Sunday, April 17, 2005

Aasmaan pe hai khuda, aur zameen pe hum...

Thalassa and I went to see a documentary on the life of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (that link opens with music so be careful) at the Skirball Center.
What a disappointment! How can you make a bad documentary on a person who was so wellknown for his art yet so unknown in most other ways? Well, you throw in a lot of needless 'exotic' subcontinent shots without explaining their contextual relevance (if there ever was one). Mix in a big dollop of nephew who sings like Cacofonix but has taken over the mantle so must be good. Top off with the 'oh they treat women so shamefully' cherry and there you have it.
In the filmmakers' defence it must be said that they talked to a lot of interesting people, but they used the interview clips like in a preview - to tantalise and never reach a conclusion. And please for pete's sake what has a five minute shot of bhang being mixed got to do with anything at all??
P.S. The title for this post is not particularly relevant - its just the song that I am listening to right now.


Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

What about the other classic from Phir Subah Hogi

Chin o Arab Hamaara
Hindustan Hamaara
Rahne Ko Ghar Nahin Hai
Sara Jahan Hamaara

Someone was unhappy with Nehruvian international socialism I tell ya!

By the way, if you want qawwali to redeem you of the cacafonix assault of Saturday, check out Jafar Hussain Khan Badauni. The man and his group of musicians are just brilliant.

April 18, 2005 8:10 PM  
Blogger Urmea said...

Oh yeah, Sahir was the man! I really like the older generation of lyricists in Bombay - a lot of them were from the IPTA or had socialist leanings and yet they managed to create intensely romantic lyrics like "Abhi na jao chhhod kar". Of course when they wanted to make their unhappiness with the world felt, they did so rather sharply yet with a minimum of fuss - "Yeh duniya agar mil bhai jaye to kya hai".

April 18, 2005 11:39 PM  
Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Reassured that I'm not the only one susceptible to nostalgia. Urmi, T-M - the Skanda Purana echoes in "Allah Hoo"? "Tab na tha kuchh yahaan, thaa magar tu hi tu .." One of my favourites.

And I salute your taste in film lyrics, Urmi. Perhaps a post on Kaifi Azmi's disillusionment, Javed Akhtar's modern lyricism and - above all! - Sampuran Singh's startling imagery?


April 19, 2005 6:44 PM  
Blogger Urmea said...

Ohh and that reminds me of the Shyam Benegal "Discovery of India" serial and its opening music.
"Shrishti se pehle sat nahin tha,
asat bhi nahin,
antariksh bhi nahin,
akash bhi nahin tha,
chhipa tha kya, kisne dhaka tha?
Us pal to agam, atal(?) jal bhi kahan tha"
Just loved it without having any idea where it was from or what it meant. So profound. Hmmm.
As for posting on lyricists and poet, maybe we should ask Swati/Thalassa - I just don't know enough! I do know that I think that Mr Sampuran Singh writes the grooviest lyrics. My favorite is of course "Chaddi pahen ke phool khila hai, phool khila hai!"

April 19, 2005 7:24 PM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

I believe the opening verse for the Discovery of India titles is a translation of "The Song of Creation" from the Rig Veda. Here's a reference, in both Sanskrit and English

Now before you start thinking I'm some Ancient Sanskrit wiz, this is all Google's meherbaani. But I used to love the verses as well when they showed the series on TV. I did know though, that the opening verse, "Hiranyagarbhaha samavartatagre" was in the Rig Veda.

April 20, 2005 10:07 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

I'm in total spam mood with your comment box. Prufrock-da (mimicing Urmi :) ), according to Mahatma Gandhi, there was an Upanishad called Allopnishad. Now I haven't seen it, but then I haven't seen most Upanishad. Skanda-Purana? mum was set on Bhagvad Purana, so that's the only one I know.

And Urmi, I probably know even less than you do. We should go search for a true trivia grandmaster!

April 20, 2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Trivia Grandmaster? Ask Parnab. Specialises in parnabgraphy, which is filthier than the more common genus.

Urmi - Sampuran Singh, well, get the album of his work with RDB and you have more than enough. If I have to pick the two defining lines ... ummm, why not post on that! (Yeah right, in about a year!)


April 28, 2005 6:14 AM  
Blogger Urmea said...

Uh no mentions of the Parnab on my blog please!!!
Prufrock-da, I do have that album, in fact both if I am not mistaken. The fact remains that I would not know enough to write about it.
As for the defining lines, hmm, how about:
"Raah pe rahte hain, yaadon pe basar karte hain,
Khush raho ahle vatan ho hum to safar karte hain"?

April 29, 2005 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Urmi, chek out the songs of Sampuran Singh like - Hazaar raahein from Thodisi Bewafaai, "Katra Katra" n "Mera Kuch Saamaan" from film Izaazat, and all the songs of the movie "Ghar".
I bet, you will love them all.

July 28, 2005 8:14 PM  
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