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

Bitaai kahaan ratiyaan o mahaaraaja

Posted on: May 31, 2017

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, 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, May 31, 2017 is the 14th Remembrance Day of Anil Biswas ( 07/07/1914 – 31/05/2003) who is regarded as the doyen among the Hindi film music directors. Despite not having a formal training in classical music, he rose to the stature of being called the ‘Bhishma Pitaamah’ of Hindi film music.

More than the music director, Anil Biswas was an institution by himself. Music directors like Naushad, C Ramchandra, Roshan and O P Nayyar considered him as their Guru. Playback singers like Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mehmood had acknowledged his role in polishing their playback singing. I am sure, he must have also trained actor-singers like Surendra, Jyoti, Husn Banu, Sardar Akhtar etc in the 1930s when playback singing was not in vogue.

He was the first to introduce the concept of orchestration in Hindi film music. He along with Ghulam Haider were the first to make use of folk music which they blended well in their song compositions. He was the first to make use of counter melody. He was first in Bombay film industry to use playback singing technique in the film ‘Mahageet’ (1937).

Anil Biswas sems to be very fond of ghazals. I had gone through the list of songs composed by Anil Biswas and had observed that in most of the films for which he was the music director, he would have at least one lyricist who was proficiency in Urdu ghazals. He was instrumental in composing ghazals for the films in a style acceptable to the filmy audience thus moving away from the traditional format used in the 1930s. Few examples of his ghazal compositions:

dil jaltaa hai to jalne de – Safdar Aah Sitapuri – PEHLI NAZAR (1945)

mere liye wo gham-e-intezaar chhod gaye – Behzad Lucknowi – ANOKHA PYAAR (1948)

tumhaare bulaane ko jee chaahta hai – Behzad Lucknowi – LAADLI (1949)

zamaane kaa dastoor hai ye puraanaa – Prem Dhawan – LAAJAWAAB (1950)

ae jaan-e-jigar dil mein samaane aajaa – Rajinder Krishan – AARAAM (1951)

husn bhi hai udaas udaas – Majrooh Sultanpuri – FAREB (1953)

roothh ke tum chal diye – Qamar Jalalalabadi – JALTI NISHAANI (1957).

In regards to the last ghazal in the above list, Anil Biswas may probably be the first music director to compose this ghazal based on the khayal style of singing. Even the accompanying tabla beat sounds unusual for a ghazal composition.

Yet Anil Biswas was a modest man. He had no hesitation in telling that among the music directors of his time, Sajjad Hussain was the only one who used original tunes in his compositions. Rest of the music directors including him were inspired from classical/semi-classical music, folk music, Rabindra Sangeet and sometime western compositions.

Anil Biswas is one of the most discussed music directors on the internet. There are many articles on him, some of which have been written by those who had interacted with him. If I remember correctly, his life profile and musical career have been discussed in the Blog more than once. So I will skip that part in this article. However, I would like to discuss his association with one of the prolific directors of Hindi films who started his first assignment as director in 1935 and turned producer-director by early 1940s. The name of the producer-director is Mehboob Khan.

The name of Mehboob Khan became familiar to me in the 1950s because of his films like ‘Mother India’ (1957) and later ‘Son of India’ (1962). In my younger days, I had also known that he had produced and directed films like ‘Anmol Ghadi’ (1946) ‘Andaz’ (1949), ‘Aan’ (1951) and ‘Amar’ (1954). In all these films, Naushad was the music director.

Although, later on I became aware that Mehboob Khan had Anil Biswas as music director for films like ‘Roti’ (1942), it never occurred to me that Mehboob Khan had a long association with Anil Biswas since 1936 which ended with ‘Roti’ (1942). This revelation came to me because during the last two years or so, I have been concentrating on the films mainly of 1940s in my quest for unearthing rare songs from that era.

During 1936-42 period, the most enduring relationship between Mehboob Khan and a music director was that of Anil Biswas. Both of them were in the rolls of Sagar Movietone. Mehboob Khan was on the roll of Sagar Moveitone since its inception in 1929 mainly as a small time actor and also doing behind the screen works. Anil Biswas joined Sagar Moveitone in 1936. Both worked together for the first time for the film ‘Manmohan’ (1936). Although on record, the music director for the film was Ashok Ghosh, it is generally believed that most of the songs in this film were composed by Anil Biswas who was assisiting him for his first film. Later, Anil Biswas did independent music direction for Mehboob Khan in ‘Jaagirdaar’ (1937), ‘Watan’ (1938), ‘Hum Tum Aur Wo’ (1938), ‘Ek Hi Raasta’ (1939), and ‘Ali Baba’ (1940).

After the closure of Sagar Movietone towards the end of 1939 and eventually merging with General Pictures to form a new entity, National Studios in 1940, Mehboob Khan became the de facto boss of National Studios. Anil Biswas also joined National Studios. It is here that the association of Anil Biswas with Mehboob Khan created a sort of a record. Under the banner of National Studios, 14 films were produced, some of which were directed by Mehboob Khan. As many as 10 films had Anil Biswas as the music director. The films were ‘Pooja’ (1940), ‘Aurat’ (1940), ‘Aasra’ (1941), ‘Nai Roshni’ (1941), ‘Behan’ (1941), ‘Jawaani’ (1942), ‘Vijay’ (1942), ‘Gareeb’ (1942), ‘Apna Paraaya’ (1942) and ‘Roti’ (1942).

Sometime during the making of ‘Roti’ (1942), some creative differences between Mehboob Khan and Anil Biswas developed which led to the termination of their association of 6 years and 15 films. Both left National studios after the release of ‘Roti’ (1942). Mehboob Khan set up his own film production company, Mehboob Productions in 1942 and Anil Biswas joined Bombay Talkies in 1942. Both tasted success in the immediate post-National Studios days – Mehboob Khan in ‘Taqdeer’ (1943), ‘Humayun’ (1945), ‘Anmol Ghadi’ (1946), ‘Anokhi Ada’ (1948) etc and Anil Biswas in ‘Kismet’ (1943), ‘Pehli Nazar’ (1945), ‘Milan’ (1946) and ‘Anokha Pyaar’ (1948).

In 1947, Anil Biswas left Bombay Talkies to become a free-lance music director. I personally regard Anil Biswas’s compositions as a freelance music director during 1948-65 as the golden period of his song compositions. Unfortunately, during his freelance period, most of his films did not fare well on the box office front. This coupled with the changes in the environment of Hindi film industry probably made Anil Biswas to quit Hindi film industry in early 1960s and settled for a service in All India Radio, Delhi.

For Anil Biswas’s 14th Remembrance Day, I have chosen a song from Mehboob Khan-Anil Biswas combination film, AASRA (1941). Here is the first song ‘bithaayi kahaan ratiyaan o maharaja’ to appear on the Blog. The song is sung by Husn Banu on the words of Dr. Safdar Aah Sitapuri. The idea for the lyrics has probably come from a traditional Dadra bandish in raag Bhairavi:

banaao batiyaan chalo kaahe ko jhooti
wahin jaao jahaan rahen tum ratiyaan
sauwatan kaa ghar aawat jaawat
hamaara jiyaraa jaraa ke piyaa

Anil Biswas has composed this song in Dadra style with his own variations to suit the film music.

AASRA (1941) was produced under the banner of National Studios. The star cast included Sardar Akhtar, Amar, Husn Bano, Wasker, Veena, Kanhailal, N A Ansari, Bhudo Advani, K B Lall etc. The film was a light social comedy. The story was concerned with the problems which bachelors face when they come to Bombay (Mumbai) in search of employment. Among the problems is difficulties in getting the housing accommodation for bachelors. Probably, the problems for the lead actors (Sardar Akhtar and Amar) turns into a situational comedy in that they have to act as husband and wife to get the housing accommodation. The owner of the house has a daughter, Husn Banu. So one can visualise the hilarious situation.

Since Husn Banu has acted in the film, it is apparent that the song was picturised on her.

Song-Bitaai kahaan ratiyaan o mahaaraaja (Aasra)(1941) Singer-Husn Bano,Lyrics-Safdar Aah Sitapuri, MD-Anil Biswas


bitaai kahaan ratiyaan
o mahaaraja
bitaai kahaan ratiyaan
o mahaaraja
man bhaai kya batiyaan
o mahaaraja
man bhaai kya batiyaan
o mahaaraja
bitaayin kahaan ratiyaan
o maharaja

raat ke jaage nain gulaabi
raat ke jaage nain gulaabi
pag behkat hai jaise sharaabi
pag behkat hai jaise sharaabi
banaao naahin batiyaan
o mahaaraja
banaao naahin batiyaan
o mahaaraja
bitaai kahaan ratiyaan
o maharaja

raat andheri baali umariya
raat andheri baali umariya
tum bin darsat naahin dagariya
tum bin darsat naahin dagariya
lagaaye leyo chhatiyaan
o mahaaraja
lagaaye leyo chhatiyaan
o mahaaraja
bitaai kahaan ratiyaan
o mahaaraja
bitaai kahaan ratiyaan
o maharaja


4 Responses to "Bitaai kahaan ratiyaan o mahaaraaja"

Wah ‘Kya Kahene’
Remembering Anil-da with this gem.
Song full of literary ‘Husn’ like the heroin Husn Bano.

Sadanand ji,

Very good article and the song. Thanks.
In your write up it is said that “…….some creative differences between Mehbbob khan and Anil Biswas developed which led to the termination of their association…..”
The real story of their separation is different. There were no creative differences etc in it.
In 1940 Sagar staff shifted to National and in 1942, National Studios was to be closed. All employees, including Mehboob, Faredoon Irani and Ail Biswas were worried about their future. In that period, Anil Biswas got an offer first from Ranjit Studios, but he rejected it as his friends did not get offers. Then he got an invitation from Bombay Talkies for Rs. 2500 rupees pm as salary. This was too lucrative to reject. Though his friends were jobless Anil Biswas joined Bombay Talkies.

Mehboob khan was upset that being a friend also, in their bad days, Anil Biswas deserted them for personal gain.Mehboob and Faredoon felt let down and cheated by Anil Biswas who had promised to remain with them till all get settled.. Their relations soured and thereafter Mehboob khan never ever took Anil Biswas as an MD for films of his company. After establishing his own Mehboob Productions, he did not invite Anil Biswas. Mehboob Khan prospered and teamed up with Naushad as his MD from film Anokhi Ada-48 onwards, in place of Ail Biswas.

By 1954, Anil Biswas broke up with his first wife Ashalata . He divorced her,but lost everything he had to her in settlement for freedom. He was not getting any films. For survival he unsuccessfully tried doing Truck business. Seeing his condition, Mehboob offered him the contract for his Canteen,on request from Anil Biswas. That too failed miserably. Mehboob Khan was so bitter about him that even in that condition Mehboob did not offer him any film.

When Mehboob Productions planned film ‘ Paisa hi paisa ‘-56, Mehrish was made the Director. Being a great fan of Anil Biswas, he asked Mehboob’s permission to call Anil Biswas as its Music Director. As one who believed in work ethics, Mehboob very reluctantly permitted Mehrish, but went on a Foreign trip to avoid meeting Anil Biswas.
Till the end mehboob Khan feld that Anil Biswas had cheated their friendship and he never pardoned him for this.
All these details were told by Anil ji to Sharad dutt who incorporated them in his book ” Ritu aaye Ritu Jaaye “on Anil Biswas.


Arun ji,

Thanks for the additional information on the alienation of Anil Biswas with Mehboob Khan. I was not aware of these background.

Satish Chopra in his article, gave me the impression of a ‘creative differences’. As you may be knowing Satish Chopra was in contact with Anil Biswas since both stayed in Delhi. He wrote and I quote :

Quote: “Even then Mehboob Khan was not fully satisfied with me, as he considered the music of ‘Alibaba’ as better than that of ‘Aurat’. Consequently some differences developed.”- once Anil Da told the author of these lines. ……….

When another historic film- ‘Roti’ (1942) was in making, a serious dispute between Anil Biswas and the producer developed over its music. In a fit of anger, Mehboob Khan asked Anil Biswas- “Terey liyey Akhtari ko bulwa doon” (Should I call Akhtari for you?). Anil Biswas replied in the same tone- ”Bulwa dey” (Yes, call her). Thus, Akhtari Bai Faizabadi (Begam Akhtar, as she was then known) the ghazal queen. was persuaded to act and sing for the film. And, a momentous chapter was created. She acted and sang six immortal melodies for this film. …….

After the release of film ‘Roti’, serious disputes erupted between the two masters -Mehboob Khan and Anil Biswas and they got alienated. The separation seriously affected the career-graph and fate of Anil Biswas. As thereafter Naushad became the music composer for more or less for all the films of Mehboob Khan. This was indeed a turning point for Anil Da”. Unquote.

Since I did not want to go into the details in my article about what has been stated in the quoted text, I shortened the incidence as ‘creative differences’ between Anil Biswas and Mehboob Khan.

Sharad Dutt have got the information from Anil Biswas. I get the impression that the information given by Satish Chopra may have also come from Anil Biswas.

In my view, something was already brewing between them during the making of ‘Roti’ (1942). The differences may have got aggravated for the reasons given by Sharad Dutt in his book.

At the end, both Mehboob Khan and Anil Biswas were losers. Mehboob Khan lost whatever he earned in ‘Son of India’ (1962) and Anil Biswas lost his career in film industry by 1960.

Sadanand ji,

I have and read some of the books by Satish Chopra. I have found several mistakes in his narration in few cases, so I dont give much weightage to what he says. He is one of those self proclaimed experts.
What you say about MK and AB since Roti has some validity of course. When two Giants collide the damage is heavy and on both sides.


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