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

Man ko le gaya kaun sakhi ree

Posted on: May 28, 2016


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.

Forgotten Melodies of the 1940s – 37
————————————–
Most readers of the Blog may recall the high publicity blitz that preceded the release of Hema Malini’s first Hindi film ‘Sapnon Ka Saudagar’. In the publicity, she was referred to as ‘dream girl’. The film failed at the box office but thereafter Hema Malini’s Hindi film career was firmly launched and established.

Something similar had happened as early as 1941 in regard to the publicity of a newcomer Neena when W Z Ahmed announced his first film ‘Ek Raat’ (1942) under his own banner, Shalimar Pictures with Prithviraj Kapoor in lead roles. Neena was labelled as a ‘mysterious woman’ in all the publicity campaign. That she was a married woman when she was given her first role in the film was probably not known to cinegoers at that time.

I have browsed through almost all the issues of ‘Filmindia’ magazines from July 1941 onwards up to December 1942. What I found is that firstly, there is a full page advertisement of the film in almost every month with Neena’s name preceding Prithviraj Kapoor, the lead actor. Second, almost every monthly issues of the magazine contains at least a few photographs of Neena – sometime with Prithviraj Kapoor. Third, there is some curious questions raised about Neena in ‘Editor’s Mail’ and also requesting for her autographed photos.

A film journalist even tried to interview Neena by barging into her house. She came out of her room and met the journalist but he could not succeed in getting any information about her background and of her personal life. In the meanwhile, her fan mails increased and one time, she was getting on an average 200 letters per day from her fans who had yet to see her in the film. So the producer W Z Ahmed seems to have succeeded in creating the curiosity of cinegoers for Neena so that they would rush to the theatres when the film is released. The question in the minds of cinegoers and also some of the persons connected with Hindi film industry at that time was ‘who was Neena’?

Neena (real name Shahida) was born in July 1919 in Aligarh in a cultured Muslim family. She was the eldest of six siblings. Her father was a magistrate in Lucknow. She studied in Aligarh and completed her graduation. During her college days, Moshin Abdullah fell in love with her. They got married and she settled for her domestic duty. Her husband got a job in Bombay Talkies laboratory where Shashdhar Mukherjee was his colleague. Shahida accompanied her husband and stayed in Malad.

When W Z Ahmed set up his film production company, Shalimar Pictures, Moshin Abdullah joined him in the same capacity which he was holding in Bombay Talkies and shifted to Poona (Pune) with his wife Shahida. Probably it was during this period that W Z Ahmed came to know about Shahida and offered her the lead role in his first film ‘Ek Raat’ (1942). Even though her husband was connected with Hindi films and her sister-in-law (brother’s wife), Renuka Devi was an established actress in Bombay Talkies, Shahida was not interested in pursuing a career in films. It was her husband who persuaded her to take the lead role in ‘Ek Raat’ (1942) offered by W Z Ahmed. Saddat Hasan Manto, in his book ‘Stars From Another Sky’ has pointed out that for Moshin Abdullah, Shahida taking up the role in the film was a necessity as he was always short of money due to his gambling habit.

Before the film went on floor, a massive publicity of the film with Shahida getting her screen name ‘Neena’ as a mystery woman was launched as mentioned above. The film was first released in Karachi in July 1942 where it ran for 9 weeks. With the positive feedback from the cinegoers, the film was next released in Hyderabad (Deccan) followed by an all-India release. The film was a box office success.

W Z Ahmed announced his next film ‘Man Ki Jeet’ (1944) with Neena and Shyam in the lead roles. However, in the interregnum, he released his second film ‘Prem Sangeet’ (1943) with Neena and Jairaj in lead roles without much publicity as there was no more mystery about Neena. His concentration was now on ‘Man Ki Jeet’ (1944).

W Z Ahmed in his capacity as a producer-director was virtually in full control of Neena. Her husband Moshin Abdullah being removed from Shalimar Pictures for not doing his allotted work, had lost his grip over his wife. On the other hand, Neena found wide differences in attitudes towards her of W Z Ahmed who was courteous and her husband who was not only swindling her money in gambling but he was also a womaniser. Slowly, she became close to W Z Ahmed. In 1946, Neena divorced her husband and married W Z Ahmed.

After the partition, both W Z Ahmed and Neena migrated to Pakistan lock stock barrel, leaving the staff of Shalimar Pictures in a lurch as many of the staff had not received their salary for months. In August 1948, Bombay High Court adjudged W Z Ahmed, the sole proprietor of Shalimar Pictures as insolvent. Thus the saga of a ‘mystery woman’ of Hindi films ended in mysterious circumstances.

[With inputs from many issues of ‘Filmindia’ magazines of 1941, 1942 and 1948. A detailed article on ‘Neena’ with some gossip type information on W Z Ahmed, Neena and Moshin Abdullah can be read in Sadat Hasan Manto’s book referred to above].

In her first two films, Neena had sung her own songs. It appears that W Z Ahmed was not happy with her voice and he was looking for a playback singer whose voice, more or less, matched with that of Neena. He found that voice in Sitarabai Kanpuri who sang for Neena in ‘Man Ki Jeet ((1944) and her other films like ‘Prithviraj Sanyukta’ (1947) and ‘Meerabai’ (1947). However, the discs of the songs which Sitarabai Kanpuri sang for Neena, always carried the name of Neena as the singer. I sometime feel that W Z Ahmed was obsessed with the idea of making Neena into a singing actress. He probably wanted to leave an impression on the audience that it was Neena who was singing for herself. Hence, he bound Sitarabai Kanpuri with an exclusive contract to give playback only for Neena. I doubt whether the audience at that time knew about Sitarabai Kanpuri singing for Neena in the films mentioned above.

As mentioned earlier, EK RAAT (1942) was produced under the banner of Shalimar Pictures and was directed by W Z Ahmed. Prithviraj Kapoor and Neena were in lead roles supported by Mubarak, K N Singh, Feroza, Gulab, Prakash, Rajkumari Shukla, Bibi etc. The film had 8 songs, 7 of which were penned by Pandit Indra and the remaining one was Ghalib’s ghazal. The songs were set to music by S K Pal.

I am presenting the first song from “Ek Raat”(1942) to appear in the Blog from the film. The song is ‘man ko le gaya kaun sakhi ri’ sung by Neena in her own voice. The song is penned by Pandit Indra.

Since I could not find the video clip on YT, I have prepared a video from the mp3 clip of the song and has uploaded the same on YT.

Editor note: On checking up with HFGK, it turns out that the lyricist is not Pt Indra but Pt Indrajeet Sharma. So it is a different lyricist from the better known lyricist with similar name.


Song-Man ko le gaya kaun sakhi ree (Ek Raat)(1942) Singer-Neena, Lyrics-Pt Indra Chandra Pt Indrajeet Sharma, MD-S K Pal

Lyrics

man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun

roop banaa kar ?? khilaa kar
roop banaa kar ?? khilaa kar
preet badhaa kar
haay haay
preet badhaa kar
haay haay
man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun

nain ladaa kar baan chalaa kar
nain ladaa kar baan chalaa kar
aag lagaa kar
haay haay
aag lagaa kar
haay haay
man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun

baat banaa kar ghaat lagaa kar
baat banaa kar ghaat lagaa kar
aankhen bachaa kar
man mein samaa kar
baat banaa kar ghaat lagaa kar
baat banaa kar ghaat lagaa kar
aankhen bachaa kar
man mein samaa kar
haay haay
man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun
sakhi ri
man ko le gaya kaun

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6 Responses to "Man ko le gaya kaun sakhi ree"

Neena S K Pal Pandit Indrajit Sharma Ek Raat (1942)
Dil Hi To Hai Na Sango Khishta
Kook Papihe Kook
Mai To Sakhi Aaj Gayi Pritam Ko Dhundhne

Neena S K Pal Akhtar ul Iman Pritviraj Samyukta (1946)
Kaun Banaye Kaun Sanware
Sundar Sapna Ban Ke
Kya Jane Mann Kya Kehta Hai`

Nagari Meri Kab Tak, Ai Chand Ummidon Ko
Sitara Kanpuri(for Neena) S K Pal Josh Malihabad Man Ka Meet-1944
Maane Chakar Rakho Ji Sanwaliya
Sitara Kanpuri(Neena) S K Pal Meera Bai-1947

Nitin ji,

Thanks for pointing out that the video of the song did exist on YT. My bad luck that I could not locate it.

As I have mentioned in my article, from ‘Man Ki Jeet’ (1944) onwards, Sitarabai Kanpuri sang for Neena although 78 rpm records of her films from 1944 onwards carried the name of Neena.

Sadanand ji,

I give here some additional information on Neena and Sitara Kanpuri.

” Sitara Kanpuri or Sitara of Kanpur or Sitarabai Kanpurwali was born in Cawnpore(Kanpur-UP) in 1923 in a courtesan’s family, so her father’s name is not known.
She did not have formal schooling,but sang wonderfully.she started singing on Radio.She was an expert in Bhajans,Thumari and Gazals.
W.Z.Ahmed,who was also from Kanpur heard about her singing,heard her once and took her to his office in Bombay.She was so excited that without delay,she put her thumb on the contract put forth.The contract restricted her to sing only for Ahmed’s Shalimar studio productions for 10 years. She sang her first song,’nagari meri kab tak’ in Mann ki jeet-1944 for Neena ( real name Shahida-she was the wife of the brother of Renuka Devi the actress. She was a plain simple house wife,who was lured by Ahmed and made actress Neena and his wife),who was Ahmed’s wife.later she also sang in prithwiraj sanyukta-46 and Meerabai-47.In the free times she was allowed to do private jalsa for her living.
After Partition,Ahmed and Neena left for Pakistan,taking with them the prints of their films(like most others who left India) and Sitara was free to sing free lance now.She sang in Saajan ka ghar-48, Pugree-48,Aparadhi-49, Rangeela Rajasthan and Rasheed Dulhan -50.
After this she simply vanished into thin air !
W.Z.Ahmed, in one of his visits to India after migration,had said in his interview that Neena never sang her songs in any film as she did not know singing and all her songs were sung first by Tarabai Lucknowi and later by Sitara Kanpuri only. Though the name Neena appears on the Records, it is not true,he had said. ( as reported in RMIM)”.

Like W Z Ahmed cheated Sitara kanpuri in signing the contract, even Sohrab Modi had cheated in contract one of the famous stars of the 40s Jahanara Khursheed who was known later as Meena Shorey. He wrote in the contract 3 years but told the illiterate Meena only 1 year. later on he demanded 60000 rupees to release her and finally freed her after getting 30000 rupees. This is mentioned by Meena in her autobiographical article, which I have.
-AD

Arun ji,

In my view, the voice as well as pronunciation of a few words in this song sound amateurish. As you had already mentioned more than once in the Blog, Tarabai Lucknowi was the sister of Sitarabai Kanpuri, I take it that Tarabai had formal training in singing. If so, one would expect the well rehearsed voice as well as proper pronunciation in the song which is not there for a few words.

If W Z Ahmed, in one of his visits to India after his migration to Pakistan had mentioned that it was Tarabai who had sung for Neena prior to ‘Man Ki Jeet’ (1944), is there any reason you are aware of as to why this information was not incorporated in HFGK?

Sadanand ji,

It is natural that yo would have these doubts.
Firstly, neither Sitara nor Tara were trained singers. They were from Tawayaf family, where singing is handed over traditionally.
Secondly, the interview details of Waziruddin Ziauddin Ahmed came to light much later and only thru RMIM discussions.
Thirdly, that Tarabai was Sitara’s sister and details of contract with Sitara kanpuri by W Z Ahmed as well as that Nina’s songs were sung by these two sisters was all reported by Hamraz ji in Listeners’Bulletin No.134 of July 2007, while writing Ahmed’s obitury.(died on 15-4-2007 at Lahore, in a Hospital).
Probably these details came to light only after the HFGK was published 20-25 years earlier, in the 80s. This could be a reason of not including this info in HFGK.
Mr. S. Jayaraman, senior member of RMIM- previously of Dombivli and now settled in Chennai ( a close friend of shri Srinivasa Chary) has ( or had ? )all the records of all Shalimar films,according to himself and he has reaffirmed about Tarabai lucknowi’s singing for Neena.
-AD

Agreed.
Thanks for details.

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