Mera Rang De Basanti, Kapooraa Oye

Mahendra Kapoor is no more.

My mind goes back to 1960s, November, when the annual Nehru Bal Mela (Children’s fair) was being conducted in Delhi, Children’s Park. And yours truly, as a sub-ten year old, took part in the songs competition and started to sing a Mahendra Kapoor song, “He neele gagan ke tale”, from the movie Hamraaz… I had barely warmed up singing the first few lines, when the judges stopped me… They said “no film songs”… and then noticing the shock on my schoolkid face, they conferred, and asked me to go ahead, “but this song will not be considered for the prize”, they told me…

Well, that was ok… I sang…A song that kind of opens up the lungs, and goes fills the sky…

Mahendra Kapoor was a whole band transformed into one voice. There was metal, percussion, air and more, combining as one voice, that kind of surrounded you, picked you up clean, and carried you away, to the realm of the sentiment of the song…

The could be light, guitar strumming, feet on beat songs like ‘laakho.n hai yahaa.N dilavaale, aur pyaar nahii.n milataa’ ,  ‘aadhaa hai cha.ndramaa raat aadhii’, or ‘aa.Nkho.n me.n qayaamat ke kaajal’ …

Or serious songs of romance like “tere pyaar kaa aasaraa chaahataa huu.N” and “tum agar saath dene kaa vaadaa karo”…

Or deep from heart, songs of anguish, like “”andhere me.n jo baiThe hai.n”, “kisii patthar kii muurat se muhabbat kaa iraadaa hai”, “aap aaye to Kayaal-e-dil-e-naashaad aayaa”, “aur nahii.n bas aur nahii.n”…

Or Citizen-march-on songs like “hai priit jahaa.N kii riit sadaa”, “mere desh kii dharatii, sonaa ugale ugale hiire motii”… and some that I like even more, “meraa ra.ng de basa.ntii cholaa oye rang de” and  “na mu.Nh chhupaa ke jiyo aur na sar jhukaa ke jiyo”…

Mahendra Singh has left this earth, perhaps telling us, as he went – “chalo ik baar phir se, ajanabii ban jaae.n ham dono”…

But that cannot be. The sky can never become a stranger to the earth…

he-y! niile gagan ke tale, dharatii kaa pyaar pale
aise hii jag me.n, aatii hai.n subahe.n
aise hii shaam Dhale! …

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2 Responses to “Mera Rang De Basanti, Kapooraa Oye”

  1. GJV Prasad Says:

    man, this post brings back so many memories

  2. Angarai Sridhar Says:

    This is a great way to remember one of the successful singers besides the trinity of Hindi movie playback singing. Brought back memories of Humraaz time.

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