The week that started on December 20 is a very significant week for a lot of people all over the world – especially if they’re Christians – but that’s not something I am going to get into here. The reason I want to get into this particular week here is that it is a week when several true greats in Hindi cinema either were born or died. I do not know if there is even a comparable other week when it comes to birth and death anniversaries – especially when it comes to greats in music (which is what this post will be mostly about). I do know, though, that it is a week to commemorate several of my own absolute favorites. My blog posts over the past seven-plus years have frequently covered or included all of these artists, and I hope that people will visit the most pertinent, which included some of their best or most well-known songs. For this post, though, I decided to include numbers that are less likely to appear on people’s greatest hits list – but which I am very fond of nonetheless.
Nalini Jaywant died on December 20. She died during the lifetime of this blog, in 2010, and there has been quite a bit of reminiscing about her here. My most recent post about her covered her oldest movie, Sister, which is also represented sometimes in my image header. The first Nalini Jaywant film that I pointed to here was probably Kala Pani (1958), which was reportedly her last hit. That film contained some wonderful mujras, which I have also posted about before. Today, though, I have the songs from Nastik stuck in my mind. (This may be because of the new crop of posts put on YouTube the other day by Tommydan.) One song that is particularly grabbing my attention right now is the wonderful song about the boat in stormy waters. Nalini is so marvelously dramatic in this! Of course, it helps that there is great music, too, thanks to C. Ramchandra, Hemant Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar.
Speaking of marvelous music, everyone else who has a birth or death anniversary this week had a direct role in the creation of great music. December 22 is the anniversary of the death of Vasant Desai. I have probably written a lot of posts that included his music, because he composed for so many films by V. Shantaram. His greatest and best-known work is probably Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje. But his most unusual work is probably Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani.
Alas, Noor Jehan died on December 23, 2000. Maybe I have not written enough about her on this blog (just kidding). Unfortunately, I may have neglected a couple of her greatest soundtracks to some extent because there is no film video available for them. Actually, I have given some attention to Dost (1944), but I am more guilty of neglecting Gulnar (1953). And the songs in Ghulam Haider’s soundtrack to Gulnar sound even sweeter to me than the ones in Khandan. Here I’d like to include “Sakhi Re Nahen Aye.” The audio is not perfect, but still, the sound of her voice in this song is enough to melt anyone’s heart.
Speaking of great singers, where does one start with Mohammed Rafi? He was born on December 24, 1924 (a date that’s pretty easy to remember)… I have posted some of his well-known songs before, and there are many more that are quite well known. I wonder, though, if a lot of people missed this next selection, because it was simply left out of many prints of Mera Naam Joker. But it is very impressive, indeed.
And, of course, December 25 is the birth anniversary of Naushad. So, I’d like to include this beautiful song from Uran Khatola. I probably have included this song in this blog before and I’ve posted it a few times on Facebook, but maybe it isn’t on most people’s list of Naushad’s best-remembered greats(?). It should be, as should the whole soundtrack to this film. (And by the way, as you can see, one great singer whom we are not celebrating this week who actually gets represented more than anyone else here is Lata Mangeshkar. And she’s still alive, too! Well, that’s the way it goes – almost can’t be avoided. Though I did almost end the list with Suraiya…)