JAANE KAHAN GAYE WOH DIN
Almost a decade ago acclaimed film director Shekar Kapoor hosted a private party at his Mumbai home. The invitees were Javed Akhtar ,Shabana Azmi, Goldie Anand and a couple of Bollywood luminaries. A friend of mine—then a budding director himself—was also present. Drinks and dinner over the friends began that perennial Indian past time –the Antakshari. This started at about midnight and ended reluctantly at about 6 am the next morning .The ‘battle’ was won by Javed Akhtar. His ability to come up with a song starting with about any alphabet surprised the others who were already well versed with the lyricist’s talent. They suggested half playfully that the poet was in fact conjuring up songs at the spur of the moment just to take advantage of the ignorance of the others and win the prize! Javed replied that he could tell the name of the film ,the lyricist, the composer of every song that he had quoted that night! Goldie asked why such magnificent songs were not to be heard in movies these days. With tears in their eyes the guests departed ,sad at the seeming end to meaning and melody n Hindi cinema.
I could not but recall this incident—narrated to me by my budding director friend—as I listened to songs at a Mukesh Nite at Chennai last evening .Shekar who sang Mukesh songs was accompanied by Usha the Lata of Chennai.
The concert began with SUHANA SAfAR AUR YE MAUASAM HASEEN that perennial favourite from Madhumati. Not many may know that the composer Salil Chowdhury wanted Talat Mahmood to sing this song but that Ghazal maestro requested that Mukesh be asked to sing it. Reason?Mukesh was facing financial hardships and Talat sahab wanted to help his friend out! A reflection of the values of those days.
Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne was next, followed by that evocative DUM BAR JO IDHAR MOOH PHERE. I am fascinated by poets’ fascination with the moon . The song next was the one that my Rumanian friend in the US hums almost daily—AWAARA HOON.
Indeevar’s immortal song PHOOL TUMHE BHEJA HAI KHAT MEIN was the SARASWATI CHANDRA masterpiece which old timers always drool over. Excellent work by Shekhar and Usha so far. Mukesh has acted in a few films with the leading actors of the day—Suraiya , Nalini Jaywant to name only two.
A peppy number BARKHA RANI JARA JAMKE BARSO followed after which the number DIL TADAP TADAPKE KEH RAHA HAI .
Rajnigandha got Mukesh a Filmfare award for the song KAHIN BAAR YOON HI DEKHA HAI which Sekhar rendered competently. The duet DIL KI AZAR SE was ebulliently rendered by Sekhar and Usha. True to her reputation Usha’s CHANDAN SA BADAN was brilliant. Sekhar’s AASOON BHARI HAIN was just about ok. The pathos one looked for was not there. A surprise selection was MERA PYAAR BHI TOO HAI from SAATHI a song not common in stage shows, Plesantly rendered by Usha and Sekhar.
I was bowled over when Sekhar sang two of my favourite Mukesh numbers that are not widely talked about .The song Sekhar came up with was KAYEE SADIYON SE, KAYEE JANMON SE compose by Brij Bhushan. Melodious and memorable .
Usha and Sekhar teamed up for HUM TUM ,YUG YUG SE from Milan .Sekhar’s JAANE KAHANA GAYE WOH DIN reminded me sadly of the Sekhar Kapoor party !
The orchestra rose to great heights with the next song EK PYAAR KA NAGMA HAI from ‘Shor’.. Sekhar told the audience that composers made a special effort to compose music that was in tune with Mukesh’s rendering of the emotions of a song. The Shor song was one such with brilliant use of the violin. Khayyam’s composition KABHI KABHI MERE DIL ME was next and was finely sung by Sekhar. That haunting prelude for CHAND SEE MEHBOOBA from HIMALAY KI GODE MEIN was next and we realized how Mukesh sang brillianty not only for Raj Kapoor but also for Manoj Kumar .TUMNE KISI SE KABHI PYAAR KIYA HAI that fast song from Dharmatma regaled the audience. The duet KISI RAAH PAR KISI MODE PAR—not always talked about but brilliant—was next It was rendered with feeling. At my request the duet from SANGAM –O MERE SANAM was sung. I have a weakness for this song and is in my view another example of how a great song may not necessarily be the most popular even in those days when melody was queen.
Interspersed with other songs the show ended with jeena yahan marna yahan
I must add that Sekhar is a multifaceted man –a successful executve, he has his heart in the right place .He spends time, money and effort in the rehabilitation of disabled people. What more was that among other acts of humaneness he is involved in reducing the untold pain that terminally cancer stricken people face and works for means to reduce this pain.
I rang up a friend of mine this morning who does similar work and asked him what keeps such suffering people going.
He quite co- incidentally sang this song
WHO SUBAH KABHI TO AAYEGI