Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music – August, 2020

Welcome to August 2020 edition of Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music.

We first pay our tributes to Kukum –

Actor Kumkum passes away at the age of 86, on 26 July, 2020. Kumkum featured in some of the most successful songs in the Hindi films of the 1950s and 1960s.

Here are some articles in a tribute to Kumkum –

And…. Kumkum

Actor Kumkum (1934-2020): The face of ‘Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar’ dies at 86

Yesteryear Actress Kumkum No More

Ten of my favourite Kumkum songs

Seven Favorite Dances Starring or Co-Starring Kumkum

We pick up other tributes and memories:

Remembering Ajit Merchant is a tribute to one of the not-so-favourably treated music directors, who is credited with giving break to Jagjit Singh for playback singing in films vide Laagi Ram Bhajan Ni Lagani Laagi (Bahuroopi, 1969- Lyrics: Venibhai Purohit

Vijeta is the war film with a difference that deserves a rewatch this Independence Day – Govind Nihalani’s gentle coming-of-age movie stars Shashi Kapoor, Kunal Kapoor, Rekha and some great footage of MiGs in the sky.

Eleven Songs That Force Us to Think About the True Meaning of Azadi  – Siddharth Varadarajan – This article was originally published on August 15, 2015 and is being republished with the addition of an eleventh song on August 15, 2020- Humne Suna Tha Ek Hai Bharat – Didi (1959) – Asha Bhosle, Sudha Malhotra, Mohammad Rafi – N Dutta – Sahir Ludhyanavi

Remembering Mubarak Begum – Part 1 focuses on solo songs of Mubarak Begum whereas Part 2 focuses on her duets and triads.

In continuation of the Hemant Kumar Centenary celebrations, Hemant Kumar’s Female Playback Singers goes off the popular songs track to explore less familiar songs

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi — the hit musical comedy that Kishore Kumar had hoped would flop –  Even after more than 60 years, the movie is immensely watchable, thanks to easy-breezy comedy, great chemistry, Kishore Kumar’s energy and S.D. Burman’s tunes.

Shailendra Sharma @ Golden Era of Bollywood has posted following memorial tribute posts:

Chitragupta’s duets for Rafi: Melody Personified continues with the series of well-known music directors, known for his greatest songs: Naushad, SJ, OP Nayyar, SD Burman, Roshan, Madan Mohan and Ravi.

Kishore Kumar and Chitragupt – The Euphonious but Underrated Pair .Kishore Mukar’s songs with Chitragupt may be less in numbers, but was quite profuse in terms of calibre.

Pakeezah is that rare film whose making is as much of a story as the actual plot – Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah took a decade-and-a-half to be made, but is now synonymous with its star, Meena Kumari, who died just after it finally released.

Music and lyrics: ‘Thodi Si Bewafaii’ and the magic of one-off collaborations between Khayyam and Gulzar

August 2020  episode of Fading Memories, Unforgettable Songs takes up Shailendra with S N Tripathi, Anil Biswas and C Ramchandra in the Shailendra’s songs with Other Music Directors series. Till now we have covered

2017 – Shailendra and “Other” Music Directors

2018 – Shailendra and Roshan

2019 – Shailendra with Hemant Kumar, Ravi and Kalayanji (Anandji)

We will now take up the articles on other subjects:

Dil Tera Deewana may have starred Shammi Kapoor, but the real hero was Mahmood – Mahmood’s performance in a double role in this 1962 comedy is what holds the film together, even though Shammi Kapoor got all the songs.

Paisa Paisa Paisa – Part 1 presents both side of value of money and Part 2 lists songs that actually mentions currency

Gol Maal, with Amol Palekar & Utpal Dutt, was the perfect foil to the Angry Young Man – Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal is a crazy romp that turns the classic trope of twin-themed movies on its head, and features a delightful cameo by Amitabh Bachchan.

Ten of my favourite ‘This is what I sell’ songs lists product sale, in a follow-up to service sale in Ten of my favourite ‘This is my work’ songs.

In the Micro View of Songs of 1945  we have taken up Male solo songs of Golden Era Male Singers..

We end the post with a few songs of Mohammad Rafi, each one of which basically has a link with the topics discussed in the present post. Presently, we remember a few Mohammad Rafi songs which have Kum Kum on the screen.

Lehron Mein Jhool Ke – Do Gunde (1959) – with Asha Bhosle – Ghulam Mohammad – Majrooh Sultanpuri

Beet Gayi Hai Aadhi Raat – Nache Nagin Baaje Bin (1960) – With Lata Mangeshkar – Chitragupt – Majrooh Sultanpuri

Kahiye Kaisa Mizaj Hai Aapka – Salaam Memsaab (1962) – with Asha Bhosle – Ravi – Asad Bhopali

Ham Tujhse Juda Ho Ke – Ek Sapera Ek Lutera (1965)  – Usha Khanna – Asad Bhopali

Khuli Wadiyo Ka Ye Safar Hai – Ayega Aanewala (1967) – Sapan Jagmohan – Naqsh Lyalpuri

We end today’s post with

Awaz Do Hum Ek Hai – NFS – Khayyam – Jan NIshar Aktar

I look forward to your inputs to enrich the contents of Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music.

Disclaimer: This monthly series of posts is my best-effort-based compilation of posts on Hindi film songs that I normally visit regularly. As I record my sincere thanks to all the original creators of these posts, any other posts that I have nor covered herein shows my lack of awareness of existence of such posts and is by no means any disrespect to their work. The copyrights to the posts, images and video clips remain the properties of the original creators.

Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs – August, 2020

Welcome to August 2020 edition of Carnival of Quality Management Articles and Blogs.

For the year 2020, we have chosen the core subject of Revisiting Basic Quality Concepts w.r.t. the sustained success of the organization As of now we have visited

We take up Competent people for the sustained organizational success as our next core concept this month–

Competence is the set of demonstrable characteristics and skills that enable, and improve the efficiency or performance of a job… To be competent a person would need to be able to interpret the situation in the context and to have a repertoire of possible actions to take and have been trained in the possible actions in the repertoire, if this is relevant. Regardless of training, competency would grow through experience and the extent of an individual’s capacity to learn and adapt.[1]

In order to fill this gap, a list of 14 organizational and people characteristics that can be grouped into five broad dimensions is compiled, which can lead to sustained performance by driving organizational and people capabilities. .

High-performance organizations are effective at translating their business strategy into a compelling people strategy. [2]

The key to creating a vibrant and sustainable company is to find ways to get all employees—from top executives to assembly line workers—personally engaged in day-to-day corporate sustainability efforts… A company can implement eight practices to help bridge the distance between an employee’s personal values and a company’s business practices, to create a competent people platform for the sustainable company. [3]

Meanwhile, persistent uncertainty, a multigenerational workforce, and a shorter shelf life for knowledge have placed a premium on reskilling and upskilling. The shift to a digital, knowledge-based economy means that a vibrant workforce is more important than ever, and have elevated the importance of the learning-and-development (L&D) function.

One of L&D’s primary responsibilities is to manage the development of people—and to do so in a way that supports other key business priorities. L&D’s strategic role spans five areas –

Over the years, nine dimensions have been identified and field-tested that contribute to a strong L&D function. These dimensions are combined to create the ACADEMIES framework, which covers all aspects of L&D functions, from setting aspirations to measuring impact.[4]

Four things standout to prioritize people in times of crisis[5]

  • First is the importance of prioritizing people, in terms of getting out, demonstrating empathy, and engaging with people to understand what their concerns are.
  • Second would be the importance of creating clarity on what matters most. From a leadership perspective, giving some sense of certainty and hope is important to navigate the crisis.
  • Third is the need to be responsive and fluid to the dynamics of an evolving crisis.
  • And the final one is the importance of gaining perspective. Early on in a crisis, it can be easy to get tunnel vision and to focus on managing what’s in front of your nose. But the earlier that you can find a means of stepping back and seeing the bigger picture, and pushing out the time horizon of that perspective, the better. That will allow you to sense what’s coming and get ready for what’s around the corner.

The punch line is that the people need to be competent enough to address the challenges of the future successfully within the context of present, rapidly changing business scenario..

Additional Reading:

The detailed note on Competent people for the sustained organizational success can by clicking on the hyperlink.

We will now turn to our regular sections:

In the series the Organizational Culture, we have taken up Understanding the Organizational Culture – As anthropologist Margaret Mead states, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”. They have a tendency to focus on “The way we say we get things done” and don’t focus on “The way we really get things done”, what is normally known as what’s below the organizations surface.[6]

We now watch ASQ TV, wherein we look at a relevant video from the archive:

From Jim L. Smith’s Jim’s Gems this month we have picked up one article

  • Core DNA – Values, ethics and integrity are the three attributes to achieve cultural excellence – Core DNA values act as guideposts to appropriate business behavior. Creating value requires the courage to have fierce conversations intended to help the business progress. The focus on values includes a desire to win and envisioning the future—not whining and wallowing in the past…. As an organization evolves, so do its core values… To create sustainable business value that will endure for decades, organizations must set standards and then abide by those codes. … A common myth is that an organization cannot simultaneously increase sales, protect its interests and be ethically sound…. However, by creating a standard set of ethical guidelines, organizations are laying the groundwork to protect their interests. While gains are not always quantifiable in the short term, these organizations will be building a foundation of prosperity for years to come….To be successful, organizations must synchronize values with desired outcomes… Ethics should be at the core of what makes a business run.

I look forward to your views / comments / inputs to further enrich the subjects of Basics of Quality and Organizational Culture and their role in Creating and Maintaining Sustained Success.

Note: The images depicted here above are through courtesy of respective websites who have the copyrights for the respective images.

[1] Competence

[2] High Performance organizations By Vikram BhallaJean-Michel CayeAndrew Dyer, Lisa Dymond, Yves Morieux, and Paul Orlander

[3] Engaging Employees to Create a Sustainable Business By Paul Polman & CB Bhattacharya

[4] The essential components of a successful L&D strategy By Jacqueline Brassey, Lisa Christensen, and Nick van Dam

[5] Prioritize people in times of crisis: An interview with Mike Henry, the CEO of BHP

[6] What have the invisible man and the organizational culture in common

Understanding the Organizational Culture

An on-going organization already has its own unique culture. Before any major change initiative that seems to call for organizational culture transformation, it is necessary that the present organizational culture is well understood. The wide-ranging literature available about organizational culture has addressed the topic of How to Understand the Organizational Culture from different perspectives and in differing contexts. A very elementary paper like ours, obviously, will have to be content with referring to a few of the representative excerpts from such literature.

The first step in understanding the organizational culture is to observe[1]:

  • Try to become an impartial observer of your culture in action. Ask yourself questions such as: How do people interact with each other? How are conflicts resolved (and are there conflicts)? How do senior leaders interact with middle managers and employees? How do middle managers interact with reporting employees?
  • Watch for emotions. Emotions are indications of values. People do not get excited or upset about things that are unimportant to them. Examine conflicts closely, for the same reason. Do people seem engaged, interactive, excited, happy, friendly, morose, or withdrawn? Do they smile and interact with you as you walk by their desks?
  • Look at the objects and artifacts that sit on desks and hang on walls. Observe common areas and furniture arrangements. Are they interactive or are they sterile? In one memorable company, to several consultants who were walking through the cubicleville, the sterileness of the environment was striking—no family photos, plants, knick-knacks, desk accessories, or toys. The company president informed the visiting consultants, privately and under strict confidentiality, that he was closing the company at the first of the month—and he didn’t want the employees to know. The consultants informed him that the employees already knew. Their empty workstations were a testimony to this knowledge.
  • When you observe and interact with employees, watch for things that are not there. If nobody mentions something that you think is important (like the customers or expected sales growth), that is interesting information. It will help you understand your organization’s culture.

It is also considered that the best way to get a grasp on organizational culture is to identify the elements that go into a successful one. The Harvard Business Review identifies six components[2]:

  • Vision: A shared vision stems from a carefully crafted mission statement that answers the following three questions: Who is being served? What needs are being satisfied? How are those needs being satisfied?
  • Values: Values exemplify the behaviors that are expected from employees.
  • Practices: Practices explain how the vision and values are put into effect. Leadership must set an example for workers to follow.
  • People: Workers need to demonstrate not just excellent capabilities and a high level of productivity, but an ability to align to the company culture and vision.
  • Narrative: Organizations must share this with employees — even those who have just started — to make sure everyone understands where the company came from and where it is headed.
  • Place: The physical workplace environment can have a strong impact on culture. Recent trends have leaned toward open and highly collaborative workspaces, but there has been some backlash against this thinking. Authors Kim Cameron and Robert Quinn have identified four types of organizational cultures in their ground-breaking book, Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture, Based on the Competing Values Framework.

The following four keys provide an alternative method to understand the organizational culture[3]:

Key 1: Recognize That You Do Have Company Culture

Every organization has company culture, whether intentionally cultivated or not. In short, it refers to the combination of values, goals, ethics, and expectations that govern and influence employee behaviors. If negative behaviors have been left to develop unchecked, with no guidance or direction, then yes, a company culture that supports bad habits may have taken root.

It is not enough to simply announce that vision. You must first figure out what (and how) current behaviors need to shift in order to develop a roadmap to achieve those changes. That’s why it’s so important to define your current company culture before you try to steer it in a new direction.

Key 2: Analyze Your Company’s Priorities

If you want to better understand your culture, look at your company’s priorities. These goals and initiatives reveal what your organization values and what it does not (both explicitly and implicitly). Questions to ask yourself about company priorities may include:

  • Do your employees hear more about increasing the bottom line or increasing customer satisfaction?
  • Does your company give employees the freedom to experiment and innovate when it comes to solving problems, or is following protocol more important?
  • Is taking calculated risks seen as a distraction or opportunity?
  • How much (or how little) does your company invest in ongoing training efforts, both in terms of money and time?
  • When your company considers adopting certain efforts or changes, are the thoughts and feelings of both leadership and employees considered?

Exploring questions like this can give you clues as to what kind of culture your company has cultivated. Is it one with a workforce that’s empowered, engaged, and encouraged to innovate and improve? Or a culture where the bottom line is often prioritized? If your company’s priorities give you pause, it may be time to explore a culture transformation.

Key 3: Inquire About Company Culture

Your company culture is made up of behaviors, those that are encouraged, permitted, and unhindered. To understand what kind makes up your organization, it’s best to go directly to the source: your employees.

Consider ways to get feedback on which behaviors currently serves the company well and which need to be discouraged or changed to elevate your organization. Gather feedback from all levels of employees, from executives to front-line managers. Surveys, company-wide assessments, and focus groups can all help create a clearer picture of the behaviors that define your current company culture. Again, the key is to engage every employee as you ask for feedback because the sum total of all employee contributions and behaviors are what make up your culture.

Key 4: Look to Your Leaders

While every employee contributes to company culture, leaders have more impact and influence. Examine the messages your leadership team puts forth, and whether action follows those words. Leadership may espouse values and a mission that excites employees, but if leadership itself doesn’t “walk the walk,” their behavior can contribute to a culture of distrust and disengagement. Culture starts from the top down, and your leadership sets the tone for what is permissible and encouraged in your company and what’s not.

On the highest level, artifacts of culture are what we can directly see and feel when entering an organization such as office space, symbols, dress codes, etc. In the middle, are espoused values of culture, formally documented within organizational vision, values and mission and informally expressed in what people say why they do (informed by interviews). The most fundamental aspect of culture is the collective, taken-for-granted, underlying assumptions, norms, beliefs and feelings that drive behaviors (informed by deep questioning and participant-observation). Understanding the underlying assumptions of the people in an organization is essential to come out with insights into organizational culture and transformation. This is often done by examining the connections between the perceptions of different aspects of culture — see SPEC’L framework. For example, an organization may claim to value ‘innovation’ but does not practice ‘openness’ (a value that supports innovation) because of underlying assumptions behind the proper distribution of power and information. As anthropologist Margaret Mead states,

“What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.”

Explaining these gaps and contradictions can reveal insights into how specific organizational culture (or sub-cultures) works. It is also worth noting that larger organizations, especially ones with units operating in silos are bound to contain several sub-groups and sub-cultures.[4]

It must be remembered that even as these approaches are valid and useful, but in many cases they are ignoring or not paying attention to what’s below the organizations surface. They have a tendency to focus on “The way we say we get things done” and don’t focus on “The way we really get things done”.[5]

Ignoring what’s below the surface will ultimately undermine organizational change.

The value of an organization will be measured by its capability to change

When creating a list of questions to assess the current culture, take into consideration aspects above AND below the surface:

[1] How to Understand Your Current Company Culture  – by Susan M. Heathfield

[2] Organizational Culture: Understanding What It Is and How to Improve It

[3] 4 Essential Keys to Understanding Your Company’s Culture By Dave Root

[4] Looking at Humor in Organizational Culture – Shaun Lim

[5] What have the invisible man and the organizational culture in common

Ajit Merchant – Kah Do Agar Tum Mar Ke Bhi Jee Lu

Ajit Merchant (15-8-1925 | 28-3-2011) belongs to that Hindi cinema club which has very talented but commercially not successful music directors who have their name in the roll of honours, on account of just a song or two from the few that they could get to compose in their career.

Ajit Merchant was born in (then) Bombay to a business community known as Kutchhi Bhatia. His father a criminal lawyer by profession, was a keen follower of classical music. An adolescent Ajit also would accompany his father to the classical music concerts. Young Ajit Merchant initially worked as a drama artist. Many of the stage personalities of those days were also associated with radio feature programmes. One such person was Chandravadan Chimanlal (C C) Mehta, who was an already established and respected name in the Gujarati stage circuit as a playwright and the director.

In around 1945, CC Mehta was finally rehearsing for his radio feature about south Gujarat based sailor community. Avinash Vyas was the music director for that radio feature. As required by the AIR rules of those days, the music director of the feature also had to remain present at the rehearsal. Unfortunately, Avinash Vyas was not available on that day. Since the programme was already notified in the next schedule, it had to be aired at the appointed time. One thing followed another, and the dice of fate rolled in favour of Ajit Merchant for that job. The two songs that he composed for that feature were liked by all and were well received. Later, when Ajit Merchant produced a Gujarati film on that very subject – Divadandi (1950) / The Lighthouse – he recorded one of the two songs in the voice of Meena Kapoor: Pandadi Si Hodi Dejo (Give me a leaf like boat)

Ajit Merchant soon started working as assistant to Ashok Ghosh, who was composing music for a film for Ranjit Movietone in those days. Soon he got his first independent assignment as music director for Refugee (1948) The film, however, did not succeed. Ajit Merchant also got an opportunity to compose music for a Gujarati film, Kariyawar (1948), – Dowry – which also was not a major success.  Ultimately, Ajit Merchant’s career as music director of films remained confined to 8 B grade Hindi films and 9 Gujarati social films – of which one did not reach censor certification. Ajit Merchant still could carve place for himself in roll of honours on the strength of three songs –

Taari Aankh No Afini Taara Bol No Bandhani, Taar Roop Ni Punam No Paagal Hu Ekalo – (Indolented by your eyes, addicted by your speech, I am the only one madly in love with your beuty) – Divadandi (1950) – Lyrics: Venibhai Purohit

Ajit Merchant who had undertaken production of this film under the Neelam Films (named after his wife) was thrust upon one song for him to compose. It was not yet decided whether the song would be filmed the hero or not – ultimately filmed on the villain – and whether it would pass through the editor’s scissors too. Engrossed in these pressures his music mind was toying with two tunes at that time – drum beats of Rock Round The Clock – which too  has inspired a legion of dance tunes later on – and the tune of Vasant Ritu Ali Ali (Chandidas, 1934 – Umashashi – Music: R C Boral – Lyrics: Agha Hashar Kashmiri) – for the song. The song was ultimately recorded in the voice of Dilip Dholakia. Raj Kapoor, who happened to be present at the recording, congratulated Ajit Merchant for the song and is believed to had said that tis song will be an immortal one. That prophecy has come so true. More than 60 years after the release, the song is still being remembered by each passing generation. He is even said to have used the base tune for initial lines of his song Mera Juta Hai Japani (Shree 420, 1955)

The song, too, has inspired many songs: Chanda Loriya Sunae (Naya Sansar, 1959 – Music: Chitragupt),  Raat Ne Ghesu Bikarae (Sapera, 1961 – Music – Ajit Merchant); Haayi Hayiga Jabili (Velugu Needadu, 1961- Music – P Nageshwar Rao) ; Mera Naam Hai Chameli ( Raja Aur Rank, 1968- Music – Laxmikant Pyarelal)

Laagi Ram Bhajan Ni Lagani Laagi (getting to absorped with adoration of Ram) – Bahoorupi (1969) –  Jagjit Singh – Lyrics: Venibhai Purohit

When Ajit Merchant presented a young turbaned Sikh to Minoo Katrak, the sound recordist who was highly respected for his sense of music, Minoo Katrak was not ready to try one more voice that Ajit Merchant had brought up. He was somehow convinced to listen to the young man’s voice on the microphone without any music support. The test did not last a few words. So pleased was Minoo Katrak with that voice that the song was immediately recorded with full orchestra and okayed at the first take.

That was maiden film song by Jagjit Singh. Jagjit Singh makes it a point to pay tribute to Ajit Merchant for this window that he had opened up. The song is also included in Jagjit Singh’s 2004 album, Muntazaar.

It so happens that the second song that Jagit Singh recorded for films is also composed by Ajit Merchant.

Ghanshyam Gupchup Gupchup Bhatake Bhatake, E Mana Ne Vaat Achanak Malati (Dark clouds keep wandering silently in the eyes, when the heart suddenly lands up on track)  – Dharati Na Chhoru (1970) Jagjit Singh, Suman Kalyanput – Lyrics: Venubhai Purohit.

Ajit Merchant has very skilfully pitched Jagjit Singh on a high scale at the beginning of each stanza.

Roop Tumhara Aankho Se Pee Lu, Kahe Do Agar Tum Mar Ke Bhi Jee Lu – Sapera (1961) – Manna Dey – Lyrics: Indeevar

This is one song that has put Ajit Merchant’s name in roll of honours of Hindi film music. The song opens with a prelude of soft violins on the base rhythm support of guitar and then a few soft strings of violins keep company across the song, in the form of countermelody. The interlude music erupts with an ensemble of flutes in the lead. Manna Dey also goes into high scale in the first line to come down to the normal base tone in the second line. Overall, the song leaves you in the trance when its ends.

It was not only the Hindi film music world that dealt unfair treatment to Ajit Merchant. He had worked as music director at AIR for around 10 years. Fed up with petty politics, when he gave up that job, all his work was wiped out from the AIR library archives by his opponents. Gone with that was an invaluable treasure of some rare NFS that Ajit Merchant had recorded with a wide range of singers.

Theatre continued to give him work and acceptance. He has composed music for around 200-250 Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi plays. However, there is no established set up to record the soundtracks of the plays. So, his work again is lost with the passage of time.

If it were not for the internet, and the enterprising spirit of some of the ardent YT uploaders, all the songs that were composed by Ajit Merchant would have been consigned to the pages of historical archives like HFGK.  Of some 50+ songs that he got to compose for his 8 Hindi films, about a third of the songs are still available for us to listen on YT.  I have brought them up here.

Ujadi Hui Hai Ishq Ki Duniya Tere Bagair – Refugee (1948) – Sulochana Kadam – Lyrics: Panf=dit Fani

The song is set to typical vintage era style composition.

After, the first film, Ajit Merchant got his next call only in 1956.

Panchhi Gane Lage Prabhati, Aaya Sarad Savera, Jaag Sundari – Indra Leela (1956) – Lyrics: Saraswati Kumar Deepak

Ajit Merchant has moved with the times in his composition style. Here we get Mohammad Rafi in his basic elements, right from base scale beginning to the higher scale ending of the prelude couplet to the judicious variations to match the lyrics.

Sun Lo Jiya Ki Baat… Ho Piya Kar Lo Jiya Ki Baat – Indra Leela (1956) – Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Saraswati Kumar Deepak

When surrounding environment is conducive to the tender feelings, it is time to exchange the sweet talks with each other. Asha Bhosle is quite playful in this gay mood song.

Koi Lakh Kare Chaturai, Karam Ka Lekha Mite Na Re Bhai – Chandi Pooja (1957) – Singer and Lyrics: Pradeepji

Almost al songs that Pradeepji had rendered in his time were resoundingly popular.

Ek Dharati Ka Rajkumar, Dekho Ji Chala Hai Hawa Pe Sawar – Chandi Pooja (1957) – Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Pradeepji

I recall looking forward to listening this song on Radio Ceylon, in my pre=teen years in early’60s,  along with the iconic children-story song of K L Saigal, Ek Raje Ka Beta Le Kar Udanewala Ghoda (President, 1938 – Music : R C Boral- Lyrics: Kidar Sharma). Listening to this song today is still so pleasant to the ears. Ajit Merchant has presented Shamshad Begum in her fill flow, at this relatively fag end of her career.

Ae Ji, O Ji Kaho, Badi Aji Ki Daravani Hai Raat, Jara Jagate Rahena – Chandi Pooja (1957) Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Pradeepji

The song has been presented a playful repartee of small talk dialogues between the two love birds, while seemingly on a horse cart ride.

Ritu Raja Ne Teer Chalaya, Jiya Lalachaya….Sajaniya Aa – Ram Bhakt Vibishan (1958) – Sudha Malhotra – Lyrics: Saraswati Kumar Deepak

The season of Vasant is when the nature is at her full beauty. Wasps hum their love with eye toe contact with flowers, fairies merrily roam the skies. Under such compelling environment, our heroine enjoins her friends to lay a swing of flowers underneath the moon and weave the braid of the hair with flowers.

Raat Ne Ghesu Bikharaye, Mera Dil Mukjhe Tadpaye, Kisane Chhena Hai Mere Chand Ko – Sapera (1961) – Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur – Lyrics: Indeevar

In the second half of 50s, when Mohammad Rafi was expanding his reign as the first choice playback singers for the mainstream heroes, Manna Dey was frequently used as voice for the upcoming talent, particularly for the duets by the not-from-the-first-raw music directors. Most of these duets remain etched in the memories of the Hindi film lover generation of those times.

Ajit Merchant has used a variation of his famous ‘Tari Ankh No Afini’ tune here.

Bairi Chhed Na Aise Raag Dil Mein Jaag Uthe Aag – Sapera (1961) –  Suman Kalyanpur – Lyrics: Indeevar

Ajit Merchant has based snake charmer tunes for the song. He has created that musical effect by innovating the use of flutes and other instruments..

Main Bhi Hu Majboor Sajan Dil Bhi Hai Majboor – Challenge (1964) – Mukesh, Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

Set to Mukesh’s natural range for such pensively romantic songs, Ajit Merchants whets his appetite for creativity by higher-scale violin ensemble play in the interludes.

Badale Re Badle Re Rang Badle Zamana Kai, Hai Mohabbat Wahi Ji Wahi  – Challenge (1964) – Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

Ajit Merchant’s touch can be seen the way Badle Re repeats thirce before the initial lyrics come into play. He then uses these very Badle Re melodiously in chorus form in higher scales, supported by brief pieces of flutes in the counter melody. One song hads so much of variety so creatively stuffed !

Mohabbat Ne Kiya Mujh Ko Badnam YuN Zamane Ne…. Main Ho Gai Badnam Tere Liye – Challenge (1964) – Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

The opening notes of harmonium foretell that the song is mujra dance, which is further validated as Asha Bhosle sets the tone in the prelude couplet. But Ajit Merchant cannot be easily confined to a given template. The main song comes as a soft complain in the voice of Asha Bhosle. However, the intensity of the feelings is reflected in a higher scale rendition of interlude orchestration pieces and the opening of stanza by Asha Bhosle.

Qatil Hai Teri Har Ada, Har Dil Hai Tujh Pe Fida, Rahi Bhale Apni Manzil Bhule Dekh Ke Chahera Tera – Lady Killer (1968) – Mukesh – Lyrics: Indeevar

Hindi crime thriller movies mandatorily have villains and his cohorts operating their search operation on the dance floor, the dancer  or her camouflaged lead male actor – who is easily identified by the audience – throw a catchy song, lyrics of which have very clear message that except villain everyone do get. Music directors and lyricists have invariably come up with songs that have kept the audience glued to the seats. Ajit Merchant’s adaptability to the film situation is evidenced at every stage of the song.

Chacha Ne Chachi Ko Chandi Ki Chamchi Se Chutney Chatai  – Lady Killer (1968) – Manna Dey, Krishan Kalle – Lyrics: Indeevar

Indeevar has very craftily woven repeated rhyming of word Ch in each word of the opening line.  Ajit Merchant has set the throw of each of that word in the similar mischievous style. By weaving in the song in western dance style, he has given enough elbow room to the director to create smoke screen to build the environment for showing a back-stage sinister plot being played. At the end, the director gives a Hitchcock-style jolt of showing a murder being executed when the audience is engrossed in the mood of the song.

Auro Ka Chahera Paon Tera…. Diwana Hai Sara Gaon Tera – Lady Killer (1968) – Mahendra Kapoor – Lyrics: Indeevar

Ajit Merchant has skillfully roped in Mahendra Kapoor for a standard sulking-pacifying play acting song..

Even with just a third of the songs available, we get a reasonable glance at the wide range of variety of singers, song styles, song composition and orchestration that Ajit Merchant has been able to commandeer. If it were not either because of the insidious tweak of the destiny or perhaps his own lesser love for film music in comparison to that for the theatre, we would have had more songs under Ajit Merchant’s baton,  from the films that may have succeeded at the box office and hence may have been available little more generously.

Sources credit: Acknowledgement –

  1. Sketch – Young Ajit Merchant – Urvish Kothari’s post: અજિત મર્ચંટની વિદાયઃ ભીની આંખે છેલ્લી સલામ
  2. The background of process of composition of Taari Ank No Afini – Biren Kothari’s post તારી આંખનો અફીણી’: સર્જનની સફર
  3. Background story of recording of Laagir Ram Bhajan Ni Lagani Laagi – Biren Kothari’s article, ‘દીવાદાંડી સમા સંગીતકાર અજિત મર્ચંટ in the Gujarati Magazine ‘Aha Zindagi’

Originally posted on Songs of Yore as : Remembering Ajit Merchant

Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: August 2020

Shailendra with S N Tripathi, Anil Biswas and C Ramchandra

Shailendra – a.k.a. Shankardas Kesarilal (B: 30-8-1923/ D: 14-12-1966)’s association – and for that matter of that of Hasrat Jaipuri, too) with Shankar – Jaikishan is so strong that almost 30 to 40 % of his work with other music directors largely remains unnoticed, except for some of his exceptionally well-known films with S D Burman or Salil Chowdhury. Quantitatively, Shailendra’s songs with other music directors may have around 30-40% of Shailendra’s work, but qualitatively, be it in terms of the range of subjects, or moods, or song-genres, Shailendra’s songs with other music directors remains equally noteworthy.

We have taken up Shailendra’s songs with Other Music Directors on this platform every August , w.e.f. 2017, in the memory of Shailendra’s birthday. Till now we have covered

2017 – Shailendra and “Other” Music Directors

2018 – Shailendra and Roshan

2019 – Shailendra with Hemant Kumar, Ravi and Kalayanji (Anandji)

We have also undertaken a separate series of Salil Chowdhury and Shailendra’s Songs Fading From the Memory in our November episodes.

Presently, we will recall Shailendra’s songs with S N Tripathi, Anil Biswas and C Ramchandra.

With S N (Shri Nath) Tripathi

S N Tripathi and Shailendra have worked for together for five films spread over a decade. Dilli Darbar (1956) was history-period film in which Hasrat Jaipuri was in the company of Shailendra. Ram Hanuman Yudh (1957) is a mythological film, where too Shailendra shared lyricist-writer space with Ramesh Chander Pandey. Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) is again a period-biopic. Shailendra was the sole lyricist for the film to write as many as   songs. Incidentally, S N Tripathi has directed this film as well. Shiv Paravati (1952) is again a mythological film. Kunwari (1966) is a social drama, where again Shailendra had 7 songs and B D Mishra had 2 songs.

Mehfil Mein Kaisi Chaam Chaam….Kiska Hai Ye Tarana – Dilli Darbar (1956) – Lata Mangeshkar

Somehow the song sounds much closer to Shanker Jaikshan style. That may be because the song is based on Arabian dance song composition.

Balma O Balma Chanda Hamare … Taras Gayi Akhiyan Daras Ko Tihare – Ram Hanuman Yudh (1957) – Lata Mangeshkar

Shailendra pens feelings of pathos in the heart of the protagonist who is yearning to meet her beloved. S N Tripathi has used strains of shehnai in the interlude and short pieces of flute in countermelody to reflect the mood of the lyrics.

Suna Tu Man KI Bin Par… Ye Ansu Ki Ragini – Ram Hanuman Yudh (1957) – Lata Mangeshkar

We have here a fast beat song that is steeped in deep pathos. Shailendra has used very pure Hindi in his composition.

Toot Gayi Toot Gayi Mere Man Ki Beena  – Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) – Poorna Seth, Pandarinath Kolhapure

Shailendra and SN Tripathi has weaved n two contrasting moods in one song.

Kantadha Kantadha Kantdha – Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) – Manna Dey

S Ntripathi has conjured up a difficult dance tune. One simply wonders how Shailendra would have fitted in the lyrics in such a dance form –


Tanan Tanan Tan Tang Naar Dil Ko,


Chit Pit Fit Fit Chhanan Chhanan Chhayi Ghata
Chit Pit Fit Fit Chhanan Chhanan Chhayi Ghata
Dhinak Dhinak Rumjhum Bundan Barsayi Ghata
Dhinak Dhinak Rumjhum Bundan Barsayi Ghata
Sagan Kunj Ali Gunj Sang Ali Kunj Manohar
Sagan Kunj Ali Gunj Sang Ali Kunj Manohar

The second line being repeated is by an unidentified female voice.

Dirna Ho Dirna Tana Dir Dirna…. More Laage Re Kisi Se Naina – Shiv Parvati (1962) – Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle

This is only song by Shailendra in the film. Sarasawti Kumar Dipak also had one song. All other 9 songs were written by Prem Dhawan

Kehta Hai Mera Dil Ki Sanam Ke Tum Bhi Kahoge – Kunwari (1966) – Mukesh, Asha Bhosle

We have here a duet wherein the lovebirds express their love for each other. Shailendra uses simple metaphors like – Indrani Mukherejee saying that one look at you told me who you will be in my life, to which Ravindra Kapoor acknowledges that even though this was new tune on their flute.

Dhaani Chunari Meri Dhani Dhani Ho Chundari Meri  – Kunwari (1966) – Mahendra Kapoor, Meenu Puroshattam, Chorus

The song, and the lyrics, basically are set to a rural folk song style. Of course, Indarni Mukherjee and Ravindra Kapoor easily seem to be able to relate their own feelings with the words of the song.

With Anil Biswas

Shailendra teamed up with Anil Biswas for the last two films in the latter’s career. Sautela Bhai (1962) was film based on Bengali locale of Saratchandra’s story, Baikunther Will (1920). Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965) – the first and the last directorial and production venture of Motilal – was based on an extremely sensitive subject of friendly relationship between two grown up people, form opposite sexes, outside their own families.

Maiya Maiya….. Bole Baal Kanhaiya, Chalat Chalt Pag Dukhan Aaye, Ab To Ghodi Utha Le Maiya – Sautela Bhai (1962) – Pankaj Mitra, Meena Kapoor

As the newly married bride steps in to her ‘new’ home, an infant form the earlier marriage of the bride-groom(!) awaits her. She takes him up in her care. The song is composed in Bengali folk Baul style and uses Krishna and Yashoda, who is the mother who brings him up as his own son.

Bhai Bhai Ka Nata Dekho Re Logo Bhai Bhai Ka Naata  – Sautela Bhai(1962) – Manna Dey, Anil Biswas, Pankaj Mitra

This is song played in a rural drama in the film. The song runs around the story of Ram and Bharat, the stepbrothers, in Ramayana. The main family of the story is there to watch the drama.  Shailendra has constructed the entire sequence in his poem.

Phul Ban Bagiya Khili Kali Kali Aai Dekho Ritu Albeli – Sautela Bhai (1962) – Manna Dey, Meena Kapoor

A precisely orchestrated, public dance song that is now an almost home play for Manna Dey. Meena Kapoor easily complements Manna Dey in the song. Anil Biswas has very creatively a folk tune from the Eastern States. Shailendra had had, perhaps, a difficult task to set lyrics to this predominantly rhythm-oriented song.

Zindagi Khwab Hai Tha Hamein Pata, Par Hamein Zindagi Se Bahut Pyar Tha – Chhoto Chhoti Batein (1965) – Mukesh

This is all the way a Shailendra song where he weaves in the philosophy of life., right from the word go. In the retrospect, we have generally observed that, in his last few years, Shailendra’s such philosophical songs have foreseen the future events. ‘Alvida’ (Farewell for ever) in this song did turn out to be the farewell by Motilal from this world, by the time the film was completed.

Andhi Hai Duniya Matlab Ki Duniya, Dil Ka Kare Na Koi Mol Pyare – Chhoti Chhoti Batein (1965) = Manna Dey

Anil Biswas, Shailendra and Manna Dey are at their individual and collective best in the song.

With C Ramchandra

Shailendra’s association with C Ramchandra in Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952) was on the exclusive basis whereas that for Anarkali was for only two songs.

Desh Ki Dharti Ne Pukara Gunja Azadi Ka Naara – Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952) – Chitalker, chorus

We have here a marching song. One would wonder how would a song like this would have remained sidetracked even in the periods of when the nation had seen the sea of patriotism at its full tide in the periods of 1962 or 1965 or 1971 wars !

Mujhpe Bhi Reham Mere Maherban Kijiye – – Chhatrapati Shivaji (1952) – Rangnath Jadhav, chorus

In a film on the subject of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a qawwali has also been squeezed in !

I have not been able to locate any information on Raghunath Yadav

Aaja Ab To Aaja Mere Kismat Ke Kharidar Ab To Aaja – Anarkali (1953) – Lata Mangeshkar

Shailendra has freely used Farsi words aa can be expected in those days.

Dua Kar Gam-E-Dil Dua Kar, Wafaon Majboor Daman Beechha Kar Khuda Se Dua Kar – Anarkali (1953) – Lata Mangeshkar

Shailendra is at his simple best in the song.


jo bijli chamakti hai unke mahal par
wo kar le tasalli, meraa ghar jalaa kar

… …. …. ….

salaamat rahe tu, meri jaan jaaye
mujhe is bahaane se hi maut aaye
karoongi main kyaa chand saansen bachaa kar

… …. …. ….

main kyaa doon tujhe meraa sab lut chukaa hai
duaa ke siwaa mere paas aur kyaa hai

… …… ……… …  … 

magar meri tujhse yahi iltijaa hai
na dil todnaa dil ki duniyaa basaa kar

C Ramchaandra, of course, is at his melodious best in both songs, as he was will all other songs of Anarkali.

In order to traditionally end our post with Mohammad Rafi song, we will have to track back to Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) –

Sudh Beesar Gayi Aaj Apne Gunan Ki…Aa Hi Gayi Baat Beete Dinan Ki – Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey

Manna Dey and Mohammad Rafi so seamlessly complement each other in the song.

Our journey of Shailendra’s songs for Other Music Director continues….

We will continue remembering Unforgettable Songs that seem to Fading away from our Memories every second Sunday of the month……..

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from net. All copyrights of the respective image remain with the original owner of the image.

The Micro View of Best Songs of 1945 @ SoY :: Male Solo Songs – Golden Era Singers

For the year it would be interesting enough to classify the male solo songs under three broad categories

  • Solo Songs of Golden Era Male Singers – the singers who are easily associated with the Golden Era of HFM
  • Solo Songs of Vintage Era Male Singers – the singers who are primarily associated with Vintage Era of HFM, and
  • Solo Songs of K L Saigal, who is a class in himself during any era of the Film Music.

We will first listen to the Solo Songs of Golden Era Male Singers.

1945 is easily the year when all the (so-called) Golden Era Male Singers were still a couple of songs old in the Hindi film industry.  As such, their struggle to get establish also can not be said to have started.

Mohammed Rafi

Before 1945, Mohammad Rafi had just one chorus in 1944 and one male-male duet (for the film which was released in 1945). We have four solo songs, form three films to Mohammad Rafi’s account for the year 1945.

Aye Dil Nakaam Tamanna, Ab Jeene Ki Tamanna Chhod De – Hamara Sansar – Pt. Govind Ram – Ramesh Gupta

[Considered to be the first ever solo song recorded by Mohammad Rafi.]

Pyar Karana Padega Hi Ek Din – Sharabati Aankhen – Firoz Nizami – Pt. Indra

Bahut Mukhtasar Hai Hamari Kahani – Sharabati Aankhen – Firoz Nizami – Tanveer Naqvi

Ab Na Been Baja Snehi… – Sharabati Aankhen – Firoz Nizami – Pt. Indra

Haae Re Duniya, Jhoothon Ka Darabar – Zeenat – Meer Sahab –


The first ever solo song of Mukesh was “Dil Hi Bujha Hua Ho To” (Nirdosh, 1941; Music: Asho Ghose; Lyrics: M Neelkanth) as an actor-singer  His first ever song as a playback singer was in the year 1945.

Maana Ke Tum Haseen Ho Ahl-e-Shabah Ho – Moorti – Bulo C Rani – Pt. Indra

Haseeno Ko Haseeno Se Muhabbat Ho Hi Jaati Hai – Moorti – Bulo C Rani – Pt. Indra

Dil Jalata Hai To Jalne De – Paheli Nazar – Anil Biswas – Dr. Safdar ‘Aah’

[Considered as first solo song as a playback singer.]

Tay Kar Ke Badi Door Ki PoorPech Dagariya – Paheli Nazar – Anil Biswas – Dr. Safadar ‘Aah’

Manna Dey

Manna Dey started his career in playback singing in Hindi films with a duet “Jago Aayee Usha Panchi Boley Jago” (Tamanna, 1942; co-singer- Suriya; Muisc : Naushad)with Suraiya which was an instant hit.

Ek Chakori Dev Se Apane – Vikramiditya – Shankar Rao Vyas – Ramesh Gupta

Hement Kumar 

Hemant Kumar had put his first step in Hindi films in 1942 with the song Aankhon Ki Oat Jo Rahta Hai (Meenaxi,- Music: Pankaj Mallik)

(Acknowledgement: Corrections carried out in response to Shri AKji’ s comment. )

Laga Tu Us Se Lau Tu Madadgar Hai – Ban Phool – Biren Mitra -Natrendra Nath Tuli

Thus, we have (just) eleven songs to the account of Golden Era Playback singers for the year 1945. In our next episode we will get the flair of solo songs of vintage era male singers.