Bharat Darshan in Songs (1): Small towns

January 26, 2018

Greeting the readers on the 68th Republic Day

Bikaner JunctionWhen I joined service, an important part of our training was to go on a 30-days’ Bharat Darshan by train. This had been sanctified by Mahatma Gandhi at the inspiration of his mentor and political guru, Gokhale, and romanticised by Richard Attenborough. In between, Abhi Bhattacharya showed kids a jhaanki of Hindustan by train. You can imagine the logistics involved in the exercise – about ten groups of a dozen officers each to be sent from one part of the country to another, stopping for different lengths of time at about eight locations, reservations in connecting trains, board & lodging and asking host organisations to impart orientation training to the group. All these in the days of snail mail and telephone, which was more a decorative piece signifying status rather than an instrument for making calls. The exercise was mindboggling. Come to think of it, all this trouble and expense was avoidable. Our film songs do a very good job of giving a Bharat Darshan. They go not only to the metros, but also to the hinterland, which is where the real India lives. They also give some interesting social and cultural information about the place, not available in any history book or tourist literature.

I have a special fascination for small towns. They are more intimate; they have a unique character; many small towns have become identified with a unique geographical indication, such as brassware of Moradabad, carpets of Mirzapur, locks of Aligarh, petha of Agra, silk of Bhagalpur, Darjeeling tea, Dehradoon basmati and so on. Some of these have got GI patents under the IPR laws. Our films have stretched the boundaries and created their own GIs, such as jhumka of Bareilly, ghaghra of Agra etc. With such wealth of information about our small towns, our film songs are the best way to go on a Bharat Darshan.

Today our Republic completes 68 years. The most spectacular part of the Republic Day celebrations is the procession of tableaux representing the culture of different regions, down Rajpath in the presence of our President and a visiting Head of State/Government (this time, ten Heads of State/Government as a part of our ‘Look East’ policy). Likewise, let us set off on a wonderful journey to small towns through our songs. The song need not be picturised in that city, but it should mention the city in a prominent way.

Banaras: Paan
1. Khaike paan Banaraswala by Kishore Kumar from Don (1978), lyrics Anjan, music Kalyanji-Anandji

Amitabh Bachchan is on the run with Zeenat Aman, being chased by the goons because they have discovered he is not the real Don. He is a fugitive from the law too, because the DSP Saheb, who could have vouchsafed for his innocence, is no more. In this hopeless situation, he bumps into a colony of Banarasi bhaiyas who offer him a paan. The paan of Banaras makes him forget all his woes, it clears his mind, and in the ecstasy, he breaks into a dance with gay abandon.

Poona: Paan
2. Poona se laayi main paan re by Sitara Devi from Aabroo (1943), music Pt Govind Ram

We have some Punekars (as also a Master punkar Smile) on SoY. They can confirm if paan is such a big thing in Poona too. Sitara Devi in her ebullient style offers paan to her patrons. Jagdish Sethi, who was a prominent figure in our early films, asks naughtily, what if he does not take the paan? Sitara Devi knows how to put down such smart alecs; she promptly replies Maaroongi naino ke baan re. This paan has other ingredients from Dilli and Lucknow.

Lucknow: Clean water
3. Lucknow chalo ab rani by GM Durrani and Geeta Dutt from Sansaar (1951), lyrics Pt Indra, music ES Shastry

Here Aga persuades his lady to move to Lucknow, preferring it to Bambai as its water has gone bad.

4. Ye Lucknow ki sarzameen by Rafi from Chaudahvi Ka Chaand (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi

But Lucknow is known for its tahzeeb. This song by Rafi pays a tribute to the city’s history which permeates not only in its physical surroundings, but also in its culture.

5. Tum Dilli main Agra mere dil se nikle haaye Shyam Kumar and Rafi from Pahle Aap (1944), lyrics DN Madhok, music Naushad

The lovers are 100 कोस apart, with one being in Dilli and the other in Agra, but the painful cry of their heart eliminates the distance. Listen to this wonderful song from the debut of Rafi in Hindi films. He plays second fiddle to Shyam Kumar, then a Naushad favourite. Even though Rafi sounds tentative, as any newcomer would be before an established singer, you can recognise the familiar voice which would rule the airwaves some years down the line.

Agra: Ghaghra
6. Agre ko ghaagre mangwa de Raja by Lata Mangeshkar and Ashalata Biswas Bholse from Laadli (1949), lyrics Nazim Panipati, music Anil Biswas

You can trust if Hindi films create a song for Agra, it would not be for Taj Mahal. I was not aware that it was so famous for its ghaghra to overshadow the Taj Mahal. Now we know the reason why UP government’s tourist promotion literature omitted any reference to the Taj Mahal. (For the uninitiated, the real reason is said to be the belief that it was actually an ancient Hindu temple, Tejo Mahalaya. 🙂 )

Bikaner: Flower girl
7. Mera naam hai Chameli main hun malan albeli chali ayi hun akeli Bikaner se by Lata Mangeshkr from Raja Aur Rank (1968), lyrics Anand Bakshi, music Laxmikant-Pyarelal

My monthly grocery list includes a few packets of Bikaneri, which can be described as ready-to-eat besan noodles broken into small pieces. A town becoming synonymous with a product is the ultimate GI. Sure enough, Bikaneri bhujia has already got GI tag (see #120 in a list of 267 such Indian products). But our songs explore new frontiers. Bikaner is also famous for, if you didn’t know, its mali’s wives, who are ebullient, and if they are lonely, they would wander and dance around with their wares.

8. Ayi ayi malaniya Bikaner se by Sudha Malhotra, from Oot Patang (1955), lyrics DN Madhok, music Vinod

The malins of Bikaner have been flirtatious in the olden days too. The flower is just a pretext, she seems to be quite game for fun.

9. Main hun Jaipur ki banjaran Chanchal mera naam by Rafi and Lalita Deulkar from Saajan (1947), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music C Ramchandra

Bikaner has men too who are quite a Casanova (chhaila). The banjaran is from Jaipur, but the two are quite familiar with each other’s places and their antecedents. This makes presenting their credentials to the other party quite easy. The male from one town, and the female from another, derives its inspiration from the vintage song Main to Dilli se dulhan laya re, Mera Bambai se baalam aya re (Jhoola 1941).

Bikaner, Jaipur, Faizabad, Meerut, Ambala and Bareilly
10. Bikaner ki chunri odhun by Asha Bhsole from Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974), lyrics SH Bihari, music OP Nayyar

The Robin Hood-dacoit’s moll is dancing with gusto in all her fineries to waylay the cops. While the lady’s main focus is on Bikaner’s chunri, she is also quite enamoured of different objects from other cities, such as:

Bikaner: Chunri
Jaipur: Lenhga
Faizabad: Chudi
Meerut: Gajra
Ambala: Choli
Bareilly: Baans

I had uploaded a video of this song on the YT, courtesy Ravindra Kelkar, but it has been blocked (YT have strange ways). However, here is another link. The songs starts at 26.50. There is a bonus for OP Nayyar fans – the link contains his eight more compositions.

Bareilly: Baans
11. Wo to baans Bareilly se laya, sawan mein byahan aya by Jayshree from Dahej (1950), lyrics Shams Lakhanavi, music Vasant Desai

In the previous song, one can understand that the items of apparel and adornment can catch the fancy of a woman, but I am quite puzzled why she should be so sold on bamboo. But lest you should think that it was an oddity, it seems baans (bamboo) has long been associated with Bareilly, which was known only to Bollywood. Here Jayshree mockingly rues that the only thing her beau could think of bringing for her was baans from Bareilly. Quite clearly, jhumka as the identity of Bareilly is now passé.

12. Chinchpokli Chinchpokli by Shamshad Begum, Madan Mohan and another voice from Shabistan (1951), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Madan Mohan

Chinchpokli is a neighbourhood of South Bombay, and it is a station on the Central line of the Mumbai Suburban Railway. I gather from Wikipedia that the name is a combination of two Marathi words meaning tamarind and betel nut. Mumbaikars can throw more light on its origin; but such neighbourhoods with name like this have all the characteristics of a small town. The song goes deeper into its character – young boys and girls are quite baawra and baawri and if the two meet up they start dancing with abandon. Shabistan turned out to be the last film of Shaym who met a tragic death during the shooting from the fall from a horse.

13. Naam mera Nimmo muqaam Ludhiana by Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey and Dwijen Mukherjee from Sapan Suhane (1961), lyrics Shailendra, music Salil Chaudhary

Ludhiana is the seat of the famous Punjab Agricultural University and a hub of different industries, such as bicycle, woollen garments, hosiery, auto spare parts etc. But here lives Nimmo (Helen) who fires up the street with her dance and song with Bhagwan and Chandrashekhar.

14. Kashi hile Patna hiley Kalkatta hile la by Manna Dey from Dangal (Bhojpuri film, 1977), music Nadeem Shravan

Dangal marked the second phase of super successful Bhojpuri films which had started with Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo in 1962. The first phase of Bhojpuri films had music by Chitragupta. Manna Dey sings this song based on a traditional Bhojpuri folk song.

Ara/Chhapra/Ballia: Shake the whole district

Manna Dey’s Bhojpuri, however, is not the real thing. There are dozens of YT videos of the traditional style of this song with varying degree of raunchiness. Brace yourself for this song from a pure Bhojpuri film. The song has a generic form: ‘A’ shakes, ‘B’ shakes, ‘C’ shakes/ When my waist wiggles the whole district shakes – A, B and C being towns of the Bhojpuri belt. In this case, Ara, Chhapra and Ballia are district headquarters of the eponymous districts.

15. Ara hile Chhapra hile Ballia hile la, Hamri lachake jab kamariya by Indu Sonali from Khoon Pasina (2012), lyrics/music Ashok Kumar Deep

Ara reminds me of a recent film Ara Ki Anarkali. The film brings alive Ara and its culture – the raunchy stage dancer, the wild whistles, and more. The significance of the film  lies in its message: the lady’s dance may be vulgar – which she has to perform for a living – she may not be a Sati Savitri, but she too has a choice and the right to say ‘No’. Anu Warrier has written a very nice review of the film.

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 9:44 am

Excellent post Akji,
I wish you and all SoY readers happy republic day.
I want to suggest a correction, I think the singers for Agare ko ghagro are Ashalata biswas and Lata Mangeshkar.

2 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 9:48 am

I also want to mention a song from Aur Pyar Ho Gaya.
Luk Chhup Ke Main Ghoomi by Asha Bhosle,
In one of the stanza, she mentions about Bhopal ka gutka
Lehenga from nainital.
Suramedani from barreling…. And so on

3 Dustedoff January 26, 2018 at 10:07 am

Delightful post, AK. I’d been meaning to do one along these lines for some time now, but haven’t got around to it – and don’t think I will in a hurry, since you have done a far better job of it than I ever could (there are several songs in your list I’d never heard of).

Here’s one, though, that I also like, which extols the virtues of Shimla as a cool alternative to the searing heat of the plains in June:

Hai yeh June ka mahina from Mud-mud ke na Dekh:

And (I am quick to assert that I don’t like this song), this used to be very popular once upon a time. Aati kya Khandala:

4 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 10:43 am

We may also think of the songs
Eit ki dukki pawn ka Oklahoma from Howrah bridge
Yeh hai Bombay Meri jaan from CID.

5 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 10:48 am

Oh God,
Auto-correct is hopeless. I may a times think that it mainly irritates us than being of any help at all.
The second song Eit ki dukki paan ka ikka

6 Subodh Agrawal January 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

Excellent theme AK, and very apt for today.

The first thought that came to my mind was why film songs have failed to mentioned Jhumri Talaiya, forever associated with HFM. Fortunately Jagga Jasoos has made up for this omission:

There is Amabarsariya from ‘Fukrey’ about Amritsar, also called Ambarsar by locals:

Let’s not forget Raipur, mentioned in ‘Sasural genda phool’ from ‘Delhi 6’:

7 AK January 26, 2018 at 11:23 am

Thanks a lot for correction in the name of the singer in the song Aagre ko ghaghro. The dance of Aishwarya Roy to the song Luk chhup ke main ghumi is so fascinating. Alas, she is not the same now. Eint ki dukki is on a metro, Calcutta, which I propose to cover in the next part.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Hai ye June ka mahina perfectly fits to the theme. Thanks for adding it. I was also quite puzzled by the popularity of Aati kha Khandala, but fits in the theme. If you had plans to write on the theme, you must.

8 AK January 26, 2018 at 11:37 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. It is nice that someone remembered Jhumritilaiya. Thanks for adding it. I didn’t know about Amabarasiya. The link of Sasural genda phool is not correct. Here is the link.

9 Canasya January 26, 2018 at 2:43 pm


Wonderful post. Long back, for one of my assignments I had to do a study of all townships in Tamilnadu, big and small. Some of the best references on the smallest ones I could find were in the Gazetteers written by ICS/IAS officers, British and Indian. Unfortunately, that practice seems to have been discontinued.

Here is ‘Aagre ka lalaa’ (Asha and Usha in Dus Lakh; MD: Ravi).

10 AK January 26, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. District Gazetteers were classics. These were brought out along with the decennial census/cadastral surveys. They were keen to learn everything about the land they were going to rule. The survey & settlement operations have gone out of vogue. And the motivation/need for such documents is perhaps not there.

Aagre ka lala is such a nice song. Thanks a lot.

11 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 4:37 pm

A zinger of a post, AK! While I don’t think ‘paan’ is really that big of a thing in Pune, Kolhapur is certainly known for its spicy cuisine. Here is a ‘laavni’ from ‘Ashanti’ featuring Shabana Azmi, Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman, and with the vocals provided by the Mangeshkar sisters, that refers to the Kolhapuri chilli:

‘Laaungi mirchi main Kolhapur ki’

12 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm

Ashok Kumar mentions the names of 26 villages/towns/cities in this rap song from ‘Aashirwaad’. The song also paints a pretty vivid picture of the scenes from a train journey in India:

‘Rail gaadi’

13 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm

I, and I am sure many others, came to know of the existence of Usilampatti, a town in Tamilnadu, through this A.R.Rahman song from ‘Gentleman’:

Usilampatti penkutti:

14 Anu Warrier January 26, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Like Madhu, I too had a ‘list’ in place but I do like your idea of ‘Bharat Darshan’ – that hadn’t occurred to me at all. 🙂
Some of the songs you listed are new to me. But from my list:
Bombay to Goa from the eponymous film.

Kashmir ki kali hoon main from Junglee

The ultimate ‘Bombay’ song:
Ae dil hai mushkil jeena yahan from C.I.D.

Another one: Main Bambai ka babu from Naya Daur

And I’ve been wondering about the Agre ki ghaagra – now I need to go find one. 🙂

15 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 7:26 pm

T.M.Soundararajan singing ‘Kashmir, beautiful Kashmir’ for MGR in the Tamil ‘Idhaya Veenai'(1972) starring MGR:

Several scenes of this movie were shot right in front of our house in Madras, and I had bunked school to watch the shooting. For those who are interested and curious :), our house is the one that features prominently in the background from 20:47 to 21:32 :). In fact the Ambassador car that we had at that time and that served our family well for years can be seen towards the end of the scene. The backdrop in the scenes featuring the boys smoking is our compound wall. The porch of our house features in close-up in the scene in which Manjula and Lakshmi walk out of the gate at 32:22, and once again in the scene beginning 42:36 in which Manjula walks out of the same gate. If only the cameraman had zoomed in to the window overlooking the porch in the latter scene, he would have captured the boy version of me for ever on celluloid 🙂 – I have vivid memories of watching the scene being shot. The name plates of the house (which still carry my grandfather’s name and the name of the house) have been pasted over though.

The link to the movie:

16 AK January 26, 2018 at 7:41 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Usilampatti was new to me. I don’t think it figured in the Hindi version. Laungi mich of Kolhapur is really hot. Thanks a lot for adding these songs.

I am as keen to see your list as Madhu’s. Now it seems Agra is the place for ghaghra. I thought it was Rajasthani. I am covering metro songs in the next part.

17 AK January 26, 2018 at 7:51 pm

I am flattered that we have a celebrity in our midst. 🙂

18 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 8:15 pm

One more song mentioning kolhapur
Thumake jhoomake… Main kolhapur se aayi hoon from Anjaam
Madhuri dancing a lawani

19 Mehfil Mein Meri January 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

One more lawani from a Marathi film
Performed by none other than Rekha
It mentions names of small cities in Maharashtra
Panhala etc.
It’s a Marathi song

20 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 8:41 pm

AK@17: 🙂

There are mentions of Dehradoon in the popular Shamshad-Chitalkar duet, “Mere piya gaye rangoon’ from ‘Patanga’:

21 AK January 26, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Too good! Mirch of Kolhapur again. Lavani is a very lively dance form. Thanks for adding the songs.

22 AK January 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm


23 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 26, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Nagore is a coastal town in Tamilnadu that is famous for its dargah of a Sufi saint. Here’s a link to a popular devotional song, ‘Nallamanasil kudiyerukkum nagoraandava’ from the film, ‘Anaiyavilakku’. The singer is Nagore Hanifa, who was also known as the voice of the DMK.

24 ksbhatia January 27, 2018 at 12:55 am

AK ji;

I cherish your ideals ; I cherish your vision ; Cherish the music that stirs many hearts .

A lovely topic on this appropriate day and that too after watching live the lovely republic day parade ; reminding us all when we as kids used to watch it live in the lawns of Raj path [ earlier known as Kingsway ] . With my living around General Post Office [ also known as Gole Dak Khana ] from mid 40s to mid 60s and my father holding senior post in the Govt. of India it was really a fun following the extended period of British Raj and living in Lutyen bungalows where any thing happening good was at stone throw . The world ‘s most famous dignitaries used to pass thru right in front of our house at Irwin Road [ now known as Baba Kharak Singh Marg ]. Watching Beating Parade is another charm that we never used to miss.

I am surely adding up the already posted parade of songs by fellow contributors . I see that the songs relates to small towns , as part 1 . So here are a few songs …..

1. Brindavan ka krishan kanhaiya…..Lata, Rafi….Miss Mary….HK

2. Lelo lelo phool jani lelo….Shamshad , Zorabai, Rafi….Jadoo..Naushad ….[ the wording jhansi ke phool comes at the end ]

3. Ghoda pishori mera Tanga Lahori mera……Rafi….Pyar Ka Bandhan…..Ravi

4. Ae Shahre Lukhnow tujhe ….Rafi….Palki…..Naushad

5. Murli baairan bahi kanhaiya….Lata….New Delhi….SJ

… be contd.

25 AK January 27, 2018 at 5:37 am

Nice song. Is there a Nagore in Rajasthan too?

26 AK January 27, 2018 at 11:41 am

KS Bhatiaji,
The Republic Day Parade and Beating the Retreat can fill any Indian with a sense of pride. But we are suddenly jolted to the darker side. About the same time some valorous Sena was pelting stones on a bus carrying schoolchildren in protest against a film they had not seen.

All the songs are supremely melodious. Thanks. We have such a huge wealth of city songs.

27 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 27, 2018 at 9:08 pm

The delightful ‘Dilli se aaya bhai tingoo’ sung by Binota Chakravarty (née Vinata Amladi) under Vinod’s baton (and he features in the song sequence) for ‘Ek thi ladki’:

28 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 27, 2018 at 9:09 pm

If a constitution would have to be drafted on Bharat Darshan, the prelude of this post will unanimously be adopted as its preamble.

Great Post, and equally great add-ons.

Looking forward to a Metro ride….

29 Ashwin Bhandarkar January 27, 2018 at 11:27 pm


My Google search revealed that the town in Rajasthan is Nagaur and that it has a Sufi shrine as well.

30 ksbhatia January 28, 2018 at 12:54 am

… continuation from songs @24 , here are a few more ;

6. Chhor Chale aaj hamare raam…..Ayodhaya Pati…..HK

7. Kashi dekhi Mathura dekhi……Nagin……HK

8.Holi khele nandlal……Majumdar…..Rahi……Anil Biswas

9. Dharti kyun viprit huyi….Manna dey, Lata…Sampooran ramayan..Vasant Desai

10. Holi khelat nandlal biraj mein….Rafi…Godaan…..Ravi Shankar

… be continued.

31 AK January 28, 2018 at 4:11 am

What a unique coincidence of Nagaur! ‘Dilli se aya tingoo’ is my favourite. But this post is on small towns. Let us keep metros for next.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

KS Bhatiaji,
Such nice songs. Thanks. Kasi dekhi Mathura dekhi is my great favourite. A perfect small city song. Right upfront.

32 ksbhatia January 28, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Ak ‘ ji;

Some time I feel proud and luckey also to have chosen Water Engineering Service after my selection thru UPSC services exams . Designing big dams and power houses and inspecting them during construction from time to time gave me many opportunities to visit and even live in small towns which i really had enjoyed during my service . Of course many Dak bungalows and Guest Houses are there but living in jungles of some nearby projects is altogether different .

During Doordarshan days , we all used to watch….Malgudi Days…serial with great interest . Every one , including myself , used to wonder where this town is , that looks so neat and clean , inhabited with simple natured people . The town overall looked very sleepy but everyone doing their work with a sort of slow speed …….never in a hurry . The factual position showed that the Malgudi is a fictional town of the writer and the shooting has been done in one of the town of south india known by Agumbe .

Once , during my plan to inspect Pykara hydroelectric Project in south Nilgiri’s , I had a great experience of finding a town quite similar to Malgudi by the name of Masinagudi . The town is just at the foothills of Nilgiris at a crossing where the road leads the uphill 36 hair bends right upto OOTY . This town slowly has developed into holiday attraction and many tourists drops here to go to Mysore Wild Life Sanctuary as well . Surrounding this area are many attractive houses of the period of british raj built deep in side the forest , well protected by live low voltage fencing …… a precautionary measure to scare away wild animals. Now taking bonfire dinner in dark with wild howls of animal voices was an experience that i cannot forget. The Project which is complete now is worth a visit too . The earlier phase of this project was completed during 30s and the power house of that time is declared as a heritage site . So , a must visit for those who enjoy the Banglore, Mysore and Ooty trip .

Here is a title music of Malgudi Days serial of DD times.

33 AK January 28, 2018 at 8:56 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
I can relate to your nostalgic memories of small towns. You have been lucky to be posted to some really far-off, but beautiful places.

34 ksbhatia January 28, 2018 at 10:19 pm

…..continuing from songs @30 , here are some more.

11. O pawan veg se udne wale …..Lata….Jai Chitod….SNT

12. Hamara pyara hindustan….Rafi, ?….Jhansi ki rani….Vasant Desai

35 ksbhatia January 28, 2018 at 10:28 pm

….in continuation ,

13. Jao chahe dilli mumbai agra….S. Chauhan…Kurakshetra…H.R

14.Main Jatt Ludhiyanewala…Alka, Udit…Loh Purush..Dilip, Sameer

15. Bul tere ne chandigarh de….Rafi, Asha…Nanak naam jahaz hai..SM

……to be contd.

36 ksbhatia January 28, 2018 at 10:30 pm

… corrected.

15. Bul tere ne chandigarh de…Rafi, Asha..Nanak naam jahaz hai…SM

37 AK January 29, 2018 at 5:03 am

KS Bhatiaji,
Thanks for the additional songs. Except Pawan veg se udanewale ghode, the others were new to me. It seems hardly any corner of India is untouched by our songs.

38 Shalan Lal January 29, 2018 at 5:49 pm

A very “Hatake” subject is this “Bharat Darshan” and well written too, and plenty of bright comments by various film lovers and memories. I enjoyed their reading. I like the sentence from Anu Warrier’s comment @ 14 “…..I do like your idea of ‘Bharat Darshan’ – that hadn’t occurred to me at all.” Note the last words in the sentence. I wish I could write like that. And Ashwin Bhandarkar seemed to have busted the dam and let out the memories fall in the cascades and he used the wonderful word “Zinger” of a subject. Indeed so.

In the film “Duniya Na Maane” 1937 produced by Prabhat and directed by V.Shantaram there are two songs which tell the greatness of India that perhaps the organiser of the trip AK and colleagues took, had in mind. Following are the two songs sung by Vasanti who married to Karan Diwan:
1) Aha Bharat Piyara Hai, Woh Jag-mein Niyara Hai
2) Bharat Shobha-mein Hai Sabse Aalaa, Har Mahinemein Nirala.

Ashwin Bhadarkar’s comment about the delicacy of Paan, I would like to say whenever we went to Poona, we found the PaanPatti shops had following words written on their mirror “Saadha Paan, Puneri Paan, Jadrda Paan, Calcutta Paan and Banarasi Paan.”

Little girls or women of the respected family were never allowed near the PaanPatti shops but men could go and buy the various Paans.

We all liked Puneri Paan” which had all sweet Masala and aroma, contrary to the Jarda Paans which were made from tender and aromatic powder of tobacco.

Recently I visited Southall during Xmas time. Southall is called “Little India”

They had exactly Indian PaanPatti Shops and little various Massala pots exhibiting by the mirror. One PaanPatti was priced “£1.50”.

The sterling exchange to rupee is at present £1.00= 86 Rupees. I did not eat the Paan just smelt the aroma of the Masala.

The word “Puneri” is equivalent to the Hindi word “Hatake”. There is Puneri Missal, Puneri Halwa, and Puneri Manus and so on which means a man from Poona with a different stroke.

Incidentally since the arrival of huge number of Bangaldeshi people in England who are fond of eating Paans more than any other community, the British National Health has been very conscious about the Paan eating habit of the Indians.

Every time I visited a Hospital I had to fill in a form and declare that I do not eat Paan. According to my doctor the Paan eating leads the complication of mouth and throat diseases and the Tobacco chewing may cause cancer in stomach, mouth and throat.

Ah, the fun of people in India doing their artwork on the walls in the public area with their skilled “Pichkari”! If only they know that the “Paan” has the enjoyment but a fatal sting in it.

Many filmy people are addicted to eating Paan! Among them S.D.Burman who would carry his metal box along with already made Paans probably by his wife very lovingly.

I remember when the Screen Weekly was launched first time our girly company would buy it and read it from page to page.

Once we found, on the front page a news item with Nargis and Raj returning to India from their American Trip. In the picture at Calcutta Raj Kapoor was buying Paans for himself and Nargis. And in the column Nargis enjoying and said something like “It is so wonderful to be back and eating Paan. We are now really home!”

Shalan Lal

39 AK January 29, 2018 at 7:01 pm

Shalan Lal,
That’s a nice paan story. The doctors who are panning it are doing a great disservice to something which has such a pan-India appeal. Of course pandering to any fancy to excess is not a good thing. 🙂

40 Giri January 30, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Well chosen topic and excellent post. Many songs posted by you are new to me.Of course veterans like Bhatiaji, Shalan Lal and others have embellished the article with their experiences and more such songs.
You have started with a song from “Don”. I think you have left out the other one “yeh hai bumbai nagariya” to be added in your forth coming post on metros. Waiting to ride on the metro.

I am not sure you have watched another Tamil movie: “Makkalaip petra Maharasi”(late fifties). There is a song there starting,”Manappara maadu katti” This song mentions names of many small towns in Tamilnadu which were famous for articles/activities mainly connected to agriculture. It was a very popular song during those days.

41 Shalan Lal January 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm


Very interesting comment AKJi. You seemed to have beaten up in your “Punniness” to arch Punny commenter Mr Ashwin Bhandarkar who is perhaps so called because he has an immense Bhaandar (store) of puns.

SoY people should excuse me for aping to be “P (f)unny! with my puny (paltry) Punniness . I shall not go this way again.

Shalan La

42 Shalan Lal January 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

With reference to the song number 12 “ChinchPokali” I think AK’s information is correct as the place once upon a time was full of trees of Chinch-Imali and Supari- the hard nut used in worship and finely desiccated in the venerable “Paan”.

If one will try to find out the roots of the names of place in the vast metropolitan city of Mumbai/Bombay one will have a journey into the history of Bombay. The city Bombay was named after Goddess Mumba a variation on the Goddess Durga or Goddess Laxmi. There is an ancient temple of Mumba in the heart of Bombay’s Jewarat Bazar.

But as the Portuguese owned it by force they called it Bon Bay -polished it to Bombay to match it to Mumabi now called officially. Mumbai was there from ancient time.

The GIP/Central Rly station was once called “Boribundar. Once the place was full of berry bushes.

There is a station on the local railway called Masjid Bundar. It was due to the synagogue of early Jewish people who became Marathi Jews or called Saturday Brahmin as they worship on the Saturday. Now the place is dominated by Muslims and the synagogue was turned into a mosque by the middle of the 19th century.

The Name Dadar is because the place was climbing steps when Bombay was in seven islands. The breaches in between the seven islands were filled in by the East India company who got it from their king who got it as dowry for marrying a Portuguese princess.

Many have written books on Bombay among them old colonialists English, modern historians and Non-Marathi Bombay citizens and plenty of Marathi scholars disputing the views of the other people.

And so on. This is another “Bharat Darshan”!

Shalan Lal

43 AK January 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Yes, metros are coming in another post.

Shalan Lal,
No one can beat the Punekar in punning. If he starts, it would open a Pandora’s box. The paan-dan is in itself a kind of the mythical box where pandemonium prevails with kattha, choona, supari, and loose coins in the bottom compartment.

44 mumbaikar8 January 30, 2018 at 8:27 pm
45 ksbhatia January 30, 2018 at 11:37 pm

Ms. Shalan lal , AK, Giri [ji’s] ,

What to do with your fading memory when words like …..small town , paan, metal , dams……jumble upon each other and leaves no options but to recycle them to refresh your own memory .

Well some exploration made me think of a small town of the 50s which made into a large one as development and rapid urbanisation unfolded. The small town that everyone knows is Jhumri Telaiya . Telaiya is the pond or lake formed by one of the dam of damodar valley and Jhumri is the town . The place is blessed with rich mines of mica [ known as abrak ] and as such the place is inhabited by rich businessmen living in large bungalows. With passing time and arrival of digital technology the govt. too established Jharkhand Mineral Development Corporation . The mica was a great wealth for the state and same was exported to many countries for its use in military and defence systems ….but only till 90s . the demand gradually diminished with the arrival of synthetic fibre .

BUT ; the origin of popularity of this town was a person who used to send a number of request to Vivedh bharti , radio ceylon and other channels of AIR . The largest number of requests were received by these channels from Jhumri Telaiya . This popularity brought other people to join the race of sending maximum number of songs in a day…..competing between rich and poor alike ; as also, from radio repairing shops to paanwaalas .

The popularity of this town is reflected in the following three songs spanning different eras….

16. Mein to jhumri telaiya se aye hun……Mounto [1975]

17. Jhumri telaiya se pahunchi washington…..Hitler[ 1998]

18. Jhumri telaiya mera gaon……Jagga Jasoos [2017]

Well the first two songs are pedestrian in nature , the third one impressed me with visual delight . The cinematography with high tone colors is excellent and reminds me the same that were superbly used in the award winning french movie ….AMELIE .

46 ksbhatia January 31, 2018 at 12:08 am

Some additional songs for continuity….

19. Aate hi kashi se hokar….MK…Kailashpati….SNT

20. Paan khaiye saiyan hamaro…Asha…Teesri Kasam…SJ

… be contd.

47 AK January 31, 2018 at 9:24 am

Mumbaikar8, KS Bhatiaji,
At this rate we would have to search the towns on which songs have not been made.

What nostalgia and revival of Jhumri Tilaiya on SoY! It was a part of folklore, and many people thought it to be a mythical town. Jhumri Tilaiya se panhuchi also mentions Nainital and Bhopal (Washington is erroneous).

48 Mehfil Mein Meri January 31, 2018 at 9:34 am

that means Jhumari talaiyya is actually a place in India?
Which state is it in?
anyone knows?

49 AK January 31, 2018 at 11:23 am

You confirmed the folklore! It is a town, now in Jharkhand; before creation of the new state it was in Bihar.

50 Shalan Lal January 31, 2018 at 3:10 pm

ksabhatia @ 45 and all other devoted members of “SoY”

Here is the lyric of the fabulous Beatles song and it is better on the record:

In My Life
There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

[Piano Solo]

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Have an enjoyable time with the post and comments!

Shalan La

51 ksbhatia January 31, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Ms. Shalan Lal , AK ji ;

Thanks for your appreciation and for the beatles song . The songs of 60s and 70s were great when the lyrics were simple and melodies to get swayed with .

When I was just four or five year old and perhaps in first standard , my mother used to recite hindi poems and one among those was…..chal mere ghore timbuktu…… . This poem was my fav. for the reason that i could not understood what this strange word was ; neither my brothers and sisters could tell me about it .

Later on after so many years … was clear that Timbuktu is an actual small town which later on developed and rose to become an important city of western African Country Mali . Located in Sahara desert near river Niger , this place was an important trading post for trans -saharan caravan route. During 14 th century people used to buy Gold in exchange of Salt , Slaves and Clothes . Timbuktu was captured by France in 1894 They partly restored the city from desolate condition ; but surprisingly no connecting railway and hard surface roads were built . In 1960 it became a part of the independent Republic of Mali.

Timbuktu , as of now is an administrative centre of Mali. Small Salt caravan do arrive ; but the large -scale Trans- Saharan commerce no longer exists there. Although the city has small Airport but it is mostly reached by Camel and Boats. Timbuktu has the history of having gone many cycles of droughts which leads to many helping hands for improving upon agriculture and irrigation practices.

BUT….why Timbuktu in our school poems and songs when the place hardly exists in India ?

Not before but now it exists in the name of …..Timbuktu Collective…..a little community in Andhra Pradesh at Cheenekothapalli , District Anantapur . The place that many years ago had series of drought too , put many farmers in rethinking mode and changed the irrigation and agricultural methods that were adopted during green revolution era and shifted to wholly organic approach. Run by many dedicated scientist and farmers this community has really shown a path of sustainable agriculture thru grass root levels. They live where there is no network , no mobile, no electricity , no tv and no internet ….and hence these positive results.

Now before few songs featuring Timbuktu . ….here is a dialogue that Rajendra nath uttered when deporting a railway train …. Ab mein zindgi mein kabhi bhi raat ko railway station per nahin uttroan ga , chhaye wo timbuktu kyun na ho ….. probably from The Train or Jaanwar .

21. Hey gali gali gyaa timbuktu….Kishore….Jhoomroo….KK

22. akaad bakaad timbuktu…kishore….Bhagyawan…Bhappi Lehri

… be contd.

52 Shalan Lal February 1, 2018 at 3:25 pm

kasbhatia @ 51
टिम्बुकटू / टिमबुक्टु / तिंबक्तू

You have gone to see most of the meanings of the word “Timbuktu” and a very fine example from the Hindi poem.

It was in the regular use in English of the English people in a comic way to a place unknown in Africa as the explorers in Europe went around the world to explore everything after Renaissance.

The city “Timbuktu” was and is famous for the Islamic knowledge and had in good days of the rise of Islam had a scholastic place for the learners of Islamic knowledge.

When in seventies the political correctness came people started to refrain the use of “Timbuktu” the way they were using.

It looks that the Indian were using it in similar way the British were using it as India had very long English language and culture domination.

I was aware the Hindi poem you have quoted and now you have refreshed it.

From the examples you have quoted it seems that the Indians have not done the political correctness yet.

Shalan Lal

53 ksbhatia February 3, 2018 at 12:07 am

Ms. Shalan Lal ;

While a trail of Timbuktu exists in India in the form of community ; in a similar manner ”Timbuktu Theatre and gardens “exists in the Busch Gardens , Tampa , Florida . A disneyland like African themed Animal and Sea world park . Zoo and Aquarium are the added attractions besides Animal safaris and bird watching .

I , along with my family and grand daughters , visited this place in our June , 2012 vacations and enjoyed a lot . I made a DVD of my vacation and enjoy viewing the same in the company of friends and relatives.

But , alas ! Timbuktu got replaced by Pantopia in 2014 . Up gradations with 4D supplements in Timbuktu theatre reasoned to conversion . Still the enviornment is same but emotional attachment to the word…TIMBUKTU….has gone for ever .

54 ksbhatia February 3, 2018 at 12:15 am

Some addition of songs for continuity……

23. Bure bhi hum bhalle bhi hum / kamar meri laatu……Kishore, Asha….Banarsi Babu…..KA

24. Nandlala holi khele ….Mukesh, Rafi, Asha…Mastana…LP

… be contd .

55 Shalan Lal February 3, 2018 at 5:39 pm

ksbhatia @ 45
From your first quote “What to do with your fading memory ”
Here is Hemant K’s very heart rendering private song “Ab Yaad Hamen Kyon Aatii Ho ?

This is a non-filmy song of Hemant Kumar, Lyric by Faiyyaz Hashmi. And composed by Casanova from my cassette. No date is found about it.

अब याद हमें क्यों आती हो
उजड़ गई दुनिया अपनी
याद हमें क्यों आती हो
दिल में अब वो ज़ोर कहाँ
बेकार हमें तड़पाती हो
याद हमें क्यों आती हो
हँसी हँसी मेँ रुला गये तुम
बने हुए को मिटा गये तुम
बीते गीत पुराने हो गए
उन को फिर क्यों गाती हो
याद हमें क्यों आती हो
दिल को खिलौना जान के तोड़ा
हम को पागल बना के छोड़ा
अब भी क्या जी भरा नहीं है
जो यूँ हमें जलाती हो
याद हमें क्यों आती हो

I wonder who is this Casanova? And there are plenty of songs about “Yaad” in the Hindi popular culture. I wonder if somebody would like to do a post about similarity and dis-similarity of the theme.

Shalan Lal

56 ksbhatia February 4, 2018 at 11:02 pm

AK ji;

A lot has been said about Hindustan, Bharat , India , watan , in its praise thru beautiful stories, poems and songs …..some aggressive and some polite . There is one song which I think is sweetest to the core rendered in the simplest way and that is……

25. Bharat shoba mein hai sab se aala…..Vasanti…Duniya Na Mane[1937]

57 SSW February 5, 2018 at 1:43 am

Shalan Lal @55, It could be Francisco Casanova who was the principal of the Calcutta School of Music. He was Spanish and could play the flute , the clarinet and the saxophone. He had conducted bands in Paris before he came to India in 1930. He helped arrange songs for Pankaj Mullick “Mone robe kina robe amare” etc.

58 AK February 5, 2018 at 8:46 am

KS Bhatiaji,
Nice song. This was mentioned earlier by Shalan Lal.

59 Shalan Lal February 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm

SSW @57

Thanks for your help. The song ” Ab Yaad Hamein Quein Aati Ho!” is a superb melody and I thought it has western type of fast rhythm. It is a superb song and Hemant K has rendered it equally well.

I wonder if this composer Casanova has done any more in Hindi and any other Indian languages.

His contribution is very unique. Are there more non-Indians composers?

Of course some Govan musicians have done great jobs and names like “Chick Chocolate” has got his name as Music director .

When Lata M came to London and she used the “Wren” Orchestra for all her concerts I was very curious that how could they synchronised with the song and as well Lata’s voice.

I talked to few and they showed me their scores and also told me their places in the songs and they had put their marks in English.

Wonders of Lata was also astonished me that she had only her Lyrics written “Chopadi” with no marks or scores like in the West we have music written on the Stave.

I think the musicians developed sharp memories and that keeps their memory in shipshape.

Very much obliged for your good information.

Shalan La

60 SSW February 5, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Ms.Lal, our Mr.Venkataraman has written about Francisco Casanova in a place not a million miles from here. 🙂

Notating the basic melody of our film songs is pretty much the same as notating western songs. However the variations in solo instruments etc are more difficult to put down as are our vocal variations around the primary note and the movement from one note to another.

While western music notation too has actual symbols to indicate how the pieces should be played they don’t cover all the variations in melodic interpretation and possibly very little in rhythmic variations in Indian music .

61 ksbhatia February 5, 2018 at 11:18 pm


Thanks for the link on Rabindra sangeet and Pankaj mullick by Mr. Venkatraman ji . The article is truly amazing and what follows as comments and observations are excellent. Its a history revisited.

Some reference to Casanova are there in one beautiful book available on Google and here is link to that …..

Salil Chowdhury’s First Life and Mass Songs

The book is full of information on MDs and singers of those times and deals exhaustively with the orchestra and arrangers of those times .

62 ksbhatia February 5, 2018 at 11:30 pm

A song for the continuity…..

26.Ek Din Lahore Ki thandi sadak…..Shamshad, Lata, Rafi…Sagai..CR

63 SSW February 6, 2018 at 3:41 am

Mr.Bhatia @61, that book was written by Dr.Samir Gupta who was a good friend of Salilda’s and wrote several books on him. He was a orthopaedic surgeon and passed away in 2016, I believe .

64 Shalan Lal February 6, 2018 at 4:23 pm

SSW @ 60 63 and ksbhatia @ 61 & 62

I thank you both for wonderful information and I shall follow the references.

Shalan La

65 Shalan Lal February 8, 2018 at 5:13 pm

SSW@60 and 63
I now read the post
“rabindra-sangeet-and-pankaj-mullick” written by honorable Mr. Venkatraman and praise him for his hard work and very useful information on Francisco Casanova and other information.

I feel that there are two articles or at least the need to separate Rabindrasangeet and Pankaj Mullick.

Venkatramnji mentions Naushad. In my reading of the articles written I his diary by Naushad he mentioned that in the beginning of his career he was very much impressed by the music of the New Theatre and also by Rabindra Sangeet. He said he would listen to both for hours in his spare time and watch the films of New Theatre again and again.

So he could have naturally got the speed and melodic structure of Pankaj Mullic to present creativity in his songs of Deedar and similar in the Anmol Ghadi.

I think Rabindra Sangeet made music accessible to all people and also socially acceptable as well.

Shalan La

66 AK February 8, 2018 at 9:43 pm

Shalan Lal,
It is interesting OP Nayyar also acknowledged that he was deeply influence by New Theatres music.

67 Shalan Lal February 9, 2018 at 6:05 pm

AK @ 66
Yes indeed so. Recent articles on OP mentioned that OP liked the music of the New Theatre.

The period of thirties and forties! The Talking, Singing films were a phenomenon in India and all were attracted to this new entertainment.

Many hopeful artists like Naushad wanted to be as good as the music of the New Theatre as Saigal, K.C.Dey, Uma Shashi, Pankaj Mullick etc. and others made their songs and singing very popular.

Both Naushad and OP seemed to be more influenced by the easy fast rhythm of the songs of Pankaj Mullick and so they recreated that effect in their selected songs.

But the composers in late forties and later were not much into the music of the New Theatre. They started making searches into folks, clubs and other places.

Barasaat was more Punjabi and Pahadi than Bombaiya of C.Ramchandra.

So started the golden age of the Hindi Film Music and an unforgettable thirst for light music by common people who never had such culture before.

It is good for the Indians as something of their own when Britain started losing the grip on Indian social aspiration.

There is more one can see in Indian golden age than just a honeyed taste for music.

Shalan Lal

68 Ashwin Bhandarkar February 10, 2018 at 11:33 pm

This song from the opening scenes of the Kannada classic ‘Chomana Dudi’, based on Shivaram Karanth’s novel of the same name, has mentions of towns like Puttur, Mangalore, etc.

69 AK February 11, 2018 at 10:07 am

Dekho dekho dekho is a perfect Bharat Darshan song. Bioscope’s were meant for that kind of ‘darshan’.

‘Kismet’ song may because of the references to Taj Mahal and Qutab Minar, but Humein ye duniyawale may not. I couldn’t find any mention of cities. I don’t think there was a third distinct voice in the song. There is a chorus, though.

Mangalore, Puttur – now we are really covering the diversity of India.

Thanks a lot for these additions.

70 ksbhatia February 13, 2018 at 4:33 pm

AK ji;

One more song from Kashi.

Chhupa chhupi o chhupi…..Lata, Manna Dey….Savera….Sailesh Kumar

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