One of the principle reasons underpinning Raj Kapoor’s reputation as a film-maker, was how he applied his own creative genius in ‘bringing to life’, some of the pressing philosophical conflicts through the artistic medium of films. And he did so with full vigor, and an ambition to ‘reach’ the hearts and minds of ‘ordinary people’, using all the artistic talent at his disposal!
There are several examples of such ‘philosophical forays’ of Raj Kapoor (e.g. the ‘dream sequence’ in ‘Aawara; ‘Mera joota hai Japani; etc), but this song is probably the best example of RK’s artistic genius!
It is a multi-layered song; with simultaneous depiction of ‘torn ideals’, and ‘torn hearts’; ‘authoritarian, if potentially violent approach’ of the State in tackling the violence perpetrated by gangs vs pursuing the humanitarian way, rooted in the Gandhian non-violence approach in solving any problem..!
The song..and its picturisation, brings those complex issues to fore in a highly effective manner..
so effective that it reaches the soul, and makes one think about those wider issues..! A ‘Benevolent Showman’ at his best..!
That said..the reason for the popularity of this song is no less down to Shankar-Jaikishan..their creative brilliance in making music that matched the underlying purpose of this song..and the thrust of its lyrics; and their ability to get the best out of the singers..Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar, in this instance!
Picking up from where I closed my previous post on Hindi Film Music- 4 distinct Periods, I think it would be proper to dwell a little on the contribution of Shanker Jaikishen as “Trend Setters”, “Experimenters”, and “Innovators”. Actually the cue for this article lies in a discussion on SJ Forum, where one of the participants questioned the Capabilities of SJ vis-à-vis other MDs. With due regards to the abilities of those other MDs and without any offence to them, I insist that SJ were the most important Thing which happened to Hindi Film Music. Let us take a Look at these 3 words, “Trend Setter” “Experimenter”, and “Innovator”
Trend Setter is the One who sets the Ball Rolling and others to follow suit. As I stated in my previous post, the 1st era of Hindi Film Music had a Typical Theatrical Composition with a Monotonous Style of singing whether it was KLS, Punkuj Mullick or KC Dey. But the people who created that type of music, did start in Mid 30’s by people like RC Boral who were the Trend setters for that Era. Then came Naushad, who composed “Hum Jeeke Kya Karenge Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya, from “Shahjahan” in 1946, a song which Joined the 1st and 2nd Era. It was Naushad who introduced multi piece Orchestra to Hindi Film Music. He changed the “Single Octave” compositions to “One and Half Octave” compositions just because he got a Great Voice with immense range, “The Phenomenon called Mohd Rafi”. Remember the Orchestration and Chorus of “Udan Khatola” song “O Door Ke Musafir” in 1955. Till then even SJ were not using that type of Orchestra. Their songs comprised highlights of individual instruments, like Mandolin and Accordion in Awara songs, (Even the great dream song had only a few instruments, with a special crescendo effect in the end). So the credit for Setting the Trend of High Octave songs and Orchestration in the 2nd Era goes to Naushad Ali.
It was the 3rd ling Era of nearly 25 years which saw all the things together from Shanker Jaikishen, called Experimentation, Trend Settings and Innovations.Trend Setting is “Doing something, which makes others to follow suit. About their Trend Setting, as I wrote in earlier post, the songs before them generally started directly with the voice of the singer without any prelude or with a couplet and the main song followed. Even SJ made use of a couplet, though only once or twice, like “Dil ko tujhase bedili hai” in Yahudi.Before their appearance on the scene whatever Prelude was heard, it was a short 4-5 second musical play of some instrument without a definite structure. It was SJ who introduced the melodious Preludes, in Barsaat, Awara, Shree 420, Chori Chori. They compelled everyone to come along. Their Interludes were having a Distinct Structure in themselves, which one could Whistle, Hum or Play on instruments. Moreover the 1st and 2nd Interludes were nearly always different from each other. That is what is called Trend setting.
An Experiment is “Doing something, the result of which is not known, even to the performer”. By that definition, each Music Director offering New Tunes to his Producers and Audience, is an Experimenter, without knowing what is going to happen to his creation. But a True Experimenter is confident of his actions that these are going to be successful and not the disasters. By that guideline, Shanker Jaikishen experimented with Classical Music, Western Music, Fusion of these 2 Streams, Solo Musical Compositions without any Vocal Component, and surprisingly, each of their Experiment was a huge success. Remember the Sadhana’Shammi dance Dilruba Dil Pe Tu, purely on strings and percussions in “Rajkumar”, Waheeda’s dance in “Roop Ki Raani”, Vyjayantimal’s “Bakad Bam Bam” in Kathputali. They experimented with 2 distinct songs in continuity like “Tere Bina Aag Ye Zindagi’ and “ Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi”, The list goes on.. The best Experiment from SJ was the Creation of “Raga –The Jazz Style”.
Regarding Innovation, it is Doing something for the 1st time which No one Else has done before them. Now that is a long list. As someone on this forum called innovation as “making use of some thing for some other thing to produce music”, I do not agree. That may be labeled as “Special Effect” but not Innovation. Using Sand Papers and Combs, Spoons and Glasses is no innovation in my opinion. Of course each of us is free to have his viewpoint, but majority of Hindi Film Music Fans would agree that Shanker Jaikishen did so many things which no one had attempted before them and hence they were the Real Innovators in Music. Their Persistent memory with Millions of Fans across the Globe is the Proof of above postulations.
The Indian Hindi Film Music can be divided in to 4 parts The 1st before the demise of K L Sehgal, the 2nd Brief phase of 3-4 years from 1945 to 1950, the 3rd, a Distinct “Shanker Jaikishen Era” upto 1975 and the 4th from then onwards.
The Music during Sehgal Era was having a a typical theatrical style and a Single Scale of composition. This continued till Naushad entered the scenre when Sehgal was to make his exit. Naushad composed for Sehgal denoting the Juncture and a Bridge between these 2 parts.
Naushad alongwith a few of his like continued to rule the scene with their Classical compositions bound within the Indian traditional music, where songs started directly with the Voice of the singer mostly without any Prelude, or with a couplet to emphasise the mood of the song situation. The main song used to follow. The Interludes too were not prominent but a passing support as a breather to the Singer.
Then came the Trend Setter Pair of Music Magicians, “Shanker Jaikishen, who Redefined Music. Each song started with a definite Prelude. The 2 Interludes were having a marked length and both Interludes were not similar. Some songs had 3 Stanzas so the 3rd Interlude was a repetition of the 1st Interlude. More and More newer Instruments got in the song, size of Orchestra grew and most of the other Music Directors followed suit. the SJ Era added MD’s Pairs like KA, LP, although Solo MD’s like SD, Roshan, Madan Mohan, OP, were also doing well, but it was OP Nayyar only who had his Distinct Identity after SJ. If we remember Roshan, it is for his Quawwalis, SD for his “Pahadee Tones”, Madan Mohan for his Gazal compositions, but , may it be Indian Classical, Western Jazz, Light music, Percussion fetes, you name it, they had it.
The last Part can be attributed to RD Burman till his demise, who like SJ, had his own Style and who stuck to it. He too had the variety of composition like SJ. One can tella song of RD, merely hearing a few notes only. That’s where lies the Greatness of these composers.