Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Salil-da's Chhaya

To this day, people (musically sensible) regard 1950s & 60s as the Golden Period in Indian Film Music. The number of composers who created legendary compositions were many. And compositions too. Naushad, S.D.B, Anil Biswas, Shankar-Jaikishan, Jaidev, Madan Mohan, Sajjad Hussain, C.Ramchandra, Hemanth Kumar, O.P.Nayyar, Kalyani-Anandji, Roshan...and many more. Each had a very distinct style. One composer who was a cut different from the entire lot, when it came to innovative ideas, was Salil Chaudhary.
Salilda's combination was unique. Infact, he was one of the pioneers of Fusion, as his elements were Indian Classical+Bengali-Folk blended with his Favourite Genre "Western Classical Music".try "O'sajna" from "parakh", the tune is indian classical while his counter-melody ideas are western. Many people in those times, felt that, when it came to western classical, Salilda was a player. He was mad about symphonies and had the biggest collection in those times. Infact, if any of you heard "itna na mujhse pyaar bada", from the film "chhaya",you realize that it is borrowed from chopin's symphony. also, his characteristic style was that the notes of song used to be very tricky and difficult, sometimes to the extent that instrumentalists+singers wondered if the notes belonged to the same song they were playing.also, the music tested their skill.

I recollect a lesser-known song from the same film,"chhaya"(dir:Hrishikesh Mukherjee). the song,"aansoo samajh ke" sung by Talat Mahmood ranks among my most favourite songs of salilda. The song opens with a typical western harmony. the tabla beat is simple. the complexity lies in the tune of the song itself.before that, check the lyrics.Rajinder Kishen came up with some fantastic lines...

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..aankh se tune giraa diyaa..

moti kisee ke pyaar kaa mittee mein kyon milaa diyaa..

jo naa chaman mein khil sakaa,
main woh gareeb phool hoo..
jo kuchh bhi hoon bahaar kee,
chhoti si ek bhool hoon..
jis ne khilaa ke khud mujhe.. khud hee mujhe bhulaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..

nagma hoon kab magar mujhe..
apne pe koii naaz thaa..
gaayaa gayaa hoon jis pe main..
Toota hua woh saaz thaa..
jis ne sunaa woh hans diyaa, hans ke mujhe rulaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe..

meri khataa maaf hai,
bhoole se aa gayaa yahaan..
warna mujhe bhi hain khabar,
meraa nahii hain yeh jahaan..
doob chalaa thaa neend mein, achchhaa kiyaa jagaa diyaa..

aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe.....aankh se tune giraa diyaa..
moti kisee ke pyaar kaa mittee mein kyon milaa diyaa..

The complexity of the tune is the classicalization. "aansoo samajhke" is ok..but the way Talat sings "kyon mujhe"..salilda made him ascend the notes in spiral at the word "kyon"..and then "aankh se tune giraa diya" is logical end to give the beauty.."moti kisee ke pyar kaa" again tests talat's careful ascent to higher note..and immediately in the line "mitti mein kyon milaa diya"..its an odd compared to the descent in previous line. also, check the violin counter melodies in between..(u can hear them in-between the words..background).
The interlude is western-classical again with violins and cellos. i just wonder "what is this man giving and how is he going to arrive back to main-melody?". and he does. The charanams are so beautifully composed. Talat is the most-apt singer to this song because the tune, as such, touches you at a different level and it can be supplemented by only a velvety kind of voice which belonged to only Talat Mahmood(then..or even now...). Even the ending lines of charanams have that peculair descent. Infact, being a non-musician, i cannot explain the logistics involved but i do believe that people who can play any instrument or atleast understand the notations can appreciate the genius of Salilda.try singing it or playing it.i tried singing it and i always went wrong at the "kyon" in the opening line itself.

when i heard this song for the 1st time in my life, i felt that if a person cannot appreciate/feel the beauty of this song, then his ignorance is irrepairable.Salil Chaudhary was one real maverick who broke the conventional styles. when i listen to any song of his, i think,"what is there up in his does he get these unconventional ideas?". this song is one of them.

Also try : cham cham nachthi aayi bahaar (a classical song by lata..can anyone analyze this one?)


Sketchy Self said...

Brilliant pick, aakarsh...i remember mentioning this song to prc while hitching a ride on his red ind-suzuki...i haven't seen "chhaya" but i do know that its about a poet (Sunil Dutt) and his muse (asha parekh),and this song comes in the traditional style of the defeated poet singing in the 'mehfil' and the heroine biting back the tears (i always think of that other song with sunil dutt in that situation from "ghazal" - rang aur noor ki baarat - by rafi).
The way talat mehmood renders this song is amazing, be it the underplayed angst in his voice (and the lyrics), or his effortless traversal of the ups and downs of the tune.
Salil-da was undoubtedly a "fresh sound" in that era.

yadbhavishya said...

aaah... my father's favourite song.

He kept recording and re-recording this song as cassettes after cassettes were 'eroded' playing in our old National brand tape recorder.

I cannot stop humming for days, if I get reminded of this song.

Talat Mahmood, Salil Chaudhury - double Gold.

Gandaragolaka said...

aha! a supari after a long time...

I didnt know the song you mentioned, but its quite innovative (a la "O sajana").

Before I try to analyse that classical song by lata that you mentioned, I would like to mention two themes by Salil Choudhari for two teleserials on DD.

1) Vividha-- a bong-based serial, very slow moving shehnai... absolute honey! A form of Kedar (Hamir Kalyani in carnatic) I suppose, of couse with Salil' Choudhari's own twists.

2)Vidroh-- based on 1857 revolt. I am not sure if this tune is by Salil Choudhari, but it is a superb composition based on Bhimpalasi (Abheri). My mother still pines for it (She is a Abheri-fanatic!). I hope one day I can procure it.

ok.. now for "Cham Cham nachti aayi bahar":

The prelude is medley of many ragas (if you can put salal Choudhari's compositions in that category!)... I could find traces of
1)Kamod [g3 m1 p g3 m1 r2 s],
2)Miyan-ki-malhar (bole re papihara)-- this raga, from Tansen, is a very brilliant mixture of darbari kanada--[n2 n3 s] and gamaka on g2 and malhar--[m1 r2 p], and
3)some bageshri (n3 s m1)

The pallavi as such is mostly miyan-ki-malhar.

The charanam is a brilliant amalgamation of miyan-ki-malhar of the first 2 lines and then basant-bahar for the last two lines and then coming back to mayian-ki-malhar.


drsundeep said...

Great stuff Sir! Ur command over both styles of music is to be envied. I too am an Indian film music and classical music buff. Another song of Salilda which has fused western and indian classical is from ANAND(Dir-Hrishikeshda again!) "Zindagi, kaisi hai paheli haaye". The same musician also composed for Chhotisi baat(Hrishikeshda again!!). The song was Na jaane kyon, hota hai ye zindagi ke saath, sung by Lata. I think Shanker-Jaikishan also should be included in the list along with S D Burman in creating worthwhile fusions, unlike the Unholy fusions we get to hear nowdays! In DIL APNA AUR PRRET PARAAEE, S-J gave us Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh.... by Lata which again has western classical interludes. Great stuff Sir! Simply wonderfull! It is my pleasure and great fortune to be able to contribute in a humble way to your blog.

പാപ്പാന്‍‌/mahout said...

Is the opening piece of "itna na mujhe" from Chopin? I thought it was Mozart's 40th Symphony.

Sheer melody said...

You are right. It's from the first movement of Mozart's 40th


Thank you for bringing this song back to my active list of listenings...

Salilda is perhaps a genius much beyond the taste (?) of the Hindi audience (then Indian cinema was probably Hindi cinema).

And think of this. He never won the National Award for the best music director award. During my younger years (in the 80's) I could not help this strong thought that why the Directorate of Film Festivals be not wound up for this singular reason...
from Kerala