Sunday, 11 March 2018

25 Years, 25 Best Male Solos- Golden Period of Hindi Film Music(1950-1975)

.

Year: 1950.
Song: Upar Gagan Vishal
Movie: Mashal
Singer: Manna De
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics:Pradeep.


Bombay Talkies was taken over by Ashok Kumar and Shashadhar Mukherjee from Devika Rani in the 40s. Slowly and gradually, it became the MGM of Bombay, producing hits after hits and nurturing new talents. Bombay Talkies can be attributed towards identifying and developing talents like Dev Anand, Lata Mangeshkar, S D Burman, Manna De and Kishore Kumar. Mashal was a big hit and established both SD Burman as well as Manna De as the prominent forces in the musical world. The song had introduced concepts like thrilling use of chorus and playing a song in the background. Kavi Pradeep, along with Bharat Vyas, was one of the few lyricists those days who insisted on usage of pure Hindi words in their creations, when the rest of the lot were erudite Urdu poets. So, you could hear words like "vishal", "paataal" etc in this song as well, giving it a unique ornamentation. Till date, it remains an iconic and pathbreaking song

Year: 1951.
Song: Awara Hoon
Movie: Awara
Singer: Mukesh
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

You may love Raj Kapoor school or you may hate it, but you can never ignore it. Raj Kapoor was the Indian Vittorio De Sica in Hindi movies, without any serious challenge coming from anywhere. Awara hoon, clearly established Shankar Jaikishen as the leading composer duo of Hindi films, dethroning Husnlal Bhagatram, of whom they were once assistants, and kept the laurel in tact till Laxmikant Pyarelal happened, almost a decade and a half later. And of course, there was Shailendra. Inarguably, here was finally a lyricist with whom all the music directors loved to work. The depth and realism in poetry was lost forever with his untimely death in 1966. Mukesh was singing for Raj Kapoor right from his earliest days, but there was always a Talat Mehmood or a Mohd Rafi chipping in between occasionally. With Awara, he officially got the stamp of Raj Kapoor's voice. After that, only Manna De could get some occasional assignments for the senior Kapoor under R K Films, no one else.

Year: 1952
Song: Man Tarpat Hari Darshan
Movie: Baiju Bawra
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: Naushad
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

As a director, Vijay Bhatt might not have a very impressive portfolio to talk of, but he gave us Baiju Bawra; and that is good enough to get his name etched in the history of Hindi cinema. Again, a pathbreaking album, Baiju Bawra established Mohd Rafi as the official lead male playback singer. While composers preferred Talat more in that period, Rafi demonstrated much more versatility and proved to be a better hand when it came to the semi-classical genre.Man Tarpat, based on Raag Malkauns, is still considered to be one of the finest semi classical Bhajans in Hindi films. And in devotional genre, Rafi did not have any peer coming anywhere close to him, right till his death.

Year: 1953
Song: Shaam e gham ki kasam
Movie: Footpath
Singer: Talat Mehmood
Music: Khayyam
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

While there can be many clones for many voices, one voice that remains inimitable even today is that of Talat Mehmood. And the decade of the early 50s belonged to him, if not in popularity then definitely in terms of huge musical values which he imparted in that period to Hindi film music. Khayyam, as a composer, perhaps remains to be the most productive music director in terms of quality to quantity ratio. While his career never really took off after Footpath and he really needed to wait till 1976 for Kabhi Kabhie to happen, he kept on producing high quality albums like Phir subah hogi, Aakhri Khat and Shagoon. Shaam e gham ki kasam is exquisite in every term of description. Two antaras are distinctly composed, a trait of Khayyam composition which he retained later also. And, of course, a Dilip Kumar on screen for a Talat song, a sight pretty common those days which was to become scarce in coming years.

Year: 1954
Song: Jaayein to jaayein kaha
Movie: Taxi Driver
Singer: Talat Mehmood
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

By 1954, Bombay Talkies had become history for S D Burman, and Navketan was his present. This also signified one of the most illustrious Actor- Music Director association, that of Dev Anand and him. Jayein to jayein kaha is the song of the year both from qualitative as well as populist perspective, as SD received a Filmfare Award for the same also that year. Based on Tagore's "He khoniker atithi", SD really improvised the tune to give a Ghazalish feel, with apt support from the great Sahir. This song also signifies the peak period of association between SD and Sahir, a combo of extreme quality and individual self respect.

Year: 1955
Song: Tu Pyar ka sagar hai
Movie: Seema
Singer: Manna De
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

There are prayer songs in the films, and then, there is Tu pyar ka sagar hai. So distinct is its stature that many schools use it frequently even today in the evening prayer sessions. Coming again from Shankar Jaikishen- Shailendra combo, the song belongs as much to Manna De as it does to the chorus. Clearly, the song of the year.

Year: 1956
Song: Sur na Saje
Movie: Basant Bahar
Singer: Manna De
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

Basant Bahar, as an album, was Shankar Jaikishen's answer to Naushad's Baiju Bawra- with a small twist. Shankar Jaikishen used Manna De as the prime vocal for the hero Bharat Bhushan in all the classical songs. Rafi pitched in only in the devotional one. But, the result was noting short of a magic. Personally, I hold Basant Bahar as the best classical based album in Hindi films, proving the huge spectrum of domains which Shankar Jaikishen could cover. This was so unlike SJ, and they never confined themselves to one segment and kept on experimenting and spreading their fields. Sur na saje is the song of the album.

Year: 1957
Song: Jaane woh kaise log the
Movie: Pyasa
Singer: Hemant Kumar
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

If Raj Kapoor was our de Sica, then Guru Dutt was definitely our Orson Welles. Guru was a master storyteller and often cited as a pioneer in introducing the Noir concept of movie making in Hindi cinema. In terms of theme, lighting and angles, Pyasa was a classic noir to the core. For a dark theme, you need dark music to create the requisite impact. And S D Burman- Sahir combo delivered in their final outing together, what many consider to be their best. While the entire album boasts of one classic after another, I carefully choose this single Hemant Kumar song as the winner. This clearly seemed to come directly from SD's heart- his selection of singer, his type of tune with Bengali influence all over and words clearly crafted against the backdrop of the set tune, clearly to the dislike of Sahir. And, finally one personal comment, in fact very personal comment regarding Pyasa, which I would like to make here. I genuinely feel Pyasa should have been sent for the Oscars that year in stead of the highly overrated and melodramatic Mother India. Our chances of winning would have been slightly better.

Year: 1958
Song: Yeh mera deewanapan hai
Movie: Yahudi
Singer: Mukesh
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

After a few years of bad patch, Mukesh was back with a bang in 1958. Not that he was singing more that year, but his productivity had seemed to have increased manifolds. Whatever he used to touch in 1958, would turn into 24 carat gold. He had only one song in this album, and whatever you remember today of that movie, is due to this timeless classic amazingly rendered by the maestro. Yahudi was the only occasion when director Bimal Roy worked with SJ duo for music, perhaps because his otherwise pet MDs- Salil and SD- were not comfortable working with historical or devotional theme. Yahudi also features a song by Geeta Dutt, one of the very rare occasions when SJ had used her vocals.

Year: 1959
Song: Jalte hai jiske liye
Movie: Sujata
Singer: Talat Mehmood
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri


The time of Talat had definitely passed by then. The music had slowly changed to be trendier, rhythmic and more modern and heroes were no longer those suave and gentlemanly as they used to be. Talat also found it difficult to keep track with the changing times and also got astray with his acting obsession in between. However, for this one song of Sujata, S D Burman literally brought him back into his team from sideline to score a stunning goal of the year. Just like Jayein to jayein kaha, this was another Tagore adaptation( Ekoda tumi priye), for which SD found Talat to be the best suited voice again. Picturized on  Sunil Dutt over telephone, this became Talat's swan song in every aspect. As the decade changed, he became more and more obsolete to the world. But, for the genuine music lovers, there cannot be another Talat Mehmood again.

Year: 1960
Song: Chaudvi ka chand ho
Movie: Chaudvi ka chand
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: Ravi
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

If the entire decade of the 60s can be associated with one singer, then it has to be Mohd Rafi. He simply left everyone else far far behind with the advent of the decade. Ravi, as a music director, had debuted way back in 1954, but Chaudvi ka Chand, a Guru Dutt productions, was finally his moment of glory. Perhaps the only time you saw Guru Dutt in the movies in colour, the title song of Chaudvi ka chand proved to be a blockbuster hit also due to a gorgeously looking Waheeda rehman on screen. Again, a clear cut choice for the song of the year.

Year: 1961
Song: Kabhi khud pe kabhi halaat pe
Movie: Hum Dono
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: Jaidev
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

Jaidev was an assistant to S D Burman for a long long time and correspondingly, was well known to the Navketan team as well. When SD was not at the best of his health in 1961, Dev Anand and Team decided to gift Jaidev a movie as an independent music director as a reward to his long term loyalty to the banner. And Jaidev delivered his best, simply his best. Since SD was no longer working with Sahir, the latter was also out of the camp for quite some time since Funtoosh in 1956. With Jaidev, Sahir got that one last shot in the Navketan camp, never to return again after SD's re entry later in 1962. Hum Dono is not only the album of 1961, but also a testimonial to the genius of a composer called Jaidev. I chose this masterpiece Ghazal, rendered supremely by Rafi, for an intoxicated Dev Anand, while the other Dev looks on.

Year: 1962
Song: Humko tumhare ishq ne kya kya
Movie: Ek musafir ek haseena
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: O P Nayyar
Lyrics: S Rizvi

Ek musafir ek haseena was based on the classic Hollywood hit of the 40s called Random Harvest. Hollywood had left melodrama behind in the 60s, but we still adored such theme. O P Nayyar, by that time, had decided to average only one movie a year, concentrating more on quality than quantity. And indeed, it was the most valuable period of Nayyar's career. What started with EMEH, continued well until Kismat in 1968- and for those 6/7 years, he remained one of the highest paid music directors in the industry.

Year: 1963
Song: Poochho na kaise maine
Movie: Teri Surat Meri annkhein
Singer: Manna De
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Shailendra

Poochho na kaise is not an original tune if we stick to the fundamentals. The mukhda is a note to note copy of Nazrul Islam's "Aruna kanti ke go jogi bhikhari". However, since SD was very close to Nazrul during his Calcutta days in the 30s, there is a parallel theory that he might have some role to play in the original Nazrul tune itself. Anyways, coming to this particular song, Manna De again proved his mastery when it came to Classical music. Rafi had one in the same movie- Nache man mora; but clearly Poochho na kaise was far more impactful and neatly executed. And not to forget Shailendra, the "Kaviraj", here- ek pal jaise ek yug beeta, yug beete mohe neend na aayi.

Year: 1964
Song: Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare
Movie: Chitralekha
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: Roshan
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

There can be many disagreements from many people regarding my selections of Song of the Year for the previous years, but I think, for this particular year, there would be the maximum consensus, as Man Re is clearly not only the song of the year, but also to many people, song of the century. Yes, I really mean it. Roshan Lal Nagrath had debuted in 1950 with Neki aur Badi, and continued giving quality music throughout the 50s but success eluded him. Barsaat ki Raat in 1960 was a turning point for him in his career. He never looked back after that, till his untimely death in 1968. Chitralekha had only one Rafi song, and it was good enough for the master to create something immortal, everlasting. Sahir excelled, once again- "koi na sang mare"...

Year: 1965
Song: Din Dhal Jaye
Movie: Guide
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Shailendra

SD was back with a bang for Navketan this time, with the album of his career. While Kishore Kumar did make a comeback for Dev after quite a while with a blockbuster hit, the album from a male singer perspective, belonged to only and only Rafi. After Hum Dono, this was another killer performance from Rafi for Dev, and this time, perhaps even better. Din dhal jaye is simply the most celebrated intoxicated sad songs rendered ever. Shailendra gave a lifetime performance for this, before biding adieu to the world just a year later. Industry lost its best poet.

Year: 1966
Song: Tumne mujhe dekha
Movie: Teesri Manzil
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: R D Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri


Rahul Dev Burman officially debuted in 1961 with Chhote Nawab, but came to serious notice 5 years later with Teesri Manzil. Even veterans like Shankar Jaikishen and Madan Mohan now started taking this new generation seriously. The sound which RD created in Teesri Manzil was never heard before. Here was a composer who was going to stay, who could blend melody with rhythm and give consistently good scores. While the entire album is full of classics, my personal pick for the year would be this amazingly beautiful Rafi solo where for the first time, pathos were mixed with drums and saxophone and melody of sorrow was clubbed with pace and rhythm.

Year: 1967
Song: Tumhari zulf ke saaye mein
Movie: Naunihal
Singer: Mohd Rafi
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi

The reason why you would see less of Madan Mohan here is because he, along with the brigade of Salil Chowdhury, Anil Biswas and C Ramchandra, largely remained a female vocal (read Lata) based composer. In fact, remove Lata, and what you get from Madan Mohan is a precipitate of some random Talat and Rafi. Although, number wise, Rafi sang as many as 150 songs for Madan Mohan, it was only in the 60s that the combo really started delivering significant scores. Rafi, also can boast of being the only other singer than Lata, who could get monopoly shares in a Madan Mohan album like Ghazal, Laila Majnu, Haqeeqat etc. From 1967, I choose this tender romantic gem, which might not have become too popular at the time of its release but today is treated like a true classic.

Year: 1968
Song: Chandan sa badan
Movie: Saraswati Chandra
Singer: Mukesh
Music: Kalyanji Anandji
Lyrics: Indeevar

Although there exists a Lata version of the same Yaman based classic, the Mukesh version is far more appealing and impactful owing to the mastery on the  lower notes by the maestro coupled with his signature nasal baritone. Post Kavi Pradeep and Bharat Vyas period, it was Indeevar who again started bringing the pure Hindi words to craft poetries. Chandan sa badan is as simple and beautiful as melody can get. One of the lifetime compositions from the Gujarati brothers.

Year: 1969
Song: Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thi
Movie: Khamoshi
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: Hemant Kumar
Lyrics: Gulzar

With the nearing of yet another new decade, we got the first official superstar of Hindi film industry. And this new star had a new voice, which we could earlier hear only when he himself was the actor or on Dev Anand, that too intermittently. After 20 years of long and painful wait, the time had finally come for Kishore Kumar. And suddenly, all the composers were found to be pretty comfortable working with him. Woh shaam is a landmark song from this singer in Kishore Kumar perspective. Not only does he nails Yaman to perfection, he extracts the impeccable emotion required to do justice to this song. The composer, who was an ace singer himself, must have felt very very proud on his singer selection here.  And with no Shailendra nearby and Sahir reducing his work significantly, we got a new face of poetry called Gulzar with this.

Year: 1970
Song: Jaane kaha gaye woh din
Movie: Mera Naam Joker
Singer: Mukesh
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

What Limelight was to Charlie Chaplin, MNJ was to Raj Kapoor. MNJ, as a subject itself, was highly inspired by Limelight.It took a lot of time to complete and a big setback was the death of Shailendra in between the project. But, Hasrat Jaipuri, as the other strong pillar of RK Films music, along with Shankar Jaikishen, delivered what many consider as the finest Shivrnjani adaptation in Hindi Film music. Mukesh, as always, emoted one of his finest high note renditions to the perfection. Jaane kaha gaye woh din is matchless, and wins the Song of the Year award, beating Zindagi ka safar by a whisker.

Year: 1971
Song: Kuchh to log kahenge
Movie: Amar Prem
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: R D Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Just like Shankar Jaikishen, who needed a Basant Bahar to break their stereotyped image, R D Burman needed Amar Prem. Amar Prem truly is not only the album of 1971 but also,perhaps, the album of the entire 70s. First time, we heard S D Burman crooning someone else's composition in Hindi films and then there those 5 solos- 2 from Lata and 3 from Kishore- all agonizingly close to each other in class. However, contrary to the popular choice of Chingari, I chose this Khamaj based beauty of Kishore, just because I find the poetry and lines of Bakshi sahab more original and more conscience stirring.

Year: 1972
Song: Yeh Jeevan Hai
Movie: Piya Ka Ghar
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

The early 70s belonged to only one man- Kishore Kumar. And it was in this period that he delivered some of the highest quality philosophical songs in Hindi film music. Laxmikant Pyarelal literally forced him to reduce his baritone and bring a soft, tender feel into the song making him sound like an entirely different singer altogether. Yeh jeevan hai was played in the background and created one more cult of using Kishore Kumar;s voice in the background to create a meaningful impact.

Year: 1973
Song: Main Shayar Badnaam
Movie: Namak Haram
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: R D Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Clearly, this Badnaam Shayar poetry is something Anand Bakshi had never written before. Hrishikesh Mukherjee adapted the Hollywood story of Becket into a modern day masterpiece. The movie making of 70s had also matured a lot from its predecessor decades and the characters were much more than pure black or white. So, we have Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Om Shivpuri- all of whom show grey shades of their characters from time to time without being a clear positive or negative. Made at the helm of Rajesh Khanna popularity, R D Burman created 3 distinctly different solos for Kishore, with this one being a clear cut winner because of the depth in poetry, pathos, philosophy and a track extremely difficult to keep pace with while singing.

Year: 1974
Song: Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hai
Movie: Aap ki Kasam
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: R D Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Rajesh Khanna perhaps did not realize that time that the words of the song would come true to his own career so bitterly a few years later. Zindagi ke safar mein is yet another poetic masterpiece from Anand Bakshi, and considered by many to be his philosophical best. The song itself has been voted by many people to be amongst the top of the male solos of all time. Kishore delivers yet another impactful rendition in the background, with this song traversing the storyline by almost 20 years in approximately 6 minutes. Amongst all the beautifully crafted elaborate interludes by RD, the last one with Santoor and Sarangi leaves the maximum impact. Kedar at its best.

Year: 1975
Song: Badi sooni sooni hai
Movie: Mili
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: S D Burman
Lyrics: Yogesh

Nurturing him since late 1940s, it took time for SD to get Kishore Kumar established as a singer. But it happened, and happened for good. So, with the 70s, his vehement shift to only and only Kishore as the male voice justified the fact that he finally got what he was expecting from him. So, here was a parting gift from the mentor to his protege. Badi sooni sooni hai was the last composition of S D Burman which he could not record in his lifetime. And zindagi of everyone around, along with Kishore himself, became very sooni sooni after his demise. Music never remained the same after SD.





No comments:

Post a Comment