Thursday, December 16, 2010


There is yet another singer in Hindi music world, in the Hemant Kumar-Subir Sen mould of singing, with a tinge of the voice of Kishor Kumar. In fact one can discern the nuances of the voice of several noted singers including the pathos typical of Mukesh in his voice. This talented singer is none other than Bhupinder Singh, the ace guitarist and the well known ghazal singer. Bhupinder's voice is considered to be unique and its originality will strike the listener the moment he hears it.
Hailing from Amritsar, he started his career as a guitarist at AIR, Delhi. It was the great music director Madan Mohan who recognised his talent for singing and brought him to Mumbai for a career in films. It was Madan Mohan again who gave him the break in films with the song, 'Hoke Majboor Mujhe usne bhulaya ho' in film Haqueeqat. It was a chorus with Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Balbir. Though the song was an instant hit and very popular, Bhupinder did not get any other offer. It was during this period that he started learning the guitar seriously and became a much sought after guitarist in the Hindi film world. His friendship with R.D.Burman and Gulzar also helped and Bhupinder played guitar in the background for the famous song,'Dum maro dum' in film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. This song became an important milestone of Hindi film music and is hummed by young and old even today. But can anyone think of the song without the unmistakable beats of Bhupinder's guitar in the beginning , in the interludes and in the background?

Soon he became an integral part of R.D.Burman's team. His guitar was prominently heard in the song, 'Churaliya hai tum ne', in film Yadon ki Baarat pictured on actor Tariq playing guitar in the scene. Again in film Sholay under the baton of R.D., Bhupinder's guitar created magic for the song,' Mehbooba Mehbooba'. Other music directors like Naushad, Lakshmikant Pyarelal, kalyanji Aanandji etc also used his guitar for their songs. In Pakheezah, there is the title music and the song 'Chalte Chalte' to show Bhupinder's prowess with the guitar.

But it was his voice that R.D.Burman wanted to immortalise and that he did with his film, Parichay with the duet with Lata, 'Betina bitai raina' (lyrics by Gulzar) and the song is still a rage for melody lovers. The song made listeners to sit up and listen to the rich, soulful voice of Bhupinder. In Gulzar's own production, Kinara, R.D.Burman tuned Gulazar's lyrics to give a few beautiful songs to Bhupinder, a solo,'Koi nahin hain kaha', a duet with Lata, 'Nam gum jayega' and a pleasant solo,'Ek hi khwab' with a few words and enchanting laugh by Hema Malini.

Other music directors also started using Bhupinder's voice the notable being Jaidev in film Gharonda. The haunting melody,'Ek Akele is shahar mein' and the duet with Runa Laila, 'Do diwane shahar mein' were beautiful for their originality. In film Baazar, the great Khaiyyam gave the melodious song ,'Karoage yaad ki' and in Akhri khat and Thodisi Bewafa he again gave two outstanding songs to Bhupinder. Again who can forget the pathos filled; 'Kisi nazar ko tera' for music director Bappi Lahri in film Aithbar? That also reminds me of the rare ghazal he rendered for M.T.Vasudevan Nair's Malayalam film, Manju. The song is 'Raziaman' penned by Gulzar and composed by the highly respected music director M.B.Sreenivasan

It was again Madan Mohan who brought the best out of Bhupinder in the duet with Lata, in film Mausam, 'Dil dhoondtha hai'. The unique quality and the originality of his voice are well revealed in the song.

By then the eclipse of music directors like Madan Mohan, Khaiyyam, Jaidev and a few others had started and RD himself, though the leading composer, appeared to be under compulsion to use the voice of Kishor. Bhupinder found himself being slowly alienated from the field of playback singing in spite of singing hit songs for leading music directors and he decided to fade away as the offers he still received were not to his satisfaction.

Faced with this unenviable situation, he turned his attention to singing ghazals composed by himself as well as others along with his singer wife Mithali. The loss to film music became the boon of ghazal lovers. He came out with several ghazal albums,viz., Mohabat, Ek Hasin Shaam, Kuch Intezar hai, Shabnam, From Bhupinder with Love etc. In the ghazals composed by himself he gave them a classical touch and deviating from tradition, used guitar also to complement his golden voice to make his ghazals unique and highly pleasing. The success he achieved continues to the delight of his innumerable fans.

Tail piece: There is again a rare Hindustani ghazal in a Malayalam film, MEGHA MALHAR. The song penned by Nazeem Akthar and composed by Anup Jhalota was sung by Jithesh, hailing from this place, Tellicherry(Kerala), and well known in the world of Hindustani ghazals.
"Rangath teri zulfon ki'Ps.Please click on he photos to zoom them.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Veteran music director of Malayalam, Sri K. Raghavan,celebrated his 97th birthday at Tellicherry last week. He was also awarded the prestigious N.C.Sekhar Award for his outstanding contribution to Malayalam music on this occasion.

Sri Raghavan who started his illustrious career in film music with Ramu Karyat's film Neelakkuyil in the year 1954 went on to give beautiful songs in films like RARICHAN ENNA POURAN, UMMACHU, NAGARAME NANDI,KALLICHELLAMMA, AMMAYE KANAN, YUDHAKANTAM ....... .He formed a great combination with poet-lyricist P.Bhaskaran to give us some of the best ever malayalam songs. Music lovers are delighted to learn that he is to tune a song for the forthcoming film based on the novel BALYAKALASAKHI of the great writer Vaikom Muhammed Basheer.

I don't have many gramophone records of films with Sri Raghavan's music. But I have the record of Director Ramu Kariat's last and lesser known film, MALANKATTU released in 1980, presumably, after his death in 1979. It is poignant that the first film of Ramu Kariat, NEELAKKUYIL, also had music by Sri Raghavan. The film produced under the banner,'Universal Film India(P) Ltd., had Babu, Prathima and Shyamal Rao as artists. The record released by Polydor has two songs of Jesudas and chorus by Brahmanandan, Kalyani Menon. The lyrics are by Poovachal Khader.

Another record I have is that of the 1977 film YUDHAKANDAM. It has two beautiful songs by Jesudas,'Hriduraja Rathathil Sakhi' and 'Shyamsundara Pushpame' both penned by Sri O.N.V. Kurup. The regret is that I don't have the original dust cover of the record.

PS.Please click on the photos to zoom them

Thursday, December 2, 2010


In my collection of gramophone records a good portion consists of records purchased by me as and when they were released. Of course, the major portion is records collected by me later. But the memories connected with the former are sweeter than those associated with the later as the thrill I had experienced in buying them using the limited purchasing power on hand in those days are still fresh in mind. Like some of the songs from Hindi films .e.g.,'Hai Apna Dil' from film SOLVA SAAL (see my post on Hemant Kumar) there are several songs from Malayalam films also which evoked the same sort of sentiments and nostalgia even now.

The first of such films and songs coming to my mind is director P.N.Menon's film CHEMBARATHI and the song, 'Chakravarthini ninakku njan ente shilpag
opuram thurannoo', penned by Vayalar and tuned by the maestro G.Devarajan, I am told, in Raag Kedar. The beautiful, meaningful, romantic lyrics soulfully sung by Jesudas was an instant hit when it was aired over All India Radio. It was in the year 1972 and the song even now ranks as one of the best ever in Malayalam film music.I purchased EP record ( an LP was not released,I think) from the shop 'Troica Musicana' at Tellicherry (Phone:627) in early 1973 along with a few other LP records including the LP ,' The Love Songs of Talat Mahmood'.The Chakravarthini EP record has in it four songs including the popular song,'Sharanamayyappa swamy' also in it.The composition 'Chakravarthini' has made such an instant imprint in me that this EP record has been one of the most heard records in my collection.

The film 'Chembarathy' brought huge critical acclaim for its director, late P.N. Menon, winner of several National and State Awards . He is considered to be the flag bearer of parallel cinema in Malayalam and his films like OLAVUM THEERAVUM, GAYATHRI, ROSI, MALAMUKALILE DAIVAM, KUTTIYEDATHI, etc.,etc.are milestones in the history of Malayalam cinema. Film Chembarathi had Raghavan and Shobhana(Roja Ramani)in the lead with Kotttarakkara, Madhu, Pappu, Shankaradi etc.; indeed a film every Malayalee can be proud of.

P.S:Settling down at this place after about four decades I found that 'Troica Musicana' had downed its shutters long back.