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

Hari binaa koi kaam na aayo

Posted on: September 15, 2011

This article is written by Sudhir, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

The saga of Saigal Saab is known based on the memories that have been treasured by his family members, friends and associates. There is very little written documentary record of his life available, in terms of journals, letters or interviews. His departure at a young age of 43 years, did not allow an opportunity that many famous persona have, of writing or authorizing a biography, as they reach into the later decades of their lives. Very little, if any, is available in terms of written articles etc. from the 15 years (1931-1946) that he was in the limelight for the entire nation. His music, and the collection of anecdotal memories, is the legacy remaining, with which to know and fathom this extraordinary performer.

There are un-confirmed references that Saigal Saab first tried his luck in Bombay, before going to Calcutta. None of the producers that he met was ready to give him a break. And in that first encounter with the fickle film industry in Bombay, his voice was not considered worthy of a singer (sic). Getting to Calcutta in 1930-31, the lady luck had a better fortune in store for him, in that the two stalwarts of film music namely Pankal Mullick and RC Boral, were verily impressed by his singing, and ventured to advocate his case with the management of New Theatres (NT). BN Sircar, the managing director, consented to have him work in the NT films, but the directors like Nitin Bose and PC Barua were not convinced about his presence and personality as an actor. The first reaction Nitin Bose had on seeing Saigal Saab was, “If I ever set my camera on him, the lens will crack. Why, he is uncouth!”. But in the subsequent years, the same “uncouth” face was to play the romantic lead in a number of hit films directed by the same Nitin Bose. And that too, working opposite to the actresses that represented glamour and beauty of that era – Kannan Devi, Uma Shashi, Leela Desai, Jamuna, Kamlesh Kumari and Chandrabati.

There is anecdotal material available regarding this years of wandering (approx 1922 to 1930). He worked in various jobs during this time; he was a time keeper with the Railways, he worked as an electrician with the electric supply company in Delhi, and he sold Remington typewriters in Calcutta, besides also selling cheap cotton sarees in his spare time. From the anecdotal material, it appears that he was present at or participating in concerts for classical music, well before his break with New Theaters in Calcutta, in 1930-31. He would keep in touch with family, especially his mother, informing her about his well being, through letters, although without disclosing his whereabouts. It is only after three or four years of being on the silver screen, that he formally connected with his mother once again, and sent her money from his earnings for the first time.

This bhajan is probably the rarest of rare recordings of Saigal Saab, that has never been officially released in any format whatsoever. And there is a story behind that. The day this non-film bhajan was recorded, it is said that Saigal Saab cried after completing the recording. And then, he simply picked up the master disc and left. He reached home and he made an offering of this disc to his mother. Since then, the master disc has been in the possession of Saigal Saab’s family. No records could ever be manufactured, since the record company did not have the master. Interviews with his family have confirmed that Saigal Saab sang this bhajan, only for the happiness and honor of his mother.

After many decades, Harmandir Singh ji ‘Hamraaz’ and Harish Raghuvanshi ji, planned to publish a compendium of Saigal Saab’s songs, on the occasion of the birth centenary of the great singer, in 2004. Harmandir ji, is the person behind the monumental publication ‘Hindi Film Geet Kosh’ (in 5 volumes). With good fortune, he was able to procure a copy of the sound track, and once again the lyrics and the sound of this bhajan was then revealed to the music lovers and followers of Saigal Saab’s voice. (Note: Harish Raghuvanshi ji is the person who has compiled and published the ‘Mukesh Geet Kosh’, a one volume compilation (including complete lyrics) of everything that Mukesh has rendered). This bhajan is now available on the web site dedicated to Saigal Saab at (That is where from I have downloaded it, and digitally re-mastered into somewhat enhanced stereo version). It is really a matter of good fortune that this rare recording is now available to music lovers.

The lyrics of this bhajan are by Lal Das. The music composition is unattributed. The words of the bhajan relate to the realities of human existence, and that there are no bonds and relationships that will survive in this life, a theme that is consistent with the philosophy underlying many of his other non film performances.

Enjoy is extremely rare piece of music, that has been recovered from oblivion fairly recently.

Song-Hari binaa koi kaam na aayo (Saigal NFS) (1940) Singer-K L Saigal,Lyrics-Lal Das


hari binaa koi kaam na aayo
is jhhoothi maayaa ke kaaran
heeraa janam ganwaayo
hari bina koi kaam na aayo

stree kahey mein sang chaloongi
khons khons dhan khaayo
stree kahey mein sang chaloongi
khons khons dhan khaayo
chalti ber mod mukh baithhi
palak na ek lagaayo
hari bina, aaaaaaa aaaa,
kou kaam
kaam na aayo

sab snehi sneh karat hain
in hi ke haath bikaayo
toot gayaa jab kanthh se doraa
ral mil phoonk jalaayo
hari bina,
aaaaaaa aaaa,
kou kaam
kaam na aayo

maayaa sagi na mann sagaa
aur sagaa na ye sansaar
maayaa sagi na mann sagaa
aur sagaa na ye sansaar
‘lal das’ is jeev ka aaaaa
sagaa wo surjanhaar
hari bin kou kaam na aayo


2 Responses to "Hari binaa koi kaam na aayo"

Sudhir ji,
In this article you have mentioned about Saigal’s different Heroines.His Heroines and other actresses in his films like Uma shashi,Jamuna,Rattan bai,Kanan devi,Leela desai,Husn banu,kamlesh kumari,chandravati etc.are well known and info is available about them in many places.
I will give information about his earlier heroines and other actresses,which you may not find elsewhere.
Saigal came into limelight with Yahudi ki Ladki.His earlier films Mohabbat ke aansoo,Zinda laash,subah ka sitara and Pooran Bhagat(where he had no role,only bhajans on the stage)did not earn him fame.
Here are some lesser known Heroines and others:
AKHTARI MORADABADI-She was his first heroine in mohabbat ke aansoo.She had a good voice.She moved to Burma to join Burma Imperial film co.and played lead role in Daku ki Dulhan etc.
ANWARI-(Puran bhagat) she was known as pride of Lucknow,later she joined East india films and acted in Mumtaz mahal,Aurat ka pyar and Aansso ki duniya etc.
MAHAJABEEN-(zinda laash/moh ke aansoo)she was a famous dancer of calcutta.She joined Madon Theatres,worked in Ameena,Rasheeda,Bulbul-e-Iran etc.She was a Mujara specialist.
RADHA RANI-(yahudi ki ladki) she was daughter of an Army Captain and an European lady.She was a good swimmer/Rider/singer.She joined British Dominion Film co. and acted in Flames of flesh,Alik Babu,sawal,Bhai,Romantic India etc.(she is diff than Radharani of film Kashinath-43).
TARA DEVI-(Yahudi ki ladki) Good dancer.She also acted in Roshan ara,bhartuhari,puran bhagat,aurat ka dil,sati swayamwar,shahar ka jadu etc.

Arun ji,

Wow and thanks.
The information and details you pull out of your ‘encyclopedia’ is simply awesome and not available easily.

Thanks again 🙂


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