Monday, April 16, 2007

Tribute to Kalyanji Anandji

Bollywood of yesteryear was much easier to classify in regards to it's music than it is today. The male singers short list consisted of Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh & Kishore Kumar - if you needed a female voice you called Lata Mangheshkar or her sister/rival Asha Bhonsle. Similarly the music composers carried more weight than the film directors, as hit songs could all but guarantee a strong opening for the movie. Those composers are mostly gone now but far from forgotten and their names still invoke fond memories for many a Bollywood fan - S.D. Burman, his son R.D. Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Shankar Jaikishen, Naushad, O.P. Nayyar and Kalyanji Anandji.

Kalyanji Shah & his brother Anandji Shah moved from Kutch (in Gujarat) to Bombay in the early 1950's to start a family business. A local businessman who owed their father money gave them their first musical lessons in lieu of paying his bill and the rest as they say is history. They worked with most of the musical greats of that era and were responsible for many memorable film scores (Don, Qurbani, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar & Lawaaris). It was a different time back then as evidenced by a story recalled by the surviving brother (Anandji) from the late 1970's...

"Lataji was a regular at our place for Kutchi home-cooked food, while Ashaji would frequently come over as well. Once we had a major concert lined up with Kishore Kumar in Mumbai but he suddenly took ill. Ashaji and R D Burmansaab called us up at that critical hour and without accepting any money, performed at our show all evening. Burmansaab even belted out our hits like 'Khaike Paan' from Don. Shortly after they had called, we also had got a call from Lataji offering to come sing at the same show."

R.D. Burman singing 'Khaike Paan'? Live in Bombay? Where's a time machine when you need one? Below is a picture of Lata Mangeshkar flanked by the two brothers Shah.

It was a different era back then but lest someone think that these legendary musicians are no longer relevant, one needs look no further than the resurgence that their music is enjoying today. Everyone from the hottest DJ's (who have the hipsters wearing these cool t-shirts) to the Black Eyed Peas (who credited Kalyanji/Anandji on their Grammy award winning album last year) are exposing their 1970's songs to a worldwide audience paying homage to the maestros' tracks that featured funk breakbeats, wah-wah guitars and Motown-style orchestrations. Kalyanji passed away five years ago but his brother is still doing concerts in front of packed crowds - if you live in the Atlanta area don't miss this once in a lifetime chance to see a true Bollywood legend. Click here for more info.

The two tracks from today are from one of their classic but lesser known films, Janbaaz starring Feroz Khan, Anil Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia. They both feature the telltale funk that Kalyanji Anandji are famous for without sacrificing the intricate layering of the music which gives the song it's evergreen status. The first song is 'Jaane Jaana' by Manhar & Sapna Mukherjee, the second is 'Tera Saath Hai' by Kishore Kumar & Sapna Mukherjee.


Anonymous said...

You write very well.

bollywooddeewana said...

You should check out one of their best works from the '80's, the movie 'Tridev',the songs are an amazing mix of ballads, upbeat disco and a track that samples Gloria Estefan's Rhythm's gonna get you

Sanket Vyas said...

Thanks to both of you and for turning me on to that song. I liked the original alot but to see it mixed in with Bollywood was just awesome!