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

Jholi bhar taare laa de re

Posted on: November 11, 2013

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

This is the 7th song in the series,”The Great Souls of India”. It is from film BHAKTA SURDAS-1942 and is sung by Khursheed Bano.

During the early Talkie era, Studio system was prevalent. Most big studios would try to attract famous stars on their rolls. In this competition,Ranjit Studio was on Top. It boasted of several famous Actors,Directors,Composers,Comedians and second line artistes. At one given time,Ranjit had over 700 artistes on their rolls and the Government had opened a Ration shop on their premises for their families !

By early 40s, K L Saigal had become All India famous as a singer/actor and Ranjit wanted that this Gem should also come to them. Those days,the circumstances in Calcutta had become very difficult. A big fire in New Theatres had broken their back completely. The IInd world war was looming large on Eastern India, particularly Calcutta. The Bengal famine was devastating life. Under such conditions, New Theatres was walking towards its end fast. The raw film availability was another problem. All this led to the leading actors deserting New Theatres for greener pastures in Bombay. Prithwiraj Kapoor, Kidar Sharma, K N Singh, Jagdish Sethi, Leela Desai, Monica, Nawab, Nemo, Kalyani, Pahadi Sanyal, Kamlesh and many more left for Bombay. Saigal, however, stuck to his benefactor,B N Sircar.

When Ranjit offered 3 films to Saigal, Sircar himself forced Saigal to accept them and go to Bombay. Thus Saigal, Khursaheed, Kidar Sharma, Pahadi Sanyal, Monica, Leela and few more became a part of Ranjit. Saigal did 3 films in Ranjit- Bhakta Surdas-42,Tansen-43 and Bhanwara-44. In the first 2 films Khursheed was his Heroine. By then she too had become famous as an actress/singer of repute. Music Director Gyan Dutt was very fond of her singing. He was the Music Director for Bhakta Surdas.

There were 15 songs in the film- 7 Bhajans by Saigal,4 solos by Khursheed, 2 duets of both and 2 duets of Saigal with others. Khursheed sang equally well in this film with Saigal. While Saigal’s bhajans like ‘Madhukar shyam hamare’, ‘ Maiyya mori’, and Nis din barsat’ became a rage, so also Khursheed’s ‘ madhur madhur gaa’, Panchhi bawra’ and ‘Jholi bhar tare’ became hits equally.

A less known fact of Bhakta Surdas is,Saigal’s younger brother-Mohinder Saigal had also acted in this film in the role of Krishna and his voice ” Surdas ji” is clearly heard in the song,” Nisi din barsat”.

For Music Director Gyan Dutt,working with Saigal was a new experience. He was scared to death when he found Saigal fully drunk at the time of a recording, but it was Saigal who assured him that he sang better when drunk than when he was sober. And he proved it that day-to the great relief of Gyan Dutt ! While recording “Nain heen ko raah dikha”,Saigal took 14 takes as he was not satisfied with his performance and in the end he broke into tears. When he calmed down he gave an excellent performance. Such was his committment !!!

Khursheed Bano was born as Irshad Begum in the village of Choonian Distt, Lahore (in British India, later Pakistan).

Khursheed Bano started her film career as Shehla in the silent film “Eye For An Eye” (1931) the year when the first talkie film (Alamara) of the sub-continent was released. Some of her films that were released during this phase were Laila Majnu, and Shakuntla in 1931, Chatra Bakavli, Hatili Dulhan, Muflis Aashiq, Radheshyam in 1932, Naklee Doctor in 1933, Suarag ki Serhi, Bomb Shell, Chiragh-e-Husn, and Mirza Sahiban in 1935. Ailan-e-Jang, Kimiagar in 1936, Iman Farosh in 1937, Madhur Milan in 1938. Murad, Kaun kisi ka and Sitara in 1939.

She worked in a lot of films like Bhakt Surdas, Holi, Chandani, Musafir, Aage Badho, Moorti and Mumtaz Mahal. The film that was a landmark in her career and made her name immortal was Tansen (1943) with K.L Saigal, where she played the character of Tani. Tansen is one of the most significant scores of that era and it is still remembered for songs like Diya Jalaao, More Baalpan ke saathi, Ghata Ghanghor Machaave Shor.

Her last film in India was Papeeha Re (1948), which was a great hit, prior to her migration to Pakistan, leaving her mark in the Indian film industry. Khursheed migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India, with her husband and manager Lala Yakub, who was an occasional actor and member of the Bhati Gate Group, Lahore. She settled down in Karachi, Sind, Pakistan.

She was among the two singing actresses of Mumbai Film-world who have shared stellar honors with the renowned singer K.L. Saigal. Surraiya, another popular singer/actress of the 40s and 50s was the other.

Two developements caused a downfall of Khursheed’s career. First was the arrival of Noorjehan who dethroned Khursheed from the top spot and later the Partition, which made her to opt for Pakistan as her residence and left India forever. She did a few films in Pakistan in mid 50s but could never attain the heights of early forties.

Beautiful singer Khursheed Bano died on April 18, 2001 in Karachi, four days after her 87th birthday.

Now coming to Bhakta Surdas, he is considered as one of the Trinity of Hindi saints…Mahatma Kabir, Sant Tulsidas and Sant Surdas. The name surdas itself means a slave of melody. Surdas,though Blind,wrote a collection of his 100,000 songs,but today only 8000 are available. The period of Surdas is considered as 1478 to 1586, which means that he lived for more than 100 years.

Surdas, the 15th century sightless saint, poet and musician, is known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the ‘Sur Sagar’ (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He is considered a saint and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which literally means the “slave of melody”.

The time of Surdas’s birth and death are uncertain and suggest that he lived over a hundred years, which make the facts even murkier. Some say, he was born blind in 1479 in Siri village near Delhi. Many others believe, Surdas was born in Braj, a holy place in northern Indian district of Mathura, associated with the exploits of Lord Krishna. His family was too poor to take good care of him, which led the blind boy to leave home at the tender age of 6 to join a wandering group of religious musicians. According to one legend, one night he dreamt of Krishna, who asked him to go to Vrindavan, and dedicate his life to the praise of the Lord.

A chance meeting with saint Vallabharacharya at Gau Ghat by the river Yamuna in his teens transformed his life. Shri Vallabhacharya taught Surdas lessons in Hindu philosophy and meditation and put him on the path of spirituality. Since Surdas who could recite the entire Srimad Bhagavatamand was musically inclined, his guru advised him to sing the ‘Bhagavad Lila’ – devotional lyrical ballads in praise of Lord Krishna and Radha. Surdas lived in Vrindavan with his guru, who initiated him to his own religious order, and later appointed him as the resident singer at Srinath temple in Govardhan.

Surdas’ lilting music and fine poetry attracted many laurels. As his fame spread far and wide, the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542-1605) became his patron. Surdas spent the last years of his life in Braj, the place of his birth and lived on the donations, which he received in return for his Bhajan singing and lecturing on religious topics, until he died in c. 1586.

Surdas was profoundly influenced by the Bhakti movement – a religious movement which focused on deep devotion, or ‘bhakti’, for a specific Hindu deity, such as Krishna, Vishnu or Shiva that was prevalent in Indian between c 800-1700 AD, and propagated Vaishnavism.

Although Surdas is known for his greatest work – theSur Sagar, he also wrote Sur-Saravali, which is based on the theory of genesis and the festival of Holi, and Sahitya-Lahiri, devotional lyrics dedicated to the Supreme Absolute. As if Surdas attained a mystical union with Lord Krishna, which enabled him to compose the verse about Krishna’s romance with Radha almost as he was an eyewitness. Surdas’ verse is also credited as one that lifted the literary value of the Hindi language, transforming it from a crude to a pleasing tongue.

A very peculiar thing about Surdas is,that there were 2 Surdas in India at the same time. The Surdas whose verses are found in Guru Granth Sahib is different than the Blind Surdas. His name was Madan Mohan, born in a high Brahmin family. As he grew up,he became proficient in music and poetry writing divine love poems. He attracted the attention of King Akbar,who appointed him as the Governor of Sandila region. But soon he was distracted and joined a group of Sadhus and went to Benares. he died in Banares only. There is a memorial of this Surdas in Banares.

The Guru Granth Sahib contains only one hymn by this Surdas in the Sarang measure. It is surprising that even in those days and in this field too, there was a case of “Same Name Confusion”.

Let us now hear and enjoy the melodious song by Khursheed Bano,from film Bhakta Surdas-1942.

Song-Jholi bhar taare laa de re (Bhakt Surdas)(1942) Singer-Khursheed, Lyrics-D N Madhok, MD-Gyan Dutt


jholi bhar taare laa de re
jholi bhar taare laa de re
aankh-michauli kheloongi
aankh-michauli kheloongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re
jholi bhar taare laa de re
aankh-michauli kheloongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re

phaile hain gagan ke aangan mein
muskaat hai man hi man mein
phaile hain gagan ke aangan mein
muskaat hai man hi man mein
jo tod ke taare laa de usko
tod ke taare laa de usko
man-mandir me le loongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re
main aankh-michauli kheloongi
aankh-michauli kheloongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re

wo chandaa ke matwaale hain
aakaash ke rehne waale hain
wo chandaa ke matwaale hain
aakaash ke rehne waale hain
in pyaari-pyaari jyoton se
in pyaari-pyaari jyoton se
main dil ki jyoti le loongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re
main aankh-michauli kheloongi
aankh-michauli kheloongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re
aankh-michauli kheloongi
jholi bhar taare laa de re
jholi bhar taare laa de re

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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