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

Zara bolo kya logi is dil ka kiraaya

Posted on: October 25, 2012


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

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The Voice of Mukesh #3
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As I come in to the third post in this series, I must put on record that I have still not been able to trace and secure a recording of the second duet from the film ‘Dukh Sukh’ (1942). The duet – “Mori Atariyaa Pe Aa Jaa, O Pardesi Panchhi”, is sung with Sitara. And I repeat my request to my friends and fellow contributors on this blog, to please inform in case one has any information about the availability of this song. I am hopeful we shall get to hear this song, since the physical record number is known – N26105. Right now, just waiting for the luck to strike.

For now, continuing with the account of the early years of Mukesh. In an effort to trace his steps in those years, we come to the next stop in Mukesh’s fledgling career, this duet from the film ‘Us Paar’, the solitary offering by him in the year 1944.

The passage of days and months made for a very depressing existence for Mukesh. Having started his career in 1941, coming into 1944, he had sung just five songs so far, and acted in three films. His dreams of becoming a famous singer-actor, were slowly receding. It is very interesting to observe the pattern of his singing career so far. After the debut solo song in Nirdosh, he did not get a single chance for another solo so far. And so it would be through 1944 also. His second debut, and his second solo song, significantly akin to a reincarnation, will have to wait for the film ‘Pehli Nazar’ in 1945.

In 1944, the score so far was as follows:

– ‘Nirdosh’ in 1941, 1 solo and two duets

– Dukh Sukh in 1942, two duet songs

– ‘Adaab Arz’ in 1943, no songs

With this background, comes the next film of Mukesh. The film is ‘Us Paar’, a 1944 release from the banner of Sun Art Pictures, Bombay. Mukesh got to sing just one song (as per records), and a duet once more, at that. And with this film, Mukesh also bids a good bye to his acting career. Apart from a couple of opportunities in early fifties (which we shall discuss later in subsequent posts), the film ‘Us Paar’ signals the start of the background singing career for him. No more histrionics in front of the camera for him after this.

And there is one very interesting aspect to this one duet song that Mukesh sang for this film. In the four duets that he had performed thus far, the lady performer leads the singing, with Mukesh getting to intervene with just one or two lines somewhere in the middle of the song. But in the case of this duet, Mukesh leads the way, and does a major part of the singing.

(Note: Before I get into discussing the song itself, I am induced by it to narrate an experience from my own early professional career. In the late eighties, I got a new job, working for Tatas, in Bombay. Being completely unaware of the rental accommodation situation in that city, I simply arrived there with one suitcase and literally no money in my pocket – well not enough to be able to pay the ‘pugree’, akin to security deposit, plus the one year advance rental. That is the standard arrangement for a rental deal in that city. A distant uncle, at whose place I landed up uninvited, but still a very welcome guest I must say, enquired from me if I was carrying a lakh (one hundred thousand) rupees. My surprised response to him was, no, I did not want to purchase a flat in Bombay, just wanted to rent one. And he smilingly explained to the ignorant me that he was also talking about rental accommodation only. It was just the second or third day in that city for me. I was so overawed by this rental tradition that right there and then I made up my mind to flee from that city, as early as possible – a feat that I was able to finally accomplish only after about 14 months, jumping at the earliest opportunity for a posting out of Bombay. And those 14 months were spent in 5 different locations, literally living on the mercy and charity of short term office accommodations and family friends. With all due respects to the Mumbaikars, I never really entertained any dreams of settling and making it big in that city. In case you are wondering why this long winded interlude in the write up for this song. Well, in this song, the problems of rental accommodation in Bombay are discussed at length, in a very hilarious way, to the extent that a gentleman is ready to rent the heart of a lady, for accommodation. On hearing this song, my mind goes back to my plight in 1988. And I realize that the situation was equally bad even four and a half decades earlier in 1944. Just only that I had not heard this song back in 1988. Else I too might have even tried this strategy, asking some fair damsel for a heart on rent, and be able to stay there, while in Bombay. Ah, if wishes were horses. . . et al. 🙂

The song is a fun loaded duet, and I would be surprised if this song would not have been a popular hit in its time. The gentleman in this duet is wanting to find out if the lady’s heart is available for accommodation, and is enquiring about the rent he may have to pay to occupy it. He bemoans the fact that the rental accommodation in Bombay is way out of his reach (exactly my situation in 1988 🙂 ). The lady responds by saying that her heart is “. . . not to-let”, since it is already rented out as a godown for ‘gur’. (I am sure most people of Indian origin will be familiar with ‘gur’ or jaggery – lumps of brown sugar made from sugarcane). So in one go, the lady is announcing that she is very sweet at heart, and no, her heart is not available for being occupied by anyone else. The gentleman responds by wondering whether all the sweet ‘gur’ that is stored in the lady’s heart, may have made it a home for ants. 😀 😀 (Traditionally, ants are supposed to be very fond of ‘gur’, besides other goodies of course). And by the way, he asks, what is the rent being paid by the godown keeper, with the apparent intent to make a better offer. The hilarity continues, as the lady retorts, telling about the many offers she has – ranging from one hundred rupees to five thousand rupees and more, with various contenders simply wishing to be able to lease her heart, no matter what the asking price may be. Apparently, the gentleman is dis-‘heartened’, for he does not make a counter offer any more, after the proclamation by the lady about the offers she has. All my empathy for the poor homeless soul adrift in the city of Bombay, in the year 1944. 😀 😀

Hilarity apart, I find this song remarkable in one more way. No matter “Dil Jalta Hai. . .”,
was still to follow one year hence – a song well known for another effort by Mukesh that sounds so very close to the voice of Saigal Saab. In this song, just listen carefully, and you will encounter a faint but unmistakable glimmer of the real Mukesh that we are now so familiar with. Apparently, this song is rendered in a state of comfort and likely in the absence of any stress of “to be or not to be”. Mukesh is being his natural self and it really shows. The voice of course is not yet as matured as the one we hear in ‘Barsaat’ (1949) and ‘Baawre Nain’ (1950). But the glimpses of that voice can definitely be heard in this song.

The lyrics of this song are penned by Pt. Madhur. And the fun composition is by Feroze Nizami. Just listening to the opening bars in the first 30 seconds of this recording sets the tone for the fun and joviality that follows. The singing voice that accompanies Mukesh in this song belongs to Kusum. This is a name I am not familiar with at all, and I would request other knowledgeable readers to please add more information about her. Also, in the later part of the song, it appears as if one line has been sung by another lady singer, but is unattributed.

The film is directed by Chiman Lal Luhaar. There is a total of 8 songs in this film, penned by three poets – Anjum, Pt. Madhur and Azm Baazidpuri. The other singing voices that render the remaining songs are of Amirbai Karnataki and GM Durrani. The star cast of this film includes Swarnlata, Ishwar Lal, Chandramohan, Sulochana Chatterjee, Kanhaiyyaa Lal, Charlie,
Chhota etc. And I am not willing to hazard a guess as to the star pair on whom this song may have be picturized on screen. Once again, I request our more knowledgeable readers to help with more information.

As I examined the information available in the Geet Kosh, I find that of the eight songs listed, two are still unattributed as far as singer name is concerned. That may be possibly because one 78 rpm record for this film is not traced and identified. One just hopes that when it happens, when this last record is rediscovered, who knows Mukesh may have his voice behind another song in this film. (More waiting for the luck to strike. 🙂 ).

And so, here is a rare song created almost seven decades ago, in the honor of all those searching for a rental accommodation in Bombay. Now one knows the reason why many young men find no place to stay in that city. It is because of the young ladies, who are asking simply too much rent to accommodate them in their hearts.

(Another note: that reminds me of another song that I had heard as a child. Possibly it is non filmi. I have been on the lookout for this song also for years, but without success so far. The leading lines of this song go like

mere dil ka quarter kar lo occupy
na denaa darling rent ka single pie

Now see, here is a young man offering to let out the accommodation of his heart, and does not expect any rent for it. Just see, the difference between the fair damsels and the chivalrous gentlemen. No wonder the poets across the world and across the ages refer to the ‘gentle ladies’ as ‘heartless’. 😀 😀 )

So listen to this wonderful fun filled duet, uploaded online for the first time from my collection. And the earliest one where Mukesh gets to lead the singing for the first time. Enjoy.

zaraa bolo kyaa logi is dil ka kiraaya
zaraa bolo

O fair one
Say how much will you charge
To rent out your heart
Please say

NOTE: kiraaya = rent

is bambai mein khaali ik room nahin hai
aur pugree hai karti jebon ka safaayaa
rupyon ka safaayaa, noton ka safaaya
zaraa bolo

This heartless city of Bombay
It has no accommodations available
Just the security deposit
Cleans out all the money from the pocket
Please say (what rent you will charge)

NOTE: the word ‘pugree’ actually means an Indian traditional head covering made from a long piece of cloth. But in the context of Bombay home rentals, this word means the security deposit one must pay to the landlord, to rent a place. May be so. 🙂 In traditional terms, the ‘pugree’ also represents the honor and respect of a person. Looking at the amounts involved, it is almost akin to pledging a life’s honor, for the sake of renting a place. 🙂 That is probably why it is called ‘pugree’.

jeb = pocket

note, rupya = currency, money

mere dil ki kothariyaa to-let nahin hai
is ko baniye ne gud ka godaam banaaya

The dwelling of my heart is not available for rent
A trader has rented it as a godown for storing ‘gur’

NOTE: ‘Baniya’ = trader / businessman / shopkeeper.

‘Gud’ or ‘gur’ = a lumpy brown sugar made from sugar cane juice

jab gud hai to chewnton ki daud rahegi
aur baniye ki jodi bejod rahegi
is baniye ne kitnaa bhaada hai chukaaya
zaraa bolo

Ah, if he is storing ‘gud’ there
Then it must be overrun with ants
What an incomparable pair they must make –
The ants and the ‘baniya’, living there
Oh by the way
What is the rent this trader is paying you
Please say

(NOTE:‘cheenti’ or ‘chewnti’ = ants

jodi = pair

bejod = incomparable

bhaada = rent (same as ‘kiraaya’ above)

gujarati kehte sau
punjabi kehte sau-sau ke paanch note lo
aur bikaneri kehte hum se paanch hazaar lo
shikarpuri kehte hain mujhse jo chaahe so lo
lekin kothariyaa do

(Let me tell you)
Gujarati fellow says he will pay one hundred
Punjabi says take five hundred
The gentleman from Bikaner is bidding five thousand
And this person from Shikarpur
Well, he says charge me anything
But please, o please,
Rent this dwelling to me

tumhin socho
is pugree ne mera hai mol badhaaya

Ah, think about it
This security deposit
It has made it so profitable for me

(NOTE: after this, the poor gentleman is left speechless, just mumbling
‘Please say, please say’)

😀 😀


Song-Zara bolo kya logi is dil ka kiraaya (Us Paar)(1944) Singer-Mukesh, Kusum, Lyrics-Pt Madhur, MD-Feroz Nizami

Lyrics

zaraa bolo
ree haan
zaraa bolo kyaa logi
is dil ka kiraaya
is dil ka kiraaya
zaraa bolo
zaraa bolo kyaa logi
is dil ka kiraaya
is dil ka kiraaya
zaraa bolo
is bambai mein khaali ik room nahin hai
is bambai mein khaali ik room nahin hai
aur pugree hai karti jebon ka safaayaa
rupyon ka safaayaa
noton ka safaaya
zaraa bolo
zaraa bolo kyaa logi
is dil ka kiraaya
is dil ka kiraaya
zaraa bolo

mere dil ki kothariyaa
haan dil ki kothariyaa
to-let nahin hai
to-let nahin hai
is ko baniye ne gud ka godaam banaaya
godaam banaaya

zaraa bolo

jab gud hai to
jab gud hai to
chewnton ki daud rahegi
jab gud hai to
chewnton ki daud rahegi
aur baniye ki jodi bejod rahegi
aur baniye ki jodi bejod rahegi
is baniye ne kitnaa bhaada hai chukaaya
bhaada hai chukaaya
zaraa bolo

zaraa bolo kyaa logi
is dil ka kiraaya
is dil ka kiraaya
zaraa bolo
gujarati kehte sau
punjabi kehte sau-sau ke paanch note lo
aur bikaneri kehte hum se paanch hazaar lo
shikarpuri kehte hain mujhse jo chaahe so lo
lekin kothariyaa do
aaaa. . .
lekin kothariyaa do
kothariyaa do
tumhin socho
is pugree ne mera hai mol badhaaya
hai mol badhaaya

zaraa bolo
zaraa bolo
zaraa bolo

6 Responses to "Zara bolo kya logi is dil ka kiraaya"

Wow, it’s the spoof – funny satire – witty dialogue!
A contemporary musical parody with humorous.

I think, in early years, Mukesh emphasizes on low-frequency sounds in the voice but also was a scat-singer. thus his singing style made him like we are listing a “gavaiyya” or “Deredar” (not as a derogatory term) in some “noutanki” shows.

Sudhirji, my mom used to say in Gujarati: you will find “ROTLO”(paratha) in Mumbai but not “OTALO” (porch).

Here the words “baniya’ and “gur” are used in metaphorically sense.
Means this “Baniya” (a person with money) keeps giving her “gud” (sweet or money) and using her while his “jodi” (own wife) is safe. So here the words “ants” or “chuha” (mice) means “people” e.g. gujarati, punjabi, bikanere etc..
(2).”is baniye ne kitnaa bhaada hai chukaaya” means…”did he often sublet too?” (hindi: shikami or oop bhada)..

I know there was an actress in 30’s her name used to be Kusum Deshpande.

Like

Derubala ji

Thanks for your message. Also appreciate your additional explanation for the use of the words ‘Baniya’ and ‘gur’.

Arun ji has identified the co singer as Kusum Mantri.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

Sudhir ji,
Thanks for a very hilarious and interesting write up and the song.
Just for your info,this song has been sung by KUSUM MANTRI and Mukesh.
I had written a note on Kusum Mantri on the 1st Oct 2011,in this blog.I reproduce the relevent part-

About kusum Mantri.
She was also one of the many new and upcoming singers that Ranjit had kept on its payroll.She sang under all the MDs of Ranjit and also under Firoze Nizami.Her songs featured in Badi Baat,Safed Daku,Safed Chehera,Vishwas,Umang,Us paar,Piya Milan,Nek Parveen etc.her career span was 1943 to 1949.After that,no trace.

I hope this info confirms that the singer was Kusum mantri.(BTW,kusum Deshpande was only an actress and i have no info,if she ever sang in films.).

Further,PUGREE, in Bambaiyya language actually is half ownership.Pugree applied only to old chawls,one room tenements and Zopadis.Blocks and flats are not involved in pugree,as per my knowledge.In my stay in mumbai/Bombay for last 35 years or so,flats and blocks(as flats were called earlier) need Deposits for rentals.The colloquial term is -‘ 1-10,2-20,5-50 etc’ meaning deposit of 1 lakh and rent of 10thousand,deposit of 2 lakhs and rent of 20thousand per month,and so on.With escalating prices now the position is worse.In any good locality 1BHK (Bedroom,hall.kitchen) flat rentals are 2-3 lakhs deposit and 15-25000 rent per month.

-AD

Like

Arun ji,
Thanks for your note of appreciation. And yes, also for clarifying the ‘pugree’ and deposit convention in the Bombay rental market. The real estate and rental market in Bombay is well known to be one of the most expensive in the world. I could never come to terms with it. 🙂

Also, thanks for identifying the singer more specifically.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

http://home.comcast.net/~blasiyer/Mukesh_1940_1947.html.

Sudhirji,
The above link talks of 3 NF solos of Mukesh, that too in 1940. The refered second duet with Sitara is very much evident in this list too. This is the best I could dig out, but will keep trying.

Like

Mahesh ji

Thanks for the link. It is a good confirmation list. Plus it identifies a couple of additional songs that are not in the Mukesh Geet Kosh. I have sent a message to Harish Raghuvnshi ji (compiler of Mukesh Geet Kosh). I will share more information when I receive it.

Thanks for your continued efforts in this. It will be great if we can locate more unavailable and unattributed songs.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

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