Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: November 2022

Salil Chowdhury and Shailendra’s Songs Fading From the Memory: Char Diwari (1961)

If Salil Chowdhury – 10 November 1922 – 5 September 1995 – is said to have created his music is not design but to express himself in his own way, then Shailendra (B: 30-8-1923/ D: 14-12-1966) lyrics for Hindi films truly reflected his grasp of the context of situation which was expressed in lyrics that flowed out naturally.

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Shailendra’s association with Shankar Jaikishan can be considered as an accident that the destiny had planned for the benefit of Hindi Film Songs. However, the association of Salil Chowdhury and Shailendra can be said to be more a meeting of two artists who were molded in a similar template – of originality, creativity and imagination. That Shailendra knew Bangla and had the knack of creating original feelings in the lyrics that were set into a pre-cast tune further cemented the bond between the two.

To commemorate the memory of Salil Chowdhury, we have been devoting our November episode to Salil Chowdhury’s compositions receding from our memory. We had remembered Salil Chowdhury’s Hindi Film Songs in Other Languages in 2017. We then commenced a series of Salil Chowdhury and Shailendra’s Songs Fading From the Memory, wherein we took up their films together in the chronological order of release for remembering the songs receding from the memory from these films.  Till now we have covered the years

1953-1955 in 2018,

1956 in 2019, and

1957 in 2020

1958 to 1960 in 2021

Presently we will take up Salil Chowdhury- Shailendra’s films for the year 1961. Salil Chowdhury had had six films – Char Diwari; Chhaya; Kabuliwala; Maya; Mem Didi and Sapan Suhaane – in the year 1961. Shailendra had penned songs for three of these – Char Diwari, Mem Didi and Sapan Suhane – films. Quite a few of the songs from these films had caught the attention of the general listening audience. However, when we look at these songs today, we find that each of the song has some or other signature impression of either Salil Chowdhury, or Shailendra or, even both. As such we will dedicate ne episode to each of these three films.

Char Diwari (1961)

Char Diwari was old-fashioned social melodrama, based on the theme of traditional role of the Indian women in the Indian society – be totally dedicated to the domestic duties of her husband’s household, even in the face of all kinds of hardships. It is the maiden movie for Shashi Kapoor as the lead actor as well as the first among many subsequent hits for the leading pair of Shashi Kapoor and Nanda

Gori Babul Ka Gharwa Ab Hai Bideshwa, Saajan Ke CharanoN Mein Hai Ghar Tera – Lata Mangeshkar and chorus

The opening line of the farewell song for the daughter (now a bride, and then a wife) sets up the tone of role of an Indian woman in the Indian society. Shailendra then immediately embeds the title of the film in the next line while further defining the aim of the woman in that life –

ho gori chaar deewaari angana atari
yehi teri duniya ye jag hai tera

Kaise Manaoon Piyawa Goon Ek Hu Mere NahiN, Ayi Milan Ki Bela GabarauN Man Maanhi – Mukesh

Shailendra once again draws up the picture of a woman’s mind as he readies herself to step into the home and life of her husband.

However, the poet at the core of Shailendra also does not miss the opportunity of vividly narrating any woman as she readies herself to the new phase of a married life –

saajan mere aaye
dhadkan badhti jaaye
naina jhukte jaayen
ghoonghat dhalta jaaye
tujhse kyun sharmaaye
aaj teri parchhaayi

Salil Chowdhury indeed has so exceedingly weaved in the tenseness and eagerness of that woman’s feelings in this background songs composition, and in the process has given Mukesh one of his best songs.

Aside Trivia:

Salil Chowdhury has used this tune and composed a NFS – Beete Dino Ke Sapne Hamein Yaad Aane Lage Hai ( Lyrics: Yogesh)  that he used to compose for Door Darshan and conduct the orchestra himself live on the TV, during his tenure with DD, Delhi, screen in sometime in ‘80s in the voice of Arundhti Holme-Chowdhury

Jhuk Jhuk Jhuk Jhoom Ghata Aye Re, Man Mora Lehraye Pihu Pihu Pihu Papeeha Gaaye – Lata Mangeshkar

Salil Chowdhury is as scintillating mood as the Indian housewife who enjoys the onset of monsoon. The song’s fast pace is so effectively accentuated by all round use of flute – Salil Chowdhury’s preferred instrument –

Akela Tujhe Jaane Na Doongi … Banke Chhaiyan … Main Sang Sang Chaloongi – Lata Mangeshkar

The young girl, be it from any society or region, sees dreams of being with her love always. The girl who will transform into a dutiful wife after her marriage can not be expectation from having similar feelings. Shailendra’s lyrics ably reflect these effervescent feelings duly composed and orchestrated by Salil Chowdhury

Neend Pari Lori Gaaye MaaN Julaye Paalana, So Ja Soja Mere Laalnaa…. Meethe Meethe SapnoN Mein Kho Ja Mere Laalna – Lata Mangeshkar

Lullaby was a very popular genre in Hindi film songs. Most of te music directors have grabbed he opportunity to compose a lullaby by fully deploying the creative skills they had had at their command.

Salil Chowdhury has so imaginatively reused the tune he had first used in Bengali NFS  Praantarer Gaan Amar[1] (Utpala Sen, 1953 / The Song of wilderness is mine) to recreate one of the most haunting lullaby.

Humko Samaj Baithi Ye Duniya Deewana …. Par Main Agar Pagal HuN to Ye Duniya Pagalkhana – Mukesh

Apparently, a drunkard song that Salil Chowdhury has transformed into a wonderfully melodic composition. Shailendra also has not missed capitalizing the opportunity to spell out his core philosophy of an egalitarian utopian world

We will take up Salil Chowdhury- Shailendra’s songs for Meme Didi (1961) in our next episode.

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

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


[1] The song ‘Prantarero gaan amaar’ made immortal by Utpala Sen was originally recorded by Kanika Banerjee, the famous Rabindrasangeet singer. However, as Salil writes in his book ‘Jibon Ujjibon’, Biswa Bharoti didn’t allow Kanika to sing non-Rabindrasangeet and as a result Kanika’s record was never released.Utpala Sen recorded it later. Rumour has it that Kanika’s record, although never released, is still in existence. So, who knows. May be one day some fanatic collector may find it. –  Other Singers @ World of Salil Chowdhury