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

Aa Khilte Hain Gul, O Mere Bulbul

Posted on: October 1, 2018


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.

Blog Day : 3727 Post No. : 14666

Today, October 1st is the birth anniversary of two iconic personalities of Hindi film music. Both started their career in Hindi film industry in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1946 – one as a music director and the other as a lyricist. Yes, it is Sachin Dev Burman’s 112th birth anniversary and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s 99th birth anniversary. Both have been my favourites amongst the music directors and lyricists of the golden era of Hindi film music. Both seem to have been made for each other. SD Burman was one of the earliest pioneers in introducing the concept of ‘tune first lyrics later’ in Hindi film music while Majrooh Sultanpuri was master in writing lyrics to the tune.

I found both of them to be non-conformists in their respective fields.  SD Burman’s compositions did not leave trails to identify them as SD Burman type of music. In my younger days, it was not easy for me to identify the songs composed by SD Burman. Had I not known in advance, I would have difficulties in knowing that songs of ‘Baazi’ (1951), ’Pyaasa’ (1957) and  ‘Nau Do Gyarah’ (1957) were composed by the same music director. Majrooh Sultanpuri on the other hand wrote lyrics of varied moods and of all genres with ease. Another common factor between these two stalwarts was that both were called as ‘old man with young heart’. If SD Burman could composed Roop Tera Mastaana at the age of 64, Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote lyrics for Raat Shabnami Bheegi Chaandni at the age of 77.

Despite both SD Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri starting their filmy career in 1946, it took about 11 years for both of them to work together in Navketan’s  ‘Nau Do Gyaarah’ (1957), though the other collaboration, ‘Paying Guest’ (1957) was released first. The main reason was that SD Burman was already working with Sahir Ludhianvi since 1951. It was only when SD Burman stopped engaging Sahir after ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) that he found Majrooh Sultanpuri as a suitable lyricist partner. From 1957 till SD Burman’s death in October 1975, both of them worked together in 20 films composing 137 songs.

I have already written about Majrooh Sultanpuri last year while covering the song Nanha Mora Doley Mori Anganiaa. So in this article, I propose to discuss only the musical career of SD Burman.

Sachin Da (1/10/1906 – 31/10/1975) was born in Comilla, a part of Tripura at that time (now in Bangladesh). He belonged to Tripura’s royal family in which his father, Nabadwip Chandra Dev Burman, was the next in line to Tripura Royalty. However, due to some palace machinations, Nabadwip Burman was denied his right as the next king of Tripura because of which he along with his family shifted to Comilla. SD Burman’s childhood years in Comilla became his training ground for music as he became enthralled by the folk music of what was then known as East Bengal.

After graduation from a Comilla college, SD Burman enrolled for Master’s degree in English in the University of Calcutta in 1924. However, he soon gave up his studies to become the disciple of Krishna Chandra Dey (KC Dey). Later, he continued his musical training under Ustad Badal Khan and Pandit Bhishamdev Chatopadhyay.  The royal family of Tripura were the connoisseurs of Hindustani classical music. They resented SD Burman’s indulgence in singing and recording folk songs for earning as it was below dignity for a royal member of family to earn from the music. They also felt that folk songs were not meant for royalty as they were sung by the lower strata of the society. Because of this, SD Burman did not get the traditional royal welcome when he visited Agrtala after his marriage with Meera in 1938.

In 1932, SD Burman left Tripura for Calcutta (Kolkata) for pursuing his interest in music. In the same year, he approached HMV for his first recording of a non-filmy Bengali song. However, he failed in the audition test. Luckily for him, Hindustan Musical Products (Hindustan Records) offered to record his first gramophone song. The song became a major success for Hindustan Records. During 1932-1946, SD Burman recorded over 100 non-films, mostly Bengali and some filmy Bengali songs most of which became commercially successful.

Despite success as a singer in non-film songs, SD Burman had to face disappointment in 1933 when a song sung by him in the film ‘Yahudi Ki Ladki’ (1933) was deleted and was recorded afresh in the voice of Pahadi Sanyal due to the internal politics of New Theatre. In 1935, SD Burman got an opportunity to do a minor role of a beggar in Madhu Bose’s film ‘Selima’ (1935) in which he was to sing a song. At first, SD Burman refused telling that he would be ostracised from the Tripura royal family if they came to know that he was working in a film. However, Madhu Bose assured him that no one would recognise him in his make-up of a beggar with beard and moustache. So this became SD Burman’s first film song as an actor-singer.

Sometime in 1942, SD Burman got an offer from Chandulal Shah to join Ranjit Movietone as music director. The offer was declined as he did not relish the idea of leaving Kolkata. In the next two years, he found that he was not able  to get enough opportunity to compose music for Bangla films as all important banners had their own music directors in their pay rolls. These music directors would offer him to sing as a playback singer which he would not agree as his wish was to become a music director. At this juncture, he took a decision that he would not sing for any other music directors and he would sing his own compositions for films not as a playback singer but as background singer. He maintained that stand consistently after he became a part of the Bombay (Mumbai) film industry in 1946.

In early 1940s, Bengal was reeling under the worst famine. The film industry was adversely affected. There was an exodus from Kolkata to Mumbai film industry for a different reason. SD Burman knew that despite his liking for Kolkata, he had to move to Mumbai to be able to achieve his dream of becoming a music director. In October 1944, SD Burman along with his family landed in Mumbai on the invitation from Rai Bahadur Chunnilal and Sashadhar Mukherjee who had formed Filmistan with Ashok Kumar, Gyan Mukherjee and other technicians, a breakaway group from Bombay Talkies.  Burman joined Filmistan as music director.

In Mumbai, SD Burman’s greatest handicap was his inability to fully understand Hindi, leave aside Urdu.  This handicap willy-nilly made him the pioneering in ‘tune first lyrics later’ concept in Hindi film song compositions. It is said that in his first two films with Filmistan, C Ramchandra helped SD Burman in music arrangements. I guess, as a newcomer, it was difficult for him to arrange musicians and communicate with them.

His first film as a music director was ‘Shikaari’ (1946) followed by ‘Aath Din’ (1946), both produced under the banner of Filmistan.  The music of ‘Shikari’ (1946) did not create much interest in the common public though studio hands appreciated newness in his music compositions. However, songs of ‘Aath Din’ (1946) especially two songs sung by SD Burman and Pehle Na Samjhaa Pyaar Tha by Ameerbai Karnataki became popular and made him a different class of music director well-versed with the then East Bengal folk music.

SD Burman was not satisfied with his music in these two films as he did not find anyone in the streets singing his songs. On the contrary, he found his servant always humming the songs from ‘Rattan’ (1944). He felt that unless his songs became popular on the streets, his presence as a music director would never be felt in Bombay film industry.

In the meanwhile, Sashadhar Mukherjee allowed him to take up the music direction in the films outside Filmistan. In 1947, he did two films outside Filmistan – ‘Chitor Vijay’ (1947) and ‘Dil Ki Rani’ (1947) both having Raj Kapoor and Madhubala as lead pairs. Neither the films fared well on the box office front nor did the songs become popular. The only point of interest in ‘Dil Ki Rani’ (1947) was that SD Burman made Raj Kapoor to sing in his own voice a song, O Duniya Ke Rehne Waalo Bolo Kahaan Gaya Chitchor.

Filmistan entrusted SD Burman with the music direction of ‘Do Bhai’ (1947). Sashadhar Mukherjee was a hard task master who rarely got satisfied with the tunes SD Burman composed for this film. Fed up with the constant rejections of tunes by Sashadhar Mukherjee, one day, SD Burman decided to have a show down with his boss. Probably after that he would think of leaving Filmistan and go back to Kolkata. To his surprise, Sashadhar Mukherjee at once approved the first tune he played on the harmonium and asked him record the song at the earliest. The song was Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya sung by Geeta Roy (later Dutt). This song made Geeta Roy a star playback singer overnight. The film was a box office success. For the first time, SD Burman heard his servant humming this song which made him very happy. In 1948, he composed songs from ‘Vidya’ (1948). It was his first film with Dev Anand and Suraiya. The film did not fare well on the box office but one song  Laayi Khushi Ki Duniya, picturised on Dev Anand and Suraiya, became very popular.

Filmistan’s ‘Shabnam’ (1949) can be regarded as SD Burman’s first real successful film as a music director as all the songs of the films became very popular. For SD Burman, it was one of his most satisfying period of his musical career as he found the songs of ‘Shabnam’ being heard on the street quite often. He even heard the labourers at Bandra Railway Station, singing one of the songs from this film in tandem with their track maintenance work.

In 1950s, SD Burman did not have much success as a music director. ‘Afsar’ (1950) was his first film for Navketan – a film production company started by Chetan Anand and Dev Anand. The film did not fare well at the box office although two songs – Naina Deewaane Ek Nahin Maane and Man Mor Huaa Matwaala became popular. ‘Pyaar’ (1950) also did not have a great run. SD Burman was now depressed that even after 5 years of his stint as a music director in Bombay film industry, he has not established himself as a successful music director. With this thought in mind, he decided to leave Mumbai and return to Kolkata.

At that time, Ashok Kumar was reviving Bombay Talkies by producing ‘Mashaal’ (1950) for which SD Burman was entrusted with the music direction. His leaving at a crucial juncture would have affected the film. After much persuasion by Ashok Kumar, SD Burman stayed back to complete the music direction of the film with a condition that after the completion of his work, he would return to Kolkata.

It so happened that ‘Mashaal’ (1950) became a box office hit film. Almost all the songs of the film became very popular. But it was Manna Dey’s song,  Upar Gagan Vishaal which drew attention of the common folk. With this song, Manna Dey seemed have announced that he had, at last, arrived in the world of Hindi film music. Manna Dey had worked as an Assistant Music Director for SD Burman but he got his first chance to sing under his baton only in ‘Mashaal’ (1950).

With the success of ‘Mashaal’ (1950), producers lined up for signing SD Burman for their films which included ‘Bahaar’ (1951), ‘Buzdil’ (1951), ‘Ek Nazar’ (1951), ‘Naujawaan’ (1951) and ‘Sazaa’ (1951). All these films had very popular songs some of which are still remembered today like Sainya Dil Mein Aana Re, Jhan Jhan Jhan Jhan Paayal Baaje, Thandi Hawaayen Lehra Ke Aayen and Tum Na Jaane Kis Jahaan Mein Kho Gaye.

But one film SD Burman  did in 1951 gave a tremendous boost to his career as a music director – it was Navketan’s ‘Baazi’ (1951). It was Guru Dutt’s first directorial venture. SD Burman’s musical treatment in this film was quite a contrast to what he had so far churned out. There were no Bengali traces in the songs. Instead, he predominantly used western and Punjabi beats. In fact, he turned Sahir Ludhinavi’s philosophical ghazal, Tadbeer Se Bigdi Huyi Taqdeer Banaa Le  into a seductive club song. All the songs of ‘Baazi’ (1951) became super hits. The success of ‘Baazi’ (1951) made SD Burman almost a permanent fixture with Navketan Banner until ‘Chhupa Rustom’ (1973). By now, he had dropped the idea of shifting to Kolkata.

The musical success of ‘Baazi’ (1951) created a successful pair of Sahir Ludhianvi and SD Burman. During 1951-57, both of them created 138 songs in 18 films. Unfortunately, due to clash of egos, they did not work together after ‘Pyaasa’ (1957).

I will not go into further details of his successful films as they are in large numbers. But there are a few films which I consider as classic insofar as SD Burman’s music is concerned. They are ‘Taxi Driver’ (1954), ‘Pyaasa’ (1957), ‘Nau Do Gyaarah’ (1957), ‘Paying Guest’ (1957), ‘Kaala Paani’ (1958), ‘Sujata’ (1959), ‘Kaala Baazar’ (1960), ‘Bandini’ (1963) ‘Tere Ghar Ke Saamne’ (1963), ‘Guide’ (1965), ‘Aradhana’ (1969), ‘Prem Pujari’ (1970), ‘Sharmilee’ (1971), ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1971), and ‘Abhimaan’ (1973). But within these films, there were high points in SD Burman’s musical career – ‘Baazi’ (1951), ‘Pyaasa’ (1957), ‘Guide’ (1965), ‘Aradhana’ (1969) and ‘Abhimaan’ (1973).

During 1946 until his death in October 31, 1975 SD Burman composed music for 90 films (including one unreleased film) comprising 673 songs (666 songs if I exclude 7 songs from the unreleased film). This gives an annual average of 3 films. According to those who had closely worked with SD Burman, he would consider him to be ‘busy’ if he had two films on hand. He considered himself ‘very busy’ if he had 3 films on hand. He would not take any more musical assignments until he completed one of the three films on hand. So the annual average of 3 films are within the parameter he set for himself.

It was during the recording the song, Badi Sooni Sooni Hai Zindagi Ye Zindagi  from ‘Mili’ (1975) that SD Burman got paralytic attack and was shifted to Bombay Hospital. Later, RD Burman completed the recording of the song. What an irony! When Kishore Kumar was singing this song for recording, his mentor was in the hospital in deep coma. SD Burman remained in coma for the next 5 months until his end came on October 31, 1975.

Since the article has already become very lengthy, I propose to write a second part of the article covering some other aspects of SD Burman’s Hindi film music on his Remembrance Day on October 31, 2018. There are hundreds of anecdotes in the life of SD Burman – some known and some unknown to me – which makes his musical journey very interesting. While Gulzar called him ‘Prince of Music’, Pandit Hari Prasad Charasia referred him as ‘Sangeet Sant’ (Saint of Music). Kersi Lord, who worked with SD Burman as a drummer and later as an accordionist for a very long time, called him ‘an old man with a young heart’ insofar as his music was concerned. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the santoor player called SD Burman as a wonderful person with child-like innocence.

I will end this article with a statement that SD Burman was a music director who remained at the zenith of his musical career in Hindi film industry since the success of ‘Baazi’ (1951) until his death on October 31, 1975. Even 5 year hiatus with Lata Mangeshkar (1957-62) did not affect his musical career. Some of the films for which SD Burman composed music may have failed at the box office but his music did not fail.

On the occasion of 112th birth anniversary of SD Burman and 99th birth anniversary of Majrooh Sultanpuri, I present one of their creations from ‘Sitaaron Se Aage’ (1958). The film was produced by VL Narasu, a coffee plantation magnate from the South India. The film starred Ashok Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Jagdish Sethi, Johny Walker, Shammi, Iftekhar, Raja Sulochana, Leela Mishra, Manmohan Krishna etc.

The film seems to have jinxed from the very beginning. Gyan Mukherjee was originally assigned to direct the film. He had even completed musical sitting with SD Burman. The film went into shooting floor in 1956. However, Gyan Mukherjee fell ill and was diagnosed with brain tumour. He was also afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. He passed away in November 1956. Ashok Kumar had to rope in Satyen Bose to direct the film (As revealed by late Sachin Bhowmick and quoted in ‘SD Burman – The Prince Musician’ – Anirudh Bhattacharjee & Balaji Vittal (2018).

During the making of the film, SD Burman got into tiff with Lata Mangeshkar on the issue of re-recording of the song, Sainya Kaise Dhaaroon Dheer as he wished to record the song afresh with some changes in the tune. Since Lata was leaving for a foreign trip, she could not give him the date, nor she could commit to give a priority date on her return from the trip. This enraged SD Burman to such an extent that he stopped engaging Lata Mangeshkar as a playback singer for the next 5 years. He got the above-mentioned song recorded in the voice of Asha Bhonsle. But she could not render the song the way S D Burman wanted. So he retained the originally recorded Lata version for the film. The remaining songs which were to be sung by Lata in the films were rendered by Asha Bhonsle (3) and Geeta Dutt (1).

After about 8 years from this incidence, SD Burman got his original wish fulfilled. Lata Mangeshkar recorded a song based on the tune of the song referred to above. The result was the culmination of a new song for the film ‘Guide’ (1965). The song was Mo Se Chhal Kiye Jaaye Dekho Sainya Beimaan. Incidentally, as I checked from the credit titles, Hiralal was one of the choreographers for both ‘Sitaaron Se Aage’ (1958) and ‘Guide’ (1965).

‘Sitaaron se Aage’ (1958) got delayed and finally released sometime in early 1958. The film was a musical extravaganza with Vyjayantimala performing a number of semi-classical dances in the film. A feature of the songs in this film was that  SD Burman used Western scores in a couple of songs like Chanda Ki Chaandni Ka Jaadoo and Mehfil Mein Aaaye Wo Aaj Dheere Se that sounded like waltz music.

So far 7 songs (out of 9 including one multiple version song) from this film have been covered in the Blog. I present the 8th song – ‘Aa Khilte Hain Gul, O Mere Bulbul’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar. The song was written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and picturised on Vyjayantimala as a dance song. The song is not only melodious but rhythmic as well.

[Author’s Note: Some of the information on SD Burman’s early life and early musical career has been sourced from ‘SD Burman – The World of His Music’ by Khagesh Dev Burman (translated from Bengali by SK Ray Chaudhuri), 2013.]

(Video)

(Audio)

Song – Aa Khilte Hain Gul, O Mere Bulbul (Sitaaron Se Aage) (1958) Singer – Lata Mangeshkar, Lyrics – Majrooh Sultanopuri, MD – SD Burman
Chorus

Lyrics

aa khilten hain gul
o mere bulbul
rut hai jawaan
tu hai kahaan
dilruba aa aa aaa
aa khilten hai gul
o mere bulbul
rut hai jawaan
tu hai kahaan
dilruba aa aa aaa
aa khilten hai gul
ho oo mere bulbul
mil jaa gale
kahin ye milan ki 
rut na dhale
mil jaa gale
kahin ye milan ki 
rut na dhale
 
o o o o
o o o o o 
wohi teri raahen
wohi meri aahen
wohi main hoon
wohi dil mera
o
wohi teri raahen
wohi meri aahen
wohi main hoon
wohi dil mera
wohi teri baaten
wohi meri raaten
wohi rang e mehfil mera
rah ke juda
dil na dukha
aa bhi jaa aa aa aaa
aa khilten hain gul
o mere bulbul
jiyara jaley
piya kabhi apne
din thhe bhale
o jiyara jaley
piya kabhi apne
din thhe bhale
rut hai jawaan
tu hai kahaan
dilruba aa aa aaa
aa khilten hain gul
o mere bulbul
 
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aaa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aaa
aa aa aa aa

o o o o
o o o
raah teri takta
gham se sulagta
chaand bechaara kahaan gaya
o raah teri takta
gham se sulagta
chaand bechaara kahaan gaya
tu hi nahi aaya
dhal gaya saaya
yahaan ka taara wahaan gaya
raat dhali
jhoom chali
phir hawaa aa aa aaa
aa khilten hain gul
o mere bulbul
tum na miley
khadi khadi jaloon piya
chanda taley
ho tum na miley
khadi khadi jaloon piya
chanda taley
rut hai jawaan
tu hai kahaan
dilruba aa aa aaa
aa khilten hain gul
o o mere bulbul. . .

———————————————————
Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)
———————————————————

आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ मेरे बुलबुल
रुत है जवां
तू है कहाँ
दिलरुबा आ आ॰॰आs
आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ मेरे बुलबुल
रुत है जवां
तू है कहाँ
दिलरुबा आ आ॰॰आs
आ खिलते हैं गुल
हो ओ मेरे बुलबुल
मिल जा गले
कहीं ये मिलन की
रुत ना ढले
मिल जा गले
कहीं ये मिलन की
रुत ना ढले

ओ ओ ओ ओ
ओ ओ ओ ओ ओ
वही तेरी राहें
वही मेरी आहें
वही मैं हूँ
वही दिल मेरा

वही तेरी राहें
वही मेरी आहें
वही मैं हूँ
वही दिल मेरा
वही तेरी बातें
वही तेरी रातें
वही रंग ए महफिल मेरा
रह के जुदा
दिल ना दुखा
आ भी जा आ॰॰आ॰॰आ
आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ मेरे बुलबुल
जियरा जले
पिया कभी अपने
दिन थे भले
जियरा जले
पिया कभी अपने
दिन थे भले
रुत है जवां
तू है कहाँ
दिलरुबा आ आ॰॰आs
आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ मेरे बुलबुल

आ आ आ आ
आ आ आ आss
आ आ आ आ
आ आ आ आss
आ आ आ आ

ओ ओ ओ ओ
ओ ओ ओ
राह तेरी ताकता
ग़म ये सुलगता
चाँद बेचारा कहाँ गया
ओ राह तेरी ताकता
ग़म ये सुलगता
चाँद बेचारा कहाँ गया
तू ही नहीं आया
ढाल गया साया
यहाँ का तारा वहाँ गया
रात ढली
झूम चली
फिर हवा आ॰॰आ॰॰आs
आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ मेरे बुलबुल
तुम ना मिले
खड़ी खड़ी जलूँ पिया
चंदा तले
हो तुम ना मिले
खड़ी खड़ी जलूँ पिया
चंदा तले
रुत है जवां
तू है कहाँ
दिलरुबा आ आ॰॰आs
आ खिलते हैं गुल
ओ ओ मेरे बुलबुल॰ ॰ ॰

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6 Responses to "Aa Khilte Hain Gul, O Mere Bulbul"

Phew! what a looooog post!! waiting for 31st october and further in-depth knowledge about the legend. Thank you Sadanandji

It seems you have recovered enough to write such a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooog post.
So how about resuming your JOB now?

I went through the article which read like a racy novel. I did not realise when I came to the end. So it was not a long article for me. 🙂

Atul ji,
Thanks for the appreciation.
Personally, I do not like to write articles for more than 1000 words. But this time, I could not edit much. Also when I realised that the article has become unduly lengthy, I thought it better to write a second part of the article for S D Burman’s Remembrance Day on October 31st.

Very engrossing article . After reading this time, I thought I never knew SDB so well, as described by Sadanand ji.
Thanks.
-AD

Arun ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.

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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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