An ephemeral piece of heaven…

I was fast asleep last night when our foster son Gold woke me up with a very wet wipe on my face and some nibbling on the ear that was closest to him. That usually indicates he wants to attend  nature’s call, but this time in the darkness he just stood his ground, grinning at my groggy face, wagging his tail as if making fun of my predicament. I checked the time: 3.18 am!! I patted on his head and he sat down with a noisy Harrumph. I went back to catch up with my 40 winks. I imagined as I was drifting off into never-never land that I heard the opening lines of this amazing melody. Amazingly the song was still playing in my head when I woke up at 5 as usual.

As far as lullabies go ( Loree in Bollywood speak), one of the earliest I heard was the one by the legendary Kundanlal Saigal, “So Jaa Rajkumari, so jaa which I heard way back in the early 60s as my Dad was a great KLS fan. Another one I am very fond of is the one by C Ramchandra and Latadidi from Albela, “Dheere se aa ja akhiyan mein, nindiya aa ja ree aa ja…”. But this one is truly special.

Chandan ka palna was sung by the man with the most divine Baritone this side of the Suez canal, Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyaya. The song is from an early 50s movie, Shabab, which had a very inexplicable pairing of Bharat Bhushan with Nutan. As well matched shall we say, as matter and antimatter meeting. One, a great emoter (even at that early stage of her career), & the other one who couldn’t act to save his hide. But Bharat Bhushan had the luck of the devil and acted with great actresses and was part of some all time great movies. The number of truly great melodies picturized on him are astoundingly large.

A lullaby had never before reached an almost spiritual plane than Chandan ka palnaShakeel Badayuni’s lyrics Oonche gagan se koi bulaye/Ayee hain pariyan dola sajayen create an enchanted, magical world, and whose voice should Naushad choose to sing these words, not his trusted favourite Rafisaab but Hemant Kumar‘s to help the audience achieve an emotional Nirvana. I am always moved by this song every time I hear it to tears. There are two versions of the song, a duet with Latadidi and a solo. The song shows the dusky, innocent beauty of a very young Nutan.

But the real magic of Hemant Kumar’s voice comes out in the solo version of this song. The song is preceded by his recitation, not really set to music, nor accompanied by any musical instruments, but just pure vocal bliss, Sangeet hai shakti Ishwar ki har sur mein basein hain Ram/ Raagi jo sunaye raag madhur rogi ko mile araam, shortly followed by Hemantada breaking into song,  Ho chandan ka palna resham ki dori, and the spell is cast, you are transported to the land of dreams. Pure magic!! That’s actually the central premise of the movie, with Nutan, a princess severely afflicted by insomnia and all known methods having failed, the King announces a huge reward for the person who can make Hypnos visit the young lady. Enter Bharat Bhushan (who quaintly forgets the Veena he is carrying is actually a musical instrument and uses it as an armrest of sorts) who puts her to sleep. (As he usually did to his audiences, they would fall asleep in the halls of the sheer odium)

The magic of Hemantada’s baritone is just amazing. Truly sublime. I would love to have this song playing when I transit. What a melody….. You can almost see the cherubs and angels beckon…

चन्दन का पलना रेशम की डोरी
झूला झुलाऊँ निंदिया को तोरी
चन्दन का पलना

सो जा तू ऐसे मोरि सजनिया
सजिया पे सोये जैसे दुल्हनिया
चन्दा का टीका माथे लगाऊँ
तारों की माला तुझको पहनाऊँ
तारों की माला तुझको पहनाऊँ
तोहे सुलाऊँ गा गा के लोरी

झूला झुलाऊँ निंदिया को तोरी
चन्दन का पलना

ऊँचे गगन से कोई बुलाये
आयी है परियाँ डोला सजाये
साजन से मिलने दूर चली जा
उडके तू निंदिया दूर चली जा
उडके तू निंदिया दूर चली जा
चन्दा पुकारे आजा चकोरी
झूला झुलाऊँ निंदिया को तोरी
चन्दन का पलना.

That’s truly magical, isn’t it?

Great lyrics that are so simple to understand, fantastic, truly calming, a very melodious composition, and the best vocalist you could dream of to soothe, nurture the soul and almost hypnotize you….

One can only dream of such stuff now, amidst all the cacophony, nasal bleats and lyrics which a second grade student would be reprimanded and even punished if the child were to write such inanely stupid stuff . No wonder, I really did dream the song.

Stay safe, folks and stay away from the Chinese virus that in its latest avatar is affecting hundreds of millions worldwide. Have a wonderful, soulful Sunday as I catch up with the lungful of Oxygen


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

7 replies on “An ephemeral piece of heaven…”

Truly mesmerizing. One lullaby that’s among my favorites is “Ram Kare Aisa Ho Jaaye” from Milan, may be because fond childhood memories of growing up in a joint family full of Mukesh fans.

Liked by 1 person

What a beautiful share, imagine the pressure on music director… as this is a key event in the movie when princess had to sleep👍
Hemantda at his the best👍👍👍👍👌

Liked by 1 person

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