Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I had in an earlier post mentioned about the wonderful combination  of Shankar Jaikishen, Muhammed Rafi and Shammi Kapur who had together created a large number of popular everlasting film songs in the 60s and 70s. There are a few other similar trios who had enriched Hindi film music with their wonderful songs.  S.D.Burman, Kishore Kumar, Dev Aanand and  R.D.Burman, Kishore Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and,  of course, Naushad, Muhammed Rafi, Dilip Kumar are some of them. The outstanding feature of these songs is that the efforts of the composer, singer and the actor on whom  they are picturised  have homogeneously jelled to make them  audio visual delights. One can’t think of the song separately from the composer, singer and the actor. Of these, the trio of Naushad, Rafi and Dilip was, to me, the unchallenged combination for the intensity of their impact on film goers and listeners,  the popularity of the songs, the number of films they did together and  the durability (immortality) the songs  attained. For sheer popularity and ‘singability’, the songs of the combination of SJ, Rafi and Shammi are far ahead. But for quality of content and soulfulness the songs  the trio of Naushad, Rafi and Dilip takes the cake. 

What made these compositions of Naushad outstanding is not  his musical genius alone but also his close personal rapport with the singer and the actor and the mutual respect they shared in each others’ talent . Their dedication to their job and  sincerity to make a song perfect  and the enormous efforts they took towards this could be imagined when one listens to the songs with the actual song scene in mind. Naushad himself had put on record about the long hours they spent together discussing and rehearsing each song before they were recorded at a stretch.About Rafi Naushad observes: ‘When we talk about his singing style , he has been  emotional and hardworking........There are two styles of singing, one coming from the throat and the other coming from the heart. Rafi’s style is to render beautiful songs from the heart. The fact is that often his heart did not get the song he wanted to render......He is a great person. ....Never comes late for recording......’.Naushad harboured similar high opinion about Dilip Kumar also. He observes, ‘I always admired Delip’s  expertise in the language. .......His room is full of books on various subjects....A person with a keen sense of observation  who can talk confidently on any subject......Pure trustworthiness is another quality he possessed....His art is beyond time and his dedication great....’.(Ref: MAUSHAD’S NOTES: Editor-Sasikant Kanikar)

There are about 15 films in which they worked together spanning over a period of two decades from 1948. One feature of the music of Naushad for these films  is that the lyrics, except for film ANDAZ, were penned by his favourite lyricist Shakeel Badayuni. The journey started with film MELA(1948)  with Nargis as heroine and there was only one song,’Yeh zindagi ke mele’,by Rafi, the other ten songs shared by Mukesh and Shamshad Begum. But ‘Yeh zindagi ke mele’ continues to be heared on Vividh Bharati and Radio Ceylon often.In fact in the early years of Naushad’s association with Dilip Kumar, Rafi did not figure  much as a singer. In film ANDAZ(1949) with Nargis as heroine Rafi had only one song,’Yun to aapas men bigadte hain’, a duet with Lata and all the other male voiced songs were by Mukesh including immortal numbers like, Tu kahe agar’ and ‘Toote na dil

tootena’ and’Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe’. Of course, Raj Kapur was the hero of the film and his preference for the voice of Mukesh was well known. In film BABUL(1950)again with Nargis, a great musical hit, all the eleven songs were shared mainly between Talat Mahmood and Shamshad Begum.

But the position changed with the film DEEDAR(1951) in which Naushad’s music was an outstanding success and the film was a super hit establishing Dilip Kumar as the top hero of Hindi films. While Shamshad Begum’s songs stole a march over other songs in the film, Rafi could stand on his own with four songs including the duet with Lata. ‘Dekh liya main ne’ . Rafi’s  grief filled ‘Meri kahani bhoolne wale’ was very popular and it was on the lips of every music lover those days. The other two Songs of Rafi viz., ‘Nazib dar pe tere’ and ‘Hue hum jinke liye barbad’, were also ‘sad songs’ but well received by listeners and repeatedly aired on the radio. The image of a ‘tragic hero’ stuck on Dilip, to a large extent, with these songs sung from his heart by Rafi.
The success of DEEDAR  was followed by ANN, a Dilip-Nimmi starrer, which again was a big hit at the box office’. The remarkable acting of Dilip, the soul stirring music of Naushad and the songs of Rafi for Dilip Kumar contributed to the success of the film. Rafi was at his happy romantic best in the song, ‘Dil mein chupaake pyar ka toofan le chale’.  Naushad has given  an ‘O.P.Nayyar touch’ to this song with rhythmic horse trot sound in the background and the listeners watching the video clip can feel the special chemistry between the composer, singer and the actor making the song so enjoyable.  The song ‘Maan mera ehsan ‘ by Rafi was also very popular. To  the disappointment of  music lovers,  these two songs were the shortest in the film, both less than three minutes.

In film AMAR(1954) with Nimmi as the heroine, Naushad went back to his marked preference for female voice  with only one out of the ten songs in male voice. This  song,’Insaf ka mandir hai yeh bhagwan ka ghar hai’  with Rafi and chorus, though,  was the most popular of the film  even now heard over the radio. In film URAN KHATOLA(1955)also, again with Nimmi as the heroine, this preference for female voice was obvious. But the song, ‘Mohabat ki rahon mein chalna sanbhal ke’  by Rafi  is even today as haunting as ever with the Naushad, Rafi, Dilip stamp all over it.
After Uran Khatola there was a gap of more than four years for another offer from the trio mainly because both Dilip and Naushad were  taking up only one project per year. But the wait was worth enough  as they hit  again with a bang with film KOHINOOR(1960)with the ‘tragic heroine’ Meena Kumari pitted against Dilip Kumar. The film was a roaring success and the songs topped the popularity charts. The film has two of the top duets ever of Hindi films  with Lata and Rafi at their competitive best to make the songs what they are. The melody, rhythm, lyrics, foot tapping background music, the happy abandon with which the singers sang to the requirement of the scenes enacted by Dilip and Meena kumari all made the songs ,’Do sitaron ka zamin par yeh Milan aaj ki raat’, and ‘Koi pyar ki Dekhe jadoogari’ immortal.The film has one of the best ever semi-classical songs of Hindi films in Rafi’s ‘ Madhuban mein raadhika naachere ‘which is another example of the trio’s magic. Naushad himself has recorded the efforts taken by them while composing and recording the song as Rafi had no formal training in classical music. Dilip Kumar, the perfectionist, who had to play a sitar for the scene had taken months of training in playing sitar, to the extent of injuring his fingers, so that he can do justice to the hand/finger movements of the sitar player! Naushad felt that it was the way Dilip Kumar had acted in the song scenes and gave lip movements to his songs that helped in making his songs popular. Mighty compliment from the  composer to the actor! For Naushad the song ‘Duniya ke rakhwale’ from film BAIJU BAWRA is Rafi’s best song for him. But to several others it is ‘Madhuban mein raadhika’, maybe, for the Dilip magic.
Close on the success of KOHINOOR came MUGHAL-E-AZHAM(1961) with Madhubala in the lead opposite Dilip Kumar. Naushad was at his best in this film and the songs became a milestone in the history Indian film music. Naushad justifiably expected the coveted FILMFARE AWARD  for his songs in this film but it went to Shankar-Jaikishen for  DIL APNA PREET PARAI. Out of the ten songs seven were female voiced songs by Lata, two songs by Ustad Bade Gulam Khan and one, ‘Aye muhabbat zindabad’, by Rafi which was not picturised on Dilip Kumar. I am not discussing the songs of this film here as the focus of this post is different.

In the 60s there were three films of Naushad with Vijayanthimala in the lead opposite Dilip Kumar.They are Dilip’s own production, GUNGA JAMUNA(1961), LEADER(1964) and SANGHURSH(1968) the last being the last of Naushad for a Dilip Kumar film.The dialogues of film Gunga Jamuna were in ‘Purbi’ language. The most popular song of the film is the rustic song,’Naina lad jaihen’ by Rafi . The song and its picturisation on Dilip in particular  have similarity with the song ‘Mere pairon mein ghunghroo bandha de’ from film Sanghursh; both beautifully composed by Naushad and sung by Rafi and gloriously enacted by Dilip in his inimitable style. The song ‘Jab dil se dil thak’ is the other Rafi song of film Sanghursh well received by listeners especially lovers of ghazals.In film LEADER Rafi had several songs and the ‘tipsy’song ‘Mujhe duniyawalo’ and the patriotic song ‘Apni aazadi ko ham’ were the most popular. The semi-classical duet with Lata ‘Ek shahanshah ne banwake’ and the duet ‘Tere husnki’ were also typical Naushad-Rafi- Dilip numbers.

Films DIL DIYA DARD LIYA(1965), RAM AUR SHYAM(1967)and AADMI(1968) had Waheeda Rahman in the lead with Dilip Kumar. A prominent emphasis on classical ragas and a leaning towards ghazals were noticeable in Naushad’s  music for Dilip Kumar’s films of the 60s. Rafi’s songs,’Dilruba main ne tere pyar  mein kya kya na diya, Dil diya dard liya’ and ‘Guzre hai aaj ishq mein hum’ and the duet with Asha ,’Saawan aaye ya na aaye’ are shining examples of this shift. The pathos filled ‘Koi saghar dil ko bahlata nahin ‘ ia another melodious Rafi number. The emotion filled melody  ‘Aaj ki raat mere dil ki salami lele’ from film Ram aur Shyam is also on these lines.The energetic folk dance number ‘Aayee hai baharen mete zulmo sitam’  beautifully rendered by Rafi and acted on the screen by Dilip is an audio visual treat on the lines of similar songs in Gunga Jamuna and Sanghursh. The trend continued in ‘Na aadmi ka koi bharosa’ and ‘Aaj puranee ratton se’ in film AADMI. While all these songs were outstanding as such, the similarity of tunes, singing and acting led to the criticism, refuted by Naushad, that too many films with Dilip Kumar was making his music stale.
Unfortunately for music lovers Naushad did not compose songs for Dilip kumar’s films  after 1968. The last song,’Jis raat ke khawab aye’,  recorded by Rafi for Naushad was for the film HABBA KAHTOON which did not reach the theatres. http://www.youtube.com/watch?client=mv-google&hl=en&gl=IN&feature=related&v=UHwxK83itLg&nomobile=1
Naushad had stated that Rafi was so pleased with the lyrics and tune of the song that, after recording the song, he hugged Naushad and said that it was after a long time that he could get an opportunity to sing such a beautiful song.He also said that his fate,of late,  had been to imitate the sound of cats and dogs. The story goes that he did not take any remuneration from Naushad for the song.
Naushad had also revealed that it was his regret that he could not make Rafi sing another song like ‘Duniyake rakhwale’ of film Baiju Bawra. No wonder that after Rafi’s demise in  1980 Naushad said that one half of his person is dead and that his music will not have the erstwhile purity. Naushad left us in 2006 without fulfilling another of his dream of recording a film song in Dilip Kumar’s voice. Fortunately Dilip Kumar, one of the very few remaining  links with that golden musical era is still with us.

Tail piece: Sri Sasikant Kanikar has edited a book ‘Naushad’s Notes’ comprising Naushad’s autobiographic writings.There is a Malayalam translation by Sri Deepesh k. Ravindranath titled Cinema Sangeetham Jeevitham. Offers deep insight into Naushad’s life and creativity.