Since I started this series, readers have been suggesting names of various composers. Some have been covered; others would follow in due course. But no one has mentioned the name of Pardesi so far. I am not surprised; no one fits the theme Forgotten Composers Unforgettable Melodies better than Pardesi. Pardesi who? I do not know, nor do I know anyone who knows anything about him. Yet there is one song composed by him which is so unforgettable that Pardesi merits a post in this series. That song is an incredibly sweet Mukesh-Lata Mangeshkar duet Chanda re mori patiya le ja from the film Banjarin (1960).
When all sources fail, you can trust our living encyclopaedia Arunkumar Deshmukhji (whom I had the pleasure to meet recently in Mumbai) would fill in some details. He informs me that the name of Pardesi was Chand Pardesi. He has given music to the following films:
Khufia Mahal (1964)
Parivartan (1973, with MK Pujari)
Kitne Paas Kitne Door (1976)
Ye Kaisa Nasha Hai (1981)
Bhai Akhir Bhai Hota Hai (1983)
Ek Baar Chale Aao (1983)
None of the films rings a bell. But the duet Chanda re mori patiya le ja from obviously an obscure movie would figure near top of my list of the best of Mukesh-Lata. It is songs such as these which induced me to start this series.
A search of YouTube yields some more songs, not in the same class but quite good in their own right. Here are some of Pardesi songs.
1. Kya doge dil le ke by Asha Bhosle from Bankelal (1972), originally started as Rasiya, lyrics Pandit Madhur
The video is not available. But very obviously it seems to be a fast-paced mujra song. I would rate it among one of the better Asha Bhosle songs, but sadly it is virtually extinct.
2. Zindagi hai to haseeno ka salam ayega by Manna Dey and Suman Kalyanpur from Khufia Mahal (1964), lyrics Zafar Rahi
This is an interesting qawwali from a B-grade fantasy film, picturised on an urankhatola. You can see Jairaj leading the men’s team. Tun Tun is a recognisable face in the ladies group.
3. Pyar hoga ji iqrar hoga ji by Asha Bhosle from Khufia Mahal, lyrics Shyam Hindi
A typical B-grade dance song. The lady (whom I do not recognize) is cavorting around Jairaj, who does not seem to be moved and appears suspicious of her intentions.
4. Sar se anchal dhalakne laga hai by Suman Kalyanpur from Khufia Mahal, lyrics Zafar Rahi
An unknown song, but it has quite a pleasant beat and typical Suman Kalyanpur melody.
5. Do lafzon ki hai mere sanam by Suman Kalyanpur from Khuafia Mahal, lyrics Shyam Hindi
Another Suman Kalyanpur song, but not much distinguishing about it.
6. Chanda re mori patiya le ja from Banjarin (1960), lyrics Pandit Madhur, music Pardesi
And now comes the song which puts everything in shade. Suddenly you have a Pardesi creation which ranks with the best by any great composer, and makes the song and Pardesi unforgettable for me. The credits mention Ratan Pictures as the producers, Jaswant Jhavei as the director, actors such as Kanchan Kamini, Manhar Desai, Lalita Kumari etc – a perfect recipe for an eminently B-grade movie.
My fascination for Chanda re mori patiya le ja has its origin in my abiding romance with Raga Durga, which calls for a post by itself. Suffice it to say during my early twenties someone gifted me an LP of Bismillah Khan-VG Jog jugalbandi, whose anchor piece of was Raga Durga. The impact was like nothing I had experienced before. Then started my love affair bordering on obsession with this Raga. It is surprising there are hardly any film songs based on Durga. But anything based on it would move me beyond words. Then I realised the reason for my great fascination for Pankaj Mullick’s Ye raatein ye mausam ye hansna hansaana. Here is a more accessible Raga Durga by Ghulam Mustafa Khan.
Jai Durge durgati pariharini by Ghulam Mustafa Khan