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

Kaali badariya chhaa gayee

Posted on: November 23, 2012


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

I am reasonably well versed with the profiles of maestro S D Burman and his son R D Burman but not about Meera Burman, wife of S D Burman and mother of R D Burman. I was also curious to know about her life after the untimely death of her only son in January 1994. Apart from keeping a low profile, Meera Burman remained in the background under the shadows of her illustrious husband and son. Contrary to my expectation, I was able to get enough information about her from the archives of newspapers reports, articles and Yahoo discussion forum of R D Burman Fans on the internet. But reading all the these material made me very sad, particularly after knowing that this multi-talented woman had spent the last 13 years of her life in a very pathetic condition.

Meera Burman (1923 – 15/10/2007) was born as Meera Dutta Roy in Comilla, now in Bangla Desh, the same town where S D Burman was born. In some places, her maiden surname is mentioned as Dasgupta probably due to the fact that she was the granddaughter of Justice Raibahadur Kamalnath Dasgupta. She did schooling in Calcutta (Kolkatta) and simultaneously learnt Hindustani classical music from Bisamadeb Chattopadhyay, Rabindrasangeet from Anandi Dastidar and dancing from Amita Sen, mother of noble laureate Dr Amartya Sen. At the age of 14, she had already become an accomplished classical singer and dancer. Later in her life, she also wrote poems and composed music.

In 1937, S D Burman met Meera Burman for the first time at the All India Music Conference held in Allahabad where they had separately come to sing thumri. Later on they went together to participate at the various musical conferences. They got married in 1938 against the wishes of Burman family since Meera Roy was not from the royal family. In the following year, Rahul Dev Burman was born in Calcutta. During her Calcutta days and later in Bombay (Mumbai), she wrote lyrics for most of the Bengali non-filmy songs composed and sung by S D Burman. She even assisted him in composing music for those songs.

In the mid 40s, S D Burman decided to shift his base to Bombay which gave Meera Burman the opportunity to get trained in Hindustani classical music under Ustad Faiyyaz Khan. During the same period, she cleared the audition test of All India Radio, Bombay and started singing thumris and ghazals. She also got involved in IPTA plays by writing lyrics of some of their Hindi plays. Side by side, she started recording her Hindi NFS, a few of which were duets with S D Burman who composed the music for these Hindi NFS. In the early phase of the filmy career of S D Burman, she assisted him in composing music for the Hindi films. It is said that she was instrumental in fine tuning some of S D Burman’s immortal compositions like ‘ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kyaa hai’, waqt ne kiya’, ‘mere bairagi bhanwaraa’ etc. The tunes of some of the Bengali NFS she wrote were later used by S D Burman and R D Burman in Hindi films. Examples:

shono go dokhino hawaa -> khaayi hai re hamne kasam (Talaash,1969)

borne gondhe chondhe -> phoolon ke rang se (Prem Pujari, 1970)

nitil paaye rinkin jhinik payal khani baaje -> jab bhi koi kanganaa bole paayal chalak jaaye (Shaukeen, 1982)

Once R D Burman started assisting his father in music compositions, Meera Burman withdrew from the scene. But from 1971 onward, she had to once again don the role of music assistant to her husband as her son became very busy in composing music for his films. During 1971-75, she assisted S D Burman in Tere Mere Sapne (1971), Abhimaan (1973), Sagina (1974), Chupke Chupke (1975) and Mili (1975). One of the greatest contributions of Meera Burman to the music repository of S D Burman was the preservation of many unused tunes composed by her husband during 40s for their Bangla NFS through notations most of which were used by S D Burman in Hindi films songs. Without her notations, these would have been lost forever.

After the death of her husband in 1975, Meera Burman’s health started deteriorating. R D Burman brought her to his residence to stay with him. As the years passed, she started losing her senses and could barely communicate with others. When R D Burman passed away on January 1994 and she was brought to the room where his body was kept, it is said that she saw the body and left the room by saying that the body was not of her son. For the next 13 years, she gave an impression to others that Pancham was around. After Pancham’s death, she continued to stay in the house with nurses taking care of her all the time.

In early 2007, Meera Burman was reportedly shifted from her residence to an old age home in Navi Mumbai. However, when the print and electronic media got the wind of it, she was brought back to her house sometime in September 2007. Those days, there were some newspapers reports and articles criticising the decision to shift her to old age home. She died on October 15, 2007 in her home.

Meera Burman, apart from being a talented woman, was a rock like support to S D Burman not only in creating many of his outstanding musical compositions but also in taking care of the household duties. It is very sad to know about a woman of Meera Burman’s stature whose talent was not less than that of her husband and the son, spending her last few years as a recluse in her own house and later in an old age home for a few months.

As a tribute to Meera Burman, I have selected a husband-wife duet NFS ‘kaali badariyaa chhaa gayi (1948) recorded during their early days in Bombay. This is probably the only Hindi song of her available on YT. I have no idea as to who wrote the lyrics. But knowing that Meera Burman did write lyrics for a couple of IPTA’s Hindi plays in the late 40s, I guess this NFS may have been written by her. The song was composed by S D Burman with piano playing throughout the song. Surprisingly, percussion does not seem to have been used in this song. What a sweet voice Meera Burman had ! Her Hindi pronunciation is clear. This song also gives me an impression of a good comradeship between S D Burman and Meera Burman.

I am not sure whether S D Burman ever used her voice in any of his Hindi films. All I can say about this NFS is that it made my day after listening to this song again and again.

With this NFS, Meera Burman makes her maiden appearance in this blog as a singer.


Song-Kaali badariya chhaa gayee (Meera Burman NFS)(1950) Singers-Meera Burman, S D Burman, MD-S D Burman

Lyrics

kaali badariyaa chhaa gayi
kaali badariyaa chhaa gayi
gaa naa koyaliyaa geet
koi yaad aataa hai
haay koyi yaad aataa hai
jaan labon par aa gayi
jaan labon par aa gayi
gaa naa papeehe geet
jiyaa ghabraataa hai
haay jiyaa ghabraataa hai

main birhan duniyaa mein akeli
meri khushi mere piyaa ne le li
main birhan duniyaa mein akeli
dil ki kali murjhaa gayi
dil ki kali murjhaa gayi
gaa naa koyaliyaa geet
koyi yaad aataa hai
haay koyi yaad aataa hai

meri chaah ki unchi ataria
bahut kathhin hain meri nazaria
meri chaah ki unchi ataria
yaad kisi ki tadapaa gayi
yaad kisi ki tadapaa gayi
gaa naa papihe geet
jiyaa ghabraataa hai
haay jiyaa ghabraataa hai

haay mere saathi baalaapan ke
bhool gaye waade bachpan ke
haay mere saathi baalaapan ke
preet meri dhokhaa khaa gayi
preet meri dhokhaa khaa gayi
gaa naa koyaliyaa geet
koyi yaad aataa hai
haay koyi yaad aataa hai
jaan labon par aa gayi
jaan labon par aa gayi
gaa naa papeehe geet
jiyaa ghabraataa hai
haay jiyaa ghabraataa hai

14 Responses to "Kaali badariya chhaa gayee"

Thank you Sadanand Ji for letting us know more about another gem in the Burman family. It was really sad to hear about the way she had to spent her last few years. It just shows about how the industry is and life in general is. You are revered and loved only when you are doing well :).

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Thanks for your appreciation which makes my efforts fruitful.

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Sadanandji,
What an introduction of a talented poet/singer/composer who was known to me just as a wife of S D Burman and mother of R D Burman, two legendary composers/singers of Hindi cinema. You really have digged a treasure for all HFM lovers. It was sad to know that she spent last few months of her ailing life in an old age home. 😦 Thanks for this NFS as a tribute to her.
The words in second stanza sounds like “mere chaand ki unchi ataria…”

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Thanks for your appreciation.
My impression about Meera Burman was the same as yours until I came across this NFS. That made me curious to know more about her. That such a multi-talented woman should not remain unsung, drove me to write this article.

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Kamath ji,
I have no words to thank you enough for enlightening me with Meera ji’s bio.I was not having so much info about her.It is an irony of fate that such a person had to suffer in the last part of her life.I had read about her shifting controversy involving Asha Bhosle and later also knew that she had died.
It is also not a common occurance that Husband/wife duo sings a song.I think,that way also you deserve another round of THANKS.
You are a darling,Kamath ji !
-AD

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Arunji,
Another couple that I am aware of is Pandit Kumar Gandharva and his wife Smt Vasundhara. Not aware of how many duets they have sung, but I have five of their duets in my CD, Avdhoota Bhajans by Kabir, Meera, Surdas.

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Thanks for your appreciation which I take it as a reward for the efforts I put in for collecting the material. .

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few couples who did duets together, that i could think of:

filmi:
RD/Asha
Kishore Kumar/Leena Chandavarkar
Manna Dey/Sabita Chowdhury
Jagjit/Chitra
Bhupinder/Mitali
Anup Jalota/Sonali Jalota
Udit Narayan/Deepa Narayan
Kunal Ganjawala/Gayatri Iyer
Rajendra/Neena Mehta

Non-filmi:
Roop Kumar Rathod/Sonali Rathod (Not sure if they did filmi songs together)
Amit Kumar and his wife also sings together from what i have heard

There may be a few more that i cant think of at the moment.

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Aadesh Shrivastava/Vijayata Pandit also has performed a duet in the movies.

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Manaa Dey/Sabita Chowdhury?
Sabita Chowdhury was the wife of Salil Chowdhury.

Another ghazal singing couple, Rajkumar Rizvi/Indrani Rizvi

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Yeah. I keep making the same mistake of confusing them again and again 🙂 Thanks for pointing it out.

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Thanks Sadanand ji

Simply superb song,informative post.

I just ,remembered Sachin Dev Burmanji`s Talaash Song “Meri duniyaa hai maa, teri aanchal”

So sad.
“Bhagwan”
Aisaa kyon ho jaata hai ???
Achche logon ko unnke aakhiri dinon mein aisee sazaa kyon ??

Thanks again for the song and post.

Regards & Love
Prakash

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Thanks for your appreciation.
I remembered the song ‘meri duniyaa hai maa tere aanchal mein’ when I noticed in a picture clip in the audio of song under discussion at 0:32 – 0:54 showing Meera Burman holding infant R D Burman who is staring at his mother.

Perhaps, the song situation for ‘Talash’ song may have been inspired by this picture 🙂

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Once our nearest relatives leaves you there is no guarantee that you will live to lead a dignified end. One cannot expect others to treat you as their own. Yeh kalyug hain!!!

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