Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rafi in Ten Moods - Part II

tum mujhe yoon bhoola na paaoge
jab kabhi bhi sunoge geet mere
sang sang tum bhi gungunaaoge...

He sang to us. And what an apt song! Rafi sahab, we truly can't ever forget you.

When a fire was ignited in the hearts of Rafi fans all over the blog-world by the creation of Rafi in Ten Moods at dustedoff, everyone was left wanting more of it. And who wouldn't?! I couldn't wait to come up with my top ten. It took a couple of days for me to narrow down the choices. As you can imagine, it was very very very difficult, and I removed and added so many songs back and forth to my list. Still it continually kept changing but I finally decided to finalize it and it's here. Phew!

My top ten favorites in no particular order:

  • Philosophical: aaj puraani raahon se, Aadmi (1968)
    Music Director: Naushad Ali
    Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

    It might be considered a sad song too, but I find it more philosphical, the kind when the search-light turns inwards and self-discovery begins: "jeevan badla duniya badli man ko anokha gyaan milaa... aaj mujhe apne hi dil mein ek nayaa insaan milaa...". My absolute favorite are Rafi sahab's voice that echoes... oh wow!

  • Gloomy/Sad: aye mere dost aye mere humdum, Meherbaan (1967)
    Music Director: Ravi
    Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan

    You can feel it in his voice, the pain, the hurt in his heart. It's about the best relationship in this world - friendship. It is one of those songs that makes me feel extremely emotional listening to it. Three Rs (Rafi & Ravi & Rajinder) give us this heart-wrenching number. I have a feeling these people were angels who just stopped by on this planet for us, to help us appreciate life. Listen to the ending part of the song "aye mere dost aye mere humdum" to see what Rafi has an ability to do.

  • Devotional: insaaf ka mandir hai, Amar (1954)
    Music Director: Naushad Ali
    Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

    There have been quite a few in this category to pick from and I had a hard time deciding on one, but I loved the lyrics and their meaning and raag of this one. It sounds just like a prayer, and I think it is. It tells us, there are no rules, no barriers when you want to pray and it tells about all the other truths about life. "yeh soch le har baat ki daata ko khabar hai... himmat hai to aaja yeh bhalaayi ki dagar hai...". I love both versions of it equally. Wish they were part of the same track.

  • Lovesick: aanchal mein sajaa lena kaliyaan, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)
    Music Director: O. P. Nayyar
    Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

    When the singer sings, there isn't supposed to be any major music in the background and then when he stops singing, that's when the music picks up. That is how a song is supposed to be. This is the definition of song. Check it out... Mohd. Rafi sahab at his best romantic self and some awesome tabla playing in the background that don't compromise the beauty of the song just complement it. Sigh!

  • Classical: madhuban mein radhika naache re, Kohinoor (1960) [Raag Hameer]
    Music Director: Naushad Ali
    Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

    The best classical song I've ever heard. Did you actually listen to the aalap and the taan and all other crazy hi-tech stuff he sings in this one? Even if a dancer attempted to dance to this one, it would be so unbelievably difficult. Naushad and Mr. Badayuni along with Rafi sahab are crazy people with crazy amounts of talent. That's all I got to say. I am speechless.

  • Heroic/Royal: hoshiyaar! jaanewaale zara hoshiyaar, Raj Kumar (1964)
    Music Director: Shankar Jaikishen
    Lyrics: Shailendra

    Wow! what a song... when Rafi sahab says "hoshiyaar!" it wakes up every single particle of your body and makes it dance with excitement. This one makes me happy when I'm sad and cheers me up and makes me want to "sang sang gungunaa" like he said to us earlier. It leaves me feeling proud of myself, for many or no reasons. That's the jaadu of Mohd. Rafi.

  • Praise/Taareef: salaam aap ki meethi, Boyfriend (1961)
    Music Director: Shankar Jaikishen
    Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

    The ultimate taareef song! And of course why not, it's for Madhubala. :) You've got to listen to the words for that though, because if you watch her on screen, you'd probably be rendered speechless. Only Harsat Jaipuri can write words like these and only Rafi sahab can woo his love by singing such a song. Rafi sahab, salaam aap ki meethi aawaaz ko salaam. Some of my most favorite songs are the ones picturized on Shammi Kapoor. Initially, I came up with songs in all these categories that were only Shammi Kapoor songs but I figured I was doing an injustice to Rafi sahab by including duets in there and so gave up on that idea and only concentrated on his solo numbers.

  • Adoring: yeh teri saadgi yeh tera baankpan, Shabnam (1964)
    Music Director: Usha Khanna
    Lyrics: Javed Anwar

    Pay attention to the accordian playing and singing. They don't overlap eachother, they're separated and what a fabulous effect that creates... and the speed of music also slows down with the singer slowing down his singing. What beautiful lyrics and it is such a fun number to watch. I love Mehmood and love the fact that Rafi sahab's voice matches him so perfectly. In fact, he would be one singer who has given voice for practically the widest range of actors without actually changing his singing. And he was one of the few singers who insisted on knowing who he was singing for before he sang. This is what has made each and every song custom designed for the singer he has sung any songs for.

  • Patriotic: jahaan daal daal par, Sikander-E-Azam (1965)
    Music Director: Hansraj Behl
    Lyrics: Rajendar Krishan

    Overflowing with love and respect for Bhaarat, that's what this song is! It's almost like a prayer. I simply love the Sanskrit shlok in the beginning "gururbrahmna gururvishnu...". It makes each and every single hair on my body stand up. Even the chorus sounds and chanting so fascinating and out of this world. And makes me feel so blessed to be able to appreciate being a Bhaaratiya. A song that tells us all about Bhaarat desh.

  • Romantic: door reh kar na karo baat, Amaanat (1977)
    Music Director: Ravi
    Lyrics: Sahir Ludhiyanvi

    If you really want to enjoy this song, don't watch it. Best listen to it and if you can leave your window down/open while listening... and if it's raining out, even better. It transports you to a completely different world... what voice!! OMG, it's mindblowing! I agree, it wouldn't have been possible to do this, if it wasn't for the music or the lyrics. My most favorite line is "zindagi bhar ka hai ab saath, kareeb aa jaao...".

    Video of song from film (missing last stanza):

    Full audio song:

    I feel like singing for Rafi sahab: O door ke musaafir, hum ko bhi saath le le re, hum reh gaye akele... hum reh gaye akele...

    To this, he'd probably sing: so ke bhi jaagte hi rehte hai jaanbaaz suno... meri aawaaz suno pyaar ka raaz suno...

    I could never have just 10 favorite Rafi songs. Here are some more of my favorites of Mohd. Rafi sahab.

    Long live, Rafi sahab! May God bless you, whevever you are.
  • Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Choosing my first DSLR...

    ...was surprisingly enough, not the toughest decision I had to make. Thanks to many family and friends who are professional and almost-professional photographers.

    I had been contemplating over this one for years now. Finally, when Ykaka suggested I should graduate to a DSLR already, I said to myself, this was it! After being a proud owner of a regular SLR camera with film, it was about time to makeup my mind about digital SLR and just go for it. To be honest, I didn't do too much research on any particular area about cameras because I wanted to buy something that I could use for everything - portraits, macros, scenes, and everything else. So for me, it was more of a decision to pick out the best entry level camera there was. My budget was sort of flexible, but I didn't want to go overboard with it.

    Some thoughts to share if you're in the same place where I was before yesterday: If you can't make up your mind at any given point, the thing to do is, wait... the best part about that is, you'll probably get a better camera for the same money you'll spend. The bad thing about it is, you'll lose out on taking pictures during that time. And the worst is, the wait never ends if you keep doing that. So I finally decided to decide.

    Here are some of the reasons why I chose Nikon D5000 over Canon T1i.

    A few months back, I spent a lot of time on cnet reviews reading about DSLR basics. It is a wonderful site for some excellent info and confused me quite a lot. So this time, the keyword for me was "entry level" so I started out with the timelines for different cameras from both of these brands. I searched on google and wikipedia mostly to find which cameras fell under these category. I narrowed down on 3 models of Nikon and 3 models of Canon. Then it was time to compare them all amongst each other and within their same manufacturer. This helped narrow down even further to 2 models from each brand. Then I went on to quite a few websites to compare the features and check the prices of these four models. The feature comparison helped narrow down even further to two models that I mentioned above.

    These are some of the sites I spend hours on to compare prices and packages:
    Ritz Camera
    B&H Photo Video
    Fry's electronics is also another option along with I didn't check either of these as it was creating information overload in my head.

    I should add that one of the main reasons to choose a Nikon was that I already own a Nikon N65, which has already made a unique place in my heart so I was a bit partial to begin with. Then came the following points:

    1. Automatic mode - Nikon offers an automatic mode that Canon does not have. This makes the camera shoot like a normal point and shoot one. I liked this option a lot for the simplicity of use. Until I get into the details about the DSLR shooting and utilizing all the features, this would be like a default that I can use.
    2. Image sensor - Nikon has slightly bigger one. The difference is in less than a millimeter.
    3. Burst mode - Nikon has it and Canon doesn't. To be honest, I don't know a thing about burst mode, but that wasn't my deciding factor.
    4. Weight - Nikon weighs almost the double at 28.8 oz where as Canon is at 16.9 oz. I talked to a few photographers and they said this was because the insides of a Nikon used magnesium alloy or similar metal for the core of camera where as Canon used plastic. I liked the fact that Nikon was heavier. That would make it heavy for usage but a sturdier camera too.
    5. Price wise, Nikon was about $50 less than Canon.


    1. The LCD/live view screen size is 2.7 in in Nikon, Canon has 3 in.
    2. Megapixel - Canon had 15+ Nikon has 12+ but I was told that resolution of more than 10 didn't make too much of a difference unless you were printing huge posters.
    3. HD video - I am guessing the Nikon had 720p HD video where as Canon had 1000+p HD video. I'm not entirely sure though.
    4. Nikon's weight is more making it a bit bulkier camera than Canon.

    Everything else was practicaly the same. They both have video mode, live view, and support JPG, RAW and JPG+RAW (this means it generates both of these files for each photo) formats for photograph files. So after evaluating all these, I realized that I can live with the cons of Nikon better than the cons of the Canon.

    Some really good suggestions that helped me make this decision were:

    1. Do not think too much. Spending months or weeks deciding about cameras are not reasonable and don't help you make a better decision.
    2. Once you decide on a camera, don't doubt your choice. Just go with it and enjoy yourself.
    3. Get an upgradable camera and don't be afraid to spend a bit more to get a better longer lasting camera. You are not going to buy another one for at least five years, or atleast you want to think like that. ;)
    4. Like everyone else using a DSLR tells you, and Sandeep said it here too, lenses are very important so get a camera that works with wide range of lenses with interchangeable mount. Doesn't have to be wide range of manufacturers.
    5. When you purchase lenses, and if they are Nikon, be sure that they have VR (vibration reduction) and DX (Digital extra format - sensor type, majority of Nikon lenses use this).
    6. Definitely get at least the haze filter or UV filter to protect the lens.
    7. Do not buy a DSLR without the carrying bag/case. That helps protect your prized possession.
    8. Don't do something because someone else wants you to do it. Do it because YOU want to do it.
    9. Go with your gut feeling.

    I added the last two points in there. :) Now comes the most challenging part: learning how to use it. For a starter, I watched the video of Bob Krist, the photographer for National Geographic. It was very helpful. Now I'm reading the instruction manual and keep taking photos in between to test what I just just learned. Still getting more comfortable with holding such a big camera and learning about a gazillion settings on it. The photos are not coming out as what I'd expect them to be. They're not bad, just completely different. The details in the photos are excellent. My Sony digital point-and-shoot has 14 MP and that one doesn't have nearly as much detail as this 12.3 MP camera. It's very interesting to note that. Am also learning what filters do and learning what is meant by different terminologies such as f stops, aperture, shutter speed, wide angle, etc. Gotta be patient with self and the learning process.

    Here's a glimpse to some of my newest creations:

    Bay Bridge - shaken not stirred ;)


    Port of San Francisco

    White flowers

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    El Bimbo... by Paul Mauriat in Hindi Film

    This isn't really a Khanna-o-rama post, but thought I'd post this on here in case other fans are searching for the same.

    What movie, or should I say Vinod Khanna movie plays this music of El Bimbo? Anyone knows? Answer tomorrow.

    Here comes the answer:

    The film is none other than "James Bond Ka Baap" Hera Pheri (1976) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Saira Banu.

    The el bimbo music starts at 1:08 and hunkalicious Vinod Khanna comes in at 4:18 in this clip:

    Thursday, May 06, 2010

    Quotes from the Mirror of Erised, HP

    "The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is." - Albus Dumbledore

    "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that." - Albus Dumbledore