Music director Ravi is one of the underrated composers of the Golden Era. While some of his songs have achieved iconic status, and most of the remaining are hugely popular till date, he is still not considered first class composer by many. If we look at his versatility as a composer, this is a bit of injustice to him. I do think that during 1960s, his compositions were somewhat stereotyped! too typical to identify his trademark! But still he offered a wide variety.
It’s a well known fact that he was an assistant to Hemant Kumar in early 1950s and to me, Hemant da’s influence on some of his early songs is too obvious. He sung a few songs himself, but I personally am not a fan of his voice. But some of the songs penned by him are really too good and I think, this aspect of his career should also be highlighted. Let the number of songs be very less.
Today, on his 93rd birthday, I salute the ‘lyricist’ Ravi. Though it’s relatively well known that he penned a few songs, his contribution as a lyricist is generally not much talked about. One of the reasons could be that he wrote majority of his songs for his own movies. During Golden Era, the number of songs written by him would be approximately 30+. He used to pen just a couple of songs a movie in the Golden Era, in contrast he was the sole lyricist for his Hindi movies of 1980s.
His debut film, Vachan (1955) featured two of his own songs and luckily enough, the most popular songs from the movie. Though he wrote some really wonderful, meaningful songs, his contribution was very limited. Moreover, some of the songs penned by him were disgracefully called ‘songs of the beggars’. Indeed, his most famous ‘penned’ songs were sung by beggers on screen.
He wrote songs on a variety of emotions and covered all the aspects. His lullabies are famous so are his romantic songs. He was at home with emotional songs and dance numbers or club songs as well.
After a break for few years, Ravi tried a comeback in Hindi film industry in 80s. Though he couldn’t create the same magic with his tunes, he was a spectacular hit in Malayalam movies. He debuted in Malayalam film industry with a bang.
For his Hindi ventures in 80s, he himself penned songs for all the movies. I’ll just mention the names of the movies, none could create great impact.
Premika (1980), Saanjh Ki Bela (1981), Khamosh Nigahein (1986), Mera Suhag (1987) etc.
Still here’s a notable song from the period.
Kismat Walo Ko Milta Hai – Mera Suhag (1987)
Let’s move on to the song list, (that includes some of my favourites), penned by Ravi, in no particular order.
1. Chanda Mama Door Ke – Vachan (1955) Asha Bhosle / Music – Ravi
This is one of the two songs, he penned for his very first venture as a composer. It won’t be an exaggeration to call it one of the finest and popular lullabies of Hindi cinema. It’s still equally popular, and one of my favourites too.
Ravi knits in the song, a concept of the moon making पुए (malpuas) of sugar and serving it in a plate to himself and in a small cup to the child. The little one will travel to moon in a उडन खटोला and play hide n seek with the stars, till he wants, only to return happily to home. What a cute and sweet concept!
2. Yeh Mehfil Sitaron Ki Raat Yeh – Arab Ka Saudagar (1956) Asha Bhosle & Hemant Kumar / Music – Hemant Kumar
From a lullaby to a deeply romantic song. Woven in an unmistakably Arabic tune, it expresses the feelings of a couple on a romantic evening date. I don’t think the lyrics are outstanding, but the tune with that orchestration creates a total romantic aura.
3. Ulajh Gaye Do Naina Dekho – Ek Saal (1957) Lata Mangeshkar & Hemant Kumar / Music – Ravi
Again a beautiful and soft romantic melody. This time, all the factors are spot on! Delicately flowing melody with whisper like soft voices and subtle orchestration, just sufficient for a rhythm.
प्रीतम उलझी लट सुलझाएँ
गोरी का चंदा सा मुख शरमाए ।
प्रीत की डोरी में बंधकर दोनों
मन ही मन मुस्काए
रात रूपहली तारों की छैंय्या
सैंया के हाथों में गोरी गोरी बैंया।
लाजभरे नैनों से मन की
बात कही ना जाए।
4. Hum To Peeke Chale – Albeli (1955) Hemant Kumar / Music – Ravi
Ravi wrote majority of the songs for the movie, and did very well too, in my opinion. Ja Ja Re Chanda Teri Chandani and Muskurati Hui Chandni are well known songs from the movie. But this rarely heard and mentioned song is equally good. Though sung excellently by Ravi’s mentor Hemant Kumar, the lyrics are meaningful and apt too. It depicts a typical mentality of a sharabi, who once drunk, doesn’t care for anything. Look at the simple but fitting lyrics.
तमन्ना नहीं कोई, आरजू नही कोई
नही कोई ग़म, चाहे जिये या मरे कोई
यही हैं के बस थोड़ी कल फिर मिले।
ये माना ज़माने के काबिल नहीं हूँ मैं
नशे में हूँ लेकिन जाहिल नहीं हूँ मैं
तो फिर हमसे दुनिया क्यूँ बच के चले।
He has no aims, or dreams for the future, his only wish is to get liquor tomorrow as well.
He agrees he’s drunk and not suitable for the world, but he isn’t a fool or dangerous. He wonders why everybody avoids him.
5. Tim Tim Karte Taare – Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959) Lata Mangeshkar / Music – Ravi
Ravi will always be remembered for his lullabies from his movie. This one’s as memorable and popular as the one from Vachan.
The song’s again woven around the concept of moon as the king of Kingdom of dreams. He attracts the little ones by playing a melody on harmonium. The fairies in the dream world enchant the kids with their tales and enjoy swings with them. Enough attractions for the little ones, given a chance even I’m ready to join the kids for a tour to चंदा मामा.
6. Zamana Kya Kahega Tum Agar – Non-film Song – Hemant Kumar / Music – Ravi
I accidentally came across this song, which is a non film song, written and composed by Ravi with his mentor singing it. I couldn’t get the exact year of its release or as my other non film songs by Ravi.
The heartbroken person expects her to be sympathetic. He doesn’t care for the world, but wants her support. He remembers their rendezvous and is shocked to find her forgetting everything.
But I didn’t like the opening line of the song, where he apparently cares for the world. And talks the opposite in first verse.
ज़माना क्या कहेगा तुम अगर हम को भुला दोगे
It may indirectly mean that at least for the sake of the world, they should be together. As if he cares more for his image in general public, and fears being defamed. It feels ironic when he says……
नहीं कुछ ग़म हमें इस का कहे दुनिया जो दीवाना
हमारी बेबसी को हाय तुम ने भी नहीं जाना
हमारा हाल क्या होगा जो तुम भी मुस्कुरा दोगे।
वो दरिया का किनारा वो सुहानी चाँदनी रातें
जहाँ हम तुम किया करते थे छुपकर प्यार की बातें
न सोचा था कभी हम ने के तुम ये सब भुला दोगे।
हमारे प्यार की दुनिया बनाकर यूँ मिटा दोगे
7. Yeh Shokh Sitare Karte Hai Ishare – Hamara Watan (1956) Asha Bhosle & Hemant Kumar / Music – Hemant Kumar
Hemant Kumar always supported his ex assistant whenever he could. He encouraged Ravi to start his own career separately and asked him to pen songs for some of his films. I think, as Ravi became busy composer in 1960s, his career as a lyricist took a backseat. He wrote mainly for his own films.
The couple in love spends a splendid evening, with shining moon and stars to accompany them. A date with deep romantic conversations between the couple. The tune and the lyrics, the voices are captivating.
8. Garibon Ki Suno – Dus Lakh (1966) Asha Bhosle / Music – Ravi
Asha Bhosle secured Filmfare award for best playback singer with the song. One of Ravi’s famous ‘beggar’s song’.
Manorama traduces Om Prakash about his son, who badly needs money for an operation. His daughter in law (played by Seema Dev) literally begs him for money in the song.
It’s duet version is sung by Rafi and Asha Bhosle
9. Hazar Baatein Kahe Zamana – Ghatna (1974) Lata Mangeshkar / Music – Ravi
The song is available with so many versions of singers that I’m confused. Is it a traditional mukhda from a Ghazal? All the versions have the same stanzas, so more confusion. But some sites mention it as Ravi’s song.
A very good song otherwise. She is requesting him to have faith in her and that she’s devoted to him, let whatever the world say!
10. Aye Sochta Hai Kya – Vandana (1975) Asha Bhosle / Music – Ravi
Yes, Ravi has penned all types of songs including this seductive one. Bindu trying hard to impress young Parikshit Sahni, who doesn’t give a damn. Fun to watch the song, and a surprise for my generation, who has seen Parikshit Sahni in older age and in character roles.
Ravi is spot on with his apt lyrics and no points for guessing Asha Bhosle excels with her mind blowing expressions and sensuous voice.
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