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

Ab to Raam bhajan kar lena

Posted on: August 5, 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 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.

Today’s song is perhaps the first ever song of S D Batish that I am discussing here. Not that I avoided his songs or his songs were not good enough for me, but may be all his popular songs were already discussed here by others and I just did not get any of his songs for my purpose. It is purely a coincidence. Actually, I have lot of respect for S D Batish, who did a marvellous job of promoting Indian Music in UK and USA. He is one of the rare people who left the film world, but continued serving the Music by turning a corner in his life.

Such people are few in this world. The monumental work he did for Indian Music in foreign lands is unparalleled. An important point is that he did not do this service to Music for his personal gains. For his sustenance, he had opened a Restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, which was providing him enough for a comfortable living in USA.

After his death in 2006, an obituary-cum-short life sketch was published in California. I give below its adapted version for our readers-

” Punjabi master S.D. Batish was a pivotal figure behind the western world’s embrace of Indian music, most notably via his memorable contributions to the Beatles’ film Help! Born December 14, 1914, in Patiala, India, Shiv Dayal Batish abandoned a career in the nascent telephone industry to study devotional song, folk drama, and Indian classical music under his guru Hakim Chandan Ram Charan. In 1934, he relocated to Bombay to try his hand at acting, but roles proved scarce and he returned to Patiala two years later, renewing his focus on music. By 1936 Batish was regularly appearing on All India Radio and recording his first sessions for His Master’s Voice. The film industry nevertheless retained its allure for him, and in 1939 he returned to Bombay, working for a spell under broadcasting legend Z.A. Bokhari. After earning his first film work as an assistant musical director in 1942, Batish later graduated to full-fledged Bollywood musical director, in the years to follow working with playback singer greats including Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar, and Mohammed Rafi as well as writing now-classic songs like the smash “Manmohan Mana Men,” from the 1945 film Kaise Kahoon.

Batish also moonlighted as a playback singer on more than 40 films, among them 1944’s Daasi and 1948’s Barsaat ki Raat, before relocating to Britain in 1964. After accepting a position with the BBC Immigration Unit, Batish became a regular in British radio and television, most notably composing “Nai Zindagi Naya Jivan,” the theme song to the Beeb’s classic South Asian series Apna Hi Ghar Samajhiye (“Make Yourself at Home”). He also returned to his roots as a live musician, performing Indian folk and classical music on the vichitra veena, a long-necked fret-less flute. In 1965 Batish was summoned by percussionist Keshav Sathe to record the Indian-inspired incidental music for the Beatles’ second feature film, Help! — the experience also proved the beginning of his lifelong friendship with BeatleGeorge Harrison, who later hired Batish to teach his then-wife Patti Boyd the stringed dilruba. In 1969Batish assembled wife Shanta Devi, daughter Vijay Laxmi and sons Ashwin Kumar and Ravi Kumar to record North Indian Folk and Classical Music, which for decades remained the lone Indian release to appear on the seminal folk label Topic Records. A year later, the family emigrated to the U.S., settling in northern California and founding a restaurant, the Santa Cruz-based Krishna Café. Although the restaurant business remained Batish’s primary focus for the remainder of his life, he continued playing live and also cut the occasional LP, most notably 1980s Raga Todi, 1985’s Om Shanti Meditation on Dilruba and 1997’s The 72 Carnatic Melakhartas.

He founded “Batish Institute of Music and Fine arts” in California and wrote about 12 books on Indian Classical music,like Ragopaedia, Raga Channels, Rasik Raga lakshan Manjiri etc. He had also founded Batish Recording Co.

He was associated with 102 films in Hindi and gave music to 17 films as S.D.Batish, Master Ramesh and Nirmal Kumar. Some of his songs were famous.

He died at age 91 on July 29, 2006.”

( adapted from Jason Ankeny’s Bio )

In my memory, the image of S D Batish is etched as a person with a large Fur Cap. Such type of cap was worn by Shaikh Abdulla and his son Farooq Abdulla. I saw V.Shantaram too wearing that type of cap. Later his son followed by wearing the same ( I mean similar type) Fur cap like father, as if it was a family tradition ! Of late,I have seen the famous film Historian shri Nalin ji Shah with this cap. When I had met him two years back, he had jokingly said that this cap is his Trademark !

S D Batish was the cousin brother of Pt. Amarnath and brothers Husnlal-Bhagatram ,all bore the same surname Batish.

The co-singer of today’s bhajan is Sudha Malhotra. She was born on 30-11-1936 at Delhi. She started singing in films from early 50s. She sang 265 songs in 160 films, as per one statistics. Her last song was in jwala-70. There is a controversy about her first song. In every interview, she claims that her first song in Hindi films was “Mila gaye Nain”fro Arzoo-50, under the baton of Ace composer Anil Biswas. I reproduce here a mail from shri Girdharilal Vishwakarma, famous music historian and song collector of eminence-

” Maine sudha malhotra ke kuchh interview sune unmen wo yahi kahati hai ki unhone pahali baar film- arzu_1950 main anil biswas ke music direction main gaya tha…jabki unki film last message 1949 main aa gayi thi…records series dekhen to bhi saaf lag raha hain ki last message ke record pahale bane the..fir kyun wo arzu ko pahali film bata rahi hai…is duvidha ko door karne ke liye main unka contect no. hasil karke unko phone kiya…maine unko poocha ki aapko yad hai ki aapne film last message main gane gaye the..kuchh sochkar boli han yaad hai..maine kaha ye film to arzu se pahale bani thi..unhone kaha han ye gane maine arzu se kafi pahale gaye the tab main bahut chhoti thi…aapne yad dilaya to mujhe yad aa gaya…maine kha phir aap har interview main arzu ko pahali film kyun batati hai…unhone kaha arzu main bade music director anil biswas the isliye unka hi jikra karti hun aurlog last message ke bare main nahi janate hai aur kabhi kisini is film ke bare main mujhe poochha bhi nahi isliye maine bataya bhi nahi…phir main last message main unke gaye teenon geet ek ek karke unhen sunaye…to wo awak rah gayi ki main in geeton ko recording ke baad aaj pahali baar sun rahi hun ye to bahut achhe gane hai.. aapne meri bachpan ki yaden taja kar di…ek bada sawal ye uthata hai ki kalakar kyun apni B aur C gred ki filmon yaad nahi rakhate…kuchh had tak wo log bhi jimedar hain jo kalakaron ka interview lete hai…jo aisi baten unhen poochate hi nahi hai [ kai mauko par to interview lene wale ko bhi pata nahi hota hai] wo to sirf kalakar ki baton main han se han milate jate hai…. isase research karane walon ke sath bada confusion ho jata hai ki wo kis baat ko sahi maane. “

Of course Sudha Malhotra is not the only artist to hide her early foray into films or music through less known or unknown films. Actress Meena Kumari acted in several Mythological films in the beginning of her career,till Baiju Bawra-53 brought her into Top league overnight. She too never liked to talk about her early films. Similarly Mala Sinha too was reluctant to confess that she started her career with Heroes like Trilok Kapoor and Mahipal. She always referred to film Rangeen Raten-56 as her beginning in Bombay. Actually her first film was Hamlet-54 with Kishore Sahu, then came Badshah-54 with a side role. Ekadashi-55 (Mythological) with Trilok Kapoor and Riyasat-55 (Costume) with Mahipal were never mentioned by her in her interviews.

Conversely, Mumtaz always took pride in saying that she rose to the Top from C grade action films.

Anyway, Today’s bhajan is a very melodious Folk Bhajan, with a typical Ektara music. I have not seen this film, but can guess that this must have been shot on some Minstrel and his assistant in this song.


Song- Ab to Ram Bhajan kar lena(Ghar Ghar Mein Deewaali)(1955) Singers- S D Batish, Sudha Malhotra, MD-Roshan
Both

Lyrics

ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re
ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re

kaudi kaudi maaya jodi
joda laakh karod
bhai re joda laakh karod
arre kaudi kaudi maaya jodi
joda laakh karod
bhai re joda laakh karod

prabhu ke ghar se chitthhi aayi
o o o
o o o

prabhu ke ghar se chitthhi aayi
chala basera chhod
ek din jaana aa

ke ek din jaana re
ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re

dhan daulat maaya mamta ke
jhoothhe bandhan tod de
jhoothhe bandhan tod de
dhan daulat maaya mamta ke
jhoothhe bandhan tod de
jhoothhe bandhan tod de
saath tera hari dene waale
o o o o o
saath tera hari dene waale
hari se naata jod
ik din jaana aa
ke ik din jaana re
ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ik din jaana re bhai
ke ek din jaana re

aaye khaali haath sabhi
aur jaayen khaali haath
bhai re jaayen khaali haath
ho o
aayen aaye khali haath sabhi
aur jaayen khali haath
bhai re jaayen khali haath

reh jaayen sab meet sanehi
o o o
o o o

reh jaayen sab meet sanehi
karni jaaye saath
ik din jaana aa
ke ik din jaana re
ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ik din jaana re bhai
ke ik din jaana re
ab to raam bhajan kar lena
ek din jaana re bhai
ke ik din jaana re bhai
ke ik din jaana re

5 Responses to "Ab to Raam bhajan kar lena"

Thank you Arun ji
For informative post and song………

prakash

Like

A very beautifully written & informative post. However, I wish to add that it is very difficult for an artist to remember his/her first work. And especially when he/she is struggling. It is for historians like you and for students like us to find out how the artist really developed and blossomed. When Sudhaji sang for LAST MESSAGE-49, she did not know that she would become a regular playback singer, a singer who will be remembered forever by HFM enthusiasts. When she sang for Anil Biswas, she truly thought she has ARRIVED.

Like

Vijay ji,
Thanks for your comments.
If you read Sudha ji’s statement carefully,you will realise that she was hiding the facts intentionally.”Anil Biswa ji bade composer hai is liye main unka hi naam leti hun”.
The point is if the artist does not remember,that is different,but when the artiste intentionally hides the facts,it is pitiable. In Sudha ji’s case she did remember about her first song.
-AD

Like

An excellent, very detailed and informative post.
A very rare and good song.
thank you very much, Arun Sir.
Avadh Lal

Like

Dear Atulji:

Did not mean to take up space here for perhaps an individual issue, but did not know of any other way. The issue is I have not been receiving your blog regularly of late. It has been very irregular. Just wanted to know if it is only me or others also!

Like

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