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

O mrignayani chandramukhi

Posted on: July 30, 2014


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a 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.

The year is 1927 and the place is Tellipur in Nagpur city. A boy, aged about 7 year is headed for his home after his school closes for the day. On the way, heavy rains forces him to take the shelter below the staircase of a building. The rains continue and the boy starts singing. An elderly person comes down from the upper floor of the building and takes the boy to his room. He asks the boy to sing the songs again which he was singing a short while ago. He is impressed by the boy’s singing. The rains stop and he accompanies the boy to drop him at his home. The elderly person requests boy’s mother, a school teacher, to let the boy join his music school. Before he completes his sentence, the mother tells him that she had no money to pay the fees. He assures her that he would not charge any fee for his music lessons. The mother is still not comfortable about her son joining the music school. She tells him that she does not want the boy’s schooling to be affected. The elderly person once again assures her that he would teach the boy only after his school timing is over. At last the mother agrees for her son joining the music school. The son was Vasantrao Deshpande and the elderly person was Shankarrao Sapre who was a trained classical singer of Gwalior gharana. For young Vasantrao Deshpande, it was the most important rainy day as it changed the course of his life.

The name Pandit (Dr.) Vasantrao Deshpande may not ring bell for many of the readers of this Blog. This is natural as he was not much associated with Hindi film industry. From http://www.myswar.com, I find that he was the playback singer for only three songs, one each in ‘Nanhe Munne’ (1952), ‘Chacha Chaudhary’ (1953) and ‘Rang Birangi’ (1983). He was a multifaceted artist – Hindustani classical vocalist specialising in Thumri, Khayal, Dadra, Tappa, and Bhajans, an instrumentalist, an actor, a singer and the composer in Marathi films and musical dramas. Begum Akhtar used to address him as ’Guruji’ for his in-depth knowledge about the genres of Hindustani classical music. This was in the 50s and he had not yet become a public concert singer while she was already an established singer of Thumris and Ghazals.

P L Deshpande, one of the most illustrious men of Marathi literature, actor and musician, described Vasantrao Deshpande as ‘Eklavya who had many Dronacharyas as his gurus’. Apart from having a formal training in Hindustani classical music from Gwalior and Patiala gharanas, he got inspirations from the classical singing styles of Kirana and Bhendibazar gharanas. When he matured into a full-fledged classical singer, he developed his own style of singing amalgamating the styles of all the gharanas to which he was exposed. In doing so, he was highly influenced by the singing style of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar. People who had heard Master Dinanath Mangeshkar’s singing were of the opinion that Vasantrao Deshpande’s ‘swar’ and ‘laya’ in singing was very close to that of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar.

I became aware of Vasantrao Deshpande when his rendition of classical and semi-classical songs in the evergreen Marathi musical drama ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusli’ (Dagger pierced the heart) became very popular. A couple of songs in the musical drama were in Awadhi dialect like lagi karejva kataar. The musical drama, the first show of which was staged in 1967, continued to attract patronage from the drama loving people of Maharashtra and elsewhere. By 1981, the drama completed 527 shows during which Vasantrao Deshpande acted in the role of ‘Khansaab’. His role in this drama became so popular that he was nick named as Vasant‘khan’ Deshpande. I had also heard him on the Doordarshan during its Black & White days rendering some of his popular classical, semi-classical and bhajans.

Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande (02/05/1920 – 30/07/1983) was born in Murthijapur in Akola district of then Berar Province (now in Maharashtra). He was brought up in Nagpur. His mother was a school teacher and an amateur singer who used to sing devotional songs in a local temple. At the age of 7, he joined Sriram Sangeet Vidyalaya in Nagpur which was run by Shankerrao Sapre of Gwalior gharana. There were 5 students including himself in the evening batch, Ram Chitalkar (C Ramchandra) being one of them. Whenever there were shows of the silent movies in the nearby theatre, Vasantrao Deshpande and C Ramchandra would be sent to the theatre to provide background music, the former playing tabla and the latter harmonium. When they were still in music school, both of them got offers to work in silent movies as actor. C Ramchandra was selected for a lead role in a silent film ‘Naganand’ and Vasantrao was selected for ‘Kalia Mardan (1928).’ After completion of films, Vasantrao came back to Nagpur, while C Ramchandra continued his stint with the film industry.

Those days, Dinanath Mangeshkar’s musical dramas were being staged in Nagpur. One day, Vasantrao’s uncle who was acquainted with Dinanath Mangeshkar, took him to his play. The young Vasantrao was so much impressed by the singing of Master Dinanath Mangeshkar that from that time onwards, he started singing in Master Dinanath’s style as if he was mimicking him. In his article, Vasantrao has expressed his gratitude towards Master Dinanath Mangeshkar:

He never got angry with me on my imitating his style of singing…… I have stored this golden remembrance in my chest of memories protecting it as a hidden treasure that I have stumbled upon suddenly.

After passing the matriculation examination in 1938, his maternal uncle who was also fond of classical music called him in Lahore where he was working for Railways. This was a second turning point in Vasantrao’s life as he now embarked upon the musical journey in a real sense. He spent about 2 years in Lahore and travelled extensively in around Lahore to get the right nuances of thumris and ghazals. He also learnt Urdu. He would attend all the concerts of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and his brother Ustad Barkat Ali Khan. But he got attracted to the singing of a fakir named Asad Ali Khan who was once the vocalist belonging to Patiala Gharana but renounce the world to become a ‘darvesh’. Vasantrao became his ‘ganda bandh’ disciple and learnt raag Marwa for six months.

After returning from Lahore in 1941, Vasantrao joined Military Account Office in Pune. During his stay in Pune, he had Pandit Sureshbabu Mane (son of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan of Kirana Gharana) as his music teacher from 1942 to 1952 and Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhendi Bazar Gharana in 1952-53. During this period, he became playback singer for about 80 Marathi films and 2 Hindi films. His job in Military Account Office did not give him a free hand to pursue his chosen field as a classical vocalist. He had his close inner circle of friends like P L Deshpande, Pandit Kumar Gandhrva, Hirabai Barodekar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Begum Akhtar etc whom he considered to be those who really brought up in him the Hindustani classical music.

In 1962, Vasantrao Deshpande got PhD for his thesis ‘The Transformation of Hindustani Classical Music’ from Gandhrva Mahavidyalaya. In 1965, he resigned from Military Account Office and devoted full time to his chosen field – Hindustani Classical Music. One would have expected from him a lot of public concerts after resigning from the job. But it was not to be as he got involved with Marathi musical play ‘Katar Kaljat Ghusli’ in 1967. The popularity of the play especially his role of Khansaheb and his classical singing virtually hooked him to this play for more than 10 years. Fortunately for the lovers of Hindustani classical music, his renditions in a number of raagas – both traditional and off beat, are available. He also presented in concert form as well as in audio CDs ‘Marathi Natyasangeetachi Vaatchaal’ (The evolution of music in Marathi musical plays) which was well received.

In March 1983, Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande received Sangeet Kala Academy Award in the hands of President of India. He, however, could not enjoy the bask of glory for long time. His death came suddenly and he breathed his last on July 30, 1983. Rahul Deshpande is carrying on the legacy of his grandfather as he is also a Hindustani classical vocalist and singer-actor.

I remember Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande at least once in a year during Ganeshotsav. There are about half a dozen Ganeshotsav Mandal in the vicinity of my residence. The first day-first devotional song played on the occasion every year is pratham tula vandito krupaala…Gajaanana Ganaraaya, (O Ganesh, I bow and pray to you first), a duet sung by Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande and Anuradha Paudwal from Marathi film ‘Ashthavinayak’ (1979). I am sure that other Ganeshotsav Mandals in Maharashtra would also be playing this song.

Note : This profile is based on Vasantrao Despande’s own article on his childhood and Ramkrishna Bakre’s article, both in Marathi which had been translated by Dr. Veena Nayak and made available on a Google Group. After Vasantrao Deshpande’s death, these articles were brought out in a Marathi Book ‘Vasantrao Deshpande – Ek Smaran’ (1984). I had also had the benefit of a Marathi write-up ‘PuLanche Vasantrao’ (P L Deshpande’s Vasantrao) written on the occasion of his 50th birthday by one of his closest friends, P. L Deshpande in his usual witty style.

On the occasion of the death anniversary of Pandit (Dr.) Vasantrao Deshpande on July 30th I was to choose a devotional song Jamuna kinaare mero gaon saanwre aai jaiyyo rendered by him in Dadra style. But I came to know that this was a audio clip recorded at a concert held in late 70s/early 80s. There seems to be no official recorded version. Moreover, the duration of this song is nearly 15 minutes. The interesting part of this concert was Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande’s accompanists were none other than Ustad Zakir Hussain on tabla and Ustad Sultan Khan on Sarangi as mentioned by one of the commentators who had attended this concert. I heard this Dadra for the first time on the recommendation of Mr Avinash Scrapwala who had requested me to write an article on Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande. I would say that this is nothing less than a trance music to my ears with a superb support from Ustad Zakir Hussain’s tabla. What a lovely musical depiction of Radha’s longing for Krishna!

I have settled for my second choice, a filmy song ‘o mrignayani chandramukhi’ from the film RANG BIRANGI (1983). The song based on Raag Desh is sung by Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande and Kumari Faiyyaz. The lyrics are written by Yogesh which are set to music by R D Burman. The situation for the song in the film is the 40th wedding anniversary of retired Judge Banerjee (Om Prakash) and his wife (Chhaya Devi) while the couple in the making Professor Jeet (Farooque Shaikh) and Anita Sood (Dipti Naval) have come to wish them on this occasion. Though the song is a light-hearted one, the last stanza echoes the ideal wish of most of the old couples adding a bit of pensiveness. They wish to leave for heavenly abode together. This song seems to have been deleted from the film’s VCD/DVD I could not in the movie uploaded on YT.

A word about Kumari Faiyyaz. She is a classically trained singer and actor in Marathi theatres and films. She has also acted in some Marathi serials. Incidentally, Kumari Faiyyaz worked with Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande in the immortal Marathi musical play ‘Katyar Kaljat Ghusali’ as actor-singer for some shows. She also gave playback singing in Hindi films like ‘Bawarchi’ (1972), ‘Jai Radhe Krishna’ (1974), ‘Shaque’ (1976), ‘Aalaap’ (1977) and ‘Jumbish’ (1986).

Audio

Video

Song-O mrignayani Chandamukhi (Rang Birangi)(1983) Singers-Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande, Kumari Faiyyaz, Lyrics-Yogesh, MD-R D Burman

Lyrics

o mriganayani chandramukhi
main hoon teraa prem deewaanaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
mriganayani chandramukhi
o sun rasiyaa
man basiyaa aa aa mere ae
o sun rasiyaa
man basiyaa aa aa mere
mujhe tu bhool na jaanaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa

mriganayani chandramukhi

jab jab mere naino se uljhe ae
mad-bhare tere nainaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
jab jab mere naino se uljhe ae
mad-bhare tere nainaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
tab tab nain mein mahak uthhe ae
wo pahli suhaag ki rainaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
mriganayani chandramukhi

armaan yahi hai haathhon se ae ae tere
paan sada main khaaun re ae
teri baahon mein saans loon main
charnon pe mar jaaun re ae

o jaan meri phir aisi kabhi ee
baat zubaan pe naa aa laanaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
o jaan meri phir aisi ee kabhi ee
baat zubaan pe naa aa laanaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
saath jiyen hain
saath marenge ae
gaate gaate gaanaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa
mriganayani chandramukhi

13 Responses to "O mrignayani chandramukhi"

Simply emotional, meaningful lyrics and unique composition by RD Burman…really versatile composer..

Like

Sounds like OP himself singing. BTW he was a good thumri singer.
Vasantrao sang haatho se karo kaam with Asha in Nanhe Munne
Faiyyaz was very beautiful singer-actress.

Like

Mr. Kamath.
Thanks for the informative article. I have seen him on doordarshan in 70’s and remember him as पु ल देशपांडे.

Like

Sadanand Ji,
Thanks for this wonderful song and informative article. If I am not mistaken it is sung in Tappa ang. Thanks once again for this gem.

Like

Sadanandji,
Thanks a lot for this beautiful write up on Vasantrao Deshpande.He is my favorite singer in Marathi. His contribution to HFM is so little that I never expected to hear his voice on this blog. It reminded me of Katyar Kaljat Ghusali. To see this person on the stage was really an event.
In Pedgaonche Shahane he had given play back to PAGALs -Zanjibar Zanjibar. Hindi version of this movie was Chacha Choudhari. You have mentioned that Vasantraoji has given play back in this movie. Can you please mention the song or its link. I am very eager to listen.

D Samant

Like

Thanks for your appreciation of the article.

The video of the Hindi version of Zanzibar song is here :
https://atulsongaday.me/2012/12/13/duniya-paagalon-ka-baazaar/

Since the video of the song is not working in the post, I have provided new link of the video song in the comments section of the post.

Vasantrao Deshpande has sung a classical song in ‘Chacha Choudhary (1953), the video link of which is given below:

Like

Sadanandji
Heard twice and was fully satisfied. Thank you so much for so quick action.
D Samant

Like

@ Kamath Sir – thank you very much for this details post on Shri.Vasantrao Deshpande ji. I came to know many many things about him. I was not aware of his birthplace is Murtijapur (Akola district).
Then I never got to read about his life in details.
‘pratham tula vandito’ is all time favorite. but, then, from the same movie ‘ashtavinayak’ this song – ‘tu sukhkarta tu dukh harta’ is the most i like.
I had this one album of his marathi natya sangeet ‘uttung Natya Shilp’. I like it very much. ‘tejonidhi lohgol ‘, ‘ya bhawnatil geet puraane’, ‘surat piya ki na chhin bisraaye’, ‘kar ha kari’ – all a great experience !!
Thanks !!

Like

avinashji.
You can listen to pt.vasantrao deshpande – 43 marathi songs- in aathavanitli-gani.com. perhaps you may be knowing it already.
d samant

Like

Thank you Sir !
I had subscribed to it 2/3 yrs back, but do not visit it regularly. getting its mails in between. It’s a great treasure of the rare old gems there. Since, I am now getting back to remembering those forgotten memories, shall revive it.

Like

What a beautiful article, giving in depth information about this great artiste! Thank you very much. I remember Vasantrao Deshpande from my days in bombay, but had nearly forgotten him. I didn’t knew that it is the same singer as in the above song

Like

audio link:

Like

The story of Vasantrao Deshpande is absolutely fascinating, The song O mrugnayani chandramukhi is great in all respects — The rendering of the song by the redoubtable Vasanrao and Faiyaz, the lyrics, the music composition and the acting all have clicked like a melodious harmony or an accomplished musical concert ! Thanks Mr. Kamat for bringing it to the viewers in your lucid narrative and an attractive style !

Like

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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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