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Monday, November 22, 2010

♫ Smile♪

♫ Smile♪
Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest cinematic offering - Guzaarish - opens with the song 'Smile'. The song is a personal favorite of mine. Hence I warmed up in my plush seat in the auditorium, as the montage showcasing the details of Ethan Mascarenas' daily rigors unfolded on the big screen. Ethan (played brilliantly by Hrithik Roshan), the protagonist, was paralyzed below the neck - the aftermath of an accident fourteen years ago - and his days now consisted of being washed, dressed and fed by his nurse, Sofia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).

This is the song:

"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile with your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

that's the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile"

Unable to use his hands to shoo away a fly that lands on his face, Ethan does as the song suggests, and smiles. The smile reveals the incandescent soul of the protagonist, and that of the supremely crafted film that banks on the visuals and the emotions more than any realism in the narration or in the screenplay.
Ethan spreads hope and happiness to others by hosting a radio show called Radio Zindagi and the song 'Smile' is shown being played for the same. Being a quadriplegic, he cannot actually play, hence Sofia does the job of playing the record for him.

The song 'Smile' has been sung in the film by Dominique Cerejo. But, actually, it is a song based on an instrumental theme used in the soundtrack for the 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie Modern Times and was composed by Chaplin himself, while John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and title in 1954.
In the lyrics, the singer is telling the listener to cheer up and that there is always a bright tomorrow, just as long as they smile.
'Smile' has become a popular standard since its original use in Chaplin's film.The song was originally sung by Nat King Cole, charted in 1954.
A cover version of the song had also been sung by Cole's daughter, Natalie, on her 1991 album, Unforgettable...With Love.
Singer Michael Jackson recorded the song for his 1995 double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It was planned to be released as the eighth and final single from the album in 1997 but was canceled days before its release date. Only a few copies from the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa (where the record distribution was started previous to the withdrawal) were saved as the other copies were withdrawn. The remixes on this release have never been released commercially since, but some can also be found on the "Is It Scary" promotional 12" records from the UK.
Michael Jackson's brother, Jermaine Jackson, sang this very song at Michael's memorial service on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center, Los Angeles.
Jackson had never performed this song live; an HBO special was once planned with the song being performed, but Jackson collapsed during the concert's rehearsals. During the final concerts of his History World Tour, the song was played at the beginning of each concert in memory of Princess Diana. In the documentary 'Living with Michael Jackson', Michael had himself mentioned the song.

[Trivia: Courtesy - Wikipedia, and Google News.
Note: No copyright infringement intended.


Krishh said...

I told you on Facebook that I loved the film. And am ecstatic to read this blogpost of yours on the song 'Smile' - used evocatively in the film. Thanks for the same, buddy. I found all the songs used in the soundtrack of the film simply fabulous. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is so much like Raj Kapoor, the legendary filmmaker, who would so deftly craft the movies around the immortal melodies of Shankar-Jaikishan (and other composers, later on). For the first time, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has composed music for his film and the end-result is the superbly produced soundtrack album of 'Guzaarish'. There are some songs in the album which have not been used in the film, yet they too are my favorites. They grow slowly on one's senses and ultimately mesmerizes by their sheer magical melody.
However, 'Smile' and 'What a wonderful world' are two songs from the film which are not to be found on the music album, as they aren't compositions for the movie, but are featured handsomely in the film's narrative. Due credit has been given in the end-credits for both. While 'Smile' has been sung for the film by Dominique Cerejo, and opens the film with the protagonist suffering with dignity and with a smile on his lips, the other favorite track of mine, 'What a wonderful world' (the famous Louis Armstrong jazz ballad, written by Bob Thiele & George David Weiss) has been used no less brilliantly in film, especially Hrithik Roshan's rendition of the song at the graveyard.
I wish in an extended version of the film's soundtrack, later on, both these songs get published, along with the background pieces.

Joy said...

"Guzaarish" hasn't impressed me much as a film; largely because I had been floored by the Alejandro Amenábar film "The Sea Inside" (Mar adentro), the life-story of Spaniard Ramón Sampedro. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Guzaarish" is definitely inspired by it, though not exactly a photocopy of the same, and the comparisons are inevitable. It is such comparisons that was the undoing of Sanjay's film, according to me. However, the soundtrack of the film, and the album (which should have carried the label 'Music from and inspired by the film'), floored me. I was absolutely thrilled by the use of the sounds and the diverse voices, and the songs might not have 'chartbuster quality' yet they appeal to our ears and our hearts. The song 'Smile' - used in the film, but not in the album - has a life of its own and a unique history at that too. And, the song made my heart bounce in ecstasy.

jeet said...

Awesome, buddy! Cool updates!
I always knew 'Smile' as just a Michael Jackson song - as I heard it and seen the specially uploaded video of the same on Youtube, and hadn't known about the Charlie Chaplin connection, or about the use of the song in "GUZAARISH"! I am glad you mentioned all the back-story about the song.

shiv said...

"A day without a laugh is a wasted day", said Charlie Chaplin. And a smile is all we have to make our friends' faces shine as much as our own. While Ethan, in the film 'Guzaarish' is shown trapped in his own body which, in a debilitating condition rots more and more, he just bears it all with a smile, and even when he says farewell to the world, he smiles.... a radiant smile. Thus a perfect song for the character's favorite; it's my favorite too.

Arunima said...

Yesterday atlast I could catch Guzarish at Inox. I loved it. All the songs felt so appropriate..esp smile and what a wonderful world was especially beautiful.
Both the songs touches a chord deep in your heart and leaves a deep rooted impression.
Thanks for writing a brilliant blog on a heart warming topic :-)

Aniruddh said...

Smile, in pleasure and in pain,
Smile, when troubles pour like rain,
Smile, even when someone hurts you,
Smile, because....
someone still loves you!

pallavi said...

What a lovely song! I loved the song as soon as I heard it in the soundtrack, as the images rolled on the screen, Hrithik looked like a demi-God, and Aishwarya was a scene-stealer with her muted expressions and stunning looks, the song resonated in my ears, and the movie made me sniffle, sob,
and smile too.

Vishesh said...

It is that misunderstood/loved/hated film..... but the song is the classic that is close to my heart, my soul, and all I am sure would agree on that one.