Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Jaan pehchaan ho jeenaa aasaan ho

Posted on: August 16, 2010


This post is written by Greta (Memsaab) a regular visitor of this blog and a fellow enthusiast of Bollywood movie songs

I am very honored indeed to have been asked by Atul to write about this song from the film “Gumnaam.” It is song number 2800 on this blog and I think he has chosen well in representing such a big number (although I am amazed that it’s not been put up here earlier!).

“Gumnaam” is of course full of great songs; possibly the best known in India (the one I see referenced most anyway) is the fantastic Mehmood-Helen dance “Hum Kale Hain To Kya Hua.” There are three songs with Helen in fact, and you’d think that there could not possibly be another song, especially one without her, to top any of them—but there is. “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” comes along only a few minutes into the film, after a murder has been committed, and it is possibly one of the most mesmerizing songs ever performed onscreen anywhere. It is famously featured in the 2003 Hollywood film “Ghost World” as a backdrop to the opening credits, and I remember reading that one of my favorite bands of all times—The Cramps—had seen it during the seventies on television in London and fallen head over heels in love with it.

The music is written by Shankar Jaikishan and the lyrics by Shailendra; it is sung inimitably by Rafi and picturized on choreographer Herman Benjamin. Ironically, Herman did not actually choreograph THIS—that spectacular job was done by Surya Kumar (also known as Robert Master), and it was Surya who fortuitously picked Herman to do the lip-synching as the “singer.” Herman’s considerable charisma is just perfect for this—I cannot imagine anyone else in the role. Backing Herman up is the band known as Ted Lyons & His Cubs. Ted Lyons himself plays guitar at the left of the stage with two other men (he is in the center). He tells me that the guitarist on the left (to his right) was Helen’s brother Roger! It was news to me that Helen even had a brother, let alone one who ever appeared onscreen (Helen is herself a member of the audience during the song, and you can spot her shimmying in her chair in an orange dress). The guitarist on the right was another dancer named Lawrence. Since becoming acquainted with Mr. Lyons I have learned a lot about these background dancers and musicians—but that’s a story for another day.

Of course the central focus in this song is the beautiful and talented Laxmi Chhaya. I can only imagine the toll it took on her muscles and joints! She is unbelievable—that gold fringed dress, her flashing smile, and above all her crazy twisting dance movements—Wah! It’s the first song I ever took notice of her in, but certainly not the last. She flirts, she teases, she flings herself about with such abandon that you just want to join in. And the crowd of masked backup dancers DOES join in, and the frenzied crescendo at the end of the song leaves me breathlessly speechless.

It just has to be seen to be believed, and once you’ve seen it you want to see it again. I have shown this video to a great many friends not acquainted with Bollywood, and not a single one of them has been unmoved by it. “Again!” they always say. “Let’s watch it again!”

Audio

Video

Song-Jaan pehchaan ho jeenaa aasaan ho (Gumnaam) (1965) Rafi, Lyrics-Shailendra, MD-Shankar Jaikishan

Lyrics

jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
dil ko churaanewaalon
aankh na churaao,
naam to bataao
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
dil ko churaanewaalon
aankh na churaao,
naam to bataao
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho

haay aaj ki ye shaam jawaan
yoon na chali jaaye
aaj ki ye shaam jawaan
yoon na chali jaaye
phir se na aayegi ye kisike bulaaye
phir se na aayegi ye kisike bulaaye
phir se na aayegi ye kisike bulaaye
yaa
yaa!
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
dil ko churaanewaalon
aankh na churaao,
naam to bataao
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho

bolo ye na bolo tum
ho gaye ishaare
bolo ye na bolo tum
ho gaye ishaare
seedhi seedhi chot huyi dil pe hamaare
seedhi seedhi chot huyi dil pe hamaare
seedhi seedhi chot huyi dil pe hamaare
yaa
uu,
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
dil ko churaanewaalon
aankh na churaao,
naam to bataao
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho

ho chup-chup dekhaa dekhi
nazren deewaani
chup-chup dekhaa dekhi
nazren deewaani
zaraa si ye baat ban jaaye na kahaani
zaraa si ye baat ban jaaye na kahaani
zaraa si ye baat ban jaaye na kahaani
ho
haa
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho
dil ko churaanewaalon
aankh na churaao,
naam to bataao
jaan pehchaan ho,
jeenaa aasaan ho

yaah

15 Responses to "Jaan pehchaan ho jeenaa aasaan ho"

Indeed spell-binding. This number was one of the popular last-hour songs in ‘orchestra’s in those days of 1970-80. In Mumbai I have watched Vinod Geedh’s Zankar orchestra and Hazara Singh orchestra perform this number driving the crowd crazy.

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Heard this song for the zillionth time just now and am still as much in love with it as I was when i first heard it. 🙂 Everything about it is just perfect.

Greta, that is SUCH a wonderful write-up about this song! You manage to give it its own life here. And with all those nuggets of info that you seem to always be able to come up with. 🙂 I did not know this was choreographed by Surya Kumar (I assumed it was Herman). And that Helen’s brother bit was news to me – as it must be for lots of people. Lovely write-up for a great song!

And Atul, congrats for #2800. It is going at a good pace now – everyday I check and I see another 6 songs or so to enjoy. Feels great! Like a web version of Jaimala programme. 🙂

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Thanks, Raja. This century took 17 days, one day more than I planned. But yes, now the rate of posting of the songs is going on at a good pace.

Is it not a wonderful post from Greta ? The post is teeming with information, most of it being new and unheard of, and much of it right from the horse’s mouth. Greta knows Ted Lyons and she has collected information about this song from him and has included here. These informations are new and not available elsewhere on internet.

And what keen eyes for detail Greta has. I can barely detect the three guitarists in the song as they are shown hardly for a second in the song, yet she not only talks about them, she knows their names too. The fact that one of them is Roger, Helen’s brother is indeed news for most of us.

Greta tells us that Helen too is there in the song among the audience. I take Greta’s words for it, but it may be for too brief a period for my mind to register. Not everyone is blessed with the keen sense of observation that Greta possesses.

I did not give much thought to this song in the past, but now thanks to this post, I have been able to detect so many details in the song that had hitherto gone undetected by me. Now that she has pointed it out, I can now notice the superb performances by all concerned, and especially by Laxmi Chhaaya,Herman etc, and also by Rafi.

I am thankful to Greta for consenting to write this post. Guest posts like this add a new dimension to this blog. I am sure I will be able to bring more such guest posts by likeminded enthusiasts of Bollywood movies. It is heartening to note that there are so many takers for the Bollywood music of the golden era, not only in India but abroad too, and importantly, not only among people of Indian origin, but among people of other backgrounds too. May this tribe of Bollywood music lovers grow.

“Gumnaam” had two lyricists, viz Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra. Shailendra had written this song as well as the song “ham kaale hain to kyaa huaa dilwaale hain”. It was the only information where I have made correction in Greta’s writeup.

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Memsaab, so much good information all put together artfully. I’ve learned to see and appreciate things I wouldn’t have ordinarily from your write-ups. Second and third the fan following (i,e, Raja and Atul 😉 )

Atul, congrats but we can’t keep up with you.

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Yes, we are all humbled by the ability of Memsaab to express even complicated and comprehensive details so coherently. Indeed we all, not just I and Raja, are her fans.

I am deliberately going at a good pace, because one needs to make hay while the Sun shines. who knows, in future I may not get as much time to devote as I get these days. So I better make the most of it.

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On one site I read that Laxmi Chhaya died of breast cansor in2004.
I don’t know how much it is true .
May be somebody can put more light on it.

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I have also read the same thing about her.

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Yes, she did pass away in the early 2000s…unfortunately 😦

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Thank you for correcting the lyricist Atul! I usually depend on Earthmusic for such information, but it isn’t always accurate 🙂

Yes, indeed I got a lot of this information from Ted Lyons himself and I find it fascinating. So much effort by so many people goes into this sort of thing! Herman was also a dancer before he began choreographing, and worked with Surya Kumar a lot in the late 50s and early 60s. You can see him dancing in many songs of that era 🙂 He was a good friend of Ted’s too.

Atul you can see Helen at about 1:00 into the song, with her back to the camera, shaking her shoulders—after the song ends the scene continues and it is she in the orange dress 🙂 If I hadn’t watched the film I wouldn’t have known that…and many congratulations on post #2800—here’s to reaching 5000 soon!

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I have no idea why earthmusic is not accurate in naming the lyricists of “Gumnaam” (1965). There are many sources which are more accurate.

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Thanks, Greta.5000 is long way off. Let me get to 3000 first.

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Wow! That is an amazing post by Greta! She is truly a storehouse of information, and like Atul, I am impressed by her powers of observation! However, I just do not recall ever hearing this song before, and I am wondering why, because Gumnaam was released during my teen years, when I was glued to the radio, day in and day out! Oh well, maybe it is just my memory!

Atul, congratulations on reaching your 2800th post! I will definitely do my bit to help you to reach your 5000th soon, just as long as I have assistance from people like Raja and Sid and Peevesie’s mom and Sophy!

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“Heineken” used this in one of the ad.

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Could someone pleas tell me the name of the dancer in song jaan pehchaan ho there are two men dancing with laxmi chhaya the handsome one what is his name

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Dear Atul,
The introductory dance music of the song ‘Tin Kanashtar Peet Peet Kar’ from Love Marriage was some years later used for Jan Pehchan Ho from Gumnaam

Like

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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