Three Songs

Ramesh has been reading Talking Songs by the great Hindi lyricist Javed Akhtar. Yesterday he mentioned that, although the book includes the lyrics (and translations) for sixty of Akhtar's songs, his song Breathless wasn't there. So I rushed to the Net and found the lyrics here. They're in Hindi, but even if you can't read them, you can listen to the song here: page down to Breathless, check the box, go to the bottom of the page and click 'play selected.' It's fun -- it's a patter song, sung apparently all in one breath (which is why it's called Breathless), and the melody is a mix of western and Indian styles. Fusion, I suppose, although that's not really accurate; and it's an overused word these days.

Last night we watched Almodovar’s latest film, Bad Education. In one scene, a transvestite lip-synchs a Hindi song: "Aao huzoor tumko sitaron mein le chalo..." (film: Kismat (1968); Singer : Asha Bhosle; Music Director : O P Nayyar; Lyrics : Noor Devasi; Director : Manmohan Desai; Actors : Babita, Bishwajeet, Helen, Kamal Mehra, Murad)

We actually got into a small argument -- my fault --because I, convinced that it had to be in Spanish, refused to hear the Hindi. I kept saying, ‘but you know that so many Indian film songs have used western melodies.’ But it really was in Hindi. We wondered how that could be, and thought that perhaps this had in fact been a Spanish song first. But how had Almodovar come across it? Are Hindi film songs known in Spain? (I found an audio link to the song here, but couldn't get it to play.)

Update: Thanks to Chris Yavelow, who sent me a link to a wordless version of aao huzoor tumko. The sound is very cheesy, but kind of fun for all that.

Yesterday was Tamil New Year, and the Tamil TV channels were showing special films for the holiday. Sometime late at night we came across a showing of Michael Madana Kama Rajan, just in time for a song that I love, Sundari Neeyum. It's beautifully picturised, and sung by the actor (Kamal Hasan) who is supposed to be singing it – which is rare in Indian films, where the actors generally lip-synch songs sung by others.

In the film Kamal Hasan plays four characters, including a hilarious brahmin cook from Palghat, who speaks in a mixture of Malayam and Tamil, and who sings this song. Well, it's a duet, actually. You can listen to it here. Page down to Sundari Neeyum - 3rd from the bottom of the page, check the box and click 'play selected' -- do it! It's a lovely song.

Oh yes, and, fooling around on the Net I found this site where you can look up the ragas of Tamil film songs. The raga of Sundari Neeyum is kEdaaram.

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