Some may believe that if Hindustani musicians are trained as instrumentalists, this grounding will hold sway over the songs they compose in other genres. While certain elements of their training do have an influence on their film songs, for instance, this does not necessarily happen.
We saw this in film songs composed by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and we will see that in today’s episode featuring select film songs composed by Alla Rakha, the world-renowned tabla player of the Punjab gharana.
In his case, we do not hear an excessive use of tabla or intricate rhythmic variations that would have otherwise come to him naturally. Perhaps his early training as a vocalist in addition to the long years that he spent training as a tabla player afforded him the opportunity to perceive music in a more comprehensive manner than in a strictly compartmentalised way, thus not allowing rhythm to take precedence over melody.
In the third episode of our series on Hindustani musicians working as composers in Hindi cinema, we listen to the songs he composed under his screen name AR Qureshi.
He composed music for several Hindi and Punjabi films.
We begin this episode with a duet composed by him for the film Maa Baap (1944). Significantly, this song features the composer as singer along with Rajkumari.
The second track is sung by Naseem Akhtar Maa for the film Maa Baap Ki Laaj (1946).
Talat Mahmud sings the next song for the film Bewafa (1952).
The following song composed in a pulsating seven-count rhythmic groove is sing by Asha Bhosale for the film Laila (1954).
The next one from the film Khandan (1955) is also sung by Asha Bhosale.
In Alam Ara (1956), listen to Balbir Singh as the lead voice.
We end with a song by Mohammad Rafi. Set to a quicker seven-count groove, the song is from the film Malika (1947).
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.