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

Aankh se aankh milaata hai koi

Posted on: April 20, 2013

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

It is a human nature that most top professionals would think that they are perfect in their professions, be it in the fields of sports or fine arts. Then why do we need coaches, guides, trainers etc ? A few years back, it looked odd to me to know that top seeded professional lawn tennis players have personal coaches. Some of the coaches may not have even played in any of the grand slam tournaments. Even in cricket, some of the teams’ coaches have not been top cricketers in their own national team. Now I know of two maxims in professional sportsman-coach relationship. First, all top players need not be perfect and coaches of these top players need not be top sportsmen in their fields. Second, the best coaches have the wherewithal to extract from the top professionals something more than the perfect which makes a vast difference in closely fought competition. This led me to think why not have a system of coaches (in Indian musical parlance, ‘guru’) for professional singers as well?

I understand that the top professional pop/rock singers in the West hire voice coaches. I am not sure whether such a system is prevalent in Indian settings either overtly or covertly. The reason could be that in the Indian setting, music directors are de facto the coaches for the singers as they are required to rehearse the songs to perfection before recording. But this ‘coaching’ is more of a micro management of the song to be recorded rather than the specialist type of coaching.

Lata Mangeshkar, in some of her interviews and conversations did acknowledge that she took guidance from two music directors during her starting phase of playback singing careeer and taking thir guidance as general principles of playback singing throughout her career. Master Ghulam Haider advised her to concentrate more on the lyrics and to sing the words clearly. If a word falls on a beat, it should be emphasised a little more to enhance the song. Anil Biswas taught her when to inhale and exhale so that listeners cannot make out as to when she took breath. The second point he taught her was in case of stress on a note (probably meant as accent on a note as one goes louder or on high pitch while singing), how much to fade in (I guess, it refers to a gradual increase in pitch) and fade out (gradual decrease) of the notes. I am sure many other playback singers must have also got similar types of guidance from music directors. But in the context of singing songs based on classical and semi-classical music, one requires something more than the guidance stated above especially as they are not related to films.

In my article on mere geeton ka singaar ho tum, I had mentioned that Mohammed Rafi, at the peak of his singing career, felt a need to have an improvement in his voice quality. For this purpose, he approached Khaiyyam to be, in western countries parlance, a voice coach for some time. The results are well known in the sphere of many of Rafi’s NFSs recorded during that period. I am not sure whether Lata Mangeshkar had any such kind of arrangement during her playback singing career. I had heard her saying that her younger brother Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar has been her ‘guru’ in the field of singing songs in the classical format. She has said that she even got tense if she had to sing under his music direction. As we know, Lata Mangeshkar has recorded many NFSs under the music direction of Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar apart from filmy songs.

Sometime back I came across a reference to K Mahavir being one of Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘gurus’ during her later part of playback singing career. I also came to know that Mangeshkar family held him in high esteem. I tried all the sources on the internet to verify these claims but could not get any concrete evidence. The only place I got some hint of K Mahavir being the ‘guru’ of Lata Mangeshkar was from a Times of India report. I could locate a few audio clips of NFSs sung by her under the music direction of K Mahavir which pertain to early 70s. So I take it that there is some connection to the claims stated above.

I had no information about K Mahavir’s background except that he had composed some NFSs and that he has been a singer on Doordarshan in the 80s. No detailed profile of him is available on the websites either. However, as per , his son’s websit, Mahavir Prasad Kathak, known as K Mahavir (1938-1987) was the 6th generation of a family of vocalist and musicians belonging to the Jaipur Gharana. He was a vocalist in classical and semi-classical formats and a musician of Jaipur Gharana style. It is claimed that many upcoming singers had been trained by him. He has three sons – Dinesh, a vocalist, Rajeev, a percussionist and Sandeep, a kathak dancer.

I could find on YT four NFSs sung by Lata Mangeshkar under K Mahavir’s music direction of which two are ghazals. I have chosen for discussion one of the two ghazlas viz. ‘aankh se aankh milaata hai koi’ (1973) written by Shakeel Badayuni. Both the composition as well as singing style of this ghazal are quite different from what we hear in Hindi films. As it is well known, under semi-classical format, most of the ghazals were sung in thumri style in olden days. But the ghazal under discussion is rendered in a style which appears to be close to khayal singing. I would not have guessed that this ghazal was sung by Lata Mangeshkar but for her familiar voice. Note her ‘harkat’ in the start of maqta of the ghazal ‘sab karishmaat-e-tasawwur’ which she could attempt it here only because it was not a filmy ghazal.

Song-Aankh se aankh milaata hai koi (Lata NFS)(1973) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Shakeel Badayuni, MD-K Mahavir


aaa aa aa aaa
aaa aa aaa
aaa aa aaa
aankh se aankh milaataa hai koi
dil ko kheenche liye jaataa aa hai koi ee
aankh se aankh milaataa hai koi ee
dil ko kheenche liye jaataa aa hai koi ee
aankh se aankh

waa-e-hairat ki bhari mehfil mein
waa-e-hairat ki bhari mehfil mein en
mujhko tanhaa nazar aataa aa hai koi ee
aankh se aankh

chaahiye khud pe yaqeen-e-qaamil
chaahiye khud pe ae ae ae ae
chaahiye khud pe yaqeen-e-qaamil
hauslaa kiskaa badhaataa aa hai koi ee
aankh se aankh

sab karishmaat-e-tasawwur hai Shakeel
sab karishmaat-e ae ae ae ae
sab karishmaat–e-tasawwur hai Shakeel
varnaa aataa hai na jaataa aa hai koi
aankh se aankh milaataa hai koi
dil ko kheenche liye jaataa hai koi
aankh se

Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)
आ आ आ आ
आ आ आ
आ आ आ
आँख से आँख मिलाता है कोई
दिल को खींचे लिए जाता है कोई ईss
आँख से आँख मिलाता है कोई
दिल को खींचे लिए जाता है कोई ईss
आँख से आँख

वा ए हैरत की भरी महफिल में
वा ए हैरत की भरी महफिल में
मुझको तन्हा नज़र आता है कोई
आँख से आँख

चाहिए खुद पे यकीन ए कामिल
चाहिए खुद पे एss
चाहिए खुद पे यकीन ए कामिल
हौसला किस का बढ़ाता है कोई
आँख से आँख

सब करिश्मात ए तसव्वुर है शकील
सब करिश्मात ए एss
सब करिश्मात ए तसव्वुर है शकील
वरना आता है न जाता आ है कोई
आँख से आँख मिलाता है कोई
दिल को खींचे लिए जाता है कोई ईss
आँख से आँख


aankh se aankh milaataa hai koi
dil ko kheenche liye jaataa hai koi

Is exchanging
Fleeting, momentary glances with me
And I can feel
My heart being slowly tugged away

waa-e-hairat ki bhari mehfil mein
mujhko tanhaa nazar aataa hai koi

This open congregation
Full of amazement and wonder
Why is it that someone
Appears so quiet
So friendless and lonely

NOTE: The poet refers to this world as being this ‘mehfil’, this busy and open gathering that is full of many wonders and incredible things. And yet, in the midst of all this, there is a feeling of friendless loneliness, like a lost or an abandoned child in a busy marketplace.

Waa = open

Hairat = amazement, wonder

Mehfil = gathering, congregation

Tanhaa = lonely, forlorn

chaahiye khud pe yaqeen-e-qaamil
hauslaa kiskaa badhaataa hai koi

Carry your own convictions
And repose
Complete and unqualified
Confidence in self
For none will ever
Place a hand of comforting encouragement
On your back

NOTE: Yaqeen = conviction, confidence

Qaamil = complete, absolute, accomplished

sab karishmaat–e-tasawwur hai Shakeel
varnaa aataa hai na jaataa aa hai koi

All this busy world
That we see around us
Is but a miracle of imagination
Else, in reality
No one is really born
No one ever dies

NOTE: A powerful and a telling statement on the eternality and changeless qualities of the soul. The soul is never born, it never dies, it just moves from one mirage to another. This verse verily is a direct reflection of the essential idea in Bhagwad Gita.

Karishmaat = miracle, marvel

Tasawwur = imagination, ideas, thoughts

Shakeel = the name – takhallus of the poet

Shakeel = handsome, well shaped

(Maybe the poet is emphasizing that the idea in this couplet is well shaped, perfect. 🙂 )

12 Responses to "Aankh se aankh milaata hai koi"

Beautiful post ! listening to it after a gap of many years ! i like it very much !


What a nice ghazal. Heard it for the first time and to hear Lata Mangeshkar in a different mode, is an experience to behold.


Seems this song could have been used to remember Shakeel Badayuni Saab also on Apr 20th.


Thank you for the reference.


Absolutely stunning ghazal from K Mahavir ji, Lata ji and Shakeel ji. Excellent write-up too. Just noticed something which i’ll share :

“vaa.e hairat ki bhari mehfil mein”

vaa.e – alas!, expression of pain, e.g. oh! ah!
(reference : Shakeel Badayuni ghazals)
so the meaning of the sher would be like :

alas! (it is a pity that) in this world, which is full of amazement and wonder, i can see someone who is lonely…


kamath ji,
Here is some more information about K. Mahavir,provided kindly by Mr. Pavan Jha…

Name : Mahavir Prasad
Birth : Early 30s
Death : 1985
Popular Name : K Mahavir
Son of renowned singer Pt. Mahadev Prasad
Hailed from Beedasar, Churu (Rajasthan)
Spent most of his early times in Haryana & Punjab with Father .. Moved to Mumbai worked as assistants to many music directors of that time (worked with Khemchand ji too.. hence the association with Lata ji).. Had three more brothers (all musicians and all died).. Taught in a Music College in Mumbai before death!



Thanks for the information.
So one more addition to the galaxy of singers and musicians from Rajasthan particularly from Shekhawati region.


Sadanand ji

Thanks for brining up this wonderful ghazal. One of the earliest favorites, that is on a cassette I had purchaed in the 1980s. Wonderful reminder.

Also, the lyrics in Devnagari and translation of this ghazal are now posted.



Thanks for adding ornaments to the ghazal.


Thanks Shri SADANAND JI,I always used to think about the last lines,their importance,the VEDANT MESSAGE.


Dear Sadanand ji thanks for a beautifully written article. Do you have the lyrics for Woh Jo Khat Tunay that K. Mahavir ji composed for Usha Mangeshkar?


audio link:


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