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Ravindra Jain: Composer Extraordinaire!

The composer Ravindra Jain, who passed away in October 2015, is one of the under-appreciated music directors of Hindi cinema. Jain, who overcame blindness to make a career as a successful composer in the Hindi film industry, gave the music for several memorable films such as Chitchor (1976), Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Mann Bhaaye (1977), Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se (1978), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985) and Henna (1991). Jain also did a lot of good work for Indian television, including when he gave the music for Ramanand Sagar’s television series, Ramayan.

One of the earliest films in which Jain’s work was recognised was the Shashi Kapoor, Mumtaz-starrer, Chor Machaye Shor from 1974. The film was directed by Ashok Roy and had the memorable song ‘Le jaayenge, le jaayenge, dilwaale dulhaniya le jaayenge’ from which Aditya Chopra’s iconic 1995 film borrows its name. The other song from the film, which became very popular and which was picturized on the lead pair was ‘Ek daal par tota boley, ek daal par maina’. Both these songs were written by Inderjit Singh Tulsi. However, the song which drew Javed Akhtar’s praise, and which was written by Jain himself, was ‘Ghungroo ki tarah, bajta hi raha hoon main’. In the recent episode of The Golden Years: 1950-1975, A Musical Journey, which featured Hindi film songs from 1974, Akhtar praised the profound nature of Jain’s lyrics in the song, saying, “What an outstanding composition. What words and how well Kishore Kumar has sung the song…Ravindra Jain was a very learned man. It is quite sad that he is no longer alive but he has given some truly outstanding music.”

While Jain still received some recognition for his work, other technicians like the lyricist Yogesh were not so lucky. Yogesh had written some of Anand’s (1971) best songs such as ‘Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haaye’ and ‘Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye’. Then with composer Salil Chaudhary (who gave the music score for Anand), Yogesh once again wrote some great songs for the 1974 film, Rajnigandha. The film’s title track (‘Rajnigandha phool tumhaare’) and ‘Kahin baar yoonhi dekha hai’, sung by playback legends Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh respectively, have lyrics that touch the heart. But few people would know of Yogesh’s name or would have ever heard of this lesser-known lyricist.

Santosh Anand was another such lyricist whose fate is similar to Yogesh’s. Anand penned some of the best songs of actor-filmmaker Manoj Kumar’s films, Purab Aur Pachhim (1970), Shor (1972) and Kranti (1981). In 1974, the songwriter was in fine form as he wrote one hit song after another for Kumar’s Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan. ‘Main na bhooloonga’, ‘Haaye haaye yeh majboori, yeh mausam aur yeh doori’ and ‘Aur nahin bas aur nahin’ are all proof of Anand’s versatility in writing on a vast array of themes. Another song from the film, which also became equally popular, but which was penned by Verma Malik was ‘Mehangaaye maar gayi’. Given its attempt to broach the subject of ‘mehangaayee’ (rising prices) the song remains relevant even today.     

Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan’s composers were Laxmikant-Pyarelal. In the same year, LP, as they were popularly known, also composed another chartbuster for the film, Dost.  The film was directed by Dulal Guha, who had earlier made Dushman (1972), with LP being the composers for that film, too. But for Dost, the LP song that went on to become immensely popular, and which was picturised on Dharmendra travelling in a train, was ‘Gaadi bula rahi hai’.

The other train song from 1974, which won over many listeners, was from the Shakti Samanta-directed Ajnabee. The film’s music was given by music maestro Rahul Dev Burman, who came up with a couple of polished gems in ‘Ek ajnabi haseena se’ and ‘Bheegi bheegi raaton mein’. But it was RD’s train song – ‘Hum dono, do premi’ – for the film that won many compliments from Javed Akhtar. “Just like many songs have been composed for a tonga [horse carriage], similarly, songs have been composed for trains. And the chhuk-chhuk  noise made by the train, its whistle, RD worked very creatively to give it that feeling of a real train in this song… The song became very popular.” Perhaps it was RD’s genius in composing such songs that also saw the composer do full justice to a couple of other train songs in subsequent years such as ‘Dhanno ki aankhon mein’ (Kitaab – 1977) and ‘Hoga tumse pyaara kaun?’ (Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai - 1981).

You can watch The Golden Years: 1950-1975, A Musical Journey with Javed Akhtar on Zee Classic every Sunday at 8 p.m.! Presented by Dettol and co-powered by State Bank of India and Good Knight Fast Card.

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