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

Zulfon waale ko kya pata

Posted on: July 8, 2015

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a 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.

Today we are going to discuss about a song and the concerned film, which turned out to a great disappointment, despite boasting of all the ingredients that were required to make it a hit film.

The film Garam Coat-55 was made in a time when Nehru’s socialism was having a great influence on the film industry. Many IPTA workers faced the dilemma of choosing between Stark Communistic approach and socialistic pattern advocated in India. The major difference was that Nehru’s socialism never detested private business or the big private industry, but certainly a concern was voiced for the ‘Have Nots’.

Russian Novelists, dramatists and Philosophers like Dostevsky, Lenin, Chekov, Tolstoy, Gogol were in great demand and films were based on their works. Big producers like Mehboob and writers like K A Abbas were keen on making films which would spread their philosophy and please the Nehru Government. This,perhaps, were the motivations behind the makings of films like ‘Phir subah hogi’, Mother India’, Son of india, Pardesi etc etc. Writers and poets who would write with ‘Blood and sweat’ were the ín things.

Garam Coat-55 was based on the story “The Overcoat” Nicoloi Gogol ( 31-3-1809 to 4-3-1852), an Ukranian-Russian playwright, Novelist and short story writer. Some of his works like ‘The Government Inspector’ was already made into a film. Much later in the late 70s, his famous Novel “Taras Bulba” was made into a Hollywood film with Yul Bryner and was a Blockbuster.

Rajinder Singh Bedi, a stalwart of this group was the Producer and writer of this film-Garam Coat.

Once the film was decided, the search for the suitable lead pair was on. The search started and ended with the then hot poor and distressed husband-wife pair of Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy. Director Bimal Roy had already made them the representative couple of the oppressed and the suppressed poor janata of Bharat, through his eminent film “Do Bigha Zameen”-53. This apart,both these artistes were known to be excellent in their portrayal of the ‘have nots’. Their thin physique and emaciated looks too must have helped them.

By the way, Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy, to my knowledge, worked in 12 films as Husband -wife, till 1972…Do Bigha Zameen, Taangewalaa, Garam Coat, Taksaal, Krishna Sudama, Do Roti, Hira Moti, Laadlaa, Aasra, Ghar Ghar ki kahani, Jawan Muhabbat and Jawani Diwani-72. Nirupa Roy had worked with Ashok Kumar in 11 films.

The Producer/writer of this film, Rajinder Singh Bedi (1915-1984) was one of the New radical literary generation that had come us in the aftermath of major events like WW II, Independence and Partition. He joined films in the 40s as a screen play and dialogue writer. he worked with leading Directors like Sohrab Modi, Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Raj Khosla, Nitin Bose and Raj Kapoor. He wrote stories for Mirza Ghalib 54, Devdas, Garam Coat, Basant Bahar, Musafir, Madhumati, Apna Haath Jagannath, Bambai ka Babu, Mehendi, Baharon ke sapne, Izzat, Mere Humdum Mere Dost, Pyasi Shaam, Dastak, Abhiman and Phir kab Milogi. He directed Dastak, Phagun, Aankin Dekhi and Nawab Sahib. He produced Garam Coat, Phagun and Lal Batti.

Film Garam Coat was made as a movie of 11,391 feet running for 129 minutes, with 6 songs (5 Lata solos and 1 Chorus). When the movie failed to click in the domestic market,a new version was made for International release, by reducing the length to only 6720 feet,running for 80 minutes, with only 1 song of Meerabai by Lata. The title too was changed to “The Clerk and the Coat”. While luckily the song videos from the original film are available on the You Tube, only the International version of 80 minutes (The clerk and the coat) is available on You Tube and as a VCD in the market. It is likely that the original 129 minutes film may be available somewhere with someone.

I had not seen the film as I kept away from New wave films. However here is its synopsis of this movie as given by ‘The Hindu’ in those days.

“A thin storyline, over-padded with socially realist dialogue, this melodramatic saga scripted by Rajinder Singh Bedi could as well have been titled “The Hundred Rupee Note”. But presuming the repeated reference to a torn winter coat, the title of the original story (written by Bedi himself) and the pre-climax shots about the recovery must have tilted the scales in favour of “Garam Coat”.
Girdhari (Balraj Sahni), a generous, honest friendly soul, who works as a money order clerk in a non-descript township, finds it difficult to make ends meet with his wife, Geeta (Nirupa Roy), two daughters and a son. In the discharge of his duties one day, he forgets to collect money from an irate customer, but eventually manages to recover it by paying the guy a visit after being severely reprimanded for his behaviour and returns home with his salary slickly avoiding co-workers, Sher Khan (Jayant) and Munnilal (Rashid Khan) with whom he had planned a drinking bout.

While trying to buy gifts for the family he once again manages to lose the 100-rupee note and that sets in motion a series of predictable events: the house rent, the electricity bills, insurance, and other deliverables.

Unable to retrieve it, he tries to commit suicide, but having missed the train he tamely returns home and confides the truth to his doting wife.

Failing to cope with domestic needs and work pressures, including part-time jobs – depicted through a dramatic sequence – and borrowing, he is unable to pay even ration bills. Finally he makes one last desperate bid at dishonesty by pocketing the balance amount erringly left behind by a customer. A confrontation follows, leaving doubts and suspicion about his behaviour even in his friends. But pricked by his conscience he goes and returns the money to the customer who eventually testifies in his favour and saves Girdhari’s job. Unable to cope with mental pressure he starts making mistakes at his work places.

Wife Geeta tries to come to his rescue to make ends meet by quietly taking up part time jobs.

Tired and frustrated he returns home one night to find the kitchen stacked with necessities. One evening he finds the door locked, his wife missing, and his children playing outside.

When she returns he questions her about her movements, and finding some money in her hands, which she tries to hide, he assumes she has taken to prostitution. Unable to control his rage he tries to strangle her and then rushes towards the railway track onto a speeding train but is rescued by the hefty Sher Khan, and the liliputian Munnilal who refuse to buy the story of Geeta’s infidelity and bring him back home. Ultimately, he finds the missing 100-rupee note in the lining of his coat’s pocket.

Geeta gives the note to Sher Khan, requesting him to buy the fabric for a new winter coat, for which he had longed for . Deftly edited by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, “Garam Coat” was fairly competently directed by Amar Kumar.
With cinematography by V. Kunkhelkar, music by Amar Nath and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri for producers the 129-minute long black and white proved to be a failed attempt which didn’t find favour even with audiences fed on melodrama.”

Lata Mangeshkar was so much impressed with the songs of this film,that she did not take any money for singing them.

The composer of this film was Pt.Amarnath Chawla-not to be mistaken for Pt.Amarnath, the eldest brother of Husnlal-Bhagatram duo (and who died in 1947 itself).

Our friend Sadanand Kamath ji had written a short Bio of this Amarnath sometime back, which I reproduce here.

Pandit Amarnath Chawla (1924-1996) was born in Jang village near Lahore. He got trained in Hindustani classical music under the guidance of Professor B N Dutta in Lahore for 5 years. After hearing Ustad Amir Khan on All India Radio and also at a concert in Lahore, he decided to become the disciple of Ustad Amir Khan. The partition brought him to Delhi where he met Ustad Amir Khan to take him as his disciple. At first, he did not agree but after hearing him singing on All India Radio, Delhi, Ustad Amir Khanon his own asked Amarnath Chawla to become his disciple. In 1949, he joined All India Radio and continued to work there until 1958 after which he decided to devote his full time attention to Hindustani classical music. He remained the disciple of Ustad till his death.

Bindu Chawla, disciple and daughter of Pandit Amarnath Chawla has said in one of her articles in HINDU ( 02/03/2008) that the guru-shishya partnership of Pandit Amarnath and Ustad Amir Khan was like that of Nizamuddin Aulia traditions) based on those raagas blending them with sufi traditions in keeping with Ustad’s sufiana mind. These compositions of Pandit Amarnath were not in public domain until recently due to his publicity shy nature. The present Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was, one among the disciples of Pandit Amarnath Chawla.

Beside being a Hindustani classical vocalist, Pandit Amarnath Chawla was also a poet and a writer. The book ‘Hansa ke Bain’ is a collection of his Hindi poems. He wrote book on Hindustani classical music like ‘Living Idioms in Hindustani Music’ and ‘Prophets of Indore – Memoires of Ustad Amir Khan Saheb’. The latter book was bilingual – Hindi and English. It is mentioned in one of the pictures published in the book ‘ Prophets of Indore ….’ that the film ‘Garam Coat’ (1955) was the first of the seven films for which he composed music. However,I was not able to lay my hand the names of his other six films. My guess is that the other six films may be the documentary films for which he was the music director. Incidentally, he was the music director for M S Sathyu’s documentary film ‘Ghalib’ (1969).

For additional information,you can read my article.

Let us now enjoy this song video from Garam Coat (1955).



Song-Zulfon waale ko kya pata ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori (Garam Coat)(1955) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Majrooh Sultanpuri, MD-Pt Amarnath Chawla


zulfon waale ko kya pata
ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori
koi keh do chahiye pyaar Ki
bas ek najariya tori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
Ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori

bas itna chaahoon main
ki mose wo alag na dole
alag na dole
Jab us ka mukh dekhoon
pyaar se main
to hans ke bole
to hans ke bole
main us ki balaiyaan leun to
mode na kalaiyaa mori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori

bas itna chaahoon main
ki us ke sang
karoon do batiyaan
karoon do batiyaan
Mahakoon mann mein
gale ka haar
rahoon Din ratiya
rahoon din ratiya
Kabhi jhatke na wo rooth ke
bainyaan mori gori gori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori

Hansne pe na jaana re
ki hans ke Main jiya behlaaun
jiya behlaaun
Ye to meri aadat hai
liye aansu
Khadi musakaun
khadi musakaaun
main ho gai kya se kya
koi Dekho re sooratiyaa mori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
Ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori
Koi keh do chahiye pyaar ki
Bas ek najariya tori
zulfon waale ko kya pata
ghoonghat mein jal gayi gori

5 Responses to "Zulfon waale ko kya pata"

Great post, Deshmukh Saheb.
Thank you very much.
I had seen “Garam Coat” in 1955 and as you have described it was a very serious kind of movie. It helped that the main characters – Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Jayant and rashid Khan – were superb in their craft.
Although a child at that time I had liked the film. I vividly recall the poignant scene in the climax when Balraj Sahni finds a badly crumpled 100 Rupee Note (which he had earlier lost) somewhere lodged in one of the inner crevices of the coat where it had accidentally fallen through the torn lining.
Pardon me for saying so Sir, but I think that the real reason why those people associated with IPTA were keen to create those kind of books, stories, poetry or films was not that they wanted to please the ‘Nehru government’ but they actually passionately believed in that leftist philosophy. Besides, those were the times when that type of political thought was in vogue.
Profound regards,
Avadh Lal


Avadh Lal ji,

Thanks for your detailed comments.
You are right. Actually the real sentence in the article was
“Big producers like Mehboob and writers like K A Abbas were keen on making films which would spread their philosophy and please the Nehru Government”
While typing, 4 words ‘spread their philosophy and’ escaped typing and the meaning changed to sarcasm which was NOT Intended.
Agreeing to their thinking or not is a different point,but I know they were very earnest in their thinking and sincerely believed in it,so I would not deride them in this.
Thanks for pointing out,lest the matter would have remained like that only.
I have requested Atul ji to make corrections in the write up also.
Thanks once again.


Just chanced to see your remarks.
It just shows your graciousness and magnanimity.
It was never my intention to point out any deficiency or join issues.
I just wanted to put the record straight.
Thanks & regards,
Avadh Lal


Such a good article focusing the unknown composer, Amarnath.
Thanks for the info about him, Arunji.


Dr.Anup ji,
Thanks for your kind words.


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