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

Bhara Baadar Maah Bhadara, Shunya Mandir Mor

Posted on: June 30, 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 :

4365 Post No. : 15693 Movie Count :


Hindi songs in Bangla Films – 32

During my visits to Jorasanko Thakur Bari (Tagore family residence) in Kolkata and thereafter a full day visit to Shanti Niketan in 2012, I had often come across the name of Kadambari Devi who was supposed to have inspired Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in his literary, musical and artistic pursuits. But at that time, it never occurred to me to know more about Kadambari Devi.

Last Sunday, while browsing one of the OTT platforms, I found a Bangla film ‘Kadambari’ (2015) where I read a two-liner summary of the film that connected me with Kadambari Devi. The film is a biopic on Kadambari Devi who was the wife of Jyotirindranath Tagore, the elder brother of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The story of Kadambari Devi is a tragic one which is, in my view, is not less than Shakespearean tragedies. Let me first briefly discuss her biography before I set out her story as depicted in the film.

Kadambari Devi (1859-1884) was a daughter of an employee of Jorasanko Thakur Bari who was married to 21-year old Jyotindranath Tagore on July 5, 1868 when she was 9. In Thakur Bari, 7-year old Rabindranath Tagore, the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, became Kadambari’s playmate as no other family members in the Tagore family were of their age group. Her husband was a multi-talented person interested in literature, music, theatre, painting, publications besides the family business. He made arrangements for home education of Kadambari Devi as also  for training in horse riding etc.

After the death of Rabindranath’s mother, Kadambari Devi’s childhood relationship with him was turned from playmate to that of a surrogate mother. The next relationship between Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath in their adulthood became more like platonic love. Everyday, Rabindranath would write poems which he would first recite to Kadambari Devi who would give her critical assessments. Gradually, an intellectual relationship developed between Rabindranath and Kadambari Devi.

The close relationship between Rabindranath and Kadambari Devi during their adulthoods were not liked by the elder family members. So, at the age of 17, Rabindranath was sent to England for further studies. During his short stay in England, he used to write letters to Kadambari Devi discussing about poems and literature and how he was missing her in his literary pursuit. He returned to India without completing his studies and once again their literary companionship started. Rabindranath got his letters to Kadambari Devi published in one of the Bengali magazines. Though these letters were high in their literary contents, the elders in the family read in-between the lines as to whom the emotions expressed in the letters were meant. Elders in the family were afraid that scandal could break out tarnishing the image of the family. So, they decided to get Rabindranath married at the age of 21 with a bride of 11 years who was named as Mrinalini Devi.

After the marriage of Rabindranath, the distance between Kadambari Devi and him widened. On the other hand, Jyotirindranath’s busy schedule with his businesses and other activities made her lonely. After about 4 months of Rabindranath marriage, Kadambari Devi committed suicide by taking an overdose of opium on April 21, 1884 at a young age of 25 years. There was no clue left as to why Kadambari Devi committed suicide.

The story of Kadambari Devi has all the ingredients of making a social drama film. The first Bengali film on this story was made by Satyajit Ray titled ‘Charulata’ (1971) which was based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali novella ‘Nashtanirh’ (Broken Nest). Scholars believe that this novella may have been based on the relationship between Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore himself which was published in 1901. The second film, ‘Chhelebela’ (2002) was made which was based on the Rabindranath Tagore’s novella of the same name which meant ‘My Boyhood Days’. Thereafter, two more films – ‘Chirosakhe He’ (2007) and ‘Jeewan Smriti’ (2011) were made in Bengali.

‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the latest Bangla film which is more like a biopic of Kadambari Devi.  The film is directed by Suman Ghosh. The film is based on the Bengali novel ‘Prothomo Alo’ by Sunil Gangopadhyay, ‘Kobir Bouthan’ by Mullika Sengupta and various writings of Rabindranath Tagore. The cast includes Konkana Sen Sharma (Kadambari Devi), Parambrata Chattopadhyay (Rabindranath Tagore), Kaushik Sen (Jyotirindranath Tagore), Sanjoy Nag (Debendranath Tagore), Titas Bhowmik, Srikanto Acharya, Srilekha Mitra etc.

Though the film is a biopic of Kadambari Devi, the director has taken some cinematic liberties in dramatizing some events in the life of the three main characters in the film. The story of Kadambari Devi in the film is as under:

The film starts with the suicide of Kadambari Devi in her bedroom with an overdose of opium. The patriarch of the Tagore family, Debendranath Tagore instructs all in the house not to leak the news of the suicide to outsiders as it is the question of reputation of the family. All the subsequent scenes in the film are shown as flashbacks of Kadambari Devi until her death like  her marriage to Jyotirendranath, Rabindranath as her childhood playmate etc. She feels lonely in the big house as she is the child and the other members of the household are adults. Same is true of Rabindranath as he is the youngest of the Tagore family (7 years). So naturally, both the loners find their relationship as  playmates rewarding.

After the death of Rabindranath’s mother, Kadambari Devi is assigned the duty of looking after him. She would supervise his meals after his return from school. She has become an expert cook and prepares delicious dishes for Rabindranath who, for the first time, feels that the food tastes better than those churned out by the cooks at Thakur Bari.

During the adulthood, Kadambari Devi becomes his literary companion. Rabindranath would recite his new poems first to her to get her feedback which, most of the time, would be adverse. At one point, she says to him that Banckhim Chandra Chattopadhyay writes better than him just to prop him up. There are literary soirees on the terrace of Thakur Bari in the night when there would be poetry recitations, music and singing when all the members of Tagore family would participate. Both of them bond well in all the stages of their relationship in which Rabindranath always addresses Kadambari Devi as ‘bouthan’ (sister-in-law). She is Rabindranath’s total support system all through her life.

The close relationships between Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath in their adulthood is resented by the elder women of the Tagore family. They instigate Debendranath (his father) to send him for study in England. He goes but returns quickly as he develops some illness. Then there are back-biting from the elder women of the family for Kadambari being issueless. She has ‘adopted’ her sister-in-law’s daughter, Urmila who dies in a freak accident in the house and the blame for her death falls on Kadambari Devi for her momentary neglect.

The elder women get upset when they come to know that Rabindranath has published his poems in a magazine which indirectly hint at his admiration for Kadambari Devi. So, the elders decide to get Rabindranath married to Mrilanali Devi. With this, Kadambari Devi has become once again a lonely lady already neglected by her elders in the family and her husband who, as usual, is busy with his businesses and theatre. There is also a hint in the film that Jyotirindranath is having affairs with an actress of one of his plays. With the death of Urmila, Kadambari Devi has gone into depression.

The triggering point for Kadambari Devi’s suicide is when her husband failed to turn up to pick her up from the Thakur Bari for the launching of his new ship at the port.  Even though, her husband has sent a horse cart to pick her up, she refuses to go as she has accidentally found a letter addressed to him by one of the actresses of his play informing him of his child taking shape in her womb. The film ends with Kadambari Devi drinking a liquid from a bottle and goes to sleep never to wake up.

‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the director’s film. He has full control over the main actors and also the fast-paced story telling. All the three main actors – Konkana Sen Sharma, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Kaushik Sen have given the excellent performances of their roles. Despite a serious subject, there is not a single dull moment in the film. The film has been mostly shot in the houses of the Tagore family and estate lending the authentic period atmosphere.

It sounds strange as to why Debendranath Tagore who is regarded as a social and religious reformer and also an advocate of the girls’ education, got his sons, Jyotirindranath and Rabindranath married to child girls with wide age differences. Also, there is a hint in the film of the patriarchal family system where women have no voice in decision making in the Tagore family. There are dialogues in the film to that effect.

There are speculations in the literary circles as to what kind of relationship Rabindranath Tagore had with Kadambari Devi. Whether their love which was of an innocent and affectionate nature in their childhood had turned into an amorous one in their adulthood. It is difficult to get an answer. It is said that soon after the death of Kadambari Devi, the letters exchanged between Kadamabari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore were destroyed except those which were already published in a magazine. Probably, their relationship was  for companionship and the emotional solace. So, let their love remain as love without assigning any qualifier to it. That’s what Gulzar has said in one of his film songs – “Pyaar Ko Pyaar Hi Rehne Do Koi Naam Na Do.

Since ‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the story on the relationship between Rabindranath Tagore and Kadambari Devi, it is not surprising that almost all of the songs are based on Rabindra Sangeet. There is one song which was written by Maithili poet, Vidyapati which finds place in the film. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore liked this song so much that he set the song to the tune while reciting it in the company of Kadambari Devi. The song is “Bhara Baadar Maah Bhaadar, Shunya Mandir Mor’ – In the month of Bhadra, clouds are full of rains. but my mind is an empty shrine.

In the film, the situation is that after return from Tripura, Rabindranath meets Kadambari Devi in the garden of their estate on the banks of River Ganga. It has started raining and Rabindranath recites these verses of Vidyapati with impromptu tune composed by him.

The song is rendered by Ustad Rashid Khan on the tune set by Rabindranath Tagore. The orchestration of the song is conducted by Bickram Ghosh.

By the way, Aparna Sen also used these Vidyapati’s verses in her Bangla film, ‘Ghawre Bairey Alo’ (2019) in a different situation in the film.



Song – Bhara Baadar Maah Bhadara, Shunya Mandir Mor (Kadambari) (2015) Singer – Ustad Rashid Khan, Lyrics – Vidyapati, MD – Rabindranath Tagore (Orchestration by Bickram Ghosh)


bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
he ae ae ae aa
he ae ae ae ae
sa re  ae ae ae
ra ra ra ru ru
aa aa aaa
aaa aa aaa aaa aaa
ra ma…
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
jharjha ghan garjanti santati
bhuwan bhari barikhintiyaa
kaant paahun birah daarun
saghane khar shar hantiaa
kulisha shat shat paat modit
mayur naachat maatiaa aa
mayur naachat
mayur naachat
mayur naachat maatiyaa aa
matta daaduri daake daahuki
phaati yaawat chhatiyaa
timir dig bhari ghor yaamini
akhir bijurika paanthiyaa
Vidyapati kah kaiche gonaaibi
Hari vine din raatiaan aa
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo….r
bhara baadar

2 Responses to "Bhara Baadar Maah Bhadara, Shunya Mandir Mor"

Sadanand Ji, thanks for introducing this biopic. I had not known about Kadambari Devi. The song of the post is pleasing


Satish ji,
I am glad you like the song.


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