Sunday, February 18, 2018
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Now that the month of ‘Sawan’, denoting monsoon, the rainy season, has set in, and we have experienced some rains, heavy to very heavy rains it may be noteworthy to point out that in our earlier films, rains did play a major role inspiring music directors and lyricists to create immortal classics which are heard with rapt attention by old timers even today.

Before I start I may point out that I am only touching on the monsoon numbers of the pre-Lata era. Here are some of them for you. They will also give a glimpse of the musical scene in the early days of the talkie era which began round 1931-32.
In the 1930s the New Theatres gave us a feast of memorable songs; and in some of them one could see clouds come racing down the imagination of the lyricists. It was in ‘Dhartimata’ that lover K.L.Saigal imagined his beloved to be a cloud when he sings, ‘Tu badal ka roop bane main chand sa roop dharavoon, sookha pyaasa khet banu main, pal pal tujhe bulaoon, main man ki baat bataaoon’. One can feel the depth of the romantic urge in the bosom of the lover; and yet, he has uttered not a single unparliamentary word! And how can one ever forget the song immortalized by Saigal as Devdas and which continues to be a rage till this day? ‘Balam aye baso more man mein…sawan aya, tum naahin aye, tum bin rasiya kachchu na bhaaye, man mein more hook uthhat jab, koyal kookat ban mein…balam aye baso more man mein’
‘Bhabhi’, a Bombay Talkies film starring Jairaj and Renuka Devi, was among the first films that came out with a hit rainy song in Mumbai, ‘Jhuki ayi re badaria sawan ki, sawan ki manbhawan ki…’But rains came down in torrents when from Lahore in undivided India came the monsoon in full bloom through the voices of Shamshad Begum and Ghulam Haider in that delightful rainy number from ‘Khazanchi’(1941)- ‘Sawan ke nazare hain, aha aha’ It was filmed on college boys and girls headed by Ramola and Narang. They were seen singing and cycling through the Lawrence gardens of Lahore.
It was round that time when the Mehtab-Surendra starrer ‘Vishwas’ hit the silver screen. Surendra and Parul Ghosh sang that delightful monsoon number, ‘Sawan ki ritu aye sajanva’.
Bombay Talkies came out with some Saraswati Devi-tuned gems too. One of these was from film ‘Bandhan’. Leela Chitnis delighted viewers by singing, ‘Man bhavan, lo sawan aya re’. In ‘Punar Milan’ it was Snehprabha Pradhan (and Arun Kumar) who sang that lilting number, ‘Nacho nacho pyare man ke mor, aj more jeevan mein chhaya asaadh…nacho nacho re..’
And how did Parul Ghosh think of the rains in film ‘Basant’ through lips of Mumtaz Shanti? Just recall those lines: ‘Sawan hasaye, bhadon rulaye, meri koyal sada mangal sunaye, kooke saanh sakare, mere chote se man mein choti si duniya re’. But a golden jubilee hit, also filmed on Mumtaz Shanti and ASHOK kUMAR was heard, with clouds racing on the skies, in film ‘Kismat’: ‘Dheere dheere aare badal, dheere dheere ja, mera bulbul so raha hai, shoroghul na macha…’ Again, in ‘Hamari Baat’ it was Devika Rani(with Jairaj) who rendered(in Parul Ghosh and Arun Kumar’s voices) the monsoon-greenery song, ‘Sookhi bagiya hari hui, ghanshyam badariya chhai re, shyam badariya chhai’.
Naushad in his earlier films gave us some delightful cloud-related songs. In ‘Station Master’ it was G.M.Durani who sang, ‘Baras gai Ram badariya kaari, bujhi na pyas hamari’. Then again, in Kardar’s ‘Namaste’ he made Parul Ghosh sing (for Pratima Das Gupta)that stage number, ‘Ghata chhai re badariya ai re..’
But before I revert to Naushad, let me take you to Ranjit movietone. ‘Tansen’ was the film which hit the country with its musical blasts. And Khurshid sent listeners in raptures with her rainy number, ‘Ghata ghanghorghor, mor machave shor, more sajan aja’. In this very film she sings Megh malhar to invite rains for soothing the burning body of Tansen which had become unbearably hot after singing Rag Deepak (Diya jalao). Her plea to the heavens above was answered when she sang, ‘Barso re…kare badarva, piya pe barso, jaise mori akhiyan barsen, barso re’. And rain came down in torrents fully drenching the burning Tansen (K.L.Saigal) and they are united for ever afte. Incidenrally, earlier, while parting, he had consoled her by saying, ‘Jab ghir ayen, sawan bhadon, leejo hamen pujkar re..’ and she had said, ‘More saathi main ghabrati, tori maina ro ro gaati, chaila bhool jaiyona’ and he replied, ‘Bichadi jorri mil jaati, Maina bhool jaiyo na’. Following ‘Barso re’ they are united forever.
While mentioning Khurshid, I am reminded of a song which she sang with Mukesh and Hamida Bano in the Motilal starrer, ‘Moorti’, also made by Ranjit. The song was , ‘Badariya baras gai us paar, liye khadi main, preet gagariya, joganiya is paar’.
Yes, reverting to Naushad, I must refer to that haunting number of a beloved pining for her lover, sung by Nirmala Arun in film ‘Sharda’: ‘Ghir ayi badariya ghar avo, kuch keh jao kuch sun jao’. Then follow the lines: ‘Ithlate hue kale badal, tum dur hi dur se aye, sawan ka sandesa laye ho kuch un ka sandesa bhi lao’ followed by ‘Dekhoji barasiyo aur kahin, mere to rasiya hain aur kahin, Rimjhim, Rimjhim ki boli birhan ke dware na gao,’ In the song, ‘Tum nahin aate’ too Nirmala croons in ‘Sharda’—‘Mast hawa ab aye na aye, kali ghata ab chhaye na chhaye, meri bala se, yaad mein pee ki koyal malhaar gae na gae’.
It was again in ‘Pehle Aap’ that Naushad came out with the cloudy number sung by Zohra Bai of Ambala and Shyam Kumar: ‘Kale kale badal aye roomjhoom ayeen ghataen kaali,’ she says. He responds, ‘Bagh mein papeeha bole ghoonghat mein bole koi naino wali’. (Lest Ishould forget, Naushad’s one-time assistant Ghulam Mohammad used Shamshad to sing in ‘Kajal’ a hit monsoon number: ‘Sawan ke din aye balma sawan ke din aye’)Then again, in film ‘Sanyasi’ Naushad tuned that monsoon number with nightingales cooing all around.: ‘Sunoji pyari koyaliya bole, mast jawani dole’ (sung by Zohra Bai and Amar).
But Naushad hit a bumper jackpot with the clouds in film ‘Rattan’ when he tuned several hit, cloudy numbers sung by Zohra and Karan Dewan. The film began with, ‘Rumjhum barsen badarva, mast hawaen ayin, piya ghar aja… kare kare badal ghir ghir a gae, aise mein tum jaa ke julamva dhaa gae, sawan kaise beeto re, main kahan tum kahan, O more Raja aja, piya ghar aja’. Then again Zohra sang, ‘Pardesi balana badal aya’. Then there was Karan Dewan pining for her in the song ‘Jab tum hi chale pardes’ in which he says, ‘Jab badal ghir ghir ayen ge, beete din yaad dilayen ge, phir tum hi kaho kit jae naseebon mara, duniya mein kaun hamara’. And then clouds are used as a messenger by both of them: ‘Sawan ke badlo un se ye ja kaho, taqdeer mein yehi thha sajan mere na ro’ and he responds, ‘Ghanghor ghatao, mat jhoom ke avo, yaad un ki sataye gi rumjhum yahan na ho’
Incidentally the use of clouds as messenger was beautifully exploited in the ‘Meghdoot’ song by Jagmohan: ‘O varsha ke pehle badal, mera sandesha lejaana…’
After Zohra, came Shamshad Begum’s turn to sing for Naushad a monsoon number. Till ‘Rattan’ Naushad’s lyricist was D.N.Madhok. But the rainy number in Saigal-starrer ‘Shah Jehan’ was written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and sung by Shamshad Begum: ‘Jab us ne gesu bikhrae, badal aya jhoom ke, mast umangein lehrai hain, rangeen mukhra choom ke’.
In film ‘Natak’, Naushad used Suraiya to sing a monsoon number, ‘ Kare kare aye badarwa avo sajan more avo’. Again, in ‘Dil Lagi’ Naushad used Shamshad and Uma Devi to sing a cloudy song, ‘Meri pyari patang chali badal ke sang’.
Before I forget, let me refer to another hit number from 1945 film ‘Panna’: ‘Kali ghata chhai O Raja, sheeshe ki palki mein teri laal pari ayi’, sung by Raj Kumari. Geeta Nizami sings this on the screen, carrying wine as ‘Lal pari’ laced with drugs to put the aggressive Japanese soldiers to sleep and make way for freedom fighters to march ahead.
In ‘Dak Banglow’ Suraiya and Mukesh sang, ‘Jab badal ghir ghhir ayen ke kasam tori kal na payen ge’. It was however Suraiya-Mukesh number in Motilal-starrer film ‘Lekh’ which continues to be a hit even today, ‘Badara ki chaon tale nanhi nanhi boondaniya,..’ Suraiya was frightened by the clouds in film ‘Do Dil’ when, while singing, ‘Phir hamen koi yaad aye hai’, she cries, ‘Avo bhi aji O dur ke baasi, kara badal hamen daraye hai…’ This song was tuned by Pandit Govind Ram who also tuned classics in film ‘Doosri Shaadi’ in one of which Shamshad Begum sings for character artiste Maya Devi the song she renders consolingly for heroine Mumtaz Shanti who is neglected by her husband (Kumar) in favour of another (Pramila). The evergreen song is, ‘Man bhooli kathayen yad na kar, phir sawan ke din ayen ge…’
Zeenat Begum was another singer who rendered a song in ‘Ek Thi Ladki’ (if I am not mistaken), ‘Ghat kaali matwali ghir ayi, rasiya ho jiya ghabraye’. A post-heavy shower scene, when fields were flooded with water, was seen in the Lahore made film(before partition)’Dassi’ rendered by Zeenat Begum and filmed on Raagini and others: ‘Dhaan ke khet mein na aiyo more raja, ghutne ghutne paani, sola baras ki mori bali umariya, beet na jae jawani..ghutne gutne paani’. Those pining for their beloveds couldn’t have forgotten that spiritually suffused number rendered by Saigal in ‘Bhakta Surdas’—‘Nisdin barsat nain hamare, sada rehet pawas ritu hum pe, jab se Shyam sidhaare’. To lighten your mood, I would like to recall the comedy song, based on classical ‘raag’ and rendered by Manna Dey under Shankar-Jaikishen’s direction for actor David in film ‘Boot Polish’ invoking the clouds to come down and rain heavily on his bald head to give him a good crop of hair. The song was: ‘Lapak jhapak tu aa re badarva, sur ki kheti sookh rahi hai, baras baras tu chha re badarva…garaj garaj kar pani la tu, akarr akarr bijli chamka tu, tere gharre mein paani nahin ho, panghat se bhar laa ri sakhiri lapak jhapak…’ Well the song did not bring down a rain that could have cured David’s baldness—not even in the film!!

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