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Music Album Details
♪ Music by: R.D. Burman
♪ Lyrics by: Hasrat Jaipuri
♪ Music Label: Saregama
Buy the album: iTunes
The next edition in the ‘Immortal Gems by Pancham’ series brings us to Bhoot Bungla, an album that is remembered as Pancham’s first ‘hit’ album. Before writing this article, Miraya and I both, only knew about ‘Aao Twist Karein’, so it was interesting to find out what other songs Pancham’s first hit album constituted of. Now, the film was a horror comedy, and as we know, even today, horror comedies have less scope for music. Mehmood, impressed with R.D.’s work in “Chhote Nawab” (we can definitely see why), decided to rope him in even for this film, and what’s more, the film was Pancham’s first (and only) collaboration with lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, who was known as a lyricist who wrote deep shaayari-esque lyrics! Certainly, an odd combination, but we are stoked to see what Pancham had to offer! Another interesting fact is that Pancham was offered a small acting cameo in the film too!
Aao Twist Karein is undoubtedly the most popular song from ‘Bhoot Bungla’ even today. And rightfully so — it is a very peppy and upbeat number, perfect for onstage performances. The first time the legendary Manna Dey worked with Pancham, and Pancham made him sing a song that was entirely opposite to his usual songs in those days! The song was a party number, not a solemn semiclassical number as Manna Dey was known to sing. The hookline of the song itself has been lifted from Chubby Checker’s “Let’s Twist Again”, but Pancham has given it some proper Bollywoodisations, and has built a lot based on that base. The drums, guitars and brass instruments, as well as the backing chorus, all help make the song sound aptly Western; I’m guessing the composer was trying to bring a bit of a Western touch into the album with this song. The song also features some crazy audience interaction bits where Mehmood talks to the audience and even gets responses from them. (Achieving what ‘Karz’ did much before ‘Karz’ released!) Hasrat Jaipuri too, known to write very meaningful and poetic lyrics, had tried his chance at writing a party anthem — “Parwaano, dilwaalo, aa aao, masti ki saazon pe gaa gaao!” The party becomes more lively towards the end, when Pancham cranks up the beat on the drums, and a nice trumpet+woodwinds combination brings the song to its end. All in all, this is a situational number that is better watched than just heard.
The next song O Mere Pyaar Aaja begins with just Lata ji’s vocals and the majority of the song is dominated with just that along with the sound of Tablas and dholaks. R.D. uses very little instruments in this one, but one is mesmerised by the calming use of the occasional strings, and wind instruments. The melody is a gorgeous one, simple and elegant, and he allows it to remain such with just the tabla, the piano, the strings and the wonderfully sharp vocals by Lata di making up most of it. The way she sings “Paaun na chain haaye” with small nuances every time, perfectly coveys the longing in the song which Tanuja too, aptly enacts. The lyrics are simple and make it very easy to connect, thank Hasrat Jaipuri for moulding his lyrics according to the film’s requirements. The song has two antaras, but still short and crisp. And although this song is a quintessential longing song, still the melody is pleasant and not overly sad or drawn out. Overall, the song is a splendid listen, quintessential Bollywood golden era romance.
Following ‘Aao Twist Karein’, Pyaar Karta Ja happens to be Manna Dey’s second song for R.D. Burman. This song is one of the best songs of the album and one of our personal favourites. This song begins with his deep voice calling out “hey, hey… ho ho…” and then a brass instrument pretty much mimics that tune in a haunting way, followed by the flute and then one instrument after the other keeps getting added till the whole melody explodes in a flourish of orchestral grandeur – in a quintessential R.D. Burman way… This is hands-down the best prelude that we have witnessed thus far in this series! He uses the claps and the vocals to create melody and the classic echo effect is brought about not by machines like today, but by the vocalist singing a few steps away from the mike. The first few lines befit a horror movie more, before the tune becomes peppier and more romantic. The smorgasbord of instruments (there’s the classic dholaks, strings, bongo drums, flutes and guitars but also the more unimaginable instruments such as the glass tinkling, the resso-resso, the accordion and the mandolin-like one in the interludes) used in this song kind of blows your mind away. But, to top that, there’s also the characerstic “uh-huh-uh-huh” of Burman which creates a vocal instrument as if the available weren’t enough, but it all comes together quite fascinatingly and doesn’t sound like a mishmash of odd sounds, in the process creating a melody that is amazing. The use of chorus somewhat anticipates how R.D. Burman is going to use the chorus in ‘Main Inpe Marta Hoon’ a year later in ‘Teesri Manzil’. In the antaras, the song gets philosophical courtesy lyricist Hasrat saab — “Chhota bada, ab jo bhi ho, apne liye sabhi ek hai, yeh kya dharam hai!” The hook lyrics are wonderful — “Pyaar karta jaa, dil kehta hai, kaanton mein bhi gul khila!” Such positivity is highly lacking in today’s music. Manna Dey does an amazing job delivering the upbeat number, and it is a delight to listen to his little variations throughout the song, they are refreshing, but grounded and composed, at the same time.
The Bhoot Bungla theme (Main Bhookha) starts off sounding (intentionally) comical, with a very Bengali accented “Bhoooooot bongola” followed by Pancham creating his sinister tunes with the help of brass instruments, piano, and sound effects of laughing. A kind of mystery ‘Pink Panther’-esque rhythm starts around the middle of the song, where the actual lyrics start (and end right away). The song is the first song R.D. Burman lent his vocals to, and he is supported by Mehmood and Suresh, probably in the backing vocals. Well, one can’t expect much more creativity than this for the theme song of a horror comedy film.
The first of the Kishore-Pancham era, Jaago Sonewaalo begins with a flamenco prelude followed by Kishore Kumar’s high-pitched voice and his characteristic yodelling. The music is characteristically scary with violins giving you an eerie feel and a simple rhythm on the bongos and resso-resso. Pancham ably supports it with flutes and Spanish guitars in the interludes. The music is very characteristic of many Kishore Kumar songs composed by Pancham, and now we know where it all started! It’s a warning to the people from the protagonist, to learn from what he has gone through and not make the same mistakes as him. The antaras are sung in a lower pitch and the music changes before the antara making it more sinister and ominous, and like most R.D. Burman songs, this is the real medium conveying the darker mood of the song. The entire song is a warning and a plea to the people to really understand what is going on. With words like, “Hansne lage, duniyaa ke log, koi huaa barbaad” and “Yeh unch neech duniyaa ke beech, aakhir yeh kyun bolo koi / jo hai bhala, woh kyun bura, hum toh na samjhe yeh raaz!” we know what Hasrat Jaipuri saab is warning us against. If the social commentary in ‘Pyaar Karta Ja’ motivates you, the social commentary in this song sends chills down your spine, and is probably the only song in this horror movie that actually talks about the horrors in the world, though metaphorically. The thing that really gives the listener the chills though, is the “ta ra re ra ra re ru” which is in contrast to the dark theme, almost like the vocals are mocking him (which is quite a theatrical device to be used here) while he says to wake up and realise what’s most important. The third stanza is more painful with him questioning “insaaniyat kahaan hain?” and really, the music beautifully rises in a crescendo-like manner churning all sorts of emotions in you, like fear and pain and guilt and hope, which is what the aim is, before it drops and only the vocals of Kishore da are audible, softer here, more imploring as they say – “jaago sone walo…” until it reaches the end. The whole song, with the music and lyrics and the voice is pretty much impeccable in nailing the narrative. Yes, it has us convinced – and awakened to it – by the end of the song.
Another song from ‘Bhoot Bungla’ that hinges on audience interaction, and catering to the young audience, Ek Sawaal Hai is a fun and peppy number that ends the album off as Kishore Kumar sings his second song for the composer. The tune is classic Pancham — you can hear the jazzy groove and rhythms from ‘O Haseena Zulfonwali’ and ‘Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Tera’ in this song — and the camaraderie between the guitars and drums most prominent. Kishore da obviously delivers the song with utmost performance skills. The way he modulates his voice to different styles, the way he creates tabla rhythms with his mouth after singing “Tabley ki thaap ho“, the way he laughs musically, the way he talks to the children throughout the song — this song has it all to be played to any child who would have been afraid and not just of ghosts, but the ingenious Jaipuri saab makes sure the song is universal — “Duniya ki raahon mein, darte ho kyun bhala?” The song is not just about driving the fear of ghosts away, but the fear of everything in the whole world! Close on the heels of the previous song with its social commentary, Hasrat saab writes “Roohein hawa ke jhonke, hamare dil ke sunehre dhokhe, insaan se badhkar koi na zaalim!” Pancham’s tune is aptly upbeat, making the song palatable to young ones too, the target audience. I wonder why this song isn’t as popular as ‘Aao Twist Karein’. Maybe that one was the ‘instant hit’.
All in all, the album that started off quite mildly, and initially had us wondering whether there would be anything to learn from it, actually ended up having quite some enjoyable numbers. With the amazing orchestration Pancham has done in ‘Pyaar Karta Ja’, we now learn how he was able to do the ‘Teesri Manzil’ songs so brilliantly, and with the promise of melody he shows in ‘O Mere Pyaar’ and ‘Jaago Sonewaalo’, we can understand that his melodies were quite strong even in a horror comedy film. The album was his first commercial success, and we can see why. Also, unlike ‘Chhote Nawab’, the album has no hangover from S.D. Burman’s or Shankar-Jaikishan’s works – it sounds like a true-blue Pancham musical – his niche has been carved and we cannot wait to see how he develops it further!
Miraya’s favourite from the album: Pyaar Karta Ja
Music Mastani’s favourite: Pyaar Karta Ja
Please let us know which song from Bhoot Bungla is your favourite? 😊