Duets of OP Nayyar: Part 1

November 23, 2017

Guest article by Ravindra Kelkar

(SoY readers would recall that Ravindra Kelkar has been making valuable contributions on OP Nayyar through his guest articles and, thus, filling up a gap in SoY. He has contributed three articles so far: ‘Three distinct phases of OP Nayyar’; OP Nayyar-Geeta Dutt: A peerless combination’; and OP Nayyar’s influence on other music directors. As we inch towards the conclusion of the series, Mr Kelkar covers OP Nayyar’s duets in two parts. The first part is on his most conspicuous duets in which Rafi is the male voice, combining with his three most important female singers – Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum and Asha Bhosle, in chronological order.

Mr Kelkar observes OPN was among the four best music directors in composing duets. His choice of musical instruments, his rhythm and special features like either the male or the female singer entering late in the song, giving it an effect of solo, make OPN unique. The romanticism in his duets was a reflection of his fascination with women, observes Mr Kelkar. Thank you Mr Kelkar for another excellent piece. – AK)

OP NayyarI consider C Ramachandra, SD Burman, Shankar Jaikishan and OP Nayyar as the four best music directors (MDs) in composing duets. Of course, all other MDs have composed outstanding duets, but the sheer numbers and variety make these four MDs stand apart.

OP Nayyar in his film music career composed 223 duets, that is 37% of total songs. Out of these 179 are male-female duets, 25 female duets and 19 male duets. Rafi sang 136 duets and Asha Bhosle sang 137 duets. Not surprising at all since Rafi and Asha Bhosle were the main two singers for OP.

In this post, we will look at Rafi-Geeta Dutt, Rafi-Shamshad Begum and Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets. Out of the 179 male-female duets, Rafi-Asha Bhosle had 89 duets, Rafi-Geeta Dutt had 22 duets and Rafi-Shamshad Begum had 8 duets. This covers 66% of OP’s male-female duets. Majority of these are romantic duets and OP was a master at composing them.

OP was a self-made, born-romantic composer. In short, he was a natural. His romantic duets have a different charm. They are vivacious as well as soothing. They are playful as well as serene. They have ebullience as well as calmness. I think the quality of his romantic duets is a result of his romantic personality. It will be interesting to have a look at his views on romance and women. These quotes are based upon various interviews OP gave between the time period 1974 to 2007.

“I feel that God created woman and himself fell at her feet. Woman is God’s greatest creation.”

“OP Nayyar is nobody without women. Women have inspired me, helped me overcome many crises like addiction to smoking, drinking. I am ever grateful to all the women who came into my life”.

“I have always been selective and very particular about lyrics because I love poetry. Of course, I have personal fondness for romantic lyrics, so romance in my poetry was very important. The richness of the thought in the poetry of my lyric writers contributed to the making of OP Nayyar”.

“I am not a trained musician. I needed inspiration to compose which came always from women, women singers.”

I am sure many other MDs must have similarly got inspiration from women, it’s just that OP had the candour to express it openly.

These quotes aptly sum up OP’s mental make-up as far as women and romance was concerned. His fascination with women turned out to be his strength in composing such wonderfully romantic duets. However, the same strength turned out to be his weakness in his family life.

So, let’s first listen to Rafi-Geeta Dutt duets since it all started from here.

Rafi-Geeta Dutt duets

OP composed 22 duets for Rafi-Geeta Dutt. Their association started with the three highly entertaining and popular Aar Paar duets. These three are iconic in the sense that they became trendsetter. They had bounce, they had verve, they had freshness and represented carefree spirit. They created a template which was repeated successfully by OP and other MDs over the next many years. All the Rafi-Geeta Dutt duets are gems and could easily be expanded as a separate post.

Here I present five songs.

1. Udhar tum haseen ho from Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955), lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri

The humming of Rafi at the start is inspired by the song “Some Sunday Morning” from film San Antonio (1945). This composition is in Major Scale, OP’s favorite scale and is full of melody and romance presented in unique OP style. The mukhda is in waltz rhythm with castanets; the rhythm changes for stanza to dholak/tabla and again goes back to waltz/castanets. These variations ensure the liveliness of the tune and keep the listener interested. Please note how each and every piece of the orchestration is audible with the exact effect. The recordists used to complement OP for sharp ear and attention he used to pay during the process of recording and balancing.

2. Aankon hi ankhon mein ishara ho gaya from CID (1956), lyrics by Jaan Nisar Akhtar

This song is a true representation of the OP style prevalent in that period, four short stanzas squeezed with rhythm variations so that the song does not become dull. Sarangi piece (in combination with cello) by Pandit Ramnarayan is beautiful. Here Rafi sings mukhda and Geeta Dutt sings stanza. Dev Anand is trying to woo Shakila and finally succeeds in the end, hence Geeta Dutt sings the mukhda at the end of the song. There is only high-pitched single flute in the background playing the role of seconds, but the way the song is recorded one can hear it with clarity and it successfully catches your attention. In this as well as the previous song, the smooth change over from Rafi to Geeta Dutt and back to Rafi is done so effortlessly; in computer parlance, it’s called seamless integration.

3. Jahan jahan khayal jaata hai from Bade Sarkaar (1957), lyrics by Sahir Ludhiyanvi

OP used to jokingly refer to this film as Budhe Sarkar, since the leading pair Kishore Sahu and Kamini Kaushal were a bit old. The film was made under the banner of Filmistan, was directed by Kishore Sahu and had just four songs. This particular song is a very lively one. Starts with typical clarinet/flute/violin combo piece played in cut notes, accompanied by double bass and Chinese box. The use of vibraphone also stands out. The breezy intro piece sets the mood of the song beautifully. One of the rare OP duets where the male and female singers sing in tandem. One can literally count such OP duets on fingers of one hand.

4. Tum jo huye mere humsafar from 12 O’Clock (1958), lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri

This is my number one Rafi-Geeta Dutt song. For a change, OP has maintained the same waltz rhythm throughout the song. Notice how Geeta Dutt has sung the word “jal” in the “Lakhon diye mere pyar ki raahon me jal gaye”. The structure of the song, right from the intro piece to the humming in the end piece is very well crafted. The cut notes of clarinet/flute piece catch your attention without fail. A wonderful song, guaranteed to make you happy. It has two stanzas. A peculiar thing about this song is that the stanzas are interchanged in the 78 rpm record and the video. The 2nd stanza in 78 rpm record appears as 1st stanza in the video and the 1st stanza in the 78 rpm record appears as 2nd stanza in the video. Guru Dutt looks so dashingly handsome!!

5. Yahan hum wahan tum mera dil hua hai gum from Shrimati 420 (1956), lyrics by Jaan Nisar Akhtar

This is a very playful song. The interplay between Rafi and Geeta Dutt is excellent and this template was set by the success of Aar Paar duets sung by these two singers. The interludes are based on a single instrument. I don’t know the name of the instrument. The movie is not available on DVD, so no way to know who enacted the song on the screen. However, from the words one can safely bet that the male part is lisped by Johnny Walker!!

Rafi-Shamshad Begum Duets

I post here one of the 8 duets sung by this pair.

6. Main jaan gayi tujhe saiyaan from Howrah Bridge (1958), lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri

This is one of the two songs picturized on comedian Sunder and Kammo in this film. This is a high voltage song. Every time I hear it, it fills me with enormous energy. The interlude music is exclusively based upon clarinet/flute/violin with castanets and double bass. Mukhada and stanza have typical Punjabi dholak rhythm. As contrast to Aankho hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya, here Shamshad Begum sings the mukhda and Rafi sings the stanza. Both Rafi and Shamshad Begum have sung this song with great gusto and energy.

Now let us come to Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets

As stated earlier, they sang together 89 duets. Surprisingly, the first duet they sang was in OP’s 11th film in Sabse Bada Rupaiya (1955)!! However, after the success of Naya Daur (1957), it became apparent that Asha Bhosle and Rafi were going to be the main singers for OP. The quality of Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets is such that we can easily have a couple of separate posts. Let us here listen to 9 duets. All the songs selected here belong to OP’s third phase, that is from Ek Musafir EK Hasina (1962) onwards. In all these songs, you feel that Asha Bhosle’s singing is indispensable. In the earlier Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets, you get a feeling that they could very well have been sung by Geeta Dutt or Shamshad Begum without diluting the quality of the end product. Like most of his contemporaries he had perfect understanding about the ability of his singers regarding their range and limitations and invariably he created the tunes to suit them so that they were not overstretched and made to sing beyond their comfort zone. The way OP exploited the full range of Rafi and Asha Bhosle’s vocals in this phase has no parallels, he set a very high benchmark for others to attain. The compositions he created in this phase were critically acclaimed by connoisseurs. The crucial contribution by Asha Bhosle along with Rafi needs to be acknowledged here which enabled OP to achieve the high quality. No longer could OP’s compositions be dismissed as “highly westernized hybrid style of scoring”.

7. Main pyar ka rahi hoon from Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962), lyrics by Raja Mehedi Ali Khan

This is a Raag Kirwani based composition in minor scale. The rhythm is based upon soft double bass and Spanish guitar. This composition has sudden jumps and troughs. Excellent interplay between Rafi and Asha. The effect is magical. The throw of words is typical OP Nayyar. Another great example of minimal orchestration with optimum effect. Manohari Singh on saxophone catches your attention. It seems that this song was not picturized.


8. Aap yun hi agar hum se milte rahe from Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962), lyrics by Raja Mehedi Ali Khan

This is a Raag Kedar based composition. Kedar was one of OP’s favourite ragas along with Piloo. You have all the Indian classical instruments used in this song. The Rafi, Asha Bhosle aalaps are superb. The stress on rhythm is still there, but melody is also given equal importance. This is an ideal example of the use sarangi by OP as a romantic instrument. The lyrics are so simple that they apply to the common man.

9. Diwana hua baadal from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), lyrics by SH Bihari

Everything about this song is perfect. The intro piece, the end piece, the interludes, the soft rhythm and sensational singing by Rafi and Asha. This is based upon Raag Malgunji. The same film had boisterous Tareef karoon kya uski, Subhan Allah, Hai re hai and Isharon isharon mein. What variety!!! Again, make note of the presence of all Indian classical instruments. In this duet, Asha Bhosle enters into the song in the 2nd stanza, till that time you keep on thinking that this is a solo song. Many of OP’s duets have this characteristic, where the male part or female part enters late and converts the song into a duet. OP was really a king of duets. There is a natural attraction between male and female as well contrast and OP understood this perfectly. OP was a master in using the masculinity in man and the feminism in woman to achieve lively romanticism in his duets. This duet is a prime example of it. Some years back a survey was conducted on Facebook about selecting the best duet ever, by any composer during the period 1950-1970. This song was the winner.

10. Ishaaron ishaaron mein dil lene waale from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), lyrics by SH Bihari

This is based on Raag Pahadi. The highlight of this superb song is the outstanding throw of words, beautiful Sitar interludes played by Rais Khan in typical OP fashion and wonderful poetry. Shammi and Sharmila create sheer romance on the screen!!

11. Hum ne to dil ko aap ke kadamon pe rakh diya from Mere Sanam (1965), lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri

This is again based on Raag Pahadi. This is another duet which probably was never picturized. Another gem of a duet. The song starts with a solo violin piece played by Jerry Fernandez. The 3-4 beats waltz rhythm is played by drum brush and Spanish guitar. Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma played the santoor in this song. He says about this song, “OP used a new instrument called ‘Tadit Been’ meaning electric bean. This was invented by Dakshina Mohan Tagore who was a prominent taar-shehnai player. It was similar to sur-bahar. It consisted of bass-sitar connected electronically to the mike. In the interlude of this song it’s played with santoor as a sort of a dialogue between two parties. This is an excellent example of OP’s creativity and I doubt if anybody else has used this instrument in such an effective way”. Please make a special note of the feelings expressed by Rafi while singing the word “Hum ne”. Sheer bliss!

12. Aji paheli mulaquaat mein from Do Dilon Ki Dastan (1966), lyrics by Raja Mehedi Ali Khan

This is a fast-paced tonga song. This was Pradeep Kumar Productions film. The video of this film is not available. But one can presume that it was picturised on Pradeep Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. This picture was delayed and finally released in 1966. Rafi and Asha Bhosle here are competing with each other about who will steal the show. While listening to Rafi-Geeta Dutt or Rafi-Shamshad Begum duets you don’t get this feeling. There is perfect harmony, where both the singers are just cooperating with each other to produce the best possible output. But with Rafi-Asha Bhosle you get this impression of a healthy rivalry between the two. The beautiful aalaps by Rafi and Asha Bhosle in the interludes, the cut notes of clarinet/flute, the fast-paced beats, the flute interlude, and the sarangi in the background all contribute to make this a memorable song. The three and half minutes of the song go like a breeze. It grips from beginning to end.

13. Hothon pe haseen from Sawan Ki Ghata (1966), lyrics by SH Bihari

This a Raag Piloo based composition. This is another melodious song full of romance. The feelings expressed by the singers along with sarangi, sitar, guitar interludes uplift the level of the composition. The interludes of sitar and sarangi are so beautiful that they become part of the singing itself. If you take out any one piece from the song, the song will be incomplete. Another example where Rafi enters late in the 2nd stanza to make it a duet. This song was not included in the movie, no idea why. This is the third Rafi-Asha Bhosle song not included in the movie. All the three songs belong to all-time great OP duets but we don’t get to watch them on screen. Such a pity!!

14. Phir miloge kabhi from Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966), lyrics by SH Bihari

This is based on Raag Yaman. This song starts with a sort of jugalbandi/interplay between sitar and sarod. Sitar is played by Ustad Rais Khan and sarod by Zarin Daruwala. Then there is a vibraphone piece and the proper song starts. The singing is in Punjabi Style. This style was something OP was born with. It mainly means use of the same notes in “Tivra” as well as “Komal” tone, one after another. This creates some unexpected twists in the song. It always keeps the listener interested. Another speciality of an OP composition is playing with the rhythm and unique throw of words, full of expressions. In this song again you find that Asha Bhosle enters very late, in the second stanza. Also try to listen to Rafi singing the words “Phir miloge” and “Wada kar do” with matchless expression. This song has excellent interludes of sarangi, taar-shehnai, flute and santoor. This is in addition to the intro jugalbandi between sitar and sarod. In this phase of OP’s career, the way OP used the Indian classical instruments is matchless. It seems as if the instruments are asking OP “What should I play for you?”. It will be quite interesting to find compositions from other MDs where in a single song we have all these Indian classical instruments. That too used in such a distinct manner that you feel that if you take away one piece from it the song would be incomplete. On top of this, remember that OP had no formal training in Indian classical music. The most amusing aspect is that every time you asked OP “How did you compose this song?”, the standard OP reply would be “Malik ki den hai. Main kuchh nahi janata”.

15. Mujhe mera pyar de de from Humsaya (1968), lyrics by Shevan Rizvi

This has a fabulous intro and end sitar piece played by the inimitable Rais Khan. OP held Rais Khan in a high esteem. All the classical instrumental pieces were composed by OP himself. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma says “OP himself would compose all the pieces and then ask his arranger to make cords. If I asked him “In which scale should I tune the instrument?”, he would reply “I don’t know Sa Re Ga Ma. I will play the tune on the harmonium, then you decide if it’s Shuddha or Komal. I get inspiration and the compositions just happen through me. It’s God’s gift to me”. He would candidly admit “I don’t know”. No pretensions like I learnt this from Ustad ‘X’, or Ustad ‘Y’. This means that he was a natural, a born composer in true sense”. If you minutely listen to sitar pieces in OP’s songs, the way they are played by Rais Khan, it has an OP stamp all the way. It was said that Humsaya ran into trouble with censors, also the leading heroines Sharmila Tagore and Mala Sinha had tiffs and the producer Joy Mukherjee (who directed the film as well) had a tough time. In this song, the censors asked Joy Mukherjee to cut the first part of the song Tera shukriya ke tune gale phir laga liya hai. Due to this, the song needs to be heard (and not seen) to soak in the full magical effect of the song.

1. O.P. Nayyar Kya Baat Hai Is Jadugar ki, a coffee-able book by Sateesh Paknikar. The comments from Pt. Shivkumar Sharma are from this book.
2. The Legendary O.P. Nayyar by Vishwas Nerurkar
3. O.P. Nayyar King of Melody by Lata Jagtiani

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anu Warrier November 23, 2017 at 9:58 am

What lovely songs! Thanks, Ravindra. I shall listen to each and everyone of them tomorrow.

2 Mehfil Mein Meri November 23, 2017 at 10:13 am

Kelkarji & Ak ji,
Very nice, informative and well designed article.
Congrats and thanks for it!
The commentary on the songs is just full of Raagas, instruments, and other valuable info.
For a zero classical knowledge person like me, it’s a treasure of gems.
I may add a few songs…
1. Thoda sa dil laga ke dekh from musafirkhana
I like the song a lot, mainnly for Shamshad. SHe has sung it so wonderfully! The interlude music is also amazing. You may tell me the instrument played in that interlude?

2. Jane jigar yunhi agar from Mujrim.
This is another melodious song by asha-rafi.

I will add some more songs later.

3 Subodh Agrawal November 23, 2017 at 10:35 am

Thanks Ravindra Kelkar for this wonderful post. Most of the songs are familiar, but there are a couple of forgotten and never heard before gems. My favourites are ‘Tum jo hue mere hamsafar’, ‘Aankhon hi aankhon mein’ and ‘Diwana hua baadal’. The signature lilt of OPN is heard most clearly in the songs of ‘Sawan Ki Ghata’.

Eagerly waiting now for the second installment.

4 ksbhatia November 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Ravindra Kelkar ji ;

Thanks for the Rainbow of songs and that too in December !! Enjoying each duet…..some revisting for that extra rhythm and dholak beats beside Waltz…..my fav. You really picked the perfect duets as gifts to SoY awaiting New Year eagerly…..and I suppose the second part is going to be as good as this one.

Your attention to details has made me SEE the songs too. OPN really occupy a different and unique pedestal as far as orchestra is concerned. This is the reason where his songs are easily recognised with the first ball bowled to the batsman [ listener].

Well there are a few more late entry second singer duet songs . The two that immediately comes in my mind are ….Dekho kasam se …from Tumsa nahin dekha…and …Haath aiya hai …Asha , MK duet from Dil aur Mohabbat .

Now a duet song where Rafi just make humming in a way that no one else could do ; specially when picturised on Johny walker .

Thodasa dil lagake dekh… Shamshad, Rafi…Musafir Khaana


…..will be back again.

5 mumbaikar8 November 23, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
I reiterate that due to your articles I appreciate and enjoy OP far more than I ever did.
I would copy and paste Anup’s (MMM) view on your comments.
I am uploading my other favorite Rafi Asha duet
Rais Khan’s sitar? Another example of minimal orchestration with optimum effect?
Would request you to add your informative comment to it.
Zulf Ki Chhaon Mein – Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhonsle

6 Arun Kadekodi November 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm


Wonderful write-up! The selection of songs – absolutely marvelous! My personal favourite, as you know, is ‘Hum ne to dil ko aap ke qadmon mein rakh diya’. The sarangi piece really gets you!!

I am sure I would be listening to these songs over and over again!

– Arun

7 ksbhatia November 23, 2017 at 11:33 pm

Ms. Mumbaikar 8 ; @5

I was surprised how this beautiful duet was not included in the movie at its first release . The song probably got added on demand after two or three weeks .

The song reminds me of OPN class composition…..Main soya akhian meeche…from Phagun . Truly those were the times when melody was queen and lyrics were romantic ; that contained short simple words ; conveying the maximum meaning . Over and above the act and expressions were treat for the music lovers.


8 Ravindra Kelkar November 23, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Anu ji #1,
Thanks for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the songs.

9 Ravindra Kelkar November 23, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Mehfil Mein Meri #2,
Thanks for your appreciation.
The Musafirkhana song is absolutely wonderful and full of energy. The interlude music is mainly electric guitar played by Hazara Sing, with Rafi singing in tandem.
The interlude music of the fabulous Mujrim song is also electric guitar accompanied by castanets and double base.

10 Ravindra Kelkar November 23, 2017 at 11:46 pm

Subodh Agarwal # 3,
Thanks for your generous words. I hope you will like part 2 also.

11 Ravindra Kelkar November 23, 2017 at 11:53 pm

ksbhatiya ji #4,
Thanks for your appreciation. Yes OP’s duets are heavenly. You are right there are a few more duets where the male or female singer enters late in the song.

12 Ravindra Kelkar November 24, 2017 at 12:14 am

mumbaikar8 #5,
Thanks for your praise. I am glad you are discovering some new elements/aspects in OP’s compositions.
The Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon duet is very romantic and melodious. The interlude music consists of a very short Santoor piece played by Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, it’s not Sitar by Rais Khan. It’s another example of OP’s ability to draw the best from Rafi(masculine aspect) and Asha (feminine aspect). In the movie, there is a Shayari contest going on between the heroine and hero in playful fashion. So keeping this in mind, OP has composed the song with minimal orchestration and a simple tune to express the words of Shayari in Tarannum. The end result is highly effective and soothing.

13 Pankaj Kulkarni November 24, 2017 at 2:10 am

Very nice and thanks so much

14 Virendra shah November 24, 2017 at 8:10 am

It’s lovely studied dedicated to OPN & his lovers.. Ravindra it also speaks your fascination for indian musical intricacies.. Salute.. Keep it on and share it always..
Virendra Shah

15 mumbaikar8 November 24, 2017 at 8:36 am

Ksbhatiaji @7
I think the exclusion could probably the strategy,
to include it later as added attraction for repeat audience.
Ravindra Kelkar,
Duh me! I should have distinguished between Sitar and Santoor.
I loved Shiv Kumar Sharma’s recital at Doordarshan in 70’s and his
Jugalbadi with Zakir Hussain was BLISS

16 Jignesh Kotadia November 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

Superb series on OPN Kelkarji,
what do i say about OPN music ! It is literally Euphoria !
At any hour of day, any hour of night, at any kind of mood, in distress in anxiety in elation in romance in humdrum , you can listen OPN and feel joy, wellbeing and positiveness !!
Hum ne to dil ko aap ke heard first time, what a gem !!

17 Mehfil Mein Meri November 24, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Hi all,
want to add a few songs, All Asha-Rafi duets.
Majority from pre1960s…….

1. Main Dhoondati Hoon – Shrimatiji 1956

2. Yeh Raat Ashiqana- Naya Andaz
picturised on johny walker, kumkum
Here i could identify piano in the interlude, now i have started listening to the songs from the instrument point of view.
It’s not that I can identify many, but piano, flute, sitar etc are oh with me.

3. Chori chori ek ishara & Ratse mein ek hansi from basant 1960
this film had 6-7 asha-rafi duets.


4.O Mr benjo from Hum sab chor hai
I like o mr banjo very much.

5.Main to banke nainon wali- choo mantar

now one song from post 60s- the period in your post.

6. Suno suno miss chaterji from baharen phir bhi aayegi 1966

I hope all of you like the songs

18 SSW November 25, 2017 at 12:35 am

Nice songs Mr.Kelkar. The instrument in “Yahan hum wahan tum mera..” seems to be an electronic keyboard possibly a Univox or even a Clavioline .
If I may point out that the song “Udhar tum haseen ho” keeps the same rhythm throughout even in the antara where the dholak comes in. It is still in triple metre or what people call the waltz rhythm. OP used the triple metre in a lot of his songs. He seemed to favour either his polka based 2/4 rhythms for many of his songs (particularly the tonga songs) or the triple metre. In your selection other than the ones you have mentioned based on the waltz both “Isharon Isharon mein”, and “Phir miloge kabhi” are also based on triple metre.

19 D P Rangan November 25, 2017 at 1:34 pm

What an absorbing post on the various facets of OPN. You seem to have been at an arm shake distance from him if the details you have revealed are any indicator. You are nulli secundus on these matters. I will classify any post of yours as ars gratia artis. They also possess je ne sais quoi. On other aspects as songs experts in the field have had their say and am awaiting with impatience for the next part.

20 Hemant Paknikar November 25, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Dear Ravindraji,
Very interesting musical treat for song-lovers !
Selected songs are full of freshness and epitome of OPN’s music .
OPN’s subtle understanding of coupledom ( Actually coined word “couple-ness” was more apt ,which was inspired from Marathi word “Doghulepan” !) resulted in such romantic songs .These songs are “communicative” .
You have mentioned names of few ragas while discussing those songs .But let me say few things.
I think OPN’s compositional approach was totally different. He gave primacy to Feelings of the song, its articulation ,situation and singers and Raag, That, major/minor scale , Taal etc were subservient.
To illustrate my point consider “Diwana hua badal….”. The poetry “Tinke kee tarah main bah nikalee .. sailab(flood) mere roke na ruka “ was converted into articulation of this song. “uncontrolled state of mind or flow “ was vividly transformed into music.(Only for juxtaposition and not to criticize MD Naushad,consider “Dil-ae betaab ko sine se lagana hoga” . Here primacy is given to Raag Yaman and “Dil ae Betaab “ was not given its own articulation ! “Dil ae Betaab”–uncontrolled mind ) .
The traditional connoisseurs satisfy themselves when they identify Raag, or traditional bandish (composition) on which a song is based ,how liberty is taken from Raag etc. If these traditional connoisseurs pay attention to abovementioned aspects of a composition they will start appreciating compositional skills of OPN.[and other MDs too ] .
Ravindraji, You are right about OPN’s creative use of musical instruments in the songs.
Reason: Most of the times all solo pieces were composed by Nayyarsaab himself .
I will quote Pandit Shivkumar Sharma verbatim from his interview —“ek practice thee .. when we play for film… we ask the composer or arranger …. kya pitch hai ? kounsa scale tune karana hain ? … to maine Nayyarsaab ko pucha because most of the time… most of the pieces ….solo pieces…..were not composed by Sabastian ( OPN’s Arranger/assistant ) .. they were composed by Nayyarsaab himself. Sitar sarangee, santoor flut ….. then he would ask Sabstian to put chords on these notes. But he would composed himself …” [reiterated stress on” himself” !]
So obviously all those solo pieces have stamp of OPN as he was not “outsourcing “ this compositional work to others !!
Having such uniqueness of style and method of work, OPN unsettled pricing of Music directors fee structure around 1958.

21 Ravindra Kelkar November 25, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Arun #6,
Thanks for your kind words.

22 Ravindra Kelkar November 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

Pankaj Kulkarni #13,
Thanks for liking the post.

Virendra Shah #14,
Thanks for your appreciation.

23 Ravindra Kelkar November 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Jignesh #16,
Thanks for your praise. I fully endorse your views about the positive effect OP’s compositions have after listening to them.

24 KB November 25, 2017 at 8:42 pm

It is very good selection! Now if a collection of duets of other male singers tuned by OP is brought about (although not very many ) then it will be a further treat.

25 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 12:04 am

SSW #18,
Thanks for the information. You are quite right in your observations about OP’s favourite rhythms.

26 ksbhatia November 26, 2017 at 1:06 am

Beside his four instruments for use of which OPN was famous , another instrument which he used in urban set up songs is hawaiian steel slide guitar . Here is one of the early film song from Jhonny Walker …..

Bach ke balam chal…..Rafi , Geeta…


27 Jignesh Kotadia November 26, 2017 at 6:32 am

“……maine dil ke tukde chunkar naya dil bana liya hai…jahan khaak udd rahi thi wahin ghar bana liya hai … aaah kya baat hai, at the very opening of my eyes i am listening Mujhe mera pyar de de, tujhe aazma liya hai, teri wafa ke aage maine sar jhuka liya hai.
..and the sitaar pieces at the conclusion..oohh sheer bliss !!! an OPN melody in the morning always makes my day..how much melodic load these guys of golden era had been carrying !

28 Giri November 26, 2017 at 1:07 pm

It was a trip down the melody(memory) lane with most of my favourite duets by OPN figuring in your list. What a great natural composer!
Thank you Ravindra Kelkar.
I appreciate your mentioning the names of the main instrumentalists. Generally this information is not available to lay persons like me.They have given so much enjoyment.
I notice almost all the duets in this post are “happy” ones. Has OPN given “sad” duets too?
I am waiting for the second part, which I am sure, will feature duets of Mahendra Kapoor and others.

29 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 4:09 pm

SSW #18,
Thanks for your information and interesting observations,

DP Ragan Ji #19,
Thanks for your exuberant praise. I don’t know if I deserve it.

30 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Hemant Paknikar #20,
Thanks for the appreciation. Since OP had no formal training, OP composed songs without thinking of any Raaga. So, I agree with your observation. This means the end result of a song having shades of a particular Raaga happened on its own and not by design!!
Also, OP always gave tremendous importance to the perfection of words in his song. I remember hearing an audio interview of SH Bihari (available on Youtube) in which he mentions that he reworked on the lyrics of the song-‘Tumhari Mulaquaat Se'” from Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (1966)- more than 100 times before OP okayed it. So there are many songs of OP where throw of the words or expressions put in singing the word/phrase are unique.

31 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm

KB ji #24,
Duets with other combinations will be covered in part 2.

32 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 4:44 pm

ksbhatiya ji #26
You are right. Hawaiin guitar was one of his favourite instruments. The first time he used it was in “Mohabbat Kar Lo Jee Bhar Lo’ in Aarpaar. In my estimate he has used it in at least 20 songs. Mostly, he used it to depict the waves of the water!!!So many of the songs having this instrument used were picturised with background of water(lake, or river or sea shore or swimming pool, etc). Actually, there can be a separate post on this!!!!

33 Ravindra Kelkar November 26, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Giri Ji #28,
Thanks for your appreciation.
OP composed very few sad duets, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The most prominent being ‘Tum Rooth Ke Mat Jaana” from Phagun.

34 ksbhatia November 26, 2017 at 11:38 pm

Ravindra Kelkar ji @32 ;

A mini post with sub head as …..Hawaiian guitar , sarangi , Piano accordion , flute etc. can be thought of .

Meanwhile here is a gem of a song , which some how got hidden behind the popular songs that we all know about . Listen to the rhythm and the flow of the melody with interludes punctuated by beautiful sarangi enhancing the romance as it proceeds . Simple beautiful romantic lyrics takes you along . I think Ms. Mumbaikar and Jignesh will surly like this beautiful duet of Rafi and Asha from ….Baharen Phir Bhi aayengi .

Dil to pahlehi se Madhosh……


35 Ashok M Vaishnav November 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

The way Ravindra Kelkar passionately puts across OPN, many who might have been feeling guilty for having liked his style would feel vindicated – that includes me, as well.
Aji Pehli Mulaqat me was great refresher. The taan in the end is simply out-of-the world.
Out of the the total 223 duets, other-than-Rafi duets, works out a number of 97 duets. That should give something like 40+ other-than-Rafi MF duets.
So awaiting Part 2 would be even more interesting.
I request Ravindraji to cover MM and FF duets under very separate posts.

36 Ravindra Kelkar November 28, 2017 at 11:38 am

Ashok M Vaishnav Ji #35,
Thanks for your comments. I agree with your sentiments “felling guilty about enjoying OP songs”. As I mentioned in the post there is a tendency to dismiss OP songs as “hybrid and highly westernised songs”. One has to listen to it with full attention to imbibe the intricacies and effectiveness of OPs compositions. Another point is that, accepting OP was a wonderful composer does in no way diminish the greatness of other composers like Anil Biswas, Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, C Ramchandra, SD Burman and Madan Mohan. In my view, theses 6 composers along with OP were the best in 1950-1970 time period. All were equally great, it’s matter of personal taste to have more affinity towards one or two of them and less affinity towards others. I personally enjoy all of them, though I have a special fondness to OP compositions.
In part 2, I have covered male duets and female duets in brief.

37 KB November 29, 2017 at 7:29 pm

As one of the readers pointed out there are some songs of OP which have unique mesmerizing tunes like Thodasa dil laga ke dekh(MUSAFIRKHANA ),Jaane jigar (MUJRIM),Dekho ji dekho (MAI BAAP )and Dekh ke teri nazar (HOWRAH BRIDGE ). Similarly duets from films like 12 o clock and Tumsa nahin dekha. The list is endless..

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