Disco Pioneers: Indian Born Music Producer Biddu and Tina Charles

Back in the ‘70s Tina Charles was a very talented English singer and at the time doing only backup vocals for groups, and wasn’t getting recognition. It wasn’t until she met Indian born British music producer Biddu who produced her immortal hit “I love to love”. I remember watching this song premier on “Top of the Pops” back in ’76. It still sounds fresh almost 40 years later!

Biddu is considered one of the pioneers of Disco, Euro-Disco and South Asian Pop (Indipop) music. He was hailed as one of the “50 Greatest Music Producers of All Time” by New Musical Express.  His international breakthrough came in 1974 with “Kung Fu Fighting” performed by Carl Douglas; the song became one of the best-selling singles of all time with eleven million records sold, helped popularize disco music. It was the first worldwide disco hit from Britain and Europe, and established Biddu as one of the most prolific dance music producers from outside the United States at the time.

He also produced “Disco Deewane” for Nazia and Zoeb Hassan which went on to become the biggest selling pop album in South Asia and launched an entire genre of South Asian pop music. I lived in Africa at the time, it was heard everywhere from corner shops to clubs.

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Menu Kehn De – Himesh Reshamiyya (Akbar Sami Remix)

Here is Akbar Sami’s electro-house remix of “Menu Kehn De” with its energetic vibe is sure to haunt dance clubs around the world for years to come!

Out now in stores on T-Series, the album “Aap Se Mausiqui” by Himesh Reshammiya features this track.

Taking a look at the past, Akbar Sami and Himesh Reshammiya Bollywood collaborations have made history;  their partnership has brought us some of the biggest and most memorable Bollywood remixes and dance tracks such as the award winning remix track Aashiq Banaya Aapne and Aap Ki Kashish, Jhalak Dikhlaja, and many more tracks that still set fires to dance floors around the world.

Reshammiya’s debut album “Aap Ka Suroor” in 2007 is considered the bestselling album (that was not a Bollywood film soundtrack) in Indian history. I bought it mainly for the seven dance remixes on the album including the title track which were produced by Akbar Sami – sheer magic!

 

 

Maula Mere, Maula Mere

The other day I was playing this song in my car and thinking about my beautiful wife – Mahi Jaan. I called her and tried singing the words to her but I was causing such a traffic jam on the 405 so gave up. She was probably worried that the Bel Air residents would come out wondering what shattered their windows or “Who let the dogs out?”. Let’s face it – We all don’t have magical voices like Tahir.

But as I listened…suddenly everything I looked at turned into sheer beauty….on the 405, the San Fernando Valley below me. On the 101, the sun rising so majestically, yet delicately veiled by gentle clouds, the mountains in the eastern distance still wearing their white caps….

Oh boy, it was indeed a mystical experience. As Carmen would say “QUE BONITO ES EL AMOR!”

Funny thing was that Hitesh also happened to think of the same song on the same day! Coincidence? Maybe he was also enveloped with sheer beauty everywhere – since London is such a beautiful city.

Here is the song with such beautiful and expressive poetry. I also have translated the lyrics to English below, to be as close as possible to its original Urdu meaning and in most places have used the literal meaning of the words but sometimes the symbolic to try stay true to its Sufi poetic form.

Enjoy!

Singer: Roop Kumar Rathod
Lyrics: Sayeed Qadri

You can listen to it here on YouTube:

Maula Mere Maula Mere

    Maula mere, maula mere, maula mere, maula mere

    Aankhein teri, kitni haseen
    Ke inkaa aashiq, mein ban gayaa hoon
    Mujhko basaa le, inme tu

    Ishq hai…

    Maula mere, maula mere maula mere, maula mere

    Ke inkaa aashiq, mein ban gayaa hoon
    Mujhko basaa le, inme tu

    Mujhse yeh har ghadi, meraa dil kahe
    Tum hi ho uski aarzoo

    Mujhse yeh har ghadi, mere lab kahe
    Teri hi ho sab guftagoo

    Baatein teri itni haseen,
    Main yaad inko jab kartaa hoon
    Phoolon se aaye, khushboo

    Rakh loon chhupaa ke main kahin tujhko
    Saayaa bhi teraa naa main doon

    Rakh loon banaa ke kahin ghar, main tujhe
    Saath tere, mein hi rahoon

    Zulfein teri, itni ghanee
    Dekh ke inko, yeh sochtaa hoon
    Saaye me, inke main jiyoon

    Ishq hai…

    Maula mere, Maula mer, Maula mere, Maula mere

    Meraa dil yahi bolaa, meraa dil yahi bolaa,
    Yaara, raaz yeh usne hai mujh par kholaa
    Ki hai ishq mohabbat, jiske dil mein
    Usko pasand karta hai Maulaa mere

    TRANSLATION:

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master,

    Your eyes, how beautiful they are
    That their lover, I have become,
    Captivate me within them

    It is passionate love…

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master

    Your eyes, how beautiful they are
    That I have become their lover,
    Captivate me within them

    Every moment, my heart keeps saying
    That you are its deepest desire

    Every moment, my lips keep saying
    Only you should be all they talk about

    Every word you speak, so charming
    That whenever I reminisce them,
    I smell the fragrance of flowers

    Let me take you and hide you somewhere
    Where even your shadow cannot reach

    Let me build you a house somewhere
    Where only I, will be with you

    The tresses of your hair, so rich
    I glance at them and imagine,
    In their shadow is where I’ll live

    It is passionate love

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master

    My heart has spoken, my heart has spoken
    O’ friend, this secret, it has revealed to me…
    Whoever has passion and love in their hearts,
    They are the beloved ones of my Master

Jai Ho to Slumdog Millionaire!

Who the hell would have thought that the best film on Oscar night in Hollywood was an intense, romantic melodrama that delivered satisfaction in a brilliant way, was made in the slums of Mumbai with a mostly unknown star cast, directed by a British director, who made films like “Trainspotting” and “28 Days Later”?

“All my life, I’ve had a choice of hate and love. I chose love, and I’m here,” – Bollywood music director, A.R. Rahman as he accepted two of the Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song – “Jai Ho”.

“Jai Ho” means “May Victory Be Yours” in Hindi….and indeed victory was with “Slumdog Millionaire” last night.

With a whopping, truly deserved, 8 Oscars (from the 10 it was nominated for) “Slumdog Millionaire” the independent film that cost $14 million (compared to Dark Night made for $180 million) topped the list of most Oscar wins (including Best Picture) for any film last night at the Academy Awards in Hollywood, CA.

Here’s the oscars.com link where you can watch some of the highlights from last night’s big wins.

The movie was indeed one of the best films my wife and I have ever watched. It was like watching “Salaam Bombay” meets “City of God” – two of my favorite films of all time in one. A truly brilliant masterpiece of art!

“Jai Ho” song being performed live on the Oscars stage was fantastic!

Here’s the clip from the Oscars:

You can watch the song performed live by A.R. Rahman on the Jay Leno show:

The Oscar Winners are as follows :

BEST PICTURE:
Slumdog Millionaire

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Sean Penn
Milk

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Kate Winslet
The Reader

DIRECTING:
Slumdog Millionaire

FORIEGN LANGAUGE FILM:
Departures

MUSIC(SONG):
Slumdog Millionaire

MUSIC (SCORE):
Slumdog Millionaire

FILM EDITING:
Slumdog Millionaire

SOUND MIXING:
Slumdog Millionaire

SOUND EDITING:
The Dark Knight

VISUAL EFFECTS:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

DOCUMENTARY SHORT:
Smile Pinki

DOCUMENTORY FEATURE:
Man on Wire

ACTOR IN SUPPORTING ROLE:
Health Ledger
The Dark knight

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION):
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Slumdog Millionaire

MAKEUP:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

COSTUME DESIGN:
The Duchess

ART Direction:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)
La Maison En Peptits Cubes

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Wall-E

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)
Slumdog Millionaire

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
Milk

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Penelope Cruz
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

[Source : Official OSCAR Website www.oscar.com]

Haq Ali Ali Ali Maula Ali Ali

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997) was a great Peaceful Warrior. A singer from Pakistan that went on to become the world’s greatest singer of Qawwali, a boisterous and passionate music of mystical Islam. His name is revered the world over – from Bollywood to Hollywood.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered one of the greatest singers ever recorded. He holds the Guinness world record for the most recordings of any Qawwali artist and has recorded 125 albums. He was gifted with a six-octave vocal range and during his performances it was very common for him to sing at a high-level of intensity for several hours. One of my favorites is his live performance in Paris – the entire performance spans 5 CDs.

His family have been musicians and singers of Qawwali (Islamic devotional music) for six centuries. Nusrat’s father, himself a singer, died in 1964 when Nusrat was about 16. His father had wanted his son to become a doctor because Qawwali is a very challenging style to learn. Ten days after his father’s death, Nusrat had a dream where his father came to him and told him to sing, touching his throat. Nusrat woke up singing, and gave his first public performance at his father’s funeral ceremony forty days later.

His first major hit in Pakistan was the Qawwali, Haq Ali Ali which was performed in a traditional style and with traditional instruments (Harmonium, Tabla, etc). The song featured restrained use of Nusrat’s sargam improvisations and attracted a large number of listeners.

Here is the beautiful heart rendering Qawwali, Haq Ali Ali dedicated to Hazrat Ali (AS) by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – the poetry is sheer divine ecstasy.

Lyrics and Translation of Haq Ali Ali by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Ali imaam-e-manasto manam Ghulaam-e-Ali
hazaar jaan-e-giraamii fidaa-e-naam-e-Ali

Ali is the master of all, I am the slave of Ali
a thousand lives are to be sacrificed for Ali

Haidariam qalandaram mastam
bandaa-e-Murtaza Ali hastam
peshvaa-e-tamaam virdaaram
ke sage kuu-e-sher-e-yazdaanam

I belong to the Lion of God
I am an intoxicated ecstatic wandering dervish
I am a slave of Ali the Chosen One
I am the leader of all the drunkards [mystical intoxication]
As I am a dog in the street of the Lion of God [Sher-e Yazdaan is Persian for Lion of God].

kabhii diivaar hiltii hai, kabhii dar kaaNp jaataa hai
Ali kaa naam sun kar ab bhii Khaibar kaaNp jaataa hai

Sometimes the wall shakes, sometimes trembles the door
upon hearing the name of Ali, the fort of Khaibar trembles even now.

Note: During the battle for the Fort of Khaibar, Ali rooted out the heavy door of the fort and used it as his shield.

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

King of the brave men, Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali.

patthar pe alam deen ka gaaRaa jisne
lalkaar kar Marhab ko pichaaRaa jisne

[One] who implanted the flag of faith on the rocks
[One] who challenged Marhab and defeated him.
Note: In the same war, Ali challenged and defeated the celebrated warrior Marhab.

Haq
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali

jap le jap le mere manvaa
yahii naam sacchaa hai pyaare
yahii naam tere sab dukh haare
isii naam kii barkat ne diye raaz-e-haqiiqat khol

my heart! chant this
[as] this is the name that is true.
This is the name that removes suffering
[and] the auspiciousness of this name opened the secrets of being.

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
la fataa illah Ali
sher-e-yazdaaN Ali

King of the brave, Ali.
There is no one except Ali
[and] the lion of God is Ali.

tan par Ali, Ali ho zubaaN par Al Ali
mar jauuN to kafan par bhii likhna Ali Ali

My body chants Ali, so does my tongue
[and] when I die, then write Ali on my shroud.

baGhair hubb-e-Ali mudd’aa nahiiN miltaa
ibaadatoN kaa bhii hargiz silaa nahiiN miltaa
Khudaa ke bandoN suno Ghaur se Khudaa kii qasam
jise Ali nahiiN milte use Khudaa nahiiN miltaa

Without the love of Ali, desire is not fulfilled
not even the prayers are answered.
O! slaves of God listen carefully, by God!
One who does not realizes Ali does not realize God.

basad talaash na ab kuch vus’at-e-nazar se milaa
nishaan-e-manzil-e-maqsuud raahbar se milaa
Ali mile to mile Khaana-e-Khudaa saa hameN
Khudaa ko dhuuNdha to vo bhi Ali ke ghar se milaa

Don’t search for anything now, match the eternal search
match the footprints of the desired destination with guide
to get Ali is like getting a house of God
searching for God too, we found Him in Ali’s house.

diid Haider kii ibaadat, hai ye farmaan-e-nabii
hai Ali ruuh-e-nabii, jism-e-nabii, jaan-e-nabii
gul-e-tathiir Ali
haq kii shamshiir Ali
piiroN ke piir Ali

The sight of Ali in itself is prayer, so said the Prophet
Ali is the soul, body and life of the Prophet
Ali is the purified flower
Ali is the sword of the truth
Ali is the saint of the saints.

dast-e-ilaa kyuuN na ho sher-e-Khudaa Ali
maqsuud har ataa hai shah-e-laa-fataa Ali
jis tarah ek zaat-e-Muhammad hai be-misaal
paidaa hu’aa na hogaa ko’ii duusraa Ali
“Bedam” yahii to paaNch haiN maqsuud-e-qaaynaat
Khairunnisaa, Hasan, Hussain, Mustafaa, Ali

At the door of god why not be like the Lion of God.
Every intention has a reward, King of the Victorious is Ali
Like the progeny of Muhammad is unique and unmatchable
There is none born nor ever will, like Ali
These five are indeed the reason of creation;
Khairunnisaa (Fatima, prophet’s daughter), Hasan, Hussain (Ali’s sons), Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad), Ali

Haq
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali

Move Over Hrithik Roshan, Kashif is Here!

Some people call him “A real life Pakistani Pedro”. A reference to the character Pedro in the film “Napoleon Dynamite”.

Kashif Menon is a sandwich shop manager who came from Pakistan and has lived in the US for six years. He signed up to appear on the show “America’s Got Talent” and actually performed. He’s learnt English, and although his dancing could use a few improvements was able to mesmerize the audience and judges. I guess they’ve never actually seen a Bollywood film.

I thought it was pretty heartwarming, and whatever his faults or no matter how silly it looks it was pretty entertaining and definitely will make you smile. Give the kid a break.

Watch the video below and judge for yourself.

America’s Got Talent is an American reality television series on the NBC television network. It is a talent show that features amateur singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other performers of all ages competing for the advertised top prize of US$1 million. The show debuted in June 2006 for the summer television season.

Nitu and Mahesh Gadhvi: The Most Talented Singers in the World

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Ever since I was a young kid of about age five, I’ve been fascinated with their voices. I still recall trying to dress up like Mahesh and style my hair like him. And Nitu, I have no words for – she’s one of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen with a voice truly like an angel.

Today their music sounds even more heavenly; the chemistry of their duets, transcendental. The silken voice of Nitu melts with Mahesh’s rich and ethereal voice; creating such magic that mesmerizes audiences the world over, from Atlantic City to Hong Kong.

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Nitu and Mahesh Gadhvi are the definitely the most talented singers in the world. I do not know of any other singing duo that can awe and inspire such diverse audiences and make those occasions so memorable. I still recall how much I was lost in a crowded party dancing to foot stomping numbers during one of their performances in London, then at another performance, half way across the globe, I was in the midst of people praising the Urdu poetry of their Ghazals with “Wah wah” lying down on luxurious rugs and soft cushions at a mehfil on the banks of the magnificent Hudson River in upstate New York. Don’t remind them about that event though – the next day we spent the day at an eye hospital in Manhattan learning about conjuctivitis.

The songs in the film Jaanbaaz (1986) are such timeless classics that even today, twenty years later, when you hear them they seem way ahead of their time.

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“Teri Yaad Ayee” (one of my favorites) from the album of the same name, was one of the most requested numbers on the radio program “Dial-a-Disc” on Radio Tanzania in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania.

If you’d like to learn more about Nitu and Mahesh’s music and book a performance, you can contact them via their website:

www.gadhvi.net
www.nituandmaheshgadhvi.com

Nitu and Mahesh Gadhvi
London, UK

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8952 2153
Mobile: +44 (0) 7956 967 899
E-mail: mgadhvi1@gmail.com