Multiple Version Songs (16): Rabindra Sangeet and Pankaj Mullick

May 7, 2014

Hridaya Pankaje Rabi Viraje

A tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941) and Pankaj Mullick (10 May 1905 – 19 February 1978) by guest author N Venkataraman

(The appeal of Rabindranath Thakur’s poetry and songs of love, nature and worship transcends the boundaries of language and culture. Pankaj Mullick, one of the titans of music and films, has a historical place in bringing Rabindra Sangeet mass popularity through his singing, and using it in films for the first time. I was looking for a knowledgeable Bengali to write on Rabindra Sangeet-Pankaj Mullick-films songs, as a part of the series on Multiple Version Songs. SoY readers are familiar with Venkataramanji’s breadth and depth of knowledge, and he is as pucca a Bengali as anyone could be. I am grateful that he accepted my request to write this double tribute to the two great souls of India on the occasion of Gurudev’s 153rd and Pankaj Mullick’s 109th birth anniversaries. AK)

Rabindrnath Tagore-Pankaj MullickSometime during May last year, AKji had wished to bring out two articles, under the Multiple-Version-Songs series. The first one, on ‘SD Burman’s Bengali songs and their Hindi versions’, was done by AKji in October 2013. The post on ‘Rabindra Sangeet tunes used in Hindi films’ was generously offered to me, but with a rider – I must accommodate a tribute to Pankaj Mullick, whose birthday follows a couple of days after Gurudev’s. The topic, Rabindra Sangeet tunes used in Hindi films, has been covered earlier on some other sites, and I believe most of our knowledgeable readers and our Bengali friends must be aware of these songs and related facts. But that did not prove to be a deterrent. On the contrary, it gave me an opportunity to explore uncharted areas and approach the subject a bit differently. The experience was not futile. Although I could use only a fraction of my acquisition in this post, it helped me to enhance my knowledge and listen to many wonderful songs.

From ages, towering personalities with unmatched talent have made their appearance in our country. When it comes to art and literature the length of the list is astounding. There are those who outshine the others with their creations and reach a height of success that others find unreachable. One such universal personality, who looms larger than life, is Gurudev Rabindranath Thakur. He was born at Jorasanko on Monday, the 25th Baisakh 1268 (night 2:28:37) as per Bengali calendar, i.e. Tuesday, the 7th May 1861 as per the English calendar. Rabindranath was the fourteenth child (out of 15), born to Sarada Devi and Debendranath Thakur. Rabindranath Thakur requires no further introduction. His birthday is celebrated, as per the Bengali almanac, on the 25th Baisakh every year. Usually the corresponding date as per the English calendar varies between the 8th and 9th May. This year it falls on the 9th May.

Pankaj Mullick was one of earliest and popular proponents of Rabindra Sangeet. He learnt Rabindra Sangeet from Dinendranath Thakur, a grandson of the eldest brother of Rabindranath Thakur. His first commercial recording of Rabindra Sangeet was in the year 1926 and he had many more to his credit. He was associated with AIR, which was then known as Indian Broadcasting Corporation, from the year 1927. In the year 1929, AIR started a program on imparting music lessons. Pankaj Mullick was assigned this job, where he also taught Rabindra Sangeet along with other Bengali songs. It was a very popular program and he continued doing it till 1975. He also utilised the film medium in popularising this genre of music. He may perhaps not be very popular among the connoisseurs but nobody can deny his contribution in bringing this genre of music from the interiors of elites into the realms of the masses. He was born on the 27th Baisakh 1312 as per the Bengali calendar i.e. Wednesday the 10th May 1905 as per the English calendar at Chaltabagan near Manicktalla in North Calcutta.

Although this post is part of the multiple-version-songs series, this is not exactly a post on Rabindra Sangeet melodies used in Hindi films. I would do a post on this topic later, hopefully in August this year. In fact, AKji could have done the post as well, but he was magnanimous to send me the materials he had painstakingly collected. Thank you, AKji.

As the heading suggests, this is a tribute to Rabindranath Thakur and Pankaj Mullick on their 153rd and 109th birth anniversary respectively. However I have included a few Hindi film version songs, whose original versions (Rabindra Sangeet) were rendered by Pankaj Mullick.

Let me start with a prayer. Most probably this is the first song that Rabindranth composed on the occasion of his birthday. It is believed that this song was initially penned by him in 1899, as a poem, on the completion of his 38th birthday, when he was staying at Shilaidaha (now part of Kushtia district in Bangaldesh). This poem can be found in the book of poems named ‘Kalpana’ under the caption ‘Janmadiner Gaan’. Later, Gurudev incorporated a few changes in the lyrics and composed the song in Raag Bihag. I have tried to translate this poem to my best of ability. Let us listen to this Brahma Sangeet set to the beat of twelve matras.

1B. Bhay hote taba abhaya majhe by Pankaj Mullick

From my fear to your domain of fearlessness, give me a new life, O lord!
From poverty to eternal wealth, from vacillation to the realm of truth,
From passivity to life anew, transcend me, O lord!
Lead me from my wishes, O lord, to the heart of thy will, from my self-interest to your divine service,
Lead me from diversity to oneness, from transitory emotions into permanent bliss
Merge myself into thee! Give me a new life, O lord!


This song was also recorded in the voice of Pankaj  Mullick and the same was uploaded in YT. Unfortunately, YT has since removed the link.  Hence, let us pay our tributes to Gurudeb by way of this song rendered by Subinoy Roy, one of my favourites and a great exponent of Rabindra Sangeet.


Next I present the landmark song Diner Seshe ghumer deshe, which marks the first ever use of Rabindra Sangeet in films, though, as AKji points out, ‘the YT link mentions that the first film to use Rabindra Sangeet was Talkie of Talkies released about a month before Mukti, and the song was Tomar Mohan rupe by Raibala. While many YT links are available of this song in different voices, I could not find the one claimed to be the original.’

Actually, this was a poem penned by Kaviguru in the year 1907 under the caption ‘Shesh Kheya’ (The Last Boat). Pankaj Mullick set this poem to music at the age of 17, in the year 1922 and he used to sing this song in many programmes. One day he was summoned by Rabindranth Thakur’s son Rathindranath to sing the song before his father. Pankaj Mullick was apprehensive of getting admonished by the Kaviguru. As soon as he managed to complete his rendition, he fled through the nearest door, without even waiting to know the opinion of Kaviguru. Later in the year 1935 when Pramatesh Baruah was launching the film Mukti under the New Theatres’ banner, Pankaj Mullick decided to use this song. He approached Kaviguru once again to get his permission. Rabindranath was staying at PC Mahalanobis’s house at Baranagar (now housing the Indian Statistical Institute). Rabindranath recollected the incident that happened 13 years ago with amusement and asked Pankaj Mullick to render the song again. The rest is history. Rabindranath not only gave permission to Pankaj Mullick to use this song, he also made a few changes in the lyric, which was duly noted down by Pankaj Mullick. He also obtained the approval of Gurudev to use two more songs composed by Rabindranath himself. Thus, Pankaj Mullick was the first person to use Rabindra Sangeet in a film which was not based on Gurudev’s story. It is also believed that the name of the film (Mukti) was also suggested by Rabindranath.

2B. Diner sheshe ghumer deshe by Pankaj Mullick from Mukti (1937)

Following is the translation sent to me by AKji which echoes the sentiment of the original poem. (Note: This translation is not mine. This version on YT gives the translation, but does not mention its author. It is much slower than the ‘Mukti’ version, and the link says it was recorded later. – AK)

At the end of the day in the land of dream I see an obscure shadow
It makes me oblivious of this mortal life.
Silhouette on the other side of the sparkling river cast an unfamiliar spell on my mind,
Beckons me to join them
In the melody of idle euphoric existence
At the end of the day….

I see people with their heads down, composed as ever crossing over to the other side,
Not once they look back.
I wish I could join them in the downstream of the river, they urge me to leave my home.
My day is coming to an end very fast; come, someone take me with you
In the last boat of the day
At the end of the day …..

Under the fiery red evening sky, along the darkening bank of river, in the shade of thick woods
I see them walking silently like some shadowy figure.
Who among them will stop for a moment to take me with them?
Where is my boatman?
Come, someone take me with you
In the last boat of the day
At the end of the day….

All those who wanted to go home are homebound already, rest have reached the other side.
I have no home, I have nowhere to reach, I belong nowhere and no boat is waiting for me
In this dusk why no one is calling me yet?
I lost the elixir of youth, my heart is barren now and even my tears seem like farce
My day has ended long back, but no one has lit a lamp for me.
That’s me sitting quietly at the bank of the river; come, someone take me with you
In the last boat of the day.
At the end of the day…



Let us listen to this song from the Film Arzoo (1937), the Hindi variation of the song Diner seshe ghumer deshe from Mukti. Even though this is not a version song, the Hindi song penned by Arzoo Lucknawi and the beautiful melody captures the spirit of the original song.

3H. Kaun desh hai jana by Pankaj Mullick, film Arzoo (1937), lyrics Arzoo Lucknawi, music Pankaj Mullick


Gurudev had returned after his eight months’ Europe tour in December 1926. He spent a major part of the next three months at Shantiniketan. Before he left for Bharatpur, on an invitation from Maharaja Kishan Singh to preside over the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan, Rabindranath composed the song, Mone robe kina robe amare, in March 1927 at Shantiniketan.

Here is the link to the song Mone robe kina robe amare and its Hindi translation Yaad aaye ki na aaye rendered by Pankaj Mullick. Pankaj Mullick is at his best in this rendition.

4BH. Mone robe kina robe amare and Yaad aaye ki na aaye tumhari by Pankaj Mullick


There is another version of this song which AKji too had cited in his list. But he names Faiyyaz Hashmi as the translator. But as per the website Pankaj Pandit Bhushan was the translator. Pankaj Mullick also, in his memoir, states that Pandit Bhusan was the translator of this song. But we have found in the past that the information originating from the horse’s mouth too can be wrong. Faiyyaz Hashmi was appointed by the Gramophone Company as its resident lyricist in the year 1940. He was born in Calcutta in the year 1920, and was a resident of this city till he shifted to Lahore in 1947. There is a possibility that Faiyyaz Hashmi did the translation. But I could not find any information or clue to substantiate this. So I decided to go with Pandit Bhushan. Let us listen to this version.

5H. Yaad aye ki na aye tumhari by Pankaj Mullick (1940-41), lyrics Pandit Bhushan, Orchestration Francisco Casanova


It is said that the song Bachpan ke din bhula na dena was based on the tune Mone robe kina robe amare. If one listens carefully, one may find similarities. But I wonder why Naushad would use a Rabindra Sangeet tune! Even a tune from Baiju Bawra was attributed as an inspired version of a Rabindra Sangeet! If we accept that Bachpan ke din bhula na dena was based on Rabindra Sangeet, then Naushad should be considered as the first non-Bengali music director to employ Rabindra Sangeet in Hindi films. I leave it to the judgement of our knowledgeable listeners. As I have already mentioned, I am presenting this song because of its contextual relevance. A separate post on Rabindra Sangeet in Hindi films will appear later.

6H. Bachpan ke din bhula na dena by Lata Mangeshkar and Shamsad Begum, film Deedar (1951), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad


Pankaj Mullick in his memoirs recalls his association with Francisco Casanova. Sometime during the early forties, EMI wanted to record a few songs of Rabindranath to the accompaniment of western orchestra. They roped in Francisco Casanova for this venture. Pankaj Mullick, who was associated with EMI then, expressed his doubt on getting permission from Vishwa Bharati Board. Most likely, this must be after the demise of Rabindranth Thakur. Then it was planned that the songs will be translated in Hindi and the Hindi version songs would be recorded in the voice of Pankaj Mullick to the accompaniment of Francisco Casanova’s orchestra. Thus Casanova got associated with both Rabindra Rangeet and Pankaj Mullick. The first two songs that were translated and recorded were Pran chay chakshu na chay and Mone rabe kina robe amare. Both the songs were translated by Pandit Bhusan. Pankaj Mullick recalls a very interesting incident during the recording of the song Pran chay chakshu na chay. In spite of Pankaj Mullick’s best efforts Casanova was not getting the essence of the song right. Later Pankaj Mullick and Francesco Casanova were travelling in a tram when a beautiful European lady got in. As much as he tried, Francesco couldn’t turn his eyes away from the lady and that is when Pankaj Mullick, in a lighter vein, told him “Saheb, now you know what Kaviguru wanted to convey in this song .“

While this song (Bengali original) is available in different voices, I could not find any link to this song in the voice of Pankaj Mullick. Let us listen to the song composed in the year 1914 by Kaviguru in the voice of another great vintage singer, who was closely associated with Pankaj Mullick.

7B. Pran chay chakshu na chay by Kanan Devi


…and the Hindi version


8H. Pran chahe nain na chahe by Pankaj Mullick, orchestration Francisco Casanova


Before I present my next offering, let me write a few words about Francisco Casanova. He needs a better introduction and recognition than the one provided by the uploader of the song, Yaad aye ki na aaye tumhari by Pankaj Mullick (5H), where he mentions Casanova as the person who played a band at the Grand Hotel in Calcutta.

Francisco Casanova was a Spanish musician, conductor and composer. He could play the saxophone, flute and clarinet with equal deftness. He was a well-known performer, and on the occasion of the Olympic Games in 1924, he performed with his orchestra at the Champs-Elysées Theatre in Paris. In 1930 he came to India with his orchestra and performed in many cities. He chose to stay at Calcutta and was appointed the Principal of the Calcutta School of Music. He stayed in India till 1956. He was closely associated with Mehli Mehta, father of Zubin Mehta. In 1952, Casonova and Mehta assisted Yehudi Menuhin, when he came to India to perform. He was also a leading conductor of Calcutta Symphony Orchestra and the conductor of a Spanish band at one of Calcutta’s foremost hotels. Manohari Singh learnt the nuances of playing the key flute from him. It is also said that the orchestration to our National Anthem was by him!

My next offering is a patriotic song composed by Rabindranath Thakur in the year 1927 in Penang, while travelling through Malaysia. Pankaj Mullick used this song in the Hindi film Zalzala (1952) directed by Paul Zils. Satya Kumar’s lyric retains the essence of the original song.

On receipt of this article AKji sought a pertinent clarification.  I quote:

“… have described Khara bayu boy bege as a patriotic song.  Are you sure this can be classified as ‘patriotic’?  This is how Prof Sugata Basu introduces it – ‘In Penang on October 18, 1927, two days before his voyage back to India, Tagore composed this beautiful song as he witnessed another tropical storm gathering on the horizon’.  The English translation is about a fierce gust of wind, ocean, unless Gurudev meant his words of cheering and courage to the boatman as a call to the countrymen not to be daunted by adversities.”

The tropical storm gathering in the horizon could be the immediate and apparent reason that prompted the poet to pour out his feelings in torrent of words and rhythm. But I have always associated this song with inspiration, and hence patriotism, for two reasons. In my earlier days, I have often heard this song rendered on patriotic occasions. The second and the important reason is that the song was included as the curtain raiser in ‘Tasher Desh’ (Land of Cards). Tasher Desh touched upon the subject of regimentation and freedom from bondage. This play is usually staged as a ballet and it is enacted as a satire on our own conventionalized attitude in life.

The story of this play is centred on a prince and a merchant who were stranded on a strange island after a shipwreck. The island is inhabited by pack of cards whose lives are constrained on all sides by system; every motion is prearranged by convention. Their watchword is rule, law and propriety. The obedience of rule is virtue and their infringement is sin. This play exemplifies Gurudev’s humanism and his dislike for totalitarianism. It also reflects Gurudev’s resentment against imperialism and the imposition of state apparatus on the individual’s life.

Tagore in the winter of 1938/39 dedicated the play to Subhas Chandra Bose. I quote verbatim in Bengali:

“Kalyaaniya Shreemaan Subhaschandra, Swadesher chitte nutan pran sanchaar karbaar punnyabrata tumi grahan karecha, sei katha smaran kare tomaar naame  ‘Tasher Desh’  naatikaa uthsarga karloom.”


“Kalyaaniya Shreemaan Subhaschandra, You have taken up the holy mission of instilling new life into this nation, keeping this in mind I dedicate the play ‘Tasher Desh’ in your name.”

After this ‘Uthsarga’, the play starts with the song Khara bayu boy bege.

Who knows, at the moment of creation, the patriotic aspect, urging his countrymen not to lose courage and the call to overcome adversities might too have played upon the poet’s mind!

Let us listen to the Bengali song first

9B. Khara bayu boy bege by Pankaj Mullick 

Here is another sweet version. By the way the cute little girl, who is the ‘Madhyamani’ of this performance was Oindrila (Tinku) Thakur, sister of Sharmila (Rinku) Tagore. Later, as Oindrilla Kundu, she went on to become one of India’s expert contract bridge players, winning several trophies. She left for her heavenly abode very early in life. Let us listen to this song, which provides both aural and visual delight.

10B. Khara bayu boy bege sung in chorus, Kabuliwala (1956), Rabindra Sangeet training by Suchitra Mitra & Dwijen Choudhury, background music by Pt. Ravi Shankar, singers Debyani Sen, Banashree Mukherjee, Shukla Sen, Malabika Choudhury, dance troupe Sishu Tirtha Shilpi Brinda, dance direction by Madhabi Chatterjee


…And the Hindi version by Pankaj Mullick and others

11H. Hai ho, pawan chale zor lahar machaaye shor by Pankaj Mullick from Zalzala (1952), lyrics Satya Ray, music Pankaj Mullick


The next song which I am presenting was composed on the 26th August 1909 at Shantiniketan. Let me narrate an interesting anecdote associated with this song. On the 28th September 1909, a meeting to honour Ustad Enayat Khan was organized at the University Institute Hall, Calcutta. After his address Rabindranth Thakur was requested to sing a song. Citing health problems and fatigue, Rabindranath was reluctant to sing. After repeated requests and a comment from Gurudas Bandhopadhyay, the member of the University Commission, Rabindranath had to give in to their wishes. His rendition of the song without any instrumental support mesmerized one and all. The wordings of the song made everybody think that Rabindranath had composed the song then and there in honour of Ustad Enayat Khan. Till the 1920s, Rabindranth Thakur possessed a beautiful voice and confirmation to this effect can be found in the writings of many of his associates. The recordings of his voice that we hear today was done when he had lost his voice and when he was not in the best of health. Let me present the song in the voice of Pankaj Mullick.

12B. Tumi kemon kore gaan koro by Pankaj Mullick, Hindi translation by Uday Khanna

Pankaj Mullick had rendered a number of songs of Rabindranath, translated in Hindi. He closely interacted with Hindi poets like Hanskumar Tiwari, Pandit Bhushan, Bharat Bhushan Agarwal, Uday Khanna, Satya Ray and others. The song Tumi kemon kore gaan koro he guni was translated by Uday Khanna as Tum kaisi dhun par gaya karte ho. Here is the combined version in Bengali and Hindi rendered by Pankaj Mullick.


The tune of the song composed in 1909 was used in a Hindi film in 1998. Till now we were listening to songs from 1899 to 1950s. Even though it is beyond the boundaries of the period set by SoY, I find this version quite impressive. Rajesh Roshan was the music director and he too had Bengali connections. His mother was Ira Moitra. Roshan’s family was under the strong influence of his wife. Incidentally, fresh water fish too became a part of the daily food of the Roshans. So it is not surprising that Rajesh Roshan had an inclination for Rabindra Sangeet . There are some more songs composed by Rajesh Roshan where we can notice the influence of Rabindra Sangeet. But that will be dealt later in another post. Now let us listen to this song.

13H. Koi jaise mere dil ka by Asha Bhosle, film Yugpurush (1998), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Rajesh Roshan


I started with a song which was probably the first song that Rabindranth composed on the occasion of his birthday, when he was thirty-eight years. I end this article by presenting the song which he composed on his last birthday in 1941. And this was his last composition too. Actually this verse was written on his 62nd birthday in the year 1922. On being requested by Shantideb Ghosh to compose a song on his 80th birthday, Kaviguru requested to bring all the verses he had penned on the occasion of his previous birthdays. From them he selected the poem ‘25e Baisakh’ and made a few changes and he composed the music. That was on the 23rd Baisakh, and nobody could even dream that this song would be his last composition. Strangely he had based all the songs, (except one) that he composed that year, in Raag Bhairavi.

(Translation not mine)

In the novelty of a new dawn, let the auspicious moment of birth reveal itself once again.
In the novelty of a new dawn, promulgate your presence, displacing the hazy mist of the morning.
Like the glowing sun promulgate your presence, displacing the hazy mist of the morning.
Shattering the infirmity and paucity, manifest yourself in all your magnificence,
Spreading the message of the triumph of life, rejuvenate us with the elixir of life.
Let the eternal wondrous spell of yours be upon us.
Sound of the cornet from the horizon, calls upon the eternal spirit from the core of my heart.
In the novelty of a new dawn, let the auspicious moment of birth reveal itself once again.

14B. Hey nutan dekha dik aar baar, chorus singing



Note :

As I have stated at the start, the idea for this post was conveyed sometime in last May. It was finalized sometime in August and the actual process started in October when AKji sent me the materials collected by him, and I too started my search for more materials and songs. But the effort did not get the desired impetus due to several recurring problems which continued to hound me.  Although I had the inclination, I could not find enough time to conjure up and give it a decent shape. Finally in the second half of March this year I could produce a semblance of an article, and managed to send the post on the 3rd April and could gain AKji’s approval. After an exchange of few mails,  AKji made some basic changes and sought a clarification on song #9B, which resulted in the expansion of the narration to the said song. And finally, when I believed that the post was sealed and was ready to be delivered on the chosen day, to our dismay, AKji informed me on the 17th April that YT has removed the  link to the songs #1B and 9B.  We could not locate another version for both the songs sung by Pankaj Mullick. In the meanwhile, the link to the song 7B by Kanan Devi too got removed. But thank god, after some effort I could locate links to song #7B and #9B. In fact I was sure that I had heard Pankaj Mullick’s version of the song 7B, Pran chay chakshu na chay, earlier. Later, that also disappeared and I decided to use Kanan Devi’s version. Since the post was on Pankaj Mullick (and Rabindranath), I wanted to use his songs as far as possible. The readers would now understand the reason for deviations.  I pray that there are no further deletions by YT, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

This note is essentially to convey my gratitude to AKji, for putting in the extra effort by way offering suggestion, making necessary corrections through constant interactions. Thank you AKji.

N Venkataraman


Acknowledgements/ References

1.  Rabijibani by Prashanta Kumar Pal, Ananda Publishers
2.  Aamar Yug Aamar Gaan by Pankaj Kumar Muliick, Firma KLM Pvt. Ltd.
3.  Gaaner Pichane Rabindranath
by Samir Sengupta, Papyrus
4. Rabindra Jiban Katha by Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Ananda Publishers
5.  Gitabitan, Kaalanukramik Suchi by Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Tagore Research Institute
6.  Rabindra Sangeet – Rabindra Parichay Granthamala by Shantideb Ghosh, Vishwabharati
7. Tahser Desh, Swarabitan 12, Rabindranath Thakur, Vishwabharati Granthbibhag
8.  The Essential Tagore, ed. Fakrul Alam and Radha Chakravarty, Harvard University Press
9.  Indian Ballet Dancing by Projesh Banerji, Abhinav Paublications
10. To my wife, Subhasree Venkataraman for helping me with information on Tasher Desh
To AKji for sharing the materials he had painstakingly collected from different sources
12. YouTube and all the uploaders of the songs, Wikipedia and other sources which I might have missed out.

I would be extremely grateful if the readers would point out any inadvertent error(s) or omission(s), that I might have committed due to my ignorance.





{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SSW May 7, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Mr. Venkataraman, thank you for this article and the selections. Very interesting to see the flavours.
I have a pedantic question about this statement “Actually, this was a poem penned by Kaviguru in the year 1907 under the caption ‘Shesh Kheya’ (The Last Boat). Pankaj Mullick set this poem to music at the age of 17”

If the song was set to music by Pankaj Mullick it cannot technically be Rabindrasangeet. The melody would have to be composed by Rabindranath himself to be considered so.

The Hindi version of “Mone robe kina robe amare” , ” Yaad aaye ki na aaye tumhari ” with Francisco Casanova’s arrangement is definitely the springboard for Naushad’s “Bachpan ke din…”. The arrangement at the begining the first few notes on the flute backed by the pizzicato on the strings makes that very clear. It is the same melody. Naushad explores the upper registers more but you can hear similarities even in the small musical interludes. I wonder who arranged the song for Naushad. More later.

2 SSW May 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Since you mentioned Rajesh Roshan I was reminded of this adaptation by Rajesh Roshan in Yugpurush.
The Bengali version sung by Lopamudra Mitra
The Hindi version…

3 AK May 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Probably you are pre-empting Venkataramanji. You might have noticed, he is planning a second post on Rabindrasangeet in Hindi films (this one was centred on Pankaj Mullick), which would include such songs.

You have raised an important point regarding definition. I understand the first Rabindrasangeet in films, Diner sheshe was composed by Pankaj Mullick. It is true that most of the Rabindrasangeet (some 2000 plus songs) was composed by Gurudev himself, but if an odd song was composed by another person, my understanding is it would be still called Rabindrasangeet.

I look forward to Venkataramanji’s response.

4 SSW May 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Hello AK
Hehehe,,, it was Mr.V himself who included Rajesh Roshan so I could not resist. When I saw the film ages ago, that particular song stuck out as a throwback to a different clime.

On Rabindrasangeet , it was my impression that the melody was important and had to be followed fairly strictly but individual performers could take liberties with accompaniments, and minor elaborations. Of course it is not possible to detail complex elaborations in swaralipi format (nor any other format I guess definitely not western staff notation) so a lot of it must have been handed down orally. Purists frowned on people like George Biswas for deviating. But I’m no expert. 🙂

5 mumbaikar8 May 8, 2014 at 5:00 am

If I make any comment about this post, it will be chhota muh badi baat, aapne to gagar me sagar sama diya hai, I do not know how much time I will take to extract the sagar out of your gagar.
I will simply say thank you, to you and to AK .
Thanks once again

6 Arunkumar Deshmukh May 8, 2014 at 10:32 am

Venkatraman ji,

To say that I am impressed,would an absolute understatement of my appreciation. Your interest,efforts and research shows thru your article.Excellent. You have really taken pains to put together all material in a proper sequence and make it interesting.
I feel there is much to learn from your dedication.

7 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Thank you very much for your response.

The answer, to the question whether Diner sheshe ghumer deshe can be considered as Rabindra Sangeet is debatable.

This debate is going on for some time. Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay, well respected chronicler on Rabindranth and his compositions, was in favour of considering this song as Rabindra Sangeet. Samir Sengupta, respected writer, biographer, editor and translator, did not agree with Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay. His argument was ‘it will encourage those who want to set Gurudev’s creations to their own tunes and would be happy to pass them off as Rabindra Sangeet.’ His observation definitely has substance. But if such compositions gets the connoisseur and popular acceptance, provided those verses were not set to music by Rabindranth himself earlier, I do not find anything wrong in it. It is immaterial whether you call it Rabindra Sangeet or by some other name.

Going by your comment the melody would have to be composed by Rabindranath himself to be considered so. Vishwabharti Board did not include this song in their list of Rabindra Sangeet for the same reason. I have seldom heard this song rendered by Rabindra Sangeet artist in any programme.

Responding to your query and Akji’s comment, in my humble opinion, this particular song, Diner sheshe ghumer deshe, could be considered as Rabindra Sangeet. Rabindranth, after listening to the song, gave his approval without making any changes in the tune. He liked both the composition and rendition of Pankaj Mullick.

As regards the song Bachpan ke din bhula na dena, I too felt that Naushad was influenced by Francisco Casanova. I left it to the judgement of knowledgeable listeners. And I am happy to have the opinion of an expert here. Thank you SSW. Can we then conclude that we can find an influence of the arrangement rather than that of the song Mone robe kina robe amare. I would listen to the song and arrangement again.

I will come back later, since my time is required for other matters now

Thank you once again.

8 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Back again with some of my thoughts.

I included Naushad’s song Bachpan ke din and Rajesh Roshan’s song Koi jaise mere dil ka because of its contextual relevance. In both the cases the original Rabindra Sangeet and its Hindi translated versions were rendered by Pankaj Mullick. But there is no bar on anybody referring to similar version-songs in their comment. You are welcome. I can understand AKji’s concern. The option and availability of songs (both versions) are not many in YT. Hence the concern. But that gives me an opportunity for further exploration.

Answering your query on Naushad’s arrangers, during his early days (as far my knowledge goes) he had Ram Singh and Violinist Josique Menzies with him. I do not know whether Jerry Fernandez worked with Naushad. Anthony Gonsalves too arranged for Naushad. Much later in the 60s Jazzist and Pianist Martin Pinto worked with him.
Rabindranath’s songs were well documented and has published notation. Whenever he composed a song he at once called Dinendranath Thakur or somebody else to note down the notation (Swaralipi). I am not an expert and cannot say whether Swaralipi strictly confirms to the concept of western notation. You have mentioned the name of Debabrata Biswas (George da). In spite of being barred from recording Rabindra Sangeet, he was the most popular performing artist of Rabindra Sangeet during his time. Now the Vishwabharti’s copyright for Rabindra Sangeet has expired, Debabrat Biswas’s RS songs are available and he still continues to be the most popular artist in this genre. Since this article is on Pankaj Mullick and Rabindranath Thakur, I restrained myself from presenting his rendition(s). You will find him in my next post on this subject.

Before I sign off, I would like to share an interesting anecdote. Debabrata Biswas was instructing his student who was already an established performing artist. George Biswas was not satisfied with his/her rendering of a particular line, even after repeated attempts. (I cannot recall the song now) The student confronted with the swaralipi/notation of the song and asked George da to point out where he/she had gone wrong. George Biswas smiled and replied back ‘if Rabindranth happens to cerebral what can I do (Rabindranath zodi celebral hoiba tho aami ki korum), feelings cannot be encompassed in Swaralipi.’ George Biswas told his student that the ‘Bhor’ expressed in that song was the Dawn and the ‘Bhor articulated by the student was well past 10 am, almost nearing noon. ‘First read the lyrics, then perfect the diction and understand the meaning of the words and the underlying idea /meaning, then understand the melody, meter and beats, then internalize and visualize the song and then express the song with feeling.’ George Biswas used to emphasize on above while instructing his students.

9 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 3:11 pm


Thank you for your comments. All comments are valuable and there is no question of ‘chhoti ya badi baat’. I would be eagerly looking forward to your reaction.

10 Ashok M Vaishnav May 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I simply endorse views of Arun Kukmar Deshmukh and await further posts on this thread from Shri Venkataraman.

11 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Thank you for your generous appreciation.

I have mentioned in my post that Diner sheshe ghumer deshe marks the first ever use of Rabindra Sangeet in films, but the YT link mentions that the first film to use Rabindra Sangeet was Talkie of Talkies released about a month before Mukti (1937), and the song was Tomar Mohan rupe by Raibala. If we cannot technically accept the song Diner sheshe ghumer deshe as Rabindra Sangeet, then one of the two Rabindra Sangeets used in Mukti (1937), Aaj Sabar Range or Tar Biday Belar Malakhani, both sung by Kanan Debi can also be considered as the first Rabindra Sangeet to be used in films.

In the Episode no.9 of your series ‘The Vibrant 40s’, which appeared last week in ‘, you have mentioned that Shaitan ya Insaan”-1933, made by his Eastern Arts, Sindh was the first film in the history,in which ” Jana gana man ” was one of the songs. Since this song was penned and composed by Gurudev, this song should be considered as the first Rabindra Sangeet to be used in films. But one clarification is needed, i.e, did the music director (?) use the original tune or he composed fresh tune. Can you please throw some light on this matter? And Who was the MD?

12 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Thank you very much Ashok Vaishnav ji.

13 Arunkumar Deshmukh May 8, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Venkataraman ji,
The MD for the film, “Insaan ya shaitaan”-1933 was CHANDIRAM (father of Bulo C Rani). There is no information further on the song tune or anything else.Even the film is not available,so there is no chance to know about the tune. But it is likely that the tune must have been what Tagore had given to the song since the song was available with the tune only.

14 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Thank yoy Arunji.

15 AK May 8, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I really don’t know how to praise your article; whatever I say would be inadequate. In my mails, too, I have been quite economical. On the other hand, I have quietly accepted your very generous reference to my little contribution. So, a big thank you again.

I am interested in placing George Biswas in context. So far I thought the big names in Rabindrasangeet were, besides Pankaj Mullick, Hemant Kumar and Dwijen Mukherjee. Considering that George Biswas was their contemporary, I would like to know where he is placed in relation to them.

Regarding the first use of Jana gana mana in films, this clip from the series ‘100 Years of Bollywood’ claims that its first use was in the New Theatres’ Udayer Pathey (1944), which was the first directorial venture of Bimal Roy. Please see the clip of the song from the movie from 1.20 to 1.36. I believe the famous film historian Firoze Rangoonwala has also referred to this at some places.

Regarding Insaan Ya Shaitaan, I don’t think it is listed in HFGK. I would be grateful if you could give the source of your information.

16 Arunkumar Deshmukh May 8, 2014 at 10:07 pm

AK ji,

This song from Hamraahi-1945 has been posted in 2 years back already.
The film ‘Insaan ya shaitan”-1933 is very much listed in HFGK Vol I First Edition Sept. 1988,Film No. 112, page No.77.
The 16th song in the list is ‘Jana gana mana’.
Undoubtedly,this has to be the First Jana gana mana in films.

17 Arunkumar Deshmukh May 8, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Venkataraman ji,

Miss panna Raiji Shah,who was the First to do Ph.D. on “Indian Cinema” recalled in her interview dated 7-7-2002
” I liked watching NT’s films,but most of all,I liked to listen to the music that came out of NT,even though I did not understand Bangla. I developed a taste for Robindra Sangeet through listening to the songs of Pankaj Mullick”.
Her Thesis was published as long back as 1950

18 SSW May 8, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Mr. Venkataraman some private observations…

1) I think Naushad’s inspiration is more the arrangement by Casanova rather than the original tune. In your own clip at 5:33 you hear the Bengali version as it was originally. This is the version sung by others including Hemanta-da. Very possibly Mr. Casanova’s arrangement was not accepted as being Rabindra Sangeet at all considering it took liberties with the original melody.

2) Sorry about the faux pas related to Mr. RR’ and Yugpurush. But you will elaborate on it, I’ve just pointed it out.

3) Swaralipi is completely different from Western notation. I think it is easier to follow as it actually has the names of the notes rather than recognizing them by their positioning on the ledger lines. Swaralipi also has methods of indicating some rhythmic complexities like the sam , khali etc which are absent in Western music. Of course traditional western art music or popular music does not usually have specific emphasis ascribed to a beat other than the first beat in a measure, that is left to jazz and latin rhythms.

5) Regarding your anecdote on George-da neither swaralipi nor western staff notation can ever express music feeling. Even in western notation when the words, diminuendo, crescendo, pianissimo, forte etc are written down it is still up to the performer or the conductor to breathe their own life to a composition. Since you are going to have a post on George-da I shall wait for your selections. I think though he diverged from accepted norm he was wonderful.

6) AK you have neglected to add the great women singers. Listen to this lovely rendition by Suchitra Mitra.–OXqo

7) I find it a bit odd that we don’t rework our old standards in film song especially since Indian music is so dependent on interpretation . Why should we be so bothered about maintaining the original melody or arrangement. It would be interesting to see how old standards are reworked as long as they are murdered by adding those jhankar beats..
I like this interpretation of this old standard in western popular like music.
The original..
and this modern one by a singer I like a lot, you will notice she cannot walk or see very well. I have the album where she does her interpretation with an orchestra but I also like the minimalist version here. See how the cello is used.

Sorry again about the long post.

19 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Thank you for your generosity. However economical it may appear to you, your materials were useful (and will come handy for my next post too) and your communications gave the right impetus at the right time. Let me not drag or it will appear to others that we are trying to propagate the cause of MBSA! Let the matter rest here and I conclude by sharing a portion of the accolades, truthfully, with you.

Besides Pankaj Mullick, Hemant Mukherjee and Dwijen Mukherjee , there are several other names in the domain of Rabindra Sangeet performers. We know where Pankaj Mullick stands and why. Hemanta Mukherjee was indded a very popular Rabindra Sangeet singer and he too in his own way contributed to the popularization of RS among the masses. Subinoy Roy belongs to another class and category all together. He is well known for his Dhrupadangeek Rabindra Sangeet and Brahma Sangeet. But Debabrata Biswas towers above all of them. He was a legend and a giant, both among the connoisseurs as well as the laymen. The presence of Debabrata Biswas assured full house. To call him second Rabindranth will entail serious admonition from authorities of Rabindra Sangeet. But I cannot refrain myself from committing such sacrilege against the system. But he absorbed Rabindranath and Rabindra Sangeet totally and presented it to the liking of both the connoisseurs as well as the laymen.

Just to have feel I am presenting a Rabindra Sangeet rendered by the indomitable Debabrata Biswas. This song, it seems, was rendered during the fag end of his life, when he was on a low with asthma, but high on spirit. Listen to this wonderful lyrics and composition with English translation..

Prabhu amaro Priya amaro by Debabrata Biswas.

As regards the answers to the questions, ‘which was the first Rabindra Sangeet to be used in films and first use of Jana gana mana in films’, I leave it to debated among the the experts. I am sure an answer will be found sooner or later.

Thank once again AKji.

20 N Venkataraman May 8, 2014 at 11:12 pm

Thank you for the excerpts from the interview of Miss Panna Raiji Shah. It proves that Pankaj Mullick was quite popular among the non-Bengali listeners then.

21 mousumi ghosh May 9, 2014 at 2:42 am

dear rajada….. i didnt go through the article fully…bt as far i read don’t know how to praise it.though i claim myself as a Rabindra sangeet singer bt after reading the article,, i must confess that i know very very little about Rabindranath and his songs……your materials are useful and will help me in the long run…it is really an experience to see your efforts and patience….. in fact whatever i say would be inadequate….

22 AK May 9, 2014 at 10:32 am

Thanks a lot. I don’t know how I missed it. Complete blind spot.

I referred to George Biswas in relation to male singers. Venkataramanji has given an excellent overview as to his place in RS.

Reworking the old melodies: I agree with your point. Remixes have revived old songs. Even if we scoff at them for adding ‘jhankar beats’, classic ghazals, classical/semi-classical compositions are sung by many great singers, keeping the intrinsic raga the same. We like that.

Thanks for the superb introduction to George Biswas.

23 N Venkataraman May 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm

My response to your observations,

1. I too thought so, but wanted to piggy ride on an expert observation.

2. I have already started my quest, and the search was not in vain.

3. Thank for your erudite exposition on swaralipi and Western notation. Good learning experience.

5. I said you will find him (Debabrata Biswas) in my next post. The next post will be on Rabindra Sangeet Tunes used in Hindi films, where I intend to make use of a couple of his songs. A post on George Biswas would be quite interesting. I am not sure how much I will be able to connect with the readers. As of now, let me mark it for the future.

6. Thanks. Suchitra Mitra’s Baul-angik Rabindra sangeet was wonderful.

7. Although there is an initial disinclination, I am not very fastidious about it. Thank you for those two wonderful clips. I liked both the numbers, but the first number was the one I enjoyed more.

Thanks once again for your well thought-out comments

24 N Venkataraman May 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Thank you AKji.
Then the matter is settled. The first film to use Rabindra Sangeet / Rabindranth’s composition was Insaan ya Shaitan -1933.

25 N Venkataraman May 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Welcome to SoY. Please go through the entire article and share your views. As a performing artist, your comments and that of your likes are quite valuable. I think I discussed this with you sometime in April when we met at our place during the rehearsal of Nakshi Kathar Math.

I have few ideas and if you wish we could work upon the same in future.

By the way when do you go to sleep? I find your comment posted at 2:42 am.

26 AK May 9, 2014 at 2:06 pm

The only problem is that in the case of Insaan Ya Shaitan, there is only a mention, whereas in the case of Udayer Pathe there is a physical evidence.

27 mumbaikar8 May 10, 2014 at 6:25 am

I have not gone through your blog yet, I am only half, but I want to put in a request, in early 70s when doordarshan started in Bombay there were no commercials, to fill in the gap between two programmes they used to show fillers, in that bauls were regular I was fascinated by that form of music and dance, I believe there is some link between bauls and Rabinbdra Sangeet, in your future posts can you please throw some light on them?

28 N Venkataraman May 10, 2014 at 11:34 am


I am elated to find my fellow bloggers think that I am qualified to write on such subjects viz. ‘Debabrata Biswas and Rabindranath’, ‘link between Bauls and Rabinbdra Sangeet’, etc. It is nice of you and others to harbour such thoughts and gives me a nice feeling too.I may even get carried away and start working on it with all the eccentricity I already possess and may be more. But the question is that would it be relevant to this blog, which is mainly on Hindi film songs from 1930s to 60s, with occasional diversions, but having some connection with the main theme of the blog. How far I will be able to connect with the readers ? I would have to start my blog of my own to cover such topics. But that is neither in my wish list nor a priority. I respect your nice request and mark it for the future.May be I can work out some modifications to fit it into the theme of this blog.

For now, you can visit Ashok Vaishnav’s blog, where you will find a write up on ‘The Bauls and Baul Traditions’ written on 24th July 2012.

29 N Venkataraman May 10, 2014 at 11:36 am
30 SSW May 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Mr. Venkataraman, with reference to mumbaikar8’s request you could or perhaps AK could do a post on baul songs in Hindi films. SD Burman etc had quite a number of baul influenced songs. Salilda used the basis of a Sri Lankan folk melody in one of his baul influenced tunes.

Thank you for the Kanan Devi recording of “Pran chay chakshu na chay”. I had not heard it. Do you know the arranger was? The Pankaj Mullick version is a rhythmic march but Kanan Devi’s has a different lilt . It is more like a dance from 0:23 onwards perhaps a very slow habanera, to me the piano keeps the rhythm with the greater emphasis on the first and fourth beats

31 mumbaikar8 May 10, 2014 at 7:39 pm

You have raised our expectations, do not be surprised if we ask you get the stars:), talking about eccentricity do not worry about that, I am sure I am capable of bringing, you down to my level and beat you there:).
Now in all seriousness, I had a question for you, but knowledgeable SSW has already answered it, that there are some baul influenced songs in filmy music, and now as the demand is growing I am sure you and AK will think about it.
Thanks for the prompt reply as well as the link.

32 arvindersharma May 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm

AK Ji, Venkataraman Ji and all participants of the SoY family,
Let us all pray for the soul of Pankaj Mullick, whose birthday falls today.
I listened to many of his songs today and though I could not understand any of the lyrics, his sonorous voice makes up for everything.
Thanks AK Ji and Venkataraman Ji for uplifting our musical knowledge.

33 arvindersharma May 10, 2014 at 10:37 pm

PS : I meant Bangla songs.

34 AK May 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Venkataramanji always raises the bar when he writes.

Pankaj Mullick is one of my greatest favourites. I would invite you to read my first post on him My favourite Pankaj Mulick songs, if you have not already done so. There almost all his well-known songs have been discussed.

35 N Venkataraman May 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I have no idea as to who where the arrangers for the song Pran chay chakshu na chay. I think the recording was done by Megaphone co.

During the 40s there were many western bands in Calcutta. There was Czec band at Batanagar, There were a few English and Spanish bands too. Besides Francisco Casanova, Joseph Newman, the Hungarian conductor was there in Calcutta. American Pianist Teddy Weatherford had a group too. He died in Calcutta in 1945. Mehli Mehta, father of Zubin Mehta, arranger and conductor used to regularly visit Calcutta during the 40s. George Banks, father of Louis Banks was also here. Clarinetist Reuben Solomon, guitarist Cedric West, Drummer Jimmy Smith, Tony Gonsalves (bass), are some of the names who were regular players and they used to perform together.
And they were associated with recording companies too. Both Rai Chand Boral and Pankaj Mullick were influenced by the western orchestration.

Thank you Mubaikar8 and SSW for your suggestion on Baul songs and Hindi films. I am sure AKji too would have noted down your suggestion.

Thank you very much for your appreciation.

36 Soumya Banerji May 13, 2014 at 5:43 am

Kudos for such a well-researched article. I could not have written such an article myself although I am a Bengali and have been listening to Rabindrasangeet for ages. I share your love for Subinoy Roy. After the pathbreakers in the early part of the 20th century like Pankaj Mullick, Debabrata Biswas, Hemanata Mukherjee, Kanika Banerjee and Suchitra Mitra. it was Subinoy Roy who started a new era in the 80’s by bringing to the public rarely heard Rabindrasangeet and Brahmasangeet.
When Rabindranath was still alive his songs were referred to as Robi Babur Gaan (Songs of Rabi Babu) and were mostly confined to the houses of the well-educated and the elite. It was Pankaj Mullick who released Rabindrasangeet from this bondage. His stature in the world of music certainly inspired others to follow.
I have heard the song “Diner Sheshe Ghumer Deshe” sung to a different tune. I was familiar with the more popular version when I heard this version. I was told that this was the original version composed by Rabindranath. I am not sure whether that is accurate since it would certainly have been listed in Geetabitan, the official compendium of Tagore’s songs, but it’s not.
I am eager to read your article on Debabrata Biswas.

AKji, thanks for offering Venkataramanji the opportunity to write this series of articles.

37 dustedoff May 13, 2014 at 8:35 am

I know I am coming horribly late to the party, but I’ve only now had the time to listen to all these songs. Venkataramanji and AK, thank you so much for this! I have had a soft spot for Rabindrasangeet ever since I was a child, because my sister used to be taught Rabindrasangeet at school and would come home and be singing those songs – especially Kharo bayu boye bege and Ekla cholo re. I loved the two renditions of the former which you’ve posted here; I ended up listening to them both multiple times, they’re so wonderful.

Thank you, also, for the anecdotes – I really enjoyed reading this post.

38 AK May 13, 2014 at 9:21 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. It was not without reason that I introduced Venkataramanji as a true-blue Bengali.

I still remember your offer to write a guest article. Bengal and Hindi film songs, and music in general, have innumerable dimensions. You have an open invitation.

39 N Venkataraman May 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Soumya ji,
Thank you for your appreciation.

Subinoy Roy’s arrived late into the scene. Initially he was busy teaching students and was not into performance. But later, nearer to his retirement from service he came in a big way as a leading performer of Rabindra Sangeet. Let me share the other names in Rabindra Sangeet, whom I like listening to.

Among the veterans, Shailajaranjan Majumdar, Shantidev Ghosh, Santosh Sengupta, Kanak Das/Biswas, Rajeshwari Dutta are some of names I can recollect now. Then besides the big names already discussed, we had Sagar Sen, Sumitra Sen, Geeta Ghatak among others. The artists I like the most from Bangladesh were, Iffat Ara Khan, Kalim Sharafi, Rezwana Choudhry, Mita Haq and Laisa Ahmed Lisa. Among the current singers from this side, I like Srikanta Acharya, Jayati Chakraborty, Swagatalakshmi Dasgupta, Pubali Debnath, Shrabani Sen and others. Among the lesser known singers I like Bibha Sengupta and Arun Gangopadhyay both belonging to the Debabrata Biswas’s school.

Diner Sheshe Ghumer Deshe was not composed by Rabindranath I have written about it in detail in my article and also in my comments. But you said you have heard this song in a different tune. can you provide more details on this.

Thank you once again

40 N Venkataraman May 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

I am glad that you enjoyed the post and the songs.

One may not be drawn to Rabindra Sangeet initially. Especially for the untrained ears it may not be easy to absorb the Bani-pradhan Rabindra Sangeet. But inspite of this handicap we find quite good number of non Bengali listeners and performers of this genre. Rajeshwari Dutta, Mohan Singh, Vikram Singh, all three of them hailing from Punjab, Savitri Krishnan, Manoj Murali Nair, Manisha Nair, South Indians, were good exponents of Rabinfra Sangeet.

Thank you

41 Subodh Agrawal May 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm

My internet connection at home has been out of commission for several days. The one in office is working, but the office computer has no sound! So I have been ‘Ganga kinare pyasa’ all these days. The first thing I have done when the internet started working at home was to play all the songs and read through Mr Venkataraman’s knowledgeable exposition on each. The songs by themselves are a treat, but that treat is elevated to another level with Mr Venkataraman’s beautiful writing style and his phenomenal knowledge of music. Addition of anecdotes and trivia is the cherry on the cake. Thank you Mr Venkataraman and AK. Looking forward eagerly to the next one.

42 N Venkataraman May 15, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Thanks a lot for your generous appreciation.

43 raunak May 19, 2014 at 6:08 am

Awesome post as usual…. Regarding Bachpan ke Din Bhula Na dena ‘s similarity with Mone rabe ke na rabe, some people are of the opinion that the Deedar song was actually inspired from another Rabindrasangeet number ‘Keno Pantha e Chanchalata’
Here’s the song-

Incidentally this is Hemantda’s first rabindrasangeet recording, published in year 1944..

While one may ponder why Naushad saab would use a rabindrasangeet considering that he wasn’t a bengali, one must not forget the fact that Deedar’s director was the legendary Nitin Bose, who may have wanted a Rabindrasangeet inspired song in his film…. Infact, Nitin Bose in the classic ‘Gunga Jamuna’ has made Naushad saab adapt the hugely popular bangla folk song ‘Ore o sundoira naower majhi’ as O re ho jhanan ghoonghar baje’.. here are both the songs-

The bengali song (used in 1959 film Ganga by Salil Chowdhury, sung By Nirmalendu Chowdhury)

the Gunga jamuna song-

Listening to both songs, made me marvel at Naushad saab’s genius. The ease with which he has made a bengali boatman song sound so perfect in the bhojpuri tradition simply astounds me.

Interestingly the same bengali folk song’s tune was also used as a harmonica piece in the 1964 classic Dosti, directed by Satyen Bose… seems the Boses love this song!!

44 AK May 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

In a programme on film songs based on Rabindra Sangeet held sometime back in Delhi, the comperes mentioned Bachpan ke din bhula na dena as based on Mone rabe ke na rabe. I presume this is the commonly accepted position. Thanks for adding Keno panth e chanchalata, its instrumentation in interludes sounds very similar to Mone rabe ke na rabe. Purely as a lay listener I would say the degree of similarity with Bachpan ke din is about the same for both the songs.

Naushad’s capacity of adaptation in is amazing. The Bengali boat song is excellent.

45 N Venkataraman May 19, 2014 at 7:51 pm

I hold views similar to that of AKji regarding the song Keno Pantha e Chanchalata. Thanks for introducing this song and Nirmalendu Choudhury here.
Thank you Raunak for the songs and comments.

46 SSW May 19, 2014 at 11:34 pm

Though Salilda was the MD for the film Ganga, the song “Ore o sundoira nower majhi” is arranged by Nirmalendu Chowdhury . Nirmalendu Chowdhury composed/arranged two of the eight songs in this film. The other one is “sojoni o sojoni”.

There is an interesting tale about this song and Vilayat Khan mentioned here..

47 raunak May 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

SSWji, you made my day with that Vilayat khan-Nirmalenduda article. Just like Vilayatsaab, legendary Manobendra Mukherjee too was a fan of Nirmalendu Choudhury’ s full throated vocals. Infact Manobendra mentioned in a Tv programme that once he and some other artists were performing in front of 5,000 people, when suddenly the microphones stopped working. The performances had to be put on hold. But the crowd slowly started to get restless as the repair was taking a lot of time and no artist was willing to perform as it was impossible to make a 5,000 audience listen to their songs without a mike. At that point, a unknown guy volunteered ,saying he didn’t need a mike to perform. Everyone, Manobendra recollects, including himself thought that this guy was out of his mind but allowed him to perform nonetheless fearing crowd protest. The guy then started to sing with a 1 and a half minute Bhatiali taan and such was the power of his voice that the capacity crowd not only listened, but went into raptures. And This guy was none other then Nirmalendu choudhury!!

I did not knew that Nirmalendu da had arranged the traditonal folk song ‘Ore O sunDoira Nayer majhi’ along with another number in the film Ganga..thanks for the info SSWji.

Venkatji and Akji, i know that for most, Mone Rabe ke Na robe was the inspiration for the Deedar number. But there are some people,though in minority, who take Keno pantha e Chanchalata song as the inspiration behind Bachpan Ke Din Bhula. I personally feel that both the Rabindrasangeets share an equal degree of similarity with the Naushad song, just like Akji.

The Pankaj mullick number ‘Diner Sheshe’ that you posted is a great song. Here in the below youtube link, Anil biswas talks about this number & Pankajda’s greatness (listen from 3:01 onwards)

Diner Sheshe has a Hemant version too in the film Anindita (1971). The film is notable for being the only movie venture that Hemantda directed!! Here’s the link-

48 Abhijit June 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Many many thanks to N.Venkar]tramanji for writing such a wonderful article. I have heard that ‘Diner Sheshe’ is not the only one. Pankaj Millick has composed few more songs based upon Tagore’s poems. His granddaughter named either Rohini or Sohini, I do not remember very well, is planning to bring out a CD containing those songs.Preliminary works are already in progress. I request Venkatramanji to take pains to do some more research work in this regard for the benefit of millions of music lovers.

For induction of Bengali folk tune in Dosti I believe that credit should go to R.D.Burman rather than to Satyen Bose. On insistence of his close friend Laxmikant (Pyarelal too) RD worked as a musician in this movie. He composed & played the entire harmonica part in it.

Thanks & regards,


49 N Venkataraman June 22, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Thank you very much for your appreciation.

You are right. ‘Ashruto Rabindranath”, an album on the poems of Rabindranath to which Pankaj Mullick had set tunes, was launched this month by Sa Re Ga Ma. Priced at 125/-, the songs were recorded in the voice of Jhinuk Gupta, granddaughter-in-law of Pankaj Kumar Mullick and the recitations were by Rajib Gupta, Pankaj Mullick’s grandson. They have set up Pankaj Mullick Foundation since 2011 and there is also a site by the same name.

True, R D Burman played the Harmonica part in all the songs of Dosti. I remember only one song –Jane wale zara mudke dekho. One of the two characters in this film (remake of a Bengali film Lalu Bhulu-1959) played the harmonica. Laxmikant’s sister Vijayalakshmi suggested R D Burman’s name for playing the harmonica. I believe the harmonica for the title and background scores was played by Milon Gupta. Both the names do not appear in the credits.

BTW I found the prayer song “Bhoy hote tobo abhoyo majhe, rendered with ‘Sampooran Atmanivedan’ by Subinoy Roy, removed. I would kindly request AKji to replace it with this link.

Thank you

50 N Venkataraman June 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I meant to say I remember only one song where there was Harmonica accompaniment.

51 Abhijit June 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

N Venkatramanji, post#49

Since I have gone through your article sometimes in mid May, I am thinking of expressing my views related to certain elements like Rabindrasangeet singing style of Pankaj Mullick, great RS singers of yesteryear & nowadays, Vishwabharati board’s role in promoting RS, contribution of great Gurus in furthering RS culture etc., but not mustering enough courage to do so, as I do not consider myself equipped enough to fathom depths of such a complex form of music. Your excellent reply has filled me with enough courage to fulfill my wish to continue writing in this blog site. So thanks for it.

Incidentally, I have heard Pyarelal speaking about RD playing harmonica in Dosti in a TV interview. So, whether his name appears in credit line or not much matter of concern. The discussion was actually about changing environment of music world,where he cited this example & said that one music director helping out another in time of need is actually a matter of yesteryear. Naturally Milon Gupta’s role was not discussed. Thanks again for correcting me.



52 AK June 25, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I have put in the link for Bhoy hote tobo abhoyo majhe.

53 N Venkataraman June 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Thank you AKji.

54 probir mukherjea June 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm

please hear the interlude music of Hemant Kumars 1944 version of the Rabindrasangeet-“keno pathoo e chanchalota” it will be clear that ” o o o bachpan ke din bhula na dena” has a great similarity

55 Naresh P. Mankad June 2, 2016 at 8:15 pm

Though this is not following on dotted lines, I cannot restrain myself from mentioning my own earliest memory of a melodious Rabindra Sangeet tune from Waris, composed by Anil Biswas:
Raahi matwale, tu chhed ik baar man ka sitar. Later I saw a video of some celebration at Shantiniketan, where this tune was being used in some sort of group dance. Talat does full justice to the sweet tune in the Waris song.

56 probir mukherjea June 3, 2016 at 10:47 am


57 Abhijit June 3, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Naresh P. Mankadji,
The song Rahi Matwale from Waris is actually adaptation of Rabindrasangeet Khol Dwar Khol. This song was composed by Tagore for a dance drama named Chandalika written by him. Chandalika,both in audio & video form is available in YT.

Music lovers,who are accustomed with early 50 songs,still remember Surayya song Naina Diwane composed by S.D.Burman.This is also an adaptation of of a Tagore song Sedin Dujone composed for a dance drama named Shapmochan.It is also available in YT in both audio & video form.

58 AK June 4, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I don’t know whether you are talking about the song. But Raahi matwale seems to be a clear adaptation from O re grihbashi. Here is Shrabani Sen version.
O re grihbashi by Shrabani Sen

59 Abhijit June 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm


In fact we both are correct. The song starts with Ore Grihabashi & then proceeds like Khol Dwar Khol/Laglo Je Dol/Jale Sthale Banatale Laglo Je Dol.

60 AK June 4, 2016 at 11:45 pm


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