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Tag Archives: Bharat Vyas

Of Clouds and Separation

My ten favourite songs on clouds and separation


Mid-June, the rains used to arrive in Bombay when I was a kid. The black clouds would hold the promise of change. This would mean relief from the heat and dust of the preceding summer months and a burst of new life. The dreary plain near our house would promise to turn into a pond with lots of small streams arising and emptying in it. These small streams would then become alive with small and big crabs and tadpoles! Coinciding with the arrival of the black clouds, the new school year would also arrive. This would mean new textbooks! The dark messenger would also bring the hope, that I would share the class room with my friends from last year, but at the same time also the anxiety if I would again have to spend this new school year with class bully.

These dark water-bearers of sky, who brought so many emotions in my being were and are also the bearers of hope over the centuries in India for separated lovers. The earliest mention is found in Meghduta (the cloud messenger) by Kalidasa (most probably 4th century CE). It tells the story, how a yakṣha (a supernatural being), after being exiled, asks a passing cloud to take a message to his wife. In Hindi cinema though, we find mostly women singing to the clouds. They call upon them to be their messengers, to take a message to their far-off beloveds, asking them to return back.
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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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My ten favourite Hindi film loris (lullabies) and Merry X’mas!

For Christmas, I was thinking of doing a Christmas song list. But I could come up only with aao tumhe chand pe le jaaye from Zakhmee [1975]. But then I thought Mother Mary and Joseph must have also sung some lullabies to baby Jesus, so why not a list of my ten favourite loris (lullabies).

Lullabies have not always been my favourite songs. Once when a 6 year old child at a friends place asked me to sing an Indian lullaby to him, I realized that I knew only few authentic lullabies in my mother tongue and soon I ended up singing filmi loris!  The child must have been pretty deaf or a great fan of off-tune singing. More evenings followed and made me realize how sweet basically loris are.

Some rules, which I followed for my list:
a) The person singing must be singing it to a child and not to a grown-up person
b) Only one song pro film

Well here they are! Try not to fall asleep while reading it! Yawn! 😉
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Aanewaalaa phal, jaanewaalaa hai… (The fruits, they come and go… )

Fruits! Delicious, luscious fruits! One would say everybody loves fruits. They are nutritious, taste good and are attractive for the eye. Well, they have to be, after all the plant wants it’s children to travel far and wide. Why then this step-motherly treatment to these fabulous creations of nature in Hindi film songs?

Fruits were and are associated with lust. Offering of the apple by Eve to Adam is often cited as an example of this partnership in sin. The Indian censors were very strict about this and only let small and insignificant fruits be sung about in the film songs. As you must have noticed in my post Fruit cake, even if they allowed some fruits to slip through, they saw to it that they had the ugliest melodies possible or it is was done indirectly like ambua ki dali (a mango branch) or beri ke neeche (below the jujube tree). Not the fruits themselves but the tree was in the focal point. Lots of lyricists still wrote lyrics mentioning the fruits of their taste or which suited the scene and occasion. All these attempts were brutally suppressed and the words changed beyond recognition.

During my stay in India in July, in London in August and the last week’s stay in the Black Forest, I could meet witnesses and activists in exile. They told me stories of suppression and oppression of artists and poets of the Bombay film industry by the censors. They told me stories of how works of art where mutilated on the grounds of decency and morality.

I can only write about ten such songs. After reading this article, you, my dear intelligent readers will surely see through many other songs, which we sing every day and have been racking our brains why a certain word doesn’t quite fit in.
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Chandaa re…

My ten favourite moon songs

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Tomorrow is full moon and we all know what it does … ahem…, to the lovers. No wonder that the moon features in so many songs. It also has different roles in it. The moon is at times the messenger, at times it is an intruder, sometimes it is a catalyst or also be addressed as the beloved him or herself. It can be different things, but one thing is for sure, it doesn’t leave the lovers cold and nor it does me.
The moon songs genre belongs to one of my favourites. There are so many songs with chaand in it, that it is really very difficult to choose ten. So I had to use the following criteria:
1. The songs have to blatantly call out to the moon.
2. Not included are comparisons with moon (so, no chaudhvin ka chaand ho),
3. nor indirect allusions to the moon (no o jaanewale chaand…),
4. nor mere confirmation of its presence (no chaand akela jaye sakhi ri),
5. nor be a lullaby (no chandaa o chandaa kisne churayi).

So here are my favourite 10 ‘chaand’ songs (in chronological order) from Hindi cinema.

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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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