Listening to : Baiju Bawra (1952)

Since I started this blog, I keep drifting again and again towards the music my mother loved. I feel her presence in this music, as I do in so many other areas of my life; the music feels even more dear now that she is gone.

As with much of the music from old films, I was familiar with the music in my childhood before I saw the film. My memory from a viewing on television during my teenage years is unclear; but as an aid to writing this, I saw the film again a few days back. It seems to me that the cast has done an excellent job though the film could have been better edited. But the music, oh the music!! I was awash with tears with the beauty of the music.

The story is that of a classical musician from Chanderi, Baijnath Prasad or Baijnath Mishra (1542-1613) called Baiju Bawra (the crazy). However the film bears only vague resemblance to the account of his life as published in Chanderi’s website. Like Tansen, he was the disciple of Swami Haridas (1512-1607). There is no mention in this film of his connection with the court of Gwalior, which seems to be an important one in real life.

The music of this film about a musician needed to be brilliant, and there it delivers, absolutely. Naushad (1919-2006) won his only (!!!! how’s that possible?) Filmfare award for his music. But he did win the well deserved Padma Bhushan in 1992 many years later. The Filmfare awards being newly instituted, there seems to have been no awards for singers. If there had been awards, Mohammed Rafi would no doubt have swept them all. Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, does a memorable job as well.

I list the tracks with my reactions to them :

  1. Jhoole mein Pawan ke (Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi) Smile  A very nice duet, light and romantic. 
  2. Tu Ganga Ki Mauj  (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Brilliant. Brilliant!!!  The picturisation is very good too. For once, when the hero sings, people actually stop to watch and the girl is embarrassed, as she would be in real life.
  3. Door Koi Gaaye  (Shamshad Begum, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar)Open-mouthed smile  I love the sound of Shamshad Begum’s rustic sound set against Lata’s more polished voice.
  4. Insan Bano (Mohd Rafi) Thinking smile This didn’t appeal, especially in the company of such fantastic songs in the album. 
  5. Bachpan ki Mohabbat (Lata Mangeshkar)   Smile Slow and sweet.
  6. Man tadpat hari darshan ko (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Perfection!!! Everything fits beautifully – Rafi’s voice, the beautiful lyrics, the melody which touches the heart. I do not like the last 1 min 10 secs, which I skip normally.
  7. Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya (Lata Mangeshkar) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Oh what pathos !! The words are written by a man scorned; surely they come from the heart – प्रीत है झूठी प्रीतम झूठा, झूठ है सारी नगरिया  (love is false, my lover is false, the whole world is false) laments Lata. This is her genre, her music. Nobody comes close to her in this kind of song.
  8. O Duniya Ke Rakhwale (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Again, impossibly perfect !! Whom should we praise? The composer, the lyricist and the singer have all come together to form a perfect whole. A showcase for Rafi’s vocal range.
  9. Aaj Gawat Man Mero (Ustad Amir Khan, Pundit Paluskar) Thinking smile A classical number which is not as good as it should be – surely a competition between Tansen and Baiju should have been earth shattering!
  10. Tori Jai Jai (Ustad Amir Khan) Smile Another classical piece, adequate.

With four brilliant songs, I am in a quandary. Presenting just one is impossible, so I shall  feature one of Rafi’s and one of Lata’s. For those who want to listen to all the songs, here’s a link to Musicindiaonine.


Tu Ganga ki Mauj–Mohammad Rafi


Mohe bhool gaye–Lata Mangeshkar

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi

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