Song Packaging In The Hindi Film Industry – Part I

December 28, 2009

The idea to write this post came to me yesterday on a flight from Hyderabad to Delhi, while I was browsing songs through my iPod. Usually, the hallmark of a great song is one where you lose yourself completely in the song.

I am an avid movie watcher and most often when I listen to certain songs, it brings back vivid pictures of the actors from that song and the emotions they went through. While the interwoven lyrics and melodies are the larger reason why songs work or don’t work, there is yet another critical aspect of these songs that determines how popular the song becomes, which is the picturization and the production values.

As a result, I decided to write and share with the readers of this blog post, songs that are not only melodious in nature, but have brilliant picturizations with regard to the plot of the film, as well as with regard to production values and overall ‘feel’ of the song. Hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I do writing.

Aaj Kal Paon Zameen Par – Ghar (1978); Singer: Lata Mangeshkar; Music: RD Burman; Lyrics: Gulzar; Director: Manik Chatterjee; Starring: Rekha, Vinod Mehra

This is a song that has haunted me ever since I’ve heard this song. The visuals of this song further strengthen the impact of the song. To me, it is one of the few romantic songs that strikes a chord, where the synchronization and mood of the song match the picturization as well. Natural acting and excellent cinematography makes it one of my most-loved songs. Simplicity is one attribute that stands out in this song. Incidentally, this is also one of RD Burman’s favourite compositions as suggested during an interview in the 80s. This song was very close to his heart as well.

Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye – Anand (1971); Singer: Mukesh; Music: Salil Chowdhury; Lyrics: Yogesh; Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee; Starring: Rajesh Khanna

Few songs touch the cord and describe the true meaning of life as this one does. The thoughts of a dying man, who’s living each day painfully at a time come to the fore through the words of the song. A beautiful melody and very few people (if anyone else at all) could showcase a man standing in his balcony wondering about when death will come to him.

Incidentally, there’s an extra paragraph in this video clip that doesn’t exist on the cassette/CD of this movie. Watch this clip just for that paragraph.

Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli – Anand (1971); Singer: Manna Dey; Music: Salil Chowdhury; Lyrics: Yogesh; Director: Hrishikesh Mukherjee; Actor: Rajesh Khanna

By now, it must be evident how powerful a screen-presence Rajesh Khanna demanded. Only Hrishikesh Mukherjee could pull off a song where they show nothing but a man walking down the beach with a few helium baloons in his hand throughout the song and not make it boring at all.

Roop Tera Mastana – Aradhana (1969); Singer: Kishore Kumar; Music: SD Burman; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Director: Shakti Samanta; Actors: Rajesh Khanna; Sharmila Tagore

Very few people know that this entire song has been completed in a single shot without any breaks. This was not intentional, but just speaks about the intensity and dedication of the actors to their work. One of the best seduction songs ever produced.

Aasma Odh Kar – 13B (2009); Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Chitra; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Neelesh Misra; Director: Vikram K Kumar; Actors: Madhavan, Neetu Chandra

The reason why this song makes this list is because it is perhaps one of the few songs that has been shot in slow motion for the major part of the song. Further, keeping with the theme of the movie, the melody has a haunting feel to it.

Kitni Baatein – Lakshya (2004); Singers: Hariharan, Alka Yagnik; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Farhan Akhtar; Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta

If there’s one song where the acting emotes more than the song, it’s this one. The silence between the two actors says a thousand words between them. Simply (and without saying too much), brilliant!

Ye Hawaayein – Luck By Chance (2009); Singers: Amit Paul, Mahalaxmi Iyer; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Zoya Akhtar; Starring: Farhan Akhtar, Isha Sharvani

A wonderfully shot song, which was not easy to shoot, especially with two unknown actors trying to re-create romance the way traditionally, good-looking couples do on-screen. However, having said that, this is one song that has been picturized with an aim to please and has the ‘feel good’ factor going for it.

Main Agar Kahoon – Om Shanti Om (2007); Singer: Sonu Nigam; Music: Vishal Shekhar; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Farah Khan; Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone

This is one song that has been picturised in a dream-like sequence, creating different themes to suit the mood of the song. A very-well choreographed song and perhaps one of the best romantic numbers in recent times. This is also an insight into how, if certain directors want, can create romantic musicals that can still do wonders for the dying art of creating melody.

Dil Dooba – Khakee (2004); Singers: Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal; Music: Ram Sampat; Lyrics: Sameer; Director: Rajkumar Santoshi; Starring: Aishwarya Rai, Akshay Kumar

Not a great/catchy song at all, but the way it’s been shot in sepia (?) is very interesting and makes it a treat to watch.

Chori Chori Jab Nazrein Mili – Kareeb (1998); Singers: Kumar Sanu, Sanjeevani; Music: Anu Malik; Lyrics: Rahat Indori; Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra; Starring: Bobby Deol, Neha

I am sure that when you read the name of the song and saw the names of the artistes who were involved in making this song, you would have wondered what this song was doing here. However, there’s something about this song and the way it’s been filmed (incidentally, this is the last film that VVC has directed yet), that mesmerizes you. These folks took romance to an entirely new level – twilight, river with ‘diyas’ floating all around, wet actors, waltzing to the song, extra long ‘dupattas’…. It’s unconventional and that’s what makes it different.

Tumhi Dekho Na – Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006); Singers: Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik; Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy; Lyrics: Javed Akhtar; Director: Karan Johar; Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee

Of all the songs that have been featured in Karan Johar’s movies, this one stands out as the best. One that contains imagination, emotion, and all the ingredients of making it a song that one relishes audibly as well as visually. Great use of pastel shades and colors. Amongst my personal favourites as well. When lovers meet…this is what happens.

I’ll be back soon with subsequent parts to this thread.

Thanks for watching/reading.