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

Ab jaago Radha Rani

Posted on: December 16, 2021

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular 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 :

4899 Post No. : 16701

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No. 10

Today this series ends with a song from film Durga-1939. No prizes for guessing the name of the star of today’s post. Of course it is Durga Khote. Though she was not a part of this film, still I chose her, because lovers of old films know her too well, but as she ended her career almost 40 years ago, readers in the age group of 50-60 may not know her too well.

Film Durga – 1939 was made by Bombay Talkies, owned by Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai. The cast of the film Durga-39 consisted of Devika Rani, Rama Shukul, V H Desai, Mumtaz Ali, Peethawala, Saroj Borkar, Balwant singh, Lalita Deulkar etc. The film was directed by Franz Osten and the music was by Saraswati Devi. The year was 1939 and inits month of September, the World War started. It did affect Indian film industry too, but the effects were felt from 1940 onwards. In 1939, the industry was trying to free itself from the shackles of stage drama type music, an unnecessary stress on making films on Mythology and Folk tales and old styles of loud acting. New blood had flown in, replacing the spill over of silent movie actors and themes.

The year was 1939 and the British Government had declared war against Germany and Japan, as soon as the WW II began. All countries ruled by Britain were – willingly or unwillingly, drawn into the war efforts and its effects. The war began in the month of September and soon various restrictions came into operation – like rationing, blackouts, shortages etc. The film industry which was still under its development stage suffered. It also realised the importance of remaining united as one industry. However, all that came after 1 or 2 years. In 1939 there was not much effect seen on the film industry.

The industry had its own problems. In spite of the playback system in operation, their problem was that because there was no technique of recording from the film negative yet, the singers had to sing twice. Once for the actual film shooting of the song, and later, with the same set of orchestra, for commercial records. Sometimes, the original singer was not available due to any reason, some other singer had to sing for commercial records. Thus we have many such examples, where the singer in the film song and the record is different. However, this problem continued only till mid 50’s when the Tape and the required technique became available. With just one time recording, the film and commercial recording were taken care of.

Khemchand Prakash. K.Datta (Datta Koregaonkar), Rafiq Ghaznavi and Anupam Ghatak made their Debut as Music Directors. Kavi Pradeep wrote his first film song for film Kangan. In 1939, 2 most Unusual songs were presented, for the first time ( and this record is not yet broken even after more than 80 years.). One was a Multi-Lingual song from film Aadmi-39, a film by Prabhat….Kis liye kal ki baat. This song was in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Tamil and Telugu. ( In its Marathi film version-” माणूस “, this song was only in one language-Marathi.) Different Lyricists and MDs were used for each language. The song became very popular.

Second unusual song was from film ‘ Ghareeb ka Laal’-1939. The song lyrics had the names of 32 artistes, operating in Hindi films that time. Top Heroes and Heroines were mentioned in this song. The beginning of the song was ” Tuze Bibbo kahoon ya Sulochana, Uma shashi kahoon ki Jamuna “. This song was sung by the comedian Mirza Musharraf. In later years many songs with film artistes’ names came but none had so many names. Thus this record is still unbroken, in case of both songs.

Besides these songs, let us quickly take a look at some films of 1939….

Aadmi – Prabhat’s hit film, a remake of the Marathi film ” माणूस “. It had some good songs by Shanta Hublikar, Sundarabai Jadhav and Ram Marathe.

Adhuri Kahani – a trend of Tragedy films set by the effect of film ‘Devdas’. All the 3 main characters of this film commit suicide in the end.

Badi Didi – A New Theatres film.

Brandy ki Botal – Master Vinayak’s comedy remake of Marathi film ‘ ब्रॅंडीची बाटली ‘.

Dil hi to hai – Debut of Kidar Sharma as a Director and Ramola as a Heroine in a Hindi film.

Dushman – New Theatres’ film of Saigal, with only his 4 songs.

Ek hi Raasta – Sagar presents first film with 3 Heroes in one film.

Ghazi Salauddin – Debut of Khemchand Prakash as M.D.

Hukum ka Ikka – First film with a Triple role by Umakant Desai ( who later specialised as Lakshman in 7 films, including Ramrajya-43).

Imaandaar – Debut of actress Shamim Akhtar.

India in Africa – This was the First Hindi film to be shot abroad (in Africa). The Hero B. Nandrekar had also gone to Africa for its shooting. Naaz-54 was not the first such film, though HFGK mentions it so.( Ref – pp 69, Maharashtra-The Birthplace of Indian cinema by Isak Mujawar)

Kangan – First of the 4 Hit films of Ashok kumar and Leela Chitnis, made by Bombay Talkies. Kavi Pradeep’s Debut as a Lyricist in this film.

Kapal kundala – New Theatres. Pankaj mullick’s hit song ‘ Piya milan ko jaana ‘.

Leather Face – Debut of Meena kumari as a child artiste.

Navjeevan – Debut of Hansa Wadkar as a Heroine- Bombay Talkies film.

Pukar – Hit film from Minerva Movietone. Naseem Bano sings ” Zindagi ka saaz bhi kya saaz hai….”

As stated in the beginning, today’s star is Durga Khote. She was one of the most respected artistes from the early cinema. In her glorious and non-controversial career of over 50 years, she acted in 183 films and sang 35 songs in 14 early cinemas. At the end of her career, she wrote her autobiography in Marathi ” मी दुर्गा खोटे “, which was later translated into English by Shanta Gokhale. This book ( along with ” चंदेरी दुनियेत ” by Leela Chitnis ) is an authentic chronicle of Indian film industry development from infancy to adulthood, in addition to personal details.

Durga Khote (14 January 1905 − 22 September 1991) was one of the foremost leading ladies of her times, she remained active in Hindi and Marathi cinema, as well as theatre, for over 50 years, starring in 182 Hindi films and numerous theatre productions. In 2000, in a millennium issue, India Today named her among “100 People Who Shaped India”, noting: “Durga Khote marks the pioneering phase for women in Indian Cinema” as she was one of the first women from respectable families to enter the film industry, thus breaking a social taboo.

She also ranks among the top ten actresses in mother roles in Hindi cinema, most notable among them were as Jodhabai in K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960); as Kaikeyi in Vijay Bhatt’s classic Bharat Milap (1942); her other memorable roles as mother were in Charnon Ki Dasi (1941); Mirza Ghalib; Bobby (1973) and Bidaai (1974). She has received the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1983), for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.

Khote was born as Vitha Lad, to a family which hailed from Goa and spoke Konkani at home. Her father’s name was Pandurang Shamrao Lad and her mother’s name was Manjulabai. She grew up in a large joint family in Kandewadi. She was educated at Cathedral High School and St. Xavier’s College where she studied for B.A. While still a college-going teenager, she married into the Khote family and settled down with her husband. By the age of 26, Durga Khote was a widowed mother with two young sons; Bakul and Harin. She had to seek work in film to support her children. In doing so, she became a pioneer of sorts: She hailed from a traditional family and the film industry was regarded as the preserve of the base and the bawdy. Also, most of the female characters were played by men at the time.

Durga Khote debuted in a minor role in the obscure 1931 Talkie film Farebi Jaal or trapped, by M. Bhavnani. She had to sing 3 songs also in this film. Followed by Maya Machindra (1932) by Prabhat Film company.. She was soon promoted to play heroine in the 1932 double version (Hindi and Marathi) Ayodhyecha Raja, another Prabhat film, which was the first ever Marathi talkie, and proved to be a runaway hit, where she played the role of Rani Taramati. Indeed, she ventured yet another pioneering trend: Despite working closely with the Prabhat Film Company, she broke away from the “studio system” (exclusive contract with a studio to work in its films on a monthly salary) then in vogue and became one of the first “freelance” artistes of that era by working occasionally with the New Theatres, East India Film Co. (both at Calcutta), and Prakash Pictures.

In 1936, she played Saudamini in Amar Jyoti, which is one of her most memorable roles. The characters played by her were very much like her regal personality and she commanded a screen presence even in front of legendary actors like Chandra Mohan, Sohrab Modi and Prithviraj Kapoor. In 1937, she produced and directed a film titled Saathi ( Sawangadi in Marathi), making her one of the first women to step into this role in Indian cinema. The 40s opened for her in a big way, with award-winning performances in Aacharya Atre’s Payachi Dasi (Marathi) and Charnon Ki Dasi (Hindi) (1941) and Vijay Bhatt’s classic Bharat Milap (1942), both of which got her the BFJA Best Actress Award for two consecutive years.

Durga Khote remained active in the theatre circuit for many years, especially the Marathi theatre in Mumbai. She was actively associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and worked in several plays for the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh. In 1954, she famously performed the role of Lady Macbeth in V.V. Shirwadkar’s Marathi adaptations of Macbeth, as Rajmukut, (The Royal Crown), along with Nanasaheb Phatak.

Durga Khote played a wide variety of roles over a career that was not only long, but also untouched by scandal. She was the inspiration for several generations of Indian actresses, including veterans such as the late Shobhna Samarth, who frequently spoke of how she had been inspired by Khote’s example. During later years, she played several important character roles, such as the mother of the protagonist. Her portrayal of Jodhabai, the queen of Akbar torn between duty towards her husband and love towards her son in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) was well received. In 1963, she acted in Merchant Ivory’s debut film The Householder (1963).

She went on to play other widely appreciated character roles in later movies, such as the role of the grandmother of the heroine in Bobby (1973), the hero’s aunt in Abhimaan (1973), and the very memorable Bidaai (1974), where she played a mother, a very sensitive role that can make one cry and received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Her final memorable role was in Subhash Ghai’s Karz (1980), where she played the role of the mother of Raj Kiran and later, mother to Rishi Kapoor, who played the role of Raj Kiran’s reincarnation after the screen death of Raj Kiran in the movie.

She acted in 182 Hindi films in her career. Her last film as an actress was Daulat ka Dushman-1983. She had also sung 32 songs in 13 films. Her last song was in the film Panna Dai-1945. By the 1980s she successfully diversified into production of short films, ad films and documentaries by setting up Fact Films and later, Durga Khote Productions, which produced the Doordarshan TV series Wagle Ki Duniya.

Durga Khote was married when she was a teenager to Vishwanath Khote, a gentleman of her own caste and similar social background, in a match arranged by their parents in the usual Indian manner. It was a traditional marriage into an orthodox family, the couple lived a harmonious and happy life, and the marriage was blessed with two sons. Vishwanath was a mechanical engineer who had graduated from Banaras Hindu University. His family was upper middle class and professional, with modern English education and high social standing; his ancestors had been prominent bankers.

Unfortunately, Vishwanath Khote died young, when Durga was barely into her 20s. She and her sons continued to reside with her in-laws, as is traditional in India, but she was not comfortable with her dependent position, especially because her father-in-law was no more, and they were dependent on other family members for their expenses. She thus felt impelled to make a living any which way she could, and the opening in films happened entirely by chance. The fact that she came from a modern and English-educated family meant that, even as a widow, she was able to act in films, which was derided as a disreputable profession in those days.

She thus raised her two sons, Bakul and Harin, single-handedly. Both of them went on to become well-settled in life. But she suffered the loss of her son Harin, who predeceased her and died in his 40s. Harin was married to Vijaya Jaywant, and they were the parents of two sons. After Harin’s early death, his widow married a Parsi man named Farrokh Mehta and became famous as the film-maker Vijaya Mehta.

Durga Khote’s grandchildren (children of Bakul and Harin) include her grandson Ravi, a filmmaker; granddaughter Anjali Khote, an actress; and grandson Deven Khote, a successful producer who is one of the co-founders of UTV, and who has also directed a film. Deven Khote is noted for producing films such as Jodhaa Akbar and Life in a Metro.

Durga Khote’s brother-in-law, Nandu Khote (brother of Vishwanath), was a noted stage and silent movie actor. Two of Nandu’s children also became actors in the film industry. His son Viju Khote (1941-2019) was an actor perhaps best known for his role of “Kalia” in Sholay (1975). Nandu’s daughter is the actress Shubha Khote, who debuted in Seema (1955) and worked as a heroine in several films before moving to character roles. Still later, she moved to directing and producing Marathi films and also entered television in the 90s. Shubha’s daughter, Bhavana Balsavar, is also an award-winning TV actress who appeared in sitcoms like Dekh Bhai Dekh and Zabaan Sambhalke before deciding to settle down and raise a family. Thus, the acting profession which was pioneered by Durga Khote in her family has been fully embraced by her late husband’s family.

Later in life, Durga Khote wrote an autobiography in Marathi, entitled Mee, Durga Khote, which was translated into English as I, Durga Khote, and moved to Alibaug, near Mumbai. Durga Khote died in Mumbai on 22 September 1991. ( Thanks to her autobiography, wiki,muVyz and my notes.)

This ends my series on Artistes, on whose names film titles existed. This is of course only indicative and not exhaustive one. I wrote only on 20 such artistes, but still about 30+ such films are remaining, most of which are not available with their songs on the social media.

I had plans to revive some more old series again, but readers’ poor response does not motivate me to do so. Still, who knows…….

Song- Ab jaago Radha Rani (Durga)(1939) Singer- Balwant Singh, Lyricist- Narottam Vyas, MD-Saraswati Devi


Ab jaago Radha Rani
Ab jaago Radha Rani

?? bhayi ab hua sawera
jage jagat ke praani
ab jaago Radha Rani

?? bhayi ab hua sawera
jage jagat ke praani
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani

sapne mein ??
sapne mein ??
?? prem kahaani
sapne mein ??
?? prem kahaani
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani

nadi kinaare Kaanh tumhaare
nadi kinaare Kaanh tumhaare
bhar bansi mein baani
nadi kinaare ?? tumhaare
bhar bansi mein baani
?? aaye ??
ab jaago Radha Rani

?? des mein ??
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani


4 Responses to "Ab jaago Radha Rani"

Dear Guru ji,

I would urge you not to discontinue the Series. Rest assured there are many like me who read every word you write and find them absorbing, to say the least. Lack of response may be due to the perfection in details – there is no room for contradiction!

I did find a little room for contradiction in this your latest Post. It is about that Multi-Lingual Son from AADMI (1939), by Shanta Hublikar. I counted only 6(six) languages, namely HINDI, URDU, GUJARATI, PUNJABI, BANGLA and TAMIL in that order. There was no Telugu song in it. Discerning viewers may listen/watch the Song

If that be the case, there is this Song from TEEN BATTI CHAR RAASTA (1952) which featured 7 (seven) languages, namely BANGLA, TAMIL (or KANNADA?), SINDHI, MARATHI, GUJARATI, HINDUSTANI and PUNJABI in that order. Pl listen/watch

There is another Multi-lingual song in the Film SHABNAM (1949), which has snippets in HINDI, BANGLA, GUJARATI, MARATHI, TAMIL and PUNJABI in that order. Pl listen/ watch

In my search for Multi-Lingual songs, I came across the following

a) From NISHAAN (1949)

b) From Tamil Film APOORVA SAGOTHARARGAL (1949)

At times one wishes the States were not divided according to Languages, but then Language is the single most unifying factor, even more than Religion.

Please do not stop your Series. At most, take a break.

With sincere best wishes,



Thanks for your well researched comment to prove that there is a mistake in the write up.
Fortunately, what you wrote is not true.
The song in Aadmi -1939 does have a Telugu portion. Please check the HFGK which has given the Lyricist and MD’s name for the Telugu part (मंचिगंध मैना मल्लेपूवु लाईना ). I am well versed in Telugu language and have heard and enjoyed the Telugu part from the song myself.
The post information is about what is in the film and NOT what is available on You Tube song.
Secondly the language combination is indeed unique, not found in any other similar song till today !
This way what is stated in the write up is correct.
And thanks for various other multi language songs provided by you, which I will listen at my leisure.
However, I do not claim that I can not do mistakes, but I try to take utmost care to be on the right side and generally I do not write what I can not defend. I am aware of ” TO ERR IS HUMAN”

Another point, I am not stopping the series because the readers’ response is poor, but because for most balance films songs are either not available to discuss or all songs are covered. This also has been mentioned in the write up.


Arun Ji,
Thanks for the post. It was nice to read extensive info about Durga Khote, someone I admired. It is admirable how she pulled herself out of prospective gloom because of early widowhood and little support from ‘family’
Did not know she was a Goan Konkani lady. It was the first time I came to know about her relationship with Vijaya Mehta, and also with Viju Khote .


Dear Satish ji,
Thanks for your comments.
I am happy that you got some new information from this post. This serves the purpose of the post.


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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.

This is a labour of love, where “new” songs are added every day, and that has been the case for over FOURTEEN years. This blog has over 17600 song posts by now.

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