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

Ankhiyan Ke Tum Taare Pyaare

Posted on: September 23, 2018

This article is written by Sudhir, 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.

Blog Day : 3719 Post No. : 14653

When ‘Bawarchi ‘ was released in 1972, I had seen it on the big screen in the theatre with family. In this film, Hrishikesh Mukherji has woven a remarkable story of a joint family and their interesting interactions. The head of the family (a widower), his three sons, two daughters in law, third son still a bachelor, and three children. The roles of the two daughters in law were played by Durga Khote and Usha Kiran. Being quite un-exposed to cinema otherwise (it was school years for me) I was quite unfamiliar with these two ladies when I saw this film for the first time.

I was later to recall these two senior actresses, when I would get to see their earlier, older films. The first such re-introduction was when I saw ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ (1960) on TV for the first time. Then I came to recognize Durga Khote in her role as Jodha Bai, and connected her with her role in ‘Baawarchi’. The two films had a difference of 12 years, and decidedly, she is looking much younger and sweeter in her role as Badi Maa in ‘Baawarchi’, compared to her royal appearance as the empress of India and wife of Emperor Akbar. One scene (from ‘Baawarchi’) that really amazed me and mesmerized me, is the family song situation from an early morning impromptu get together of the family members – “Bhor Aayee Gaya Andhiyaara”. During the course of this song, the two supposedly middle aged daughters in law perform the rapid pace thaap steps dance to the rapid taal – “dhiga tum naa naa naa naa naa” being rendered by the family help Raghu (role played by Rajesh Khanna). It was a real wonder to see the two ladies perform that sequence. A quick check reminded me that Durga Khote was, goodness, 67 years of age, when she performed in ‘Bawarchi’.

Remembering Durga Khote on the anniversary of her passing away (22nd September).

The first and the top most lady luminary of the Hindi cinema, Durga Khote was born on 14th January, 1905, in a well­ known family of Bombay. The family hailed from Goa and spoke Konkani at home. Her mother’s name was Manjulabai. Her father, Pandurang Shamrao Laud, was a famous lawyer and her brother was also a well known barrister. The young Vita Laud (her maiden before marriage) was educated, like her siblings, at Cathedral High School and St. Xavier’s College from where she did her B.A. While still in college, she was married into the Khote family, graduated and settled down with her husband. By the age of 26, she was a widowed mother of two sons – Bakul and Harin.

Into this scenario, and a life of a very traditional family, plopped in something utterly new – the world of cinema. Durga Khote wanted to work to support her children. In doing so, she became a pioneer of sorts. It was a time when the film industry was regarded as the preserve of the base and the bawdy. Also, most of the female characters were played by men at the time.

It all came about through her sister Shalini, also married and having amongst her circle of friends, a gentleman by the name JBH Wadia. At the time JBH was working with Mohan Bhavnani as the latter’s assistant. The talkies had just made their appearance on the silver screen. Bhavnani who had just made a picture, wanted to give it the box office appeal of a “talkie” ending. The picture starred Mrs. Bhavnani and her husband was  looking out for a girl who would feature with his wife in the climax scenes of the film. Approached by JBH, Shalini refused. But knowing Durga as a person who would try anything once, she recommended her. Durga was ready to have a go at the part, accepted the role and went off to the studios the same day. Mr. Bhavnani’s heterogeneous production was soon completed, printed and made ready for release.

The film flopped. And for the beautiful young housewife and mother there followed a period of embarrassment at being connected with a filmy disaster. The film was ‘Farebi Jaal’ (also titled as ‘Trapped’ in English). “That is just how I felt when I saw it. It was a terrible film,” Durga Khote recalls in an earlier interview. She goes on to say that, “. . . my position was more than awkward. I had suddenly achieved a fair measure of notoriety. I just couldn’t walk around in Girgaum without people pointing at me.”

Looking back on it she laughed at the by-gone crisis. Through all this turmoil and unease there was one solid consolation: both the Laud and the Khote families were far too intelligent and sophisticated to be worried by the affair. On the contrary “My families stood up for me” declared Durga Khote with a proud smile of affection.

Amongst those who saw the film ‘Trapped’, was the then up and coming producer and director V Shantaram. After seeing her performance, he offered her the female lead role of Taramati in the bilingual film ‘Ayodhyache Raaja’ – ‘Ayodhya Ka Raja’ (1932). Durga Khote saw in it an opportunity to vindicate herself. Once again encouraged by the families, she accepted the role and played it beautifully. The film was not only good but a big hit, in both the Hindi and Marathi versions.

V Shantaram simultaneously cast her also in ‘Maya Machhindra’ (again 1932). This was a also a smash hit. These two top successful films established her straight off as a top star. Following came a number of films that won her acclaim from the public and from the film industry. After the two fabulous successes in 1932, what followed is no less dazzling a repertoire of well known films and famous roles.

In 1933, she appeared opposite to Prithviraj Kapoor in the New Theatres Production from Calcutta – ‘Raajrani Meera’. This year also saw her play the lead role opposite to a very young and handsome new entrant into the industry – P Jairaj, in the film ‘Patit Paavan’ (Pratima Phototone, Bombay).

1934, and she is paired opposite to Prithviraj once again in ‘Seeta’, from East India Film Company in Calcutta.

1935, another production from New Theatres – ‘After The Earthquake’, as the female lead opposite to Syed Mohammed Nawab. And once again, paired with Jairaj in ‘Jeevan Natak’ – a Debaki Bose Production in Bombay.

In 1936 came one of her many superlative roles on the screen – ‘Amar Jyoti’ from the production house of Prabhat, with co stars Chandramohan, Vasanti and B Nandrekar.

She played the lead role in ‘Pratibha’ in 1937, opposite to Master Shyam; film by Shalini Cinetone.

1938, and she appeared in two films – ‘Nand Kumar’ (Jaishree Films), working with Govindrao Tembe and ‘Saathi’ from Natraj Films, paired with Mubarak – another popular hero of that era.

1939 saw her appearing with Prithviraj once again in the Ranjeet Studios production – ‘Adhoori Kahaani’.

In 1940 it is Chandramohan and the film is ‘Geeta’ from Circo Productions. Also in 1940 came the famous and popular hit film, ‘Narsi Bhagat’ working with Vishnupant Pagnis.

1941 and it is ‘Charnon Ki Daasi’ from Atre Pictures, paired with Gajanan Jagirdar.

In 1942, she appeared in 2 films, ‘Bharat Milap’ of Prakash Pictures, with co stars Prem Adeeb, Shahu Modak and Shobhana Samarth; and in ‘Vijay’ from National Studios, opposite to Harish.

1943 turned out to be a blockbuster year for her, appearing in the lead role in six films. She was seen in ‘Qurbani’ opposite to Ishwar Lal, ‘Mahasati Anusuya’ with Shahu Modak, E Billimoria and Shobhana Samarth; ‘Mahatama Vidur’ with Vishnupant Pagnis; ‘Tasveer’ – paired with the young newcomer Motilal; and ‘Zameen’, paired with Biswas. The listing for 1943 is complete only when we talk about the mega film from Minerva Movietone – ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ in which she is paired with Sohrab Modi.

In 1944, it is ‘Maharathi Karn’ paired with Prithviraj Kapoor once again, and ‘Dil Ki Baat’ a romantic social, working opposite to Ishwar Lal.

In 1945, it is ‘Lakahrani’ from Prabhat, working opposite to Sapru; ‘Panna Dai’ working with Chandramohan and Mubarak; and ‘Veer Kunal’ with Mubarak, Kishore Sahu and Shobhana Samarth.

In 1945, we also see a major qualitative shift in her career. She stepped away from lead roles and very gracefully migrated towards support roles as a character artist. ‘Village Girl’ was probably the first such film, in which she does not play the lead role. But her films and her roles continue to be significant and powerful.  She had already stated to play non-romantic lead roles in films like ‘Charnon Ki Daasi’ (1941) and ‘Bharat Milap’ (1942). Her filmography beyond 1945 speaks volumes of her prowess as an actress, and her ability to command the scenes, and the films. Moving to character roles, her assignments continue to increase, and she continued to be a busy and an in demand artist for another almost four decades. During her career, she has appeared in more than 200 films.

A special mentions needs to be made of the 1953 film ‘Chacha Chaudhry’ – a comedienne performance which took the industry and the public by storm. The brilliant timing of her expression, gestures, movement and dialogue combined to make that role such a scintillating comedy portrayal that she all but stole the picture from the consummate actor Raja Paranjpe – who doubled as director and lead player – and Dhumal. The three of them made it a slick, hilarious romp.

Durga Khote’s portrayals have been sensitive and consummate. Notable mentions must be made of some of her performances;

as Queen Kaikeyi in the 1942 film ‘Bharat Milap, jealously coveting the throne for her own son – her personification of the grasping queen made one understand if not quite condone the old king’s doting weakness;

as Shachi Devi, mother of Chaitanuya Mahaprabu in the 1953 biopic ‘Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’ – a heart-rending performance of a mother torn between her love for her son and the gratification she feels in his single-minded devotion to God, and her heartbreak for his bewildered, forsaken girl-bride, and her gradual resignation, made for a portrayal which was a gem of histrionic art;

as Jodha Bai, the empress of India, wife of Akbar – once again called upon to make a dreadful choice of loyalties, torn between the warring father and son – at first unable to invoke the blessings for her husband leaving for the battlefield, with the certainty of the fear that her son will be killed, and then when Akbar challenges her by attempting to erase the sindoor from her forehead, very sternly and studiously she performs the pooja giving the due honor to her suhaag even in the face of an eventuality of possibly losing her only child.

These and many other such power packed performances have made Durga Khote the dame thespian of the Indian cinema. She was honored with the Padam Shri award in 1968 and the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1983.

In 1950, Durga Khote naturally gravitated towards the stage and she joined the Marathi Sahitya Sangh, starting her long association with the theatre also. She kept busy acting in, producing and directing plays. She also founded Durga Khote Productions which produced short films – advertising, documentary, educational and industrial.

She continued to be active both in films and in theatre till the mid 1980s. After that, she moved into semi-retirement. She passed away this day, in 1991, in Bombay.

The film ‘Amar Jyoti’ has been acclaimed as a film much, much ahead of its time, both in terms of handling of the subject matter as well as in terms of technical finesse and special effects. The film represented India in the Venice film festival in 1937 and won praises and accolades as one of the best three films at the festival.

The film deals with the theme of suppression and negation of the role of the woman in the society, and one lady’s rebellion against it. As a subject, this was a daring endeavor by V Shantaram, given the prevalent sentiments in the society of that era. Nevertheless, this film was much acclaimed and became very popular at the box office too. Since the story revolves around pirates, scenes related to sailing ships and ships in conflict, it was a major accomplishment for the director, to be able to create the necessary environment within the studio, and film all the naval scenes using advanced special effects techniques, within the confines of the studio itself.

The film pertains to an undefined historical period. A queen (role played by Karuna Devi) and her cruel minister Durjay (role played by Chandramohan) are challenged by a woman turning a pirate and terrorizing the coastal provinces of the kingdom. This woman, Saudamini (role played by Durga Khote), has been much wronged by her husband. But when she pleads for justice from the royal court, Durjay decrees that a husband was the complete master of his wife, whom he could ill-treat, use as a chattel or dispose of as a slave. She is denied custody of her son by the queen, after she refuses to return to her matrimonial home. This greatly enrages Saudamini and drives her to revolt and seek revenge. She takes on the mantle of a male role and gets into a commanding position, as the captain of a pirate ship. She is assisted by her associate, Rekha (role played by Vasanti).

Durjay is captured and is kept as a prisoner with one of his legs cut off, to make him realize the eternally enslaved condition of women. Her next big catch is the princess Nandini (role played by Shanta Apte), the queen’s daughter. In her relationship with the princess, Saudamini plays an even bigger game by converting the princess to her creed of female emancipation, which considers love and marriage as a bondage. The princess suppresses her feelings for a shepherd boy, Sudhir (role played by B Nandrekar), whom she had met during her days in the pirate’s den. Unknown to even Saudamini, this shepherd boy is actually her own son, who was separated from her years ago.

In the continued sequence of events, Durjaya escapes with the help of Sudhir and returns to arrest Saudamini. Saudamini is captured, but the others, along with Nandini and Rekha, escape. It is finally revealed that Sudhir is Saudamini’s long-lost son. Nandini and Sudhir are married and Rekha carries forward Saudamini’s legacy.

Shantaram has used the symbol of the lamp and the flame very effectively. He deployed many other techniques that were considered path-breaking at that time. The film’s real success is in bringing out the inner conflicts of women, who may become male-like rebels, at the cost of suppressing their natural urges as wife or mother. In one of the most moving scenes in the film, we see Saudamini secretly fondling the tiny garments of her son, who has been separated from her.

In this song, we see this brief interlude, as Saudamini is remembering her child. The brief song is written by Pt Narottam Vyas, and the music is composed by Master Krishna Rao Phumblikar. The playback singing voice is that of Vasanti.

Remembering and honoring the enduring legacy of this fine actress – Durga Khote.

[Author’s Note: Acknowledgements – This article has adapted material from online sources viz., Cineplot and Wikipedia. Filmography details have been prepared using the Geet Kosh voumes 1 and 2.]



Song – Ankhiyan Ke Tum Taare Pyaare (Amar Jyoti) (1936) Singer – Vasanti, Lyrics – Pt Narottam Vyas, MD – Master Krishna Rao
Durga Khote


akhiyan ke tum taare pyaare
chhod mohey mat jaa re
ab mat jaa re

akhiyan ke tum taare pyaare
chhod mohey mat jaa re
ab mat jaa re

[sudhir. . .]
[main teri maa. . .]

akhiyan ke tum taare pyaare
chhod mohey mat jaa re
ab mat jaa re

aansoo nainan mein se

aansoo nainan mein se
aansoo nainan mein se
kaahu tohey pukaarun
kaahu tohey pukaarun
waaroon sukh dukh saare
waaroon sukh dukh saare
waaroon sukh dukh saare

akhiyan ke tum taare pyaare
chhod mohey mat jaa re
ab mat jaa re

[ab mat jaa re]

Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)

अखियन के तुम तारे प्यारे
छोड़ मोहे मत जा रे
अब मत जा रे

अखियन के तुम तारे प्यारे
छोड़ मोहे मत जा रे
अब मत जा रे

[सुधीर॰ ॰ ॰]
[मैं तेरी माँ॰ ॰ ॰]

अखियन के तुम तारे प्यारे
छोड़ मोहे मत जा रे
अब मत जा रे

आँसू नैनन में से

आँसू नैनन में से
आँसू नैनन में से
काहू तोहे पुकारूँ
काहू तोहे पुकारूँ
वारूँ सुख दुख सारे
वारूँ सुख दुख सारे
वारूँ सुख दुख सारे

अखियन के तुम तारे प्यारे
छोड़ मोहे मत जा रे
अब मत जा रे

[अब मत जा रे]

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