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

Baalam to pe sabar padey

Posted on: September 18, 2011


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

‘baalam to pe sabar padey, moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam’

“O dear sweetheart, you have made me relinquish my mother’s home, hope you are now pleased and satisfied”

More than ‘Gham diye mushtaqil kitna naazuk hai dil (Shahjahan). . .’, and ‘Jab dil hi toot gaya(Shahjahan). . .’, this unfinished song is a much more fitting signature song that suddenly defines the totality of Saigal Saab’s essence of spirit, and sums up his entire life in terms of the most relevant event of human existence – the final departure.

Poets have time and again likened the final departure of a soul, with the send off accorded to a daughter leaving her parent’s home after a wedding ceremony, to go to a completely new home, a new family, and a new companion. She is adorned as a bride, in finery of auspicious colors and jewellery of gold, her beauty enhanced with henna and turmeric, traditionally carried in a palanquin (doli) on the shoulders of four persons (kahaars). The going away signifies a new life. It signifies that all bonds and relations that existed thus far, are now to be replaced with a set of new bonds and relationships.

In almost as many and same words, one can describe the event of the final journey of a human being.

The song is from the last film of Saigal Saab, viz. ‘Parwaanaa’ (1947). The story is about a romantic at heart, whose emotions are not understood by those who are his own (discussed in more detail in the post for the song ‘Mohabbat mein kabhi aisi bhi haalat paayee jaati hai‘). The time was close to end of 1946. The health of Saigal Saab was already deteriorating, and then in December 1946, he left Bombay with his family, to go to Jallandhar, with the intent of returning after regaining good health. The film ‘Parwaanaa’ still had a little bit of shooting work to be completed. And providentially, this song was still to be recorded. In fact, one effort was already made to record this song, but the continuously failing health of Saigal Saab did not allow that recording session to be completed. The recording was started and then abandoned after about a minute and a half, as Saigal Saab was not able to continue standing up and finish the recording. The partial, unfinished master somehow survived and was not trashed yet. And the unfortunate news of Saigal Saab’s final sojourn was received in Bombay.

This incomplete recording suddenly took over a completely new significance. This now was, and is, the final piece of music ever recorded by Saigal Saab. And when one carefully listens to and interprets the words in this partial song, one is struck by the irony, and the providential dissolution of the boundary that separates life from fiction. The fiction that was being dealt with and picturized in the film, now became alike to the real life of the primary protagonist.

The shooting that had been so far completed for the film, was sufficient to allow a complete and meaningful film to be edited and prepared for final release. But the producer (RB Haldia) and director (JK Nanda) decided to use this partial recording and include it in the film. The technique used was to present this song as a background song, with Saigal Saab’s voice, being heard, as if from a far distance. The situation is a preparation for Gopi’s wedding. In the storyline, the relationship between Inder (KL Saigal) and Gopi (Suraiyyaa) has been misunderstood by all, especially Inder’s wife Roopa (Najma) and Gopi’s brother Kishen (KN Singh). At Gopi’s wedding, Inder comes to give his blessings to Gopi. The scene is that Gopi is getting final touches to her preparedness for the event. And then this voice is heard, as if from a far away valley in the mountains. Gopi hears this voice, and is enticed to follow it, despite the efforts made by her friends and family to stop her from leaving. Gopi leaves home, to follow this voice, to the last and the tragic climax scene of the film (shooting for which had already been completed).

And that is the added uniqueness of this song. This is the only song by Saigal Saab in Hindi films which is picturized as a background song. The voice of Saigal Saab is playing on the soundtrack but Saigal Saab is not seen on the screen in person. The one and only such instance in all the films of Saigal Saab.

And how poignantly this unique characteristic of this song, has in more than one ways, become the swansong for him. Getting ready for his final departure from this world, his voice playing from a distance, the lament of the song got transformed into the reality of his life.

‘baalam to pe sabar padey, moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam’

“O dear sweetheart, you have made me relinquish my mother’s home, hope you are now pleased and satisfied”

And with this flourish, we also mark a conclusion to the wonderful saga of the songs of this gifted prodigy, KL Saigal. This is the final 105th film song in Hindi/Urdu category, for which recordings are available. A journey that had started on 16th Feb, 2009, with the song ‘Baalam aay baso more man mein’ (post no. 747) from the film Devdas (1935). Starting from this post, 26 songs by Saigal Saab were posted with a fair regularity between 16th Feb, 2009 and 29th Mar 2009. Then there was an extremely long hiatus. For the next 23 months (from April 2009 to Feb 2011), there are no postings of Saigal Saab’s songs with an exception of two posts on 27th and 28th Sep, 2010.

Then on 13th Mar, 2011 came the posting of ‘Nukta cheen hai gham e dil’ (post no. 3645) from the film ‘Yahudi Ki Ladki’ (1933). Then after a gap of another month or so, there were two posts on 17th Apr, 2011, (posts no. 3802 and 3803). And then again, after another gap of a month or so, came the post no. 3881 on 15th May, 2011, the song ‘Dekhat waako hi roop’ from the film Chandidas (1934). After another two posts on 17th and 18th May, 2011, from 24th May, 2011 started the progression that saw one song of Saigal Saab being posted every day (with a rare break in between).

Then a strange thing happened on 21st June, 2011. The song ‘Panchhi kaahe hot udaas ’ was posted, with the tag line and write up indicating that it is a song from the film ‘My Sister’ (1944). There was an immediate response from the two aficionado followers of this blog, Arun ji and Boodhemiyan ji, pointing out that this song actually is a non film song. Atul ji acknowledged that a rule on the blog had got broken – a non film song had got posted by mistake on a blog thus far dedicated only to film songs from Hindi movies. 🙂 More discussion followed in comments, including Arun ji, Boodhemiyan ji, AK ji and Atul ji, the conclusion of which was that Atul ji acquiesced to make an exception and start including non-film songs, only in case of Saigal Saab. This was evidently a great news for all fans of Saigal Saab (especially myself 🙂 ). Another important thing that happened during this discussion – Boodhemiyan ji presented for the first time, the statistics of known and available Hindi / Urdu songs of Saigal Saab, both film (110) and non film (37), setting a clear target that was to be achieved.

My first post on a Saigal Saab’s song was on 28th Jun, ‘Diyaa jalaao jagmag jagmag ’ from film Taansen (1943), followed the next day (29th June) with a somewhat formatted elucidation of the ghazal ‘Mohabbat ke gul haa . . .’ from film Kurukshetra (1945). With the encouraging responses from many readers to these posts, including Arun Ji, Boodhemiyan ji, Raja ji and Nahm ji, (who I was addressing as Nahm Bhai till then :), before getting a clarification note from her), and some ongoing email exchange with Atul ji, I somehow settled down into a routine to post a daily write up on a Saigal song.

And what a wonderful journey of re-discovery it has been for myself. Falling back on all the readings I have done in the past on this personality, and searching for more references, both in print and online, it has been an intense reflection and review of the life and accomplishments of this great singer, over the past two and a half months. The publication ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya’, a compilation of material on Saigal Saab by Harmandir Singh ji (Hindi Film Geet Kosh) and Harish Raghuvanshi ji (Mukesh Geet Kosh), has been my constant companion and reference for the past two months. There was also the suspenseful tracking of the actual songs themselves, the ones that were not published online. I had some in my collection, Atul ji had some in his collection, and some I had to ferret out from other sources. And thankfully, we have been able to pull out and publish each and every one song of the target that Boodhemiyan ji had set for us.

With this post, I have now published 61 posts on Saigal Saab’s songs. In one of the interim emails, Atul ji wrote to me that every day morning, he eagerly opens his mailbox to look for an email from me. And the eagerness and urgency was no less on my side. Some of the ghazals took anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to complete the write up, with the translations and commentary to my satisfaction. There have been nights when I have sent the write ups to Atul ji at 2 am, 3 am and even past 4 am. There have been occasions that (after having fallen asleep on my laptop) I got to complete the write up later in the morning; you can identify these days by noting the delay in posting the Saigal Saab song for the day. 😀 Yes, it has been a wonderful journey of re-discovering all the popular and obscure gems by this great singer. The frequent comments of kind appreciation by many readers, encouraged me to continue the pace which got set to Song-a-Day (pun intended).

And there is a sudden emptiness, now that the journey is complete. In the post on the song ‘Jaag Sajaniyaa Jaag’ from yesterday, Atul ji posed and then addressed the very same question. He pointed out that there is still a lot, lot more music from that era which needs to be discussed and presented. I wholehearted agree with him. But then I will sorely miss these last three months, of a daily routine linked to Saigal Saab’s creations. Maybe, some fortuitous events may occur in the future, and maybe additional recordings of Saigal Saab will be discovered. Possibilities will always exist. I remember reading some place that for the film Devdas in Bengali, all prints were presumed to have been lost. But no, about five decades or so after the release of this film in 1935, a rare print surfaced in Bangladesh. And so possibilities. . .

Before I close this (longer than usual) post, I have to share a very important piece of information, which I came across only day before yesterday (i.e. Friday). On Thursday, 15th Sep, 2011, in the write up for ‘Hari binaa koi kaam na aayo ’ I had written about the lack of any documentary record from the years when Saigal Saab was active in the film industry. And immediately the next day to that post, I got to lay my hands on an interview from 1939, as I was searching some other material. I have not been able to locate this online. This interview is titled ‘Swar Devta Saigal ke Saath Be-Ghadi Mauj ka Vaartalaap’ (A conversation with the King of Music, Saigal, by Be-Ghadi Mauj). Be-Ghadi Mauj is a weekly Gujarati magazine (probably defunct now), in which this interview was published on 23rd Apr, 1939. A literary researcher from Ahmedabad, Urvish Kothari, came across this interview in 2009, as she was digging into old newspapers and magazines in a library, for another research project. She has translated it from Gujarati to Hindi, and the translation is published in the “Listener’s Bulletin”, issue no. 147, in February 2011. For those who may not be familiar, Listener’s Bulletin is a quarterly publication by Harmandir Singh ji and Harish Raghuvanshi ji, on the very topic of this blog, i.e. Hindi film music of yesteryears. It is in regular print since the Oct 1971. For those who may be interested in receiving this publication and its back issues, please get in touch with Harmandir ji at hamraaz18@yahoo.com, or Harish ji at harishnr51@gmail.com.

The sub title of the interview is ‘Main Devdas Nahin Hoon’. As this sub title suggests, a main thread in the interview is the question whether the role played in the film Devdas has had any influence on the personal life of the actor. There is a very equivocal and an emphatic response that denies this suggestion. Saigal Saab has commented that he is a happily married man with two kids, and that his mother lives with him. The characters he plays in the films, remain in the studios, and that he never does get them into his personal life. The interview is a very interesting read, that dispels some conceptions that have been associated with the life of Saigal Saab. On the other hand, he describes himself as a lazy person who prefers to take two, and sometimes three naps a day. And another piece of very interesting information, Saigal Saab used to love horse riding; he would spend at least one hour every day in the morning on this hobby.

Saigal Saab’s response to the question on Devdas influence, can be a certain topic for debate and research. His fascination for the drink despite his failing health, and then his untimely passage from this world, somehow does not equate with his near providential gift of music and singing, and his wonderfully humane side of personality. A topic, maybe to be taken up at another juncture.

And so, back to normal days now, without the urgency to write about one more Saigal song :(. There is more music to discuss, no doubt. But then Saigal Saab is Saigal Saab. With less than 200 recorded songs to his credit, the impact of this one comparatively diminutive contribution on the culture of a sub-continent has been simply astounding.

Saigal Saab, tussi great ho !


Song-Baalam to pe sabar padey (Parwaana) (1947) Singer-K L Saigal, Lyrics-D N Madhok, MD-Khursheed Anwar

Lyrics

baalam to pe sabar padey
moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam
haaye, moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam
baalam to pe sabar padey
moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam,
haaa
moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam

jaanaa padaa mohey des paraaye
chhod ke babul gaam
moraa maikaa chhudaaye deenhon raam

13 Responses to "Baalam to pe sabar padey"

Sudhir ji,
TUSSI GREAT HO !
After Saigal,in my opinion,you deserve this aptly,for your untiring efforts and your unstinted love for Saigal saab.
You have done a monumental work,which can/will be a reference point for any future student of ‘Saigali music’.
It is not possible for an ordinary music lover,i.e. one without the knowledge of Urdu,to really understand and enjoy the meaning of the divine songs from saigal,for mostly Gazals use heavy duty Urdu/Persian language.You made it simple to understand it with your devoted and meaningful commentaries.This is a great service to music lovers for which you shall always be remembered.I am sure your commentaries will be used by many all over the world to facilitate enjoying ‘ Saigali Music’.
I thank you once again for your contribution to indian music.
I wish to thank ATUL JI for encouraging(may be sometimes nagging,I am sure) you to do this epoch making work.It is the hall mark of a good leader to identify the right person for the right job,and Atul ji has proved that he understands the strengths of people around him.
I feel happy that,at times,I was also doing my bit in this work and that it has been acknowledged duly.
It will not be too much to ask Atul ji and you to,now,think of NFS of Pankaj Mullick and Jagmohan to complete the TRIO of 40s,to be featured here.
-AD

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I have no doubt that it is indeed a definitive reference point for all those who want to follow K L Saigal’s music. And you are right in pointing out that the use of heavy duty words in ghazals means that average music listeners cannot follow and appreciate these ghazals unless the meanings of these words are explained slowly and patiently. And that is what Sudhir jee has done in case of all these ghazals.

As for I nagging him or cajoling him to finish the target, there is nothing of the sort. It was a labour of love for him (Labour of love is a frequently used term in this blog) and he has done the job on his own. He set his own exacting standards for himself, which he then exceeded.

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Atul ji,
I used the term ” nagging” only in a lighter vein,for sure.
-AD

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I would also like to add my huge compliments to Atulji and Sudhirji for this monumental task. I am gratified that you have acknowledged me also for including NFS. I remember I had strongly urged for Jhulna jhulao ri, which I now find is already there. Also there are several others which I was not aware of. I would specially like to thank for the holi song Jin jao ri gori aaj paniya bharan ko, absolutely amazing and heard for the first time on this site.

On the importance of NFS I entirely endorse Arun Deshmukhji. For many singers the list of their great songs would be dominated by NFS. When I wote on My favourite songs of Pankaj Mullick, the list of ten was topped by an NFS Ye raatein ye mausam ye hansana hnsaanaa and had two more NFS. KC Dey also had a good number of NFS. Jagmohan is famous essentially for his NFS. Coming to later era, I can think of Talat Mahmood and Hemant Kumar whose NFS would have to be included in their best. When I did a post on Asha Bhosle, Geet kitne ga chuki hun is sukhi jag ke liye had an important place.

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Indeed I have by now learnt the significance of NFS. As the villain says (often insincerely) in Hindi movies- “aapne to meri aankhen khol di” (you opened my eyes) :), I have realised that especially in case of early decades singers, NFS form an important part of their cv.

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First of all, thanks for a great series. I am a huge fan of Saigal and rate him above all other Hindi film singers. Perhaps readers of this blog do not know of the existence of a comprehensive website on Saigal and many other ‘ancient’ artists, see http://www.kundanlalsaigal.com/ Secondly it is sad to see that the MD of the film is mentioned only as a footnote in the whole article. A comprehensive website on Khurshid (this is the correct spelling of his name) Anwar is planned by his son Irfan Anwar (lives in Texas), In the meantime, enjoy a collection of articles on him and all of his musical output here, http://films.hindi-movies-songs.com/index-ka.html

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Thanks a lot for your comments. We are honoured by your visit and comments in this blog.

The regulars of this blog, who followed this series are familar with K L Saigal’s site and this site proved quite useful for this series.

This article, the final article in the series of K L saigal songs, was more a discussion on the entire series and that is whythe music director and even lyricist did not find much mention. But music directors and lyricists indeed find lots of mention in general in our write ups here.

Thanks for the link on Khurshid Anwar. This link will definitely be very useful for us.

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Arun ji, AK ji, Surjit ji,

Thanks so much for your compliments. I am so glad that my efforts mean so much and are deemed as useful by all friends on this blog.

As the ongoing effort of this blog is to purposefully showcase the gems of musical creation from Hindi films across all decades, and to bring due recognition to the talented artists who the listening public may be less familiar with, I hope to continue contributing to cover more artists from the yesteryears.

Wishing all a continued musical journey up ahead.

Rgds
Sudhir

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Sudhir ji , you deserve more than praise for contribution to trace out this unfinished piece of song ,for the Saigal fans .I have been an ardent admirer and follower of this musical genius for the past more than four decades . But this song ” Baalam topaey sabar padey… mora maikaa chhudaay deeno raam “.. . is so poignant with pain and pleasure and a perfectly crafted jewel you have dug out from the depths of the diamond mine of music.This jewel, is neither a result of overnight product nor an accidental find , Its a product of gifted people, particularly chiseled with the Saigal’s favorite Raag Bhairavi and laced with his golden vocal cords and seasoned voice . Although incomlete song lasted for only one and a half minutes because of Saigal’s deteriorating health, yet it is complete in its message and ethos. Transcedental in quality and compare .The melody transports you and your soul through the vaves of heavenly ocean and to the ultimate lofty heights of celestial pleasure .
The pain and predicament of the young bride of separation from her mother’s home and finally joinig her master ( Baalam ) to his satisfaction . Saigal has put every ounce of his heart and soul into this soulful words – ” Baalam topey sabar padey mora maika chhudaay deeno raam ” . Kundan’s voice stabs your heart with a silky feather without allowing a drop of blood from your bleeding heart .
Saigal knew it pretty well that his time was running out fast to join the master, the absolute and he sang this piece of unmatched quality, in that state of mind pouring his heart and soul into it .Never before and after there could be a KUNDAN again ? The God is, probably, feeling helpless to recreate this super genius .
Sudhir ji , I convey my sincere thank with a hope that you would continue to oblige us .Atul ji my deepest thanks and regards
Thanks and regards
PUNDIR

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Thanks, Sudhir ji and Atul ji,
Kindly replace the word -vaves- with waves,thats the correct spelling , in 12th line of first para .

Thanks, with regards and best wishes ,

DHOOM PUNDIR

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Pundir ji,

Thanks so much for your words of kind appreciation. I am glad to read your message.

Rgds
Sudhir

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sudhirji,
my favourite song of K. L. Saigalsaab is from the movie my sister which was made in 1944 and the song goes as “aye katib e taqdir mujhe itna bata de”.
i tried to find its lyric in your blog but could not find.
please upload the lyrics.
i am a regular visitor to your blog.
thanks
shantanu

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