Guest article by Subodh Agrawal
(Rains bring in romance in the air with their musical sound of raindrops, greenery and chirping of a variety of species which were, as if, only waiting for the monsoon. Pankaj Mullick sang in his famous ‘Ye raatein ye mausam’ thus – Ki do garm saanson ka ek saath ana/ Ye badli ka chalnaa ye boondon ki runjhun/ Ye masti ke aalam mein khoye se hum tum/ Tumhara, tumhara mere saath ye gungunana/ Mujhe, mujhe bhool jana/ Inhe na bhulana, bhulana, bhulana. But if manbhavan is away in saawan, the rains give pain as Kishori Amonkar sings ‘Barkha bairi bhayo’. Subodh explores in this post a group of four ragas – Chhayanat, Gaud Sarang, Gaud Malhar and Kamod – which characterise romance, in his by now familiar elegant style – AK)
Moonsoon has arrived after a long wait and brought with it – the season of romance immortalised in countless works of literature as well as folk, film and classical music. After toying with the idea of doing a post on Malhar and its variants I have opted to go for a group of four ragas: Chhayanat, Gaud Sarang, Gaud Malhar and Kamod, that are ideal for creating a romantic mood. There is a lot that is common between these ragas and it is easy to confuse between them – particularly for film songs as they usually don’t stay within the narrow confines of a particular raga. They also overlap with some other ragas like Hameer, Kedar, Bilawal and Bihag. My suggestion is to enjoy what is common between them without worrying too much about the finer distinctions.
What makes these ragas suitable for expression of romance is their movement. They do not follow a straight up or down movement through the scale. Instead, they weave a zigzag pattern of notes that gives them a conversational air. These ragas talk, tease and cajole. They can be playful and even naughty.
Since I am covering four ragas in one post, many excellent songs in them will have to be left out. I look forward to comments from the learned readers of SoY to make up for this deficiency. I am sure Mr Ashok Vaishnav and others will bring up many pleasant discoveries.
1. Baad muddat ke ye ghadi aayee by Mohammad Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur from Jahan Ara (1964), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music director Madan Mohan
In my earlier post on Yaman I had commented on the suitability of that raga for ghazals. Chhayanat and the other three ragas taken up here are also used extensively by composers for ghazals in films. I begin with this song from Jahan Ara by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur in Chhayanat. This song expresses the joy of meeting one’s beloved after a long time – ‘Baad muddat ke ye ghadi aayee, aap aaye to zindagi aayee ….Shukriya hai huzoor aane ka, waqt jaaga garibkhane ka.’ The beloved’s arrival has brought new life to one and better times to one’s humble abode. Madan Mohan’s music beautifully complements the lyrics of Rajinder Krishan.
2. Hum bekhudi mein tum ko pukare chale gaye by Mohammad Rafi from Kala Pani (1958), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music director S D Burman
The second song in Chhayanat has a more complicated setting. Dev Anand is looking for evidence that would clear his father of a false charge. His search takes him to Nalini Jaywant – a singer and dancer. He needs to get her on his side, and for this he decides to charm her with a masterfully rendered gazal. This song evokes the bygone era of leisure, when time flowed slowly. Rafi has all the time in the world to dwell lovingly on each note composed by S D Burman, and each word penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
3. Chanda re ja re ja re by Lata Mangeshkar from Ziddi (1948), lyrics Prem Dhavan, music director Khemchand Prakash
The third song in Chhayanat uses the full potential of this raga’s zigzag movement to tease and cajole. It is one of the early songs of Lata and the youthfulness of her voice goes well with the lighthearted, playful mood. Years later Kishore Kumar would parody this song in the delightful Ek chatur naar in Padosan.
4. Na dir deem ta na de re na by Lata Mangeshkar from Pardesi(1957), lyrics Prem Dhavan and Sardar Jafri, music director Anil Biswas
Let’s move on to Gaud Sarang. The first song of this raga chosen by me has a mood very similar to that of Chanda re. For a long time I believed both were in the same raga, until I learned more about them. Out of the four ragas taken up in this post, Gaud Sarang is the most easily identifiable, thanks to its pakad or catch phrase ‘g r m g’. You can hear it at the end of the mukhda – ‘Na dir deem, ta na de re na’. As in many other songs covered earlier on SoY, the prelude is not in the raga. We hear Gaud Sarang only when our heroine starts dancing and the sitar starts playing in the background.
5. Dekho jadu bhare more nain by Geeta Dutt from Aasman (1952), lyrics Prem Dhavan, music director O P Nayyar
The next song puzzles me. There is no dearth of songs extolling the beauty and magic of women’s eyes. But it seems our leading lady in Aasman couldn’t find a suitable male to sing praises of her eyes, and had to do it herself. Youtube doesn’t have the video from the film and we can’t say what drove the lady to this desperate measure. Maybe our hero is too dense to notice something in plain sight, unless it is pointed out to him! We can only speculate until someone finds a DVD of the movie. Meanwhile let us enjoy the audio in Geeta Dutt’s lovely voice. Once again we can hear the signature phrase of Gaud Sarang in Dekho jaadu bhare more nain.
A comment on Youtube says it is the first song from Geeta Dutt-OP Nayyar team. If it is true then it is quite a milestone. The duo would go on to create magic for many films. (PS: Could it be that Geeta Dutt chose to sing this song in praise of her own eyes? She’d be fully justified going by the photograph that appears in the video from 18 to 23 seconds.)
6. Wo dekhen to unki inayat by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle from Funtoosh (1956), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music director S D Burman
We come to the naughtiest song of this post. The theme is Kabab mein haddi. Dev Anand and Sheila Ramani are in the ideal romantic setting – a boat in the middle of a lake. Unfortunately they have to cope with the annoying presence of a cartoonish poet, who is chosen by the girl’s father – none other than the villain K N Singh – to be her future husband. The poet tries wooing the lady with a romantic Urdu couplet. Our hero dismisses the rival with a rather heavy handed parody, much to the lady’s delight. Having thus humbled the competition he sings to work his own charm on the heroine and she joins in. The signature phrase of Gaud Sarang is not so clear in this song. However, I have the backing of www.parrikar.org – my favourite reference on the net for classical music – in classifying it as such.
7. Ritu aye ritu jaye sakhi ri by Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar from Humdard (1953), lyrics Prem Dhavan, music director Anil Biswas
The next song from Humdard gives the classically most complete presentation of Gaud Sarang from films, and provides a smooth transition to our next raga – Gaud Malhar. I recall reading in a book by Pandit Omkarnath Thakur about these two ragas. One of Panditji’s friends was so fond of them that he insisted on calling them ‘God’ Sarang, and ‘God’ Malhar. The song is in the form of a ragmalika covering the cycle of the seasons: the mukhda and first stanza are in Gaud Sarang. The second stanza is in Gaud Malhar, and the third in Jogiya. The full song, apparently, has a fourth stanza in Bahar; but the video available on Youtube does not have it. The signature phrase of Gaud Sarang is evident right from ritu aaye. Romance is not so obvious in this song. Shekhar has just started giving music lessons to Nimmi. There is a longer video clip on Youtube that shows the dialogue preceding this song. One can see the ground being prepared for romance to sprout.
8. Zurm-e-ulfat pe hame log saza dete hain by Lata Mangeshkar from Taj Mahal (1963), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music director Roshan
I have already covered the most iconic song of Gaud Malhar Garjat barsat sawan ayo re in my earlier post on Best Film Songs Based on Classical Ragas. Another almost identical song, Garjat barsat bheejat aye le has been covered earlier on SoY by AK in Roshan’s songs for Lata. For this post I have chosen a very famous song from Taj Mahal which has been listed under Chhayanat by some websites, and under Gaud Malhar by some others. The setting is similar to Pyar kiya to darna kya from Mughal-e-Azam. Emperor Jahangir gets a reminder of his own youthful peccadilloes when his son’s sweetheart defies him in open court. Unlike the brazen manner of Madhubala in of Mughal-e-Azam, however, the defiance here is handled with subtlety. The power of Urdu poetry to make one’s point with finesse and style is put to excellent use by Sahir Ludhiyanvi – Hum ne dil de bhi liya, ahad-e-wafa le bhi liya. Aap ab shauq se, de len jo saza dete hain. Beena Rai’s eyes are as eloquent as Lata’s voice, Sahir’s words or Roshan’s music.
9. Sharabi sharabi yeh sawan ka mausam by Suman Kalyanpur from Noor Jehan (1967), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music director Roshan
The next song from Noor Jehan provides a transition from Gaud Malhar to Kamod. It was earlier listed under Gaud Malhar on parikar.org, but is now listed as Kamod. Again, it seems to have elements of both ragas. This is one song in which Suman Kalyanpur’s voice finds its clear identity distinct from Lata’s, with a lovely flute like timbre. One has no option but to agree with her that this intoxicated month of Sawan would not have been beautiful, were it not suffused with the colour of love. This song ranks very high on my all time favourite list. All three elements: Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrics, Roshan’s music and Suman Kalyanpur’s voice combine perfectly to celebrate the magic of Sawan.
10. Ae ri jane na doongi by Lata Mangeshkar from Chitralekha(1964), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music director Roshan
The last song is pure Kamod. I would have normally felt apprehensive about coming up with a ‘shudh Hindi’ composition soon after two outstanding examples of Urdu shairi, but the lyrics of Kidar Sharma rise confidently to the challenge. The opening lines Ae ri jane na doongi, main to apne rasik ko naino mein rakh loongi palkein moond moond are adapted from a traditional composition by Sadarang, a descendent of Tansen and the court musician of Muhammad Shah Rangila. You can hear a rendering of the traditional composition by Rajan and Sajan Mishra in the classical part at the end of this article.
That brings me to the end of the list. It has ended with a Roshan hat-trick, which is not surprising. Roshan has to figure prominently in any list of songs based on classical ragas. What intrigues me is that half the songs are from films in a historical setting. Is there something about these ragas that makes them more suitable for historical films? Any thoughts, dear readers?
I now present the classical pieces. I will restrict myself to just one piece for each raga. Those whose appetite gets whetted by this sample are welcome to hours of rewarding exploration on Youtube, musicindiaonline.com and other such sites.
For Chhayanat I have chosen this composition by Veena Sahasrabudhe. The bandish – Piya se mora kahiyo jaye sandeswa is an old and well established one. Ms Sahasrabuddhe has rendered it in a manner that would delight both beginners and connoisseurs.
For Gaud Sarang I couldn’t think of anything better than this short but masterly composition by DV Paluskar.
One hardly needs any justification to choose a piece by Kishori Amonkar – one of the finest exponents of classical music. Still, I’d say that I opted for this in preference to many other pieces by equally accomplished artists because this one has the energy we’ve come to associate with Gaud Malhar thanks to songs like Garjat barsat…
This piece in Kamod by Rajan and Sajan Mishra begins with a short introduction by Ustad Shujaat Husain Khan in which he explains the basics of the raga. What he says about the up-down movement of Kamod may apply equally well to the other three ragas covered in this post.
Some readers had asked for introductions to the ragas in their comments in my earlier posts. The best introductions I have found are by Sh. Ramashreya Jha ‘Ramrang’ on the site www.parrikar.org. For the convenience of the readers I’ve posted the links below. These links may not work by clicking. You may have to copy and paste them in your browser’s address bar:
There is no separate link for Gaud Sarang but the explanation of Gaud Malhar touches upon the ‘Gaud’ part of Gaud Malhar.
While writing this article I noticed in the Youtube comments that Hum bekhudi mein tum is based on a Bengali original Bhulechi ghum composed and sung by S D Burman. Here it is. The uploader has thoughtfully provided English translation of the lyrics: