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

Jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

Posted on: July 16, 2021


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 atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

4746 Post No. : 16473

Sixty-five years have passed since ‘Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje’ (1955) -JJPB for short – was released. I had seen the film in a theatre in South Mumbai either in 1955 or 1956 (this film had run for nearly 2 years in a single theatre in Mumbai). But I had no recollection of much of the film. It was only after I watched some parts of the film on the video sharing platforms over a period of time, I could connect some scenes from the film I saw in my childhood. The film still evokes interest of the cinema lovers especially of those who relish the classical dance/music.

I am now in a better position the appreciate a bold and somewhat adventurous decision Shantaram took to produce and direct JJPB with the classical dance as a theme. If not handled properly, the theme could have turned the film into a documentary rather than a feature film. It was a high budget film in a technicolour extravaganza. Shantaram’s bold and daring decision to make JJPB has be admired in the backdrop of the following handicaps he faced:

(1) The successive failures at the box office of ‘Surang’ (1953) and ‘Subah Ka Taara’ (1954), both directed by V Shantaram had already put a financial strain on his banner, Rajkamal Kala Mandir. Under the circumstances, producing a film with a classical dance theme which Shantaram had never handled in the past, that too in technicolour was fraught with a huge financial risk.

(2) There were examples in the 1940s when Sagar Movietone made ‘Kumkum The Dancer’ (1940) and Wadia Movietone made ‘Court Dancer/Raj Nartaki’ (1941) with classical dance theme. The results were not encouraging. Both these films failed at the box office putting the financial strains on the respective banners. Eventually, Sagar Movietone had to be merged with National Studio and Wadia Movietone got split between Wadia Brothers and the Wadia Studio was sold to V Shantaram.

(3) It was a high budget film but the lead actors in the film were non-stars – a handicap for the box office collections. The lead actor, Gopi Krishna was just emerging as a choreographer in a couple of films while the lead actress, Sandhya had acted in two Hindi films prior to getting the lead role of a dancer in JJPB. Moreover, she was not a trained classical dancer like Vyjayantimala who had already became a star actor-dancer and had the capacity to attract the crowd in the theatres much higher than that of Sandhya.

Despite these handicaps, going ahead with JJPB showed the confidence level of Shantaram as a director and a master craftsman of the cinema medium. Probably, Shantaram may have felt that with his technicolour film, he was in a better postion to present the classical dance theme than what Sagar Movietone and Wadia Movietone had made in 1940-41. He put Sandhya under Gopikrishna for the intensive dance training for over a year which included training during the shooting of the film as well.

Shantaram was very successful in winning over the audience who had rejected his previous two films. He made the Indian classical dances visually appealing to the audience by presenting them in a hybrid choreography, coupled with the lavish settings. The visuals in Technicolour appealed to the audience. The film became Shantaram’s most successful films on the box office front. More than the commercial success of the film, it was personal satisfaction for Shantaram as a producer-director when JJPB won the National Award and the Filmfare Award for the Best Film for 1955.

Since JJPB was all about Indian classical dances, it was apparent that the songs need to be based on the Hindustani classical music. It is said that some well-wishers of Shantaram including Vasant Desai had suggested him to entrust the music direction of the film to Naushad who had emerged as a star music director in the classical genre after the phenomenal success of his songs in ‘Baiju Bawra’ (1952). But Shantaram entrusted the music direction to Vasant Desai. It is interesting to note that after ‘Dahej’ (1950), as a music director, Vasant Desai was not associated with Shantaram’s subsequent films, ‘Parchhaain’ (1952), ‘Surang’ (1953), ‘Teen Batti Chaar Raasta’ (1953) and ‘Subah Ka Taara’ (1954).

In his zeal to prove the confidence reposed on him by his mentor, Vasant Desai travelled all over India to pick up the best musicians for his music team for JJPB. In Jammu, he picked up Shiv Kumar Sharma, an upcoming Santoor player who was still in his teen at that time. From Banaras, he picked up Pandit Samta Prasad, the renowned Tabla player. Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan of Indore played sitar for Vasant Desai. In JJPB, Santoor as a musical instrument was used for the first time which later became a part of many Hindi film songs and background music.

After almost all the songs had been recorded, Vasant Desai had composed the title song in raga ‘Darbari’ for which he persuaded Ustad Amir Khan to sing. Ustad Amir Khan arrived at the recording studio for the final rehearsal and recording. At the last moment, Vasant Desai felt that he should get consent of Shantaram before the recording. So, he invited him to the recording studio to listen to the final rehearsal. Upon listening to the rehearsal, Shantaram was unhappy. He called Vasant Desai to an adjoining room and advised him to cancel the recording and suggested to either change the tune or the singer or both. Somehow Vasant Desai, on some pretext, persuaded Ustad Amir Khan to come for the recording the next day.

A nervous Vasant Desai reached home and sat down quietly. He did not know what was wrong with the composition and could not sleep that night. Early morning, it dawned to him that all the dances in the film had very fast tempo and rhythm whereas his tune was in very slow tempo and so were the aalaaps. Vasant Desai composed the same song in Raga Adana in very fast tempo and aalaaps. He rehearsed the new tune with Ustad Amir Khan in the presence of Shantaram who was pleased with the new composition. [Source of this triva on title song -”Journal of SIRC”, Annual 2012].

I am presenting here the much talked about title song, ‘jhanak jhanak paayal baaje’ rendered by Ustad Amir Khan. The words are of Hasrat Jaipuri and the music composition is of Vasant Desai.

The title song became so popular that Ustad Amir Khan used to get ‘farmaish’ in his public concerts to sing the title song. Later, Ustad Amir Khan started singing a much-elongated version of this song (nearly 9 minutes) in his concerts and the gramophone record for the same was released. Ustad Amir Khan sang live the title song of the film on the occasion of the diamond jubilee (60th week) celebration of the film in the presence of the distinguished guests at the Liberty cinema in Mumbai.

Audio Clip:

Video Clip:

Audio Clip (Concert Verson):

Song-Jhanak jhanak paayal baaje (Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje)(1955) Singer-Ustad Amir Khan, Lyrics-Hasrat Jaipuri, MD-Vasant Desai

Chorus

Lyrics: (Based on Audio Clip)

jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

paayaliya ki runak jhunak par
paayaliya ki runak jhunak par
chham chham manwa naa..che
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

neel gagan bhi sunkar jhoome
madhur madhur jhanka…ar
madhur madhur jhankaar
soyi dharti jaag uthhi hai
soyi dharti jaag uthhi hai
goonj uthha sansaar
raag rang bhi saa…je
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

jhanak jhanak paa…yal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

[sargam]
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje

(aaaaaaaaaaaa)

jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
paayal baa..je
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
paayal baa….je
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
aaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
paayal aaa baa..je ae
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
aaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaa
aaaaaaaaaaaaaa
paayal baa…je
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
jhanak jhanak paayal baaje
(aaaaaaaaaaaaaa)
jhanak-jhanak paayal baaje
(aaaaaaaaaaaaaa)
jhanak-jhanak paayal baaje

15 Responses to "Jhanak jhanak paayal baaje"

Sadanand ji,

Thanks for the background information. So much goes into the making of a movie, a song!

What a film! What dances !!What music!!! Immortal.

Like

Dr. Pradeep ji,
Thanks for comments.

Like

Dear Sadanand ji,

And if I may add, What a Write-up! That was simply superb! In a few words, you almost brought the entire Film before us. I too recall seeing the Film around the same time, ’55 or so, just 11 years old and like you could not fathom most of the Story. But the Songs remained in memory, for long.

Thank you for reviving old memories and about the Great Director SHANTARAM ji. Fortune favours the brave, they say, and it was true with VS in this case too.

Please let us have more nuggets like this.

With sincere best wishes

PARTHA CHANDA

Like

Partha Chanda ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.

Like

Sadanand-ji,
I too remember this film’s name and but nothing else about it. I am sure, I must have seen it too in 1955-56, as a 7-year/old. Must try and find some film clips of this movie and see if my fading memory can flash back and recollect some parts. Thanks for an interesting write-up. -KS

Like

Srinivasan ji,
Thanks for comments.

Like

Sadanand ji,
Thanks for a nice Nostalgic post. The song woke up many memories.
-AD

Like

Arun ji,
Thanks for comments.

Like

Sadanandji,

Fantastic story, never knew it was first set in Raag Darbari, favourite raag of Ustad Amir Khan saheb!

Regards,

Umesh

Like

Umesh ji,

Now I understand the precarious situation Vasant Desai was placed. To please his mentor, V Shantaram, Vasant Desai had to deprive Ustad Amir Khan from singing his favourite Raag.

Thanks for comments.

Like

I just loved this post. As I had said earlier I always like to read about V. Shantaram ji. Always liked his movies and discussions about him.

Many thanks Kamath Saheb for this post and the information about the title song of this movie ‘Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje-1955’.

Thanks and regards,

Like

Avinash ji,
Thanks for your comments.

Like

Sadanand Ji,
Thanks for the lovely post about V Shantaram’s courage of conviction in making Jhanak Jhanak…., his faith and trust in Vasant Desai, and the dedication and application of Vasant Desai.

Like

I saw the film about the same time. Guests from nearby villages ( without a theatre) used to visit us to see this film. They would take me along. I might have seen it at least 5 times. In the last visit I had known the entire screenplay vividly :))

Like

Satish ji,

Thanks for the comments.
You are lucky that you could see the same film 5 times. In my case, it was one film a year during my school days.

Like

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