Clouds of Love
18th April is celebrated as the World Heritage Day. Since 1982, it was celebrated as International World Monuments and Sites Day and later changed by UNESCO to World Heritage Day. The basic aim of this is to create awareness about preserving and restoring the heritage sites. It is about the legacy which is handed over to us from the earlier generations. In India alone, there are roughly 40 such sites recognised by UNESCO and roughly 40 more waiting to get the world heritage stamp. These monuments/landmarks have been popular with the filmmakers for the picturisation, especially the song sequences. One popular destination is Rajasthan. A beautiful blend of ancient, medieval and the modern civilization, this state has much more to offer than what we see on paper. The state breathes stories of Rajputana valour and warmth. One is spoilt for the choices it offers in ancient architecture. One cannot but just marvel at the beauty and strength of these monuments.
Udaipur is called the city of lakes, with 3 huge water bodies surrounding the city. Saroop Sagar, Fateh Sagar and Lake Pichola. Lake Pichola being the biggest has got 4 islands – Mohan Mandir, Jag Mandir, Arsi Vilas and Jag Niwas. The moment you visit this site, your eyes fall on the lake palace (now also the heritage hotel of Taj Group) built on Jag Niwas. The pristine white structure with around 80 rooms/suites. Built under the direction of Maharana Jagat Singh as the winter palace.
Naino mein badra chhaye
Bijli si chamke haaye
Aise mein balam mohe
Garwa lagaa le….
The song from Mera Saaya (1966) picturised here at the Lake Palace. When someone you love is dead and gone, your memory becomes your worst enemy. But that memory is also your only treasure. Thakur Rakesh Singh (Sunil Dutt) is going through a somewhat similar phase. The death of his beautiful wife Geeta (Sadhana) results in him going into a state of depression. He is missing his wife, lying still on a settee on the terrace of his house (Lake Palace, Udaipur). Starts reminiscing about the time he had spent with his wife there. All the memories come alive in front of him with a delicate prelude making its way to an echoing song by Lata Mangeshkar. The prelude has a beautiful santoor piece as we take in the gorgeous palace surroundings, joined by sitar and tabla as Sunil Dutt gets a smile on his face, reliving those moments. With a true Madan Mohan touch, the overlapping santoor gives the feeling of bliss. At a distance, Lata’s sounds echoes and we see the beautiful Sadhana with Sunil Dutt under the canopy, singing. Singing to Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s rich lyrics, Lata’s voice is golden and sweet like the maple syrup. Check out her voice modulation from Aise mein balam mohe to Garwa lagaa le….she’s awesome!! The first interludes have the santoor again supported by tabla and violins.
Madira mein doobi akhiyan
Chanchal hain donon sakhiyan
Jhalti rahegi tohe
Palkon ki pyaari pakhiyan
Sharma ke degi tohe
Madira ke pyaale….intoxicating!!
The santoor effects send ripples through us just as shown on water on the screen. Ferrying along the serenity with Lata’s humming and violins rowing along the lake. The sitar strums provide the divinity and make us aware of the temple vicinity.
Prem deewani hun main
Sapnon ki rani hun main
Pichhle janam se teri
Prem kahani hun main
Aa iss janam mein bhi tu
Apna banaa le
Mera Saaya is a remake of a Marathi film Paathlaag (1964). While we have the haunting title song in Hindi – Mera saaya saath hoga by Lata Mangeshkar, the Marathi counter song ‘Hya dolyanchi don paakhre’ which is equally haunting (music by Datta Davjekar) is rendered beautifully by Asha Bhonsle.
Coming back to our song, by the time it ends, the violins are at a full go and Lata’s humming goes into sadder tones. Sunil Dutt realises that it was a mirage and it was only the love for his wife which was remaining now. Everything else around him was an illusion. It is an amazing example of Raag Bhimpalasi, an afternoon or an early evening raag. This raag has a tonal harmony and hence has a melodious effect on its listeners. Moreover, with Lata at her best with Madan Mohan, the song also has Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma playing the santoor and Ustad Rais Khan at the sitar. Add to it Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and the song becomes an ultra-fine example of rich music culture which was at its peak in the 60s era. Just like the intricate carvings of the palace inside the rich, fortified palace walls.
Originally written on 13 May 2018
Deepa Buty lives in Nagpur, and writes beautifully. This is what her Facebook page says about her: “(She) Loves Dev Anand and music. Not sure in which order!” She is also a founder and admin of the music site SongPedia.