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Sangeet Baiju Bawra - 6: Malkauns

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

The two songs in Baiju Bawra, Man Tadpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj and O Duniya ke Rakhwale in ragas Malkauns and Darbari respectively are two of the best known Bollywood songs based on Classical ragas and faithfully adhering to the rules of the raga. Hence they deserve special treatment.

First, the devotional bhajan, Man Tadpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj. Baiju reached his guru Swami Haridas’ ashram to get his darshan and is stopped at the gates by a disciple who tells him that guru-ji is too sick to even walk to the Krishna temple for a darshan of the Lord and so cannot meet Baiju. Inside the ashram, Swami Haridas is complaining to his physician that he is unable to walk to the temple and is dying to get Hari darshan, a glimpse of his beloved Lord Krishna. Baiju is heart-broken and starts singing Man Tadpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj, “my heart is pining away to get a glimpse of my lord”.

Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrics bring out the spiritual intensity of the longing that Swami Haridas is experiencing for the darshan of Lord Krishna, an emotion that is often protrayed in the devotional songs composed by many Hindu saints. Interestingly, the music director (Naushad), the lyricist (Shakeel Badayuni) and the singer (Mohammed Rafi) are all Muslims, a testimony to the secular character of Bollywood. I have read that Naushad asked his entire team including the accompanists and the sound recordist to come to work on the day of the recording only after performing their daily ablutions and cleansing themselves because a bhajan was being recorded!

Following are the lyrics of Man Tadpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj:

hari om, hari om, hari om, hari om (Alaap)

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

more tum bin bigde sagare kaaj

ho binti karat hu rakhiyo laaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

Today my heart pines away for your darshan and all my daily affairs are in turmoil without you. I beg of you to give me darshan and save my honour.

tumre dwar kaa mai hu jogi aa aa aa aa

tumre dwar kaa mai hu jogi

humari or najar kab hogi

suno more vyaakul man kaa baaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

I am a Yogi at your door, when will you look at me? O Lord, please listen to the cry coming straight from my grieving heart.

bin guru gyan kaha se pau aa aa aa aa

bin guru gyan kaha se pau

dijo daan hari gun gaau

sab guni jan pe tumra raaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj

And finally, Baiju says to his guru Swami Haridas, how will I gain knowledge without you, my guru? Bestow your grace upon me so that I may sing the praises of the Lord. You rule the hearts of all the wise and the virtuous in the world.

The song ends with a band of devotees singing Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om, mujhe darshan ki bhiksha de do (O Lord, grant me a darshan).

Raga Malkauns, as most readers familiar with Indian Classical Music would know, has five notes in it: Sa, ga, ma, dha and ni. That is, Re and Pa are omitted, and ga, dha and ni are komal (flat). The raga has a straightforward chalan or structure, and you have the liberty to linger on any of the swaras in the raga. The curious reader would do well to play the song on an instrument they are familiar with, as the song is completelty faithful to the structure of Malkauns without a single vivadi swara (a note outside the ones allowed in the raga), and is a beautiful example of the use of a raga in its pure form in a film song. A unique feature of this song is that it is set to the 16-beat teentaal in a medium-slow madhya-laya, a tala that is often used in khayal renditions in classical concerts, but extremely rare in a Hindi film song. The “lighter” rhythms like keherwa or dadra are much more popularly used even in classical based film songs. Do listen to the song with headphones on so that you can hear the simple Dha-Dhin-Dhin-Dha, Dha-Dhin-Dhin-Dha, Dha-Tin-Tin-Ta, Ta-Dhin-Dhin-Dha theka with the minimal amount of embellishments. In the lyrics of the song above, the sam (सम) or the first beat of the teen-taal cycle is highlighted.

Rafi has sung this song in the Safed 3, i.e. the “E” scale. He starts the initial alaap Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om from the komal dha in the lower octave, and ends the third Hari om with a long sustain on the upper Sa. The song demonstrates the astonishing range of his voice. In the two stanzas Rafi touches the ma in the taar-saptak, i.e. tha “A” note in the higher octave at vyakul in the first stanza and guni jan in the second stanza. He holds on to the ma (“A”) note in the upper octave for a good five seconds without a hint of any strain in his voice at mujhe darshan ki bhiksha de do, when Haridas’ disciples join him in the Hari Om, Hari Om, Hari Om at the end of the song. To the delight and astonishment of all his disciples, the ailing Swami Haridas, who was bed ridden so far, stands up on his feet and walks shakily out of his hut to meet Baiju.

I cannot help feeling a sense of total awe at this masterpiece created by Shakeel Badayuni, Naushad and Mohammed Rafi. They will live forever in the hearts of millions of Hindi film music fans. God bless their souls!

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