Sunday, August 27, 2006

Goodbye and thanks for all the bliss.

In a span of a few days - two giants have passed on. One made glorious music, and the other made fantastic movies.

When I heard about Ustad Bismillah Khan's death, I found a tear in my eye. Music does that to you. It touches your inner being, and naturally the musician who gave you that music becomes close to your heart. He stops being a photo on your CD, and becomes "Bismillah". You know - the old man next door. He was a loveable, toothless old man with the toothy grin (Figure that out!), who fondly lifted a Shehnai in his frail-looking hands, put it to his lips, and proceeded to create magic. With that image in mind, at his death, I found that I was feeling very sad. It was naturally made even worse by the plaintive notes of his Shehnai in the background when they were talking about him on television.

Though I cannot recall a particular Raag or piece of his which is my favourite, I can simply say that I loved his music. Sometimes melancholy, sometimes lively - it was always beautiful. Whether you were listening closely or absent-mindedly, it was anyway pleasing. And to think he said something like "Music is an ocean - I have just touched the surface". Humility, wit, and above all - his utter disregard for religion - it is people like him who have the ability to bring people of all religions together!

As for the fabulous Hrishikesh Mukherjee - if I make a top twenty favourite Hindi movie list, I am sure that 6-7 in that list will be his movies. That easily makes him my favourite film-maker. Even though the director is not really visible when you watch a movie, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was the kind whose touch you could feel in his the movies. You could watch a movie and say - that seems like a Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie - and you will be right.

And what movies!! Each one of them is a masterpiece. Anuradha, for example, is a favourite of all the elders in my family, and apparently, a certain member of our family was named after the protagonist in the movie. ;) Then Anupama - with Dharmendra looking drop-dead handsome, and Sharmila Tagore exquisite - the music, the settings - the movie.. wow! Anari was one of the first Raj Kapoor movies I watched - and just loved the simplicity and the sweetness of the story. Then there is Guddi - an extremely lovable movie with the young and innocent, starstruck Jaya Bhaduri - a movie that I can watch any number of times.

And then Bawarchi and Chupke Chupke - laugh riots, both of them. Mili and Khubsurat, which I rank a little lower than his other movies, are excellent nonetheless. As for Abhimaan - with the brooding Amitabh Bachchan jealous of his talented wife - a beautifully made movie. And his last one - Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate - I know that not many people liked it - but I wonder why - I thought it was great - with Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Amrish Puri at their funniest!

I keep the best for the last - Anand and Golmaal -- one tragic, the other comic - but both of them are right on top of my all-time favourite list, jostling each other for first place. Both of them are priceless, in their own way. No other movie in Bollywood can even come close to these two.

Since I seem to be at a total loss for words, I will just guide you to an excellent write-up on Hrishikesh Mukherjee's movies.

These two stalwarts have given us hours of happiness - and though they are gone, their work is still here. What else can I say to them? Just "Thank You".


Srik said...

"Main na rahoon...Tu Na rahe...
Phir bhi rahegi nishaniyan!!"

How true these words are in case of these legends!!

Anonymous said...

Feel the same way. Adding my thanks.


rk said...

thanks for the good tribute and the link.
i watched JBKK in a theatre just for hrishikesh mukherjee. but i think i expected a lot from HM coz i thought it will be another Golmaal. but i was wrong. i realised masterpieces are created just once.

as for bismillah khan, a rerally humble human.

it seems when he gave a concert in Hollywood in 1965, a young American boy came to him saying he wanted to learn the shehnai and would come to India for six months. Khan saab laughed, saying, "In six months, you will not even know how to hold the shehnai, forget learning a note on it."

Vani said...

Wonderful tribute, Shruthi...

I join you in Thanksgiving, for these are the people who have made our lives more wholesome, refreshing and at peace.

anumita said...

Two jewels, now adorning the sky.

Viky said...

Who can forget Khansaab's kajri at the onset of the monsoon season.

Or the touching movies Hrishida made.

A touching tribute.

chitra said...

Good write up on Ustad , and Hrishi da. I only recently became a shehnai listener n listened to ustad bismillah's renditions. Never knew shehnai could be so soulful. I really felt "not so soon" upon hearing his death.
Well the reason for this comment is to comment on your old post which was linked to this one, on "music has no religion". Whats's wrong , if I knew very consciously that a particular artist is a muslim/hindu/christian/etc etc , and still enjoy his music, rever him for his talent, love him dearly. Why is important to forget/not be aware of a person's religion while you appreciate his music. Is it the fear that if I concentrated on his religion ,I may not appreciate his music as much. Why cant religion be treated as identity tag - which implies only his belief, his practices and culture. May be both of us are talking about the same thing .. we could continue the debate on mail, that ways I'll get to interact with my buddy more ;)

Shruthi said...

Srik, that's true.. how apt!! :)

Ano, :)

RK, for sure JBKK wasn't upto Golmaal standards -- I mean, what can?? :) But nevertheless, I liked that movie!
That's an interesting story! When I was learning music, we would get bored with one Raag and request our teacher to teach ust the next one. She would tell us that musicians learnt one Raag for 7 years.... and you cannot even learn it for 7 days?? I can't imagine the amount of sadhana these great people have done!

Vani, how true! Thank you.

Anumita, wow. Yes, as stars! :)

Viky, Thank you! :)

Chitra, Ah yes, I know what you mean to say. Yes, we are talking about the same thing - only with a slightly different approach. We can continue it via email. I will tell you what I have in mind. And dear, do you need a reason to mail me? :D

Deppe said...

my thoughts too.
Anand and Golmaal would be in my top-5 as wwell

madhu said...

A fitting tribute indeed Shruthi!!
Anand to this day remains my all time favorite movie.. wonderfully made movie.

You can also read the write up in yesterday's Express on Bismillah Khan. Very well written.

Shruthi said...

Deppe, you have good taste ;)

Madhu, Thank you! Do you have an online link to that article, by any chance?

Silkboard said...

My most comic situation from a Hrishi Da movie: Khubsoorat. Ashok Kumar and family go to see Rekha's elder sister. And that funny young chap blurts - "hamaare yahaan striyon kee hee jyada chaltee hai". Remember anyone?

Shruthi said...

Silkboard, heh heh.. yes I remember tha :D. My fave comic situation is definitely the interview scene in Golmaal, where Amol Palekar in that short Khadi kurta puts on a really stupid face and starts every sentence with "Mere Pitaji kaha karte the"... that entire scene has me rolling on the floor each time I see it :)

Viky said...

Heh heh, yes, I remember THAT

Inder said...

legends are always missed. ustad and hrishidaa are true legends.

'golmaal' is such a masterpiece that another legend - k. balachander made a version of it in tamil. it is a rajnikanth starer - 'thillu mullu', which is considered one of the best comedies in tamil. even then, i would rate 'golmaal' a step higher than 'thillu mullu'.

Shruthi said...

Viky, :)) You are too much! :D

Inder, Really? Hadn't heard of this movie!

Viky said...

Don't tell me I didn't warn you. :D As recently as your last post.

Chalega. Jao Aysh Karo

travel plaza said...

Touching tribute Shruthi. I loved each and every movie you have mentioned of Hrishikesh Mukherji. I think Anand and Golmal are right up there in my favorite list of movies along with chupke chupke.
As for Bismillah ji, no words can describe a man like him. Pure, simple and divine are just few words that describe a legend like him. Thanks for the wonderful writeup.

Shruthi said...

Viky, I wasn't really ready for spell-checking of comments ;)
Besides, that one is obviously a slip, not mistake ;)

Travel Plaza, you have summed it beautifully in a few words :) Thank you!

Viky said...

As I said, Jao Aysh Karo...There is many a slip between the cup and the lip. :D

Shruthi said...

Okay Okay, Lage Raho Vikybhai!

Viky said...

ee vaarada "Blockbuster Budhwaara" movie na adu???

Shruthi said...

Viky, yeah, home production!

Emma said...

I so agree with you about both Bismillah Khan and Hrishida - even though one didn't know them personally, in many ways, it was a personal loss.

Very well written - and yes, what else can one say except Thank You for everything.

madhu said...

Hey shruthi.. cunt find the online version of the writeup!!

Shruthi said...

Emma, Thank you! I loved your tributes to the two great men! - Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Bismillah Khan

Madhu, Ohhh never mind! Will try to find it. Thanks :)

mysorean said...

Great post!

Check out my tribute to hrishi da
One of my all-time favourite directors too! :)

Raj said...

I wanted to comment so badly on this post but somehow couldn't.

Its a great loss for India.

Thankfully, few news channels had reported abt Bismillah Khan's plight few months ago which resulted in the govt. awarding him a cheque.

I have been a really big fan of Hrishikesh Mukherjee too. Even I wonder why people didn't like Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kaate.

May both of them rest in peace.

Shruthi said...

Adi, Yes I did read that - good one.

Raj, Thanks for your comments. Yes both of them, great people.

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