Of Amnesia & Music

Amnesia isn’t such a bad thing. At least it gives you a chance to revisit and enjoy your favorite artists, musicians and writers over and over again ! Especially if you have already exhausted your favorites and crave for even more.

Come Diwali, I found myself cursing my neighbourhood. They had been tormenting me for a month now with their blaring loudspeakers. Not one or two but three-four speakers working in tandem from different directions. The cacophony was more than I could bear and there was just too much commotion out on the streets to merit any thoughts of going out. The dilemma was killing me. I couldn’t go out and I couldn’t stay in. After much deliberation, I decided to stay put and insulate my self from the loudspeakers by sealing my apartment.

Just I was about to draw the last curtain, a faint fleeting piece of music entered my ears. I could hardly make out the words – Ae raat tomar aamar….oi chaand tomar aamaar, shudu dujoner…. followed by one of those trademark whistles that needed no identification for me. Something as uneasily haunting as this could only be made by Hemant Kumar !
hemant

Now, I am a sucker for anything by HemantDa. And this was more than anything. A bit of googling was all it took to identify the tune – “Ae raat tomar aamar” from the Bengali movie “Deep Jwele Jai“, the film that was later remade into the monster called Khamoshi. The tune itself was used in a Hindi Song “Yeh Nayan Dare Dare” in the movie Kohraa, which in turn was a remake of Rebecca. I had watched the movie a couple of decades ago but remembered very little, if at all anything. And so it was that my amnesia became a blessing in disguise as I set out to rewatch the movie and revisit the tune.

Kohraa explores more of the genre that was so successfully created in Bees Saal Baad, except that it just doesnt come out so good. The movie is typical of HemantDa’s style. Gothic backgrounds, wide scapes, mountains-trees-and-seas all rolled into one and tastefully shot footage showing nature in all its glory. Scenes of dark, gloom and foreboding cleverly alternated with sunshine and light to maximise the element of suspense and horror. They had even altered the climax to make it more palatable to Indian audiences. However, HemantDa’s contribution is a lot slashed here in terms of the musical input. He has two solos – the introductory Rah Bani Khud Manzil and Yeh Nayan Dare Dare – the object of my pursuit. The other song “Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat ” is the supposed equivalent to “Kahin deep jale kahin dil” in “Bees Saal Baad“. Its a song with a lot of wasted potential. Wasted since it falls short of being the theme music for the movie the way “Kahin deep jale kahin dil” was for “Bees Saal Baad“.

The movie was but of little interest to me. I was more keen on the Hindi rendition of “Ae raat tomar aamar“. Shot in tete-a-tete style, the song shows Waheeda Rehman play that elusive combination of stunning beauty, coyness and mischievous playfulness – a trait I haven’t seen any actress emulate ever after. But the mood is that of an unsettled wife being assuaged by a loving husband. To me it somehow didn’t go down well with the tune. Neither did the lyrics – “Main maan bhi loon kabhi haar, tu maane na….”. But who cares ! I got another piece of HemantDa’s haunting melodies to relive and I’m not complaining. One of these days I’m gonna die of overdose.
waheeda

I love my Mukesh and I love my Kishore. They make music worth dying for. And yet if you must breathe life into a soul-less corpse, nothing but HemantDa’s tunes can do it for you !!

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