Song: Tera Aana Ek Pal Meri
Film: Hum Naujawan (1985)
Director: Dev Anand
Singer: Asha Bhosale
Waltz music (or music based on the waltz rhythm) has been a great source of influence for Hindi film music. In accordance with the form of music, Indian composers have successfully adapted this European dance rhythm for many mehfil and party based situations. Pancham (music director Rahul Dev Burman) has perhaps the distinct honor/achievement of composing many lilting songs based on the waltz dance rhythm.
However what elevates Pancham’s use of the waltz rhythm above and beyond any other composer, Indian or Western, is the innumerable variations, nuances and fusion he dreamed up and blended into his waltz based compositions. Keeping the basic rhythm pattern intact, Pancham and his expert team of assistants (particularly rhythm maestro Maruti Rao Keer) took advantage of the ever changing and unpredictable twists of a Hindi film scenario, and usually wove an array of myriad rhythm patterns around the waltz. And thus the Waltz based music took a complete new life and interpretation in India. We can even perhaps conclude that no other nation outside Europe may have experimented as much with the waltz pattern.
Pancham scored for Hum Naujawan (a Navketan presentation made under the Devina Films banner) in perhaps one of the busiest year of his career – 1985. This movie also marks the last collaboration between Pancham and legendary film maker and actor Dev Anand. The veteran actor had by now focussed on acting exclusively in movies that he directed (except Lashkar later in the 90s). His inspiration for this movie came from Mark Lester’s prophetic 1982 revenge potboiler Class of 84. Dev Anand and writer Dilip Paradeshi went on to adapt Class of 84 for Indian sensibilities and locale. The concept was brilliant and starkly relevant – it dealt with political influence and politicians tapping into youth power. However Dev Anand’s execution of the subject – especially the excessive focus on gore and sleaze, staccato dialogues and untrained newcomers brought down the movie resulting in the fifth consecutive flop for Dev Anand. However today, this venture by Dev Anand proves to be as prophetic as Mark Lester’s 82 venture. The topic of wayward youth, minister’s son getting away with crime based on the political clout, the ineffective police system – No One Killed Jessica is one such movie based on such a real incident.
Despite the lacking of the movie, Pancham was at his inspired best. The soundtrack remains not only as a landmark score of his association with Navketan, but also as an eclectic distinct score amongst his oeuvre in the 80s. An instant mark of Pancham’s excessive involvement and focus on a score is evident by the background score produced for the movie, the design of the songs that usually weave into a musical score and the attention to the minutae of the script/screenplay.
Pancham’s approach to this song (Tera Aana Ik Pal) is multi-fold. He weaves in two distinct rhythms in the composition – the slower paced waltz that matches the party mood and the fast paced other half as the onscreen ‘ball game’ picks up speed. And to top that, Pancham introduces 3 distinct moods in the song with each interlude – one of dreamy romance, the other of accidental discovery/quickening of the pulse and, the last one of the eventual conclusion that leads to immense tragedy and devastation. In a single song Pancham delivers a plethora of emotional ups and downs keeping in mind (and pace with) the script requirements.
The song starts off with background party music – with an eeries keyboard/violins. One can instantly discern this is not a comfortable gathering of celebrating people. Debutant Atlee Brar welcomes Dev Anand with some confident (and yes arrogant) dialogues which even cut the unstoppable Dev Anand short. The background music, heard throughout the dialogues, uses a rich arrangement of keyboards, guitars and drums. Even the debutant heroine Richa Sharma is introduced with keyboard flairs. This is vintage Pancham background score – which acts like the invisible butler who caters to the guests, filling in the glasses (black sound), melting into thin air (when anyone speaks) and re-appearing at important moments.
Once Atlee Brar sets up the party rules, Richa Sharma ropes in the help needed to belt out Dev Anand’s poetry, Pancham’s orchrestra takes center stage. The start of the rhythm is standard waltz dance pattern with bass, violins, guitars and drums. However Pancham, as usual, adds a different flavor to the pattern by introducing strumming on congas/bongos and the use of madals. And thus we have a different flavor of the age old pattern.
Asha Bhosle must hold the record for providing playback for the maximum number of female debutant actresses. And she takes complete advantage of this opportunity by modulating her voice for the youthful Richa Sharma. Love the texture of her vocals as she belts out ‘Tera Aana Ik Pal Meri Saanson Ka Tham Jaana‘ – love how Pancham breaks those individual rhyming words ‘Teri’, ‘Meri’, ‘Meri’, ‘Teri‘ – each word for each step of the waltz pattern. And those conga strums timed for completion of each step.
The first interlude is dreamy romantic with the keyboards leading the proceedings and handing over back to the core rhythm. Of course we are now treated to the plucking of violin strings providing the counterpoint to the bass. As the rhythm completes its cycle, the drums usher in the faster pace. Asha Bhosle is a changed person/singer as she belts the antara with pace. The bass kicks up with synchronized claps/blocks that maintains the pacier beat count. Her ‘Kya Hua Kya Hua‘ forms the link back to the steady waltz again.
The second movement of the song starts once again with that dreamy romantic interlude on keyboards. Only to be interrupted by suspenseful keyboard notes and the marrakech. On screen one assumes Dev Anand to have stumbled on some evidence. The excitement is indicated by the heart-beat pounding on the drums as the keyboards, drums, guitars, congas take on a menacing pace accompanied by the ominous chorals. The trumpets, castanets/cowbells and eventually violins lead us back to the party where Asha Bhosle’s ‘Deke Lena Leke Dena‘ reminds us of the party game/mood. One small note of how Asha’s renditions for Pancham always has that certain unconcious extra that simply differentiates their partnership to its own category. Notice how the introduction of that small ‘Haan‘ harkat in between ‘Tune Ye Kya Kiya <Haan> Kya Kiya‘. To quote a good friend “an out of syllabus” addition which simply adds to the mood. It is as if Asha Bhosle (Richa Sharma) nudging a distracted Dev Anand back to the party. Minutiae – focus to detail.
The finale of this song is quite unique. Pancham prefers to move away from the song and end with music to support the scene. The keyboards once again starts but is abruptly interrupted by the drums/guitars. Pancham introduces various jarring/discordant notes on the keyboards and piano to accurately reveal the horror of Dev Anand’s finding, the devastation of his soul, the destruction of his hopes and that immense grief/sadness. As the ace lensman Gautam Rajadhyaksha rightly observes, Pancham’s interludes and music in the 80s was much richer, complex akin to western classical compositions. Multi-layered, emotional, lush, supreme confidence over rhythm, courage to experiment, extend the music beyond the typical (Hindi film music). The song ends abruptly as it should and leaves one breathless – curious and wary of what happens next. This is cinema music!
Shashi Rao (The Loin)