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

Dagar chalat dekho Shyam kar gahiyaan

Posted on: February 8, 2014


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

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Rare Performances – Things Unique and Unexpected #3
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One category of rare performances is when one sees a mainline actor, not recognized as a singer, singing playback for self. There is a smattering of such examples in the history of Hindi films. Some well known examples are,

Dilip Kumar in the film ‘Musafir’ (1955) – “Laagi Nahin Chhoote Ram” with Lata.

Pran in the film ‘Munim ji’ (1954) – “Dil Ki Umangen Hain Jawaan”, joining Hemant Kumar and Geeta Dutt.

Nutan in the film ‘Hamaari Beti’ (1950) – “Tujhe Kaisa Dulha Bhaaye Ree Baanki Dulhaniya”.

Nutan in the film ‘Chhabili’ (1960) – multiple songs.

Anwar Hussain in the film ‘Daaku” (1955) – “Aasmaan Ka Ticket Kataa Lo” with Asha Bhonsle.

Asrani in the film ‘Alaap’ (1977) – “Ho Rama Darr Laage Apni Umariya Se”.

There are many other actors who have sung for themselves including Rehman, Shyama, Mohan Choti, Sunder, Raj Kapoor, and more. I am sure friends and readers can add to this list.

This song came as a surprise for me, both on account of the artist, as well as the type of song that has been rendered. Of the many things one may expect from Premnath, this is probably the most unexpected – singing a classical ‘bandish’ in a very proficient manner, and very true to the style and ‘gaayaki’ of the classical tradition.

When I came across this entry in the Geet Kosh, it intrigued me. I did not have the songs of this film – ‘Raja Kaka’ from 1973. So I requested my friends circle. My collector friend has the EP that was released for this movie, and he made a copy of the four song set for me. (Incidentally, the Geet Kosh lists 5 songs for this film. The fifth song, not available on the EP is actually another surprise item that I will try to cover in another post). So I get this set of 4 songs of the film, and play them. Three of them are very well known songs that we have heard on the radio waves quite regularly many years ago. (I am wondering this picture has not made its debut here on the blog yet. Well, today it has.) There is the zesty Kishore number – “Kaaka Hoon Raja Kaaka” and a flighty Kishore Asha duet –“Jee Chaahe Udaa Le Jaaun Tujhe” that still appear in Kishore selections. Then there is a child’s song in Lata ji’s voice – “Kisi Meharbaan Ke Sahaare”.

It was the fourth song, credited to Premnath, that I was eagerly waiting for. When it played, it really took me by surprise. The voice is definitely the Premnath that we know. But more than that, this song turns out to be a traditional ‘badish’ that has been sung in a very classical mould. Of the many things I could imagine this high energy character artist to accomplish, singing a classical ‘bandish’ is the most unexpected treat.

In the 1970s and 80s, this heavy set, round faced character artist, appeared in many films, playing many a positive and many villainous roles. The one thing that I would always be worried about when watching him on screen was that his clothes always seemed too tight on his rotund girth, and I was afraid they would rip any moment. I am sure one remembers Jack Braganza, the fisherman father of Bobby, wearing a vest and a lungi most of the time. And he is obliged to wear a grossly ill fitting light blue colored suit and a tie when he visits the mansion of Mr. Nath, looking like a caricature of someone forced against his wishes (from film ‘Bobby’, 1973). Likewise in many other films. 🙂

Premnath Malhotra was born on 21st November, 1926 in Peshawar, in the then undivided India. He was twenty one when the partition happened, and his family moved to Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. He did not stay long in Jabalpur and within few months he moved to Bombay. His first love from the days of his education was the stage and dramatics. Coming to Bombay, he found opportunity with Prithvi Theatres, and from here blossomed a lasting friendship with Raj Kapoor, that would soon turn into family relations, plus also into debut entry into films. On the family relationships side, Premnath’s sister, Krishna, was married to Raj Kapoor. (Incidentally, Premnath’s second younger sister is married to screen villain and character artist, Prem Chopra).

‘Aag’ (1948), the first offering of RK Films, is a theatrical conceptualization of the man in search of art and in search of love. The idea for this film was developed together by Raj Kapoor and Premnath, as they worked together in Prithvi Theatres. And with it was born the banner of RK Films. Premnath also appeared in ‘Barsaat’ (1949), as the wayward friend of Raj Kapoor, who has the love of a woman for asking, but he loses it, and the woman, on account of his rootless meandering life. He also makes a short appearance in ‘Aawaara’ (1951), performing onscreen the ‘maajhi’ song “Naiyyaa Teri Majhdhaar, Hoshiyaar”.

In the early years of his film career, he was not too fixed on being the hero in films, and would appear in films sharing lead with other main artists like Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar (‘Aan’, 1952), Dev Aanand (‘Aaraam’ and ‘Do Sitaare’ both from 1951, Kishore Sahu (‘Buzdil’, also 1951). He also struck a famous relationship with Dev Anand, and in the later years, he was a fixture in every Navketan production.

In the 1951 / 52, he started focusing on the male lead role, and made a very successful run as hero for the remaining part of the decade, averaging 4 to 5 films per year. In 1953, while shooting for ‘Aurat’, he fell in love with and married Bina Rai.

Nearing the end of the decade, one finds him already on the plump side, and a far cry from the dashing and handsome Rajan of ‘Aag’ and Gopal of ‘Barsaat’. As one follows his career into the 1960s, one sees the transition from the leading man to a character artist. There is a list of films from 1960 to 1965 in which he continues to play the lead role – ‘Apna Ghar’ (1960) with Shyama, ‘Gambler’ (also 1960) with Shakeela, ‘Saara Jahaan Hamaara’ (1961) with Shyama, ‘Pathaan’ (1962) with Mumtaz, ‘Janam Janam Ke Saathi’ (1965) with Kamini Kaushal. By the time 1966 came around, his transition to a character artist was complete with his appearance as Kunwar Saab in ‘Teesri Manzil’. Beyond that, his stature, both in terms of physical appearance, as well as an accomplished character artist continues to grow.

After his marriage with Bina Rai, he set up his own production company by the name PN Productions. He produced the films ‘Shagoofa’ in 1953, ‘Golcunda Ka Qaidi’ in 1956, and ‘Samunder’ in 1957. The latter two films he also directed himself. But these films failed to make an impression, either at the box office, or with the audience.

For the record, he has sung two lines in his own voice, in a Rafi song in the film ‘Golcunda Ka Qaidi’ – “Uttha Ke Sar Chalo Jawaan”.

Premnath passed away in Bombay on 3 November 1992, a few days short of his 66th birthday.

Now coming to this film and this song. The film is a production from the banner of TM Bihari (Producers) and is directed by ABM Chotu. The cast of actors includes Kiran Kumar, Vidhya Sinha, Prem Nath, Nadira, Iftekhar, Manmohan, Rajni Gupta, Kuljeet, Hari Shivdasani, Sabina, Master Shailesh, Ketty, Jankidas, Madhup Sharma, Pritam, Ranveer Raj, Mopet Chaitanya, Seema Kapoor, Roopesh Kumar, Sudhir and Imtiaz amongst others. The lyrics are from the pen of Anjaan, and the music is directed by Kalyanji Anandji.

A word about the lyrics and composition for this song. Since this song is actually a traditional piece of music, I am not sure about the credits for creating the words and music, as listed. I tried to search for this ‘bandish’ from other sources. I am able to get another version that is sung by Birju Maharaj. However, all the ‘antaraa’s do not match.

After coming across this song in audio, I felt certain that this must also have been filmed on Premnath himself. I checked and was able to acquire the VCD version of this film. I scanned the entire film, only to find that this song, in all likelihood, has not been included in the film. This is a disappointment. However, the saving grace is that in the film, there is a short clip of half a minute, where we can see Premnath playing a harmonium, and singing live. Albeit the song in the film is not the same as this song. But still, it is a semi classical presentation that Premnath is presenting in this video clip.

So I wonder really, how this film was planned and executed. They recorded one complete song in Premnath’s voice, then excluded it from the film, but still went ahead to insert a semi classical live performance in the film, which is a totally different song, but is not complete.

Anyway, these complications aside. Coming from an artist who is not at all known for his capabilities as a singer, this performance is highly impressive. Gives an idea that Premnath was a aficionado and a practitioner of classical music, something that is not at all known about him. Listening to this rendering is a revelation.

Enjoy.

Audio

Video

Song-Dagar chalat dekho Shyam kar gahiyyaan (Raja Kaka)(1973) Singer-Premnath, Lyrics-Anjaan, MD-Kalyanji Anandji

Lyrics

(From Audio)

dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan
gahiyyaan re
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan

mor mukut shobhit ati kundal
mor mukut shobhit ati kundal
ravi shashi karan nikhar do’u mandal
ravi shashi karan nikhar do’u mandal
adhar kapol chhabuk ati sohe
adhar kapol chhabuk ati sohe
dekhat sur nar muni sab mohe
dekhat sur nar muni sab mohe
dhare maan shobhit dadhimania
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan
gahiyyaan re
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan

rup waare kachhu alakh biraaje
rup waare kachhu alakh biraaje
bhrikuti bunk nain dhanu saaje
bhrikuti bunk nain dhanu saaje
shiv brahma nahin paar paayo
shiv brahma nahin paar paayo
chhod (?) unke paanchhe dhaayo
chhod (?) unke paanchhe dhaayo
gopin ke ri bhaag hain dhaniyaa
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan
gahiyyaan re
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan

neer bharan main gayi panghat ko
neer bharan main gayi panghat ko
dekhyo tahaan shyam natkhat ko
dekhyo tahaan shyam natkhat ko
hansyo nirakh mero man khatkyo
hansyo nirakh mero man khatkyo
aan achaanak sundar jhatkyo
aan achaanak sundar jhatkyo
gare lagaaye leenhi mohe kaniya
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan
gahiyyaan re
dagar chalat dekho
shyam kar gahiyyaan

——————————————
Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)
——————————————
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ
गहियाँ रे
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ

मोर मुकुट शोभित अति कुंडल
मोर मुकुट शोभित अति कुंडल
रवि शशि किरण निकर दोउ मण्डल
रवि शशि किरण निकर दोउ मण्डल
अधर कपोल छबुक अति सोहे
अधर कपोल छबुक अति सोहे
देखत सुर नर मुनि सब मोहे
देखत सुर नर मुनि सब मोहे
धरे मान शोभित दधिमनिया
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ
गहियाँ रे
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ

रूपवारे कछु अलख बिराजे
रूपवारे कछु अलख बिराजे
भृकुटी बँक नैन धनु साजे
भृकुटी बँक नैन धनु साजे
शिव ब्रह्मा नहीं पार पायो
शिव ब्रह्मा नहीं पार पायो
छोड़ (?) उनके पाछे धायो
छोड़ (?) उनके पाछे धायो
गोपिन के री भाग हैं धनिया
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ
गहियाँ रे
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ

नीर भरण मैं गयी पनघट को
नीर भरण मैं गयी पनघट को
देखयों तहां श्याम नटखट को
देखयों तहां श्याम नटखट को
हंसयो निरख मेरो मन खटक्यो
हंसयो निरख मेरो मन खटक्यो
आन अचानक सुंदर झटक्यो
आन अचानक सुंदर झटक्यो
गरे लगाए लीनही मोहे कनिया
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ
गहियाँ रे
डगर चालत देखो
श्याम कर गहियाँ
———————————-
(From Video)
———————————
hey re baadarwaa baras jhuk aaye
kunwar shyaam nahin aaye
kunwar shyaam nahin aaye
kunwar shyaam nahin
(on the side – arre theek se bajaa naa)
eyy
kaun sauten sang nehaa lagaaye
kaun sauten sang nehaa lagaaye
ik ghadi pal chin kal na parat hai
ik ghadi pal chin kal na parat hai
hey re baadarwaa baras jhuk aaye

———————————————-
Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)
———————————————-
हे रे बादरवा बरस झुक आए
कुँवर श्याम नहीं आए
कुँवर श्याम नहीं आए
कुँवर श्याम नहीं
(साइड में – अबे ठीक से बाजा ना)
ऐ ऐ
कौन सौतन संग नेहा लगाये
कौन सौतन संग नेहा लगाये
इक घड़ी पल छिन कल न परत है
इक घड़ी पल छिन कल न परत है
हे रे बादरवा बरस झुक आए

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9 Responses to "Dagar chalat dekho Shyam kar gahiyaan"

Sudhir ji,
Premnath’s singing in classical mould has some background….
” Premnath was deeply interested in learning music . In the early part of 50s he took regular training in classical music from Pt. jagannath prasad in Bombay.”
-Sushila Rani Patel,MA BT,in “Stars of the Indian Screen”-1952.

-AD

Like

Arun ji,

Thanks for this additional information.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

It is really wonderful to hear such rare songs. Premnath has done justice to the song. Plus the additional information about his classical training was most interesting. Even die-hard fans of Raj Kapoor and his associates may not be knowung this. Thank you AD & Sudhirji.

Like

Premnath had to look up to Raj Kapoor as RK was miles ahead of him. But had to play second fiddle to him. He was pale shadow to RK. He failed at every attempt as he was arrogant and cocky and vulgar. Booze was his undoing, which made him bloated. Only Bobby was the saving grace.

Like

Sudhirji,
This is wonderful. Especially the second live video in raga Sur Malhar is fantastic. That must also be in his own voice.

AK

Like

Yes, Ak ji,
The singing in the short video clip is also in Premnath’s voice.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

Sir, thanks for introducing singer Premnath to us (for me, as i was not aware of his this singing skills).
Thanks for this wonderful treat.

Like

Like most of us this was an un-heard aspect of Premnath’s story.
I have liked the write up and its presentation immensely.

Like

Avinash ji, Vijay ji, Prasad ji,

Thanks for your appreciative comments. 🙂

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

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