The twenty-third day of songs in this series.
Happy Birthday KJ Yesudas 10 January
In the last twenty-two days, we have taken up songs of twelve male singers: Talat Mahmood, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, SD Burman, KL Saigal, Pankaj Mullick, Jagmohan ‘Sursagar’ and Hariharan. We also took up songs of eleven female singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Suman Kalyanpur, Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt, Uma Devi (Tun Tun), Suraiya and Zohrabai Ambalewali, Sudha Malhotra, Amirbai Karnataki and Kavita Krishnamurthy.
Tonight, in order to pay tribute to the singer KJ Yesudas, we take up our thirteenth male singer. This song is dear to me. On the 9th of August last year, I lost my mother. There are a number of songs that I put up as a dedication to her. This is another one. Just like the others, it brings tears in my eyes.
Lets start with the movie itself from where this song has been taken. The 1977 movie Alaap was a Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie penned by Rahi Masoom Raza on a story by Hrishikesh Mukherjee himself. The movie starred Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Asrani, Farida Jalal, Om Prakash, Chhaya Devi and AK Hangal. Rahi Masoom Raza penned all the songs of the movie except this one (highlighted at #7 below), which was penned by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan’s father. Jaidev composed all the songs:
|1.||“Aai Ritu Sawan Ki”||Bhupinder Singh, Kumari Faiyaz|
|2.||“Binati Sun Le Tanik”||Asrani|
|3.||“Chand Akela Jaye Sakhi Ri”||Yesudas|
|5.||“Ho Rama Dar Lage Apni Umariya Se”||Asrani|
|6.||“Kahe Manva Nache”||Lata Mangeshkar|
|7.||“Koi Gata Main So Jata”||Yesudas|
|8.||“Mata Saraswati Sharda”||Lata Mangeshkar, Dilraj Kaur|
|9.||“Mata Saraswati Sharda”||Yesudas, Dilraj Kaur, Madhurani|
|10.||“Nai Ri Lagan Aur Meethi Batiyan”||Yesudas, Madhurani, Kumari Faiyaz|
|11.||“Zindagi Ko Sanwarna Hoga”||Yesudas|
Triloki Prasad (Om Prakash) is a rich advocate. He has two sons: Ashok (Vijay Sharma) who is an advocate like him and married to Geeta (Lily Chakravarty) and Alok (Amitabh Bachchan) who is taking time to settle down in Triloki Prasad’s law firm. To add to Triloki Prasad’s misgivings about Alok, he is fond of music and joins Pandit Jamuna Prasad’s (AK Hangal’s) classes. As if this is not enough, Alok spends a lot of time in the slums with a former courtesan named Sarju Bai Banaraswali (Chhaya Devi). Triloki’s counseling his son falls on deaf ears since Alok actually regards Sarju Bai as his mother. Triloki, therefore, works out a plan with one Mr Gupta (Yunus Parvez) to demolish the slums. Sarju Bai is rendered homeless and eventually dies. This song is sung by Amitabh Bachchan in her memory. Jaidev took the lyrics of Harivansh Rai Bachchan, composed them in Raag Bihag (with a lot of mixing), Tal Kaherava and made Yesudas sing it for Amitabh Bachchan.
I put up a song in Raag Bihag, Tal Dadra long time ago: Tere sur aur mere geet (Please see: ‘Raaga Based Song Of The Day #7’). Raag Bihag belongs to Bilawal Thaat. However, if Teevra Madhyam is used (Bihag uses both Madhyam, that is, Teevra and Shuddha) then it is more akin to Kalyan Thaat. It is an Audhav-Sampurna Vakra Raag (Rishab and Dhaivat are varjay in the ascent (Aaroha). It is both romantic and celebratory and hence normally used for weddings. It is normally sung during the second prahar of the night (9 PM to midnight).
Kattassery Joseph Yesudas was born on 10th January 1940 in Fort Kochi (Kerala) in a Latin-rite Roman Catholic Christian family to late Augustine Joseph and late Elizabeth Joseph. His father, a well-known Malayalam classical musician and stage actor, was his first guru (teacher). Yesudas recorded his first popular song Jaathi Bhedam Matha Dwesham (music: MB Sreenivasan) on 14th November 1961. He got a break in Hindi movies with the 1971 movie Jai Jawan Jai Kisan. Therefore, in 2011 Yesudas completed 50 years as a playback singer. However, it was the 1976 Basu Chatterjee movie, with songs composed by Salil Chowdhury that really made him popular. The song he sang in the movie was: Jaaneman jaaneman tere do nayan. Yesudas has recorded over 70,000 songs and has won scores of accolades including the coveted Padma Shri (1975), Padma Bhushan (2002), Padma Vibhushan (2017) and a record seven National Awards for Best Playback Singer. On 2 Oct 2014, Yesudas sparked a row while speaking at a public function on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanthi, where he stated that “Women should not wear jeans and trouble others. You should dress modestly and do not behave like men”. This resulted in a number of protests from Women’s Rights and Political organizations, who asked him to withdraw the comment, which he never did.
Some of my favourite Hindi songs of Yesudas are: Aaj se pehle aaj se zyaadah, Gori tera gaanv bada pyaara, Jab deep jale aana, Tu jo mere sur mein (Chitchor, 1976), Chand akela jaye sakhi ri and all the other songs of Alaap that I have given above, Dil ke tukade tukade kar ke (Dada, 1978), Jaaneman jaaneman tere do nayan (Chitchor, 1976), Kya karun sajani (Swaami, 1977), Kahan se aaye badra (Chashm-e-Budoor), Maana ho tum behadd hasin (Toote Khilone, 1978), Madhuban khushbu deta hai (Saajan Bin Suhaagan, 1978), and Shyam ran ranga re (Apne Paraye, 1980).
Jaidev Verma, the composer of this song, was born in Nairobi (Kenya) on 03 Aug 1919 and brought up in Ludhiana (Punjab). In 1933, when he was 15 years old, he ran away to Bombay to become a film star. There, he acted in eight films as a child star for the Wadia Film Company. He was initiated into music at a young age in Ludhiana by Prof. Barkat Rai. Later, when he made it Bombay, he learnt music from Krishnarao Jaokar and Janardan Jaokar.
Unfortunately, he had to leave his film career abruptly and return to Ludhiana, due to his father’s blindness, which thrust the sole responsibility of his family on his young shoulders.
After his father died, Jaidev took the responsibility of looking after his sister, Ved Kumari and later got her married. After that in 1943, he left for Lucknow to study under the tutelage of music maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
His songs and music for Mujhe Jeene Do, Hum Dono, Reshma Aur Shera (I have already given you his song in Raag Mand: Tu chanda main chandini for which please see: ‘Raaga Based Song Of The Day #78’), Prem Parbat, Parinay and Gharonda are well-remembered. He received National Filmfare Awards for Best Music Direction three times: Reshma Aur Shera (1972), Gaman (1979) and Ankahee (1985).
Harivansh Rai Bachchan, the lyricist of the song lived between 27 Nov 1907 and 18 Jan 2003. was a noted Indian poet of the Nayi Kavita literary movement (romantic upsurge) of early 20th century Hindi literature. Born in a Hindu Awadhi Indian Srivastava Kayastha family, in Allahabad in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, in British India, he was also a famous poet of the Hindi Kavi Sammelan. He is best known for his early work Madhushala (मधुशाला). Some of his poetic work has been used in Hindi movies, the most popular of which was the Silsila song Rang barse, also picturised on his son: Amitabh Bachchan.
Please enjoy Yesudas sing a composition of Jaidev on the lyrics of Harivansh Rai Bachchan a song from the 1977 Hrishikesh Mukherjee Alaap in Raag Bihag, Tal Kaherava: Koi gaata main so jaata….
कोई गाता मैं सो जाता – २
संस्रिति के विस्त्रित सागर में
सपनों कि नौका के अंदर
दुख सुख कि लहरों में उठ गिर
बहता जाता, मैं सो जाता …
आँखो में लेकर प्यार अमर
आशीश हथेली में भर कर
कोइ मेरा सर गोदी में रख
सहलाता, मैं सो जाता …
मेरे जीवन का काराजल
मेरे जीवन का हालाहल
कोइ अपने स्वर में मदुमय कर
दोहराता मैं सो जाता
कोइ गाता मैं सो जाता …
If someone were to ask me which is the number one most memorable song in my life, I would say it is my mother’s Lori (lullaby) to me when I was small. Indeed, for most others too it would be likewise. It was heard by us when we didn’t even know anything about songs, music, raagas and the like. Her singing was the key to opening doors of dreams for us since the Lori would transport us into another world. Lets say if we were to choose between that singing and those by even Bharat Ratnas, without flinching, any of us would choose that.
And even after mother leaves you, the strains of her Lori are sufficient to make you sleep. It would be there until you finally sleep for ever.
मेरे जीवन का काराजल
मेरे जीवन का हालाहल
कोइ अपने स्वर में मदुमय कर
दोहराता मैं सो जाता
You would hardly come across songs that tug at your emotions more.
I hope you enjoyed it too.
Please await the next song in the series.
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