The Jewel in the Crown of Naushad: ‘Rattan’ (1944)

January 1, 2015

SoY celebrates 2015 as the Year of Naushad in the 75th Anniversary Year of his debut

RattanIf I were to write the history of Hindi film music, it would go as follows. Once upon a time there were RC Boral and Pankaj Mullick. Then came Anil Biswas. He was followed by Naushad, who in a few years reached a pinnacle which his peers could only envy and aspire to attain. He became the Greatest Mughal of Movie Music, who withstood palace intrigues and all overt and covert attempts to dethrone him, and straddled like a colossus for about 25 years.

He debuted as an independent music director in 1940 with Prem Nagar. The film that catapulted him to the Mount Everest of glory was Rattan. SoY celebrated 2014 as the Year of Anil Biswas in his centenary year. Let us celebrate 2015, the Platinum Anniversary of his debut, as the Year of Naushad, starting with the songs of Rattan, which changed it all.

How do you describe Rattan, or for that matter any film? A film is viewed as made up of various elements like the lead players, other cast, story/script, cinematography, choreography, music and editing, all put together by the creative vision of the director. Thus, a film is a commercial product of the producer and creative product of the director. Who are the Producer and the Director of Rattan? I doubt if anyone knows except Shri Arunkumar Deshmukh. Not many would have heard of Karan Dewan, Swarnalata, Wasti and Manju either. So, what comes to your mind when you think of Rattan? Naushad, Naushad, Naushad….

I come back to my first question, how do you describe Rattan? My answer is, Rattan is not a film to which Naushad gave music, but it is Naushad’s music to which a film has been attached. This was the film which made Naushad a phenomenon at the age of 25 (b. December 25, 1919), and spawned a number of legends around its music. In the years to come, he would become the first to charge Rs. 100,000 for a film, an astronomical figure those days. Films would be sold on his name, and he became the most prominent name on the posters and publicity materials.

One well known story is about his marriage. Faced with a stern and orthodox father, who disapproved of music, Naushad, with a deep passion for music, left home to join an itinerant theatre company, on way to Bombay. When he was called home for his marriage, his father was vaguely aware that his waster of a son might be dabbling in a disreputable thing such as music. To give some respectability about him, the bride’s family was told that he was a tailor. Naushad was delighted to find that the wedding band in his baraat played the songs of Rattan. The movie had been just released, and no one knew that the ‘tailor’ bridegroom was the composer of all those gorgeous tunes! Another one often mentioned is that once SD Burman heard his cook humming the songs of Rattan rather than his own songs. That made him realise that great film music also has to be simple and appealing to the masses. Another trivia well known to SoY regulars is, when Guru Vidyapati (Kishore Kumar) asked Bhola (Sunil Dutt) in Padosan (1968) if he knew any film song, which song did Bhola mention? O janewale balamwa, laut ke aa laut ke aa.

On a personal note, Rattan made me from a great Naushad fan to an incurable Naushad romantic. In the radio era, one generally became aware of the songs of the 50s and 60s first before one became familiar with the music of the 30s and 40s. Naushad for me was already the greatest music director with Mela, Andaaz, Babul, Deedar, Aan, Amar, Baiju Bawra, Shabaab, Mother India, Mere Mehboob and Mughal-e-Azam etc. Rattan happened to me about five years after I was thoroughly steeped in Naushad magic. And what a discovery it was – this was another Naushad, even more charming! From primarily Rafi-Lata-Shamshad Begum centric and some Mukesh and Talat Mahmood, there was a new world of Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai Ambalewali, Karan Dewan. As I got into more of the 40s, I came across Surendra, Shyam Kumar, Parul Ghosh, and of course, Noorjehan, Suraiya and Uma Devi (Tuntun). And he was also able to compose for KL Saigal, which even Anil Biswas, his five years senior could not do. One charge which Naushad detractors may make is about his narrow choice of singers in the 50s and 60s. Go back to the 40s, and you have an amazing kaleidoscope of singers. Not only that, take any singer, their best would be topped by a Naushad composition.

As we enter the year of the 75th Anniversary of Naushad’s debut as a music director, I extend New Year greetings to all with a tribute to him, the greatest music director for me. I have chosen for this tribute the songs of Rattan (1944), which made Naushad, the Naushad. Its lyricist was DN Madhok, a multifaceted genius, who is said to have started his career as an actor with the New Theatres, and moved on to Bombay as a story/script writer. He also directed some films, before he earned great fame as a lyricist. In Rattan too, besides the lyrics, he is credited with the story, dialogues and screenplay. He was also a benefactor of Naushad and helped him in getting a break in films.

(For an excellent review of the film you may refer to Dustedoff.)

1. Rumjhum barse badarwa by Zohrabai Ambalewali and chorus

The film opens with Gauri (Swarnalata) singing this song as a number of her sakhis swing on the jhoola. You can see some clouds on the horizon, which is reason enough for this gorgeous song by Zohrabai Ambalewali, the first of many to follow in the film in her full throated, joyous voice. Incidentally, saawan and baadal become a recurring theme in Rattan’s music, probably because in the folk music of North India, as also the romantic poetry of Ritikaal, rains can depict emotions from joy and exuberance to extreme sadness (when the lover is away).


As the song ends with the call of Mast hawayen aayin piya ghar aa jaa, Govind (Karan Dewan) appears on the scene, choosing to be with his childhood sweetheart, rather than go to the city on his father’s errand. While Gauri is chirpy, teasing and playful with his beau, as soon as Govind opens his mouth (as best as he can), you wish he was not there at all. Warning to those who cannot stand Rajendra Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Bharat Bhushan – Karan Dewan is dumber than all the three put together. But Naushad’s music compensates for that – he makes even Karan Dewan sing a heavenly solo and a beautiful duet, to follow later in the film.

Back to their homes – Gauri to her widowed mother, and Govind to his parents. The conversation indicates that as they are from different castes, their dalliance is no longer welcome – childhood friendship was another matter. A distraught Karan Dewan plays Rumjhum barse badarwa on the sitar.

2. Ankhiyan mila ke jiya bharma ke chale nahi jana by Zohrabai Ambalewali

As Govind is sent off by his father to the city to open a shop there, a still playful Gauri accosts him on his tonga, teasing him in different ways, Jaaoge jaane na dun, ji main rasta rok lungi, or Jaane ka naam na lo Rajaji dil baitha jaye – Govind (Karan Dewan) still remaining dumb throughout. Since all the courtship has to be done by Gauri, she climbs up the tonga, forcing him to drop her home as it was getting late. The second of the great Zohrabai songs in the movie, and my first introduction to her long back through an HMV LP titled ‘When Melody Was Queen’ which carried this as its first song.

His father, who is rather chummy with his son in the mould of what later Anupam Kher would be with Shahrukh Khan in DLDJ, asks him playfully, “So you have come back again?” He replies, Billi rasta kaat gayi. But his stern mother (Rajkumari Shukla?) is not amused, knowing fully well who the Billi was. She is furious at the son, and more at her useless husband, who can’t control their son.

3. Pardesi baalma baadal aya by Zohrabai Ambalewali

With Govind finally in the city, Gauri now alone at their favourite place of rendezvous, sings the third gorgeous song by Zohrabai – Pardesi baalma baadal aya, tere bina na kachhu bhaaya.

Meanwhile things happen fast. Gauri’s marriage is fixed to a well-off editor in the cirty, but he is a widower and much older to her, and has a small daughter from his first wife.

4. Jab tum hi chale pardes lagakar thes by Karan Dewan

Hearing of her marriage from her sakhis at the panghat, Govind sends a note to Gauri at the marriage mandap in which he pours out his heart, Jab tum hi chale pardes lagakar thes O preetam pyara, duiniya mein kaun hamara. I mentioned Rajendra Kumar earlier. Readers would recall he also sent a note to his beloved – Ye mera prem patra padhkar. The difference being that there was no Rafi here, Naushad makes Karan Dewan sing it, and it is so outstanding you start liking him. A supreme example of Naushad’s greatness – this simple tune keeps on buzzing in your head. A beautiful baadal theme with its first stanza – Jab baadal ghir ghir ayenge, beete din yaad dilayenge.

In her sasural, her husband is overtaken by remorse that he has married a tender girl of sixteen, and by the time she would flower into a young woman, he would be on the verge of losing his teeth. He is furious at his widowed Bhabhi and the sister-like Gangubai, who tricked him into believing that Gauri was 28 years old. (Note: Swarnalata did not appear to me as a tender sixteen, but could very well be 30. Does anyone know her real age when she did Rattan? Nor did I find the husband too old, as old husbands go in such films. He appeared quite fit, fortyish, good enough to marry Swarnalata without any sense of guilt. He would have probably made a more interesting husband than Karan Dewan.)

5. Angadaai teri hai bahana by Manju

Gauri gets a husband, a ten-month old daughter and a chirpy and playful Nanad (played by actor-singer Manju). As the conscientious and remorseful husband decides not to consummate the marriage, they remain awake throughout the night. Her yawn, which is because of her sadness and sleeplessness, is misunderstood by Manju, who out of innocence teases her Bhabhi with this somewhat insensitive song – Teri uthati jawani pukare/ Tera yauvan kisi ko lalkare/ Dil ki dhak dhak ye kah rahi hai/ Chori chori balam chale ana.

6. Saawan ke baadalo unse ye ja kaho by Karan Dewan and Zohrabai Ambalewali

When the lovers are separated, how do you fill up the rest of the film? You have to have sad songs. And since both the hero and the heroine are sad, you have what I describe as one of the greatest creative gifts of our film music – Long-distance duet of separation. The two separated by miles would sing in unison in an era when there was no Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout or facebook. I do not know which is the first long distance duet of separation, but Saawan ke baadalo must be the first to have swayed the country to something which was sad and beautiful, elegant, yet so simple and hummable – Gauri in her husband’s place and Govind, forlorn in the village, singing this sad duet of saawan and the clouds, which after 70 years remains my top favourite.

7. Ayi diwali ayi diwali by Zohrabai Ambalewali

The first Diwali in her sasural makes Gauri understandably sad, and all memories of the times spent with her lover fill her. Thus you have this sad Diwali song – Deepak sang naache patanga/ Main kiske sang naachun bata ja/ Bichhade huye sathi zara aa/ Main kiske sang naachu bata ja.

8. O jaanewale baalamwa laut ke aa laut ke aa by Shyam Kumar and Amirbai Karnataki

When a tormented Gauri had ceased all contacts with her maika, Govind turns up at her place with Diwali sweets at the behest of her mother. Her sasural folk mistake him as one of the brother-types from Gauri’s maika, and with great solicitude insist that he stay on in their house rather than return so late in the night to the village. As a part of Diwali celebrations, a maali-maalin dance has been planned, which he is also brought in to witness. So you have the whole family, with the newly wedded wife, and her forlorn lover from her maika watching this exquisite folk dance – the most fluid and beautiful movements you would ever see – to this out of the word duet sung by Amirbai Kartnataki and Shyam Kumar, composed by the greatest Naushad. (Note: This Shyam Kumar is different from the famous actor Shyam of that era. Arunji has explained the difference between the various Shyams on many sites. The female dancer has been thoroughly decoded by Richard as Azurie. The male dancer still remains to be conclusively identified.)

9. Mil ke bichhad gayin ankhiyan by Amirbai Karnataki

Before returning, Govind has a sad meeting with Gauri, when she asks him why did he come when she had stopped all contact with her maika, as she had decided to go there only after he was also married. He replies that if she was happily married, he would also do so. As he leaves, Gauri sings this sad song in the voice of one of the greatest singers of the vintage era, Amirbai Karnataki. (Correction: Hans points out this song is sung not by Gauri, but by the Maalin – which reflects Gauri’s feelings.  He is right.  Thanks, Hans.)

10. Jhoothe hain sab sapne suhane by Manju

There is still some time for a Naushad song. The innocent Nanad, still in a teasing mood, thinks that Bhabhi must have dreamt about marital bliss, little realising that she had been transported in the dream to her lover in her village.

That is officially the end of Naushad’s songs in the film. But as the film ends, there is one more – a repeat of one of the songs above. And there is spoiler ahead, as I do not believe in concealing the end if I write about a movie.

Manju is bewildered to find the Bhabhi crying as she comes out of the dream and her song ends. Gauri explains that she has received a letter from her sakhi. The sakhi’s sorrow must be quite intense to affect her thus, thinks Manju. The Bhabhi explains that it is not the sakhi’s but her own sadness that is eating her away, and could she take her for one night to her maika.

The sakhi’s letter mentions that Govind has not been seen for months. His father looks for him desperately all over, but only his distant voice is heard, which disappears as soon as people think they are near him. His mother has taken him for dead.

Manju escorts Gauri to her village as promised, and in the night she hits straight for their favourite meeting place on the outskirts of the village – in the woods near a huge Shiva (?) statue. Govind has lost zest for life. He asks Gauri to take a paan from the panbatta. When she picks one, he snatches it from her hand, saying that it was meant for him, and gives her another one. His life soon starts ebbing away. He asks her to sing the song she sang when he went to the city first – Ankhiyan mila ke jiya bharma ke chale nahi jana. Then, he had come back on her call, but now he would finally leave. Thus, this song is repeated in the end as Karan Dewan passes away.

In her sasural, the conscientious husband, now aware of Gauri’s love for Govind, decides to formally solemnise her marriage with her lover, in which he would give her away in Kanyadaan (a precursor of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or Taal?). But as Manju brings Gauri back in the cart, her body is found to be lifeless, having joined in union with her lover in death.

(Another Rattan trivia. Manju fell in love with Karan Dewan while working for this movie, married him and gave up her career for domesticity. Further, Dustedoff (Madhu) mentions in her review that Swarnalata later married a man, twenty years older to her.)

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mahesh January 1, 2015 at 10:33 am

AK ji,
What a start to the new year again.
If I were asked to define the period of Golden era of HFM, I would say 1944 to 1955. I would start with 1944 only to include Kismet and Rattan.
It will surely be a very good year to discuss Naushad before Lata and Rafi became his dominant singers..
And, it will full of melodies and surprises.
Rattan will always remain my top favourite. These 10 gems can be listened numerous times without getting bored.
Many Thanks for the great treat and I eagerly look forward to more and more of Naushad.

2 AK January 1, 2015 at 11:17 am

I think Kismet came in 1943. Therefore, you may like to start from 1943, which would also bring in Tansen, and some immortal songs from many movies. I use the term ‘Golden Era’ for Lata-Rafi era, and ‘Vintage Era’ before that, which divides neatly into the 50s/60s and 30s/40s. But semantics apart, there are a large number of Naushad-romantics in the world. I do plan to make 2015 ‘The Year of Naushad’ on SoY.

Thanks a lot for your compliments, you have been first off the block.

3 dustedoff January 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Thank you for the link to my post, AK, but I must admit I found your review of Rattan delightful (your notes on Karan Dewan, in particular. He was still bearable in Rattan, when compared to later films like Dahej. At least here, even though he was pretty dumb, he didn’t look half bad; later, all bloated and with that silly little moustache, he didn’t even look good!)

My father introduced me to Rattan: he’s mad about the songs, and I must admit that they, really, are the one thing about this film for which I’d rewatch it. Truly lovely.

By the way, I thought it was generally acknowledged that the maali in O jaanewaale baalamwa was Mumtaz Ali?

P.S. Happy New Year!

4 AK January 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm

Thanks a lot for your compliments.

Mumtaz Ali being the male dancer in O jaanewale: I recall I had some discussion with Richard on this, and I had some doubts because of the vast difference in physical appearance, and some other reasons. We agreed that it is not him.

5 SSW January 1, 2015 at 9:40 pm

I preferred Naushad’s music in the 40s, after Aan I found his tunes formulaic and predictable with a few exceptions. Rattan has very nice songs. I wonder about its link to Padosan. At the end of Padosan when SD and SB are getting married Mehmood is playing “mike bichad gayee ankhiyaan ” on the shehnai.

6 AK January 1, 2015 at 11:45 pm

There is definitely more diversity in his singers in the 40s.

Another reference to Rattan in Padosan! That’s interesting. I would have to see the movie again for this.

7 ksbhatia January 2, 2015 at 12:56 am

AK’ji ; I am so delighted ; celebrating 2015 as the year of Naushad ; the greatest MD of the century and my fav. Yes , Rattan’s songs were the benchmarks of the musical magic ;which was in store and latter to follow. With so rich in music , I don’t think acting skill were important in movies those days . The only criteria was that the actors should look good and handsome [- till the arrival of Dilip kumar] . Praddeep kumar , Joy Mukkerji and others were of such type. Karan dewan was lucky to gave some hit movies in mid 50s like Teen batti char rastey . Coming back to Rattan songs if one closely hear the interludes and tune of Saawan ke baadlo unse ja kaho you faintly catches the vague beats similar to pyar kiya to darna kya . SSW ji I have one more observation on Padosan . In between the famous song ” ek chatur naar ” there is one senseless or meangless utteration before the words ” sab challe gaye ” by kishore. These words were earliar heard in one of the Kishore/ kishore duet picturised on kishore and Pran in the song ” Oh guzaria ” from Half ticket . The words were uttered by Pran. Here the MD was Salilda.

8 AK January 2, 2015 at 6:36 am

KS Bhatiaji,
When I wrote this I was thinking of you. Every opportunity you have been adding a Naushad song.

You have added one more Padosan trivia. I have heard both the songs several times, but it would need superfine observation.

9 RSBAAB (Ravi) January 2, 2015 at 10:36 am

Wonderful way to celebrate 2015 AK……Rattan was truly a landmark in Hindi film music. There is an abundance of folk and classical base in his tunes.
Naushad was truly a phenomenon. I found him to be a real perfectionist trying to excel in all departments of film music. His firm belief and strong support for Indian style melodies instead of blindly copying or aping western songs reflects the strength of his character and personality. Even when he composed ‘western’ tunes for a specific situation, he used Indian style vocal melodies and used western instrumentation and arrangements creatively to give the song a western feel. My latest post ‘Rhythm of castanets” highlights this with two of the finest Castanets songs in Hindi film music by Naushad. Whatever we can write cannot capture the greatness and contribution of this majestic composer.

I also like the way you classified the years as “vintage” and “golden”. This I think is more appropriate and captures the essence of the years.

Hats off to you for coming up with this thought for celebrating 2015 . Looking forward to more insights and interesting perspectives from you.

10 AK January 2, 2015 at 10:57 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I know Naushad is also yours most favourite MD.

I glanced through your excellent post. I would have to visit it again. Interesting coincidence you too are starting the New Year with Naushad.

11 arvindersharma January 2, 2015 at 4:47 pm

AK Ji,
An excellent beginning for the year.
For a person like me, who wishes to familiarize himself with the music of vintage era of HFM, this is the film, where one can listen to songs in a variety of moods, sung by great names of the early era, but all bearing the stamp of the composer.
I am myself a great fan of Naushad and rank him as the no.1 composer of the golden era of HFM.

12 AK January 2, 2015 at 7:15 pm

One more to the Naushad bandwagon! Let us have some great time remembering him in the rest of the year.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

13 shantilal darji January 2, 2015 at 8:25 pm

It is excellent celebration on 75th anniversary of Naushad.
Passing through the odds of early young life ( once he had been in Viramgam, a small town of Gujarat and was as composer for one Play, somehow, he was put into difficult situation and could reach Mumbai with great but painful efforts ), he could break ice and composed for Premnagar for the first time.He got Rs300/- for the music.After meeting Kardar,he syarted reaching heights.Rattan,1945 was the hit movie for Naushad and he became so popular. Followed by this,He attained new heights for the music Anmol Ghadi,1946.Thereafter many feathers he added in cap.Although Saigal,Talat Mehmood and Noor Jehan( for 1 or 2 movies ) playedback for only one movie but the songs became eternal.

14 AK January 2, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Shantilal Darji,
Welcome to SoY, and thanks a lot for your appreciation.

15 ksbhatia January 3, 2015 at 6:22 pm

AKji; You have certainly opened such a great chapter and I am spending extra hours on this recalling mode and still don’t know where to start ! As a starter to the main course I was browsing thru Deedar songs and remembered my fav Rafi sahibs rendering of two liner before the song ” Naseeb dar pe tere ” that is available on YT under 4.28 version that goes like ………… ” Pyaar bana bachpan ka sapna ……”. Naushad sahib was great in making a beauty that was relevent to the song and main theme of the movie . And look out for the relevence of a small detail in the form of a dream [ Nargis] sequence in the movie Babul ….. ” Aao sajjan khare hain dwaar .. leneh ko aye kahar … doli pe ho ja sawar …”. The beautiful composition , orchestrisation , cinematography and art direction — all contributing for maximum impact . And now look out to Andaz song ” torr diya dil mera tunhe re bewafa ” . This sad song is based on Ballroom or Waltz rhythm and slow beats . Since my young days I used to wonder why these happy dance beats for this sad song ? Now with internet ready one can easily co-relate the waltz theme to the main story of the movie -which again was based on Club and Modern life of that time and the concequence thereof . I have set these as my personal observations ; one may kindly correct me if I am wrong . Now something for happy note . Naushad sahib used to take us to great heights [ flight]with happy songs right from the preludes like ” Jhoole main pawan ke aai bahar ” and ” Koi mere dil main khushi banke aya ” . This song reminds me similarity of SJ song ” Jab se ballam ghar aaye ” . This was the greatness of such MDs .

16 AK January 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm

kS Bhatiaji,
I know your fondness for Naushad, which shows in your comments. In many songs he started with a recital without music, which enhanced the impact. One that comes to my mind immediately is Ho tamanna mit gayi phir bhi tere dam se mohabbat hai/Mubarak gair ko khushiyan mujhe ghm se mohabbat hai, before the orchestration followed by Na milta gham to barbaadi ke afsanne kahan jaate starts. Similarly, the build up to Jab pyar kiya to darna kya is Madhubala’s amazing dance, which comes to a complete stop, and there is a recital Insaan kisi se duniya mein ek baar mohbbat karta hai/ Is dard ko lekar jeeta hai is dard ko lekar marta hai. You would be taken aback when the recital stopped and the unbelievable melody followed. He was a master of this style and a whole article can be written on that.

Consequences in Andaaz? I have serious issues with Mehboob Khan in the position he takes. Even granting for those times, the grovelling Nargis before the obnoxious husband, is hardly a satisfying conclusion according to me. But let me not digress. The movie is regarded as a classic. But for me, Naushad is the King in the movie.

17 ksbhatia January 3, 2015 at 11:53 pm

AK’ji; Excellent examples you have given. My head bows to the great crafter . I cannot forget the echo effects of this song and that of ” utho hamara salam lelo ” , the effect is electrifying . Here I can recall SJs ” pyar hua eqrar hua hai ” , here also the prelude starts very faintly with sitar ;much before the song ; tuning with the like of Basant/ malhar ragas and continuing till medolin/ guitar catches up with bursting of clouds and subsequent rain drops . Naushad and Sj were the best in this ” in depth ” compositions . And so was their background score . My elder brother used to play the Naushad sahib background music of famous scenes on harmonium . He was very fond of title music of Aan , Mghal e azam and others. There is a beautiful background dance number in Aan where Nimmi is dancing before Premnath . The dream sequence also have great music . All these were fav to us . The movie and its music had a great impact in europe particularly in france . If I am correct Naushad sahib were invited to conduct Phil.. orchestra in London during those days . But as you said the lull before the storm in Mughal e azam was the greatest .

18 SSW January 5, 2015 at 12:06 am

Mr.Bhatia , it seems Naushad re-recorded the background music for Aan using the BBC orchestra. The Western motation for these pieces were apparently published at that time. It is not likely that a person unschooled in western music techniques would be invited to conduct a western classical orchestra especially in that era.

19 Jignesh Kotadia January 5, 2015 at 12:46 am

Another grand opening of new year Akji, like last year we were delighted on 1st january ! yes, music like ‘rattan’ cant be made on earth, it’s created in heaven only. As maheshji said, i also see that the golden era clearly started with ‘rattan’ containing immensely popular and highly quality songs. Naushad had completely changed the scenario of film music with ‘rattan’. Two wonderful albums from different eras appeared in 1944, outgoing vintage era’s “my sister” and upcoming gold’s “rattan”. I have still preserved that cassette in my cassette box which has “rattan” and “anmol ghadi” on its two sides, by which i was introduced to Naushad’s music in my teenage and i must say these were the songs which drew me deeper into OHFM. Thanks Akji.
I recommend to listen some fantastic songs from the three vintage singers in AR Qureshi’s “Maa Baap” of 1944. Ameerbai’s ” aaj kar le tu sola singaar tohe jaana hai”, Zohrabai’s ” bhole musafir itna to jaan, ke din saare hote nahin ek samaan” and Rajkumari duet “madhur suron me gaaye chandni chand so ja chand so ja” are delicious feast.

20 Subodh Agrawal January 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

Truly a great post to begin the new year. I wouldn’t use the word ‘greatest’ for Naushad, but I do like a lot of his songs, and Rattan is right there at the top. As a bonus you have also treated us to the voices of Zohrabai Ambalewai and Amirbai Karnataki. I wasn’t too familiar with Manju. Thanks for this introduction. It seems all the songs of Zohrabai I can recall are from Rattan. I would heave to research her more. Thanks also for the review of the movie. I haven’t seen it, and now probably there is no need to do so after such a visually evocative review. I will, however, often return to this post for the songs.

21 Richard S. January 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

AK. I agree with everyone else who said this was a great way to start the year. I certainly look forward to the year of Naushad! And as you probably know, I prefer the Naushad of the ’40s, too.

By the way, regarding your historical paragraph at the beginning… That’s a great list, but where’s Khemchand Prakash?

I like your paragraph about what makes a movie… How right you are to characterize Ratan as a film that was made around Naushad’s music! (By the way, I hope you don’t mind if I transliterate the title with only one “t”… I got used to that from the Friends DVD box and the listing at IMDb.)

And thanks for your reference about my “decoding” of Azurie. I’ll always remember this film for that dance, too.

But I actually do I like and remember the stars, whether or not they were very good by contemporary acting standards… I enjoyed glimpsing Swaranlata in some song sequences from later movies made in Pakistan. It’s also fun to see Karan Dewan turn up in later films. Specifically, he was very amusing as Sandhya’s lover in Teen Batti Char Rasta (a role that at least one other commenter here mentioned, too).

I used to be able to name the director of Ratan, too, just a couple of years ago. But, supporting your point in this case, I guess I did forget…

22 AK January 5, 2015 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for your appreciation. It is interesting you should mention My Sister as representing the change. I don’t view New Theatres (RC Boral-Pankaj Mullick-KL Saigal) school of music as belonging to the same continuum. I treat them as a class apart. I would look at Bombay’s earlier MDs Anil Biswas for one, Saraswati Devi, Ustad Jhande Khan etc for seeing the transition.

The songs of Ma Baap are new to me. I would have to come back again after I heard them.

23 PRAVEEN January 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

AK sir – what a way to start off the New Year. “Ankhiyan mila ke jiya bharma ke chale nahi jana” has always been one of my favourite songs. Never knew the name of the singer. Thanks for the detailed write up on the movie – I don’t think I will bring myself around to watch it. So reading your views was good enough.

This was one killer comment, lol!! “Warning to those who cannot stand Rajendra Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Bharat Bhushan – Karan Dewan is dumber than all the three put together” – and quite a departure from your normally ‘I-won’t-take-sides’ style of writing. Loved that

PS : I think Jigneshji referred to ‘My sister’ as being from part of the change – he mentioned that 1944 saw the release of these two movies representing two eras

24 AK January 5, 2015 at 4:21 pm

You would have noticed I belong to the school which would unhesitatingly describe Naushad as the greatest, though I realise it is not prudent to put one person on top of everyone else. Zohrabai’s best known songs was from this film, that is the magic touch of Naushad – he would do that for Surendra and Noorjehan in Anmol Ghadi (1946). But it is worth exploring her more, she has many wonderful songs – some by Naushad himself in Pahle Aap (1944), and a few songs later. He was very surgical in jettisoning her for other singers.

Since you have plans of revisiting the songs anyway, you may like to watch the movie – it is available on YT.

25 AK January 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

You are right, Naushad’s mentor and inspiration Khemchand Prakash has a key place in the history of film music. His omission was tactical, for impact – I have covered RC Boral, Pankaj Mullick earlier, 2014 was the Centenary Year of Anil Biswas in a big way on SoY, and I wanted to do Naushad in 2015, planning to do Khemchand Prakash later to join the dots. But thanks for reminding me and mentioning his name.

Ratan is the correct transliteration of रतन, I don’t know why all the posters and all the sources seem to write with double ‘t’. I think there are at least ten movies that, we can say, were made to fit Naushad’s music.

Do you have any progress on decoding the male dancer in O jaanewale? Among the people I know who can do it, I guess you would be the first to reach there. I think of how you have uncovered Cuckoo recently.

26 AK January 5, 2015 at 4:30 pm

I am happy you enjoyed the article. About the ‘killer’ comment – I do let myself go once in a while. Thankfully, readers like you appreciate.

I understood Jignesh perfectly, may be I was not clear in my comment. For change I would not look at RC Boral-Pankaj Mullick-KL Saigal, but to Bombay MDs prior to Naushad. I have commented earlier, I treat 1949 as the clear watershed when post-partition a whole lot of music directors and singers went to the other side of the border, independent playback singing has fully established itself and Lata Mangeshkar tornado struck.

27 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Aligning 2015 with Naushad Platinum Jubilee into Hindi Film Sangeet world ought to be enough to make the year to look forward to in so far as our discussions on the subject go.

The fact that he could very well hold on to his position of eminence that he had attained by 1949 (the cut-off year so aptly chosen by SoY) in spite of a huge competition from a new crop of music directors during 50s till the peak of those music directors during 60s certainly speaks volumes for Naushad Sahab’s depth, range and adaptability.
Our discussions on the songs for 1951, 1953 and 1955 , in this regard would be an interesting point of reference.

28 ksbhatia January 6, 2015 at 12:08 am

AK’ji; Ref Killer comments . An actor can make or kill the melodious song the way he or she act on the screen . Take the example of a song from Dullari …… ” Raat rangeeli mast nazare ” . While the dancers in the foreground are making beautiful movements matching the rhythm and beats ; the main actors are positioned very stationed , the singer Suresh is not even holding the mandolin correctly . Another song from the same movie , however , is beautifully picturised on Geeta bali ….. ” Na bole pee pee more anganna panchhi ja re ja ” . Here Geeta bali is giving beautiful expression and lip movement on each word of the song . I love to watch this song again and again .

29 AK January 6, 2015 at 12:23 am

It is interesting that the three years we have discussed in detail – 1951, 1953 and 1955 – Naushad seems to have been overtaken by his competitors in top reckoning. One factor probably was his being very selective, doing no more than one or two films a year. In 1955 though I would have anointed him for Urankhatola, but I allowed myself to be overruled by the majority. I plan to make up for that by treating 2015 as the Year of Naushad.

30 AK January 6, 2015 at 12:26 am

KS Bhataji,
Sometimes the song is so outstanding, as is the case with Rattan, that it can rise over the most wooden actor.

31 Jignesh Kotadiya January 6, 2015 at 12:37 am

“Apni zulfen mere shaano pe bikhar jaane do,
Aaj roko na mujhe had se guzar jaane do”
(A beautiful ghazal sung by Hariharan in film Tajmahal , november 2005 )
We are celebrating Naushad saab’s career’s 75th year but can you believe this, his last film tajmahal was released just before 9 years !! Not passed a decade yet !! From 1940 to 2005 ,, 65 years career span , isnt it amazing ?

32 Jignesh Kotadiya January 6, 2015 at 1:22 am

I have one more example of such song-murdering acting. The song is made-in-heaven “kabhi dil dil se takrata to hoga”. Before i saw this song video, i had an imagination that hero is singing this song in an emotionally effective manner,,, but i saw this song first time,, oh my god !!! I am murdered ! Hero simultaneously kills the viewer and the song both ! He sang the entire song in one position, stood like statue with angry eyes without blinking like a soldier on duty, not moving any part of body except lips ! Great fun to see him 🙂
But, the heroine naseem bano is perfect in her facial expressions, superb. She was really an all time beauty.

33 AK January 6, 2015 at 11:53 am

KS Bhatiaji, Jignesh
Johnny Lever used to parody the vintage era songs in which the actors stood still like a statue.

Discordant picturisations: Abhi to main jawan hun (Afsana, 1951) I put in this category. Such a melodious song picturised on adulterous Pran and Kuldip Kaur, betraying the hero Ashok Kumar. Another prime example is Pankh hote to ud jati re – you imagine a dainty lady with delicate dancing steps. Instead you get a tomboyish Sandhya, who is being brought up to be like a man to lead her tribe.

34 ksbhatia January 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm

AK,Jignesh ‘ji{s}, Both of your comments and reference songs made me laugh to my heart content . I think this theme of ” Killer songs ” can be transfered to ‘ open house ‘ for enjoyment . There are many such examples which could made you laugh or mad . But if you analyse the reason for such situations ;this could be due to …..1. Technology less developed at that time ….2 . Economy in production ……3. No schools to teach various production department . ” Balam moraa naher chhooto jayi ” I think was completed in two or three shots ; whereas songs of today have at least three or four cameras for 40 0r 50 shots.

35 gaddeswarup January 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Are there any songs by Manju from other films? It seems that she married Karan Diwan after this film. It is possible that there are no more after this film. I saw Rattan in late forties but forgot her songs.
About Karan Diwan’s singing: I just listened to a duet with Lata Mangeshkar from Lahore. It seems pretty good.

36 AK January 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

She had some songs in Chaand (1944), composed by Husnlal Bhagatram (their debut film), including a very famous – Do Dillon ko ye duniya milne nahi deti. Yes, Lahore duet was outstanding – you are talking about Duniya hamare pyar ki yun hi jawan rahe.

37 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Gaddeswarup ji,

Manju sang in sant sakhu-41 (1 song),Rattan-44(2),Chaand-44(3) and Gaali-44(6). She stopped singing but continued acting for few more years.


38 Hans January 8, 2015 at 12:57 am

Naushad and Rattan for a start, great. Nobody can beat you in identifying the defining moment. Rattan was certainly a path-breaker in more ways than one. This film was not only a great hit, but the whole of its music was totally different from the music prevalent at the time. Naushad and Khem Chand Prakash were trying to break the shackles of vintage era from the start of 40s, but Rattan gave new music in wholesale. While agreeing with Mahesh and Jignesh that Rattan was the starting point for the goden era, I would still be with you that golden era started at the end of the 40s with the period when Lata-Rafi became dominant. And there is no contradiction in what I say, because there is always overlapping in two eras in any field which you know because you also talked about Ritikaal. And there are many factors which contributed to the start of golden era MDs, lyricists, playback singers.

I agree with most of you have written about Rattan and Naushad and also that Rattan is now remembered as the a synonym of Naushad. But, in the old days the cast of the film was also known. Wasti was a regular hero and appeared in some films with Suraiyya also. Karan Dewan is also well known as are some minor artists like Amir Bano, Badri Prasad, Chandabai (tirchhe naino wali). This Chandabai was instrumental in the marriage of Nargis in Mela to an old man with four children. By the way Mela’s theme is exactly that of Rattan, with some details changed. Rattan in turn has some resemblance with Achhut Kanya with Ashok Kumar having ‘bailgadi’ instead of ‘ghodagadi’ of Karan Dewan. There the heroine is achhut and here they are of different castes.

You talked about the Director being unknown. That is not true. Forgotten may be but, he directed films like Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Shabab, Taj Mahal and Bahu Begum. He also produced and directed the films Saiyyan, Chhoo Mantar, Musafirkhana, Mai Baap,, Duniya Rang Rangili and perhaps a few more. At the time of Rattan he was with Kardar and had co-directed Namaste in 1943.

More later. But what a year it would be with Naushad. Thanks.

39 AK January 8, 2015 at 10:43 pm

Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. Agree with most of what you say. I went overboard in exaggeration.

Mela to some extent, yes. But Achhut Kanya I would consider very different. The caste difference is sharper – Brahmin and untouchable, and that is the core theme of the movie. And Devika Rani’s sacrifice is for larger public good. In Rattan, there is no great social cause in the lovers’ death.

40 ksbhatia January 8, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Hans, AK’ji[s]; Rattan as a starter of Naushad sahib was great . Indeed it was his film . During the years to follow I think A R Kardar , S U Sunny , and later Mehboob Khan were instrumental in bringing the finer changes in film production , narration and acting standard [ matching the standard set by Naushad sahib’s music.] during the overlapping period of vintage / golden era . To top it all Naushad contribution to film music was immense . Every song of that era was a sure shot hit . It is very difficult to point out as to which one is greatest of all! The story, music and acting of ‘ Mela’ was very good . Dilip sahib’s acting in the scenes ,after Nargis marriage to Old man , and finding the the childhood toy was great . To top it all ,Naushad sahib’s greatest and my fav song of Zorabai singing ” Shahid woh ja rahe hain choop ke meri najar se ” symbolising the love and pathos is truly a master craftsmanship . As for chandabai I think she was last seen in ” Goonj uthi shahnai ” as I S Johar’ mother or chachi [? ] .

41 mumbaikar8 January 14, 2015 at 7:13 am

You surely come up with new ideas to keep up the excitement!
No wonder you have so many regular visitors.
Naushad’s year beginning with Rattan we are once again in for an interesting year ahead.
I too consider that golden period started in late 40s mid-forties can be termed as cusp of vintage and golden.
Waiting for the thrill to continue in 2015!!

42 AK January 14, 2015 at 1:10 pm

It is always a challenge to come up to the level of SoY readers. I am happy you liked it. I shall try to continue the thrill in 2015.

43 N.Venkataraman January 17, 2015 at 12:45 pm

Ak ji,
A wonderful beginning to the Year 2015. Appropriately titled, ‘The Jewel in the crown of Naushad’, Ratan (1944) was Naushad’s first among his three diamond jubilee hits, that too at the young age of 24+. Dedicating the Year 2015 to Naushad, on the 75th anniversary of his debut as an independent music director, is a welcome move indeed. Thank You Ak ji, for this delightful endeavor.
The folk based songs of Ratan, with superb orchestration probably not heard before, and the first-rate dholak arrangement, were quite different from the compositions of later period. I understand that the Dholak was played by Ghulam Mohammad. The four solos by Zohrabai were superbly rendered, especially the two songs Ankhiyan milake and Ayi diwali ayi diwali. Amirbai’s wistful milke bichhad gaye aakhiyan is another favourite of mine. Both the duets and the solos by Manju were pleasing. The tunes were simple but appealing.
As already mentioned, Ratan (1944) was the first of Naushad’s three diamond jublilee hits, the other two, I believe, were Baiju Bawra (1952) and Mughal-e-Azam (1960). Rattan was Naushad’s 13th film for which he independently composed music. This includes the film Kanchan (1941), for which he composed music for one song, before he quit the film. Earlier he had 5 silver jubilees – Station Master (1942), Sharda (1942), Namaste (1943), Sanjog (1943) and Kanoon (1943). Before 1942, Naushad had scored music for 3 films (excluding Kanchan). In 1942 two out of the three films for which he had scored music were silver jubilee hits; in 1943 all his three films were silver jubilee hits; in 1944 besides Rattan (diamond jubilee), Pahele Aap too was a silver jubilee hit film. Within three years (1942-44) he had 7 jubilee hits, a great achievement for a young composer, who had to struggle hard for four years from 1936 to 1940.
Naushad came in contact with Dina Nath Madhok at the Ranjit Studios while working as an assistant to Manohar Kapoor for the film Mirza Sahibaan (1939). D N Madhok introduced him to Khemchand Prakash and Naushand became his assistant. The first independent assignment for Naushad was Kanchan, also due to D N Madhok’s persistence. Naushad quit after recording a song and the lyrics for the song was penned by D N Madhok. Thus the song Bataa de koee kaun gali more Shyam rendered by Leela Chitnis was Naushad’s first recorded song, although the film Prem Nagar was released earlier than Kanchan.
Besides D N Madhok’s initial backing, the duo worked together in 11 films out of Naushad’s first 14 films. Out of this 7 were jubilee hits. Thus we have 89 beautiful songs penned by D N Madhok and set to music by the one and the only Naushad. D N Madhok’s contribution to Naushad’s initial success is worth mentioning in this respect. In fact you may consider a post on Naushad-D N Madhok songs. I believe, it will have flavour quite different from Naushad-Shakeel songs of later period.
With more post on Naushad’s composition to follow, this year is going to melodious. Thank you once again for yet another wonderful post.
PS: Was out of circulation for some time, and could not join the celebrations earlier.

44 AK January 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

You have more than made up for your absence by your exhaustive comment. With the benefit of Internet, YT, now we come across many superb UP folk-based songs in Hindi films pre-dating Rattan. But let us not grudge Naushad, because it was in his destiny to be so successful. I plan to have year-round Naushad discussion on SoY.

45 Hans January 18, 2015 at 2:02 am

You have summed up the Naushad – Madhok connection quite beautifully. Madhok was a real genius. As also highlighted by AK, besides direction, he wrote stories, screenplay and dialogues for quite a number of films. His help as well as his songs played a great part in Naushad’s career. His songs were really diversified as compared to Shakeel who wrote mostly on love situations. Maybe the stories and characters in Madhok’s films were also more diversified. Shakeel, to me has perhaps written on more love situations and more varied lyrics than any other lyricist on these situations.

46 N Venkataraman January 18, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Thank you Hans ji for your appreciative words. True, D N Madhok was a versatile lyric writer. He wrote in a simple language and used colloquial expressions. Even people not so proficient in Hindi could enjoy his lyrics. He started in the 30s and he was very active in the 40’s and even in the 50s. Not much is heard about him after the 50s, although he wrote for a few movies in the 60s.

47 Siddharth January 29, 2015 at 10:05 am

My first realization of Naushad’s music was with Mughal-E-Azam but when we go back in time he gets better and better.Like many, I discovered Rattan very late and it is certainly one of his very best.

48 ksbhatia January 29, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Sidharthji’, AKji’ ; Like you , my awakening of Naushad music was with Andaz and Deedar which I remember to have seen along with my parents ,bros and sisters in a theater in Mussoorie during summer of 1952 [ and I also remember to have seated on canvas crossed legged directors chairs and seen the trailer of Aaram as well ] . Later on I got Naushad sahib seal embedded in my heart after watching Babul , Mela and Udan khatola . There after it was a regular affair for me and my brothers to watch and not to miss any of Naushad sahib’s movie ; so much so that we used to discuss the background music also . There after we saw the re releases of Dillagi , dard and dullari ……and so many others . AS you said Mughal e azam was really a land mark in the history of bollywood film production; not only for its music but for its excellence in all the fields. Naushad has been the greatest contributer to the classical music and has set so many examples for others to follow . I pray that some one should come forward and pick up the threads and relive the golden era here after .

49 Shalan Lal March 28, 2015 at 6:44 pm

The review is excelelnt as other reviews of the old films are and quality of songs videos is very good. This makes us to listne the golden era again.

Thee is some contraversy about the melodies that most of them were worked out by Pundit Dinanath Madhok the master lyricist and Naushad just polished them as SJ used to do with RK’s melodic structures. But Naushad got all the juice from the film.
Madhok has dominance in this film
The idea of celebrating Naushad, as Ak has announced, all year around and then towards the end some gala activity is very good.
I suggest the following idea:

The Three or four films that Naushad composed melodies of should be seen musicwise by Subodh Agarwal and reviewed with the comic touch by AK. The four films are: 1) Baiju Bawara, 2) Moghul-e- Azam, 3) Kohinnor and 4)Pakkeza.

Some could see his other films if not seen or mentioned like Sanjog, Dard, Diilagi etc.
I have some small points to make on some issues if I could put them in words
All in all this way to refresh ourselves of the old gold. Naushad of course had a very long life and career as well.

Shalan Lal

50 AK March 28, 2015 at 9:11 pm

I ditto Shalan Lal, with some change in the list. Please take up Baiju Baawra and Mughal-e-Aazam, and if you can find time, Shabaab too.

Shalan Lal,
That does not preclude you from taking up any film yourself from your list. Subodh is generally hard-pressed for time. Too many गीतों भरी कहानी might become monotonous. I would not like to deprive Ghulam Mohammad of the credit for Pakeezah. And let us have one author, adding a parallel comic track was Bollywood of 60s, I think we have moved out of that.

51 Shakan Lal March 29, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Thank you A.K for referring those two films to Mr Agarwal. I am interested in the mystic of how the songs are made from the lyrics. I am sure Subodh Agarwal will do full justice on this aspect.

Shabab was in my mind. If someone or yourself would do in future. Shabab was advertised in the film India at the end of the forties with the different film stars.

Ghulam Muhammed was my main point if youor somebody would do the review. Because I thought a liitle dark side of Naushad would come out from this affair of Pakiza. I have already mentioned about the contribution of Madhok to the success of Rattan. There is also Dewwan Bros’s part in it as well.

Shalan La
At present I have too much in my plate. But in future I shall certainly try my had at the reviews with different angles.

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