Wishing Happy Diwali with guest article by DP Rangan
(Readers are now used to seeing DP Rangan’s name as a guest author regularly. He can write faster than I can schedule him on SoY. At any point of time I have a couple of his articles in my mail. I admire his amazing enthusiasm. I am happy to present another well-written article by him containing some rare vintage Diwali songs – impressive for someone whose first language is not Hindi. Thank you Mr Rangan for this offering of Diwali songs. – AK)
India, that is Bharat as it was known in ancient days, is populated by heterogeneous group of people following their own religion. Many religions like Buddhism, Jainism flourished at one time or the other, but disappeared over time with very few or none practicing it today. Hinduism is the predominant religion followed by the populace right from the Punjab in the North to Kanyakumari in the South. Despite difference in language and custom in the country, the basic tenets of Hinduism have remained the same and one could perceive a tenuous link among Hindus across the country. Again Hinduism is not a religion in the strict sense of the term, but a way of life amidst its followers. The basic tenets of life, i.e. creation, maintenance and destruction, are represented by the triumvirate of Gods and their consorts in the Hindu religion and there are numerous festivals in honour of them. That way all religions of the world have their own festivals. Hindus celebrate more festivals in a year compared to other religions. The major festival among them are Deepavali and Dussera. The present blog will confine itself to discussion of Deepavali, and the manner of its celebration in the country.
Deepavali is the most important and pan-India festival in India and it occurs in the month of Kartik around Amavasya in that month. It is also celebrated with equal gusto in other parts of the world where Indians have emigrated in the past. An official holiday has been declared for this festival in some of the countries as Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Guyana. Jains celebrate this day as festival of lights in remembrance of Mahavira attaining moksha. Sikhs celebrate it as Bandi Chhor Divas and Newars, a Buddhist sect in Nepal also in memory of Ashoka embracing Buddhism.
This festival is of ancient origin and is mentioned in our puranas. The word Deepavali is derived from Sanskrit, दीप (light) and अवलि (series, line), implying it is a festival of lights. People decorate their houses, wear new clothes, place series of lights around their house, exchange sweets and condiments with relatives and friends and the younger elements explode crackers on the street. In the northern part of India, it is celebrated in the evening. In the southern part, it is an early morning festival. Hindus, whether rich or poor, celebrate this festival according to their budget.
In South India, it is just a one-day festival, starting with early morning celebrations and is known as Naraka Chaturdashi, commemorating the triumph of Lord Krishna with his consort Satyabhama over Narakasura in a battle in which the latter succumbs. In the northern part of the country, it is a 5-day festival starting with Dhanteras, worship of Goddess Lakshmi. Here is a snippet from the film Waman Avatar (1955) which brings out its features.
Narak Chaturdashi on the second day is also called Chhoti Diwali. Laxmi Puja is performed on the third day, the main day of the festival. Padwa, celebrated on the fourth day brings to the fore love and devotion between husband and wife. Bhai Duj, falling on the concluding fifth day, relates to the deep love and affection between brother and sister, akin to Raksha Bandan.
This festival and the manner of its celebration is well known to one and all and I already feel guilty of carrying coal to Newcastle in writing about it to the extent above. Film producers in Bollywood and other places also incorporated scenes depicting this festival and the film characters indulged in a bout of singing usually by the main actor with a chorus following. A few of the songs I collected are listed below for the patrons of this blog to listen to. I have a gut feeling that many may not be happy with my presentations but that is how it runs in this kind of blog where there is wide choice of songs and individual preferences vary a lot.
1. Diwali phir aa gayi sajni by Shamshad Begum and chous from Khazanchi (1942), lyrics Wali Saheb, music Ghulam Haider
Master Ghulam Haider revolutionised HFM by his innovative ways. He was the first to amalgamate classic ragas with Punjabi folk music and bring out a new genre of film music. All of his talents and music composition technique were in full flow in the first Hindi film Khazanchi made by Pancholi films in Lahore with actors as Ramola, M. Ismail, Jagirdar. Dholak was introduced as a percussion instrument in this film for the first time. There were nine songs, each having the voice of Shamshad Begum. For the singer it was a maiden venture into films from Radio singing thanks to Ghulam Haider who had a great ability to spot talents and groom them. This song is a chorus with Shamshad Begum as the lead voice. It flows through in smooth style.
2. Ghar ghar mein Diwali by Ameerbai Karnataki from Kismat (1943), lyrics Pradeep, music Anil Biswas
A Bombay Talkies movie with Ashok Kumar and Mumtaz Shanti in the main role. The song begins with a note of pathos, the heroine lamenting that her house is in darkness while the rest of the world is celebrating Deepavali. Towards the end of the song it turns into one of joy when the singer beholds her lover Ashok Kumar in the upper balcony of the theatre. The dance sequence music that follows is well composed by Anil Biswas.
3. Aayi Diwali aayi Diwali by Zohrabai Ambalewali from Rattan (1944), lyrics D N Madhok, music Naushad
A Karan Dewan starrer, it is a well known film for the excellent music given by Naushad who shot to fame after this with his distinct brand of composition. AK has written a separate post on this film’s music alone. A nice rendering by Zohrabai.
4. Aayi Diwali deepon waali by Khursheed Bano and chorus from Maharana Pratap (1946), lyrics Swami Ramanand Saraswati, music Ram Ganguly
Khursheed is obviously a main character in the film. Ishwar Lal is another mentioned. No other details are available nor a live video.
5. Aayi Diwali deep jala ja by Sitara Kanpuri and Shamshad Begum from Pugree (1948), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ghulam Mohammad
The main actors are Wasti, Shashikala, Amar, Kamini Kaushal and Gope. There is a shade of a song from Rattan, Rum jhum barase in the tune composed for this song by the M.D.
6. Diwali ki raat piya ghar aanewale hain by Suraiya from Amar Kahani (1949), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Husanlal Bhagatram
Jairaj and Suraiya play read roles along with Ranjana and Jagdish Mehta. The song is smoothly paced and quite nice to hear. Film has 9 songs – 6 by Suraiya and 3 by Geeta Dutt.
7. Aayi hai diwali by Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum & chorus from Sheesh Mahal (1950), lyrics Nazim Panipatti, music Vasant Desai
A Sohrab Modi directed film, it has other actors besides Sohrab Modi – Naseem Bano, Nigar Sultana and Pran playing their roles. The song is fast paced and smooth flowing and pleasing to hear.
8. Jagmagati Diwali by Asha Bhosle & chorus from Stage (1951), lyrics Sarshar Sailani, music Husanlal Bhagatram
Dev Anand, Ramola, Kuldip Kaur are the main actors. Asha Bhonsle has rendered it very nicely.
9. Jahan mein aayi Diwali by Lata Mangeshkar from Taj (1956), lyrics Rajendra Krishan, music Hemant Kumar
Pradeep Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Jeevan, Helen and others act in this film. Hemant Kumar has composed excellent tune and Lata Mangeshkar has as usual excelled in her singing. There are ten more songs besides this and majority are solos by Lata Mangeshkar followed by Hemant Kumar and a lone Mohammad Rafi performance.
10. Aayi Diwali aayi by Asha Bhosle & chorus from Khazanchi (1958), lyrics Rajendra Krishan, music Madan Mohan
The main actors are Balraj Sahni, Shyama, Rajendra Kumar, Chitra and Manorama. The song bears the typical Madan Mohan stamp and Asha Bhonsle has rendered it well. Deepavali celebration has been picturized in the song and Shyama shines through. There are four more solos by Asha and a duet by Asha and Rafi.
11. Lakhon tare aasman mein ek magar dhoondhe na mila by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar from Hariyali aur Rasta (1962), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan
Studded with stars as Manoj Kumar, Mala Sinha, Shashikala, this film had good songs. This duet by Shankar Jaikishan is a typical Mukesh song full of pathos. Lata Mangeshkar echoes it.
12. Diwali aayi re aay ghar ghar deep jale by Asha Bhosle & Chorus from Leader (1964), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
A Dilip Kumar Vijayantimala starrer, the storyline is about the travails of a journalist trying to track down anti-nationals and ultimately succeeding in his endeavour and also winning the love of the heroine who was initially antagonistic to him. The song is a Vijayantimala-led chorus in grandeur setting. The lyric is very brief and it is more of background music and instruments playing. It is not in the usual Naushad style.
I now conclude the post and leave it to the blog followers to carry it forward in the right direction with their learned and expert comments and songs.