Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Suraiya...

There was a time when I hated all songs sung by anybody else,other than Lata. and Asha...that was when I was in school....slowly I discovered vintage singers...Suraiya ,Noor Jehan,Mubarak begum, Suman Kalyanpur (Though  Suman does not really qualify as  old or vintage...in fact with a sharp and velvety voice, similar to Lata ) and Geeta Dutt. Sadly, nobody listens to their song anymore, not the next generation ...not even my generation.

Today's post is about a few Suraiya songs...beautiful and lost in sands of time....

Suraiya ( Suraiya Jamal Hussain) was born in Gujranwala in present day Pakistan.She started acting at the young age of 13. That was an era (1930s) where actors had to sing their own songs. Thus,Suraiya developed into a actor- singer...and finally a star.She gave many hits including the musical Mirza Ghalib with Bharat Bhushan ( which is a great topic in itself...that's why just a passing mention.)

My favourite Suraiya song is "Ye kaisi ajab dastan ho gayi hai " from the movie Rustam Sohrab.Now  music director for this movie was none other than Sajjad ( Who considered that only Lata can sing , all others it's just a crying cacophony. " sirf Lata gati hai , baki sab roti hai") Suraiya was given one song ( all the songs of this movie are remarkable- one by each Talat,Lata,Asha,Suraiya,Rafi ).



This beautiful song is picturised on Suraiya and Prithviraj Kapoor - apparently last ever solo by Suraiya-....Suraiya is wearing a veil and playing a stringed instrument ( Lyre ? Harp ? ) and singing the song for the emperor ,Rustam,played by Prithviraj kapoor.Now, the soft notes and pauses impart a divine quality to this number.When the veil comes off at a dramatic moment,the pitch of the song goes up, emphasizing the drama.All throughout the song, Suraiya says loads through her lovely,huge eyes.Beautiful lyrics of Qamar Jalalabadi are  complemented by Sajjad's music. This one remains to be my all time favorite !

Another song, much less known than this one,is a part of what I call Tandem songs ...i.e. same songs performed by both male and female singers ( This in itself is a huge and interesting topic...I will come back to it one day !)This is from a movie called Shama Parwana starring Suraiya and a moustached Shammi Kapoor." Mera dildar na milaya" is a lament of a lover... " You are not God...you are a powerless being....you couldn't unite the lovers .....  what powers are you boasting of ?....you are not God,surely !!"
It is a sad song...but the theka it has , makes it a kind of chirpy ,uplifting sad song.
Listen to it ....
मेरा दिलदार ना मिलाया
मै क्या जानू तेरी ये खुदाई 

होगा तेरे बस में जहान 
अपने तो दिल मिल ना सके ....




On the other hand, Rafi saab's version is not really a sad song , considering that he is giving a performance in front of Suraiya, the queen.

I was going to restrict myself to only two songs, but couldn't resist adding this beauty for its lyrics ( by Kaifi Azmi) .and a simple and lovely tune.( by Ghulam Mohammad )...very simple, not much orchestration those days,but utterly soothing,lovely and meaningful. " Dhadakte dil ki tamanna "from the movie Shama .