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

Archive for the ‘Song about Altruism’ Category

This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusaist of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of, then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

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4312 Post No. : 15591 Movie Count :


Today’s song is from an obscure film Suhagan-1942. The film was produced by Sunrise pictures, Bombay. It was directed by a veteran, foreign educated director, J P Advani aka Jagatrai Pesumal Advani and the music was composed by Shanti Kumar Desai, for songs written by M R Kapoor. The cast of the film was Jahan ara Kajjan, Kumar, Radha Rani, Jilloo, Majid, Kesharbai, Bhudo Advani, Mirza Musharraf, Kalyani etc etc.

It is a well known fact that in the beginning of the Talkie film era, most actresses came from singing families or Kalawanteens(as called in Maharashtra and Goa) or Devdasis (Karnataka). Their entry in films was easier than other girls, because they knew Hindi/Urdu and had a singing skill too. Better looking girls became Heroines. Most such girls joined film line for mainly two reasons. One – they could earn much more in films than on the Kothas and with total independence and glamour too. And two – most girls harboured an unspoken wish to catch hold of a Seth ji or a rich person, marry him and then lead a more respectable life. On the Kothas, marriage was a no-no, by tradition. To achieve this, they did not mind being the second wife. However a marriage was a must to provide a legitimacy to their relationship.

There are umpteen number of examples of such marriages, which took place in film line, but I will not repeat their list here. majority of such marriages were long lasting. In these marriages too there were two types. one, where the girl became a highly respected member of the society, with specific contribution to husband’s business and the other type was , where the marriage failed or ended due to various reasons and the girls faced miseries and their end came in very pathetic conditions.

When I think of the second type, many examples come to my mind. The case of the beautiful singer actress Vatsala Kumthekar is the worst. After her husband Ibrahim Sheth died, she was thrown on the road. She lived on footpath as a beggar. Later, she became mad and one day she died on the footpath. Someone from the onlooking crowd recognised her and next day her news came in papers. She was cremated by the Municipality as “an unclaimed body”.

Similarly, the life of singer actress ( with knee length hair) Rattanbai also ended as a beggar, near Haji Ali Darga, after husband Hafiz ji died. Sridevi, the second ‘wife’ of Khemchand Prakash, lived for 40 years on the footpath as a mad woman, after his death in the hospital (MP Javed Akhtar stated this in the Rajya Sabha also, once).

Of course, not all marriages went sour. There were some really couragious and capable girls, who contributed not only to husband’s success, but also created their own images in the society. One such wife was Gohar Mamajiwala, who stood by Chandulal Shah in his hard times as well as shared all responsibilities of running Ranjit studios. She was highly respected in film industry. Another such lady was Sardar Akhtar, Mehboob’s wife. Then there was Indurani, wife of Ramniklal Shah, who brought up her sons and daughters with high grade education and settled with them in the USA. The first Heroine of Hindi films, Zubeida who married Raja Dhanrajgir of Hyderabad (a Jagirdar), led a very respectable high end life after marriage. Jaddanbai also created her special image in the industry.( recently I have written about her in details.)

Today, I will talk about a girl from Tawayaf family, who did not marry anyone, but led a condensed life of 50 years in just 30 years, lived like a Fashion Icon of her times, a heart throb of many a rich and handsome (& some not so handsome, but ‘stinking’ rich) persons, a very successful singing actress, famous all over India and one who remained a beautiful maiden till she died.

Yes, I am talking about Jahan Ara Kajjan. She, along with handsome Master Nissar, mesmerised the audiences with beauty and songs, in the beginning of Talkie era. She contributed substantially in helping the Talkie films to have a strong foothold in the first 3 years of the era itself. She also helped to bury the Silent films by 1934, without being a strong contender to Talkie films. Remember, Silent films did not die because it lost audience, but it died because there were no theatres left without a Talkie film sound system ! Every theatre wanted to run Kajjan’s films. She was one actress of the early era, who never worked in any silent film. She jumped from stage dramas onto the Talkie films as a leading lady !

Her first film was Madon Theatre, Calcutta’s “Shirin Farhad”-1931. A little more luck to Madon’s and their Talkie “Shirin Farhad” would have been India’s First Talkie film. It was technically superior, having a solid content, good cast, good songs, costumes etc., it had started shooting earlier, but they missed the boat by few weeks and film “Älam Ara”- much inferior in quality and songs etc, took the honours !!

JAHAN ARA BEGUM KAJJAN was born in Patna, Bihar, on 15-2-1915, to mother Suggan bai and Nawab of Bhagalpur. Her mother was a famous singer from Lucknow. Kajjan belonged to a family of professional artistes, who carried the tag of tawaifs or courtesans. They were also invited by the princely courts and aristocracy to perform at their private mehfils. With their refined manners, they provided stimulating company to the male elite. An established code of conduct ruled out marriage in their profession but they were allowed to have a liaison with a chosen patron. Kajjan’s mother Suggan apparently had one such relationship with her father.

She grew up in Patna. She got lot of attention for her education. She was taught Urdu at home and her maternal grandfather Syed Hussain taught her English. She being very clever, soon became proficient in both languages. At the same time she learnt household chores also. She learnt music under the guidance of Ustad Husnu Khan of Patna. Singing was in her blood anyway. She was very beautiful. Her interest and expertise in languages developed her to become a Poetess and her poems in Urdu were published in Magazines, under her pen name ” Adaa”.

Because of her beauty and singing skills,she was invited to work on Urdu stage. Master Fida Hussain,who was a well known actor, singer, composer and director on Urdu stage had joined ‘Alfred Theatre co.’. It was owned by the Madons of Calcutta. Kajjan was taken in it and the troupe toured U.P. and M.P. During this period, Kajjan was romantically involved in Master Fida Hussain.

She used to appear on stage at the rate of Rs.250 per show per day. once when she was performing in Patna,one of the owners of Madon Theatres,Calcutta saw her and offered her roles in films. She immediately accepted it and went to Calcutta.

Silent film era was dominated by Parsee, Anglo-Indian and Jew girls,due to their white skin and open attitudes. Once the Talkie films started, they became useless as they did not know speaking in Hindi or singing. In such circumstances actresses like Kajjan got the opportunities. Her first film was ‘ Shirin Farhad’-1931. Paired with Master Nissar she sang 17 songs in this film. This pair became very popular. Her next film was ‘Indrasabha’ 1932,having a world record 71 songs in the film. Kajjan sang 29 songs in it. The film was based on the drama by Agha Hasan Amaanat.

In Calcutta Kajjan became very famous. She lived a rich and lavish life, mixing among the elite of Calcutta like Princes, Nawabs, High authorities, the mega rich etc. Her dresses and jewellery were talk of the women of the rich and the famous. She had instructed her designer to make only such sarees, which no one in India will ever wear! She was a regular invitee to even Viceroy’s parties.

She worked only with Madon Theatres. Brijlal Verma was the composer of Madon Theatres. It was a favourite quartet of Madon films, Brijlal’s music, Kajjan and Master Nissar. Together they ruled the early phase of Talkie films. Films like Shirin farhad-31,Laila Majnu-31, Shakuntala-31, Bilwamangal-32, Aankh ka nasha-33, Dhruva charitra-33, Turki sher-33, Zahreela saanp-33 had Kajjan songs by Brijlal Verma. During this period, she was the highest paid actress in India. Kajjan had a romantic affair with Brijlal Verma too. Kajjan also sang in Roopkumari-34, Sakhi lutera-34, Apradhi abla-35, and Mera Pyara-35 which had her songs.

Kajjan was a good dancer. She learnt Western dancing from Miss Ruqayya khatoon. She was among the regular dancers in Calcutta Clubs, along with actress Mahazabeen. Kajjan was friendly with westerners. She was fond of pets. For some time she had 2 tiger cubs as her pets and this became the talk of the town in Calcutta.

After Brijlal Verma, it was a rich financer, Seth Karnani,( he smelt horribly) who, just to impress Kajjan, bought the entire Madon Theatres for a sum of Rs. 24 lakhs in those days ! A very handsome actor of that era Najmul Hassan had a torrid affair with Kajjan. He is the same Najmul Hassan,who had eloped with Devika Rani – wife of Himanshu Rai, owner of Bombay Talkies, from Bombay to Calcutta. Devika Rani returned to her husband shortly, but he had to remain in Calcutta-for safety.

Kajjan worked in Gulru zarina, Swami bhakti, Alibaba aur chaalis chor and Jahan Ara also. By end of the 30’s, Madon Theatres closed down and Kajjan also stopped work for few years. No new films were coming and her money was depleting, so Kajjan shifted her base to Bombay.

In the early 40s, Kajjan worked in Abla shakti and Ghar sansar-42,Prarthana and Prithvi Vallabh-43 and her last film Bharthari-1944. The songs of Bharthari, composed by Khemchand Praksah also became very popular. Due to her sweet voice she was called ” The Lark of Indian Cinema”.

Jahan ara Kajjan died on 15-12-1945,at the age of only 30 years. 2 films,Jadui Putli-46 and Tiger Man-47 were released after her death.

During her lifetime she lived like a queen She became a Legend. She acted and sang in almost 40 films and sang about 80 songs, in her small career. During the period 1931 to 1937 there was a ” Kajjan Mania ” in India.Her styles and fashions were copied by the elite ladies.

(Credits and references- with thanks-
1.Stages of life:Indian Theatre Biographies-By Kathryn Hansen, 2., 3.Dhunon ki yatra-Pankaj Raag, 4.The Big Indian
5. Fida Hussain’s autobiography 6. Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, 7. Asli Nakli chehere by Vithal Pandya and My own notes from diaries.)

For film Suhagan-42, MD Shanti Kumar Desai gave the music. Like actors, very few MDs survived from the early era to the modern era of the 80s and later. Except probably Anil Biswas, not many MDs from the 30s gave music in the period after 60s. Naushad and C Ramchandra were from early 40s. While CR ended in 70s, films of Naushad kept coming till 2005 (he died in 2006). But frankly, after few songlets of Pakiza-72, his music in later films was not even a shadow of his earlier charm. Shanti Kumar Desai was also from the 30s (Nav Bharat-34) but practically ended his music in 58 ( one delayed film released in 64).

He was born in Amreli, Saurashtra, Gujarat state on 3-3-1908. His family was in service as Royal Musicians, so he was exposed to music from childhood.He was an expert Harmonium player. To start his career, he came to Bombay and worked in H.M.V. as a Broadcaster. Here he came into contact with many composers and learnt how they operated and made tunes etc.

He was already giving music to Dramas, but wanted to join Film line as M.D. He got his first film Navbharat ( Jawanmard0-1934. In those days Gujarati producers and directors used to prefer Gujarati MDs. Thus out of his 36 films, 18 were done with Gujarati Directors like Sohrab Modi, Nanubhai Vakil, V.M.Vyas(4 films), Kanjibhai Rathod, Dhirubhai Desai etc. He also gave music to Gujarati films.

He gave music along with Madholal Master, Rafiq Ghaznavi, Pannalal Ghosh, Shyambabu Pthak etc. Famous singers like Rafi, Manna Dey, Zohrabai, Amirbai etc sang in his films during their early careers. Even Kishore Kumar’s early film Sati Vijay-48 had music by Shanti Kumar Desai. He gave music to films of early era actors like Prem Adib, Mehtab, Sitara Devi, Leela Chitnis, Jal Merchant, Ashraf Khan, Rajkumari, Mazhar khan, Shanta Hublikar, Jairaj, E Billimoria, Kumar, Sardar Akhtar, Chandramohan, Shobhana Samarth, Durga Khote, Shahu Modak and Sulochana.

From 1934 to 1948, he gave music to 38 films. In 1964 his one film (Tere dwar khada Bhagwan) was released. He composed 333 songs. He never got films from top banners like Bombay Talkies,Prabhat, Sagar or Minerva, otherwise his career would have been different.

He died on 6-1-1986. Some of his better known films were Bholi bhikaran-36, Punarjanma-38, Anjaam-40, Suhaagan-42, Naukar-43, Ek din ka sultan-45 and Lav Kush-51.

There is one odd name in the cast of this film- Hadi. His full name was S.M.Mohammad Hadi. He was also known as Master Hadi, due to his knowledge of Music and singing. In early Talkie films, he gave music to films, singly and with other composers and also sang songs. But mainly, he was an actor from the Silent era.

No wonder he was seen in some films of the First year of Talkie films of 1931, like Draupadi, in which he had played the role of Shakuni. he sang 3 songs also. He was seen in other films like Abu hasan-31, and Daulat ka Nasha-31( he was one of the MDs). His acting in saubhagya Sundari-33 and Sulochana -33 was much appreciated. He is estimated to have acted in about 40 films till 1947.
Her sang 21 songs in 9 films- Draupadi-31, Daulat ka nasha-31, Anangsena-31, Madhuri-32, Aaj Kal-34, Stree Dharma-35, Karvaan-E-Husn-35, Bombshell-35 and Birbal ki Beti-35.

So, here is a song by Kajjan. Compared to her songs of the 30’s, this song of Suhagan-42 is nothing much to write home about. May be she was at the end of her career. After 2 more films, she sang her last song in film Bhartruhari-44, which became quite popular.

With this song, film Suhagan-42 makes its Debut on this Blog.

Song- Sewa dharm hamaara (Suhaagan)(1942) Singer- Jahanara Kajjan, Lyricist- M R Kapoor, MD- Shanti kumar Desai


Sewa dharm hamaara
Sewa dharm hamaara
janm se sewak karm se sewak
janm se sewak karm se sewak
yahi hai karm hamaara aa aa
yahi hai karm hamaara aa aa
Sewa dharm hamaara
Sewa dharm hamaara

sabse oonchi pooja hai ye
sabse oonchi pooja hai ye
sabse oonchi bhakti
sabse oonchi bhakti
nirdhan ka sabse badhiya dhan
nirdhan ka sabse badhiya dhan
nirbal ki hai shakti ee ee
nirbal ki hai shakti ee ee
jeena to auron ki khaatir
jeena to auron ki khaatir
marna to auron ki khaatir
marna to auron ki khaatir
neki kar au(?) daal kuyen mein
neki kar au(?) daal kuyen mein
yahi moksh ka dwaara aa aa
yahi moksh ka dwaara aa aa
Sewa dharm hamaara
Sewa dharm hamaara

vrikshon par jo phal aate hain
auron hi ke kaam aate hain
khet jo kheti upjaate hain
gair hi usko kha jaate hain
ganga doodh na khud peeti hai
par sewa ka rann jeeti hai
baadal barsa laad ke laate
dharti ki wo pyaas bujhaate
sewa dharm hai nyaaraa aa aa
sewa dharm hai nyaaraa aa aa
Sewa dharm hamaara
Sewa dharm hamaara

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

This is a labour of love, where “new” songs are added every day, and that has been the case for over THIRTEEN years. This blog has over 16700 song posts by now.

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