Music Review: Baiju Bawra (1952)


Directed by Vijay Bhatt
Produced by Prakash Pictures
Written by Zia Sarhadi (dialogues)
Screenplay by R. S. Choudhury
Story by Ramchandra Thakur
Starring Meena Kumari
Bharat Bhushan
Music by Naushad
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni
Release date
5 October 1952

Seems like the magic of the days gone by has not left me as yet. Had a listen to the genius of Naushad, Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar coming together in Baiju Bawra on Vinyl. The songs are exemplary!!

This is the complete soundtrack listing:

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. “Tu Ganga Ki Mauj” (Raga Bhairavi) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar  4.29
2. “Aaj Gawat Man Mero Jhoomke” (Raga Desh) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar  5.06
3. “O Duniya Ke Rakhwale” (Raga Darbari) Mohammad Rafi  5.34
4. “Door Koi Gaye” (Raga Desh) Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum & chorus  3.33
5. “Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya” (Raga Bhairav with traces of Raga Kalingda) Lata Mangeshkar  4.01
6. “Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aai Bahar” (Raga Pilu) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar  2.55
7. “Man Tarpat Hari Darsan Ko Aaj” (Raga Malkauns) Mohammad Rafi  4.46
8. “Bachpan Ki Muhabbat” (Based on Maand) Lata Mangeshkar  3.16
9. “Insaan Bano” (Raga Todi) Mohammad Rafi  2.59
10. “Tori Jai Jai Kartar” (Raga Puriya Dhanashree) Ustad Amir Khan  3.19
11. “Langar Kankariya Ji Na Maro” (Raga Todi) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar  0.42
12. “Ghanana Ghanana Ghana Garjo Re” (Raga Megh) Ustad Amir Khan  3.07
13. “Sargam” (Raga Darbari) Ustad Amir Khan  3.21

The movies titles begin to role with the Introduction of Tansen, in the voice of the brilliant Ustad Amir Khan. Tori Jai Jai Kartar roles out majestically, with Ustad Amir Saheb rendering Raag Puriya Dhanashree is its shudda form. Listen to his tarana, Sargams, and Alaaps, then you will begin to understand why this man has made it to echelons of the Best Classical singers ever. You will also realise why Naushad was such a celebrated composer, he never compromised on quality. A Classical song is a classical song and will not be changed to suit film, if that is the case. The concluding segment of this song is simply outstanding. Alaap and tarana intertwined magically in Ustadji voice; Wah… Believe me when I say this was THE golden era, singers of this calibre will be really difficult to find. If you are curious to find out more about Raag Puriya Dhanashree, then you have probably heard ‘Hai Rama’ from Rangeela which is also based on the same Raag.

The biggest hit song from this movie came in the form of Raag Bhairavi – Tu Ganga Ki Mauj. Bringing together undoubtedly the two most legendary and talented singers: Mohammed Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar. Raag Bhairavi’s notes are tense depending on the Taal, here the Dadra taal is used and Naushad laps up these singers voices. No wonder the song strung through so many stars; they glide through the notes with ease. Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni uses this opportunity to give a forlorn feel to the lyrics:

Agar too hain sagar toh majhadhar mai hu
Majhadhar mai hu
Tere dil ki kashti kaa patwar mai hu
Patwar mai hu
Chalegi akele naa tum se yeh naiyya
Naa tum se yeh naiyya

Another famous song in Raag Bhairavi is Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi, Sung by Lata Mangeshkar in Awaara.

Door Koi Gaye is crooned out in Raag Des, a particularly playful song sung by Lataji and Shamshad Bai. The contrast on Shamshad Bai’s voice againt Lataji’s is like that of Ila Arun and Alka Yagnik of later times. The playfulness is strung with Mohammed Rafi’s ‘Ho Ji Ho’ in between the mukhdas. The songs leaves a lasting impression in your mind, only to be reminded later with Bachpan Ki Mohabbat. A popular duet in Raag Des came in the form of Aji Rooth Kar from the 1965 Aarzoo by Shankar Jaikishan.

One of the most famous Filmi Bhajan’s strides on to the screens in the voice of the immortal Mohammed Rafi with its harmonius lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni; ‘O Duniya Ke Rakhwale’. Naushad composes this song in Raag Darbari with affectionate care. He makes sure that while the song endures, your eyes are moist with its soulful instrumentation. The Sitar and sarangi deserve a special mention, they help the tears stream. Mohammed Rafi hits the Raag notes like none I’ve heard before passionately relaying the pathos of the song. The raag normally plays out in a melancholic style, but with a few changes to the taal, we get the famous ‘Pag Ghungroo Bandh Meera’ from Namak Halaal in the same Raag.

If the song above makes you sad, then this song will make you bawl. ‘Mohe Bhool Gaye Saawariya’ by Lataji In Raag Bhiaravi is a classic in its own right. Naushad gives this sharp edged sword of a song a slow pace to relate to the onscreen Meena Kumari’s woes. She laments the loss of her beloved. Raag Bhairavi also shows its beauty in the title track of Yash Chopra’s Waqt; ‘Waqt Se Din Aur Raat’

‘Ho Ji Ho’ calls out a sad Meena Kumari in the voice of Lataji, for the striking ‘Bachpan Ki Mohabbat Ko’ based on Raag Maand. Traditionally used in Rajasthani folk music, where the Maand Raag originated, Naushad carves out a true timeless classic. Lataji’s sweets vocals are remembered time and time again especially with the popularity this song took on. Another famous Lataji song based on Raag Maand came 18 years later in the movie Pakeezah ‘Thade Rahiyo O Banke Yaar Re’.

‘Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aai Bahar’ sung lovingly by Mohammed Rafi and Lataji based on Raag Pilu, plays out screen with the lovers celebrating the arrival of spring and love. Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni takes this track to the next level with their creativity. If you remember Lagaan, then I am sure the song ‘Ghanan Ghanan’ will be on the tips of your tongues, which also based on the same Raag.

The beauty of this track resides with music director Naushad; ‘Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj’ based on Raag Malkauns. Malkauns is not an easy Raag either to compose or sing, the notes are highly strung and places emphasis on the Shudda ‘Ma’ note. Here Mohammed Rafi Saaheb takes this Bhajan and this raag and makes it easy for the common man to sing without misplacing the highly strung notes. Beauty at its Best. Suresh Wadkar sings an excellent Malkauns from the SriDevi movie Kalakaar ‘Deep Jale Koi Geeto Ke Maine’

Raag Todi places emphasis on the Komal ‘Dha’ and Komal ‘Ga’, which again is not an easy Raag to sing, but Mohammed Rafi Saaheb justifies the notes in ‘Insaan Bano’. Naushad once again comes out ace with his composition and leads majestically. Shakeel Badayuni gives memorable lyrics to this Bhajan. In the movie Amar Prem, Lataji croons ‘Raina Beeti Jaaye’ also based on Raag Todi

In the final standoff between Tansen and Baiju, Naushad knew he had to place extra care on the song he was to compose; and he does so masterfully. ‘Langar Kankariya Ji Na Maro’ begins this classical song in Raag Todi introducing the two stalwarts of the classical music scene, Ustad Amir Khan Saheb and Pandit D. V. Paluskar. Anyone who’s anyone that enjoys classical music, will know these two artists. They share a reputation in the classical music world that is second to none. And kudo’s to Naushad Saaheb for giving us fans such a memorable treat. After the introduction, we immediately hear Alaaps based on Raag Desi, then they show their capabilities, ‘Aaj Gawat Man Mero Jhoom Ke’ is no ordinary song. Hear the Tarana and Alaaps cascading into an explosive conclusion. Here is an interesting story about the song:

An excerpt from an online article that i really enjoyed reading, about Baiju Bawra. These tiny time capsules are wonders to my imagination:

“…Naushad was pressed into service for Baiju Bawra primarily because of his grip on classical Hindustani music. He worked with Bhatt on the screenplay for nearly six months, signifying the kind of close involvement by which the film’s music was created. Naushad, Bhatt and his elder brother Shankar would meet every day for music sittings. “When Shankarbhai heard that the film will be full of classical music and ragas, he protested, ‘People will get a headache and they will run away.’ I was adamant. I wanted to change public taste. Why should people be fed what they like all the time? We presented them with music from our culture and it worked,” Naushad had said in an earlier interview.

The story behind the renowned jugalbandi between Tansen and Baiju towards the climax is preceded by arguably the most humbling anecdote in film music history. Ustad Amir Khan, a legendary figure at the time, was persuaded to lend his voice to Tansen. It was fitting that an artiste of his repute would be Tansen’s voice. Now, Naushad and Bhatt’s dilemma was that the great Tansen must lose to the young singer Baiju, but who could beat Ustad Amir Khan and how would they break this to the Ustad? They went to the Ustad and expressed their concern. The Ustad told them politely to get DV Paluskar, the only artiste he held in high esteem, to sing for Baiju. If he agrees, said the Ustad, he wouldn’t mind being defeated by him, thus solving their predicament and allowing some of the most exquisitely-rendered ragas one has ever heard in a Hindi film. The evocative bhajan Mann Tadpat, whose sheer power puts Baiju’s guru Swami Haridas back on his feet, is emblematic of this country’s secular fabric; it’s a hymn rooted in Hindu mythology but the creative trio were three young Muslims of the time—Naushad, Mohammed Rafi and lyricist Shakeel Badayuni.

Kavi Pradeep, who went on to pen the patriotic ditty Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, was, at one point, in the running for the lyricist’s job. He was keen and went to meet Naushad. “But Naushad kept him waiting endlessly. Affronted, he left, swearing not to work with him,” reminisces actor BM Vyas, who played Meena Kumari’s father Mohan. Naushad didn’t have to look far for a replacement; Shakeel Badayuni, being his brother-in-law, was the natural contender. Baiju Bawra may have made overnight stars out of Bharat Bhushan and Meena Kumari, but it didn’t help anyone more than Naushad, whose soundtrack became the film’s foremost highlight. When Baiju Bawra opened at Regal Cinema, Delhi, on 5 October 1952, people were taken by its music. “The song Tu Ganga ki Mauj was a rage. We were in Delhi and everyone started congratulating me, and it was then that I realised that Baiju Bawra has been declared a hit,” recalls Vyas….”

Link to the article:
Sixty Years of Baiju Bawra

In between all these splendid tracks, Naushad also treated us to the finer nuances of Shastri Sangeet, adding these pieces that didn’t find itself in the soundtrack, but in the film itself:

And finally, a lost treasure that re-surfaced way after the film released, This track was not used in the film, but it is a superb Raag Megh composition by Naushad and sung by Ustad Amir Khan.

Now that’s what i call a genius. Naushad Sahab was so well versed in Raaga’s! These compositions will forever be cherished. What a splendid soundtrack; Baiju Bawra was no easy task to compose; The story and background demanded a strong music composer with a strong hold on Shastri Sangeet. Naushad stepped up to the plate and how. This soundtrack will continue to give him accolades. It is not your average Bollywood soundtrack. Amongst these tracks were the smaller classical pieces that came in throughout the movie, that were beautifully composed by Naushad. A special mention needs to be said about the Sargam that Ustad Amir Khan Saaheb sings in the movie. It really does give the listener complete satisfaction.

Baiju Bawra’s Soundtrack gets a solid:


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