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 :

4371 Post No. : 15705 Movie Count :


Hindi Songs in Bangla Films : 34
‘Jalsaghar’ [(1958), Music Room] was Satyajit Ray’s third film (4th film in terms of the date of release). After the box office failure of his second film, ‘Aparajito’ (1957), Satyajit Ray decided to make a popular film which would cater to the taste of Bengali audience. ‘Jalsaghar’. the short story of Tarashankar Bandopadhyay was the basis for the film which had the popular subject of the declining fortunes of zamindars (landlords) who patronized arts and music. So, there would be scope for songs and dances which would attract the audience.

But how could a director of the stature of Satyajit Ray succumb to make a commercial film whose heart was attuned to making the intellectual films? So, the net result was that when ‘Jalsaghar’ (1958) shooting was completed, the popular subject of declining aristocracy became a serious subject. The popular music associated with such subject was turned into the hardcore Hindustani classical songs and a classical dance. In other words, the film took the shape of an artistic film and won the National Film Award, 1959 for the best feature film in Bengali.

It took quite a long time to search for a dilapidated palace in West Bengal for shooting the film. At last, someone from Murshidabad suggested Nimtita Rajabari in Murshidabad which suited well as a palace for a zamindar whose fortunes are on the decline. It was a great coincidence that later on, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay revealed to Satyajit Ray that his short story was inspired by landlord Upendra Narayan Chaudhury who stayed in Nimtita Rajabari. His descendants have now settled in Kolkata.

The film is available for viewing on one of the video sharing platforms in 10 parts with English sub-titles. While watching, I felt that the original film may have been edited to some extent. However, the continuity of the story seems to have been maintained. The film’s story is set in the mid 1930s and centres around Chhabi Biswas in the role of an aged music-loving landlord. He is present in almost all the frames of the film. Rest of the main actors like Padma Devi, Gangapada Bose, Tulsi Lahiri, and Kali Sarkar have subsidiary roles. The story as depicted in the film is as under:

Biswambar Roy (Chhabi Biswas) is an aged feudal landlord who lives in his dilapidated palace on the banks of a river. He has lost his wife, Mahamaya Devi (Padma Devi) and the only son, Khoka some years back when their boat capsized in the river during a storm. He has lost much of the land-holding due to the soil erosion created by the river. He has only one servant, Ananta (Kali Sarkar) and the Estate Manager (Tulsi Lahiri) to his company besides his horse and an elephant. To maintain his status as an aristocratic landlord, he indulges in lavish spending and pleasures like hosting concerts in his music room, high quality drinks etc. Much of his assets including the remaining land and jewelries have been mortgaged or sold.

While old Biswamber is resting in his room reminiscing his golden days as a wealthy landlord, Mahim Ganguly (Gangapada Bose), his neighbour and a neo-richman, visits the palace to invite him to attend his son’s thread ceremony. While Biswamber declines to attend giving an excuse that because of his old age, he has stopped going out of his palace. But this event reminds him of his son’s thread ceremony which he had conducted in pomp and show worthy of a landlord which included a grand firework in the night followed by a musical concert in his jalsaghar (music room) where all his guests were served choicest drinks. He also remembers that in the same night, his wife resented his spending on concerts too, by mortgaging her jewellery.

Biswamber also remembers that he had arranged a next musical concert on the day his wife and son were to return to the palace after the visit to her mother’s place, to celebrate the new year. This was also to show his might to his new-rich neighbour, Mahim even though for this, Biswamber had to sell some of his antique furniture and some more jewellery. While the concert was in the mid-way, he got the news that his wife and the son drowned in the river while returning on a boat.

After the death of his wife and son, Biswamber has been living in the palace alone with a servant to attend to him. His music room has remained locked for many years. He has become a recluse. He is in no mood to accept his neighbour Mahim’s personal invitation to attend his newly constructed house-warming ceremony and a dance concert. But it reminds him of his music room which has been closed for years. He orders his servant to open it at once. He spends some time inside the music room reminiscing of his glorious days.

In order to spite his neighbour, Biswamber decides to organise a dance concert of a famous kathak dancer from Banaras for which he spends his last cash reserves of Rs.500 for refurbishing his music room, arranging drinks to his guests and giving his last of the precious stones as a gift to the dancer. After the concert, though he has become almost bankrupt, a drunk Biswamber is very happy that he could effectively replicate his past glory to spite his neo-rich neighbour, Mahim.

However, as the night progresses, he observes that one by one the candles in the chandeliers of his music room are getting over, making the room dark. A frightened Biswamber linking the candle light-off to the end of his own life, calls his servant, Ananta who apprises him that the dawn is approaching. He would open the windows and the sunlight would make the room brightened. As the morning sun rises, in his last show of grandeur of his aristocracy, Biswamber mounts his favourite horse and rides at a faster pace away from the palace. But he is thrown out of the horse and dies at the banks of the river – the same river which is also responsible for the erosion of his land and the death of his wife and son.

The moral of the story is that though Biswamber knows that his fortunes are on the decline, he is not ready to adjust to the reality of the situation. Every effort is made to maintain his lavish spending even in the background of facing the adverse financial position. There is no need to compete in terms of prestige with the neo-rich, Mahim who has improved his economic condition by his business acumenship. On the other hand, Biswamber should have taken the clues from Mahim to diversify into some other business ventures. In both the cases – the decline of Zamindars and the emergence of non-Zamindar neo-rich, Satyajit Ray has very well explored human psychology of showmanship.

The highlight of the film is the superb performance by Chhabi Biswas in the role of an aged landlord. The entire film lies on his shoulder. It may be worthwhile to note that in reality, actor Chhabi Biswas belonged to an aristocratic family. He has personally witnessed the downfall of aristocracy. With this background, it comes naturally to him to perform his role of a falling aristocrat. In fact, there is so much of a genuineness in his performance that those who have watched the film would sympathise with him at the end of the film notwithstanding the fact that it is his ego and the false prestige which are responsible for his downfall.

One of the scenes in the film which I liked the most is when Biswamber enteres his jalsaghar (music room) for the first time after keeping it locked for some years. He spends about 5-6 minutes inside jalsaghar without any dialogue and the background music, observing each and every item – portraits of his forefathers, each and every chandeliers, furniture and fixtures etc. This scene reminds me of a similar scene in ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959) when an aged Guru Dutt visits his studio and glances the entire studio, reminiscing of his glorious days as a successful director. He touches the camera and sits on his director’s chair in the dark studio never to get up.

Satayjit Ray has used the camera as well as the expression and gestures of the main actors to move forward the story of the film more than the dialogues. My guess is that of 100 odd minutes of the film, the dialogues in the film would have cumulatively consumed not more than 40 minutes. Ustad Vilayat Khan has used mainly Sitar and Flute for background music which goes well with the ambience of the palace as well as the genre of the story.

Like ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959), ‘Jalsaghar’ (1958) had also the same fate of failure at the box office. The reviews of the film after its release in India were mostly adverse. It was only after a couple of years when the film was released in the US and the UK, it received a cult status. Over a period of time, the film has been one of the widely discussed classic films of Satyajit Ray like ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ (1959). In June 2018, the film was shown in the Siri Fort Auditorium, the only Indian classic film shown at Navras Duende World Film Festival.

‘Jalsaghar’ (1958) has two songs – both rendered in Hindustani classical raags. In addition, the film also has the 8-minute of Kathak dance by Roshan Kumari, the daughter of playback singer, Zohrabai Ambalewaali. I am presenting a traditional thumri ‘bhar bhar aayi mori ankhiyaan piya bin’ rendered by Begum Akhtar. The song is picturised on Begum Akhtar herself up to say 01:45 of duration. Thereafter, the actress singing the song is different until Begum Akhtar surfaces again towards the end of the song. However, the entire duration of the song is rendered by Begum Akhtar. The Thumri was set to music by Ustad Vilayat Khan.

The background of the song is that Biswamber Roy remembers his olden days when after the thread ceremony of his son, he had arranged a concert in the night in his jalsaghar where all the guests had been served with drinks. All the money spent for the event was raised by selling his wife’s jewellery.

The director’s camera captures many other details while the singer is rendering the Thumri. The camera pans over the entire jalsaghar to show the grandeur of the music room. The camera also captures other subsidiary activities simultaneously going on, both physically and mentally. The camera focuses on Chhabi Biswas who is shown to be listening very intensely. But behind the intensity, he is also thinking something else as his eyes remain static, probably remembering many such music soirees of the past. His neighbour, Gangapada Bose is inhaling snuff but at the same time, he is embarrassed as to whether any of the guests has noticed his action. The camera also captures him in trying to control his sneeze following inhaling the snuff and thereafter searching for a glass of drink.

This film, in my view, is a ‘must see’ for those who believe the films as the director’s medium and also for the excellent performance of Chhabi Biswas as an aged landlord.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Bhar bhar aayi mori ankhiyaan piya bin (Jalsaghar)(Bangla)(1958) Singer-Begam Akhtar, MD-Ustaad Vilaayat Khan


aaa aa aa aaaa
aaa aaa aaaaaa
aaaa aaa aa
aaaaaaaaa aa
aa aa
aa aa aa aaaa
aaa aaa aaa aa
aa aa aa aa aaa aa
aa aa aaaa aa aaaa
ae bhar bhar aayin mori ankhiyaan
piyaa bin
bhar bhar aayin mori ankhiyaan
piyaa bin
bhar bhar
bhar bhar aa………yin
bhar bhar aa………yin
aa aa aa aaa aaa
ae ae ae
bhar bhar aayin aa aaa
bhar bhar aayin mori ankhiyaan
piya bin
bhar bhar aayin
bhar bhar aayin
aa……yi mori ankhiyaan
bhar bhar aayin mori
bhar bhar aayin mori ankhiyaan
piya bin

ghir ghir aayin…een een een…… een een
ghir ghir aayin..een kaari ee ee badariya aa aa
ghir ghir
ghir ghir aayin
o o ghir ghir
ghir ghir aa..yin een kaari ee badariya
dharkan laagi mori chhatiyaan
piya bin
dharkan laagi

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 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 :

4317 Post No. : 15602 Movie Count :


Hindi Songs in Bangla Film – 28
‘Subhash Chandra’ (1966, Bangla film) as the name suggests was one of many films on the life of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The coverage of this film was from the school days of Netaji to his first-time arrest in 1921 for civil disobedience. The film ends with a scene in which Netaji is taking leave of his father and mother before he is formally arrested and taken to the jail in a police van. It is an anecdotal film covering the important events in the life of a young Subhash Chandra Bose up to 1921. Hindi dubbed version of the film with the same title was released in 1978. The main events in the early life of Subhash Chandra Bose covered in the film is summarised below:

Subhash Chandra who has joined a primary missionary school with English and Latin, gets the admission in the secondary school which is not a missionary school. His new teacher makes fun of him for not knowing Bangla and Sanskrit. The young Subhash assures the teacher that he would learn both Bangla and Sanskrit in two days which he does. The Head Master of his secondary school becomes Subhash Chandra’s ideal. He learns from him the works of Swami Ramkrishna Paramhans and Swami Vivekanand. Subhash Chandra studied vedas, upnishads, Ramayan, Mahabharat, Geeta, Bible and many other scriptures. His first leaning towards political activities was in 1912 when King George V visited Calcutta (Kolkata).

Subhash gets rusticated from the college for attacking a professor and in this process losses a couple of years in studies. He is reinstated by another college on the recommendation of a High Court lawyer who put a condition that Subhash Chandra should stand first in the merit list of the college. He clears BA with first class, standing second in the merit list. He is also active in University’s unit of Indian Territorial Army.

The film also shows the difference between Subhash Chandra and his lawyer-father who wants him to become an ICS officer and to join the Government service. After the Jullianwala Baagh massacare, Subhash Chandra is not ready to go to England to become ICS. But one of his relatives convinces him to take up ICS just to know the British system. Though Subhash Chandra passed ICS standing fourth in the merit list, within few months from joining ICS, he resigns from ICS much against the wishes of his father. Subhash Chandra pursues the profession of teacher and journalist. Later, under the guidance of Chitranjan Das, he plunges into full time political activities leading the nationalist movements under the ambit of Indian National Congress.

There are some more incidences in the life of Subhash Chandra Bose covered in the film. I guess, the aim of the film was to show a strong character of Subhash Chandra Bose, built over a period of time since his school days.

The film has been presented with a sleek screen play and dialogues without over-emphasising on patriotism. Particularly, I liked one dialogue in the film which I need to explain the background before one can appreciate it.

Subhash Chandra Bose, after the completion of matriculation, wanted to become a sage for which he was in search of a Guru. He travelled to Banaras, Mathura, Haridwar and beyond but came back disappointed. After successfully completion of training in Indian Territorial Army, he wanted to become a soldier in Indian Army which he shares his ambition with his friend. His friend comments ‘From a sage to a soldier? Two extremes. To which Subhash Chandra Bose reacts ‘I want to become a sage-like soldier and a soldier-like sage – a sage’s sacrifice and a soldier’s courage’. Incidentally, he did try to get selected in Bengal Regiment but was rejected for bad eyesight.

‘Subhash Chandra’ (1966) was directed by Pijush Bose. The star cast included Amar Dutta, Samar Chatterjee, Master Aashish Ghosh, Dilip Roy, Reba Devi etc. There were six songs in the film of which one song is in Hindi. All the songs were set to music by Aparesh Lahiri. As mentioned earlier, a dubbed version in Hindi with the same title was released in 1978 with Aparesh Lahiri as music director.

I am presenting the Hindi song ‘nahi maane jiyara hamaar’ which is based on a traditional Thumri with, more or less, on the same words. The song is sung by Bansari Lahiri. The use of ‘barse bahaar’ in the lyrics gives an impression of the song being a Kajri. Bansari Lahiri is a Hindustani classical singer and musician and the wife of the music director, Aparesh Lahiri. Music director, Bappi Lahiri is their only son. Interestingly, I find Bansari Lahiri has been accredited as Assistant Music Director to Bappi Lahiri in as many as 22 films from 1975 to 1990.

The part of the song has been played in the background with a low volume of sound as Subhash Chandra and his group are inside Nasipur Palace in Murshidabad. The same song has been used in the Hindi dubbed version of the film ‘Subhash Chandra’ (1978). So, it is one song used in both Bangla and Hindi versions of the film.

Audio Clip:

Song-Nahin maane jiyara hamaar (Subhash Chandra) Singer-Bansari Lahiri, MD-Aparesh Lahiri


aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa
nahin maane ae jiyara hamaar
hamaa..r re
nahin maane ae
nahin maane
nahin maane ae ae ge maane
nahin maane jiyara hamaar
nahin maane jiyara hamaar
nahin maane jiyara hamaar
nahin maane ae ae jiyara
nahin maane
nahin maane jiyara
nahin maane jiyara hamaar
nahin maane jiyara hamaar

baabul hadd keenhi haa aa aa
gawan nahin deenhi
baabul hadd keenhi ee
hadd keenhi baabul
gawan nahin ee ee ee deenhi
?? laage (???) barse bahaar
?? laage (???) barse
?? laage ?? laage
?? laage barse
?? laage barse bahaar
?? laage barse bahaar

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

Blog Day : 4178 Post No. : 15357

Commemorating Naushad Sahab’s 100th birth anniversary on 25th December 2019 :
Naushad Sahab’s journey as a music director is an astounding journey of 65 years beginning from 1940 to 2005. This is as in active working career. Born in Lucknow on 25th December, 1919, he completed his journey of the mortal existence on 5th May, 2006, in Mumbai. He is described as a composer, music director, film producer, writer, and a poet. Also credited for being the major contributor towards incorporating Hindustani classical into film music right from the 40’s.

I have just now found a portion of the thumri extracted from the movie “Paakezah” where it plays in the background in one of the scene’s. I have often seen references to the lost thumris of “Paakeezah”. They all have been used in the film in different scenes.

This particular thumri is having a famous ghazal by Mir Taqi Mir ‘dekh to dil ke jaan se utthtaa hai … dhuaan sa kahan se utthtaa hai”. This ghazal has been immortalized by many singers in recorded version too. One of those versions by Mehdi Hasan was used in the background of one scene in Sai Pranjpe’s “Chashme Bad-door”. That also is a one memorable scene, where the friends sharing accommodation in Delhi, sharing much more including their cigarette’s are Farooq Shaikh, Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani, while this ghazal is playing in the background. The full ghazal’s link is here.

I am giving the link here as those interested can see the full ghazal and can try and understand the spirit of it through meaning of words and terms also.

In the stats page, there are 3 songs credited to Mir Taqi Mir, so this should be the fourth. Two songs namely Patta patta boota boota from “Ek nazar” and dikhaayi diye yoon ke bekhud kiya I could connect with Mir Taqi Mir. Third one I couldn’t find.

He finds mention in this Mirza Ghalib Sha’ir:

Rekhte ke ek tumhi ustaad nahi Ghalib
Kehte hain agle zamaane mein koi ‘Mir’ bhi thha
Actually in the portion of this ghazal used in the film is only two sha’irs with words in the matla’a changed. Actual words are like this :
ishq ik ‘Mir’ bhari patthar hai
kab ye tujh na-tawaan se utthta hai

Here is the word “na-tawaan”. I have just recently written a hindi poem, which has this word “na-tawaan”, which I simply must share here.

जो मैं सुनती हूँ अँधेरों में
वो आहट, क्या तुम्हें भी सूनाई देती है
इन दीवारों की गहरी खौफनाक दराडों में
अनगिनत नातवां चींटियाँ दफन हैं
इन चींटियों को क्या हक़ था
की वो महलों के ख्वाब देखतीं
खुद को बुलबुल जान कर
गुलिस्ताँ में चहचहाती
क्या यह उनका अपना गुलिस्ताँ था
फिर क्यूँ वो इतना खिलखिलाती थीं ?
फिर जो भारी गूंज उठी गुलिस्ताँ में
बुलबुलों का चहचहाना बंद हो गया
क्यूंकी एक खूबसूरत इमारत जो बननी थी
उस में कुछ खुश्क रंगों की ज़रूरत थी
अति सुंदर, रंगीन, अंतिम लिबादा ओढ़े
सामने वही खूबसूरत इमारत खड़ी है
जो मैं सुनती हूँ अँधेरों में
वो आहट, क्या तुम्हें सूनाई देती है ।
——- x ——–

This small portion of the ghazal in thumri format is composed by Naushad and singer is Naseem Chopra. This song is a debut for Naseem Chopra in the blog, as her name is not featuring in the ‘stats’ page.

Audio :

Video :

Song-Dekh to dil ke jaan se uthhaa hai (Paakeezah)(1971) Singer-Naseem Chopra, Lyrics-Mir Taqi Mir, MD-Naushad


Dekh to dil ke jaan se utthtaa hai ae
Ye dhuaan sa kahaan se utthtaa hai
Ye dhuaan sa kahaan se utthtaa hai
Ishq ek ‘Mir’ bhaari patthar hai
Ishq ek ‘Mir’ bhaari patthar hai
Bojh itnaa kahaan se utthtaa hai
Ye dhuaan sa kahaan se utthtaa hai

Devnagri script lyrics (Provided by nahm)

देख तो दिल के जाँ से उठता है
ये धुआँ सा कहाँ से उठता है
ये धुआँ सा कहाँ से उठता है
इश्क़ एक ‘मीर’ भारी पत्थर है
इश्क़ एक ‘मीर’ भारी पत्थर है
बोझ इतना कहाँ से उठता है
ये धुआँ सा कहाँ से उठता है

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 :


Hindi Songs in Bangla Films – 3
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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.

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