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

Choodi main laaya anmol re

Posted on: April 12, 2012

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

A few days back I found myself translating a song from Achhut Kanya for Raja who is subtitling the movie for the famous DVD restorer Tom Daniel.

The movie is one of the most celebrated ones of Hindi Cinema, an early classic, and an Indo-German collaboration that starred Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar. However, what I didn’t know was that it contained a dance by Mumtaz Ali, the father of Mehmood and Minoo Mumtaz. I found Mumtaz Ali so captivating, his dancing and singing so natural and so impromptu that I went off on a google fired discovery of facts about him. As is often the case, any information on artists of this era is not easy to come by. After a day of looking high and low, I managed to unearth only one thing, that he was a scion of the royal family of Arcot.

However, today I read a few pages out of a book on Mehmood by Hanif Zaveri, “Mehmood: A man of many moods”. The early few chapters gave me a lot of facts about Mumtaz Ali. His family was on a trip to Mecca, but the trying ship voyage killed many people, among them, his parents. They disembarked at Mumbai, unable to go back to Hyderabad, their hometown, and left to fend for themselves. The aunt and Mumtaz did many menial jobs to make ends meet. Mumtaz was attracted by street performers and became adept at dancing and acting. He was introduced to Himanshu Rai by an Englishman who had taken him under his wing. Himanshu Rai had just started Bombay Talkies and retained Mumtaz Ali for a sum of Rs.75 per month. Initially Mumtaz Ali did very well, made a lot of money and name for himself. Later he went into a downward spiral, because of excessive drinking and visiting kothas and became very poor, often going hungry. His family managed to regain its position after his daughter Minoo Mumtaz took up dancing, and later, when Mehmood became such a star.

I suppose such stories are common in life, there are a lot of people who scale heights and plummet to depths.

This song belongs to the time when things were looking up for Mumtaz Ali. It reflects in the easy grace with which he sings and dances to this song.

Mumtaz Ali is accompanied in this dance by – what Raja and I presume is – Sunita Devi (according to the credits). The song is written by J.S. Casshyap, the music, as we all know is by Saraswati Devi.

Enjoy this beautiful beautiful song which was so kindly uploaded to Youtube by Raja.

Song-Choodi main laaya anmol re (Achhoot Kanya)(1936) Singers-Mumtaz Ali, Sunita Devi, Lyrics- J S Kashyap, MD-Saraswati Devi


choodi main laaya anmol re,
le lo choodiyaan,
le lo

choodi main laaya anmol re,
le lo choodiyaan,
le lo

choodiyaan kya hain resham ke lachchhe
chaaho naa bolen achchhe achchhe
aao kar lo mol re,
le lo choodiyaan,
le lo

aao kar lo mol re,
le lo choodiyaan,
le lo

maal mera anmol,
naheen jokhu hai naheen jhol
gar lena ho toh bol
Koi choodiyaan le lo mol
hai maal mera anmol,
naheen jokhu hai nahee jhol
gar lena ho toh bol
Koi choodiyaan le lo mol

pehne suhaagin piya rijhaave
kunwaari pehne byaah rachaave
Kya kya lega mol re
maal mera anmol re
kya kya lega mol re
maal mera anmol re
le lo choodiyan le lo

gorey gorey haathon mein kaali kaali choodiyaan
hainkaali choodiyaan yeh gorey gorey haathon par
hainkaali choodiyaan yeh gorey gorey haython par
ke zulf kha rahi bal hai kisi ke gaalon par
ke zulf kha rahi bal hai kisi ke gaalon par
gorey gorey haathon mein kaali kaali choodiyaan
Roop hai aala, rang nirala, joban bala, madhuria


11 Responses to "Choodi main laaya anmol re"





Good morning. The information is provided by Ms Ava Suri, who has written the article.

Ava ji,
Thanks for posting this old song.Whenever any song from the 30s or 40s is posted,I feel very happy.Besides the nostalgia feeling,I am more happy that an old gem is presented to the present generation.Thru the discussion about the song,many bits of info are also put forth,which otherwise might not see the light of the day.
One of the important points is that the director of this film was a German-who not only directed this,but also many more films of Bombay Talkies till 1939,when II WW broke and he left India to serve his motherland.Though a foreigner,Franz-the director- had understood the indian culture,customs and behavioural patterns.Many,or most of the early BT films were based on stories involving superstitions or social ills of Indian societies.He handled all these things very cleverly and the films of BT became very popular.

More info and comments about Franz and German cinematographer Joseph,is given on 2-3-2012,as comments on the song ‘ye pyari pyari pati’ from film Janmabhoomi.

Thank you Arunji for this information. I know how hard it is to come by any details about the older artists. I was able to ‘preview’ the book on Google books, that allowed me to read some of the earliest chapters which dealt with the story of Mumtaz Ali.

Please note how clear this video is. It is thanks to the amazing touch of Tom Daniel.

Thank you Ava ji and Arun ji
For excellent information about Mumtaz Ali

Lovely write-up, Ava. You’ve done your research on Mumtaz Ali, for sure. I knew none of these facts about him, so it’s really interesting to know.

Mehmood does have a striking resemblance to him, doesn’t he? And it looks like Mehmood copied some of his father’s dance movies too in his dance acts.

What a lovely song-and-dance sequence this is! Can keep watching this. In fact, this is a beautiful film that deserves to be seen by all in India as its message is, sadly, very relevant even today.

I’ve seen a few movies of the 1930s/40s and loved each one of them.

Raja, that book was very helpful in getting some details on the life of Mumtaz Ali, I have presented just a little bit. He looked just like a boyish Mehmood. I was sure Minoo Mumtaz learned classical dance from some guru, so true were her moves. From this book I learnt that she had picked up dance moves by seeing her father coach an actress. Amazing. No doubt Mehmood also learned dance in the same way, by looking at his father dance. Mumtaz Ali also picked up dance moves because he hung around with street-performers. What a talented man.

I will check out your vid of Saraswati Devi from home. 😀 Her music for this movie is simply fabulous.

Equally amazing is what one can read between the lines on Mumtaz Ali in Mehmood’s biography.
Thanks for the clip and song, dear Ava and Raja

I just want to add here that the high quality of this video of a 1936 film is entirely due to the restoration work of Tom Daniel. Otherwise, the available Achhut Kanya print is of pretty poor quality (see some of the uploads on youtube). All of us need to thank Tom for playing a huge role in our enjoying this delightful clip.

The way Tom restores the video is almost magical. I have seen many ‘before’ and ‘after’ version of his work, and the effect is always awesome.

He should be lauded by the Hindi film industry for his work, but the sad fact is that YouTube keeps BLOCKING his account. This is something I do not understand. There are any number of people out there who are uploading songs from films on YouTube. Why he is singled out for blocking is something I do not understand. He has a virtual treasure of all these beautiful cleaned up videos, and posts them on youtube so that people like us may also enjoy watching them.

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