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

Posts Tagged ‘Rabindranath Tagore

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

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4365 Post No. : 15693 Movie Count :


Hindi songs in Bangla Films – 32

During my visits to Jorasanko Thakur Bari (Tagore family residence) in Kolkata and thereafter a full day visit to Shanti Niketan in 2012, I had often come across the name of Kadambari Devi who was supposed to have inspired Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in his literary, musical and artistic pursuits. But at that time, it never occurred to me to know more about Kadambari Devi.

Last Sunday, while browsing one of the OTT platforms, I found a Bangla film ‘Kadambari’ (2015) where I read a two-liner summary of the film that connected me with Kadambari Devi. The film is a biopic on Kadambari Devi who was the wife of Jyotirindranath Tagore, the elder brother of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The story of Kadambari Devi is a tragic one which is, in my view, is not less than Shakespearean tragedies. Let me first briefly discuss her biography before I set out her story as depicted in the film.

Kadambari Devi (1859-1884) was a daughter of an employee of Jorasanko Thakur Bari who was married to 21-year old Jyotindranath Tagore on July 5, 1868 when she was 9. In Thakur Bari, 7-year old Rabindranath Tagore, the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, became Kadambari’s playmate as no other family members in the Tagore family were of their age group. Her husband was a multi-talented person interested in literature, music, theatre, painting, publications besides the family business. He made arrangements for home education of Kadambari Devi as also  for training in horse riding etc.

After the death of Rabindranath’s mother, Kadambari Devi’s childhood relationship with him was turned from playmate to that of a surrogate mother. The next relationship between Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath in their adulthood became more like platonic love. Everyday, Rabindranath would write poems which he would first recite to Kadambari Devi who would give her critical assessments. Gradually, an intellectual relationship developed between Rabindranath and Kadambari Devi.

The close relationship between Rabindranath and Kadambari Devi during their adulthoods were not liked by the elder family members. So, at the age of 17, Rabindranath was sent to England for further studies. During his short stay in England, he used to write letters to Kadambari Devi discussing about poems and literature and how he was missing her in his literary pursuit. He returned to India without completing his studies and once again their literary companionship started. Rabindranath got his letters to Kadambari Devi published in one of the Bengali magazines. Though these letters were high in their literary contents, the elders in the family read in-between the lines as to whom the emotions expressed in the letters were meant. Elders in the family were afraid that scandal could break out tarnishing the image of the family. So, they decided to get Rabindranath married at the age of 21 with a bride of 11 years who was named as Mrinalini Devi.

After the marriage of Rabindranath, the distance between Kadambari Devi and him widened. On the other hand, Jyotirindranath’s busy schedule with his businesses and other activities made her lonely. After about 4 months of Rabindranath marriage, Kadambari Devi committed suicide by taking an overdose of opium on April 21, 1884 at a young age of 25 years. There was no clue left as to why Kadambari Devi committed suicide.

The story of Kadambari Devi has all the ingredients of making a social drama film. The first Bengali film on this story was made by Satyajit Ray titled ‘Charulata’ (1971) which was based on Rabindranath Tagore’s Bengali novella ‘Nashtanirh’ (Broken Nest). Scholars believe that this novella may have been based on the relationship between Jyotirindranath Tagore, Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore himself which was published in 1901. The second film, ‘Chhelebela’ (2002) was made which was based on the Rabindranath Tagore’s novella of the same name which meant ‘My Boyhood Days’. Thereafter, two more films – ‘Chirosakhe He’ (2007) and ‘Jeewan Smriti’ (2011) were made in Bengali.

‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the latest Bangla film which is more like a biopic of Kadambari Devi.  The film is directed by Suman Ghosh. The film is based on the Bengali novel ‘Prothomo Alo’ by Sunil Gangopadhyay, ‘Kobir Bouthan’ by Mullika Sengupta and various writings of Rabindranath Tagore. The cast includes Konkana Sen Sharma (Kadambari Devi), Parambrata Chattopadhyay (Rabindranath Tagore), Kaushik Sen (Jyotirindranath Tagore), Sanjoy Nag (Debendranath Tagore), Titas Bhowmik, Srikanto Acharya, Srilekha Mitra etc.

Though the film is a biopic of Kadambari Devi, the director has taken some cinematic liberties in dramatizing some events in the life of the three main characters in the film. The story of Kadambari Devi in the film is as under:

The film starts with the suicide of Kadambari Devi in her bedroom with an overdose of opium. The patriarch of the Tagore family, Debendranath Tagore instructs all in the house not to leak the news of the suicide to outsiders as it is the question of reputation of the family. All the subsequent scenes in the film are shown as flashbacks of Kadambari Devi until her death like  her marriage to Jyotirendranath, Rabindranath as her childhood playmate etc. She feels lonely in the big house as she is the child and the other members of the household are adults. Same is true of Rabindranath as he is the youngest of the Tagore family (7 years). So naturally, both the loners find their relationship as  playmates rewarding.

After the death of Rabindranath’s mother, Kadambari Devi is assigned the duty of looking after him. She would supervise his meals after his return from school. She has become an expert cook and prepares delicious dishes for Rabindranath who, for the first time, feels that the food tastes better than those churned out by the cooks at Thakur Bari.

During the adulthood, Kadambari Devi becomes his literary companion. Rabindranath would recite his new poems first to her to get her feedback which, most of the time, would be adverse. At one point, she says to him that Banckhim Chandra Chattopadhyay writes better than him just to prop him up. There are literary soirees on the terrace of Thakur Bari in the night when there would be poetry recitations, music and singing when all the members of Tagore family would participate. Both of them bond well in all the stages of their relationship in which Rabindranath always addresses Kadambari Devi as ‘bouthan’ (sister-in-law). She is Rabindranath’s total support system all through her life.

The close relationships between Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath in their adulthood is resented by the elder women of the Tagore family. They instigate Debendranath (his father) to send him for study in England. He goes but returns quickly as he develops some illness. Then there are back-biting from the elder women of the family for Kadambari being issueless. She has ‘adopted’ her sister-in-law’s daughter, Urmila who dies in a freak accident in the house and the blame for her death falls on Kadambari Devi for her momentary neglect.

The elder women get upset when they come to know that Rabindranath has published his poems in a magazine which indirectly hint at his admiration for Kadambari Devi. So, the elders decide to get Rabindranath married to Mrilanali Devi. With this, Kadambari Devi has become once again a lonely lady already neglected by her elders in the family and her husband who, as usual, is busy with his businesses and theatre. There is also a hint in the film that Jyotirindranath is having affairs with an actress of one of his plays. With the death of Urmila, Kadambari Devi has gone into depression.

The triggering point for Kadambari Devi’s suicide is when her husband failed to turn up to pick her up from the Thakur Bari for the launching of his new ship at the port.  Even though, her husband has sent a horse cart to pick her up, she refuses to go as she has accidentally found a letter addressed to him by one of the actresses of his play informing him of his child taking shape in her womb. The film ends with Kadambari Devi drinking a liquid from a bottle and goes to sleep never to wake up.

‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the director’s film. He has full control over the main actors and also the fast-paced story telling. All the three main actors – Konkana Sen Sharma, Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Kaushik Sen have given the excellent performances of their roles. Despite a serious subject, there is not a single dull moment in the film. The film has been mostly shot in the houses of the Tagore family and estate lending the authentic period atmosphere.

It sounds strange as to why Debendranath Tagore who is regarded as a social and religious reformer and also an advocate of the girls’ education, got his sons, Jyotirindranath and Rabindranath married to child girls with wide age differences. Also, there is a hint in the film of the patriarchal family system where women have no voice in decision making in the Tagore family. There are dialogues in the film to that effect.

There are speculations in the literary circles as to what kind of relationship Rabindranath Tagore had with Kadambari Devi. Whether their love which was of an innocent and affectionate nature in their childhood had turned into an amorous one in their adulthood. It is difficult to get an answer. It is said that soon after the death of Kadambari Devi, the letters exchanged between Kadamabari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore were destroyed except those which were already published in a magazine. Probably, their relationship was  for companionship and the emotional solace. So, let their love remain as love without assigning any qualifier to it. That’s what Gulzar has said in one of his film songs – “Pyaar Ko Pyaar Hi Rehne Do Koi Naam Na Do.

Since ‘Kadambari’ (2015) is the story on the relationship between Rabindranath Tagore and Kadambari Devi, it is not surprising that almost all of the songs are based on Rabindra Sangeet. There is one song which was written by Maithili poet, Vidyapati which finds place in the film. It is said that Rabindranath Tagore liked this song so much that he set the song to the tune while reciting it in the company of Kadambari Devi. The song is “Bhara Baadar Maah Bhaadar, Shunya Mandir Mor’ – In the month of Bhadra, clouds are full of rains. but my mind is an empty shrine.

In the film, the situation is that after return from Tripura, Rabindranath meets Kadambari Devi in the garden of their estate on the banks of River Ganga. It has started raining and Rabindranath recites these verses of Vidyapati with impromptu tune composed by him.

The song is rendered by Ustad Rashid Khan on the tune set by Rabindranath Tagore. The orchestration of the song is conducted by Bickram Ghosh.

By the way, Aparna Sen also used these Vidyapati’s verses in her Bangla film, ‘Ghawre Bairey Alo’ (2019) in a different situation in the film.



Song – Bhara Baadar Maah Bhadara, Shunya Mandir Mor (Kadambari) (2015) Singer – Ustad Rashid Khan, Lyrics – Vidyapati, MD – Rabindranath Tagore (Orchestration by Bickram Ghosh)


bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
he ae ae ae aa
he ae ae ae ae
sa re  ae ae ae
ra ra ra ru ru
aa aa aaa
aaa aa aaa aaa aaa
ra ma…
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo…r
bhara baadar
jharjha ghan garjanti santati
bhuwan bhari barikhintiyaa
kaant paahun birah daarun
saghane khar shar hantiaa
kulisha shat shat paat modit
mayur naachat maatiaa aa
mayur naachat
mayur naachat
mayur naachat maatiyaa aa
matta daaduri daake daahuki
phaati yaawat chhatiyaa
timir dig bhari ghor yaamini
akhir bijurika paanthiyaa
Vidyapati kah kaiche gonaaibi
Hari vine din raatiaan aa
bhara baadar maah bhaadar
shunya mandir mo….r
bhara baadar

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: 4330 Post No.: 15624

Bangla Song in Hindi Films-2
‘Basu (Bhattacharya) used to be fired up by one-liners. He drew stories from one-line coming from his fertile mind’ thus said Rinki Roy Bhattacharya, daughter of Bimal Roy and the ex-wife of the late Basu Bhattacharya in an interview. After going through the interviews of Rinki Roy Bhattacharya and Gulzar who had been associated with Basu Bhattacharya, I have come with my own one-liner about Basu Bhattacharya. He made high quality films with low budget. His first film as a producer-director, ‘Uski Kahaani’ (1966) was made with a budget of lakh only.

How did Basu Bhattacharya managed to produce and direct low budget films? Except the lead actors, he took his close friends as side actors, lyricists, music director and technicians with a tacit understanding that they will work within his low budget. And none of them seems to mind it as they kept their personal friendship above the professional relationship. He did not shoot the film in a studio but hired flats for shooting. For example, he majorly shot ‘Anubhav’ (1971) in Tanuja’s flat. ‘Aavishkar’ (1974) was majorly shot in his own flat at Khar.

Basu Bhattacharya (1934 -1997) was born in a priestly family in Kassim Bazar of Murshidabad district in West Bengal. From his teenage days, he was fond of watching films which led to his interest in film-related works. After watching Satyajit Ray’s ‘Aparajito’ (1956), he developed interest in film making. After the decline of New Theatres, some artists, technicians moved to Bombay (Mumbai) in early 1950s who were mostly accommodated either by Shashidhar Mukherjee of Filmistan or Bimal Roy. Basu Bhattacharya was so much influenced by Raj Kapoor’s films ‘Aawaara’ (1951) and ‘Shri 420’ (1956) that he came to Bombay (Mumbai) in 1956 with the sole intention of assisting Raj Kapoor. When his efforts to get entry into R K Studios failed, he joined Bimal Roy Productions as an Assistant to Bimal Roy for Madhumati (1958) and ‘Sujata’ (1959). He became the second unit Director for Bimal Roy’s film, ‘Parakh’ (1960).

During the making of ‘Parakh’ (1960), Basu Bhattacharya and Rinki Roy, Bimal Roy’s elder daughter developed liking for each other which was resented by her parents. After the completion of ‘Parakh’ (1960), Basu Bhattacharya left Bimal Roy Productions and became a free-lancer. Rinki Roy and Basu Bhattacharya got married in a court some time in 1963. Soon after the marriage, Basu Bhattachraya was entrusted with directing Shailendra’s maiden film, ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966). With this film, Basu Bhattacharya got opportunity to direct Raj Kapoor to whom 10 years back, he was keen to assist him.

Basu Bhattacharya turned producer with the film ‘Uski Kahaani’ (1966) which he also directed. Thereafter, he concentrated his three films – a trilogy of marital discords in an urban setting – ‘Anubhav’ (1971), ‘Aavishkar’ (1974) and ‘Grih Pravesh’ (1979). All these films portray the struggle of the husband and wife to protect their marriage despite a third person entering into their married life. At the end, it is mutual realization that a happy home is the platform for a happy married life. In between, Basu Bhattacharya produced and directed ‘Tumhaara Kalloo’ (1975) which dealt with the importance of education in a village setting.

Basu Bhattacharya’s next film, ‘Anand Mahal’ (1977) was based on Badal Sarkar’s popular Bangla play, ‘Ballavpurer Roopkathaa’ which he produced and directed. The film was completed but remained unreleased. Dinesh Shankar Shailendra, younger son of the late Shailendra who was assisting Basu Bhattacharya in the film, very recently revealed on his facebook page that after editing work was over, Salil Chowdhury started composing background music. After completing the background music work, Salil Chowdhury told Basu Bhattacharya that it was a bad film which was shot like a play. He said that the release of the film would harm his reputation as a director. After listening to the flaws in the film in detail, Basu Bhattacharya accepted Salil Chowdhury’s advice and decided not to release the film.

During his life time, Basu Bhattacharya produced/directed around 15 films which included, in addition to those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, ‘Daakoo’ (1975), ‘Sangat’ (1976), ‘Madhu Malti’ (1980), ‘Sparsh’ (1980), ‘Ek Saas Zindagi’ (1991) and ‘Aastha’ (1997) which was his last film. Although some of his films were critically acclaimed, almost all of his films did not fare well at the box office. His films, ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966) and ‘Anubhav’ (1971) received National Awards for Best Film and the Second-Best Film respectively.

While Basu Bhattacharya produced three films on marital discord, his own married life with Rinki Roy Bhattacharya was in doldrum for domestic violence. There are details available in the interview of his ex-wife in the public domain. I feel that Basu Bhattacharya had split personalities – as a film director and as a husband.

Basu Bhattacharya left for the heavenly abode on 27/08/1997.

‘Anubhav’ (1971) was Basu Bhattacharya’s first film of the trilogy of marital discords. The film was made with the assistance of Film Corporation of India (now National Film Development Corporation). The cast included Sanjeev Kumar and Tanuja in lead roles as married couple with Dinesh Thakur as the third person and A K Hangal as the man servant in the household of the couple.

As per Rinki Roy Bhattacharya’s interview, the film started with Pran and Tanuja in the lead role. Some scenes were already shot with Pran. However, after watching the rushes of shots, Basu Bhattacharya decided that the role of an office going husband did not suit Pran. So, he was replaced with Sanjeev Kumar.

I had watched the film many years back (probably on TV) but I failed to recall sequential progression of the story of the film especially as to how the film ended. Recently, I watched the film with HD quality DVD on one of the video sharing platforms. Wow! What a film. After ‘Pyaasa’ (1957), I have immensely enjoyed watching this film in Black and White photography. I feel that the film would not have looked cinematically great if it was made in colour.

‘Anubhav’ (1971) is the story of Meeta (Tanuja), the lonely wife of the workaholic Amar (Sanjeev Kumar) who is the editor of a newspaper. There is not much time for Meeta for the companionship of her husband as he leaves for office early morning and returns late in the night fully exhausted. The one dialogue of Meeta in the film sums up her position in the house when she says to Amar that she felt as if she has been staying in a hotel with all the comforts but nothing for her to do.

She starts rediscovering herself. The first thing she does is that she removes all her servants except Hari (A K Hangal) so that she can keep herself busy with her household work. Now, she is the real in charge of her home. She is able to persuade Amar to spend more time in the house. He hosts parties in the house. Thus, Meeta is able to make him understand the joy of marital bliss.

When things were moving in the right direction for Amar and Meeta, one day, Shashi Bhushan (Dinesh Thakur) comes to meet Meeta without any prior intimation. He was Meeta’s first lover to whom she has forgotten after her marriage. In fact, he has come to get her recommendation for a job at Amar’s office where he has given an interview. He has no intention of reviving his love interest when Meeta seems to be very happy with her married life. She refuses to recommend his case by telling him that she does not interfere in Amar’s office matters. However, Shashi Bhushan does get a job at Amar’s office and in due course of time, he becomes his right- hand man.

When Amar comes to know about the past of Shashi being a lover of Meeta, his male ego creates a storm in their married life. Some time the discord in their married life is open in the presence of Shashi who often visits Amar in his house for office related work. At last, Amar in the fists of anger asks Shashi to resign from the job. But Shashi has already decided to leave the job when he comes to know that he has become the reason for marital discord between Amar and Meeta. When Amar reads the resignation letter of Shashi, he has change of heart. He rejects his resignation letter and ask him to continue the work.

After the resignation drama, there is an apt dialogue between Shashi and Amar. Shashi says ‘mujhe pataa nahin, beeta huwa kal aaj hamaare beech kaisa aa gaya.’ (I don’t know how our bygone days have come between us in our present-day life). To which Amar says ‘beeta huwa kal aaj hamaare beech tab hi aata hai jab hum aaj ko puri tarah se jee nahi paate’. (Bygone days between us comes only when we are not able to enjoy fully our present-day life). The film ends with a positive note clearing all the misunderstanding between Amar, Meeta and Shashi and Meeta giving news to Amar of her pregnancy.

The film has been nicely produced with excellence in almost all the major aspects of the film – direction, acting, dialogues, photography, music etc. The background music in the film has been innovatively done with signature tune of Aakashvani and songs being played in the radio etc. I could faintly hear a Bangla song and a Hindi film song, taash ke baawan patte as part of background music.

Another highlight of the film is the excellent picturization of 4 melodious songs set to music by Kanu Roy with a minimal orchestration. I liked the picturization of one of the film’s songs, meri jaan mujhe jaan na kaho. It is to the credit of Basu Bhattacharya that such a romantic song has been picturised just at one place – at one of the closed windows of the house with the background of heavy rains outside the house. With this song, he has proved that an intense romantic mood in the song can be picturised without going to outdoor shooting or even to Switzerland as Yash Chopra may have done with similar situation. And what a play of words by Gulzar! The words ‘jaan’ has been used both as ‘love’ as well as ‘life’.

All the 4 songs of ‘Anubhav’ (1971) have been covered in the Blog. But there is one more song, a Bangla song ‘sedin dujone dulechhinu bone’, a Tagore song which is rendered by and picturised on Subir Sen. The occasion is a party hosted by Amar in his house in which Subir Sen, (in the role of Subir Sen, the singer) is also invited. The lyrics and the tune are by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore which he composed in 1922. In this song, no orchestration has been used except the harmonium.

I have taken the lyrics, Hindi poetic translation and English translation of the song from I was surprised to note that the Hindi poetic translation was composed in the same metre as Tagore Song. So one can sing Hindi translated song in the tune used for Bangla song.

S D Burman has used the tune of this Tagore song in naina deewaane ek nahin maane from the film ‘Afsar’ (1950).

Acknowledgements for the sources of information on Basu Bhattacharya: (1) Interview of Rinki Roy Bhattacharya by Sonal Pandya published in ‘Cinestan’, Feb 04, 2018 and (2) Interview of Gulzar published in a old issue of ‘Filmfare’, republished in

Video Clip:

Song-Sedin dujone dulechhinu bone (Anubhav)(1971) Singer-Subir Sen, Lyrics-Rabindranath Tagore, MD-Rabindranath Tagore

Lyrics (Sourced from

sedin dujone dulechhinu bone
phulodore bandhaa jhulonaa
sei sritituku kobhu khone khone
jeno jaage mone bhulo na
bhulo na
bhulo na..aa
sedin dujone dulechhinu bone
phulodore baandhaa jhulonaa
se din baatase chhilo tumi jaano
aamari monero prolapo joraano,
se din baatase chhilo tumi jaano
aamari monero prolapo joraano,
aakashe aakashe aachhilo chhoraano
tomaro haasiro tulona
bhulo na
bhulo na
bhulo na
sedin dujone dulechhinu bone
phulodore baandhaa jhulonaa

jete jete paathe poornima raate
chaand uthechhilo gaagone
dekha hoyechhilo tomaate aamate
ki jaani ki mahalagone
ekhon aamar bela naahi aar….

Lines not covered in the song

bohibo ekaaki birohero bhaar –
Bnaadhinu je raakhi porane tomar se
raakhi khulo na khulo na

Hindi Poetic Translation
(Sourced from
वो दिन सुहाना-फुलडोर-बंधे
झूले थे हम वन में झूलना ॥
छोटी-मोटी वो यादें मन में जो जागे
पल वो हम कभी भूले-ना, भूलें-ना ॥

उस दिन हवा में, तुमने भी माना
पागल-वन मेरे, मन का सामाना ।
नीले नीले नभ ने, हरष छा जाता,
तेरे ही हँसी की तुलना ।
भूलो ना, भूलो ना, भूलो ना ॥

राह पे हमराही रात पूनम थी,
चांद चमका नभ में
न जाने वो कौन सी महालगन में
हम ओर तुम थे मिले

(जब) चांद चमकता नभ पे
अब वो बेला बीत चली
बार विरह के सहुं अकेले ।
जो राखी बांधे मैंने प्राण संग तेरे
वो राखी खुले ना, खुले ना, भुले ना ॥

English Translation (Sourced from

We had had a swing in the forest on the other day,
It was a swing adorned with garlands.
Wish we do not lose that tiny remembrance which looms about every now and then.

The air was filled with, you know, the meaningless words of my mind,
The sky (was) sprinkled with samples of your smile.
The moon was seen to rise in the sky on the full-moon day while strolling.
Just have no idea of the divine moment on which we had had met each other.

Now I have no time left, and will bear the feeling of solitude alone in myself-

(Please be kind enough) Not to shed the friendship band that (I had) tied with your soul.

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. 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:

4309 Post No. : 15584

Regional language songs in Hindi movies- 1

I had heard of ‘Rabindra Sangeet’ many years back in the context of our national anthem. Without knowing much about Rabindra Sangeet, in my younger days, I used to think that like Hindustani classical music, Carnatic classical music, folk music, Western classical music etc, Rabindra Sangeet was a different genre of music. (Now that I know it, I was not off the mark then). When I got associated with our Blog about 10 years back, I started looking at the Hindi film songs in a wider perspective encompassing, among other things, the genres of and the artists behind the Hindi film music. It was during the course of writing articles for the Blog covering songs of the golden period of Hindi film music, singers, lyricists and music directors that I came to know much about Rabindra Sangeet and its influence in Hindi film songs.

Rabindra Sangeet (Tagore songs) refers to over 2000 Bangla songs which were penned and set to music by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. During the course of my search on Rabindra Sangeet, I had come across a very informative website,, dedicated to Rabindra Sangeet. The website is the repository of around 2200 songs written and composed by Gurudev during his life time. The website gives the main features of each of song with lyrics in Bangla and English with English translations wherever available. The songs are also classified in 6 main themes – Devotion, Patriotic, Love, Nature, Ceremonial and Amazement. In addition, other features of the songs such as raag, taal, and background history etc are also given. I also found that Rabindra Sangeet is complete with swarlipi (notations) which indicates that the system of notations in Indian music may have started with Rabindra Sangeet.

With the help of the lyrics in English, I have listened to many songs on the video sharing platform with the support of English translations. I am aware of the limitation of translation in English of the original Bangla songs or for that matter of any language. But for a non-Bengali like me, translation serves the purpose of understanding something about the song rather than not knowing at all. In a nutshell, Rabindra Sangeet is the amalgam of Hindustani classical music, Bangla folk music, and Western classical music. What attracts a non-Bengali like me to listen to Rabindra Sangeet is the unique sounding melody embedded in the song even though the full understanding of the meaning of the song would have enhanced the listening pleasure. Nevertheless, I feel like listening to Tagore songs again and again. They are soothing to my ears and they sounds like prayers.

It is well known fact that some of Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals can be interpreted differently by different persons. Based on the English translation of Tagore songs, I feel that some of these songs may have multiple interpretations. Probably, the interpretation of Tagore songs could be one of the debating issues for ‘bhadralok’ in the poetic soirees or even in the Coffee House. Hence, like Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals, Rabindra Sangeet would always remain one of the topics for discussion among the musicians. It is because of such interests and the spirituality in Tagore songs that Rabindra Sangeet retains its popularilty even after nearly hundred years when the songs were written and composed.

It is believed that Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore started writing and composing songs since 1875. But his songs were rendered mostly in the confines of Shantiniketan by his students of music and his plays. The credit for making Rabindra Sangeet popular among the masses goes to Pankaj Mullick. ‘Mukti’ (1937) was the film in which Tagore songs featured for the first time.

During the making of the film ‘Mukti” (1937), Pankaj Mullick, the music director for the film, had gone to meet Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore to seek his permission to use the song ‘diner sheshey ghumer deshey’ in the film. Pankaj Mullick was not sure whether he could get the nod from Gurdev as till then, Tagore songs were not used in the films. Moreover, Gurudev had not yet set the music for the song under consideration. Pankaj Mullick rendered the song which was set to music by him, in the presence of Gurudev who was so much impressed by his rendering of the song that he not only allowed Pankaj Mullick to use the song with his music in the film but also allowed him to set to music those Tagore songs which Gurudev had not find time to set to the tune. In the event, Pankaj Mullick got a rare distinction of being the only composer allowed by Gurudev to set tunes to his songs. [Based on Later on, Pankaj Mullick devoted his efforts to make the Rabindra Sangeet popular by singing them on All India Radio and in the concerts.

On the basis of the number of song clips of Rabindra Sangeet available on the video sharing platforms, I feel that among the old stalwarts, Hemant Kumar, Debabrata Biswas, Dwijen Mukherjee, Kanika Banerjee, Suchitra Mitra, Sroboni Sen etc have immensely contributed to to make Rabindra Sangeet popular among the masses.

The popularity of Rabindra Sangeet influenced some of the music directors, especially of Bangla and Hindi films. Just like we say that a song is based on folk music, similarly, it has become common to say that song is influenced by Rabindra Sangeet. There are instances where Hindi films songs have been inspired from Rabindra Sangeet especially under the music direction of Pankaj Mullick, Anil Biswas, Salil Chowdhury. Hemant Kumar, S D Burman, R D Burman etc who hail from Bengal. There are many Hindi film songs inspired from Rabindra Sangeet but here, I will give only few examples:

Anil Biswas: Raahi matwaale (Rabindra Sangeet: ore grihobashi khol dwaar khol)

S D Burman: naina deewaane ek nahin maane (Rabindra Sangeet: shedin dujone dulechhune bone)

Hemant Kumar: mann mera udta jaaye (Rabindra Sangeet: man mor meghe sangi)

Salil Chowdhury: saawan ki raaton mein aisa bhi hota hai (Rabindra Sangeet: jete jete akla pothe)

Kishore Kumar: panthhi hoon us path kaa (Rabindra Sangeet: pather shesh kothay)

Rajesh Roshan: bandan khula panchhi udaa (Rabindra Sangeet: pagla hawaar baadol dine)

Some of the music directors seems to have used some parts of the tunes from Rabindra Sangeet which for a lay man it is difficult to pin point. I can only get some feel of Rabindra Sangeet in some of the songs composed by Anil Biswas like in ‘Anokha Pyaar’ (1948) and ‘Aaraam’ (1951). Some songs of R D Burman’s last film ‘1942 – A Love Story (1994) gives the shades of Rabindra Sangeet. Some of the other songs composed by S D Burman have some traces of Rabindra Sangeet. I found an interesting trivia about a small part of the tune taken from Rabindra Sangeet in jaane wo kaise log thhe jinko pyaar se pyaar mila :

In a conversation between S D Burman and Pulak Bandhyopadhyay, the Bangla film lyricist, S D Burman had revealed that the second verse of the mukhda of the song i.e., hamne to jab kaliyaan maangi kaanthon kaa haar mila’ was inspired from the second verse of our national anthem ‘Punjab Sind Gujarat Maratha Dravid Utkal Banga’. [Source: S D Burman – The Prince Musician – Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal (2018).]

Rabindra Sangeet has a special place in ‘Hamraahi’ (1945) which had two Tagore songs in Bangla. One Tagore song, jan gan man adhinaayak jaya he has been covered in the Blog. The second Tagore song is ‘modhu gandhe bhara mridu snigdho chhaaya’ which are rendered by Binota Bose (Roy) and Hemant Kumar. The song was written and composed by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

‘Hamraahi’ (1945) was a Hindi remake of Bangla film ‘Udayare Pathe’ (1944). It was a debut Bangla feature film for Bimal Roy as a director who also directed its Hindi remake. Both the versions of the film had, more or less the same star cast which consisted of Radhamohan Bhattacharya, Binota Bose (Roy), Rekha Mallik (Mitra), Maya Basu, Tulsi Chakraborty, Dev Bala, Parul Kar, Manorama etc. Interestingly, the Tagore song under reference was not there in the Bangla version of the film.

Since the song under discussion is in Bangla, I have taken the lyrics in English as well as the English translation from I know that the feelings expressed in Bangla in Tagore songs are difficult to replicate in English translation. The words are in Sanskritised Bangla. The song seems to convey the emotion through nature.

Anil Biswas used the complete tune of this Tagore song for mere chanchal naina madhur ras ke bhare in ‘Angulimaal’ (1960).

Audio Clip:

Song-Modhu gandhe bhara mridu snigdho chaaya (Humraahi)(1945) Singers-Binota Bose, Hemant Kumar, Lyrics-Rabindranath Tagore, MD-Rabindranath Tagore

(Sourced from

modhu gandhe bhaara
mridu snigdho chhaaya
nipo kunjo tale
shyamo kaantimoyi kon swapnomaaya
phire brishti jale
ae ae ae ae
gandhe bhaara
phire rakto aloktako dhouto paaye
dhaara sikto baaye
ae ae ae ae
phire rakto aloktako dhouto paaye
dhaara sikto baaye
ae ae ae ae ae ae
megho mukto sahasyo shashanko kaala
snithi praante jwaale
megho mukto sahasyo shashanko kaala
snithi praante jwaale
ae ae ae ae
gandhe bhara
mridu snigdho chhaaya
nipo kunjotale
shyamo kaantimoyi kon swapnomaaya
phire brishti jale
ae ae ae ae
gandhe bhara

piye uchchhalo tarol prolayo modira
un mukhoro tarongini dhaay adhira
piye uchchhalo tarol prolayo modira
un mukhoro tarongini dhaay adhira
kaar nirbhiko murti tarongo dole
kalo mandro role
kaar nirbhiko murti tarongo dole
kalo mandro role
ae taarahaara nihsimo andho kare
ae ae ae ae
kaar taroni chole
ae taarahaara nihsimo andho kare
ae ae ae ae
kaar taroni chole
modhu gandhe bhara
mridu snigdho chhaaya
nipo kunjotale
shyamo kaantimoyi kon swapnomaaya
phire brishti jale
ae ae ae ae
gandhe bhara…aa

English translation (source:

Passionate is languor,
That roam about in the dripping wetness,
Like a dark silhouette of a veiled maid
Under the arbour of kadam trees,
Delightfully fragrant and sombre.
Treading on red-alta washed feet,
Heading the gentle breeze, moist;
Sporadic flashes on forehead,
Smiling crescent peeping through clouds.
She swirls amuck, gurgling,
Having taken elixir of catastrophe.
Emerges from the roaring streams
A face of a valour, unknown.
In this star-less darkness of the night
Who sails his raft all alone.

“Kabuliwala”, a movie based on Rabindranath Tagore’s moving story of the same name, was significant in many respects. The fact that Bollywood adopted stories of great writers was praiseworthy. The other fact that the story faithfully followed the story was also nice.

In fact, it was a movie that perhaps did the most to popularise this story.
Read more on this topic…

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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 FOURTEEN years. This blog has over 17000 song posts by now.

This blog is active and online for over 5000 days since its beginning on 19 july 2008.

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