Pakeezah

Music: Ghulam Mohammed
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kamal Amrohi, Kaifi Azmi & Kaif Bhopali
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar; Mohd. Rafi; Rajkumari
Audio On: Saregama

13 years in the making, but every song was so worth it! Heralded as one of the best mujra-esque albums of Hindi cinema (Umrao Jaan being the other one), every song here is worth hitting the rewind button. Too bad the much coveted Filmfare award for that year went to the comparatively ordinary Be-Imaan!

The album opens with the lovely Chalo Dildaar Chalo sung by Lata and Rafi. Rafi-saab does not have much to do in the song except singing the mukhda again and again, after Lata works on every single antara, but even then he sounds superb, especially in the alaap he takes in the middle of the song. Lata is ,elody personified as usual. Interestingly, the song appears in a solo (and slightly faster paced) version in the album called Pakeezah Rang-Barang (which comprises of all the unreleased songs of Pakeezah!)

Of the several mujras in the album, Chalte-Chalte surely stands out. The sweetness in Lata’s voice as she slows down with “Yunhi Koi Mil Gaya Tha .. Sare-Raah …” is amazing! Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi do superb justice to the situation as it unfolds on the screen …towards the end of the song as Lata supposedly rushes through the song as the train whistle blows … is superbly captured! The song ends on a sombre-note … “Ye Chiragh bujh rahe hain … mere saath jalte-jalte”.

Inhi Logon Ne” is yet another mujra, a rather ordinary fare compared to the other gems in the album, but was probably the most popular song in it’s time. (Always a hot favorite in Antakshari with “i”). The words are interesting as the song jumps through various people who had something to do with the dupatta … Bajajwa, Sipaiyya, Rrangrajwa, et.al.. I haven’t been to too many mujras in kothas, but it seems there is a certain amount of authenticity to this! J

Mausam Hai Ashiqana – what can I say about this song? Awesomely rendered, awesome words and an awesome tune. Listen to Latabai going “Suraj Kahin bhi Jaye, tum par na dhoop aye, tumko pukarte hain, in gesuon ke saaye .. Aa Jao main bana doon, palkon ka shamiyana” – need I say more? Arguably the best song of the album was penned by none other than her husband, Kamaal Amrohi.

The one song rendered by Rajkumari Nazariya Ki Maari is also a mujra, although zara hat-ke from the rest of the songs. Well sung, sounds authentic, perfect for a background song, which is how it was used in the movie anyway. A must-hear for hardcore classical/thumri lovers..

My two personal favorite mujras in the album are Aaj Hum Apni .. Teer-E-Nazar and “Thade Rahiyo”. The former, probably because it conjures up the image of Meena Kumari dancing on glass (or was it Padma Khanna? – little known trivia!!) … as the movie comes to a climax. As the song picks up tempo in the end, when Lata-ji hits the high-notes with “Jaan leva hai Mohabbat ka samaa aaj ki raat …”. you know this is the stuff pathos is made of! Brought to life in the form of lyrics by Kaif Bhopali.

Thade Rahiyo – a bewitching song, where Meena Kumari looked bewitching in green. Tch! Tch!! She did however have a hard time keeping up in dancing with all the beautiful swars, aalaps and tillana in the middle of the song … “Dhaagi Dhit Dhaan Dhaan Dha” – but that doesn’t take away from the beauty of the song for one bit! Great use of tabla in the song, superbly rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and poignantly written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, yet another lyricist in the large repertoire of writers for Pakeezah.

“Tillana” .. an underplayed but brilliant number. The movie opens with this song “Dheem Tana Dere Na” and the song ends with the aalaap that is heard multiple times in the movie! Tillanas are so hard to come by in Hindi film music and this was definitely a welcome one. Lata Mangeshkar renders it beautifully while a (supposed?) Meena Kumari dances away in white – who was actually dancing there? Will we ever find out?

Music was created by the inimitable Ghulam Mohammad. The background score was created by Naushad though. Sure, the album may lack the so-called “variety” because it was one mujra after the other, but that’s what the movie was about, wasn’t it? So, if you don’t own this album – find out what you have been missing!!

 

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