Multiple Version Songs (14)
With this post my SD Burman journey is intersecting Ashok Vaishnavji’s mega-project on multiple version songs. My journey has taken many interesting turns. I started with the idea of doing a post on my top ten favourite songs of SD Burman, which would have included his film as well non-film Hindi and Bengali songs. Then I came across Harvey’s post, Sun mere bandhu re, on his film songs. I then decided to cover only his non-film songs, which would have included both Hindi and Bengali songs. In course of searching his songs, I found there were so many of them in each category, and many of them absolutely outstanding, that I decided to cover his non-film Hindi and Bengalis songs in separate posts. I have already done his non-film Hindi songs, which was very well received. The readers also mentioned many of his Bengali songs, which were adapted by SD Burman as Hindi film songs in the voices of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Geeta Dutt. These songs are among all time great compositions of SD Burman, without most of us being aware that these are adapted from original Bengali songs sung by SD Burman.
Now comes along Mr Ashok Vaishnav’s post on multiple version songs, in which one of the sub-categories is Hindi film songs and their Bengali versions. I knew of Salil Chaudhary and Hemant Kumar, who did a fairly large number of bilingual songs. SD Burman is a new discovery, and there are several things special about his bilingual songs. Firstly, most of these were sung by him in Bengali as private songs, whereas in Hindi he adapted these for films in other voices, unlike say Salil Chaudhary, whose most of well known bilingual songs are in the voice of the same singers such as Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. SD Burman’s voice is so unique that the two versions impact the listener in completely different ways. SD Burman does not belong to this planet; his songs take you to another plane. For adapting these to films, he brought them down to the earth, yet giving us outstanding songs in other voices as we have known all these years.
Some of these songs are very well known, and have been already mentioned on this blog earlier by the readers, such as Ghum bhulechhi for Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye, or Rongila rongila rongila re for Aan milo aan milo Shyam sanwre. Some more may be known to the readers. But there are a number of songs which would dazzle you, either because of their beauty, or because the adaptation may not be obvious at the first instance. There are about two dozen such songs, which have a Hindi version – mostly film songs in the voice of well known playback singers, some in his own voice, both film and non-film. Let me present my favourite ten of SD Burman’s Bengali private songs, which have been adapted in Hindi, as my tribute to the great genius. With this I am also covering one of the sub-sub categories of Ashok Vaishnavji’s project and, therefore, treating it as the 14th article in the Multiple Version Songs. I have tried to give the meanings of some of these songs with the help of my Bengali friends.
1. Ami chhinu eka basaore jagaye, lyrics Ajoy Bhattacharya
At the top of my list is this song which has a legend behind it, which Moti Lalwani quoted from SD Burman’s biography by Khagesh Dev Burman:
SD Burman mesmerises K. L. Saigal
‘In a musical performance, Sachin was listed to perform after Saigal. Saigal had to sing a few more songs than scheduled on popular demand. He had to ignore further requests in order to keep his next appointment for which the organizers had already arrived.
Almost at the gate, Saigal came to a sudden halt and stood like a statue. Sachin had started singing ‘Ami chhinu eka’. It had not been recorded as yet. Overwhelmed, Saigal sat down in a chair. He was dumbfounded. Was it not his song! It was he who had rendered the tune in Khambaj for the first time in ‘Kaun bujhave Rama tapat mera man ki’, a thumri. But in Sachin’s voice, the intoxicating tune had been transformed completely.
A feeling of solitude and loneliness filled the hearts of the audience. They were swept away on the waves of the anguish-laden melody – surpassing the tune, beyond the dictates of Khambaj – a mix of thumri and folk, which rose, reached a crescendo and then fell only to rise again.
Saigal sat mesmerized till the song ended. He came to senses at the cry of joy from the audience. Such was the magic of Sachin’s style, the enchantment of his tune. In the words of Kabir Suman: ‘Sachin- karta is unparalleled in the art of assimilation’. He could internalize the tune by any music composer and give it his own style.’
While everything that is said about SD Burman mesmerising KL Saigal seems believable, its similarity with Kaun bujhave according to me is not very close. The song which comes much closer is this timeless duet by Mohammad Rafi-Lata Mangeshkar – Tere bin soone nain hamare from Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen (1963), lyrics Shailendra, composed by SD Burman himself.
Obviously, Tere bin soone nain hamare came much after Saigal. But I still felt uneasy. I was sure there was another Saigal song which was very similar to Ami chhinu eka with which he could have confused, and the biographer might have wrongly mentioned Ab kaun bujhave Rama. And then like a flash the song came to me – one of my greatest Saigal favourites. What about this Saigal song from Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933), music Pankaj Mullick? And let me add one more historical connection about this song. Burman’s biography states that his first recorded song was for Yahudi Ki Ladki (!) which Pankaj Mullick finally scrapped and got them re-recorded in the voice of Pahadi Sanyal. Now this completes the fascinating story of this song.
Lag gayi chot karejawa mei haye Rama
2. Ei kanoner phool niye jao
The next awesome song which held me spellbound for long is Ei kanoner phool niye jao.
Again I felt I knew a vintage song based on this tune. You know the feeling when something seems so familiar, but your memory is not able to retrieve it. I was obsessed with this song for quite some time, when it occurred to me just as I was about to give up – another of my greatest Saigal favourites, Hairat-enazare aakhir ban gayi ranaiyan from Kaarwaan-e-Hayaat (1935). These songs are so old that it is not clear who got inspired by whom. It is quite likely that Saigal song came earlier. I doubt if even SD Burman experts could conclusively tell which came first. (P.S. Mr N Venkataraman says SD Burman’s song came earlier. See his comment#11.)
Hairat-e-nazara akhir ban gayi ranaiyan from Kaarwaan-e-Hayaat (1935), music Mihir Kiran Bhattacharya
3. Prem samadhi teere, lyrics Sailen Roy
The next song that fascinates me for its beauty and the historical importance of its Hindi version is Prem Samadhi teere.
Its Hindi version has a historical standing as the first Hindi film song sung by SD Burman. And another unique fact about this song – this is perhaps the first and only song of his which was not composed by SD Burman himself, but by another composer, Madhavlal Damodar Master.
Prem ki pyari nishani from Taj Mahal (1941), music Madhavlal Damodar Master
4. Shono go dakhino hawa prem karechhi ami, lyrics Mira Dev Burman
We are familiar with Khai hai re humne qasam sang rahne ki by Lata Mangeshkar from Talash – an outstanding song by any yardstick. And then you hear this SD Burman’s original Shono go dokhino hawa, and you realize, he lifts it to soaring heights.
Oh listen, the southern winds
I’m in love.
My eyes are so intoxicated that I have forgotten my path.
This thirst was hidden somewhere within, and has risen at this beautiful moment.
I’m restless and mesmerised in love.
Oh listen sweet winds,
I have fallen in love.
During the hot summer, I become the devotee of love.
In the rainy season, I pour love.
I turn into the autumn moon, and create magic in hemant (season)
I’m like the sad winter, and desire sensual bliss in spring
Oh listen the southern winds,
I’m in love.
5. Ke jash re, lyrics Mira Dev Buman
Can you surpass the outstanding? Let us hear this outstanding song by Lata Mangeshkar:
Sun ri pawan purwaiya from Anurag (1972), lyrics Anand Baxi, music SD Burman
Then you hear SD Burman’s original Ke jash re at a different plane.
Oh listen! Those who are leaving for the seams of Bhaati village
Give this message to my brother and sister that I have the ardent desire to meet them,
Tell them that my heart withers in pain!
Tell them that I have searched for them everywhere but could not find them
My heart had swelled with hopes and desires
But after being separated from you, my dear, my heart weeps profusely!
My eyes shed tears in silence,
I have no other resort but telling the shores
About my brother and sister and asking the shores to bring some news
The boat which left the banks of bhaati did not bring any news from my brother and sister
My beautiful sister has sent me some news but there has been no news from my brother
In your separation, my eyes are wet with tears of silent mourning
Oh those leaving for the seams of bhaati village
Tell my brother and sister about my withering pain …………and about my heart’s grief!
6. Nishitho jaiyo phholbone re bhanwra, lyrics and music Jasimuddin
I have mentioned earlier that SD Burman had something about honeybees. His first song that made him an all India phenomenon was the non-film song Dheere se jana bagiyan mein re bhanwra which is quite well known to the SoY readers. Besides, he has also sung some other bhanwra songs and composed a number of honeybee songs in films by other playback singers. I think its Bengali version is the original. So to have the real flavor of this beautiful song, let us hear its Bengali original. Wikipedia has this information on the lyricist and composer of this song, Jasimuddin.
English translation taken from YouTube
Come to the garden by night, my bee.
I shall stay up the night
Lighting the lamp of moon
And talking to the dew drops, my bee.
Come to the garden by night
Should I fall asleep
Tread softly my bee,
Do not break the branch
Or crush my flowers.
Or awaken the flower that is asleep
Come to the garden by night
7. Alo chhaya dola, lyrics Ajoy Bhattachrya
Let us hear this SD Burman beauty.
Without much effort you can recall its Hindi adaptation Pawan diwani from Dr Vidya (1962) and see how he adapts it to a film song by Lata Mangeshkar, picturised as classical dance on Vyjayanthimala. An outstanding song matched by its adaptation.
8. Hai ki je kori e mono piya, lyrics Mohini Chowdury
We have seen that Rongila rongila rongila re’s Hindi version was not Rangeela re, but Aan milo aan milo aan saanwre. Let us now hear Hai ki kori e mono piya, which was adapted later as a Rangeela song.
This is another song which illustrates, according to me, that SD Burman sang on a different planet – very often their film versions, outstanding in their own right were lesser. Can you immediately connect its Hindi adaptation? This time it is done by his son RD Burman.
Tune O rangeele kaisa jadu kiya by Lata Mangeshkar from Kudrat (1981)
9. Tak dhoom tak dhoom baje Bangladesher dhol, lyrics Mira Dev Burman
This is a fascinating folk song with prominent dhol beats, proudly proclaiming the glory of Bangla nation (here referring not to the political State of Bangladesh, but ethnic/linguistic Bengali nationality). A song to make every Bengali dance with pride.
SD Burman uses the same tune in Manna Dey’s voice with the same mukhda to create this interesting song in Bambai Ka Babu
Tak dhum tak dhum baje by Manna Dey from Bambai Ka Babu (1960), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri
10. Gaaner koli surer durite, lyrics Mira Dev Burman
I end this post with a fabulous SD Burman song as good as any I have discussed so far.
But more important is the quality and period of its adaptation. I have remarked in my earlier posts that SD Burman was the only one among his great contemporaries to continue at the top even post-69 right till the end of his life. In fact he was the harbinger of the post-69 phenomenon, later on taken over by his son RD Burman, Kalyanji Anandji and Laxmikant Pyarelal. So, enjoy its adaptation in 1970 in the voice of Mohammad Rafi, which would have been in the list of my best Rafi songs by SD Burman, but I kept it reserved for this post.
Mehbooba teri tasweer by Rafi from Ishq Par Zor Nahi (1970), lyrics Anand Bakshi
The readers would have noticed that four of these lovely songs are written by SD Burman’s wife Mira Dev Burman. An immensely talented lady in her own right, she also composed some of SD Burman’s Bengali songs and gave him voice accompaniment. So, let us also pay a tribute to her for giving us such outstanding melodies.
1. sdburman.com has been a valuable source of information on SD Burman’s life and music.
2. I had some useful discussion with HQ Chawdhury (Bangladesh), an authority on SD Burman, who has also written his biography.