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

Archive for the ‘Thumri’ Category

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

Blog Day :

4115 Post No. : 15268 Movie Count :


I came to know about actress Chhaaya Devi for the first time some time in 2011 when I found her name mentioned in Kidar Sharma’s autobiography, ‘The One And Lonely Kidar Sharma’ (2002) in the context of the shooting of the film ‘Vidyapati’ (1937). At that time, I thought her to be one of many female actors connected with New Theatres who had short acting career. For me, the only female actor of that time who mattered in Kolkata film industry was actor-singer Kanan Devi. What a wrong impression I had about Chhaya Devi when I came to know later that she had a long filmy career of over 5 decades – both in Bangla and Hindi films.

Being born in Bhagalpur and a part of her schooling done in Delhi, Chhaya Devi (1914-27/04/2001) was proficient in Hindi besides her mother tongue, Bengali. Sometime in early 1930s, her family shifted to Kolkata when she was put under the tutelage of K C Dey, the singer and music director. She was trained in Hindustani classical music and sang Khayal and Thumri on All India Radio. She was also trained in Kathak dance. It was on the recommendation of K C Dey that Chhaya Devi got her first bilingual film in Bengali and Hindi under the banner of New Theatres (NT), ‘Sonar Sansaar’/’Sunehra Sansaar’ (1936) which was directed by Devaki Bose.

Chhaya Devi’s next bilingual film for NT in Bengali and Hindi was ‘Vidyapati’ (1937) in which she did the role of Queen Laxmi, which brought her fame. Another NT film, ‘Abhinetri’/’Haar Jeet’ (1940) in which she acted did not find favour with the audience. Outside NT, she did ‘Chowranghee’ (1942) for Fazli Brothers.

After having worked in Kolkata in about 15 films, Chhaya Devi worked in Mumbai with her first film ‘Mera Gaon’ (1942) directed by Sarvottam Badami in which Jairaj was the hero. Probably, she came to Mumbai along with her mentor K C Dey who was the music director for the film. From her filmography, it appears that she had 2-year hiatus from the film industry (1943-45).

From the late 1950s onward, Chhaya Devi had already shifted to doing character roles in films. It is interesting to note that it is during this phase of her career that she became hyper active in doing Bengali films. For example, in the 1960s, she did around 40 films and in the 1970s, the figure was about 30. Her last film was ‘Tomar Rakte Amaar Sohag’ (1993). In all, she worked in about 120 films.

Some of the Hindi films in which Chhaya Devi worked were ‘Sunehra Sansaar’ (1936), ‘Vidyapati’ (1937), ‘Haar Jeet’ (1940), ‘Mera Gaon’ (1942),’Chowranghee’ (1942), ‘Shri Ramanujam’ (1943), ‘Uttara Abhimanyu’ (1946), ‘Ratnadeep’ (1951), ‘Mamta’ (1966), ‘Tu Hi Meri Zindagi’ (1965), ‘Zindagi Zindagi’ (1972), ‘Alaap’ (1977), ‘Rang Birangi’ (1983). These films were mostly bilingual or the remakes of Bengali films.

Recently, I have watched about half a dozen Bengali films directed by Tapan Sinha in which Chhaya Devi had acted in them. I have also watched a few of her other films. What I have realised with my limited exposure to some of her Bengali and Hindi films that Chhaya Devi was a versatile actress. If she was widow, Anandima in ‘Apnajan’ (1968) who is virtually a peacekeeper between two warring groups of unemployed youth, she is equally good in portraying the villainous looking but soft at heart madam (Baijee) in ‘Uttar Falguni’ (1963)/’Mamta’ (1966). Also, her portrayal of a dominating mother was effective in ‘Saat Paake Bandha’ (1963) which was remade in Hindi as ‘Khora Kaagaz’ (1974). In Hindi films, we have Lalita Pawar, Achala Sachdev, Meena Kumari doing their respective specialized roles very convincingly. In my view, Chhaya Devi was ‘three-in-one’ for Bengali films.

Chhaya Devi was not only a talented actress, she was also a good singer. She had the potential to becoming one of the leading singer-actors in Bengali film industry. Alas! It was not to be. While apart from talent, the luck factor plays an import role in making a film artist successful, I feel that in the case of Chhaya Devi, there was another factor which may have put a sort of speed breaker in the early part of her filmy career. And that factor was the successful emergence of actor-singer Kanan Devi, the first female super star of the Indian film industry.

When Chhaya Devi joined the Bengali film industry, Kanan Devi was already on a threshold of becoming a successful actor-singer. Kanan Devi’s stint with NT during 1937-41 and thereafter with M P Productions of P C Barua in 1942-48 did not give Chhaya Devi the much scope to show her histrionic. Incidentally, Chhaya Devi never got opportunity to worked with K L Saigal and also with P C Barua, an eminent director.

One of the Tapan Sinha’s films in which Chhaya Devi has portrayed the role of madam (Baijee) of a brothel was ‘Harmonium’ (1976). In this film, she sings two songs on herself. The film is available for viewing in 5 parts on a video sharing platform. The story in brief as I understood from the film is as under:

In this film, harmonium has been used as props. The harmonium which was first purchased by an aristocrat widower for her daughter for learning music has to be auctioned as the father dies and his estate manager forges his property paper to his name making the daughter orphaned. All through the harmonium’s journey through various section of the society, it is branded as ill luck to the family owning it.

The harmonium now goes to a middle-class home and then to a brothel. The harmonium is used for singing and dancing activities of the brothel. However, a murder takes place in the brothel forcing Baijee to leave the place with the harmonium. Finally, harmonium is bought by a Government officer for his daughter to learn music where the aristocrat’s orphaned daughter is the governess. After seeing the harmonium which was the same as the one bought by her aristocrat father, the governess is painfully reminded of her childhood days and is worried about the ill luck it may bring to the family. The film ends with a song which the governess is teaching to the daughter of Government officer.

As I have mentioned earlier, in this film, Chhaya Devi sings two songs one of which is in Hindi. I am presenting the song ‘armaan kuchh to dil mein tadapte hi rah gaya’. It is a short thumri of less than 2 minutes, written in a ghazal format. The name of the lyricist is not known though in one of the audio clips, the song is attributed to Gulzar saab. But I have not been able to get it confirmed from any other reliable sources. The song has been set to music by Tapan Sinha. I thought that at least the audio clip of SAREGAMA (HMV) may have full song. But it is also of the duration of less than 2 minutes.

This song is one more example of Chhaya Devi’s versatility in acting and singing. Note how nicely she uses the ‘harkat’ and ‘taan’ when she repeats the lines. Also note her gestures, ‘mudras’ and expressions. She may have learnt all these from her training in classical singing and kathak dance training.


Audio Clip:

Song-Armaan kuchh to dil mein tadapte hi rah gaya (Harmonium)(Bangla)(1976) Singer-Chhaaya Devi, MD-Tapan Sinha


aa aa aa
armaan kuchh to dil mein tadap…a a a
te hi rah gaya aa
te hi rah gaya aa
kuchh aansoo banke
kuchh aansoo banke
aankhon mein…en en en
aaya ke dhal gaya
aaya ke dhal gaya

aa aa aa
karte khuda se ishq gar
aur ban jaayen aur bhi kuchh
bandon ke ishq ne mujhe
ae ae ae ae
banda bana diya
banda bana diya

This article is written by Peevesie’s mom, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Hullo to all in Atuldom

At the outset let me post my usual disclaimer: I am no encyclopaedia as regards the birth and death anniversaries of my favourite Bollywood actors, actresses, singers, music directors, lyricists, choreographers etc. I am assisted in keeping track of the dates by the list on our blog and the good old trust-worthy Vividh Bharati services of All India Radio. And today (27 july 2017) also I am writing this after looking up the list on our blog and listening to “Aaj Ke Phankaar” on radio.
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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 If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

SHATRANJ KE KHILAADI(1977) was Satyajit Ray’s first Hindi feature film which he directed with multi star cast from India and abroad. The film was based on a short story by the same name written by Munshi Premchand which I had read during my school days. I watched this film once again and I must say that I enjoyed the movie much more than I had seen it about 3 decades back. The film was produced by Suresh Jindal under the banner of Devki Chitra. The main actors in the film were Amjad Khan, Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Farida Jalal, Victor Bannerji, Richard Attenborough, Tom Alter, Barry John, Farooque Shaikh, David Abraham, Veena etc. Amitaab Bachchan was the narrator of the film.
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This article is written by Sudhir, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

There are many success stories in the film world, where in un-tested and un-trained folks from common occupations and professions, came into films and made it big. Without a doubt, the earliest such story which has turned out to be the most phenomenal success ever, is Saigal Saab. Moving from Jalandhar to Calcutta, and from being the sales manager in a typewriter company, KL Saigal broke into the Bengali cinema world in 1932, and in a short career that lasted barely 15 years, he has left behind a legacy that has charmed generation after generation of music lovers. A legend and a phenomena in his own living years, with a treasure of just 185 known recordings, an unrivalled treasure that cannot be compared to any other artist since the time the sound has been electrically recorded.
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These days, I am posting a K L Saigal song as the first song of the day every day. In this series, here is a K L Saigal song from “Street Singer” (1938).
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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 ELEVEN years. This blog has more than 15300 song posts by now.

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

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Movies with all their songs covered =1180
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Blog Start date: 19 july 2008

Active for more than 4000 days.

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