Sunday, August 7, 2011

Born in the wrong era

Few weeks ago I took my parents to watch to “Black and White”- a show which screened songs from black and white Hindi movies i.e. ‘The Golden Era’ while some young talented singers sang them live on stage. There was a great MC who provided fun facts and trivia about cinema and music from that time.

It was an awesome experience! The songs ranged from Ashok Kumar’s time to Shammi Kapoor’s. Kishore Kumar’s ‘Mein hoon jhoom jhoom jhoom jhoom jhuoomru’, Hemant Kumar’s ‘Hai apna dil to awara’, ‘Hum aapki aankhon mein’ by was a treat for senses. Not only you could hear melodious voices of these young aspiring singers but you could see the black and white visuals on the screen. It was one of the loveliest evenings I had spent in a long time.

And for once in life, I was the youngest person there!

The average age would have been at least 50 if not more. But I have never felt more at home. I knew pretty much every lyric of every song that was sung plus the names of the stars, the singers, etc. It felt like I completely and truly belonged there.

I got my love for old movie songs from my parents. Doordarshan- the whole and sole of Indian TV at the time when I was growing up- bought us Chayageet and Chitrahar. This commenced my education in black and white songs. I used to watch with my parents and dad would recite anecdotes related to the films or some interesting trivia, and I lapped it all up. Strangely, I have not watched many old films- I should rectify that soon. But old songs are a big part of who I am.

Kishore Kumar is GOD. There is no denying that. My dad tells me when I was 3 years old my 2 favorite songs were from Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi- ‘Paanch rupiya bara aana’ and ‘Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si’. I used sing them all the time and I loved watching them whenever I got the opportunity mainly because seeing Madhubala was always a pleasure! She is the most beautiful woman ever- sorry Ash...I know officially the title belongs to you, but no  one can compare to Madhubala.

But as I grew older, I discovered the magic of Hemant Kumar. ‘Tum pukar lo’ from Khamoshi- Waheeda never looked better, ‘Yeh nayan dare dare’ from Kohraa (picturized on Biswajit who lived in my building, and kinda ruined this song for me), ‘Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum’ with Lata, ‘Na tum hamen jaano’ composed by the legendary S D Burman.

From all the old black and white actors, my all time favourite has been Dev Anand. The lopsided smile always did it for me! The song I like the most of all is from Hum Duno- Abhi Na Jao Chhod Kar Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin by the great Mohd Rafi  and Asha Bhosle (one the THE most versatile and passionate singers that Indian cinema has given us).

I can never choose been the 2 sisters- Lata’s voice is the kind that comes once in a lifetime. There will be no one like her. One of my favorite black and white Lata songs is ‘Lag ja gale’ from ‘Woh kaun thi’- a fabulous mystery thriller picturised on the stunning Sadhna.

Dev Anand had some of the best romantic numbers ever. Whether it was the naughty ‘Chod do aanchal, zamana kya kahega’ or the lovely ‘Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar’, which from this fabulous movie called ‘Tere ghar ke samane’ where Dev Anand plays an architect. (And for those of you who follow this blog, will know it’s the sexiest profession of all in my eyes). In fact all the songs from this movie between Dev Anand and Nutan were classics. ‘Ek ghar banoonga tere ghar ke samne, duniya basaonga tere ghar ke samne’ and ‘Tu kahan yeh bata’. Sigh! Those were the days and those were the men.

After watching that show, I was on a trip of old songs for a week at least. And it got me thinking- I am born in the wrong era!

I love black and white songs more than colored ones.
I would much rather listen to Lata than to Shreya

Classic novels trump modern day books hands down

Jane Austen rules, like of Marian Keyes and Sophie Kinesella will merely be one-time beach reads
History was my favourite subject in school. I still know more Indian freedom struggle and World War 2 than I know about the world economy

In fact I am convinced I was a freedom fighter in my last birth and gave up my life for my country. Yeah ok, it may sound rather corny and twisted to most of you, but it’s the only explanation for my fiercely patriotic nature. I can so imagine myself in a white cotton sari in a mukti adolan sabha. But I think I would be the more Subhash Chandra Bose Azad Hind Fauj soldier rather than Gandhiji’s satyagraha champion.
I love old historic forts and could spend hours walking around. I still appreciate a patola silk sari more than a sheer ‘evening cocktail’ chiffon one.

OK, I must admit the modern day conveniences are the only thing going for this era. On every other count the black and white period rules!
If only I could spend a day in that era...and have Hemant Kumar sing ‘Beqarar karke hamen yun na jayiyen’, I would be in heaven! (I think it is one of THE most sensuous songs of that times). And then I could sing back ‘Tera mera pyaar amar’. Actually on second thoughts, I might drop the singing back thing from my little yesterday someone requested me rather politely to ‘never ever sing, as you really can’t’. Sigh! There ends another fantasy...though it does explain a lot of things, like the weird stares I get on the bus when I am singing to my radio. Apologies to anyone who has been offended by tone deaf singing...but then again, if I hear ‘Leke pehla pehla pyaar, bharke aakhon mein khumar, jaado nagri se aaya hai koi jadugar’...I just have to sing it out aloud ;)