Sahir Ludhianvi : When every Verse was Magic – 10 Gems

Enough and more has been said about the depth, passion and finnesse of Sahir Ludhianvi and his poetry, and how he weaved magic into every word of his verses. Arguably the finest lyricist of hindi films ever, Sahir wrote for every mood, and every beat; and worked for a multitude of composers to create gems across decades. His collaboration with Sachin Dev Burman though stands out, especially the soulful melancholic songs they created together, most of which still echo as evergreen classics.

As the world gets ready to celebrate the centenary birth anniversary of Sahir Saab, here’s celebrating the terrific poet by remembering 10 of his best songs across films over years. There are of course multiple bunches of such tens that one can easily pick up from his amazing treasure of songs, but we restricted ourselves to ten and picked a max of one per film though it goes without saying that a Pyaasa or a Hum Dono or a Kabhi Kabhie would potentially feature all their songs in the Best of Sahir Ludhianvi list.

Too much to love. Too much to celebrate. Happy 100 years Sahir Ludhianvi! You are fondly remembered everyday through your ever relevant gems!

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AK vs AK : Meta Musings of Life

There is a reason why I think Vikramaditya Motwane is the most versatile, most fearless and most creative filmmaker currently working in Mumbai! The man doesn’t care whether his art will trigger the ringing of cash registers at the box office, but he will go to any length to make the most impressive films in the genres he will pick up, and challenge both art and life through it! And he will control his indulgence too. And then keep it accessible for all without trying to go too tangential. AK vs AK is another bold step towards establishing it!

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TASHER GHAWR : Intriguing. Intimate. Ingenious.

Meet Sujata. She is just another next door woman whose life has become stuck in a time capsule because of the ongoing pandemic. The lockdown has pretty much locked her existence down in an enclosed space she calls home, but one that subjects her to various levels of unbearable trauma because of her spouse who physically and mentally abuses her, cheats on her, and doesn’t bother to acknowledge her agency as an individual. Their relationship is purely transactional and Sujata is just there to render her services, right from the breakfast in the morning to routine sex in the night. All this isn’t new in her life though, but the pandemic has ensured that this torture now happens round the clock, twenty four by seven. There is a Sujata living in all our neighborhoods, and we get to see their linen drying up from our terrace everyday, just that we are not bothered to find out the dirty stories behind them.

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C U SOON: See It Soon!

Mahesh Narayanan‘s new Malayalam film ‘C U Soon‘ perhaps wants you to see the film soon through its wordplay on the title. Backed up by Fahadh Faasil and Friends, Nazaria Nazim and Fahadh Faasil produce one of the better films of the lot that was shot and processed entirely during the lockdown, and thankfully they don’t tell a pandemic laden lockdown story, like many other efforts during the period attempt to.

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MASABA MASABA: Cool and Confident

Masaba Masaba is that chilled out show that Netflix had always promised through its tag line!

Experimental and edgy, lighthearted and liberated, funny and fresh, the show never thinks twice to make fun of the pompous and pretty world it sets itself in, and yet lends itself authenticity in the way it draws from such genuine moments of affection and care between the mother and the daughter.

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CHURAILS: Where Sassy Witches Dare

Subah ki kirnon ko roke jo salaakhein hain kahaan…
Jo khayalon pe pehre daale.. Woh aankhein hain kahaan…
Par khulne ki deri hain.. Parinde udd ke jhoomenge…
Aasman aasman aasman…..

It is fascinating how filmmaker Asim Abbasi‘s new ten part Pakistani web series on Zee5 called Churails borrows seamlessly from Amitabh Bhattacharya’s poetry to string together a montage of courage for a group of fearless women in Karachi; each of whom have lost so much in a journey to discover treacherous personal truths, unearth the ugliest secrets of their existence; but have eventually found peace with themselves. It is the common annhilating pain that has worked like a invincible bond between them to stand for each other, and give them the courage to fight for themselves and for a world of other suffering women around them brutalized systemically by a glitteringly perfect world of class, aristocracy and elegance.

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GUNJAN SAXENA: THE KARGIL GIRL – Soars High in the Sky

Early on in Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl when young Gunjan tells her folks for the first time that she wants to be a pilot, Anup Saxena, an army officer by himself, and Gunjan’s father very subtly tells his condescending elder son Anshuman “Jab plane ko faraq nahi padta ki use kaun udaa raha hai, to tumhe kyon padta hai barkhurdar..”. It is one heck of a statement delivered with the sweetest calmness, and immediately sets the tone of writer director Sharan Sharma‘s debut film. Full credit to him that he maintains that even tonality and pace throughout the film, and delivers a highly satisfying cinematic experience with a beautiful emotional core and a strong message, that challenges the ingrained patriarchy of our homes, our societies and our workplaces on one hand, and strongly rebukes the generic template of jingoistic patriotism on the other.

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RAAT AKELI HAI : Solitary Shades of Darkness

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In Honey Trehan‘s debut feature film Raat Akeli Hai, a dysfunctional family, with a rich socio-political backing, is facing the mysterious murder of its patriarch on his wedding night. But that is not the only mystery that inspector Jatil Yadav, in charge of solving this case, is dealing with. There are at least five other deaths that we encounter as a part of the unfolding narrative over two timelines, that have their own flavors of murder, revenge or redemption; and there are more lives on the line who have been used, abused and exploited in their own ways.

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Pancham – Dual Version Songs

The genius of R. D. Burman is remembered in terms of how he brought in a new sound to the world of contemporary or film music. Even if there were inspirations, he would take them and convert them into something totally different. He also kept reused his tunes, some times even within the same language. So Humein raaston ki zaroorat nahi hai (Naram Garam) easily metamorphosed into Saagar kinare (Saagar), of course this particular tune has had so many versions by so many composers. He kept reusing the prelude or interlude tunes of his songs to make new songs as well and there are again plenty to quote there. But the biggest bucket of Ek Sur Do Geet from Pancham’s discography comes from how he kept making twin songs in Bangla and Hindi from the same tune.

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AARYA : The Rise of the Phoenix

“Dukan phir se khul rahi hai…”

As Aarya Sareen raises a toast in anger, helplessness, fear and utmost strength during her party, Sushmita Sen basically announces back to the entire world boldly that she is back in the business and how! Without any doubts, it is the most definitive performance of her career, and she nails down the complex concoction of a varied range of emotions of Aarya in every single scene. This is classic Sushmita Sen at her resilient, fearless, terrified, graceful and affectionate best, and helps raising an already solid writing of a highly engaging show to the next level. Sushmita with Aarya, and Aarya with Sushmita, flies and soars, in all her shades of a mourning wife, a helpless but super protective mother, a smart and sharp thinker, a vulnerable woman, and a go getter, never losing her focus or poise in her messy and challenging journey.

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