14th May 2020

“Remembering our dad, K. Amarnath, today on his 37th Death Anniversary”

 

K. Amarnath And His Music

 

 

Music was a very important feature and one of the highlights of most of my dad’s movies.

On an average there were close to 9 songs in each of his films.

He was very adept at selecting the right combination of lyricists & composers to give him the desired effect for a particular situation in the movie.

Sometimes in order to accomplish this, he had to use multiple lyricists and composers for the same movie.

His dedicated involvement in the entire process of the composition and rendition of the songs produced some unforgettable melodies.

After the final recording, a sense of pride and satisfaction with the outcome would linger in him and he could be heard humming the tune at home till the next gem could be composed and recorded.

So what makes a song immortal?  Is it the rhythmic structure, the lyrics, accompaniment of the right musical instruments, how the song makes you feel or is it a harmonious blend of all the above elements?

The answer is below – an in-depth critical analysis and insight into 10 of the favourite songs from 10 of my dad’s movies by Raaj Bothra, a poet, writer & connoisseur of Indian classical music.

 

Thank you Raaj Bothra for your wonderful contribution to my website and for making us appreciate the songs from a poet and a music connoisseur’s point of view.

 

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If I had to name one director in the Film Industry who I like for the “Music in his Films”, it would be K. Amarnath.
I like New Theatres’ music very much, but New Theatres was an institution, involving various directors, and many of their movies were in Bengali.

K. Amarnath had a good ear for music and in his long illustrious career, the lyricists, music directors & singers delivered their very best in all his films.

His songs were intrinsically of a higher class and substance.

The songs from his films were much superior and a class apart – this was true then and even now.

Anyway choice is always subjective and so are comparisons.

I have done a write-up on 10 songs from 10 of his movies and it’s all up to you to judge.

 

Raaj Bothra

 

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1. Baithi Hun Teri Yaad Ka

 

In three of K Amarnath movies, music was composed by Shyam Sundar, the noted composer. Arguably some of his best compositions came with K. Amarnath and probably some singers also rendered their best in these movies.

The first one is a Noor Jehan song from the movie Gaon Ki Gori aka Village Girl. The song starts with a meandering prelude set with intense orchestration which also works as a theme of the song. For a few moments, it keeps you guessing when the “real” (lyrics) song will start and then suddenly the notes come at the song’s platform, and in comes Noor Jehan’s voice “Baithi Hun Teri Yaad Ka”.

Noor Jehan had every nuance in her voice a playback singer can dream of. One was her peculiar intonation by which she could imbibe any emotion in just one word. Now in this song, she says “Baithi” with such pathos that you get the “feel” of the entire song.

The song is set in quick ascends and descends (Aaroh and Avaroh) reflecting the turbulence of a lover’s heart who is waiting for her love. Even the three paras (Antara) have been given different treatment to enhance the effect of some superb lyrics.

Noor Jehan excels herself in the third para (Antara) when she sings Tujhe Neend Mein Dhoondha, yet again with her inimitable style, bringing a drowsy effect in her voice.

Appreciation of art is subjective. One may differ, but for me, this is my favourite song in this movie and certainly one of her best.

 

Baithi Hun Teri Yaad Ka
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Baithi Hun Teri Yaad Ka
Youtube song link – 2
Film:     Gaon Ki Gori aka Village Girl
Singer:  Noor Jehan
Music:  Shyam Sundar
Lyrics:  Wali Sahab
Year:    1945

 

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2. Sajan Ki Galiyan Chhod Chale

 

This song is from the movie Bazar – 1949 written and directed by K. Amarnath. The story of this movie is about a Drama Company and its artists. Naturally, it provided good scope for songs and music. Shyam Sundar was chosen for this task and he accomplished it with a style.

This song starts with a haunting prelude that remains stuck in your mind for a long time. The tune seems to be inspired by Maand, a folk Raaga of Rajasthan which has many variants. Lata’s expression of emotions is subtle, keeping in tune with the situation of the song.

The one thing unusual about this song is the pauses. The “Mukhda” is not sung in a single flow but with pauses and the effect is great. It gives stress on every word and not only that, it matches with the weary steps of the heroine. Just listen and watch “Ruk Ruk Ke Chale Chal Chal Ke Ruke”.

Not only is the tune different in Second Antara but there is no percussion and instrument being played when Lata sings “Unke Liye Unko Chhod Diya…”  As if someone stops for a while to introspect, surrounded with sweet memories of bygone days.

The last Antara is the culmination of the heroine’s turmoil when she says “Sajan Hai Wahan …..  Aise Dil Ko Le Jayen Kahan”.

No wonder Lata chose this song as her “All-time favourite”. Everything about this song is just perfect. A song that Lata sang later in her concerts also, but the very feeling of the song got somewhat diluted. Maybe it was to happen then and there only.

I love this song. My salute to everyone who was a part of this song.

 

Sajan Ki Galiyan Chhod Chale
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Sajan Ki Galiyan Chhod Chale
YouTube song link – 2
Film:      Bazar
Singer:  Lata Mangeshkar
Music:   Shyam Sundar
Lyrics:  Qamar Jalalabadi
Year:     1949

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3. Bahar Ayee Khili Kaliyan

 

This song is from Alif Laila. This was not among the popular songs of this movie, yet to me, it is one of the best ever from Lata Mangeshkar.

The song seems to be inspired by Raag Sohni which is a very poignant and expressive Raaga. The Prelude starts with a tortuous ascend and descend, an apt overture for an intense song.

The song is set in a slow tempo, and to create rhythm, drumbeat is used in place of Tabla perhaps to keep up with the mood of the song.

Shyam Sundar was adept in arranging Orchestra but he was also a master of Instruments. I am a fan of the Clarinet, a flute instrument that has been used very sparingly in Film songs. In this song a short piece of counter melody played on the Clarinet is really heart touching.

This song is about a situation where the heroine is waiting for her lover and now her patience is about to succumb. All nature’s bounty is tormenting her. Shyam Sundar has tried to imbibe this complex situation in the song which is not an easy task.

Lata Mangeshkar is exquisite in this song, every nuance of a classical song is there like the Harkat, Murki, or a Ghamak. The embellishment is just perfect and moreover in tune with the soul of the song.

Maybe it is a bit sophisticated but certainly a soulful rendering.

 

Bahar Ayee Khili Kaliyan
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Bahar Ayee Khili Kaliyan
YouTube song link – 2
Film:    Alif Laila
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Shyam Sundar
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Year:   1953

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4. Baharon Ki Duniya

 

This song is from Laila Majnu, a musical hit by K. Amarnath. Two sad songs were very popular Chal Diya Carwan by Talat and a duet Aasman Wale by Talat and Lata. This duet was also popular and was sung by Talat and Asha.

Ghulam Mohammed and Sardar Malik composed the music for this movie. This song though credited to Sardar Malik, I am sure both had complemented each other in every song. Ghulam Mohammed’s involvement in the orchestra is unmistakable in the supportive counter melody on Guitar in this song.

The song starts with a short Aalap of Aa… Jaaa by Talat Mahmood and than the rhythm of Dha Dhin Dha and then the song Baharon Ki Duniya. Tune has a shadow of Pahadi and is so mellifluous that you are swept away by the flow. When the song ends you come to realize –  “Oh it’s over now”.

In the song, Majnu is calling Laila to come and join him while Laila is explaining her inability to come out from the prison (Aseere Qafas Hun). Song had to be a dialogue between two and Shakeel Badayuni has come out with superb lyrics. Song has 4 stanzas (Antara), and as the composer did not want to exclude any stanza (Antara), he skipped the interlude music between the second and third stanza. That eventually adds to the flow of the song.

Superb orchestration with a beat that works like a Rawaani (Flow). Talat’s and Asha’s immaculate rendition makes it a memorable song.

In the end, there is a line Sukun Ban Ke Dil Mein Hamare Tu Aa Ja. This song is full of Sukoon.

 

Baharon Ki Duniya
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Baharon Ki Duniya
YouTube song link – 2
Film:       Laila Majnu
Singers: Talat Mahmood & Asha Bhosle
Music:    Sardar Malik
Lyrics:    Shakeel Badayuni
Year:       1953

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5. Kho Diya Maine Pa Kar

 

This song is from Bara-Dari, a sad solo by Lata Mangeshkar

Sunil Gavaskar, (renowned Indian cricket player) once said, “Class is permanent – Form is temporary”. This may or may not be true about artists but Music Composer Nashaad was in his best form when he was composing for Bara-Dari. Each song is a class of its own and two songs Bhula Nahin Dena and Tasweer Banata Hun were all the rage that time.

I am not writing about these two songs. This song is a very melodious solo but was not so popular, maybe it was eclipsed by the other popular songs.

The song starts with a sad prelude played on the Guitar with a slow, rather quiet beat. Lata Mangeshkar has sung it with restraint. Khumar Barabankwi has written this song in a short meter (Chhoti Behar) with very simple words. Short Meter (Chhoti Behar) songs provide some extra time to composers and they are tempted to become repetitive but Nashaad has taken care of that.

Second stanza says “Shadiyane Bajenge Khushi Ke” (Marriage procession music). Just before that, on the screen we see fireworks – a glimpse of a marriage celebration. Just at that time the tune or Mukhda is played on the Clarinet and not on the Shehnai as the usual practice is. Nashaad is being more authentic here as it was a common practice in Northern India to play the Clarinet in a marriage procession. Superb imagination !

Use of Guitar in counter melody is also very sweet to the ears. Although it is not concerned with music but Geeta Bali has done superb acting showing the agony of a woman who will have to marry not her lover but someone else.

A very memorable melody !

 

Kho Diya Maine Pa Kar
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Kho Diya Maine Pa Kar
YouTube song link – 2
Film:     Bara-Dari
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Music:  Nashaad
Lyrics:  Khumar Barabankwi
Year:   1955

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6. Aaja Tujhe Afsaana

 

This song is from the movie Mirza Sahiba. Credit for the music of this movie has been given to the three brothers, Pandit Amarnath, Husnlal and Bhagatram, a very rare combination.

The song is sung by Noor Jehan who was the heroine of this movie. What makes it special is the innocence in Noor Jehan’s voice. Many things in music or to be specific, in singing can be learned and practiced but not innocence. This is something which you lose, the more you practice.

How different a Noor Jehan can be according to the song; if you want to test, this song is the proof. When you listen to Jawan Hai Mohabbat, her very popular number, sung almost at the same time, you can realize a completely different fervour in both songs.

This is a very simple song in every aspect, a perfect mellow melody yet infused with subtle emotions. Noor Jehan portrays an innocent girl in the movie and does it with the same flair while singing it. There is mild orchestration, just to give prominence to the singer’s voice.

This was Noor Jehan’s last movie filmed in India. “Hath Seene Pe Jo Rakh do”, a duet with G M Durrani was very popular. It is still a favourite number but “Aaja Tujhe” is a special number for me due to the sheer feeling which perhaps even Noor Jehan was unaware of.

Certainly one of the best by Noor Jehan !

 

Aaja Tujhe Afsaana
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Aaja Tujhe Afsaana
YouTube song link – 2
Film:     Mirza Sahiban
Singer:  Noor Jehan
Music:  Pt. Amarnath, Husnlal and Bhagatram
Lyrics:  Qamar Jalalabadi
Year:    1947

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7. Mitne De Meri Zindagi

 

This one is from Meharbania Talat Mahmood solo. Talat Mahmood did not have many genres or a vast array of songs to his credit but whatever he has sung is not an ordinary run of the mill stuff, that is special.

This is a sad song; lyrics go like this:

Mitne De Meri Zindagi Tu Apna Jahan Basaye Ja

Talat Mahmood has sung this with emotions of a lover who has finally resigned to his fate. The tune is rather straight and set in a slow tempo. The orchestra is in perfect sync with the mood of the song. Talat’s voice in this song is just like water trickling down slowly like a cascade.

Use of Urdu words was very common in songs and films. Almost all singers or actors took special care to pronounce the Urdu words right but as far as the singers are concerned it was Talat Mahmood whose pronunciation had the “Nafasat” (Elegance) of Urdu which is rare and aesthetic.

Hafiz Khan aka Khan Mastana was very talented but sadly a very unfortunate artist who could not find his place in the film industry. In this Film, his compositions like Tumse Ho Gaya Pyar, Bata Ae Chand, or Duniya Ne Jo Kaha were outstanding but they didn’t get much popularity.

All in all, this is a captivating song that makes you forget everything else at least for the duration of the song.

 

Mitne De Meri Zindagi
YouTube song link (Audio)
Film:      Meharbani
Singer:  Talat Mahmood
Music:   Hafiz Khan
Lyrics:   Shewan Rizvi
Year:      1950

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8. Ankhiyan Sang Ankhiyan

 

“Ankhiyan Sang Ankhiyan Lagi Aaj” – Song from Bada Aadmi sung by Mohammed Rafi is a classical song based on Raag Malkauns.

There are many songs in this Raag – even Mohammed Rafi has sung quite a few like Man Tadpat from Baiju Bawra (Naushad) or Mat Bhool Are Insaan from Mastaana (Madan Mohan). This is a pentatonic Raag but has a comprehensive scope and is said to be a spirit-evoking Raaga.

What makes this song special is its genre. In the film, the Hero is singing and the Heroine is giving a dance performance on the song in a stage show. A classic situation for a classic song – more so when the dance is also classic.

The song starts with short Tarana and humming and then almost swiftly come the lyrics. The song is set in Teen Tala, the tempo is Drut (fast). There are Taans (A Melodic passage) and Tihai (Repetition of notes three times), the embellishments of Indian Classical Music. Mohammed Rafi is at perfect ease and seems spontaneous like the classical singers.

Chitragupt composed music for this movie. Two duets by Mahendra Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar were refreshingly sweet. One solo by Mohammed Rafi  – Agar Dil Kisi Se, was also very popular on the Radio.

Classical or not, hardly matters, it is an enjoyable song and a sort of audio-visual treat in the Film.

 

Ankhiyan Sang Ankhiyan
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Ankhiyan Sang Ankhiyan
YouTube song link – 2
Film:     Bada Aadmi
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music:  Chitragupt
Lyrics:  Prem Dhawan
Year:    1961

 

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9. Ayee Bhor Suhani

 

This song is from the movie Beqasoor. Music was composed by Anil Biswas and Hansraj Behl. Their songs can be distinguished as both of them had their own style.

This is a composition of Anil Biswas sung by Lata Mangeshkar. A very simple and refreshing song welcoming the morning with new hopes. Lata Mangeshkar has poured sweetness into the lyrics penned by Arzoo Lucknawi which are more like a Hindi poem. (Kamnaon Ne Li Angdai).

Orchestra has been an essential part of songs, but it is a double-edged sword. If used indiscreetly orchestra can ruin a song. A composer can deliberately use the orchestra to hide the shortcomings of a song. Anil Biswas is very mindful about his orchestra and he has in fact prompted Lata Mangeshkar to enhance the beauty of the song by short pauses and Taans (short passages).

Though the song is about Bhor (Morning) it is not composed in a particular morning Raaga, yet it evokes the feeling of eternal hope which a morning always brings with it.

Very good song of hope.

 

Ayee Bhor Suhani
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Ayee Bhor Suhani
YouTube song link – 2
Film:      Beqasoor
Singer:  Lata Mangeshkar
Music:   Anil Biswas
Lyrics:  Arzoo Lucknawi
Year:     1950

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10. Chori Chori Dil Ka

 

I am concluding this series of my write-up with a song from Bada Bhai, a duet by Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle. There are many other songs from K. Amarnath’s movies which are also my favourite. These ten songs were just a random pick.

This is a romantic song and the very prelude of whistling makes it breezy. Asha Bhosle is sweet with an undertone of teasing in her voice and Talat Mahmood is, as usual, soft and subtle. Talat Mahmood can not be over expressive, leave alone being overt in his renditions. Romance in a film was also projected like this because such a social system was prevalent at that time.

Music is by Nashaad. This is not the “Bara-Dari Nashaad” but still, he has composed hummable tunes, especially this one.

The whistling is the theme of the music in this song and it is so appealing that you want to whistle it yourself.

A very soft and romantic duet. Incidentally, this song was also very popular in its Telugu version. (Kala Kala Virisi).

 

Chori Chori Dil Ka
YouTube song link – 1 (Audio)
Chori Chori Dil Ka
YouTube song link – 2
Film:       Bada Bhai
Music:    Nashaad
Singers: Talat Mahmood & Asha Bhosle
Lyrics:    Prem Saxena
Year:       1957

 

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PUBLISHED: 14th MAY 2020

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