Short Notes : The beautiful Shiva


Art has several dimensions and colours. The finest pieces of art, while being sources of immense joy, are products of fertile imagination. Much has been written, much more spoken about the movies of the Golden Era of Hindi films. The music has been dissected, the lyrics interpreted, actors’ performances glorified and great scenes discussed. Several of these are etched in our memory and the supreme quality of these elements are now fresh even after more than half a century. Yet, there is one dimension of art which have hardly caught the attention of the cine blogger community. This is Art in movies. There are recurrent themes in art too.

Lord Shiva is seen in many movies in his most beautiful form. He is Shankar, he is Bholenath. Lovers romance in his presence, they pour out their hearts to Him. He is witness to the merry making of festivals. This post sets out to examine a few songs with Lord Shiva as the central focus.

The visuals presented here is my humble tribute to those great creators of art. I would like the creations do the talking, hence no accompanying commentary to the selections.

O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Baiju Bawra 

baiju

 

Holi Aayee Re Kannhai – Mother India 

moi1 moi2

Sawan Aaye Ya Na Aaye – Dil Diya Dard Liya 

phirterikahaani

Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta – Kalpana

Tuhameraprem

Saiyaan Beimaan – Guide

saiyaan beimaan1

Aaj Chedo Mohabbat – Son of India (Shiva is seen with Nandi facing him)

aoi2aoi

 Mori Payal – Ram Hanuman Yudh 

ramhanuman

These are my selections. Do you have any of yours?

UttarMegh and Dekh Kabira Roya


The Meghadutam has been a source of inspiration of many an artist. While PurvaMegh describes the scenic beauty that the cloud messenger would pass by on his way to Alaka nagari, as narrated by a certain Yaksha who is separated from his wife on account of negligence of duty and hence cursed by Kubera to be exiled for a year, UttarMegh is full of virah-bhava

The great painter Nana Joshi has created nine visualisations of the verses of UttarMegh. He has brought to life Kalidasa’s brilliant lyrical portrayal of a lady separated from her beloved, and her feelings through his creations.

That UttarMegh was a possible inspiration for the great lyricist Rajinder Krishan when he penned the lyrics for Dekh Kabira Roya or even Amiya Chakraborty, the director of the movie, is what this post sets out to explore.

We start the journey with Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye

Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye

Meri veena tum bin roye

Saawariya tum jahan base ho,

Main woh gaon na jaanoon

Bitegee kab viraha ki

Ye paapan shaam naa jaanoon

Haay madhur milan kab hoye

Tujh bin mere geet adhoore, Hothon pe sharamaaye

Saaz uthhaoon, taar naa baaje, Tadap tadap rah jaaye

Meri peed na Jaane koi

The 26th verse of UttarMegh is as follows-

उत्सङ्गे वा मलिनवनसे सोम्य निक्षिप्य वीणां मग्दोत्राङ्कं विरचितपदं गेयमुग्दातुकामा ।

तन्त्रीमार्द्रां नयनसलिलै: सारयित्वा कथंचिद्भूयो भूय: स्वयमपि कृतां मूर्छनां विस्मरन्ती ॥२६॥

Or having placed a veena on a dirty cloth on her lap, friend(addressing the cloud), wanting to sing a song whose words are contrived to contain my name, plucking the strings, wet with tears, again and again she forgets the melody, even though she composed it herself.

The inspiration for the lyrics is evident. The virah-bhava is well retained in the lyrics. But it is when we turn our attention to the details that the inspiration for Krishan becomes increasingly clearer.

Saawariya tum jahan base ho, Main woh gaon na jaanoon

In UttarMegh,the Yaksha’s wife is unaware of the whereabouts of her husband when this verse occurs. The cloud messenger lets her know subsequently that her beloved is safe and misses her as much as she does.

Bitegee kab viraha ki Ye paapan shaam naa jaanoon Haay madhur milan kab hoye

Kalidasa observes in the next few verses that during the day, when she has distractions, separation does not torment her, but when the evening approaches, she is full of sadness heightened by the pain of separation, and her mind filled with memories of the acts of union she enjoyed with her husband. Hence, “Haay madhur milan kab hoye” .

Tujh bin mere geet adhoore, Hothho pe sharmaaye Saaz uthhaoon, taar naa baaje, Tadap tadap rah jaaye Meri peed na jaane koi

The final antara is more or less a translation of the quoted Sanskrit verse above. Every word, every feeling corresponds to Kalidasa’s writing.

Madan Mohan brilliant use of raga Ahir Bhairav, coupled with the pain in Lata’s voice produces such great effect.

Ashqon se teri hamne

Ashqon se teri

ashkon se teri humnne tasveer banaai hai
ro ro ke mohabbat ki taqdeer banaa

aankhon me liyaa paani palkon se sanvaaraa hai
aur khun-e-jigar dekar har naqsh ubhaaraa hai
milne ki sanam tujhse tadbeer banaai hai

tadapaaegi jab dil ko saavan ki haseen raatein
tanhaai me kar lenge tasveer se do baatein
divaane ne khud apni zanjeer banaai hai

The 26th verse of UttarMegh is as follows-

आलोके ते निपतति पुरा सा बलिव्याकुला वा मत्सादृश्यं विरहतनु वा भावगम्यं लिखन्ती ।

पृच्छन्ती वा मधुरवचनां शारिकां पञ्जरस्थां कच्चित् भर्तु: स्मरसि रसिके त्वं हि तस्य प्रियेति ||

She will come at once into your sight, either engaged in pouring oblations, or drawing from memory my portrait, but grown thin on account of separation, or asking the sweet-voiced sarika bird in its cage,”I hope you remember the master, O elegant one, for you are his favourite’;

Here, the Yaksha’s wife draws a portrait of her beloved husband as she misses him so much.In “Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye” had Krishan retaining the shloka almost as-is, while this song has him lending his interpretation of the sequence. This song is more adapted to the requirements of cinema. He uses a lot of Urdu words here.

milne ki sanam tujhse tadbeer banaai hai

[the portrait is used as the medium of meeting her husband]

tadapaaegi jab dil ko saavan ki haseen raatein
tanhaai me kar lenge tasveer se do baatein

Very carefully chosen words to express the loneliness, pain of separation and the emotions. The picturization of the song, where the heroine draws a sketch of her beloved, longing for his presence is quite in keeping with the expressions of the shloka and the song.

It is also interesting to note that the two songs are back to back in the movie.

Bairan Ho Gayi Rain

bairan ho gayi rain

aawan keh gaye ajhun na aaye
piya bin kaari rain daraaye
baat takat haare nain re

The lyrics for this song do not correspond to a specific shloka of Kalidasa in the work, but it captures the overall spirit of UttarMegh, We have the recurring theme of sorrow of separation, the dark night.

The picturization of the song is quite curious, as the sequence is that of Anup Kumar singing a classical song to irritate his neighbours who want to throw him out. The lyrics seems unforced by the requirements of the scene and more a sequel to the other songs discussed above.

Madan Mohan has aptly used Jaijaiwanti, a late night raga for this song.

I had a wonderful time researching for this article, and enjoyed authoring this article. I hope it is of like to  the reader too.

Vasant Ritu – Kalidasa and Bollywood



Kalidasa was undoubtedly one of the greatest poets in classical Sanskrit literature. He was a poet and a dramatist and is known for some of  the best works in Sanskrit such as “Malavikagnimitram“, “Abhigyana Shakuntalam“, “Meghadootam“, “Raghuvamsham” etc.

Vasanta Ritu (spring season) has set in  and there is a sense of excitement in the air-the romance, the gaiety, nature’s finest manifestation in all her beauty- Vasanta, as Kalidasa calls it, is certainly the “Rituraja“, or the king of seasons.

It is impossible to accurately translate his works whilst preserving the lyrical beauty, and even more difficult to compare it to the lyrical visions of Vasanta of the lyricists of the yesteryears. Yet, there are moments of brilliance of various poets in chaste Hindi, some of which correspond to the ideas of Kalidasa.

Through this post, I will attempt to interpret Kalidasa’s vivid description of Vasanta in Raghuvamsham , and correspondingly examine the overlap with the bollywood lyricists on the said subject, and how the picturization of the songs have also derived inspiration by his works.

kalidasa

Kalidasa

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Kumkum – Tribute to a great dancer


Hindi cinema has featured some great exponents of classical dancing during the golden age. When one thinks of classical dancers to have graced the cinema scene, images of Vyjyanthimala, Padmini, Raagini etc flow in.

This post examines the graceful dancing abilities of Kumkum, who has several classical pieces picturised on her, and some non-classical hits. Kumkum was an excellent actress too.

Born Mehrun nisa from Hussainabad in Bihar, she was trained in Kathak

kumkum-kajra

Nainan Me Kajra Laga Ke (Madhuban me Radhika – Kohinoor)

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AVM and classical music


There  is a usual tendency to talk at length about the literary contributions of renowned lyricists to Hindi cinema, be it Urdu or chaste Hindi, or music directors who, through their immense talent, produced great classical pieces. However, not much is spoken of  the production units who created these situations in their movies, hence providing a rich ground for the birth of gems which live on after half a decade of their creation.

This post is dedicated to one of the earliest production units of India, AVM, who produced superb movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu.

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Vasant Desai and classical artistes


Vasant Desai was an outstanding composer in Chitrapat and Marathi drama. He had great knowledge of classical music, and used it to create some immortal compositions. It is one to create a classical composition, but another to invite some of the most respected performing artistes in Hindustani classical, be it gayaki or tantrakari, and earn their respect. Vasant Desai regularly partnered with these stalwarts to produce some great gems.

This post is a humble tribute to his collaborations with the greats of his time.

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Classical music in titles


Titles are a favourite with me. They are much more than listing actors and credits, and if used imaginatively, can add a lot of value to the art of story telling. Titles carry a wealth of information which make viewing pleasure – the fonts, the colour, the content and of course the background score.

Classical music has been used very innovatively in the titles of several memorable musicals, and this post will discuss them.

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A tale of two qawwalis


Qawwali is a form of devotional music that expresses the mystical Sufi practice of Islam in South Asia, mainly in areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The term qawwali comes from the Arabic word “qaul,” meaning “to speak” or “to say,” thus emphasizing the importance of words of these songs. Its main function is to make the listeners understand the words or message of the songs.

The modern qawwali owes its existance to the legendary Amir Khusro, who fused the Persian and Hindustani elements to give shape to the formal format of the qawwali. His guru Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who was a Sufi Saint, imparted great knowledge to Amir Khusro.

Amir Khusro and Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya

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Colours of the raga – Brindabani Sarang


This is the first of my few posts which will focus on one raga, while explaining the technical details of the raga. I will try and make it simple and hopefully can help people identify songs in this raga.

I am starting off with Brindabani Sarang, which is a celebrated traditional melody of the Hindustani music system.

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Riyaaz and Taleem


The importance of “riyaaz while acquiring “taleem“,  cannot be stressed enough while learning classical music, and this is the central theme of this post.

Several interesting sequences of different kinds, have been picturized in Hindi movies, of the student of music performing riyaaz or acquiring ‘taleem’. Needless to say, these make up some memorable songs, and the musical talents of the composers are on display. I have chosen songs where the artiste is performing riyaaz with a tanpura or learning from his/her Guru.

Mian Tansen performing riyaaz

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