Some timeless songs of Jagjit Kaur

April 24, 2011

Singer Jagjit KaurI would have written on Jagjit Kaur at some uncertain time in future. That I am doing it now owes it to my friend Subodh Agrawal, a regular visitor to my blog. His glowing reference to Jagjit Kaur in my last blog on Subir Sen touched a chord in me – I am also a huge fan of her songs. I also realized this was the right time when I was on minor singers like Kamal Barot and Subir Sen.

In fact I feel very awkward to describe them as ‘minor’ singers, just because they did not sing too many songs. I would describe her more appropriately as a ‘niche’ singer, whose few songs have made her immortal. Another niche singer I could think of falling in her bracket would be Mubarak Begum. Among niche singers of the 1950s and 60s (other names that come to mind are Krishna Kalle, Meenu Murushottam, Meena Kapoor and Usha Mangeshkar), I put Jagjit Kaur at the top.

Born in an affluent Punjabi Zamindar family she must have had a number of wealthy suitors, but she chose a struggling musician Khayyam to marry. When you hear the songs the two created together – most of her songs are composed by Khayyam – you feel the pairing must have been made in the heaven. Here is my compilation of my favourite Jagjit Kaur songs.

1. Dekho dekho ji gori sasural chali from Shagun (1964), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music Khayyam

Almost all the songs of this film were classics. This peppy wedding song by the bride Waheeda Rahman’s gang of girls to the beat of dholak, while she is being adorned, is pure, unvarnished folk beauty. Jagjit Kaur and Khayyam bring to you the sweeter side of Punjab.

 

2. Tum apna ranj–o-gham apni pareshani mujhe de do from Shagun

The ultimate Jagjit Kaur-Sahir Ludhiyanvi-Khayyam classic from Shagun. Khayyam had said that even if Jagjit Kaur did not sing another song, this song would keep her alive for ever. Hardly an exaggeration. You see the other woman Nivedita, who made a debut in this film, beseeching the hero Kanwaljit who is trying to drown his sorrow in alcohol, to give his entire pain and sorrow to her. Waheeda Rahman looks on silently with puzzled looks wondering what right Nivedita had on her man to sing thus. From her big bindi and mangalsutra my guess is she must be already married to him (incidentally she married him in real life about ten years after the film). Sahir Ludhiyanvi surpasses himself with these words:

तुम अपना रंज-ओ-ग़म अपनी परेशानी मुझे दे दो
तुम्हें ग़म की क़सम इस दिल की वीरानी मुझे दे दो

ये माना मैं किसी क़ाबिल नहीं हूं इन निगाहों में
बुरा क्या है अगर ये दुख ये हैरानी मुझे दे दो
तुम अपना रंज-ओ-ग़म…

मैं देखूं तो सही ये दुनिया तुम्हें कैसे सताती है
कोई दिन के लिये अपनी निगहबानी मुझे दे दो
तुम अपना रंज-ओ-ग़म…

वो दिल जो मैनें मांगा था मगर गैरों ने पाया था
बड़ी शै है मगर उसकी पशेमानी मुझे दे दो  
तुम अपना रंज-ओ-ग़म

Here is its beautiful translation courtesy dustedoff

Give me all your sorrow and bitterness
All your troubles
I bind you, by your own sadness –
Give me the loneliness of your heart

I accept that in your eyes
I have no worth
But what wrong it is
If you give me your sorrow and your worries?

I defy this world to
Trouble you any more
For some days, give yourself into
My watchful safekeeping

The heart that I had wanted for mine
But which became another’s –
It would mean a lot to me
If you were to give all its embarrassments to me

3. Kahmosh zindagi ko afsaanaa mil gayaa from Dil-e-Nadan (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ghulam Mohammad

A wonderful composition on another debutant Peace Kanwal (what a name!), who was apparently selected through an all India beauty contest to act opposite Talat Mamhmood (Shyama was the lead actress).

 Khamosh zindagi ko afsana mil gaya

4. Chale aao saiyan rangeele main vaari re (with Pamela Chopra) from Bazaar (1982), lyrics Jagjit Kaur (?), music Khayyam

This is again a wedding song by the gang of girls on dholak, which on the surface is a situation of joy. But at the same time it has also to reflect Supriya Pathak’s utter despair and helplessness, who is lying listless in the background as this marriage is going to bring nothing but disaster to her. Jagjit Kaur is also credited as the lyricist. Pamela Chopra is the wife of Yash Chopra and obviously a highly talented person who figures in several Khayyam movies. The composition is unmistakably Khayyam.

5. Dekh lo aaaj humko jee bhar ke from Bazaar

The parting lovers Supriya Pathak and Frooq Sheikh just looking at each other silently, and Jagjit Kaur’s sad voice streaming from the background देख लो आज हमको जी भर के, कोई आता नहीं है फिर मर के. Do you need to say anything more? I can not think of any other singer or composer whose music remained the same in 1980s as it was in 50s. Khayyam and Jagjit Kaur are literally timeless.

6. Kaahe ko byahi bides from Umrao Jaan (1981), music Khayyam

Now can there be anything more timeless than Amir Khusro? People have been singing him for over 700 years across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, middle east, the same song in the form of ghazal, qawwali, in the moods of romantic, devotional, sadness and joy, in dargahs, concerts and films, and you may have heard thousand times but every time you hear you are entranced. Khayyam again with Jagjit create this masterpiece (among several film versions there is a quintessential Mukesh’s Kahe ko dinee bides from the film Suhagraat (1948), music by Snehal Bhatker).

7. Saada chidiya da chamba vai by Jagjit Kaur and Pamela Chopra from Kabhi Kabhi (1976), music Khayyam

This is a traditional Punjabi folk wedding song with which the credit titles of Kabhi Kabhi open. The girls on dholak are joyous but the face of the bride Rakhi betrays an intense sadness enhanced by Sahir Ludhiyanvi’s plaintive Surkh jode ki ye jagmagahat streaming in the background in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar:

सुर्ख जोड़े की ये जगमगाहट, शोख बिंदिया की ये झिलमिलाहट
चूड़ियों का ये रंगीं तराना, धड़कनों का ये सपना सुहाना
जागा जागा सा कजरे का जादू, भीनी भीनी सी गजरे की खुशबू
नर्म होठों का ये कंपकंपाना, गर्म चेहरे का ये तमतमाना
जिस्म का महका महका पसीना, हुस्न का दहका दहका नगीना
झांझरों का ये छमछम के बजना, ये संवरना निखरना ये सजना
किसकी खातिर है किसके लिये है, किसकी खातिर है किसके लिये है

This is again anchored by Saada chidiya da ambaa vai babul asaan chhod jana. The effect is magical. There can be no better artist than Khayyam to show joy and pathos at the same time through his music. Jagjit Kaur and Pamela Chopra are the obvious choice for this wedding song. Curiously their names do not figure in the credit titles among playback singers. But to me this has such a memorable impact that I have to list it here (crediting to them based on Pankaj Raag’s Dhunon Ki Yatra). Another interesting aspect about this movie is their names do figure in the credit titles elsewhere– Pamela Chopra for story and Jagjit Kaur as assistant director for music.

8. Chanda gaaye raagini from Dil-e-Nadan

This is a rare Jagjit Kaur song. It is an unusual party scene, where the hero Talat Mahmood is not at the grand piano, which is the normal place of a hero. Instead this is occupied by a fat, bald Alfred Hitchcock-look alike, the handsome Talat is playing the violin. But why is he looking morose? Is it because he has been deprived of his rightful place at the piano by this arrogant usurper – there are several other songs in this film where he is indeed at the piano. Peace Kanwal singing and Shyama dancing to the peppy song complete the picture. A collector’s item this song. (Click on the picture to view video).

image 

 9. Pehle to ankh milana with Rafi from Shola Aur Shabnam (1961), lyrics Kaifi Azmi, music Khayyam

A somewhat atypical peppy duet from this film which had mostly melancholy songs.

10.  Nain milake pyar jata ke aag laga dee (with Rafi) from Mera Bhai Mera Dushman (1967), music Khayyam

Finally I end with another unusual fast paced duet with Rafi from a B-grade movie. But the duet and the exuberant dance of the couple is eminently watchable.(Click on the picture to view video)

image

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 arvind April 26, 2011 at 11:18 pm

once upon a time…………..

2 Subodh Agrawal April 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

Thank you AK. I am delighted to read the comment of Khayyam on ‘tum apna ranj-o gham’, as it echoes my own thoughts on this song. One’s list of top ten songs keeps varying; but this song – along with ‘hai re won din kyun na aaye’ from Anuradha, and ‘lau lagaati geet gaati’ from Bhabhi ki Chudiyan – has consistently been at the top of my list for decades. Thanks for locating and posting so many other songs – some of which I had not heard.

3 dustedoff April 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

Lovely collection, AK – and I must admit I didn’t know some of these songs had been sung by Jagjeet Kaur. My all-time favourite of her songs remains Tum apna ranj-o-gham, but there are others too in your list that I like a lot…. especially Kaahe ko byaahi bides.

4 AK April 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm

@arvind, Subodh Agrawal, dustedoff
Thanks to all of you. One thing noticeable about Khayyam-Jagjit Kaur is they are able to bring out 1950s feel in the 80s, which makes them so appealing. Tum apna ranj-o-gham, I agree should be right at the top of any Jagjit Kaur list, just that I have some weakness for folk wedding songs – this genre seems to have disappeared like many things in music. I also get to discover many new songs through my blog. Keep visiting. With knowledgeable readers like you I know I have to maintain certain standards.

5 TheUrdupoets April 27, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Jagjit Kaur remained in the sidelines despite her talent,singing occasionally in movies composed by Khaiyyam,her better half.
She has sung this rare number with none other than Khaiyyam Sahab himself in Muzaffar Ali’s ‘Anjuman’.Here is the beautiful number penned by Faiz Ahmed Faiz-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEyCTQhvbCY

6 AK May 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

TheUrdupoets
Thanks for sending the link to this wonderful ghazal by Khayyam and Jagjit Kaur. It is known early in his career Khayyam also sang playback in films, but none that I am personally aware of or have heard. So this one is quite a treat.

7 Ashok Kewalia June 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Congratulations on completing one year . Sir, your affection & work towards old musicians ,singers & music lovers is a kind of service to Rich Indian music culture. Some information is available about Late Sh. Dan Singh Ji Detha on mohallalive.com . I hope it will be usefull for music lovers.

8 Ashok Vaishnav July 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm

If Jagjitji had no other song then ‘Tum apna ranj–o-gham apni pareshani mujhe de do from Shagun’ , she would still be placed on the pedestal of the Greats, sadly, no one would have recognised that pedestal.
Such is the tragedy of life – you are not recognised unless you have succeeded in the wordly way.

9 Ashok Patil July 28, 2011 at 9:53 am

I must confess here that it was such a wonderful “logging” accident as I came to understand the existence of this equally beautiful and commendable site on one of most adorable topics i.e. Golden Days of Hindi Music. No doubt, right now I am speechless while studying the vast panorama of relevant information you AK penned down here and certainly I would love to go through all those articles in the days to come.

Yes, I fully agree with the comments on “Tum apna ranjo gam….”. This solo is suffice to remember this talented gem namely Jagjit Kaur to our last breath. Time and again I have been watching the same song on YouTube as well enjoying the enchanting voice via audio ways especially when I feel dejected for one reason or other.

I will surely keep posting hereinafter with different nooks on this posting. Hope you will add me in your good books, AK.

By the way, do you have anything on Shanti Mathur? (That “Nanha Munaa Raahi Hoon….” song from Son of India)

(Let me take this very opportunity to congratulate you on completing one year of this lovely work.)

10 AK July 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm

@Ashok Patil
Thanks for your generous praise. This blog has helped me connect with music lovers like you, and in the process also enhance my own knowledge.

I have already started my series on Forgotten Composers, Unforgettable Melodies. I have done some more niche singers such as Kamal Barot, Subir Sen, and do have plans of doing others like Sudha Malhotra, Mubarak Begum. I also have plans of doing female singers of 1930s and 40s because they comprise a very distinct category (in 50s and 60s the variability was lost, it became almost Lata Mangeshkar all the way). I had not thought of Shanti Mathur, she did not have too many songs.

Looking forward to more of your comments.

11 Sanjay Prakash August 24, 2011 at 12:58 am

Dear Mr. AK,
Congratulations on completion of one year by your blog. What a memorable journey it has been! One mesmerising article after another….and one year’s gone…how time flies!!!
I had missed this piece, as also your other recent pieces, as I was off the net for the last few months. It has an excellent collection of heart-touching songs and also marks a temporary departure from your period-fixation, as you have jumped the time frame of your blog by a few decades and included songs of the 70’s & 80’s, which of course, do give the 50’s and 60’s songs a run for money. You have rightly mentioned that the Jagjit-Khayyam team had the unique capability to deliver the 50’s-style in the 80’s.
Further, I suggest, you try compiling a list of “10 all-time best musicals of Hindi Cinema” and launch a national debate.

12 verbose February 11, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Thanks for drawing attention to some of the songs of this vastly underrated singer. One of my favorites is फिर वही सावन अाया from Shola aur Shabnam. Here is a link to the audio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8H_9Kz3fTM.

13 pramod saxena June 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I wish to tell you ,gentlemen ,that you are living life at a very different level on this planet.
it has been an incredibly wonderful and very enriching experience going thru all the classical,unforgettable songs,comments,etc.I am a indian classic music lover since my school days.I am a lawyer but with all different kind of music and collection I play all these songs on the desktop while drafting.It keeps me cool for hours.
The choice and knowledge of the participants is extremely deep and rare.

14 Mukul Aggarwal September 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Dear Sir, Ab main kya likhu Pramod ji ne mere dil ki bat khoobsurat words main likh de hai. Many many thanks for such a lovely musical gift.

15 Shobhit September 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Dear Mr AK,

Congratulations are due to you on many counts: Drawing me to write to you is one among them. Relatively younger (I am 27) by the standards of the plethora of knowledge that this blog attempts to disseminate, it is the first time that I felt moved to take plunge in any kind of online forum.
Just sifted through Roshan-Rafi post, it readily enchanted me.
In these days when I am still learning to learn and pressure of earning invariably takes toll on my urge to get drowned in these gems, your endeavour makes the life easy.
Thanx a lot.

16 AK September 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Thanks a lot. Hope you get more time to spend on this blog. None of us pretends to have any great knowledge. It is just that we are all passionate about this important legacy of ours and share our joy with each other.

17 bunty gandhi October 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

wow ..what a song to listen in midnight ….

18 dr k k bhalla February 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm

It is indeed amazing that such gems (as Jagjit Kair) have immortalised themselves by such small number of renderings. one realises that it is the quality alone that makes you stand out & above the crowd. But we indians luckey tohave great singers in such good number.

19 Bharat J Patwala March 2, 2013 at 11:14 pm

AK
V good collection indeed.Song from Shagun ” Tum Apna…” is an identity of Jagjit Kaur no doubt; but other songs also caught my fancy. One from Dil e Nadan I heard for first time and liked it.I am going to listen to all of the songs for my pleasure.
Thanks for such uploads.

20 Guddi March 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm

We are delighted to hear Ms. Jagjit Kaur’s voice again through this collection, beautiful voice. I wish she and Msr Khyam give a stage performance together. I am sure there is still pokate of people like us who are dying to hear. There is no comparison with our old peotary and singing voice.

Thanks

21 Balbir Singh March 26, 2013 at 11:22 am

These are soul stirring master pieces, written, directed and sung by master artists. When you are lonely, these provide soothing company and solace. ਇਹ ਰੂਹ ਦੀ ਖੁਰਾਕ ਨੇ l ਬੰਦੇ ਨਰਾਜ਼ ਹੋ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ, ਇਹ ਕਦੀ ਮੁਖ ਨਹੀਂ ਮੋੜਦੇ l ਜਦੋਂ ਆਵਾਜ਼ ਮਾਰੋ, ਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਸਾਥ ਦੇਣ ਲਈ ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਹਾਜ਼ਰ ਰਹਿੰਦੇ ਨੇ l

22 Gairik Chakrabarty May 16, 2013 at 1:07 am

Very beautiful & more over for your contribution. Actually I was looking for the song ‘Tum apna ranzoo gam’ by Jagjit Kaur from the movie Shagun (1964). And I must applause to the contributor, who along with many other beautiful songs…thank you… But actually I am looking for that beautiful site where the site is telling & sort of teaching the audience from which Raaga which beautiful song… I don’t know which word is perfect rendered, discovered or invented. I am sorry with my poor English. Please help me. And I don’t know if there are any crazy people like me. Please help me to search out those sites. I will be most oblised and I will be most happiest person on this planet.

23 AK May 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Gairik,
It is not very clear what you are looking for. You may look at the guest series by Subodh Agrawal on this blog on film songs based on classical ragas. He has written a number of very lucid articles on the subject. For basic information about the ragas, you may Google, which would throw up a number of sites. You may find the following sites useful:

http://www.parrikar.org/

http://chandrakantha.com/raga_raag/film_song_raga.html

However, from whatever little I know about music I am not sure if you could learn classical music from websites. You would need a person to teach you the basics.

24 Canasya May 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

The names of Jagjit Kaur, Talat, and Sudha Malhotra have been mentioned in the posts above. This song (Mohabbat ki dhun) from Dil-e-Nadan has all three of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFhvvWNW4Xw&list=PLFF3B33C031C2F886&feature=player_detailpage

25 AK May 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Canasya
This Mohabbat ki dhun bekararon se poocho is my top favourite from Dil-e-Nadan. I was sure I had included this song, but I was surprised not to find it here. Even Subodh has mentioned in his comment (#15) in my post on Talat Mahmood’s duets that he came to know of this triplet from this post. The only reason could be that YouTube might have removed this link, and I might have replaced with another song. But thanks for mentioning it. Incidentally, YT’s habit of suddenly pulling out links is a big irritant. If you visit my old posts about 20% of the links would have been removed. It is a pain to look for their replacements.

26 Jignesh Kotadia October 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Jagjit kaur’s name found in 1951. A duet with g.m.durrani in Dutta korgaonkar’s ”gumaasta”(having two wonderful songs of lataji) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5rHMOyNklI

27 HARJAP SINGH AUJLA November 1, 2013 at 2:01 am

Jagjit Kaur had the potential to become a famous playback singer, but after getting married to a music director, her enthusiasm suddenly died. She could be an ideal radio singer at All India Radio, but rather than living and singing in her native Punjab, she opted for Bombay, where it was hard to grow to potential under the shadow of Lata Mangeshkar. Surinder Kaur realized this limitation and in 1952 moved to New Delhi. Her move closer to Punjab saved her career and she became number 1 Punjabi folk singer. Jagjit Kaur sadly missed such opportunities.

28 Anshuman Mishra November 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Thanks for the wonderful compilation.

For song ‘Tum Apna ranjo-gham’, I think the last para is “…Badi kaif hai agar uski pashemani mujhe de do…” instead of “…badi shai hai magar…”.

29 AK November 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Anshuman,
Thanks a lot. I heard the song again and again. Very difficult to make out whether it is ‘shai’ or ‘kaif’. Sounds closer to ‘shai’, but you may be right. ‘Kaif’ = Nasha, Anand. This can also fit in the context. Someone who is familiar with the original poetry can confirm. While most sites mention ‘shai’, I saw one site mention ‘kaif’.

30 Rajneesh Anand March 5, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Liked your article on Jagjit Kaur. You could have covered more about her personal life.

There are some more singers who fall in the ‘niche category’. One of then is Mahesh Chander. His song yeh to pathron ka shahar hai is a master piece. Suman Kalyanpur too deserves more accolades than have come her way. There is another song – woh beete din yaad hain – from the movie Purana Mandir. Again an excellent song sung by a lesser known artist Ajit Singh. Jaspal Singh who has sung Ravinder Jain songs too deserves lot of applause. Raj Kamal is another singer/ composer who has done wonders with his voice and music.

31 AK March 6, 2014 at 10:03 am

Rajneesh Anand,
Thanks a lot, and welcome to Songs of Yore.

I generally avoid giving too much of personal life of an artiste, because it would be mostly bits and pieces from here and there. I try to focus on the songs. Some sites which carry very good personal profiles are ‘Beete Huye Din’, ‘Anmol Fankaar’ and ‘Cineplot’. I have given their links on the Blogroll on the right.

I heard Mahesh Chander for the first time. He is really good. But I think Ye patron ka shahar hai is sung by Rafi, and Mahesh Chander’s is a version song. That way there are a large number of very good singers on YT. Among version singers the one I really admire is Nashenas, who is great with Saigal and others of that style.

Ajit Singh’s song you mentioned is from the 1980s, which is not my interest. This blog primarily focusses on the 30s through 60s – the older the better.

32 rajvinder Dhillon March 8, 2014 at 3:29 am

I like your article on Jagjit Kaur but I want to let you know she has sung nice Punjabi Songs too I will apprreciate if you can post them too
Thank you

33 AK March 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

Ravinder Dhillon,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I am aware that she sang Punjabi songs too, which must be of very high quality. But I am not familiar with them, and it would be more appropriate if some knowledgeable person posts them. You are most welcome to give YT link of your favorite songs with some description and their meaning.

34 ksbhatia March 11, 2014 at 3:32 pm

AK/Ravinder Dhillon , As a passing reference….. Jagjit kaur sister Surinder kaur also sang some beautiful songs in Dilip Kamini kaushal starrer Shaheed . Songs like ……Be dardi more balma hai tum kahan aur hum kahan……and……Badnam na ho jaai ulfat ka zamana …… also to takes you back to that melodious era .

35 PARTHA CHANDA December 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

No, ksbhatia , Jagjit Kaur is not a sister of Surinder Kaur . You are confusing with Prakash Kaur , Surinder’s elder sister . Moreover , there is a huge age difference . Yes, Prakash and Surinder sang some memorable numbers together in Punjabi, the most popular being the Folk Song “BAARI BARSI KAHATAN GAYO….”.

36 ksbhatia December 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Partha chanda ji; Thanks for the correction . With so many Kaurs singing during that era , a confusion is most likely to happen . In those years their duets with Asa singh mastana were also very popular like ” BAGHE WHICH KUCH KOI NA >>>>ODEH NAL KEY WASNA JEEDE MOHN TE MUCCH KOI NA ” .And many more like this were most sought after in marriage and reception ceremonies .

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