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

Unhen kissa e gham sunaati rahoongi

Posted on: February 13, 2017

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular 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’s song is a “Special ” song from film Gulbakavali-47. It is written by Munshi Shefta, the MD was Phiroz Dastoor and the song is sung by Menakabai.

Now let see what is so ‘special’ about this song.

Couple of years back I had written a series of 3 articles of “Same Name Confusions”, in which a total of 15 Cine Artistes causing Same Name Confusions due to their similar names were segregated and the confusion, hopefully, was clarified.

When I had thought of this series, I had made a list of such names. The list consisted of over 30 such names. Important and frequently mistaken identities were selected first and I wrote about them. While doing that series,I know how much hard work I had to do to get the information from different sources and that too after corroborating it several times.

At one time, besides these 15 Same Name personalities, in my list of other artistes,there were at least

4 Raajkumars
6 Gauhars
8 Nalinis
3 Neelams
3 Zohras
2 Meenakshis
2 Madhuris
4 Noorjehans
3 Ameerbais

several Leelas, Khursheeds, Bimlas, Yasmins etc etc etc……

Hindi film industry is an ocean and no wonder, several students have earned their Ph.D.s in studying HF and HFM. I too continue learning new things from this ocean, every now and then.

Same thing happened the other day, when our friend Sadanand Kamath ji sent an email to me asking if Menaka, Menakabai and Menakabai Shirodkar were the same. He also made a fleeting remark about a certain Menaka Devi of Calcutta. Though I sent him the information I had about Menaka, I was wondering about all these Menakas. Thus started my intensive research for information on Menakas.

For almost 10-12 days, I stopped writing any posts on the Blog and I was engrossed in referring to various sources on the Net, various books and old discussions on RMIM etc. I also requested Harish Raghuwanshi ji for information on this subject. Once I got all data, I started dissecting and analysing it, by corroborating them with cross references from several books that I have.

During this process Sadanand ji was encouraging me and discussing this matter with me, raising questions and doubts and making suggestions by mails. After a marathon work of 15 days, finally I compiled all the information ( knowing that I may have to defend all this with references) and wrote down notes on both Menakas. I sent this information to Sadanand ji with a suggestion to him that he can use all this information for his article, since he had obtained a rare song of Menakabai from film Gulbakavali-47.

He, however, magnanimously wrote back to me that ” since you have done so much research on ‘Menakas’, I strongly feel that not me, but you should write the article on this “same Name Confusion” artiste. Please consider my request.” When I politely declined, he wrote back,” having done so much work, it is in the fitness of things that you reconsider to write this article”. Not only this, he also sent me the link for the uploaded song and the song lyrics. After this mail, I simply could not refuse and agreed to write this article.

For the benefit of our readers,I am giving the short Biographies of both the Menakas herewith….

Menaka Devi ( Calcutta)
Menaka Devi was born in Varanasi on 23-1-1921. Her mother was a resident of the holy city although her father was from Bengal. She studied upto Matriculation. She could speak fluent English and Hindi, but not much of Bangla, having been raised in Varanasi. Her interest in music and dance took her to Bombay where she starred in a couple of films like Prince Thaksen (1929), Uttara Abhimanyu, Ishwar Ki Maut and others as a child artiste. When the Talkie started she acted and sang in Bhedi Rajkumar-34, Pyara Dushman-35 and Krishna Shishtai – 35.

Reportedly, she met the legendary film director Debaki Bose of Bengal during a train journey and he was so impressed by her that he decided to cast her in the lead role of his next venture in the Hindi version of the bilingual Sonar Sansar (1936 in Bangla and Sunehra Sansar-36 in Hindi) and thus began the illustrious career of Menaka Devi.

Her devotion to work was such that she learnt Bengali, her mother tongue although she was anything but fluent in it having spent all her life till then outside Bengal, so that she could play the same role (that of Alka) in the Bengali version also. Dhiraj Bhattacharya was her first hero on the screen. P.C.Barua, who was on the lookout for a young and fresh face to play Jharna in his forthcoming production Mukti (1937) selected her for both the versions ( Bangla and Hindi) and a flow started whereby she starred in films like Adhikar (1939), Abhigyan (1938), Bardidi (1939 in Bangla and Badi Didi in Hindi), Rajat Jayanti (1940) and others.

She decided to try her luck in Bombay around 1944 and starred in few films there and definitely made her presence felt although playing the second lead most of the time. Kishore Sahu procured her services for Hamari Duniya (1952). She was married to Pannalal Shrivastav and had 1 daughter ( Jaya Ganguly). She turned producer also and this proved her undoing. Both her films as producer, Apna na Huye Apne (No information of this film,probably incomplete) and Jeene Do-48, both starring herself with prominent Bombay stars flopped.

She returned to Calcutta a broken woman and found to her dismay that roles were not coming to her. She joined the MG Enterprise, a drama group of Molina Devi and performed on the stage to continue to live as an actress. She even arranged magic shows along with husband Pannalal Srivastava while small roles came pouring in films like Ekti Raat (1956) and others. The feature that strikes even today while seeing her performance is the spontaneous nature of her acting. Why good roles eluded her is a mystery. She was last seen on the screen in Bhombal Sardar (1983). In all, she acted in 60 films-Bangla and Hindi together.

Her end came on 22-1- 2004 after a prolonged fight not only against poor health but also poverty. Her death was reported only in one Bengali daily although her death news received good coverage on television.

Filmography- Only Hindi

Title Place of production Comments
Bhedi Rajkumar-34 in Bombay Acted and sang 1 solo
Pyara Dushman-35 Acted and sang 2 solos
Krishna Shishtai-35 Acted and sang 2 solos
Sunehra Sansar-36 in Calcutta Acted and sang 1 solo
Mukti-37 Acted and sang 1 solo
Abhagin-38 Acted
Badi Didi-39
Mahakavi kalidas-42
Shrikrishna Arjun yuddha-45 Bombay Acted
Shravan kumar-46
Chitod Vijay-47
Jeene Do-48 ” ( produced also)
Hamari Duniya-52
Do Bigha Zamin-53 Calcutta

Menaka/Menakabai / Menakabai Shirodkar ( Bombay )
Menaka was born in Lahore in or around 1910. She was from a professional singer family and got training in classical singing. The family was originally from Belgaon and her maiden name was Menaka Belgaonkar. Later she was married and became Menaka Shirodkar.
At the age of 23-24 she landed in Bombay to try her luck in films. In those days such girls from singing families used to get into films easily, due to their singing capability. She joined Minerva and sang in their films, starting with Pukar-39,in which she got only one song.
She was more interested in classical singing and hence concentrated on singing more than acting. However, she did act in 5 films, in which she also sang.

After her film Gul Bakavli-47 she devoted her full time in singing and holding jalsas. Soon she became a known figure in singing circles. After marriage she got two daughters. One of them Shobha became famous singer and was known as Shobha Gurtu.
After her singing was over Menakabai Shirodkar-as she came to be known later- retired and settled in Ponda,Goa.
She died on 23-12-2003 at the age of around 93 years.


Title Comments
Pukar-39 1 solo song
Paak Daman-40 Acting and 3 solos+ 1 Duet
Main Haari-40 1 solo, 2 Duets
Bharosa-40 Acting and 2 solos, 1 Duet
Sikandar-41 1 solo
Ulti Ganga-42 1 solo, 1 Trio
Phir milenge-42 Acting and 3 solos
Prithwi Vallabh-43 2 solos, 2 Duets and 1 Trio
Bhakta Raidas-43 Acting and 1 Duet as Menakabai
Dr. Kumar-44 1 solo
Gul Bakavali-47 Acting and 4 solos, a Duet..all as Menakabai.

( The above article is based on writings of Jyoti prakash Guha ji, Kolkata, Yogesh Yadav ji, Baroda, Dhananjay Naniwadekar ji, U.S.A., of RMIM,Isak Mujawar ji, information received from shri Harish Raghuwanshi ji, Surat, my notes, IMDB, Muvyz and HFGK. Thanks to all. )

The cast of the film Gulbakavali-47 was Phiroz Dastoor,Rabab,Sanobar,Menaka,Shyam kumar,Jabbar etc. The film was released in Super Cinema,Bombay 0n 9-1-1948. The film had a popular story from the Arabian Nights.Fantasy stories and Fairy tales have been enchanting masses for centuries. This is because everybody wants a magic which will make him happy, seeking a solace in such stories. For several centuries such stories have been invoking the child in a man.

GUL-E-BAKAVALI or the magic flower of the Bakavali Tree is supposed to do many things which are unimaginable. let us see the history of this story which has mesmerised the film producers for many years.

Gul-e-Bakawali is a popular medieval romance in many versions. The seventeenth-century poet Nawazish Khan was perhaps the first to write a Bangla version of Gule Bakawali, a story in verse about the love of Prince Taj ul mulk for the fairy Bakawali. The Sprinter catalogue records an Urdu Gule Bakawali written in verse in 1625. In 1722, Sheikh Izzatullah, a Bengali, wrote a prose version, Taj ul mulk Gule Bakawali, in persian. It is not known on which version Nawazish Khan based his poem.

There were several variant versions of Gule Bakawali, such as the poetic versions by Muhammad Mukim (1760–70), Muhammad Ali, Munsi Ebadat Ali (1840), Umacharan Mitra (1834), and Abdus Shakur, and the prose version by Bijaynath Mukhopadhyaya (1904). Kedarnath Gangopadhyaya wrote a play based on the story in 1978. Ebadat Ali’s Gule Bakawali is a dobhasi puthi.

The story was also popular in Urdu. Thus, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Munshi Nehalchand Lahori wrote a prose version titled Mazhabe Ishq (1803), and Dayashankar Nasim wrote a masnavi (poem) called Gulzare Nasim (1835).

* Gul-e-Bakavali was the first picture with the same subject as Silent film in 1924 directed by Kanjibhai Rathod and produced by Kohinoor flms. It starred Jamna, Khalil, Fatma Begum, Noor Mohamed, Sabita Devi, Sultana, Usha Rani and Zubeida.

* The story was made as Silent film again in 1930 (Starring Vishnu, Gulab .. Dir Mohanlal Shah)

* Gul-e-Bakavali was made as Hindi films five times in 1932 ( starring Ashraf Khan, Zaibunnisa.. Dir Anand Prasad Kapoor), 1947 ( Starring Feroz Dastur, Menaka, Rabab, Sanober..Dir Rustom Modi), 1956 ( starring MG Ramachandran,Varalaxmi, Rajkumari…Dir Ramanna TR), 1963( starring Jairaj, Nishi.. Dir Jugal Kishore) and 1982( starring Feroz Khan , Amjad Khan … Dir Ravi (Kant Nagaich )..

* The story was pictured earlier in Telugu in 1938 with title Gulebakavali directed by Kallakoori Sadasivaravu and starring B. Jayamma. and again pictured as Gulebakavali Katha in 1962 (starring NT Ranarao , Jamuna, Nagaratnam .. Dir Kamalakara Kameshwara Rao)

* There are two Tamil versions, one from mid 30’s by Soundararajan (Tamilnadu Talkies fame!) and another version in 1955 , directed and produced by T. R. Ramanna and starring M. G. Ramachandran, T.R. Rajakumari and G. Varalakshmi…

The earlier Punjabi version was released in 1938 (*Baby Noorjehan , Ajmal , M Isamil … Dir Barkat Mehra) …

In Pakistan the story was pictured in 1961 (Ilyas Kashmiri, Jamila Razzaq .. Dir Munshi Dil .. MD.. Safdar Hussain ).

The story of the film was….

Long long ago a king was blessed with a son to his second wife, but the astrologer had warned him that if he sees his son’s face before he is 28 years, the king will go blind. So the king sends his queen and the new born out of kingdom. They go and settle in a jungle where the prince grows up. His name is Taj ul Mulk (Phiroz Dastur). After 26 years the king and his soldiers are passing through a jungle where this prince is living. By chance the king sees him and suddenly he loses his eyes. He realises that it is his son. The queen also comes there. The Raj jyotishi tells that only the flower of magic tree Bakavali or Gul-e-bakavali can bring back king’s sight. One condition is that only his son should bring it.

The king has 3 sons from his first queen, but they are useless. However they promise the king that they will bring the flower and set out in its search. Taj ul Mulk also goes searching for it.

Once Taj and the three other sons meet and they tie Taj with ropes, loot all his money and leave him like that for jungle animals to eat. The princess of state Bakavali is flying on her magic carpet with her friends, when she sees Taj. They get down and release him. Taj and princess fall in love and immediately sing a song or two to solidify the ties.

The Princess promises Taj to get him the magic Flower. While she is bringing the flower, the 3 evil sons steal it and run away. The princess is turned into a stone statue. When Taj learns about it, he follows the 3 Princes and gets the flower, bring the Princess to Human life and also brings back the King’s site.
All is well that ends well.

The song is sung by Menakabai and according to the book,” Dhunon ki yatra” by Pankaj Raag, the song was composed by Phiroz Dastoor. It is a good song. Let us enjoy it.

With this rare song, “Gul Bakaawli”(1947) makes its debut in the blog.


Song-Unhen kissa e gham sunaati rahoongi (Gul Bakaawli)(1947) Singer-Menka Bai, Lyrics-Munshi Shefta, MD-Feroz Dastoor

Lyrics(Provided by Sadanand Kamath)

unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi
unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi
main rang e mohabbat
main rang e mohabbat
jamaati rahoongi
unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi

main har(?) pe shiqaayat
na laaungi
lab pe
sitam par tere
muskuraati rahoongi
sitam par tere
muskuraati rahoongi
unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi

main taaron ki chhaaon mein
betaab ho o o kar
teri yaad mein
gungunaati rahoongi
teri yaad mein
gungunaati rahoongi
unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi

wafaaon ko apni
zafaaon ko teri
main ginti rahoongi
wafaaon ko apni
zafaaon ko teri
main ginti rahoongi
ginaati rahoongi
ginaati rahoongi
unhen kissa-e-gham sunaati rahoongi


14 Responses to "Unhen kissa e gham sunaati rahoongi"

This is a fabulous piece of research. My compliments to you and Sadanandji too.

Thank you, AK ji.

There was another MD Bundu khan

Menka Bai
Phir Milenge (1942); Mir Sahib; Pandit Sudarshan
Aaj Jawani Aaj Jawani
Aao Shadi Ki Khushiya Manaaye Dear
Pagle Kahe Honth Adheer

Ulti Ganga (1942); G D Kapoor; Munshi Abdul Baki
Dekh Sadako Pe with Leela & Mehboob
Karvan Hai Karvan Hai

Bhakta Raidas(1943); Saraswati Devi; Safdar Aah
Naveli Panihari Gagar Tori Bhari with P Gopaldas

Prithvi Vallabh(1943); Rafiq Ghaznavi, Saraswati Devi; Pandit Sudarshan
Tailap Ki Nagri Me Gana Nahi Hai with Rafiq Ghaznavi
Ram Naam Dhan Paya Maine
Panchhi Ud Chal Apne Desh
Aankho Me Muskuraaye Ja with Sheela and Meena
Khule Swarg Ke Dwaar Jag Me

Dr Kumar (1944); Saraswati Devi; Gafil Harnalvi
Chor Kahi Ke Chor with Rajkumari;
Joban Me Bahar Aayi
Mera Tan Naache

Gul Bakawali(1947) Firoz Dastoor & Bundu Khan; Munshi Shefta
Aalam Shabab Ka Hai Aur Josh Par Jawani with Firoz Dastoor
Jab Tasveer Me Teri Tasveer Ko Laati Hu Ly:Shaukat Hashmi
Mai To Gaaungi Geet Aur Apni Rango Ke Taare Par Ly:Munshi Shefta
Sajan Aaye More Dware Naachu Gaau Geet, Ly:Shaukat Hashmi

Nitin ji,
HFGK does mention both names for this film. However,as mentioned in the above article,it was Phiroz Dastur who composed THIS song. That is why only his name is mentioned.

Great info. hats off to u for such comprehensive research .

In First antara ther is an error , it must be : Main Harf e shikayat na laungi lab pe…

(Harf e Shikayat : Word of Complain …harf is actually urdu word for alphabet )


Thanks a million. Such comments work as encouragement to continue the work.


My stand that the article on ‘Menakas’ should be written by Shri Arunkumar Deshmukh has been vindicated. Honestly, I would not have written the article in such a smooth flow. At the beginning of the article Arun ji has stated that this is a ‘special’ song. I would rather say that this is a ‘special’ article.

How many loose threads we had when we started exchanging e-mails on Menaka Bai vs. Menakabai Shirodkar. To add to the confusion, there was Menaka Devi who was basically an actor but she also sang some songs. The quest for investigation of ‘Menakas’ became complicated as both Menaka Bai and Menaka Devi had worked in Hindi films produced at Calcutta (Kolkatta) and Bombay (Mumbai). In some places, only ‘Menaka’ was written leaving the readers to decide whether she was Menaka Bai or Menaka Devi. Whether Menaka Bai and Menakabai Shirodkar were the same person or different persons.

Moreover, in two books on Hindustani classical music, I found the name of Menakabai Shirodkar and Menakabai Belgaonkar being clubbed with Mogubai Kurdikar, Kesarbai Kerkar and Dhondutai Kulkarni., Menakabai Shirodkar had a common link with all these classical singers as they were contemporaries and they all learnt Hindustani classical singing from Ustad Alladiya Khan, the founder of Jaipur-Atrauli Gharana.

With these kinds of probe into ‘Menakas’, I would have postponed the investigation for sometime later. But not for Arun ji.

‘I am a little excited now’………..I will not leave this matter easily. ‘ Arun ji wrote to me in e-mails.

The result was out in a couple of days after his above remarks.

Hats off to Arun ji,

Please read ‘……both Menaka Bai and Menaka Devi had worked in Hindi films produced at Calcutta (Kolkatta) and Bombay (Mumbai)’ as under:
‘…….Menaka Devi had worked in Hindi films BOTH at Calcutta (Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai)’.

Sadanand ji,
Thanks a lot for your very kind words.
We exchanged almost 20 mails for Menakas.
I enjoyed all this very much. Thanks to your being with me all through.

Hats off to both Arunji and Sadanandji for your wonderful research. The efforts you take to investigate into all this are more than commendable. Moreover your research in embellished with modesty which is a very rare trait. Once again hearty thanks to both of you.

Thanks,Dhananjay kurane ji, for your kind words.

Please read ” Your research is embellished” .

What an article! Tremendous piece of research! Like a true investigator in quest of truth!
After all we Atulites do not call you ” Our House Encyclopaedia” for nothing.
Grateful to you, Deshmukh Saheb for the information.
Thanks and regards,
Avadh Lal

Avadh Lal ji,
Thank you very much for your kind words.
One gets a feeling of fulfilment when such comments are made.
It also works as a motivation for further work.Thanks again.

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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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