In India, old technology, once advanced, is cruelly thrown into the dustbin. Just the way record players lost their importance, today cassettes are almost on their way out. It’s not so elsewhere. While searching on google for record players, I found multitude of foreign sites catering to them, including a Japanese one catering to laser turntable (instead of using a normal stylus), which means the technology is not as dead as it is in India. Similarly, cassettes are no longer favored. It’s the era of CD’s, mp3’s etc.
During this holiday (yes I was in Delhi for Holi) I sifted through my large cassette collection. I had built this up painstakingly during the early nineties, topping it up every month once I started job, but a large portion remains from those lovable college and post-graduation years. Some of them had lived through their life (and played with a weird off-key sound), some had been replaced even then (I recall buying Pathar Ke Phool audio at least three times!) but most survived. Thankfully, my now aged Sony player lived upto its expectations.
During those years, I had built up a formidable collection, and much to my mother’s consternation and irritation, cassettes flow out of every other available drawer. And they include some now-forgotten scores, which, when I heard in the past three days, brought back a tsunami of memories. I will not delve into those. But allow me to pride on these lost films, whose songs are dear to me, and perhaps, if you can find them might interest you too. This is a small list of five, there would be more, but good enough to start of with:
Jaan-E-Tammana – I wonder if Saif Ali Khan and Karisma Kapoor remember they had signed this K C Bokadia film. In fact, I am not even sure if they ever did. I never saw any video. And the audio release, a low-key affair, was on KC Bokadia’s own lable BMB Music (which wound up pretty soon after its initiation). But the songs – composed by Aadesh Srivastava, before he got his two biggies Baghban & Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham – are an absolute delight. Be it Abhijeet-Vijayta’s sensuously nimble Nigaahe milakar nigaahein jhukana or Sanu’s solo Dil ki vaadi mein, they are well orchestrated, and well composed. But the piece-de-resistance are those three Lata Mangeshkar nuggets – Ek dil ki ek dil se mulaaqat ho gayi (with Udit Narayan), Suniye ji haan kahiye ji (with Kumar Sanu) and that grand music-fest of a ditty Mujhe laagi prem dhun (with Roop Kumar Rathod).
Speaking of Lata-Roop Kumar Rathod duets, this is the second one that could not see a proper release. The first is from Jackie Shroff starrer Angaar : Kitni jaldi yeh mulaqat guzar jaati hai. They were definitely lucky the third time round – Tere liye from Veer Zaara topped the charts!
Strangely, the title is spelt Jane-Tamanna.
Nargis – This Zeba Bakhtiyar-Naseeruddin Shah-Hema Malini starrer could have been an artistic affair. Alas, it tanked before it’s release. Tragically, it sank the film’s shimmering music as well. Imagine a singer line up that includes Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle & Jagjit Singh. And a composer who has been R D Burman’s erstwhile assistant – Basu Chakraborty. The result is pure magic. Tunes that fondly remind of RDB’s Ghar and Aandhi-type of fare are spread over seven delicious tracks.
While Kisi aashiyaane mein (Lata Mangeshkar) is a theme song that builds interest in the trials and tribulations of the protagonist, Mai kaise kahun jaane-man (Jagjit Singh) is a rose-petal soft love ballad. Together the two legendary singers join their mesmerising vocals for a splendid love duet Dono ke dil hai majboor pyaar se hum kya karein meri jaan tum kya karo. (I suspect there is a Yesudas version to the number as well, and is somewhere available on the internet, but the audio did not have it). Asha Bhonsle comes for a full-on cabaret number O Jaana Qurbaana (with Naseeruddin Shah, who I presume would have been a villain in the film, recites some lusty lines).
However, it’s the two Lata Mangeshkar solos that take the album to dizzying heights – Arre tu pawan basanti kaahe ko ith-laake chalti soaks in vivacity and verve of a young girl in the first throes of adolosence, and Lata Mangeshkar sounds exceedingly soft and sweet. And it’s counterpart, carrying on the soft tana-na-tana-dere-na chorus into its pain-lashed heart, is the album’s best song – Kaahe ab ki ae bahaar pheeka hai har khumaar, where the pawan basanti is silenced into a terrifying stillness, laced with some sumptuous sitar pieces.
Majrooh’s lyrics are excellent.
Venus Audio released the album. Some years later, they fished out these numbers and presented them as a Lata Mangeshkar-Jagjit Singh album tilted ‘Adaa’.
Personally, this album evokes several memories. In those carefree days, pocket-money was always scarce, and if two good albums came simultaneously, it meant more tightening of the already tightened belt. Parampara and Nargis released back-to-back. So, a friend and I split the purchase ( I bought Parampara, he purchased Nargis). Till date, I have that recorded cassette, done from his borrowed copy. I had listed the songs with a pencil…now faded & hazy…like those memories.
Baharon Ke Manzil – Remember Mona Ambegaonkar? She made her debut in this trashy picture about a singer and a group of friends. So shady is the film, it does not even find a mention on www.imdb.com. The audio cassette cover, in light blue, has a huge guitar, with the leading pair hidden behind it (perhaps in a bid to out-do those famous Aashiqui posters).
I remember faintly having sat through this flick…only for its outstanding music. Raamlaxman composed this, fresh after his Pathar Ke Phool and Maine Pyar Kiya success, and sans Lata Mangeshkar or SP Balasubramanyam. If anything, the music is a showcase for singer Poornima (who at that time, I suspect, was TIPS Audio’s favored singer), who gets to croon all the female parts.
Sabse badi dosti hai yaar captures the joys of friendship, set to a dandiya beat, and Aadhi raat aayi toh is an enthralling new year song. In both, Raamlaxman ensures it’s the interludes that tickles the listener’s heart. In fact, Raamlaxman gave some superb interludes in those days, very different from the then current norm, almost always using real instruments, and joining the antaras in a logical fashion. Sample those lush sitar pieces, set to a static beat, in Tum tana na tana yeh dil hai deewana (Poornima-Amit Kumar).
But what always made my heart soar were these two Udit Narayan-Poornima duets – Meri jaan dua karna and Tera naam likh diya. Especially, the latter, where the tabla sounds different, and a soft chorus upholds the tune, filling it up like a fragrant zephyr entering a well-decorated room.
Vishwasghaat – Mahesh Bhatt’s ex-assitant Himanshu Brahmbhatt directed this soppy Anjali Jathar-Sunil Shetty-Anupam Kher flick, much before his other flop Rog. I could never sit through either film.
Again, the songs are something else altogether. Nadeem-Shravan’s assistants Shyam – Surender gave a score that would have done their mentors proud. But I reckon the biggest coup was to bring in Lata Mangeshkar for four of its best songs (out of a total of six tracks). All these four tracks are worth their weight in gold. Deewangi hai jo yeh pyaar ki opens the album, followed by a delectable Lata Mangeshkar solo – Intezaar hai tera intezaar hai. The latter carries such grace in its tune that had it been a lady it would have won all the beauty titles in the running.
Of the rest, I simply adore the fragile Jaaneman jaanejaan dil ne di yeh sada – with Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar whips up romance and roses in a vanilla-flavored love duet. The perky and fast-paced Yeh dil kyun dhadakta hai rah rah ke machalta hai rounds up a wonderful array.
The sound quality is A-grade and Shyam Surender provide enough meat in their interludes. Sad, my copy of the cassette is almost on its death-bed. Last time it had acted truant and refused to play. This time, mercifully, it played, and played twice over.
Dhartiputra – If I recall correctly, this Mammooty starrer was a meek hit. At least, I remember its horrendous Mera tohfa tu kar le qabool getting quite a bit of airwaves (with those silly lines where the heroine asserts Kyunki sone pe chhai mahngai mai chaandi le aayi to the hero’s recessionary declaration Kyunki lahnga hua bada mahnga mai chunri le aaya. And this was in 1993, when India was shining, and there was no global meltdown! Wonder what they will sing in current times. But I guess, going by today’s sartorial trends, the heroines today wouldn’t bother with either a lahnga or chunri!)
Anyways, leave this kiddish duet aside, the album carries pretty good numbers, composed by the then-reigning duo Nadeem Shravan. There is the handsome Alka Yagnik solo Bulbul bole angana mere tu kab aayega bata de sajna mere and Kumar Sanu-Alka Yagnik’s hummable Saare rangon se hai .
However, my pick of the lot is the two-part lori – a tender but heart-breaking ode Khamoshi hai ek bajaa hai khali rasta dol raha hai. Nadeem-Shravan rarely got a chance to compose lullaby’s, but in this they displayed a sharp virtuosity. My preference – Alka’s solo version that is kept in the end of the cassette, and stays with you long after the system auto-stops.
I have a few more names in mind, but I will leave it for a sequel to this post. I wonder if you have heard of any of the above, or remember them ever?!