Ek Nazar 1951: A Precursor to SD Burman’s Music Trends
If one gives a close look at the songs of Ek Nazar 1951, we find they were a precursor to SD Burman’s hits that would follow later, styles that would evolve and set precedents and experiments that would become the hallmark of the singers. An analysis.
The year was 1951 and the Hindi film music scene was witnessing a spate of highly creative output from established music composers and lyricists as well as new, upcoming talents.
Anil Biswas, C Ramchandra, Husnlal Bhagatram and Naushad were in top form. Biswas had released Aaram, Tarana, Bari Bahu and Do Sitare. Naushad had Jadoo and Deedar. C Ramchandra was full throttle into the hit mode with Sagai, Shabistan, Khazana, Nadaan, Albela and Ustad Pedro. The brothers, Husnlal Bhagatram had Afsana, Sanam and Shagan and Sajjad Hussain composed for the popular Hulchal and Sainyan.
Among the stalwarts the new band of music makers were making their presence felt. Shankar Jaikishen with Barsat behind them, were all set to release Badal, Nageena, Kali Ghata and Awara. Roshan had his share with Humlog and Malhar and Madan Mohan started off with Ada and Madhosh.
Rafi’s support pillar, Shyam Sunder gave an earthy Punjabi musical hit in the low budget, Dholak. In such a musical competition that contained all shades and hues, SD Burman knew he would have to establish his own unique identity.
This year Dada Burman had 6 releases – Baazi, Bahar, Buzdil, Ek Nazar, Naujawan and Sazaa. All musically hits, these six films ensured a total of 46 songs in that year. He was composing with a variety of lyricists – Rajendra Krishna in Bahar, Ek Nazar and Sazaa, Sahir in Baazi, Naujawan and Sazaa, Kaifi Azmi and Shailendra in Buzdil. After giving all India hits in previous years with Shabnam and Mashaal, he was keen to consolidate his footing in the Bombay film world. This was his opportunity. He was not only working with a range of lyricists, he was also trying out all different singers as well and signed these films with a variety of producers and directors. His directors in 1951 were, Guru Dutt, M V Raman, Shahid Lateef, OP Dutta, Mahesh Kaul and Fali Mistry.
Very early in his composing career, both in Bengal and Bombay, Dada knew that his compositions were carried to the public ears through the vocals of the singers. If the voice failed, his song would fail too. He became choosy and ruthless with the voice that he picked and dropped for his tunes. He tried out all different voices to take his best pick. As a reflection on his career, we now well understand this streak in Dada that he knew best which voice would best suit which of his tune. Thus in 1951, we find he used the vocals of Lata, Rafi, Geeta, Kishore, Talat, Shamshad, Surinder Kaur, Hemant Kumar, Sandhya Mukherji and a lesser known, Pramodini.
Needless to say, he was settling into his musical grooves.
However, in these half dozen musical offerings this year Ek Nazar, is less remembered. It was produced by Kuldeep Sehgal and directed by OP Dutta (father of JP Dutta) and starred Rehman with Nalini Jaywant, also, Karan Diwan, Gope and others.
All lyrics for Ek Nazar songs were written by Rajendra Krishna. Rajendra Krishna was a maverick lyricist. A sort of precursor to the style of song writing that became imminent to the Hindi film song. He could write deep philosophical songs, geets, ghazals, romantic duets, yearning in love ballads, naughty and witty interactive numbers and what not! It would not be wrong to say that he set the track that was to be successfully followed by Majrooh, Anand Bakshi and Gulzar in later years.
Significantly, if one gives a close look at the songs, we find they were a precursor to Dada’s hits that would follow later, styles that would evolve and set precedents and experiments that would become the hallmark of the singers. Let’s look at some of the 9 songs in Ek Nazar.
Dard laage pyara pyara pehle pehle pyar ka
Filmed on Nalini Jayawant on screen the song starts with different mood music till the first line by Lata takes over. With chirpy Punjabi tune, dholaki with the spoon-hit beat and tappa style of composing; it sounds as if Dada was trying out his hand at a territory so far established by music directors such as Shyam Sunder, Vinod and Husnlal Bhagatram. Even the orchestration in interlude sounds such. One can only wonder, if SDB was trying to prove that he could compose this variety too, or was it the producer pressure, but the song remains a delight for the listeners.
Bas chupke hi chupke se pyar ho gaya
Geeta Roy was firmly in Dada’s recording scheme since Do Bhai in 1947. He had then tuned for Geeta in films like Shabnam, Mashal, Kamal and Pyar. She was a tested Dada regular, so to say. He was now contemplating a new voice modulation for Geeta, that of a club dance singer or one who sings a naughty, chirpy, titillating song. We usually believe that this happened with Tadbeer se bigadi hui taqdeer bana le or Suno gazar kya gaaye in Baazi. But in reality, Dada had already recorded two songs in such a mood with Geeta a couple of months earlier than Baazi for Ek Nazar, as the record numbers and film release dates suggest.
Bas chupke hi chupke se pyar ho gaya, was one such song, filmed as a club song on Kuldip Kaur, also with shades of Punjabi tappa style:
The other Geeta solo is the peppy:
Ik Alhad ballad chhori,
ik pagal pagal chhora
dekho karte hain pyar dono apas mein.
Mujhe preet nagariya jaana hai,
koi hai jo rasta dikhla de
Full of naughtiness and wit more in style as what was to come from Dada in future, this Rafi-Lata duet from the film is yet another early remarkable number in Dada style. He was always trying to experiment with the format within the format.
The duet, Mujhe preet nagariya jana hai, koi hai jo rasta dikhla de, starts with Lata’s mukhda, and then the refrain asking again, koi hai? To which Rafi responds, ooo preet nagariya ke rahi and pauses. We expect him to carry on as a part of mukhda but no! After the pause, we have the interlude music set prior to the antara, we now realise that one Rafi line was part of antara but added immediately to mukhda for that special effect. It is then repeated and carried on with the antara. Even though some long shots lose the picturisation flow yet let us listen to the song than see and enjoy it. And don’t miss the Rafi humming in the second antara, it is beautiful.
Dil kisi ki yaad mein barbaad hai
We have four Lata solos in all. We heard the one at the beginning of this write up. Jaa dekh liya tera pyar o sajna, and, Jaane wale dekho humein bhool na jana, are situational and pleasant, but the one that stood out and gained popularity was Dil kisi ki yaad mein barbaad hai. Not much of a visual and in later date the song got lost in the crowd of other Lata with Burman hit songs. Yet one of those early sweet Lata songs, lets’ listen to it:
There was a Talat solo too, Yeh ansu khushi ke ansu hain. But I would jump straight to the Kishore song filmed on Gope with Karan Dewan to support. It is an outright delight.
Naye zamane ki mohabbat nirali
Dada was using Kishore right from his first film in Bombay in 1946, Shikari. In the song, Rangila re, jawani mein sata ke kahan chala, there are the voices of Paro, Arun Kumar and Kishore Kumar. In Aath Din (also 1946) Kishore sang Banka sipahiya ghar jaye ho. Dada used Kishore as the only voice for Raj Kapoor in five songs in Pyar (1950) and for Premnath in Naujawan (also 1951). He showed early confidence in Kishore’s vocal quality.
The Ek Nazar song is one such solo with so much harkat in it that cannot be imagined in any other voice than that of Kishore. Chitalkar was enacting some of this in his songs that he sang for Gope and Yakub, but Kishore established his trademark and superiority in this first chance that he got under Dada’s baton. This was the Kishore to unfold in years to come all through. Taking unexpected twists and turns, emoting and ad-lip, enact vocally, stammer in between and express through voice, Kishore does it all. Remember, the film was released in January, 1951 and songs recorded by October/November 1950. This was a few months prior to Kishore doing his famous number on Dev in Baazi, Mere labon pe dekho aaj bhi tarane hain.
In the Bengali language version of Mashaal, called Samar in 1950, Dada had given a unique masti number to Kishore, Sundari go sundari (later adapted by RD in 1981 as Manchali re manchali kaun si hai ye gali). All these years, even though Dada was working with other male voices, Manna, Mukesh, Rafi and Talat but his trust in Kishore was unequal.
So, here is the song – Naye zamane ki mohabbat nirali batein hazaron dil khali. Do note his line: Pet bhare na bhare pyar karenge, ankhon ke andhe anken char karenge.
Of course, Dada had bigger hits from Baazi or Naujawan, Buzdil or Sazaa this year but the point here is to study Dada’s composing style and relate to the year and his early confidence that paved way for many musical wonders to follow.
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