Sunday, May 27, 2007

Man Ki Lagan-Paap-The Nusrat Legacy Lives On!

Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is a singer in the Qawwali style native to Pakistan and India. Son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan and nephew of the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat took over Ustad Nusrat's Qawwali party after his death in 1997, as Nusrat had no sons of his own. Nusrat had taken him under his wing, and trained him in classical music and Qawwali since a very early age. Rahat began performing alongside Nusrat at the age of 10; he can be seen in numerous earlier videos of Nusrat. His voice is high-pitched unlike the booming husky voice of Nusrat. His first solo album Janasheen was a great hit, but he has somewhat faltered since then. Being Nusrat's nephew, expectations of him were amazingly high. He also sang for Indian films. His song "Jiya Dhadhak Dhadhak Jaye", for Mahesh Bhatt's movie "Kalyug", became very popular.
Here I present another very high pitched but very melodious song "Man Ki Lagan" from the very popular film "Paap" that was released in 2004. The craze for paki singers continues in bollywood. I believe that if a singer has the talent, dedication and the intense wish to do things differently a basic training in any form of classical music be it hindustani or carnatic would enable him/her to sing any kind of song with a little help. This song has been one of my most favorite songs as it it is not only simple but strikes you right in the heart like a dagger! And mind you...this does not have any loud background music, just the bare live kind of interludes on the guitar and harmonium.
I also have added the video of the song which was highly popular.

Matter Credits: www.wikipedia.org

Song: Lagi Tumse Man Ki Lagan

Film: Paap

Original Singer: Rahat Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Music Director: Annu Malik

Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pankaj Udhas -The Choice of the masses!

Pankaj Udhas is the ghazal singer with the golden voice and the darling of the masses whatever critics would say. He has carved his niche in the ghazal scenario with hard work and his God given gift, his golden sweet voice which can be compared to honey. Hard critics always compare him with other present day greats like Ghulam Ali, Hariharan, and Jagjit Singh and say that he lacks innovative singing in his live programs as he does not sing many harkaths. True that his voice would not yield to such gimmicks on the stage, but I believe the voice is the primary instrument of any singer. If the voice is extremely powerful sweet and melodious and is in sur it covers up many deficiencies of a singer. It becomes his/her most lethal instrument! Anyway the common man is not bothered of any difficult harkaths. The common man is attracted by straight melodious singing which directly touches the heart. He deserves the credit for making ghazals popular at a time when it was losing its foothold over the masses. And today amidst the cacophony of fast and pop music he has proved that ghazals still charm music lovers the world over and that music is not what is made out of machines but that which is made out of an artist's soul. Pankaj was born on May 17, 1951 in Jetpur near Rajkot in Gujarat to a family of Zamindars. With his elder brother, Manhar Udhas already into stage performances, young Pankaj needed no initiation into the world of music. Even before he was five, Pankaj became conscious of his singing skills. But it was only after his first stage performance during the Indo-Chinese war that the music bug bit hard. He sang Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon and won for himself a prize of Rs. 51 that a gentleman in the crowd generously sponsored seeing his talent. The young boy was so moved by the episode that he made a firm decision to take up music professionally. But it wasn't all that easy for Pankaj as it may sound. With a strong determination to pursue a successful music career, four years hence he joined the Sangeet Natya Academy in Rajkot and learnt the nuances of playing the tabla. But studies was on top of his agenda that time and so he shifted to Mumbai to pursue a Degree in Science from St. Xavier's College where he enthralled audience at each and every inter-collegiate and other open singing competitions, thanks to his immense singing prowess. And then started a journey for an identity in the film world. So insulated the industry was with Mohd. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey that Pankaj found it difficult to breakthrough. But he was fortunate to get his first break in a film called Kamna way back in 1972, which to his bad luck never saw the light of the day. Disappointed not to get the right kind of break in films, he waited but in vain. And then life took a right turn for the youngster. Once Pankaj heard his brother Manhar's Urdu teacher listen to Mehndi Hasan and Begum Akhtar. So much was he attracted towards this form of music that he went on to learn Urdu to be able to grasp the depth of ghazals. Pankaj Udhas found his destiny. Despite learning Urdu and getting into ghazals for almost four years he was struggling. Really frustrated and discouraged from all sides one day he packed his bags and decided to migrate to Canada. A few days over there made him realize how much Indian music is in demand in that part of the world. He did a few ghazal shows in local gatherings in Canada and the US and was amazed by the response. Regaining all the lost enthusiasm he decided to return home with much stronger will to make a mark in ghazals itself. From his first ghazal album Aahat released in 1980, Pankaj has released around 40 albums with countless number of compilations. In all his albums he has always tried to present ghazals in a manner more appealing to the masses yet maintaining the essence of ghazals. Since singing ghazals by itself is a very limited area with very little scope for innovativeness, Pankaj has tried to use the little scope to the best as he could. In the process he has given the world of music some amazing ghazals, which will remain in the hearts of music lovers for time immemorial. With ghazals happening along smoothly, Pankaj Udhas also made his foray into films gaining a lot of popularity with the ever popular Chitthi Aayee Hai from the film Naam bringing tears to every music lover's eyes. And his appearance on screen also made Pankaj a star in his own right. After the smashing number he was flooded with offers to do screen appearances. But he played it safe sticking to playback with occasional screen appearances like those in Saajan, Yeh Dillagi and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee.
I attempt one of the most popular and sweet ghazals he has ever sung. I hope you too like it!
Ghazal: Chandi Jaisa Rang Hai Tera
Original Singer: Pankaj Udhas
Album: Pankaj Udhas Live At Albert Hall
Lyrics: Qatil Shifai & Rashid


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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Vaada Karle Saajna-Kalyanji Anandji the immortal duo!

The Bharat Bhushan-Nirupa Roy hit, Samrat Chandragupta (1959) was Kalyanji's first film as Kalyanji Virji Shah. It’s songs like "Chahe Paas Ho" (Lata-Rafi) are remembered to this day. Followed a few more films alone like Post Box 999 before Anandji who was assisting him, joined him officially to form the Kalyanji-Anandji duo in Satta Bazar and Madari (1959). Chalia (1961) was their earliest major hit. But the Raj Kapoor factor branded them as pale imitators of Shankar - Jaikishan even as ‘Dum Dum Diga Diga’, Chalia Mera Naam”, and "Mere Toote Hue Dil Se" swept the charts. Kalyanji-Anandji's variety-studded music is replete with some of the topmost songs of all singers and genres, and two of their cult songs are Mere desh ki dharti (Upkar) and Yaari hai imaan mera (Zanjeer) by Mahendra Kapoor and Manna Dey respectively. There was a line of big hits like 'Zanjeer", "Hath Ki Safai", "Hera Pheri", "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar", and behind the success of these films Kalyanji Anandji's music had a great contribution. Mukesh sang almost 91 songs for them and "Chandan Sa Badan" was a gift from this duo for him. The songs from "Qurbani" &
"Muquadar Ka Sikandar" saw the peak times of Kishore Kumar & Mohd. Rafi.
Saraswatichandra, Kora Kagaz, were dominated by Lata Mangeshkar as she sang beautifully in these films and she bagged her first National Award for their Roothe roothe piya from Kora Kagaz. In the late 1970s Asha Bhosle did hit numbers with them 'Oo saathi re tere bina bhi kya jeena' from Muqaddar Ka Sikander and "Yeh mera dil" from Don .
Both Kalyanji and Anandji worked as musicians for over 400 films. The factor behind their success is hard work apart from their talent. They were never self-centered, and egoistic in nature. On August 24, 2000, Kalyanji breathed his last but his era with Anandji will always be remembered for their great contributions.

I have attempted the beautiful duet "Vaada Karle Saajna" from the film "Haath Ki Safai".
This is for the first time that I team up with "Sindhuja Bhaktavalsalam" who has a melodious voice. She is a student at IIT Guwahati. She has done a very great job in spite of her heavy schedule at the IIT.

Song: Vaada Karle Saajna
Film: Haath Ki Safai
Original Singers: Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Kalyanji Anandji
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi


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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Neeraduvan-Nakhakshatangal & Bombay Ravi

In 1986 the film "Nakhakshatangal" saw the advent of two teenage
dancing sensations from the school youth festivals to the acting scenario.
Vineeth and Monisha never had to turn back again. Monisha even won the National award for the best actress, for her maiden role in the film which dealt with teenage love by the master story teller M.T Vasudevan Nair and the master craftsman Hariharan. Monisha ruled the acting scene till her untimely death in a guesome accident.
The film had some of the best songs of those times which were crafted by the duo of Bombay Ravi and O.N.V
I used to sing the song "Neeraduvan" in those times on many stages. I attempt the same song again after many many years.

Song: Neeraduvaan
Film: Nakhakshathangal
Original Singer: KJ Yesudas
Music: Bombay Ravi

Lyrics: O.N.V


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