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Dancing Grace

Ten of my favourite Waheeda Rehman songs
Waheeda Rehman3Waheeda Rehman! Just spelling out that name conjures a vision of great beauty for me. Beauty yes, but not coquette, not of a siren, very down to earth beauty, which radiates warmth. A smile, which brightens up your day. Grace, which mesmerises you. Eyes so expressive, that they could show a whole kaleidoscope of emotions and of a depth that one could lose oneself in it. An ethereal beauty! You would say how do a down-to-earth and ethereal go together. Well, that is what Waheeda Rehman is all about. Bringing together contradictions like truth always is. And truth is beautiful and divine. No wonder Guru Dutt sings and describes her a chaudhvin ka chaand (the full moon) in the film by the same name.
Waheeda Rehman4
There was and is more to Waheeda than her beauty. A versatile actress, she proved her acting prowess again and again in different films. She showed their highs and lows, their dark and brighter sides, but what she gave them all was a human quality. A vulnerability, which made them connect to you. It might be the street smart hooker of Pyaasa or the career-oriented Rosie of Guide or the repentant Shanta waiting for her husband in Phagun. You could relate to all of them. You might not agree with them, but you could empathise with them.
Waheeda Rehman1
Choosing ten songs from her films was not easy. Thus I laid some criteria for choosing them.
a. The film must have her in a main role.
b. It must be a solo song
c. Waheeda must be lip-syncing to the song.
Dustedoff and Sunehriyaadein have already published a post of their favourite Waheeda Rehman songs and Anu of her favourite Waheeda roles. This post began as a comment at Sunehriyaadein’s post. Over the years it has changed indeed! Enjoy!

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Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Insomnia

My ten favourite insomnia songs

neend na aaye titleSpending the night in bed tossing around has happened to each and everybody of us. One would like to sleep, but the stream of thoughts just don’t end. The body is tired, but the mind wide awake. You tell yourself, that you have so many things to do the next day and the most appropriate thing to do now would be to sleep. You get irritated over it, which make matters only worse. And then in the wee hours of the morning, when you are supposed to be soon getting up, you fall asleep in sweet, sweet slumber! A dear friend of mine, Raja, was in this situation a few days back. This unfortunate incident made me come up with this list.

But the songs below don’t sing about the situation described above, but are rather moans of separated lovers or are freshly-fallen-in-love pairs. For this list, I have chosen songs with neend(iyaa) na aaye in the mukhdaa (refrain). I hope you like them as much as I do.
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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Nanda’s Eight Voices

Today, on the occasion of Nanda’s birthday, here is a different kind of post; Nanda and her eight different voices. If you were a leading actress in the 60s and 70s, like Nanda, you could spend your entire career without having had lip-synced to anybody but Lata and Asha’s voice. Since Lata had that tiff with Rafi, it could be possible that Suman Kalyanpur also lent her voice to you in a duet with him. Thus, it is amazing to see that Nanda moved her lips to eight singers in her short career.

Today is also Madhu-Dustedoff’s birthday. So here is to both of your birthdays!! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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In Remembrance, Nalini Jaywant

My ten favourite Nalini Jaywant solo songs

If I ask my niece who is Nalini Jaywant, she will most probably say that she must be one of my innumerable aunts. In fact, I do have a distant aunt with the name of Nalini. But the actress Nalini Jaywant seems to have faded into oblivion. When one reads discussions on Hindi film actresses of the 50s, her name hardly appears. Maybe the reason is her self-imposed exile, otherwise it is hard to understand, why she should disappear from public memory. In her heydays she was considered the most beautiful actress and as a talented actress by her colleagues.

She started her career in her teenage years, playing sister (the title role) to Sheikh Mukhtar in Mehboob Khan’s Bahen [1941], where she sang all her songs in her own voice.. Her films in the 40s were nothing to write home about, till she made a splash with Anokha Pyar [1948] as the all-sacrificing part of the triangle, showing Dilip Kumar once again between two strong ladies, the other being Nargis. After that there was no looking back for her, acting in hit films like Samadhi, Naubahar, Rahi [1952], Shikast, Munimji, Nastik and Kala Pani. Like many of her contemporaries she couldn’t carry her success streak into the 60s and retired from the silver screen. She appeared only in two films in the 80s Bandish [1980] and Nastik [1983].

More detailed writing on her career can be found at Upperstall and by Shishir Krishna Sharma on his blog. The first and last photo in this post are from his collection. Thank you Shishirji for the loan!
Here are my ten favourite solo songs of this beautiful and talented actress. Enjoy!
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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Arunkumar Deshmukh’s 10 favourite cycle songs

Arunji has been a loyal follower of this blog and has always been very much encouraging. With this post he makes his debut here on this blog in the role of an author. It is an honour for me that he agreed to do this post. His personal reminiscences makes this post more dear to me. Now, without much ado I give the microphone to him.

It is said, that Indian Films represent the life in India. There is, however, a section of people who believe that the society emulates what is shown in films. So, what is the truth?

When the Talkie came to India and films were made, only one thought was there in the minds of the producers and that was to make films based on Mythological and Historical stories.
This went on for first 5-6 years, but then film makers realised that people will like their films if they could relate their lives with it. So, films based on stories with village background, the caste system, dowry, the moneylender and the farmers were made. These became popular. The urban and the city viewer who was educated were looking for something different. Thus, films were made on love stories set in cities and bigger towns.

Those days middle class was growing in India by leaps and bounds and these were the people, who could spend the money. Now these were the people the films were aimed at.
In the 40s and 50s, the most common transportation vehicle was CYCLE. Almost everybody knew how to ride a cycle. Few people had cars and motorcycles had not yet become popular. Scooters were yet unknown.

I remember, I got my first Cycle when I was in school. My school was 3-4 miles far and I used the cycle to go to school in the morning and to go to friends in the evening. There were many cycles on the road and there was a Traffic rule that every cycle must have a Lamp on the Cycle’s handle as a caution to other vehicles. These lamps were kerosene and Cotton-batti lamps in the night. Sometimes, the lamps got extinguished due to wind. Unaware of this, the police used to catch us. On hearing our plea about the lamp, wind etc, the police would touch the glass of the lamp. if it was still warm, we were let out with a warning only. This was the life in late 40s and early 50s, when I was in Hyderabad State.

It was natural that now cycles too should feature in films. Imaginative Directors used cycles for the heroes when they chased the heroines and for the heroines when they went on a picnic with sahelis. In many films, the village affluents would be shown as cycle owners and the city people using it for moving about.

Up to the 70s, cycles were part of many films. Slowly, cycles were replaced by scooters, Mopeds and motor cycles in films and by 80s, it was only cars and fancy Mobikes for the heroes. Poor cycles were reduced to be shown, only used by the doodhwalla bhaiyyas (milk-men).
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Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Bollywood, Guest Post, Lists

 

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Happy Birthday Sadhana!

My ten favourite Sadhana songs

Today on your 71st birthday, wish you a happy birthday and many more to come, dear Sadhana! Thanks for the beautiful films and moments, which you have gifted us!
Sadhana, one of the Hindi screen’s beautiful leading ladies. She was a trend-setter in fashion, when nobody even knew this word. She was glamorous, beautiful and more importantly talented actress. Given the trend of the 60s, where the frothy musicals reigned supreme, she got ample scope to show her acting talents in variety of films. Bimal Roy, the ace-director cast her in Parakh (1960) and Prem Patra (1964). Raj Khosla made a trilogy of films with her in central roles Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), Mera Saaya (1966) and Anita (1967).

Her thyroid problem led to an eye ailment, which led to her going on a long treatment in the USA, due to which she was missed on many films. Her come-back films were Intequam (1969) and Ek Phool Do Mali (1969) were hits. The 70s even saw her don the cap of the director for Geeta Mera Naam (1974). The changing trends of the 70s saw her take retirement from the silver screen, though the 70s saw the release of delayed films like Amanat (1975), Vandana (1975) and Mehfil (1981). Her last film Ulfat ki Nayi Manzilein, whose music was released in 1968, got released in 1994. In the song here, we see how the film must have been completed with doubles, in the song, baharon se kahenge nazaroon se kahenge, we see only the back of the character played by her.

I have chosen only solo songs from her films and I have restricted myself to one song pro film.
Enjoy!
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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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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blind women songs

My ten favourite blind women songs

I got the idea for this post when I read Yves’ review of the Sparsh [1980]. Blind people abound in Hindi cinema mostly as some blind chachas (uncles) in slums or are poor sisters or mothers, for whose eye-operation the hero commits some crime. Then there are the female leads, who are blind, where the story follows one way or the other the plot of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Of course there are stories, where the story follows a different path altogether. All the stories have one thing in common that mostly the curing of the blindness plays a central role in the story. Exceptions as usual confirm the rule.

In my post Mala Sinha song list, while commenting the song from Patanga. I wrote that the species of blind heroines became rare in the 80s. I didn’t know that they had become so abundant in the last decade. My favourites though, as you would guess, are not from the last decade but earlier. Well, here they are! Enjoy!
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Sun Mere Bandhu Re… !

My five favourite S. D. Burman sung songs

Either I am just too indecisive or I love all his songs, which makes a list of 10 favourite S. D. Burman songs so difficult. That is why I took the easy way out and went off to make a list of 10 favourite songs sung by him. That in turn would have been too easy, because I found only around 13 songs where he has lent his voice and only eleven of them were solos.

The first song sung by him for a Hindi film I found was for Eight Days [1946]. (Anu informed me later that he sang for the film Taj Mahal [1941] under the baton of Madhavlal Damodar. The song was ek prem ki pyaari nishani.) After that it looks like he took a 12 years break and lent his voice to Dev Anand in Kala Pani [1958] for the song dil laga ke kadar gayi pyaare. He sings dhin ta ta between the stanzas. The first Hindi solo of his after Eight Days is most probably sun mere bandhu re for Sujata [1960]. After this nearly all of his songs appear as background songs. Mere saajan hai us paar, although sung by a waysider, the camera stays on this character only at the beginning of the song, giving it a feeling of background song. While compiling this list, I realised the big impact this singer has left on us. He sang around ten solos in Hindi films and still one has at least five songs of him at the tip of the tongue.
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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Happy Birthday Nanda!

My ten favourite Nanda songs

It is not only Nanda, who has birthday today (Jan. 8) but also fellow-blogger Madhu-Dustedoff. Happy Birthday to you as well, Madhu! Many of the films mentioned here in this post (and others) are linked to Madhu’s excellent reviews on her blog. Incidentally, Nanda is also one of Madhu’s favourite actresses, so it fits in quite well.

Nanda had a sweetness about her, which one hardly sees nowadays. She had something about her, which made men and women feel all protective about her. She was the girl-next-door of the 60s. Even the glamour of the later 60s didn’t affect this image. Unfortunately, such were also the roles, which came her way. Ittefaq changed it, but till then a new crop of actresses had arrived. All the same, just like she helped Shashi Kapoor’s career start, she helped through out her career other leading actors like Sanjeev Kumar, Sanjay Khan and Deb Mukherjee.

Now she lives away from the glamour of the Hindi film industry and still looking good. The last I heard of her was in August in Times of India gossip columns, where it was mentioned that she was a generous tip-giver. That is nice to hear, that she doesn’t live secluded somewhere unattended, but living and enjoying life. May she celebrate more such merry birthday celebrations!
The rules for choosing the songs were
a. solo songs
b. one song per film
and blah, blah, blah! 😉
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Posted by on January 8, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists

 

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