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

Kaise katey rajani ab sajani

Posted on: December 16, 2019

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular 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 :

4168 Post No. : 15342 Movie Count :


Hindi Songs in Bangla Films – 12
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‘Kshudhit Pashan’ (‘The Hungry Stones’ 1960, Bangla film) was based on a short story of the same name by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. It is said that Gurudev wrote this unusual ghost story towards of end of 19th century based on his visit to Ahmedabad where his elder brother, Satyendranath Tagore ICS, was posted as a District Magistrate. At that time, he had stayed in Shahi Mahal Palace built by Shah Jahan in 1620, situated at the banks of river Sabarmati, a part of which was converted in to residential quarters for civil servants by the British Government. Since during the day time, his brother would go for work as a District Magistrate leaving Gurudev alone in large rooms, the palace gave him a feeling of a haunted house. However, in the story, the names of the place and the river were changed.

The film belonged to the ghost/mystery genre which was directed by Tapan Sinha. The main cast included Soumitra Chatterjee, Arundhati Devi (wife of Tapan Sinha), Chhabi Biswas, Radhamohan Bhattacharya, Dilip Roy, Padma Devi etc. The film is available for viewing (albeit in 10 parts) on a video sharing platform with English sub-titles. However, I feel that it is an edited version of the original film to suit the maker of DVD as sometime the story link is broken. The gist of the story of the film is as under:

A tax collector (Soumitra Chatterjee) is posted in a small town where he decides to stay at an old palace constructed during Mughal period. He is warned by his servant, the local post master and others that the palace is haunted and he should avoid staying there. When his servant, Karim Khan was showing him the palace, he hears an unknown voice shouting in Hindi ‘bhaag jaao, bhaag jaao. Ye sab jhoot hai’. Karim Khan says that it was the voice of a mad man who had become the victim of the ghost.

Karim Khan explains as to why this palace has become haunted. About 250 years back, this palace was built by a Nawab for his merry making and leisure. Beautiful girls from Iran, Iraq, Arab and also from all over India were brought here who became the victims of his lust. There used to be musical and dance performances to entertain Nawab. Now the palace has become haunted because of thousands of tortured women’s spirits are moving there. So, whoever stays there in the night became their victim. Even thieves would not venture in the palace after dark. There are as many stories of crime and atrocities as the number of stones used in building the palace. Instead of getting terrified, the tax collector becomes more determine to stay in this haunted palace despite the fact that no servant would stay in the palace during the night.

In the very first night, the tax collector (no name has been given to Soumitra Chatterjee’s role) gets the first-hand experience of the weird sounds of anklets, the musical instruments and a Tarana (sung by Ustad Amir Khan), the kind of dance and music that would have been performed in a court of Nawab. He also gets to see a beautiful noble woman named Mumtaz from the Mughal era (enacted by Arundhati Devi), who turns out to be a ghost from that time. She was one of the victims of Nawab’s lust who had been kidnapped from one of the Arab countries and thus gets separated from her beloved. Eventually she dies without meeting her beloved. The tax collector is attracted by Mumtaz and has conversations with her even though she remains quiet. Now onward, he waits for her every night. She appears but remains quiet without answering his queries. (The reasons could be that either she does not understand the language spoken by the tax collector or she is a ghost). He feels that he was her beloved in his earlier birth. In one of the nights, he witnesses well-choreographed Kathak dance when she appears by his side. But the next moment, she is missing and found watching the dancers in the court and then she vanishes. (This is one of the best kathak dances I have seen in the films. The way the kathak dancer synchronises notes by notes of the Sarod player is mind boggling).

Whether the tax collector is imagining the scenes as per the story told by his servant or he is getting dreams or he is hallucinating is not clear. Probably, Tapan Sinha, the director has left to the imagination of the viewers. But in either case, the tax collector is caught in a time warp where his past and present is divided between nights and days respectively. There is a scene in the film where he tells his post master friend that he feels as if he is living in the Arabian nights.

The tax collector’s confused state of mind makes him ill and he is not able to concentrate on his office work for which he was posted. His servant advises him to shift to to a new place for stay and avoid visiting the palace which he agrees. But the attachment to Mumtaz is so strong that he visits the palace. He is so obsessed with Mumtaz that he takes on rent the Mughal attire to match with that of Mumtaz. His illness becomes severe and he is advised to go back to his home town. The film ends with his servant arranging a horse cart to take him to the railway station.

In the original story by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the English translation of which is available here, there is no end as the narrator of the story to the protagonist, a railway co-passenger waiting for the train to arrive on the platform, suddenly picks up his luggage to join an Englishman in the first class compartment without completing the story.

The cinematic treatment given to the story in the film is interesting. Tapan Sinha has used dream and fantasy to make it interesting for the viewers. He has transformed the original ghost story to a romantic haunted story. There are not many dialogues in the film. Even among the limited dialogues, most of dialogues involving the servant, Karm Khan and with Mumtaz are in Hindi. The highlight of the film is the beautiful background music given by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (who was also the music director for the film). I think, it is for the first time that for creating a haunting atmosphere, solo Sarod recitals by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and the solo Sitar recitals by Pandit Nikhil Banerjee have been effectively used.

The film won a National Award for the second-best feature film in 1960 and an award in the Ireland Cork Festival in 1960. After about 30 years from the release of the film, Gulzar made the Hindi version film ‘Lekin’ (`1991) with his adaptation of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Kshudhita Pashan’.

There are 5 songs in ‘Kshudhita Pashan’ (1960) which have been used as background songs. Three of them in Hindi are rendered by Ustad Amir Khan. All these three classical songs are of different genres and have also been used for the background score which are played on the Sarod/Sitar. ‘dhimta dhimta dhimta’ is rendered as Taraana, ‘piya ke aavan ki’ as Dadra and ‘kaise katey rajani ab sajani’ as Chhota Khayal. Incidentally, Ustad Amir Khan never sang semi-classical genre – Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal etc. in concerts. Nor did he record the song in these genres. The only exceptions were that he sang a ghazal for a Film Division’s documentary film ‘Mirza Ghalib’ and a Dadra in ‘Khudhito Pashan’ (1960).

I am presenting a traditional bandish ‘kaise katey rajani ab sajani’ rendered in Raag Bageshree as Chhota Khayal by Ustad Amir Khan and Pratima Banerjee. On screen, it is a background song when Soumitra Chatterjee (the tax collector) and Arundhati Devi (Mumtaz) meets for the first time in the palace in the night. The rendition gives an aura of the bygone Mughal era court where classical singings, dancing and poetry recitation were common. The bandish is also symbolic for Soumtra Chatterjee for his state of mind as also to Arundhati Devi as the ghost of Mumtaz who had been separated from her beloved. This bandish has been often played in the film as short renditions as well as the background score on musical instruments.

Video Clip (Partial):

Audio Clip:

Song-Kaise kate rajni ab sajni (Kshudhita Pashan)(1960) Singers-Ustad Amir Khan, Pratima Banerjee, MD-Ustaad Ali Akbar Khan

Lyrics(Based on Audio Clip)

aaaaaaaaaaaa aaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa aa
kaise katey rajani
ab sajani
kaise katey rajani
ab sajani
piya bin mose raho na jaaye
kaise katey rajani
ab sajani

ghadi pal chin mohe jug si beetat hai
ghadi pal chin mohe jug si beetat hai
un bin jiya atu hi akulaaye
kaise katey rajani ab sajani
sajani ee ee ee
saja….ni ee ee ee
kaise katey rajani ab sajani
sajani eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
saja… ee ee ee
kaise katey rajani ab sajani
aaaaaaaaa sa…..ja… ee ee ee
kaise katey rajani
kaise katey rajani ab sajani
naina more daras ke pyaase
naina more daras ke pyaase
asha jhute det dilaase
asha jhute det dilaase
mann ka panchhi rowat tarpat
mann ka panchhi rowat tarpat
maanat naahi manaa aa aa aa aa ye
kaise katey rajani ab sajani
kaise katey rajani ee ee ee ee

2 Responses to "Kaise katey rajani ab sajani"

Sadanand Ji,
Thanks for the informative post. I like of your posts on Hindi songs played in Bengali movies, as a concept. The song of the post is also very appealing.


Satish ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.


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