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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 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 :

4548 Post No. : 16128

Today, December 30, 2020 is 7th Remembrance Day of Lakshmi Shankar.

What a musical journey Lakshmi Shankar had in her career spreading over 7 decades! Her journey from a Bharatnataym dancer to Uday Shankar’s ballet dancer, an actress in a Tamil film, a playback singer in Hindi films, a Hindustani classical vocalist and as a catalyst in spreading the Hindustani classical music across the continents is unparalleled. And it is more so for a woman who had to cross the societal barrier. Lakshmi Shankar was really a woman of substance.

In 2009, 83-year-old Lakshmi Shankar received a Grammy Nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album. Although she could not make it to the final list, the Grammy nomination itself was a great event for a woman Hindustani classical vocalist in the Western music dominated award. The irony is that she never got the status of a celebrity in her own country. She did not get any ‘Padma’ awards from Government of India nor any award from Sangeet Academy – whether Central or State levels.

Lakshmi Shankar, was born as Mahalakshmi Sastri (16/06/1926- 30/12/2013) in Jamshedpur where her father Vaidyanath Sastri was employed in Tata Iron and Steel Company as a Chartered Accountant. He was a native of a village in Pudukkottai district. Her mother, Visalaksi was from Palghat (Palakkad) district – both districts being part of the then Madras Presidency. During Vaidyanath Sastri’s stay in Jamshedpur, Mahatma Gandhi made a number of visits to Jamshedpur. The result was that he became attracted to Gandhian ideology. Mahatma Gandhi picked him up to devote time for the upliftment of harijans. He left the job and shifted to Poona (Pune) in 1930 for the assigned work. His other family members, including Lakshmi Shankar, shifted to Madras (Chennai).

At the age of 8, Lakshmi was put under Guru Kandappa Pillai for learning Bharatnataym dance in Chennai. At the age of 11, she performed her arangetram in Bharatnatyam dance. At the age of 13, she joined Uday Shankar’s India Cultural Centre in Almora for training in fusion dances. During her stint in Almora, Lakshmi Shankar got married to Rajendra Shankar, (the next younger brother of Uday Shankar) who was 21 years older than her. Rajendra Shankar, with M.Sc. in Physics and Chemistry was working as a script writer and was handling publicity in Uday Shankar’s Dance Academy. During 1940-43, Lakshmi Shankar travelled across India as one of the dancers with Uday Shankar’s dance troupe. In 1944, Uday Shankar’s India Cultural Centre in Almora was closed down due to financial constraints.

Following the closure of Uday Shankar’s Dance Academy, Lakshmi Shankar with her husband and brother-in-law, Ravi Shankar came to Mumbai. Both the Shankar brothers got associated with Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). While Rajendra Shankar joined Bombay Talkies (later Filmistan) as story and script writer, Ravi Shankar got his first assignment for scoring music for Chetan Anand’s ‘Neecha Nagar’ (1946) followed by K A Abbas’s ‘Dharti Ke Laal’ (1946). In the first film, Lakshmi Shankar sang for Kamini Kaushal a lullaby so na o nanhi so na. In ‘Dharti Ke Laal’ (1946), she sang beete ho sukh ke din aayee dukh ki ratiyaan.

With these two films, the musical collaboration of Lakshmi Shankar with her brother-in-law, Ravi Shankar started which continued until the latter’s death in December 2012.

Ravi Shankar and his other associates were disillusioned with IPTA as they were not given the freedom in creating the work of their respective fields. Ravi Shankar set up his own artists’ group in which his wife Annapurna Devi, sister-in-law, Lakshmi Shankar and his elder brother, Rajendra Shankar, Zohra Sehgal, Shanti Bardhan etc became the important part of this group.

It was around this time that Jawaharlal’s Nehru’s book ‘The Discovery of India’ (1946) was published and Ravi Shankar felt that this book was a good choice for adapting it as a ballet-cum-opera on the stage. He got the financial backing for the project from Indian National Theatre, the cultural wing of the Indian National Congress. While Ravi Shankar and Annapurna Devi took charge of the music, Rajendra Shankar wrote the script and looked after the production. Lakshmi Shankar and Sachin Shankar became the main dancers to be choreographed by Shanti Bardhan.

The premier of ‘The Discovery of India Ballet-Cum-Opera’ was held in New Delhi in April 1947 in the presence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The premier of the ballet-cum-opera was highly successful. Later, it was staged at many prominent cities all over India because of which Lakshmi Shankar became a well-known dancer.

In 1948, while the ballet-cum-opera was still being staged, Lakshmi Shankar fell ill and was diagnosed as suffering from pleurisy affecting her lungs. She was taken back to her house in Chennai for recuperation. The doctor advised her to give up dancing as it would be too hard for her weak lungs. With this, her professional dancing career came to an end.

After a complete recovery from illness, Lakshmi Shankar returned to Mumbai where her husband was already working as a story and screenplay writer in Amiya Chakraborty’s film production company, ‘Mars & Movies’. [Lakshmi Shankar’s younger sister Kamala Sastri was married to Amiya Chakraborty in 1951]. In the absence of dancing, she thought of pursuing the playback singing career in films.

Post-illness, Lakshmi Shankar sang jingles in some advertising films and got a chance to sing a bhajan ‘in Aandhiyaan (1952). It was during her rehearsal of the song recording for the film ‘Mastaana’ (1954) when its music director, Madan Mohan advised her to learn Hindustani classical music as he felt that her voice was most suited for thumri singing. Though Lakshmi Shankar liked Hindustani classical music in instruments, she was not keen to become Hindustani classical vocalist.

It was because of Madan Mohan’s persistence that Lakshmi Shankar agreed to give a try. The next day, Madan Mohan came to her house with Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan of Patiala Gharana and with a harmonium. Madan Mohan played on harmonium and Ustad played on his swarmandal. Ustad’s one line of some bandish mesmerised Lakshmi Shankar so much that she resolved to learn Hindustani classical music as a vocalist from him.

Lakshmi Shankar completed her training in three years’ time. In January 1957, she gave her maiden performance at Entally Music Festival in Kolkata which was very much appreciated. With this success, she was invited to many music festivals all over India. She continued learning Hindustani classical music with Professor B R Deodhar and completed her Bachelor of Music degree under him. In the meanwhile, she occasionally sang for Hindi films as playback singer about 30 songs in 20 films from 1946 to 1974. In the Marathi film ‘Pativrata’ (1959), she had sung 2 thumris with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

In 1962-63, she got her first opportunity for a 4-month tour to the USA and Europe as a part of Uday Shankar’s group as a lead vocalist and the music director of the ballet orchestra. In 1968, Ravi Shankar organised the Festival of India in the USA in which she was again a lead vocalist along with many eminent musicians from India. In 1970, she travelled to Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice) and the Shiraz Festival in Iran for her solo performance as a vocalist.

Some of Lakshmi Shankar’s notable works included her cross collaborations with George Harrison in 1974. One of her collaborations with him was a Krishna song in English, ‘I am missing you’ which received good receptions in its live performance throughout the USA. This song made her well-known in the Western countries. The English song was written by Pandit Ravi Shankar. She also sang a couple of soulful bhajans in Attenborough’s Oscar winning film ‘Gandhi’ (1982) for which Ravi Shankar was the music director.

Lakshmi Shankar had been travelling quite often on her musical tours abroad either as a part of Pandit Ravi Shankar’s troupe or as a solo performer. For this reason, Lakshmi Shankar moved to the USA along with her family and took permanent residency near Los Angeles in 1984. She cut many discs in the USA and Europe besides India. Later in her life, she started teaching Hindustani classical music to American-Indians in her house in Simi Valley, California.

With the death of Pandit Ravi Shankar on December 11, 2012, Lakshmi Shankar’s collaborations with him of over 7 decades ended. It had started first as dancers in Uday Shankar’s academy in 1939, as a playback singer under his music direction in 1946, as a dancer in his ballet-cum-opera ‘Discovery of India’ in 1947-48 and both national and international collaboration from 1963 onwards with him. After Ravi Shankar’s death, Lakshmi Shankar’s health started deteriorating. Almost one year after her mentor’s death, Lakshmi Shankar passed away on December 30, 2013.

On the occasion of the 7th Remembrance Day of Lakshmi Shankar, I am presenting one of her popular non-film Krishna bhajans, ehi Muraare kunjavihaare (1979). She has rendered this bhajan in Raag Pahadi. Most of the on-line references have accredited this Sanskrit bhajan to Jayadeva. But a section of the listeners has pointed out that this bhajan is not found in Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi.

Lakshmi Shankar recorded this devotional song in the USA which became a part of a Long-Playing Record, ‘Lakshmi Shankar Sings Devotional Songs’ for ISCKKON Golden Avatar Productions in 1979 under the orchestration of L Subramaniam, a renowned violinist supported by Ustad Zakir Hussain on tabla. I feel that Lakshmi Shankar may have composed the tune herself. Later, sometime in the 1980s, she sang live on All India Radio/Doordarshan as part of the National Programme of Music. I personally like her live version because of the audio quality, the clarity of the words, the excellent tabla rhythm and the elaborations with which Lakshmi Shankar rendered the bhajan.

How could Lakshmi Shankar mesmerise her foreign audience with her bhajans? The answer is that she did with her emotive voice as evident in this bhajan.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Acknowledgements:

1. ‘Poignant Song – The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar’ (2019) By Kavita Das.

2. An Interview with Lakshmi Shankar by Shreen Isal, June 2001 published in http://www.associationsargam.com

Audio Clip: (Record version)

Video Clip: (From live concert on AIR/Doordarshan)

Song-Ehi muraare kunjavihaare (Lakhmi Shankar NFS)(1979) Singer-Lakshmi Shankar

Lyrics (Based on record version)
[The equivalent lyrics are written based on the phonetics of Sanskrit stotram].

ehi muraare
ehi mura…are
ehi muraare kunjavihaa…re
ehi praṇata jana bandho
ehi muraare kunjavihaare
ehi praṇata jana bandho
hey Madhava madhumathana vareṇya
Keshava karuṇasindho

raasa nikunje gunjati niyatam
raasa nikunje gunjati niyatam
bhramarashatam kil kaanta aa
ehi nibhṛta pathapaantha..aa
tvamiha yaache darashandaanam
tvamiha yaache darashandaanam
he Madhusoodan shanta
ehi muraare kunjavihaare
ehi praṇata janabandho

nava neeraj dhara shyaamal sundara
nava neeraj dhara shyaamal sundara
chandra kusum ruchivesha
gopigaṇ hṛidayesha..aa
govardhana dhara vṛindaavanachara
govardhana dhara vṛindaavanachara
vanshīdhara paramesha
ehi muraare kunjavihaare
ehi praṇata janabandho

Raadharanjan kansaniṣhoodan
Raadharanjan kansaniṣoodan
praṇatistaavaka charaṇe
nikhila niraashraya sharaṇe
ehi Janaardana pitaambaradhara
ehi Janaardana pitaambaradhara
kunje mantharapavane..ae
ehi muraare
ehi muraare
ehi muraare kunja vihaare
ehi praṇata jana bandh..o
he Madhava madhu mathana vareṇya
Keshava karuṇa sindho

——————————————
English Translation (Source: http://www.kksongs.org )
——————————————

O killer of the demon Mura who roams in the gardens, come near.
O Mādhava, who is the friend of those who bow upon, who destroyed Madhu, who is desirable, who is Keshva and who is the ocean of compassion, come near.

Hundreds of shiny bumble-bees are continuously buzzing in the gardens of [our] transcendental mellows. O You, who beyond the paths of material standards, come near. We all are craving for the sight of You, O Madhusoodana, who is calm.

O You, who holds a new lotus, who is dark in complexion, who is beautiful, who is decorated with chandrakusuma, who rules the heart of group of Gopī, who held Govardhana, who roams in Vrindaavana, who holds a flute, who is the supreme ruler.

O who gives pleasure to Rādhaa, who destroyed Kamsa, who is complete. I am bowing into Your feet which is the shelter of the unsheltered.
O Janaardana, who has yellow robes, come close to me in this garden.


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 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 :

4543 Post No. : 16117

‘Baazooband’ (1954) was produced by Ashalata Biswas under the banner of Variety Productions jointly with Ramanand Sagar who also directed it. The star cast included Balraj Sahni and Sulochana Chatterjee in the lead with Roopmala, Anwar Hussain, Om Prakash, Radhakrishan, Shanta Kanwar, Noor Jahan (Sr.), Noreen Linford etc in the subsidiary roles. The story, screenplay and dialogues were written by Ramanand Sagar.

The main theme of the story of the film is that in a well-settled family, a distraction by way to some vices especially when ‘other woman’ comes into the life of the husband, can wreck the family – both financially and emotionally. It is the faith and the trust with which an understanding wife can steer the husband from the wrong path. The gist of the story of the film is as under:

Seth Surajmal (Balraj Sahni), his wife, Radha (Sulcohana Chatterjee) and his two children are a wealthy and happy family. But Surajmal has one weakness. Come evening and he is magnetically attracted to make a visit to Amma’s kotha where he is under the magical spell of the dancer Chanda (Roopmala). He watches her dance and gift costly jewelries to her on his each visit . By mid-night, he returns home fully sozzled in alcohol. This is Surajmal’s daily routine.

The regular patrons of Chanda include Saanwariya (Om Prakash) and Bankelal (Anawar Hussain). Saanwariya, once upon a time a wealthy merchant, has now become almost pauper and spend his entire time in the kotha. Bankelal on the other hand is financially weak and looking for some way to raise money so that he and his foreign fiancé Josephine (Noreen Linford) can settled abroad. For this, Bankelal has found a way out by joining hands with Chanda to financially fleece Surajmal with a false promise to her that when she has collected sufficient money from Surajmal, he will marry her and settle abroad.

Radha’s mother and younger sister try to impression upon her to confront Chanda but she takes a stand that the fault lies with her husband who is mesmerised by Chanda. So, she has to take measure to bring her husband to the correct path. She is sure that her devotion towards her husband and the children would one day bring him back to senses. But would it not be too late for Radha?

In the meanwhile, hearing the news that her mother is unwell, Radha leaves for her mother’s place leaving the children with Surajmal. Bankelal finds a opportunity to place Chanda in Surajmal’s house in the guise of looking after his children. One day, when Surajmal is under the influence of liquor, Chanda gets him to sign a will that after his death, Chanda will be the sole owner of all his assets including the house.

Bankelal’s next move is to get Surajmal killed in such a way so as to appear as accidental fall from a hill top while under the influence of liquor though he would by pushed to death by Chanda. This plan is accidentally heard by Saanwariya. He cautions Radha and at the same time, he decides to tackle Bankelal. While both Bankelal and Saanwariya seems to be enjoying their drinks in the former’s house, Saanwariya mixes poison in the drinks as a result of which Bankelal dies.

Simultaneously, as per plan, Chanda after making Surajmal drinks a lot, takes him to a hilltop in the pretext of a romantic walk. However, Radha has been following them. When Chanda is struggling to push Surajmal from the hilltop, Saanwariya also reaches the spot and kills Chanda by stabbing. He throws her dead body from the hilltop. Radha reaches the spot and rescues Surajmal. Police arrives and arrests Saanwariya when he tells them that he had killed Bankelal by poisoning him and stabbed to death Chanda. Surajmal has now a changed man spending his evenings with his family. All is well that ends well.

The problem with the film is that the story is too familiar for the audience as they would have watched many films with such story in the 40s and early 50s. There is no harm making one more film on such a story provided the director has presented the story in a different cinematic presentation. But it is not. As I watched the film, I did not find the film gripping to an extent that I would complete the film in one sitting.

Balraj Sahni did not have much scope to show his performance as an actor as most of his scenes were with Chanda (Roopmala) in a drunken state. Sulochana Chatterjee as Radha did her best to reflect in her performance the balancing act between her husband and the children while tackling the husband’s problems. Roopmala in the role of Chanda performed very well both as a dancer as well as a vamp. Ramanand Sagar did not make the film melodramatic to draw the sympathy for the role of Radha nor he made Chanda more villainous to make the audience to hate her character. This would have been certainly a negative for the audience of that time.

Ramanand Sagar collaborated with Ashalata Biswas in three films – ‘Badi Bahoo’ (1951) as a story, screenplay and dialogue writer followed by ‘Mehmaan’ (1953) and ‘Bazooband’ (1954) – the last two also as a director and producer in partnership with Ashalata Biswas’s Variety Productions. Unfortunately, despite the good music, none of these films succeeded in the box office front. ‘Bazooband’ (1954) was the worst performer on the box office to such an extent that after this, Ashalata Biswas’s film production company, Variety Productions did not venture into the film production. Ramanand Sagar did not direct any film for the next 6 years until ‘Ghoonghat’ (1960).

On the positive side of the film, ‘Baazooband’ (1954) had 5 beautifully tuned songs from Lata Mangeshkar (out of 7 songs) under the baton of Mohammed Shafi. 3 songs from the film have been covered in the Blog.

I am presenting the 4th song, ‘aarzoo ye hai ki nikle dam tumhaare saamane’ from the film ‘Baazooband’(1954). The song rendered by Lata Mangeshkar is picturised on Roopmala who is dancing to seduce Balraj Sahni in the presence of Anwar Hussain who is the instigator for such an act. Om Prakash is a moot spectator to his dislike. The song is written by Daagh Dehlvi which is set to music by Mohammed Shafi.

It may be a rare occasion in a film in which as many as 4 songs (out of 7) have been picturisedon Roopmala who is not only the mujra dancer but also a vamp in the film. All the 4 mujra dance songs picturised on Roopmala were choreographed by Gopikrishna. Roopmala (real name, Mumtaz) was a popular dancer of Hyderabad. She started her filmy career with ‘Basera’ (1950).

In this song, everything is best – Daagh Dehlvi’s words, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, Mohammed Shafi’s tune and musical arrangements, Roopmala’s dance performance with seductive expressions and gestures and choreography by Gopikrishna.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Aarzoo ye hai ke nikle dam tumhaare saamne (Baazooband)(1954) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Daag Dehalvi, MD-Md Shafi

Lyrics (Based on Video Clip)

aa aa aa aa
aaa aaa aaa
aarzoo ye hai ke nikle
dam tumhaare ae saamne
haan aaa aaa aaa
aaa aaa aaa
aaa aan aaa
aa aa aa
tum hamaare saamne ho
hum tumhaare saamne
hum tumhare saamne
tum hamaare saamne ho
hum tumhaare saamne
hum tumhaare saamne

aaaa aaa aaa aaa
aaa lab par
aaye thham thham kar ke
tum ghabra na jaao
o o o o o o o o
dard dil mein ho magar
aeji dard dil mein ho magar
kum tumhaare saamne
kum tumhaare saamne
aarzoo ye hai ke nikle
dam tumhaare saamne
dam tumhaare saamne

aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaa aaa
baad mere royega
saara zamaana dekhna
aa aa aa aa
jhoom ke hoga mera
jhoom ke hoga mera
maatam tumhaare saamne
haan tumhaare saamne
aarzoo ye hai ke nikle
dam tumhaare saamne
dam tumhaare saamne

aaaa aaaaaa aaaaa
katl kar daalo hamen
yaa zulm e ulfat baksh do
haan aaa aaa
aaa aaa aaa
aan aan aan
lo khade hain haath baandhe
aeji lo khade hain haath baandhe
hum tumhaare saamne
hum tumhaare saamne
aarzoo ye hai ke nikle
dam tumhaare saamne
dam tumhare saamne
tum hamaare saamne ho
hum tumhaare saamne
hum tumhaare saamne


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 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 :

4542 Post No. : 16112

Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu, popularly known as CKP is one of the numerically smallest Marathi speaking communities of Maharashtra. But he cummnity has produced many intellectuals, playwrights, writers and bureaucrats. They are also regarded as an elite and a broad-minded community. But when one of their girls, Saroj Shilotri (Shobhna Samarth after marriage) tried to venture into films, her maternal uncle (who became the guardian after the death of her father) vehemently opposed her entry into films. The reason was, ‘who will marry her’? Those days, even broad-minded communities regarded working in the films as an act of moral turpitude.

Luckily for Shobhna Samarth, before signing her first film in 1935, she got engaged to Kumar Samarth who also belonged to CKP community. He had just returned from Germany after completing a course in cinematography. Later, they married. But her maternal uncle did not forgive her for the act of what he regarded as a sacrilege of family traditions.

About 5 years later, Shobhna Samarth’s maternal uncle again faced a similar situation. This time, it was his daughter, Nalini Jaywant who was inclined to join the film industry after she was picked up by producer Chimanbhai Desai for his film, ‘Radhika’ (1941). After a great deal of persuasion by a common friend of Chimanbhai Desai and Nalini Jaywant’s maternal uncle, the latter reluctantly permitted her to act in the film.

Today, December 24, 2020 is the 10th Remembrance Day of Nalini Jaywant. 10 years ago, she died of a heart attack but it came to the notice 3 days after her death in her bungalow by neighbours, thanks to the continuing howling by her two pet dogs. She was staying alone after the death of her husband, Prabhu Dayal and was leading a life of a recluse with a couple of pet dogs to give her the company. A distant relative of her is said to have took her body on a municipal ambulance and cremated her.

This unfortunate happening shows that Nalini Jaywant’s 25 years of an active and successful filmy career with 63 films did not counted at the end. During her heydays, she used to host a number of filmy parties and get-together in her bungalow. But after the death of her husband, Prabhu Dayal, the same bungalow had witnessed almost a deserted look during her last 20 years. Her first marriage her director, Virendra Desai in 1945 who was already married with children (whom she divorced in 1948) probably the marriage arising out of infatuation. The second with Prabhu Dayal in 1963 were probably the marriage of convenience. Her parents and brothers kept distance from her. Probably, they did not like her indulgence in socially unexpected behaviour after she joined the films.

Nalini Jaywant (18/02/1926 – 24/12/2010) had two distinct phases of her filmy career. The first phase began with her debut film ‘Radhika’ (1941) produced by Chimanbhai Desai and directed by his son, Virendra Desai. Baburao Patel, the editor of ‘Filmindia’ magazine did not review the film by saying that he did not want to waste the costly paper by reviewing the useless film. Her second film to release was Mehboob Khan’s ‘Bahen’ (1941) where she was paired with Sheikh Mukhtar in the role of his younger sister. This was followed by ‘Nirdosh’ (1941) with Mukesh, ‘Aankh Michowli’ (1942) with Satish Batra and ‘Aadab Arz’ (1943) with Karan Diwan. These films did not create much ripples in the box office front but Nalini Jaywant established herself in the Hindi film industry as an accomplished actress.

Sometime in 1945, Nalini Jaywant married Virendra Desai who was already married with children. This was not liked by his father, Chimanbhai Desai who expelled Virendra Desai from the house and removed him from his film production company, Amar Films. Later, both of them signed a 2-year contract with Filmistan – Nalini Jaywant as an actress and Virendra Desai as a director with a monthly salary and a bungalow in Malad to stay. However, both of them did not get any assignment during the period of contract though Filmistan had produced films like ‘Shikaari’ (1946), ‘Aath Din’ (1946), ‘Safar’ (1946), ‘Do Bhai’ (1947), ‘Saajan’ (1947). ‘Shehnaai’ (1947) etc during the period of their contract. The two-year contract was like two-year ‘vanwaas’ for them from films. This gap was long enough for the film industry to forget their existence.

The first thing Nalini Jaywant and Virendra Desai did after the period of contract got over was to re-establish themselves in the film industry. Both of them formed a film production company, Nalini Films. ‘Gunjan’ (1948) was the outcome of it which was directed by Virendra Desai. After the failure of the film at the box office, Nalini Jaywant divorced Virendra Desai in 1948. My assessment of their divorce is that she may have realised that so long as her name is attached with Virendra Desai, she would not get any role in the new films in the making as her husband would insist to be the director of her films. The divorce was also good for Virendra Desai in that he went back to his family.

The first film Nalini Jaywant signed after her divorce was ‘Anokha Pyaar’ (1948) with Dilip Kumar and Nargis. This film gave her a new lease of life in her filmy career. Film critics praised her in the role of a flower girl. But the real-take off in her filmi career came from a hit film. ‘Samaadhi’ (1950) in which she paired with Ashok Kumar for the first time. This was followed by another big success for her in ‘Sangraam’ (1950), once again pairing with Ashok Kumar. The success of Ashok Kumar-Nalini Jaywant combination resulted in both working together in as many as 11 films during 1950-57. Her second film. ‘Shikast’ (1953) was a milestone in that she could stand-up to the acting caliber of Dilip Kumar for which he praised her for her performance.

The box office success of ‘Naastik’ (1954) in which she was paired with Ajit resulted her working with him in 11 films. But after ‘Kaala Paani’ (1958), Nalini Jaywant did not have films to much talk about. From the beginning of the 1960s, film offers started declining. Many new leading actresses had joined the film industry and the age was catching with her.

The box office failure of ‘Amar Rahe Ye Pyaar’ (1961) jointly produced by Radhakrishan and Prabhu Dayal and directed by Prabhu Dayal financially broke both of them. While Radhakrishan committed suicide by jumping from his building, Prabhu Dayal who by this time had married Nalini Jaywant, became an alcohol addict. ‘Bombay Race Course’ (1965) was virtually her last film as a heroine after which she did not work in the films until she was offered character roles in ‘Bandish’ (1980) and ‘Naastik’ (1983).

In an interview published on DNA India on the eve of Dilip Kumar’s 90th birthday, he said among other things that he consistently rated Nalini Jaywant as his formidable co-star. He further said that she was the only actress who could spring surprises in the final takes if he was not alert, thanks to the natural spontaneity she possessed.

In a rare interview of Nalini Jaywant published in the Deccan Herald after her death in 2010, she regretted that she could get the opporrtunity to show her acting prowess only in films like ‘Anokha Pyaar’ (1948), ‘Samgraam’ (1950), ‘Shikast’ (1953), ‘Raahi’ (1953) and ‘Kaala Paani’ (1958). She said that she was not interested in making a come back in the film when the offer came for a character role in ‘Naastik’ (1983). But she had to accept it after many requests from Pran and Promod Chakravarty.

Pranay Gupte, the first cousin of Nalini Jaywant [Pranay’s mother, Professor (Dr.) Charusheela Gupte and Nalini Jaywant’s mother are sisters] who had visited her bungalow many times in his teen, wrote a tributary article – ‘Alone and Forgotten’ which appeared in ‘The Hindu’- December 29, 2010. In this article, he said “Actor Nalini Jaywant was a relic of a glorious past who lived in an unforgiving present. Listening to her in the autumn of her life made you flinch”. By the way, Pranay Gupte is a veteran international journalist and authors of several books who is based in the U.S.A.

On the occasion of Nalini Jaywant’s 10th Remembrance Day, I have selected one of the songs from her second released film ‘Bahen’ (1941). In this film, there were 12 songs of which 2 songs have been covered in the Blog. The songs picturised on Nalini Jaywant in the film were sung by her.

The song I am presenting is ‘aayi jawaani jiya lehraaye’ which is rendered by and picturised on Nalini Jaywant who was 15 years of age. The song is written by Safdar Aah Sitapuri which is set to music by Anil Biswas. As the song comes to an end, one can see Shaikh Mukhtar weeping because he does not want his sister to go away from him after marriage. A young Kanhaialal, the prospective bridegroom, is also seen at the end of the song.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Aayi jawaani jiya lahraaye (Bahan)(1941) Singer-Nalini Jaiwant, Lyrics-Safdar Aah Sitapuri, MD-Anil Biswas

Lyrics (Based on Video Clip)

jiya lehraaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
piya ghar jaana
sajan ghar jaana
piya ghar jaana
sajan ghar jaana
naihar ki galiyon mein kachhu na suhaaye
naihar ki galiyon mein kachhu na suhaaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye

sakhiyaan saheliyaan hoy gayin suhaagin
sakhiyaan saheliyaan hoy gayin suhaagin
hoy hoy mora jiya lalchaaye
hoy hoy mora jiya lalchaaye
pee ke kunwar bin sooni sooni laagoon
pee ke kunwar bin sooni sooni laagoon
sundar gahanwa more man bhaaye
sundar gahanwa more man bhaaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
piya ghar jaana
sajan ghar jaana
piya ghar jaana
sajan ghar jaana
naihar ki galiyon mein kachhu na suhaaye
naihar ki galiyon mein kachhu na suhaaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye
aayi jawaani
jiya lehraaye


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 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 :

4533 Post No. : 16098

In about mid-1940s, there was a demand for dancers in Hindi films following the success of dancers like Azurie and Cuckoo. The demand for dancers can be gauged from the fact that during 1945-50, Cuckoo worked in about 75 films of which she did as many as 34 films in 1950 alone. This ‘demand-supply’ mismatch for dancers led to the entry of new dancers in the Hindi film industry such as Mohana, Helen, Sheila Vaz, Roopmala, Kanchanmala, Kumkum etc during the late 40s and early 50s. One of the lesser known dancers who made a entry into this category during this period was Heera Sawant.

I became aware of Heera Sawant for the first time a few years back while browsing the pages of ‘Filmindia’ magazines available on-line. I had seen a couple of pictures of her in the film ‘Hua Savera’ (1948) in March 1948 issue of the magazine. At that time, I thought that she was one of those actors who came and vanished from Hindi films. But it was not so as I came to know a few months back while collecting the information for my articles on the some of the lesser known dancers of Hindi films.

Today, December 15th is the 85th birthday of Heera Sawant (born on 15/12/1935).

Heera Sawant was born in Sawantwadi taluka of Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. She was the eldest among 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Her father was in the business of motor parts in Mumbai. Soon, the family shifted to Mumbai. She did her schooling at St. Teresa High School and completed her Matriculation. She got entry in the Prithvi Theatres as an actor through her neighbour, a brother of actress Hemavati (wife of D K Sapru) who was already associated with acting in the plays of Prithvi Theatres. During this period, Heera Sawant started learning kathak dance from Master Mohanlal.

Heera Sawant got her first break in Hindi film, ‘Hua Savera’ (1948) when the producer and director of the films saw her performance in one of Prithvi Theatres’ plays. She got the second lead actress’s role with Sapru and Nayantara being the lead actors. The film did not fare well at the box office. However, she got some more assignments after the release of her maiden film. It was her semi-classical dance song, Aarti karo Shankar ki in ‘Naag Panchami’ (1953) which made her popular as a dancer. With this song, she got type-cast as dancer in most of her subsequent films.

In 1964, Heera Sawant turned a producer with her maiden Hindi film ‘Tarzan and Delilah’ (1964). She also produced a couple of Marathi films. Her 3rd Marathi film could not be released resulting in a huge financial loss for her.

Heera Sawant got married to Sundar Arya, a Punjabi businessman. After her husband’s death, she stays in Ahmednagar. [Heera Sawant’s biography is based on an interview which was posted on Shishir Krishna Sharma’s blog, ‘Beete Hue Din’ in May 2019].

The active years of filmy career of Heera Sawant was from 1948 to 1969 during which she acted in around 125 films of which around 75 films were in the decade of 1950s. A majority of her films were in the genre of religious, costume drama, action and stunt.

As mentioned earlier, when she ventured into film productions sometime in the first half of 1960s, her acting career seems to have taken a back seat. This was also the period when Helen was the reigning dancer in Hindi films and new dancers cum side actresses such as Bela Bose, Aruna Irani, Minu Mumtaz, Jeevan Kala, Lakshmi Chhaya, Madhumati etc established themselves in the Hindi film industry. By early 1970s, Heera Sawant has virtually retired from the Hindi films.

Some of the popular songs picturised on her are as under:

Song Movie (year)
tim tima tim tim tima tim taare ‘Har Har Mahadev’ (1950)
saari raat jaage laage jo tose nainwaa ‘Baaraati’ (1954)
shama pe aake parwaane ‘Meenaar’ (1954)
tedhi tedhi hamse phire saari duniya ‘Musaafir’ (1957)
mere dard-e-jigar ki har dhadkan ‘Nausherwan-e-Adil’ (1957)
ritu aaye ritu jaaye sakhi ri ‘Bansari Bala’ (1957)
dil milaate jaaiye nazaren milaate jaaiye ‘Return of the Superman’ (1960)

On the occasion of 85th birth day of Heera Sawant, I present one of her dance songs from the film ‘Vazir-e-Azam’ (1961). The song is ‘daghebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheena’ sung by Mahendra Kapoor and Pushpa Marathe. The song is written by Hairat Sitapuri which is set to music by Robin Banerjee.

This is a song picturised on Master Bhagwan and Heera Sawant to divert the attention of the prison guards to facilitate the escape of Suresh from the prison. The orchestration of the song sounds like that of O P Nayyar.

Video Clip:

Song-Daghebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheenaa (Vazir e Azam)(1961) Singers-Pushpa Marathe, Mahendra Kapoor, Lyrics-Hairat Sitapuri, MD-Robin Bannerjee
Both

Lyrics

ooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooo
ooooooooooooo

daghebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheena
dagebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheena
o bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena

gora gora chanda dekho samaa hai pyaari pyaari
thhes lagi to dikhti pal mein nafrat ki chingaari
baat beeti na haay dil na kahi pe laage na
haay
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena

daghebaaz kyun tune mera dil chheena
daghebaaz kyun tune mera dil chheena
hoy
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena

sar sar sar sar mera aanchaljhoom ke jab lehraaye
saath usike dil ye hamaara jaane kyun bal khaaye
haal ye apne dil ka yahi main samjhi na
haaye
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena

daghebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheena
daghebaaz kyun toone mera dil chheena
ho bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena hoye

dhak dhak dhak dhak dhadke jiya phiroon main khoyi khoyi
kaajal ban ke aankh mein teri samaa gaya hai koi
jaadoo tujh pe ae
hoy jaadu tujh pe pyaar ka usne kar deena

bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye ae
bina pyaar ke duniya mein hai kya jeena
hoye
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm


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 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 :

4533 Post No. : 16095 Movie Count :

4394

Today, December 14, 2020 is the 86th birthday of Dadasaheb Phalke Award winner and Padma Bhushan Shyam Benegal who was born on December 14, 1934 in Hyderabad. He set a bench-mark for Hindi film industry by successfully making parallel films. His films became inspirations for some Hindi film producer-directors to venture into the ‘middle of the road’ films (a cross between mainstream and parallel films).

From the childhood, Shyam Benegal was familiar with a movie camera as his father owned a 16mm movie camera to shoot some family events. Besides, he was also exposed to English, Hindi and South Indian films which he used to watch in a theatre in an army cantonment in Secundrabad where his father worked as a professional photographer. In one of his many interviews, he had admitted that in his childhood, he was a film junkie and would watch any type of films.

At the age of 12, Shyam Benegal made his first amateur film of about 10 minutes duration from his father’s movie camera covering the visits of his family friends and relatives in summer vacations and going with them for picnics etc. As he grew up, he had already made up his mind to become a film maker. The success of ‘Baazi’ (1951) made by his cousin, Guru Dutt inspired him to the extent that ‘if Guru Dutt could do it why not me’? But those days, there was not much opportunity to pursue film-making in Hyderabad.

In 1955, Shyam Benegal visited Kolkata and met his uncle who knew that he was interested in film-making. He advised him to first watch a Bangla film made by an unknown person who was a commercial artist and let him know his reaction. The film he watched was Satyajit Ray’s maiden film ‘Pather Panchali’ (1955). For the first time, Shyam Benegal felt that this film was quite different from what he had so far seen in the theatre which included films from Prabhat, New Theatres,Bombay Talkies, Mehboob Khan and even some English films. He took a decision that if at all he became a film maker, he would make films which would be different from the mainstream films and would have his stamp of film-making.

In 1959, after completion of M.A. in Economics from Osmania University, Shyam Benegal came to Mumbai in his pursuit to become a film maker. Much earlier, Guru Dutt had invited him to join him as Assistant Director. But he had declined the offer as he did not want to take that route to become a film-maker. After remaining unemployed for about 6 months, he got a job in an advertising agency as a copyrighter. Within a short period, he became its creative head. During his stints in advertising companies in 1959-66, he made over 900 advertising and documentary films.

The working in advertising and documentary films gave Shyam Benegal the ‘hands on’ experience of all the major departments of film-making. During 1966-73, Shyam Benegal taught at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune.

During college days, Shyam Benegal had written a script based on what he had witnessed during Telangana Peasants Movement (1946-51). Having gain the experience of film making, he had decided to make a full-length feature film based on his script. For such type of a film, it was difficult to get a financier and more difficult to get a distributor even if the film was made. After many attempts, at last, he got a financier, Mohan Bijlani of Blaze Films for his first film. Blaze Films had distributed many of Shyam Benegal’s advertising films. The title of the film ‘Ankur’ (1974) was suggested by Anant Nag for whom it was his maiden Hindi film.

The success of ‘Ankur’ (1974) resulted in Shyam Bengal’s partnership with Blaze Films in some of his subsequent films like ‘Nishaant’ (1975), ‘Bhumika’ (1977) and ‘Mandi’ (1983). During 1979-81, Shyam Benegal got the opportunity to make ‘Junoon’ (1979) and ‘Kalyug’ (1981) with Shashi Kapoor who not only produced these films but also acted in them.

By 1983, Shyam Benegal had proved his credential as a successful parallel film maker. Almost all his feature films not only recovered the cost of production, but also made money in some films. Despite this, Shyam Benegal had somewhat lean period after “Mandi’ (1983). During this time, Shyam Benegal kept himself busy with directing TV serials – a 15-part ‘Yatra’ (1982) for Indian Railways and a 53-episode ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988) for Doordarshan which are regarded as Shyam Benegal’s classic T V serials.

Shyam Benegal was back to the films with his Muslim trilogy, ‘Mammo’ (1994), ‘Sardari Begum’ (1996) and ‘Zubeida’ (2001). He continues to make films of his choice which are different not only from the mainstream cinemas but also from his earlier films.

I had become aware of Shyam Benegal from his very first film ‘Ankur’ (1974) which I saw in the theatre after its release. Afterwards, I had no opportunity to see any of his subsequent films until I watched some of them in the digital era during the last 5-6 years. So, subsequent to ‘Ankur’ (1974), I always related his name with the Doordarshan serial, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988) which I had watched almost all the episodes during its first telecast.

Before ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’, I had watched other serials shown on Doordarshan like, ‘Hum Log’ (1984), G P Sippy’s ‘Buniyaad’ (1986), Kundan Shah’s ‘Nukkad’ (1986). Ramanand Sagar’ ‘Ramayan’ (1987) etc. But, in my view, none of these could match ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988) in terms of grandeurs, technical excellence, performances of the actors, music and above all the brilliant filming of each episode by the director, Shyam Benegal. It was a monumental series encompassing the period from Indus Valley Civilisation to India’s independence. And this vast history and culture of India was to be covered in 53 episodes. I regard ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988) as the top classic Doordarshan serial of an epic proportion which is yet to be qualitatively matched by any of the subsequent T.V. serials.

Shyam Benegal had said after many years that it was his sheer madness that made him to undertake such a mammoth work as it involved a lot of research, coordination with the actors and crew members especially when some of them were also working in the films. Furthermore, it was a risky venture involving religious, political and social commentaries over a period of 5000 years of history. Fortunately for him, there was no interferences from Doordarshan, political parties, religious and social organisations during the making as well as during its telecast. After the completion of the shootings, he was glad that he took upon himself this project giving him a great satisfaction and an experience of life time.

The genesis of making ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ for Doordarshan as revealed by Shyam Benegal in a Doordarshan interview goes back to the year 1985 when Doordarshan had already commissioned the serials ‘Ramayan’ (1987) and ‘Mahabharat’ (1988). Once these two religious serials were ready for telecast, they wanted to commission another serial on India’s history and culture for which Shyam Benegal was invited for discussion. He was already in the making of a serial ‘Yatra’ (1986) for Indian Railways to be telecast on Doordarshan.

During the school days, one of the relatives of Shyam Benegal had gifted him a book ‘Discovery of India’ (1944), written by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru while he was in Ahmednagar jail during 1942-46 following his participation in ‘Quit India’ movement in 1942. Shyam Benegal had read this book many times as he grew from boy into his adulthood. He was enamored by the history and diverse culture of India as enumerated in the book. He discussed this subject with the Doordarshan authorities and they approved the subject.

By early 1986, Shayam Benegal started the preliminary work on the T.V. serial for writing the script of ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ with a team of 10 writers which included himself, Shama Zaidi, Vasant Deo, Ashok Mishra among others and 22 eminent historians, each with their specialised fields. Simultaneously, he sent his Art Director and the Production Designer with a team of assistants to Archaeological Survey of India’s Office at New Delhi to research on the relevant periods of artifacts, costumes etc. After spending about 8 months in Delhi and other places all over India, they submitted their works.

After the script, screen-play and dialogues were completed, the shooting started in early 1988 which continued for the next 18 months. A major part of the shooting of all the 53 episodes was done at the Film City, Goregaon where as many as 144 sets were erected during the period of 18 months. Some shootings were also done at few historical locations in some parts of India and the shooting in the open ground and forests in the Western Ghats. Over 500 actors mostly drawn from FTII. National School of Drama and other film training institutes were involved in the shooting. Some of the prominent actors included Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, K K Raina, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Pallavi Joshi, Aloknath, Pankaj Berry, Ila Arun, Irfan Khan, Vijay Kashyap, Anjaan Srivastav, Mita Vashisht, Tom Alter, Jalal Agha, Urmila Bhatt, Surendra Pal and many more. Some of them had done multiples roles in the serial.

I have given all these details of the serial just to get the readers the enormity of the project which was a herculean task for Shyam Benegal to manage. The end result was that ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ was as popular in terms of viewership as ‘Buniyaad’ and ‘Mahabharat’ according to Doordarshan. Another end result of this serial as Vanraj Bhatia said in a lighter vein was that after the end of 18 months of shooting, Shyam Benegal looked much older than his age.

On the occasion of Shyam Benegal’s 86th birthday, we wish him a happy birth day and pray for his good health and an active life as a film-maker. He has said in an interview a couple of years ago that film-making will remain his passion at any age as long as he is active.

On the occasion of Shyam Benegal’s 86th birthday, I felt that I should select one of many songs from his extravagant T.V. serial, ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988) which he considers to be the toughest assignment he had undertaken so far. Only a couple of songs from this serial have been uploaded on a video sharing platform of which I have selected a Sufi ghazal, ‘zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful’ in Episode-27. This Amir Khusrou’s ghazal is sung in qawwali stayle by Murlidhar who is a singer-actor in Nepali film industry. He is one of the deciples of Pandit Jasraj. I have seen him in an interview on one of the Nepali T.V. Channels and I feel that qawwali may have been picturised on him as well. Vanraj Bhatia is the music director assisted by Kersi Lord and Ashok Patki.

In the serial, the qawwali is preceded by a devotional song of Sant Tukaram. Both the song and the qawwali are reflections of the influences of thoughts and culture of Hindus on Muslims and vice versa during the start of the Bhakti Movement in North India.

One of the main features of the ghazal is that the lines in the first couplet is written half in Persian and other half in Brij Bhasha. Thereafter in rest of the two couplets, the first line is in Persian and the second line in Brij Bhasha.

The actual ghazal has been written as under:

zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan
ki taab-e-hijraan nadaaram-e-jaan na lehu kaaye lagaaye chatiyaan

shabaan-e-hijraan daraaz choon zulf wa rooz-e-waslat choo umr kotah
sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhoon to kaise kaatoon andheri ratiyaan

ba-haqq-e-aan mah ki roz-e-mahshar ba-daad maara fareb ‘Khusro’
sapit mann ke duraaye rakhoon jo jaaye paaun piya ki khatiyaan

The English translation of the ghazal is on the video clip.

There are two more she’rs in the ghazal which have not been included in the qawwali. The omitted two she’rs are as under:

yakayak az dil do chashm jaadoo ba-sad-farebam ba-burd taskeen
kise padi hai jo jaa sunaave piyaare pee ko hamaari batiyaan

choon sham-e-sozaan choon zarra hairaan mehr-e-aan-mah bagashtam aakhir
na neend nainaan na ang chainaan na aap aave na bheje patiyaan

Acknowledgement: Some of the information for the article is taken from the following sources:

1. ‘Yaadon Ke Saaye’ – An interview of Shyam Benegal by Irfaan on Rajya Sabha TV.

2. ‘Dil Se’ – An interview of Shyam Benegal on a TV Channel.

3. The making of ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ – An interview of Shyam Benegal conducted on Doordarshan.

Video Clip:

Song-Zihaal e miskin makun tagaaful ( Bharat Ek Khoj)(1988) Singer-Murlidhar, Lyrics-Amir Khusro, MD-Vanraj Bhatia
Chorus

Lyrics

aa aa aaaaaaaa
aa aa aaaaaaa aa aaaa
aa aa aaaaaa aa aa
aaaaaaaaa
zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan
zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan

zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan

ki taab-e-hijraan nadaaram-e-jaan
na lehu kaaye lagaaye chhatiyaan
ki taab-e-hijraan nadaaram-e-jaan
na lehu kaaye lagaaye chatiyaan

ki taab-e-hijraan
nadaaram-e-jaan
na lehu kaahe lagaaye chatiyaan
lagaaye chatiyaan
lagaaye chatiyaan
lagaaye chhatiyaan
na lehu kaaye lagaaye chatiyaan
zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan

shabaan-e-hijraan daraaz choon zulf
wa roz-e-waslat choo umr kotah
wa roz-e-waslat choo umr kotah
wa roz-e-waslat choo umr kotah

sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhoon
to kaise kaatoon andheri ratiyaan
sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhoon
to kaise kaatoon
to kaise kaatoon
to kaise kaatoon andheri ratiyaan
to kaise kaatoon andheri ratiyaan
sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhoon
to kaise kaatoon andheri ratiyaan

ba haqq-e-aan mah ki roz-e-mahshar
ba daad maara fareb ‘Khusro’
ba daad maara fareb ‘Khusro’
ba daad maara
ba daad maara fareb ‘Khusro’
ba daad maara fareb ‘Khusro’
sapit mann ki duraaye rakhoon
jo jaaye paaun piya ke khatiyaan
sapit mann ki duraaye rakhoon
ha aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
sapit mann ki duraaye rakhoon
ha aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
sapit mann ki duraaye rakhoon
ha aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
sapit mann ki duraaye rakhoon
jo jaaye paaun piya ke khatiyaan
zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan
zihaal-e-miskeen makun taghaaful
duraaye naina banaaye batiyaan


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 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 :

4531 Post No. : 16093

Today, December 13th 2020 is the 34th Remembrance Day of Smita Patil who today would have been 65 years of age, perhaps donning the hat of a director.

What an incredible filmy journey Smita Patil had in a short span of about 12 years! She acted in 70 Hindi films of which 18 films were new wave films. In addition, she acted in about a dozen non-Hindi new wave films. At the age of 23, she got her first National Award for the Best Actress for her role in ‘Bhumika’ (1977). After 3 years, she was bestowed with another National Award for the Best Actress in ‘Chakra’ (1980). At the age of 29, she was one of the juries in the Montreal International Film Festival (1984). At the age of 30, She got Padma Shri Award.

She had achieved fame and glory in a short period and left her legacies for the new generations of film enthusiasts to appreciate. Other eminent actresses had taken much longer periods to achieve more or less the same status in their acting career. It is amazing to note that during her 12 years of filmy career, she worked with many eminent directors of new wave/parallel cinemas such as Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray (Bangla), Mrinal Sen (Bangla), G Arvindan (Malayalam), T S Nagabharana (Kannada), Jabbar Patel (Marathi), Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, Ketan Mehta (Gujarati and Hindi), Kumar Sahani, Muzaffar Ali, Saeed Mirza, Govind Nihalani etc. In the sphere of mainstream cinema, she acted under the directors such as Raj Khosla, B R Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Mahesh Bhatt, Prakash Mehra, Mohan Kumar, J Om Prakash, J P Dutta etc.

Smita Patil (17/09/1955 – 13/12/1986) was born in Pune to a freedom fighter turned politician, Shivajirao Patil, and a social worker, Vidyatai Patil. After completion of her school in Pune, Smita Patil joined her parents in Mumbai by which time, her father had become a cabinet minister in Maharashtra. She joined St. Xavier’s College for graduation. It is during her college days she got selected as a Marathi news reader in Mumbai Doordarshan following the start of its telecast in October 1972. (I have also watched her occasionally reading Hindi news as well).

In one of his interviews, Shyam Benegal has revealed that after the successful release of his first film ‘Ankur’ (1974), he had planned for two films for which he was looking for a new girl having an earthly look (colloquially called ‘desi’ look). When he noticed Smita Patil as a Marathi newsreader on Doordarshan. he felt that she had an attractive presence and has the required photogenic face as a village girl. She fitted very well as a second lead in his next film ‘Nishaant’ (1975). Shyam Benegal met Smita’s parents through a common acquaintance. Her parents readily agreed but Smita point-blankly refused to work in films. Her mother, Vidyatai Patil who had seen ‘Ankur’ (1974), didn’t want her to refuse the offer off-hand. It took some time for her mother to convince Smita to work in the film ‘Nishaant’ (1975).

However, before ‘Nishaant’ (1975) could start, Shyam Benegal took her in ‘Charandas Chor’ (1975), a children’s film which would be a sort of familiarisation process for Smita Patil. According to Shyam Benegal, unlike Shabana Azmi, who was a FTII graduate in acting, Smita Patil had no formal training in acting. But she was a quick learner and an intuitive actor. The only problem with her was that she had multiple interests and as such during shooting, her mind would get diverted to activities other than acting. She was an ace photographer and always carried her camera during the shootings. During the break, she would take candid photographs of her co-stars. For the initial period of shooting for ‘Nishaant’ (1975), and ‘Manthan’ (1976), Shyam Benegal was not only the director but also had to behave like her school teacher for imposing the discipline.

Shyam Benegal says that despite all her sundry interest on the sets, Smita gave an excellent performance in ‘Nishaant’ (1975) as well as in ‘Manthan’ (1976). He narrated an anecdote during the shooting of the film in a village near Rajkot. A few college students had come to watch the shooting and were enquiring about the heroine. Smita Patil was sitting with four-five local women squatting against the wall. Someone from the unit pointed out in the direction of Smita Patil to the college students. They refused to believe him saying how could a heroine sit with local women? Her character in the film got so much assimilated with the local women that she could not be recognised as a heroine.

Shyam Benegal had initially considered Shabana Azmi for ‘Bhumika’ (1977). Later on, he felt that Smita’s body language and dialect seemed culturally apt for Hansa Wadkar’s character which required Smita’s visual presence from the beginning to the end. There were contradictions, complexities and also sexuality in the character of Hansa Wadkar and Smita had excellently handled all these in her role which fetched her the National Award for the Best Actress. According to Shyam Benegal, it was only after this award, Smita Patil took the acting career seriously.

After working under the direction of Shyam Bengal in ‘Kondura’ (1978) a bilingual film in Hindi and Telugu, there was a gap of 5 years during which Shyam Benegal had no occasion to take Smita Patil in his films. The reason could be that Shyam Benegal was associated with a couple of high budget films in which Smita Patil did not fit into the character.

‘Mandi’ (1983) was the last film Smita Patil worked under the direction of Shyam Benegal. In my view, this film is the best among Shyam Benegal’s films as also performance-wise the best of Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil for Shyam Benegal. Both of them have situations in the film in which they have to display different moods even in a single scene which only a few actors can perform to create a lasting impression on the audience .

With so much name and fame Smita Patil earned in acting in off-beat films, what were the reasons for her to seek the foray into mainstream commercial cinema? She did not fit into the idioms of commercial cinema. If I have inferred her personality on the basis of the articles written on her, a strong role rather than the money was her consideration to work in the films. I got some explanations for her entry into mainstream commercial cinema from a book ‘Smita Patil – A Brief Incandescence’ (2019) written by Maithili Rao. It was because of an incidence which hurt Smita Patil to such an extent that she decided to work in commercial cinema forthwith.

Sometime in 1981, one eminent successful director known for making ‘middle of the road’ films promised Smita Patil a role which she loved it. Later on, she came to know through the press that she was replaced by an actress who was also a successful star in commercial cinema. Within a few days from this incidence, Smita Patil signed two stupid films on a single day – ‘Badle Ki Aag’ (1982) and another one (probably,’Tajurba’ 1981). She wanted to prove that she was also a star material. Both these films did not fare well on the box office front.

Fortunately for Smita Patil, her next two mainstream films, Praksah Mehra’s ‘Namak Halaal’ (1982) followed by Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Shakti’ (1982), both with Amitabh Bachchan clicked at the box office which made Smita Patil a star-actor. After these successes, she did a spate of mainstream films, the notable films among them being ‘Aaj Ki Aawaaz’ (1984), ‘Ghulaami’ (1985), ‘Aakhir Kyun?’ (1985), ‘Amrit’ (1986). During this period, Smita Patil continued to work in parallel films such as ‘Ardh Satya’ (1983), ‘Tarang’ (1984), ‘Raavan’ (1984), ‘Giddh’ (1984), ‘Debshishu’ (1985) and ‘Mirch Masaala’ (1987). The end result was that in terms of numbers, her mainstream commercial films far exceeded her parallel films.

Smita Patil worked with Raj Babbar for the first time in ‘Tajurba’ (1981). It was during the shooting of ‘Bheegi Palkein’ (1982) when both of them developed a close relationship. Their closeness resulted in working together in as many as 20 films. Their affairs culminated into the marriage. Raj Babbar was already married to Nadira Babbar with two children.

Smita Patil died on December 13, 1986, 15 days after giving birth to her son Pratiek due to complications arising out of childbirth.

Shyam Benegal was back into new wave films by making a triology on Indian Muslim women with ‘Mammo’ (1994), ‘Sardari Begum’ (1996) and ‘Zubieda’ (2001). in a recent interview, he said that after Smita Patil, he has worked with many actresses but none of them came close to the versatilities of Smita Patil.

On the occasion of Smita Patil’s 34th Remembrance Day, I have selected a song from the film ‘Mandi’ (1983) which is directed by Shyam Benegal with Smita Patil in the role of Zeenat. It is a mujra song, ‘chubhti hai ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari angiya’ sung by Asha Bhosle and picturised on Smita Patil. This raunchy song is written by Insha which is set to music by Vanraj Bhatia.

The film starts with this mujra song as credit titles are rolling. One can see Naseeruddin Shah as a worker in the kotha, Shabana Azmi as Madam of the kotha and Harish Patel as police who is watching the mujra through the window. The mujra starts with the classic ‘sit-down’ pose with alluring expressions of Smita Patil. In the last part of the song, she gets up and steps into a vigorous dancing in kathak style.

According to Vanraj Bhatia, Asha Bhosle who had sung many songs for him, refused to sing this song by saying that it was a dirty song. She cancelled the recording three times. It was Ismat Chugtai who convinced her by saying that she had sung many kotha songs. Why not one more? The reason as to why Vanraj Bhatia persisted on Asha Bhosle even after she cancelled the recording three times could be that only Asha Bhosle could do justice to sing to sound like a raunchy song.

Although the name of the lyricist is mentioned as Insha, I feel that he is Syed Insha Allah Khan ‘Insha’ (1756-1817). He had used his nom de plume ‘Insha’ in some of his poems. He had also used in the song under discussion. Insha was a contemporary of Mir Taqi Mir in Mughal court. Later, he shifted to the court of Nawab of Awadh in Lucknow for getting a higher stipend. He was a multilingual poet who wrote poems in Urdu, Persian, Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Bengali, Marathi etc. I have gone through some of his ghazals and nazms. He seems to be a witty and unconventional poet. His prose work, ‘Rani Ketki Ki Kahaani’ is regarded as the first short story written in Hindi.

The video version has the full song interspersed with some dialogues, while the audio version is without dialogues and does not have the last stanza.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Chubhhti hai ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari angiyaa (Mandi)(1983) Singer-Asha Bhonsle, Lyrics-Inshaa, MD-Vanraj Bhatia

Lyrics(Based on Video Clip)

chubhti hai
chubhti hai
ye to chubhti hai
ye to nigodi
mujhe chubhti hai
chubhti hai
ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari angiya
bhaari angiya chubhti hai
koi saadi si
haan koi saadi si
mere vaaste laa de angiya
laa de angiya

pokhron leher ban ke
daak sitaare
kise ho jaati hai kambakkht
gawaari angiya
ho gawaari angiya
mujhe chubhti hai
Allah chubhti hai
ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari angiya
bhaari angiya chubhti hai

gend ek maine jo phenki to
haan gend ek maine jo phenki to
jhijak kar un nein kuchh ajab dol se
kal apni sanwaari angiya
biwi mughlaani jo see laayi thhi
aayi na pasand
aayi na..aa pasand
o beghma ji ne wo sar unke
haan beghma ji ne wo sar unke
de maari angiya
de maari angiya
mujhe chubhti hai
Allah chubhti hai
ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari angiya
bhaari angiya chubhti hai

odhani mujhse jo badli to
aji odhani mujhse jo badli to
baazi jaan ki bhi ek deeje jo ho
bhaari se bhaari angiya
ye ajab koi sugad(?) jisne kaadhe ye boote
kaadhe ye boote
wah chire(?) ban gayi
ban gayi ek phoolon ki kyaari
haa aan ban gayi ek phoolon ki kyaari
kyaari angiya
pyaari angiya
mujhe chubhti hai
ye to nigodi mujhe bhaari
bhaari angiya chubhti hai

aa aa aa
noz pehne koi
shabnam ki katori saahab
taare..ae youn doob gaye
wo ko sudhaari angiya
wo ko sudhaari angiya
sudhaari ee angiya
haath ‘Insha’ ka kahin chhoo jo gaya to boli
haath ‘Insha’ ka kahin chhoo jo gaya to boli
tera maqdoor
tera maqdoor ke tu chhede hamaari angiya
hamaari angiya
hamaari angiya


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 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 :

4524 Post No. : 16084

Sometime in September 2019, there was an article written by Khalid Mohammed in ‘Mumbai Mirror’ which highlighted the plight of 92 years old music director and musicologist, Vanraj Bhatia. He was penniless and was struggling to meet his daily requirements including his medical expenses. He was mostly bedridden. He had not done his medical check-up for a long time due to paucity of money. To meet his daily expenses, he had started selling his old antique utensils which he had collected over a period of time.

We have heard this type of situation faced by some Hindi film artists earlier also. For instance, film artists like Chandramohan, Master Nissar, Khan Mastana, G M Durrani, Rajkumari Dubey, Sridhar Parsekar, Master Bhagwan, Parshuram, Cuckoo, Bharat Bhushan, Vimi, A K Hangal, Raj Kiran, Satish Kaul etc have gone through such abject poverty. But what is shocking is that in the 21st Century, even a person of the caliber of Vanraj Bhatia has to go through the vagaries of adverse financial conditions. And his precaurious conditions have remained unknown to most of his associates who had worked with him in the past. It was only when journalist, Editor and film director, Khalid Mohammed visited his house, the conditions of the recipient of the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Award (1957), National Film Award (1988) for the best music director, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award(1989) and Padma Shri Award (2012) became known.

Fortunately, within 48 hours from the article appearing in ‘Mumbai Mirror’, followed by breaking this news on social media, some of his old friends and admirers promptly raised funds for him. The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) chairman, Javed Akhtar also arranged to hand over a cheque to him within a couple of days of breaking the news. During the making of ‘Sardari Begum’ (1996), Vanraj Bhatia has a fight with Javed Akhtar in regard to a song for which Vanraj wanted the lyrics first and Javed Akhtar wanted the tune first. But this incidence did not affect Javed Akhtar in taking a prompt initiative in IPRS for the financial aid to this talented and intellectual musicologist.

Within a week from this news break, Dilip Tahil to whom Vanraj Bhatia gave his first break as a singer in a play, announced a book project on the life of Vanraj Bhatia which will be written by Khalid Mohammed. Amir Khan came forward to sponsor the book. Now, this is an interesting development as I feel that this is in recognition of the immense contributions Vanraj Bhatia has made in the Indian music scene which need to be brought to the notice of people in general and music admirers in particular. Many people may not be aware of his name even though some of his Hindi film songs may be known to them.

I have gone through his interviews in magazines/newspapers/digital newspapers and also on Rajya Sabha TV. Based on these interviews, I am confident that the proposed book on Vanraj Bhatia would not only turn out to be interesting one but would also generate royalty for him. He is not only an unique music director, he also seems to be an independent minded person if I read him correctly.

Vanraj Bhatia (B.31/05/1927) was born in Mumbai in a middle-class family who had shifted to Mumbai from Kutch during the period of boom in textile mills giving opportunity for business in cloth. His father was a cloth merchant. The young Vanraj was enrolled in New Era High School which was set up in 1930. The school also provided some vocational courses in addition to normal syllabus. Vanraj took the vocational course in Hindustani classical music and stood first in every year in the class.

After completion of his high school, Vanraj was enrolled in Elphinstone College with Sanskrit as an additional subject. Knowing his proficiency in Sanskrit, Vanraj’s professor was keen that he chose Sanskrit for his M.A. However, after graduation, Vanraj completed his M.A. in English literature in 1949.

During his teenage days, he had developed an interest in Western classical music. Under Dr. Manek Bhagat, he learned piano and studied the Western classical music for 4 years mastering all the works of Beethoven and Mozart. He wanted to pursue the further study in the Western classical music by going abroad. But his father was not able to financially support him. His close relatives were strongly opposed to his making music as a profession. which was seen by then in low esteem.

Finally, he got permission from his father with a condition that he would support his study abroad only for six months. Fortunately, Vanraj got scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London for 1951-54. After graduating with a gold medal in 1954, Vanraj got Rockefeller Scholarship for five years from 1954 to 1958 at Conservatoire de Paris.

The first advertising jingle Vanraj composed after returning to India in 1959 was for Shakti Mills which was produced by Durga Khote. The financial condition of Vanraj’s family was not good. He required some steady income to support the family. He took up the assignment in Delhi University as Reader in Western Musicology in 1960. He did not enjoy the work as there was no creativity. In 1964, he resigned from his post in Delhi University and returned to Mumbai to work as a full-time composer for advertising films. He did many advertising jingles which included his popular advertising jingles for Liril soap and Garden Vareli saaris.

During this period, Vanraj came into contact with Shyam Benegal who was also in the field of making advertising films. Vanraj worked for Shyam Benegal for the first time for his advertising film on Finlay Mills for which Vanraj composed advertising jingles. Both of them worked together in many advertising and documentary films. When Shyam Benegal ventured into making his first feature film ‘Ankur’ (1974), he assigned the background music to Vanraj Bhatia (it was a song-less film).

Vanraj Bhatia composed his first filmy songs in Shyam Benegal’s ‘Nishaant’ (1975). His next film. ‘Manthan’ (1976) had only one song, mero gaam kaatha paarey rendered by Preeti Sagar who used to sing for him for his advertising jingles. The song became very popular in which he experimented mixing of various dialects due to which people from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh identified themselves with the song. Vanraj Bhatia became the regular collaborator with Shyam Benegal for 16 films until 2000 after which he virtually retired from the films as he had developed other interests in music.

According to Shyam Benegal, he and Vanraj Bhatia often fought during the sessions of song compositions. But at the end, the result was excellent. He created the perfect balance of Hindustani classical music and Western classical music. In an interview, Vanraj Bhatia had said that during his teenage days, he was influenced by the song compositions of R C Boral and Pankaj Mullick. According to him, they were the only music directors at that time who knew the use of harmony in their melodies through orchestration.

There is no indication in any of his interviews as to why he avoided the mainstream Hindi films or it was other way round. But he did take few mainstream Hindi films for background music such as ‘Ajooba’ (1991), ‘Beta’ (1992), ‘Damini’ (1993), ‘Ghatak’ (1996), ‘Pardes’ (1997), ‘Chinagate’ (1998) etc. The work of background music in these films gave him the opportunity and the satisfaction to showcase his talent in Western music.

Vanraj Bhatia, by and large confined himself to music direction of the parallel cinemas. In addition to working with Shyam Benegal, he has also worked with other directors of parallel cinemas such as Aparna Sen (‘36 Chowringhee Lane’, 1981), Kundan Shah (‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’, 1983), Saeed Akhtar Mirza (‘Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho’, 1984), Prakash Jha (‘Hip Hip Hurray’, 1984)), Ashok Tyagi (‘Shurkhiyaan’, 1985), Govind Nihalani (‘Tamas’, 1987) etc.

In a career spanning over 5 decades, Vanraj Bhatia made significant contributions to music across all forms. He started with advertisement jingles which numbered over 6000. He had also provided music to over 50 documentaries. He has been the music director about 35 films. He has also composed music for about a dozen classical TV serials like ‘Khandaan’ (1985), ‘Yatra’ (1986), ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (1988), ‘Wagle Ki Duniya (1988) etc. He composed music for many plays – both Hindi and English. He has made a mark in Western classical music by cutting about a dozen each of albums on his solo piano and chamber music. He composed the spiritual music albums like ‘Indian Meditation Music’ (1999), ‘Anant’ (2001), ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ (2002), ‘The Spirit of Upanishads’ (2007) etc.

One of Vanraj Bhatia’s musical work which was very close to his heart was producing an opera, ‘Agni-Varsha’ in English, based on Girish Karnad’s Kannada play ‘Agni Mattu Male’ (1995). The first two acts were staged in Mumbai in 2017. Later, one lady, Judith Kellock did two performances in New York. The opera received good response. He was working on the third act of the opera which appears to be ready. Unfortunately, due to his medical condition, the work has remained to be staged.

Unfortunately, most people are unaware of Vanraj Bhatia’s contributions in the field of music probably because he was not associated with mainstream Hindi films.

For Vanraj Bhatia, ‘Junoon’ (1978) was his first high budget film produced by Shashi Kapoor and directed by Shyam Benegal. The high budget of the film allowed him to engage the top playback singers, Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle for the first time for him besides the luxury of having a higher number of musicians than what he normally uses in low budget films. The film had 4 songs written by Amir Khusro, Jigar Muradabadi, Yogesh Praveen and 16th Century English poet, Christopher Marlowe (for English song). One song has been covered on the Blog.

I am presenting the 2nd song, a kajri, ‘saawan ki aayi bahaar re’ written by Yogesh Praveen and set to music by Vanraj Bhatia. The record version has 4 stanzas with orchestration, rendered by Asha Bhosle. The sound track version in the film has first, second and fourth stanzas of which first two stanzas are sung by Varsha Bhosle (Asha Bhosle’s daughter) without orchestration. Varsha Bhosle’s part of the song is picturised on Dipti Naval while Nafisa Ali is helping her in swinging. Jennifer Kapoor and Sushma Seth are sitting on the ground. The second stanza is again repeated by Asha Bhosle in the film in a different situation. She also sings the 4th stanza in another situation.

Although it is a ‘saawan’ song, it is also presented as ‘pre-marriage’ song in the second stanza and ‘separation’ song in the 4th stanza in the film. The 3rd stanza has not been included in the filmy version.

Acknowledgements of sources for the article:

Table border=”1″>
1. Interview of Vanraj Bhatia in ‘Serenade’ Magazine – March 22, 2017. 2. Interview of Vanraj Bhatia by Greg Booth in digital newspaper, scroll.in – March,1 2017. 3. Interview of Vanraj Bhatia on Rajya Sabha TV. 4. ‘Vanraj Bhatia – Thank you for the Music’ by Narendra Kusnur – Mint – April 26, 2014.

Audio Clip:

Video Clip:

Song-Saawan ki aayi bahaar re (Junoon)(1978) Singer-Asha Bhonsle, Lyrics-Yogesh Praveen, MD-Vanraj Bhatia

Lyrics (Based on Audio Clip)

ghir aayi kaari ghata matwaari
ghir aayi kaari ghata matwaari
saawan ki aayi bahaa aar re
saawan ki aayi bahaa aar re
bela chameli ki kaliyaan chatak gayin
bela chameli ki kaliyaan chatak gayin
mahkat ban ki bayaa aar re
mahkat ban ki bayaa aar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re

khil gaye hatheli pe mehandi ke boote
khil gaye hatheli pe mehandi ke boote
lachkat jhoolan ki daal re
dhaani chunar morey sar pe na thahare
dhaani chunar morey sar pe na thahare
choodiyaan karen jhankaa aar re
choodiyaan karen jhankaa aar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re

baadal beech bijuriya chamke ae
baadal beech bijuriya chamke
dhoondoon mein balma ke baakh(?) re
aadhi rain jab boley papeeha
aadhi rain jab boley papeeha
jiyara pe lagte kataar re
jiyara pe lagte kataar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re

angana mein bheeji atariya pe bheeji
angana mein bheeji atariya pe bheeji
bheeji sajanwa ki sej re
bheej gayi mori haay kori chunariya
bheej gayi mori haay kori chunariya
rimjhim ras ki phuhaa aar re
rimjhim ras ki phuhaa aar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re
saawan ki aayi bahaar re


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 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 :

4517 Post No. : 16072

‘Jeena Yahaan’ (1979) haa an impressive list of actors of the new wave films but I do not recall having read or heard about this film. So, I recently watched this film on a video sharing platform. The story of the film was interesting and was in keeping with Basu Chatterjee’s favourite subject – the lives of middle-class people in urban setting.

‘Jeena Yahaan’ (1979) was produced under the banner of Jamu Productions and was directed by Basu Chatterjee. The star cast included Shabana Azmi, Shekhar Kapoor, Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab, Dina Pathak, Kiran Vairale, Vidya Sinha, Devendra Khandelwal, Arvind Deshpande etc. The film was based on a short story written by a well-known Hindi writer, Mannu Bhandari. Incidentally, Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Rajnigandha’ (1974) was also based on Mannu Bhandari’s short story, ‘Yahi Sach Hai’. She has also written screen-play of the film ‘Swaami’ (1977), directed by Basu Chatterjee. Incidentally, Basu Chatterjee’s maiden directorial venture, ‘Saara Aakash’ (1969) was based on the first part of Rajendra Yadav’s novel of the same name. Rajendra Yadav is the husband of Mannu Bhandari.

Mannu Bhandari is one of the pioneers of Hindi literary movement called ‘Nayi Kahaani’ (New Story). Under this movement, stories are written based on the real-life experiences. She generally writes short stories on middle class women who is financially independent and intellectually capable to share the responsibilities on equal footing with men. Most of the character in her short stories are woman-centric. I have given story-writer’s background just to give an idea as to how the story in the film unfolds.

Shekhar (Shekhar Kapoor) and Lekha (Shabana Azmi) are from small towns who had made Mumbai their work place. Both are in love with each other and wants to get married. But their families are against this marriage because both belong to different castes. One day, both of them get married under Special Marriage Act, without the knowledge of their respective parents and start living in a small rented tenement. In the evening they spend time with their theatre friends with Sushma (Zarina Wahab) and Dinesh (Amol Palekar) being part of their friend circle, among others.

Sushma and Dinesh love each other but Sushma’s father is against this marriage. The real cause for the opposition to the marriage is that Sushma is the only bread-winner for the family, her father being unemployed for months. Both of them are encouraged by Shekhar and Lekha to get registered marriage which they follow and a date is decided for the registered marriage. In the group, there is Sipra (Vidya Sinha) who has lost her husband at a very young age with a small kid to look after. Lekha encourages her to start a play school for the small children and arranges the students and a place to start the play school. She is helped by her theater friends. (I think, the characters of Sushma, Dinesh and Sipra have been introduced just to jextapose the problems which have been faced by Shekhar and Lekha).

In all these efforts and also due to change of climate from town to Mumbai, Lekha is not keeping good health. Shekhar advises her to visit his parent’s house in a small town for few days for a change which she reluctantly agrees. Earlier, she had visited the place with Shekhar after the marriage for a very short stay. This time, Lekha stays for a longer period and during the initial period, she is quite happy with open sky, greenery all around and more importantly, the easy life away from the hustle bustle of Mumbai.

Within a few days of her stay, Lekha realises that all is not well in the house. The house has been divided into two parts with one part being occupied by Shekhar’s uncle and his family. Shekhar’s house is run by his mother (Dina Pathak) and Lekha’s mother-in-law (here after I will call her as ‘matriarch’) who is the final decision-maker in the house. Her father-in-law (Arvind Deshpande) has no say in the running of the house.

Shekhar’s younger brother, Shanker who is studying for BA wants to change his spectacles as his number has changed and he is getting head-ache. But his mother is not prepared to spend money for a new spectacles. On the other hand, she is prepared to spend money for some rituals to be conducted by a swami. Lekha tries to convince the matriarch by saying that Shankar’s study will be affected but it is of no use as she thinks that Shanker wanted to change the spectacle for more fashionable frame. (This shows the misplaced priorities for spending money in a rural/semi-urban setting).

In the house, the elder daughter-in-law who has become widow is looked down by the mother-in-law. Her younger brother, Diwakar (Devendra Khandelwal) occasionally visit her widow sister in the pretext of enquiring her well-being. But the real reason for this visit is to meet Gauri (Kiran Vairale), the younger sister of Shekhar. Both like each other but the matriarch is against Gauri meeting him since he happens to be the brother of her elder daughter-in-law whom she hates. With all these problems, Lekha feels suffocated even under the vast open place and a leisure life. She thinks of returning to Mumbai.

The matriarch finally decides to get Gauri married to a widower who is almost double the age of Gauri. Lekha tries to convince the matriarch that Gauri should get married to Diwakar who not only loves Gauri, but is also educated. Again, the matriarch has her own way and fix the date for Gauri’s marriage with a widower. Lekha is frustrated. She has to stop this marriage. Since Lekha has already decided to return to Mumbai, she tells both Gauri and Diwakar to run away from the town and board the same train in which she is returning to Mumbai. While Gauri agrees, Diwakar develops cold feet and politely refuse to become the part of the escape to Mumbai with Gauri. Lekha has no option but to take Gauri with her to Mumbai to stop her forcible marriage to a aged widower. In this plan, she takes into confidence, the matriarch’s sister-in-law and her elder daughter-in-law.

In Mumbai, Sushma and Dinesh have got married and are staying in Shekhar’s house while Lekha was out of Mumbai. They are happy as their parent have reconciled to the marriage. Shekhar and Lekha offer Dinesh and Sushma to continue to stay in their house until they find a house for themselves. She consoles Gauri that they will look for a suitable bridegroom for her in Mumbai. The film ends with Lekha’s dialogues as under:

‘Hum log yahin achche hain.
Ye muthi bhar aasmaan, ye chhoti si jagah
Lekin yahaan din mein hosla to hai’

[We are happy here (in Mumbai).
A fistful of sky, a small room.
But here there is an encouragement to survive].

I liked two aspects of the film. First, the director has refrained from showing the usual quarrelsome relationship between mother-in-law (Dina Pathak) and the daughter-in-law, Lekha (Shabana Azmi). The villainous elements in mother-in-law is visible but these do not turn into conflicts as Lekha treats her mother-in-law as a product of a small town and understands her psychology. Mother-in-law on the other hand restrains herself while dealing with Lekha as she realises that Lekha is not only financially independent but she is also educated to deal with such situations.

The second aspect of the film which I like is that there is element of realism when Lekha plans the escapes of Gauri and Diwakar to get married in Mumbai by registered marriage. That Diwakar develops cold feet to this plan is in keeping with the psychology of the small town where societal pressure can make the life of his parents miserable if he runs away with a bride to be. Whether Diwakar would eventually comes to Mumbai to get married to Gauri or not has been kept open in the film with a dialogue that if Diwakar does not turn up, Lekha and her friends would arrange for a suitable bridegroom for her.

The entire film is centered around the character of Shabana Azmi with Dina Pathak getting a fairly good exposure in the film. Shekhar Kapoor has early presence in the film. But during Lekha’s visit to town, he is no whre to be seen in the film. Finally, he comes back in the frame only towards the end of the film. The performance of Kiran Vairale as Gauri is very good despite this being her maiden film as per the credit titles. Rest of the cast like Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab, Vidya Sinha, are guest artists in the film.

This film reminded me that there was an adorable actress, Kiran Vairale who has left her mark in the films like ‘Naram Garam’ (1981), ‘Saath-Saath’ (1982), ‘Namkeen’ (1982), ‘Lorie’ (1984), ‘Saagar’ (1985) etc, suddenly vanished from the Hindi films. I checked her filmography and came to know that she has not been seen in films after 1986.

The only personal information I knew about Kiran Vairale at the time of her entry into films was that she was the daughter of Madhusudan Vairale, who was a cabinet minister in Government of Maharashtra and later a Member of Parliament of Indian National Congress from Akola. I found an interview of her, published in E-Times of India, January 28, 2017 which gave me some idea about her filmy career and why she left the films sometime in mid-1980s.

Kiran Vairale was exposed to acting for the first time in 1972 when she was in class XI at St. Anns High School, in Fort, Mumbai. Farooque Shaikh who was to direct a short play for the school, came to her class and out of of those called for audition, she was selected for the lead role in a 45-minute play, ‘Mirza Sahibaan’. After her matriculation, Kiran Vairale joined St Xavier’s College where Farooque Shaikh had studied and had formed Hindi drama/music group. She participated in inter-college dramas.

It was her association with IPTA from 1975 to 1984 which gave Kiran Vairale to brush up her acting. In IPTA, she did four plays with Farooque Shaikh, one among them was ‘Doosra Aadmi’ by Sagar Sarhadi. Later, the play was made into a film by Yashraj Films in 1977 in which she had a side role. Due to her IPTA connection, she got roles in many films during 1977-84, most of which were from top banners.

During her short tenure in Hindi films (1977-86), Kiran Vairale acted in 19 films some of which I have already mentioned above. In addition, she worked in one Kannada film ‘Pallavi Anu Pallavi’ (1983). In most of the films, she got the side roles like hero’s sister or heroine’s friend.

Sometime in the middle of 1980s, Kiran Vairale got married to Syed Fahd Asad Mumtaz, a nephew of Dilip Kumar (his sister, Taj Mumtaz’s son) and migrated to USA. Presently, Kiran Vairale (now Kiran Mumtaz) owns and runs one of the largest immigrant-based recruitment advertising agencies in New York.

Since I have also discussed Kiran Vairale in the article, I am presenting the song, ‘o shaam aayi rango mein rangi huyi’ from ‘Jeena Yahaan’ (1979), sung by Lata Mangeshkar which is picturised on Kiran Vairale. The song is written by Yogesh which is set to music by Salil Chowdhury.

It is a boat song in which Shabana Azmi is seen along with Devendra Khandelwal (Kiran Vairale’s love interest in the film) and Desh Maheshwari in the role of Kiran Vairale’s brother.

This is the second song of the film (out of 3 songs) to appear on the Blog. The video clip has got full song but sound quality is not so good while audio clip does not have 3rd antara of the song but sound quality is good.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Ho o o shaam aayi rangon mein rangi huyi (Jeena Yahaan)(1979) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Yogesh, MD-Salil Chaudhary

Lyrics(Based on Video Clip)(Provided by Prakashchandra)

Ho o o shaam aayi rangon mein rangi huyi
paayal vaayal mere paanvon mein
koyi baandho laake nayi nayi
o o shaam aayi ee
rango nmein rangi huyi
paayal vaayal mere paanvon mein
koyi baandho laake nayi nayi
o shaam aayi ee
rangon mein rangi huyi

mujhe koyi nayi chunri dila do
mere liye naya kangna koyi laa do
ye soone se maathhe pe
kare cham cham kumkum ki
tum aisi koyi bindiya laga do
ho o o shaam aayi rangon mein rangi huyi

ye jaadoo kaisa hai jaanoon na
lage mujhe ye to jeewan mera sona
ye jaadoo kaisa hai jaanoon na
lage mujhe ye to jeewan mera sona
saja le tu nainon mein
dheere dheere ore manwa mere
koyi ek sapna salona
ho o shaam aayi ee
rangon mein rangi huyi

mere mann ki aasha adhoori
hogi ik din ye to kahin poori
mere mann ki aasha adhoori
hogi ik din ye to kahin poori
kabhi na main bhooloongi
sang sang tere saathi mere
beete ye jo shaam sindoori
ho o shaam aayi ee rangon mein rangi huyi
paayal vaayal mere paanvon mein
koyi baandho laake nayi nayi
ho o shaam aayi ee rangon mein rangi huyi


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusaist of Hindi movie music and a 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 :

4514 Post No. : 16067

Today, November 26, 2020 is the 31st Remembrance Day of Chand Usmani (03/01/1933 – 26/11/1989). She excelled in the roles of a suffering woman – as a wife, a sister and later as a mother. Though she was a fan of Hindi films in her teens, she did not think about an acting career in Hindi films. Her first preference was to complete her higher education in keeping with her family tradition. But her fate was written to be an actress.

Chand Usmani (Full name: Chandbibi Khanam Usmani) was born in a well-educated Pathan family in Agra. After completion of her Matriculation examination in 1949, she came to Mumbai on holiday and was staying with her relatives. During her stay in Mumbai, she saw an advertisement of the Kardar-Kolynos-Teresa Talent Contest which she participated just for a fun. She was surprised when she was selected for the participation in the contest. She was more surprised when, in the final round, she was selected as a runner-up in the contest. Producer-director A R Kardar was one of the sponsors and judges for the contest.

Even though Chand Usmani was a runner-up in the contest, A R Kardar was impressed by her presentations in the contest. He offered her the lead role in ‘Jeewan Jyoti (1953) produced by him and directed by Mahesh Kaul. Her lead actor was Shammi Kapoor for whom it was his debut film as well. The film was a box office failure but Chand Usmani’s role of a suffering wife was appreciated by the critiques.

I had watched Chand Usmani’s debut film ‘Jeewan Jyoti’ (1953) a few years back. Her performance in the role of a suffering wife of Shammi Kapoor was so natural that it did not occur to me at that time that this was her first film. With this film, Chand Usmani got type-casted for the role of a suffering wife and a suffering sister in almost all of her subsequent films of 1950s. She was a discarded wife in otherwise light comedy film, ‘Baraati’ (1954), a suffering beloved of Bharat Bhushan and a sister of villain Pran in ‘Amaanat’ (1955), an innocent flower girl in ‘Baap Re Baap’ (1955), a blind girl in ‘Rangeen Raaten’ (1956), Dilip Kumar’s sister in ‘Naya Daur’ (1957) and Rajendra Kumar’s sister in ‘Do Behanen’ (1959).

Some of the melodious songs pictuirsed on Chand Usmani in her films of 1950s in which she had lead/second lead roles are as under:

Film Song Singer
Jeewan Jyoti (1953) tasweeren banti hai kiranon se chhanti hain Asha Bhosle-Shammi Kapoor
Baaraati (1954) aa phir se mere pyaar ki kismat sanwaar de Lata Mangeshkar
Amaanat (1955) meri wafaayen tumhaari jafaayen Asha Bhosle
Baap Re Baap (1955) raat rangeeli chamke taare aaja sajanwaa Asha Bhosle
Rangeen Raaten (1956) ham jaage jag soye ri aali Lata Mangeshkar
Do Bahenen (1959) jhuk jhuk jhola khaaye re badariya Lata Mangeshkar -Mahendra Kapoor

Chand Usmani’s early films in which she got lead roles did not fare well at the box office except ‘Baap Re Baap’ (1955). She had to switch over to supporting roles by the end of the 1950s and thereafter. Some of her films in the 1960s with supporting roles were ‘April Fool ‘(1964), ‘Haqeeqat’ (1964), ‘Kohra’ (1964), ‘Anita’ (1967), ‘Khilona’ (1970), ‘Pehchaan’ (1970), ‘Khel Khel Mein’ (1975), ‘Kaadambari’ (1976), ‘Yaaraana’ (1981) etc. She got the Filmfare Award for the best supporting actor for her role in ‘Pehchaan’ (1970). From mid-70s through 80s, she did elderly roles.

Chand Usmani had a long and active filmy career till her last, spanning over 3 decades during which she worked in around 125 films. Her last released film was ‘Lohe Ke Haath’ (1990) though a couple of her delayed films were released later than 1990.

In an old interview of her in the TV programme, ‘Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan’, Tabassum had ‘chided’ Chand Usmani that she did not do any ‘acting’ in most of her films because she was in reality depicting her own personality. This may be the reason that in most of her films, Chand Usmani’s performances looked natural and convincing. Even in the midst of acting as a suffering woman, she portrays the role of a warm-hearted person with her innocent smiles. In the same interview, Chand Usmani said that she had two regrets which remained with her throughout in her life. First, she did not complete her higher education and second, she did not get chance to do variety of roles in the films.

Chand Usmani was acquainted with Mukul Dutt, when she was working in Bimal Roy’s ‘Prem Patra’ (1962) for which he was Assistant Director to Bimal Roy. Subsequently, they got married. Mukul Dutt directed box office hit films like ‘Aan Milo Sajna’ (1970), ‘Raaste Ka Pathhar’ (1972), ‘Chhalia’ (1973), etc. However, he could not carry the success as director in his subsequent films. He also intermittently worked as lyricists in many Bangla films during 1965-2002.

Chand Usmani died of cancer on November 26, 1989 at the age of 56 leaving behind her son and the husband.

On the occasion of 33rd Remembrance Day of Chand Usmani, I am presenting a song, ‘matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat’ which is picturised on her in the film ‘Zindagi Aur Hum’ (1962). The song is rendered by Lata Mangeshkar on the words of Pandit Shivkumar which is set to music by Roshan.

I like the picturization of the song which gives me a feel of a real rural atmosphere. Just observe how natural Chand Usmani looks while throwing grains to pigeons.

In the beginning of the song under discussion, actors who appears on the screen are Naina, Dinesh and thereafter Nalini Jaywant. When prelude music is played, the song heard in the background is the theme song of the film which is intermittently heard in the background in low sound. The tune of the song under discussion is melodic and both the prelude as well as the interlude music are in keeping with the devotional mood of the song.

With this song, all the six songs (including a two-part song) of ‘Zindagi Aur Hum’ (1962) have been covered in the Blog.

Video Clip:

Song-Matwaali muraliyaa baaji re aadhi raat (Zindagi Aur Hum)(1962) Singer-Lata, Lyrics-Pt Shiv Kumar, MD-Roshan

Lyrics

matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat
matwaali
matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat

soyi thhi main apni atariya
soyi thhi main apni atariyaaa
sapne mein dekhi pi ki nagariya
soyi thhi main apni atariyaaa
sapne mein dekhi pi ki nagariya
chaunk padi ho
chaunk padi aadhi raat
muraliya baaji re aadhi raat
matwaali
matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat

soyi gaam soyi gaam ki galiyaan
soyi gaam soyi gaam ki galiyaan
soyi sangee soyi rangreliyaan
soyi rangreliyaan
soyi gaam soyi gaam ki galiyaan
soyi sangee soyi rangreliyaan
soyi rangraliyaan
dhoom machi ho
dhoom machi aadhi raat
muraliya baaji re aadhi raat
matwaali
matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat
le gayi sudh budh chheen muraliya
kar gayi mann ko leen (?) muraliya
jaadu bhari ho
jaadu bhari aadhi raat
muraliya baaji re aadhi raat
matwaali
matwaali muraliya baaji re aadhi raat


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusaist of Hindi movie music and a 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 :

4511 Post No. : 16059

kuchh aur zamaana kehta hai kuchh aur hai zidd mere dil ki
main baat zamaane ki maanoon ya baat sunoon apne dil ki

This was the swan song from ‘Chhoti Chhoti Baaten’ (1965) both for the singer and the music director of the song as this was their last film in Mumbai before shifting lock stock and barrel to Delhi in 1963. The playback singer was Meena Kapoor and the music director was Anil Biswas. In relation to her romantic affairs with Anil Biswas in the early 1950s, just like in the above two-liner, she was in a quandary. But her heart was adamant (aur hai zidd mere dil ki) that led to a long partnership with Anil Biswas irrespective of what the society said about their relationship.

Today, November 23rd is the 3rd Remembrance Day of Meena Kapoor. The day also happens to be 90th birth anniversary of Geeta Dutt. Both were born in the year 1930 in Bengal Presidency of British India. Both started their playback singing career in Mumbai in the year 1946 – Geeta Dutt with ‘Bhakt Prahlad’ (1946) and Meena Kapoor with ‘Pul’ (1947) in 1946 though her first released song was from ‘Eight Days’ (1946). The similarities do not end here.

Both Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor got recognition as playback singers under S D Burman – Meena Kapoor in ‘Aath Din’ (1946) and Geeta Dutt in ‘Do Bhai’ (1947). Both virtually ended their playback singing career around mid-1960s though there were few spill-over of their songs thereafter. Both had almost similar vocal cords giving an impression to the listeners that their singing voices sound more or less the same. And what was more important was that despite being in the competitive field of playback singing career, both were close friends to such an extent that they both became a part of extended family of Roys and Kapoors.

Unfortunately, their similarities of Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor did not reflect in their playback singing career. During their active years (1946-65) of playback singing career, Meena Kapoor’s output (around 175 songs) has no match with that of Geeta Dutt (around 1400 songs). Out of curiosity, I checked the year-wise growth of the playback singing career of both of them beginning with the year 1946 and up to 1955, the year from which Meena Kapoor had Anil Biswas as his life partner, almost retiring from her playback singing career except singing mainly for Anil Biswas. The statistics given in the table below reveal that Geeta Dutt was quite ahead of Meena Kapoor for all the years – both in terms of aggregate number of songs as well as films.

Year Geeta Dutt Meena Kapoor
Films Songs Films Songs
1946 12 21 2 5
1947 22 52 5 9
1948 37 107 15 43
1949 34 97 8 15
1950 50 169 12 17
1951 30 81 4 11
1952 42 122 5 8
1953 25 59 14 27
1954 25 54 7 10
1955 34 84

[Source: List of songs of Geeta Dutt from http://www.geetadutt.com counter-checked with http://www.myswar.co and list of songs of Meena Kapoor from http://www.myswar.co]

What could be the reasons for such a significant difference in their output of songs? At the outset, I could not see any reason other than ascribing it to a pure bad luck for Meena Kapoor in the sense that she was born with a voice almost similar to Geeta Dutt. And it was Geeta Dutt’s voice which seems to have been preferred by most of the music directors over that of Meena Kapoor.

In Lata Khubchandani’s article reproduced in RMIM’s Article Archive (No.324), Meena Kapoor had said that she had never been ambitious and she had not taken her music seriously. She also did not make any effort towards furtherance of her playback singing career. Her father, Bikram Kapoor who was a character actor in New Theatre, Kolkata and later in Mumbai, wanted his daughter to excel in singing only after completing her education. When she started living with Anil Biswas sometime in mid-1950s, she was happier as a housewife than pursuing the playback singing profession.

There is an interesting trivia as to how Meena Kapoor met Anil Biswas for the first time. In the interview referred to above, she had revealed that she refused to give audition to Anil Biswas when he was planning to get some songs sung by her for ‘Anokha Pyaar’ (1948) under the recommendation from his brother-in-law, Pandit Pannalal Ghosh. She had already recorded many film songs under many composers. As such, she felt that it was not necessary to her to give a fresh audition to Anil Biswas. It was her father who took a few recorded songs of her to Anil Biswas. After listening to her song, tod gaye haaye tod gaye armaan bhara dil tod gaye from ‘Khel’ (1950) under the music direction of Sajjad Hussain, Anil Biswas called her for rehearsal without audition. This incidence also shows as to how casual Meena Kapoor was in regard to her playback singing career.

Geeta Dutt on the other hand was interested in pursuing the playback singing career in films and her parents encouraged her by arranging music teachers. It was exactly at a time when Meena Kapoor’s restrictive playback singing career due to her education gave opportunity for Geeta Dutt to get a strong foothold as a playback singer as the statistics in the above table reveal. For example, S D Burman after giving two songs to Meena Kapoor in ‘Aath Din’ (1946), he switched over to Geeta Dutt during 1948-55 beside Lata Mangeshkar. It was only after 1957 when Geeta Dutt could not give sufficient time to S D Burman for rehearsals, he switched over to Asha Bhosle (Lata Mangeshkar not singing for him due to some misunderstanding). It is interesting to note that after her marriage with Guru Dutt in 1953, the yearly aggregate number of songs sung by Geeta Dutt post-1953 have fallen mainly due to a stiff competition from Lata Mangeshkar coupled with her domestic compulsion.

Both Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor have emotional tone in their voices which suits the genre of poignant and devotional songs. However, going by a large number of songs sung by Geeta Dutt relative to that of Meena Kapoor, the former’s versatilities are evident to general listeners of her songs. Just note as to how S D Burman had been instrumental in making Geeta Dutt a versatile singer. From emotional mera sundar sapna beet gaya in ‘Do Bhai’ (1947) to light-hearted tadbeer se bigdi huyi taqdeer bana le in ‘Baazi’ (1951), to coquettish song, jaane kya toone kahi jaane kya maine suni, teasing song, janoon jaanoon re chhupke kaun aaya in ‘Insaan Jaag Utha’ (1959) and many of her club songs. Her repertoire of songs under other music directors is also large.

Meena Kapoor did not get much opportunities to display her versatilities as her singing output was less than 200 songs as compared to Geeta Dutt’s around 1400 songs. But Meena Kapoor had also a good repertoire of songs like waltz type song, aate hain wo aate hain wo in ‘Chalte Chalte’ (1947), light-hearted meri jaan meri jaan sunday ke sunday in ‘Shehnaai’ (1947), romance in ye samaa ham tum jawaan in ‘Maashooka’ (1953), folk song, rimjhim barse paani aaj more angna in ‘Pardesi’ (1957), Rabindra sangeet, mere chanchal naina madhur ras ke bhare in ‘Angoolimal’ (1960) etc.

With almost similar voice timbre, Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor had very few occasions to sing together during their active years of playback singing career as detailed below:

Films Songs (Geeta-Meena) Co-singers Music Director
Hip Hip Hurray (1948) Main jaan gayi jaan gayi Hanuman Prasad
Aadhi Raat (1950) Maine baalam se poochha Hansraj Bahl
Jalte Deep (1950) Aayi milne ki raat Shardul Kwatra
Hulchul (1951) Mile dil aankh sharmaayi Mohd. Shafi
Ghaayal (1951) O rani mainwati -1 G M Durrani Gyan Dutt
Ghaayal (1951) O rani mainwati -2 G M Durrani Gyan Dutt
Ghaayal (1951) Tera kisi pe aaye dil Gyan Dutt

Before I conclude my article, I would like to give links of a solo song each of Meena Kapoor and Geeta Dutt for the purpose of their voice comparison. I have deliberately selected the songs of the same genre (Meera bhajans) so that the comparison is on the even keel.

Meena Kapoor main birhan baithi jaagoon ‘Gopinath’ (1948)
Geeta Dutt ae ri main to prem deewaani ‘Jogan’ (1950)

After repeatedly listening to these two songs, I can feel some differences in voices but I am unable to explain as to what are the differences. Probably, Meena Kapoor sounds slight nasal in her singing than Geeta Dutt. Of course, musicologists like the late Ashok Ranade would have technically explained their voice differences.

On the occasion of the 90th birth anniversary of Geeta Dutt and 3rd Remembrance Day of Meena Kapoor on November 23, 2020, I am presenting their duet song, aayi milne ki raat karo meethi meethi baat from an obscure film ‘Jalte Deep’ (1950). The song is written by Aziz Kashmiri which is set to music by Shardul Kwatra. The film was produced by R Vasudeva under the banner of Nihal Film Corporation and was directed by Deepak Asha. The star cast included Nimmi, Amarnath, Randhir, Sophia, Deepak, Kuldeep, Leela Mishra etc. The film had 12 songs of which one song has been covered in the Blog.

The voices of Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor are so similar that I get a feeling whether the song I am presenting is solo or duet. However, the lyrics do give an impression of a duet and HFGK mentions Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor as playback singers for the song.

Since the film’s VCD/DVD is not available, one can listen to the song only on the audio clip. I have a photograph from the film in which Nimmi and Sophia are seen holding a tray each with lamps. Based on the photograph, my guess is that the song may have been picturised on Nimmi and Sophia welcoming their ‘balam’ and ‘sajan’.

Audio Clip:

Song-Aayi milan ki raat karo meethhi meethhi baat(Jalte Deep)(1950) Singers-Geeta Dutt, Meena Kapoor, Lyrics-Aziz Kashmiri, MD-Sardul Kwatra

Lyrics

aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat
tumhen meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethi baat
tumhen
o tumhe meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat

raat hai suhaag ki
chhaayi hai bahaar sajan
chhaayi hai bahaar
nainwa se phoot pada
meethha meethha pyaar
nainwa se phoot pada
meetha meetha pyaar
zara thhaamo ji haath
karo meethhi meethhi baat
tumhen
o tumhe meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat
tumhen meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat

taaron ne dekh liya tera mera mel sajan
tera mera mel
ankhiyon ne khel liya naya naya khel
ankhiyon ne khle liya naya naya khel
zara thhaamo ji haath
karo meethhi meethhi baat
tumhen
o tumhe meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat
o tumhen meri kasam
o mere achhe balam
aayi milne ki raat
karo meethhi meethhi baat


What is this blog all about

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 TWELVE years. This blog has more than 16100 song posts by now.

This blog is active and online for over 4000 days since its beginning on 19 july 2008.

Important Announcement

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Total number of songs posts discussed

16184

Number of movies covered in the blog

Movies with all their songs covered =1247
Total Number of movies covered =4403

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Blog Start date: 19 july 2008

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