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.


  1. the 2 great musicians Naushad and Khursheed Anwar were really the immortal men and the 2 great singers Noor jahan and Lata mangesthar were the immortal melodies

  2. the 2 great musicians Naushad and Khursheed Anwar were really the immortal men and the 2 great singers Noor jahan and Lata mangesthar were the immortal melodies


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