Monday, 20 August 2012

Ghazals with Kishore Kumar- 5 Gems from the 50s(Edited)

Undoubtedly 1950s and 1960s don’t belong to Kishore Kumar, the singer. There were at least 5 other male singers who ranked better than him in playback singing demand. Whatever be the reasons, it took time for the industry to assimilate the genius called Abhas Kumar Ganguly. Or, did it not? Because there were at least half a dozen music directors also that time, who had shown great confidence on Kishore Kumar way back in the 50s, giving him assignments many would consider as their supreme also.
We would slowly shift our focus to a genre to which Kishore is readily not associated with- Ghazal. Ironically, in the 50s, a decade in which Kishore sang around 200 songs altogether, there have been some beautiful Ghazals studded in his portfolio highly dominated by comedy and fun songs.
My personal favourites have been five of them- true masterpieces. Although Kishore sang some beautiful ghazals in his later and more productive years of 70s and 80s, his early ventures had nonetheless, been very productive. On the auspicious occasion of Eid today, let us have a relook into his earlier ghazal masterpieces.

5. Marne ki duayein kyun mangu.  Film :Ziddi(1948). Music: Khemchand Prakash. Lyrics: Professor Jazvi.
His first solo in Hindi films and that too a Ghazal. A  traditional ghazal of couplets, Khemchand Prakash- a super established music director that time, showed a great faith on 19 year old Kishore, to hand him this beauty. There are two different versions of Marne ki duayein- an audio version and a different video version picturized on screen- one with heavy Kundan Lal Saigal influence(giving me an impression that it was recorded first) and the other more like natural Kishore. Kishore showed amazing modulation of voice in the second stanza which had some tricky murkis. Wonder how some people had junked this rendition that time, I mean, this was a real good ghazal rendition by a youngster!  Ranked No.5 for me amongst the Ghazals of Kishore in the 50s, considering 1948 as part of 50s only.

4. Hum Hai Rahi pyar ke. Film: Nau Do Gyarah(1957). Music: S D Burman. Lyrics: Majrooh.
Don’t get surprised- this superhit song is nothing but a Ghazal by poetry. The whole song is spun into five couplets- one mukhra and four antaras- sticking very much to the Ghazal pattern! Yes, the treatment S D Burman gave to it, a happy-go-lucky tune with soothing whistling incorporated, made it sound different. S D did that earlier also, converting a ghazal into a club song with “Tadbeer se bigdi hui”(Geeta Dutt, Baazi-1951) and a peppy love song with Jeevan ke safar mein rahi(Kishore, Munimji-1955)-both Sahir Ludhianvi works. Hum hai rahi pyar ke is rhythmic, melodious and wonderfully rendered number of Kishore and perhaps one of his best known songs as a playback singer in the 50s, picturized on Dev Anand.
3. Apna to Zamane Mein bus itna. Film: Naya Andaaz(1956). Music: O P Nayyar. Lyrics: Jaan Nisaar Akhtar.
Superb song to say the least! Not a very well-known song, but if you have listened to it, you would admit the beauty of it. Poetry wise, it sticks to the Ghazal norms, and composition wise it had been given a "Baithaki" style by the composer. Four couplets or "shers"  as the antaras are finely weaved to merge again to the mukhda sher brilliantly.

2. Woh dekhe to unki inayat. Film: Funtoosh(1956). Music: S D Burman. Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi.
My all time favourite- a duet with Asha Bhosle. Those who have not given it a consideration, listen to it again! I bet, Kishore had done certain stuff in this song which could give classically trained singers also Goosebumps! And what a marvellous composition by S D Burman- man, he really understood the genius of Kishore. Sahir’s poetry is very Sahirish- bringing dilemma to the approach to love with two self contradictory couplets- one by Kishore and one by Asha. And when Kishore gives a solid twist to the word “Baazi”  in the second stanza, you feel carried away! This song is often forgotten due to the more popular and soulful “Dukhi man mere” from the same film, but for me, this is The Song! I would also keep it amongst the top 10 duets of SD in the 50s!
1. Husn bhi hai udaas udaas. Film: Fareb(1953). Music: Anil Biswas. Lyrics: Majrooh.
This is the best of the lot, not only the best ghazal from the 50s but also the Best Ghazal of Kishore in his whole career, in my honest opinion. It is known to all nowadays that Anil Biswas always revered Kishore Kumar as a singer very high, in spite of working with him only in 2 movies for 11 songs. The reason is this fantabulous piano based Ghazal. A song, which I feel, truly belonged to Talat Mehmood gambit, Kishore simply caught the correct mood and moulded himself like Talat and delivered! The poetry of Majrooh sahib also needs a special mention here, both the couplets were lovely but my all time favourite is the couplet used in the first stanza- Hothon se chin gayi hansi, khil na saki koi kali/ Kehne ko baagh mein bahar aayi hui zaroor hai- the days of pure, flawless poetries are really gone, just like Anil Biswas, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Kishore Kumar.


  1. Dear Arghya, I liked your article as I always do, specially about the two songs of Sachinda. With your permission, I am going to use your write-up on these two songs with due credit to you. Thanks.

  2. Article is fundamentally flawed . Excepting Ham hain rahin pyar ke and Woh dekhen to unki inayat, remaining 3 are not ghazals in any way.

    1. Thank you so much for visiting!! I am not an authority on this, but all the five songs follow Ghazal pattern very much! Marne ki duayein is a very famous Ghazal by Jazvi sahab. Only Husn bhi hai udaas might demand a doubt, but I have kept it as the composition follows a Ghazalish structure and singing. And of course, nowadays so many Nazma or anything in Urdu is termed as Ghazals by commercial music companies, and sold in the market, these are much much more conventional, aint they?? Thank you so very much again for visiting and giving your valuable remarks. Kindly mention your name also :)

  3. A verse cannot become a Ghazal because some music companies think so in their wisdom. It has to follow a certain set of meters and some rhyming mold, apart from certain other criteria too , to be called a ghazal. There are dozens of articles on internet explaining this. I am afraid, other than the 2 I mentioned, the remaining the songs do not follow the 'ghazal pattern' as you term it. For example, Marne ki duaaen , doesn't agree with metric limitations of ghazal. Rest are even more dubious.

  4. Thanks. The validity of a Ghazal is always debatable, and I am not denying the fact also. Marne ki duayein is a Ghazal, widely acknowledged, whether any internet forum accepts this or not is different. "Jo aag lagayi thi tumne usko to bujhaya ashqon ne/ Jo ashqon ne khadkayi hai us aag ko thanda kaun kare, kaun kare" does not differ too much in metric with " Ishq ki baazi seedhi bazi dil jeeto aur dil haaro/ Is saude mein O dilwalon paana kya aur khona kya"; going by the definition of the first one is not a Ghazal and the second one is. "Hum hai raahi pyar ke" is undisputably follow Ghazal trend, and in the same way, revisit "Hawa peechhle pehar" again, it is a Ghazal. I have not brought into discussion songs like "Apna to zamane mein" from the same period, because even though the verse follows Ghazal pattern, the treatment does not.

    Reference to music companies I gave is merely in the context that, unfortunately, nowadays many people have been termed as Ghazal singers, by singing pseudo-Ghazals(just as you have also correctly mentioned, violating many laws of Ghazal). Unfortunately,I am a very poor follower of Internet forums, so, my views again might be contradictory to many. But, I always love interaction. And it has been really enlightening to interact with you! :)

    Please keep visitng and sharing your views. Thanks a lot!

  5. The definition of Ghazal is not 'debatable' for anyone who understands the basic precinct that it is a well defined form of poetry and not singing. You were right about your comparison of marne ki duaen and woh dekhen to unki inayat. I relied on my memory , actually both are *not* ghazals. Hawa pichle pahar doesnt have shers (which are two line couplets) beyond mukhda, hence doesnt meet the basic criteria of a ghazal. That leaves us with the only widely acknowledged true ghazal 'ham hain rahi pyar ke'.

    All internet forums are also not correct on this matter

    1. Sir, with due regards, "Hawa peechhle pehar" are all couplets..:)

      Hawa peechhle pehar jab door shehnai bajati hai
      Mujhe ek baar phir aapni mohabbat yaad aati hai.

      Dhadakte dil mein phir se pyar ke armaan uthte hai
      Chale aao ke dil mein saikron toofan uthte hai.

      Similarly, two more antaras, all couplets. it is different that OP repeated the line "Mujhe ek baar phir...", but that does not snatch away the Ghazalish tag from it.

      All the songs I mentioned here are couplets(request your revisit again) form, of course, the metric parameter is under consideration which you have raised, and that too, aaplies to "Husn bhi hai udaas" only, as I have already said.

  6. I don't hear a single couplet beyond Mukhda in this song. Not just it doesn't have shers in antras it doesnt even qualify on other two parameters: the rhyming pattern and the phrase before that.

    Its your blog , you have to choice to believe me or totally ignore, but what is a fact is unalterable . You can read Dr Arshad Jamal's wonderful book Aaena e Ghazal to understand the grammer of ghazal or else get this checked by someone who has studied Urdu to verify what I said. I stand by what I said.

    1. We are just discussing here, nothing to ignore or disbelief here :). I will surely get back to you after a verified checking. :)

    2. After a thorough discussion with a prominent musician(name withheld), here is what I get about "strict norms" of Ghazal:
      (I may be wrong in understanding as the conversation was over the phone, so, apologies in advance)
      1. Ghazals must have "Shers"- two line couplets. Compulsory.

      2. It should have "Behar" or the meter of the sher)the metric which you were talking of)- it can be long, short any nature, there is no restriction. So, that element is cancelled.

      3. It should have " Radif", that is the first couplet should end up with a common word in each of the lines and then all the couplets subsequently follow that common word to end the couplets with. In "Marne ki duayein"- "kaun kare" is the Radif(observe again please).It can be a single word or a line.

      4. Also , as I understand, there is a rhyme in the couplets called "Kaafiya" which rhyme with each of the words appearing before the "Radif".

      There is also a term which I cant recall which makes the poet's name incorporated in any one of the Shers, but modern Ghazals dont stick to that nowadays.

      So, going by these norms, "Husn bhi hai udaas" and " Hawa peechhle pehar" are NOT ghaazals whereas "Marne ki duayein", "Woh dekhe to" are. "Hum hai rahi" does not follow the "Radiff" rule.

      I hope this is a conclusive decision about these songs. :)

    3. On a second thought, "Hum hai rahi pyar ke" has a Radiff if we consider the word "liye" as Radiff and "ro", "ho", "piro" words as Kaafiya. Of course, not the way Puritans would have loved, but it does qualify as a Ghazal. :). So, if "Hai" is a Radiff( not sure), then Husn bhi hai udaas does also comply traits of Ghazal as "chur", "door" act like Kaafiyas.hawa peechhle pehar is of course not a ghazal but a verse with couplets. So, 4 out of 5 are Ghazal genre(of course with some modernism).

  7. I am handicapped by the absence of lyrics in front of me, otherwise I would have pointed the exact discrepancies. If you can give some online link to lyrics I can discuss further here.

    On Ham hain rahi pyar ke , unless I am missing something obvious , " Ho liye, Piro liye, So liye, Ro liye, Boliye etc are all exactly in Radif.

    1. I will just give you the lyrics of them with one stanza each:

      Marne ki duayein kyun mangu jeene ki tamanna kaun kare
      Yeh duniya ho ya woh duniya ab khwahish-e-duniya kaun kare

      Jo aag lagayi this tumne usko to bujhaya aashqon ne
      Jo aashqon ne khadkayi hai us aag ko thanda kaun kare.
      / the behars are long, but according to the musician, it does not matter, behars can be of different meters, long to short./

      Husn bhi hai udaas udaas ishq bhi gham se choor hai
      Mere naseeb dekhiye paas woh hokar door hai.

      Hothon se chhin gayi hansi khil na saki koi kali
      Kehne ko baagh mein bahar aayi hui zaroor hai.

      Woh dekhe to unki inayat na dekeh to rona kya
      Jo dil gair ka hai uska hona kya aur na hona kya

      Ishq dilon ka mel hai pyare yeh nazron ka khel nahi
      Jab tak do dil ek na hole dil ki lagi ka rona kya.

      These are the three "dubious" songs lyrics.. :)

      Must say, it has been a great discussion with you!

  8. On Radeef, maybe the gentleman meant that the same word was not repeated in the second line but that is generally not taken too seriously.

  9. Your last message appeared while I was writing reply to your first.

  10. Two comments , first the meter of first sher and remaining shers have to be same even if the meter can be short, medium or long ( but still not all meter are allowed), and secondly the rhyming motif ( kaafiya) has to there. Please look into these verses in light of these.

    Thanks for letting know that these were indeed all couplets. Having lyrics helped , these didn't sound so when one listened in tune. That said ghazal has a grammar and a set of couplets do not make a ghazal. For it to be a ghazal, it has to agree to bahar , radeef and kafiya (all three) at the minimum. There is nothing called a 'puritanical' view of this issue , there is just one view, that follows the ghazal grammar and that is a correct view. Otherwise, the whole discussion is useless because ghazal, naghma, geet, nazm, no one is debating the quality of these poems .

    1. Yes, Bahar, Radif and Kafiya- don't you think "woh dekhe to" and "marne ki duayein" both have all these three. The meters are equal everywhere in Marne ki duayein, "marne ki duayein kyun maangu, jeene ki tamanna kaun kare", "jo ashqon ne khadkayi hai, us aag ko thanda kaun kare"- is there a significant difference in meter?

      But, thanks again for your inputs. Nice discussion. I still don't know with whom I am conversing though..???:)

  11. I would not go into the technicalities of Ghazals but I personally enjoy these 5 songs. Nice write up to accompany the songs.

    1. Sincere thanks, Parag!! I think, even with technicalities, they would qualify(verified from authentic sources..:))