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22 July 2014

The Masters: Sajjad Hussain

15.06.1917 - 21.07.1995
I had heard Sajjad Hussain's compositions in my childhood without knowing anything about the man behind the lovely songs of Sangdil and Hulchul. My father's favourite composers were Shankar-Jaikishen, SD Burman and Madan Mohan. So these were the names I knew. As I grew older, other composers impinged on my consciousness - Salil Choudhary, Khayyam, OP Nayyar, Anil Biswas, Jaidev, RD Burman... though I cannot say that even then I was very conscious of who composed a song. Sajjad, of course, remained relatively unknown to me. And mostly, songs were remembered by which film they were in, and who sang them. Music directors and lyricists remained in the shadowy darkness of my brain, not having much of an impact on how I listened to Hindi film music.

All that changed when I got married. Suddenly, listening to film songs was not as passive an experience as it had been so far. I was thrown into a world where specific instruments, chords, interludes, ragas (on which the songs were based) were all thrown at me in one sudden swoop. My husband doesn't listen to music as much as experience it. So, 'Can't you hear the cello (or violin or santoor) in the background?' became as common a phrase as 'This is Raag... - can you make out the notes?' Nope, I couldn't. I didn't have his ear. But he introduced me to composers, not just their songs, and suddenly, there was a new trio of music directors I was listening to - Salil Choudhary, Madan Mohan and Sajjad Hussain. I was listening to their compositions not because of the singers or the lyrics or the films but for the music. Whether I wanted to or not, I was getting a course in music appreciation. It's been a long journey since then, and while I still do not have his penchant for naming the song based on the first three notes of instrumentation, or naming the raga (correctly!) on which it is based, or even naming the composer based on the way the music is arranged, the way I listen to music has definitely changed because of him. 

And over the years, I came to know more about Sajjad Hussain and his incredible music. Briefly then: Sajjad Hussain was born in Sitamau, Madhya Pradesh on June 15, 1917. As a child, he learnt the sitar from his father; he was also very proficient on the mandolin. In addition, he learnt to play a plethora of musical instruments. In 1937, the young lad came to Bombay to try his luck in Hindi films - not as an actor, but as a composer. The Hindi film industry was ruled by studios then, and young Sajjad first found a job in Sohrab Modi's Minerva Movietone. From there, he moved to Wadia Movietone. Thereafter, he worked assisted several music directors, Meer Saheb, Rafiq Ghaznavi and Master Ali Baksh amongst others. It was while he was working as Pandit Hanuman Prasad's assistant that he got his first break, to compose three of the songs for Gaali (1944).

Soon, he was composing for Dost (1944), a film made by Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, starring the upcoming songstress Noor Jehan (Rizvi's wife). This was his first film as an independent composer. Sajjad's introduction to Lata Mangeshkar came a few years later. According to him, he was recording the songs for 1857 (Gaddar) (1946)  when he ran into Amanat Khan Devaswale, who sang praises of one of his disciples. Sajjad was intrigued. Amanat Khan, a noted singer himself, never praised anyone, and certainly never to this extent. Sajjad made up his mind that he would, one day, ask Amanat Khan's disciple to sing for him. And so he did, for Hulchul (1951). The first song that Lata Mangeshkar recorded for Sajjad was Aaj mere naseeb ne.* Unfortunately, it was deleted from the film. And Sajjad never completed Hulchul. (Mohammed Shafi composed the other songs.) But Sajjad retained his fondness for Lata Mangeshkar, even stipulating that he would compose only if she sang his songs.

In 1952, he would begin composing for his biggest film yet. Sangdil, an uncredited adaptation of Jane Eyre. It would be the pinnacle of his career. Unfortunately, despite the songs becoming hits, and the background score (also by Sajjad) much appreciated, his career would never reach these heights again. It is said that the temperamental composer had a falling out with the male lead, Dilip Kumar, during the making of this film, and swore never to work with him again.

Assignments became fewer and far between for the composer, and his next release was Rukhsana (1955). After this, another long gap intervened before he composed a handfull of wonderful melodies for Rustom Sohrab (1963). Suraiyya's Ye kaisi ajab dastan ho gayi hai would be her swansong. And Lata's Ae dilruba nazrein mila  (which she stated was her favourite Sajjad composition) would be the last released solo she recorded for this very talented composer.  

It was with a sense of shock that I learnt that he had composed for barely a handful of films. Why was such  a talented composer so rudely overlooked? Sajjad had worked with all the top artistes of the time, giving them some very complex songs to sing. Lata Mangeshkar states that he was very particular about swar, and took great pains to ensure that everything was as perfect as it could be. There's a story, apocryphal perhaps, that he once told Lata (at a recording): Ye Naushad miya ke gaane nahin hai; thodi aur mehnat karni padegi. He was perhaps the only composer of his age who used no assistants whatsoever. He arranged the orchestration all by himself, and according to Lata Mangeshkar, if even a minor instrument was out of tune, he would stop the recording and start from scratch. His son mentions how Sajjad would even write out the bol for the tabalchi. 

As I dug deeper, it became clear that Sajjad was his own worst enemy. A stickler for perfection, he lived life by his own rules, and made enemies of a great many people because of his openly (and often, harshly) stated opinions. Most of his contemporaries knew how to handle the misguided suggestions of musically illiterate producers and directors. Sajjad, however, would walk out of a film, if he felt that he, or his music was being disrespected. Sadly, this meant that Hindi film music was the poorer for it. Here then are my pick of Sajjad compositions that I absolutely love hearing, over and over again. (My husband's notes are in blue.)
Rustom Sohrab (1963)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Jaan Nisaar Akhtar
A lilting melody with Middle Eastern undertones, Lata Mangeshkar's voice soars into the higher octaves, but with a softness that belies her control over the swar. This, as I mentioned above, was the last released song that Lata Mangeshkar recorded under Sajjad Hussain's baton. The picturisation, set in a Persian tavern, is complemented by the music that calls up that ambience to mind. 

Lata's voice in this song is built along the lines of  an Iranian dastagah, the lines ending in mid-octave, and circling around a note without quite landing on it using microtones for embellishment. This is somewhat similar to the raga system, but there is a very non-Central Asian western orchestration in the interludes that adds to the slight dissonance. A very nice melding of different styles. 

YouTube comments identify the actress on whom it is picturised as Lillian, but she bears no resemblance to the Lillian who acted in Apradhi Kaun; so I wonder if they are one and the same? Someone else identified her to me as 'Yasmin' saying she was the girl in Mr and Mrs 55, but again, this woman bears no resemblance to the dimpled actress to whom Johnny Walker lost his heart to in that film. So if any of my readers can identify her, that would be helpful.

2. Phir tumhari yaad aayi ae sanam
Rustom Sohrab (1963) 
Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Saadat Khan
Lyrics: Qamar Jalalabadi
Another song from the same film (which was full of lovely songs, by the way), and one I have liked even before I knew the film or the context, or even the singers (though I identified Mohammed Rafi). 

The lyrics are even more poignant when you realise that the song is shot against the background of soldiers going to war. Sohrab (Premnath) has just been informed that his father, of whom he knows nothing - not even his name, was murdered by Rustom (Prithviraj Kapoor). Sohrab of course, is not aware that Rustom is, in fact, his own father. As they settle camp for the night, the soldiers gather around the campfire, singing of their wives and girlfriends whom they have left behind, reminding Sohrab of his own beloved. Again, I love how Sajjad's music complements the singers, never drowning their voices. 

The most striking thing here is the voice at the beginning of the song; it is so high it is almost a counter tenor.  The tune is lovely and I wonder if it inspired Hoke majboor tujhe and even the less stirring (but still beautiful) Sandese aaate hain.

3. Darshan pyaasi aayi daasi
Sangdil (1952)
Singer: Geeta Dutt
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
For this (uncredited) adaptation of Jane Eyre, Sajjad Hussain composed a bouquet of melodies, each one a gem in its own right. So much so, I picked two for this post. I'm usually not very fond of bhajans, but I make an exception once in a while. This Geeta Dutt melody is one of them. Until he 'discovered' Lata Mangeshkar, Sajjad had some fine tunes composed for both Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum. What I remember most about this song is the sound of bells in the background that mimic the jal tarang. This is one of Geeta's unmatched bhajans, right up there with Pyaasa's Aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo and Jogan's Ae ri main toh prem diwani  or Ghungat ke pat khol. 

The jaltarang plays circular phrases and supports the cyclic rhythms on the tabla; it is interesting how Geeta Dutt comes back to the main melody after the antara drifts away from it.  The vocal phrases in the antara start slightly off the beat before joining it.  

4. Dil mein sama gaye sajan
Sangdil (1952)
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood 
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan 
Talat Mahmood joins Lata Mangeshkar in the films's only male-female duet. It is one of my favourite Sajjad compositions and one of my favourite Lata-Talat duets. Rajinder Krishan's lyrics are set off by the chemistry that Dilip Kumar and Madhubala bring to the protagonists of Charlotte Brontë's Gothic romance.

  This is the first film for which he used Talat Mahmood's voice, and to great effect. Talat's solo Ye hawa ye raat ye chandni will always rank as one of his best. Of course, perfectionist that he was, it took 17 takes before Sajjad was satisfied. Even so, in later years, he complained about an interlude, which he said was not just quite what he had wanted it to be. 


The song is in a very fast 3/4 rhythm; the interesting thing is the counter points played by the orchestra, notably the wind instruments behind the voices. The basic rhythm is measured out on the piano, with the drums slightly off. In the interludes, there is a lovely example of a pizzicato (the strings being plucked instead of being bowed). The song does not return to the tonic; instead it climbs into the higher octave symbolically.

5. Aaj mere naseeb ne
Hulchul (1950/1951)*
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Khumar Barabankvi
According to Sajjad, the producers gave this song away to another film, and even though he had composed three songs for the film,  he walked out of the film halfway because the producers did not pay him. (I haven't been able to find out whether this song was used in any other film, if at all. It was certainly picturised on Nargis.) Strangely enough, Sajjad also mentions listening to Aayega aanewala from Mahal, after he recorded Aaj mere naseeb ne... and thinking to himself that Amanat Khan Devaswale was right - "this girl was bound to be a brilliant singer." I say 'strangely' because Mahal released in 1949, while Hulchul released a year or two later. (There seems to be a confusion over whether Hulchul  released in 1950 or 1951.) Sajjad may also have been mistaken about Aaj mere naseeb ne being the first song that Lata sang for him because Khel, which released in 1950, had some beautiful Lata Mangeshkar songs, composed by Sajjad. Besides, the film's songs were composed in 1949.)  Be that as it may, he was so impressed with Lata Mangeshkar's purity of voice that he swore only to work with her, unless she was unwell or otherwise busy. 

Though this song seems set in a 3/4 rhythm, it is more of a 6 beat cycle.  Again, each phrase does not end on a definite note. It either circles around it or moves higher. The orchestration is also interesting. The strings provide interesting counterpoints in short phrases as Lata sings the antara. In the interludes, the main phrases played by the strings and flute seem to terminate but the music seems to fade away gently as other instruments continue a little more in the background. The end again provides a pizzicato with a short piano phrase.

6. Us paar is deewar se jo rehte hain
Saiyyan (1951)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Lyrics: DN Madhok
Supposedly an adaptation of the Gregory Peck-Jennifer Jones-Joseph Cotten film Duel in the Sun, Saiyyan starred Sajjan, Madhubala and Ajit as the three angles of a doomed romantic triangle. As always, Sajjad composed a number of melodies for this film, but managed to pick a fight with his lyricist, DN Madhok, after which he never worked with the latter again. 

This song, by Mohammed Rafi, is as unlike a usual Sajjad Hussain composition - if there is anything that can be called a 'usual Sajjad Hussain composition. Rafi, whom Sajjad had used for the first time in Rooplekha, gets to sing a song that actually keeps him in the lower registers. Sajjan, known more for his villainous or sidekick roles, is in his element here as he prances around joyfully around a beautiful Madhubala.  

Note how this song actually seems to eschew a conventional tune but instead seems to flow like a conversation. It is almost recited, but the unconventional use of instruments which add phrases at the end of each line make it seem like a conventional song.  

7. Bhool ja ae dil
Khel (1950)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Shams Azimabadi
There haven't been many films where Dev Anand co-starred with Nargis, so it is unfortunate that we don't have videos of any of the songs, not to mention the film. Lata Mangeshkar sang a total of 14 songs for this talented, perfectionist composer, and of all the composers she worked with, she claimed that she was always apprehensive when she had to sing for Sajjad. 

A very different tune, possibly a flute and clarinet providing deep notes against the strings. The song seems to be slow but is in fact set to a very fast rhythm; because each word has many embellishments the notes, all short notes, are sung very quickly. And sometimes within seemingly repetitive phrases, there are more notes to be sung, so they have to be sung faster to remain in the same rhythm. Again, the phrases do not end on a distinctive note but remain microtonal (in between). While the rhythm sounds as if it can fit into a 3/4 style with a gap between successive bards, it actually seems to follow a 14 beat cycle not usually used in popular music.

8. Saajna din bahure hamaare
Khel (1950)
Singer: Geeta Dutt
Lyrics: Aarzoo Lucknowi
It was in 1947 that Sajjad first heard Geeta Dutt, whose voice had added its charms to the world of Hindi film music the year before. He used her quite extensively for both the films he composed for that year - Kasam (5 solos) and Mere Bhagwan (at least 3). Not much is known about either film, though some kind soul has uploaded the songs on YouTube. 

By the time Khel rolled around in 1950, Sajjad had transferred his attentions to Lata Mangeshkar, who got to sing two solos in the film. (So did Shamshad Begum.) Sajjad also used GM Durrani and Meena Kapoor for the first time here. But this Geeta Dutt number is so delightful that it takes pride of place in my list. 
Rukhsana (1955)
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni
For someone who stipulated in his contract that he would only compose for a film if Lata Mangeshkar sang, Lata has only one solo - Tere dard dil mein basa liya - in this film. Asha stepped in for the other songs, including the duets, with Mubarak Begum getting one solo. Interestingly, the male voice is that of Kishore Kumar, whom the composer is said to have denigrated as 'Shor Kumar'. This is the first time Sajjad was using Kishore Kumar, and it is a fact that Kishore only recorded three songs for Sajjad. I know nothing about this film other than it starred Kishore himself and Meena Kumari. The songs are a delight, though. 

1857 (1946)
Singer: Suraiyya
Lyricist: Mohan Singh
This was Sajjad's third outing as an independent composer. 1857 was to establish him as a composer worth his name. And in this film, he had two of the biggest singing stars of the era to sing his compositions - Surendra and Suraiyya. Teri nazare mein main rahoon, Suraiyya's duet with Surendra, became a rage when it was released. This composition is as much a favourite for the music, as it is for Suraiyya's voice, filled with pathos.

This film also saw him compose songs for Shamshad Begum and Zohrabai Ambalewali for the first time.

11. Koi prem ka de ke sandesa
Dost (1944)
Singer: Noor Jehan
Lyrics: Shams Lucknowi
Dost was Sajjad Hussain's debut film as an independent composer. Noor Jehan was only 18 when she acted in this film, directed by her husband, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi. (Their earlier outings, Khandaan and Nauker (based on a Sadat Hasan Manto novel), had been hits, and the pair had married during the making of Nauker. The songs became a hit, with Noor Jehan not only singing for herself, but also providing playback for Maya Bannerjee, the other heroine. The success of the soundtrack provided a fillip to the careers of both Noor Jehan and Sajjad. Unfortunately, this was the first and last time that Sajjad would compose for Noor Jehan. Rizvi made the unforgivable error of publicly crediting Noor Jehan for the success of the film's music, antagonising his music director. Yet, the maverick composer had only good words to say about the songstress. In his mind, there were only two female singers worthy of any mention - Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar.

Sajjad Hussain died in 1995, forgotten by an industry that only venerated success. However, according to his son, the principled musician had no regrets or bitterness. He had lived life on his own terms, and had been admired as a musician par excellence by his contemporaries. History deals with him kindly as well, recognising the talent that preferred to remain unused but would never compromise. The body of work that he left behind has delighted music connoisseurs for generations, and it will continue to do so for as long as there are people who listen to Hindi film music from the golden age.

Here is the playlist for anyone who just wants to listen to some Sajjad Hussain without interruption. 

58 comments:

  1. Thanks for the additions to the list. Let me add the videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67QVk4ovvjo

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWVIWUlTczI

    Madhu did a post on bidaai songs recently, so let me see if I can come up with another way of listing wedding songs. :)

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  2. So good to see you back, Anu! As soon as I saw the title of this post, I wondered if Sadu had anything to do with it - because Sadu had commented on my Madan Mohan post, and through that comment, I'd come to know that Sajjad Hussain was one of your husband's favourite MDs. I must admit I hadn't paid much attention to Sajjad before that (though I've always loved Yeh hawa yeh raat yeh chaandni and Phir tumhaari yaad aayi ae sanam), but Sadu's comment made me go and search out Sajjad's bio on Wikipedia (yes, not the best place for research, but I just wanted an introduction!)... he seems to have been one of those mad geniuses, no? Besides the 'Shor Kumar', I believe he also referred to poor Talat as 'Galat Mahmood'. :-(

    Talking about the oddness of Sajjad listening to Aayega aanewaala after composing for Hulchul, my father told me that he saw Lahore (1949) the other day on Youtube, and in one scene there, Aayega aanewaala is played on a guitar in the background. I'm guessing Khemchand Prakash composed and recorded the tune well before Mahal was released, long enough for it to become popular.

    Thank you for this post, Anu. Enjoyed it, and learnt a lot.

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  3. An excellent presentation of nuances of Sajjad Hussain's music.
    He was probably an artist who would create art to please one's self, rather than the mass. That probably made him a class player. Not that ever mattered to him.

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  4. Finally! Good to see you back, Anu!

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  5. Nalini Ikkandath22 July 2014 at 12:16

    It was an interesting post, mainly because I know very little about Sajjad Hussain. Once in a while the name pops up in "Man Chahe Geet" or "Chaayageet", usually followed by a beautiful song. But I generally value a song for the lyrics.

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  6. Thanks, Madhu. It's good to be back. And yes, Sadu had everything to do with this post. He was telling me about posting that comment on your blog and then suggested that I write a post on Sajjad. He's been complaining that I write posts at others' behest but I have never written one that he's asked me to. So I put him to work as well, to write the notes on the music. *grin*

    Yes, Sajjad was definitely eccentric, but he seems to have lived his life quite well and without regrets, on his own terms, without making any compromises whatsoever. How many of us can say that?

    I'm guessing Khemchand Prakash composed and recorded the tune well before Mahal was released, long enough for it to become popular.
    True, but Sajjad was talking about listening to Lata sing that song, and thinking she would be brilliant. Since Mahal was released a year or two earlier, wouldn't he have heard that before? Ah, well. Perhaps he only heard it then, or perhaps he mis-remembered, since the comment was made years later. I don't know.

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  7. Not that ever mattered to him.
    True. From all accounts, he was only bothered about being recognised for his music. He didn't care too much for the material rewards that came with it,

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  8. Shalini Razdan22 July 2014 at 14:21

    Sajjad is one of my favorite MDs, so needless to say this post pleased me to no end. You've [and hubby - who incidentally seems a bit like mine with his preoccupation for the technical aspects of a song :-)]done a wonderful job of showcasing what a truly unique composer Sajjad was. Unlike other music directors you've mentioned, like Shankar-Jaikishen or Madan Mohan, I've always admired the fact that there is no such thing as a "typical" Sajjad number. To be fair to the others, his output is much lower than theirs but I've always loved the unpredicatability of his style and compositions.

    You've listed most of my favorite Sajjad songs, but here are two more that leave me awestruck at the man's musical genius:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMTaL-lBnHk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afaAjEBFPy0

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  9. Nalini, thanks. I love the lyrics, but the melody has to appeal to me as well.

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  10. Shalini, thank you. Yes, Sajjad was rather unique, wasn't he? You have earned my husband's love forever and ever by posting Kali kali raat re. :) He wanted me to post that song from Saiyyan. And Woh toh chale gaye is a favourite of mine, but I'd already posted too many songs from Sangdil so I regretfully left it out. I'm so glad you posted them here.

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  11. What a wonderful article on a wonderful music director. I knew onl yhis songs from Sangdil and Rustom-Sohrab.
    Thanks for introducing me to the others.
    So will Sadu be co-hosting the blog? That would be great.
    Big thanks to him for his valuable comments.
    The waltz rhythm in dil me sama gaye sajjan always reminds me of the early Verdi, who used that humta tha quite often, in I Lombardi even for a death scene.

    Nice to have you back!

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  12. Few days back, I was watching a docu on Lata by Nasreen Munni Kabir, where he was speaking extensively. And now you're writing an article on him!
    Good, good!

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  13. Thank you, Harvey. It is good to be back. As for Sadu co-hosting, this post is for him - he wanted me to write on Sajjad, so I put him to work as well, giving me some notes on Sajjad's music. :) I will let him answer your comment on Verdi.

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  14. A documentary where Sajjad was speaking? Where? Is it available online?

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  15. "True, but Sajjad was talking about listening to Lata sing that song, and thinking she would be brilliant. Since Mahal was released a year or two earlier, wouldn't he have heard that before?"

    Ah, okay. Yes, of course. My mind is not functioning, it seems. :-D

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  16. My mind is not functioning, it seems. :-D


    Join the club. :)

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  17. Here is the first part of the series. It starts of with Sajjad Hussain's comment itself:
    http://youtu.be/lJXrhAvgt24

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  18. Nalini Ikkandath23 July 2014 at 07:31

    Still working my way through your blog and I am happy to see that I do have quite a few left to read. I love comedies and am happy to watch them again and again. So this was a treat and I see that I have a few (comedies) left to watch too. One movie I enjoyed was "Shaukeen". Rati looked good and acted well, the three old men were fun and even Mithun did a good job.

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  19. Glad to have you back on blogosphere, lovely and informative post. I am now working on part 3 of Forgotten Melodies and then comes your post on Sajjad Hussain, really these old songs really make me nostalgic for those days when you wanted to hear the songs again and again.

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  20. Harvey, the 3/4 rhythm has become associated with the waltz for most people but while it is the predominant waltz rhythm it's been around for ages before the waltz. Actually there is a 5/4 waltz but it isn't very popular. Sometimes I'm not sure whether Sajjad intended a pure 3/4 but wanted a more dadra type 6 beat taal. That is why I think the tabla is slightly off from the piano. But it could be my imagination.

    The death scene in Act 3 of Il Lombardi is a 4/4. The rhythm is kept pizzicato with the first beat emphasized. It is an amazing trio but the violin almost plays as a fourth voice.

    The Verdi 3/4 rhythm that comes to mind most easily is this one from Rigolletto (though it is actually a 3/8) and it is Sajjad like as there are points where the music never resolves to the tonic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8A3zetSuYRg

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  21. Actually to me there is a typical Sajjad number but it is very different from the others. He had a predilection for using the dadra/ 3/4 rhythm, his line endings rarely resolved to a tonic or dominant, he had these peculiar orchestral harmonics where the phrases seemed to draw out further and further. Of course he wasn't always prey to it. Here is an odd number that doesn't quite follow the Sajjad quirks. Lovely song. An example how a sad song is sung needn't be slow. But again see how the strings draw out the intervals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH8mh197hTc

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  22. Thank you so much, Harvey. You are a pet.

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  23. I'm glad to see you so industrious, Nalini. :) I'm gladder still that you enjoy reading them.

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  24. :-D We aren't soul sisters for nothing!

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  25. Wow. I did not even know of the existence of Sajjad Hussain. Such a sad thing, that he was not able to give music to more films. The story of many a talent in the film industry. I am just listening to Ae Dilruba, so haunting. The actress does look to me like the person in Mr And Mrs. 55, though she is not showing her dimples here. :)

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  26. N Venkataraman24 July 2014 at 04:57

    Anu Ji,
    An excellent tribute to a great composer. Thanks for the post. Enjoyed the songs. The compositions of Sajjad Hussain were no doubt listener’s delight. The erudite explanations made it a learner’s delight too.

    SSW Ji, recently you mentioned in Madhu ji’s blog that a song needs soul above everything else, technical perfection is a distant second. I understand and value Anu Ji’s coment “My husband doesn't listen to music as much as experience it.” Thank you Anu ji and SSW ji .

    It is not very clear that for how many films Sajjad Hussain composed music. I found diverse figures varying between 14 and 19. Not at all an impressive output. He should have and could have composed for more films. Whatever be the reasons, it did not happen.

    You have covered 11 songs from 8 films.

    Ae dilruba nazrein mila – A mesmerizing melody compose by Sajjad.

    BTW, you are right; the actor on whom the song is picturised is not Lillian. It seems she is Vinita Bhatt. The credits of the film mentions both Lillian and Vinita. Lillian is in the role of Suraiya’s crony. Yasmin was the name given to her by Guru Dutt.

    A minor query? You said that you picked three songs from Sangdil for this post. But I could find only two. Not a major issue. Shalini ji compensated for it by posting another song from Sangdil. All lovely songs.

    SSW ji, I believe Madanmohan was an assistant to Sajjad Hussain. That is why he was influenced by him. In fact we all know about the song Tujhe Kya sunaun main dilruba. Your note on song #7, Bhool ja ae dil too reminds me of the song, Yeh hawa ye raat chandani. Apparently this song too seems to be set to a slow tempo, but it has rapidity. This song also has the seven-matra taal (3/4). I will like to have your comments on the song. BTW, did you mean to say Bhool ja ae dil was set to Deepchandi? While on the subject of inspiration, it seems Madanmohan was also inspired by the song Koi prem ka deke sandesa (#11). I will
    like to hear from you on this too.

    Thanks a lot

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  27. Banno, that is not surprising. Sajjad Hussain was not a person one read of, and how many of us, listening to music really pay attention to the music director and lyricist? The reason the others are so well-known, I think, is because their output was so much larger and, sub-consciously, the repetition of their names impinge on our memories.

    I'll take your word for it that the actress lip-syncing to Ae dilruba is Yasmin. :) She didn't look like Lillian at all to me. Neither does she resemble the plump girl in Mr & Mrs 55, but 8 years had passed since then and perhaps she lost her puppy fat. :)

    p.s. Mr Venkatraman also suggests Yasmin as a possibility.

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  28. Thank you, Mr Venkatraman, for reading and commenting. Regarding your comment about Sajjad's output, even I'm not sure how many films he composed for - the figures range from 14 to 17 to 19. That is not even one film per year that he was composing. It is truly a pity.



    Thank you for identifying the actress in Ae dilruba. As for the songs from Sangdil, I made a mistake. I'd also written up the Asha -Geeta duet Dharti se door at first; then I remembered Geeta's solo from Khel which I liked better, so I dropped it. But I forgot to change the 'three songs' to 'two'. Thanks for catching that - I will change it now.


    I will let S answer your other queries. :)

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  29. Mr.Venkataraman
    Yes "yeh hawa yeh raat" is in rupak taal and it is quite a fast song if you look at the number of notes in each line. It might seem slow to a casual listener because people tend to follow the words but if you listen carefully you notice that each word is broken into several notes, so in reality the song is quite fast paced. I was hesitant to mention Deepchandi because in truth I do not have any formal training in Indian art music, I depend on my ear and it is only recently that I have commenced formal training in western art music (I prefer the term "art" to "classical" because classical was only a period in the history of western art music). I am still not very good at recognizing the vibhags so to me it seemed two cycles of 7 beats in the western metronomic interpretation. Indian tala cycles are far more complex than western beats. I suppose western chordal harmony is complicated so other areas have to be more simple.

    "Koi prem ka deke sandesa" has possibly inspired "Preetam teri duniya mein" from Ada. There is a distinct progression from one to the other.
    I also think that Shankar Jaikishen were inspired by Sajjad. For example the song I posted earlier "Luta dil mera abad hokar" from Hulchul finds echoes in this song

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAT8FtN_16A

    If you listen to the accordion piece in this song by Sajjad from the film Saiyyan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJivcsBOnk8

    Listen when the accordion comes in at 1:51 and later in the song. You will probably here a similar phrase at the begining of this song and later

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Osioi6qvjg



    You will also hear pieces in "Awara" from the Saiyyan song . Listen to the choral work in the song and the instruments . There are many harmonic layers there.



    An interesting thing about Sajjad Hussain's music was that his tunes had the shades of a raga, but never the raga in its pure form. Funny when you think Sajjad had a thorough grounding in Hindustani classical music. His father was a much admired sitar player and he himself gave classical concerts on the mandolin, long before U Srinivas made it an art instrument. But in his film music he seemed to want to go to a completely different place.


    A really amazing composer I wish he had been able to do more. Sadly the lack of work told on him , his last movie Aakhri Sajda which used to be available on youtube ( I tried watching just to hear the music) was not upto his standards. There was one song which seemed to have the old magic but in reality the fire seemed to have died long before.

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  30. N Venkataraman25 July 2014 at 06:19

    Thank you SSw Ji for
    the detailed explanations and the musical embellishments pointing out the areas
    of resemblance. Your erudite comments add to my listening pleasure. Thank you
    once again.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you once again, Nalini. To know that there are readers who like what I write, the way I write, is a fillip. :)

    I didn't know Baton Baton Mein was based on anything other than an original script! That is very interesting to find out. I wish I could get my hands on that story.

    ReplyDelete
  32. p.s. I put a search out for that title, and all I got was the autobiography of an underworld hoodlum. :(

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Can%27t_Win_%28book%29

    Are you sure that was the title?

    ReplyDelete
  33. What an exhaustive post on Sajjad Hussain. His story makes interesting reading even while making one regret that his temperament didn't allow him to score music for more films at a time when melody ruled. I love his songs, but listen to them only as melodies nonpareil. Alas I lack technical knowledge of music but thanks to your husband's comments, I listened to the songs with them in mind and enjoyed them even more. Time to dig up and listen to all his songs, if I can find them.

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  34. Thank you, Zephyr. :) A lot of Sajjad's melodies are available on YouTube, thanks to people who have uploaded them. I made a playlist of the songs in this post - you can click on them for some uninterrupted Sajjad. They will throw up others on the sidebar. :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ashraf Lakhani27 July 2014 at 18:17

    Anu,
    Sajjad Hussein was a true master. Thanks for the soulful tribute.
    Your writing usually takes me down the memory lane.I grew up discussing music with my brother and sister , each one of us tried to have that one up man ship.
    We could not understand ragas and the instruments then and we cannot do it now ages later.
    I still remember my sister would recognize the song just by its prelude my brother would always try to impress by explaining the meaning of the lyrics and I was goodat recognizing the music directors, some of the MDs were evident by the way their singers sang for them, Rafi and Asha in particular. I hope I didn’t bore you with my memories
    .Back to Sajjad the Master, loved all the songs.
    I agree with your husband that the song hoke majboor seems to be influenced by phir tumhari yaad aayi ai sanam.
    You have one song from Hulchul, this Rajkumari song is a masterpiece too

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=j1Ki0NmsJUI

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ashraf, I'm glad you liked the post, and thank you for sharing your memories. No, you didn't bore me at all. I like it when something I write resonates with my readers. :)

    Yes, I should have added the Rajkumari song to my list, but I had so many songs that I stopped after a while. I'm glad you posted it here.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Nalini Ikkandath30 July 2014 at 04:50

    Quite sure. And yes I haven't found any trace of it in Google. Pity because it's a really nice little novel (and most unusually, the movie was as good- because they stuck to the book!). The particular issue is at home in Bangalore, buried somewhere amongst my ton-weight of books, old issues of RD, comics, etc., etc., the collection of two lifetimes-my father's & mine. I'll dig it out one day and let you know.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Will look forward to that, Nalini. You have piqued my interest. :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you, Sadu for this wealth of info. I don't have much of an ear for the 3/4 and 4/4. :( Thus, am very happy that you can tell me about it.
    I knew about I Lombardi, because I heard it on the radio and the commentator told us, that when the opera had its premiere in Vienna, the audience started laughing during the death scene, since they were more used to that rhythm in waltzes rather than for death scenes. Although I like to listen to opera, my ears are not really tuned for the rhythm. I just like them

    or don't.
    Thanks for the fact of 3/8 rhythm of la donna è mobile (the lady with mobile phone). I can boast about it somewhere else. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Anirudha Bhattacharjee13 August 2014 at 02:22

    Annu, Sadu's comments are awesome. I am planning to reach out to him for more funda :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. The person seen in the song Ae dilruba nazrein mila might just be Jabeen Jalil, since the former is either undoubtedly the same who is seen in Yeh Raat Yeh Fizaayein of Batwara or they were similar enough to pass for identical twins, and while I could not find another name of an artist who might be the one in Yeh Raat Yeh Fizaayein, photographs of Jabeen Jalil who is credited for that film seem to make one think it is possible it was her.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dr Gokhale, no, she is definitely not Jabeen Jalil, who I have seen before in films like New Delhi. Mr Venkatraman identified her as Vinita Bhatt, alias Yasmin.

    ReplyDelete
  43. If you see the song Yeh raat yeh fizaayein of Batwara, you might be able to see it too, there can be no doubt that the person in that song is the same as one in Ae Dilruba; that it is Jabeen Jalil is a conclusion from the song picturisation being credited to her. I have been looking at photographs and Yasmin urf Vinita Bhatt is similar but clearly not same, and these two songs leave no doubt the two women they are picturised on are same. As for someone identifying Ae dilruba as Vinita Bhatt urf Yasmin, there are more than one contradictory opinions on that, and I don't count mine when I say more than one - mine is merely the observation about the two songs Ae Dilruba and Yeh Raat Yeh Fizaayein, from Rustom Sohrab and Batwara respectively.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Dr Gokhale, what you say is very true. As I said, I did find a strong resemblance between the women in both songs you mentioned, but as I'm still unsure, I would hesitate to confirm it one way or the other. It could be Vinita Bhatt, as Mr Venkatraman suggested, or it could be Jabeen Jalil as you suggest. Honestly, I am conflicted. :)
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to me.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thank you, Anu, for responding and without ire too - I am not certain by any means, and had thought of Jabeen Jalil due to the three reasons (more than one person saying it is not Yasmin on one hand, finding the same person in Yeh Raat, and internet crediting that one to Jabeen Jalil) but it could be Vinita Bhatt or even a completely third person. But as it happens usually, the process of discovery has led to more serendipitous finds and treasures along the way! For one, Jabeen Jalil herself, reading about her life and so forth. And of course her films and so on, and various photos, write ups, and more.

    Devika Rani who was as multifaceted talent as her famous relatives Tagore and father in law Nicholas Roerich, Durga Khote who was a college gradute in that era, and Jabeen Jalil - all pleasant surprises. But then how many people know about Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand and Rajendra Kumar being college graduates, Balraj Sahni teaching at Shantiniketan after giving up his well paid job for BBC for the purpose with no certainty of being employed, or Manmohan Krishna teaching physics at Lahore University prior to '47!

    I really appreciated this article from you, apart from you, apart from what others I have seen so far, and am going to slowly find the gems you mentioned -

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anu, I know that I am adding my 2 cents after 2 years, but thought I would add one movie to this list, which is Half-Ticket, again a Kishore, Madhubala movie. Out and out mad-cap movie. Interesting tidbit about one of Kishore's scene in this movie (pardon me if you know this already, since I have not had a chance to read all parts of your blog yet). His father is trying to get him married off in order to stop being a trouble to his family (as if that will stop him, ha ha!!) A marriage broker comes to his house trying to find information about Kishore and he lands up in front of Kishore, who is watering the garden and so the broker mistakes him for the mali. The conversation that Kishore has with him was copied verbatim by Salim-Javed in Sholay for Amitabh's meeting with Mausi when he goes to ask Basanti's hand for Veeru, but I guess no one bothers to credit plagiarized versions or scenes from movies even if were copied from one Indian movie to another!! I would even put Half Ticket on par with Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. The Geeta Dutt-Kishore duet "Ankhon Mein Tum" is one hell of a ride, and so delightful to listen to, even after 50 years after the movie released!


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yznMSgCgsxs



    There is another scene in this movie where Kishore is trying to escape from the clutches of Shammi, who is the moll for the villain Pran.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Me8XAwYoZc&spfreload=10


    I agree with you regarding Chupke Chupke - I think you should add Om Prakash as Jeejaji as an iconic character to your other blog from this movie. Without him, I do not think that this movie would have ever been this effective. And I think that Hrishida had a knack to bring out the best from actors like Om Prakash and David.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Unfortunately, Half Ticket is not a film I enjoyed. I'm not a great Kishore-in-his-manic-form. The only thing I loved about the film was the songs, which were a treat! Salilda was fabulous.

    As far as Om Prakash being an 'iconic' character - I think my definition of 'iconic' is there in the post itself. When I mention the character, you have to think of the person. Now jijaji' in Chupke Chupke was great fun, but if I say 'jijaji', no one is going to think of Om Prakash. :)

    I do agree that Hrishikesh Mukherjee always had great characters pencilled in for Om Prakash and David. So did Basu Chatterjee (for the latter).

    ReplyDelete
  48. Nice collection of comedies you have here. I would've had Padosan in my list.
    Dileep Kumar also did one in Kohinoor, to have a break from his serious roles.

    Two of the funniest scenes in Hindi movies , in my opinion are:
    1) Om Puri trying to change the tyre of Satish Shah's coffin in JBDY. This movie is
    at the top of my list of comedy films. Satish Shah. Ravi Vaswani and Om Puri were simply outstanding
    and Naseer was surprisingly very good ( the telephone scene )
    2) Mehmood narrating a horror story to Om Prakash ( I forget the name of the movie). In the original
    Tamil version , Nagesh is the one narrating the story to Balaiyah.

    Maybe, you should do a list of funniest scenes in movies

    ReplyDelete
  49. Padosan is a film that I hate with unusual fervour. :) Yes, Kohinoor had a light role for Dilip for a change, but it was not a comedy in that sense - it had the usual tropes - romance, political machinations, etc.

    Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was a dark comedy and deservedly, a cult classic. My copy of the DVD has been spoilt, unfortunately.

    The movie you are thinking of is Pyar Kiye Jaa - and yes, the script narration was hilarious. Funnily enough, I thought that scene was far better in Hindi than in Tamil, but otherwise, Nagesh was much better in that role in Kaadhalikka Neramillai than Mehmood.

    And thank you so much for the idea for a post. Perhaps I should. :)

    ReplyDelete
  50. As long as Youtube is there, you can always get a fresh copy :)

    Mehmood sometimes tended to overact , unlike Nagesh. In this movie, Nagesh probably had
    the first-mover disadvantage !

    ReplyDelete
  51. I can watch on YouTube if there is a legal copy there, but on principle, I don't rip films from online sources. :)



    I think Nagesh was one of the most under-rated actors around. I find him amazing. Mehmood was also a good actor, but unfortunately, was given to hamming a lot! Plus, he stereotyped himself into a slot from which he found it difficult to get out.

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  52. The YouTube version is uploaded by Shemaroo, which should make it a legal one,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otehKhqJ-sQ

    The print seems to be a good one too

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  53. Ah, okay. :) Can watch, will not make a copy, though.

    ReplyDelete
  54. This is slightly off topic but perhaps a related subject - In Kabhi Kabhi there are two songs set to the same tune 'Main pal do pal ' and 'Main har ek pal' . I wonder if there are more such cases in Hindi cinema

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  55. Offhand, I can remember Abhi na jao chhodkar and Dukh aur sukh ke raaste from Hum Dono; many twin versions of songs have different lyrics, but the mukhda is often the same. I'm sure there are more of such songs; one just has to look. :)

    ReplyDelete

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