Before the ’80s, it was the era when long sittings of writing and composing songs were held that even continued till nights creating melodious, memorable gems. Remembered as the golden era of Hindi film music, those were the times when all blessed creative personalities used to sit together in a room, brainstorming over the lyrics and different compositions, leading to the final version of the songs to be recorded in the coming days. With such collective involvement of the masters of their art, cult creations got created that became immortal with the passing decades, enlightening the next generations.
There must have been thousands of stories about those musical sittings involving the stalwarts of Hindi film music right from the initial years, including the legendary actors expressing them on the screen. But since we were never into documenting such makings and interactions in that golden era of Hindi Cinema, a lot has been lost, never to be recalled again, gone with the magicians of their art in the last many decades.
Thankfully, a tradition of interviews of the veterans, seminars, workshops, videos, and publishing books on Hindi cinema has started in the new millennium reviving many such lesser-known, hidden anecdotes, never told before. However, the trend has also resulted in many fake stories getting viral through the new-age WhatsApp network, which eventually get busted with a fact-check.
The present write-up is about one of those lesser-heard stories behind the melodious song Kabhi raat din hum door thhey, din raat ka ab saath hai from the film Aamne Saamne (1967) as narrated by the music director Anandji, also known for his great sense of humour. The track has been penned by Anand Bakshi, composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, and rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi in the suspense-thriller produced and directed by Suraj Prakash. The picturisation/execution of the particular song on-screen with Sharmila Tagore has a comical anecdote associated with it, beginning with the conversation between Shashi Kapoor and Kalyanji Anandji.
Interestingly, in his peak years, Shashi Kapoor was known for working on multiple projects together, doing even three shifts in a day, for which his brother Raj Kapoor also gave him the tag of a ‘taxi’. But this was much before that instance when the actor asked the composers to give him a special melodious song for his film.
Hearing Shashi’s concerning request, the music director duo (who always had a friendly relationship with their actors and directors) replied that “Good, average or very good, how is that concerned with you and what will you do if we give you such a song?” Getting excited over the question, Shashi asked, “What do you want me to do or what should I do for that?"
“Ok, we will give you such song, but you will not raise your hand repeatedly in the track’s filming and would keep them down”, Kalyanji-Anandji kept this unexpected condition for the deal. Shashi Kapoor took the challenge thrown and agreed to do it. However, he was known for his peculiar mannerisms of moving/swaying the body and hands while even singing and delivering the dialogues apart from the usual dancing.
As promised, the beautifully written Kabhi raat din hum door thhey was shot and enacted, keeping the Kalyanji-Anandji condition in mind. Shashi Kapoor successfully managed to keep his hands down, raising it only once in the entire song. The deliberate holding of his hand movements can easily be noticed while carefully watching the song, and that’s how the masters created sheer gems, truly enjoying their work as an adorable team of immensely talented friends.
So now, when you know the back-stage story, do watch the song-video once again and enjoy the magic of a mesmerising musical creation, having all pleasantly catchy preludes and interludes, too, along with the key melody.
(The writer is a critic-columnist, an explorer of cinema and author of ‘Did You Know’ series on Hindi films also active at bobbytalkscinema.com)
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