Friday 9 May 2008

Rahul Dev Burman: Nauker (1979)


Oh dear... one of those rare things (on this blog anyway), the second bland RD Burman score in a row. Marginally better than 'Biwi-O-Biwi', maybe, but sans any tracks that are able to hold my attention... a million miles from great. If memory serves, I bought 'Nauker' quite early on, under the assumption that anything Burman from 1979 would be good, by default. Not so.

The Pancham backlash starts here then? Hardly; most of the time he was genius. And the next post will be better, I promise.

Track listing:
1. Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle: Pallu Latke
2. Asha Bhosle: Aaya Na Karo
3. Kishore Kumar: Chandni Re Jhoom
4. Asha Bhosle, Mohd. Rafi & chorus: Dekheen Hazaron Mehfilen
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Chandni Re Jhoom

(PS. The MP3 for track 5 is incorrectly tagged; the artist singing is Lata, not Kishore. Duh. I trust you can re-tag it yourselves?)


  1. It also helps to be scoring for a film that is compelling. Let's face it - a lot of these movies just ain't!
    For example, have you actually seen "Qurbani"? Yuck! Zeenat or no Zeenat, it's twelve or fourteen hours of misery. And the songs suck too.

  2. Ooh I have to disagree! Qurbani is oodles of good masala fun (of course, you have to like that sort of thing)...I haven't seen this film but if Jaya and Sanjeev are in it, is has a decent chance of being pretty good.

    Thanks for the songs!

  3. I like it all!

  4. Thanks for this one. I have vague memories of the first song being a folksy piece, I would love to refresh my memory. :)

  5. I guess that's the problem with Bollywood soundtracks, never knowing what you're getting; seems important to take the type of movie into account when looking into buying soundtracks, especially when looking for a certain style of music.

    I have a vague memory of this film, something about a rich widower (with a young daughter) looking for a wife, and switching places with his servant when they head out to some village and arrive at a house with two eligible women... turns out the widower falls for one of the servants instead. Not the typical urban style of film which Burman composed his hippest tunes for.

    As for the songs, you have one lullaby sung in two versions, suppose there's hardly any room to be innovative. Then there's a folk song, another song which I guess is a lullaby as well, and then one of those traditional sounding tunes, which I guess they'd call a qawwali.

    I think the album as a whole is okay though; I wouldn't think there's much of a way to spice things up given the type of movie and whatever vision the filmmakers had in mind. I'm sure Pancham fanatics swear by this stuff though when needing a change of pace from his more groovier, jazzier, or fillintheblankier tunes... or at least to unwind, this stuff does have sort of a melodic, relaxing feel to it.

  6. Buying (Hindi) soundtracks is indeed a game of chance. Encountering them online (eBay etc.) allows for a bit of research before deciding - I often check or You Tube when coming across a title I'm not aware of (either by reputation or from having heard it) - one doesn't have those options when stumbling over a pile in a 2nd hand store. Then I usually base my decision on music director, year of release, and cover art, the latter also serving as indication of type of movie. (Price is obviously also an issue). To a certain extent I do look for certain styles... but I'm always up for finding unexpected gems from outside of those. It doesn't all have to be funky or groovy or urban.

    And yet, even with all the right pedigree, even with a cool-as-fuck cover, some scores will stink. And inversely, a cover with randomly thrown together pictures of romantic or family idyll may very well hide the most amazing of songs. Which is why I tend to buy almost anything if it's cheap enough...

    I'm not sure there's a point to this comment.... (sorry, I'm very tired)

    PC x

  7. As someone who has been tracking Rahul Dev's life and career for the past 31 years, I must confess to being extremely biased about all of his scores - all!!! However, I'd like to think that even then, I do understand (and sometimes want to) why people didn't take up to a score or song. In Nauker's case, I can quite understand why Pancham got frustrated when people panned his "Indian" work. I think Nauker works brilliantly. Right from the opening piece of "Pallu latke", to "Aya na karo", where Asha weaves a magical circle of motherly yearning, yet pain to RD's brilliant composition, to the tandem lullaby, which in my opinion, is so full of feeling, so much of....oh well, there i go again...and the qawwali splendidly showcases Asha and Rafi's talent...Nauker has a lot going for it, even when you watch the movie - you realize Rahul carries off even the background score impressively.

  8. I'm guessing (in general, not particularly or necessarily in Nauker's case) that at least something is lost in not understanding the lyrics, and not being familiar with the context, as I rarely watch the films the song are from and I have hardly any knowledge or experience of Indian culture. For me then, it's all about the music; melodies, arrangements, instruments, sounds (including voices; despite not understanding the words I sometimes just like the tone, the sound of them)... the optimal combination of all the above. (Hell, my current mood when listening can also play a part).

    So when "panning" this (and other soundtracks) it's just me putting into words my personal listening experience. Or trying to. No objectivity at all. Other than that I have loads of these records, I'm not really much of an authority. It's very satisfying to know that you're all reading what I write, that (some of) you are getting something out of it, be it in terms of enlightenment or entertainment or whatever... but I'm equally pleased that records I have nothing good to say about are being downloaded in large numbers as well. People should make up their own minds... hence my "challenge" at the end of Biwi-O-Biwi's write-up. It's good when you disagree with me (though obviously lovely when you don't :-)); if you didn't there wouldn't be any point in posting them. And I love getting comments such as the above, which more often than not make me want to go back and re-listen.

    More random thoughts (still tired...)


    PC x

  9. That's a really nice follow up comment to mine! Usually, bloggers tend to get defensive when they don't receive a pat-on-the-back comment. I'm going to stretch my luck here and give you just one example what thought has gone into the lullaby. In Kishore's version, notice how he drops the pitch when he says something like "Tere liye maine kya kya bhes banaye..." It's the line that's different from Lata's version because it's Sanjeev Kumar thinking how he's had to come to the house disguised as a servant. It's a small but simply brilliant Rahul touch.