Category Archives: Kavita Subramaniam

Sumiran Karle

Guru NanakAfter a week spent travelling, I zone in on my music today like a traveller zones in on water after a week in the desert. What my soul needs today is a bhajan to soothe away the tiredness of travel. I hesitate not a minute before playing this beautiful song in Raga Sindhu Bhairavi.

I love this beautiful raga so very much! Perhaps because of its name, I imagine myself in the sacred banks of the river Indus, as the day dawns golden, the fertile plains of Sindh stretching all around me, a gentle breeze wafting in the sounds of Guruji singing this bhajan, my eyes flowing like the river beside me.

Who doesn’t know Guru Nanak (1469-1539)? The founder of Sikhism, he stressed the importance of Naam Japan – chanting of God’s name and remembering Him at all times. In this beautiful composition, the Guruji extolls  ‘Remember his name, life is passing by’. He then goes on to compare a life without God’s name in many different ways – ‘A tree without fruits’, ‘Earth without clouds’ etc. His advice is  to ‘Leave lust, anger, pride and greed’. The words are beautiful with a flow enhanced by the raga in which they are set. I have transcribed the lyrics below. For the full translation, see footnote.

सुमिरन कर ले मेरे मना तेरी बीती जाती  उमर हरी नाम बिना रे ||
कूप नीर बिन धेनु क्षीर बिन धरती मेघ बिना |
जैसे तरुवर फल बिन हीना तैसे प्राणी हरी नाम बिना रे ||
देह नैन बिन रैन चन्द्र बिन मंदिर दीप बिना |
जैसे पंडित वेद विहीना तैसे प्राणी हरी नाम बिना रे ||
काम क्रोध मद लोभ निवारो छाड़ दे अब संत जना |
कह नानक तू सुन भगवंता या जग में नहीं कोई अपना ||

To present this song, I have found a remarkable and unique concert by the inimitable Pandit Jasraj of the Hindustani tradition accompanied by the Violin Maestro L.Subramaniam of the Carnatic tradition and his wife Kavita Subramaniam, famous for her singing in the Hindi film industry.  It is to L.Subramaniam’s credit that in spite of his name and fame, he has played a supporting role to his elder.


Footnote 1: Translation

Remember God, O mind of mine, life is passing by without remembering his name.

Like a well without water, a cow without milk, like earth without clouds,
Like trees without fruits, so is a being without God’s name .

Like a body without eyes, like a night without a moon, like a temple without a lamp,
Like a learned man without scriptures, so is a being without God’s name.

Be rid of lust, anger, pride and greed, O good people!
Nanak says listen O seekers, no one in this world is your own.



Filed under Bhajan, Guru Nanak, Hindustani Classical Music, Jasraj, Kavita Subramaniam, L.Subramaniam

Listing to: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)


Album : Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Music : Ismail Darbar

Lyrics : Mehboob


This album remains one of my favourites from the 90’s. I fell in love with the music the first time I heard it, even before the movie was released. It has something unique, this album. The music is fresh yet traditional, hummable yet complex. Credit goes to both to Ismail Darbar and Mehboob, the composer and the lyricist, for this beautiful work in what was their debut in the Hindi film industry. Though both of them were nominated for Filmfare awards, they lost out to Taal, which had superb music as well. But Darbar went on to win the National Award. When I finally saw the film, the gorgeous visuals imprinted themselves in my brain and it has remained there all these years, in multi-coloured glory.

  • Chand Chupa Badal Mein (Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik) A gentle and playful song,  it won the Filmfare award for Udit Narayan. I love the sound of the violin at the end. Darbar started his career as a violinist and the violin plays an important role in many of his compositions.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Nimbooda (Kavitha Krishnamurthy) This song with its touch of folk music (film is set in Gujarat) won a nomination for Kavita in the Filmfare awards. Though she sings superbly, I prefer her songs set to a lower pitch. She does an admirable job on this fast number. Check out the nice bol at min 1:41. Check out youtube, Aish dances very well.   Smile
  • Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan (Kumar Sanu, Kavitha Krishnamurthy) Beautiful, romantic and sultry. How can a song like this be forgotten? And the lyrics are very beautiful उठी आँखें जो बात ना कह सकीं, झुकी आँख कहते हैं। (The downturned eyes say what the raised eyes could not say). Well done Mehboob! This won Kumar Sanu a nomination in the Filmfare awards. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Man Mohini (Shankar Mahadevan) I admire Shankar Mahadevan very much, both as a composer and a singer. He has done a competent job on this folksy and rhythmic number. Thinking smile
  • Jhonka Hawa Ka (Hariharan, Kavita Krishnamurthy) A slow and melodic number, it suits Hariharan’s style.  I love the interlude with the Vedic chants. The instrumental which follows resembles the sitar interlude in the song ‘Hamesha Tumko Chaha’ from Devdas (2002) composed again by Ismail Mechant. Smile
  • Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Vidod Rathod) Another folksy and highly rhythmic number, I love it’s start. I find myself dancing in my chair as I listen to this! The Dhol sounds great too! Check it out in youtube, its a great dance. Thinking smile
  • Tadap Tadap (Kay Kay) Very sad number, well sung by the Kay Kay. This song won him a nomination in the Filmfare awards. Its an interesting composition, I am not sure I like the way there are so many discrete bits to it.I don't know smile
  • Albela Sajan (Ustad Sultan Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Kavitha Krishnamurthy) With my weakness for classical music, this appeals of course. Ustad Sultan Khan is a Sarangi player, I believe this is the first film in which he has given voice. He went on to sing successfully in other films and also brought out a light music album with Chitra which I like very much. Both Shankar Mahadevan and Kavita show off their classical competence. Smile
  • Kaipoche (Shankar Mahadevan) Another folk number, it is my least favourite number in this album.  Sad smile
  • Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Mohammed Salamat, Dominique)  It is one of the most extraordinarily beautiful song that I have ever heard. The composition stuns and its beautifully sung by Kavita who won a nomination for this song too.   Open-mouthed smileRed heart

Today however I present for your viewing pleasure ‘Aankhon ki gustakhiyan’ – and viewing pleasure it indeed is! Aishwarya Rai makes it clear why she won her Miss.World title,  this is a beautiful song enhanced by a stunning woman..

Aankhon Ki Gutakhiyan–Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy

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Filed under Bollywood 90's Music, Kavita Subramaniam, Kumar Sanu