Music Review: Pakeezah (1972)


Directed by Kamal Amrohi
Produced by Kamal Amrohi
Written by Kamal Amrohi
Starring Meena Kumari
Raaj Kumar
Ashok Kumar
Music by Ghulam Mohammed
Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri
Kamal Amrohi
Kaifi Azmi
Kaif Bhopali
Release Date 04 February 1972

I am dedicating this review to my grandmum, the person responsible for creating and maintaining that Bollywood musical fantasy in my life. It all began with Pakeezah; from the time I can remember Pakeezah had been on nani’s list of favourites, also tied to this is the nostalgia that she always shared with me, especially since we ‘music aficionados’ fondly sat and discussed music intricately. Nearly every music sitting had been initiated with a song from Pakeezah, and in between, nani would relate the story of how my nana (passed away in 1981) had brought Pakeezah to cinema’s in Lenasia (Suburb of Johannesburg). She’d fondly recall how the theatre had been so packed that people were even willing to sit on the stairway just to catch a glimpse of Meena Kumari and hear these gems of songs. That story always played in my mind; creating a grand illusion of a Bollywood premier. Nani left us at the end of 2017, and these sweet memories will remain with me until my last breath.


Pakeezah literally translates into ‘Pure One’, and if by some magical way one has to describe the music of this film, then “Pakeezah” truly is apt. Before we delve into the music, let’s unravel Kamal Amrohi’s journey with this film and understand its historical perspective to make sense of the music. Kamal Amrohi, the film’s producer and director had only one objective; he wanted to make a movie worthy of his actress-wife Meena Kumari. Pakeezah took 16 long years to reach the silver screen

Chronology of Events

  • 1955 – Idea of Pakeezah is cemented, Kamal Amrohi scouting for locations to shoot.
  • 1956 – Mahurat of film, Launched as a Black and White venture
  • 1957 – 1963 – Several changes occur during filming, Colour technology comes to India, Kamal Amrohi decides to re-shoot all black and white portions. Thereafter CinemaScope gets introduced; Kamal jumps at the opportunity. A shooting lens is hired from MGM on royalty basis; error detected on the lens – MGM fix, gift the lens to Kamal Amrohi and waive the royalty fee. Ghulam Mohammed’s portion of the soundtrack recorded during 1957-1960.
  • 1964 – Filming comes to a halt; Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi split due to personal issues in their marriage, project is more than halfway complete
  • 1968 – Film’s music composer Ghulam Mohammed passes away in March of 1968
    • Kamal Amrohi wrote a letter to his estranged wife on 24 August 1968: “Only Pakeezah completion remain unsettled. You have made a condition that unless i give you a divorce you will not complete Pakeezah. Even this knot can be untied … I will free you from your marital ties. After this if you wish to complete your Pakeezah. I would be the most happy to do so. This is my request, that Pakeezah on which the fortune of many people depends, and which had the good wishes of so many people should not be left uncompleted if possible. You have better means. You have box-office appeal, and most of all Pakeezah needs you personally … Pakeezah that is like a sinking ship will reach a shore under your care.”
  • 1969 – Meena Kumari replies to her husband Kamal Amrohi early 1969:
    • “In regard to my working in Pakeezah, I have always been willing and clamouring to work. Pakeezah is my life dream and it will be my greatest pleasure to see it completed. As for my remuneration, I am glad you have given me an opportunity to prove my regards and respect for you. I shall accept only ONE GUINEA as a token of goodwill for my entire work in Pakeezah.”
    • In 1969, Hindustan Times described the meeting which Sunil Dutt and Nargis had organised between Meena Kumari and Kamal Amrohi: “Not much was said, but streams of tears were shed… Amrohi greeted her with a token payment of a gold guinea and the promise that he’d make her look as beautiful as the day she had started the film. They had dinner together and she gave him her diary to read.
    • Shooting resumes in late 1969, Meena is suffering with liver cirrhosis but remains dedicated to completing the project.
    • Legendary composer Naushad called in to complete the background score and title music of the film. Many distributors are worried the original songs might not gel with the fast-changing times, however Kamal Amrohi is adamant that he cannot be disloyal to Ghulam Mohammed, and retains the original score.
  • 1972 – 3rd February: The Film is released with great fanfare, Meena Kumari attends the premiere
    • Meena Kumari passes away 31st March 1972

Such was the making of the cult classic Pakeezah; that even Ghulam Mohammed didn’t live to see the success his music had, at a time when the music scene has changed to fast paced rhythm-based songs.


No. Title Singer(s) Length
1 Alaap: Title Music Lata Mangeshkar 04:14
2 Mora Saajan Sauten Ghar Jaye Vani Jairam 02:27
3 Inhi Logon Ne Lata Mangeshkar 03:42
4 Aaj Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam Parween Sultana 02:39
5 Najariya Ki Mari Rajkumari 02:16
6 Thade Rahiyo O Banke Yaar Lata Mangeshkar 05:50
7 Chalte Chalte Yun Hi Koi Lata Mangeshkar 03:57
8 Mausam Hai Aashiqana Lata Mangeshkar 04:56
9 Chalo Dildar Chalo Mohammed Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar 03:29
10 Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge Lata Mangeshkar 05:15
11 Yeh Kis Ki Ankhon Ka Noor Mohammed Rafi 05:21
12 Hatkar Tere Qadmon Se Mohammed Rafi & Shamshad Begum 05:10
13 Leke Angrai – Gir Gayee Re Mori Suman Kalyanpur, Meena Kumari 05:10
14 Chalo Dildar Chalo (Rang Barang Version) Lata Mangeshkar 03:48
15 Tanhai Sunaya Karti Hai Lata Mangeshkar 03:36
16 Peeke Chale Yeh Chale Lata Mangeshkar 04:19
17 Pyare Babul Tumhari Duhai Lata Mangeshkar 04:38
18 Kothe Se Bada Lamba Hamara Banna Shamshad Begum 03:25
19 Bandan Bandho (Raga Bhopali) Shobha Gurtu 04:19
Total Length 78:31

As much as I have considered how to go about proceeding with the review, I decided to follow the track list as per the order in which these tracks appear in the film.

The titles roll on screen, and we see a huge candle flaming in the middle of a mujhra performance, A beautifully white clothed, blue-eyed Nargis dance strides across the screen. Ghungroo and Pakhawaj begin with precise measurement, Nargis matches, the sitar strums appear, a gorgeous Raga Mishra Piloo flourishes, the santoor and sarangi joins in giving this track a depth beyond words. This was one of the tracks, apart from the background score and two other thumris, that Naushad composed for Pakeezah, and what a great choice he made. There was no other composed that could have helmed the unfinished score better than Naushad, he had a firm grasp of Indian Classical music; especially during the era that this unfinished score was required to be completed. Ironic enough was that Naushad came in to complete Ghulam Mohammed’s score, as Ghulamji was once Naushad’s musical assistant. Naushad remained faithful to Ghulamji and carried over the flavour and style of the main filmic tracks. For this track and the background score, Naushad employed Sitar player Ustad Raees Khan and Santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. As Raga Mishra Piloo serenades us, Lata Mangeshkar join in giving us one of the fewer rarer taranas in Raga Mishra Piloo. Dhir Tana Dere Na, Dheem Dheem Tana Na sings Lataji gliding through Mishra Piloo’s alaaps and tarana, with such grace and ease. She breaths life into Nargis’s woes, epitomising the entire film in this one track. No doubt, Naushad creates a gem cemented to the core of film music lovers enabling newer listeners to grasp the intricacies on classical music.

The music of the mountains showers its might into ‘Mora Saajan Souten Ghar Jaye’ based on Raag Pahadi. Sung beautifully by Vani Jairam, she laments that her lover has gone to his ‘Lover’s home’. This thumri is used as a background piece and depicts the emotional state of the onscreen characters. Raga Pahadi is often referred to as a ‘dhun’ but given the right treatment the ascent and descent notes can be properly defined as a raga. It evokes peace, passion and tranquilty, it is like a lover; intense, delicate and intricate but also ordained to the painful parting designed by destiny. Naushad cleverly uses the last bit to create a thumri wherein the singer pronounces her woes at her lover, for going to her souten. The lyrics are credited to ‘Traditional’ meaning this bandish was composed eons ago and sung in folklore. Simple in its structure, only two instruments accompany Vani Jairam; tabla and sarangi, but so subtle that Vani’s voice comes to fore; she leaves us wanting more, hearing her gentle alaaps and bandish with this faithful rendition.

‘Inhi Logon Ne’ is without doubt the most popular track of Pakeezah, it had also been featured in many movies after Pakeezah. Rendered in Raga Yaman Kalyan, we get to hear a throaty Lata Mangeshkar singing to Ghulam Mohammed’s composition. The way he composed the track leaves you longing to keep the repeat button on, the antaras carry a great melody and Lataji sings superbly. Many may not know that while the lyric is credited to Majrooh Sultanpuri, as he employs the ‘Doosron Ki Zameen Par Chalana’ method to write this lyric; read more about this method in my ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ review, that this particular lyric had been credited to ‘Traditional’ and also a folklore melody. What is even more interesting is that this ‘song’ has been sung and used in many movies before Pakeezah. It was ultimately Pakeezah that popularised the track and became synonymous with Meena Kumari and Pakeezah. This is where tune and lyric were used before and after Pakeezah:

Year Film Composer Song Title Singers
1936 Achhut Kanya Saraswati Devi Choodiyan Mein Laya Anmol Re Saraswati Devi
1941 Himmat Pt. Govindram Inhi Logon Ne Shamshad Begum
1943 Abroo Pt. Govindram Inhi Logon Ne Yakub
1950 Sartaj Husnlal Bhagatram Maja Mila Hai Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum
1969 Beti Sonik-Omi Lehnga Mangate Meri Babu Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar
1972 Pakeezah Ghulam Mohammed Inhi Logon Ne Lata Mangeshkar
1993 Kshatriya Laxmikant Pyarelal Dil Na Kisi Ki Lata Mangeshkar & Kavita Krishnamurty

I would not categorise the Pakeezah track as plagiarised due to the fact that amongst classical music singers, these compositions and lyrical bandishes belong to no one in particular and can be re-used in their typical gharana renditions with intonations of Raga Yaman Kalyan. Ghulam Mohammed placed this track amongst the folklore of the time, location and flavour the movie depicts it in and both he and Lata Mangeshkar shine.

Naushad should be thanked for his illustrious career, and even though he came in to complete the final score, he didn’t succumb to giving half-baked compositions. He brought in the ultimate classical artists to give the listeners a complete experience any music lover could have wished for. For the next track he brought in Begum Parween Sultana to render ‘Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam’ in Raga Mishra Khamaj. He leaves no stone unturned here, Parween in her true Patiala Gharana style sings this thumri with such gusto, her difficult alaaps, meend movements and restraint at which she sings is completely unmatchable; It’s a gift we could not be thankful enough for. Listen to how she croons ‘Shyaam’ integrating the arahona and avarahona of Mishra Khamaj, it will leave you wondering, what on earth happened to Bollywood now? With such a great heritage at their helm, we only hear remixes of songs of yore with no heritage. That is why even after 46 years, these gems continue to live on.

Naushad’s final contribution to Pakeezah comes in the form of the thumri ‘Najariya Ki Maari’ sung by Rajkumari in Raga Khamaj. Naushad once again composes this track with very subtle instrumentation; just the tabla and sarangi. Rajkumari is made the highlight of the track and Naushad gives this thumri an old-world-charm and nostalgia. She also sings with effective control, evoking the pathos of Raga Khamaj. What exquisiteness was presented to us listeners! Thank you, Naushadji, your additions to Pakeezah presented faithfulness to Ghulam Mohammed and you gave us gems of tracks that will remain eternally praised.

‘Thade Rahiyo O Banke Yaar’ is my personal favourite from Pakeezah, just because of the elaborate composition and singing. Lataji no doubt deserves accolades for this song; Ghulam Mohammed brought out such melody and strength in this Raga Maand track. Maand is said to have originated in the deserts of Rajasthan, and is very difficult to render. When you hear ‘Thade Rahiyo’ in its entirety you will understand this statement; Lataji gives a full throaty rendition matched by instrumentation that Ghulam Mohammed employs. The lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri are outstanding, they give the situation in the film a wonderful resonance. The track begins with Lataji singing Majrooh’s opening line ‘Chandni raat, badi Der ki Baad Aayee Hain’ in Madhya saptak, the sarangi matching her every inflection, then the sarangi comes to the fore, pouring its heart out, ghungroos chime in, and Raga Maand springs into power. The tabla infuses energy into the track just before Lata sings ‘Thade Rahiyo’, but just hear her sing that line, hitting all the notes with heartiness. As the raga opens out, Lataji moves between saptaks, vocal gymnastics with the ascent and descent scales and just when you think it can’t get any better, she slays you with her tarana and alaap renditions. It almost feels surreal! All in the meanwhile Ghulam Mohammed’s composition matching Lataji’s vocal skill; the sarangi and ghungroo-beat match every intonation, the sitar strums add in a terrific character to the song and carries it out elegantly, but it doesn’t end there. Hear how the song mellows out to a complete silence, and Lata begins her vocal gymnastics once again as she sings ‘Nighodi, Bole Chhama Chham Payal…’, even as she whispers ‘Main To Chhup Kaise, Saiyanji Dheere Se Kholungi Dwaar Re’ she leave us exasperated, but then back to a full guttural Taar Saptak in a matter of seconds. Pt. Ram Narayan played the sarangi for this track and he too mentioned that he needed several retakes to get Ghulam Mohammed’s composition as he required it. Meenaji onscreen is a wonder to watch, see her facial expressions match Lataji’s versatility. This song is  treat visually and aurally.

Once in a long while there comes a melody that can make time stand still, make all your worries disappear, and even transport you into the world of music and lyrics that it comprises of… ‘Chalte Chalte Yunhi Koi Mil Gaya Tha’ is that song for Pakeezah. Strands of the swarmandal are strummed, the sarangi serenades, the flute encompasses our minds and immediately this effervescent tabla drone and clap ensues; Lata begins, so demure and powerful; she stretches our imagination to the mind of Sahibjaan.  the opening verse is then repeated, but this time as if we are living in that long night of fervour. Kaifi Azmi’s lyrical ode creates a fantasy about Sahibjaan’s thoughts, which is enough to make a lover crazy. Ghulam Mohammed fashions a melody out of strains of Raga Bhoop and Raga Kalyan set to Kaherva taal; that effectively provides a wonderful melody of love. It is hard to imagine that these songs were recorded in just one take when you can understand the detail of music and singing that goes into creating a track like this. Take for instance the line ‘Ye Chirag… Bujh Rahi Hai, Ye Chirag, Ye Chirag Bujh Rahi Hai’ , Lata’s vocals take us through a high-wire trapeze act, and the instrumentation matches every vocal note! It was truly the golden age of music.

Chalte Chalte Yunhi Koi Mil Gaya Tha
I met someone by chance while walking
Sare Raah Chalte Chalte
Walking around the path
Wohii Thamke Rah Gayii Hai
The night suddenly came to a standstill
Meri Raat Dhalte Dhalte
Just as it was about to fade away

Jo Kahii Gayii Na Mujhse
What I was unable to voice
Woh Zamaanaa Keh Rahaa Hai
The world is now saying
Ki Fasaanaa Ban Gayii Hai
That a fable has been created
Meri Baat Dalte Dalte
From those words which evaded me

Shab-E-Intezaar Aakhir Kabhi Hogi Mukhtasar Bhi
That night of waiting will after all shorten soon
Yeh Chiraag Bhuj Rahi Hai
These lamps are dying
Mere Saath Jalte Jalte
As they burn alongside me

Kamal Amrohi helms the lyrics for the next track, and he showcases his poetic talent in the form of ‘Mausam Hai Aashiqana’, Ghulam Mohammed composes this one in Raga Yaman. Yaman conveys a serene emotion and the rasa of shringar, the song aptly carries these characteristics out. Once again, melody queen Lata Mangeshkar sings with utmost care and love, portraying Sahibjaan’s tranquility and peace. This song takes us away from mujhras and thumris the album has so far produced. Simple instrumentation makes this song an easy listen, and Ghulam Mohammed even employs western instruments like the harp and Hawaiian guitar to convey the mood; this proved his extensive mastery. Even though these instruments are used, he never loses sight of Raga Yaman. The most effective part of the song comes when Lataji croons the verse:

Ye Raat Ye Khamoshi
Ye Khwab Se Nazare
Ye Khwab Se Nazare
Jugnu Hai Ya Zameen Par
Uttre Hue Hai Tare
Bekhaab Meri Aankhen
Bekhaab Meri Aankhen
Madhosh Hai Zamaana
Madhosh Hai Zamaana

Just like Kamal Amrohi’s verse, the voice of Lataji and the music by Ghulam Mohammed catapults us into the minds of our hearts. it is brilliant in every sense.

A duet in the form of Raga Pahadi appears after many solo tracks, ‘Chalo Dildar Chalo’ is presented to us by Ghulam Mohammed in the voices of Mohammed Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar set to Dadra Taal. Written in exquisite poetry by well known Urdu poet Kaif Bhopali, he intoxicates the lovers to the moon and back. Mohammed Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar are splendour to listen to and their duets are known far and wide. Alone, they stand tall but when they sing together they demand the listeners attention. ‘Chalo Dildar Chalo ‘ doesn’t fall short of any magic, hear their alaaps between the antaras, their pronunciation of the Urdu shayari, breathing life into Ghulam Mohammed’s composition. Ghulamji orchestrates the song in a light meoldy, easy to love. The sitar remains king, strumming beauty upon beauty, it’s as if that ship will reach the moon, whilst the poetry gives them wings with which to take flight with.

Chalo Dildaar Chalo
Lets Go My Darling Lets Go

Chaand Ke Paar Chalo
Lets Go Beyond The Moon

Hum Hai Tayaar Chalo
I’m Ready Let Us Go


Chalo Dildaar Chalo
Lets Go My Darling Lets Go

Chaand Ke Paar Chalo
Lets Go Beyond The Moon

Hum Hai Tayaar Chalo
I’m Ready Let Us Go
Aao Kho Jaaye Sitaaron Mein Kahin
Come Let Us Forget Ourselves Somewhere Among The Stars

Chhod De Aaj Yeh Duniya Yeh Zameen
Lets Leave Behind This World And This Earth

Duniya Yeh Zameen
World, This Earth


Chalo Dildaar Chalo
Lets Go My Darling Lets Go

Chaand Ke Paar Chalo
Lets Go Beyond The Moon

Hum Hai Tayaar Chalo
I’m Ready Let Us Go
Hum Nashe Mein Hai Sambha Lo Hamein Tum 
I’m Not In My Senses ,intoxicated (By Your Love), Please Hold Me With Care

Neend Aati Hai Jaga Lo Hamein Tum
Feeling Dreamy, Wake Me Up

Jaga Lo Hamein Tum
Wake Me Up


Chalo Dildaar Chalo
Lets Go My Darling Lets Go

Chaand Ke Paar Chalo
Lets Go Beyond The Moon

Hum Hai Tayaar Chalo
I’m Ready Let Us Go

Oh Oh, Oh Oh, Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh

Oh Oh Oh, Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh
Zindagi Khatm Bhi Ho Jaaye Agar 
Even This Life Ends

Na Kabhi Khatm Ho Ulfat Ka Safar
Never Will This Journey Of Love End

Ulfat Ka Safar
Journey Of Love


Chalo Dildaar Chalo
Lets Go My Darling Lets Go

Chaand Ke Paar Chalo
Lets Go Beyond The Moon

Hum Hai Tayaar Chalo
I’m Ready Let Us Go

Raga Khamaaj pours out all its might in the powerful ‘Aaj Hum Apni Duaon Ke Asar Dekhenge, Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge’. Everything about this track shows power, Lataji’s singing, Ghulam Mohammed’s composition, Kaif Bhopali’s lyric and even Sahibjaan’s dance finale on the broken glass, its an ode to the pain of love. A powerful pakhawaj opens the track, Sitar almost like a tanpura, ghungroos lashing, it sets the tone for the situation. Lata opens the track and expresses Sahibjaan’s pathos with ultimate heartbreak. The pakhawaj mellows out giving the tabla foreground,carrying the song through Sahibjaan’s aches. Lataji once again shows her versatility with this song, her expressions can almost be imagined as she sings. The lyric is like saltwater to a wound, they express the inner hurt hauntingly, unleashing a passion that Sahibjaan was so well trained to suppress.  Ghulam Mohammed gives us a track that makes us wish he lived longer, to enthrall us further. But thats not all, once we hear the glass breaking, Ghulamji gives us a haunting Khamaaj instrumental complete with ornamentation and the darker side of this Raga. Hear the sarangi’s voice crying out, the drama, the pain and hurt conclude in a majestic style. Kaif’s play on the words ‘Teer-E-Nazar’ is superb, that line is normally used to describe a lover’s gaze, but here it’s like a dagger destroying love.

Aaj Hum Apnii Duaaon Kaa Asar Dekhenge
Today I Shall Behold The Image Of My Prayers
Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
I Shall See Arrows From Your Glances, I Shall See The Wounds Of My Heart

Aap To Aankh Milaate Hue Sharmaate Hain
Upon Meeting My Eyes, You Feel Embarrassed
Aap To Dil Ke Dhadakne Se Bhi Dar Jaate Hain
You Are Even Afraid Of Your Own Heartbeat
Phir Bhi Yeh Zidd Hai Ki Ham Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
Nonetheless I Remain Stubborn To Witness The Wounds Of My Heart
Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
I Shall See Arrows From Your Glances, I Shall See The Wounds Of My Heart

Pyaar Karna Dil-E Betaab Buraa Hotaa Hai
It Is Unfortunate For A Weak Heart To Fall In Love
Sunte Aaye Hai Ki Yeh Khwaab Buraa Hota Hai
I Have Heard That This Dream Of Mine Is Also Cursed
Aaj Is Khwaab Ke Taabir Magar Dekhenge
But Today I Will Interpret The Meaning Of That Dream
Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
I Shall See Arrows From Your Glances, I Shall See The Wounds Of My Heart

Jaan Levaa Hai Mohabbat Ka Samaa Aaj Ki Raat
Tonight This Atmosphere Of Love Feels Fatal
Shamaa Ho Jaayegii Jal Jal Ke Dhuaan Aaj Ki Raat
Tonight The Lamps Shall Burn Into Smoke
Aaj Ki Raat Bachenge To Sahar Dekhenge
If I Escape Tonight, Then I Shall See The Dawn
Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
I Shall See Arrows From Your Glances, I Shall See The Wounds Of My Heart

Aaj Hum Apnii Duaaon Kaa Asar Dekhenge
Today I Shall Behold The Image Of My Prayers
Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E Jigar Dekhenge
I Shall See Arrows From Your Glances, I Shall See The Wounds Of My Heart

The above track concludes the soundtrack of the ‘Film’ Pakeezah, the review doesn’t end there though. Ghulam Mohammed composed 9 other songs that had not been used in the film, and as a token of good faith to the composer, Kamal Amrohi compiled these tracks and had them released by HMV as ‘Pakeezah Rang Barang’; an enchanting assortment of Thumri, Ghazal, Qawalli and Mujhra fills the brim of this musical odyssey.

‘Yeh Kis Ki Aankhon Ka Noor Ho Tum’ begins Mohammed Rafi, with a joy in his voice, when you hear this opening line, you can already determine the lyrical value of this track; Majrooh Sultanpuri pours his mind and heart in the lyrics. Soft sitar strums accompany Rafi sahab, hen we get to hear an assortment of western instrments like the harmonica, guitar and flute. Ghulam Mohammed bridges the middle line between with ghazal and qawwali with this breezy love melody. It is so easy to fall in love with this song. Kamal Amrohi must have really had a tough time deciding whether to leave this track out of the film. As Rafi croons the antaras, the melody is seeped further in sweetness, he was a perfect choice. Rafi sahab had a particular style of carrying a song to the next level, and it shows here too, as the lines continue, his breath rhythm continues from the previous line; which makes for melodious listening. Ghulam Mohammed seems to have carved this track out of Raga Yaman, but there are points in the song which deflect from the notes of Yaman.

Pakeezah is classified as a Muslim Social, and while the film songs are of great value, the one element missing from this ‘Muslim Social’ was a qawalli track. Ghulam Mohammed composed a qawalli that never made it to the film. Having watched Pakeezah, i cannot see any place where Kamal Amrohi would have placed this track. The qawalli presents itself as the second track of the Rang Barang.; Hatkar Tere Qadmon Se is presented in the voices of Mohammed Rafi & Shamshad Begum with poetry by Kaif Bhopali. The harmonium introduces the track, Rafi sings a soft alaap and leads to title; Ghulam Mohammed makes brilliant use of the traditional elements of Qawalli, the tabla and claps join in and gives it authenticity. Shamshad Begum adds a rustic flavour, she sings at the necessary high pitch and furthers the mysticism. The track is infused with  brilliant alaaps just before the anataras begin, Both Rafi and Shamshad Begum provide great fun whilst singing and it almost comes off as a qawalli muqabla, but the lyrics intend a different purpose.

Leke Angrai Sar-E-Bazm Bahut Pachhtai

Muft Mein Ho Gayi Badnaam Wohi Ruswai

Aaya Gussa Kabhi Apne Se Kabhi Sharmai

Utthe Gabra Ke Magar Aisi Qamar Balkayi

These are shayari lines that Meena Kumari recites as an introduction to the Thumri sung by Suman Kalyanpur. Meenaji sounds dreamy uttering those lines with the sarangi adding a solemn atmosphere; It is effective in its execution, and Suman Kalyanpur continues with ‘Gir Gayi More Mathe Ki Bindiya‘. A flourish of instruments is used by Ghulam Mohammed  to create the Kotha atmosphere. Whilst the sitar is the main instrument, the sarangi is heard all through, a light tabla beat with effect on the Dayan. Suman Kalyanpur brings a fresh change, she renders this track effortlessly. Kaif Bhopali’s lyric also brings about a melancholic romance, drowned in the world of Sahibjaan.

Chalo Dildar Chalo‘ makes a second appearance, but this time in the Mujhra format; a solo version by Lata Mangeshkar. This track was recorded before the duet version, and  intended as a mujhra performance. Ghulam Mohammed in his expertise creates a faster paced track based on Raga Pahadi. The lyrics by Kaif Bhopali remain unchanged, and is still effective in this setting. The film retained only one romantic duet and rightly so, Kamal Amrohi could not use this version in the film as well.

A most sweet and melodious Lata Mangeshkar starts ‘Tanhai Sunaya Karti Hai‘ with a forlorn alaap; she injects a painful sweet-sadness to Kamal Amrohi’s lyric. Ghulam Mohammed extends the dejection to the melody based on Raga Maand, and gives us gem of a song. It is not difficult to understand the tag line that Meena Kumari received as the ‘Tragedy Queen’ when you hear this song.  I drowned in thought when i heard this verse:

Woh Mera Kisi Ki Chahat Mein
Jeene Ko Museebat Kar Lena
Din Raat Akele Reh Reh Kar
Tanhayee Ki Aadat Kar Lena
Behlayee Koi To Ro De Na
Samjhayee Koi To Gabrana

The Shenhnai opens ‘Peeke Chale Yeh Chale‘ with the guitar and and flute, conveying a very Arab-Persian sound. Ghulam Mohammed creates a simple track with emphasis placed on Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals. There are beautiful alaaps in between the antaras; energetically  orchestrated with light tabla and tarabuka beats. The lyric by Majrooh Sultanpuri emanates from a drunken state of pleasure.

‘Pyare Babul Tumhari Duhai’ serves as a Bidaai song, sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the usual Bidaai tradition. Kaif Bhopali lyrics are effective in conveying the sadness that a bride feels when leaving her father’s home.  As is expected with a track of this nature, Ghulam Mohammed gives the Shehnai foreground, accompanied by a soft tabla and dhol beat. Lata sings  this slow paced track , with a special flair at the end of every antara which will tug at your heartstrings.

Kothe Se Bada Lamba Hamara Banna‘ is playful song joyfully sung by Shamshad Begum;  the lyrics are jestfully composed Kaif Bhopali, about the ‘happier’ times around the Kotha. Harmonium and Shehnai dominate the track, and it flows nicely. Ghulam Mohammed creates a very Qawalli-like song.

And now for the pièce de résistance from the Pakezeeh Rang Barang album; ‘Bandhan Bandho‘. If there was one track that wooed me off my feet, it was this track. You have to  engage with this Thumri based on Raga Bhoopali; it speaks volumes for both the singer Shobha Gurtu and composer Ghulam Mohammed.  The track is 4:18 sec, and so defined in Raga Bhopali that Shobha Gurtu will floor you with her rendition. The complete track is rendered in Taar Saptak, and the way Shobhaji restrains hers vocals, it is impossible to imitate. Hear how she carries the meend, then shifts to the next note with her alaaps, it is the most difficult song of the entire Pakeezah album in both singing and composing. Ghulam Mohammed uses only the sarangi, tanpura and pakhawaj, but is able to create a flowing piece of musical artistic-poetry. Shobha Gurtu  is undeniably one of the greatest vocalists India has ever witnessed; and very underrated too. While she got to sing many film songs, none can compare to this piece.  What a way to end an album that is already in the musical greats in the entire history of Indian Film Music. WAH!

While doing my research i stumpbled across this video and thought i should also share this. It talks about the lost Thumris that were composed for Pakeezah, but neither appeared on the main album or the Pakeezah Rang Barang album that released later on.

The video included 3 thumris that were released on physical media and discussed above; the ones listed below are the ones that are truly lost in the history of making Pakeezah. Looking at the singers on this list, it seems Naushad composed these haunting Thumri’s. They are beautiful time capsules, and i am grateful that we could at-least hear snippets of them.

1. Mori Baali Umariya Mein Daag Sung By Rajkumari
2. Ab Ki Na Jao Bides Sung By Rajkumari
3. Maut Bhi Furqat Mein Sung By Vani Jairam
4. Yeh Dhuan Sa Kahan Se Uthta Hain Sung By Naseem Bano Chopra

A friend described the Pakeezah as a fragmented dream like the colour of pomegranates; everything about the film is seeped in nostalgia, mystery and unfulfilled romantic yearning. It is such an enigma because what is left of it, is so gorgeously breathtaking that you imagine how the full film was shot and presented exactly like Kamal Amrohi intended. It is probably the most significant Indian film ever made, which it still is, but to a diminished extent because of the ravages of time. Pakeezah’s music deserves a complete 10.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Tashmi vyas says:

    Such a great review on pakeezah’s music….i absolutely love all the songs…notice how the sound of ghungroos play a vital role in each song…from Inhi logo ne to Thade rahiyo to Chalte Chalte and finally Teer -e- nazar…my most favourite is Thade rahiyo – being a big Meena Kumariji fan …she is absolutely wonderful in the song…just cannot take your eyes of her…all the little nakhras..playful, calculating, so much grace i can go on and on about Meenaji in this song❤
    Second comes Teer-e-Nazar because of the music it really gives you an ache in the heart making you feel sahibjaan’s pain…the use of ghungroos lashing in the starting adding to it…also because meenaji herself was in so much pain during the song…i closely relate her life to sahibjaan’s with the amount of pain she has gone through(just to be loved) and inspite of it she keeps on going…cannot help but cry for Meenaji and Shahibjaan….
    Chalte chalte comes next again beautifully sung by lataji and Meenaji looks absolutely stunning…
    For me Pakeezah is Meena Kumari (the pure one) with the theme of the movie mirroring her life (to love and be loved)
    And this is what Meenaji herself could relate and connect to…. Meena Kumariji❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. m_007 says:

    Awesome review! As an addition, I recently stumbled across an LP by Naushad called “songs of the waves”. This same LP was released under three different titles on vinyl by US based record labels (Innovations by Naushad * Messenger of Love are the other titles). All three have the same track listings which is where I can assume that they contain the same music.

    Anyway – much to my surprise (and delight) the LP was the entire background score of Pakeezah. All of those musical interludes that complement the movie so well are on this LP. I believe it was originally released in 1972, but there is no mention of Pakeezah anywhere on the cover art and I had no idea that the entire background score was released. I’ve been searching in vain for the lost thumris/ghazals from Pakeezah but am yet to find them. One day maybe the original recordings might surface. At least Maut Bhi Furqat was re-sung by Vani Jairam in the 1980s on a BBC TV show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, this is also the first time i am hearing about this. Thanks so much for the information. Once i procure the disc, i will add on to this review. Thanks for reading and commenting. much appreciated!!!


  3. Ali Awan says:

    Holy !@##%2! You don’t understand what a GIFT this review was. Comprehensive and educational! Ufh. I was always confused about the Raag used for “Thaare rahiyo” because practically ALL the websites state it is Yaman Kalyan, and I always felt that was a wrong assessment.
    Apart from that, you going into depth about the different vocal gymnastic styles used, and the feel of the songs, and highlighting words like “shyaam” by Parveen Sultana is EXACTLY what I notice in the classical songs I listen to. Seriously, bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HQ Chowdhury says:

    A heavenly gift to music lovers! Thanks Great Bollywood Party. Dil maange more and more like this!


    1. Thank you for this wonderful comment, There is much more of this sort coming up; and beautiful music to revel in.


  5. What a wonderful and comprehensive analysis! The use of swarna mandal is very unique to the Hindustani tradition I think and it has been used in the beginning of Chalte chalte. It’s amazing how your love for music and cinema have come together in this post. Thanks for this.


  6. Bruce says:


    1- Some songs were omitted from the film. Do you have link for the ones that were omitted but released I think?

    2- Some links are now broken on this page. Please update if possible.



    1. Hi Bruce, Thanks for the feedback, i have updated where i have found links (again). Enjoy


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