gaata Rahe Mera Dil: 50 Traditional Hindi Movie Songs, expands the canvas to have a look at a number of the most iconic songs from the lengthy and diverse historical past of Hindi-film music. The e book combines deep-seated information of musical traditions, anecdotes and back-stories, and evaluation of what these songs contributed to the shape and language of Hindi cinema. Excerpts from an interview:

Your e book on RD Burman was certainly one of our most detailed cinema books and clearly a labour of affection, however this should have been an much more daunting venture. Such an enormous treasure trove to select from, 1000’s of songs representing many musical varieties. What standards did you utilize to maintain the record right down to fifty?
Anirudha Bhattacharjee: The track needed to be well-known. It needed to be very melodious. It ought to have struck a chord with the listeners when launched and likewise thereafter. Nostalgia worth was a should.

Balaji Vittal: We needed to pay tribute to the composers, lyricists, filmmakers and singers who comprise the corridor of fame. Anybody who reads Gaata Rahe… ought to get a panoramic view of the who’s who of Bollywood playback. However sure, it’s true that even 500 songs wouldn’t have been sufficient!

Did you go for as a lot selection as attainable? What are the extremes represented right here – between, say, Hindustani classical and western-influenced music?
AB: We went largely by intestine feeling. We did consider genres – just like the rain track, the qawwali, semi-classical, disco, songs set on modes of transport just like the practice, the boat and the automobile, ghost songs, the ghazal, medley, soliloquy, cabaret, Arabic, and so forth – however in the long run it was the center ruling the top. We discovered that we had missed the lullaby, however a number of the songs chosen are tender and tranquil sufficient to behave as lullabies too.

We tried to not embrace our private favourites – else, the record might need been very totally different. Having stated that, we have been each born within the 1960s, and many of the songs are from the interval 1951 to 1977. We choose preparations with out litter, therefore we prevented very quick and frivolous songs in addition to songs with an overdose of leather-based.

BV: Selection in style, instrumentation and temper have been key. One also can see from the choice the gradual adjustments within the panorama within the selection of devices, recording strategies and association types, in addition to the totally different sound flavours recognized with totally different singers and composers, and the non-public types of various poets.

You start with a prologue about Babul Mora (from the 1938 movie Avenue Singer) after which Chale Pawan ki Chaal (from the 1941 Physician). How did these early songs pave the course of Hindi-film music?
BV: How may we consider writing a e book on Bollywood music historical past and never pay homage to KL Saigal? Babul Mora was not playback; the track was recorded stay whereas the sequence was being shot. It’s a landmark that represents a interval earlier than playback singing. This chapter is adopted by a uncommon translated extract about how the thought of playback singing got here into being.

Chale Pawan ki Chaal might be technically referred to as the primary road-song, set in a fast-paced rhythm that OP Nayyar would patent later. It is vitally important for different causes too, as you’ll learn within the e book – not the least being that it options one other granddaddy of Indian movies, Pankaj Mallick.

AB: I feel the best-remembered songs are people who we will hum alongside to. Babul Mora is such a track, which, regardless of being from the 1930s, provides the typical listener a consolation degree. This was a light-weight track with a classical base (Bhairavi / Sindhu Bhairavi), and subsequently outlined the kind of songs that will flood Hindi movies. Many of the different songs earlier than or round that point have been reasonably sophisticated and mandated a beneficiant degree of classical information. Their attain too was comparatively low.

When in your view did the defining period for Hindi-film music start? Who and what have been the foremost catalysts?
AB: Every period got here with its personal flavour. The 1930s and the 1940s have been extra within the mould of sombre songs. Raichand Boral, Pankaj Kumar Mallick, Khemchand Prakash, Anil Biswas, introduced in a lot of folks and classical music. Husnlal Bhagatram have been the masters of Punjabi melodies – as was Naushad, who fused UP folks with Indian classical music. C Ramachandra was an instinctive composer, and his melodies have been very recent even when he blended Indian music and western genres. SD Burman got here along with his repository of Bengali folks and Rabindra Sangeet. He was maybe the best singer among the many previous masters.

Nevertheless, the primary defining period I feel is the 1950s. Shankar Jaikishan modified the panorama. Their melody was mild, and their association stylish. They may additionally deal with massive orchestras and will create a giant sound with out being noisy. They influenced a complete technology of composers.

OP Nayyar had a method which was very totally different from every other composer of his time or every other time. Madan Mohan tasted little industrial success, however is among the most revered composers even in the present day, forty years after he left us. His tunes have been very intense, and will create a deep feeling of tearful craving.

Salil Chowdhury was the composer’s composer, I don’t suppose there’ll ever be one other like him. His information of Indian melody and Western Classical-based association continues to be unparalleled in Indian movie music. Roshan fiddled with a lot of classical music, however got here out with tender, easy, and hummable tunes. Sajjad Hussain’s songs make you’re feeling that he was a thoroughbred perfectionist. Jaidev and Khayyam had a particular type, which they may keep via three many years. Movie music developed through the 1950s.

The following defining time was the approaching house of RD Burman. He redefined sound. And AR Rahman, along with his digital sound, might be the catalyst of our occasions.

BV: It’s unimaginable to select one, two and even three catalysts. Each period has set a brand new degree. The inconclusiveness is what makes for fascinating debates. Yet one more pitcher of beer please!

Was Hindi-film music within the 1930s and ’40s restricted by primitive expertise? (You point out that there weren’t correct reverb programs and that mikes wanted to be heated and ready, which sophisticated the song-recording course of.) And have been there any upsides to this – within the sense that it compelled composers and musicians to innovate?
AB: Primitive, sure. Recording amenities have been restricted. Studios weren’t geared up within the method one would have preferred them to be. Relating to innovation, I might not be capable of remark as I used to be not there then. One must be there to grasp what went on. Armchair journalism in movie and music is the rationale why no person takes the critic significantly.

BV: Fifty years from now, when somebody writes one other Gaata Rahe Mera Dil, they may state that the early 2000s have been restricted by primitive expertise! The trade will maintain innovating, after all. However it might be unhappy if expertise have been to fully exchange melody – music ought to at all times be about melody first. Every part else later. Our e book has emphasised this.

You largely concentrate on the songs themselves – the music, instrumentation and lyrics – however there are just a few situations (e.g. the grand Awaara dream sequence) the place you dwell on the picturisation too. Whenever you consider your favorite Hindi-film songs, are the visuals a necessary a part of your fondness for them?
BV: Completely! In movement footage, visible enchantment is vital. It demonstrates the film-maker’s creativeness. The split-screen sequence of Ek Pyar ka Naghma Hai (Shor) exhibits a contented household in addition to the calamity that hits them, and the submission to future. Every temper is captured so poignantly on the lens by Manoj Kumar. Additionally try Raj Kapoor’s ardour for the grandiosity within the medley in Awaara. Or how Yash Chopra brings adultery into the flower gardens of the Netherlands. However we additionally love songs which were disregarded of the movie altogether.

AB: I like all types of music. Visuals are secondary. Some songs are BHNS (Higher Heard and Not Seen, a chunk of jargon in use on social media for the reason that days of Yahoo Teams). For the common viewer, nevertheless, visuals do play a vital function.

You point out that there have been occasions when a stupendous track had already been composed and the director needed to create a scenario for it within the movie’s narrative – even one thing as iconic as Waqt ne Kiya, Kya Haseen Sitam (Kaagaz ke Phool). Any situations of key movies that moved away from a director’s or author’s preliminary imaginative and prescient due to the calls for of the music?
AB: Many. S.D. Burman was somebody who may create or alter track conditions. Mora Gora Ang Lai Le (Bandini) is one, the place he demanded that Kalyani (Nutan) ought to sing this track exterior her home. One other could be Jaltein Hain Jiske Liye (Sujata), the place the telephone was introduced in as a prop at Burman’s insistence.

BV: The star system typically performed a task on this too. Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli (Anand) was purported to be a background track, however Rajesh Khanna discovered the track so enchanting that he needed to be a part of it. Raza Murad additionally had reportedly said that Essential Shaayar Badnaam (Namak Haraam) was purported to be pictured on him. Priya Rajvansh too needed a chunk of Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho (Hanste Zakhm) and so the Lata Mangeshkar one-liner was added later.

Selecting a single consultant track from a soundtrack as good and diverse as Information (SD Burman) should have been very troublesome. Why did you go for Mose Chhal Kiye Jaaye / Kya se Kya ho Gaya?
AB: To be very frank, it gave us the chance to showcase two songs as a substitute of 1 inside the similar story. It additionally sums up the dilemma of the lead pair, of getting liked and misplaced.

BV: This twin track – Mose Chhal Kiye Jaaye / Kya se Kya ho Gaye – was the climax of the saga, when Raju and Rosie, the estranged lovers, confront one another. Their estrangement needed to undergo that one remaining public catharsis the place every accuses the opposite. The dual track sums up their ornate tragedy. S.D. Burman had composed two very different-sounding songs with the identical tune, which was unbelievable. And Fali Mistry’s cinematography painted the tears of Raju and Rosie in motley colours.

The usage of the track in Hindi cinema has undergone a change. Within the earlier type of sequence, actors lip-synched and the narrative entered a brand new, “non-realistic” area when a track started. Now songs are usually used extra as background, operating via a movie in snatches reasonably than occupying a separate five-six-minute area. Has this in your view affected their allure or sturdiness?
BV: You suppose so? I observe these days plenty of track sequences force-fitted simply to seize the music-channel area and for DJs so as to add to their playlists. In truth, lots of them function within the closing credit score rolls. So technically they don’t seem to be a part of the storyline in any respect! Movie producers try to cowl a few of their investments beforehand – all that you must do is throw in a Bhangra combine or a tapori quantity. That’s the reason most of the songs in the present day are rapidly forgotten and changed by new ones. Lots of them sound related anyway – artificial voices, similar rhythm.

AB: What number of songs, say from the final ten years, are you able to sing in full? I wager you wouldn’t be capable of title ten. Beforehand, individuals used to recollect songs with the complete set of music – preludes, interludes and coda. Hemant Kumar stated even snake charmers would use his been music. The join then was each aural and visible; the widespread man turn out to be the character whereas crooning the songs. That artwork is nearly extinct.

Actors like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor and Nutan gave us so many excellent performances inside track sequences. Do you get the impression that the younger actors of in the present day are extra self-conscious about doing old-style musical scenes?
AB: The running-around-trees enterprise was invented as an escape mechanism; it by no means occurs in actual life. Singing whereas operating round timber or in rocking boats is an train greatest prevented! And singing whereas biking or driving might be life-threatening as nicely. The brand new-age filmmakers and actors are maybe extra aware about this, as is the metro viewers. Clearly, the language of Hindi cinema has been affected.

What we actually misplaced on this transition is the “unhappy track”. I went to a company fest in Gurgaon as a decide and located that there have been at the least 5 entries the place the track was Abhi Mujh Mein Kaheen (Agneepath, 2012), the most effective songs of current occasions. This exhibits that individuals nonetheless love melody and are bought on unhappy songs too. However in the present day we seldom create good, lovable unhappy melodies, one thing like Essential Shaayar Badnaam (Namak Haraam) or Sada Khush Rahe Tu (Pyar ka Sagar).

Additionally, the brand new heroes should not have innately romantic voices. Think about Hemant Kumar or Talat Mahmood singing for, say, a Shahrukh Khan or a Sanjay Dutt. It’s virtually nightmarish! What number of main stars would be capable of pull off a Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, I’m wondering? Or a Saranga Teri Yaad Mein?

Associated to this: many of the main administrators from the 1950s and 1960s had a level of coaching in music, and so they took the taking pictures of track sequences significantly. V Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, and, later, Vijay Anand, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Nasir Hussain. Have we in some methods moved away from that tradition to at least one the place administrators are usually not as entrenched in music?
AB: Expertise usually comes with a price ticket. I have no idea how a lot the present-day administrators know music. Nevertheless, the administrators you named have been all musically very artistic. Shantaram is meant to have helped his composers with the creation of tunes. Raj Kapoor may play a couple of instrument (he the truth is performed the tabla with Kishore Kumar through the latter’s audition at a radio station) and at occasions used to play secondary percussion through the recording of background scores of his movies. Guru Dutt introduced with him the teachings of Uday Shankar’s college. Vijay Anand supposedly learnt music, and the Anands as a household have been identified for his or her musical sense. Hrishikesh Mukherjee was a sitarist himself. Nasir Husain understood what works and what doesn’t, and, as per Pancham, may encourage composers to offer their greatest.

Add the truth that their tales have been “socials” and largely woven across the theme of romance. At this time there’s lot of aggression in tales. It actually doesn’t result in musical output.

BV: Even in the present day’s filmmakers, we’re certain, perceive music. However when a producer has invested Rs 200 crore, the director is left with little or no room. Neglect music, the director wouldn’t even have a lot of a say within the screenplay. The music usually has to match the hero’s persona and the bottom denominator of public tastes.

I observed that post-1982, you solely have one different track from the 1980s (from Qayamat se Qayamat Tak). Was {that a} notably dry decade for Hindi-film music? And in that case, why?
AB: Nicely, you’ll agree that the 1980s weren’t what you name very musical. The perfect singers have been previous their prime. Some have been no extra. Inventive composers received much less work. I really feel that the mass-scale migration from villages and small cities to cities created a tradition which was not conducive for cerebral consumption. Additionally, a movie named Deedar-e-Yaar failed in 1982. The producer, who was additionally the hero, went south to get well losses and performed the main function there in just a few movies….. No matter occurred subsequent is historical past, and higher not mentioned right here!

BV: The Bappi Lahiri model of music within the interval between 1982 and 1988 was all nonsense. Even in the present day after I hear Oo La La from Soiled Image, it brings again dangerous recollections of Ui Amma from Mawaali. Kudos to Jagjit Singh for having creating world area for the non-film ghazal. Thirty-year trade veteran Khayyam got here up with a surprising album in Bazaar. And RD Burman too delivered the oceanic Saagar. However by and enormous, 1983-1988 was musically very dangerous.

The music matched the standard of the movies. We’ve had badly made movies earlier too, however in these, the intent itself was shallow – Sridevi’s vulgar pelvic grinding, or the imitation disco tales, have been made solely to cater to the front-bench viewers. These couldn’t be considered with the household.

After which got here the revival in QSQT.

The final track included within the record is Roja’s Dil hai chhota sa, chhoti si asha. Why finish in 1993?
AB: We stored a threshold of twenty years for a track to be in public reminiscence earlier than together with it. And we completed writing the e book in 2013.

BV: A track has to face the take a look at of time for at the least (we guess) twenty years for it to be thought of a basic. We’ve included Dil Se within the “new age” tributes. Albums like Dil Chahta Hai, Don, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and choose tracks from Omkara, Tashn, Three Idiots, Badmash Firm, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Chak de India, Ye Jawani Hai Diwani will make for pleasing listening years later too.

That is the type of venture that may simply transfer past the confines of a one-time printed e book. Have you ever thought of increasing it into an internet site with essays on different songs, in addition to multimedia and area for dialogue? Or a usually up to date e-book?
AB: By no means considered it, however now, as you could have talked about it, we’re considering! A pal who works out of Kuala Lumpur had really instructed this.

BV: Within the countdown to the launch, we now have already printed posts on the songs that might not be included within the 50 Classics record. The Fb web page on the e book invitations discussions and debates. The again cowl of the e book urges everybody to put in writing their very own tales on 50 or 100 songs! We might like to see Gaate Rahe Mera Dil begin a pattern of extra music followers crafting their very own record of songs.

Two individuals writing a e book collectively: how does that work? Does certainly one of you deal with analysis whereas the opposite does the precise writing, or is it extra built-in than that?
AB: We share the workload. Each of us do the operating round and writing, and trade chapters to overview / add / edit materials. For this explicit e book, Balaji did a variety of travelling although. You will see that many firsthand interviews which he managed through in depth journey.

BV: We’ve participated in school quizzes and Antakshari contest collectively, and therefore at all times loved a deep understanding. We analysis independently in order that we get extra “masala”. Whereas drafting the manuscript, we alternate between certainly one of us writing the primary draft and the opposite including to it. Typically an insightful interview with a luminary itself gives the core of the story script e.g. within the case of Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi (Khamoshi). It begins with composer Hemant Kumar stretching out his lengthy legs and telling Gulzar one thing… and, in a snap, Gulzar will get the primary two traces of the track.

There are extra cinema books in India now than there have been just a few years in the past. However with regards to one thing like fashionable cinema (or on this case, fashionable movie music), do we now have sufficient individuals prepared to learn considerate literature about it? Or is there nonetheless the perspective “Watch the movie/hearken to the music and that’s sufficient. No have to analyse”?
AB: Rightly stated. Movie magazines are seen and never learn. Most movie books learn both like a PhD thesis / seminar paper, or one thing like an affordable bestseller. Movie music books are worse. Severe writers are only a few, and what we get is usually gossip or 30 superlatives unfold in lots of varieties over 200-250 pages. Neglect analysis, there’s not even primary sincerity.

Nevertheless, movie criticism is now acknowledged as a topic. The attention degree of the viewers is now increased. The Web, now a family commodity, has been a serious catalyst within the change – therefore we do have a critical readership for cinema. Although after a sure level, most readers are inclined to get restive.

One way or the other, our DNA is attuned to tales and gossip, and never appreciating the technicalities of cinema. I’m advised that film-based books, other than autobiographies by stars, don’t promote. Espresso-table books promote due to their novelty worth and celeb tags.

Given the state of issues, we thought that there’s a world to be explored in dissecting fashionable movie music. Therefore we did get into analyses. It additionally helps us recognize music higher. I at all times ask myself – why do I like this? After which try to put my thoughts into it. I name up my pal Ranjan Biswas too – he is an excellent Western classical musician – to debate progressions and chords.

BV: Issues will change, we hope. Eager to examine your favorite music or movie is a pure development. The success of Anupama Chopra’s e book on Sholay or yours on Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro bear testimony to this. However writers should guarantee that the analysis is authentic and that the tales are apparently advised, preserving the final viewers in thoughts. A technical discourse won’t promote. Additionally, e-book variations current simpler procurement and storage choices. These would assist. I get the sense that the publishers have that 3,000 copies quantity in thoughts when launching a movie e book title. The normal channels will work in a restricted method solely. Publishers should spend money on film- and music-based books with newer and extra progressive channels of distribution. They need to leverage social media to create these affinity teams, boards and so forth.

You stress within the introduction that there might be dozens extra books like this, with fully totally different lists of basic songs. Might you title simply 5 songs that you just significantly remorse not with the ability to embrace right here? (I do know that will likely be one other torturous train in list-paring!)
AB: 5 is simply too small a quantity. I can simply title 100. In the event you discover, we now have stored the choice to at least one track per movie. Say for instance, in a movie like Amar Prem, any of three Kishore songs or the 2 Lata solos may have been there. Therefore, we used the chapter to speak about all of the 5. Utilizing this precept, the variety of songs really mentioned within the e book might be 200. Nevertheless, to call simply 5 (and this record will likely be completely private, and I’m not contemplating the movies that are already there within the e book), in no explicit order:

Mujhe Le Chalo (Sharaabi, 1964): The last word unhappy track in my view. There was a time after I used to stand up early within the morning and sing this track at a stretch.

Lau Lagati (Bhabhi ki Choodiyan, 1961): My favorite Yaman from movies. There’s a Marathi / Konkani contact which makes it sound so honeyed.

Na Tum Bewafa Ho (Ek Kali Muskayee, 1969): That is my dearest Lata-Madan Mohan track. Even in the present day I name up my pal Pathasarathi Bhattacharyya Ekalavya any time of the day and ask him to sing this track. He is aware of my fixation and by no means says no. He’s, after all, simply the most effective singers in the present day in Bengal – simply that he’s an oncologist by career.

Aaja Piya Tohe Pyaar Doon (Baharon ke Sapne, 1967) / Baahon Mein Chale Aao (Anamika, 1973): Two songs which made me be aware of a composer named Rahul Dev Burman. The explanation why I may write the earlier e book. And this one too.

Ankhon Ankhon Mein Hum Tum (Mahal, 1969): My favorite romantic track. There are only a few days after I don’t sing this. Connects me to my childhood, the rains, and one very chilly night time in 1989 when this track was enjoying on somebody’s tape, softly reducing via the pin-drop silence of the fog, taking me again in time. Very nostalgic.

BV: O Sajna Barkha Bahaar Aayee (Salil Chowdhury, Parakh); Mere Sapno ki Rani Kab Ayegi Tu (S.D. Burman, Aradhana); Na Tum Bewafa Ho (Madan Mohan, Ek Kali Muskayee); Aapki Yaad Ati Rahi Raat Bhar (Jaidev, Gaman); Sajanwa Bairi Ho Gaye Hamaar (Shankar-Jaikishen – Teesri Kasam).



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