Monday 28 December 2020

Babla: Yesterday Once More (1982)


A few years ago I posted Laxmichand "Babla" Shah's 1984 soundtrack 'Meetha Zehar'. An excellent score, it did however omit one particular piece of music featured in the movie, a captivating instrumental prelude to the gorgeous song 'Aye Mere Dil Tu Rona Nahin'. I became a bit obsessed by it, and with the help of Shazam and some asking around I was eventually able to identify it as 'Babla's Theme'.

It's the highlight of 1982's 'Yesterday Once More', a collection of mainly instrumental versions of other composers' film tunes. ('Babla's Theme' is in fact a title that appears on several of his albums, one as early as 1977. I don't know if these are all the same recording, or even the same song. I suspect they might not be.) Easy listening lounge music, synth-based, so possibly not for everyone. I can take it in small doses, or in the background. Some tracks work better than others. 'Mere Mehboob Kayamat Hogi' for instance has a harmonica bit I find appealing, and the sax on 'Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan Mein' is like something played at a wedding when the guests have left or fallen asleep except for a single drunken couple still slow dancing through confetti and streamers. 'Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon' has an ear-catching reggae beat, and the vaguely mysterious sounding 'Andhe Jahaan Ke' inspired me to go back to its source.

At the end of the day though, it's the final track that has real significance, and if not for it I probably wouldn't have bothered.

Track listing:
1. Aawaz De Kahan Hai (Anmol Ghadi)
2. Mere Mehboob Kayamat Hogi (Mr. X In Bombay)
3. Gham Diya Mushtaqil (Shahjahan)
4. Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan Mein (Sazaa)
5. Tune Hai Mere Zakhm-E-Jigar Ko (Nagina)
6. Yeh Sama (Jab Jab Phool Khile)
7. Jaiye Aap Kahan Jayenge (Mere Sanam)
8. Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon (Dard)
9. Andhe Jahaan Ke (Patita)
10. Babla's Theme

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  1. Multitrack stereo... as early as 1982??
    Oh, they cared!! They really did care!!

  2. I've heard bits of this over the years in various places. It's likely that parts of this was also used as a 'soundtrack' to home wedding videos. This was common practice, for some reason, but probably a godsend as the alternative would be silence or a swathe of random conversations during the proceedings.

    Instrumental only albums in stereo exist as far back as the 60s. There's loads to choose from, including the highly sought after Jazz Raga by Shankar Jaikishan.

    Earlier multitrack stereo soundtrack albums exist as far back as 1970, with Jal Bin Machli, Nrit Bin Bijli. This was recorded at Rajkamal Studios, which was owned by V shantaram. Oddly again, the actual film versions were in mono.

    The only other stereo soundtrack album of that period, was from the film Dastaan, which was in 1972. Then for some reason (likely cost, due to the time taken for mic placement, mix balance and only one or two studios where it was available at the time etc), soundtrack albums remained mostly mono until Sholay (which wasn't recorded in mumbai) and then Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin in 1977 (which had one side in Stereo), onwards.

    1. I have (and posted years ago) SJ's Raga Jazz Style; must admit I'd forgotten it was in stereo. I've always been under the impression that the lack of stereo soundtracks in India was due to the films still being monophonic back then. And that additionally sound recordings were compressed to match the limited frequency range of film celluloid, nobody really bothering about keeping better mixes for the albums.

  3. I see what you mean, but budget was the main overall constraint.

    A slew of soundtrack albums came out from 1972 to 1974 in EPS (electronically Reprocessed Stereo), which ive mentioned before, including (i think) in an article i wrote on surround sound , originally for the American Chronicles website (its now on my onw site, in a newer revised form)

    This was likely done to cash in on the slew of available stereograms in india from the late 60s onwards. It's a quick, cheap fix and easy to replicate in software (why you'd want to do this now, other than for nostalgia is a different kettle of fish altogether). They wouldn't have had to do this if they'd have had the availability of multiple equipped studios, with the technology and as importantly, the trained manpower to do this at the speed required to meet demand.

    Stereo took some time to become fully implemented and integrated. In effect, during the 70s, bollywood film putput was 750 films (approx) per annum; thats A LOT of recording time, manpower energy and electricity useage

    I think the success of the Sholay soundtrack may have pushed the whole 'lets go stereo' button with greater enthusiasm. But it's a larger scale system, so the change naturally took many years to become the norm.

  4. Being Caribbean, I know Babla as part of the duo, Babla and Kanchan, who mixed Indian music with Trinidad soca during the 80's and 90's.

    1. Indeed; I believe they were married. Kanchan also supplied vocals to a fair amount of Bollywood movie songs, often composed by Kalyanji Anandji, Babla's older brothers.

  5. many thanks , hope your well and all ok

  6. Any new update sir??
    Hope you havw well.


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