|ARTS TRIBUNE||Friday, April 12, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
In hope of
another National Award
passion a silken voice
forgotten music of India
dignity of death
of another National Award
Vijay Tandon had tried his hand at script writing and in the first attempt itself he came up with "Kachehri", the National Award winner in the regional film category. After limiting himself to Punjabi films and tele-serials, this Chandigarh-based actor and writer has come up with a Hindi script called "Sarhad Paar" that has caught the attention of many producers and directors in Bollywood. So it was another dream come true for this talented writer when his story was converted into an emotion-packed drama under the direction of Raman Kumar of "Tara" serial fame.
After 15 days of shooting the film in various locales in Mumbai, Vijay Tandon is ecstatic about the way his story has been unfolding under expert hands. "Though I had done thorough research on the subject before writing, it was thrilling to see my own creation coming to life through artistes like Sanjay Dutt, Tabu , Mahima Chaudhary and Chandrachur Singh.
"The story has an international appeal and with a talented director like Raman Kumar to guide the team, I am expecting another National Award," said Vijay Tandon who is just back from Mumbai.
The story based on the trauma of a prisoner of war and his family members was narrated to Raman Kumar when he was in Chandigarh a couple of months ago. The sensitive storyline ignited an interest in the director who has been absent from the film scenario for more than a decade now. This film will give him an opportunity to come back to his first love after a long successful innings on television. The film is being produced by Harish Thawani and Akash Khurana. Cinematography is by Manmohan Singh and music by Anand Raj Anand.
The film will feature Sanjay Dutt as a sardar with a turban. "Sanjay Dutt had only 15 minutes to listen to the script but he liked it so much that he said yes immediately after hearing it," said Tandon. So did Tabu and the others.
How does it feel to step out of the regional boundary into the national scenario ? "The difference is amazing," said Tandon. "It’s like coming out of a village and finding oneself in a big city," he explained. With the kind of budget we work here, it is unthinkable for us to imagine the amount they (the producers in Bollywood) spend to make their stars comfortable," he added. The next phase of the shooting will take place in Ropar in about a month’s time.
Tandon has also written another script for a tele serial, "To Sir With Love," for Lekh Tandon and is also all set to work on his next Hindi script. The story for his next movie revolves around another sensitive issue like religion and harmony.
With so many scripts on hand where does it leave him as an actor? "The Punjabi film world is almost extinct and the TV industry is also in a bad shape. So, instead of wasting my time here I would like to write for the Bollywood industry," he said.
a silken voice
Gifted with a silken voice and superb in style, Jasvinder Singh has made a mark for himself in the field of ghazal rendition in a short span of time with ‘Truly Yours’ — his first solo album. He is back to woo connoisseurs of ghazals with ‘Dilkash’ — his second collaboration with Tips.
Son of music director Kuldip Singh of ‘Saath Saath’ and ‘Ankush’ fame, he has learnt music under the watchful eyes and strict guidance of his father. Having received training in classical vocal music from Pt Ajay Pohankar, the talented singer is nowadays sharpening his skills under the tutelage of Dr Sushila Pohankar.
After years of hard work and practice, he has developed considerable command over the finer nuances of the art of ghazal, adding to the depth of his style. The budding artiste has also received a lot of encouragement from ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, who has been a source of inspiration for the youngster.
Jasvinder’s love for music reflects the seriousness which is fast getting lost in the cacophony of remix music albums. Singing ghazals has given him a distinct identity and separates him from the dozens of so-called new-age singers who churn out half-baked albums at breakneck speed.
Winner of the best singer award in the popular music contest ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ on Zee TV, he has sung for the much-acclaimed film ‘Train to Pakistan’. He has also sung for tele-serials like ‘Amanat’, ‘Naya Nukkad’, ‘Discovery of India’, ‘Ittefaq’, ‘Raja Ka Baaja’, ‘Papa’, ‘Rang Shaala’, ‘Kacchi Kandh’, ‘Sarhad’ and ‘Pani Vich Parchhawaan’.
He has done full justice to works of great poets like Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Momin, Daag, Jigar Muradabadi, Nida Fazli, Naqsh Lyallpuri and Bashir Badr at various concerts. He has performed all over West Asia and Europe.
Though a new entrant to the field which does not find many takers, the confident singer has established himself with his style of singing. He has also proved his mettle at playing musical instruments like the piano, violin and tabla, having received professional training from Melbourne Halloween.
Jasvinder’s second album has 10 soul-stirring ghazals which have been penned by well-known poets. The melodious music has been composed by Kuldip Singh. The only video for the album has been directed by Shurobhi and features Sharbani Mukerjee and Gaurav.
MUSIC FOR SOUL (Music Today): The soul’s inward journey can be a mystifying and stirring experience. One way to undertake is through music. This album provides haunting melodies to help in the task.
Grammy Award winner Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s Mohan Veena has fused soulfully with other instruments like the santoor, the violin and the Spanish guitar. Melodious alaaps of Sadhana Sargam waft on the wings of the flute, harp, the saxophone and the tabla.
These eight tracks are based on ragas such as Kaifi, Jog, Kirwani, Yaman, Hamsadhwani and Bageshree.
FAIZ BY ABIDA (Times Music): Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984) is widely recognised by many as the greatest Urdu poet since Iqbal while Abida Parveen has emerged as one of the most prominent contemporary exponents of the great ghazal genre to claim the legacy of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. This combination of vocal and poetic genius is unrivalled fusion of sensitivity and spirituality.
The album comprises six immortal ghazals of Faiz. These are Gul huyi jaati hain …, Hamne sab sheher mein …, Who jiski deed mein …, Yeh jafaa-e-gham ka chara …, Nahin nigah mein manzil … and Shaam-e-Firaq…. What emerges is indeed a "celebration of life, a throbbing testimony to beauty.
Having said that, one must add that Abida is at her best not while singing ghazals but while rendering Sufiana poetry. Her full-throated voice is reined in by ghazals. In the latter genre only music aficionados can fully appreciate her talent while in the former she can touch the heart of even the lay listener.
SOCH (Universal): An album of immense variety and potential from Jatin Lalit. The composer duo has presented only five songs (one of them is in two versions) each of which boasts of sterling quality.
Folk music always yields remarkable results when properly blended with orchestration. Here the magic is woven in Tohe leke Savaria … in the voice of Sonu Nigam and Richa Sharma. The song has the verve and panache which should make it a major hit.
Asha Bhosle sings only one song, Dil dhoonde … with Kay Kay and leaves as solid an impression as she used to 30 years ago.
Yaadein bani parchaiyan ... sung by Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu is in two versions, both of which are brilliant. This song arguably has the best lyrics in the album (Sameer).
music of India
The Dhrupad Institute in Bhopal, the first of its kind in India running under the guidance of the Gundecha Brothers — Umakant and Ramakant — aspires to preserve and promote this unique and sublime musical form through "gurukul method".
"In the institute we groom the students as accomplished performers. We take approximately 10 students in a year and they receive a four-year scholarship, including lodging", says Ramakant Gundecha.
Dhrupad comes from the words "Dhruba" (eternal) and "Pada" (hymn) and is meant to express the eternal glory of the Divine. Dagar says it has four important "wanis" or schools, Dagarwani, Nauharwani, Gauharwani and Khandarwani, of which Dagarwani is the oldest and the most well-known.
Wasifuddin Dagar, son of the legendary Ustad Faiyazuddin Dagar, is the unbroken 20th generation of the famous Dagarwani lineage.
"The rendition of Dhrupad is affected by the likes and dislikes of the artiste. According to the mood, the singer tries to describe every raga in different perspective", Dagar, the Dhrupad maestro, says.
The "Badshah of Dhrupad", taking a dig at the critics’ view that the musical form is far too rigid, says they feel it that way because its technique refuses to deviate and accommodate.
Gundecha says apart from imparting training in the vocal form of Dhrupad, the students will be provided with extensive training in string instruments like Rudra Veena and Surbahar and percussion like Pakhwaj. The institute which now runs at the residence of the Gundechas aims at establishing a separate building in the near future. PTI
Devinder Bir Kaur’s portrayal of Anand Bakshi (April 5), was a fitting tribute to an illustrious artiste like him. More so for most of the other national dailies failed to give due space to this eminent lyricist at the time of his death.
Poets and lyricists are extremely sensitive people who probe the unfathomable depth of human emotions. As far as Anand Bakshi was concerned, he brought out the feelings of our hearts with great dexterity. His lyrics were often simple but extremely true and powerful. Who can ever forget his profound and moving numbers like: Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaatein hain jo mukam..., Mere diwanepan ki bhi dawa nahin..., Yeh jeevan hai..., Ek ajnabee haseena se..., Phoolon ka taaron ka ..., Mere naina sawan bhadon..., Tum besahara ho to... and the list is endless. The distinct moods of all these songs only indicate how versatile his personality must have been.
Although artistes like Anand Bakshi were made redundant with the end of quality cinema, their deaths bleakly remind us that they are physically no more. So many years have passed since the musical giants of the Indian cinema like S.D. Burman, his son R.D. Burman, Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi and others have left us but not a day passes when television or radio fail to air their compositions. Their souls in the form of their compositions shall continue to haunt human civilisation till its last day.
Running commentaries are amongst the weakest aspects of Indian radio and TV. Gone are the days of stalwarts like Melville de Mellow of AIR, who covered the Mahatma’s funeral non-stop for several hours. Others, like Kamleshwar, are seldom heard these days, and Komal G.B. Singhs are hard to come by.
Our commentators are always superficial and self-conscious but at their worst when covering patriotic functions like Independence Day, Republic Day or Beating the Retreat. They can barely recognise the faces of VVIPs; they know very little about protocol, defence and other details, and the "koi-hai" experts from the services simply do not know the style of speaking required, particularly the use of silence when viewers can see things for themselves. I have heard commentators talking non-stop when the national anthem is being played or other brief periods when complete silence is observed by all, for instance the two minutes’ silence at India Gate, the memorial to The Unknown Soldier.
Mostly totally lacking in descriptive power or proper use of communicable language, our Hindi commentators in particular go off into long, written and well-known descriptions in "shudh" Hindi of the freedom struggle, laced with patriotic platitudes, when perhaps our most modern missile is rolling down the Rajpath or a dignitary is caught on camera in an unusual moment.
My most horrific moment on DD was during the funeral of the late President Giani Zail Singh. One of DD’s favourite commentators from the defence services, who pops up on every occasion in bombastic English, made one of the most unforgivable clangers of all time. As the national flag was being taken reverentially off the late President’s bier, prior to cremation, our great commentator, instead of keeping solemn silence like everyone else there, commented: "Gianiji was one of those people who never said die". At first I thought this was some form of black humour, totally unsuitable for such a moment. Then I realised the great commentator was paying a compliment. Any professional organisation would have sacked him immediately. But needless to say, he soldiers on.
I firmly believe that the best running commentators in the English language are the British who know the value of restraint, and the best channel for this is the BBC. The great Christine Amanpour is very successful in her known territories, but she made several clangers in Kolkata during the funeral of Mother Teresa, saying among other things in a very patronising voice, that she had not known there were any Christians in India and presumably that they observed the same rituals as the Western world. She probably does not know that Christ was from the Middle East, from the Arab world, to be precise, and those paintings of him with blue eyes and blonde hair are a Western myth. I tried once or twice to hear Amanpour on the funeral of England’s Queen Mother on CNN, but switched off as she kept on jabbering away when David Dimbleby on the BBC, true son of his father Richard Dimbleby, one of the great commentators of all time, had just observed something like half an hour’s silence as the funeral service took place inside Wesminster Abbey.
The British also excel at pageantry and public ritual, we still have traces of it in India, when our proud defence forces carry out ceremonies like Beating the Retreat with great precision, true dignity and grandeur. The funeral of the British Queen Mother was a role model of how to cover such events. First-rate camerawork from every possible position, Dimbleby and the British author and poet assisting him only coming in occasionally to identify a dignitary, explain a ritual, interview briefly a long associate or a common citizen about what the Queen Mother meant to them, the cameras catching every dramatic moment with the mourners, the gun carriage, the beautiful black horses, the quiet vigil by her grandchildren, the disciplined crowds who never misbehaved or quarrelled or pushed after queuing all night, the simple tributes without flourishes inside Westminster Abbey by the archbishop and others. The solemnity as well as the emotions of the occasion were conveyed with economy of words and a wealth of visuals.
Our Doordarshan and other commentators
who cover state functions should compulsorily view this entire function
on tape, to learn how to do it. Alas, there seems no one in India
competent to train them, the Pune and private TV institutes springing up
like mushrooms in city suburbs and with astronomical fees, not having
made an iota of difference to our running commentaries on the many TV
channels in India. It is time they made a start.