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

Neeli aasmaani chhatri

Posted on: August 26, 2019


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 other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 4056 Post No. : 15188

I am an ardent admirer of Ruskin Bond’s short stories. I do not remember as to when I started bonding with Ruskin Bond’s books. It could be sometime early 1990s when I read his first book titled ‘Beautiful Garhwal – Heaven in Himalayas’ (1988). Surprisingly, this book is not listed under the list of his published books. It is a ‘coffee-table book’ with 15 of his articles on the Garhwal Himalayas – from the village life, rivers, valleys, pilgrimage to trees and flowers, etc. It is an excellent and lavishly printed book in art paper with a lot of illustrations and beautiful pictures. This book was printed for Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVL) as a part of promotion of tourism in the Garhwal Himalayas.

Since then, I had ready many of his short stories which are in my collections of books like ‘Rain in the Mountains – Notes from the Himalaya’ (1993), ‘The Lamp is Lit’ (1998), The Room on the Roof’, ‘The Night Train to Deoli & Other Stories’ etc. Very recently, I have read his latest book ‘The Beauty of All My Days’ – A Memoir ( 2018). A few of his books of short story collections which I have read, seems to have been missing from my collections. Probably, I may have given to some ones to read but they did not return.

Ruskin Bond has spent much of his life at the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas. His last 5 decades have been spent in Landour, a cantonment area of Mussoorie. He has widely travelled in Garhwal Himalayas. Hence, much of his writings is the reflections of the hills and the village life of the Garhwal Himalayas and his nostalgic experiences. His lucid writing style takes the readers to the virtual trip to the Himalayas.

I have been very much influenced by the writings of Ruskin Bond and his nostalgia of the Garhwal Himalayas. Of all the Himalaya treks I have undertaken during the last 35 years, I have done the maximum number of treks in the Garhwal Himalaya. His description of the village life prompted me to prefer home stays in village houses for the overnight stays rather than in the tents whenever I trekked in the Himalayas. I could, therefore, get the first hand experiences of Ruskin Bond’s descriptions of the Garhwal villages and the psyche of the simple villagers.

Recently, I have written an article in the Blog on Gulzar saab on the occasion of his 85th Birthday. When I was going through the profile of Ruskin Bond, I found it interesting to note that there were many similarities in the events in the lives of Ruskin Bond and Gulzar saab. Both were born in 1934, with Gulzar saab being younger by exactly 3 months. Both had a lonely childhood. Gulzar saab lost his mother when he was a child. Ruskin Bond had grown up without the support of his mother as his parents had divorced when he was a child. His mother got remarried and he lived with his father. Circumstances deprived both of them of their fathers’ company when it was most needed. Gulzar saab was sent to Mumbai to stay with his elder step brother, while Ruskin Bond missed his father most of the time because he was in the Royal Air Force and later died from Malaria at an early age.

Both Ruskin Bond and Gulzar Saab developed their writing skills and got their poems/short story published when they were teens. Both got associated with Hindi films albeit with a gap – Gulzar saab in ‘Bandini’ (1963) as a lyricist and Ruskin Bond as a story writer in ‘Junoon’ (1978) based on his novel, ‘A Flight of Pigeons’ (1970s). Both wrote and published a good number of books of children’s literature. Ruskin Bond and Gulzar saab were conferred with Sahitya Akademy Awards in 1992 and 2002 respectively and with Padma Bhushan in 2014 and 2004 respectively.

While the lives of Ruskin Bond and Gulzar saab was moving parallelly, they got merged for the first time when Vishal Bhardwaj decided to make a children’s film in Hindi, ‘The Blue Umbrella’ (Neeli Chhatri, 2005) based on the novella of the same title written by Ruskin Bond. He also wrote screen-play for the film jointly with Vishal Bhardwaj. Gulzar saab got associated with this film as a lyricist.

After a gap of about 5 years, Ruskin Bond and Gulzar saab worked together in Vishal Bhardwaj’s film ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ (2011) which was based on his novel ‘Sussanna’s Seven Husbands’. Ruskin Bond wrote screen-play along with Vishal Bhardwaj and also played a cameo role of a priest in the film. Gulzar saab wrote the lyrics. Collaboration between them for the third film is in the offing. Incidentally, Vishal Bhardwaj has become a neighbour of Ruskin Bond in Landour as revealed by the latter.

As I mentioned earlier, ‘The Blue Umbrella’ (2005) was a children’s film based on Ruskin Bond’s novella by the same name. The film was directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Except for Pankaj Kapoor and Deepak Dobriyal, rest of the actors in the film are unfamiliar to me. The lead actors in the film is Pankaj Kapoor and 10-year girl, Shreya Sharma. The film was critically acclaimed and it got the National Film Award for the best children’s film in 2008. But the film was a box office disaster.

The film is not available for viewing in any video uploading platforms like YT. I saw the movie on Netflix. There are some minor differences in the story outlined in the film from the story in the book. The story in the book is based in some remote village in Garhwal whereas in the film, the story is based on a remote village in Himachal Pradesh. The end in the film also differ from the book which I will discuss later. The story in the film is as under:

In a remote Himalayan village, 10-year old girl, Biniya (Shreya Sharma) stays with her widowed mother and elder brother. The family has a small terraced field and a couple of cows sufficient to take care of their sustenance.

One day when Biniya goes to graze the cows, she comes across a group of Japanese tourists. Biniya’s eyes fall on a beautiful blue umbrella which is lying open on the meadow. She likes the umbrella and wants to have it but she has no means to get it. The lady tourist sees a necklace with a pedant of bear’s claws in Biniya’s neck and she likes it. Despite the bear’s claws being regarded as a lucky charm, Biniya exchanges for the blue umbrella. From now onward, Biniya and her blue umbrella are inseparable.

Most of the people in her village are envious of her blue umbrella as no one in the village possessed such a beautiful umbrella. The village teacher’s wife pesters her husband to get a similar umbrella for her. But the children in the village are full of praise for Biniya’s blue umbrella.

In the village, Nandkishore (Pankaj Kapoor), the owner of the village’s only tea shop, also becomes envious of Biniya’s blue umbrella as she has become the centre of attention in the village. Even tourists coming in buses for going towards a hill station nearby take a tea break for photographing her with blue umbrella.

Nandkishore tries all tricks of attractive offers to make her sell to him the blue umbrella but she refuses to sell. The blue umbrella causes restlessness in the mind of Nandkishore. He must have that blue umbrella. He tries to get one from the nearby town but it is not available. A similar type of umbrella which may be available in Delhi would cost him a lot. He feels that his attraction to the blue umbrella may have to do with his last birth.

One day, Biniya while grazing the cows on a meadow, finds her umbrella missing. She suspects Nandkishore to be the one who stole her blue umbrella. Police searches the Nadkishore’s shop but does not find the umbrella. Humiliated by the police investigation, Nandkishore buys a colourful red umbrella which, he says, he got from Delhi. He now becomes the centre of attraction in the village.

Biniya’s own investigation on her missing blue umbrella continues which takes her to a nearby town where one umbrella was recently dyed. In the meanwhile, with his status in the village gone up due to owning a red umbrella, Nandkishore is invited as a chief guest for a wrestling competition in the village. During the competition, it starts raining and his red umbrella turns blue as red colour on the umbrella get washed out. It becomes clear that Nandkishore had stolen Biniya’s blue umbrella and got it dyed with red colour. The village panchayat held him guilty and pass a judgement that that the entire village should boycott Nandkishore and his shop.

With the boycott, Nandkishore business is almost stopped. He is not even invited for the marriage of the village chief’s son. Barber’s shop refuses him as a customer. Biniya watches all the happenings to Nandkishore. She feels sorry for him. One day, she visits his shop after a long gap to buy biscuits and forgets her umbrella in his shop. When Nandkishore notices this, he runs after her with the umbrella in snowy conditions and returns to her the umbrella. Biniya refuses to accept the umbrella by telling him that it is not her umbrella and walks away. The village boycott of Nandkishore is lifted and his business in the shop returns to normal.

I found the ending in Ruskin Bond’s book more touching than in the film. In the book, after few days of boycott of Nandkishore’s shop, Biniya feels that she is the cause for all the problems Nandkishore has been facing due to boycott. After many days of boycott, she visits his shop to buy toffees. Nandkishore thinks that Biniya has come to his shop to make fun of his situation or she has come with a counterfeit coin to buy toffees. But none of his presumptions comes out true. She buys the toffee but forget her blue umbrella in the shop. Nandkishore runs after her to give her back the umbrella. However, she tells him that she left the umbrella for him.

After few days of this event, Nandkishore calls Biniya while she is passing by his shop. He shows her his newly made locket of bear’s claws with silver chain. She likes it but she says she has no money to buy. Nandkishore says that it does not matter as she has given him her umbrella and he is giving her a locket of bear’s claws. He places the pedant on her and says that it looks very beautiful on her. She is very much pleased as bear’s claws are regarded luckier than leopard’s claws. For Nandkishore, the smile that she gave him upon receiving the pendant was more rewarding than owning the pendant.

Vishal Bhardwaj, the producer-director of the film had said at the time of the release of the film that it was a children’s film with a message to adults. How true it is! Firstly, how an alien thing like an attractive blue umbrella can disturb the peaceful life of a village. Second, the intense desire to possess something can lead to irrational behaviour and its resultant adverse consequences. Third, forgiveness is the key to normalisation of a relationship. In ‘The Blue Umbrella’ Ruskin Bond has shown that there is always a soft corner in the hearts of individuals. In the end, Biniya gives up her possessiveness and Nandkishore shades his greediness. And the village comes back to its peaceful life.

The film has 3 beautiful songs, all written by Gulzar. One of them has been represented on the Blog.

I have selected for presentation the song ‘neeli aasmaani chhatri’ because this is the only song in which the blue umbrella is on display most of the duration of the song. Like Biniya and Nandkishore in the film, I am also tempted to this beautiful blue umbrella, my temptation being limited to watching it to my heart’s content. The song is sung by Upagna Pandya under the music direction of Vishal Bhardwaj.

It is a lovely song with western symphony music used for interludes.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip :

Song-Neeli Aasmaani chhatri (Blue Umbrella)(2005) Singers-Upagna Pandya, unknown female voice, Lyrics-Gulzar, MD-Vishal Bhardwaj

Lyrics(Based on the Audio Clip)

ku ku ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
arre he….ey

(ku ku kudi ku ku )
hey hey
(ku ku kudi ku ku)
neeli aasmaani chhatri
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku,
ku ku kudi ku ku

he…..ey
hey ae
neeli aasmaani chhatri
chhatri ka udan khatola
dole to laage hindola
chhatri ka udan khatola..aa aa
dole to laage hindola
ude kabhi bhaage kabhi
bhaage kabhi daude kabhi
samajh na maane chhatri..ee
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku ku ku
ku ku ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku

ambar ka tukda toda
lakdi ka hattha joda
haath mein apna asmaan hai re
chhatri le ke chalti ho
memon jaisi lagti ho
goron ka dil beimaan hai re
khunti kabhi laathi kabhi
laathi kabhi chhadi kabhi
khunti kabhi laathi kabhi
laathi kabhi chhadi kabhi
paaji shaitaani chhatri..ee

baarish se jo rishta hai
paani pe mann khinchta hai
bijli ko ye pehchaan hai re
shaayad phir ud na jaaye
ambar se jud na chaahe
bholi hai anjaan hai
hai re
doobe kabhi taire kabhi
gote khaati jaaye kabhi
doobe kabhi taire kabhi
gote khaati jaaye kabhi
karein naadaani chhatri..ee
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku
ku ku kudi ku ku

hey ae hey ae
(ku ku kudi ku ku)
hey re
(ku ku kudi ku ku)
neeli asmaani chhatri
chhatri ka udan khatola..aa
dole to laage hindola aa aa
chhatri ka udan khatola..aa aa
dole to laage hindola
ude kabhi bhaage kabhi
bhaage kabhi daude kabhi
samajh na maane chhatri

3 Responses to "Neeli aasmaani chhatri"

audio from times music

Like

Sadanand ji
now a post on a song of Makdee 2002, ……. enjoyed reading your post on Blue Umbrella song………..Thanks

Like

Sadanand ji,

Excellent build-up of the article to the logical posting of the song.

Thanks.

Like

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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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