Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Ghost Catches Up, And Now It is Mine

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, or 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!)


Arundhati said...

I am tempted to say ... Nice Post! But hey that is not out of obligation :-)! It really IS a Nice Post!

If we were this persistant for the most important things in life, wouldn't God put them in our hands? Puchhh!

Anonymous said...

Finally...and finally...and absolutely finally...someone who is a die-hard romantic like me!

Affirms my faith in the human being...

Usha said...

ahhhhhhhhhh...indeed a "nice post" - same old feeling of old friends sitting together and exchanging stories from their lives!!
Never heard that song or heard of it until now - but now I am all eager to get hold of it myself and see what it is all about!

Ardra said...

ahhhhhhhhh...nostalgia- becos I belong to the era when "chitrahaar used to be "chaayageet"- and the strains of "aplam, chaplam, chaplai re...." still haunt me -when the neighbours used to flock into one's home to watch in unison- "chaayageet"- "phool khile hain gulshan gulshan"- and "ladoo singh taxi waala"

nyways am familiar with the situation of stumbling into the remotest of possibilities once upon a time and so can understand the excitement- but today, in the place where I live- such quests are doomed...people look at me as if I were an alien when I utter such ancient mumbo jumbo...and so I seek the elusive contentment by reading abt such deja vu-
found my way to your abode with the help of a friend

Visithra said...

I so don't understand the hindi words or the song but i do understand the craze for the music ;) obsession it is sweet obsession ;)

and i think every nation every channel had a chitrahaar - reminds me of the good old days of 3 channel tv back home here - when nice or not you glued to the tv when it was the indian progs airing session

Deepa Bhasthi said...

I have never heard of that song. Hell I wasnt even born then! But I know the feeling you get when you rediscover an old song. Recently, a friend recorded the title song of the tele series Chandrakanta and played it over the phone. It was not my favourite but there was something there. It was a part of my past and I hadnt thought of it even once. That triggered my memory about a lot of other things too.

Chitrahaar is still aired. Every Wednesday, girls in my hostel crowd around the TV. But cable tv has robbed me of the simple joy of enjoying it anymore.

Anonymous said...

BG,I had a trip down memory lane after going through this very"nice post"
1.I had such a hell of a search for
a song called "kaali kaali gehre saaye"from the film chakra(1981)
music-hridayanath mangeshkar,still elusive
2.while going to school in 1981,i'd seen a poster of the film KARZ with Rishi kapoor holding a guitar on a wall near my home in kerala,still etched in my mind.

Anonymous said...

Your obsession for music is certainly awesome, but still better is your ability to connect to that bygone era. We all have been brought up on those simple pleasures of life, where watching/listening to a song would make you get up even from a deep sleep. My connection with TV was surpassed by my connection with radio(vividh bharti, i mean). I still long to hear hawamahal and sugam sangeet. To share something: Last week I happened to watch this oldie called Kinara, and the song "mithe bol bole" suddenly got me connected to a program on radio in which they used to play film songs that have classical base, and in which I had heard this song many a times some 20-22 years back. The feeling was so overwhelming as during that song, I almost relived my childhood; though in bits and pieces. You are so right when you say that music connects our present with our past. To add to it, I think it retrieves our past. Ah! that bygone era...dil dhoondhta hai...

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Arundhati: You are right about the persistence, thanks. :)

GB!: Romantics will be around as long as romance is alive. Thanks.

Usha: Wud send you the song sometime if you want me to.

Ardra: Neighbours flocking into one's home to watch the Sunday movie/Chitrahaar -- that's another image still fresh in my mind. Thanks for reminding, and for writing in.

Visithra: Am so glad you understood the spirit of my post. Thanks :) I love Tamil songs -- many of Illayaraja and some of Rahman -- even though I barely understand the language. And Harris Jayaraj has proved that you don't need to know the language to enjoy music.

Deepa: Am suprised to hear Chitrahaar is still alive. It better be: for old time's sake. Thanks.

Anilshankar: Karz is an unforgettable part of the 80's! But I know what you mean. Thank you so much.

Anonymous: The radio programme with classical base was called Sangeet Sarita. I am saying 'was' because I do not know if it still comes on Vividh Bharati. Why don't we find out how many of those programmes are still aired these days?

Jo said...

read this only today, but hey you are right, aawaaz di hai is one of my fav songs, it is so very words to describe its beauty, but then thats about old songs, their lyrics are very touching...anyways nice post!!!and thats certainly not out of obligation!

Prerona said...

lol - nice song - i liked it. i'm afraid i didnt much take to the punctuation after the mukhra's - rest of it is v good - words are v sweet

when i rediscovered, or fell in love, all over again, with bhupinder, it was for this song: ek hi khwaab ... theres no other word - just fell in love :)

otherwise, there was always, in umr si lambi sarko mein, that was an old fav.

nice post. ;)

Anubhuti said...
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