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
The legend has it that there has been no greater spectacle in Hindustani music than Mian Tansen performing riyaaz.
We start the section with this memorable clip
1. Tori Jai Jai Kartar –Baiju Bawra (1952) – Naushad
An immortal rendering rendered flawlessly and with such grace by Ustad Amir Khan, bringing out the beautiful nuances of Puriya Dhanashree. It is important to note that Puriya Dhanashree is usually rendered in the evening time, which was when Tansen is known to have performed his riyaaz. This is Ustad Amir Khan’s interpretation of Tansen’s rendering.
2.Prem Jogan Ban Ke – Mughal-E-Azam(1960)- Naushad
This is Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s interpretation of Tansen’s riyaaz. If Amir Khan’s was a simple, silky and free flowing interpretation, Bade’s is one full of ornamentation, in raga Sohini-also sung in late evening,early night. At 3:46 we hear a kink into Paraj (I think). The pakeezgee of riyaaz is lost in the picturization, but I think the song was created for the situation.
Sri Parrikar, in his article on Multani commented aptly that if Ustad Amir Khan’s was the Taj Mahal of Multani, then Bade’s was the Mount Everest of Multani. I hope that gives the readers an idea of the different gharanas in play).
3.Baat Chalat– Rani Rupmati(1957) – S.N.Tripathi
A superb rendering by Chaonkar and Rafi, set to Bhairavi. S.N.Tripathi was a master at composing chaste classical songs, and he is at his best here. This is a taleem session of Baz Bahadur his guru, the scene looks quite convincing.
4.Garjat Barsat – Barsat Ki Raat(1960)–Roshan
A great adaptation of a traditional bandish in Gaud Malhar, rendered melodiously by Suman Kalyanpur and Kamal Barot. Shama and Ratna Bhushan are shown performing riyaaz.
5. Man Mohana Bade Jhoote – Seema(1955)– Shankar Jaikishen
A lovely composition in Jaijaiwanti, rendered brilliantly by Lata. Nutan has sustained a lot of close-ups in this song.
6.Manmohan Me Tumhi – Kaise Kahoon (1964) – S.D.Burman
Clothed in Adana, the song is melodious, the sequence has Manmohan Krishna as the unlikely Guru and Biswajeet and Nanda as the shishyas. There are close-ups of all the three of them, and they look convincing, This is Adana with the Dhaivat.
7.Madhura Madhura – Sangeet Samrat Tansen(1961)- S.N.Tripathi
A long riyaaz sequence, there is great music. The clip opens with an outstanding rendering of Bageswari by Pandarinath Kolhapure and then some riyaaz sessions in Bhairav and Megh Malhar, delivered by Manna Dey.(the raga varnan contains the name of the ragas). Megh Malhar is characterised by M-R-P phrases with Shadaj as the vadi and a weak rishab. The usage of Rishab in this Megh Malhar (khada Re) is not characteristic of Megh Malhar.
8. Rag Prabhat – Goonj Uthi Shehnai((1959) – Vasant Desai
A brilliant Ragamala by two legends of Indian music in full flow – Ustad Amir Khan on the vocals and Ustad Bismillah Khan on the Shehnai. Some mesmerizing stuff by Bismallah khan. This ragas in the represent ‘din ke prahar’. Starts off Bhatiyar (dawn), Ramkali (morning) , Desi Todi(late morning), a superb Shudh Sarang (noon)(notice how Bismillah takes the lead – simply brilliant passages), a fleeting glimpse of Multani(late afternoon), Yaman (evening), Bagesree (early night), Chandrakauns(late night).
9.Darbari Kanada Alap – Baiju Bawra((1952) – Naushad
Baiju enters Tansen’s house to kill him, but gets lost in the melody of Tansen’s music. Tansen’s taans echoing everywhere is very interesting. Perfect shruti alignment in the alap.
I am concluding this post with what I consider the benchmark rendering of “Miyan Ki Malhar”, a raga created by “Miyan” Tansen. This is an old PTV recording (1972). Music has no bounds, and not limited by man-made boundaries.
A very relaxed and classy rendering by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Farida Khanum. (Note the lyrics mention Megh Malhar, but the tune is Miyan Ki Malhar).