Saturday Soundtrack: Jaanu Meri Jaan – Shaan (1980)

Shaan - Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor: Jaanu Meri Jaan
Shaan was a game changer for the 1980’s brand of movies. Ramesh Sippy’s 2nd movie after the massive hit – Sholay, this was Bollywood’s take on the many Roger Moore and Sean Connery Bond movies. With larger than life villains and their lairs filled with sharks, gas chambers, sidekicks in uniforms and revolving chairs, Shaan had it all. A Bollywood version of all those elements meant that a smashing soundtrack had to accompany this yummy dish. And Panchamda’s wicked menu offers flavours of Banjara dhinchaak – Yamma Yamma, the diva cabaret – Pyar Karne Waale, the Bond themed – Doston se Pyar Kiya, the  nautanki track – Dariya mein Jahaaz, and the Mazhar Khan green screen extravangza – Naam Abdul Hai Mera. But the one track that cracks the soundtrack open with its insane arrangement of crazy instruments that only Panchamda could’ve brought it together, is – Jaanu Meri Jaan.

And I dedicate my Saturday Soundtrack to this immortal track, which brings many fond memories of my childhood associated to it.

Jaanu Meri Jaan – is typical of the Bollywood flavour of roothna-manana songs; which means a song with the romantic jodi trying to reconcile back after a filmi argument. But that is not what makes this track stand out.  Anand Bakshi’s lyrics are no doubt set in the right tone, and have the right amount of romantic air, and naughty-ness in it. But it is Pancham da’s music which gives it life. Right from the intro notes of the organ, and the light tinkering of the cymbals, to the rush of strings sweeping through the initial 10 seconds – I still cannot help feeling enveloped by a huge wrap of music when I hear it.

And then the electric guitars kick in, and there is an amazing Western feel brought in into this otherwise very desi track. Kishore da’s naughty vocals are balanced or rather contrasted perfectly by the romantic adaaye of Mohd.Rafi. And the mesh of the remaining instruments sprinkle this track with flavours of awesomeness – from the rolling congos, the blowing horns, xylophones, and even the clever use of the bicycle bells – this track has it all.

Filmed in a Best Bus in Mumbai, the film version is shorter by 3 minutes than the original track. But I’d suggest you to check out the full track below.

And here is the movie version – which has the best Bollywood bromance of them all – Shashitabh, trying to win back their lady love. I clearly remember it as a kid watching it on Doordarshan. And watching Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor ride that double cycle thingy, I asked my dad if I could have one, and I wanted to ride it, in the same backwards way that Shashi jee does. Silly me!

It still makes me sad to see the radiant Parveen Babi, and to think that she’s no more with us. Usha Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle’s female vocals have a limited portion in the track, but towards the end, the team Shaan unison chorus makes it all worth it. Go on, play it already.

Show some love for this amazing track, and hit the Listen button. And share this post, to remind everyone of it. Cheerio! Have a happy Saturday 🙂

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