Songs That Tug At Your Emotions – Song #16

The sixteenth day of songs in this series.

I shall pause here to thank you for the overwhelming response that I am receiving on this new series. Even though enormous research goes into the making of every post, especially in this series, it is still a work of love. It is due to the fact that these are actually the songs that have moved me all these years and all that I am doing is to open my own heart to you whilst those associated with the song – the singer, lyricist and composer – do it in their own inimitable ways.

In the last two weeks, we have taken up songs of eight male singers: Talat Mahmood, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor and SD Burman. We also took up songs of seven female singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Suman Kalyanpur, Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt, Uma Devi (Tun Tun) and Suraiya.

Tonight, we shall take up a song of our eighth female singer: Zohrabai Ambalewali, amongst the first generation of playback singers in Hindi films.

In my early childhood, I don’t think another song that impinged on my senses more than this. Those days were different; we won’t hear songs being played over and over again on various channels of radio and television. Even at that, I would say that this song was so popular that one could hear it everywhere. Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar paid tribute to this song. Just about everyone seemed to sing it but no one could match the contralto or low voice range singing of Zohrabai Ambalewali.

(Poster courtesy: Wikipedia)

The song is from the 1944 movie Rattan, an Abdul Rashid Kardar production directed by M Sadiq, which starred Swaran Lata and Karan Dewan. The song Akhiyan milake jiya bharma ke chale nahin jaana was penned by DN Madhok and composed by Naushad. The songs of the movie made Naushad so famous that he started charging Rupees 25000 per movie. This was about one third of the production cost of the movie at that time. It is another fact that Swaran Lata, in an interview with Pakistan Television, claimed that the composition of this song was done by DN Madhok himself. The songs of the movie also made both the female playback singers Zohrabai Ambalewali and Amirbai Karnataki very famous. Here is a list of songs of the movie; the last song (duet) was equally popular:

  • “Akkhiyan Milake ” – Zohrabai Ambalawali
  • “Rimjhim Barse Badarwa” – Zohrabai Ambalawali
  • “Hindustan Ke Hum Hain” – Mohammad Rafi
  • “Milke Bichhad Gayii Akkhiyan” – Amirbai Karnataki
  • “Jab Tum Hi Chale Pardes Laga Kar Theis” -Karan Dewan
  • “O janewale Balamwa” – Amirbai Karnataki and Shyam Kumar
  • “Jab Tum Hi Chale Pardes Laga Kar Theis”
  • “Pardesi Balma Baadal Aaya”
  • “Sawan Ke Baadalo Unn Se Yeh Jaa Kaho”- Zohrabai Ambalewali and Karan Dewan

Zohrabai Ambalewali was from Ambala in Punjab. She was a classical singer of Hindustani Music trained under Ghulam Hussain Khan and Ustad Nasir Hussain Khan. Subsequently, she joined the Agra Gharana. She started singing at All India Radio at the age of 13.  Eventually she made her Hindi film debut as a playback singer with film Daku Ki Ladki (1933) with music by Pransukh Nayak. After initial years in Lahore-based film industry, she shifted to Bombay. As already mentioned, the movie Rattan’s songs made her famous. Some of the popular songs of Zohrabai Ambalewali are: Aankhon mein intezaar ki duniya liye huye (Caravan 1944), Ho meri baali umariya saanwariya (Nateeja 1947), Pardesi baalma saawan aaya (Rattan 1944), Rut rangeeli aayi chandini chhayi (Mirza Sahiban 1947), Shayad woh jaa rahe hain chhupkar meri nazar se (Mela 1948, Shakeel Badayuni), Suno ji pyaari kayaliya bole (Sanyasi 1945, also with Naushad), Udhan khatole pe udh jaayun (Anmol Ghadi 1946, Naushad), Ye raat phir na aayegi (with Rajkumari Dubey in Mahal 1949).

Zohrabai Ambalewali’s popular number Udhan khatole pe udh jaayun from the 1946 movie Anmol Ghadi, composed by Naushad on the lyrics of Tanvir Naqvi

Lets take up the lyricist DN Madhok at this stage. Just as Zohrabai Amablewali was one of the first generation of female playback singers, Dina nath Madhok was amongst the first generation of lyricists (1930s to 1950s). Kidar Sharma and Kavi Pradeep were the others. So fine was his art that he earned himself the sobriquet of Mahakavi Madhok. He started his career with the 1932 movie Radhey Sham and ended up penning about 800 songs. In addition he wrote screenplays and directed about 17 films including Baghdad Ka Chor (1934), Mirza Sahiban (1939), Biwamangal (1954) and Naata (1955). Here are some of my favourite songs penned by him: Aa ja balmaa raat andheri dar laage and Mere mundere na bol (Suraiya in 1947 movie Parwana), Aayi diwali aayi diwali (Zohrabai Ambalewali in 1944 movie Rattan), Beimaan tore nainva nindiya na aaye (Lata Mangeshkar in 1951 movie Taraana), Ham aankh macholi khelenge (Noorjahan, Khandan 1942), Ishq ka dard sohana (Vatsala Kumthekar, Ishaara 1942), Jab tum hi chale pardes laga ke thes (Karan Dewan, Rattan 1944), Jhuthe hain sab sapne suhaane (Manju, Rattan 1944), Kaagaz ki meri naav aur duur kinaara hai (Mukesh Suraiya, Do Dil 1947), Khamosh nigaahen ye sunaati hain kahaani (SD Batish, Daasi 1944), Madhukar Shyam hamare chor, Nis din barsat nain hamaare and Rain gayi ab huaa savera (KL Saigal, Bhakt Surdas 1942), Madhur Madhur ga re manwa and Panchhi bawra (Khursheed, Bhakt Surdas 1942), Meri zindagi mein tum kyun aaye (Suraiya, Goonj 1952), Mohe mera bachpan laa de (With Shakeel Badayuni in Kajal 1948; song sung by Suraiya), More sainya ji ne bheji chunari (Zohrabai Ambalewali, Pehle Aap 1944), Mohabbat ne kaise diye hamako dhokhe (Lata Mangeshkar, Oot Pataang 1955), Naa thamate hain aansu naa rukte hain naale (Mohammad Rafi, Meena Bazaar 1950), Naino mein naina mat dalo, and Pardesi baalma baadal aaya (Zohrabai Ambalewali, Jeewan 1944), O jaanewale baalmwa laut ke aa (Shaam Kumar and Amirbai Karnataki, Rattan 1944), Panghat pe more Shyam bajaaye muraliya (CH Atma, Bilwamangal 1954), Rum jhum barse baadarva (Amirbai Karnataki, Rattan 1944), Sawan ke baadlo unase ye jaa kaho (Zohrabai Ambalewali, Rattan 1944), Taare wahin hain chand wahin hai (Lata Mangeshkar, Anmol Ratan 1950), Tuut gaye sab sapne mere (KL Saigal, Parwana 1947), and Wo din kahan gaye bataa (Lata Mangeshkar, Taraana 1951).

DN Madhok’s Madhukar Shyam hamare chor was made famous by KL Saigal. It was also immortalised by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi
Untitled 55.tif

Naushad Ali, the composer, lived between 25 Dec 1919 to 05 May 2006. He won only one Filmfare Award, for the music and songs of the 1952 Vijay Bhatt movie Baiju Bawra. However, he could have won many including for Mughal-e-Azam. Eventually, he was conferred with the highest, that is, Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1982 and Padma Bhushan in 1992. He is credited with having brought in Raaga Based Songs in the movies and Baiju Bawra is a fine example of that. Various singers and lyricists (especially Shakeel Badayuni) looked up to him as a guide and mentor. For example, he encouraged Mukesh to have his distinctive style of singing rather than imitate KL Saigal. He launched the careers of quite a few of them such as Zohrabai Ambalewali and Uma Devi. As far as my favourite songs of Naushad are concerned, I have penned volumes in this blog on them. As an example, just go through: ‘The Best Of Old Hindi Songs – Rafi, Shakeel, Naushad and Dilip Kumar Together’.

(Picture courtesy: Film Heritage Foundation)

Before we take up the song, lets learn a little about Abdul Rashid Kardar, the producer of this movie from where the song has been taken. He was the pioneer in establishing film industry in Bhati Gate, Lahore (later Pakistan). In 1924, the first silent film (11 years after Dadasaheb Phalke made his first silent movie: Raja Harishchandra), The Daughters of Today was released in Lahore at a time when the city only had nine operational cinema houses. Most of the films shown in theatres in Lahore were either made in Bombay or Calcutta, besides ones made in Hollywood or London. The Daughters of Today was the brain-child of GK Mehta, a former officer with the North-Western Railway, who had imported a camera into the country for this very project from London. He asked Kardar to assist him as an assistant director on the project and ended up giving Kardar his début role in his film as an actor. Muhammad Ismail, his friend and fellow calligraphist, accompanied Kardar in the making of the film. Kardar shifted to Calcutta in 1930 and after working in various production houses, he made his own Kardar Studios in 1940 (he shifted to Bombay in 1937) and started making films under the banner Kardar Productions. His 1946 film Shahjehan starred KL Saigal and the songs were by Majrooh (debut movie) and Naushad Ali. He worked with Naushad in a number of movies including the unforgettable Dil Diya Dard Liya starring Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Pran.

(Pic courtesy Flickr)

M Sadiq, the director of the highly successful movie Rattan from where this song has been taken was born on 10 Mar 1910 in Lahore and died on 03 Oct 1971 in Lohore. He was a director, writer and producer. Some of the other movies that he directed are: Jeewan (1944), Dak Bangla (1947), Anmol Ratan (1950), Shabaab (1954), Chaudhvinh Ka Chand (1960), Full Moon (1961), Taj Mahal (1963), Bahu Begum (1967) and Noorjehan (1967).

(Pic courtesy: Flickr)

Swaran Lata, the actress on whom this song is picturised, was born in a Siyal Khatri Sikh family in Rawalpindi. Her debut movie was the 1942 movie Awaaz. She married Nazir Ahmed, a famous actor, director and producer at that time. She converted to Islam at that time and assumed the name of Saeeda Bano. At the time of partition of India in 1947, she migrated to Pakistan with her husband after leaving everything they owned in Bombay. They started the Pakistani Film Industry from a scratch. By the time she shifted to Pakistan, in five years she had acted in as many as 16 Hindi movies. Her first movie in Pakistan was the 1948 movie Sachai. She was known as the Tragedy Queen much before Meena Kumari was so dubbed. This was mainly due to her emotional dialogue delivery. It is a delight to see her enact the song: Akhiyan milake jiya bharma ke.

And finally, Karan Dewan (Dewan Karan Chopra), the actor driving the tonga to whom Swaran Lata lip-syncs this song sung by Zohrabai Ambalewali. He was another Singing-Star. The movie Rattan was produced by his brother Jaimini Dewan under Kardar Productions. His song in the movie Jab tum hi chale pardes became popular. In a way, this movie was a defining movie for him too. He worked in the movies from 1941 to 1979. He married Manju, a character actress in Rattan, who too sang a song in the movie. He acted opposite Meena Kumari in 1948 movie Piya Ghar Aaja.

Please enjoy Zohrabai Ambalewali sing: Akhiyan milake jiya bharma ke chale nahin jaana….

(अखियाँ मिलाके जिया भरमा के
चले नहीं जाना, (हो चले नहीं जाना – २) ) – २

जाओ तो जाने ना दूंगी मैं रस्ता रोक लूंगी – २
हो सैंया के पैंय्या पड़ जाऊंगी रोके कहूंगी – २
अखियाँ मिला के …

आहों के बदले आहें लेना जी दगा नहीं देना – २
हां नैन भरे ना रोए रोए दिल ये कहे ना – २
अखियाँ मिला के …

जाने का नाम न लो राजा जी दिल बैठा जाए – २
हां देखो जी देखो दुखी दिल की परे ना हाय – २
अखियाँ मिला के …

First of all what can you say about a movie (Rattan) which was the defining movie of so many involved with the making of this song? Naushad Ali became a much sought after music director because of this movie. Zohrabai Ambalewali (the singer), DN Madhok (Lyricist), Swaran Lata and Karan Dewan (the lead actors) all became popular because of this movie and particularly because of this song. Here is Lata Mangeshkar’s tribute to Zohrabai Ambalewali for this song:

The song takes me back to that era when songs made or marred the movies and the success of this song and others in the movie Rattan made the movie itself successful. As I said, Naushad Ali started demanding Rupees 25000 per movie, which was one third of the production cost of the movie.

The song takes me back to my childhood days that I relive over and over again.

I hope you enjoyed it too.

Please await tomorrow’s song.

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