9 comments on “Shehnai (1947) and a Sad Video About the River in the “Chhuk Chhuk Chhaiya Chhaiya” Scene

  1. The Poisar really does look terrible in that article from The Hindustan Times. What a shame. But that is something that’s happening not just to India’s forests and other natural heritage, but to its built heritage as well – I remember watching The Householder several years back and being completely stunned by a scene where Shashi Kapoor and Leela Naidu travel in a bus past Mehrauli – a Mehrauli that was unrecognizable, because today Mehrauli is (barring a few areas) mostly a sea of houses.

    My sister once did tell me that it might be interesting to compile a list of old songs picturized on the roads of Delhi, just to see what the city looked like back then, but I’ve only managed to come up with around five songs so far – and all of them reveal some fairly drastic changes in the look of the city.

  2. Richard,
    Nice video you have been able to locate and your write-up is equally poignant. Lack of concern for our water bodies is endemic. We have been polluting our most sacred river, the Ganges (Ganga), mercilessly. Besides secular steps by the state, lot of reforms have to take place in our religious practices, but asking for that would be inviting lynch mobs. Madhu might do one on just Ganga songs, and how the river looks now on those spots.

  3. Madhu, I like the post idea that you described. I have noticed that on your blog, you don’t post full clips (except in the comments part) but, rather, stills along with links to clips (which is a pretty good way to do this, since clips sometimes disappear, so if you post the clips up-front, it might end up looking the way some old posts look on this blog :) ). So, I am trying to picture – so to speak – how you would arrange this post. Maybe you could post a still from the clip (along with a link to the clip) and, below or above it, post a contemporary shot?

    To me, even if you have only five selections, that could make for a good post, but if you don’t want to do a post of less than ten (as with all your lists), then maybe you could expand the subject to include other cities? (I was thinking that since we are talking mainly about Bombay films, you could find many more usable scenes from Bombay/Mumbai – but if you’re not there a lot, then for the contemporary pics, you would have to post ones that other people published.)

  4. AK, thank you. I was thinking of “poignant” as a good way to describe the lesson of this video. And that is an interesting point regarding the religious practices (in addition to the need for secular efforts and regulations), which I imagine is a problem that is peculiar to India and only certain other countries… I don’t know if Madhu would want to make a list from”Ganga songs,” but that certainly would be another good way to turn the basic concept here into a full list!

  5. Yes, Richard, posting a ‘then’ photo (a screenshot from the song, showing a monument or a space – like Humayun’s Tomb – and a ‘now’ photo (of which I have plenty) would be a good way to do that post. I will do ten Delhi songs, mostly because Delhi is the city I’m most familiar with – it is, really, my hometown. And it has a far, far older heritage than does Bombay. In any case, there is so much Bombay in so many films that there’s no real challenge there. Films set in Delhi, and where Delhi actually appears in songs, are relatively few and far between.

    I noticed your reply to AK and your mention of a ‘Ganga songs’ list. I do have one. :-)

  6. Madhu, I see that you have good reasons for preferring to use Delhi (and I know it is your hometown), but because you’d said that you had come up with only five so far and given that the Delhi-based song scenes are so few and far between, I wondered if you would be able to reach the usual goal of ten without expanding to another location.

    And, yes, you have a Ganga songs list and it is very nice, but it isn’t a Ganga then and now list. :)

  7. The challenge in finding ten songs set in Delhi is what makes it more fun. :-)

    True, I haven’t got a Ganga then and now list! I don’t think I’ll revisit that list, but maybe someone else should try doing a post on other rivers, mountains, beaches, whatever that have suffered the ravages of time and burgeoning populations. Even merely looking at Simla, Nainital etc in films of the 50s and 60s and seeing what they’ve become now makes me wince.

  8. The last song ” Baje, baje Shehnai hamare Angana” is excellent and the second most popular song after “Sunday”. This movie was followed up “Sargam” by P.L. Santoshi with Rehana and Raj Kapoor with Excellent songs and dances and IMO the sound track is in top twenty of all time. ” Mombasa”, main hoon Alladin” are good examples..

  9. Kumar, thank you for mentioning these songs. Yes. “Hamare Angana…” is a very nice one too, and it’s great to hear a duet between Amirbai Karnataki and Shamshad Begum. BTW, I did not know that this was the second most popular song; I just knew that “Sunday” was the most.

    And, yes, Sargam has a very good soundtrack too. Looking at the clips form it again (as I have before), I particularly like the song scenes when Rehana’s :) classical group all play together, such as “Chhed Saki Sargam” (aka “Jab Dil Ko Sataye Gham”). Lata is great here, too, but C. Ramchandra would end up using Lata’s voice very extensively (btw, I know that AK did a post about that), and so Shehnai seems more interesting to me in a way because of the impressive variety of pre-Lata female voices that we got treated to (and I feel Amirbai was particularly well featured there).

    Re. P.L. Santoshi, a few of his films had vey fine soundtracks. One of the first that I think of is the Roshan soundtrack more than a decade later for Barsaat Ki Raat.

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