Friday, June 19, 2009

Ritu aaye, ritu jaaye: piya nahin aaye

The previous blog discussed the theme of "Sajan ghar aa ja, balam ghar aa ja" against the backdrop of changing seasons and their characteristic weather patterns. The two songs were rut basant aiyee from Jhanak Jhanak Payal baje (Indian film) and Man tarse balam ghar aa ja from Pukare mera dil (Pakistani film). These songs were paired with Shelley's poem "Ode to the West Wind" which has the famous last line "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

Well, sometimes the optimism does not translate into results. Even with earnest pleading "Sajan ghar aa ja, balam ghar aa ja", and with seasons changing ("ritu aaye, ritu jaaye"), the beloved does not come ("piya nahin aaye"). This theme is explored below. I present two film songs which are so classical in structure that they can be regarded as Hindustani classical pieces instead of film music. One of them is a Raagmalika as in the previous blog and both songs are sung by master singers of the sub-continent.

Let me first present a song from the 1962 Pakistani film "Darwaza" titled "piya nahin aaye" and sung by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan and Malika-e-Tarrannum Noor Jehan. It is based on Raag Kalavathi and set to Teental. The music composers are Salim-Iqbal.

An outstanding and classic Raagmalika was composed by the master Indian music composer Anil Biswas in 1953 for the film "Humdard". Many consider it to be his finest composition. Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey added divine touches to this lovely song "ritu aaye ritu jaaye sakhi re, man ke meet na aaye" written by Prem Dhawan. The song has three parts in Raag Gaud-Saarang, Gaud-Malhaar and Jogiya, respectively. A fourth part appears separately in the film and is set in Raag Bahaar. (Ref:

A short poem "Come home" by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, an English poet and novelist (1861 - 1907) completes the earnest plea of the beloved.

When wintry winds are no more heard,
And joy's in every bosom,
When summer sings in every bird,
And shines in every blossom,
When happy twilight hours are long,
Come home, my love, and think no wrong!

When berries gleam above the stream
And half the fields are yellow,
Come back to me, my joyous dream,
The world hath not thy fellow!
And I will make thee Queen among
The Queens of summer and of song.

I thank you for visiting and reading the blog. Please leave any comments or suggestions. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Raagmalika - Balam ghar aa ja , sajan ghar aa ja

In this blog, I present two outstanding Raagmalikas from films, one from India and the other from Pakistan. The theme for both songs is the heart pining for the beloved and an earnest plea for the beloved to return home. Both songs describe the change of seasons and vividly depict the agglomeration of dark clouds, thunder and rain, both in verse and music. I am indebted to my friends, Medha ji and Irfan ji, for giving me valuable input on the songs and discussions with them have inspired me to pair these two songs below.

Let us enjoy the first Raagmalika, in the voices of Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar, from the 1955 classic musical film Jhanak Jhanak payal baje, produced and directed by V. Shantaram. The song begins with an invocation to the Lords and the lyrics rut basant aiyee are by Hasrat Jaipuri. The music is by Vasant Desai. The song is in four parts with Manna Da singing the first two parts in Raag Basant and Megh Malhar and then Lata sings the third and fourth parts in Raag Pahadi and Raag Pilu respectively. The song depicts a kathak dance by Gopi Krishna and Sandhya and Gopi Krishna sings the dance beats. Further details may be enjoyed in this blog: (

The full lyrics are reproduced below to appreciate the rich and beautiful manner in which the song is picturized in the film.

gurur bramh gurur vishnu gurur devo maheshwaarah
guru saakshaat parabramh tasmai shrii gurave namah

rut basant aaii ban ban upaban
drum milind praphulit sugandh
mand pavan aavat milind madhukar madhur gunjat
rut basant

aaii hai ghataa umadghumad ghor phir
kahuun gaat umad git ati shyaam baran
aai hai ghataa umadghumad umadghumad
shyaam baran shyaam baran shyaam baran
aaii aaii aaii hai ghataa

patajhad chhaaii chhaai jalat udaas
main ghabaraai
nainaa ras kii pyaasi pyaasii
patajhad chhaai
patajhad chhaai chhaai jalat udaas
main ghabaraaii
nainaa ras kii pyaasii -3

ab to saajan ghar aa jaa
o more saiyaan man kaa phuul khilaa jaa
ab to saajan ghar aa jaa

tadap tadap ke ye barakhaa bahaar guzarii hai
jo rut thii aaii vo beqaraar guzarii hai
ho raag milan ke sunaa jaa
ab to saajan ghar aa jaa
aa jaa

A somewhat similar theme-based song was composed for a Pakistani film, Pukare mera dil, by Master Tufail (son of another famous composer, Master Inayat Hussain). The lyrics man tarse balam ghar aa ja were written by Qateel Shifaii and this outstanding song is a solo rendered by Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan. I thank Sami ji, a friend of Irfan ji, for providing an audio of this song. Any information on the raag(s) on which this song is based will be appreciated.

To the best of my knowledge, only an audio clip (slightly poorer in quality) is available on youtube.

After enjoying these two masterpieces, let me conclude with the famous poem of Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind" to recall how the changing seasons lead to optimism and hope. Please enjoy this Ode written in five cantos by the poet while he was in Florence, Italy, in 1819. Thank you for your comments/feedback.


by: Percy Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)


WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odors plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst: oh hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! if even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skyey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is;
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an extinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unwakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

'Ode to the West Wind' is reproduced from English Poems. Ed. Edward Chauncey Baldwin. New York: American Book Company, 1908.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A little banter in love: Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar

In this blog, I juxtapose two melodious solos from the two divas of the Indian sub-continent, Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar, respectively. Both songs are taken from films released in the same year, 1962. Both have similar lyrics, ja to say nahi bolun, a typical expression used when a little romantic banter takes place.

Let us sample first the voice of Noor Jehan from a celebrated Pakistani musical film "Mousiqar", produced by the renowned music composer Rashid Attre, who also composed the music of the songs featured in the film. Three lyricists are listed for this movie: Tanvir Naqvi, Habib Jalib and Tufail Hoshiarpuri. I do not know who amongst them wrote the lyrics for this excellent song featured here:

The same song was played a few years ago by Ustad Nafees Khan on sitar in a tribute show organized to honor the memory of Noor Jehan and a clip is added below:

An equally outstanding song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film, Sautela Bhai, which was also released in 1962. Its music composer was Anil Biswas, regarded as one of the most oustanding composers of Hindi film music. The lyrics, jaa main tosay nahin bolun, were written by Shailendra and a video link to this beautiful the song is given below:

There are other songs from both countries with a similar theme. I would welcome your suggestions and comments.

In closing, I leave you with a short poem, written by Hartley Coleridge (1796 - 1849), the son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834), titled Song:

She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be,
Her loveliness I never knew
...Until she smiled on me;
O, then I saw her eye was bright,
A well of love, a spring of light!

But now her looks are coy and cold,
To mine they ne'er reply,
And yet I cease not to behold
...The love-light in her eye;
Her very frowns are fairer far
Than smiles of other maidens are.

Could this be the response to the Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar's ja mein tosay nahin bolun? Comments and suggestions are welcome. Thank you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lata Mangeshkar, Noor Jehan and the pangs of sorrow

In this blog, I explore the melodious and melancholic depths of sorrow using two solo Hindi/urdu film songs of Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan, respectively. Both songs rank in many all time favorite lists of these two magnificent singers of the indian sub-continent.

The first song is from the 1952 Indian film Parchhaiyan directed by V. Shantaram. The outstanding music for this film was given by C. Ramachandra. Let us listen to Lata Mangeshkar's soulful and bitterly sweet melody kat the hain dukh me written by Noor Lucknawi first following this video link:

Next, we listen to a Noor Jehan classic from Khwaja Khurshid Anwar's magnum opus Pakistani film, Koel (1959), which had the diva herself in the lead role. The song is dil ka diya jalaya written by Tanvir Naqvi.

When Noor Jehan returned to India in 1982 to take part in the celebration of 50 years of Indian talkie films, she was the guest of honor at a commemorative held in Bombay on February 10, 1982, titled, "Mortal Men, Immortal Melodies". At this unique event, a plaque was presented to Khawaja Khurshid Anwar (in absentia), titled "Mortal Man, Immortal Melodies" to recognize his musical genius and creativity which initially took roots in India and later blossomed gloriously after he migrated to Pakistan. Malika-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan honored those present at this august gathering by singing several of her melodies, with live orchestra conducted by the verstaile composer Naushad. Recently, an audio of the same song that she sang during this visit has become available on youtube and a link is given below.

Noor Jehan took particular pleasure in singing her songs composed by numerous composers live or on TV (as in her celebrated Tarannum series) many decades after the songs were originally recorded. While her voice had aged from the sweet shrillness of youth, I find it particularly appealing that she could render with utmost perfection almost all fine nuances as taught originally by the composers and often added her own additional interpretations, making these recordings delightful to enjoy once more. This is particularly the case with this most appropriate rendition of Khwaja Khurshid Anwar's gem, on Indian soil, among the most distinguished gathering of film artists at that time, with orchestra conducted by her mentor and admirer, Naushad. The link is given below.

As we soak in the pathos of the Lata and Noor Jehan gems, I end by recalling a short but powerful poem on the same theme:

THE WIND OF SORROW (by: Henry van Dyke (1852-1933))

The fire of love was burning, yet so low
That in the dark we scarce could see its rays,
And in the light of perfect-placid days
Nothing but smouldering embers dull and slow.
Vainly, for love's delight, we sought to throw
New pleasures on the pyre to make it blaze:
In life's calm air and tranquil prosperous ways
We missed the radiant heat of long ago.
Then in the night, a night of sad alarms,
Bitter with pain and black with fog of fears,
That drove us trembling to each other's arms--
Across the gulf of darkness and salt tears,
Into life's calm the wind of sorrow came,
And fanned the fire of love to clearest flame.

Comments, suggestions and corrections are greatly welcomed. Thank you.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Reflections on "hope": Emily Bronte, Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan

The theme of my second blog is hope and anticipation: a feeling that is so invaluable at all stages of life. It does not matter if hope leads to success or failure. Hope sustains the journey of life and this nurturing emotion is reflected in two outstanding songs, once again in the voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan, the most celebrated female singers of the Indian sub-continent. Before sampling the songs, here is a short poem, titled "HOPE", by Emily Bronte (1818 - 1848), another famous English novelist and poet.

HOPE (By Emily Brontë)

HOPE was but a timid friend;
She sat without the grated den,
Watching how my fate would tend,
Even as selfish-hearted men.

She was cruel in her fear;
Through the bars one dreary day,
I looked out to see her there,
And she turned her face away!

Like a false guard, false watch keeping,
Still, in strife, she whispered peace;
She would sing while I was weeping;
If I listened, she would cease.

False she was, and unrelenting;
When my last joys strewed the ground,
Even Sorrow saw, repenting,
Those sad relics scattered round;

Hope, whose whisper would have given
Balm to all my frenzied pain,
Stretched her wings, and soared to heaven,
Went, and ne'er returned again!


I choose one of the most famous songs of Lata Mangeshkar to reflect the theme of "Hope". The song is "Aayega, aayega, aanewala aayega" from the classic movie Mahal(1949) starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. The lyrics were by Nakshab and the music was composed by Khemchand Prakash. The movie was directed by Kamal Amrohi who had ultimate faith in the music composer's talent that he insisted on Khemchand Prakash being the composer of the film even when the Producer wanted someone else knowing that Khemchand was very sick and hospitalized at that time. It was a tragic end for Khemchand Prakash who died before the unprecedented success of both the film and the song were realized.

Lata Mangeshkar, aayega aayega aanewala aayega, Mahal (1949)

A video link to the song is given below:

I choose for the same theme, a Noor Jehan song from the film Intezaar, which was the first film in Pakistan to display the genius of Khawaja Khurshid Anwar's talents as the ultimate composer's composer. This film was produced by Khurshid Anwar and its story and screenplay were also his own. A rare feat for an individual to excel in so many fields in addition to its musical mastery.

A video link to this classic can be found here:

Please enjoy and feel free to suggest songs, poems that you think can be similarly linked. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Songs of Innocence - Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan

William Blake, an English poet (1757 - 1827) wrote "Songs of Innocence", a collection of poems written from a child's perspective on innocent and spontaneous delight on encountering a lamb or a chimney sweeper, etc. In this first blog, I will pair the Introduction to the Songs of Innocence with two delightful songs from the two supreme and unparalleled singers of the Indian sub-continent: Lata Mangeshkar and Noor Jehan.

Songs of Innocence (William Blake)


Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:

'Pipe a song about a Lamb!'
So I piped with merry cheer.
'Piper, pipe that song again.'
So I piped: he wept to hear.

'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!'
So I sung the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

'Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read.'
So he vanished from my sight;
And I plucked a hollow reed:

And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.


Two delightful songs

Seated from left: Lata Mangeshkar, Noor Jehan, Suraiyya and

Dilip Kumar is seen talking to Noor Jehan (Bombay 1982).

I begin with Lata Mangeshkar's evergreen song from Barsaat: hawa mein udtha jaye mera lal dupatta malmal ka, ho ji, ho ji. This movie starred Raj Kapoor and Nargis and was directed by Raj Kapoor. It was released in 1949 and marked the debut of the music composers Shankar-Jaikishen. Ramesh Shastri wrote the lyrics. The audio link below is followed by a video link.

An equally impressive lilting song was sung by Noor Jehan in 1953 after she migrated to Pakistan in the movie Dupatta (her second film in Pakistan) - main ban patang ud jaungi. Noor Jehan starred in this movie and the amazing music was by Feroze Nizami. The lyrics were by Arsh Lucknawi. First, a clear audio clip is presented and then a video link is given.

Both songs are ever delightful to hear, a testimony to the beautiful lyrics, music composition, melodic interludes, and, the supreme voices, Lata and Noor Jehan. I will pair more such songs with possibly poems in subsequent blogs.