Song: Aap Ke Kamare Me Koi Rehta Hain
Film: Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973)
Producer: Nasir Hussain
Director: Nasir Hussain
Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singer: Asha Bhosale, Kishore Kumar and Pancham
Music Directors have always composed songs based on cinematic situations provided by their directors. Pancham, however, went miles further. When allowed the free hand, improvising on the situation explained to him, Pancham incorporated an elaborate narrative within his compositions. He wove and narrated an intricate musical story, far exceeding the brief of a mere music composer and – in the process – assuming the mantle of a Music Director. Director of Music – in the truest sense of the phrase.
“Ek chatur naar” (PADOSAN), “Sapna mera toot gaya” (KHEL KHEL MEIN), The Competition Medley (HUM KISISE KAM NAHI), “Pyar hume kis mod pe” (SATTE PE SATTA) are just some ready instances that come to mind – songs where Pancham’s imaginative skill of story telling, through music, is on ample display.
But the marquee example of RDs exceptional prowess of musical narration is “Aapke kamre mein koi rehta hai” from Yaadon Ki Baarat. As I have always maintained, the song seemingly has a ‘screenplay’ of its own – conceived and written by the maestro himself.
Let’s cut to the song situation then, Monto and his Avengers Band playing at a popular hotel for a young crowd. The song sequence opens with a grand prelude – the energetic electric guitar, the drums, the Latin percussion and Pancham’s dummy fillers in a deadly mix – set the mood for the band’s brand of music. The prelude ends in the electric guitar being played to a rousing crescendo accompanied by a dramatic drum roll. As the audience break into applause on screen, our hearts are already clapping wildly, in anticipation of what is to follow.
The screen drama has just about begun. Vijay Arora is conveniently sent off on the pretext of a phone call, while Tariq briefly launches into the leitmotif – a 15 saal poorana family song that only his estranged brothers can complete. From a vantage point, the camera shifts through the audience beautifully. You can feel Tariq’s gaze searching for his brothers as Pancham makes Kishoreda sing “yaadon ki baarat” in a soft, silken tone that trails off in despondent humming. The pitch silence that follows is a Pancham punch that magnifies the magnitude of disappointment.
The “my bad luck” statement doesn’t hold true for very long though. Vijay Arora returns, Tariq gathers composure and the ‘laal kapdon waali memsaab’ makes her entry. With amazing alacrity, Pancham steers in a mood change. The energetic guitars and the eager congas, collaborate again to celebrate Zeenat Aman’s arrival. Pancham’s vocals – with dummies and laughter – end in the crowd (chorus) joining in the laughter. Within seconds, the clouds of despondency have lifted and the youthful rays of mirth are now streaming through.
A word about the chorus: Pancham is to use them in the most imaginative manner through this song and is just warming them up for the task ahead.
Kishoreda then introduces to the audience the ‘aglaa gaana’ of the band – the song of the evening, jiske ‘bol aap achchi tarah jaante hain’. In one short sentence, Pancham establishes the popularity of the song with the listeners. This is important as the principal characters of the drama – including the audience- are going to join in the singing soon. Such attention to detail could only be a Pancham trait, his hallmark rather. The initial guitar strum and Kishore’s just humming of the tune, sends the audience into raptures (whistles and claps). Yet again, we know that this is an often heard, highly popular song of the band.
As for Pancham fans: woh iss tune ko achchi tarah jaante hain. It is a reprise of “Bondho dwarer ondho kare” from his super hit Bengali outing RAJKUMARI (1970) and has roots in the title music of dad’s SUJATA (1959). What’s brilliant, is Pancham’s way of presenting the tune in a completely changed setting every time, making the process of rediscovery that much more enjoyable to his fans. While it was used as a plaintive Lata aalap in SUJATA, Pancham turned it into a lilting romantic duet in RAJKUMARI. And here, in its third appearance, he transformed the tune into a high energy, youth anthem.
Back to the song, the mukhda and the first antara are conjoined with the briefest of interludes – a few guitar bridge notes. Majrooh saab’s lyrics hint at the scandalous (for those times) with a sophisticated subtlety …
hum aaj udhar se nikley toh bade intezam se
gira raha tha koi parda hai sare shaam se
udhar aap ki photo se, saji deewar pe
padaa hua tha koi saaya bade aaram se
Kishore traverses through the antara without much ado. Pancham’s trademark (and almost always, breath taking) use of the jazz piano & the bass guitar, stand out prominently.
It is time to put some zing into the proceedings. Tariq persuades the ‘lovely named’ Sunita (Zeenat) into joining him for the second act. The chorus cheers widely and Pancham’s attention to detail resurfaces. Within the cheering group one voice is heard a tad more prominently than others – on screen it is attributed to the interested Vijay Arora. Pancham furthers the musical script with a dialogue exchange between Kishore and Asha, leading to Asha starting the singing with her very, very tentative hums backed up by Kishore’s. Pancham has again successfully conveyed the subtext – though the song is popular, the girl singing it is shy (‘daar lagta hai’) and is nurtured into confidence by the encouragement of the lead singer. She seeks mid song approval ‘theek hai?’ and blossoms only on getting a proverbial pat on her back with his ‘very good’’ and request to ‘bolo mein gaao’. Ashaji breezes through the second antara with ease & finesse that comes so naturally to her.
Time then, to get the other hero in. He is a self assured young man (‘ohh sure, give me a start please’) and predictably Pancham gets Kishore to hit the right notes instantly and confidently in the 3rd Antara starting with ‘agar main kahoon jo dekha’ (Ohh those jazz piano notes, again). The antara ends in Kishore-Asha singing in tandem for the three onscreen characters.
It is the turn of the audience (chorus) next. Pancham’s brilliance in composing the entire section – with the audience joining in the singing, going off-rhythm in the first instance (available only in the audio version), Kishoreda asking the musicians to stop and then guiding the chorus to perform in perfect rhythm - always mesmerizes me. The sheer imaginative novelty of the entire sequence is unparalleled.
Now, this is the point where any song should end, right? Wrong. It’s not any song, it’s a Pancham masterpiece. Thoughts of respite are put to rest and Pancham reboots with flamenco styled guitar starting the super energetic section of the song ‘Dil mil gaye toh hum khil gaye’. Pancham joins Kishore and Asha in a forceful rendition that delivers currents of excitement to the listeners’ nerves. Asha’s quiver laced rendition of ‘Dil mil gaye’, in the last pass, ending in the most endearing ‘arre haan haan’ in the masters own voice is the absolute personal high point for me.
The guitar goes dramatic and the congas/drums go wild as the audience on screen is enticed onto the dance floor. Our hearts are dancing wildly too. Gauging the audience enthusiasm, Tariq whispers into Zeenat’s ears. And then, Pancham unleashes on us his most potent offering. Like the proverbial icing on this musical cake, comes the rambunctious and throaty ‘Dum maaro dum‘ by Asha. It is a befitting finale to this ode to youth. Even though Pancham is reprising his own super hit, he isn’t lazy. The trade mark guitar strums are gone, the tempo is altered and the mood is distinctly clubhouse, rather than the one of narcotic induced stupor. The 11 minute saga ends in a swelling wave of instruments and chorals that are breathtaking in unison.
Usually at this point, exhausted yet completely sated, I take a momentary break. And then hit the play button again … for another shot of exhilaration!!