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Rajinder Krishan — Hum Kuchh Nahi Kehte (Part 3)

July 6, 2023 | By

This essay has attempted to explore the work of Rajinder Krishan (RK) the lyricist, vis-à-vis his collaboration with different composers between 1948-1973, his most prolific working period. This third and last part of the essay, and perhaps of most relevance to many of his fans, explores his work with the two composers he worked most with – C Ramchandra and Madan Mohan.

Continued from Rajinder Krishan — Hum Kuchh Nahi Kehte (Part 2)

An aircraft goes through three distinct phases during its flight – the taxi on the runway with a brief halt at the end of the runway while it revs up its engines followed by a steep climb until it reaches cruising altitude, where it can take a breather and relax a little. One wonders if the aircraft called Rajinder Krishan ever went through these phases. Once he ‘took off’, the success of his songs seems to have come rather quickly, if not immediately, so that the ‘climb’ is not really distinct from the ‘cruise’ period, which lasted a couple of decades at least! Whether the takeoff-climb period was painless or took tremendous effort is a question only the gentleman himself can answer. To someone studying his work, it seems as if he kept striking gold, no matter who he worked with! And perhaps even more, when he worked with C Ramchandra and Madan Mohan.


C Ramchandra and Rajinder Krishan with family

C Ramchandra with Rajinder Krishan and his family, (L to R) Adarsh Parashar, Ravi, Pyari and Rajinder Krishan’s wife Savitri RK Duggal (Pic: Rajesh Duggal)

After starting off with Husnlal-Bhagatram for the non-filmi paean he wrote for Mahatma Gandhi, Suno suno aye duniyawaalo (1948) and Tere naino ne chori kiya in the same year in Pyar Ki Jeet, there seems to have been no looking back because C Ramchandra (CR) stepped in with Patanga in 1949 with 10 songs, most of which became popular, including the mega-hit which can still stir memories for some seniors as it achieved cult status! It has many remix avatars, ascribing to its popularity over 60+ years. Possibly the first “phone” song in our films, it was filmed on the popular Gope and Nigar Sultana as a stage performance in the film, with the stage being divided into two portions, one depicting ‘Burma, Rangoon’ and the other, ‘Dehradoon’ where the lady lives. One wonders why Gope is wearing a lungi in Burma until he sings the following verse:

Aji tum se bichchad ke ho gaye hum sanyasi
Kha lete hain jo mil jaaye, rookhi-sookhi, baasi
Aji, loongi baandh ke karein guzaara, bhool gaye patloon, tumhari yaad sataati hai…

Mere piya gaye Rangoon (Patanga, 1949) C Ramchandra / Chitalkar & Shamshad Begum

C Ramchandra, called by many names, including Chitalkar (his singing avatar), was a maverick composer. It is hard to pin him down to any one genre or style of composing. There is a much-loved quote on the internet which says, “Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” Well, much before the internet, CR had discovered this and not only used the whole box of crayons in his compositions but I suspect concocted some colours that didn’t exist! He found a willing and more than capable partner in Rajinder Krishan, who wrote song after song for CR in all the hues there were; in fact, it wouldn’t be hyperbole to state that CR and RK painted the airwaves in all the colours of the emotional rainbow during the 50s! Let’s take a closer look.

Patanga was followed by the songs of Samadhi in 1950. The music here was coloured differently than the earlier Patanga, the story being built around Netaji Subhash Chandra, the INA and spies, but this duo was up to the task! Catch the stylish female duet of Lata and Amirbai Karnataki, Gore gore, O baanke chore, kabhi meri gali aaya karo with Nalini Jaywant and Kuldeep Kaur on screen, the lively castanets heralding the trumpet; Shamshad Begum in Idhar muhabbat, udhar zamana, kidhar chale hum, kidhar chale, and the RK-CR version of our National Anthem, Sab mil kar Hind pukaren, sung as a chorus during the titles or the rousing Qadam-qadam badhaaye ja by Chitalkar and chorus, each one is melodious in itself. However, two Lata solos are worth elaborating on.

Abhi shaam aayegi, niklenge tare, magar tum na hoge
Pukarenge tumko ro-ro ke nazaare, magar tum na hoge…
Chalegi agar tthandi-tthandi hawaayen, sataayengi mujhko
Kahin door bansi ki meetthi sadaayen rulaayengi mujhko
Main dhoondhungi tum ko, O mere sahaare, magar tum na hoge…

And a song that halts many of us in our tracks, not just Ashok Kumar on screen, as it begins with a waltz and proceeds to become the plaintive cry of a heart breaking into a thousand pieces,

Vo paas aa rahe hain, hum door jaa rahe hain
Apni khushi se apni duniya luta rahe hain…
O door jaanewaale tujh ko khabar nahi hai
Hum rootth kar khushi se ghum ko manaa rahe hain…

Vo paas aa rahe hain (Samadhi, 1959) C Ramchandra / Lata

Already their canvas was looking like a rainbow, but the CR-RK team was just getting warmed up! If Patanga and Samadhi were a trailer of their combined creative forces then Albela (1951), Anarkali (1953) and Azaad (1955) were the complete CinemaScope film!

Albela, a musical comedy was a first-of-its-kind musical score, I believe! All vocals were sung by Chitalkar and Lata, with Western rhythms and instruments like bongos, oboes, clarinets, trumpets, and saxophones for wildly popular songs like Shola jo bhadke, dil mera dhadke, and Deewana, parwaana, shamaa pe aaya le ke dil ka nazraana.

A magnificent piano-clarinet-trumpet combo used in the purely desi Bholi soorat dil ke khote, naam bade aur darshan chhote, using the popular idiom “naam bade aur darshan chhote” as its refrain; while a whistle does the trick to hook the listener in Shaam dhale, khidki tale, tum seeti bajaana chhod do.

On the other hand, the movie boasts the semi-classical Balma bada nadaan re and the outstanding O beta ji, O baabu ji, kismat ki hawaa kabhi naram, kabhi garam composed and sung with such elan by Chitalkar! Oh yes, this team was going all out to use each crayon in their box, making this movie the third highest-grossing film of the year. A dozen songs, including two versions of the lori, each one with either thought, metaphor, imagery, or personification in the lyrics to contribute to the charm created by C Ramchandra for its composition.

For us, a look at a different hue, one of the sweetest loris in Hindi films sung ever so lovingly by Lata. Imagine the night (rajni) singing a lullaby to the moon secretly, discreetly, without letting the stars know, to the delight of the happy, relaxed moon! On-screen, this is a sister, singing the lullaby to her brother.

Dheere se aa ja ri akhiyan mein, nindiya aa ja ri aa ja, dheere se aa ja
Chupke se nainan ki bagiyan mein, nindiya aa ja ri aa ja, dheere se aa ja
Taaron se chhup kar, taaron se chori,
Deti hai rajni chandaa ko lori
Hansta hai chandaa bhi nindiyan mein…

Dheere se aa ja (Albela, 1951) C Ramchandra / Lata

Of the three films mentioned earlier, Albela was a musical comedy,  Anarkali was a period film based on the love affair of the Mughal Prince Salim and Anarkali and Azaad was a rare ‘happy’ film featuring the King of Tragedy, Dilip Kumar, and the Tragedienne Royale of Hindi films, Meena Kumari. The treatment of all three musical scores was extremely different and each became highly popular.

Rajinder Krishan wrote six of the 12 songs for Anarkali (1953), sharing the credit for Lyricist with three others. It’s difficult to choose just one of these six songs to highlight. Maybe you can choose one that you like best:

Zindagi pyar ki do-chaar ghadi hoti hai
Chaahe thodi-si ho ye umr badi hoti hai…
(Hemant Kumar)

Muhabbat mein aise qadam ladkhadaaye
Zamaana ye samjha ke hum pee ke aaye, pee ke aaye…
Kisi ki muhabbat mein majboor ho kar
Hum un tak to pahunche, vo hum tak na aaye…

Aye baad-e-sabaa, aahista chal, yahaan soyi hui hai Anarkali
Aaankhon mein jalwe Salim ke, liye khoyi hui hai Anarkali…
(Hemant Kumar)

2 versions of this one, with the sad version ending on those piercing high notes!

Ye zindagi usi ki hai, jo kisi ka ho gaya, pyar hi mein kho gaya
Aye zindagi ki shaam aa, tujhe gale lagaaun main
Tujhi mein doob jaaun main, jahaan ko bhool jaaun main
Bus ik nazar mere sanam, alvida…alvida…

Dil ki lagi hai kya, ye kabhi dil lagaa de dekh
Aansu bahaa ke dekh, kabhi muskura ke dekh
Parwaana jal rahaa hai, magar jal rahaa hai kya
Ye raaz jaanana hai to khud ko jalaa ke dekh
Mujh se mat poochh mere ishq mein kya rakha hai
Ek shola hai jo seene mein chhupa rakha hai…

Or perhaps this one? Dipped in sorrow and helplessness.

Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag (Anarkali, 1953) C Ramchandra / Hemant Kumar and Lata

As sombre/serious as Anarkali was, Azaad (1955) was the complete opposite. High in energy, and frothy, with its uber-popular duet Kitna haseen hai mausam, kitna haseen safar hai; the folk-based Lata-Usha Mangeshkar duets, O baliye chal chaliye and Apalam chapalam chaplaayi re duniya ko chhod teri gali aayi re, it offered many lighter shades of life to feel joyous with, and a charm that never quite leaves me. Dekho ji bahaar aayi, baagon mein khili kaliyan, Kitni jawaan hai raat koi yaad aa gaya, and Pi ke daras ko taras rahi akhiyan beg repeated hears while two other classical solos sung by Lata create a permanent address in the heart with their charm.

A plea to the rain clouds to go away as the beloved is away:

Jaa ri jaa ri O kaari badariya, mat barso ri meri nagariya, pardes gaye hain sanwariya…
This following one wins by a whisker because of the lyrics. Look at the story Rajinder Krishan tells here.

Krishna, that mischievous cowherd, has broken Radha’s matka of water with his slingshot. She’s upset, not talking to him, and is punishing him by hiding her face in her ghunghat. What is to be done to make up for his mischief? How to appease her? These lyrics are fascinating:

Radha na bole, na bole na bole re, ghunghat ke pat na khole re…
Rootthi hui yun na manegi, Chhaliya
Charano mein Radha ke rakh do muraliya

Meaning, if there’s a problem in a relationship, put aside all vanity, all ego, even that which defines you in this relationship. Become humble; bend. If the relationship is important, express that in ways that can’t be mistaken… Baat ban jayegi haule-haule re… 

Radha na bole (Azaad, 1955) C Ramchandra / Lata

The RK-CR team continued painting the town with their full box of crayons; innovating and pleasing their listeners with music in films like Sharada (1957), Asha (1957), and Baarish (1957), with Amar Deep (1958) being their last popular film together even though technically Payal Ki Jhankar (1968) was their swan song.

Here is another colour from their box of crayons – two women imploring the same moon to look after the same man wherever he may go. Rajinder Krishan, C Ramchandra, Lata and Asha manage to infuse into the song two different personalities using subtlety of word choice, vocal expression and use of different tunes for their verses in the song. A beautiful song, indeed.

O chand jahan vo jaayen (Sharada, 1957) C Ramchandra / Lata and Asha

Amar Deep (1958) boasts some beautiful love songs, duets and solos, happy as well as sad. The happy and sad versions of Dekh hummen awaaz na dena, Dil ki duniya basaa ke sanwariya, Mere mann ka baanwara panchhi kyun baar-baar dole, and two songs sung by Asha Bhosle that deserve special mention:

Kisi din zara dekh mera bhi ho ke
Kahaan tak diye jaayega jee ko dhokhe…
Tera dil hi khud tera dushman hai varnaa
Tujhe muskuraane se kyun koi roke…

 And this beautiful Title song always stops me in my tracks because of the emotion Asha infuses into these caring words:

Ye jee chaahta hai, kisi din main teri nigaaho se saari udaasi chura lun
Agar ho ijaazat, agar ho inaayat, tere ghum ko main apni kismat banaa lun…
Ajab ye safar hai teri zindagi ka ke hai har qadam par andhera-andhera
Jo teri khushi ho, to raahon mein teri amar deep main apne dil ka jalaa lun…

But since we’ve committed ourselves to discovering the different colours this musical partnership painted with, here is a quirky Johny Walker song sung by the inimitable Rafi about a ‘conquest’!

Ab darr hai kis ka pyaare (Amar Deep, 1958) C Ramchandra / Rafi

And lest you think Rajinder Krishan shone only in the ‘popular’ films, think again. And, perhaps, hear once more:

The thought in this do-teenya stuns as RK appeals to the moon to be loyal, and stable, unlike the relationships of the world which have proved fake. In order for the moon to prove its loyalty, it has to stop waning and waxing and stay steadfast – what an appeal!

Aye chand, pyar mera tujh se ye keh raha hai
Tu bewafa na hona, duniya to bewafa hai…

Nikhregi chaudhvin ko jis dum teri jawaani
Mit jaayegi jahaan se us dum meri kahaani
Sab aasre to chhoote, ik tera aasra hai …

Kee hai agar muhabbat tuney kabhi kisi se
O aasman ke pyaare, phir arz hai tujhi se
Poora kabhi na hona, ye meri iltajaa hai…
Khazana (1951) / Lata

This duet, a ghazal:

Muhabbat mein aise zamaane bhi aaye
Kabhi ro diye hum, kabhi muskuraaye

Muhabbat ki aankhon se ashko ko chun kar
Kisi ne falak par sitaare sajaaye, muhabbat mein aise…
Sagai (1951) / Talat & Lata

An interesting male duet, specially when you consider the lyrics. No visuals available on YouTube make this song even more intriguing!

Rafi: Meri sakhi bataa, teri pi bin kaisi guzri raat re?
Chitalkar: Kya kahun piya? Akhiyon mein kati meri sagri raat re
Hangama (1952) / Rafi & Chitalkar

Rajinder Krishan pens an interesting tale about 3 strangers who meet one night to make the magic of love happen:

Dil pehla, aur pyar doosra, teesri jawaani
Ek raat ko mil gaye teeno, ban gayi ek kahaani…

Dil ne maanga ek bahaana, pyar bahaana ho gaya
Pyar ne maanga ek tthikaana, dil hi tthikaana ho gaya
Pyar se dil ki baat ho gayi, hasne lagi jawaani…

Dil ko leke pyar banaaya, pyar ko leke dil
Dono aapas mein na milte pad jaati mushkil
Pyar na ho to dil bhi na ho, roti phire jawaani…
Saqi (1952) / Lata

Dil pehla aur pyar doosra (Saqi, 1952) C Ramchandra / Lata

In Jhanjhar (1953) the RK-CR team create a female duet which sounds like a lullaby but is in fact asking sleep not to come while requesting the night to not end.

Ja re ja, ja nindiya ja, na aa akhiyon mein, aaj na aa…
Aaj na doobo chand-sitaro, chamke jaao jag ke pyaaro
Jaa ri chandaniya, bhor se keh de, paapan dheere aa, ja re ja…
Jhanjhar (1953) / Lata & Madhubala Jhaveri

We’ve all heard of lyricists and poets calling the beloved their saviour – the ‘kinaara’ or ‘saahil’, but here is a confession of love calling the beloved a ‘storm’!

Tum meri zindagi mein toofan ban ke aaye
Chhote-se ek dil mein armaan ban ke aaye…
Shagufa (1953) / Lata

A beautiful prayer to stick to the straight and narrow path:

Aasha ke jab deep bujhe to mann ka deep jalaa
Jag ka rastaa chhod musafir, Teri raah chalaa
Apni chhaya mein Bhagwan bittha le mujhe
Main hun Tera, Tu apna banaa le mujhe…
Insaaniyat (1955) / Rafi

Have you heard this one?

Na jaane din ko tanhai mein rote hain kahaan jaa kar
Magar raaton ko ye saathi hamaare aa hi jaate hain
Kahin se shaam hote hi sitaare aa hi jaate hain
Shatranj (1956) / Asha

I spoke about Rajinder Krishan’s lyrics being used for many male duets and triets but here is a quartet! Four males serenading the same lady in their own way – in today’s world this could easily be called eve teasing!

Surat ho to aisi ho (Baarish, 1957) C Ramchandra / Chitalkar, Talat Mahmood, Francis Waz and Rafi

Any essay on RK-CR would remain incomplete without this, one of our first rock and roll songs, the mukhda of which was inspired by children singing “eeny, meeny, miny, mo”.  Hopefully, you are all at least tapping your feet as you hear this!

Eena Meena Deeka (Aasha, 1957) C Ramchandra / Kishore Kumar and chorus

At the height of their work together it was as if Rajinder Krishan and C Ramchandra were unstoppable! But people and partnerships are all finite — perhaps they had already exhausted all the colours at their disposal. While this partnership was dying down, another one had started blooming, as we shall see!


Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan

Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan

And here, I am stumped, because this partnership could take a whole essay by itself. How to select which songs to present as being their best? And how to keep to the word limit? Well, let’s try!

A musical friend shared a link to an interview that I have quoted in Part 2 of this essay in which Rajinder Krishan also shared that he was applauded by Jigar Moradabadi in a mushaira for a ghazal he recited at age 15. The only matla he remembered from that ghazal written long ago was

Kuchh is tarah vo mere paas aaye baitthe hain
Ke jaise aag se daaman bachaaye baitthe hain

The words here are simple but the implied emotions can take these two lines of poetry to a place of maturity much beyond a 15-year-old’s understanding. But good poets are generally not bound by time and space in their discernment of finer emotions. Not only the maturity of thought, but the fact that at age 15, RK was writing the more complex form of poetry, a ghazal, and being appreciated by a renowned poet like Jigar Moradabadi – almost 30 years his senior – is a fact to be noted.

Rajinder Krishan and Rajendra Kumar

Rajinder Krishan and Rajendra Kumar (Pic: Rajesh Duggal)

While this form of poetry seems to look short and simple it is possibly the hardest to write successfully. For a thought to be complete in two lines is a tall order, indeed. And for a ghazal to have a rhyming structure where each couplet following the opening rhyming couplet must have a second line which rhymes with the opening couplet – now, that complicates things even further! Do remember that the ghazal is not a style of singing; rather it is a form of written poem. In the days of Ghalib, Momin, Iqbal, and Zauq the ghazal was written for the lettered classes, with complex and harder-to-understand words being employed to convey each thought.

Thankfully, our lyricists, including Rajinder Krishan, simplified the ghazal so that not only did it rhyme, but became hummable with language that was easier to comprehend. They were joined in this effort by the composers and here RK struck pure gold again! He wrote many ghazals for many composers he worked with, even before he teamed up with Madan Mohan, also known as the Ghazal Samrat. That might be. But both Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan were adept in all genres of songs that exist in our Hindi films – nazm, qawwali, do-teenya, geet, bhajan, ballad – as you will be able to identify among the songs shared below.

To start the research for this article, I asked nine friends whose musical sensibilities I can vouch for, to share their top 5 Rajinder Krishan songs. Seven of the friends responded immediately.  I now had 28 well-loved songs of Rajinder Krishan with only 5 songs being shared among the friends to vie for the ‘top 5’ position! One friend said this was a difficult exercise as RK had written so many good songs, another went ahead and did a top 6 instead of 5! This set me wondering even more about this poet — was this because he had so many well-written songs, or was it because there was so much to choose from? A couple of the chosen songs were completely unknown to me; not all of them had been popular on the radio.

Here are the top 5 songs chosen by these 7 people (out of the total 28 songs mentioned earlier), with the first 3 getting 3 votes each, and the balance 2 getting 2 votes each.

Interestingly, all of them are composed by Madan Mohan!

  1. Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko (Jailor / 1958 / Lata / Madan Mohan)
  2. Phir wohi shaam, wohi gham, wohi tanhaai hai (Jahan Ara / 1964 / Talat Mahmood / Madan Mohan)
  3. Yun hasraton ke daag muhabbat mein dho liye (Adalat / 1958 / Lata / Madan Mohan)
  4. Do ghadi vo jo paas aa baitthe (Gateway Of India /1957 / Asha & Rafi / Madan Mohan)
  5. Vo chup rahen to mere dil ke daag jalte hain (Jahan Ara / 1964 / Lata / Madan Mohan)

Hum pyar mein jalne waalon ko (Jailor, 1958) Madan Mohan / Lata Mangeshkar

Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan (MM) first collaborated in 1952 in the Raj Kapoor-Nargis starrer, Ashiana. Does that ring a bell? Or many bells, I should ask, because isn’t that the film with Main paagal mera manwa paagal (Talat Mahmood), Mera qaraar le ja, mujhe beqaraar kar ja, dum bhar to pyar kar ja (Talat & Lata) and Mere piya se koi jaa ke keh de jeevan ka sahaara teri yaad hai (Lata) – each one a hummable gem? But there’s another one here that has a loving entreaty in its invitation, which Madan Mohan packs so beautifully in his choice of instruments:

Tum chaand ke saath chale aao, ye raat suhaani ho jaaye
Kuchh tum keh do kuchh hum keh den, aur ek kahaani ho jaaye…

Khaamosh kinaare soye hain, chup-chaap hain nadiya ki lehren
Itthlaate huye tum aa jao, lehron mein ravaani ho jaaye…

Beeti hui ghadiyon ki yaaden aise mein agar hum dohraayen
Masoom muhabbat muskaaye, bedaar jawaani ho jaaye…
(bedaar = awake, conscious)

Tum chaand ke saath chale aao (Ashiana, 1952) Madan Mohan / Lata Mangeshkar

Though the RK-MM aircraft started taxiing in 1952, it wasn’t until 1956 that it took off with Bhai Bhai, Mem Sahib and Pocket Maar, all released in the same year. The time had come to sit up and take notice of this new twosome on the block!

Ye nayi-nayi preet hai (Pocket Maar, 1956) Madan Mohan / Lata and Talat Mahmood

Begum Akhtar herself is said to have been moved by this next song and asked Madan Mohan to sing it for her over the telephone on a long-distance call. Remember, these were the mid-50s – no cell phones; one was fortunate to have access to a wired, rotary telephone! Here she is in her own voice, acknowledging how this song affected her. The song is a complaint, a moan, while also being an appeal for trust.

Begum Akhtar speaks about Qadar jaane na (Bhai Bhai, 1956) Madan Mohan / Lata

Ashok D Ranade in his book, Hindi Film Song, has this to say of Madan Mohan: “One of the reasons why there are less night-club songs in his (Madan Mohan’s) creations is this – a basic temperamental difference between what the song-type needed and what the composer preferred!” Hmmm, but here are a few nightclub songs in just the RK-MM combine all, interestingly, sung by Geeta Dutt! Perhaps because of the sultry quality of her unusual voice? Take a look at this by-no-means-conclusive list! The exceptions to the ‘nightclub’ are the super popular song from Bhai Bhai which brought fame to all involved and the duet with Lata sung for Baap Bete which is nevertheless a dance song, performed on stage.

  • Shaam ka aanchal dhalka – Fifty Fifty (1956)
  • Aye dil mujhe bataa de – Bhai Bhai (1956)
  • Duniya ke saath chal pyaare – Pocket Maar (1956)
  • Ye raah badi mushkil hai – Gateway Of India (1957)
  • Aankh milaane ke liye – Chandan (1958)
  • Oonchi-neechi raahen – Baap Bete (1959) / with Lata

A script like Gateway Of India where Madhubala, the leading lady, goes through many experiences provided just the right backdrop for this musical duo to prove their versatility. Rajinder Krishan doesn’t disappoint, making it difficult for people like me to choose one song from it as being the best.

How do you top this for romance? A do-teenya or Mermaid, a back-and-forth sung so beautifully by Asha and Rafi, with one idea explored progressively through the song, accompanied by Madan Mohan’s fine-tuned musical sensibility:

Talat: Do ghadi vo jo paas aa baitthe
Asha: Hum zamaane se door jaa baitthe…

Talat: Bhool kee un ka humnasheen ho ke
Royenge dil ko umr bhar kho ke
Haaye! kya cheez thi luta baitthe…

Asha: Dil ko ik din zaroor jaana tha
Vahin pahuncha jahaan tthikaana tha
Dil wohi dil jo dil mein jaa baitthe…

Talat: Ek dil hi tha ghum-gusaar apna
Meherbaan, khaas raazdaar apna
Gair ka kyun usey banaa baitthe…

Asha: Gair bhi to koi haseen hoga
Dil yunhi de diya nahi hoga
Dekh kar kuchh to chot kha baitthe…

While one can sigh at the romance in this, how does one react to this thought-provoking song? Rajinder Krishan makes one look deeper at our own reactions to the marginalized sections in society – are we guilty of ridiculing them?

Na hanso hum pe zamaane ke hain tthukraaye huye
Dar-b-dar phirte hain taqdeer ke behkaaye huye…

Baat kal ki hai ke phoolon ko masal dete the
Aaj kaanto ko bhi seene se hain liptaaye huye…

Na hanso hum pe (Gateway Of India, 1957) Madan Mohan / Lata

Dekh Kabira Roya, also released in 1957, is the other musical treat where it becomes difficult to choose one song. Two male solos beg for equal attention here, both with Madan Mohan at his best and RK having dipped his pen in glitter! If Talat Mahmood does full justice to

Hum se aaya na gaya, tum se bulaaya na gaya
Faasla pyar mein dono se mitaaya na gayaa…

Yaad reh jaati hai aur waqt guzar jaata hai
Phool khilta hai magar khil ke bikhar jaata hai

Sab chaley jaate hain phir dard-e-jigar jaata hai
Daag jo tuney diya dil se mitaaya na gayaa…

Then Manna Dey sings these tender lines in a blessed hour, with all the gods of music present, it seems!

Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare, paayal ki jhankaar liye, kaun aaya…
Ik pal sochun meri aasha roop badal kar aayi

Dooje pal phir dhyaan ye aaye, ho na kahin parchhaain
Jo pardesi ke ghar aayi, ek anokha pyaar liye…

Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare (Dekh Kabira Roya, 1957) Madan Mohan / Manna Dey

RK has to his credit many songs devoted to Krishna, either as the promised saviour or of the Radha-Krishna folklore. In addition, he seems to have had a special penchant for writing songs not quite bhajans or prayers but are acknowledgements of the powers of God. Many of these songs express in different ways the helplessness of humans at the mercy of an all-powerful God.  In Jailor (1958) he pens Mujhi mein chhup kar mujhi se door (Asha & Rafi), a unique expression of intimacy with the Divine by the visually challenged, who feel His presence in Dhoop, hawa, sab roop hai Tera, sab mein Tera Noor. In Chandan (1958) he writes a comical ode to the Neeli chhatri waala:

Badaa hi CID hai (Chandan, 1958) Madan Mohan / Rafi

I have no doubt that Adalat (1958) makes it to the Top 5 RK—MM musical scores for most of their fans. Even that one song that isn’t in the film, Jaana tha hum se door, bahaane banaa liye with the plaintive violins ranks high in the hearts of music lovers! The same violins start off this kotha song with the tabla and sarangi taking over in the interludes as Lata sings

Yun hasraton ke daag muhabbat mein dho liye
Khud dil se dil ki baat kahi, aur ro liye…

Ghar se chale the hum to khushi ki talaash mein
Gham raah mein pade the wo hi saath ho liye…

Honthon ko see chukey to zamaane ne ye kahaa
Ye chup-si kyun lagi hai, aji, kuchh to boliye…

RK explores this “chup” in the next ghazal, where Madan Mohan allows Lata to add murkis and an alaap. He adds a sitar here.

Un ko ye shikaayat hai ke hum kuchh nahi kehte
Apni to ye aadat hai ke hum kuchh nahi kehte…

The hat is off to Rajinder Krishan for exploring silence so expressively and for expressing despair so elegantly!

Yun hasraton ke daag  (Adalat, 1958) Madan Mohan / Lata

Pain can be expressed in many ways. But the way Talat Mahmood expressed it was unique. In his voice Pain sounded like Royalty – dignified, reserved, distinguished.

Beraham aasmaan (Bahana, 1960) Madan Mohan / Talat Mahmood

Lest you think it was all seriousness, with tales of woe, heartbreak, and despair in the RK-MM camp, here are two male songs to prove otherwise.

Kishore Kumar excels here being restrained in his genius, while the musical platform is shared equally by the lyrics and the instruments, especially that accordion!

Aye haseeno, nazneeno, main dil hatheli pe (Chacha Zindabad, 1959) Madan Mohan / Kishore

In a film like Sanjog with songs like Vo bhooli dastan, lo phir yaad aa gayi (Lata), Bhooli hui yaadon mujhe itna na sataao (Mukesh), Badali se nikla hai chaand, pardesi piya laut ke tu ghar aaja (Lata), Kehte hain chaand jis ko tum se nahi vo pyaara (Asha) and a personal favourite, Chalaa hai kahaan (Lata), this “drunk” song in Rafi’s voice catches my eye. The lyrics allow it to become the shared song from this movie, though I suspect the censors had something to do with the word “chai” as Om Prakash does not seem to be lip-syncing to that word in the visuals. Do hear this one!

Do ghoont chai pi (Sanjog, 1961) Madan Mohan / Rafi

Rajinder Krishan must have the record for the largest number of songs with or about the moon! The moon is either a friend, observer, messenger, witness or enemy. To honour his deep connection with the moon, a song from another musically rich film by this duo. The lady admonishes the Moon for having come alone, without her beloved. Is it because the Moon doesn’t recognize him? Well, he looks just like the Moon! Now that the Moon has been commissioned to bring him to her, could he please also take a message? How can the Moon refuse? Isn’t he witness to her sleepless nights without her beloved?

Chanda ja, chanda ja re ja re (Man Mauji, 1962) Madan Mohan / Lata

Some trivia about the songs in Man Mauji – rarely does one come across a lyricist who references his own songs many years later in another song! Rajinder Krishan wrote Mera naam Abdul Rahman, pista-waala main hun patthaan for Kishore Kumar to sing and enact in Bhai Bhai (1956). Then in Man Mauji, six years later, he writes the following for Kishore Kumar to enact and sing – so interesting!

Ek tha Abdul Rahman, ek thi Abdul Rahmaniya
Ab main hun ik Man Mauji, tu ban ja Man Mojaniya

The 1964 releases, Pooja Ke Phool, Sharaabi, and Jahan Ara are where we will stop this journey as Jahan Ara, even though it was taken off cinema halls after just four days, seems to be the peak of creativity for this partnership. They did make some good music after 1964: there is Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966) and Ek Kali Muskaayi in 1968 but nothing touched the level of talent, inspiration, and kinship that the music of Jahan Ara exhibits.

Pooja Ke Phool boasts the delicate Meri aankho se koi neend liye jaata hai where, even though the lyrics are perfect for the situation, there is a sitar that steals your heart. This is the beginning of the collaboration between Ustad Rais Khan and Madan Mohan. It’s hard even for a logophile like me to keep their attention on the lyrics when you have a sitar that dances with you. It’s definitely a song that must be seen as well as heard. Sadly, no video is available online for sharing, but viewing it is possible on YouTube, so don’t miss it!

There are songs and there are songs. But at any given point in time, in harmony with your mood, thoughts, and situation, there are a few songs that cut through all the walls you’ve built around yourself and strike you where you’re at your most vulnerable. It’s possible that this selection of songs will change over time. Or not. I don’t quite know how else to describe the effect this next song has. I’ll leave it to affect you in its own way – the music, Rafi’s voice with Dev Anand’s face, and of course, do hear Rajinder Krishan’s lyrics. To my mind, this is a unique one!

Mujhe le chalo aaj phir us gali mein (Sharaabi, 1964) Madan Mohan / Rafi

The top 5 Rajinder Krishan list that I shared in the beginning has, not one, but two songs from Jahan Ara! The movie boasts a total of 9 songs and it is possible to write individual essays on each one of them. Let’s laser into some of these.

A story of two childhood friends, one Royal, the other not, who grow into love with each other but are not allowed to love. Royal rules and duty stand in the way.

Rajinder Krishan takes the lines from one magnificent song, the Talat-sung, Main teri nazar ka suroor hun tujhe yaad ho ke na yaad ho (with Ustad Rais Khan’s sitar and Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma’s santoor aiding and abetting this exclusive offering) and turns it into the opening, a capella, lines of another, this one a song for the Royal court that must count in the top 20 of the all-time Madan Mohan hits, so rich is its composition! The court dancers dance to another superlative yield from Rajinder Krishan:

Jab-jab tumhein bhulaaya, tum aur yaad aaye
Jaate nahi hain dil se ab tak tumhare saaye
(Lata & Asha)

Teri aankh ke aansoo pi jaaun, aisi meri taqdeer kahaan
Tere gham mein tujh ko behlaaun, aisi meri taqdeer kahaan

Remains another unique song, worthy of being heard on repeat mode.

Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan

Rajinder Krishan and Madan Mohan (Pic:

But the prize does remain with Talat’s rendition of the song that got the highest votes, an elegant, almost royal, expression of melancholy, with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia’s flute to add its distinctive touches.

Phir wohi shaam, wohi gham, wohi tanhaayi hai
Dil ko samjhaane teri yaad chali aayi hai…

As I complete this 3-part essay, I find myself a little tongue-tied at the riches it has helped me uncover. Rajinder Krishan, if unknown to me before, remains unknown no more. My thanks to him for not remaining silent, when he had so much to say! My naman to his creativity, his talent, and the bounty he leaves behind that is his legacy to us. May the coming generations also discover this abundance and be inspired and moved, like I am.

Phir tasavvur tere pehlu mein bittha jaayega
Phir gayaa waqt ghadi-bhar ko palat aayega
Dil behel jaayega, aakhir ko to saudaayi hai…

Jaane ab tujh se mulaaqat kabhi ho ke na ho
Jo adhuri rahi vo baat kabhi ho ke na ho
Meri manzil teri manzil se bichchad aayi hai…

Phir wohi shaam (Jahan Ara, 1964) Madan Mohan / Talat Mahmood



The Empress Of Our Poetry (The ghazal), Hitting The Right Notes – Hindi Cinema’s Golden Music, Manek Premchand, Manipal University Press, 2016

Hindi Film Song – Music Beyond Boundaries, Ashok Da Ranade, Promilla & Co., Publishers, 2006

Yesterday’s Melodies, Today’s Memories – Manek Premchand, Notion Press, 2018

Thanking (alphabetically) Antara Nanda Mondal, Lata Jagtiani, Madhur Trivedi, Mahesh Trivedi, Manek Premchand, Pisharoty Chandran and Vineesh Vedsen for their Top 5 RK songs.

Thanking Ajay Kanagat for the link to the YouTube interview with Rajinder Krishan (Vividh Bharati)

Thanking Sangeeta Gupta, Madan Mohan ji’s daughter for her input.

Remembering the great lyricist of Hindi Cinema Rajendra Krishan on his 30th death anniversary

Don’t Miss Part 1 of this in-depth study

Rajinder Krishan — Hum Kuchh Nahi Kehte (Part 1)


More Must-Reads in Silhouette

Rajinder Krishan — Hum Kuchh Nahi Kehte (Part 2)

‘Feelings, Lyrics, Orchestra — Everything was Different in Salil Chowdhury’s Songs’: Jyoti Chowdhury

Yogesh: Mastering the Art of Simplicity

Shakeel-Naushad: Classy Confluence, Seamless Flow – 1


Creative Writing

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Monica Kar has her BA in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She now lives in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, where she wears many hats. While she has worked in Publishing, Retail, Education and Construction in various roles, she has been a free-lance editor since 1987, and is currently part time editor with Learning and Creativity-Silhouette Magazine. In 2015 she started writing about her first passion - Hindi film songs of the Golden Age for an online music group. She welcomes suggestions and critiques on her writing as it makes her learn and grow as a writer.
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2 thoughts on “Rajinder Krishan — Hum Kuchh Nahi Kehte (Part 3)

  • Rajan NS

    Wow !!! This is an essay after my own heart. It has very obviously involved a lot of research and reference, to say nothing of the long hours spent on its composition. But, I can see beyond all that, a true love for the music in films of those days. And, while writing on RK, highlighting the substantial role played by C. Ramchandra in creating that music.
    This last part of your series on RK has turned out to be the loveliest of the three. Rarely have I come across so much that is absorbing in one written piece that provides such reading and listening pleasure. Many avid Hindi film music lovers today may have never heard, nor are likely to listen to, ‘Chanda re. Ja re ja re”. “Chanda” motivated many lovely songs then. I can still sing (for myself) Khursheed’s “Panchi Baawra. Chand se preet lagaye” (Bhakt Surdas. 1942. lyrics by D N Madhok).
    Lyrics and songs then were simple and appealing to one’s heart. What is more pertinent, one could follow them as they were sung ! These days, the basic idea seems to be: if you can actually catch the words, the song is a failure; the orchestra and the instruments drown the words.
    No wonder if we may never again see the likes of Rajindar Krishan. Truly a great writer.
    Thanks, again.

    1. Monica Kar

      N.S. Rajan ji, I cannot thank you enough for the encouragement your comments have offered during this series. It was an easy subject to research – if you ask someone like me to hear hundreds of melodious songs with good lyrics and call it ‘work’ that is heaven to me! :). But it was a very tough essay for me to write for many reasons. So, a deep and sincere thanks to you for supporting me with your comments! The D.N. Madhok ‘chanda’ song you quoted is an absolute gem and one of my earliest memories of being bewitched by Hindi film music! Hmmm – your thoughts about current-day film music resonate with mine. Even when the lyrics and music are good, I find myself unable to connect with the song as I don’t ‘see’ anyone lip-syncing the entire song on screen – at best, they lip-sync a few lines. I guess, the old order changeth, giving place to new. All the more reason to be grateful for the ‘old’! Once again, my gratitude to you. _()_

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