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

Paayal baaj gayi aaj

Posted on: March 6, 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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4249 Post No. : 15469 Movie Count :


Hindi Songs in Bangla Films – 21

Ashapurna Devi (1909-1995) was a Bengali novelist who wrote more than 200 novels, over 2000 short stories and over 50 children’s books during her life time. It is to her credit that she could contribute so much to the Bengali literature despite being born in a very conservative Bengali joint family in which female members of the household were not allowed to attend school. For male members, private teachers were appointed who will teach them in their home. It is during this time, Ashapurna Devi learnt Bengali alphabets albeit clandestinely when her brothers were being taught in the house. She won many coveted literary awards including Jnanpith Award for her novel Prothom Protishruti (The First Promise) in 1976.

Many films have been made based on the novels and stories written by Ashapurna Devi. Some of them are ‘Agni Pariksha’ (Bangla, 1954), ‘Padikkathai Methai’ ( Tamil, 1960), ‘Chhaaya Surya’ (Bangla, 1963), ‘Mavana Magalu’ (Kannada, 1965), ‘Chhoti Si Mulaaqat’ (Hindi, 1967), ‘Baluchari’ (Bangla, 1968), ‘Prothom Protishruti’ (Bangla, 1971) ‘Anindita’ (Bangla, 1972), ‘Chaitali’ (Bangla, 1971 and Hindi, 1975), ‘Tapasya’ (Hindi, 1976), and ‘Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi’ (2008). The list is not exhaustive.

‘Chaitali’ (1971, Bangla film) was one of the films based on a story of the same name by Ashapurna Devi. The film was directed by Sudhir Mukherjee. The main cast included Biswajeet, Tanjua, Basanta Chowdhury, Jahar Ray, Tarun Kumar, Biren Chatterjee, Manmohan etc.

Although a few of Ashapurna Devi’s novels and short stories have been translated in English and published, I could not locate the story of Chaitali on-line. Probably, this story may be a part of the collections of her stories in Bangla only which I cannot read. The film is available on a video sharing platform in three parts without English sub-titles. So, my understanding of the story of the film is based the visuals and some Hindi dialogues given to the characters of Lajjo (Tanuja), Nawab Sahab (Basanta Chowdhury) and Kumar Sahab (Manmohan) in it.

The film starts with Amitabh, (Biswajit), an engineer travelling from his home town on transfer to his new place of work to oversee the construction of new road (The outdoor shooting of the place with hills and the snow-capped mountains appears to be somewhere between Siliguri and Darjeeling). He is taken to the site office and thereafter to his quarters with a caretaker attached to it. On the very first day, Kumar Sahab (Manmohan) who is not only one of the contractors for the road work but also a notorious local bully, visits the quarter to meet Amitabh. He refuses to meet him by saying that he would prefer official meetings in the site office only. This create the first friction between Kumar Sahab and Amitabh.

Lajjo (Tanuja), an orphaned girl from Hindi heartland stays with her tyrannical aunt in the neighborhoods of Amitabh’s quarters. Because, she has no one else to share her feelings, she finds solace in spending time in the house of an old man, Nawab Sahab (Basanta Chowdhury) who is her neighbour. Nawab Sahab is an admirer of Gurudev Rabindra Tagore’s works. He has taken the task of translating some of Tagore’s works in Urdu and Persians. He is also into music.

Lajjo is a milkmaid who supplies milk to Amitabh’s quarters in the morning. There is always some friction between Lajjo and the caretaker over the late supplies of milk or the quality of milk. But Amitabh always take a sympathetic disposition towards Lajjo whenever his caretaker complains against her. Sometime, Lajjo also does household works in the quarters. Over a period of time, Amitabh develops soft corner for her. He starts teaching her Bangla alphabets and conversation in Bangla which she picks up fast. This is not liked by Nawab Sahab and he gives subtle hint to Amitabh. So, now on, he keeps a distance with Lajjo.

Simultaneously, Amitabh has problems with the quality of road work done by Kumar. So, he postpones the payments of his bills for work done until he personally inspects the road. He also orders his staff to bring out old files pertaining to Kumar’s work. This creates panic for Kumar. He engages his henchmen to intercept Amitabh while on an inspection trip in the forest. However, due to heavy rains and landslides, he is not able to visit the place. In the quarters, the caretaker is worried as he thinks that Amitabh is caught in the landslides. After hearing this news, Laajo who has also kept a distance from Amitabh due to Nawab Sahab insistence, runs to search for him. She finds Amitabh safe in a tent. The meeting ignites their love for each other. They return home after the rains have subsided.

Having failed in an attempt to immobilise Amitabh and also to make his old files missing, Kumar plans a conspiracy in which he pays money to Lajjo’s aunt to facilitate her kidnapping. While going to fetch waters from the river, Lajjo gets kidnapped by his henchmen and blames Amitabh for it since both have been last seen together while returning from his inspection duty and both are missing since then. The fact is that Amitabh has gone to his hometown to meet his brother.

When Amitabh returns from home town, police arrests him on charge of kidnapping Lajjo. He is taken to the police station. However, before he is being questioned, Lajjo’s aunt under pressure from Nawab Sahab confesses her role in Lajjo’s kidnapping. She is arrested. Lajjo runs away from the kidnappers and reaches the police station to tell her side of the story. Amitabh is released and Lajjo comes back and visit Nawab Sahab’s house only to find that Kumar and his henchmen have cornered Nawab Sahab. In the scuffle between him and Kumar, Nawab Sahab gets seriously injured from the bullet fired by Kumar. Before, he could recapture Lajjo, police forces get hold of him and he is arrested. Nawab Sahab dies and Lajjo becomes once again an orphan with her aunt in the jail and Nawab Sahab dead. The film ends with Amitabh and Lajjo meeting at the burial ground who would now take care of her.

Many internet sites refer the Hindi version, ‘Chaitali’ (1975) produced under the banner of Bimal Roy Productions, as a remake of the Bangla version of the film. But it is not so. There are subtle differences between the two versions of the film. In Bangla version, the character of the hero is that of an Engineer who is posted on the site office to oversee the road construction work. In the Hindi version, the hero is a professor in the college and stays in a joint family. Secondly, the character of Lajjo (Chaitali) in Bangla version is different than in Hindi version in which she has been shown as a kleptomaniac and she get reformed after working with a loving joint family.

Rinki Bhattacharya, the daughter of Bimal Roy in a very recent interview (February 2020) has revealed that her father had planned the film with a title ‘Sahara’ based on Ashapurna Devi’s short story ‘Chaitali’ and some shots were filmed in early 1966 with Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore. But he fell ill on the set from which he never recovered. After a gap of 8 years, the film was started afresh under the direction of Hrishikesh Mukherjee with the ‘Chaitali’ as the title of the film replacing Sharmila Tagore with Saira Banu. The film did not fare well on the box office.

In keeping with the Hindi speaking role of Chaitali, the Bangla version of the film had 3 Hindi songs out of 8 songs. I am presenting one of the two Lata solos, ‘paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi’ which is written by Anand Bakshi. All the songs (Hindi and Bangla) in the film were set to music by S D Burman. The tune of the song appears to be based on a Nepali folk song to me.

It is interesting to note that after ‘Samar’ (1950, Bangla film), S D Burman had not composed songs in any Bangla films until ‘Chaitali’ (1971) and this film became his last Bangla film as well.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Paayal baaj gayi aaj (Chaitaali)(Bangla)(1971) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Anand Bakshi, MD-S D Burman

Lyrics (Based on Video Clip)

aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aaah
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi

ankhiyon ne to mera bhed chhupaaya aa
ankhiyon ne to mera bhed chhupaaya
honthon pe bhi tera naam na aaya
lekin ye anjaam beimaan
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi

aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aaa
laakh kaha ke tu ye kaam na karna aa
laakh kaha ke tu ye kaam na karna
dekh nigodi badnaam na karna
phir bhi ye anjaan beimaan
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi

pehle se bhi mere haal pe shaque thha
pehle se bhi mere haal pe shaque thha
badli huyi mere chaal pe shaque thha
uspe ye anjaan beimaan
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi
paayal baaj gayi aaj meri laaj gayi
main kaahe ko tere dwaar piya aaj gayi

3 Responses to "Paayal baaj gayi aaj"

hullo Sadanandji
such a melodious song for a very good post.
a lot of thoughts ran through my head as i was reading your post.
1) there is a very little similarity between this bangla movie and the hindi movie of the same name
2) the reminds me of Satyakam. there too the hero is a highly disciplined engineer. the lady is of low class or caste (i think both). there is Manmohan in Satyakam too. but of course the similarity ends there
3) dilip kumar- vyjayanthimala starrer too had a similar starting point- engineer dilip kumar, tribal lady, and Pran the spoke in the wheel


Peevesie’s Mom,
Thanks a lot for refreshing my memory about ‘Satyakam’ (1969). While writing this article, I remembered of a film which also had the hero as a idealistic Engineer and a girl from the lower starta of the society etc. But despite watching this film in my younger days, I could not recall the name of this film.

Now, having watched the film, I agree with you that the similarity with ‘Chaitali’ ends with the three main characters nin both the films. Chiatali on the other hand is a feminist story in which the Enginner hero tries to improve milkmaid girl’s status by imparting her education. But both her gaurdians – Aunt and Nawab Sahab are against this for different reasons. In the event, her status remains the same – that of an orphaned girl. But the end in the film gives a positive impression when both the engineer and milkmaid girl meet at the burial ground and hug each other.

Ashapurna Devi, the story writer has stressed the need for girls’ education which would enhance their status in the society – a sort of her own story of denying her the school education because she was a girl.


Actually Sir, it’s a common misconception among the general audience at large that Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Chaitali and Sudhir Mukherjee’s Chaitali are based on the same story of Ashapurna Debi. The 1971 Bengali Chaitali is based on a story by Gouranga Prasad Basu, while Hrishida’s 1975 Hindi version is based on Ashapoorna Debi’s story. The same is acknowledged in the credits of both the films too. 😊


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