Music Review: Amrapali (1966)


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Directed by Lekh Tandon
Produced by F.C. Mehra
Written by Story & screenplay: Omkar Sahib
Dialogue: Arjun Dev Rashk
Balbir Singh (Additional dialogue)
Starring Vyjayanthimala
Sunil Dutt
Prem Nath
Music by Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics by Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri
Release date
1966

Amrapali is one of those gems that will never get lost, its attestation lies in its melody and Lata Mangeshkar. Shankar Jaikishan too, was just splendid.

No. Title Playback Lyricist Length
1. “Jao Re” Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra 4:04
2. “Tumhen Yaad Karte Karte” Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra 3:34
3. “Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein” Lata Mangeshkar Hasrat Jaipuri 3:54
4. “Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki” Lata Mangeshkar Shailendra 4:23
5. “Nacho Gao Nacho Dhoom Machao” Chorus Traditional 5:14
6. “White Dress Dance” Chorus Traditional 2:04

Let’s start with the powerful but subtle Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein based on Raaga Bhupali. Beautiful interlaced orchestral pieces give this classic an ethereal feel. Lata’s singing is perfect, she gives the raaga the necessary feel, and it comes off melodiously. The more you listen to the song, you realise that even though while the orchestral pieces are intricate and well defined, more so because Vyjantimala was dancing in this track, that you never forget Lata Mangeshkar. The vocals are the key to the track.

Next Up we have the sumptuous ‘Tumhein Yaad Karte Karte’. The power in this track lies in the soft romantic melody that Shankar Jaikishan has so beautifully created. Once again Lata stuns with her rendition. Her vocals can transport you back to the era the movie takes place in. The sitar riffs around 1.20 minutes into the track are simply outstanding. To me, this song has one of the best used Sitar pieces ever in a Bollywood song. The pieces convey emotion and panache. Onscreen Vyjantimala sizzles, she is so beautiful and her eyes conveyed the emotion really well.

Jaao Re Jogi Tum Jaao Re based on Raaga Kamod is a breath-taking song vocally and musically. Lata hits all the right high notes, and Shankar Jaikishan takes the raga to a magical place. At the end of some of the stanza’s Lata alaaps are striking.

The Last Vocal song on the album comes in the form of Raaga Bhimpalasi. ‘Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki’ starts off with a charismatic composition with the use of the Veena and Sitar, which gives you a charged feeling, then Lata Starts. The song takes Lata’s vocals on a low-high-low-high trapezium act and she handles it with finesse. Instrument-wise, the sitar takes foreground and is masterfully played.

Aside from the four vocal tracks, there are four instrumental tracks, which are enthralling compositions, classical dance pieces for Vyjayantimala. The tracks are entwined with pure indian instruments. The first two instrumental tracks appear at the beginning of the film, where Vyjayanti is in a muqabla, an the second dance which appears just after ther ‘Neel Gagan Ki Chaaon’ song. These are Bharatanatyam dance pieces, and the second one more like a Thillana. The two remaining tracks are slightly more dramatic and add to the atmosphere of the movie: The white dress dance and ‘Nacho Gaaon Nacho’.

Lata Mangeshkar was the only vocalist of Amrapali and with no qualms I can say this album highlights her talents. Shankar Jaikishan gave the songs an amazing appeal. It’s hard to come by a movie where all the songs appeal, each song of this album is a gem. Lata once made a statement that Shankar Jaikishan gave their best music outside of Raj Kapoor’s film, and with Amrapali, I can believe that statement.

Rating

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