Saturday, September 24, 2005

Gulzar's Nostalgia

Filmmaker and lyricist Gulzar is happy with his new anthology Mera Kuch Samaan, which features hit songs Dil dhoondta hai from Mausam and Chaiyyan chaiyyan (Dil Se).

The compilers have "managed to pack in some surprises" in the album, says Gulzar.
"When HMV expressed a desire to do a compilation of my songs for my birthday I was skeptical. 'Not another anthology. Hasn't the public had enough of my compilations already?' But they were adamant.
"I'm glad I went along. What I like about Mera Kuch Samaan is that it has been very beautifully produced and packaged," Gulzar said in an interview, reminiscing about old friends and favourite singers.
"I had nothing to do with the selections. The compilers have taken whatever they wanted. Of course the selections are familiar.
"After all listeners do expect to hear certain songs when they pick up an album of my lyrics. You can't get away from Dil dhoondta hai or Chaiyyan chaiyyan. These are songs that are too closely associated with me to be given the miss.

"However, they've managed to pack in some surprises, like a very old song of Hemantda (Kumar) Abhi na parda girao. It's interesting to know how HMV got hold of this rarity... Because neither they nor I had a copy of this song.
"I suggested they try Pavan Jha, a gentleman who manages a website called This website contains information about my songs and films that even I don't know. I often go there to collect information on myself."

On Hemant Kumar, Gulzar says: "Hemantda brings back a flood of memories. He was as tall in physique as he was in temperament. God's chosen one, is how I remember him. What a fabulous human being!
"When our team - Hrishida (Mukherjee), Salilda (Chowdhary), Asit Sen - broke up after the death of Bimalda (Roy), Hemantda rehabilitated us. He picked up the broken pieces of our camaraderie and gave us the courage to go on.
"From Ganga aaye kahan se to Tum pukar lo... I worked in close collaboration with him throughout his life. In fact HMV is going to bring out an album of Hemantda's songs with me...."

On the Mangeshkar sisters, Lata and Asha Bhosle, he says: "What can I say about their contribution to my songs? As Pancham (RD Burman) would say, they are like the Gary Sobers and Don Bradman of music. Lataji's numbers for me say it all.
"Pancham, Lataji and I shared many golden moments. I remember during the recording of 'Aapki aankhon mein kuch mehke huey se raaz hain' ... Pancham was petrified to show the word 'badmashiyon' (mischief) to Lataji. 'It's not a proper word for her. You do it,' he said and ran off.
"When Lataji read the word she not only smiled but also added her own inimitable 'harkat' while singing it...

"As for Asha I've never treated her as in any way inferior to the elder sister. In fact I'm partial to her. I have to be. I've no choice. She's my Boudi (sister-in-law) ... married to my dear friend and confidant Pancham.
"I've always maintained that Neil Armstrong got to the moon first. Asha is the one who got there second. It doesn't make her achievement any less remarkable.

"If Lataji has sung all the songs in my Aandhi, Mausam and Libaas, Asha did the entire score in Namkeen and Ijaazat and of course our collaborative effort Dil Padosi Hai with Pancham which is a personal favourite."
On Kishore Kumar, he says: "He was a dear friend of Pancham, and therefore mine too. To wriggle out of answering who his favourite singer was (Lata or Asha) Pancham would quickly name Kishore Kumar.
"He sang some of my best songs like Musafir hoon yaaron and O majhi re. Terrific company and a great entertainer."
On RD Burman: "Not a day passes when I don't think about this friend of mine. What he gave to my films was of course crucial. But what he gave to me as a friend is irreplaceable. Of course I miss him all the time. How can I not?
"Pancham and I spent hours and hours together. My lyrics would drive him up the wall. But he'd finally come up with just the right tune for even those lines that he didn't understand.

"After Pancham I've enjoyed my tuning with Vishal Bharadwaj and AR Rahman immensely. Vishal's songs in my Maachis and Rahman's tracks in Dil Se and Saathiya are outstanding. Of the newer lot Shankar-Ehsan-Loy has got what it takes.
"I hope Mera Kuch Samaan strikes a chord in music listeners' hearts. To assume that today's generations have lost touch with poetry and music is unfair. Let's not make excuses for mediocrity. Didn't MM Kreem come up with some fine music in Paheli recently?"

Link :,00110005.htm

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