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

Pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin

Posted on: May 31, 2020

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 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: 4335 Post No.: 15631

The connoisseurs of Hindi film music of the 1960s and 1970s would recall the four melodious songs sung by Geeta Dutt in ‘Uski Kahaani’ (1966) and ‘Anubhav’ (1971). Fans of Gulzar would know that all these four songs have come from his pen. But I will not be surprised if only few of them would remember that all these four songs had been set to music by Kanu Roy. Among these few persons, most of them would not have known his real identity. In his case, it was not only of the confusion of same name but also the confusion with a wrong family tree.

Most of the websites including Wikipedia says that Kanu Roy was an actor and music director who started his acting career in 1940s and switched over to music direction from 1960 onwards. His filmography in IMDb shows him both as an actor and the music director. In some websites, Kanu Roy as a music director has been discussed with the photograph of the actor, Kanu Roy. He is also been wrongly associated with the family of Geeta Dutt as one of her brothers. The facts are:

1. Kanu Roy, the actor and Kanu Roy, the music director were different persons. Kanu Roy, the actor came to Bombay (Mumbai) in early 1940s to join Bombay Talkies. On the basis of Gulzar’s interview which appeared in a ‘Filmfare’ issue of 2012, Kanu Roy, the music director came to Bombay sometime in mid-1950s. (My guess is that he may have come with Basu Bhattacharya who was his close friend).

2. Kanu Roy, the actor was never a music director. Kanu Roy, the music director never acted in films.

3. Kanu Roy, the music director was not a brother of Geeta Dutt. I have seen a photograph of Geeta Dutt’s full family before her marriage. In this photograph, there is no Kanu Roy. The names of Geeta Dutt’s four brothers are Mihir Roy, Ranjit Roy, Mukul Roy and Milan Roy.

With multiple confusion about his name, even the basic profile of the music director, Kanu Roy is difficult to get. I could get some information from Gulzar’s interview published in one of the Filmfare issues of 2012 which is available on . In this interview, Gulzar talked about his association as a lyricist with Kanu Roy which I have summarized below with my marginal inputs.

Kanu Roy had picked up the musical notes from Bengal. He began his career by assisting music director, Salil Choudhury who also had Kanu Ghosh as his Assistant Music Director. It seems Kanu Roy was a Welder by profession and had worked on the upkeeping of the Howrah Bridge. He was an introvert by nature and had in him a mix of timid and humble nature.

Basu Bhattacharya and Kanu Roy were great friends. It was Basu Bhattacharya who gave Kanu Roy his first break as a music director in ‘Uski Kahaani’ (1966) which he produced and directed at shoestring budget. Subsequently, he worked in another five films of Basu Bhattacharya. Because of the low budget films, Basu Bhattacharya would never allow Kanu Roy to have more than 6-8 musicians (as against 50-100 musicians the music directors like Shankar-Jaikishan, Naushad, O P Nayyar etc would have in their orchestra). Also, Kanu Roy would not get the regular shifts in the recording studios for rehearsals of the songs. He had to manage in the early morning hours of the recording studio. He did not have a bargaining power with Basu Bhattacharya to ask for more musicians. (Probably for the same reason, he may not have got the playback singers of his choice). It is remarkable that with these constraints, Kanu Roy could composed melodious songs in Basu Bhattacharya’s films.

Kanu Roy’s career ended with his life on 20/12/1981. He lived in poverty and died in poverty.

During his musical journey from 1966-80, Kanu Roy composed 28 songs in 8 films, of which 6 films were of Basu Bhattacharya. Of the remaining two films, one film ‘Mayuri’ (1970s) remained unreleased. Though his contributions to Hindi film music in terms of numbers were low, many of his melodious songs still linger on. Unfortunately, his name may not ring bell for many who may still enjoy those melodious songs.

Although most of Kanu Roy’s melodious songs have been covered in the Blog, I found one song which I liked for its all-round excellence – lyrics, rendition, melody, composition and the picturization. The song is ‘pahchaan to thhi pahchaana nahi’ from ’Griha Pravesh’ (1979). The song is rendered by Chandrani Mukherjee on the words of Gulzar. Having watched the film, I feel that this song summarises the theme of the film.

Amar (Sanjeev Kumar) and Mansi (Sharmila Tagore) has been married for 10 years with 8-year old boy. During this period, some staleness in their relationship develops. Both are under the illusion that they are in love but in practice, they are just being together under one roof. Now their marriage is in the verge of collapse when Amar develops affairs with his office typist Sapna (Sarika). He is caught in a bind in that while he loves Sapna, in the back of his mind, he is also emotionally attached to his family.

Finally, Amar tells Mansi of his intention to divorce her to marry Sapna. After the initial shock, Mansi agrees for divorce on the condition that he should bring Sapna to the house to meet her. The reason is that Sapna has seen Amar in the office as an Accountant and develop the liking for him in an office environment. But she has not seen him in his house where the environment is different.

Before Sapna visit to her house, Mansi gets her house painted. She undergoes herself to a new make-over. While doing this, the song under discussion plays in the background. Sapna visits her house with Amar. After a brief meeting, Mansi takes Amar aside and tell him that she is ready to leave him for Sapna. After the meeting, Mansi tells Amar to drop Sapna to her house. However, when crossing the road, Sapna walks over to the other side of the road while Amar gets stranded on the opposite side because of a marriage procession on the road. In the midst of the orchestra in the marriage procession playing ‘tu Ganga ki mauj mein Jamuna ki dhara’, both Amar and Sapna take leave by waving hands at each other. The scene is symbolic of conveying the message that Amar has a change of heart. The film ends with Amar returning home having coffee with Mansi and his son with the replaying of the film’s song ‘zindagi phoolon ki nahi, phoolon ki tarah mehkti rahe’.

The lyrics of the song under discussion are simple and convey retrospection on the part of a housewife who forgets to give attention to herself. Instead, much of her time is spent in the kitchen, looking after husband and the child and upkeep of the house. In this milieu, she forgets her own identity.

In keeping with the low budget of the film, Kanu Roy has used only three main musical instruments in this song – Sarod, Sitar and what I believe to be Khol (Bangla Dholak) which one can hear in a low rhythm as the song is rendered. The song starts with a prelude of Sarod and Sitar and the same instruments are used in the interludes of the song. Chandrani Mukherjee, who is the sister-in-law of Bappi Lahiri, has rendered the song with poignant feeling in keeping with the mood of the situation. The Audio clip is longer with the same lyrics because it has the longer prelude music than in the video clip.

This song sums up the story of a housewife in a middle-class society.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin(Grih Pravesh)(1979) Singer-Chandrani Mukherjee, Lyrics-Gulzar, MD-Kanu Roy


pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin
maine apne aap ko jaana nahin
pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin
maine apne aap ko jaana nahin
pehchaan to thhi

jab dhoop barasti hai sar pe to
paanv mein chhaanv khilti hai
main bhool gayi thhi chhaanv agar
milti hai to dhoop mein milti hai
is dhoop aur chhaanv ke khel mein kyun
jeene ka ishaara samjha nahin
pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin
maine apne aap ko jaana nahin
pehchaan to thhi

main jaagi rahi kuchh sapnon mein
aur jaagi huyi bhi soyi rahi
jaane kin bhool bhulaiyya mein kuchh
bhatki rahi kuchh khoyi rahi
jeene ke liye main marti rahi
jeene ka ishaara samjha nahin
pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin
maine apne aap ko jaana nahin
pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin
maine apne aap ko jaana nahin
pehchaan to thhi


17 Responses to "Pehchaan to thhi pehchaana nahin"

Hi SK, I saw this post at about 10AM and before I could post a comment here [about your excellent underlying research on Kanu Roy (double) and your insightful understanding of the story embodied in the song] .. I was called out for Lunch by my wife. So posting this after Lunch! … You may remember my wife too is a great Hindi Films&Songs buff (and grew up in Kolkata 51 to 77). At lunch, I casually asked my wife if she had heard or seen this movie Griha Pravesh… then over next half-hour she told me ten times more stuff about thIs movie!!! .. And added a final note that even Basu Bhattacharya was guilty of similarly (like Amar) treating his own wife!


I had mentioned in my earlier article on Basu Bhattacharya that he seemed to have a ‘split personality’. As a director, he was sympathetic towards the role of a wife in his trilogy of films on marital discord – ‘Anubhav’ (1971), ‘Aavishkar’ (1974) and ‘Griha Pravesh’ (1979). But as a husband, he was exactly opposite.


Yes noted about Basu (my wife too, said same) …. where is your earlier article on Basu? … btw: In Early years (30-40 years back) I was wont to think that Hindi movie plots/stories were uncommon fantasies! … but now, at more mature age, I am beginning to think, they were often realistic (though may be handling rarer or minority situation for interest and appeal).


Sadanand ji, quite a noteworthy point about Basu Bhattacharya :))

Liked by 1 person

Sadanand ji,

I have discussed the different Kanu Roy s in my various posts and this also appears in my book. The real name of Kanu Roy the actor was Nalini Ranjan Roy.


Arun ji,
Even though I have your book with me, I missed to note that you had discussed about Kanu Roy.

I searched for your articles in the Blog but could not lay my hand. In fact, I have now realised that my search itself was based on the wrong selection – Kanu Roy, the music director.


This song was left?
Lovely song, one that I always liked.
And new discovery for me: Chandraji Mukherjee sister-in-law of Bappi Lahiri. Always knew that he was bhanja of the Ganguly brothers


There is another lovely song yet to be covered in the Blog – ‘zindagi phoolon ki nahi phoolon ki tarah mehkti rahe’.


aah!!!! That too? That one has a very unusual tune. And wasn’t it in Bhupinder’s voice?


No, Bappi Lahiri is not the bhanja of Ganguly. His mother was munhboli sister of Kishore Kumar and so Bappi Lahiri was munhbola bhanja of Kishore Kumar. That is all.


Thank you for correcting me


Sadanand Ji,
Nice post on Kanu Roy.
A very melodious song. Dont remember having heard.
Sorry to read about ‘exploitation’ of Kanu Roy by ‘friend’ BB


He is said to have troubled even Sanjeev Kumar in ‘Anubhav’ (1971) and Naseeruddin Shah in ‘Sparsh’ (1980) in regards to payment of their fees.
For ‘Anubhav’ (1971), Gulzar got Rs.200/- per song which was the rate lyricist Pandit Indra used to get in Ranjit Studios in the1940s. Of course, Gulzar did not mind as it was better than writing free for Basu.


Dear Atulji and Shri Kamathji… It was a strange coincidence that we, myself and my wife , intended to see ‘Gruhapravesh’ movie… and same day in the morning we recd.your detailed mail wrt same!…How strange..? Thanks pl. Years ago we saw ‘Anubhav’ at a cinema hall with no idea about subject or music.However, to our pleasant surprise the movie appeared so fresh and heart touching. Later we had 45rpm record of the same movie…. Listened endlessly.Geeta Dutt was put on a break…I know its not good to say about a legendary singer, but after ‘Sahib Bibi Ghulam’ we could hear an all time great Geeta Dutt in Anubhav song. Well…as about Grahapravesh…as you described about a few facts related to Kanu Roy…The music had similar echo of Anubhav.The lyrics by.. Gulzarji..was a masterpiece as the words had meaningful feelings..any sensible person could feel. But the music composition was Repetition if Anubhav..many times! Also the movie had background score…where an instrumental piece of ‘ ‘Meri jaan muze jaan na kaho..’ was heard. Was Kanu Roy the great composer,such a short of anything fresh? Or there also Basuji had his last word? the above comment as an independent view.. Not to criticize the lost artists. Thanks..With warm regards!Dilip~ Smita Pardeshi..PUNE

Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


Thanks Dilip Pardeshi ji,

Basu Bhattachrya was fond of using old film songs either in voice or in instruments as a part of background music wherever required to convey the feelings of the situations in the film. This was not new thing. Music directors like Shankar-Jailishan and Salil Chowdhury have used their own songs as background instrumental music in their films.


working video link:


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