Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hoton Pe Beeti Baat Aayi Hai

I wrote this post, in my mind, probably 3-4 months ago...when i revisited this song with a clean slate in my mind. As good as a first listening. The song just took me in.

Angoor was probably the only comedy film made by Gulzar. He adapted the film from Shakespeare's work 'Comedy of Errors'. Some of the films made by him after 1975 had very limited scope for music, or rather, he choose to have only 2-3 songs per film instead of the usual 5 or 6. Angoor was one of them, with only 3 songs. The song which went on to become most popular was 'Roz Roz Daali Daali', a semi-classical number by Asha Bhonsle. This song, however, did not get receive its due attention, despite all its merit.

The most interesting thing about the song, sets off as soon as the songs starts - bass guitar usage interspersed with a very peculiar rhythm cycle. The bass guitar is interspered with a duff like percussion instrument, followed by tabla. Acoustic guitars only support, mildly. Collectively, these sounds enhance the sound canvas of the song enormously. Another testimony of RD's emphasis and fascination for the sound of a song.
Asha's rendition oozes sensuiality particularily when she glides over from 1st line (Hoton Pe beeti Baat aayi hai) to the 2nd (Vaada nibhaane ki raat aayi hai) and then naughtiness when she lets off a 'huh' instead of 'baat', without skipping the beat, at 00.32mins. RD was indeed the last composer who could understand Asha's voice and knew how to tap it.

Flute was always RD's favourite instrument and so was santoor, which he used extensively in many songs right from his first film to his last. Now santoor is a flat-sound instrument, with more number of strings to cover the pitches. The sound from santoor is produced by tapping the string, unlike pulling it, like in a sitar or sarod or veena, to produce a meend. It is precisely here RD defies convention. In the 1st interlude of this song, after a brief interlude between Santoor and Bamboo flute, he gives a 'meend' to the santoor note, at 00:52mins. The santoor in this song was played by Ulhas Bapat, an eminent santoor player. The same idea was again used in his Ijaazat song, 'Mera Kuch Saamaan', 7 years later.

First stanza has the same rhythm cycle continuing through it and one can hear 'oud' like instrument towards its close. The 2nd interlude has the same rhythm, minus the tabla beats and RD's meend on santoor again plays. The acoustic guitars alone stand out when Asha sings 'Yaad hai us din', reminding us about their presence through the song.

It is rather difficult to pinpoint on one high point of the song. RD paints a mood to this song, with minimal usage of instruments and sensuality in Asha's voice giving the song a very 'Nightly' effect. The lyrics just tally with the same, with beautiful lines like 'vaada nibhaane ki raat aayi hai'.Gulzar's brilliant expression of sensual moment comes as the last line of 1st stanza - 'chaand ko chabaane ki raat aayi hai'. Its literal meaning is unimaginative, yet, if one can see moonlight as sweet, then why cant one long for the sugar-cube itself, in a moment of heightened passion.

Hoton Pe Beeti Baat aayi hai...
vaada nibhaane ki raat aayi hai..

Yaad to hogi kuch bhooli bisri...
Aise hi barsi thi..chaand se misri...
Chaand ko chabaane ki raat aayi hai..
Hoton pe beeti baat aayi hai...

Yaad hai us din baarish bhi thi..
chatth pe bheegi khwaahish bhi thi..
Chatth pe jaane ki raat aayi hai..
Hoton pe beeti baat ayi hai..
Vaada nibhaane ki raat aayi hai..

Beautiful lyrics, fantastic rendition and some mind-boggling music makes this song a wonderful listen, particularly in the night time. The song, with all its innovative rhythm pattern, ideas and a defining sound texture, reflects the burning passion, RD had, to be way different from the rest. He was.