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

Nuktaa cheen hai gham e dil

Posted on: November 20, 2012


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

Recently, I came across on the internet, an old review of the book ‘Darlingji – the true love story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt’ (2007) on Onlooker magazine. The book was written by Kishwar Desai. What caught my attention in the review was a comment about Jaddan Bai, Nargis’s mother. It was stated in the review that there was a subtle hint in the book about Jaddanbai being a love child of Motilal Nehru and Daleepa Bai – a courtesan of Allahabad. I am not sure whether this is a fact or a mere rumour which remained unsubstantiated. But this review brought back to my mind Jaddanbai whom I had almost forgotten. In any case, my awareness about Jaddan Bai ( 1892 or 1906 – 08/04/1949) was limited to her being the mother of Nargis and some connection to Hindi film industry.

It is said that Jaddanbai’s mother Daleepabai was born as Daleepa Devi in a Brahmin family of Banaras. Widowed at the age of 13, she eloped with a muslim sarangi player and later groomed to become a classical singer and a tawaif. Her daughter Jaddanbai was born in Banaras and brought up in Allahabad. Daleepabai shifted her base from Allahabad to Calcutta (Kolkatta) and put Jaddanbai to be trained as thumri singer under Ustad Moinuddin Khan and later Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, the elder brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. She started participating in musical concerts and recorded her ghazals and thumris with HMV. Her singing caught the attention of some of the rulers of princely states who started inviting her for private concerts.

Jaddanbai married thrice. Her eldest son Akhtar Hussain was born from the marriage with Narottamdas Khatri ( converted to muslim as Bachhu Babu), his second son Anwar Hussain was born from the marriage with Ustaad Irshad Meer Khan, her harmonium accompanist. These two marriages resulted in divorce. Her third and last marriage was with Uttamchand Mohan ( converted to muslim as Abdul Rashid) and Nargis was born of this marriage.

The decline in fortunes of many of the kings and nawabs of princely states who were patrons of tawaifs put Jaddan Bai in to some financial hardship. She was not keen on her daughter to pursue the tawaif career. So she shifted to Bomaby (Mumbai) with her three children. She started her Hindi film career as an actor in ‘Raja Gopichand’ (1933), Inshaan Ya Shaitaan (1933), ‘Prem Pariksha’ (1934), ‘Seva Sadan’ (1934) and Talaash-e-Haq (1935). She also composed music for the last film mentioned. Later she started her own film production company called Sangeet Movietone under which she produced and directed 4 films – ‘Madam Fashion’ (1936), ‘Hriday Manthan’ (1936), ‘Moti Ka Haar’ (1937) and ‘ Jeewan Swapna’ (1937). However, she could not withstand the competition from the bigger banners and soon she was forced out of the business, plunging her into financial difficulties.

It was at this juncture, she pulled out Nargis from the school at the age of 14 to work as a leading lady in Mehboob Khan’s film ‘Taqdeer’ (1943). The film was a box office hit and thus family’s financial position was salvaged. With the box office success of films ‘Barsat’ (1949) and ‘Andaz’ (1949) Nargis became one of the leading actors. But Jaddanbai was not there to witness the successful career of her daughter for long as she passes away on April 8, 1949.

It is said that Jaddanbai had sung a few songs in her Hindi films as an actor-singer. However, I could not locate any of her filmy songs on the internet. I could locate only four of her non filmy songs that are available on the YT of which one is a well known ghazal of Mirza Ghalib ‘nuktacheen hai gham e dil’. My guess is that this ghazal is the earliest recorded one sung by Jaddanbai during her Calcutta days in which case the record may have been released sometime between late 20s and early 30s. This rendition has not been credited to any composer but I guess those days ghazals rendered in traditional thumri format were mostly composed by the singers themselves. And in the case of Jaddanbai, she had also composed music for Hindi films. Hence, for the time being, I have listed her as composer for this ghazal unlessl some knowledgeable readers of this blog point out otherwise.

The same ghazal was later rendered by K L Saigal in the film Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933), Suraiyya in Mirza Ghalib (1954) and Noorjehaan in the Pakistani film ‘Ghalib’ (1961). In addition, this ghazal was also rendered as non-filmy songs by classical singers like Begum Akhtar, Abida Parveen and the playback singers like Mohammed Rafi. In my view, Jaddanbai’s rendition of this ghazal with long alaaps and the emphasis on some words in the ghazal makes it a traditional thumri and I am very fond of this format of ghazal singing. In the 30s and 40s, ghazals were rendered in the thumri format as most of the tawaifs were trained in this format of classical singing.

With this non-filmy ghazal, Jaddanbai makes her maiden appearance in this blog as a singer.

Audio link :

Song-Nukta cheen hai gham e dil (Jaddanbai NFS)(1930) Singer-Jaddanbai, Lyrics-Ghalib, MD-Jaddanbai

Lyrics

aa aa aa
nuktaacheen hai gham-e-dil
usko sunaaye naa baney
haan aa aa
nuktaacheen hai gham e dil
usko sunaaye naa baney
haan
kyaa baney baat jahaan
baat banaaye naa bane ae

main bulaataa to hoon
oon oon
haan usko magar ae jazbaa-e-dil
haaa aaa aaa
aa aa aaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aaa
main bulaataa to hoon
usko magar ae jazbaa-e dil
agar uspe ban jaaye kuchh
aisi ke bin aaye na bane
aa aa aa aaa
aa aa aa aaa
aa aa aa aaa
aa aa aa aa

khel samjhaa hai kahin ee ee ee
o o o o
kahin ee ee ee
khel
samjhaa hai
kahin
chhod na de
bhool na jaaye
kaash youn bhi ho ke
bin mere sataaye naa bane

ghair phirtaa hai liye
ae ae ae ae
aee aee aee
yoon tere khat ko ke agar
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
ghair phirtaa hai liye ae
yoon tere khat ko ke agar
aur koyi poochhe ke ye kyaa hai
to chhupaaye naa baney
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
chhupaaye na baney

ishq par zor nahin
hai ye wo aatish Ghalib
ke lagaaye naa lagey
aur bujhaaye naa baney
aa aa aa
nuktaacheen hai

13 Responses to "Nuktaa cheen hai gham e dil"

Thanks Sadanandji for the info about Jaddanbai. The little I knew was that she was mother of Nargis and Anwar Hussain. Never knew she was married three times. I remember watching a show “Nehru Gandhi Dynasty” on one of our PBS channel in which the issue of MN and JN having relationship with ….. was raised. (They did not mention Jaddanbai’s name)

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Sadanandji, thank you for all this information. I love this ghazal.

What a beautiful voice Jaddanbai had, and how multi-faceated she was. We do not have artists of this kind, the ones that could turn their hands at various forms of art, anymore.

However, I find Piyush Mishra from the current crop of artists is able to sing, act, compose music, write lyrics, screenplay and dialogues exceptionally well.

Like

What a brilliant article. Thank you Sadanand Ji. This is nothing short of re-living history. Hats off!

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Kamath ji,
Thanks for a very well written note on Jaddanbai.Here is some interesting info about her….
Jaddanbai was a popular and reknowned singer of her days.She thrilled her listeners with Thumaries and Daadraas thru Radio and gramophone records. In 1918 she was admitted in a hospital in Lucknow for an operation on her stomach.There she met UTTAMCHAND MOHANCHAND RATHOD from Rawalpindi.He was a brilliant medical student at Lucknow.They fell in love and ,leaving his Medical studies,Mohanchand married Jaddanbai.They shifted to Calcutta.He was known as Mohanbabu.Both he and Jaddanbai loved each others till their end and never separated,so much for their love !
Fatima Rashid(Nargis) was born on 1-6-1929 and she debuted as baby Rani in Talash e Haq.Later she became heroine at 14 years in mehboob’s Taqdir.She wanted to be a doctor like Mohanbabu,but her film was a hit and then….
Jaddanbai acted in many films as a Heroine.Some of her films are Insan ya shaitan,Raja Gopichand,Nachwali,Prempariksha,Talashehaq,hriday manthan,madam Fashion,Sewa sadan etc. She has sung songs in most of these films,for herself.
-AD

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i am interested to know about actor and actresses.you provided me a good knowledge about Nargis which is difficult to find out in these days.

Thanks

Like

Nargis’ father Mohan Babu/Abu Rashid was from Rawalpindi belonging into the Mohyal Brahmin clan which was once quite widespread in Western and northern Punjab – areas now in Pakistan.

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Thanks for this additional information.
One more trivia…
Mohanbabu was converted to Islam by Maulana Azad,in Lucknow.
-AD

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You mean to say Maulana Abul Kalam Azad?
.
By the way, if my memory serves me right, I had read in now defunct Illustrated Weekly of India many years back that Sunil Dutt also belonged to Mohyal Brahmin family.

Like

Kamath ji,
The answer is yes to both points.
Sunit Dutt,like comedian Omprakash,was a Mohyal Bramhin.
-AD

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Does that subtle hint explain the closeness of Nargis ji and by extension Dutt family to Congress 🙂

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Actually Jaddan Bai’s family were Muslim immigrants in India. She lived in Punjab before moving to Allahabad with her family.Maybe Daleepabai was a 2nd wife, also she would’ve simple been a mentor.

Like

Also Nargis had two names-Fatima and Tajeshwari.

Like

I am not sure whether this would be relevant sharing the information I read in an article in a bengali news paper that Daleepabai belonged to Tagore family of Kolkata of which Rabindra Nath belonged to..

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