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Majestic Darbari - Part II

The next song that we will see is of a different mould. For one thing, one literally has to seek out Raag Darbari in it; Secondly, the image of the raag as a stately, sedate one would need a major overhaul in this song! (This of course happens with many raag.) The song is from the (older) movie ‘Azad’. Listen carefully to the song ‘Kitana haseen hai ye mausam, kitana haseen safar hai’ and locate the fleeting glimpses of Raag Darbari:

If a composer were to first think of a raag and then structure the tune, one can often recognize it immediately; but if it happens the other way round – the composer first hums a tune and then expands it to fit the full song, then one can often find shadows of the raag appearing here and there. Naturally, in such cases, the mood of the song may well be quite contrary to the ambience of the raag.

In the line ‘Milti nahi manzil, rahi ho jo akela’ the raag makes its presence felt, but very soon the composer, C. Ramchandra, moves away from it and the song goes its own way.

A song which can claim to show the full richness of Raag Darbari would be ‘Tu pyar ka sagar hai’ from the movie ‘Seema’:

The strong, sober air of the raag, the soft play of notes in mandra saptak, the ‘andolit’ komal Gandhar and the strong interplay of Rishabh and Pancham – each and every aspect of note in Raag Darbari is on display in its full richness. The initial medley of instruments, in particular the interplay of organ and violin, brings this forth very effectively.

The immense variety of Indian film music is once again seen in the next song ‘Agar mujhse mohabbat hai, mujhe saab apne gaam de do’:

An extremely delectable song; one feels that the musician Madan Mohan has made full use of the extraordinary range of Lataji’s singing. From the very first violin piece at the start, the raag comes before us. Interestingly, the association with Raag Darbari becomes faint as the song progresses and the tune becomes a matter of study by itself! One thing is certain, the song is quite complex and only a singer of Lataji’s caliber can give it justice. However, the bent of Madan Mohan is towards ‘song-based’ music and his compositions remain extremely beautiful.

The next song, ‘Daiya re daiy, laaj mohe laage’ is basically built as a dance song and remains true to this genre:

The composer is Naushad and the singer Asha Bhosale. The ‘khatkas’ and ‘harkats’ that the song is replete with make it immensely pleasurable. As a song for stage dance, the tempo has to be fast and a dancer of the stature of Vaijayanti Mala presents it in the movie. Towards the end the composer has taken a beautiful gaat on sitar, which is a hallmark of Raag Darbari.

A few years ago, we had a film ‘Sajaan’ with the song “Dekha hai peheli baar, Sajaan ki aankhon me pyar’ which has a few pieces reminiscent of Raag Darbari. The music is by Naddem / Shravan and the singers are Alka Yagnik and Bal Subramaniam. It is a simple love song with an equally simple but delightful tune:

Songs such as these bring a playful version of the raag before us; but the overall ambience of the raag that remains in our minds is that which its very name implies – the full panoply of regalia, the pomp and grandeur of a master like Tansen crafting this majestic raag: Raag Darbari!

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