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.


  1. The song"Jaa main tose nahin bolun..." is a thumri in Raag Tilang and is listed at sl. no. 17 in my blog'thumris in Hindi films".Anil Bishwas also composed a beautiful thumri in film'PARDESI'{1957}in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar"Tana dim tana dere ja na ja balam..".This song was picturised on Padmini in the film.It is based on raag'GAUD SAARANG'.

  2. Dear Dr. Mishra ji,

    Namaskar! Thank you very much for your information about the Raag on which jaa main tose nahin bolun is based. I will give a reference to your blog in the text so that readers can benefit. The Pardesi song you refer is also one of my favorites and will definitely feature in another blog sometime. I greatly appreciate your suggestion and information. Would you be able to shed some light on the Raags used in the Pakistani songs? I would be very grateful if you do so.
    Thank you very much.
    With warm regards,

  3. I am sorry for the error in printing raag Tilang instead of ADAANA, on which song "Jaa main tose nahin bolun ..." is based.With regards

  4. Wonderful post...

    Ah, I would sing Hartley's poem to both the divas:)

  5. Jayanthi ji,

    Thank you very much for reading and enjoying the poetry. I hope you will sing both these songs in your wonderful voice and upload them for my pleasure. Regards,


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