Film songs based on classical ragas (5): The Majestic Malkauns

December 11, 2012

Guest article by Subodh Agrawal

(SoY readers are familiar with Subodh’s elegant writing on songs based on classical ragas.  He surpasses himself with this outstanding article on one of the most popular and accessible ragas – Malkauns – which he describes as the greatest of pentatonic ragas.  Subodh carries his scholarship lightly with an easy and fluent style of writing. – AK)

MalkaunsI began this series with ten iconic film songs in different ragas – songs that are good enough to be used by students of classical music to get an intuitive feel for the raga. I deliberately left out the greatest iconic song of all – Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj in Malkauns, because I hoped to do a separate post on this raga. Finally, I am here to share my love for this great raga with the SoY family.

There are many beautiful ragas that use only five of the seven notes in both ascent and descent. In the Hindustani music terminology they are called audav-audav.  Bhopali, Durga, Bhinna Shadj,

and Kaushik-Dhwani Hamsadhwani, Hindol are some examples. All of them are beautiful and Hindol also has a certain gravity. Still, Malkauns (also known as Malkosh and Malkans) stands tall in this group for the depth, solemnity and gravity that characterise it.

The Carnatic counterpart of Malkauns is Hindolam. There is an interesting relationship between the notes of Malkauns, the Carnatic Hindolam and the Hindustani Hindol and Hindoli as the following table shows. All these ragas omit the second note ‘re’ and the fifth note ‘pa’. The fundamental note ‘sa’ is always invariant. Of the remaining four notes ‘ga’, ‘dha’ and ‘ni’ can be either shuddha or komal, while ‘ma’ can be shuddha or teevra. I am using the north Indian terminology here:

Malakauns Hindolam
(Carnatic)
Hindol
(Hindustani)
Hindoli a.k.a
Bhinna-Shadj and
Kushik Dhwani
Ga Komal Komal Shuddha Shuddha
Ma Shuddh Shuddh Teevra Shuddha
Dha Komal Komal Shuddha Shuddha
Ni Komal Komal Shuddha Shuddha

 

Malkauns guards its territory jealously. With most ragas it is not enough to get the notes right, one has to be careful about the movement as well, or one risks straying into the territory of a different raga. The same notes used differently can produce a completely different raga. Puriya-Marwa-Sohani, Bhopali-Deshkar, Darbari-Adana-Asavari are some examples. With Malkauns one is safe. Once you get the notes right, there is little you can do wrong. Feed the five notes of Malkauns into a computer programme that plays them purely at random and the sound one hears will bear the unmistakable stamp of the raga. Very rarely there can be an overlap with Bageshri in the use of sa, ga and ma, but the confusion doesn’t last more than a few seconds.

Let me present a wonderful introduction to this raga by Pt Ramashrya Jha ‘Ramrang’ from the site www.parrikar.org. (Playing this audio may require you to copy and paste the url in the browser’s address bar): http://www.parrikar.org/music/malkauns/jha_kaunsspeak.mp3. For those who have difficulty playing it, or have trouble understanding Panditji’s shudh Hindi I summarize the main points:

The greatness of Malkauns lies in the fact that each of the five notes is a point of nyasa or rest. Secondly, all notes are clearly related to one another. It is a favourite raga of the novice and the master alike – the novice finds it easy to master the basic structure – enough to turn in a reasonably good performance, while the master may spend a lifetime and still not feel that all possibilities of this great raga have been exhausted. These strengths set it apart and make it a maha-raga in spite of having only five notes.

Like Yaman the predominant mood of Malkauns is tranquility. However, unlike Yaman – whose tranquility has a joyous quality – Malkauns’s tranquility is laced with gravity and solemnity. It evokes the awe one feels in a magnificent temple or cathedral, of being in the presence of something much greater than oneself. It is an ideal raga for invocation of the supreme spirit.

Now I begin the presentation of songs based on Malkauns with – surprise, surprise – Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj:

1. Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj by Mohammad Rafi from Baiju Bawra (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

This is the song that defines Malkauns for a lot of people. As film songs on this raga go, this is way ahead of the others. Personally if I rate it 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, no other song on this list – with the possible exception of no. 2 – would merit even 9.

 

2. Hari base sakal sansara by unknown singer from Achhut Kanya (1936), lyrics JS Kashap ‘Natwan’, music Saraswati Devi

I thank AK for sending me the link to this song. Sung in the style of Dhrupad, it has purity that many other songs in this list lack. The yearning of the singer for God finds a ready resonance in the listener’s heart. Pity it is so short.

Does any reader know the name of the singer?

 

3. Mat bhool are insaan by Mohammad Rafi from Mastana (1954), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Madan Mohan

Reminding oneself that the one up there is watching is a favourite theme of bhajans. This song from Mastana is a good example. Everything about the setting of this song is standard film fare – the lady with the child in her arms diffidently approaching the steps of a temple, repeated close-up shots of the idol and the sadhu singing to himself but addressing the lady’s inner turmoil. The music of Madan Mohan and the greatness of Malkauns, however, give a touch of something special to this scene.

 

4. Ankhiyan sang ankhiyan laagi aaj by Mohammad Rafi from Bada Aadmi (1961), lyics Prem Dhawan, music Chitragupta

This foot-tapping rhythmic number stays true to the raga despite its lighter mood. The setting of the song, particularly the competition between the singer and the dancer towards the end of the video, reminds of Laga chunari mein daag from Dil hi to hai. I haven’t seen Bada Aadmi but I won’t be surprised if here too the singer is the hero in disguise!

 

5. Pag ghungroo bole chhananan chhan by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle from Dev Kanya (1963), lyrics BD Mishra, music SN Tripathi

All four songs so far have been by Mohammad Rafi. Let’s now move on to his clone – Mahendra Kapoor, complemented beautifully by Asha Bhosle. The instrumental prelude, particularly the percussion, establishes the mood of the song well before the vocals start.

 

6. Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle from Navrang (1959), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music C Ramachandra

Another famous duet by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle. Navrang followed the success of Jhanak jhanak payal baaje by the same team, with the replacement of Gopi Krishna by Mahipal. Music by C Ramachandra was the strong point of both the films, as was the dancing prowess of Sandhya. C Ramachandra used Malkauns for two famous songs of this film, the other being Tu chhupi hai kahaan.  Between the two, I prefer this one.

7. Mujhe na bula, chhup chhup chhaliya re by Lata Mangeshkar from Suvarna Sundari (1958), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music Adi Narayana Rao

My post on songs based on raga Pahadi, the third in this series, was dominated by female voices. Pahadi does seem to suit the female voice better. In contrast Malkauns is better suited to the male voice – although it used to be a favourite raga of female classical singers in the seventies when I had started learning the basics of classical music. A concert by an up and coming lady artiste would usually begin with Maru Bihag followed by a thumri before the break. After the break she would present Malkauns and then continue with light compositions as long as the audience wanted. This song composed by Adi Narayana Rao makes full use of the range and flexibility of Lata’s voice to create an evocative mood. It also saves me from the cardinal sin of doing a post on raga based songs without including a song by her.

 

8. Jaane bahar husn tera be-misaal hai by Mohammad Rafi from  Pyar kiya to darna kya (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi

We return to Mohammad Rafi with this ghazal. Malkauns is not a raga normally associated with this genre of music, but Ravi has done a great job of using the range of this raga to create the romantic mood typical of a ghazal. Rafi’s singing, as always, is impeccable. He seems to have a great fondness for Malkauns.

9. Saamaja vara gamana by S Janaki and S P Balasubrahmaniam from Shankarabharanam (1980), music K V Mahadevan

Frankly speaking, it is not Malkauns but Hindolam. But there is practically no difference between the two; at least I can’t discern any with my limited understanding of music. I saw this movie thrice for the music alone. The video evokes the simplicity that we take as the hallmark of Indian culture – the South has preserved it a lot better than the North. Rajya Lakshmi, the actress who plays the maestro’s young daughter, was known as Shankarabharanam Rajya Lakshmi after this film; although she went on to do many other significant roles.

 

10. Darbar mein upar wale ke andher nahin par deri hai by Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor from Hera Pheri (1976) music Kalyanji Anandji

The most effective jokes are told with a straight face. Malkauns is the musical equivalent of a straight face with its aura of majesty, solemnity and gravity. Kalyanji Anandji have used it very effectively in this humorous setting from the film Hera Pheri starring Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna. Despite a few liberties here and there the song remains fairly true to the raga. Amitabh and Vinod are good Samaritans whose noble mission is to separate people from their worldly goods, which are the source of all pain and suffering as the sages never tire of telling us. As humorous songs in Malkauns go there is also ‘Meri bhains ko danda kyun mara’ from ‘Pagla Kahin Ka’ but I prefer this one.

 

With this we come to the end of the list of film songs. I must confess here that I am a little disappointed. Films songs in Malkauns, with a couple of exceptions like Man tarpat, don’t quite do justice to the immense potential of this raga. When we come to the classical pieces, however, we have a veritable treasure awaiting us. I begin with a piece by Ustad Bismillah Khan that has become a part of musical folklore. Even those who have no interest in classical music will recognise its refrain. It has become as popular as Beethoven’s Für Elise and pops up in all sorts of places – filler tunes, caller tunes and what not.

Ustad Bismillah Khan: Malkaus

The next classical piece ‘Kangna’ by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad from Coke Studio Pakistan season 4 is a truly amazing example of fusion music. It starts with the purest and possibly the least accessible form of classical music for lay audiences – the ‘nom tom’ alaap of Dhrupad ang – and combines it with western instruments to create something that charms even those who have no knowledge of classical music. It achieves this while remaining true to the raga. Those who like this piece would also like Khabaram rasida in Bageshri by the same duo.

Fareed Ayaz & Abu Mohammad: Kangana (Malkaus)

Song number 9 from Shankarabharanam is a traditional composition by Thyagaraja. Here is Yesudas presenting it in its regular classical form.

Yesudas: Malkaus

 

Malkauns is a raga for the voice, not so much for the instrument. However, among the instrumental pieces this one by Nikhil Banerjee has carved a niche for itself in the pantheon of Malkauns.

http://gaana.com/#!/songs/malkauns-gat-nikhil-banerjee

I now come to the three greatest performances in Malkauns. Music lovers may differ on their relative ordering. I present them in reverse order of my preference, with the best coming last. The first is Pir na jani re by Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, considered by many to be the greatest exponent of this raga.

Pt Omkarnath Thakur: Malkaus

 

For the next two I reproduce the comments from my favourite reference on classical music on the net www.parrikar.org. This is what it says – “When God created Malkauns, only two mortals were allowed the privilege of peeking over His shoulder while He was at work. Bhimsen Joshi and Amir Khan both owe their elevation to ‘Tansenhood’ to their extraordinary sway over Malkauns. To hear Bhimsen’s paga lagana de on a good day is to come away an ennobled being.” Here is the piece by Bhimsen Joshi.

Pt Bhimsen Joshi: Malkaus

 

This is what Parrikar says further about Amir Khan’s Malkauns – “Amir Khan‘s recording, on the other hand, is manna for the soul. The vilambit composition, jinke mana Rama biraaje, places its sam on the mandra komal nishad. To hear him enter the final ti-ra-ki-Ta orbit leading up to the sam is to experience moksha here and now. I will never forget the kaleidoscopic display of expressions and emotions that would envelope my father’s visage every time this LP perched on our turntable.”

Ustad Amir Khan: Malkaus

 

Bonus 1

Song number 10 was an example of the ‘straight face’ of Malkauns being used to tell a joke. That, however, is nothing compared to this recent masterpiece from Hyderabad Complaints Choir. The heritage setting, the dresses and mannerisms of the singer and the accompanists; and above all the purity of the raga have the gravity and solemnity one associates with it. I suspect that someone who knows Hindolam well but does not understand a word of Hindi – assuming that such a person exists – would take it as a serious classical performance. The humour and satire are entirely in the words.

Hyderabad Complaints Choir: Hindolam

 

Bonus 2

Chinese music is pentatonic – it uses a scale of only five notes as opposed to seven in the Indian or Western music (see this Wikipedia link) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_musicology . I was one day searching for Chinese music on Youtube, hoping to find pieces that may correspond to pentatonic ragas of India like Bhopali, Durga, Malkauns etc. I was lucky with Malkauns. It also illustrates the point I made above that once you get the notes of Malkauns right, you can do anything with them and the output will sound like Malkauns. This lady artiste from China has perhaps never heard of Malkauns, but what she does can pass off as a fairly decent performance of this raga on santoor. Is there an opportunity here for the Indian Council for Cultural Relations? Is MEA listening?

Chinese folk music: Malkaus

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 AK December 15, 2012 at 12:21 am

Dear readers,
While travelling I came to know that there has been some problem with this post, and a large part of it had vanished. I have redone the whole post on return. The only problem is that now two posts will show up with the same title. The one appearing earlier in the sidebar is the revived post. The earlier comments show up in the chopped up post. This is messy. I do not want to delete that post because of some valuable comments of the readrers. I can try to do something about this also but that would be more time consuming. Hope readers would bear with it.

Subodh,
Please confirm that it is OK now.

2 Subodh Agrawal December 15, 2012 at 5:40 am

Yes it is ok. Keeping my fingers crossed! Thanks. Thanks once again to Mr Vaishnav, Mr Venkataraman, Mr Mankad, Mumbaikar and Anu. Hopefully they will see the full post now.

3 ASHOK M VAISHNAV December 15, 2012 at 9:17 am

Most of the readers of SoY belong to ‘old school’., so they are habituated to turn a few pages more, try to talk out a discussion a bit more, perform a few clicks more rather than following quick short cuts that Gen Y would naturally follow.

So , most of us would keep abreast by clicking on links to both “version”s of the post.

Now here is a partial result of the wanderlust that remains sparked after having read Subodhji’s hidden pointers in his expansive articles.

I just went on collecting clips that have Malkauns Instrumentals. And Here is t what I could pile up:

N Rajam – on Violin -Drut Teen Taal – http://youtu.be/_s6sOXt_Pqk

Ustad Bundu Khan – on Sarangi – http://youtu.be/LBCAv3QMS5Y

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan – on Sarod – http://youtu.be/kwE-G0CFgtg

Shahid Parvez Khan – on Sitar – http://youtu.be/loa9wXf_54Q

Pt. Tarabir Singh Tuladhar – on sitar – http://youtu.be/xgVY-LiF7eI

Ustad Vilayat Khan – on Sitar – http://youtu.be/LqF93Z1dglU

Pt. Harirasad Chaurasia – on flute – http://youtu.be/kMZh53nejmI
and 2 (more) Improvisations – http://youtu.be/0jqD6DvzcKU

Pt. Bijatrghav Rao – On flute – http://youtu.be/2uXjkdcV_xk

Ustad Zia Mohyuddin Dagar – on Vichitra Vina – http://youtu.be/vG9YL4CqxFo

Ustad Bilawal Belgium – on Benjo – http://youtu.be/SKqG7FzrhhM

Vidwan Anayampatti Ganesan – playing Hindloam on Jal Tarang – http://youtu.be/6AwyULoXIPI

Pt. Ghasiram Nirmal – On Jal Tarang – http://youtu.be/6AwyULoXIPI

Ustad Aurangzeb Khan – On clarinet – http://youtu.be/wslryRBrFVw

Usatd Sultan Khan (Sitar) Shrimati Maju Mehta (Sarangi) in Jugalbandhi http://youtu.be/PgQYo9z0jDs

I hardly have any idea about the technical part of which instrument is able to do justice to the structure and spirit of the Raag ,as compared to what a vocal artist could have done.

But, to all those who are as uniniated as I am in the classical music I would only state that, listening each one was as enjoyable as reading every nuance of Subodhji’s article.

4 AK December 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Subodh,
I hope it should now stay. When I saw the result of my ‘restoration’, I was not too pleased. But I was keen to get it up at the earliest.

Ashok Vaishnavji,
Thanks a lot for these additions. I need to savour it at leisure. On the old post I have given prominent markings to guide people here. The ruins of the old post would remain as a monument to the vagaries of technology.

5 Subodh Agrawal December 17, 2012 at 9:27 am

Thanks AK

Mr Vaishnav, as usual you have unearthed a treasure trove. As AK rightly says, it needs to be savoured at leisure. I will get back in due time with my responses to these pieces. Thanks for your wonderful effort.

6 AK December 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Subodh
You have compiled some of the most outstanding pieces in Malkaus. I especially enjoyed Kangana and the Hyderabad Complaints Choir’s piece. When I saw Pt Omkarnath Thakur’s mention, I took it for granted that you would include Pag ghunghroo bandh Meera nachi re. I thought this was his definitive Malkaus, though it has also been sung by others. Anyway here it is. The bonus is, it also has Malkaus in gayaki ang on the violin by his disciple N Rajam.

Ashok Vaishnavji,
Between your film and non-film Malkaus compilations you have added a treasure. N Rajam is my great favourite. The above video I have added has the one mentioned by you, preceded by his mentor Pt Omkarnath Thakur’s vocal in Malkaus. The others I like are Ustad Vilayat Khan (I always preferred him over Pt Ravi Shankar) and Ustad Shahid Parvez which has introduction by Ustad Shujat Khan. Ustad Shujat Khan is a highly talented artiste and presenter. The last one you have mentioned – sitar-sarangi jugalbandi – there must be some mix up. Because the video link is of Girija Devi’s Malkaus. It is Malkaus all right, and the bonus is again introduction by Ustad Shujat Khan. Thanks a lot again for yor efforts.

7 AK December 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

PS
Subodh
Shujat Kan in one of his introductions mentions about Sampoorna Malkaus (all the seven notes). Interesting. I thought I should bring it to your notice.

8 Subodh Agrawal December 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Interesting variation – sampurna Malkauns. The addition of re and pa to the Malkauns scale gives it the same scale as Darbari and Asavari. It would be a tough call to maintain the difference. Kishori Amonkar does it quite well in this piece:

Parrikar clubs Kaushiki with sampurna Malkauns. Here is a rare recording in Kaushiki by Annapurna Devi – the reclusive ex-wife of Ravi Shankar. Malkauns is heard quite clearly in this – with occasional departures: http://youtu.be/GqIX9Fl35zs

Mr Naresh P Mankad has mentioned Chandrakauns in his comment on the older version of this post. The only difference is that the komal ni of Malkauns is changed to shuddha ni in Chandrakauns. The change of one note makes a world of difference to the impact of the raga. The shuddha ni announces itself with a bang. I remember a simile used by my friend Pankaj Sharan – the shuddha ni in Chandrakauns shines like a silver harpoon (chandi ki barchhi). This piece by Gangubai Hangal illustrates: http://youtu.be/GoJEY4wB864

My internet connection is not working very well. I am still to go through the excellent collection of links put together by Mr Vaishnav.

9 n.venkataraman December 18, 2012 at 12:39 am

Subodhji,

Let me express my deep gratitude for not only presenting a bouquet of Raag Malkauns, but for the excellent and crisp commentary accompanying the renditions, guiding us gradually and steadily through the various facets of this magnificent Raag. Please permit me to relive my experience.

The first two songs are the best representations of Raag Malkauns from Hindi Films. Although the other eight songs in this category are not of the same class they are, no doubt, good compositions. The moot question is whether one wants to hear a good Malkauns or a good Hindi film song based on the Raag Malkauns. There is a difference between the two. In my humble opinion Raag Malkauns, due to its nature (as pointed out by you ‘the depth, solemnity and gravity that characterise it’) carries immense weight and scope, which cannot be completely achieved in a three to five minute film song. The reason being, the Music composer’s effort is restricted by the situation and the available scope within which he/she has to operate. In the first two songs this limiting factor was mitigated to a great extent. So at the end of those eight songs, I can understand the disappointment you were left with. Although these songs (if I am permitted to use the word) ‘judged’ independently are good composition by themselves, in the end we are left with a sense of incompleteness, leaving us longing for something more fulfilling. That is when you decided to take us further, along with you, into your journey in the quest of this Raag. On hearing, Ustad Bismillah Khan’s evergreen Malkauns, I felt here is the one which I was looking for. But when the expectation was building up, the rendition comes to an abrupt end bringing me out of an early stupor. With lot of apprehension, I started listening to the next number, a fusion by Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad. If this be the quality of fusion, I am ready to hear such compositions again. I enjoyed it. It was good and would look forward to the renditions of Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad in future. The next number, a traditional rendition in Raag Hindolam by Yesudas was good, but did not satiate my appetite. The next audio link, starting with an excellent 16 beat Vilambit by Pandit Nikhil Banerjee followed by a 16 beat Dhrut controlled the flames but embers were still glowing within. By then my appetite had increased manifolds. As a result I strayed into the accompanying audio numbers, a short piece by Kesarbai Kerkar and a beautiful ‘Jod’ by Ustad Imrat Khan. During the course of my wandering I had experienced the blissful rendition of the excellent 12 matra vilambit ‘Pir na jane re’ which was your next natural selection, followed by the another excellent Dhrut ‘Paga Ghungaroo’ by Pandit Omkarnath Thakur, which Akji had included along with his comments. When you led us to the extrodinary Ek Taal vilambit followed by Drut Teen Taal Bandish by one and the only Pandit Bhimsen Joshi I was totally lost in the fathomless ocean of Malkauns . But the ‘ultimate’ Malkauns was yet to come. You reserved the ‘tour de force’ for the grand finale. Each time, Ustad Amir Khan was about to touch the mandar komal nishad, the feeling was like, I too was about to attain the elusive S(oh)am. But again I was thrown into another cycle of 14. I thought I was about to reach the crescendo. But when it ended, an absolute calm prevailed. I realized one does not reach the crescendo after such an experience, but on the contrary the experience is one of inner peace and calm. Let me thank you again for an excellent selection of Raag Malkauns renditions and perfectly placing them in an order so as to reach the inner diminuendo.

After this, I did not continue listening to the two add on bonuses that day. The next morning when I visited the site again to listen to the two pieces, I found everything after the third number had vanished. Thanks to Akji for quickly reloading/restoring the article and the songs, soon after his return from a hectic travel. I was familiar with the Hyderabad number. In fact they have done a choir piece and another Quawwali piece on the same theme. The Chinese instrumental number was a revelation. What is this instrument called? Is it really a santoor?

Now a few minor observations. You had mentioned in your opening lines before the song #5 that ‘All four songs so far have been by Mohammad Rafi.’ But we are yet to find the name of the singer of the song #2. Again before song #6 you had stated that ‘Music by C Ramachandra was the strong point of both the films’.
If I am not mistaken the Music for ‘Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje’ was scored by Vasant Desai.

The song #7 by Lata Mangeshkar was good and it might have saved you from the cardinal mistake of doing a post on raga based songs without including a song by her, but die-hard admirers of Lata Mangeshkar would not be satisfied with this ‘too-little’ inclusion. I would have like to present a 24 seconds clipping showing a 10 year old Lata Mangeshkar singing Raag Malkauns. I have read about its presence in the internet, but in spite of by best efforts I could not locate it. I hope one of you may succeed in locating and presenting it in this post. I am presenting a 9 minutes Vilambit Khayal rendered by Lata Mangeshkar in her early twenties , accompanied on the Sarangi by Pandit Ram Narayan and on the Tabla by Shripad Nagesh. Though the audio is disturbed, it is worth listening to. In the next clipping is an incomplete but a beautiful classical piece from the film ‘Kanchan Ganga’ where Lata Mangeshkar sings for Usha Kiran in the late 30s. Both the clippings and the information were provided by Bharat Upadhyay in You-tube. Let us listen to the two renditions.

Lata Mangeshkar sings Malkaus in a Marathi film

Lata Mangeshkar sings Malkaus for Usha Kiran

My first acquaintance with a Malkauns Bandish was ‘Mandir Dekh Dare Sudama’ . So I could not check my temptation to present this short Bandish rendered by the legendary Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

Mandir dekh dare Sudama in Malkaus by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Finally I would like to present another legendary figure, Pandit Vishmadev Chattopadhyay rendering a short piece, under-4-minutes, in Raag Malkauns.

Pir na jani in Malkaus by Pandit Vishmadev Chattopadhyay

Thank once again Subodh ji and AK ji.

10 Soumya Banerji December 18, 2012 at 6:47 am

Malkauns is one of my favorite ragas. The pathos in the raga always touches my heart. Great selections from everyone. My 2 cents – a beautiful Rabindrasangeet by Kanika Banerjee.

11 AK December 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

N Venkataramanji,
Lata Mangeshkar’s video from a Marathi film is a collector’s item. Her playback for Usha Kiran is also superb. Thanks for discovering these and sharing with us. One minor quibble: Lata Mangeshkar’s debut in Marathi films was in 1942. The playback for Usha Kiran seems to be more from mid-50s based on her tonal quality and orchestration. Bharat Upadhyay 1938 seems to be his userid rather than the year of these videos. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Vishmadev Chattopadhyay are again outstanding. You are greatly enhancing the value of SoY.

Saumya
I love Kanika Banerjee. A gret piece. Thanks.

12 Subodh Agrawal December 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Mr Venkataraman – my effort in writing this article has bee fully rewarded by these detailed and perceptive comments from a connoisseur like you. Thanks a lot for supporting my effort – and also for very gently pointing out the errors! The links provided by you are invluable. I only wish the recording quality of the Lata’s pieces was better – but perhaps I am being unrealistic, given the level of technology at that epoch and the natural deterioration of the medium over the years. There is no need to say anything about Bade Ghulam Ali – he is beyond words. The piece by Vishmadev Chattopadhyay was a happy discovery fro me.

Soumya Banerji – Thanks for your comment and the link to Kanika Bannerji’s beautiful piece. Like Hemanta Kumar, Kanika Banerjee is synonymous with Rabindra Sangeet, and she combines the sweetness characteristic of Rabindra Sangeet with the classical purity of Malkauns.

13 N Venkataraman December 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Thank you Akji for pointing out my mistake. I am extremely sorry. I stand corrected. I shoul have realised it then and there. Kanchan Ganga was a 1954 film.

14 Subodh Agrawal December 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Today the interenet connection is working well, and I have been able to hear the links provided by Mr Vaishnav and also AK’s link to Pag Ghungroo Baandh by Pt Omkarnath Thakur and Mrs N Rajam. Among the pieces linked by Mr Vaishnav I find the ones by Amjad Ali Khan and Zia Mohiuddin Dagar the most impressive. The deeper tone of both Sarod and Vichitraveena goes well with the mood of Malkauns.

Mrs. Rajam’s violin is playing as I type this comment. It is amazing how she is able to capture each nuance of the gayaki in that instrument. You hear her play and you immediately think of Panditji’s singing. I had a tough choice between Pir na jani and Pag Ghungroo when selecting a performance by Panditji. I opted for the former, as it is classically purer and comparatively less known.

15 ASHOK M VAISHNAV December 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

I regret the error in copy /pasting the link, which I have now corrected:
Usatd Sultan Khan (Sitar) Shrimati Maju Mehta (Sarangi) in Jugalbandhi http://youtu.be/xnW3SW3Rl-g

And here is piece on Sampoorna Malkauns, on Sarangi by Ustaad Bubdu Khan – http://youtu.be/LBCAv3QMS5Y
.
And now, little diversion form purity to an effort to experiment. I remembered having an LP record by Shankar Jaikishan, named as Raag Jazz Style. I have been able to locate a few clips pertaining to that record, of which one is Malkauns, obviously in Jazz style – http://youtu.be/nLfGX8hk8rI .

I have no idea whether either purity is sacrificed or the spirit of experimentation has suffered. But, this is just going back to some 30 years into those days when listening to records at leading records stores and then purchasing one or two was a passion for me.

16 n.venkataraman December 19, 2012 at 12:16 am

Ashok Vaishnav ji,
I have listened to the first four instrumental numbers presented by you. Hearing N Rajam, in her typical Gayaki ang was pure delight. The Malkauns of Ustad Bundu Khan on Sarangi, the instrument closest to human voice, was outstanding. Some time back Subodhji had introduced me to the site http://www.parrikar.org, where I found a touching biography of Ustad Bundu Khan of Delhi Gharana. It is a must read for all the lovers of classical music. As usual, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was at his best. Right from my teens, the instrument Sitar had occupied a special place in my life. Especially the gayaki ang of the Etawah gharana, played on the Sitar and Surbahar by the Ustads of this Gharana had always fascinated me. Ustad Saheed Parvez once again proves to be another great exponent of this gharana.
Another ten to go and Subodh ji has added another three in Sampoorna Malkauns. Now I find you have added three more. And I have the appetite for some more Malkauns.

Lastly, a small correction. Your caption for the corrected number should read ‘Ustad Sultan Khan (Sarangi) Shrimati Manju Mehta (Sitar) in Jugalbandhi’.

Thank you.

17 ASHOK M VAISHNAV December 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

@ N. Venkataraman

Such goof up s are किसी अनाडीके हाथमें सितार (या कोइ भी ढंगकी चीज)थमा दो वाला हाल है.

And how does one put an icing ( your own exposition of Malkauns+ Review of Subodhji’s article) over an icing (Subodhji’s article) over a cake (SoY)!

18 ASHOK M VAISHNAV December 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Shri Subodhji has also, in passing, noted that Malkuans “is better suited to the male voice”. So searching for more of rendition of this Raag by female artists was also another dimension to the wanderlust.

Here is the result, certainly, not the most exhaustive one, but, the ones that I liked:

Dr. Prabha Atre – http://youtu.be/eFnrCQALjds

Girija Devi – http://youtu.be/PgQYo9z0jDs

Ahwini Bhide – http://youtu.be/is8NbleGv5A

Kesarbai Kerkar – http://youtu.be/5oKh-lsOFD4

Jake Jako Man Lage – Parveen Sultana {I could not find any clip of this bandish on You Tube, but could find these links : http://music.ovi.com/in/r/Product/r/r/30401913 OR http://gaana.com/#!/songs/jake-jako-man-lage-tarana%5D.

Kishori Amonkar – Sampoorna Malkauns- http://youtu.be/0BU6VyZ6cMI

Abida Parveen – http://youtu.be/8sPoYrURflE

Sandhya Mukherjee – http://youtu.be/d94EcBe9RKI

19 AK December 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Ashokji,
I have a general bias in favour of male singers, more so for Mslkaus. I do not know whether it would be considered gender-correct or not, one genre in which I do like female singers is thumri, dadra, kajri, chaiti etc. That is because of legendary singers like Begum Akhtar, Rasoolan Bai, Sidheshwari Devi etc.

20 jignesh kotadia February 13, 2013 at 6:40 pm

well, possibly this 1 is that clip for which mr. N. Venkatramanji talking abt in comment #9. But lataji doesnt seem of around ’39-’40 in this clip !?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RudLhDxYCgI

21 n.venkataraman February 13, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Jignesh ji,
This was the link where a 10 year old Lata Mangeshkar’s Malkauns piece was supposed to be found along with an interview with Hridaynath Mangeshkar. But, unfortunately, the link is no longer available
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcW7s7BNZvw

22 jignesh kotadia February 14, 2013 at 12:15 am

venkatramanji, its so sad we lost that priceless scene of 10 yrs lataji. And u only call me ‘jignesh’. Dont tag ‘ji’ behind me bcz i have included ‘ji’ already in beginning of my name..haha
I m 35 yrs old and anticipate that amongst our group i m smaller both in age and knowledge of music against u ppl. I vebeen getting very much from u ppl. Thanks..

23 N Venkataraman February 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

Agreed. Since you are younger than me, does not mean that your knowledge of music should be any less, if not more.

24 SB September 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

One other beautiful Malkauns is by Ustad Rashid Khan, in his CD titled VOICE OF INDIA.

25 Trimurthy Sairam February 1, 2016 at 5:36 am

Nice article. A small correction however. Shankarabharanam is not a composition by Thyagaraja. It’s a raga per se. Thanks and Regards.

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