Old songs, new delights: How YouTube is letting fans enjoy complete versions of abridged melodies
Many old songs would have some stanzas deleted to make them fit into records. These lost stanzas are now being rediscovered.
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The songs that you hear in your early years, when memories are just beginning to form, stay with you forever. From the age of four till seven (till 1964), I was in Calcutta, and heard amazing songs on radio and the 45-rpm records that my parents played on the record-changer.
Aarti, Gumraah, Sangam, Asli Naqli, Bandini, Aayi Milan Ki Bela, Aaj Aur Kal, Taj Mahal, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne are some of the films whose songs are forever etched in my consciousness. I knew the words, the prelude and interludes, the embellishments, every nook and cranny. One song that stood out was ‘Teri Pyaari Pyaari Soorat Ko’. The tune was catchy; the theme was original (later, Hasrat Jaipuri would use a similar concept in ‘Is Rang Badalti Duniya Mein’ in Rajkumar); it had the catch line chashm-e-bad door (whose meaning my parents had to explain) — later, when one heard Hasrat more extensively, one realised that such catch phrases were his forte) — easy to sing; and the prelude and interludes were straightforward and melodic (which was expected of Shankar- Jaikishan). The two stanzas conveyed the essence of the hero’s concern for his lady-love, delivering it in such a beautiful way!
Imagine, therefore, my shock when I discovered the third stanza. I approached it with mixed feelings: shock that someone I knew so well had a hidden side all along; anger at being deprived of the full song all these years; curious as to how the stanza would fit into the overall scheme of things — would it add value? Would it be an interloper insinuating itself into a much-loved national icon? After all, after ‘kisi ki nazar’, ‘meri nazar’, ‘mausam ki nazar’, and ‘khud ki nazar’, who else was left to give nazar? — thrilled at the prospect of getting acquainted with a new facet of the song’s personality; and trepidation as to whether it would comfortably roll off my tongue, now that it had come out of the closet and would demand to be sung with equal respect and fervour.
Mystery solved. Rajendra Kumar is cautioning B Saroja Devi – ‘Nikla Na Karo Tum Raahon Par, Zarron Ki Nazar Na Lage’.
This is not the only song.
Pal Bhar Ke Liye from Johny Mera Naam is among the songs that had to be edited.
Some songs that the radio / record listening nation had taken for granted had this unknown side. Of course, they were available in their musical fullness in the movies. If I had seen Sasural, the missing stanza wouldn’t have been missing for me. But the main source of the songs those days —the radio and gramophone records — did not have them.
It is thanks to YouTube that film song clips are now available, which has led to the discovery of these rare treasures.
The old songs whose lost stanzas have come out are being looked at with fresh interest, and music aficionados are coming to terms with how the songs now sound in their entirety.
Here are more examples from some of the most recognisable and adored songs:
The list is very long. Songs like ‘Tu Kahaan Yeh Bataa’ (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne), ‘Sau Saal Pehle’ (Jab Pyaar Kisi Se Hota Hai), ‘Khwab Ho Tum Ya’ (Teen Deviyan), ‘Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar’ (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne), ‘Jhumka Gira Re’ (Mera Saya), ‘Tu Jahaan Jahaan Chalega’ (Mera Saya), ‘Pal Bhar Ke Liye Koi’ (Johnny Mera Naam), ‘Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat’ (Kohra), 'Ai Gulbadan' (Professor) and 'Tujhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se' (Asli Naqli), it goes on and on.
Not only have the stanzas been deleted, but, in many instances, they have been abridged. So, while the song ‘Jungle Mein Mor Naacha’ in the film Madhumati has the second stanza repeated (like the first one), in the audio, it does not happen. Before one can fully savour Shailendra’s ‘Kisi Ko Harey Harey Note Ka Nasha Hai, Kisi Ko Suit, Boot, Coat Ka Nasha Hai’, the stanza reaches its concluding line.
I once had an embarrassing moment with the accompanying music band while singing ‘Tu Mere Saamne Hai’ from Suhagan. I had practised on a longer version of the stanza (where the first part is repeated). The band had practised on the shorter version. They were professionals and immediately took corrective action on stage.
Even the prelude and interludes are not immune from the heartless editing that sometimes happens to shorten the song.
So why does it happen? Alas, the reasons lie in the finite amount of recording that is possible on a record. No such restrictions apply in the movie. The producers, music directors and recording companies don’t relish the idea of the operation, but a record can contain only so much. The challenge is to delete or abridge the stanzas/music in a manner which is not jarring and maintains the integrity of the song. And in this respect, a stellar job had been done all these decades.
Dil ka bhanwar (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne) had actually made a longer pukaar.
Then there are stanzas that were written, but not recorded. They are missing from the film as well as from the audio. A personal favorite of mine, ‘Ek Haseen Shaam Ko’ from Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, had one such stanza, that was included in the lyrics booklet that was part of the album.
“Sochta Hoon Ab Sunadoon, Kya Nazar Ka Faisla Hai,
Mere Dil Ne Ek Saathi, Zindagi Ka Chun Liya Hai,
Jiske Kadmon Mein Dil Ka Thikana Ho Gaya.”
The stanza fits the meter of the both the tunes that Madan Mohan composed for the song’s two stanzas.
Does the abridgement still happen?
With new technology, where there is no limitation on the length of the song in the audio format, it normally shouldn’t happen. But it has happened in the recent past. The title track of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil had a stanza missing. Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya explained it away because of technical reasons. But he wished it had been retained. However, such songs are rare. Here’s how it was written:
“Tere Liye Hoon Main / Bas Ek Haadsa
Mere Wajood Ki / Hai Tu Hi Dastaan
Jis Jagah Tu Mujhe / Thi Chhod Ke Gayi
Hoon Aaj Bhi Usi / Doraahe Pe Khada
Meri Zindagi Hai, Wahin Pe Thami
Meri Har Kami Ko Hai Tu Laazmi
Main Jee Sakoon Tabhi/ Tu Ho Sake Jo Haasil
Tere Bina Guzaara / Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”
Thanks to the new technology and social media, the fabulous treasures from inside Aladdin’s magic cave are seeing the light day. Just as an encore lifts the spirit of the audience at the end of a particularly satisfying play, the missing stanzas and music do exactly that.
Now to memorise and practise them!