Alvida – Laxman Ji of “Raam Laxman” musical duo!

Noted music composer, Laxman of Raam Laxman fame passed away in the early hours of May 22, 2021, in Nagpur, India. He was 78. He died due to a heart attack. Vijay Patil better known as Raam Laxman, was an Indian composer, pianist, musician and accordionist.

His death brought back memories of the great chartbusters composed by him in the 80s like Maine Pyaar Kiya and Patthar ke Phool.

His evergreen chartbusters:

  1. Gunche lage hain kehne (Film: Taraana)
  2. Kabootar Ja Ja Ja (Film: Maine Pyaar Kiya)
  3. Didi tera devar diwana (Film: Hum Aapke Hain Kaun)
  4. Kabhi to Chaliya lagta hai (Film: Patthar ke Phool)
  5. Sun beliya (Film: 100 days)

He was most famous for his work with Rajshri Productions of Hindi films. He composed music for their hit films like Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Hum Saath Saath Hain.

Proficient in the piano and accordion, he started his career in an orchestra. He got his first Hindi film offer, “Agent Vinod” (1977), with another musician Ram and took on the name Laxman. Ram passed away soon after signing the film, but Vijay Patil continued using the Raam Laxman moniker as a mark of respect to his departed colleague. As a duo, Ram – Laxman had created many hit songs in Marathi films as well.

Raam Laxman composed music for many Rajshri Production movies. He delivered the biggest hit of his career and of that year with “Maine Pyar Kiya” (1989) with chartbusters like “Dil Deewana”, “Kabootar Ja Ja Ja” and “Mere Rang Mein Rangne Wali”, which became very popular and won him his first, and only, Filmfare Award.

Raam Laxman followed up “Maine Pyar Kiya” with two other successes in Rajshri films – “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun” (1994) and “Hum Saath Saath Hain” (2000).

His music was based on the basics of the orchestra and took the legacy of Laxmikant – Pyaarelal forward. Melody, even in foot-tapping numbers was a special feature of their music. The use of traditional Indian Instruments along with a typical orchestra, set up made their songs popular.Born and brought up in Nagpur, he came to Mumbai to become a music composer with his friend Surender Raam Kadam, Patil made a team that was given the sobriquet “Raam Laxman.”

Even after the death of Raam (Kadam), soon after the pair bagged their first film “Agent Vinod” Laxman (Vijay Patil) continued to provide music to more than 75 films in Hindi, Marathi and Bhojpuri as Raam Laxman. Rajshri Films music in Maine Pyar Kiya, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and Hum Saath Saath Hain bagged them several awards.

Rich tribute has been paid by Industry’s music doyen – Lata Mangeshkar Ji.  



DAY needs special mention & celebration.

Our humble Tea is celebrated the world over…

…All of us need to be proud of it!!

I have a very special bond with Tea, so much so that I have written 3 – Pager poetry in my book #lifeanexistentialcocktail.

Tea played a very unique role in my life, especially during my writing journey. I never felt tired with Tea as a companion, and Tea never felt tired with me as a companion. Ideally #Madeforeachother. Right from School, Jai Singh ka Dhaba in Hindu College Compound to work life. So much so, my colleagues use to joke in office, “It’s 3:30, you can check looking at Bienu’s face, if tea is delayed.”

I was introduced to the world of Tea by my mother, who too was very fond of Tea, now she had to leave her favourite beverage due to health reasons. I was in 8th Standard, till then, I had never tasted tea. This was the summer vacation in school, and mummy felt very bored enjoying her cuppa alone. She roped me in then and since, there has been no looking back. I am hooked to it…God forbid, it becomes a forbidden drink for me ever!

So, I started with very mild tea – Lipton’s Green Label, which was a permanent mainstay in the Varma household. Probably, our house was famous for this tea. Those were the days…Papa’s friends, my friends, equally loved it and mummy was never tired of preparing it.  

Over a period of time, I developed a very special taste for tea. Though I am a fixed quota consumer, I don’t consume countless numbers, but I love having it. I love to taste, try and prepare different types of teas like Masala Tea, Cardamom Tea, Ginger Tea, Tulsi Tea, Lemon Grass Tea, Mint and Kahva Tea across tastes, across varieties, across states, across cities, across countries…

I never miss an opportunity to have tea especially in a different place, most preferred at a local tea stall which is a heavy decoction of Tea leaves, Sugar, Milk and Masalas. I just love it…

I would narrate an incident of a trip to Guangzhou some two decades ago. Tea was not readily available not only in the hotel but also in the nearby. For few days, I tolerated missing my morning cuppas, but around the fourth day morning, I ventured out early morning, I stepped out in search of tea. Many roadside stalls were open, preparing some strange beverages, I asked one seller, “Can I get tea here?” Now another question, “What is tea?” Painfully, I explained to him, “It’s sweet, milk and water decoction which is prepared by boiling it all together.” He happily went inside, asking me to wait. I too was happy, finally!

But what he brought, I nearly fainted smelling it.

Nothing could be more disappointing than this!  

I never decline an opportunity for having tea, why? Because every household has flavours that are unique to their tea. I love to taste these teas and never forget to check which brand of tea is this? How it has been prepared? What masalas have been used?

While writing for tea, I need to mention tea prepared by our Pande Aunty, who always prepared my favourite Adrak & Elaichi tea countless times. She prepared tea for me as early as 5 AM to as late as 11 PM with the same enthusiasm and same tastes. Over our cups, we had long, long gossip sessions…my special gratitude for Aunty’s love for me extended through tea.

Tea, is only a thing on which me and my husband unanimously agree, immediately! He shares my love and passion for tea!!

In every State of India, it is prepared differently, with its unique flavours, served differently, relished differently!

Hail Tea!!

Pandemic, the buck stopped here!

The news published in today’s TOI somehow brought peace to my scorched heart. Today, it relieved my agitated and scorned heart, when I read that how builders’ fraternity is incurring heavy losses because of the non-availability of labour. The labours, who fear the spread of Covid has once again moved to their natives and heat is visible on Mumbai’s skyline. Almost all construction work coming to a standstill from the last year and with stamp-duty waiver also going, their karma has come to haunt them.

A lifestyle nothing short of kings, they thought the earth created by God is their fiefdom, they are uncrowned lords of this planet – Mumbai ka King kaun? All of us know the answer! Now, humble labour has brought them on their toes. After nearly three years, when I worked for Real- Estate’s prominent builders’ body and watching them closely, I understood the modus operandi quite well.

I was doing my work very diligently and sincerely and everyone recognised me and appreciated me. I had some great moment to cherish while my stint. Then there was a change and a Crown Prince took over as President, who from day one didn’t like my face over those PYTs (Pretty Young Things) and started harassing me. Not only my eyes, but my heart also cried too! I was so shattered and devastated by his attitude. And what could be worse than a woman scorned (Quoting Shakespeare)?  He thought I was not young, pretty and energetic enough for my position.  

So, to that, I was nowhere near my retirement age, looks are God-given and I am still more energetic than any lady of my age. I had proven that time and again, as earlier President’s always appreciated my work. But now he was the King and no one resisted his farmaan…I was asked to leave without assigning any reason. His wish was the command and such a powerful body, much bigger and powerful builders than him, did not bat an eyelid. I am surprised, how they would be treating their staff…what to say of labour. Heartbroken & shattered, I left the organisation, my position which I had built by sweat and toil of four years and wonderful colleagues.

Not a single day…I forgot the treatment meted out for no rhyme or reason, I sulked day and night, but then picked up my pieces on this sudden loss and stood up firmly. Time passed and I evolved. Today I am the author of a lovely book and respected all over by my fraternity. Leading a happy and successful life…and now attained peace also with this piece of news. I am not the one to forgive and forget, and how can I forget the uncrowned King?

Why this post now? Don’t know myself!!

Vanraj Bhatia: Tumhare bin jee naa lage

I remember and know legendary music composer – Vanraj Bhatia Ji – who left for his eternal journey yesterday, for particularly this one song, which I love to the core. A lilting melody, sung by inimitable, Priti Sagar from the film Bhumika, filmed on actress class apart, Smita Patil, “Tumhare Bin Jee Naa lage ghar mein”.

Somehow, I am gifted for catching up everything unusual, different…..amidst the prevalent songs (blockbuster hits) of the 70s, which were played all over on Radio, TV and Cassettes…this one stood out. There was not much cinema culture in our home, but after listening to this song on the radio, I became very curious about this song, but it was not played very often. But whenever it was played, I was hooked to it. It had some different appeal and somehow no one talked about the song in school or even in my friends’ circle. But it remained my all-time favourite.  Amidst melodies of 70s, the song stood out.  

After few years, I came to know that song was composed by Vanraj Bhatia who composed music for almost all films of Shyam Benegal, like Ankur, Nishant, Bhumika, Sardari Begum, Suraj Ka Satwaan Ghoda and Mandi, who happens to be one of my favourite movie makers. He gave music for other directors associated with Art Cinema like Kumar Shahani, Aparna Sen and Govind Nihalani and came up with some great compositions sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Yesudas and Priti Sagar.

Who can forget lilting iconic Liril Ditty?

Then came Tamas – A much-acclaimed serial based on the partition of India, which had melancholy and melody at its core, I never liked missing the opening title track. He won National Award for the best music direction for Tamas (1988), which spoke volumes about his knowledge, style and range of Western as well as Classical music.

Another great number sung by Priti Sagar, Mero Gaam Katha Paare from ‘Manthan’ became ‘Anthem’ of Amul Milk Cooperative Federation. It not only won the hearts of countless Indians but also of Royalty, Prince Charles who appreciated it during his India visit.

For his contribution to music, he was awarded Padma Shri in 2012.

Alvida Vanraj Ji, you will always live in our hearts through your music, which is an inspiration for one and all, who are inclined towards music.

P.T. then, Aerobics now! What Changed?

Today, when we are facing the ‘second wave’ of Pandemic, leaving us shaken and heartbroken, time is now to know the importance of good health and strong immunity.

Though I have been a fitness conscious person always, being homebound for many months of 2020, my walks were also curtailed due to lockdown and parks closure. I thought of joining Aerobic & Zumba classes, of course, online, to maintain my fitness regimen. I was lucky to come across, one such class (Sensationz Dance). Without blinking my eyelid, I joined the classes, and enthusiastically started going online for the 7 PM class since January 1, 2021. Since, my life has never been the same again. I hardly knew what is aerobics and what to talk of Zumba, but I religiously kept on attending and doing it still. The first few days were quite hard on my mental, physical and emotional health. Why mental?

I thought why these were not there when I was young. I missed on so much fun then, which I can’t have now, my physical health issues withstanding and of course age. But the trainer (Preeti Keth) was really good and kept me motivated all through. She danced like a Barbie Doll and her aerobic moves were like that of Jane Fonda. She told me, don’t follow my speed, do it at your own pace, but she kept on checking my steps. Few weeks down the line, I caught up with her, well remotely.  

Believe me, that became the best hour of my day. I didn’t like missing it. After few months, a new trainer stepped in   – Mukesh Mukku, who did it all with equal elan. He keeps us engaged and understands our physical limitations and customises some exercises for us. He keeps saying – Do it, Do it, Fast, Fast…when I say nahin hoga, he says…hoga hoga, aur ho jata hai. I keep telling him: Bacche Jane Fonda banake chodega kya?

 Ab woh to pata nahin…

So why I am writing this piece? Last week we did some exercises in class which reminded me of PT in our school – KV Tagore Garden. I was very poor in sports and of all the things in PT, but no one cared as I was good in academics. Every Saturday was sports day and PT day, when we used to wear white uniform and white canvas shoes. Our PT Teacher Raja Ram Sir, a true-blue Haryanvi, use to have a field day, literally. He hogged all the limelight on Saturday. (I hated Saturdays as I was at the receiving end, all through. But he never gave up on me!

One day I was playing Badminton in the colony and he saw me playing there, he came to me and said, “Arre tu to vadiya khel rahi hai, school mein ki ho jaanda hai?”  

Suddenly, my mummy appeared from nowhere, Raja Ram Sir asked, “Bienu ki Mummy”? Mummy said yes. Now, I got scared, Sir will tell her everything that I do in class and why I am losing top rank because of that. Mummy invited Sir to our house, Sir happily agreed. I was like, “aaj to ho gaya, lumba lecture…I also came back leaving my interesting game…sulking!

They had some interesting conversation, after which mummy served him hot Kheer and Poori (mummy use to make most delicious kheer). Sir enjoyed that evening very much and profusely thanked my mummy for the unexpected treat. Mummy also was very happy, meeting my PT Teacher, great Raja Ram Sir.

Now, I noticed a remarkable change in Sir’s attitude, he became quite soft with me and started training me nicely. We were around the last term, I also gave thought to it and paid attention in PT class, though did not improve much.

Exams happened and my results were shocking, I stood first in class, majorly because of my score in Sports and PT, I think mummy’s Kheer and Poori worked. Some parents also whispered in class the teacher’s ears, how this is possible? How right Raja Ram Sir was, I was losing top rank because of Sports.

I still can’t say whether I had improved? But what had happened had happened and Raja Ram Sir had the last laugh…Today I am laughing at that incident. We had such nice & innocent teachers!!

You too can laugh…today amidst all that doom and gloom, I recollected this incident, which has warmed the cockles of my heart.

Thanks @Sensationzdanceandmusic for helping me with my fitness regimen.