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

Aadhi raat jab chaand dhale

Posted on: February 15, 2023

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.

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In this article, I propose to explore two films – ‘Duvidha’ (1973) directed by Mani Kaul and ‘Paheli’ (2005) directed by Amol Palekar. Both these films are based on a short story, ‘Duvidha’ by the writer of Rajasthani literature and Sahitya Akademy Award winner, Vijaydan Detha (popularly known as ‘Bijji’). Bijji wrote the short story in 1958 by using a verbally transmitted Rajasthani folktale to convey a bride’s silent defiance of the prevailing patriarchal system by embracing a ghost as her husband when her real husband leaves for a faraway town on business for 5 years, two days after the marriage. The defiance came from the fact that her husband did not take into consideration his wife’s emotional needs while taking this decision. The author has used the metaphor of the ghost through which the wife’s silent revolt occurs.

The English translation of Bijji’s short story ‘Duvidha’ (The Dilemma) is here. I have considerably summarised the story as under:

A wealthy Seth’s son had just got married and they were returning home in a bullock cart procession. On the way, they took rest for lunch under the shadow of a large banyan tree which was the dwelling place of a ghost. The ghost’s eyes gauged the bride, and he instantly fell in love with her when she partially lifted her veil. During the post lunch procession, the bridegroom told the bride that after two days which was an auspicious day, he would be leaving home for a business trip to earn money and he would return home after 5 years. The bride was shocked. She thought that she had separated from her parents, brothers, sisters, and friends just to take this husband’s hand. And now she will be left alone in the company of strangers in her new house. But in a world of patriarchy, the will of the husband was the will of the wife.

In the meanwhile, enamored by the beauty of the bride, the ghost was planning as to how he could be with the bride. He got a chance when he came to know that the bridegroom was setting out for a journey and not returning home for the next 5 years. He thought if he took the form of the bridegroom, no one would recognise him as a ghost. The ghost turned up the next day at the Seth’s doorstep as his son and gave a convincing reason for his return that he would earn every day 5 gold coins by remaining here. The father and mother were happy that the son would be with them.

The ghost came to the bride’s bedroom and presented himself as her husband who had returned. The wife thought that her husband could not withstand the separation from her even for one day and was happy. The ghost was in dilemma whether to tell her the truth or carry forward impersonating as her husband for the next 5 years. The ghost decided to tell her the truth that he was a ghost that had taken the form of her husband as he fell for her beauty when her wedding procession was resting below his dwelling. He told her that since her parent-in-laws had taken him to be their son, there is no way his secret would come out. However, the ghost left the decision to accept him as her husband to the bride.

The bride was in dilemma. She thought that her husband was immersed in his ledgers. For him, there was no difference between the pages of ledger and the face of a woman. He has never bothered about a wife’s desires. If she could not control the one who went away, how she could control the one who came and loved her. She also felt that this ghost was so considerate that he asked for her consent before she accepted him as her husband, whereas none asked her consent when the marriage was fixed. The option was either she had to face loneliness or a relationship. She chose the latter and accepted the ghost as her husband.

Three years passed. Seth’s daughter-in-law became pregnant. The news reached the real husband through a visitor from his village. He was astonished. He at once set out to his village and found that midwives were tending to his wife who was moaning. So, the news was true. When the son met his parents, they were perplexed. They refused to believe him to be their son. The news spread like fire in the entire village. Now it become clear that out of the two same looking man, one was a cheat.

To decide as to which one was a cheat, the Seth and villagers went to a wise shepherd who tricked the ghost by making him to enter the empty waterskin, after which he tied the opening of the waterskin and threw it in the deep well for his eventual death. The real husband returns home and console his wife that it was not her mistake. If the parents could not recognise their real son, how could she recognise her real husband. For the wife, it was back to square one. She follows the same patriarchal order – obeying her parent-in-laws and husband without questioning. She wishes that when her daughter attains her womanhood, she would not have to experience her mother’s sufferings.

I have watched both films sometime back. There is a wide difference in the narrative style and the cinematic treatments adopted by Mani Kaul and Amol Palekar in their respective films. Of course, one had to recognised that both these films were made about 30 years apart during which the filmmaking technologies have changed like digital cinematography, computer generated special effects etc. Also, there are changes in the way the new generation of the film makers (director) and the consumers (cine audience) would respond to a similar theme.

‘Duvidha’ (1973) was produced on a shoestring budget. The main actors – Ravi Menon, fresh from FTII and Raisa Padamsee, the 16-year old Paris-based daughter of Akbar Padamsee, had no experience of acting in film or theatre. So, the main actors of the film were not carrying the images of the established actors. Actors appeared on the screen without make-up. The film was shot in a remote village in Jodhpur district which did not have even an unpaved road. The dwellings used during the shooting were real. Thus, the film depicted realism. It was an art film meant mainly for the niche audience.

‘Paheli’ (2005) on the other hand was a high budget film. Amol Palekar gave a modern feel to the story with a galaxy of star-actors, visual treats in the form of music and dances, extravagance setting, colourful costumes and jewelry. Technically also, it is a superb film. Perhaps, Amol Palekar wanted the story of the film to reach the wider audience, I gathered from one of the interviews of Amol Palekar that when he met ‘Bijji’ to get his permission to make the film, he apprised the author that his treatment to the story would be quite different from that attempted by Mani Kaul. He also said that he would like to change the end of the story to reflect progressive thinking. The author agreed with both. The film ends with the wife making a conscious decision to remain with the ghost while in the original story, the ghost is neutralised.

According to Amol Palekar, when he met Shahrukh Khan with the script and offered him the double roles of a newly wedded husband and the role of the ghost, he not only agreed to do the role, but he also requested Amol Palekar to allow him to produce the film under his then newly established film production banner, Red Chillies Entertainment. Apart from Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee in the lead roles, other actors comprised of Anupam Kher, Neena Kulkarni, Dilip Prabhawalkar, Padma Rani, Aditi Govitrikar, Suneil Shetty, Juhi Chawla (both in guest roles), Rajpal Yadav etc. Amitabh Bachchan played a cameo role of a wise shepherd. The star-stubbed film’s shooting was completed in 47 days which was majorly shot in Jhunjhunu district.

In ‘Duvidha’ (1973), Mani Kaul did not deviate much from the original story. He relied mainly on narratives, symbolism, and expressions of the actors in conveying the reactions of the characters involved than on the dialogues. Hence, most of the time, the actors have been shot in tight close-ups to capture their expression. For instance, in the first 10 minutes of the scene during which the newly wedded bride and bridegroom are travelling on a bullock cart, bride hardly talks. The bridegroom is busy with tallying his marriage expenses account. When the husband (Ravi Menon) tells his wife (Raisa Padamsee) that in the next two days, he would leave home for a faraway town for business and he would return only after 5 years, the wife is shocked by his revelation. But instead of starting the conversation, her reaction of a shocked expression on her face is captured in close up. She registers her protest by throwing the leftovers berries on the road as for her now, they no longer taste good.

In ‘Paheli’ (2005), Amol Palekar mainly relied on dialogues. Some part of the story was conveyed to the audience in narrative form through puppets with voice-overs by Nasiruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah mostly for the ghost. For me the most important difference was that in ‘Duvidha’ (1973), the roles of husband and wife played by Ravi Menon and Raisa Padamsee had nicely merged with the characters of the original story. But no such feeling came to me while watching Shahrukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee in similar roles.

Despite the galaxy of stars, the extravagance in terms of production values and excellent music, ‘Paheli’ (2005) did not create ripples on the box office. The film was India’s official entry for 79th Oscar in the category of the Foreign Language Films. It is nearly 18 years after the release of the film. I feel that this film would become one of the classic Hindi films in the future. Similarly, the reference to ‘Duvidha’ (1973) would naturally come while discussing the evolution of offbeat Hindi films in India.

‘Duvidha’ (1973) had no songs specifically composed for the film. Nor did the film have background music except that a couple of traditional Rajasthani folk songs rendered by the folk singers were used as background music. ‘Paheli’ (2005) was conceived as a musical film and had six songs of which 5 songs were based on the Rajasthani folk songs. All the songs were written by Gulzar which were set to music by M M Kreem (Keeravani). All the songs are very melodious and are well picturised.

I am presenting the first song from the film to appear on the Blog. It is also the opening song of the film along with the credit titles. The song is ‘aadhi raat ko chaand dhale aur koi na ho pichhwaade mein’ rendered by Shreya Ghoshal, Madhushree (real name: Sujata Bhattacharya) and Bela Shende. The song starts as a pre-wedding song. But towards the end, song turns into a post-wedding (bidaai) song.

In the opening lyrics of the song, there is a hint to the bride (Rani Mukherjee) from her friends not to immediately say ‘yes’ to bridegroom’s pleading. I think Gulzar wrote opening lines to indicate the women’s empowerments through the bride that she has the choice to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the marriage. In reality, however, in those days when the story was written, consent of bride for the marriage was taken for granted.

The song is a good audio-visual treat.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Aadhi raat jab chaand dhale (Paheli)(2005) Singers-Shreya Ghoshal, Madhushree, Bela Shende, Lyrics-Gulzar, MD-M M Kreem


aadhi raat jab chaand dhale
aur koi na ho pichhwaade mein
chaap dabaake thhaade rahiyo
tu aadhe re
aadhi raat jab chaand dhale
aur koi na ho pichhwaade mein
chaap dabaake thhaade rahiyo
tu aadhe re
minnat kare
na maaniyo
painyyaan pade
na maaniyo
agar woh haan keh
na kehna
woh na kehde…ae
haan kehna
jaan ki kasam de to
aadhi raat jab chaand dhale
aur koi na ho pichhwade mein
chaap dabake thaade rahiyo
tu aadhe re
minnat kare
na maaniyo
paiyyaan pade
na maaniyo

jewar na bole koi
ghoonghat na khole koi
ankhiyaan dikha deejiyo…o o
baataan mein uljhaaye to
poochho jo samjhaaye to
to mundiya hilaa deejiyo
darwaaje se kaan laga ke
sunti hongi sabi sakhiyaan
laaj waaj ko chhod chhaad kar
kundi kewade mein
minnat kare
na maaniyo
painyyaan pade
na maaniyo

jaa jaa naadaan paheli
barson ke baad saheli
jagne ki raat aayi hai
dekha karti thhi sapna
sapne ko aakhir apna
kehne ki raat aayi hai
dekh paraaye khasmon se tu
jalti kyun hai byaah kar le
door door se taak jhaank mst
aa jaa akhaade mein
aadhi raat jab chaand dhale
aur koi na ho pichhwaade mein
chaap dabaake thaade rahiyo
tu aadhe mein
minnat kare
na maaniyo
painyyaan pade
na maaniyo

gudiya batole more
doli mein rakhwa deejo
naani kahaani laawe
bhaiyya ko bulwa deejo
doli gali mein khadi ee
doli gali mein khadi
aa aa aa aaa aaa
aa aa aa
aa aa
maiyyaan ko lekar jaave
sang bhi jaao saheli
baabul re baabul tori ee
jaaye na jaaye akeli ee
jaaye na jaaye akeli
doli gali mein
doli gali mein khadi
doli gali mein
doli gali mein khadi


1 Response to "Aadhi raat jab chaand dhale"

Thanks Sadanand ji
One of my favourite films ,eventhough I don`t like the starcast of Paheli(sorry for mentioning that, somehow I have a feeling of aversion in respect of the actors belonging to the 90`s , I don`t know why…,Must be age factor I guess…..) ,
I have seen the movie(for Amol`s sake) and very much liked the direction,produciton values,music,song and Amitabh cameo appearance at the end….and maine sun rakha thha “Duvidha” ke baare mein, Thanks for the information about Duvidha……..


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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.

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