Melodies From The Golden Era of Bollywood Music!

NA TUM HAMEIN JAANO – Hemant Kumar / Suman Kalyanpur.
FILM: BAAT EK RAAT KI (1962) {Both Version}
STARRING: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman
MUSIC: Sachin Dev Burman.
LYRICS: Majrooh Sultanpuri.
DIRECTOR: Shankar Mukherjee.

______________________________________________

Lyrics(Hindi Courtesy:Here)

ना तुम हमे जानो,
ना हम तुम्हे जाने
मगर लगता है कुछ ऐसा,
मेरा हमदम मिल गया

ये मौसम ये रात चुप है
वो होठों की बात चुप है
खामोशी सुनाने लगी है दास्ताँ

ये मौसम ये रात चुप है
वो होठों की बात चुप है
खामोशी सुनाने लगी है दास्ताँ

नजर बन गयी है दिल की जबां

ना तुम हमे जानो,
ना हम तुम्हे जाने
मगर लगता है कुछ ऐसा,
मेरा हमदम मिल गया

मोहब्बत के मोड़ पे हम
मिले सबको छोड़के हम
धड़कते दिलों का लेके, ये कारवाँ

मोहब्बत के मोड़ पे हम
मिले सबको छोड़के हम
धड़कते दिलों का लेके, ये कारवाँ

चले आज दोनों जाने कहा

ना तुम हमे जानो,
ना हम तुम्हे जाने
मगर लगता है कुछ ऐसा,
मेरा हमदम मिल गया

___________________________________

Lyrics ( Translated)

Neither you know me,

Nor I know you,

But I feel as if,

I have met my soul mate;

This climate and night are silent,

That talk with lips is silent too,

Silence has started telling a tale,

This climate and night are silent,

That talk with lips is silent too,

Silence has started telling a tale,

Eyes have become messengers of the heart;

At the turn of Love,

We met leaving everyone behind,

With a caravan of beating hearts;

At the turn of Love,

We met leaving everyone behind,

With a caravan of beating hearts;

Where art we both going today?…

 

I have witnessed many discussions about comparisons among the quality of music in Bollywood songs  from various eras. Indian everyday lives, movies and ceremonies are incomplete without music of some kind or the other and since films play an integral role in entertaining us–their music becomes a keynote of most of our everyday lives. Movies these days have some influence from foreign films as it has become easier to watch them. In earlier days –some Bollywood directors used to shamelessly copy from European/American films but with the increasing awareness this is becoming lesser day by day(recently I commented on film TE3N which properly credited its source-a Korean film!) Due to this influence we see many movies without any songs but it’s a very recent trend. Indian movies used to have tons of songs since talkies begin(perhaps earlier days songs used to be silent too–with dance etc!)

It’s inevitable to observe that such discussions see divided opinions. It’s also worthy of being mentioned here that only aficionados or people who are of certain age group could have a real say on this matter. Age is of importance especially for people without musical backgrounds or tastes because they need to have certain experience to have heard music from many eras of Bollywood and then be able to appreciate differences. In most of these discussions I find people suggesting that they liked music from earlier decades but especially from 1960s–which is widely regarded as the golden era .

What could be the reason? Is it because music from 1960s was really great? Or it’s selective listening? I have an argument about this. I feel -most people hear or remember only the quality music  from early decades–reason being that only the best music becomes popular and gets played again and again in decades to come. Most of us get exposed to a great bulk of music from recent movies and this means music which is from worst to best in quality. When we listen only the best music from early decades it becomes our biased opinion that music from earlier decades was really great because we seldom get exposed to even average music from those  olden times(leave alone the music with worst quality!)

The argument above seems sound and in various such discussions I used to maintain that I appreciate old as well as new music but not all of it. Some songs from past decades were as good as some I heard day before but I had heard some pretty bad music from past decades too. But I feel my opinion has become slightly inclined in the favor of past decades these days.

I would try to pose a few arguments but I feel it’s almost impossible to explain true reason behind transcendental beauty of music from golden era. As saints in the Bhakti era are inexplicable so is this music in 1960s. There was more harmony in the middle ages when Kabir, Nanaka, Meera, Dadu, Chaitanya, Raidas, Ramananda appeared the darkness called for more light so dullness called for more quality entertainment–I hope that positive cycles will soon start in music industry too–similarly Naushaad, Kalyan-Anand, S. D. Burman, Kishor, Rafi, Hemant, Lata, Majrooh, Shailendra, Mukesh, Asha etc were active guided by musical Sattva in the golden age of Bollywood music.

I feel lyricists used to work harder in those days. They were better read than present generation of lyricists. Urdu and Hindi vocabulary of both writers and public has become smaller as years have passed by gradually. After 1970s the quality of writing in Bollywood songs degraded greatly and couldn’t become better until mid 1990s. Gulzar and Rehman similar to Gulzar and Burman tried to recreate magic in music but it was solitary effort and past lyricist like Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra, Neeraj and Anand Bakshi were unmatchable in later decades. Music in the golden era was something incredible harmonious and soothing when compared to present day hip-hop and cheap trash. Even party songs of those days were as soothing as other music–today’s party music is almost unbearable. Most of the music has become trash because of automation I suppose–there are very few artistes working and instruments are all automatic hence devoid of life–generating music which is also lifeless. Most of the songs used to tell a significant tale or highlight a character in those days which can’t be said for most songs of this day. You can look for chorus videos of some songs like Suhaani Raat Dhal Chuki by Rafi and you will find around 40 members performing together–it used to generate some really soulful music.

Singers like Rafi, Kishor, Mukesh, Lata, Heman Da and Manna Dey were performing side by side in the golden era. They had great talents and they tried to perfect their art with sheer hard work as well. These all and something magical together made music from that era golden.

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