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

Hansna Gaana Mauj Udaana Dhoom Machaana Seekhaa

Posted on: March 12, 2016

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.

Old film music lovers have always been curious about the less known artistes of music, like composers or arrangers and background music makers. Occasional or unkunown singers are also a matter of curiosity. Some of the old time composers used to give music under names other than their own known names. Some examples are Lata mangeshkar gave music to Marathi films as ‘Anandghan’, Snehal Bhatkar used names like B.Vasudev or V.G.Bhatkar in his initial phase, C.Ramchandra gave music as ‘Annasaheb’, while composing songs for Master Bhagwan’s stunt films, and GM Durrani used the name ‘Gunjan’ when composing music for films, etc.

Today’s song is from the film ‘Circus Queen’ (1959). The composer for this film is ‘Shafi Nagri’. It was a riddle who is this Shafi Nagri ? In a few films, his name also appeared as Shafi M. Nagri. I was tired of searching for information in books and on Internet about this Shafi. Finally, the riddle was solved by Shri Girdharilal ji Vishwakarma, the famous Historian and Collector of songs. He explained that this person was none other than Shafi Mohd. Nagri – popularly known as Mohd. Shafi !

Composer Mohd. Shafi ( 25-12-1925 to 30-4-1980 ) was one of those talented artistes of Hindi Film Music who was only used by others and he never got enough credit for his work. He is honoured as “The original Arranger” in the industry. He was an excellent Sitar player. He started with Imperial Film company-where he played Bulbul Tarang. In 1937 he went to Calcutta, joined New Theatres and played Sitar in films Kapal Kundala-39 and Aandhi-40, as an assistant to Pankaj Mullick and K.C.Dey. He played sitar in the film “Ujala”-42. In this film, the Hero-Prithviraj Kapoor was shown as a Sitar player, hence the expertise of Shafi was fully utilised in this film.

Starting with the film ‘Haqdaar’-46, he gave music to 19 Hindi films and 2 Marathi films. He worked with Naushad as his assistant and Arranger for 14 years. He was considered a ‘Dada’ in Background music. He gave Background music in about 70 films( for Naushad and others). For Mughal E Azam, K.Asif used to send his personal car to fetch him to studio. It was Shafi who gave the first break to Suman Hemmadi(Kalyanpur) in Mangu-54 and Hemlata in an unreleased film Iraada.

Shafi had bought his first car when he was just 15 year old. He had a posh flat in Shivaji Park area of Dadar in Bombay. In the end , everything was gone. He had helped the families of Shakeel Badayuni and Ghulam Mohammed after their deaths. However in his last difficult days no one, except Rafi came to his help. In the final few months, his memory had gone. His Begum ruefully said,” Good that he does not remember anything. All took advantage of him and gave nothing in return. There were more things to forget than to remember ! ”

It is said that the entire music of ‘Sohni Mahiwal’ (1958) was done by him. Naushad was sick during this period and did not attend even one recording. “Do Hanson Ka Jodaa“and “Dhoondho Dhoondho Re Saajna” in ‘Gunga Jamuna’ (1961) were his creations. He used to give tunes to many composers too-whoever asked for help.

‘Circus Queen’ is almost the last film of Fearless Nadia. After this film, she just did one more token film, ‘Khiladi’ in 1968. Starting fro 1933 film ‘Laal e Yaman’, Nadia did about 43 films. Most of them were for Wadia Movietone and later for Basant pictures of Homi Wadia. Here is a short note on Nadia…

In the 1930s, when silent era was giving way to the Talkie films, there appeared on Hindi Film screens a dashing young woman who ruled over men and told them “Don’t ever take women for granted. If the nation is to be freed, the women have to be freed first.” (dialogue from film ‘Diamond Queen’ (1940).)

Mary Evans (Fearless Nadia’s real name) was a devout catholic.  She was born on 8-1-1908 to a Scottish father and a Greek mother, in Perth, Australia. The family later traveled to India. Her father, a British Army soldier was based in Bombay. She wanted to be a singer and a dancer. She learnt dancing from father and singing from mother. She sang in the local church choirs on Sundays. In 1915, when her father died in WW I action, they shifted to first Peshawar and then returned to settle in Bombay. She joined a dancing troupe.

One Mr. Eruch Kanga, owner of Lahore cinema saw her performance in the troupe and told the Wadia Brothers, who were looking for a heroine. They called her for interview. After seeing her, the brothers realized the difficulty in making a white woman a Heroine in Hindi films. In the interview, JBH Wadia said, “I have never heard about you before”, to which she sprightly retorted,”I too had not heard your name till today morning”. The brothers were impressed and she was appointed in Wadia Movitone. To test her, she was given small roles in films which were in the making, like Lal e yaman and Noor e yaman, while she studied speaking Hindi.

She was launched with the film ‘Hunterwali’ (1935), a dramatic story of a princess trying to rescue her kidnapped father and salvage his empire. It was an unconventional role and a new subject for Indian audience.

The film opened in Super cinema on Lamington Road, Bombay and became an instant hit. It was like a revolution. Audience was thrilled to see a white woman, donning a mask and cracking a whip at her tormentors. They were awed, happy and mesmerised, wanting more of it .She was named NADIA based on an astrologer’s advise. They added FEARLESS for her in the ads.

Hunterwali was only a prelude to a remarkable career. Encouraged by the success of ‘Hunterwali’, films were made on the cause of social injustice, women’s emancipation, corruption, land grabbing and exploitation of the poor. She always played roles like King Arthur and Robin Hood.

Her films had a set of characters. There was her pet horse – Punjab Ka Beta, Gunboat the Dog and her jalopy was called Rolls Royce Ki Beti (later when Homi Wadia started Basant Pictures with her, there was Horse Rajput, Dog Moti and the car – Austin Ki Bachhi). In her films, usually the villain was Sayani (his stock line was “Dekha Jaayega”). John Cawas and Boman Shroff – the heavyweight bodybuilders usually played the Heroes.

Her stunts became more dangerous and death defying with every film. She did all her stunts herself, breaking her bones many times while performing them. From 1933 to 1968 she did about 43 films. Her pet name in many films (starting with ‘Hunterwali’) was Madhuri.

She had married and divorced early and also had a son. Later she was in love with Homi Wadia, but could not marry him due to the opposition of his mother. They married in 1961 after his mother died. She was 53 years old by then.

In her last days she was frequently seen in the lanes of Colaba in Bombay, taking her dogs for walks. I remember going to Colaba in the early 1980s with a friend, only to see her. In 1993, her great grand nephew Riyad Vinci Wadia made a documentary on her, in which she had appeared.

She died peacefully on 9-1-1996.

The story of film ‘Circus Queen’ is

Usha Devi (Nadia), the Circus Queen, had not only earned laurels all over the world for her wonderful feats in the circus ring, but in her private life, she was considered to be a woman of courage and generosity.

One day, Seth Hiralal’s five year old son, Sunder, suddenly disappeared and the unhappy father announced a handsome reward to whosoever would bring back his beloved child. The child, whilst playing with his pet duck, had strayed into the lion’s cage of the Great Pratap Circus. The circus hands were shocked to see the tender child with the ferocious beast. Only the celebrated circus queen had the guts to enter the lions cage and save the child.

Some goondas whose business it was to kidnap children and hold them to ransom, read about Sunder’s disappearance, and saw in the news, a chance to make big money. Detective Kishore was for some time hot on the scent of the ring leaders of the goondas. A member of the gang who was working in the circus informed his comrades that the child, Sunder, was in Great Pratap Circus.

Kishore (John Cawas), the ace detective, came to know that the gangsters had a member working in the circus. He also got himself employed there. The gangsters, however, proved more than a match to the wily detective. In spite of Kishore’s diligence, they abducted the child from the circus. Kishore assumed various disguises, and with the help of his intelligent dog Moti, finally rounded up the gang. Circus Queen, Usha Devi, gave wonderful co-operation to the Police in bringing the bad characters to book.

The hair-rising incidents of this film and the breath-taking stunts used to hold the audience spell-bound.

The song is written by Naqsh Llayalpuri and it is composed by Md Shafi, under the name of Shafi Nagri. The singing voices are of Mubarak Begum and S Balbir. On screen, there are two pairs of actors performing this song. The song starts with Sheila Kashmiri and Samar Roy, and then Nadia and John Cawas join. The actor Sheikh also makes an appearance as part of the group of other circus workers, singing and dancing in this song. Sheikh makes his appearance at about 0:54 in this clip, as he comes out of a tent and starts to sing the lines – “maka nika maka nika chho pataakh”. A jolly song of happy mood.

Song – Hansna Gaana Mauj Udaana Dhoom Machaana Seekhaa (Circus Queen)(1959) Singers – S Balbir, Mubarak Begam, Lyrics – Naqsh Llayalpuri, MD – Shafi Nagri


hansna gaana mauj udaana
hansna gana mauj udaana
dhoom machaana seekha
gham ki tej hawa mein
humne deep jalaana seekha
ho ho ho ho ho
ha haaaha ha ha

koi sardaar hai koi majdoor hai
koi khushhal hai aur koi majboor hai
koi sardaar hai
koi majdoor hai
koi khushhal hai aur koi majboor hai
hai duniya naam isi ka
apni apni kismat hai ye
shikva nahi kisi ka
ho ho ho ho ho
ha haaaha ha ha
lalalalala l lala ll la
maka nika maka nika
chho pataakh
dhoom dhadaak
chik bam bam bam bam chhain

kabhi kadakti dhoop na dekhi
kabhi na dekhi chhaanv on on
kabhi na dekhi chhaanv
kabhi kadakti dhoop na dekhi
kabhi na dekhi chhaanv o o
kabhi na dekhi chhaanv
ho o o
kabhi na humne himmat haari
kabhi na ukhde paanv
kabhi na humne himmat haari
kabhi na ukhde paanv
kabhi na humne himmat haari
kabhi na ukhde paanv
mehnat karke apna jeevan aap banaana seekha
ho ho ho ho ho
la la lala la

humne is dharti pe laakhon
sukh ke mehal basaaye ae ae
sukh ke mehal basaaye
humne is dharti pe laakhon
sukh ke mahal basaaye ae ae
sukh ke mahal basaaye
saagar ko muththi mein baandha
parvat se takraaye
o o
saagar ko muththi mein baandha
parvat se takraaye
saagar ko muththi mein bandha
parvat se takraaye
humne chaand sitaron mein bhi
aana jaana sikha
ho ho ho ho ho
aa ha haaaha ha ha
la la lala la
hansna gana mauj udaana
hansna gana mauj udaana
hansna gana mauj udaana
dhoom machaana seekha
gham ki tez hava mein
humne deep jalaana sikha
oho ho ho ho ho
aha haaaha ha ha
la la lala lala

10 Responses to "Hansna Gaana Mauj Udaana Dhoom Machaana Seekhaa"

Dear Arunbhai,
I am sure when you mention ‘Homi Bhabha’ in your write-up, you meant ‘Homi WADIA’ Younger brother of ‘J B H Wadia’. Since I was in Tata Inst. of Fundamental Research, I knew our director Homi Bhabha was never married.
Unfortunately, like me, You also can not ‘fire’ your typist for doing such ‘wrong mistakes.’


You cannot fire his proofreader either. 🙂


Bharat ji,

The corrections have been made.



I am madly in love of Shafi’s creations like ‘Do Bol Tere Meethhe Meethhe’ and ‘Sapno Mein Baaje Shehanai’


Bharat Upadhyay is the reason I re-kindled my interest in the 30s and 40s. He used to play ancient songs during lunchtime in TIFR. He may not remember this, but I borrowed 2 records from him, Film Hits of the 40s Vols 1 and 2 and converted them into cassette tapes. This was the first time I heard full songs of Kanan and K C Dey. This was the start of my massive interest and collection in the 30s and 40s. Thank you Bharatji!


It is very heartening to see all these comments,which assures me that my articles are read by many.This is a great motivation.


Waah Aapki mehnat sarthak hui. Thanks for spreading the good word, I mean good songs.


As Shafi M Nagri
Shamsherbaaz (1953)
Sher Dil (1954)
Carnival Queen (1955)
Baghdad Ka Jadu (1956)
Diler Daku (1957)
Chini Jadugar (1959)


Surjit Singh-ji,
NOW I am borrower from your massive collection of melody years of music. Thanks professor for remembering me from those wonderful years at TIFR.


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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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