Sunday, 28 October 2007

e - Exhibition

While cleaning my old stuff, I surprisingly found my once-lost sketch book, which is almost 12-13 years old. The moths have started preying on the book. The pages are torn too from the sideways. I thought it better to take the pictures of my "childhood skill" (pun intended) and put it here and share them with you guys. If you find that I was inclined to sketch female faces more than anything else, blame it on my "growing-up" phase. :D

Enjoy:























Monday, 1 October 2007

Exploring Music

These days when I haven't got anything serious to do, I browse a lot. While doing so, I chanced upon a site a few days ago which although is for rock n roll music, but caters to a wider variety of music from different regions across the world.

The blog also runs a monthly carnival in which the owner of the site calls for contributions. The theme of each issue is pre-given. I sent one of my pieces from my site, which was accepted for the carnival issue. Do have a look at not only the different interesting contributions but also feel free to explore the site. You wouldn't feel disappointed.

The site's URL is http://www.soulofrocknroll.com/

The current carnival issue's URL is http://www.soulofrocknroll.com/?p=206

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Tum Nahi Ho Kaheen

This is my third composition. And it took me ages to come out with it, however that doesn't promise it to be good, but do have a listen and leave your suggestions.

Bear with the audio quality. It took me three hours to actually put it on the youtube and the version which I finally managed to put up was not the one which I thought was best. Nonetheless, couldn't be bothered about changing the recording. My bare IT skills discourage me to do so.

The link is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYE80NRpcCI

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The many meanings of smoking

The many meanings of smoking

“Smoking kills” – this is not only a compulsory statutory warning flashed on all cigarette packs but also a fact. And people go ahead buying those packs (by turning blind to that message) is also a fact. Smoking is an act, a habit, and for a lot of people an addiction. On a simpler level, it appears, and in some way it is, a personal and individual habit, of course with damaging repercussions for those who have to keep company with the smokers by choice or by default. I assume this is the logic behind recent spate of bans on smoking in public places, so that the non-smokers don’t have to suffer. But, smoking has also come to acquire a social meaning. It is an act which has moved beyond the realm of individual into the social. It has been donned with certain social attributes over a period of time. The role of media in different mediums like adverts, films, and songs are crucial in this exercise.

As a kid I remember watching an advert in which a boy and a girl holding their hands together were seen enjoying the rain. The caption said: “Made for each other”. This advert however was not for a perfect couple, but for a perfect cigarette – the Navy Cut Filter Wills. Filter and tobacco were “perfectly matched” which produced a taste that “truly satisfied – time after time”. A couple endorsing the practice of smoking actually elevated it from an individual practice to a social conjugal space, that space which needed not to go “smokefree”. In 1969, in fact the ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) introduced the “Wills Made For Each Other Contest” to find a perfectly matched couple. The brand was then changed to Wills Navy Cut from Wills Filter, and the blending of right tobacco with right filter was described as a “marriage”, of course with an image of a couple in the advert.

There are many such adverts promoted by the tobacco companies that legitimised smoking as a social practice and through them put across certain cultural attributes. For instance, the advert of Wills Classic showed men playing polo with a caption: “Discover a passion. For those who value taste.” One could be slightly amused at this forged relationship between masculinity, sportsmanship and smoking. (I can’t even run fifty meters and I think part of it is because of smoking). And then of course, there was the image of “The Man with a Smooth Edge”, who drove the car while a girl gasped at his manliness. This was the advert of Four Square brand.

Nonetheless this world of media representation is changed or changing. Now we have adverts from the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) warning against the dangers of smoking. And they are equally innovative, like this one: “Cancer Cures Smoking”. The Health and Family Welfare Ministry together with the WHO took up the campaign against passive smoking by putting up the images of a child, a pregnant woman, and an old man affected by smoke; the pregnant woman one being really catchy: “Between the two of them, they smoke fifteen cigarettes a day”. This awareness drive is crucial for any ban or prohibition to work.

If adverts are fast changing or striving to change the social meaning of smoking, so is our Bollywood. Later this year we will see a film called No Smoking, in which John Abraham plays a chain smoker and Raj Kumar Santoshi, a doctor who helps him quit smoking. In their personal lives, actors like John, Saif and Aamir have given up smoking. But the social struggle is going to be more prolonged. In June 2005, the Health Ministry put a ban on use of images of tobacco from all Indian movies and television shows. Amidst the criticism from libertarian artists who championed for the cause of “artistic freedom”, the deadline was extended to January 2006. But seemingly, that is still ineffective; we have seen smoking scenes in recent movies like Don.

The yesteryears songs and movies made smoking fashionable, doable, and cool. The casual, indifferent attitude towards life in one of the most famous songs of Md. Rafi from the movie Hum Dono (1961): Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya, har fikr ko dhuwe mein udata chala gaya (I puffed out all my worries in smoke and now take each day as it comes by) became a trend-setter. The song picturised on Dev Anand, who puffed cigarette throughout the song, typified an image of the youth who cared for nothing. And this youthful adventurism and smoking remained inseparable since then. Be it Prem of Maine Pyar Kiya, who had returned home after finishing his studies, stealing cigarette from his Dad’s packs or Haider Ali’s Purani Jeans – a song that became the anthem of college goers in the decades of nineties – which brilliantly captured the youthful activities that amongst other included smoking in hiding from parents. And how could one miss to mention the most stylist actor of Indian cinema – Rajnikant’s inimitable style of flipping the cigarette and tossing it into his mouth: a skill par excellence which many tried to imitate in their real lives, although unsuccessfully.

If smoking became voguish among youth, the off-beat films as they are called now, or what was earlier known as “parallel cinema” in the decades of seventies and eighties associated smoking with a “thinking” intelligentsia. The seriousness, depth and intensity of the character relied on the number of cigarettes or at best on the fact that they smoked. Quite remarkable is the gender configuration around smoking. A “bad girl” or a “vamp” can only smoke in our movies; for men it was an OK or rather preferable thing to do.

The mediums of mass contact like films and adverts thus have imputed a meaning to this act. Good or bad, that depends on the perspective, but one thing is sure: smoking is not just a medical/health issue; it has deeper social connotations.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Linking the nation: Bollywood ways

Linking the nation: Bollywood ways

In my last post I talked in some length about how newer means of technology, especially trains, have always found a prominent place in the cinematic portrayal in Hindi cinema. The range of emotions that are depicted through trains are wide, varied, and least to say, interesting. From a close camera-shot of tracks and a speeding train signifying escape, displacement, migration, and not the least death to those of scenes of crowded railway compartments in which the lovers’ eyes still managed to meet (for instance Amol Palekar and Tina Munim starrer Baaton Baaton Mein (1979), railways have remained integral to the ways in which individual sensibilities of a character in Hindi cinema has been depicted.

But they signify more than that, at least in Bollywood. They signify a link, a connectivity that joins territories and groups. They signify a medium through which a nation is conceptualised. They signify a continuum through which that perceived or real (whatever it is) bonding is constantly promoted, reproduced, and maintained. In other words, trains have not only served in the portrayal of intense individual feelings or in showcasing the exotic natural beauty; they have helped linking the nation.

Bollywood has a long history of patriotic films and songs. Even in present times we get such films from time to time, nonetheless sometimes with a hawkish jingoist temper as was the case with Ghadar. We also saw a trend towards making epics on individuals: five films on Bhagat Singh in a row and one on Subash Chandra Bose in recent years. The context of such films has shifted over a period of time. So for instance, if Roja and Sarfarosh were made in the backdrop of cross-border terrorism, recent films like Rang De Basanti have turned the gaze towards internal political corruption prevailing in the country and the need to reform the system.

If we go a bit further back in time, we see a different context. The 1960s and 70s saw some war-films that fed patriotic feelings in their own ways. Haqeeqat (1964), arguably one of the finest war-films ever made in Hindi cinema history, was set in the context of 1962 Indo-China war and Rajkumar starrer Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973) was based on the recently concluded 1971 Indo-Pak war. And in between came two popular gems in this genre of films and songs: one the Manoj Kumar starrer Shaheed (1965), and the second, a song penned by Kavi Pradeep, composed by C. Ramachandra and sung by legendary Lata Mangeshkar: Aye mere watan ke logon. The song was about remembering those who lost their lives in the 1962 war; a song which although officially was not a national anthem but one with which most of us struggled to sing on the Independence Day in our schooldays.

And very briefly, if we go further back to the period of 1940s and 50s, we encounter a different context in which patriotic songs and films were produced. This was the context of freedom struggle and the incipient nation-state that was coming to terms with a new independent life. If films like Shaheed (1948) and Jhansi Ki Rani (1953) on the one hand depicted a romanticised past of struggle against the colonial rule with a moralist perspective, Railway Platform (the debut film of late Sunil Dutt, 1955) and Phir Subah Hogi (1958), on the other, tried to raise a new debate about nationalism. It was in this period when “unity amidst diversity” had become the doctrine of new independent India that trains also figured in Bollywood songs to build that imagined unity.

Travel by the railways became a part of seeing the nation or rather discovering the nation, specifically its past. The glimpses captured while gazing out of the window of a railway carriage were actually the snapshots through which the history of India was constructed and reified. Abhi Bhattacharya, who acted as a school teacher in the film Jagruti (1954) took a bunch of students on this “nation-seeing” trip, while he sang the famous song: “aao bachchon tumhe dikhayein jhaanki Hindustan ki”. The train passed through different territories and each of the stanzas depicted (or rather mythically constructed) the historical significance of that territory. For instance, Maharasthra was defined as a territory of patriotic Shivaji who had fought the Mughals, while crossing through Rajputana (modern day Rajasthan) the bravery of Rana Pratap (and yes, also of “thousand Padminis" who had apparently committed suicide to save their “grace”) was extolled, and the horrors of Jallianwala Bagh massacre was reminded to those school kids who took their lessons in Indian history while on train. The travel not only forged physical linkage over the vast distance of north India it also stitched together the dispersed historical facts and myths in one thread to promote the unity which a new nation-state required.

The carriage with people from different regions became a “melting pot” of different cultures. At least so was this for an otherwise funny song, “rail mein jeeya mora” from the movie Aankhen (1950), which also signified that this vehicle had become a medium to pull people out from far flung areas, like Madras and Bengal together into a common and shared mode of travelling. The regional variations persisted; Bengalis while travelling stuck to their “rasgullas” and the Punjabis to “loud chit-chat”, but they all travelled together, thus bridging the tyranny of physical and social distance.

This forging of national space was however accompanied by partition, when millions got displaced and thousands lost their lives. The linkages of a new nation were premised on the division of an erstwhile-shared space. No wonder, trains had become historically and symbolically a representative of that division as well; the dead bodies dumped in the trains running along the borders of the Punjab during the Partition in the later years invoked memories of those horrible journeys (seen in films like Pinjar). Trains thus not only depict a harmonious building of a new nation, its wheels and speed also reminds of tracks soaked in blood.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Bollywood Express

More than ten years before, when I think I was still a kid, I heard this song from the movie Hindustani (Kamal Hasan starrer): “Telephone dhun mein hasne wali, Melbourne machli machalne wali…”(The woman who laughs like a ringtone, the woman who gyrates like a Melbourne fish). I don’t know if Melbourne fishes have some special skills to imitate Bollywood jhatkas and matkas but anyways coming back to the song, it further says “Sona sona, cellular phone tum ho na, computer ko lekar bramhaand rachaya kya”, which would translate something like this: Oh Dear you are like a cellular phone, have you created this world with your computer?

Funny, isn’t? I simply call it banal. But err, actually it’s imaginative too. Think about this: we have a fairly long and quite monotonous tradition in Bollywood of comparing our heroines with chaand, i.e. moon. Remember the unforgettable “Chaudvi ka chaand ho…” or “Ye chaand sa raushan chehra” from 1960s and 70s? But now, we have something interesting to compare our actresses with. We have cell phones and ring tones.

Technology has always sparked the imagination of our lyricists and moviemakers. And this is nothing new. The classic case is the song from the movie Patanga (1949): “Mere piya gaye Rangoon, wahan se kiya hai telephoon, ki teri yaad satati hai”. (My hubby has gone to Rangoon and from there he calls me on telephone, saying that he misses me). The “tyranny of distance” and missing one’s beloved (as is the case with Patanga song, in which the husband has gone to Burma and therefore he misses his wife who is in Dehradun) is always bridged by a technological aid. Though sometimes nostalgia also grips our directors, and they think of revisiting the past by using Kabootars (pigeons) as messengers between lovers. (The stupid song from Maine Pyar Kiya: “Kabtoor jaa jaa jaa”). Apparently Bhahadur Shah Zafar had many pigeon-messengers in his royal household. But this is quite cheesy in modern times. Isn’t?

However, far more comprehensive than any other mediums of technology in its usage, portrayal and depiction in Bollywood movies and songs are trains. For romance, dance, songs, action, thrill, depicting a host of emotions ranging from separation to re-meeting, trains and railway platforms have provided not only a suitable locale and background for such picturizations but have also acted as a symbol and a metaphor to help plot the narrative of the movie.

A recent movie (Emran Hasmi and Sayali Bhagat starrer) is called The Train. Though I haven’t seen the movie but it is told that Emran’s character Vishal, gets a new twist in his life while travelling in a train, and hence the name of the movie being so. Before that in 1970 a movie came out with the similar name. Or remember the classic of yesteryears, The Burning Train (1980), which turned out to be the greatest thriller of its time. The examples could be multiplied. The famous train sequences and scenes are too numerous to count: the train dacoity scene from the biggest Bollywood buster Sholay, a similar scene from Dhoom 2, the thrilling race scene in Aamir Khan’s starrer Ghulam in which apparently he got alarmingly too close to the train to send a frenzy in the shooting camp and so on.

And then we have quite a few memorable songs picturised on/around trains. The all time hit “Mere sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu” from the movie Aradhna shows Rajesh Khanna singing this song for his lover (portrayed by Sharmila Tagore) who is sitting by the window in a railway carriage. Or think of one of the best “item songs” of the recent years, “Chaiyaa Chaiyaa” from the movie Dil Se, in which Shahrukh and Malaika shake their legs on the top of the train. The exquisite locale through which the train passes makes the song a visual delight to watch.

If on the one hand the cinematic appeal of the railways has attracted the moviemakers from a long time, that appeal has also, on the other hand, been creatively situated in the narrative to provide a more nuanced meaning to the movie. It has been used as a metaphor to depict desire, escape, change of life, a beginning, fulfilment of dreams and so on. Those who have seen the movie Pakeezah would recall the whistle of the passing train, which unsettles the character of Meena Kumari. I think, apart from anything else, what provided a real momentous and pushed the narrative of the film further was this passing train, which both unnerved and rekindled a hope in Meena’s character. She was then reminded of the past (the opening scene of the movie) in which while travelling on the train she was complimented for her beautiful feet. That memory, which the passing train always revived, was central to any of her hopes to get out of her present situation (a change in her world).

Trains have also been used as carriers of dreams. Raju from the movie Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (played by SRK) aspires to become successful in his life, and he boards a train to Mumbai. The typical characterisation of Mumbai as a “dream city” in Bollywood is strengthened by this connectivity, which a train provides to a million of aspiring youth to make it big. in their lives. Exodus from small towns, as was the case in a recent movie, Bunty and Bubbly, relies on trains, and then we get some more songs either about trains (“Dhadak dhadak dhuwan udaye rail”) or songs picturised on trains.

The nexus between trains and Bollywood is thus too entrenched. Lovers meet for the first time either on trains or on railway platforms (like in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le jaayenge) or a new life starts with the symbolic departure of train (like in internationally acclaimed movie Water, in which the small girl, Chuhiya, is taken afar by John Abraham into a world of new life, away from her miserable abode in a widow home, (which surreptitiously ran prostitution).

In this context, the Melbourne machlis are not odd ones out. But still I feel that song is more of a sort of jumble-mumble of lyricist’s imagination, quite a wild imagination, to say the least.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

New trends in Bollymusic

A few weeks back a friend of mine suggested me to listen to a song sung by Soham Chakrabarty in a recent movie Life in a Metro. A well-known musician, Pritam Chakravorty, has composed this song. The track is called "In Dinon Dil Mera". On hearing it first, I thought it was awesome, and in many ways I still think so. The voice is new and refreshing, the tune is catchy, and the lyrics are simple and elegant.

But it is not path breaking. And in no way it looses its charm for not being so. Sometimes I feel it actually odd to even raise the question of ‘authenticity’ in this milieu of technologically-aided rapid transmission of tunes and genres and in light of evolution of ‘fusion’ music which itself is a hash of so many genres. For instance, a friend of mine recently reminded me that another song, "Bheegi Bheegi" composed by the same musician for the movie Gangster, released in 2006, was an adaptation of a very popular Bangla song which was known for its strong political message.

But this issue of authenticity should not bug us; at least it does not bother me much. Of course matters related to creativity and copyrights are crucial, especially for those who get their bread-and-butter from this trade, but currently there is something more happening in Bolly-music, which needs to be identified. Over the last few years the face of Hindi music in general and the Bolly-music in particular has changed tremendously. The decade of nineties witnessed two new things in music industry. One was the remix culture, churning old numbers in new musical arrangements, with increased use of electronic-metallic sound effects. Although they provided good hip-shaking numbers for desi clubs but I should nonetheless be excused for saying that those remixes became more popular for their visual delectations rather than for their quality of audio re-mixing. The infamous "Kaanta Laga" girl became the face of page three in all tabloids and newspapers. And for what? For apparently showing her g-string, which sent the whole nation into debating if that was actually shown. In a country of a billion plus population like India with an equal number of pair of eyes, such things can’t go unnoticed.

The second was, what I would prefer to call, the Bhangra-isation of Hindi popular music. The music industry, the music shops, the bazaar plazas, the buses, taxis, autos and rickshaws and not the least the TV sets and many living rooms through numerous music channels were flooded (could invaded be the right word here?) with Punjabi tunes and songs. The Bhangra music and its popularity definitely goes back to 80s, when Malkit Singh and his group the Golden Star became a hit in the UK and artists like Gurudas Mann became a household name in India. But a new trend of cutting private albums in the nineties gave this music a more secured place and soon it came to dominate popular tunes and lyrics. I don’t hate them, but the doses given to we listeners were too much to handle. The cars zapped around playing loud the one-after-another hits of Daler Mehndi. He was not alone; Hans Raj Hans, Mika (yes, the one who made a kissa with his kiss) and the whole bandwagon came to symbolise the power of heavy drums and fast beats. Sometimes I wonder at such happy coincidences. When the whole India was apparently shining and moving fast on its fourth gear to become a developed nation (err, we still cherish that goal, don’t we?) the music cut out to match that speed was equally paced.

However, there was one more parallel development happening in the same period that bloomed in the late 90s. And it still remains so but has actually changed its form. It is this form which currently dominates the digits of bolly-music: the ‘Indi-pop’ music. This brand of music, when it emerged, was a generic term applied to non-filmi album tracks based more on guitar tunes than on synthesisers and drums. Again, as in the case of Bhangra, the genre itself was not new in the nineties; Alisha Chinoy who is referred to as “Queen of Indi-pop” together with singers like Sharon Prabhakar, and Suneeta “Pari Hoon Main” Rao were already popular. But a major spurt came in early nineties with bands replacing the individual singers. Junoon, a Pakistani band became a living legend with their Sayyoni followed by Indian bands like Euphoria, Aryans, Silkroute, Strings, all churning out numerous memorable melodious tracks. The lyrics were kept simple, mainly the lovey dovey types, and the tunes were simple too, which a common man could hum along without much effort. The music was soothing because of its guitar base.

This is where the recent song "In Dinon" fits in. And for sure this has become the trend in last few years. This brand of music – the Indi-pop has got assimilated into the mainstream bolly-music. We can think of throat-twisting emotional twirls (I am not mean, not all can do this) of Kunal Ganjawala’s songs, we can think of Shaan’s both filmi and his non-filmi numbers, and not the least we can think of Atif Aslam, a Pakistani singer, whose revengeful-youthful voice has left many of us mesmerised with his songs in a recent movie “Bas Ek Pal”, and recently with his album “Doorie”. How far this will go, only time will tell. But let me conclude by pointing out one thing. Just count the number of times words like “pal”, “doorie”, “lamha”, kashish”, “khwaab” and so on and so forth figure in these songs. I think it is an alarming bell for our lyricists who need to keep up with this changing nature of music otherwise the very freshness, which this music promised, would become stale, sooner rather than later.

Friday, 1 June 2007

The doomed diva

The doomed diva

Har ek mod pe bas do hi naam milte hain
Maut keh lo – jo muhabbat na kehne paao


(There are only two names on each pathways (of life)
Call it death, if you can’t call it love)

I am sorry for even trying my hands at translating these beautiful verses portraying intense suffering, tragedy and clamour of an individual. Are there any guesses who penned these lines? I am sure very few of us would rightfully identify this poetess-in-oblivion who wrote many such verses and couplets as a personal way of registering, recording and dealing with her grief-stricken short life of forty odd years.

She was born on 1st August 1932 in Mumbai to Ali Baksh and Iqbal Begum (renamed from Prabhawati Devi). Her father was an actor in Parsi theatre and also dabbled in Urdu poetry and occasionally gave music direction in Hindi movies. This girl, Mahjabeen Bano, was the youngest of her siblings and in the family mired in financial hardships she was literally forced to work in films. Her career started as a child artist at the age of six from a movie called Farzand-e-Watan or Leatherface, directed by Vijay Bhatt in 1939. For the movie she was re-named as Baby Meena.

All of us, or most of us, who are Bollywood buffs definitely know about Meena Kumari, nick named the “tragedy queen” of the film industry. Both in real and in reel life she lived up to that tag. Yes, we are talking about Meena Kumari who graduated from Baby Meena to become one of the living legends of the film industry. Much has been written about her acting prowess and the intensity with which she portrayed her characters. The unforgettable “choti bahu” of Sahib Bibi and Ghulam (released in 1962) and the acute sensitivity depicted in Pakeezah (released in 1972) that went on to become the cult movie of the Bollywood in all times to come is to mention a few. It is often remarked that it was Meena Kumari’s death (she died on March 31 1972), just almost a month after the release of the movie, that made Pakeezah what it turned out to be. But I remember Pakeezah for one more reason. In one of the shots, her character is humming a ghazal written by Mir and sung by Mehdi Hassan: Dekh to dil ki jaan se uthta hai, ye dhuwan sa kahan se uthta hai (Look, where this fume rises from, is it from the heart or from the soul). I frantically searched for the name of the singer who is humming this song in the movie, but I failed. Later, when I incidentally discovered the poetry of Meena Kumari and to my utter surprise when I came to know that she had an album released, consisting of her poetry sung and recited in her voice, I was almost sure that it was she who did the vocals for that ghazal. (I ought to be corrected if I am wrong.)(I have been corrected on this by an annonymous comment; the singer is Naseem Bano. See the comments section.) Thanks Anon.

Very few of us know that she was a fine Urdu poetess. Her works are mainly about love (unsatiated of course), grief, and pain; in other words, morbid curiosities influenced her vision and her writings. The couplet in the beginning is one of the typical in which she depicts the inevitability of love in life and yet her personal failure to find one. In one of the ghazals she says:

Gham hi dushman hai mera gham hi ko dil doondhta hai
Ek lamhe ki bhi judaai agar hoti hai


(Pain is my biggest enemy and yet my heart aches if I am separated from it even for a moment).

She was happily married (at least this is what it appears and have been told) to film director Kamal Amrohi (who made Pakeezah) for twelve years (1952-64) but the divorce swept her into heavy drinking. Apparently, this was the time when she took recluse in poetry, probably finding some solace by giving words to her feelings.

But her poetry was not completely pessimistic (at least this is what I infer from them). She had resigned to fate but had not become fatalistic:

Yeh na socho kal kya ho
Kaun kahe is pal kya ho,


Rowo mat, na rone do
Aisi bhi jal-thal kya ho.


(Don’t think about the future
Who knows what will happen today,

Don’t cry, nor let anyone cry,
Why to panic and feel so dismayed)

The album, I Write I Recite, was brought out most probably in 1971 (by HMV), an year before her death. She had got ten poems/ghazals in the album, five of which are recitals and the other five tuned and sung in the ghazal format. Veteran music director, Khayyam, composed the music. The music is true to the mood of the ghazals; no percussion instrument (for example tabla) has been used. The music background is provided with instruments like Sarangi and Santoor, which add to the melody of the lyrics. For any music lover, and especially those who love ghazals, this is a must-to-have album. It is fairly difficult to get a copy of this album but interested listeners could try online shopping sites or could be watchful when HMV re-produces the old releases.

Meena Kumari passed on her diary to lyricist Gulzar, who fondly called her “Meena didi”. After her death, Gulzar compiled and published her collection of Urdu poems called Tanha Chand (Lonely Moon).

These two things (her album and her collection) are a treasure to remember that diva that though is well known for her acting but hardly commended for her soul-touching poetry and her exquisite singing.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Tribute to Nandigram Protest

Most of the readers of my blog, I am sure, are aware of the gruesome killings of protesting peasants and farmers by the West Bengal state in India that happened almost a month before. It has got considerable media coverage and some good in-depth analyses are readily available on net. As a mark of respect (I hate to 'sympathise' with a good cause) I wrote few words:

Pukaar

Aur, is aasmaan ke saaye mein
Ye zameen jo door talak dikhti hai,
Lahoo ke rang mein zinda hokar
Khoye kadmon ke nishaan doondhti hai,

Lab jo sil gaye the bebasi mein
Ek "Pukaar" jo sulagti thi khamoshi mein,
Sathon (surface) ko chirkar jo nikla wo
Wo maut hi tha jo zindagi mein utra wo,

Kuch mitt gaye, kuch mita gaye
Ek aag dilon mein laga gaye,
Takht-e-siyaasat to na palat sake, par
Takht-e-umraan wo hila gaye.

This time to "aid" my readers, I have also done an English version (and NOT a translation). I think I am seriously incapable to do a translation of the above; so the following is just an impression:

A Call

Beyond the line
Till the horizon
Where the grief impales our vision,
The traces of life in which are fading
That world, seemingly is changing,

For years, we remained mute,
Alive but not astute
Nonetheless, we nurtured a speechless agony
One that haunted our lives incessantly,

We hoped, we tried
We perished in our cry,
No, we didn't succeed,
Or did we? let the future decide.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Fughaan

Fughaan

Zindagi yunhi basar hone do
Gham badi der se firaaq hone do,

Shabnami auns ko phir se batoroon main kyun kar
pighalne do inhein yunhi beh jaane do,
Us kinaare se aayengeen phir sadayein kuch
aur, is kinaare shikasht-e-zaam behne do,

Dil mein sauda, zigar mein raqt nahi
palon ko thaam ke ye waqt girte hain,
Simti ye ghadiyaan, inhein aur simat jaane do
is kashish ko "Fugaan" ho jaane do.

This is yet another try at writing and composing something. Click on the link below or on Fughaan Sound Track.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxZXKHsK3mY

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Teri Yaad

Teri Yaad:

Teri yaad aati hai
Un lamhon ki khushboo se
Jo humne churayee thi

Sulgi hui saanson se
Un behki hui baaton ko
Jo humne sunayee thi

Dheeme si dhadkanon ko, Palkon pe yun sajakar
Aankhon se jo tumne kaha tha
Baarish ki narm boondein, Pehluwon mein lapete
Tumne jo mujhko chuwa tha
Ye dil bhool na paaye
Wo baatein, wo raatein...

Saanson ka tum pagalpan ye dekho ki thamte nahi
Dekho na, dekho na,
Lafzon mein jo sil gaye hain, aankhon mein jo khul gaye hain
Un khwabon ko doondho zara
doondho na, doondho na,
Dil ki ye kashish
tum jaga ke so gaye

Teri yaad..


Here it goes:

Something which was keepin me busy from last few weeks. Nothing great, but who knows..;)This wouldn't have become possible without the help of my sweet friend, Suga, better known as Sugri:)

Click on the link below or on the Teri Yaad Video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaa5kPTwB9s


Saturday, 24 February 2007

Inquilaab

The journey with the pics would continue and would halt at a place where the echoes of history, the sounds of despair and the trumpets of victory, all jostled at a one place and at a same time. For some it was a world possessed, for many it marked a doom, a doom which has left indelible marks on many of the generations that followed the heroes who sacrificed their lives. Sacrificed for what? Well, don't be impatient, the story would unfurl at its own pace. But the lives of the unheard heroes with unseen faces need to be remembered. The marginal yet pivotal, the unsung yet haunting, for those masked faces a little tribute:

Inquilaab:

Simat kar baitha hai jo, rooh ko daboche
be-aab aankhein aur num si palkein,
ek aas hai phir bhi baaki abhi, aur
ek Inquilaab jo kabhi kaha hi nahi.

Kya juroori hai dard ko ek naam dena
aur har sukhan mein lafz ko sajana,
rehne do bebas usse kuch aur pal abhi
zinda raha toh thaam lega zindagi.

Raakh ki dher mein hain chingaariyaan abhi
ragon mein leti jawani siskiyaan abhi,
dadhak kar bujh raha hai jism toh kya hua
marne ke pehle jee lene ki hai chahat abhi.

Jo sun sako tum kabhi awaaz uski
chup reh kar keh gaya, wo baat uski,
usi ki duniya hui ein dinon bezaar, magar
usi ke dam se hai ye duniya aabaad phir bhi.

Perhaps one day, I will do an English translation of this, perhaps one day...