We are a very fortunate generation who get to enjoy the songs of the current music sensation like Arijit Singh or Ankit Tiwari or Shreya Ghosal and at the same time can easily hum the melodies of Kishore Kumar or Mohd Rafi or Lata Mangeshkar. At times when the current running numbers gets repetitive we can easily go back to those old melodies to reboot our self. There was something unique about those retro songs, it had a soul. With poetic lines, spellbinding music , soulful voice and stylish acting on-screen these songs are evergreen and unforgettable. Be it Dev Anand or Rajesh Khanna or Amitabh Bhachhan with their unique style the songs they enacted on the screen left you mesmerised. The effect of these melodies were such that the play back singers and the actors of that time had devoted fans who used to keep the photo of their favorite ones in their pockets.
In today’s Bollywood, songs means scenic locations, acrobatic dance steps and reverberating music, only a little lipping is required by the actors on-screen. But such was not the case with these retro songs were camera used to focus entirely on the actor throughout the song. The actors with their skillful acting, gestures , moves and style had to shoulder the entire scene. Not to take any credit away from the play back singer or from the music director but it was left to the actors alone to justify the lyrics, the melody and at the same time had to engage the audience throughout the scene. But these talented actors did it with ease and perfection. A simple example would be Dharmendra romancing Vaijayanthimala in a lift in the song ” Main Kahin Kavi Na Banjaoon” from the movie Pyar Hi Pyar (1969). I just want to go through a couple of them which I thought is worth a mention along with some interesting facts that I could gather from the net.
The 1971 released Dev Anand starrer Gamblar had the song ” Mera Mann Tera Pyasa” which was enacted by Dev Anand on-screen. This romantic song has Dev Anand in focus throughout the song in a studio room. In his check shirt, a blue satin scarves tied under collar and with a stylish hat Dev Anand romances a dress stand clad with a sari which he imagines to be his lover. He performs with such ease, using his adroit gestures, that you simply cannot take eyes of him. Known as a fashion icon , he was a trendsetter at that time with his scarves, jackets , hats and his signature puff. “Dev Anand style” was a term widely used, who also had a profound influence on the youths at that time . This song was written by Neeraj and composed by non-other than the legendary SD Burman. It seems the song was okayed in the first take itself by Mohd Rafi which may not be a surprising fact. Another interesting fact is that this song was used in the back drop in one of the scene in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the spotless Mind (2004) starred by Jim Carrie and Kate Winslet.
The next one is from the famous movie Anand (1971) and the song is ” Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye”. Anand, the main character played by Rajesh Khanna , knows that he is going to succumb to the deadly cancer in few days. But he doesnt want to take this fact to his heart and feel sad about it rather you see a vibrant and a jovial Anand throughout the movie. But this song is a rare moment in the film were we get to see a softer , bemused and restrained side of the character. With a book in his hand and looking at the setting sun Anand sings about his heartfelt feelings, thoughts, unfulfilled dreams, destiny and hope. By the time the song is completed our heart is filled with a gentle sadness . With Salil Choudhary’s music and the voice of musical maestro Mukesh it gives the required pathos to Anand’s character. The lyricist Yogesh Gaur had originaly written this song for LB Lachman’s film but later was picked up for Anand after pleading with LB Lachman.
In a similar league we will have to place Amitabh Bachhan’s song “O saathire Tera Bina Bhi Kya Jeena” from the movie Muqqadar Ka Sikander (1978) . Amitabh is basically just standing on stage while he sings this song but his natural facial expressions captures the pain and sadness of the character ‘Sikandar’. Sikandar loves his childhood friend ‘Kaamna’ who despises him and disregards his love.With tears in eyes ready to tickle down and along with a copious emotion provided by Kishore Kumar, whose voice quavers over the phrases, Amitabh renders a comprehensible performance of all time. Music composed by Kalyanji Anandji and lyrics by Anjaan has some of the best lines you could find in the bollywood. My personal favorite lines are “tuje bin jogan meri ratein,tujh bin mere din banjare,mera jivan jalti dhuni,bujhe bujhe mere sapne sare”.
The list will go on and will have no ending but certainly these songs make us feel good and happy. We are fortunate that we can enjoy and appreciate these songs because at certain level it has and continue to influence our lifes.