Best film songs based on classical ragas

November 7, 2011

Guest article by Subodh Agrawal

(My friend Subodh Agrawal is a great music lover and a keen follower of my blog. He once suggested I write on films songs based on classical ragas. This was already in my mind, but then I realised Subodh is much better equipped to do it. I am grateful that he accepted my request to do a guest series of articles on this theme. This curtain raiser showcasing his favourite 10 iconic songs on different ragas is delightful to read not only because of his deep insight but also for his fluent and witty style of writing. I am sure there are many more to come from his pen. – AK)


Classical RagasI was trying to motivate AK to do a few lists on songs based on ragas. He bounced it back to me, thanks to some pretensions I have of knowing something about classical music. I have accepted the commission with some reluctance, being well aware of how little I actually know about it.

I had first thought of doing a list like ‘My 10 favourite songs in raga XYZ’. I may yet get around to doing that for the major ragas music directors of Hindi film industry love – likes of Bhairavi, Yaman, Malkauns, Darbari, Pilu etc. What I have chosen to do now is to list ten iconic songs based on classical ragas that don’t have such large repertoires of film songs. Years back when I was flirting with classical music and trying to get a feel for different ragas, these songs were used by my friend and teacher Pankaj Sharan to help me get that feel.

1. Raga Jaijaiwanti: Manmohana bade jhoothe by Lata Mangeshkar from Seema (1955), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

The first of these iconic songs is Manmohna bade jhoote from Seema. Raga Jaijaiwanti is easy to recognize – thanks to its pakad or catch-phrase – rising from ni, just touching ga and then coming to rest on re: the final ‘na’ of ‘Manmoha-n-a-a’ illustrates that. This movement gives this raga a nice teasing quality – which has been put to good use by Shankar Jaikishan in this song that combines bhakti and shringar rasas:

The original composition of Ram Dhun is in raga Jaijaiwanti. The popular version misses out most of the nuances of the raga, but this rendering by Pandit DV Paluskar is an excellent presentation:

2. Raga Bageshree: Radha na bole na bole re by Lata Mangeshkar from Azad (1955), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra

I had a tough time choosing between Jaag dard-e ishq jaag and Radha na bole na bole re as my iconic song for Bageshree. Ultimately I have opted for the latter, as it stays closer to the standard format of the raga. In any case, this was the song my friend used to help me into the nuances of this raga. A treat for those fans of Songs of Yore who missed it in AK’s post on C Ramachandra:

Like most great ragas Bageshree can be used to express a variety of moods. The song above presents its playful mood. The classical piece below shows what this raga can do to express yearning and pathos. Malini Rajurkar sings a composition that was made famous by the late Kumar Gandharva:

3. Raga Bhimpalasi: Beena madhur mdhur kachhu bol by Saraswati Rane from Ram Rajya (1943), lyrics Ramesh Gupta, music Shankarrao Vyas

I have often wondered why raga Bhimpalasi has such a martial and masculine name, because it is one of the sweetest sounding ragas. My friend had used E ri main to prem diwani to introduce me to this raga, but then I discovered Beena madhur madhur kachhu bol by Saraswati Rane for Ramrajya in his collection of old 78 rpm records and was completely mesmerized by it. According to Wikipedia Saraswati Rane was born as Sakina, daughter of legendary Ustad Abdul Karim Khan– doyen of the Kirana Gharana. Her mother Tarabai later separated from Ustad ji and reverted to Hindu names for her children. Her brother Sureshbabu Mane and sister Hirabai Barodekar also distinguished themselves in classical music. So here it is – one of the most haunting melodies from the golden era:

Beena madhur mdhur kuchh bol

Now you may want to hear Ustad Abdul Karim Khan himself render the same raga:

Abdul Karim Khan

4. Raga Bhopali: Jyoti kalash chhalke by Lata Mangeshkar from Bhabhi Ki Chudyan (1961), lyrics Narendra Sharma, music Sudhir Phadke

Bhopali is a subset of my favourite raga Yaman. It is essentially Yaman without the fourth and seventh note. Doing so takes away some of the gravity of Yaman and retains a feeling of pure joy. Another raga from the same family – Shudh Kalyan – omits these two notes in ascending movements, and includes them in descending ones and the mood falls somewhere between Bhopali and Yaman. Pandit Omkar Nath Thakur, in fact, didn’t like the name Shudh Kalyan and insisted on calling it Bhoop Kalyan. For me the iconic composition in Bhopali is the famous Jyoti kalash chhalke composed by Sudhir Phadke from Bhabhi ki Chudiyan:

I was with a lot of Maharashtrian friends when I was learning the rudiments of classical music. They introduced me to Ghanashyam Sundara from the 1951 Marathi film Amar Bhupali. Some of them claimed that this song was the inspiration for Jyoti Kalash Chaalke. Listen to the song and make your own judgment:

Ghanshaym sundara sindura by Panditrao Nagarkar and Lata Mangeshkar from Amar Bhupali (1951), music Vasant Desai

5. Raga Hameer: Madhuban mein Radhika nachee re by Mohammad Rafi from Kohinoor (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Raga Hameer was introduced to the masses by Madhuban mein Radhika nachi re. It remains to this day the most complete and authentic presentation of this raga in film music. Let the song speak for itself:

Years back, long before I developed an ear for classical music, I had read an article in a magazine on Khansaheb Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. A line remained in my mind – हमीर तो बड़े लोग गाते हैं, लेकिन गुलाम अली तो बस गुलाम अली हैं. I couldn’t find a recording of Khansaheb’s Hameer in the days of vinyl records and tapes. Internet has proved more resourceful:

6. Raga Hamsadhwani: Ja tose nahin bolun Kanhaiya by Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar from Parivaar (1956), lyrics Shailenra, music Salil Chaudhary

Now a raga from the South. Hamsadhwani is very popular in Carnatic music and I understand no concert in the South is complete without a rendition of the famous composition Vaathapi Ganapathim, which was adapted in the film Parivar as Ja tose nahin bolun kanhaiya.

Hamsadhwani was a favourite raga of Ustad Ameer Khan and he did a lot to popularize it in the North. Here is a tarana by him in this raga:

7. Raga Kalawati: Kahe tarsaye jiyara by Usha Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle from Chitralekha (1964), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music Roshan

Another raga from the south – Kalawati. Kahe tarsaye jiyara is the iconic composition in this raga; though another famous one is Koi sagar dil ko behlata nahin. I am presenting the former, as to me it captures the mood of the raga much better (Koi Sagar has some elements of Janasammohini in it). Roshan has done a great job – as always:

A little change in the structure of Kalawati – addition of ‘re’ in the descending movement – changes it into the appropriately named Janasammohini – immortalized by Pandit Ravishankar for Anuradha in Haye re wo din kyun na aye – a song that has never left the top five positions in the list of my all time favorites. I wish to share with you here is a Shabad from Gurbani in Kalawati – Re man aiso kar sanyasa. This recording is in the voice of Asha Bhosle, as taken for the Punjabi Film Nanak naam jahaaz hai. One of the most appealing aspects of Sikhism for a non-Sikh is the quality of Sikh devotional music. I have to thank my colleague KBS Sidhu for posting the link on Facebook:

8. Raga Gaud Malhar: Garjat barsat saawan ayo re by Suman Kalyanpur and Kamal Barot from Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi, music Roshan

Malhar has spawned many variants. The most well known is Miyan ki Malhar. I learnt only recently that Miyan ki Malhar is not the original Malhar, but a variant evolved by Tansen. Today when one simply says Malhar one means Miyan ki Malhar. The original Malhar is now known as Shudh Malhar. There are very few recordings in it. There are many others – Des Malhar, Gaud Malhar, Ramdasi Malhar etc. Gaud Malhar has two famous songs that sound practically the same – Garjat barsat saawan aayo re from Barsaat ki Raat, and Garjat barsat bheejat aayi lo from Malhar – both composed by Roshan. The ghazal Jurm-e ulfat pe hamein log sazaa dete hain from Tajmahal is also supposed to be based on Gaud Malhar, though I confess I couldn’t identify the raga on hearing it. It sounded more like Chhayanat to me, with some extra notes thrown in. Here, anyway, is the song from Barsaat ki Raat:

Now listen to Pandit Jasraj present the same raga:

9. Raga Kedar: Darshan do Ghnashyam by Hemant Kumar, Mana Dey and Sudha Malhotra from Narsi Bhagat (1957), lyrics Gopal Singh ‘Nepali’, music Ravi

Kedar is another raga, like Yaman and Bhopali,that combines the elements of shant, bhakti and shringar rasa. The iconic song is Darshan do Ghanshyam form Narsi Bhagat. Other songs in this raga are Hamko man ki shakti dena from Guddi and Main pagal mera manwa pagal by Talat Mahmood from Ashiana. None of the others, however, come close to Darshan do Ghanshyam with the voices of Hemant Kumar, Sudha Malhotra and Manna Dey beautifully complementing each other:

Of the classical recordings I found on Youtube this one by Ustad Rashid Khan sounded best to me:

10. Raga Ahir Bhairav: Poochho na kaise meine rain bitayee by Manna Dey from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen (1961), lyrics Shailendra,music SD Burman

Earlier I remarked on the name of Bhimpalasi and the mismatch between its mood and its name. There is no such mismatch for Bhairav. The mood of the raga in its pure classical form is very much what its name suggests – ponderous, somber and overpowering. Think of Raat bhar ka hai mehmaan andhera – although some websites suggest that it is not Bhairav but Jogiya. Music directors have, however, used Bhairav to create some serene and pleasing compositions like Jago mohan pyare from Jaagte raho, and Man re hari ke gun ga from Musafir, by taking some liberties with its movement. Among Bhairav’s variants Bairagi Bhairav is what its name suggests. Nat Bhairav can actually be joyful. Ahir Bhairav, on the other hand, can be very poignant as Poochho na kaise maine rain bitayee from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen amply proves. A strong contender for the title of the best Raga based song from films:

Sanjeev Abhyankar started off by modeling himself on Pandit Jasraj, but now he has evolved his own distinctive style. Here is his rendition of Ahir Bhairav. It sounds beautiful in his rich sonorous voice:

That brings me to the end of this list. This is the first time I have written something – other than notes on official files – that was meant to be read by others. If you like it please thank AK for motivating me.

One more thing: while searching for classical pieces on Bhopali I came across this recording on Youtube by Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar. I didn’t include it in the section on the raga because it is long and slow. Moreover the dhrupad style of singing is not easy to appreciate for everyone. I would, however, strongly recommend that you try out this recording when you have some free time to yourself and just allow it to caress your mind. I have heard other members of the Dagar family and I can say without hesitation that they are the best practitioners of music as a form of prayer and meditation:

A more accessible but classically flawless composition is the famous Sahela re by Kishori Amonkar:

{ 95 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Subodh Agrawal December 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

Thank you Srinivas, for your appreciation and the additions to the list of songs in Maru Bihag.

2 ksbhatia January 5, 2015 at 12:12 am

Subodh aggrawal ‘ji , Entering this post after a long time . I wish to know the ragas of two of my fav Lataji’s classic songs : 1 ” O more sawale salone piya tujhe milne ko tarse jiya ” from Kanhaiya ….and…. 2. ” Murli … murli baren bahi o kanahaiya tori murli baren bahi ” from New delhi [ old movie ] .

3 Subodh Agrawal January 5, 2015 at 8:18 am

Dear Mr Bhatia, ‘Murli bairan bhayi’ is in Pilu. I can’t place ‘O mere sanware salone piya’. The mukhda suggests Sarang but then it departs from it in the stanza. Could be some raga I don’t know, or simply a mix of ragas.

4 Aparna Sridhar January 9, 2015 at 4:30 pm


I am editing a magazine called Saamagaana The First Melody. I request permission to use this blog for our magazine with credit given to the author and the blog.


5 AK January 9, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Thanks for your interest. I have sent you a mail.

6 Ashok Kumar Chatterjee February 11, 2015 at 6:18 am

Subbodhji, very difficult job to select the best classical song. I am torn between the Poochhona kaise or the fabulous Ketaki gulab Juhi in Basant Bahar. There is no better classical singer in films than Manna Dey Saab. He has even come close to Bhimsenji in that song!
Of course the Famous Raag Desi composition by Naushad in Baiju Bawara with Pt Paluskar and UStad Amir Khan also is compelling.
Love your post. Only sorry that the new film music is so horrible. These people are destroying our common culture.

7 Achintya Prahlad February 20, 2015 at 2:01 am

Dear Sir,

I would like to point out that Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram is based on Raag Gara and not Jaijaiwanti.


8 Subodh Agrawal February 20, 2015 at 3:15 pm

@Achintya Prahlad. The confusion between Jaijaiwanti and Gara has been discussed at length in comments 182 to 186. I don’t claim to be an expert, and Gara confuses me a lot – as I have admitted earlier. My take on this issue is that the original DV Paluskar bhajan is very much in Jaijaiwanti, while the popular version today has flattened out most of its characteristic movements and made it sound like Gara. I could, of course, be wrong.

9 Achintya Prahlad February 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm

@Subodh Agrawal: Thank you sir for your reply. Pt Paluskar’s alaap was most certainly in Jaijaiwanti, while the bhajan itself sounds more like Gara.

10 devendra February 22, 2015 at 2:57 am

very nice…I don’t know why I didn’t come to know about this site… best wishes

11 devendra February 22, 2015 at 3:07 am

superb…I don’t know how come I was not aware of this web site! you provide useful knowledge about raagas and songs… thank s .. devendra

12 Subodh Agrawal February 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Thank you Devendra and welcome to SoY.

13 Kamlesh Kapur February 28, 2015 at 9:57 am

In Bhopali, there is an old song from film Lahore (1949?). Dunia hamare pyar ki yuohin jawan rahe.
In Bageshree, a great song by Sehgal comes to mind
Kadam chale aage, man pache bhage

14 Ramesh Phadke February 28, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Dear Subodhji, I remember people calling Mohe Panaghat Pe raga as Pancham se Gara and not just Gara. So what is the difference?
Raghupati Raghav is jaijaiwanti as you rightly say, at least the Paluskar version.
best regards

15 Subodh Agrawal February 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

Dear Kamleshji, thanks for ‘Duniya hamre pyar ki yun hi jawan rahe’. I heard it for the first time. It is quite true to Bhopali – but for the first ‘..rahe’ in the mukhda where a little touch of ‘ni’ brings in a touch of Hamir.

‘Kadam chale aage’ is Desh. In fact it is covered in my post on Desh and Tilak Kamod.

16 Subodh Agrawal February 28, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Ramesh, the last word on Gara and its different forms has been said on Deepak Raja’s World of Hindustani Music, which was referred earlier in the discussion with Latha. The link is reproduced for facility of reference:

I don’t know Gara well enough to decide whether ‘Mohe panghat pe’ is Gara or Pancham se Gara.

17 Devendra February 28, 2015 at 11:54 pm

When there is a mention of film Lahore, there is another beautiful and very poignant song…Bahare phir bhi aayegi, magar hum tum judaa honge…superb composition of late Naushad sahib.

18 rinku April 1, 2015 at 9:02 pm

Your blog is extremely good as it helps people like me to know more about the ragas and their use of the notes and more so about their use.A slight change in use of the same notes as in the badi and sambadi can make such a huge difference. indian music is incredible thank you

19 AK April 1, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Welcome to the Songs of Yore, and thanks a lot for your appreciation.

20 Subodh Agrawal April 2, 2015 at 7:23 am

Thank you Rinku.

21 neelakandan April 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

namaskar.itna hai pyar from film sooraj is based on which raga

22 Subodh Agrawal April 14, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Welcome neelakandan. This song sounds a lot like Yaman, though not a very pure one.

23 Deepak Dikshit May 4, 2015 at 12:33 pm

Very nice and imformative site
Though i sing songs of hindi films – i have no knowlege of Ragas
Would like to learn much more !

24 Subodh Agrawal May 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Thanks and welcome Deepak Dikshit. This series of articles is for people like you and me – without formal training in classical music, but with a taste for it. Please feel free to go through the other articles in this series and move on to more formal resource on the net like

25 Dr Satish K Kushwaha May 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

This is my FIRST Visit to Website

Technology is serving a lot in these new paradigm era of Knowledge workers…. Hats Off for the services to this generation just like “GURU-SHISHYA Parampara” e.g. difference discussion on Gara-Jaijaivanti has gone deep into ‘pancham se Gara and Gara….
I belong to Family of Founders’ of “Prayag Sangeet Samiti” and brought up at Allahabad with frequent visits and stay at Varanasi (Banaras Bharana); I can understand what Great Service this website is doing… for such an explanations we used to wait a lot at Guru’s place and ‘when’ he is in ‘mood’… will tell all these fine differences of Raagas and Gharanas..
Thank You

26 AK May 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

Dr Satish K Kushwaha,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation.

27 savita May 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

Could anybody confirm that “ye duniya vale poochenge mulakat hui kya baat hui” song from film Mahal, is based on raag Hansdwani?

28 savita May 17, 2015 at 10:07 am

Please confirm that “ye duniya vale poochenge mulakat hui kya baat hui” song from film Mahal, is based on raag Hansdwani?

29 SSW May 17, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Savita , this is not Hamsadhwani, it has occasional colourings of Shankara but that is all.

30 SSW May 17, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Scratch that, I must have been dreaming when I said I could hear snatches of Shankara. Nothing at all. It’s just a straight Ionian scale.

31 Ramesh Phadke May 17, 2015 at 6:20 pm

Dear Subodhji, What is Ionian scale? And while we are at it what happens when one sings from the madhyam of a saptak e. g. Black four or Kali Char and its Madhyam?
Also why they say Rag Pahadi is sung from Madhyam? I am lost!!
Thanks and regards

32 Ramesh Phadke May 17, 2015 at 6:23 pm

PS Wikipedia shows the normal saptak of all shudh swars as the Ionian Scale’ is that what you mean? Thanks Ramesh

33 SSW May 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm

I am not Subodh and yes the Ionian scale is the standard Bilawal thaat scale with all shudha swaras.

34 Savita May 17, 2015 at 7:17 pm

Thanks for your Reply.Could you please suggest some filmy songs based on raag Hansdwani?

35 O.P.Rajput May 17, 2015 at 7:31 pm

Ja tose nahin bolun kanhaiya from film Parivar is composed in raag Hansdhwani

36 SSW May 17, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Savita , the most famous is the one suggested by Mr. Rajput. Salilda has created a variation of the composition “Vatapi Ganapatim bhaje hum” by Muthuswami Dikshitar. There are wide variety of compositions based on Hamsadhwani by South Indian musicians as it is essentially a favoured Carnatic Raga. In Hindi there are very few compositions other than Salilda’s lovely take.

This one from Navrang (C Ramchandra) comes close.

This is a favourite of mine though non-filmi…
The real sweetness starts around 0:57 into the recording.

This from the Malayalam film Bharatam is Yesudas , quite wonderful

37 SSW May 18, 2015 at 3:33 am

This is also mostly Hamsadhwani, I had forgotten this song , it is quite nice

38 SSW May 18, 2015 at 3:55 am

And while I am at it two compositions from Tamil

The maestro Illayaraja

and A R Rahman a more modern interpretation

39 Subodh Agrawal May 18, 2015 at 6:57 am

I have not been able to respond to the comments in time thanks to a problem with the internet. For once I am thankful for it, because otherwise we might have been deprived of the excellent contribution from SSW. Thanks SSW, I agree entirely with you and thanks all the more for the links. I plan to listen to them at leisure.

Welcome Dr. Kushwaha and thanks for your appreciation. We look forward to more inputs from you – given the excellence of the organization founded by your family.

Ramesh, I have no idea at all of the Ionian scale. If, by any chance, it means the basic scale ‘Do re mi fa..’ a la ‘Sound of Music’ than it is indeed identical to Bilawal’s scale – which is also the base scale for Hindustani music will all swaras in their natural form – neither komal nor tivra.

A very brief foray into explanation of ‘playing Pahadi from ma’. This Wikipedia link gives the musical ratios of the Indian scale under the appropriate sub-heading. Now suppose we treat ma as sa then pa would become re and its ratio will be 3/2 x 3/4 = 9/8 which is the same as re. Using dha as ga also keeps the ratio unchanged. But when we come to ni the ratio becomes 45/32 which is different from any of the standard notes. Thus the basic scale changes and becomes suitable for playing Pahadi without too much effort. Otherwise playing Pahadi would require going into very low notes beyond the range of an instrument like the flute. I hope this helps.

40 Dr Satish K Kushwaha May 18, 2015 at 11:44 am


Hansdhwani is basically Karnatic favourite. Most famous is the one suggested by Shri O.P Rajput ji. Luckily, I was taught Western Classical by Parampujya Shri Nityananda (Nitai da) Ghosh Ji [Guru, who taught Violin to Pyare Bhai (of duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal) and Cheif Music Controller/Arranger of Ranjeet Movitone]; co-worker of Pt Pannalal Ghosh Ji; Nitaida was first cousin of Salilda. One day Nitai Da was telling about composition in Films and he first sang the Karnatic Bhajan and then played the composition of Salilda………. Masterpiece…

Thanks and kind regards to all for sharing in such a detail.

41 Subodh Agrawal May 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Sorry, I forgot to give the link in the previous comment. Here it is:

42 N Venkataraman May 19, 2015 at 12:30 am

SSW ji,
You said that the Ionian scale is the standard Bilawal thaat scale with all the shudha swaras. Then, on a C scale Hamsadhwani should be on ‘C major augmented 7th’ Chord. (I mean to say C E G B). My expression may not be very clear.The query may sound silly. But that is just for my understanding.
I believe Hamsadhwani belongs to Bilawal That i.e Dheera Shankarabharanam melakarta.

43 SSW May 19, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Mr.Venkatraman, I’m not quite sure about where you are leading with the question, but the augmented major seventh on the C major scale is not C E G B. It is actually C E G# B. In the C major scale the notes of Hamsadhwani are C D E G B. In this case since the rishabha is present you would have to include a 9th in the chording i.e the rishabha in the upper octave, so the chord would take the form C E G B D(upper octave). This is a C major 9th chord. But in reality the major ninth causes some amount of dissonance so ideally to accompany Hamsadhwani one would use the triad chords of C major , G major and E minor. as a progression.
I don’t know if this helps answer your question.

44 SSW May 19, 2015 at 4:50 pm

And yes Hamsadhwani is considered to be a janya raga in the Shankarabharanam melakarta which is similar to the Bilawal thaat in Hindustani music but you are also probably aware that some people say that it could be a janya raga derived from the Kalyani melakarta after dropping the madhyama and dhaivata. 🙂

45 N Venkataraman May 19, 2015 at 8:09 pm

SSW ji,
Sorry. The expression of my query was faulty. That was the result of my amateurish attempt I think C E G B should be represented by C major 7th with a triangle on the top right corner of 7. Correct me if am wrong again.
Your explanation, on Hamsadhwani and the inclusion of the 9th in the chording and the use of the triad chords as a progression, was crystal clear in spite of my slow receptivity.
Thank you very much Sir.

46 SSW May 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Mr. V you are right about CM7.
I have a question for Subodh. I wasn’t able to understand his answer to Mr.Phadke’s question. I understand the concept of just intonation and equal temperament tuning but I did not quite get the answer to the question as to why Pahadi starts from Ma. To be completely honest I did not understand the question either. I do understand that if Sa is transposed to Ma then the aroha of Pahadi which is S R G P D S will still have the same tonal distance amongst the notes as in
M P D S R M (same to same as some folks would say)
But are we saying here that the tonic is Ma now . That would make it Durga in the aaroha. Of course in the avaroha you are free to use all the notes as long as you keep that emphasis around S G D P..
Or is it something to do with the harmonium because really Kali 4 is tuned to Ab (flat) or G# if you prefer which in the C major scale is teevra Madhyam not shudh Madhyam.
Rajan Parrikar says that Pahadi is essentially sung in the mandra and madhya saptaks and so the tonic is translated to to the Madhyam in performance but Indian music unlike western music having no fixed pitches to a note shouldn’t bother about that unless it limits wind instruments like the flute , shehnai etc which are unable to sound notes that would require a longer chamber.
Sorry for the longish post.

47 Kanhayalal Sharma May 24, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Very good collection and efforts. I remember Rasika Balama in Suddh Kalyan @ Bhup Kalyan. Pankh hoti to UDD aati re in Bhupali . Dhoondo dhoondo re balama dhoondo in Nat Bhairav and Do hanso ka joda bichad gayo re of Gangs jamuna in Bhairavi. Even Jhuki jhuki Si nazar of Jagjit in Jaijaiwanti. Not to forget Naino mein badra chaye of Mera Says in Bhimpalasi. Must congratulate Madanmohan for such a fabulous song in an other wise dry raga. And so many more.

48 Kanhayalal Sharma May 24, 2015 at 5:37 pm

When you sing a raag making Madhya as shadaj I think it is called Murchana. Pahadi has a relationship with bhupali if so sung. Also Rag Lalit from Madhyam may sound like Todi. This is used for Tiribhav and Avirbhav. Pardon me if I am wrong. Out of touch since 35 years.

49 SSW May 24, 2015 at 10:08 pm

Mr. Sharma from my viewpoint the concept of muurchana or shruti bhedham as is it is also called is a little different. You have to fix a base raga or a tonic note first from which you can do a muurchana. It is the same concept as a scale change in western music where you shift the tonic note to some other note in the scale but only after having established the tonic first. Pahadi does not have a relationship with Bhupali because you start on the Madhyam. The aaroha in Pahadi and Bhupali has the same notes. If you were to start from the Madhyam (which does not exist in the Bhupali aaroha) in relation to the Bhupali Sa (tonic) then you would end up with Durga on the same scale with the Bhupali Ma as the tonic Sa for Durga. This is what I showed in my earlier post when I transposed Ma onto Sa.
You may be saying the same thing so you’ll have to forgive me if I do seem to be a little backward at understanding.

50 Kanhayalal Sharma May 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm

You are perfectly right, Sir. You are much advanced in knowledge and learning. What confused me was that Pahadi is generally sung or played from Madhyam being treated as Shadaj. To quote”
It is fashioned from the scale of Bhoopali but the smooth arcs decorating Bhoopali are pared. Both M and N are summoned in avarohi tracts through special sangatis. Due to its kshudra nature, there is considerable latitude available and ‘foreign’ swaras are often sought for embellishment as are other ragas such as Yaman, Mand and Jhinjhoti. Pahadi’s sphere of activity is concentrated in the mandra and madhya saptaks; for this reason the tonic shadaj is often translated to the madhyam in performance. ”
Your reference to Durga is also apt. What I found Pahadi and Maand, which emanates from folk music very difficult to master.

51 B.V.SHENOY June 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Great selection. The 10 songs are unexceptionable. There are some superlatively beautiful creations like “Aise hain sukh sapn hamare” by Sudhir Phadke, Hum jaage Jag Soye Re Aali by Roshan, “Ai Dil Machal Machal Gaya” by Lachchi Ram etc. All these songs are classical raaga based. I wish you wouorgotten gems.ld write about these f

52 Srinivasan C.S. June 7, 2015 at 8:23 am

Can anybody identify the Raaga in this timeless melody of Shamshad Begum from the 1954 film ‘Dhoop Chaon’ composed by Aziz Hindi ?

53 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm


To me it sounds like it is some combo of Hemant and Maru Bihag. In any case, thanks for sharing this gem – I had never listened to it before.

54 Srinivasan C.S. June 7, 2015 at 6:57 pm

Thank you Ashwin ji for the information. It is indeed a rare but touching song.

55 Subodh Agrawal June 8, 2015 at 7:40 pm

I agree with Mr Bhandarkar on the ‘Dhoop Chhaon’ song. As for the three songs mentioned by BV Shenoy, none of the three is very clearly in a particular raga. The first two evoke Pilu – the first more than the second. I would, however, leave the door open for Gara. The third one has shades of Kanada, but not quite Darbari. All three, however, are beautiful. Thanks Mr Shenoy.

56 KANHAYALAL SHARMA June 8, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Sorry to sound skeptic. After reading the views of great people here and songs many heard long before and many unheard, all of them gems of Indian music, what great creations they are and what great effort went into them. But the present generation has discarded and is discarding even lighter songs without giving them a chance. To understand classical music some training is of course required. Should the State take some responsibility to inculcate some values and training in children when still young to preserve our great culture and the treasures we in art, music, culture ., etc. I find foreigners learn and practice with more devotion and dedication, primarily because they realise its worth and we do not.

57 Subodh Agrawal June 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

Welcome Mr Sharma. Familiarity does breed contemp, so it is no surprise that foreigners – the minuscule percentage that takes the trouble to learn Indian classical music – tend to be more sincere. Fortunately we have organizations line SPICMACAY that are doing a very good job of making the younger generation aware of classical music. I think there is hope.

58 KANHAYALAL SHARMA June 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Thank you Mr. Agarwal. I was associated with SPIC-MACAY since my early college days. I had told Mr. Kiran Seth then that if only you make college students listen to great singers , etc , it may not achieve much. I had requested him to focus on schools. I had organised some performances of dancers like Raja – Radha Reddy and Uma Sharma ji in promary schools and everyone was surprised at the response to the Abhinayas. For classical music some training to children when still small may help in making “Kaansens” is not “Taansens”. Unfortunately the curriculum of children gets heavier by the day and is only focused on career. If something of our culture is part of it , it may also produce a well rounded personality.

59 SSW June 9, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Mr.Sharma even here in the US in schools, funding for the arts is being relentlessly reduced in order to be more career friendly (sic). Growing up in Bombay we had music lessons till the fourth standard, we had to sing anyway though most of us could not carry a tune in a bucket. It was Western music (I attended a Jesuit school) and our teacher was a tough old lady who loved dogs and children who could sing. The rest of us were tolerated and pushed to the back where we belted out choruses loudly and un-tunefully and happily. It would be nice to have music education in Indian schools. Teach children the basics of music a bit of singing some folk songs, a bit of rhythm on a simple drum, maybe play a recorder type flute (not the transverse one) before they are ten and they will be retain some interest. The teaching need not be of our art music, that can come later with individual interest.

60 Adil July 4, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Hello Subodh,

What a wonderful article and website overall. I love how you guys have put so much effort and probably have done extensive research to ensure as much accuracy in detailing the different raags and songs based on those raags.
I am coming to you after my search for the raags used in songs like “ye kahan aagaye hum” from Silsila and “tere mast mast do nain” proved fruitless. Both songs sound like they are from a similar raag, but I have not been able to find out which raag it is. Your guidance will be highly appreciated.
Thank you and keep up this great work.

61 A . N. GANDHE July 7, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Wonder full and lot of information about ragas. Thank you very much.
I would like to know Guide songs were based on which Raga?

62 O.P.Rajput July 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Hello Mr. Adil,

Refur comments at 259.

Being just a novice in the field of raag identification, I enjoy making wild guesses. To me both the songs listed by you sound to me in raag Jaunpuri. Experts please correct me. I wonder why there are no guesses even after 11 days. My wild guess is just meant to push the discussion a bit forward.

63 Ashwin Bhandarkar July 16, 2015 at 12:58 am


I am no expert but let me take the bait.

My qualified answer would be that the raga that is closest to the major portions of the tunes of these songs is Jhinjhoti. At the same time, it seems to me that the first song has a higher degree of Jhinjhotiness to it. For example, the tune for the ‘aa gaye hum, mere saath saath chalke’ portion is a very typical Jhinjhoti phrase. A more detailed and precise dissection/analysis of the songs would require more time and energy to be expended, but I guess hair-splitting to this degree is not really required, hence I rest the matter here with a request to the raga-cognoscenti to corroborate/refute my opinion.

64 Subodh Agrawal July 22, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Hello Mr Adil, Mr Gandhe, Mr Rajput, Mr Bhandarkar. I had limited net access for the past three weeks, hence this delayed response.

I would go with Mr Bhandarkar on ‘Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum’ with the addition that I hear a touch of Kalawati too in this song.

As for ‘Guide’, ‘Mose chhal kiye jaye’ is Jhijhoti while ‘Piya tose naina’ is Khamaj. Both are closely related.

Thanks for your participation and appreciation.

65 BRIJ MADAN July 28, 2015 at 12:46 am

Please ad to this fine collection of classical songs from fils:
PEE BHIN SOONA RI. By Manna Dey and Lata.

66 Subodh Agrawal July 28, 2015 at 7:48 am

Welcome Mr Madan. ‘Pee bin soona re’ is part of a four part ragamalika from the 1953 film Hamdard set to music by the great Anil Biswas. It starts with Gaud Sarang followed by Gaud Malhar. ‘Pee bin soona re’ itself is in Jogiya and the last part is in Bahar.

This song has figured earlier in one of my posts ‘The Romantic Quartet’

67 Naresh Shah August 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Totally a newcomer to this site but enjoyed a lot compositions on various ragas. I really liked the one by Ustad Sayeeuddin Dagar -Raag bhopali and one by Kishori Amonkar- Sahela re.. Could not follow which Raag this was based on but hats off to the compiler and contributors… Valuable treasure.

68 D P Rangan August 7, 2015 at 6:31 am

I have heard Sudhir Phadke himself stating that Jyoti Kalash from Bhabhi ki Chudiyan was set by him in the Raga Deshkar. He sang this piece also. You have mentioned it as Bhupali. Clarification will be appreciated.

69 Subodh Agrawal August 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Dear Mr Rangan

Frankly I don’t know Deshkar well enough to say anything authoritatively on this point. I was not aware of what Sudhir Phadke himself has said. Of the two most reliable references on the internet lists ‘Jyoti kalash’ as Bhupali, while says it traverses the borderline between the two. One would have to have a very fine and trained ear to distinguish between not two but three ragas Bhupali, Deshkar and Jayatkalyan in the limited space provided by a five note scale. To my semi-trained ears the song sounds a lot more like Bhupali than Deshkar. Most performances in Deshkar, at least the ones I have heard, use very limited movements – maybe in their anxiety to keep it clear of Bhupali. Performances in Bhupali on the other hand, are more relaxed and freely use embellishments and grace notes to create a joyous mood. On this count also the song is closer to Bhupali. A lot of references on the net list it as Bhupali-Deshkar.

70 AVINASH September 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm

Dear Sir,
Please tell me the name of Raga on which the song ‘CHHOTI SI KAHANI SE ‘ from film Izzazat is based.

71 Subodh Agrawal September 14, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Dear Avinash

Welcome to Songs of Yore. Sorry to disappoint you but I am unable to any thing about the song you mentioned. Given the vast range of ragas, every piece of music can be said to be based on some raga or other, but this one doesn’t seem to fit into any of the ragas I know. The development too is not in semi-classical style. Let’s hope someone more knowledgeable than me notices this comment and helps.

72 Bhargav September 14, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Dear Avinash

Thats based on Raag Pahadi.

73 Subodh Agrawal September 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Mr Bhargav

Thanks a lot. Yes, it could be based on Pahadi.

74 SSW September 14, 2015 at 5:24 pm

You think so Subodh? To me it does not even come close to the way Pahadi is to be played. I don’t think its based on any raga. It is just a standard major scale composition with a few incidentals thrown in.

75 Subodh Agrawal September 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

SSW, the song does not follow the established movement of Pahadi. But that is true of many other ‘raga’ based songs from films. The raga that comes closest to the mood of this song could well be Pahadi. As I mentioned in the beginning of my earlier comment, every musical composition could be stretched to fit some raga or the other. Normally the moniker ‘Classical song’ would be reserved for those which are reasonably faithful to one of the established ragas. This one does not fall in that category.

76 SSW September 14, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Subodh , I get what you are trying to say but I think in an opposite way which is why I have a problem with people trying to find a raga in songs. A raga as we know is not a scale , it is a usage of notes in specific scale in a particular way. If we look at the scale and say it is a particular raga it does not make it so especially if the scale is used in non traditional way.
So in agreement with you this does not sound like a traditional Pahadi treatment so it does not evoke Pahadi to me. RD is probably the only person who could have answered this and he is gone, so the rest is speculation.

77 Madhu February 5, 2016 at 9:45 am

Your blog is excellent. I learn a lot from it.
Can you please tell me on which raga the song “Ja Main Tose Nahin Bolun” from Sautela Bhai is based?


78 Yeshwant Kelkar March 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm

I am on the lookout for a site which will give me the raga on which a particular chosen film song is based. I know the list of hindi film songs based on ragas. This does not always help.

79 AK March 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Yeshwant Kelkar,
Welcome to SoY. I know those Indices contain a limited number of songs. Subodh and other knowledgeable people at SoY can at times reply to your query. But the most comprehensive work in this field is being done by Mr KL Pandey, which is going to be published as ‘Hindi Cinesangeet Ragopedia’ in 7 volumes. His own blog/site seems to be dormant. There is a good introduction to his work is here.

80 Yeshwant Kelkar March 24, 2016 at 9:49 am

Thank you for redirecting me to Mr Pandey’s blog which has many interesting labels. I will approach Subodh and others with my specific queries. I am happy in joining SoY.

81 Farooq Khan May 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Hi Mr. Agarwal Ji, do you have any personal email ID and if you dont mind to send me through email so, I could be able to discuss something personally. Thanks

82 AK May 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm

Farooq Khan,
Welcome to SoY. I have sent a mil to you.

83 D P Rangan May 28, 2016 at 9:04 pm


Regarding your query, I think the song is based on the raag Bahar. Confirmation has to come from Mr. Subodh or AK who is also fairly conversant with ragas.

84 Rajeev August 25, 2016 at 10:50 am

Excellent information, thanks, I think ragas were used beautifully by our composers in the past. When we talk of Bhairav, I find bachpan ki mohobbat ko dil se na juda karna from Baiju bawra as an excellent match

85 SSW August 25, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Rajeev “Bachpan ki mohobbat ko” is not in Bhairav, it is in Maand.

86 SSW August 25, 2016 at 7:03 pm

You were probably thinking of “Mohe bhool gaye saanwariya”, that is in Bhairav

87 Subodh Agrawal August 29, 2016 at 11:40 am

Madhu, the song ‘Jaa main to se nahin bolun’ is clearly a mix of ragas. The mukhda is in some raga of the Kanada family, though neither Darbari nor Adana. It could be one of Nayaki, Nayaki Kanada, Suha or Sughrai. I can’t tell them apart. The stanza makes an abrupt shift to something from the Bilawal family that I can’t place more precisely.

Sorry for the late response. Something seems to have gone wrong with the email alerts, I didn’t receive one.

88 Subodh Agrawal August 29, 2016 at 11:45 am

This short piece in Suha-Sughrai does sound a lot like ‘Jaa main to se nahin bolun.’

89 RSR September 22, 2016 at 4:15 pm

Man Mohana in Seema is a gem. About Hamsadhvani…..I think, this duet by Lata and Asha is in that ragam. Film Sharadha. Music by C.Ramachandra. Subodhji, the BEST period of Hindi Film music was between 1947 and 1957. ( It is no mere coincidence that it also corresponds to the early period of Lata. She indirectly inspired music directors like C.Ramachandra, Naushad, Madan Mohan ,Sjhankar-Jaikishen and Ravi Shankar to create great songs based on classical Hindusthani ragams. I have concentrated on Lata songs only because she is the most beloved of singers for Madrasi listeners of yore!…..Subodhji is requested to give tentative ragams of the songs in the page of mine

90 RSR September 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Gaud Malhar has two famous songs that sound practically the same – Garjat barsat saawan aayo re from Barsaat ki Raat,. GREAT SONG. I understand that there was an earlier version ,exactly same, but sung by Latha Mangeshkar.. Any clue?

91 Subodh Agrawal September 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

RSR, ‘O chand jahon wo jayen’ is a real gem. The instrumental interludes do sound a lot like Hamsadhwani, but the voice has me confused. I would need to work harder at it.

The other song practically on the same tune in Gaud Malhar is ‘Garjat barsat bheejat ayilo’ by Lata, set to music also by Roshan from Malhar (1951).

92 RSR September 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm

Subodhji, So very kind of you to have replied and sent the Latha version of Garjat Barsat .. It is a treasure. … Music has no language barriers. Though I dont know much of Hindi, it has not prevented me from cherishing so many great film songs though I dont know the lyrics nor understand them. ….Sometimes, the lyrics and video may enhance the experience. But more often, it diverts the attention from the music. As you had mentioned, the Ramarajya song in Bimplas is a wonderful creation. I too have included the song in my favourite illustration for the ragam. .In the hope that language may not deter your appreciation, I am inviting you to my beemplas page…

The first song is by N.C.Vasanthakokilam. …Then I have given very popular song by Mani Iyer and then comes the star…Saraswathi Rane in RamRajya…… Could you please enlighten me about the ragam of ‘Barath Desh nari ke hum’… Was it ever given as a 78 rpm record by Salamath Ali brothers? I remember .

93 Subodh Agrawal September 23, 2016 at 7:15 am

RSR, thanks for your Bheempalas page. I enjoyed listening to Bhimapalsi with Carnatic flavour.

I haven’t been able to locate ‘Barath Desh nari ke hum’. Do you have a link?

94 Subodh Agrawal September 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm

RSR, I heard ‘Bharat ki ek sannari ki ham katha sunate hain’ after decades thanks to you. It seems to be built around Kafi, with occasional glimpses of Pilu, Bhairavi, Bhimpalasi and even Yaman.

95 RSR September 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm

Subodh-ji , Thank you very much.

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