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

Naveli kali khilan ab laagi ban ban mein

Posted on: February 7, 2020

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusaist 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.

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4221 Post No. : 15424 Movie Count :


Hindi songs from Bangla Films – 16
‘Basanta Bahaar’ (1957) was a Bangla film directed by Bikas Roy who also acted in the film. The main cast consisted of Basanta Chowdhury, Sabtri Chatterjee, Pahadi Sanyal, Sunanda Devi, Bikash Roy, Aparna Devi, Asha Devi, Nitish Mukherjee etc. The music was composed by Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh who had in the 1940s also composed songs for two Hindi films, ‘Paraaya Dhan’ (1943) and ‘Muzrim’ (1944).

When I first came to know about this Bangla film, I assumed that this may be a remake of Hindi film ‘Basant Bahaar’ (1956). After watching the Bangla film, I realised that except the common theme of Hindustani classical music, the story of both Hindi and Bangla films are quite different.

In Hindi version of the film, the story is about a rivalry between two singers to become the royal court musician by way of competition. When it became apparent that Bharat Bhushan has the best chance of a winning singer, his rival singer’s father gives him a glass of holy water with some substance which ruins his voice. It is the dancer (Nimmi) who helps him to regain his voice and wins the competition to become the royal court musician.

In Bangla version of the film, after watching the film (unfortunately, the film is not available with English sub-titles), my understanding of the story is that there is a cold war going on between the teacher, Munni Bai (I am not able to recognise the actress) and her disciple Jayanto (Basanta Chowdhury). This cold war is accentuated by the disciple falling in love with Munnibai’s daughter, Lata (Sabitri Chatterjee) who is also her mother’s disciple. The relationship is resented by Munnibai as also from Jayanto’s family because of the different background. Both Jayanto and Lata secretly get married in a temple.

While Lata’s father (Pahadi Sanyal) who is also a sarangi player for Munnibai in her concerts, is sympathetic towards his daughter’s relationship with Jayanto, he is not vocal about his stand in front of Munnibai. As a result, Lata is forced to stay separetely with her parents, In desperation, Jayanto leaves the place and wanders all over India.

In the meanwhile, Munnibai repents and decided to leave for Kashi where she dies. Lata’s father takes care of her musical training as a vocalist. In her maiden public concert, she fumbles her lines to be timely prompted by a person from the audience who is none other than Jayanto. They are united. The film ends with their daughter rehearsing a bandish in Raag Basant Bahar with which both Lata and Jayanto were also trained. They are happy with their daughter’s performance.

Two important features of the film are the use of songs in Hindustani classical music and a part song in Tamil in Carnatic music along with an excellent 5-minute kathak dance performance by Roshan Kumari (daughter of playback singer, Zohrabai Ambalewaali).

‘Basanta Bahaar’ (1957, Bangla film) had 14 songs (including multiple versions) of which 7 were in Hindi (Hindustani classical vocals) in different raags. However, only 9 songs in record versions were issued (7 Bengali songs +2 Hindi songs). Rest of the songs were available on the film’s sound track only.

I am presenting from the film a traditional bandish, ‘naveli kali khilan ab aayi ban ban mein’ in Raag Basant Bahar rendered as a Chhota Khayal by Hirabai Barodekar. The song is picturised on an actress in the role of Munnibai in a Hindustani classical music conference. It has two more version rendered in the film – first by Manik Varma for Sabitri Chatterjee as a solo while she is rehearsing and second by Manik Varma and Pandit A T Kanan as duet providing vocals for Sabitri Chatterjee and Basanta Chowdhury on the screen. The record version of this duet is longer as alaaps, taan, bol-baant and sargam are incorporated. However, the bandish bol (lyrics) are the same for all the four versions. Hence, I have given below lyrics for Hirabai Barodekar version of the song only.

It is interesting to note that all the singers of this Bandish belong to Kirana Gharana or had an influence of this Gharana. Hirabai Barodekar, apart from the daughter of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the doyen of Kirana Gharana has been the disciple of Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan and Suresh Babu Mane, both of Kirana Gharana. Manik Varma (nee Dadarkar) was the disciple of Hirabai Barodekar. Pandit A T Kanan’s style of singing was influenced by Ustad Amir Khan who first adopted the Kirana Gharana style and later improvised it to be called the Indore Gharana.

By the way, I was always wondering for a long time as to how Hirabai started using the surname as ‘Barodekar’. She could have used her mother’s surname ‘Mane’ after separation of her mother from her father, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan in 1922 or her husband’s surname ‘Gandhi’. In this context, I recently came across a trivia mentioned in the book ‘The Lost World of Hindustani Music’ (2006) by Kumar Prasad Mukherjee.

After eloping with Tarabai Mane, the daughter of Sardar Marutirao Mane who was the brother-in-law of the then Maharaja of Baroda, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan never visited Baroda again. After some years, Sayajirao Gaekwad, the Maharaja of Baroda visited Mysore to witness Dussera festival. There, he met Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and enquired about his family. Ustad while asking for His Highness’s forgiveness said that it was his destiny which took him away from the magnanimous patronage of Maharaja of Baroda. He revealed to Maharaja that as part of his gratitude to Baroda, he attached ‘Barodekar’ to the names of all his children.

But only Champu (Hirabai) used the surname ‘Barodekar’ till her last.

Video Clip(Hirabai Barodekar version)

Video Clip(Manik Verma solo version)

Video Clip (Partial)(Manik Verma and Pandit A T Kanan)

Audio Clip (Full)(Manik Verma and Pandit A T Kanan)

Song-Naveli kali khilan ab laagi ban ban mein(Basanta Bahaar)(Bangla)(1957) Singer- Hirabai Barodkar/ Manik Verma/ Manik Verma, Pt A T Kanan, MD-Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh

Lyrics (Based on Hirabai Barodekar version)

aaaa aaa aa aaaa aaa
aa aa aa aaaaaa aaaa
aaa aaa aaa aaaaa aaa
aaa aaa aaa aaaaa aaa
aa aa aaaaa
naveli kali…ee ee ee
naveli kali
khilan ab laagi ban ban mein
madmaati daar daar
baar baar koyal boli
naveli kali
naveli kali……ee ee ee ee
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aaa
aaaaaaaa aaaa
aa aa aa aa aa aaa
aaaaaa aa aaaaaa aa
naveli kali
khilan ab laagi ban ban mein
madmaati daar daar
baar baar koyal boli
naveli kali

aayi bahaar sab ke mann bhaayi
aayi bahaar sab ke mann bhaayi…eeeeee
aa aa aaaaa na aa
aaa aaa aaa aaa aaa aa na
aa ah aa ah ha ha ha ah
aaaaaaaaaa aaaa aaaa aa aa haa
aayi bahaar sab ke mann bhaayi
lagan jagaayi prem badhaayi
lagan jagaayi prem badhaayi
sabhi rang mein kunj gali
aaaaaaaaaaaaa aa
naveli kali
naveli kali
aaa aaa aa aaa aaa aa
naveli kali….ee…eeee
naveli kali
naveli kali
naveli kali

1 Response to "Naveli kali khilan ab laagi ban ban mein"

I can’t resist myself from mentioning the Kannada connection to BASANT BAHAAR, Hindi.
The movie was based on a Kannada novel, Hamsageethe, by ThaRaSu (1952). It was made into a Kannada movie HAMSAGEETHE by G V Aiyar in 1975 ,Anant Nag playing the central role. The movie,content/ quantity wise was far superior to BASANT BAHAAR.
M BalamuraliKrishna composed the music and B V Karanth , the background score. They, jointly, received the Karnataka state Best Music award. Additionally, BalamuraliKrishna received the Best Playback singer National Award.
M L Vasantha Kumari, A Subba Rao, Prof Ramana Moorthy, P Leela, P B Srinivas, B K Sumitra, Shyamala Bhave, Bengaluru Latha were the other singers in this exceptional score.


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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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