Skip this if you are not into the Hindi music of the 1970's/80's. There is nothing for you here, and you can save yourself the trouble of leaving that obligatory comment, "Nice post." But if you are one of those who believes that music binds our past to the present and makes the two inseparable, you may read on. It won't take you more than five minutes.
I am cautioning you because this is a post I am writing solely for myself, just to express -- and overcome -- the joy that has gripped me for the past three days. And when you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, even the silliest of reasons can numb your senses with so much joy that you find yourself unable to write. Silly because it was as simple as finding a CD and a particular song in it; numb because of the song's anaesthetic effect. When I woke up from the numbness this evening, I realised this is my the most favourite song, surpassing everything else I have heard in my lifetime.
Flashback. 1981. A house in my neighbourhood displayed a poster for the film that would be running in the nearby theatre. Walking back from school, every Wednesday, we would notice the next-change. One of the posters I hazily remember. It showed Rekha holding a little lamb. The title of the film was Mangalsutra. For the next seven days we saw the same poster. The reviews were coming from classmates. I remember one of them saying, "Beta! Yeh daraavni picture hai (Boy, this is a horror film)!" A few weeks later, one of its songs came on Chitrahaar.
Chitrahaar, and not cricket, was the religion those days. Because there was no live cricket then, only highlights. And India was yet to win the World Cup. So Chitrahaar ruled. For the benefit of those who don't understand, I must explain what Chitrahaar is, or was (do they still show it?). It was an assortment of film songs shown on Doordarshan every Thursday evening. Homeworks were set aside during that half an hour, and the ultimate punishment for not studying was not to be allowed to watch Chitrahaar. On Holi they showed Holi songs, on Raksha Bandhan they showed bhai-behen songs, on Christmas they showed 'Christian' songs -- even a Christian wedding would do. One staple Christmas song was Sanjeev Kumar singing for his sweetheart on the occasion of the wedding of his Christian friend, "Manchahi ladki agar koi mil jaye, apna bhi iss saal shaadi ka iraada hai (If I find a girl of my liking, I also plan to get married this year)."
So one Thursday the Mangalsutra song came on. It was a suhaag-raat (first-night) song -- something obvious to even a 11-year-old then. Rekha was coyly romancing her new husband, the hero, who I did not like because he was not Amitabh Bachchan or Jeetendra or Dharmendra. He was a new face, who did not look like the traditional Hindi film hero. But there was something unusual about the song: the mukhdas were followed by a puchhh! -- the sound of the peck they planted on each other's cheeks. That was not the only reason why I registered the song: the tune was soft and catchy too. So Chand banoon main, raat bano tum was registered in my mental record book and left forgotten to gather dust. I never thought of the song again. Not even for once.
Twenty-five years later. 2006. I am on a Bhupinder trip. The beauty of Aawaz Di Hai Aak Ek Nazar Ne (Aitbaar) had made me discover the silkiness of his voice. In this song, Bhupinder, along with Asha Bhosle, casts a spell -- an expression misused so often that it has become a cliche. Aawaz Di Hai aroused the investigator in me and I began hunting for more of Bhupinder -- his rare stuff. In the process, I stumbled upon the dust-laden file in my mental record room. The Mangalsutra song came back in a flash, Chand banoon main aur raat bano tum.
I instantly google-searched. The song actually turned out to be Raat banoon main aur chaand bano tum (Let me be the night and you be the moon). Bhupinder and Asha Bhosle. Music: R.D. Burman. Lyrics: Nida Fazli. The hero, who I hadn't liked then, turned out to be Anant Nag, who I like now. But. Where do I find the song? Google didn't help here. It wasn't there on raaga.com, smashits.com or musicindiaonline.com. Google did throw a result which showed what looked like the cover of a LP record. The name of the record company I hadn't heard of: INRECO. And nowhere it seemed to say how I could get hold of it.
The more the song proved to be elusive, the more determined, rather obsessive, I got about listening to it. Last Sunday, I scanned Music World and Landmark for a VCD of Mangalsutra. No luck. I went to the music section of Landmark, looked for movies under the alphabet 'M'. No luck. Scanned every R.D. Burman and Bhupinder and Asha Bhosle. No luck. Fuck! I went through the compilations. Just in case. My eyes fell on a familiar CD cover. INRECO!
Who says perseverance does not pay off? But in this case, I think it was also the obsession. It had reached such heights that RD's ghost took pity on me and quietly placed the CD there before I began searching further.
Raat banoon main aur chand bano tum
deep banoon main aur jyot bano tum
kuchh na sunoon main kuchh na kahon tum
aao baahoon mein aao...(Puchhh!)