Film Songs Based on Classical Ragas (7) – Desh and Tilak Kamod

March 16, 2013

Guest article by Subodh Agrawal

(Subodh returns, after some gap, with an outstanding article on Desh and its close variant, Tilak Kamod.  Some of the most iconic songs, such as ‘Dukh ke ab din beetat nahi’, ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Baje sargam har taraf se goonj bankar Desh Raga’ are in Desh. He also includes the concluding portion of Tagore’s dance drama ‘Shyama’, which is one of the most poignant and beautiful compositions in Desh you can find anywhere. The classical pieces he has included  are recognised landmarks in these Ragas.  He combines his great taste in music with a precision in writing he has acquired from his training in Physics and Mathematics in IIT. – AK)

Raga DeshFor my sixth article in this series I have opted for one of the most pleasing of the ragas – Desh. Along with it I also include its closely related cousin – Tilak Kamod, because Tilak Kamod would perhaps not merit a separate post by itself, and the two go together quite well. Both these ragas have strong roots in folk melodies. Because of this they are often dismissed as minor ragas, which – in my opinion – is grossly unfair.

Desh is classified as audav-sampoorna. It means that it uses only five notes – sa, re, ma, pa and ni – in the ascent, while all the seven are used in the descent. All notes except ni are shuddha. Niis shuddha in ascent, but komal in descent. Let me illustrate the characteristic ascent and descent of Desh with the help of one of the most well known compositions – the original version of Vande Mataram. I believe it was composed by Pandit Omkarnath Thakur.


The first ‘Vande Mataram’ takes us from sa to pa, and the second from ma to the upper sa. The entire octave is thus covered in this short movement. In contrast ‘Sujala-a-a-m’ takes a slow descent from komal ni via dha to pa; while ‘Suphala-a-a-m’ takes us down from ma to re via ga. Rapid ascent and leisurely descent are the chief characteristics of this raga and make it very easy to identify, even for beginners. Playing with differing emphasis on the ascent and descent allows the composers to use this raga to express a wide range of emotions from agonizingly sombre to playfully romantic, as the selection of songs below illustrates. I have arranged the songs according to the mood – from the saddest to the most joyous. In the process I have had to zigzag through the timeline.

1. Dukh ke ab din beetat naahin by K L Saigal from Devdas (1935), lyrics Kidar Sharma, music by Timir Baran

This is the iconic song of Desh. The composer has used the slow descent of Desh to express the agony of separation from one’s beloved in a manner that touches the listener’s heart. Saigal has used Desh again in the opening part of ‘Jeevan been madhur na baje’ but that song departs from the raga after the initial slow movement.


2. Aayee ritu sawan ki by Kumari Faiyaz and Bhupendra from Alaap (1977), lyrics Dr Rahi Masoom Raza, music by Jaidev

Bhupendra has been among the most underrated singers of the Industry. His voice can really haunt, as it does in this song. He is wonderfully complemented by Kumari Faiyaz. Internet search has unearthed a few more songs by this intriguingly named singer, but hasn’t thrown up much information on her background, training etc. I would love to know more.


3. Kadam chale aage by K L Saigal from Bhakta Surdas (1942), lyrics DN Madhok, music by Gyan Dutt

We return to Saigal and the 1940s with a change of mood. It is no longer sad but reflective. One would like to forget the past and get on with one’s life, but the mind defies control and keeps harking back. There is a tinge of regret, but with a philosophical attitude towards it.


4. Phir kahin koi phool khila by Manna Dey from Anubhav (1971), lyrics Kapil Kumar, music by Kanu Roy

Anubhav is a film I remember for several reasons. It was the first ‘mature’ film that made sense to people of my generation. After this film I felt confident enough to leave my teens behind and count myself among adults. I would never forget Tanuja in what was perhaps her best role. The music director Kanu Roy will always have my gratitude for bringing my favourite singer Geeta Dutt back from oblivion; sadly she passed away soon after.

This song by Manna Dey has a quiet introspective mood and the composer has used the slower descending movements of Desh very effectively to bring this out.


5. Sakhi ri chitchor nahin aaye by Geeta Dutt from Jogan (1950), Pt. Indra, music by Bulo C Rani

The mood gets playful now. The words suggest separation, but the tempo of the song and Geeta Dutt’s voice create the ambience of light-hearted romance. The mood is enhanced by Nargis’s impish smile and fluttering eyelids. She has rarely looked as good as this. This film had several Meera Bhajans sung by Geeta Dutt. The composer Bulo C Rani would be remembered for this movie even if he had done nothing else in his career.


6. Milne ka din aa gaya by K L Saigal and Suraiya from Tadbir (1945), lyrcs Swami Ramanand, music by Lal Mohammad

The playful mood gets stronger, with some good natured banter between Saigal and Suraiya. This song was a discovery for me while researching raga Desh. The composer has kept the descending movements short for creating the required mood.


7. Gori tore nain kajar bin kare kare by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Main Suhagan Hoon (1964), lyrics Kaifi Azmi, music by Lachhiram

We now have a full-blooded classical song with all the alaaps, taans and accompanying instruments that one associates with a classical performance. The mood is joyous and culminates in a dance. Both Rafi and Asha display their classical virtuosity, though one must admit that Asha has an edge over Rafi in this song. Would the actors in the song be Kewal Kumar and Nishi? They are definitely not Ajit and Mala Sinha – the lead pair of the movie.


8. Saiyan jao jao by Lata Mangeshkar from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music by Vasant Desai

I end the list of film songs in Desh with the most playful and happy song that I know in this raga. The opening parts of the stanzas depart considerably from the raga, but the song keeps returning to it. Overall the impression is very much of Desh.

There is something intriguing about the picturisation of this song. Sandhya is apparently upset with Gopi Krishna. She is telling him to go away and not to talk to her or bother her. However, all this while she continues to pamper him. In the interest of ‘man’kind I would wish all women would learn this important lesson and behave with us like this when they are upset!


I now move to Tilak Kamod. Like Gorakh Kalyan, which has nothing at all to do with Kalyan, this raga too has no relationship whatever with Kamod – one of the ragas I had covered in the fourth article of this series. I remember a simple recipe for playing this raga given by a music teacher – play Desh, but keep breaking its rules of ascent and descent. In a sense it gives greater freedom to the artist as compared to Desh. Surprisingly this greater freedom does not result in a greater expressive range. We have seen the range of moods Desh can express. Tilak Kamod, on the other hand, has a narrow range, falling somewhere in the middle of Desh – it is neither very sad, nor as joyous as Desh can be. Within its narrow range, however, it can be incredibly beautiful – as the four songs below illustrate.

9. Thandi thandi sawan ki phuhar by Asha Bhosle from Jagte Raho (1956), lyrics Shailendra, music by Salil Chowdhary

This song is my personal bonus for writing this article. I had seen Jagte Raho years back but didn’t remember this song. I guess the setting in the movie, with an inebriated Motilal forcing his abused wife to sing, is not in keeping with the sensuous and romantic mood of the song. I re-discovered it while researching this article and it charmed me completely. I am sure it would have found a place in AK’s post on songs of Asha Bhosle, if it had not been lost to popular memory.


10. Hiya jarat rahat din rain by Mukesh from Godaan (1963), lyrics Anjaan, music by Pandit Ravi Shankar

Mukesh was the master of folk, and Pandit Ravi Shankar excelled in composing Tilak Kamod. The combination has produced one of the most haunting folk based film songs. The words of the song talk of pain, but the mood of the video is one of rural idyll – something that goes very well with this raga.


11. Yeh neer kahan se barse hai by Lata Mangeshkar from Prem Parbat (1973), lyrics Padma Sachdev, music by Jaidev

If I remember the film Prem Parbat at all, it is because of two songs – ‘Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye’ which was covered in my post on raga Pahadi, and this one in Tilak Kamod. Jaidev has excelled in creating the soft romantic mood that fits Tilak Kamod perfectly.


12. Neer bharan kaise jaaoon by Ahmad Jahanzeb from Khuda Kay Liye (Pakistan 2007), music by Ahmad Jahanzeb, Kami Jee and Mark Berlin

This one is from across the border and way out of the range of SoY. However, it deserves inclusion here as it is the purest example of Tilak Kamod in film music in the subcontinent. The hero of our movie has gone to Chicago for higher study in music. In the introductory class each student is asked to play or sing a piece by way of introduction. As he sings the other students also join with their instruments. The movie itself was an eye-opener. The very fact that such a movie was made and did well on the box office makes one question several negative assumptions about our neighbour.

Just like the singer Kumari Faiyaz, I have also failed to unearth any substantive information on the composer Mark Berlin. I would look forward to help from learned readers of SoY.


I will now present a few classical pieces. I begin with Tilak Kamod. This piece by Pandit D V Paluskar is short, but explores the complete range of the raga. It could be called the iconic composition in this raga:


Tilak Kamod was one of Pandit Ravi Shankar’s favourites. We have heard his composition from Godan above. We now hear him present this raga in its full classical glory. This piece is long and you would need free time to enjoy it at leisure. Those who are pressed for time may skip to the 29 minute mark, where the alaap, jod and jhala ends and the ‘gat’ or the rhythmic composition starts.


I now come to raga Desh. I begin with a semi-classical composition from Tagore’s dance drama Shyama. Bajrasen and Shyama are in love. Bajrasen gets into serious trouble with the King’s men over a supposed theft. Uttiyo, who also loves Shyama, comes forward to confess to the crime to save his beloved’s lover, and suffers the death penalty. Bajrasen is horrified to discover that Shyama allowed an innocent man to die to save him and disowns her. Later, however, he is overtaken with remorse at his inability to be generous to her. Here in the final piece of the long dance-drama he seeks forgiveness of the lord. Tagore has used Desh masterfully to bring out the agony of Bajrasen in a poignant manner. ‘Khomibe na, khomibe na, aamaro khomaheenota, paapi jan sharan probhu.’ Thou shalt not forgive me for my lack of forgiveness.


Because of its name and easy popular appeal Desh is a favourite for patriotic compositions. We have already heard Vande mataram in this raga. Desh has been used in the background theme in the recently released movie ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Deepa Shahi. We keep hearing it – mostly on sarod and flute – throughout the movie. It has been used by the music director to symbolize the spirit of India – something that is as important a part of the movie’s theme as the lives of its principal characters.

I recall this very popular medley in Desh by a galaxy of classical artists from all over India.


The most popular bhajan in Desh is Kabir’s Chadariya jheeni re jheeni. The most well known recording is by Anup Jalota. I am, however, not using it here because I could not locate any video of his in which he confines himself to singing and does not stray into preaching. Instead, I present a very simple but beautiful rendering by an unknown artist:


Pandit Jasraj is as good in his bhajans as in classical performances. This bhajan in Desh, in two parts, by him gives the listener a devotional experience that can only be described as ‘immersive’. One feels immersed in spirituality as his mellifluous voice explores the full range of the raga:



I now present my personal favourite in Desh. This is an audio by Ali Akbar Khan in Des Malhar. The alaap is in Des Malhar, which is mostly Desh with just a little touch of Malhar. At nine minutes into the recording a gat in Desh starts with a magical lilt. The mood is best captured by the Hindi word jhoomna. The accompanist on the tabla adds to the mood by sort of caressing the tabla, instead of simply striking it, to make it talk. To fully enjoy the recording you may need to turn up the speakers as the recording is at a low volume. It will make your heart dance, even if you manage to keep your feet still.!/albums/ustad-ali-akbar-khan-and-nikhil-banerjee-malhar-on-saaz

I close with a mention of Sorath, the older raga from which Desh is derived. The two are very similar. The major difference is that in Sorath the descent from ma to re is taken as a single glide or meend without explicitly showing the intervening note ga, while Desh uses ga explicitly. According to Pandit Ramshreya Jha Ramrang on the explicit use of ga made Desh very sweet and appealing as compared to Sorath and it rapidly overtook the older raga in popularity.

Here is a piece in Sorath by Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur:

{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Naresh P. Mankad March 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Once again Subodhji has opened the treasure of classical music. Whenever we look at it, we are amazed at the richness and the perennial appeal it holds for us. Hiya jharat rahat din rain brings the richness and grandeur of Pandit Ravishankar’s composition and orchestra. Take any of the Hindi films for which he has done music, and you will be mesmerized by the beauty of his music.

2 Subodh Agrawal March 16, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Thank you Mr Mankad. Encouragement from readers like you is what keeps this series going. You are absolutely right about the music given by Pandit Ravi Shankar in films. I love all the songs of ‘Anuradha’ and ‘Godaan’. I had not paid much attention to the songs of ‘Meera’ but thanks to a query from a reader that AK forwarded to me, I heard songs of this movie too and liked them a lot.

3 Anu Warrier March 18, 2013 at 2:01 am

Subodh, I’m someone who is tone deaf when it comes to raagas, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading your mini-treatises on each song, and listening to the songs, both film and non-film ones. Thank you for a couple of hours well-spent.

4 Subodh Agrawal March 18, 2013 at 8:25 am

Thanks Anu. I think you are being unfair to yourself by using the term ‘tone deaf’. You certainly aren’t if you enjoyed listening to the classical pieces. In a certain way I feel that formal knowledge about ragas becomes a barrier to true appreciation of music. One goes more into technicalities – feeling pleased with oneself that one has recognized a raga, or the use of a particular note in a clever manner.

One of my favorite classical pieces is Lajwanti by Ali Akbar Khan. It is a rare raga – probably created by the Ustad himself. I have deliberately refrained from finding out more about it, as it might interefere with the pure instinctive pleasure I derive from listening to it without being distracted by technical details. Here is an audio link to the album. I had bought it for the other side – Todi. Lajwanti came as a bonus. The best thing about this piece is the imaginative use of silence, the way he pauses at places before playing the next note:!/albums/ustad-ali-akbar-khan-sarod-hindustani-0-0-1

5 AK March 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm

You have included some of the most wonderful and iconic songs and classical compositions in Desh and Tilak Kamod. For me the bonus was Ayi ritu sawan ki from Alaap. God bless Kumari Faiyaz. The old lady(?) lip-synching this song is pathos personified. Another song I had not heard was Thandi thandi sawan ki phuhaar. You are right, had I known about it, it might have found a place in my Asha Bhosle’s special songs to give company to her Bekasi had se jab guzar jaye in Desh.

I found the American professor’s introduction to Neer bharan kaise jaun as music of Pakistan amusing. I wonder what they call Hindustani classical music, which is still a living tradition there.

You have mentioned about Pt Omkarnath Thakur and Vande Mataram. Let us hear the Master himself sing it. YT note mentions that Panditji came from Chennai at the request of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to sing this song on the eve of Independence in the Parliament.

Vande Mataram by Pt Omkarnath Thakur

I can see your point about Anup Jalota. I had occasion to hear him live several times in his heydays. I can tell you his gimmicks made him a rage. What a genius, who could sing Chadariya jhini re jhini in ten ragas! However, I always preferred his father’s straightforward rendering of this song in his full throated voice.

Purushottam Das Jalota sings Chadariya jhini re jhini:!/albums/sant-bhaktidhara-hindi-devotional

A very special song in Desh for me is Esho shyamalo sundaro which I heard many years ago while wandering around in HMV shop in Calcutta in Park Street.

Esho shyamalo sundaro by Srikant Acharya

A classical composition in Desh I like greatly is Karam kar dije by Ustad Rashid Khan:

While on Ustad Rashid Khan, I cannot resist the temptation to include this thumri in Desh, Mora sainya bulave aadhi raat ko, nadiya bairi bhayi.

Lastly, Mallikarjun Mansoor’s Sorath has been my great favourite. I was always intrigued by its similarity to Desh. Thanks to your post, now I know why.

6 Naresh P. Mankad March 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

A warning note for common people like us not systematically trained in classical music: Desh and Desi are two different raagas. Decades back while listening to Baiju Bawra’s beautiful composition “Aaj gavat man mero jhoom ke” sung by two stalwarts I was confused by the similarity in names. The different thaats (Khamaj and Asavari) or constitutions are technical matters. We are concerned with the individual beauty of each of them so nothing comes in the way of our enjoying the music.

7 n.venkataraman March 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

After the extraordinary piece on Raag Malkauns three months back, Subodhji has come out with another write-up, this time on Raag Desh and its closely allied Raags Tilak Kamod and Soorath. It was worth the wait. Let me at the outset thank Subodhji for yet another wonderful article.

When one goes through Subodhji’s articles on classical Raags, they will have the experience of undergoing ‘a listener’s appreciation course’. His writing style is lucid and at the same time reflects his in-depth knowledge on the subject. When you reach the end of the article, even ordinary listeners will have a fairly good idea of the Raag and when one hears the Raag again in any composition or in any concert they will be able to enjoy and appreciate the Raag much better than before. Thanks once again Subodhji.

Instead of commencing with a theoretical rhetoric on the grammar of the Raaga, the mood is set with a simple presentation of the Arohan and Avarohan of the Desh Raag through the widely known and popular composition ‘Vande Mataram’. The right ambiance is set with an ‘Ode to Desh’.

After this initiation, the changing hues and moods of Raag Desh unfold before us in the next eight songs. The mood of agony and separation, the haunting melancholy, then a reflective mood, followed by introspective mood, light-hearted play full mood, the serene and pleasant feeling with a classical number, all emerges one after another. One cannot ask for more.

Subodhji guides us to Raag Tilak Kamod (#9). But the thirst for romance comes with pangs of rejection and separation. The next number (#10) is absolutely great. Anjaan’s lyrics, the rendition by Mukesh, the visual setting, and above all the composition, which binds all these elements into a composite single entity, by Pandit Ravi Shankar are absolutely mesmerizing. Altough the Viraha Ras still lingers, but the beautiful orchestration reflects the onset of Madhur Ras. Speaking of the lyrics there are only three lines in the original novel (‘Hiya jarat rahat din rain, aam ki dariya koyal bole, tanik na aavat chain’). The lyrics in Bhojpuri and the visuals unfold the rustic mood. The animals opening up their bounty to their siblings and nourishing them, the rustle of the leaves, indicating the arrival of southern winds, also Mother Earth’s unlimited blessing for her earthly siblings depicts Vatsalya Ras.

The next two songs (#11 & #12), creates the soft romantic mood (Shringar Ras) which is the hallmark of Tilak Kamod. But the tinge of sadness refuses to leave. In the first one it is the pain of separation from ones’ beloved that accompanies the romantic mood. Whereas in the second piece the longing of the youth, which may be the longing for his beloved left behind or the love for the unknown (Kalpanik Premika) who is yet to herald in his life or above all, the longing for the Holy Motherland (Punya Dharthi Maata), whose shores he had bid farewell in pursuit of further knowledge. That reminds us of the fact that in romance pain always accompanies pleasure. They are inseparable pair. Permanent pleasure (bliss) cannot be attained in earthly love and romance (Partiva Prem).

Subodhji’s selection of the compositions (HFS), its presentation, interspersed with crisp narratives, brings out the above experience vividly. All the eight compositions in Desh and four in Tilak Kamod are the best representations of this two Raags from Hindi film songs of yore and yonder. Although there are many more compositions in these two Raags in Hindi films one need not look beyond. One should not only have in-depth knowledge but also possess logical thinking, emotional bearing and a creative mind to achieve this. To quote Akji, ‘Subodh(ji) carries his scholarship lightly with an easy and fluent style of writing.’

Next, Subodhji takes us along into the realms of semi-classical and classical genre with similar insight and precision. Normally one would expect to start with the same pattern, Desh followed by Tilak Kamod. But Subodh ji, smoothly transcends into the classical music sphere, continuing with Raag Tilak Kamod. He has explained this in his narrative. Although Tilak Kamod is a beautiful Raag, its range of expression is narrow. In contrast we have already seen that Raag Desh carries a wider range of emotions. So it makes sense to continue with Raag Tilak Kamod.

The initiation into classical domain starts with a short and beautiful Dhrut Teen Taal composition rendered by the immortal doyen of the Gwalior gharana Pandit D V Paluskar.

The next presentation, also in Raag Tilak Kamod by another stalwart belonging to the Maihar gharana Pandit Ravi Shankar, brings out one of the best representation of this Raag in classical genre. Out of the total 38: 24 minutes, the Gat in Madhyalay Vilambit in Dhamar occupies only a little over 9:00 minutes. The rest (almost half an hour), which is the best part, is covered by Aalap and Jor. The dexterous use of the right hand while playing the da ra and diri diri strokes especially in the Jor Ang and Gat should be closely followed by all students of sitar.

The journey progresses with Raag Desh into a higher plain (of philosophy) and truly speaking one cannot call it a light or semi- classical version. The message ‘Despise the sin and not the sinner, forgive the sinner but never ‘forgive and forget’ the despicable sinful act’ is the message conveyed by Rabindranath Thakur through his dance drama ‘Shyama’. Subodhji presents the final part of the play composed in Raag Desh to depict, one more mood, the sense of remorse and guilt addressed to the Supreme Being, which is unveiled in an excellent rendition by Hemanta Mukherjee.

To move forward from this contemplative mood set in by this philosophical rendition, one needs to unwind. To reach the ultimate destination one needs to move forward, but at times one has to move a step backward. Else the seeker gets bogged down in the luxury of contemplative remorse and guilt. Subodh ji takes us through a total experience which he rightly calls a medley. But it is a total experience in the sense that it is a pure classical music presentation starting with an Aalap and gradually the tempo increases and culminates with a Dhrut Jhala, encompassing the best of both Hindusthani music and Carnatic music and its exponents, representing both instrumental and vocal genre. Region wise it covers the entire Desh, from Kashmir to Kerala and from Gujarat to the North East. Composition wise its cover all hues and moods of Desh Raag.

Through the next composition, a Kabir Bhajan, Subodhji takes us back into the philosophical / spiritual sphere. Here Sant Kabir explains the futility of giving undue importance to this body (Chadar), and advocates the path of self realization and detachment under the guidance (Gyan maarg) of an able guru. Her the Vairagya Ras is brought out in a simple, but a beautiful full throated rendition in Raag Desh by an unknown rustic singer and his team. Thanks to Subodhji for introducing this mystique number in Desh, which reveals yet another hue.

After Sant Kabir we are introduced to the Krishna Prem Padvali Sankirtan (in two parts), by Sant Surdas. The rendition in Vilambit Rupak Taal in the mellifluous voice of Pt. Jasraj, the stalwart of Mewati gharana, is steeped in Bhakti Ras.

Subodh ji in his usual style, reserves the best for the concluding part. This we have seen in his write-up on Raag Malkauns also. A Desh-Malhar Aalap followed by a Teental Gat. Desh Raag and Malhar Raag go together well and here the Aalap sets the right mood. Experts associate Desh Raag with the month of Shraavan. Here he presents one of the most venerable and revered persons who by his dint of his ‘Saadhana’, has taken his art form to a spiritual height, it will take generations, before we could hear another Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Such stalwarts do not require a Malkauns or Todi to emanate the spiritual bliss. Any Raag in their hands becomes a spiritual experience. They not just great performers nor genius but they are themselves the embodiment of the art they practice. The Nadha Brahmam brought out, deep down from his fathomless soul, transmitted through his dexterous and nimble hands and fingers, resonates through the strings of his instrument and ultimately merges with the Cosmic Energy. And in this process he takes the listeners along with him to experience the ultimate truth (bliss) even if it is for a fleeting moment. The creator, his creation and the instrument through which the creation resonates, all merges into one single point of existence (Nadha Bindhu).
“Aham Bhojanam Naiva Bhojyam Na Bhokta, Chidanand Rupa Shivoham Shivoham”
Every good thing has to come to an end. But this number in Desh/Desh Malhar comes to an abrupt end to brining us out of the ethereal experience.

Subodh ji compensates us with his concluding presentation, an intensely meditative and uplifting piece in Raag Soorath set to Roopak Taal, rendered by none other than the doyen of Jaipur- Atrauli gharana Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur.

Subodhji, Thank you once again.

Whatever I have written is just an expression of my emotional experience that I have undergone in course of my sojourn through this article on Desh and its variants. I will not call it spontaneous because I have taken my own sweet time to listen to the compositions, many of them repeatedly because I enjoyed listening to them and I may do so again. At any stage if I my outpouring, appeared like a review, I am sure you will pardon me for this unintentional impertinence. If I have displayed excessive Jasbaath, I am sure you will be generous enough to forgive my weakness, unlike Bajrasen of Shyama.

PS: I was about to submit my somewhat “longish comment’ when I noticed you have posted one more piece in Raag Laajwanti by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. This compensates more than enough for the abrupt ending of the Desh/ Desh Malhar number. Again this Raag in the hands of Ustadji is simply outstanding. The presentation of Lajwanti in this post seems appropriate. After listening to it I felt this Raag has a touch of Tilak Kamod where it uses the phrase P, D- m, P- S’ a a, P. I will listen to it again at leisure.

8 Subodh Agrawal March 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm

AK, thank for your kind words. The links you have put in have enriched this post beyond measure. It is a wonderful experience to hear the original composition of Vande Mataram by Pandit Omkar Nath Thakur in his own voice. The rendering of ‘Chadariya jhini re jhini’ by the elder Mr Jalota more than compensates for my disappointment with his son’s recordings available on the net. ‘Esho shymolo sundaro’ is a beautiful piece and its beauty has been further enhanced by the sarod solo that follows the vocal. Any idea who the sarod player is?

Mr Mankad you are right. Desi and Desh are as different as chalk and cheese. If at all Desi can be confused with any other raga it is Darbari. For a long time, while I was learning the basics of ragas, I assumed ‘Aaj gawat man mero jhum ke’ was in Darbari.

Mr Venkataramanm, what can I say! I am overwhelmed by the generosity of your appreciation and the beauty of your expression. I would strongly recommend to all readers of SoY to read your comment in detail and rehear all the pieces in my post – their enjoyment of the music would be vastly enhanced. I can continue writing my articles for the sheer pleasure of reading your comments on them.

One question Mr Venkataraman, is there an equivalent of Desh in Carnatic music? All the artists from south who have participated in the medley have done a wonderful job.

9 n.venkataraman March 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm

This is in response to your comment (#5). ‘The old lady(?) lip-synching this song is pathos personified.’

Her name is Chhaya Devi. She was a powerful actor of Bengali Films of the yore. She acted in many films, both in Bengali and Hindi since 1936. She was the first cousin of actor Ashok Kumar’s wife Shobha Ganguly. She was an excellent singer and had rendered two songs in Tapan Sinha’s Bengali film ‘Harmonium’ (1976). The film bagged the Golden Crown Award for Best Music at the Seoul Asian Film Festival. I am not sure whether she had rendered songs for any other Bengali or Hindi films. She passed away in the year 2001 at the age of 87. The young girl plucking the strings of the Taanpura in the film Aalap (1977), is her niece Jhumur Ganguly. Let listen to her rendition of a Bengali song and a Hindi song from this movie.
‘Aah chalk are jal aante’ by Chaya Devi from the film Harmonium (1976), lyrics and music Tapan Sinha.
The male voice in this song sounds like Asit Baran’s. Asit Baran acted in this film.

‘Arman kuch to dil mein’ by Chaya Devi from the film Harmonium (1976), lyrics traditional, music Tapan Sinha

I had in my possession the 78rpm record of the excellent rendition of ‘Vande Mataram’ (which you have posted with your comments) by Pt. Omkarnath Thakur. If my memory serves me right, on the other side was Raag Malkauns. But this version of ‘Vande Mataram’ was in Raag Bangiya Kafi, that was what the label on the record mentioned. And I believe this version was composed by Vishnu Digambar Paluskar. I also believe that this version was rendered on the mid night at the parliament and his song was again broadcasted by Akashvani at morning 6:30 AM. As per Subodhji’s information the signature tune of AIR to which we used hear every morning was composed by Pt.Omkar Nath Thakur. I will to look into this.

Last October I had collected a lot of information on ‘Vande Mataram’, the national song which had raised a lot of controversy, for an article which I had volunteered to write for a “local little magazine’. In the process, I came across at least 18 versions of ‘Vande Mataram’ rendered by different artist. But the venture did not materialize. When Ashok Vaishnavji’s introductory article on Multiple version songs appeared on the Deepavali day in last November, my heart leapt. I thought of reviving this article and my search in YT yielded more than half a dozen versions. But things took a different turn and my attention was diverted towards Multiple-version songs in Tamil. I still wish to revive the article (that was my first attempt). With some more effort I can dig-up a few more versions.

The song ‘Vande Mataram’ was penned by Rishi Bakim Chandra Chattopadhy in 1875 much before he wrote the Novel Ananda Math. Rabindranath Thakur composed the tune for this song, that too in Raag Desh. The notation in Rabindranath’s handwriting was framed and hung on the wall adjoining the stair case in Teen Murti Bhavan in Delhi. I hope it is still there.

I have not moved beyond ‘Vande Mataram’. I will come back after reading the remaining part of your comment and other comments and listening to the attached clippings.

10 n.venkataraman March 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Sorry the wordings of the Bengali rendered by Chhaya Devi is ‘Ah chal kare jal ante ami jamuna te jai’.

11 n.venkataraman March 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Listened to the other four songs in Raag Desh. Great.

The best one was without doubt the Sufi Kalam ‘ Karam Kar Deeje Khwaja Moinuddin’ by Ustad Rashid Khan set to Adya Teen taal. If somebody pours his heart out in this manner in front of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti’s tomb (Samadhi), the Saint will definitely raise up from his tomb to bless the pleading soul.
The Thumri too was good, sometimes it makes me wonder whether the dividing line between Puja and Prem is that slender? The answer lies within.

The Rabindra Sangeet ‘Eso Shymala Sundaro’ is one of the 96 songs composed by Gurudev in Raag Desh. Just speaks volumes about his virtuosity. Srikanta Acharya has done full justice to this composition. The accompanying Santoor, Sarod and Tabla artists were excellent. I hope somebody will come up with their names.

Lastly, a small observation. You have provided the link to Anup Jalota’s rendition of ‘Chadariya Jhini re Jhini’. It is not you fault, the tag in the Raaga link mentions the artist name as Purushottam Das Jalota. Here is the link to another song rendered by Purushottam Das Jalaota.

Shyama tori bansuri nekh bajaoon.- Surdas Bhajan!/songs/pag-ghungharoo

12 n.venkataraman March 19, 2013 at 12:39 am

Subodh ji ,
I too am overwhelmed. I am so enamoured by the Desh- Malhar piece and Lajwanti piece that I have completed one more round of listening. and the time is half an hour past midnight. I am feeling refreshed and ready to retire for the day(!) with peace and tranquility.

But I owe you an apology.

I do not exactly know what happened earlier, the Desh Malhar which appeared to have ended abruptly during my earlier listening was absolutely OK. A smooth and perfect ending. I really wonder was I imagining? But I offer you an unconditional apology for misleading you and others. I stand corrected.
I will reply to your other query later. For now I take leave. Good night.

13 Subodh Agrawal March 19, 2013 at 6:53 am

AK, I forgot to say anything about Ustad Rashid Khan’s pieces in my response to your comments. Sorry for the omission. Fortunately Mr Venkataraman has made up for my lapse, and also made my job easier. I simply endorse whatever he has said.

Mr Venkataraman, I am so happy you liked Desh Malhar and Lajwanti so much. I adore both, and it is a great feeling to find someone who likes them as much as I do. I have been listening to them for over forty years now, and each time I discover something new – a subtle variation, a gentle glide, a pause that makes the following note shine in contrast. That is the real charm of classical music – it keeps growing on you.

14 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 19, 2013 at 9:59 am

I had overshot my limit of ‘agreed’ quantum of data traffic on my broadband connection. Hence even as I had seen this article in my mail inbox, I was able to open and listen to the clips only by now.

But, what a blessing in disguise this delay is! I have far more food to read and savour in the meanwhile.
Permit me to single out my ‘own’ choices from amongst what is presented in the original post – #9 (Jagte Raho); #4 (Anubhav); (I will not use ‘and”) #7 (Main Suhagan Hoon). Jagte Raho song is my all-time favourite, and is among those songs that , in my own limited view, puts Asha Bhosle, in highly comparable status in so far as the comparison(s) with Lata Mangeshlar goes!

Thanks to Subodhji, I now know that what I liked was Raag Desh. WOW, what a great thing to know! Of course, I have a few 33 RPM records in Raag Desh, – selected and purchased because the rendition pleased the ears – but that would not suffice for ‘tone deaf’ like us to know that the songs that we liked are from the same Raag.

I now off to listen to the additional clips and read and grasp the knowledgeable comments, and also n my hunt for some more songs that I like and feel resemble to what is presented here, check up with the information now available on Net, and then …….. come back.. as usual.. with something more to pester on my account, too.

Sudodhji has presented the ‘classical’ portion also so lucidly, that those who would normally not go beyond film songs, would definitely listen to the clips /pieces he has presented. I am sure, they will ever cherish that experience.

15 AK March 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

In the school we learnt a Kabir doha, Guru Govind douu khadey kaake lagun paon. After reading your detailed comments, I wonder whom should I salute first, you or Subodh? Now I am following his advice, and rereading his article and rehearing the music.

You are so right, at some point pain and pleasure converge. A Hindi poet said ‘Utasav ke baad ka avsaad‘. Pahadi Sanyal sang Suhaag ki raat ayi sajani kaahe bhare tore nainaa in Adhikaar.

Another profound thought you have mentioned, union between Prem and Puja. The Lord himself said, Naaham vasami vaikunthe, yoginaaam hridayena cha/ Madbhaktaah yatra gaayante tatra tishthaami Narada. Here the singing was expression of love which was the same as devotion. Amir Khusro said the same thing, Main to pya se nainaa ladaa ayi re. KL Saigal sang in ChandidasPrem hi dharm hai Prem hi karma hai, Prem hi satya vichaar (Prem nagar mein banaungi ghar main).

Thanks a lot for the information on Chhaya Devi. I passed up watching Alaap whenever it came on TV, taking it as one of the nondescript films of Amitabh Bachchan. Now I have to watch this film just for the song in Desh. I mentioned about Kumari Faiyaz. When Bhupendra starts Bairan bijuri chamakan laagi, badari tana maare re, the effect is magical. Sanjeev Kumar’s ‘rendering’ and Amitabh Bachchan sitting in a trance, everything about this scene is indelible.

I heard the two songs from Harmonium. Interesting theme for a movie. The notes of the harmonium are so prominent in the songs. Was the movie about this instrument? As for the male voice in the first song, it is difficult to relate it to Asit Baran, though my familiarity to him is only with respect to his songs in the 1940s. The song in Hindi Armaan kuchh to dil mein is very special. Tapan Sinha has created the sound and style of the female singers of 30s and 40s, such as Indubala, Kamla Jharia. What was the movie about – the place of harmonium in courtesan’s singing?

I also read on the net somewhere that Vande Mataram was initially composed by Pt Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, and he used to sing it in every Congress session. Later it became the subject of a controversy whether it was ‘secular’ enough, which, for music lovers like us, is pointless. Music is divine. When Sabri Brothers visited Delhi many years ago, I happened to hear them live. When they sang Bhar do jholi meri ya Mohammad, interspersed with Ya Allah, it moved Hindus no less than Muslims. It is a happy coincidence that SoY is at a stage when you feel like completing your article on this song. We eagerly look forward to it.

I have the cassette of Srikant Acharya at home. I am away on vacation for about three weeks. The jacket should contain the names of the accompanists, unless someone posts the names before my return. (In my wandering in the HMV store in Calcutta, when I heard Esho shyamal sundaraa wafting through their music system, obviously I didn’t know about the singer nor the song. But I heard it transfixed, and told the salesgirl, ‘I want that music which is playing’, and she brought me the cassette. That was many years before the internet and the YT.)

I checked the link of Purushottam Das Jalota again. It is the right link. It opens an album of ten bhajans. Chadariya jhini re jhini is the last one, you click and play, it works. I really do not know how you could get Anup Jalota’s link. It seems Subodh also heard it right.

16 Subodh Agrawal March 19, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Welcome back Mr Vaishnav. We were missing you. Looking foward to your treasure trove of compositions in these two ragas.

17 n.venkataraman March 20, 2013 at 12:48 am

Subodhji Namaskar,
Here is my reply to your query ‘Is there an equivalent of Desh in Carnatic music?’
Strictly speaking, my answer will be no. There is also no Raag called Desh in Carnatic Sangeet. But Raag Kedaragowla resembles Desh very closely. Raag Kedaragowla belongs to the Harikamboji Melakarta (Khamaj That).
It is a Audava- Sampurna Raag. Its Arohan and Avarohan according to Hindustani notation are S R m P n S – S n D P m G R S. In Kedaragowla Ni should be Komal in both Arohan and Avarohan. But actually in Arohan the Ni used is slightly higher in pitch and sounds like Tivra Ni. In Carnatic Music parlance it is called Kaisiki Nishad. The use of Andolans, Gamakams and also the chalan makes the difference.

I will present a few clippings of Raag Kedargowla. I leave it to you to decide how close it resembles Raag Desh.

M S Subbalakshmi – Vocal -A Thyagaraja (Telugu) composition in Kedaragowla

Kamala Thiagarajan – Veena -Kedaragowla Varnam

A Malayalam movie song from ‘Andolanam’

Now Hindustani Raag Desh has become popular in the South.It is rendered in the same style as in the south. That is why all the artists from south who had participated in the medley had done a wonderful job. Here are a few south Indian compositions in Raag Desh.

Lalgudi Shrimathi Brahmanandan – Violin – Tillana
Shrimathi is the sister of Lalgudi Jayaraman.

O S Arun – Vocal – a composition by Bharatidasan
You will find use of swarprastar, Thillanas, Bhol taans and Aakaram.

This song was composed much earlier for an old Tamil film (name could not be obtained) by Bharatidasan.
‘Thunbam Nergayil ‘ by M S Rajeshwari and Varma.

18 Subodh Agrawal March 20, 2013 at 10:19 am

Thanks Mr Venkataraman. Kedargowla is a sweet raga, but it didn’t sound much like Desh to me. I did find a hint of Khamaj in it.

The Desh compositions you have linked are beautiful. It is a unique experience to listen to this raga rendered with a Carnatic flavour. I particulrly liked the piece by Lalgudi Srimathi and ‘Thunban thengaryil’. Thanks again.

19 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 20, 2013 at 10:53 am

I took upon to visit the sites where Hindi Films Songs are listed on the basis of Raag and provide some more additional information as well.
I did find quite a large number of songs under “Desh” and “Tilak Kamod” .
While pursuing the list, I was thrilled to find Mana Mere Hassen Sanam – -, from ‘Adventures of Robin Hood’ (Music : G S Kohli ;Playback: Mohammad Rafi; Year : 1965) under “Desh”. This is one song that could easily fit into the great list that Subodhji has so painstakingly built.
But, has this comment tagged with this song: “Is this really Desh? I will leave it to you to decide. The notes are there and there is an occasional colour of Desh, but by and large, it just does not move like Desh.”
Well, our more knowledgeable friends here will be able to throw more light on this matter.
Similarly, there is great amount of disparity among the songs listed on various sites. So, again the question, ‘whether the songs really are based on this raag?’ would have to be answered.
Therefore, instead of lining up the space herewith some 28 songs under “Desh” and around 20 songs under Tilak Kamod, at this stage, it seems appropriate that I provide the links to these lists for our knowledgeable friends to have a look at the songs and give their considered opinion(s).
To others, like me, picking up the song and then listening to each one – by any suitable means, because, the sites have only songs listed, without the facility of hyperlinks to audio or video on some of the sites – is a treat in itself, because the songs mentioned are comparable to Shri Subodhji’s great list here.
The links are:

20 Naresh P. Mankad March 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm

@Ashok M. Vaishnav: G S Kohli’s lovely composition Maana mere hasin sanam is Desh. I guess the kshudra prakriti of the raaga Desh often leads to dilutions and the resulting confusion in the minds of listeners. I am tempted to mention one more song that has escaped attention as it is scacely heard. It is from film Naubahar ( which also has Lata’s classic Bheempalasi, Aeri main to prem diwani, Roshan’s masterpiece) – Dekho ji mera jiya churaye liyo jaay, rendered ecellently by Lata Mangeshkar:

I have not checked the notes, but my guess is it is Tilak Kamod. It is such a composition that should not be missed.

21 Vikas Chandra Agrawal March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I am reverting on your post after 4 days and it is amazing.
I have some doubt regarding the name of singer of song from Khuda Ke Liye. As per you tube details are as under-

Tiluk Kamod – Rohail Hyatt – Khuda Kay Liye

Would you please clear it.

22 Subodh Agrawal March 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Mr Vaishnav, it will take me some time to go through all the songs on the links in your comment. I will come back after I have done that. ‘Jane bahar husn tera’ is a beautiful song, but it is not a good example of Desh. The mukhda and most of the antara don’t sound like Desh. Take the line ‘Hairat se yun na dekhiye, zarra hua to kya hua’. Desh doesn’t show when Rafi sings it the first time, but it is very clear when he repeats this line in a higher pitch. The skepticism of Chandrakantha is well-founded.

Mr Mankad, thanks a ton for ‘Dekho ji mera jiya churaye liye jaye’. It is a lovely song that I had not heard before. Yes, Tilak Kamod is very clear in it – though at places it sounds different. As a music director Roshan believed in capturing the sould of a raga, while he often took liberties with its formal structure.

Vikas, there is a lot of confusion about the singer and music director of ‘Khuda ke Liye’. The best that I could find is this Wikipedia entry: I remember the name of Mark Berlin from the movie credits. I found the other two names on an internet site that I can’t locate again.

23 chitrapatsangeet March 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Quintessential Tilak Kamod.

Tumhare bin jee na lage ghar mein from Bhumika (1977)

“Jaane Kya haal ho” is also Tilak Kamod isnt? (Maa Ka Anchal)

24 Pankaj Sharan March 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Subodh, I could get the time to have a look at this (Desh+Tilak Kamod) post only now. It is great, especially the choice of Jagte Raho song. I had thought it’s been lost to the younger generation. Salil Choudhuri always did something, there is always “kuchh alag baat hai”. And, of course, the way it is picturised — by Shambhu Mitra.

25 n.venkataraman March 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Akji, Namaskar
Aisee Vani Boliye, Mun Ka Aapa Khoye
Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye
Aapke sacchi aur meethi vani se Mujhe Sukh bhi mila aur mere dil ko Thandak bhi mili. Dhanyavad.

Thanks for sharing your views on Pain and Pleasure & Puja and Prem.

Harmonium (1976) is a Bengali musical movie which elucidates through a Harmonium a story of life’s journey. The story-line goes something like this.
The Harmonium was purchased by a Zamindar. After the death of the Zamindar, the Harmonium changes hand from Bimala, the daughter of the Zamindar, to Basanti, the daughter of a middle class clerk. Ashok, a young man, was appointed as music teacher to Basanti. They fall in love and elope. The raged father sells the Harmonium to a shop. Ratan, a young man, purchases the Harmonium to gift it to his lover Shyama, a courteasan by profession. He desired to teach music to Shyama and wanted her to give up prostitution and become a respectable singer but he gets killed by Haran who owned Shyama. The Harmonium was sold again and bought by a Government Officer,a widower. To the surprise of Bimala she was invited to teach music to the officer’s daughter Shyamali.

I listened to Purushottom Das Jalota’s link again the next morning. This time it worked. But still I am at a loss to understand how I manged to hear Anup Jalota’s rendition. I must have made some mistake. Purushottam ji’s rendition was simple and beautiful. I did not post Purushottamji’s Surdas Bhajan rendition as a substitute to this number. You may listen to it and I am sure you will enjoy it.

26 Subodh Agrawal March 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Mr Venkataraman, your words about the movie ‘Harmonium’ kindled a long lost memory. I had seen a video clip (must have been on TV, there were no VCRs then) of the song ‘Moynamatir pather dhare dekha hoyechilo’ and liked it very much. Here is the link:

27 Subodh Agrawal March 20, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Thanks Pankaj for your comment. Each time I sit down to write one of these articles I relive the time we spent together in IIT when you guided me into the intricacies of classical music.

28 Anu Warrier March 21, 2013 at 12:17 am

Subodh, I’m ‘tone deaf’ in that I cannot recognise one raga from the other. Even if I’m told its name, I am unable to recognise the notes. And I’m a trained Carnatic classical vocalist. Okay, make that ‘was a trained Carnatic classical vocalist’. (Sigh. Chullu bhar paani mein doob marna chahiye!) I do like listening to classical music – both Carnatic and Hindustani, vocal or instrumental.

29 n.venkataraman March 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

‘Moynamatir pather dhare dekha hoyechilo’ ; I am listening to this wonderful duet after along time. Thank you. There is a element of drama in the rendering. That adds to its beauty.

I am presenting two composition scored by Pt.Ravi Shankar. The first one is BGM scored in Satyajit Ray’s film ‘ Pather Panchali’. Desh Raag used for the arrival of monsoon in rural Bengal

The second one is a Meera Bhajan by Vaani Jayram. Beautiful Orchestration and composition.

30 Subodh Agrawal March 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

Thank you Mr Venkataraman for these two beautiful links. I had seen Pather Panchali years back as a student, and found it – to say the least – hard to appreciate. Now I can appreciate the beauty of the rain scene preceded by the waves caused by the breeze in the lotus pond, and the little dose of humour of a raindrop falling on a bald head. Desh provides the perfect background for this beautiful depiction of arrival of rain. You have encouraged me to watch the Apu Trilogy again.

As I mentioned above in my responst to Mr Mankad’s comment, I had not paid much attention to the music of Meera by Ravi Shankar. One day AK forwarded to me an email from a reader who wanted to know the ragas of different songs of this film. I found a video on YT that gives all the songs of the film and sat through it. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks for reviving that memory.

31 AK March 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Karthik (Chitrapatsangeet)
I leave the confirmation of raga to Subodh, he is the expert. But Tumhare bin jee na lage ghar mein is a wonderful song. Rendered by Preeti Sagar? Amazing. In my reckoning this is far superior to Lata Mangeshkar’s Ye neer kahan se barse hai. Is there something between Tilak Kamod and Neer? You have Lata’s Neer song and the traditional bandish Neer bharan kaise jaun sakhi ri sung by many singers.

32 Subodh Agrawal March 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Karthik, ‘Tumhari bin jee na lage ghar mein’ is a beautiful song in Tilak Kamod. Thanks for adding it. I would not say anything on its comparison with ‘Yeh neer kahan se barse hai.’

‘Janne kya haal ho’ is either in some complex raga that I am not aware of, or a mix of several ragas with Khamaj as the base. One does hear Tilak Kamod in places, but one also hears Patdeep and Pilu and some others at various places.

33 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm

As is my wont, I went onto listen to other classical pieces on Raag Desh.
Here are some vocal classical pieces that I liked from amongst many that can be listened to YT:

Sanjeev Abhyankar Part 1 – Part 2

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan- Khyal Bandish –

Ustad Faiyaz Khan Sahib – Prem Piya –

Girija Devi – Thumri – Piya Nahi Aye –

Girija Devi – Tappa –

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi – Garajat Aaye Badarwa –

Pandit Kumar Gandharv –

Manas Chakraborty – Madhyalay in Teen Taal –

Ghulam Sadiq Khan –

Farida Khanum –

Mehadi Hasan – Thumri –

M S Subbulakshmi – Murali Kunjani Kunjani Bajati –

Madurai Somasundaram – Madu Meikkum Kanna –

Baba Bihariji – Nachyo Bahut Gopal – A Bhajan –

34 Subodh Agrawal March 23, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thank you Mr Vaishnav for these beautiful links. It is hard to pick any favourites out of this list, but if I were to do so I would choose the pieces by Girija Devi, as they explore the folk roots of Desh; Kumar Gandharva and M S Subbulakshmi. The video of Bhimsen Joshi is incorrectly labelled by the uploader, it is not Desh but a variant of Malhar.

While visiting these links I stumbled upon the Hindi version of ‘Esho shyamolo shundaro’ of Tagore. I would have skipped it, as AK has already linked the Bengali version in his comment, but I am including it here because of its introduction. The singer Ajoy Chakraborty introduces the raga by clearly articulating the notes and I think it will be useful to those readers who want to learn something of the formal structure of the raga:

35 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 23, 2013 at 11:00 am

Subodhji, if you had not placed this link of Hindi version of ‘Esho shyamolo shundaro’ , those like me who have always to be given a hand while walking the fields of Classicals would have missed a great opportunity of not only listening one more rendition of Raag Desh, but would have also missed the opportunity to ‘get to learn’ by listening the two renditions of the same song (not that we may have learnt much, in any case, but what a pleasure it is to [keep on] listening to such pieces!

36 Subodh Agrawal March 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm

While we are on this ‘Desh-Rabindra sangeet’ trip, let me share one of the first Rabindra Sangeet compositions I had heard thanks to my friend Pankaj Sharan. The song is complete halfway through the video, after that it is silence. Must be some mistake in making the video:

37 Naresh P. Mankad March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Mohammad Rafi sings Suniyo araj hamari:

The main line or mukhda points to Desh but antara ?

38 Subodh Agrawal March 24, 2013 at 8:13 am

Mr Mankad, the mukhda of ‘Suniyo araj hamari’ does have a faint imprint of Desh but the rest of the song moves quite freely between several ragas.

39 AK March 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

@Ashok Vaishnav
Ashokji, I heard your links. I have to specially thank you for Bhimsen Joshi’s Badarwa barsan lage. Many years ago I heard it on Doordarshan, which as I recall described it as Sur Malhar. I recorded it on VHS, which deteriorated. Your link refreshed my memory of hearing him live (on TV). My wife felt his facial contortions bordered on mudra dosh, but I loved him in this. After the Garjat aye badarwa in slow tempo, when he came to Badarwa barsan lage in fast tempo, Panditji would reach crescendo of excitement as if he would jump from the stage to catch the clouds which have started pouring drenching the parched earth. I also liked Sanjeev Abhayankar, who has inherited not only Pt Jasraj’s style, but also a sweet voice. MS Subbalaxmi is very good.

Pt Ajay Chakravarty’s demonstration in Hindi of Gurudev’s composition in Desh is very good. I often watch DD Bharati’s programme on Rabindrasangeet anchored by Divya Bharati which has been coming for sometime at 8.30AM. They have been presenting Hindi adaptation of his songs, which I found mostly disappointing. Pt Chakravarty’s is an exception. I also liked Srikant Acharya’s piece.

40 chitrapatsangeet March 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Another lovely Tilak Kamod-

41 mumbaikar8 March 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I was shocked by the bouncer of Mr Agrawal and the complimenting deliveries by rest of you.
Trying to muster up courage to acknowledge that I did read this article and did not understand the Greek and Latin you all are speaking.
But still I enjoyed it all.
Thanks for knocking me out!

42 jignesh kotadia March 28, 2013 at 1:29 am

hahahaha….mumbaikarji…i m with u…

43 Subodh Agrawal March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thank you Chitrapatsangeet for ‘Kajre ki baati’.

Mumbaikar, as the Australians have learnt to their peril, facing spin is tougher in India than facing bouncers. I am glad you enjoyed it. That is what matters.

44 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 28, 2013 at 4:27 pm

@Mumbaikar8, Jignesh Kotadia and all others like me,
Our task is to go to the stadium and enjoy the match! Why bother with a googly or a chinamen or a late swinger to a third man or a short mid -on or a silly mid-off!
And ‘this stadium’ serves great snacks and drinks, too!!

45 arvind March 29, 2013 at 12:32 pm

@ashok m vaishnavji,WELL SAID !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

46 jignesh kotadia March 31, 2013 at 12:34 am

@Ashokji…rightly said….raaglessness is although my destiny, but its enough 4 me when i listen ‘Hiya jarat rahat din rain’ , it gives me immense pleasure…
B4 some days (19th march) i was surfing channels and then stopped over DD. Munshi premchand’s ”GODAAN” was running there under the title ‘tehrir'(retelecasted), starred by pankaj kapur as ‘hori’. He had sacrificed his whole life 4 his family and now was just going to die in hands of his wife dhaniya coz of overstraining of his body to pay the debt taken. My wife disagreed with me why do u see such painful things, change it. I changed the channel but hori was died by that time.

47 jignesh kotadia March 31, 2013 at 2:44 am

Aas adhuri, pyasi umariya
Chhaye andhera, suni dagariya
Darat jiya bechain, ho rama

48 n.venkataraman March 31, 2013 at 11:38 pm

Ashok Vaishnavji,
I am returning to this post after sometime. I went through the four links (comment #19), three on Desh and one on Tilak Kamod and the classical (14) numbers presented by you (comment #33). It took some time, but enjoyed listening to them.

Some of the songs are pretty good examples of Raag Desh in HFM. Some of them starts with Desh or have some resemblence to Desh, but moves away from Desh after some time. Some of them do not sound like Desh. But the point is that a composer is not bound to stick to the grammar of a Raag and present the Raag in its purest form. He may be using the notes of a particular Raag, but the composition may not sound exactly like that Raag. Again he may use the particular Raag in conjunction with some other Raag or notes. And in the process we are in receipt of some beautiful compositions.
But this article written by Subodhji is on Raag Desh and its close variants. And after listening to all the songs, I am still of the opinion that the songs(HFS) presented by Subodhji are the best representation of Raag Desh and Tilak Kamod in HFM.

As regards the classical numbers presented by you I will go with Subodhji’s comments (#34).
Thank you once again.

Both the Rabindra Sangeet numbers were wonderful. Thank you. May be the up loader of the song ‘Ei lobhinu Shanga Taba’ had purposefully resorted to three and a half minutes silence after the rendition of the song. After gaining the ‘Shanga Taba’, the ‘Chitta’ becomes ‘Ranjita’; the ‘Amrita of Milan ‘remains ‘Sanchita’ in ones’ heart; the occurrence for which one awaits ‘Janma Janmantar’, the omnipotent makes it happen in one Janma; only silence can follow after this experience.

Thank you.
Your clipping from ‘Godan’ brought me back to the stark reality of this world. Is there an escape from this reality?
I listened to two renditions in Tilak Kamod. I liked both of them. Let me share it with all of you.

A Tarana by Vidushi Veena Saharabhude

A Thumri by Vidushi Siddheswari Devi. I could not recognize the voice of the vocal-support singer.

49 n.venkataraman April 3, 2013 at 11:12 pm

Subodh ji, Namaskar.
I would like to present the following pieces in Raag Nalinikanti.

The Carnatic Raag Nalinikanti is the closest to Raag Tilak Kamod I can think of. But Dha is not used in Raag Nalinikanti. It is a pleasant Raag. The Arohan and Avarohan of Raag Nalinikanthi are as follows
Sa Ga Re ma Pa Ni Sa – Sa Ni Pa ma Ga Re Sa

Nalinikanthi has any resemblance to Tilak Kamod or not, I leave it to you. But for sheer pleasure, please listen to the renditions in this Raag.

1.Smt. Charulatha Mani demonstarting the use of Raag Nalinikanthi in the Tamil film ‘Kalignan’. Smt. Charualtha praises Ilyaraja, the composer for using the Raag Nalinikanthi in the purest form. The original song was sung by Jesudas and Janaki. (Courtesy ‘Isai Payanam’)

2.Smt.Charulatha Mani presenting Raag Nalinikanthi – Composed by G N Balsubramaniam, Roopaka Taalam.

3.A Thyagaraja composition (in two parts) by T N Krishnan (elder brother of N Rajam), Viji Krishnan and Sriram Krishnan

50 Shrikant April 6, 2013 at 3:50 pm


“Thandi Thandi Sawan ki phuhar” sung by Aashajee, composed by Salil Chowdhury fot the film Jagte Raho, is the BEST song in Raga Desh.
It has no parallel. Especially the word “chhodo” from ‘khidkee khuli mat chodo’, how melodiously ‘cho’ in upper notes and ‘do’ in kharj notes, it is a miracle that only Salil Da and Aashajee can together achieve.

There are always tears in my eyes when I hear this song. It touches your soul !!

51 Subodh Agrawal April 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Mr Venkataraman

Thanks for the links of Veena Sahasrabuddhe and Siddheshwari Devi. Between the two I liked the second one more. Veena Sahasrabuddhe’s Tilak Kamod is a little too close to Desh for comfort.

I enjoyed listening to the pieces in raga Nalinikanthi, although I must say I didn’t notice much resemblance to Tilak Kamod. The rendition by Ms Charulata Mani showed occasional glimpses of Bihag, Hamir and Gaud Sarang. The violin piece by T N Krishnan did sound a bit like Tilak Kamod. Resemblance or not, raga Nalinikanthi is good to listen to. Thanks for introducing us to it.

52 Subodh Agrawal April 9, 2013 at 8:56 pm


I am happy you and I share our love for the song ‘Thandi thandi sawan ki phuhar’. I find it amazing that a song so good is not better remembered. A small correction, it is Tilak Kamod and not Desh.

53 AK April 14, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Readers may please refer to comments #5, 11, 15. Venkataramanji had requested the names of accompanists on the various instruments. I could check up from the cassette sleeve. Dr Rajib Chakravarty, whose name is mentioned on the cover along with Srikant Acharya, plays the Sarod (Since the cover did not clarify, I presumed he is a co-singer, but Venkataramnji clarifies he is a well known Sarod player in Kolkata). Other accompanists are as follows:

1. Keyboard: Partho Pal
2. Tabla and Pakhawaj: Viplab Mandal and Soumen Sarkar
3. Sarangi: Roshan Ali
4. Santoor: Sandeep Chattopadhyay
5. Gutar: Sanjay Das
6. Bansi: Nirmalya Dey

54 n.venkataraman April 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

Thnk you Akji.

55 MKS October 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Hi, this is a great site. I would like to clear up some confusion regarding composing of Tilak Kamod in Khuda Kay Liye. Since I am an unofficial expert on Pakistani music, artists and arts in general. The song is a collaborative effort between Shoaib sahab, Ahmed Jahanzeb and Rohail Hayat. The actual composition is by Ahmed Jahanzeb, who also sang it. He is a classically trained singer and early on was touted as the next Mehdi Hasan sahab. There will always be only one Mehdi Sahab but Ahmed Jahanzeb is a fantastic singer with an amazing voice.

Shoaib Sahab is a vetaran producer director for PTV and has now ventured onto the silver screen. He has produced great musical shows and is a music lover through and through. He has a great ear and eye for quality. He knows a lot about classical music and given the situation in the movie he chose Tilak Kamod as his choice which, in my opinion, was spot on.

Rohail Hayat is the genius behind Coke Studio and producer/keyboardist of one of my favorite Pakistani and all time favorite bands Vital Signs. VS were also discovered by Shoaib sahab and given a chance on PTV with their breakthrough song Dil Dil Pakistan back in 86/87. Though, in this instance Roahil bhai was actually a producer and arranger for this composition. He did not compose it.

Marel Berlin was the mixer who mixed the song at Gravity Studio in Chicago.

56 A February 26, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Another great post! Taking my time to go through your posts one by one AK and Subodh. Subodh – your Raag based posts and AK – your year-wise best songs waala posts are becoming my favourites!

It’s difficult for me to distinguish between Des and Tilak Kamod, but just based on chanchalta of sur, I classify songs in the two raag-s.

After I read your post on Darbari with relish, I was surprised to see your exhaustive list that contained almost all the Darbari songs I knew! In this post, I am surprised to see songs that I had never heard before – most of these are songs I hadn’t even heard about (# 2,3,5,6,8-12 in film songs), so it’s another kind of joy, to be introduced to this new treasure trove.

Did you not enlist the well know and popular songs in Des and Tilak Kamod deliberately? Or maybe I am wrongly classifying them in these raag-s.

Tilak Kamod:
1. Dil-e-Naadaan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai (Mirza Ghalib, 1954)
2. Hum Tere Pyaar Mein Saara Aalam (Dil Ek Mandir, 1963)
3. Humne Tumko Pyaar Kiya Hai (Dulha Dulhan, 1964)
4. Tere Pyaar Ka Aasra Chaahta Hun (Dhool Ka Phool, 1959): This one sounds more like a combination of Tilak Kamod and Brindavani Sarang…more of B. Sarang than TK.

Jibon Jokhon Shukaaye Jaaye (Rabindra Sangeet)
Chali Kaunse Des (Boot Polish, 1954)
Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari (Kaagaz Ke Phool, 1959)
Aji Roothkar Ab – Aji Humse Bachkar (Aarzoo, 1965)
Aapko Pyaar Chhupaaneki Boori Aadat Hai (Neela Akash, 1965)
Chalte Chalte Mujhe Koi Mil Gaya Tha (Pakeezah, 1972)
Aaj Kal Paanv Zameen Par (Ghar, 1978)
Pyaar Hua Chupkese (1942: A Love Story, 1994)

Ak and Subodh: One request. Could you write a post on film songs in Puriya Dhanashri? Do either of you understand Marathi? Doesn’t matter even if you don’t. Listen to this amazing song sung by Asha, composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar..The youtube video has English translations

57 Subodh Agrawal February 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Thank you A. No list of songs in a post like this can be exhaustive. One always looks to the comments to fill the gaps, and you have made a handsome contribution.

‘Tere pyar ka aasra chahta hoon’ is more appropriately classified as Pilu, though it does overlap a lot with Tilak Kamod. Another song ‘Kahe ko byahi bides’ from ‘Umraao Jaan’ also straddles the thin line between the two. ‘Chali kaun se des’ is, in fact, one of the standard examples of Brindavani Sarang. Sarang is the base of Des and many other ragas – including the entire Malhar family.

Thanks for the link of ‘Jivalaga’. I had heard it several times during my college days and loved it. I had many Marathi friends those days who introduced to many classics of Marathi music like ‘Ghanashyam sundara’, ‘Dolkara daryacha raja’ and many wonderful pieces from Natya Sangeet. Thanks for reviving those beautiful memories.

58 Vinayak May 19, 2014 at 2:41 am


Saw some mention of Kumari Faiyaz and also a note that not much information is available about her. If I am not wrong and if it is not a case of mistaken identity, she has acted in quite a few Marathi dramas and sung a few songs too. One drama which comes to mind was “Katyar Kaljat Ghusali”. Her two songs are available on the following link:



59 Vinayak May 19, 2014 at 2:48 am


Link to the audio for the song : “Char hotya pakshini tya”

Link to the audio for the song : “Smarshil Radha”


60 DR.JAGMOHAN MATHUR October 8, 2014 at 11:44 pm

The Kabir Bhajan Chadariya Jeeni in this write up hasa been sung by MUKHTIYAR ji (unknown artist in your write up), He lives in a village near Bikaner Rajasthan

61 AK October 9, 2014 at 6:48 am

Dr Mathur,
Welcome to SoY, and thanks a lot for this information.

62 Subodh Agrawal October 9, 2014 at 7:26 am

Thanks Dr. Mathur. He also made a brief appearance in the film ‘The Ship of Theseus’. Let’s hope more people notice him and he gets due recognition.

63 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 12:48 am

Subodhji: It is as much a pleasure to read your prose as it is to listen to the wonderful compilation that you have put together! I request you to take up Maand as a sequel to this post given that this raga is close to Des and Tilak Kamod and has been used widely in HFM.

Some contributions from my side to the Tilak Kamod section of the compilation:

(1) ‘Neera bharana kaise jaaoon’ is a traditional composition. Here is Pt.Narayanrao Vyas’s 78 rpm rendition of this ‘cheez’:

(2) A bandish ki thumri/bol baant thumri in Tilak Kamod recorded for Alurkar Music House by Pandita Malini Rajurkar:

(3) ‘Tan man tope vaarun’, a bol banaao thumri in Tilak Kamod rendered here by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

(4) ‘Ab ke saawan ghar aaja’, another bol banaao thumri in Tilak Kamod rendered by Begum Akhtar:

(5) ‘Gagana sadana’ from the Marathi film ‘Umbartha’, composed by Hridaynath and sung by Lata is also based on Tilak Kamod:

(BTW, the Hindi equivalent is ‘Tum aasha vishwaas hamaare’ )

(6) The original natyageet ‘Vitari Prakhara’ by his father, Master Deenanath, that Hridaynath based the tune of ‘Gagana Sadana’ on:

(7) ‘Tumhaare bina jeena lage ghar mein’ from Bhoomika, composed by Vanraj Bhatia and sung by Preeti Sagar, is also in Tilak Kamod:

64 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 1:09 am

No discussion on Tilak Kamod can be complete without savouring the beauty of Tilak-Shyam, the jod raga created by Pandit Ravi Shankar by blending Tilak Kamod with Shyam Kalyan.

Here is an alaap and a gat n this raga played by the maestro himself:

The brilliant ‘Jaane kaise sapnon mein’, composed by Panditji and sung by Lataji:

65 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 1:20 am

Another instance of Pt. Ravi Shankar using Tilak Kamod to great effect, this time as background music in ‘Gandhi’ for the sequence depicting Gandhiji’s travels across India after his return from South Africa:

Not sure whether it is him playing the sitar though …

66 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 2:34 am

A raga that is close to Des/Sorath is Sur Malhar. In fact, I have come to learn that the popular notion that the ‘Sur’ in Sur Malhar refers to the saint-poet Surdas (leading to Sur Malhar being called Surdasi Malhar) is misplaced; it seems Sur is actually an apabhramsha of Sorath, and Sur Malhar is actually a jod raga formed from Sorath and Malhar.

1. Lata’s ‘Dar laage garaje badariya’ from ‘Ram Rajya’ (the 1967 version featuring Bina Rai, not the original one featuring Shobhana Samarth) was set in Sur Malhar by Vasant Desai:

2. Bhimsenji’s rendition of Sur Malhar:

3. The natyageet ‘Amrutachi Gopal’ from ‘Sangeet Swayamvar’ is also based on Sur Malhar. Like most natyageets, it was also based on an existing bandish, I believe one that had been recorded by Gauhar Jaan. Here is a link to a page that contains a downloadable version of the natyageet as sung by Pandita Manik Varma.

67 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 9:08 am

Can’t imagine how I could have forgotten the classic Tilak Kamod-based natyapad ‘Ravi mee’ from Sangeet Maanapamaan. In this video, which I discovered a few minutes ago, Ashaji’s rendition has been superimposed on a ballet performed by the Bolshoi Ballet.

68 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

Asha Khadilkar singing the Sorath-based natyageet ‘Madhukara vana vana phirat kari’ as well as the original bandish that it is based on:

69 SSW June 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Ashwin thank you for all the variations you have provided especially the natya sangeet. Lovely.
That version of Coppelia’s La Priere with “Ravi mi ha chandra kasa” did not work for me. The original music by Delibes is styled to the dance , the only commonality here is the 3/4 rhythm.
Here’s the original orchestration and I think this dancer Maria Alexandrova is a tad more composed . The relevant portion begins at 10:34 in this video.

70 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm

I agree, SSW.

71 SSW June 8, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Interestingly Ashwin your clip of Asha Khadilkar led me to her singing some sections of Natya geet, “Natha ha maaza mohi” in Yaman and at 3:02 in the clip she shifts to Amrutachi Gopala, this is a very nice example of shruti bhedham. She shifts again at 4:28 to “Thaat samaricha” in Hamir. Here is the clip…

Thanks once again.

72 Subodh Agrawal June 8, 2015 at 7:27 pm

What a treasure you have added Mr Bhandarkar. It will take me quite a while to savour all the links at leisure. I look forward to that treat. Pandit Ravishankar’s Tilak Shyam is playing as I type these lines.

Thanks SSW for adding to our knowledge and appreciation – as always.

Tilak Shyam is a combination of Tilak Kamod and Shyam Kalyan. I haven’t found any interesting pieces in Shyam Kalyan. It is quite similar to Shudh Sarang, which happens to be more popular.

73 Chitrapatsangeet June 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Subodh, the quintessential shyam Kalyan of hindi films is Madan Mohan’s rendition of “Hai Isee Me Pyar Ki Aabroo”

74 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 8, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Subodhji & SSW: It is my pleasure! Here is a gem in Shyam Kalyan from the 1968 album ‘Lata sings Ghalib’. The MD is Hridaynath.

SSW: Yes, I did come across the clip that you have shared but have not had the time to view it, which I will do so at leisure.

75 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 8, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Subodhji & SSW: It is my pleasure! Here is a gem in Shyam Kalyan from the 1968 album ‘Lata sings Ghalib’. The MD is Hridaynath.

SSW: Yes, I did come across the clip that you have shared but have not had the time to view it – I will do so at leisure.

76 Subodh Agrawal June 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

Thank you Chitrapatsangeet and Mr Bhandarkar.

77 RSR September 20, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Daras Bina song ( three ragams) in Meera (M.S.Subbulakshmi -1947-hindi) begins with Bagesree, the second stanza is Desh and the concluding stanza is Paraj. Kindly correct me if I am wrong.

If possible give your suggestion about the ragam of all the other songs. ( from carnatic perspective)

78 Subodh Agrawal September 22, 2016 at 7:36 am

RSR, a slight correction – the song begins with Desh and the first stanza is Bageshree. I don’t know Paraj well enough to comment on the third. I Paraj from Bhairav group? Sounds a lot like Bhairav/Jogiya.

79 RSR September 22, 2016 at 10:07 am

Subodhji, Yes Sir. First stanza is Desh and second one in Bagesree. Paraj is very close to Nadhanamakriya in Carnatic system. It is a ragam which expresses sadness . It was one of the favourite ragams of MS.Subbulakshmi.–marabvaenae-ennaalilumae

Best Regards.

80 Naresh P. Mankad October 28, 2017 at 10:12 am

Like ‘Dekhoji mera kita chraye’, Talat’s Sapno ki suhani duniya ko aankho me basana mushkil hai has also the captivating appeal of Tilak Kamod, but I don’t know if there are variation in some notes.

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