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The Tender Musical Tête-à-tête in Chupke Se Mile (Genius of SD Burman)

October 7, 2016 | By and

Master of the Situation Song, SD Burman created compositions and music arrangement that were tailor made for the scene and the singers he chose. Anand Desai (in maroon) and Antara trace the finer nuances of one of the most delicate romantic songs, that is much more than just a song. Its a challenge, its a game and its a conversation.


Dev Anand plays the mouth organ in a unique 14-seconds interlude as the two lovers create music in their romance.

A romantic evening and two people quite obviously in love in a spacious home – a perfect setting for a song. So what’s new?

But this is not just a song. It’s a conversation, a relay, a give-and-take. Its poetry, recited simply so, and then weaved into a tune. Dev Anand, the musician-singer is being put to test by his lady love Nutan with a “let-me-see-if-you-can-make-a-song-of-this” kind of challenge.

On the face of it, it’s a duet. But it has parts where each singer sings his/her own tune separately and yet together, two parallel tracks that never submerge the other, never overshadow. Simply put, it’s a game in music in perfect harmony and sublime love.

chupke se mile pyaase pyaase
kuch hum kuch tum
kya ho jo ghata khul ke barse
rumm jhumm rumm jhumm

SD Burman’s mastery over music and instrumentation, his complete understanding of his singers and their talents and his uncanny knack of fitting a tune to the situation spot, on is all so visible in this beautiful duet from Manzil (1960). Directed by Mandi Burman, the film was an average performer at the box-office when first released but its music is today considered among the best works of Dada Burman.


SDB’s touch is evident from the word “go”. A very unusual Doo-Wop is absolutely syncopate* and one wonders whether its a part of the song! (Doo-Wop refers to words in a song, spoken in rhythmic harmony)

Geeta Dutt and SD Burman

SD Burman knew the unique bhaav gayaki capabilities of his prodigy. Who else but Geeta can be as emotive, making the words sound as soft as feather, as lyrical as the rain and as delicate as the finest glass.

Geeta Dutt begins with just the whimsical and thoughtful recitation of the opening lines. It isn’t a song yet but the rendition of the mukhda itself is musical with Nutan complimenting Geeta with perfect expressions.

The suave and smart Dev Anand ponders for a moment and then picks up the cue with Rafi as the matching voice, playfully stringing the lines in tune.

The music arrangement is a story in itself.  SDB uses the Piano Accordion, the Bongos, the Semi-Electric Rhythm Guitar and the Mouth Organ!

After the brief unusual adlib, the music starts off with a dramatic Accordion Slide and a Single Guitar Strum (at 0:20) and then the Bongos and the Chiplis take centerstage.

chupke se mile pyaase pyaase
Kuchh hummmmmmm… kuch tumm
Kuchh hummmmmmm… kuch tumm

Rafi uses the Hindi word ‘hum’ to actually hummm delightfully, stopping teasingly at a questioning ‘kuchh…?’

kya ho jo ghata khul ke barse
rumm jhumm rumm jhumm

Nutan in Manzil

Nutan aptly emotes the delicate Doo-Wop by Geeta Dutt.

The Accordion then adds an escalating Fill – a unique 14-seconds interlude on the Mouth Organ (played by Dev Anand on screen) with the Bongos and Chiplis subdued from 1.00. This is the classic SDB stamp. And now Geeta comes in again with her tender as snowflakes Doo-Wop at 1:15.

The Doo-Wop continues between the Antaras also… notice the meter in which Geeta renders the lines, stretching on the syllables.

jhukti hui aankhon mein hai
bechain se armaan kayi
rukti hui saanson mein hai
khamosh se toofan kayi

Who else but Geeta can be as emotive, making the words sound as soft as feather, as lyrical as the rain and as delicate as the finest glass.  Burman Dada must have asked her to make her voice swoon to the words because that’s exactly what Nutan does on screen…well, almost!

Nutan and Dev Anand in Manzil

Dev Anand and Nutan enjoy the amazing musical interplay that slices each verse in half, making the former a question and the latter part an answer,

Dev Anand is now fully into the game. Rafi’s voice puts the words immediately on the tune with the Bongos and Chiplis providing the beats.

Maddhammm … hums Rafi, and Geeta joins him in the song now…. Madhhammm… she replies (1:51)… hmmmm…

chupke se mile pyaase pyaase
Kuchh…? hummmmmmm… kuch…? tumm

Nutan throws open the doors to the portico, raising her face to the gentle cool breeze of the moonlit night, her long dress fluttering.

And now comes the beautiful interplay that slices each verse in half, from 2.25 onward making the former part a question and the latter part an answer.

Rafi asks: Thandi hawa ka…?
Geeta finishes: Shor hai.
Rafi poses: Ya pyar ka…?
Geeta replies: Sangeet hai.

And the ping-pong game continues…

Dev Anand and Nutan

Dev Anand and Nutan are lost in their secluded dream world of music and love,

Rafi: Chitwan teri…
Geeta: ik saaz hai.
Rafi: Dhadkan meri…
Geeta: ik geet hai.

Geeta’s characteristic Bengali lilt bowls you over here. Notice her tremble at the words Shor hai (2.27-28) and Sangeet hai (2.31-32); saaz hai (2.35-36) and gee-eet hai(2:39-40) add lucre to the rhythm. If this is not marvellous harkat, what is?

You can’t help get carried away with this musical tête-à-tête.

And then SDB’s East Bengal charm hits you square where he flips the lyrics of both the singers.  As Geeta sings the couplet, Thandi hawa ka shor hai, Ya pyar ka sangeet hai, Rafi’s accompanies her with an aalap (between 2.41 to 2.49).

The roles reverse in the next couplet and its Rafi’s turn to sing Chitwan teri ik saaz hai, dhadkan teri ik geet hai with Geeta’s aalap on parallel track till 2.57.

One is amazed at the sheer brilliance of rhythm of the music director and arranger and pure expertise of the singers. Needless to say, it is extremely difficult to sing a counter melody (parallel different tune), even as the aalap, and both Geeta and Rafi do an awe-inspiring job … and the Bongos play along obediently.

chupke se mile in Manzil

Unmistakably you have SDB’s Phantom Mark – a 1.20 minutes of an expanded Cadence on a subdued Mouth Organ. A serene, sublime and peaceful finishing to a musical rendezvous.

The charming interplay culminates in the delicate maddhammm… maddhammm…with Geeta finishing it off with her characteristic hmmm…

Now SDB gets both his prized singers to sing in unison from 3:07. Move to 3.09 and notice where Geeta breaks off at Kuchh… (3.15) and the Accordion pumps its presence.

The Bard masters the song from 3.28 where he makes the two singers playfully interact and then unmistakably you have SDB’s Phantom Mark – a 1.20 minutes of an expanded Cadence on a subdued Mouth Organ. A serene, sublime and peaceful finishing to a musical rendezvous.

One does not need to make an effort to guess that both Geeta and Rafi were thoroughly enjoying singing these lines together. Their mood reflects in their rendition and Dev Anand and Nutan fully justify the situation, lost in their secluded dream world of music and love, away from the ever busy maddening crowd.

Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi

One does not need to make an effort to guess that both Geeta and Rafi were thoroughly enjoying singing together.

In Manzil, SD Burman had inverted accepted norms, getting three different singers to sing for the hero who played the role of a singer in the film. Hemant Kumar sang the soulful Yaad aa gai woh nasheeli nigaahen (in two versions – romantic and sad), which was a huge hit. Manna Dey had four songs (three solos and one duet) and Rafi had two (both duets). One of Manna Dey’s songs Hato kehke jhoothi banaao batiyan was picturised on Mehmood.

But in terms of sheer originality of composition, rendition and music arrangement this song easily tops in the album. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics accentuate the romance furthermore, chiseled to sit perfectly in this highly innovative musical game.

It was a time when love was tender and poetry. It was a time when music was soft and true. It was a time when the music makers poured their soul into their creations, singers sang from their heart and the actors went the extra mile to do justice to the songs on screen. Perhaps that is the reason why these jewels from the golden era continue to sparkle to this day.


 Syncopate – displace the beats or accents in (music or a rhythm) so that strong beats become weak and vice versa.

The Genius of SD Burman: Silhouette Exclusive October Special Features

Pioneering Experiments Which Became Trends: SD Burman and His Experiments (Part-I) – By Moti Lalwani

Evergreen Hits of Dev Anand-Hemant Kumar – By Peeyush Sharma and Antara

‘Deewana Mastana Hua Dil’ – Mesmerizing Music of SD Burman-Majrooh (Oct 1 Anniversary Special) – By Peeyush Sharma

The Tender Musical Tête-à-tête in Chupke Se Mile (Genius of SD Burman) – By Anand Desai and Antara

When Kishore Protested and SD Burman Persisted: The Making of Dukhi Man Mere – By Peeyush Sharma

From the Archives

Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain – Eternal Melodies of SD Burman-Rafi – By Peeyush Sharma

The Incomparable Music Of S D Burman Transcends Generations – By Antara

‘Gata Rahe Mera Dil was Patchwork’: In Conversation With Vijay Anand – By Peeyush Sharma

‘In Aradhana, Sachin Karta Gave Me My Life’s Biggest Hit’: In Conversation with Shakti Samanta – By Peeyush Sharma

‘The Music Director Knows which Voice would do Full Justice to his Composition’ – In Conversation with Hemant Kumar – By Peeyush Sharma

‘Bade Achchhe Din Thhe, Bade Pyare Saathi, Aur Guni Bhi’ – In Conversation with Majrooh Sultanpuri – By Peeyush Sharma


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After qualifying as a CA, I worked in the field of Investment Banking for around 18 years wth JM Financials and Kotak Mahindra and did a stint in the media with SONY. I now run a business advisory firm and I am an independent director on the Boards of companies. Music consumes a large part of my waking hours and keeps the fire in me alive.
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Editor in Chief, Learning and Creativity; Consulting Editor, Silhouette Magazine. A former business journalist, Antara writes extensively on the changing trends of music, direction and filmmaking in cinema. Her articles aim to provide well-researched information on the legends of cinema for the movie and music enthusiast. She is also the Founder-Editor of Blue Pencil, a New Delhi-based publishing house. She edited and published Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman, the biography of SD Burman written by HQ Chowdhury. She has co-authored a chapter on Hemant Kumar's Bengali music in the acclaimed book The Unforgettable Music of Hemant Kumar, written by Manek Premchand. Her articles have also been published in and Antara is Editor-Creative Director of Wisitech InfoSolutions Pvt. Ltd.
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14 thoughts on “The Tender Musical Tête-à-tête in Chupke Se Mile (Genius of SD Burman)

  • Peeyush Sharma

    What a great job by Antara and Anand Bhai. It is pure ‘anand’ all the way. Such a delight to hear this song with extensive expert comments. Thank you very much.

  • Silhouette Magazine

    Some comments received on this article on Facebook:

    Prashant Nemani: EXCELLENT!!!!

    Rahul Muli: Very precise description of the song! This song deserves to be high up in the order of all time great duets.

    Naveen Anand: Totally enjoyed it! Have always loved this song.. Now adore it!

    Indrayan Chatterjee: What a nice read, loved it…

    Santosh Bakaya: Wonderful write up!

    Ashok Modi: Wow… what a beauuuuuutiful song.. I never heard.. wahhhh.. wahhhh.. Kya baat hai.. thanks a lot for lajawab sharing..

    Mahesh Sagar: Awesome song and amazing analysis ??

    Jyoti Sharma: That was superb ! Takes you back to the Golden days , the brilliant work and singing swells you with pride of the splendid heritage ? beautiful post ? keep it on Antara ??

    Nutsure Satwik: Both Geeta and Nutan were my secret muses who would stretch my imaginations endlessly. One with her voice and other with her persona. It’s just difficult to replace them. But when SDB brought them together it was just heavenly. I ave seen this quite often in duets that when the singers are not trying to do one up-man ship the song turns out to be a hit. SDB knew this was true with Rafi and Geeta. No wonder the magic. Lovely write Antara.

    Nirmal Phophalia: Antara, kudos to Anand Desai and yourself for writing and publishing this marvellous article. What an in-depth analysis of musical expression and feelings evoked in the song by Master craftsman Burman Dada giving vent to expressions in the velvety voices of Geeta Dutt & Rafi. A fitting tribute during Burman da’s month of birth with one of my most favourite duet.

  • Moti Lalwani

    Dear Antara and Anand,

    I still remember, being already hard core fans for a few years of S. D. Burman (that’s how he was known to us then), our group of teenagers was surprised at the way he had composed this song! Never before had we (and never after we will) hear such beautiful poetry in such a delicate way by the two passionate voices, and composed by our most beloved music director. The composition by Dada is so ethereal!

    If one hears carefully, throughout the song one would discover newer shades. It is not one style, but many merged together. Dada transcends many forms of narration, each one better than the other. Only he could dare to do it.

    Antara, you have done well of weaving everything together like a magician, and presenting us with an excellent article.

    I have known Anand for his brilliant description of the instruments used and the analyses of the songs, but this time his analyses surpasses many of his earlier ones.

    Antara, this was to be included in my experiments by Dada, but I realised you had taken it up, so I desisted. I am glad I did not include it. You and Anand both have done full justice to it. Dada must be happy wherever he is, most probably with God himself.

    Hats of to you both. I hope two of you get together for many more such superb pieces of art which you both have created.


    1. Moti Lalwani

      Peeysuh bhai,
      When the comments are from the heart, they are bound to be great. Otherwise, I am not a writer as good as it appears to be here. 🙂

      Thanks for appreciation. I just now posted on our SDB group too.

  • A Bharat

    Wow! What a charming analysis! One would rather call it a personal experience of Antara and Anand
    than a critical review. The song begins with the utterly sensuous voice of Geeta with nothing to indicate that a song has begun. When we suddenly played this in one of our programs the audience literally turned to stone.There was just this divine voice in a pin drop silence.That was a moment I keep remembering. And reading this page I was transported back twenty years! Thanks again Antara and Anand!

    1. Antara

      Thank you so very much Bharat ji,

      I can fully identify with your audience which turned to stone. 🙂 I did so too when I first heard this song as part of a Dev Anand special tribute done by Peeyush Da last year. Since then I have been thinking of writing about it.

      Geeta Dutt’s bhaav gayaki reaches new peaks in this song I felt… you can’t help get carried away with the evocative emotion. Nutan’s histrionics too are in perfect match – she probably got carried away with the rendition herself 🙂 And no one better than SDB can draw the best out of Geeta Dutt and Rafi together … the songs of Pyaasa, Kala Bazar are sparkling gems among their magical duets.

      That our writeup took you back two decades is a prize in itself. The effort has been truly worthwhile.

      Anand ji’s analysis was a remarkable learning experience for me. I read his analysis of songs regularly but this time I myself went back and forth numerous times over the song, matching the instrumentation with the words, picturisation, rendition, expressions… phew! When you say personal experience …. let me add “Mindblowing” to it!

      Your feedback sar aankhon par!
      Thanks again!!!!!!

  • D R Shukla

    Anandbhai….salute sir….to you and Antaraji.

    We listen and watch so many songs. But to enjoy them in this way is just beautiful. Line to line description covering all aspects – like situation, instrument used, singing, picturisation, acting…of the song in totality is just amazing. I will definitely learn and enjoy the song with detail understanding from experts like you…with times to come……

    Pics of Dev and Nutan with a line…”lost in their dream world of love and music…”… loved it…!

    Thanks Anandbhai…

  • A Bharat

    As if this is not enough the same movie has an equally mind blowing duet “Aye kaash chalte milke” which in my view deserves an equally in depth appreciation by this talented pair. Just a suggestion.

  • Peeyush Sharma

    You took words out of my mouth. Just like you Bharat.
    I would love to see this talented team do a similar job on Aye kaash chalte milke, yeh teen raahi dil ke.
    Please oblige, Anand Bhai and Antara.

  • Antara

    Thank you Bharat ji, Peeyush Da for the appreciation and encouragement. Means a lot!!!!

    “Aye kaash chalte milke” is indeed a superb, innovative composition. Really novel way of making music! Moving forward some day we would try and write about it.

    We are toying with a few ideas … let’s see what finally gets done! I am quite overwhelmed at the response this one fetched. Really grateful to Anand ji 🙂

    1. Srirams

      This is a great article

      Songs from Film Manzil are some of Baba Burman’s finest work.

      Baba Burman repeated the Doo-wop effect in Dil Ki Manzil Hai Kuchh Aisi from Tere Ghar Ke Saamne. We can see this effect in Antara.

      Some instance of brilliance of Baba Burman

      How beautifully he composed for night scenes, giving a slightly echo effect as the night is silent.
      Tu kahaan yeh bataa from Tere ghar ke saame and Khoya khoya chand are examples of his innovation.

      Another brilliance of Baba Burman which I want to mention was the song from the film Munimji, Dil ki Umangen hai jawan.

      See how beautifully the song is built. Geeta Dutt/Nalini Jaywant persuade and goad Pran to sing the lines who sings Besura. She continues to cajole him to the point he finally sings in anger and protest which reaches the Donkey’s ear. See how subtly the music changes when it reaches the Donkey. Besura blended so well with the song, though the Besura was not really Besura but a different kind of singing.

      This is sheer genius.

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