Suraiya – Woh Paas Rahen Ya Door Rahen

By Neena Badhwar

After coming across a survey in India’s Outlook magazine about the top twenty Indian film songs, it was sheer curiosity that TIDU set about to find out the favourites of the non-resident Indian community from Down Under. What songs they loved to hum and hear living so far away from their motherland.

When the early Indian migrants moved to this part of the world some thirty years ago, the natural instinct was to preserve and hold dearly on to their music that then prevailed. Every dinner party in those days had to have a follow up session of Indian film songs.

Bollywood may now be a trendsetter as the world finally woke up to the exotic Indian movies as it started to notice beautiful Indian actresses such as Aishwarya Rai and Priyanka Chopra, but the film songs from some 40 years ago never ever left our lips …and our heart, soul and mind.

Starting from our grandparents’ generation when they became enamoured to K.L. Sehgal’s ‘Ai Qatib-e-taqdir mujhe itna bata de’and Noor Jehan’s ‘Awaaz de kahan hai duniya meri jawan hai’, Indians from all over the world have yet not stopped singing Mukesh’s ‘Duniya bananewale kya ere man mein samayi’, Lata’s ‘Piya tose naina lage re…’ and Mohammed Rafi’s ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain…’. Who can ever forget Manna Dey’s ‘Poochho na kaise maine raine bitayi…’

In the Bollywood’s golden era, movies of Mehboob Khan, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Hrishikesh Mukherjee ruled the roost with music directors such as Naushad, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Shankar Jaikishan and talented lyricists in Sahir Ludhianawi, Hasrat Jaipuri, Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh Dultanpuri, Shakeel Badayuni, Javed Akhtar and many more. In those days popular music set the trend and film folks became household names with their songs on everyone’s lips. The clothes they wore, their hairdos, their style set the fashion trend for generations of Indians. The power of music created a phenomenon that it grossed more moolah for the producer than the actual movie itself.

Earlier movies demanded film stars not only just as actors who were beautiful but also good singers. The classic chiseled beauty Suraiya rose to dizzying heights singing into Indian hearts her numbers ‘Woh paas rahe ya door rahe nazron mein samaye rehte hain’ and ‘Dil-e-nadan tuje hua kya hai’. There was a time when traffic jams at Marine Drive in Mumbai were caused not due to a long line of cars, but because of the young charismatic Suraiya.

This was an also an era when young India had just emerged from the shackles of foreign rule by singing songs of freedom like, ‘Door hato ai duniywalo Hindustan hamara hai’ and encouraging the youth to die for their country with ‘Watan ki raah mein watan ke naujwan shaheed ho’. This had ushered independent India into an era of golden age of film music of the 50s and the 60s with legends of Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mana Dey, Talat Mehmood, Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar. Some of these singers are recorded in Guinness Book of Records for singing the most number of songs in the world and millions of Indians in India and abroad sang these songs million times more.

The song and dance sequences of films became the talk of the generation of those times. The trend continues to present day when ‘Kajarare’ from ‘Bunti Aur Bubli’ has the ability to earn crores of rupees as even our teeny boppers point with little fingers towards CD players in our homes so that they can swing to this popular number.

While the young generation is happy singing and dancing to Bollywood numbers, dressing up in cholis and ghagras and giving performances all over the place in Indian melas, functions and cultural variety shows, the devoted still hung on to the songs from the golden era. So much attraction was to these songs that some of the musicians rehashed the old popular Bollywood numbers.

Bally Sagoo started the trend when he made himself a hit with rehashing and representing the famous ‘Chura liya hai tumne…’ and topped the UK charts. While old NRIs hung on to Mukesh, Lata, Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey, the younger crowd was enticed into old numbers when some of the famous songs were repolished, resung with video clips to the songs showing Indian bevvies dancing in suggestive skimpy clothes to songs such as ‘Le ke pehla pehla pyar’ and others.

Some of the girls who boldly danced to these numbers became as famous as the songs. Shefali Jariwala became the famous ‘Kanata Laga’ girl while Deepal Shah was the ‘Kabhi aar kabhi paar’ and ‘Rangeela re’ girl and Meghna Naidu was given the title of ‘Kaliyon ka chaman’ girl. Initially paid a paltry few thousand rupees for some of the songs, these girls now demand lakhs of rupees for stage performances. Such is the enigma of our greatest Indian film songs.

Music being an integral part of Indian films, there could be some very obscure films yet with one of the most classic, most popular song for which people went again and again to see the movie.

It was Raj Kapoor who started the trend of signature tunes and songs. So powerful became the music medium in his era when his movies like ‘Barsaat’, ‘Awara’, ‘Shri 420’ and ‘Chori Chori’ revolutionized the medium of Indian music which, at the time, was still concentrating on bhajans.

Raj Kapoor’s songs were so catchy that they consoled every man on the street in his moods of frustration and unhappiness. Nargis, in one of her trips to Russia, remembered: “The Russian people had been singing ‘Awara Hun’ everywhere, using it as welcome song when they received us! Now they are learning ‘Mera joota hai japani and ‘Ichak Dana Bichak Dana’. They were so impressed by this that they have begun teaching the song in schools there, substituting Russian words for the Hindi and sticking to the same melody.” With Shri 420 Raj Kapoor became the common man’s idol in countries like Iran, Egypt and the Middle East.

And Indians who came and settled in Australia carried these soulful songs in their hearts and listened to them in their melancholy times, looking to recreate the nostalgia of India. ‘Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani’ said our hearts.

TIDU contacted some popular singers in the Indian community who have made themselves a name by singing to the requests from Indians settled here. The audience flock to their concerts titled as Mohammed Rafi Nite, Lata–Kishore Nite, Sunehre Geet, etc. Local artistes have become specialised singers: Pushpa Jagadish is called the Lata Mangeshkar, Avijit Sarkar as the Hemant Kumar while Debi Banerji as the Geeta Dutt of Sydney. Mintu, who is a versatile singer and can sing ghazals and Punjabi pop and Bollywood numbers with equal ease, was also one of the singers we approached. Vinod Rajput, who has honed his singing talent singing Mukesh, gave an insight into his world of favourite songs as well.

They all came with their favorite ‘top ten’ and each one’s choice was quite different from the other. And while they agreed on many top songs, they agreed to disagree with many other top choices. Each song selected by them meant something very special, something very personal, yet could be based on popular requests from the local audience.  Surprisingly, during our survey, Yash Chopra himself came to Australia to present his movie ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ along with Simi Grewal and the song ‘Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khyal..’ was one of the favorite choice of some of these singers.

Pushpa Jagadish:

Pushpa Jagadish, who hails from Bangalore, started training in CArnatic music at an early age from the wellknown veena player late Asthan Vidwan L Raja Rao. Having leant classical music for nearly 8 years, Pushpa started learnign classical music from well known singer/music director Mysore Ananthaswamy.

Pushpa was top rated artists for All India Radio and Doordarshan for 12 years before she moved to Sydney in 1991. Pushpa has given a number of public performances and recorded audio cassettes. She is at present involved with Chinmaya Mission and sings bhajanshaving produced ‘Samarpan’ – a collection of devotional compositions.

Pushpa, who holds a full time job with Australia Post, also teaches light music under the banner of Lalita Kala Bharati. She considers that it is her duty to impart the knowledge to the youngsters and keep Indian culture alive in this part of the world.

Her top selection:

1. Aayega Aane wala (Mahal) – Lata Mangeshkar Music Director: Khemchand Prakash
Lyricist: Nakhshab

2. Tu Ganga ki mouj (Baiju Bawara) – Mohammad Rafi Music Director: Naushad
Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

3. Rasik Balma (Chori Chori) – Lata Mangeshkar – Music Director: Shankar, Jaikisan

4. Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati) – Lata Mangeshkar  Music Director: Salil Chaudhari
Lyricist: Shailendra

5. Chaudavin ka chand (Chaudavin ka chaand) – Mohammed Rafi – Music Director: Ravi
Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

6. Tu Jahaan jahan chalega ( Mera saya) – Lata Mangeshkar – Music Director: Madan Mohan Lyricist: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

7. Man re tu kahey na dheer dhare (Chandralekha) – Mohammed Rafi – Music Director: Roshan Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

8. Ai mere zohra jabi (Waqt) – : Manna Dey Music Director: Ravi Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

9. Jo Wada kiya woh (Taj Mahal) – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: Roshan Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

10. Kora Kagaz tha yeh man mera (Aaradhana)  – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman Lyricist: Anand Bakhshi

Pushpa, who holds a full time job with Australia Post, also teaches light music under the banner of Lalita Kala Bharati. She considers that it is her duty to impart the knowledge to the youngsters and keep Indian culture alive in this part of the world.

Her top selection:

1. Aayega Aane wala (Mahal) – Lata Mangeshkar Music Director: Khemchand Prakash
Lyricist: Nakhshab

2. Tu Ganga ki mouj (Baiju Bawara) – Mohammad Rafi Music Director: Naushad
Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

3. Rasik Balma (Chori Chori) – Lata Mangeshkar – Music Director: Shankar, Jaikisan

4. Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati) – Lata Mangeshkar  Music Director: Salil Chaudhari
Lyricist: Shailendra

5. Chaudavin ka chand (Chaudavin ka chaand) – Mohammed Rafi – Music Director: Ravi
Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

6. Tu Jahaan jahan chalega ( Mera saya) – Lata Mangeshkar – Music Director: Madan Mohan Lyricist: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

7. Man re tu kahey na dheer dhare (Chandralekha) – Mohammed Rafi – Music Director: Roshan Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

8. Ai mere zohra jabi (Waqt) – : Manna Dey Music Director: Ravi Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

9. Jo Wada kiya woh (Taj Mahal) – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: Roshan Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

10. Kora Kagaz tha yeh man mera (Aaradhana)  – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman Lyricist: Anand Bakhshi

Vinod Rajput:

Vinod is a Geoscientist by profession, but is a singer by passion. His CD
titled “A Tribute to Mukesh” is well known in Australia. The variety in the
styles of his singing ranges “from Talat to Mukesh, Rafi and Kishore’s
yodelling to Qawwali”.

Vinod has actively encouraged youngsters as one sees him in Bal Bharti Hindi school in Sydney carrying harmonium from room to room teaching them to sing. ‘Rasik Ranjini’ musical group formed by Vinod in Adelaide comprises a group of passionate singers who hold music mehfils while Vinod now retired carries on with his singing all over Australia.

Vinod Rajput’s choice:

1. O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Mohammed Rafi – Baiju Bawra – Naushad – Shakil Badayunee
2. Saranga Teri Yaad Mein – Mukesh – Saranga – Sardar Malik – Bharat Vyas
3. Tu Ganga Ki Mauj Main Jamuna – Mohammed Rafi – Baiju Bawra – Naushad – Shakil
Badayunee
4. Chaudvin Ka Chand Ho – Mohammed Rafi – Chaudvin Ka Chand – Ravi – Shakil Badayunee
5. Jago Mohan Pyare – Lata Mangeshkar – Jaagte Raho – Salil Chowdhury – Shailendra
6. Poochho Na Kaise – Manna Dey – Meri Surat Teri Ankhen – S.D. Burman – Shailendra
7. Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki – Mohammed Rafi – Dulari – Naushad – Shakil Badayunee
8. Ye Zindagi Usi Ki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar – Anarkali – C. Ramchandra    – Rajinder Krishan
9. Baharao Phool Barsao – Mohammed Rafi – Suraj – Shanker-Jaikishen – Hasrat Jaipuri
10. Ye Raat Ye Chandni – Hemant Kumar – Jaal – S.D. Burman – Sahir Ludhianvi

3. Debi Banerjee

Debi Banerjee, born into a family of singers, dancers and film stars of Calcutta, spent most of her childhood in a boarding school in Darjeeling where she was groomed in piano and Latin music as the lead soprano singer.

Debi’s first stage performance was at the age of nine and she has developed her own distinct style of singing in various languages. Rigorous choral training and passion for music has given Debi the opportunity to perform in community radios, dramas and stage performances in India, UK and all over Australia.

She was the first female singer in Australia to have released a remix CD “Tamanna”, portraying a fusion of old classics wrapped in modern reggae/techno beats.  She organizes a musical platform “Surmayi Shaam” every year and gives opportunities to new talents and upcoming artistes. Her resolution is to think positive, readily forgive and forget and spread joy and happiness through her music.

Debi’s choice:

1.      Gore gore O banke chhore – Samadhi – Lata Mangeshkar & Amirbai Karnataki

2.      Jaane kya tune kahi – Pyasa – Geeta Dutt

3.      Vaqt ne kiya – Kaagaz ke phool – Geeta Dutt

4.      Meri jaan mujhe jaan na kaho – Anubhav    – Geeta Dutt

5.      Babuji dheere chalna – Aar Paar – Geeta Dutt

6.      Yeh hai reshmi – Mere Sanam – Asha Bhonsle

7.      Chain se humko kabhi – Pran jaye par vachan na jaye – Asha Bhonsle

8.      Dil cheez kya hai – Pakeeza – Asha Bhonsle

9.      O saathi re – Muqaddar ka Sikander – Asha Bhonsle

10.  Aao huzur tumko – Kismat – Asha Bhonsle

Pupinder Mintu:

Pupinder Mintu has been singing from the age of nine and learnt classical and vocal under Guru Vikram Singh ji. He is the most versatile singer in Australia who sings film, bhangra songs and ghazals. He is the first Australian who has sung for top Bollywood and Australian movies. He has extensively performed in several countries, solo, as well as with many stars, including Bonney M, Udit Narayan, Govinda, Jagjit Singh.

Says Mintu, “Overseas people greatly respect the old songs and their requests made me sing every genre and helped me evolve as a singer in a way which is quite unique.”

For now Mintu would like to pass on his skills to youngsters here as he is planning to set up his own music school.

  1. Pyar kiya to darna kya – Mughal-e-AzamLata Mangeshkar, Music Director: Naushad Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni
  2. Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain – Guide –  Mohammad Rafi Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman Lyricist: Shailendra
  3. Shokhiyon mein ghola jaye phoolon ka shabab – Kishore Kumar Lata Mangeshkar – Prem Pujari – Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman
    Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri
  4. Gaata rahe mera dil – Lata Mageshkar Kishore Kumar – Guide – Music Director: Sachin Dev Burman Lyricist: Shailendra
  5. Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai – Lata Mangeshkar – Kabhi Kabhi – Music Director: Khaiyyam Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi
  6. Dekha ek khwab to ye silsile huye – Silsila –  Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar
    Music Director: Shiv, Hari Lyricist: Javed Akhtar
  7. Chura liya hai tumne jo dilko – Yaadon Ki BaaratAsha Bhonsle, Mohammad Rafi, Music Director: Rahul Dev Burman Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri
  8. Pukaarataa chalaa huun main –  Mere SanamMohammad Rafi Music Director: Onkar Prasad Nayyar Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri
  9. Dil Dhuundhataa hai, phir vahii, fursat ke raat din –  Mausam Singer: Bhupinder, Bhupinder, Lata Mangeshkar Music Director: Madan Mohan Lyricist: Gulzar
  10. Zindagii ke safar men guzar jate hain jo makam –  Aap Ki Kasam –  Kishore Kumar Music Director: Rahul Dev Burman Lyricist: Anand Bakhshi

Avijit Sarkar

Avijit Sarkar, a musician, painter, writer, poet and actor, hails from a family of performing artistes. He has had training, both in Indian classical and Western music, and has been in the music industry for over 30 years. His music encompasses a wide variety of musical forms including light classical, ghazals, devotional, folk and pop. His compositions reflect this wide repertoire of styles and techniques. Avijit, who was associated with All India Radio and Doordarshan in India, has performed in more than 1600 live concerts. He has composed music for Australian documentary films, radio and theatre in Sydney. In the last few years, Avijit has devoted his concerts and recordings for charity and fund raising in Australia. He has recently been recognised and endorsed by APRA (Australian Performing Rights Assoc) as a music writer and composer.

Avijit is also an illustrator and painter. He has been a cartoonist/illustrator with Times Of India newspaper during the eighties. His paintings/cartoons have been exhibited in Sydney. In India, he has trained in creative theatre and puppetry under the legendary Meher Contractor and has performed at international theatre festivals in France and Iran. Avijit is also a prolific writer and his poems, essays and works of fiction has been published in leading newspapers.

Avijit’s best choice:

1. Main Kya Jaanu Kya Jaadu Hai, K.L Saigal, Zindagi, Pankaj Mallik, Kidar Sharma

2. Piya Milan Ko Jaana, Pankaj Mallik, Kapal Kundala, Pankaj Mallik,

3. Kuchh To Log Kahenge, Kishore Kumar, Amar Prem, R.D. Burman, Anand Bakshi

4. Woh Shaam Kuchh Ajeeb Thi, Kishore Kumar, Khamoshi, Hemant Kumar, Gulzar

5. Rim Jhim Gire Sawan, Kishore Kumar, Manzil, R.D. Burman, Yogesh

6. Hothon Pe Aisi Baat, Lata Mangeshkar, Jewel Thief, S.D. Burman, Majrooh Sultanpuri

7. Aapki Nazron Ne Samjha, Lata Mangeshkar, Anpadh, Madan Mohan, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

8. Rangeela Re, Lata Mangeshkar, Prem Pujari, S.D. Burman, Neeraj

9. Tum Pukar Lo, Hemant Kumar, Khamoshi, Hemant Kumar, Gulzar

10. Bekarar Karke Hame, Hemant Kumar, Bees Saal Baad, Hemant Kumar, Shakeel Badayuni

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