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

Paalna mero munwa jhoole

Posted on: December 5, 2018


This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, 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 : 3792 Post No. : 14776

I was very fond of seeing movies and listening to the songs since childhood.Those days,children were not allowed to see films,unlike today. If at all a film is to be seen,the children had to go with their mother,aunt, grandmother or some such female relative and the film would invariably be something like Ram Ravan Yudh or Bakasur ki Maut.

Hyderabad state,where I spent my early years was ruled by a Muslim king-The Nizam(Ala Hazarat).There were some social customs,like Burkha,which reflected in the social lives of the citizen.

For example, in almost every theatre,there used to be a special class-“Zanana Class”.It was made out of the half of the Balcony class with a wall partition between them.The frontal portion facing the screen had a thick curtain,which was removed after the film started and covered again after the film ended,thus protecting the women spectators from the prying eyes of the public.

Same procedure was for Interval period also.Only women and small children were allowed in this subsidised class.A special ‘Curtain Mover’ used to be the in charge of this and the Zanana Class.

Usually a She -Male or a He -Female (don’t know which) was appointed for women’s safety.This type of arrangement was also available in other Muslim states like,Junagarh,Bhawalpur,Lucknow,Bhopal etc.Women used to make lot of noise and at times there were big quarrels,when the films were stopped,curtain moved, peace restored and the films were restarted.

I was lucky to start seeing films independently from the end of 40s. Usually,it was from the school directly. Every Friday to Sunday,there used to be a Morning show from 11 am. In this,the tickets were almost half rates, like 4 annas, 6 annas, 12 annas etc. Thus I was able to see many films of 30s and 40s, till about 1955-56 or so.

Once I went to college, then took up the job and other priorities of life,I saw less films,but never missing an opportunity to see older films and making notes. From 1980 onwards, I stopped seeing films, and when I retired in 1998, I dug out my old collections. I have not visited a theatre after 1980 and yet to see how a Multiplex looks like. I saw few films on TV and players.

In the initial era of Talkie films, Calcutta’s New Theatres and Poona’s Prabhat were the most well known film makers. They used to make films on social issues. Particularly, Prabhat was famous for keeping their films centred on the Reform themes like,Dowry, Child Marriage, Second Marriage, Cast difference etc.From the mid 30s one more company came into limelight and that was Bombay Talkies- founded by Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani. They also followed the trend and films on social issues like Untouchability, illiteracy etc were made. Today’s song is from a film made by Bombay Talkies- Jeewan Prabhat-37.

This was also a film dealing with Caste differences and second marriage. In this film,however, it was shown that the Caste difference stayed and the proposed second marriage got cancelled. I would say, it was quite a realistic depiction of the Indian mindset, because even after hundreds of years, the caste differences exist today, while the other social ills like child marriage, dowry, illiteracy etc are controlled to a greater extent. It would not be wrong to say that as long as the Reservation Policies exist, caste differences will continue to exist-with official support !

Film Jeewan Prabhat-37 was directed by the German Director Franz Osten. The Music Director was Saraswati Devi and lyrics and dialogues were by J.S.Casshyap. The screen play was by Niranjan Pal- Himanshu Rai’s friend since their London days. Kishor Sahu and Renuka Devi made their Debut in this film. Others in the cast were Mumtaz Ali,Prithwiraj kapoor, Maya Devi and M.Nazeer etc etc. The film was released on 2-11-1937 at Minerva Talkies in Bombay. Baburao Patel of Film India, in its December 1937 issue had not much good about this film. He, in fact, criticised both the Debutantes, for their acting calling them as ‘ disappointments ‘. However, the film did good business and ran for 17 weeks in Bombay.

Unlike Prabhat or New Theatres, Bombay Talkies produced their films in quick time. This film-Jeewan prabhat- was made in just 2 months. Their most popular film Achhut kanya-36 was made in 6 months. This was possible due to self sufficient facilities, good planning, modern equipment and total involvement of the staff. Franz Osten’s speed and his planning was such that in the span of just 4 years, Franz directed 16 films for Bombay Talkies !

The Debut making actress Renuka Devi was one of a kind. I am not only surprised,but awed and terribly impressed,when I went through her Autobiography ” A woman of substance-Begum Khursheed Mirza “.

Begum Khursheed Mirza is none other than the famous Heroine of the 30s and 40s-Renuka Devi ( 4-3-1918 to 8-2-1989 ). She was perhaps one of the most educated, upper class, sophisticated and highly cultured Muslim lady, who ever joined the film industry then. One more striking feature of Renuka Devi was that she was one of the very few actresses,who joined the films after their marriage. The other such examples I remember offhand is that of Meenakshi Shirodkar (Bramhachari-38 fame), Shobhana Samarth and actress Neena ( real name Shahida-wife of Mohsin Abdulla, brother of Renuka Devi and later wife of W.Z.Ahmed) in those times.

Renuka Devi had studied upto Masters degree in English Literature,from Aligarh Muslim University. The only other nearest example I remember offhand is that of actress Vanmala (real name Susheela Devi Pawar), who had done B.A and B.T. and was a Teacher in the college before joining films,at the behest of writer,journalist and Director P.K.Atre.

The story of Renuka Devi is quite interesting. Khursheed Jehan was born in Aligarh on 4-3-1918, to Shaikh Abdulla and his wife Waheed Jehan Beg. She was the 6th of the 7 siblings. Her father Shaikh Abdulla (1874-1965) was originally a Hindu. He was the son of a rich Jahagirdar and Landlord from Poonch,Kashmir. They were Kashmiri Brahmins. His name was Thakur Das. He embraced Islam in 1890, while studying in Aligarh. When his family learnt about it, he was disowned by them. He took the name Shaikh Abdulla.

He became a leading Advocate of Aligarh. After he married Waheed Jehan Beg,they both- being of progressive thinking- decided to work for the Muslim women’s education. They faced lot of resistance from the fundamentalists,but they established a Muslim women’s college in Aligarh. To provide students for this college,a school was also started for Muslim girls. soon the girls started joining the school and college. Shaikh Abdulla ensured that all his children were educated. One daughter became a Doctor,another Advocate and two daughters did master’s degrees and later on became Principals of the women’s college. Khursheed also studied upto masters but due to her marriage could not complete it. ( she completed her Masters in English Litterateur in 1963,at the age of 45 years,later).
Khursheed Jehan was married to Akbar Mirza,a Police Officer in Aligarh. Soon she gave birth to 2 sons also.

Her brother Mohsin Abdulla was working in Bombay Talkies,at Bombay. He used to describe how professional these studios were. Khursheed was 21 year old and beautiful. She desired to work in films. She wrote a letter to Devika Rani expressing her desire. This she did, without informing her husband. She received a letter from Devika Rani, inviting her to Bombay for an interview. Now she confided in her husband and he wholeheartedly supported her.

Thus started her acting career. She was 21 years,married and had 2 children too. Her first film was ‘ Jeewan Prabhat”-37. She was given the name RENUKA DEVI. This was a Debut film for Kishore Sahu. Bombay Talkies bosses were very happy with her performance and she was offered a Heroine’s role opposite Jairaj in film ” Bhabhi”-1939. Jairaj was also from a rich background,cultured and highly educated. Their tuning was excellent and the film was a grand success. Renuka also sang few songs in Bhabhi-39. ( when the news of her acting in films reached Aligarh,there was a hue and cry. Her mother wrote to Renuka,’not to visit Aligarh for now’. Renuka did not go to Aligarh for next 2 years).

She was invited to Calcutta By New Theatres to act in film, Badi Didi-39. Her other films were Naya Sansar-41 (Ashok kumar), Sahara-43 (S D Narang), Ghulami-45 ( Masood Parvez) and Samrat Chandragupta-45 ( Ishwarlal ). her film career was very short. She announced her retirement from films in February 1944,while shooting for her last films. She did only 7 films and sang only 3 songs in 3 films.

After partition,her family migrated to Pakistan. In Pakistan,though in demand,she refused to do any films. Instead,she decided to devote her time for women’s uplift,education,welfare and social work. She also did some work on Pakistan Radio.

When TV came to Pakistan,she became very active and for next 15-20 years she was a popular figure on Pak TV. In 1963,she completed her Master’s degree,at the age of 45 years. From August 1982 to April 1983,she published 9 instalments of her autobiography in the popular magazine ” Herald ” as ” The uprooted sapling”. This was,later on,edited and published as a Book, ” A woman of substance- the memoirs of Begum Khursheed Mirza “, by her daughter Lubna,in 2004. Renuka Devi died on 8-2-1989 at Lahore after a prolonged illness.

In her book she included a chapter of 24 pages ” Renuka Devi-my celluloid identity”,in which she has described many interesting anecdotes. her detailed description of the times of the 30s and 40s is a lovely chronicle of history of Bombay film industry. here are some excerpts from her book, for you…

1) Back in the Thirties, acting in films was not considered an honourable profession for anybody. And for a married woman from a well-educated and respectable upper-middle class Muslim family, it was forbidden to even think about it. But Khurshid Mirza, the daughter of the founders of the Aligarh Women’s College, the wife of a police officer and already a mother of two, was too free-spirited to be tied down by any social norm. I took the plunge and soon a star named Renuka Devi was born.

2) In 1939, Shanta Apte wrote that she received four or five letters each day from young girls wanting to join the movies “due perhaps to this monetary attraction”. Actresses themselves acknowledged in interviews that the money was substantial and more than one actress claimed that her salary rivalled that of the Governor of Bombay! But aside from several myth-building exercises, it is now apparent that film acting was a uniquely high-paying profession for women. According to Filmindia, Shobhana Samarth’s approximate total income in 1942 was Rs 36,000 while Sardar Akhtar, Naseem Banu, and Madhuri earned about Rs 30,000 each. These figures indicate that leading heroines of the day averaged an income of Rs 3,000-4,000 per month (some actresses were freelancers and did not work through the year), at a time when a French chiffon sari cost Rs 9, and a brand new imported Studebaker cost Rs 6,000. It is hardly surprising then, that I would want to make “a little dough”.

3) Akbar stood by me in the face of stiff opposition from both our families. Nevertheless, he maintained a strange attitude towards my work. He enjoyed the benefits the money brought us, such as a new car, expensive game-hunts, and pleasure trips to fashionable Mussoorie in summer and excellent schooling for our children. And, yet, he treated my work as a hobby, instead of giving it its due importance.

( My thanks to the book,”A woman of substance “, some information from ” Free Library”,Cineplot and my own notes).

One more name Maya Devi may be new to readers. Maya Devi was from Bombay and started her career from silent films in 1928 with Anarkali by imperial. Her first Talkie film was Kunwari ya widhva-35. Her real name was Leela. She became a favourite of Bombay Talkies and she did 6 films with them in 37 and 38. In all she did 5 silent films and 31 Talkie films till 1949. She got married with a Muslim and then migrated to Pakistan, where she did 19 films and then retired in 1964. She died in Lahore on 1-2-67. She did films in Gujarati and Punjabi also.( info from pakfilms.com).

The story of film Jeewan Prabhat-37 was……..

In this film Uma (Devika Rani) is born in a high caste Brahmin family,but falls in love with a boy of Kumhar caste(Potters).Her love with Ramu (Kishore Sahu) leads them nowhere as there is a great opposition to this from all sides. They realise that their love will lead them nowhere. Finally Uma is married off to Nandlal (Prithviraj kapoor), a Brahmin boy and Ramu accepts the reality.

The marriage makes the potters very happy too. Later it is rumoured that Nandlal is about to marry Padma (Chandraprabha),because Uma is a ‘ baanjh’ (infertile). Ramu meets Uma and their meeting is seen by Nandlal. He sends Uma back to her parents. Few days later, Uma discovers that she is pregnant,but Nandlal doubts her fidelity. At the end Padma, herself understands how much Uma loves Nandlal. She withdraws from the proposed marriage. Not only this,she also convinces Nandlal about Uma’s purity.

Finally, Nandlal and Uma begin a new life a new Jeevan Prabhat.


Song-Paalna mero munwa jhoole (Jeewan Prabhat)(1937) Singer-Chorus, Lyrics-J S Kashyap, MD-Saraswati Devi

Lyrics

bado bado ?? jhoola
dole it ut ??
bado bado ?? jhoola
dole it ut ??

baat banaawe bhori bhori
baat banaawe bhori bhori
bhookh lage par daudo aawe
kare ??
bhookh lage par daudo aawe
kare ??

ma ma
oti de
ma ma
dudhu de
ma daudo aawe doodh pilaawe
ma daudo aawe doodh pilaawe
paalna mero munwa jhoole
paalna mero lalna jhoole
paalna mero munna jhoole
paalna

?? ghar mein aawe
maatha peete
daud lagaawe
?? ghar mein aawe
maatha peete
daud lagaawe

arre kinne maara
baabu
babuwa kaun laaya
baabu
doodu kaun pilaaya
amma
paala kiska beta
amma

mere maara raajdulaara
amma amma karta pyaara
mere maara raajdulaara
amma amma karta pyaara
laalna mero jhulwa jhoole
paalna mero lalna jhoole
paalna mero munwa jhoole
paalna

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6 Responses to "Paalna mero munwa jhoole"

There have been so many artistes in Hindi film world since inception.
It is treat to read factual details. Thanks for painstaking work.

Thanks for your kind words.

This is the second part of the song. Link for the first part of the song:

This seems to be a single song of more than 6 minutes duration. Hence it is in two parts on the gramophone records.

Most online sources and the uploader (Shalin Bhatt) have identified the singer as Saraswati Devi & Chorus. I feel that there is one more female voice in the song..

Thanks.

Arun ji ,
Both the stories are very very interesting
—- the life story of Renuka Devi nd the story of ” Jeevan Prabhat ” .

Yes.
Renuka’s life story is simply extraordinary.
-AD

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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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