Guest article by Subodh Agrawal
(When Subodh came back after a long hiatus with his post on Bihag, he had promised us that he would now be more regular. He keeps his promise with another excellent piece on Mand and Shivranjani. ‘Kesariya balam’ has made everyone familiar with Mand. As for Shivranjani, the readers may recall a scene in ‘Bheja Fry’ when Vinay Pathak and Milind Soman go in raptures discussing Shankar-Jaikishan’s special fondness for this raga. It is Subodh’s creativity to find a connection between the two ragas. I have to also especially thank his wife Renu for the beautiful painting ‘Rajastahani flute player’ which I have used as the thumbnail for this article. Incidentally, the readers must have noticed that 2017 has turned out to be a Festival of Guest Authors, with entire January and February taken by guest articles. Our venerable Arunkumar Deshmukh has already acclaimed it as SoY’s growing popularity among serious music lovers. – AK)
There is not much in common between Mand and Shivranjani as far as their structure goes. The reason I have clubbed them in this post is the mood they both evoke – like a spirit calling out to another across the divide that separates this world from the other. Both strongly evoke longing and the pain of separation. Another raga that evokes the same mood is Pahadi, and I had once thought of clubbing the three in one post. However, Pahadi is a great favourite of Hindi film music directors and one full post (third in this series) dedicated to that raga could barely accommodate a fraction of great songs in it.
Mand is one of the three main ragas that have their origin in folk music, the other two being Pahadi and Pilu. Pahadi belongs to the hills, Pilu to the Gangetic plain. Mand belongs to the deserts of Rajasthan, where life is hard and men have to stay away from their families to earn a livelihood. Calling out to one’s beloved is a recurring theme in this raga. It is also not a coincidence that the three songs I have included are all in female voice.
1. Jo main janati bisrat hain saiyan by Lata Mangeshkar from Shabab (1954), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni have adapted a traditional composition ascribed to Amir Khusro to create this beautiful song of regret. I always think of this song along with Main yeh soch kar uske dar se utha tha from Haqeeqat. Both songs show how playing games of roothna-manana can go wrong in love. This one could well have been sung by the girl who failed to stop the boy in Haqeeqat from walking away:
2. Tu chanda main chandni by Lata Mangeshkar from Reshma Aur Shera (1971), lyrics Balkavi Bairagi, music Jaidev
The lovers are together, which is not the typical setting of Mand, still the raga suits the ambience of rendezvous among dunes at night. Another gem by Jaidev.
3. Kesariya balama by Lata Mangeshkar from Lekin (1991), lyrics Gulzar, music Hriday Nath Mangeshkar
No post on Mand is complete without Kesariya balam – the definitive folk melody in this raga. There is a little variation from the traditional lyrics with ‘padharo mhare des’ giving way to ‘Bawari bolen log.’ Yet the film version retains much of the appeal of the folk melody.
I came across some more songs in Mand on Chandrakantha.com but they don’t bring out the flavour of the raga that well. I will now move on to Shivranjani. This is a favourite raga of many music directors and I could easily locate some twenty-odd songs making the job of selection difficult.
Shivranjani shows how change of one note can completely alter the mood evoked by a raga. Its scale is the same as that of Bhupali: sa, re, ga, pa, dha, sa; with komal ga instead of the shudh ga of Bhupali. This one change alters the mood from the playful one of Bhupali to the poignant one of Shivranjani. The poignancy is enhanced by using the shudh ga along with the komal one, as the composers of film music often do.
4. Dharti ko akash pukare by Mukesh and Shamshad Begum from Mela (1948), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
This is not a full song, but a fragment of one. I do have a vague memory of hearing a stanza once, but have failed to locate it on the net. However, the fragment is too good to be left out and creates a haunting ambience the way only Shivranjani can.
5. Laage na mora jiya by Lata Mangeshkar from Ghunghat (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi
This could well be called the iconic song of Shivranjani. My introduction to this raga was through this song. The film was probably based on Tagore’s ‘Nauka Dubi’, which has recently been made in Bengali with Raima and Riya sen, and also dubbed in Hindi as ‘Kashmakash’.
6. Piya milan ki aas by Lata Mangeshkar from Piya Milan Ki Aas (1961), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music S N Tripathi
I had to choose between this song and Pyar ke pal chin from Kunwari, also set to music by S N Tripathi, and finally decided to include this one being from an older film. The song begins with the classic invocation of the virahini: Kaga sab tan khaiyo, chun chun khaiyo maans; Do naina mat khaiyo, mohe piya milan ki aas.
7. More naina sawan bhadon by Lata Mangeshkar from Vidyapati (1964), lyrics Prahlad Sharma, music V Balsara
It is interesting that two songs in the same raga separated by 12 years have almost the same Mukhda. The one from Mehbooba (1976) has Mere naina sawan bhadon. The later song is better known, but this one arguably succeeds better in evoking the haunting mood of the raga.
Vistasp Balsara gave music in a handful of Hindi films, before moving to Kolkata to work with Gyan Prakash Ghosh. He was known for his command over musical instruments. I was once trying to locate the names of instrumentalists who played the prominent instruments in songs like ‘Awara hoon’ and ‘Ae mere dil kahin aur chal’. I couldn’t get a clear-cut answer. It is ascribed in some places to Goody Seervai, but there is also a claim from Balsara that he produced the sound of accordion in these songs on a harmonium!
8. O mere sanam by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar from Sangam (1964), lyrics Shailendra, music by Shankar-Jaikishan
Shivranjani was a favourite raga of Shankar-Jaikishan and Raj Kapoor. The use of both shudh and komal ga in succession creates an effect similar to western music (SSW may have something to say on it). SJ have used it effectively for this party song.
9. Jaane kahan gaye wo din by Mukesh from Mera Naam Joker (1970), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan
Another one from Shankar Jaikishan and Raj Kapoor. SJ used Shivranjani a lot in the background during poignant moments in films. They anticipated the most famous song of Mera Naam Joker in this extract from an old Raj Kapoor- Nargis film. I have no idea which film it is, but I am sure learned readers of SoY will be able to help. (This scene is from ‘Aah’, 1953. As has been mentioned earlier by KS Bhatia and other readers, one finds tunes of several of SJ’s famous songs in RK films in the background music of their earlier films. – AK)
Coming back to Jaane kahan gaye wo din, it is one of the songs in which Mukesh handles higher notes quite well – a couple of others being Jhoomti chali hawa and Sajanwa bairi hogaye hamar. This song proved to be the waterloo of many amateur singers, yours truly included, during my student days. A very dear friend of mine could, for some reason, handle Saaya hi apne saath tha but his voice would slip into a falsetto when he tried Mujhko rula rula diya. I am sure he will remember that with a smile as he reads this.
10. Karoge yaad to har baat yaad aayegi by Bhupinder from Bazaar (1982), lyrics Bashar Nawaz, music by Khayyam
Bhupinder is one of the most underrated singers. His voice can convey pathos like few others. He excels in this song.
Before presenting the classical pieces in this raga, I would like to present a few examples of folk compositions in Mand. I stumbled upon this beautiful rendering of Kesariya Balam on YouTube by the Mast Kalandars. They have used the guitar along with traditional instruments to create a fusion effect, but the singer’s voice and singing style is pure Rajasthani folk.
This piece by Padmashri Allah Jilai Bai touches the heart. She was born in a family of folk artists and started singing in the court of Maharaj Ganga Singh at the age of ten. According to a learned friend of mine, this piece is in Bikaneri Mand. It refers to a Rajasthani folk legend of lovers Moomal and Mahendra.
One more folk piece for its pure earthiness:
There are no major classical vocal pieces in Mand. Regular classical artists prefer to go to Mishra Mand which brings in a lot of other ragas. This sarangi and sarod jugalbandi between Ustad Sultan Khan and Ustad Ashish Khan does retain a lot of the original flavour of the raga.
Now to Shivranjani: Sanjiv Abhyankar presents this raga in his rich, sonorous voice. A disciple of Pandit Jasraj, he has the same relaxed, unhurried style.
Shivranjani sounds beautiful on the flute, as Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiya demonstrates.
In the end I would like to make a brief mention of the popularity of Mand in the South and its adaptation in the Carnatic tradition. My own knowledge of Carnatic music being severely limited, I will leave it to Mr Rangan, Mr Vekataraman, SSW and other knowledgeable readers to expand it further. I was amazed by the large number of Carnatic pieces that showed up in my YouTube search. I found this one by Jayanthi Kumaresh on saraswathi veena very good:
That brings us to the end of this piece. I hope the learned members of the SoY family will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it.