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

Hazaaron khwaahishen aisi ki har khwaahish pe dam nikley

Posted on: July 11, 2012

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

This is the story of a 16 year old boy born in Peshawar in a conservative Pathan family for whom the association with film industry was a strict taboo. The boy was attracted to Bombay (Mumbai) as a destination. While listening to some Hindi film songs in one of the shops in Peshawar, a few of his friends coaxed him to try his luck as an actor in Hindi film industry since he had a good face. The fascination for Bombay coupled with the remarks from his friends were sufficient motivational factors for this youngboy to leave ( rather run away from) Peshawar for Bombay some time in 1935. The young boy was Ghulam Mustafa Durrani (1919-1988), later known in the Hindi film industry as G M Durrani, the playback singer.

After listening to an audio clip available on the internet of his interview on a radio programme conducted by Ameen Sayani in 1978, I can say that G M Durrani had many twists in his career in Bombay. Starting his career as a singer/drama actor in All India Radio, Bombay in 1936, he was picked up by Sohrab Modi as an employee of Minerva Movietone at a monthly salary of Rs.30/-. His first film as an actor-singer was ‘Saaed-e-Hawas’. He sang his first song for this film under the music direction of Bundu Khan. After working in two films as an actor-singer, he quit acting and decided to pursue an independent career as a playbac k singer. In the meanwhile, for sustenance, he joined All India Radio, Delhi as an artist on a monthly salary of Rs.70/-. During his stints with All India Radio, he came into contact with some influential persons from the film industry like Behzad Lucknavi, A R Qureshi who were also the employees of All India Radio. He got his first playback singing assignment in the film ‘Bahurani’ (1939) under Rafique Ghaznavi for which he was paid Rs.75/- for singing a song. However, since he was still a full time employee of All India Radio, his name did not appear on the record. He soon quit All India Radio to fully concentrate on playback singing. He sang a duet song with Jyoti ( real name Sitara Begum)for the film ‘Darshan’ (1941) in which she was the heroine. He married her later. He was also the assistant to music director Khwaja Khurshid Anwar for a punjabi film ‘Kudmai’ (1941) and was a full fledged music director for the film ‘Angoori’ (1942).

Durrani was very active as a playback singer between 1942-51 during which he worked with almost all the top music directors of that time like Ghulam Haider, Khwaja Khurshid Anwar, Pandit Gobind Ram, Shyam Sundar, Naushad, Bulo C Rani, A R Qureshi, Gyan Dutt, Husnlal-Bhagatram etc. During this period, he was one of the three top male playback singers in the Hindi film industry. Some of the popular songs which established him as such are – neend hamaari khwaab tumhaare kitne meethhe kaise pyaare, ek yaad kisi ki yaad rahi, haath seene pe jo rakh do to qaraar aa jaaye, do bichhde huye dil aapas mein gaye mil. Mohammed Rafi who was slowly emerging as a playback singer regarded him as his role model. After 1951, his assignments as a playback singer came down drastically. In an interview on a radio programme with Ameen Sayani in 1978, he said that sometime in 1951 when he was one of the top male playback singers in Hindi film industry, he felt that with bungalow, cars and other luxuries of life, he had become a slave of materialism whose main aim was to earn more money. So one day, he decided to quit singing. He started avoiding persons connected with film industry and even grew beard to avoid being recognised by them. He also distributed all his bank balances among the needy people. Perhaps, he was influenced by Sufism. In the process, he became almost a pauper and there was nothing left for the sustenance of his family. Later on ,he had to borrow money from his friends to set up a grocery shop.

It is said that some of his well wishers like Mohammed Rafi persuaded him to return to playback singing. Eventually, he did return but by that time it was too late for him as other playback singers like Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood and Manna Dey were already well established in the Hindi film industry. It is also said that his downfall started when Lata Mangeshkar decided not to sing with him anymore after he passed some personal remarks on her during the recording of a duet with him. His last song as a playback singer in Hindi film was probably in the film ‘Sunehere Kadam (1966).

In the later part of his life, while he continued to run his grocery shop, he was occasionally called for lending his voice for radio commercials and singing some jingles for children’s songs. During this period, he composed music for two Hindi films in 1961 under the pseudo name’ Gunjan’. He also did some small roles in films like ‘Laal Pathhar’(1971) and ‘Bhumika’ (1977). Like some of the film personalities of his time, he passed away some time in 1988 unsung.

Here is one of the most popular ghazals of Mirza Ghalib ‘ hazaaron khwaahishein aisike har khwaahish pe dam nikley’ sung by G M Durrani from the film GHAYAL(1951). The song was set to music by Gyan Dutt. The film was produced by Ramchandra Thakur under the banner of Navratna Chitra and directed by him. The star cast included Geeta Bali, Jawahar Kaul, Sheikh Mukhtar, Sulochana Chaterjee, Pesi Patel, Nand Kishore, Honey O’Brien etc. Nothing is known about the story line or genre of this film. I had heard this song on Radio Ceylon many times in my younger days but at that time, I always felt that this was a non-filmy song sung by G M Durrani. It was only a few days back that I came across this song on the internet and got to know that this song was filmy song.. In the original ghazal, there are 10 couplets but in this song only three couplets are sung which, in my view, are the essence of the full ghazal.

This heart touching ghazal has been sung by many well known singers like C H Atma, Jagjit Singh, Lata Mangeshkar, Abida Praveen etc. This ghazal has become more famous and popular among the present generation thanks to its rendition by Jagjit Singh –both in the TV serial ‘Mirza Ghalib (1988) and during his public performances. In the song under discussion, the first line of the last couplet of the song has been sung as ‘……sunte aaye thhe lekin’ but in all other places the wordings are ……..’sunte aaye hain lekin’.

Only the audio clip of the song is available. Whenever I listen to this melodious ghazal sung by G MD urrani with his voice full of pathos, I feel like listening again and again.

Song-Hazaaron khwaahishen aisi ke har khwaahish pe dam nikley (Ghaayal)(1951) Singer-G M Durrani, Lyrics-Ghalib, MD-Gyan Dutt


hazaaron khwaahishein aisi
ke har khwaahish pe dam nikley
hazaaron khwaahishein aisi
ke har khwaahish pe dam nikley
bahut nikley mere armaan
lekin phir bhi kam nikley
bahut nikley mere armaan
lekin phir bhi kam nikley
hazaaron khwaashishein aisi ee ee ee

mohabbat mein nahin hai
farq jeeney aur marney kaa aa aa
mohobbat mein nahin hai
farq jeeney aur marney kaa
usi ko dekh kar jeetey hain
jis kaafir pe dam nikle
usi ko dekh kar jeetey hain
jis kaafir pe dam nikley
hazaaron khwaahishein aisi
ee ee

nikalnaa khuld se aadam ka
sunte aaye thhe lekin
nikalnaa khuld se aadam ka
sunte aaye thhe lekin
bahut be aabroo hokar
tere kooche se hum nikley
bahut beaabroo hokar
tere kooche se hum nikley
hazaaron khwaahishein aisi
ke har khwaahish pe dam nikley ae ae
bahut nikley mere armaan
lekin phir bhi kam nikle
hazaaron khwaahishein aisi
ee ee

Translation (Provided by Sudhir)
hazaaron khwaahishein aisi, ke har khwaahish pe dum nikley
bahut nikley mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikley

A thousand dreams, a thousand desires such
Each desire worth forsaking life for
Ah, so many longings fulfilled
And yet, it seems
So few fulfilled

hazaaron = thousands
khwaahish = desire, wish
dum = life, breath
nikley = move out, move outwards
dum nikley = that the life, or breath may leave (this body)
armaan = longing, ambition, aspiration
armaan nikley = longing realized, desire fulfilled

mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeeney aur marney kaa
usi ko dekh kar jeetey hain jis kaafir pe dum nikle

When in love
Pray, what distinctions lies
Being (alive) or not being?
Alas, there is none
For life itself is sustained
By just glimpsing at her
Ah, the mean and merciless sweetheart
Whose very glimpse
Is worth dying for

farq = difference, distinction
kaafir = infidel; also means sweetheart, in terms of emphasizing that the beloved is heartless, shows no mercy on the lover – the more appropriate meaning in context

NOTES: The poet refers to the beloved as a heartless person, not concerned about the lover’s emotions and longings. And so, the beloved is termed as one without mercy, and hence, one without belief in God, for a believer, a God fearing person would be merciful. Hence, the use of the word ‘kaafir’. In Urdu poetry, this word has often been used by many poets, when emphasizing a reference to the beloved, to the sweetheart.

nikalnaa khuld se aadam ka sunte aaye thhe lekin
bahut be-aabroo ho kar tere kooche se hum nikley

Well, we heard it often
The tale of Adam banished
From the Garden of Eden
(But what of Adam,)
(For today, I face a greater misfortune)
With disgrace piled on extreme
I had to retreat
From your street (where you stay)

nikalnaa = move out, exit, leave, retreat
khuld = paradise, a place where everything is perfect for all times, for eternity; in context, the reference is to Garden of Eden (see notes 1. below)
aadam = Adam, the first human male created by God, as per the Old Testament
sunte = to hear, listen
sunte aaye thhe = to have heard often (about something)
aabroo = dignity, honor, chastity
be-abroo = dishonor, disgrace, being subject to scolding, censure, being castigated, reprimanded
koochah = alleyway, narrow street
tere kooche = refering to the lane or street, where the beloved resides (see notes 2. below)


1. The reference here is to the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, to the event of ‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve’ from the Garden of Eden. As per the scripture, Adam and Eve are the first man and woman that God created. God placed them in paradise or the Garden of Eden. They were free to do, move about, eat . . . whatever they desired, with one exception. One action was forbidden – they were not allowed to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The punishment of this act was death. Not that they would die one eating this fruit. As God had ordained, Adam and Eve were supposed to be immortal beings. On eating the forbidden fruit, their immortality was taken away, and they became destined to die – a destiny (as per the Christian belief of the ‘original sin’) that is perpetuated for all succeeding generations. Before eating the forbidden fruit, man was immortal. After eating it, the man became mortal, susceptible to die.

As a punishment for disobeying His command, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. They ‘fell’ to earth, in disgrace. The poet is comparing that disgrace, to the misfortune that has befallen him today. Apparently, the scenario is that he has been asked to leave, to go away from the street, the alley where his beloved resides. That is an ignominy that the poet considers to be greater than the ‘fall’ of Adam and Eve from Eden to earth.

2. The word ‘koochah’ is synonymous to ‘gali’. Once again, this is an often used expression in love poetry. A number of phrases like ‘gali’, ‘teri gali’, ‘us ki gali’, ‘koochah’, ‘koocheh’, ‘pyaar ki gali’ or ‘pyaar ki galiyaan’, ‘piyaa ki gali’, ‘saajan ki galiyaan’, etc. are often used by poets, and I am sure the readers can recall a number of songs that contain these phrases. Sample the following:

“Tere Koocheh Mein Tera Deewaana, Aaj Dil Kho Baitthaa”

“Piyaa Ki Gali, Laage Bhali”

“Saajan Ki Galiyaan Chhod Chaley, Dil Royaa Aansoo Beh Na Sakey”

“Chal Mere Dil Lehraa Ke Chal, Mausam Bhi Hai, Waada Bhi Hai

. . . Us Ki Gali Ka Raasta, Thodaa Bhi Hai, Zyaada Bhi Hai”

“Main Chali Mein Chali Dekho Pyaar Ki Gali”

“Teri Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Kadam”

(and many more I am sure).

The lover feels good when he is in or is passing through the ‘gali’ where his beloved is – for the possibility of getting a glimpse or a chance encounter. Or the lover is in despair and vows never to return to her ‘gali’. Or the lover is asked to leave and that is a big disgrace, and a matter of sorrow.

7 Responses to "Hazaaron khwaahishen aisi ki har khwaahish pe dam nikley"

What a wealth of information Sadanandji. Thank you. Am listening to the song now. It is so beautifully sung.


Beautiful! What a lovely song and voice of GM Durrani. And an excellent write-up too, Kamathji. Thank you so much – I knew very little about GM Durrani before reading this write-up.


Sadanand ji,

Thanks for the wonderful post. Both for the singer, as well as the wonderful ghazal byGhalib.

GM Durrani – another of those talented artists whose fortunes fluctuated on account of mishandled emotions, and for lack of reason. His unwarranted jealousy of Mohammed Rafi, his tiff with Lata Mangeshkar – one does not just up and throw away a career in the industry, for this industry is cruel enough to forget you at a moment’s notice.

Some more interesting trivia.
In 1936, is first song recorded for the film ‘Saeed e Hawas’ is “Maston Ko Ain Farz Hai, Peena Sharaab Ka. . .”. The complete name of the music director, Bundu Khan, is Buniyaad Hussain Khan. Interestingly, in an interview in 1987, GM Durrani has claimed that he prepared the music of this song himself.
His next singing assignment was in 1937, for the film ‘Aatm Tarang’ under the music direction of Habib Khan.
He has composed music for 6 films in all. Four of these are credited with his own name, GM Durrani – ‘Angoori’ (1943), ‘Vijay Lakshmi’ (1943), ‘Bhaagya Lakshmi’ (1944) and ‘Dhadkan’ (1946). Two are credited with a pseudonym – ‘Kismet Palat Ke Dekh’ (1961) and ‘State Express’ (1961).
In 1967, he co-performed two qawwaalis in the film ‘Bahu Begum’ – “Waaqif Hoon Khoob Ishq Ke Tarz-e-Bayaan Se Mein”, and “Aise Mein Tujhko Dhoond Ke Ab Laa’un Kahaan Se Mein”. Ironically, on the screen he lip synced the voice of Rafi – the person who once considered GM Durrani as his idol, and the person whom GM Durrani used to blame as responsible for spoiling his career.

Regarding the ghazal itself.
The original ghazal is eleven couplets in length. Only three are rendered in this version.
I checked with the ‘Deewaan-e-Ghalib’ for the line you have mentioned. As per the original text, the correct word is ‘thhe’ and not ‘hain’ – “Suntey Aayen Thhe Lekin. . .”.



Thanks for the additional information and interesting trivia. I was not aware that he composed music for 3 more films in the 40s.

Also in ‘Laal Pathhar (1971), Rafi has lip synced for him on the screen for the song ‘unke khyaal aaye to’.

Many thanks for the English translation of this ghazal. I had come across on the net, English translation of this ghazal in 2-3 three places but none of them were up to the mark. In fact those translations would have diluted the ethos of this ghazal. After reading your English translation with explanatory notes, my admiration for this ghazal has increased many fold.



Sadanand ji

Welcome, and thanks for your kind words of appreciation. 🙂



Dhanyawad for the anuwaad. Ab ye ghazal ko samaj paoongi.


‘hai’ and ‘they’ controversy should be settled. It is ‘they’.


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