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Music Review: Blast From The Past - Part II

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao

(This article is sponsored by Sounds Of India)

Blast from the Past
These are a few of my favourite…Rajesh Khanna songs – Part II

Rajesh Khanna being the romantic hero that he was, had a number of memorable duets in most of his films – my list of favourite duets from his films might have a bias towards the seventies and early eighties because these were songs that left a lasting impression on me in my school and college years….Enjoy and experience them as I take you through some of them….

Sochi ta Hun from Raaz – Rafi and Krishna Kalle (who could be mistaken for Asha Bhosle) ooze passion and seduction in this beautiful song which has Akthar Romani’s lyrics and Kalyanji-Anandji’s simple yet very elegant score – the song is minus percussion – just violins, guitars and other tinkling strings which are so beautifully employed.  Rajesh and Babita make this a perfect Valentine’s Day lovers’ delight…

Gunguna rahe hain and Kora kagaz tha – from Aradhana – Gunguna rahe ranks amongst my most favourite duets – sung by Asha and Rafi in an otherwise Kishore dominated film.  Beautifully lilting and soft melody that always sets hearts a flutter! The rhythm is so infectious as is the mood that Asha and Rafi create in this Anand Bakshi/SDB number.
The hills are alive with the sound of ….Kora Kagaz tha….. the listener is gently assailed with the notes of Kishore’s intro humming/alaap and then with its haunting cadence and sweetness, the song just drenches the listener with such profound pleasure.  Rajesh and Sharmila and Kishore and Lata totally immortalized this Anand Bakshi/SD Burman classic.  

Karvaten badalte rahe – this waltz from Aap Ki Kasam was a rage in the seventies and still remains very popular with audiences.  Kishore and Lata captured the song’s mood and the melody with its wonderful nuances composed by Pancham so beautifully.  Mumtaz was Rajesh’s heroine in this very emotionally charged tearjerker.  The film boasted of other duets like Suno Kaho and the unforgettable Jai Jai Shiv Shankar that had a drunken Mumtaz and Rajesh traipsing and dancing with total abandon!

Hum dono do premi and Bheegi Bheegi raaton mein – Ajnabi had some charming duets and solos.  Zeenat and Rajesh had different settings for their duets in this film – rolling in the hay on a freight train, singing in the rain…. a romantic’s delight indeed.  Both duets by Lata and Kishore were super duper hits and were on top of my charts for a long time!  Even today, Hum dono do premi is pretty popular in light music performances.  RDB’s trademark drums and guitar riffs and his use of bass are so distinctive and just tremendous!

Sun jaa aur thandi hava/dil bar jaani – Haathi Mere Saathi was a huge musical success winning a silver disc for HMV for its sales - sun jaa is a romantic lullaby that has Rajesh and Tanuja on hammocks swinging and singing away. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTQY3RLXwDU
Dil bar jaani has a lovely whistle intro and then goes into this very sweet song that has Rajesh and Tanuja in a romantic mood being constantly interrupted by the animals that Rajesh owns – so the song is peppered with ample brass section and sounds of elephants trumpeting and lions roaring!  Great teamwork by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Anand Bakshi.  The song Nafrat ki duniya also from this film was highly commended by the SPCA for its wonderfully sensitive and meaningful lyrics.

Acha to hum chalte hain – Aan milo sajna had this really cute duet and was picturised on Asha Parekh and Rajesh trying to say goodbye and unable to leave each other’s company! Lovely instrumental interludes and great singing by Kishore and Lata are highlights of this Anand Bakshi/Laxmikant-Pyarelal song.

Hum aur tum is my choice of duet from Daag (co-starring Sharmila)– this lively waltz really perks you up and gets your feet tapping.  Kishore and Lata sing this Sahir/L-P composition.

Chup gaye saare is an animated and richly orchestrated song with dholak and tabla and strings galore.  Mumtaz with her elfin-like charm is Rajesh’s romantic lead in this Raj Khosla directed film Do Raaste with lyrics by Anand Bakshi and music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.  The film also boasted of songs like Bindiya Chamkegi and Ye reshmi zulfen and Khizan ke phool.

Duniya mein logon ko – Apna Desh was the remake of the MGR Tamil Blockbuster Nam Naadu.  Sun Champa sun tara, kajra lagake, rona kabhi nahi rona, aaja o mere raja were some of the songs which were popular – but none of them could compete with duniya mein logon ko – which reached almost cult status with the lustful panting by RDB and the throatiness with which he delivers the stanza and the unforgettable beeraa…..(I always thought it was freedom…..) and the effortless ease with which Asha reaches those high notes.  Mumtaz (blonde wig and all) and Rajesh feature in this song that has some fantastic sax and guitar and percussion accompaniment. Even today this song is wildly popular amongst audiences of all ages.  Love, love, love this song!!

Aankhon mein humne/Hazaar raahein are two beautiful duets from Thodisi bewafayee – both songs featuring Rajesh and Shabana Azmi.  With music by Khayyam and lyrics by Gulzar, the songs are a treat both in melody and lyrics.  Gulzar and Kishore won the Filmfare awards for Hazaar raahein – a very touching and soft melody that endears itself to the listener immediately.

Jab andhera hota hai – Raja Rani was not a great hit but there was one song that got Asha Bhosle a filmfare award nomination.  This RDB song was one I used to sing with my group in Madras very often – I really enjoyed the bits where Bhupinder and Asha harmonize in the humming parts towards the end of each verse.  Jab Andhera with music by RDB and lyrics by Anand Bakshi was ‘inspired’ by Fifth Dimension’s number Aquarius from their album Age of Aquarius.

Some other duets which come to mind are Ni soniye from The Train, Chunari sambhal gori from Baharon ke Sapne, Hum tum ghumsum/Kahe ko bulaya from Humshakal, Maine Dekha Tune Dekha from Dushman, Yunhi tum mujse baat karte ho from Sachha Jhuta, Itna to yaad hai mujhe from Mehboob Ki Mehendi and Chupke se dil from Maryada.

Rajesh Khanna, wherever you are now, we still remember and cherish your films and songs – we carry them with us as we traverse along our journey of life – they bring us solace and joy and abundant musical pleasure!  Rest in peace………first superstar of Hindi filmdom…

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao is a singer specializing in Hindi and Tamil golden oldies – sings with Saptaswar (based in the New England area) and Friends’ Orchestra (based in Madras, India) and also gives track-based performances.  Has hosted and sung at many a show over the last 24 years.  Closely associated with TANKER Foundation (www.tankerfoundation.org) in Madras that helps the poor and needy affected by kidney ailments.  Sudha’s music website: www.youtube.com/user/sudsless

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