The use of Raag ‘Shivaranjani’ in Hindi film songs

By

Sharada Iyer

The repertoire of our century old Hindi film music boasts of a wide range of songs based on a variety of classical Hindustani raagas. Instead of composing these songs in a typical classical style which may appeal only to true music aficionados, our music directors use the raag to compose semi-classical songs and at times touch upon the raag lightly to include subtle modifications in the raag which makes it easier for the general public to enjoy them. Such compositions not only help to enhance the appeal and reach of these raagas to the large base of film-viewing populace of our country, but also exposes them to our unique heritage.

In this blog, I have chosen to explore the raag ‘Shivaranjani’, an ancient raag which derives its name from the words ‘Shiva’ = Lord Shiva and ‘ranjani’ = to please.  It is said that when Lord Shiva was performing his ‘taandav’ (cosmic dance), the sages sang this raag to appease him and calm him down. This raag  finds its origin in Carnatic music and over a period of time, has been included in Hindustani traditional music. (source:http://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/hindi/en/content/raag-shivranjani) (http://raag-hindustani.com/Scales2.html)

This raag has a hauntingly appealing quality about it and has the ability to touch upon the deepest recesses of the listener’s heart and directly reach the soul. This raag is generally associated with the emotions of melancholy, separation, longing and deep-seated love.Equipped with the necessary knowledge of these raagas our music directors have given us some beautiful songs and the lyricists with their mastery over the words have added magic with their perfect lyrics to bring forth the right emotion.

Let us explore the situations of some of the popular songs based on this raag:

*The song ‘Jaane kahaan gaye who din…’ by Mukesh  and set to music by the brilliant duo of Shankar-Jaikishen (SJ) from the film Mera Naam Joker is possibly one of the finest examples of songs based on this raag. In the film the song is played at the time when the character of Raj Kapoor is thinking about all the women he had loved and lost. The deep yearning in his heart for them and his subsequent loneliness is brought out beautifully by the words, the tune and the soulful voice of Mukesh…

*Another masterpiece from the same magical duo of Shankar-Jaikishen is the Mohammad Rafi number ‘Dil ke jharokon mein…’ from the film Brahmachari and is sung in a club by Shammi Kapoor.  The lyrics and tune convey his hurt and torment on seeing his lady-love Rajashree in the arms of another- Pran. The haunting prelude on the piano is superb and so is the symbolic representation of their love-story by three sets of dancers dancing on a heart-shaped floor…

*Our next is an absolute masterpiece from the duo of Laxmikant-Pyarelal – ‘Tere mere beech mein…’ for the film Ek Duje Ke Liye. The song has two versions-a happy one sung by Lata Mangeshkar and a sad one by S P Balasubramanian. The lovers face a lot of opposition in the story from their own family members as they belong to different regions of our country and speak different languages. While the happy version evocatively captures the irony that lovers are united only by the language of love , the sad version conveys the inkling of their  impending doom.

*Here’s another heartfelt song from Shankar-Jaikishen composed for the film Sangam.When Raj Kapoor stumbles upon a love letter written to his wife Vyjayantimala by his best friend Rajendra Kumar, there are no words to express his feelings of anger, hurt and betrayal. She does not get a chance to explain the misunderstanding as they have to go to a party. Through this song ‘O mere Sanam o mere sanam…’, a duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, Vyjayantimala tries to declare her undying love for her husband and vouch for her integrity but Raj Kapoor’s words and expressions convey otherwise…

This raag has also been used to convey love which transcends one birth. Here are three films where the theme of re-incarnation formed the pivot of the plot.

* In this tale of rebirth, the touching song ‘Mere naina saawan bhaadon…’ from Mehbooba is used to haunt the characters of Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini in the current birth to make them remember their unfulfilled love in a previous birth. The Lata Mangeshkar version is sung by Hema Malini’s ghost when Rajesh Khanna stumbles upon an old dilapidated structure one stormy night. Once he remembers he then seeks out Hema Malini in the present birth and sings this haunting song in a bid to revive her memory.

*The song ‘Tumhe dekhti hoon…’ by Lata Mangeshkar from the film Tumhare Liye  tells a tale of re-incarnation of Sanjeev Kumar and Vidya Sinha who on account of a curse continue to meet  and die in every birth carrying with them their tale of unrequited love. The lyrics set to tune by the genius Jaidev aptly bring out their love saga of love covering many births…

*The song ‘Kai sadiyon se kai janmon se…’from the 1972 film Milaap directed by B R Ishara with music by Brij Bhushan had both Shatrughan Sinha and Reena Roy playing lovers in different births. But the story of this film not only includes a weird ‘snake-angle’ to it, but also differs from other reincarnation stories as the heroine unites with another man and not her lover from previous births. When the lover is reborn as a  snake after a hundred years, he becomes powerful and possessive. In order to get close to her, the snake takes the form of Shatrughan Sinha whom Reena Roy loves in the curent birth and sings this song where he expresses his yearning and anguished wait for his beloved. The real Shatrughan is put to sleep by the snake during the song… 

Here are some situations from films where the song expresses sadness on the part of characters in different situations.

*‘Aawaaz dekar hame tum bulao…’ a melodious number from the film Professor has the separated lovers Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana expressing their sorrow of separation and calling out to each other. Shankar-Jaikishen resort to this raag effectively to bring forth the anguish of the characters…

*There are two versions of the song ‘Sansaar hai ek nadiya sukh dukh do kinaare hain…’- a Mukesh solo and an Asha Bhonsle -Mukesh duet picturized on an unexpected actor Madan Puri in the film Raftaar. Honestly it looks odd seeing the usually villainous actor singing a soulful song in raag Shivaranjani (noboby can blame Bollywood for not surprising the audience!). In the film Madan Puri sings the solo version thinking of his daughter whom he loses tragically and in the duet version, Moushmi who has been rescued by him from the brink of death and who starts looking upon him like her father, also joins him in singing the same song. Music is by the duo Sonik-Omi…  

*The song ‘Tumse milkar na jaane kyun…’ from the film Pyar Jhukta Nahin has several versions- a happy duet after Mithun and Padmini  Kolhapure’s marriage, a sad male version when due to some misunderstandings created by her parents they separate and he brings up their son on his own and a third version sung by their child to his mother in a bid to reunite his parents. The song is deeply embedded with their lives and is played hauntingly several times in the film effectively conveying the necessary emotion every time it is sung…

*Chanced upon this rare Talat Mehmood solo ‘Pyaar ke pal chin beete hue din…’ in this raag which also has a Lata Mangeshkar solo version from the 1966 film Kunwari. Music is by veteran S N Tripathi. Even though I could not find the film on YouTube and not much information is available about this film the lyrics of the song are a clear indication of a sad heart yearning for his/her lover reminding the other of the love they had pledged for each other but which seems to have been lost…

*Here is a soulful composition from the very interesting family drama Ghunghat with a string of stars. Pradeep Kumar and Asha Parekh love each other but due to a quirk of fate he ends up marrying another girl. The train by which he was travelling to a village meets with an accident and he is forced to marry a girl from the village. Meanwhile Asha Parekh unaware of all this drama awaits her lover’s return sad at the separation which is expressed beautifully in the song ‘Laage na mora jiya…’ set to tune by the inimitable music director Ravi…

*The song ‘Banake kyun bigaada re…’ composed by the maestros Kalyanji-Anandji for the film Zanjeer is feelingly sung by Lata Mangeshkar. In the film, Amitabh Bachchan who is an honest  police officer gets imprisoned on  false charges of bribery and corruption and his lover Jaya Bhaduri sings her heart out feeling tormented and pained to see him suffer for no fault of his…

*Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor was a powerless Emperor.  As the Mughal Empire existed in name only and his authority was limited only to the city of Delhi, he remained a nominal Emperor who was exiled after his involvement in the 1857 revolt against the British Empire. The film Lal Qila spins a fictional account of the events around that time. Zafar who was famous for his Urdu poetry wrote several memorable verses. This song ‘Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon…’ sung by Mohammad Rafi and picturised on the character of Zafar sums up his helplessness at the time and the choice of this raag by music director S N Tripathi to convey his lamentations seems so apt…

*This super-hit song ‘Kahin deep jale kahin dil…’ by Lata Mangeshkar from the 1962 psychological thriller Bees Saal Baad was an achingly haunting song picturized on a ghost of the village girl whose spirit haunts the place ever since she had been raped by the village head and she ends up killing herself. Twenty years later his grandson Biswajeet comes to the same village and sees the ghost singing this song. Music director Hemant Kumar whips up a memorable song based on this raag…

*The title song of the film Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai sung by KK and set to tune by Anu Malik is picturized on Tusshar Kapoor. After a chance meeting with Kareena Kapoor he falls crazily in love with her and ironically keeps running into her by coincidence. However he does not gather enough courage to declare his feelings for her and keeps his emotions bottled inside him. Through this song he expresses his inability to express his deep love for her…

I have also included two songs which are out and out romantic numbers where the lovers are so happy just to be in each other’s company. These songs show how the apt lyrics set to the same haunting raag can convey extreme happiness when required.

*This beautiful duet composed by the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal from the film Anjaana – ‘Rim jhim ke geet saawan gaaye…’ is picturized on the lovers Rajendra Kumar who is a garage mechanic in the film and Babita,the daughter of a wealthy businessman. After a few initial tiffs the two fall in love and here they get caught in the rain and taking advantage of the situation, they are just expressing their feelings through the song…

The song ‘Bahaaron phool barsaao…’ from the film Suraj sung by Mohammad Rafi and once again composed by Shankar-Jaikishen stands out for the imaginative setting of a garden full of flowers where Rajendra Kumar declares his everlasting love for his beloved Vyjayantimala and the raag helps to induce an enduring touch to their love …

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21 thoughts on “The use of Raag ‘Shivaranjani’ in Hindi film songs

  1. Wow! Exploring a different path altogether? Fantastic. Excellent. And you’ve chosen such a lovely raag. I think ‘ mere tumhare beech mein an to…’ from jhuk gaya aasmaan is also shiva ranjani.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Mala… :)There are some other gems also…I checked this one with Theela because I also thought this was the same raag but she was not sure so didn’t put that up …anyway it is by no means a comprehensive list 🙂 just a few popular ones and I wanted to dwell on the situations as well leading to the song…

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on ashokbhatia and commented:
    Purists might scoff at the use of classical music based compositions to connect with Hindi movie buffs, but such endeavours do have the singular advantage of popularizing such uplifting ‘ragas’ amongst the masses.
    Here is an interesting post which elaborates on the use of one of the better known ‘ragas’ of Hindustani classical music in Bollywood songs.
    Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A fine repertoire of songs based on one Raaga..thanks to Ashok ji for introducing such a well researched post and I recall doing the same with raagam Darbari Kanada on Tamil movie songs with the very very limited knowledge of carnatic music!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful. Had actually heard quite a few of these songs before, for a change. A couple of other ragas that our music directors have made masterful use of are Yaman and Malkauns- looking forward to such well-researched expositions on those and others too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mom used to sing when I was little….and with delight, she would discover how different ragas were used for film songs….then she would bring out from the closet the music notebooks she had, and recollect the notes of the raagaas….I heard about raga shivaranjini from her….raag bhairavi was one of her favorite….will share this article with her…..:)….also…..please check out the blogging contest based on music here http://funkaar.in/contest.html…..It is a verified contest……If interested, do participate….and let your friends know too….Thanks….:)

    Liked by 1 person

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