The tenth day of songs in this series. Sorry for the break that I took as I wasn’t feeling up to it. I had been giving you songs by only male singers so far and even though some of the best, such as KL Saigal’s and Pankaj Mullick’s, were yet to come, I had decided to interject songs of female singers too. The first one was Lata Mangeshkar with a song about sacrifices of jawans in 1962 Sino-Indian War, which became her signature tune even though she didn’t believe in it to start with. The second one was an Asha Bhosle song that is one of the best bhajans penned by Sahir Lushianvi and composed by Ravi: Tora man darpan kehlaaye.
Today, I am back with another male singer: Sachin Dev Burman.
I have been giving you Raaga Based Songs of the Day (eg, ‘Raaga Based Song Of The Day #84‘) for the last nearly three months now. Many of you, who know your music well, have at times pointed out that a particular song, though ostensibly close to one raaga has traces of other raagas or has deviated substantially from the chosen raaga. I have readily admitted that, pointing out that it is not the job of the film songs composers to stick to the purity of any raaga. Their job is to produce tunes that would be popular and would tug at the emotions of the listeners.
With that in mind, I started a new series nine days ago to give you songs that tug at your emotions even when they are not based on any raagas.
These are the songs that stay in the creases of your mind long after you last heard them, somewhat like the strains of the song of The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth.
I also feel that these are the songs that make you wonder whether the lyrics influenced you more or the composition or is it the composition that made you look at the beauty of the lyrics?
The first of these was put together by lyricist Shailendra and composer Salil Chowdhury and singer Talat Mahmood for the 1957 Dulal Guha movie Ek Gaon Ki Kahani starring Talat Mahmood, Mala Sinha and Abhi Bhattacharya: Raat ne kyaa kyaa khwaab dikhaaye (‘Songs That Tug At Your Emotions – Song #1‘).
Our last one, that is the ninth one, was put together by lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, composer Ravi and singer Asha Bhosle for the 1965 Ram Maheshwari movie Kaajal starring Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar, Padmini and Dharmendra: Tora man darpan kehlaaye (‘Songs That Tug At Your Emotions – Song #9‘).
Today, we shall take up a song not just composed by Sachin Dev Burman but also sung by him.
When you recall the life of one of the best and most influential composers in Hindi movies, it amazes you to know that he died on 31 Oct 1975, that is 42 years ago; however, his legacy and popularity continue as if it was yesterday. In addition to his delightful compositions that were both raaga based and semi-classical, he had a powerful singing voice that transported one to the atmosphere of the song as driftwood in strong flow. He didn’y allow his voice to be lent as playback singer for actors. Hence, his singing voice was often used as a background commentary. Here in this song, Bimal Roy has used his voice to convey the feelings of the actress Nutan in the title role of Sujata through background singing (lip-syncing) by a boatman in the river Hoogly.
Some of the memorable songs sung by him are: O majhi, mere sajan hain us paar (Bandini), Kaahe ko roye, safal hogi teri aradhana (Aradhana), Wahan kaun hai tera and Allah megh de paani de (Guide), Prem ke pujaari ham hain ras ke bikhari (Prem Pujari), and Meri duniya hai maa tere aanchal mein (Talaash). You would notice that each one of these songs adds meaning to the situation without the lead actors lip-syncing them.
Before we go on to the lyricist of this song, lets turn to SD Burman as a composer and music director. He was born on 01 Oct 1906, as a member of Tripura royal family. His mother was Raj Kumari Nirmala Devi, the royal princess of Manipur and father was Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman, son of Maharaja Ishanachandra Manikya Dev Burman, Maharaja of Tripura. He started his career not as a composer but as a singer in 1920s on All India Radio, Calcutta. The other day a friend Atul Dhabe (an avid classical instrumentalist (particularly on Sitar)) brought out to me how Bengalis have a natural love for Raag Khammaj. Interestingly, SD Burman’s first record on 78 rpm for Hindustan Records, released in 1932 , was with this semi-classical raag Khammaj, ‘E Pathey Aaj Eso Priyo’ on one side, and the folk ‘Dakle Kokil Roj Bihane’. For the next decade Sachin da kept singing and he cut 131 Bengali songs. As a music composer, he started with the Bengali plays Sati Tirtha and Janani, and eventually gave his first score in the film Rajgee. In 1937, his second film Rajkumarer Nirbashan (1940) became a hit. He gave music in Bengali films such as Protishodh (1941), Abhoyer Biye (1942) and Chaddobeshi (1944) and only one Bengali film in 1969/70 after he permanently moved to Mumbai in 1946. He composed for over 20 Bengali films and 89 Hindi films in all.
He emerged as one of the greatest music directors in Hindi films. His song for 1947 movie Do Bhai, penned by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan (when he was only about 17 years old) and sung by Geeta Dutt (who too was around the same age as Raja) was the turning point of his career as a composer, at the gae of 41 years: Mera sundar sapana beet gaya. With Sahir Ludhainvi he formed one of the greatest musical pairs in the 50s (they worked in 18 movies together until they split after Guru Dutt’s 1957 movie Pyaasa). Some of their memorable songs are: Ye raat ye chandini phir kahan (Jaal), Tadbeer se biagadi hui taqdeer bana le and Aaj ki raat piya dil na todo (Baazi), Jeevan ke safar mein rahi and Dil ki umange hain jawan (Munimji), Teri duniya mein jeene se to behatar hai ke mar jaayen and Chup hai dharti chup hain chand sitaare (House No. 44), Jise tu qabool kar le and Kisako khabar thi (Devdas), Jaayen to jaayen kahan (Taxi Driver), and those unforgettable songs of Pyaasa: Jaane woh kaise log the, Ham aapki aankhon mein is dil ko basa dein to, Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kyaa hai, Jaane kya tune kahi, Tang aa chuke hain kashmakash zindagi se ham, Sar to tera chakraaye, Aaj sajan mohe ang laga lo and Jinhe naaz hai Hind par woh kahan hain.
If you notice most of the movies, for which SD Burman composed songs, are Dev Anand starrers. He had Dev Anand as his favourite actor and used to see that his middle name Sachin Dev Burman was for his hero.
After 1957, he had another great pairing with Majrooh Sultanpuri and the 1960 movie Manzil in which Dev Anand aspires to become a music director in Hindi films, much to the chagrin of his father, is supposed to be based on SD Burman’s own story. The movie revolved around one of the greatest songs sung by Hemant Kumar: Yaad aa gayin woh nasheeli nigaahen (remembering his love Nutan):
His association with Majrooh Sultanpuri, the lyricist of the present song, produced many memorable songs such as Chhod do aanchal zamaana kya kahega and Chand phir nikala (Paying Guest), Ham hain rahi pyaar ke and Aankhon mein kya ji rupahala baadal (Nau Do Gyarah), Hai apna dil to awaara (Solvah Saal), Achha ji main haari, Ham bekhudi mein tumako pukaare chale gaye, and nazar laagi raja tore bangle pe (Kala Pani), Deewana mastana hua dil and Chal ri sajani ab ky soche (Bambai Ka Babu), Na tum hamen jaano na hum tumhen jaane (Baat Ek Raat Ki), Aise to na dekho and Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat (Teen Deviyan), Hontho pe aisi baat, Rula ke gaya sapna mera and Dil pukaare (Jewel Thief), Tere mere milan ki ye raina, Piyas bina piya bina basiya, Teri bindiya re, and He nadiya kinaare (Abhimaan).
Songs based on raagas were the strong point of SD Burman and there are quite a few of them. The best of these were on the lyrics of Shailendra in the 1963 movie Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen; songs such as: Puuchho na kaise maine rain bitayi, Tere bin soone nayan hamare, and Nache man mora magan dighdaa dhigi dhigi (the last one happens to be one of the best Raaga based songs sung by Mohammad Rafi) (Raag Bhairavi, Tintal/Kaherava) (Please see: ‘Raaga Based Song Of The Day #74‘).
The song Sun mere bandhu re sun mere mitwa is from the 1959 Bimal Roy movie Sujata with Nutan in the title role of an untouchable caste falling in love with Sunil Dutt as Adhir, from an upper Brahmin caste. The song, sung by a boatman in the background, is sung at the time when they express love for each other in histrionics as well as in words. SD Burman has sung it on his own composition. His compositions were, many a times, based on folk music and this is one of them.
Please enjoy SD Burman sing: Sun mere bandhu re….
सुन मेरे बंधू रे, सुन मेरे मितवा
सुन मेरे साथी रे
होता तू पीपल, मैं होती अमर लता तेरी
तेरे गले माला बन के, पड़ी मुसकाती रे
सुन मेरे साथी रे
सुन मेरे बंधू रे …
जिया कहे तू सागर, मैं होती तेरी नदिया
लहर बहर करती अपने, पिया से मिल जाती रे
सुन मेरे साथी रे
सुन मेरे बंधू रे …
As far as the song is concerned, I am reminded of one of the best of Lata Mangeshkar for the 1962 movie Anapadh: Aapki nazaron ne samajha pyaar ke kaabil mujhe, dil ki ai dhadakan thehar ja mil gayi manzil mujhe. Mala Sinha was in the title role of Anapadh (Illiterate) because her brother Balraj Sahni felt schooling and education for girls was unnecessary as long as they were well-versed with household skilled. She married into a family of well-read (Dharmendra’s) and the moment the family found out she was illiterate she was treated as a worm until Dharmendra fell in love with her and decided to teach her himself. That song was an expression of gratitude for being accepted. This song, preceded the Anapadh song by three years and went several steps ahead in that by using a boatman sing it to express her feelings, Bimal Roy let her maintain a dignified elegance rather than a grateful comedown. I saw the movie as a child/boy but I still remember the complete lyrics (the lyrics on the net are all wrong) and the excellent picturisation.
I hope you enjoyed it too.
Please await tomorrow’s song.
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