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

Naval naveli nyaari hum kunwaari baari

Posted on: April 27, 2019

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 If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of, then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

3935 Post No. : 15009 Movie Count :


Today’s song is from a film called Vachan-38. Films with the same title-Vachan were made in 1938, 1955, 1974 and 1996. Today’s film Vachan was produced by Bombay Talkies.

In the early era of Talkie films, Bombay Talkies had created great curiosity when it was established in the year 1934, mainly for 3 reasons. First reason was that both Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani, a highly educated, foreign returned couple, hailing from prestigious families, was behind Bombay Talkies. Secondly, It was the first ever film company established as a Registered company with Bombay Stock Exchange, with the most respected and very highly placed personalities of Bombay on its Board of Directors. They were Sir F.E.Dinshaw, Sir Chunilal Mehta, Sir Chimanlal Setalwad, Sir Phiroz Sethna, Sir Cawsaji Jehangir and Sir Richard Temple. Thirdly, there was a German Film Director Franz Osten and his team of Technicians consisting of Cinematographer Joseph Wirsching, Set Designer Karl Von Sreti, Sound Recordist Len Hartley and Lab Technician Wilhelm Zolle, to work in Bombay Talkies.

Germany had a very good name in India during the olden days i.e. during the early part of the last century. I remember my Grandfather ( who expired in 1975 at the age of 91 years) always praising Germany for so many things. In India,all things German were considered the Best- even better than the Vilayati or the British things !

Very few people know that Indian Cinema had a little known connection with the rise of Hitler in Germany in 1932-33. A group of men , engaged in Cinema in Germany, flocked to India in the 30’s and played a vital role in Indian Cinema and the arts of that times. After Hitler took over Germany in 1933, the German Cine Studio’s glory days were over and they were turned into Nazi Propaganda Machines !

It was at this time that several of its men left the studio and arrived in India, and contributed to Indian cinema’s formative years.

The foremost among them is Frantz Osten, a German whom Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani met at the UFA when they went to train there (they worked with Lang and Marlene Dietrich). Osten had already been directing films for the couple since 1925, when he made Light of Asia for them from Germany.

In 1934, he came to India and the next year, after Rai founded Bombay Talkies ‘ the legendary film studio in Malad that now lies in ruins ‘ Osten directed its first film.

He went on to direct the famous Devika Rani-Ashok Kumar starrer, Achhyut Kanya, without much knowledge of Hindi. The film, which featured the song “Main ban ke chiriya”, was shot by Joseph Wirsching; the sets were designed by Karl von Spreti and the laboratory was headed by Zolle, Osten’s team of UFA ex-members who worked for Rai’s state-of-the-art studio.

Osten and his fellow Germans directed 16 films for Rai. It was a remarkable feat for people who knew little Hindi ‘ mistaking the word “bulbul” once for a pair of bulls.

“It’s not clear if they had anything to do with the Nazi ideology, either way,” said film historian Amrit Gangar.

“If they did, it did not show in their films. But there were two other people who almost certainly migrated to India because of the persecution of Jews.”

Franz Osten(23-12-1876-2-12-1956) Hindi director, born in Munich as Franz Ostermayer, the elder brother of successful producer Peter Ostermayer. They set up a travelling cinema, Original Physograph (1907) and founded Munchner Kunstfilm (1909) after Osten had been making shorts for Pathé, Gaumont and Eclair. Their first feature: Die Wahrheit (1910). Osten’s début as director: Erna Valeska (1911). War correspondent in 1915. Joined Peter’s company Emelka (later Bavaria Film) in 1918. Made Der Ochsenkrieg (1920) with young cameraman Frank Planer of later Hollywood fame, one of Osten’s several contributions to a budding genre that after WW2 became known as the Heimatfilm. In fact, the Ostermayr/Osten brothers claimed to be the originators of the genre.

When Himansu Rai and Emelka made a deal to produce Prem Sanyas aka Light of Asia, Osten was assigned to direct. Continued directing Rai’s productions, often shooting in India as well as in Europe, in addition to directing for numerous companies in Berlin. Moved with cameraman Josef Wirsching and set designer Karl von Spreti to India to work at Himansu Rai’s Bombay Talkies (1934).
While in Bombay, became a member of the Nazi Party (1936). Interned by the British at the outbreak of WW2 while shooting his last film there, Kangan. Released and allowed to return to Germany (1940). Employed by Bavaria Film until 1945, for casting and setting up its film archive. In addition to Indian films, directed 33 silent features and 10 sound films.

After WW2 became manager of a Bavarian spa. His Indian films, following UFA tradition, were huge Orientalist spectacles with elephants, camels and expansive vistas often shot in deep focus. Effective authorship shared by producer Rai and scenarist Niranjan Pal. Adopted European conventions to introduce main actors, e.g. backlit mid-shots in soft focus gradually becoming more contrasted; also used mobile outdoor shots as in the railway-crossing sequence of Achhut Kanya. Strongly influenced younger Bombay Talkies film-makers Amiya Chakrabarty and Gyan Mukherjee, though they used his techniques for very different purposes.

Filmography-1925: Prem Sanyas, 1928: Shiraz, 1929: Prapancha Pash, 1935: Jawani Ki Hawa, 1936: Achhut Kanya, Janmabhoomi, Jeevan Naiya, Mamata, Miya Bibi, 1937: Izzat, Jeevan Prabhat, Prem Kahani, Savitri, 1938: Bhabhi, Nirmala, Vachan, 1939: Durga, Kangan, Navjeevan .

Film Vachan was a costume drama, first such film for Ashok Kumar. Some actors form an image in our mind. We accepted Ashok kumar as a simple hearted lover boy in early films like Jeevan Naiya, and Achhut kanya etc. Even his shaky songs became popular, because in those days all these social films with a cause were novelties. Most of the 7 films he did with Devika Rani were successful, but this film has to be rated a little on the lower side of the list. I have not seen the film, nor have I got any inkling about its story line, but from the comments in Film India Magazine of those days, it looks like a film of moderate success. It was released on 19-8-1938, at Roxy cinema, Bombay.
The cast of the film consisted of Devika Rani, Ashok kumar, meera, Mumtaz Ali, peethawala, Kamatha Prasad, Maya Devi, Pratima, Balwant Singh etc etc.

The name MEERA is one of those which cause ‘ Same Name Confusion’. Luckily, the other Meera (Mishra) started acting only in 1946, when this Meera was in the last phase of her career. Still many sites, books and writers mix up their filmography. Meera was an Anglo-Indian girl in Hindi films. During the silent film era a lot many European and Anglo-Indian girls acted in films. Few of them continued even after Talkie films started and very few like Sulochana and Sabita Devi etc. became successful even in the films for a considerable time.Some of these girls were, Ruby Meyers-Sulochana, Iris Gasper-Sabita Devi, Susan Soloman-Firoza begum ( not the singer), Effie Hippolet-Indira Devi, Bonnie Bird-Lalita Devi, Esther Abraham-Pramila, Renee Smith- Sita Devi, Berryl Classen-Madhuri, Winnie Stewert-Manorama Senior, Erine Issac Daniels-Manorama Junior, Florence Ezekiel-Nadira, Sophie Abraham-Romilla, Rose Musleah-Rose, Lilian Ezra-Lilian, Mercia Soloman-Vimla, Rachel Sofaer-Arti Devi, Rachel Cohen-Ramola Devi, Patience cooper, Violet Cooper, Ermelin-Sudhabala etc etc.

Meera’s real name was Muriel Alexander. She was born on 10-11-1919. She was from a respectable family. Her father was Superintendent-local Audit in AG’s office.Brother E. Alexander was an All India level cricketer. She passed her Inter science exam from Benaras Hindu University. It was through one Mr. Seal,who was a manager in Adarsh Chitra,she got her first break in film Dhuwandhar-1935. This was the Debut film of Leela Chitnis also. It is not known if she sang any song in that film,as no records are available.
My guess is that,besides acting,she must have sung few songs in that film.

Her name first appears as an actress and singer in film Bhabhi-38,in which she sang 3 solo songs. from 1935 to 1938,she must have sung many songs,but singers names are not mentioned. thus many singers’ credit must have been lost in those years.Same case was with Amirbai karnataki also. After Bhabhi,her name appears in Nirmala-38 and vachan-38 in which she sang 1 solo and 3 duets. She acted and sang songs in films of Ranjit,Prakash and Minerva Movietone films.

As per information available Meera acted in Dolti Naiya-34, Dhuwandhar-35, Bhabhi-38, Vachan-38, Adhoori Kahani-39, Tatar ka chor-40, Paak Daaman-40, Chingari-40, Armaan-42, Meri Duniya-42, Mauj-43, Krishna bhakta Bodana-44, Ji haan-45, Sham Savera-46, Ye hai Duniya-48 and Sansar-51. She only sang in Nirmala-38.

Another interesting name in the cast is Maya Devi. 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. her last film in India was Raaz-49. She got married with a Muslim and then migrated to Pakistan, where she did 19 films and then retired in 1964. Her first film in Pakistan was Phere-1949.She died in Lahore on 1-2-67. She did films in Gujarati and Punjabi also.

Today’s song is a song sung by Devika Rani, Meera, Lalita and Vimla. I do not know who these Lalita and Vimla were. This seems to be a friendly song of 4 of the sahelis, with dialogues in the beginning and the end of the song. With this song, film Vachan-38 makes its debut.

(For this post, I have used information from ” Walter Kaufmann in India 1934-1946″ by Amrit Gangar, The Big Indian Picture- Bombay Talkies-By Ambarish Roy Chaudhari,, with thanks and my notes.)

Song-Naval Naveli Nyaari hum Kunwari baari(Vachan)(1938) Singers-Devika Rani, Miss Meera, Lalita, Vimla, Lyrics – J S Kashyap, MD- Saraswati Devi


abhi aur khelenge
nahin Shama
ab ghar chalna chaahiye
bahut der ho gayi
darti hai
kahin pati mahashay khabar na len
kyun nahin
pati ki dulaari hai na
hum kunwaariyon ko koi fikr nahin
nahin nahin nahin nahin
hazaar baar nahin

Naval Naveli Nyaari
hum Kunwari baari
Naval Naveli Nyaari
hum Kunwari baari
dosh nahin kuchh
hosh nahin kuchh
saral sahaj matwaari
dosh nahin kuchh
hosh nahin kuchh
saral sahaj matwaari
hum Kunwari baari
Naval Naveli Nyaari
hum Kunwari baari

khuli hawa mein nav kali ?? phoolen
khuli hawa mein nav kali ?? phoolen
pawan jhakoron mein madmaati jhoolen
pawan jhakoron mein madmaati jhoolen
tan man apna jeewan apna
tan man apna jeewan apna
ham ban ki chidiyaa
haan tum ??

aur guna bhi
aap ne abhi suna hi suna hai
guna nahin

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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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