And the Award for the Best Duet goes to?
We have seen in some years that either male solos or female solos may be tepid, but duets never disappoint. That has to do with combinatorics. If there are, say, 3 prominent male singers and 4 female singers in a year, there are 12 possible voice combinations. Even if the Music directors use half of them, you get six interesting combinations of singers for duets. This adds extra colour. It also makes some difference whether the male or the female singer takes the lead. Another dimension is added if it is a male-male or a female-female duet, or it becomes a triad or multiple-singer Song which I have been treating as a duet.
The same goes for the year 1945. You have the iconic all-female qawwali, Aahein na bharin shikwe na kiye kuchh bhi na zubaan se kaam liya, sung by Kalyani, Zohrabai Ambalewali and Noorjehan, and we have K L Saigal, Mukesh and G M Durrani with different female combinations. My list of MEMORABLE SONGS in the Overview post contains 58/59 songs of which 17 are duets, which is about the same as male solos (16 songs). Generally, long term average for duets was 1.5 times the male solos. If we consider the total 370 songs of the year in which the singers are identified we should get significantly higher number of duets than male solos. As we all know, female solos outnumber both the male solos and duets by a big margin.
Duets in MEMORABLE SONGS
Since 17 is not a very large number, let me mention all the songs in the MEMORABLE SONGS in the alphabetical order of the films in which they figure.
1. Maalan bata de kiske liye haar banaya by Dhiren Mitra and Kanan Devi (Banphool), music K Datta
2. Koi humein bata de by Kanan Devi, Krishnakant and Kamal Mitra (Banphool)
3. Tera jalwa jisne dekha wo tera ho gaya by Rafi and SD Batish (Laila Majnu), music (Rafiq Ghazanavi and) Govind Ram
4. Aaj hans hans ke do do baatein ki hain sanam ne hamaare by Hamida Bano and Suraiya (Main Kya Karun), music Ninu Majumdar
5. Badariya baras gayi us paar by Mukesh, Khursheed and Hamida Bano (Moorti), music Bulo C Rani
6. Pahli nazar ka teer re by Mukesh and Naseem Akhtar (Pahli Nazar), music Anil Biswas
7. Upar ho chaand tara, neeche jahan sara, beech mein hum tum pyar karenge by Surendra and Smt Ghosh (Parinde), music Pt. Govind Ram
8. Pardesi dhola kaahe ko jagaya aadhi rate re by Mukesh and Mohantara Talpade (Prabhu Ka Ghar), music Khemchand Prakash and Bulo C Rani
9. Ratiyan guzaarun kaise haye Ram ninidiya na aawe by Surendra and Zohrabai Ambalewali (Ratnavali), music Pt. Govind Ram
10. Jaanewale kuchh kahta ja, kuchh hamri bhi suntan ja by G M Durrani and Amirbai Karnataki (Samrat Chandragupta), music C Ramchandra
11. Duniya chadhaye phool main aankh chadha dun by Amar and Zohrabi Ambalewali (Sanyasi), music Naushad
12. Sunoji pyari koeliya bole by Amar and Zohrabai Ambalewali (Sanyasi)
13. Rani khol apne dwar, milne ka din aa gaya by K L Saigal and Suraiya (Tadbeer), music Lal Mohammad
14. O pardesi raja koel kook rahi hai by Amirbai Karnataki and an unknown female singer (Village Girl), music Shyam Sundar
15. Aji dil ho kaabu mein to dildar ki aisi taisi by G M Durrani, Rafi and Chorus (Village Girl)
16. Man phoole nahin samaaye by Asit Baran and Bharati Devi (Wasseeyatnama), music R C Boral
17. Aahein na bharin shikawe na kiye kuchh bi na zuban se kaam liya by Kalyani, Zorabai Ambalewali, Noorjehan (Zeenat), music (Mir Saheb) and Hafeez Khan
Readers’ additions and choices
Arunkumar Deshmukh (Arunji) is as usual prompt and unambiguous in his choices. His top choice is the iconic all-female qawwali Aahein na bharin shikawe na kiye.
Among duets Anup has added there is a fun song by Rafi and Amirbai Karnataki, Topiwale babu ne dil cheena, from the film Kulkalank, composed by Allah Rakkha. His favourite song is Badariya baras gayi us paar, but he says that if choosing a ‘duet’ is a must his choice would be Rani khol de apne dwar, milne ka din aa gaya. I take it that he was not aware that more than two-singers songs are also counted as duets, in which case his choice for the best song is Badariya baras gayi us paar.
Canasya’s top favourite is Rani khol de apne dwar milne ka din aa gaya.
Mahesh’s top favourite is Badariya baras gayi us paar.
Neeuahaf and Raunak go completely off-beat. Neeruahaf’s top favourite duet of 1945 is Kya sitam hai zulam hai by Rafiq Ghazanavi and Amirbai Karnataki from Laila Majnu, music Rafiq Ghazanavi (and Pt. Govind Ram). This did not figure in my list; HFGK does not mention the singers’ names, so you can imagine its rarity. Neeruahaf is also highly impressed by another rare duet for which the singers are not credited in the HFGK and is not in my list. The song is Bhulaanewale humein bhi na yaad aaya karo by Zahoor Raja and Naseem Akhtar from the film Ghazal, music Gyan Dutt, and she recommends honourable mention for it.
Raunak considers Prem ki naiya ko mila hai prem nadi ka kinara by Jagmohan and Kalyani from Meghdoot, absolutely brilliant and his choice for the Best Duet of the Year. This too is outside my list. He has also given a list of ten duets in the descending order. In the nine remaining songs four are outside my list of 17.
In the list of 17 duets there are some unknown songs, even if you have heard them you will have to rack your brains to remember their tune. Some have achieved everlasting fame, remaining are in the middle, generally known to lovers of vintage era film songs. It is easy to select the Best Ten of the Year, but before that let us hear some ‘Special songs’ which have something unique about them, This section also allows scope for including some songs which I had missed to include, but which are as good as any in the above list and some readers’ top choices for the year.
1. Prem ki naiya ko mila hai prem nadi ka kinara by Jagmohan and Kalyani from Meghdoot, lyrics Faiyaz Hashmi, music Kamal Dasgupta
I start with this beautiful song which is Raunak’s choice for the best duet of the year. In his words, “The song perfectly captures the mood and essence of a lovers night out on a boat, with soft romantic tune, aided favbulously well by Kamal Dasgupta’s orchestral excellence. Like ‘O, varsha ke pahle baadal’, this song too is fabulously arranged, especially in the climatic portions of the song.” Absolutely agree with you, Raunak.
2. Kya sitam hai zulm hai bedaad hai, main yahan aur tu wahan by Rafiq Ghaznavi and Amirbai Karnataki from Laila Majnu (1945), lyrics Tanvir Naqvi, music Rafiq Ghazanavi (and Pt Govind Ram)
It is fair that we carefully listen to Neeruahaf’s choice for the best duet of the year. This film had two music directors, the other being Pt Govind Ram. But unlike later years when the famous music duos, such as Husnlal-Bhagaram, Shankar-Jaikishan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal etc. were hyphenated, in the earlier era often the songs were separately composed. HFGK credits this song to Rafiq Ghaznavi.
3. Ae gham-e-dil kya karun ae wahshat-e-dil kya karun by Masood Parvez and Renuka Devi from Ghulami (1945), lyrics Majaz, music, SK Pal
Talat Mahmood’s rendering of Majaz’s nazm in Thokar (1953) became one of his immortal songs and cemented his position as the King of Ghazals. It was interesting to come across this version of the nazm in a 1945-film, though this is nowhere near Talat’s version. This duet was brought to my notice by SOY’s Singapore-based reader Shekhar Gupta who comments occasionally, but from time to time he shares with me on mail some superb information. He is a specialist in Pakistani singers and ghazals. This special song I inadvertently posted in Wrap Up 2 for female solos. Neeruahaf pointed out that this rightfully belonged to the Wrap Up for duets. Therefore, I am repeating the additional information Shekhar sent me. Ae gham-e-dil kya karun – the nazm had 15 stanzas of which Thokar used only two, whereas the song in Ghulami used four stanzas, as a duet between Masood Parvez and Renuka Devi. Since both are in the star cast of the film, it must have been picturised on them. Here is the full nazm in Devanagari script. You can also find the full nazm in Roman script here.
3. Aji dil ho kaabu mein to dildar ki aisi taisi by G M Durrani, Rafi and chorus from Village Girl (1945), lyrics Wali Saheb, music Shyam Sundar
This year had two ‘Special Duets’ of Rafi. One, Tera jalwa jisne dekha wo deewana ho gaya (Laila Majnu, 1945), in which Rafi gave company to S D Batish, was Rafi’s first ‘screen appearance’. This was included in the ‘Special Songs’ in my overview post at No.1. We know that Rafi had a couple of cameo appearances in his initial years, including the well-known one in the film Jugnu (1947).
Aji dil ho kaabu mein dildaar ki aisi taisi is regarded as Rafi’s first recorded song in Hindi films, though the release of the film was delayed and Naushad’s Pahle Aap (1944) beat it to it, which had Rafi’s voice in three songs, with Sham (I guess it is Shyam Kumar). You can’t fail to notice that in the initial years Rafi was the secondary voice to G M Durrani, Shyam Kumar and S D Batish. They would have scarcely imagined that one day this gawky young man would leave them far behind.
4. Rut ayi suhani hai by GM Durrani and Noorjehan from Village Girl (1945), lyrics Wali Saheb, music Shyam Sundar
There are several duets in the year vying for ‘Special’ tag, some mentioned by the readers. It is not possible to all. But here is one I had missed in the overview post. This is a terrific jhoola song picturised on the joyous couple Nazir and Noorjehan. Durrani sings for Nazir while Noorjehan sings for herself. I heard it for the first time while working this post. Though this is a very short song but deserves to be in the Special List.
Best ten duets of 1945
Now we have a fair amount of clarity to select the best ten duets of 1945. A clarification is in order. Some readers have observed why the best ten have to be confined to the list of MEMORABLE SONGS in the Overview post. Even the songs posted by the readers outside the list should be considered eligible. I agree that this cannot be a sacrosanct rule. I remember in one particular year I did include a song from outside the list in the main selection. But by and large our attention is focussed on the top two or three songs. For the remaining we have more than adequate choice to select songs which have acquired everlasting fame over the years. Therefore, I find it more prudent to include ‘new’ discoveries in ‘Special Songs’.
In 1945, male and female solos had clear strong favourites, but three duets stand out and it is difficult to choose one as the definitive best. The fairest outcome seems to be to give joint top three positions to Badariya baras gayi us paar, Rani khol de apne dwar milne ka din aa gaya and Aahein na bharin shikawe na kiye. Mukesh became Mukesh in 1945. His duet with Naseem Akhtar, Pahli nazar ka teer re laga pahli nazar ka teer (Pahli Nazar) is also mentioned with great respect. Man phoole nahin samaaye by Asit baran and Bharati Devi (Waseeyatnama) has appeared on this blog eight years ago in my post on Asit Baran. It has long been my favourite. It has the special charm of New Theatres and R C Boral, and has been mentioned by Raunak with great respect.
For the remaining five, Upar ho chaand tara neeche jahan sara, beech mein hum tum pyar karenge is a delightfully naughty song by two lovers, sung by Surendra and Mrs Ghosh (Parul Ghosh?) in very different from their characteristic style. Aaj hans hans ke do do baatein ki hain sanam ne hamaare has a slow solo version in the voice of Suraiya, but its faster duet version by Suraiya and Zeenat Begum is full of verve. I give the remaining three slots to Ratiyan guzaarun kasie, Koi humein bata de, and Maalan bate de kiske liye haar banaya.
1-3. Aahein na bharin shikawe na kiye kuchh bhi na zuban se kaam liya by Kalyani, Zohrabai Ambalewali and Noorjehan from Zeenat (1945), lyrics Nakhshab Jarachavi, music (Mir Saheb and) Hafeez Khan
If there ever was an iconic song, this all-female qawwali, the first of its kind in the films is one. This became the model for filmi qawwalis in future.
1-3. Badariya baras gayi us paar by Mukesh, Khursheed and Hamida Bano from Moorti (1945), lyrics Pt Indra, music Bulo C Rani
This song has never gone out of the airwaves and from our memory.
1-3. Rani khol apne dwar, milne ka din aa gaya by K L Saigal and Suraiya from Tadbeer (1945), lyrics Swami Ramanand, music Lal Mohammad
The top actor-singers of the era create this wonderful duet. I remember to have read somewhere written by ‘knowledgeable’ persons that though Saigal and Suraiya acted together in three films, they never got to sing a duet together. That was a catchy information, but surprising because this duet has been very popular.
4. Pahli nazar ka teer re laga pahli nazar ka teer by Mukesh and Naseem Akhtar from Pahli Nazar (1945), lyrics Dr Safdar ‘Aah’, music Anil Biswas.
Dil jalata hai to jalane de, the Mukesh solo made him Mukesh and marked his arrival with a bang as a great playback singer. While this song is contemplative, the Title song is a peppy duet with Naseem Akhtar.
5. Man phoole nahin samaye by Asit Baran and Bharati Devi from Waseeyatnama (1945), lyrics Zakir Hussain, music RC Boral
6. Upar ho chaaand tara neeche jahan sara by Surendra and Parul Ghosh from Parinde, lyrics Rammoorty Chaturvedi, music Govind Ram
7. Aaj han hans ke do do baatein ki hain sanam ne hamaare by Hamida Bano and Suraiya from Main Kya Karun (1945), lyrics DN Madhok, music Ninu Majumdar
8. Ratiyan guzarun kaise haye Ram, jiya ghabraye by Surendra and Zohrabai Ambalewali from Ratnavali (1945), lyrics Rammoorti Chaturvedi, music Govind Ram
This is a fabulous song. I heard it in the internet era. The singers are erroneously mentioned in the link (as well as in HFGK) as Zohrabai Ambalewali and Shamshad Begum. Surendra’s voice is very clear and there is no Shamshad Begum. Is it possible that this duet had another version sung by these female singers?
9. Koi humein bata de by Kanan Devi, Krishnakant and Kamal Mitra from Banphool (1945), Pt Madhur, music Dhiren Mitra
10. Maalan bata de kiske liye ye haar banaya by Dhiren Mitra and Kanan Devi from Banphool (1945), lyrics Pt Madhur, music Dhiren Mitra
The Award for the Best Duet of 1945 goes jointly to:
1-3. Aahein na bharin, shikwe na kiye kuchh bhi na zubaan se kaam liya
1-3. Badariya baras gayi us paar
1-3. Rani khol de apne dwar, milne ka din aa gaya
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:
The song videos have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of the music lovers. This blog does not claim any copyright over these songs which vests in the respective owners, such as Saregama India Limited and others.
The post Best songs of 1945: Wrap Up 3 first appeared on Songs Of Yore.