16 comments on “Which O.P. Nayyar Song Does This Punjabi Folk Song Remind You Of?

  1. Hey, Richard, have been looking for early Nahid Akhtar for ages, as I first remember her!! Know it is not what you have asked but am just enjoying this so much :))

  2. Bawa, no need to answer the question. You have done better by letting me know that this post achieved a much greater purpose than I originally intended. :)

  3. Sunheriyaadein,

    Yes, that’s what it reminded me of! But there are some differences too, so I just wanted to see if anybody else was reminded of that. :)

  4. Oh no! Doesn’t sound at all like Reshmi salwar to me! Totally different tune.

    Reshmi salwar kurta jali ka is a straight conversion of this traditional Punjabi song, which we still sing at weddings, “Sarke sarke jandiye mutiare ni…”

    Version 1: Surinder Kaur & Parkash Kaur, very close to the version I heard at home.

    Version 2. Fancier Pakistani Punjabi film version,

    The song is a long tale of a young man (soldier) nearing a village, seeing a girl get pricked by a thorn on her foot by the well, he offers to help, she rejects, he asks for a drink of water, she is offended, he teases her about who does things for her, she replies her sister-in-law, and her brother.
    In the end she reaches her home (in-laws), gets asked -very kindly- why she has tarried for so long, and she tells how she was waylaid by a soldier.
    She then finds out that it her long-gone husband, but she was so young when he left that she has failed to recognise him and now he is sulking…finally they make up, although he asks her to “tell the water-well incident”

  5. Bawa, thanks for these versions of that song… This might be the source for the main tune of “Reshmi Salwar,” but to me the song I posted above has a similar sort of structure to “Reshmi Salwar,” and there is a short instrumental break that happens a couple of times (I think) that is close to identical. (Wish I had better musical vocabulary to describe what I mean. :) Anyway, at least now I know that I’m not the only one who heard some similarity, although I am not surprised that you knew all about the real source of the tune itself and that it was something else.

  6. That breaking instrumental structure is very typical of folk songs in Punjabi and sometimes in Dogri (Jammu area) and Sindhi folk songs. The break in music, using only voice, is used to sing each stanza – which also draws attention to the lyrics- and then the whole music bursts in to accompany the “punch-line”
    is this what you meant?

    There are several basic beats/rhythms to Punjabi folk, reshmi salwar uses one of the most common ones- I don’t know how to describe it apart from playing on the dholki- whereas the song above uses one of the less common rhythms in folk. That is why it sounds so totally different to me. I am fascinated that for people who are not familiar, it sounds so similar. When I have time, I will experiment by trying to listen without preconceptions!

    I think OP Nayyar made no secret of the fact that he used this song and Punjabi people were meant to recognise Reshmi salwar as a Hindi version of “Sarke sarke”, (he added a slightly higher range to the initial notes) and from what I have heard, punjabis of the time were very proud that such a “Punjabi” song became such a great hit all over India.

    The lyrics too follow the pattern so typical of punjabi folk: a sort of repartee between two lovers or husband/wife, or a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law, bridegroom’s family vs bride’s family etc.

    Apart from folk, this voice-only style was also used in many old style classical ghazals. Malika Pukhraj used this style of ghazal singing beautifully- I am a die-hard fan. I cannot find her version here, as I have them on old 78 rpm records. Her daughter Tahira Syed sings in the same style, but unfortunately modern television doesn’t stop the instrumental part for her to sing each stanza in voice-only. If you can imagine the music stopping each middle line, this would be a typical ghazal

    Btw, richard, remember your teenage idols? this (Tahira Syed) was My child/teenage idol! I wanted to grow up just as tall as her, sing like her and in fact, in my late teens, made-up my hair and eyes in very much the same way.
    Didn’t work at all…sigh…

  7. Oh, just found one that explains what I mean…if you can bear another. Feel free to take them off the comments if you want

  8. Hi, Bawa. No, sorry, these songs are further away from “Reshmi Salwar,” and though your explanation is very interesting, it doesn’t pinpoint the similarities to me. Regardless of what the main tune was based on, there are instrumental sections in the Punjabi folk song that I posted above that are much more similar to “Reshmi Salwar” (at least to my ears) and there is one short instrumental break that seems almost identical to me.

    Of course, I feel a bit emboldened in asserting my claim because two other people commenting here have heard similarities too. O.P. Nayyar based a bunch of his songs on Punjabi folk songs, so if it’s a more general, basic aspect of Punjabi folk songs that would remind us of “Reshmi Salwar,” then why didn’t people say that the song I posted above reminded them of another Punjabi folk song? No, I think it’s more than that. :)

  9. Richard, I didn’t mean to question yours and others ears at all!

    I was just fascinated that people who don’t know Sarke sarke, would hear a similiarity between the above song and reshmi salwar, which to me sounds so different!

    I think I am right in assuming that you and the other 2 posters are not familiar with Punjabi folk music and therefore you hear these similarities, whereas I am conditioned by the fact that I Know that O P Nayyar used Sarke Sarke tune for the main part, and also that the beat used in the one above not the one used in both reshmi and sarke and therefore find it harder to hear the other similarities.

    The ghazal and the other song were not menat to be similar to the one above at all!
    I think that as usual I wasn’t very clear. What I was trying to illustrate -difficult because I can’t find clips of the songs we sing- is the use of a break in the music to highlight the lyrics of the stanza that build up right up to the final line: and then the punchline is delivered in with the percussion and the music coming in full to underline it. This was also used in some old-style ghazal singing, but hardly anyone does it nowadays, hence the ghazal. Sorry if I confused you. I was just trying to provide some extra info on singing styles.

    Anyway, in order to make it up to you, I will translate the above lyrics roughly (or you can delete this post if it is too boring/off-topic)
    I came through the acacia trees
    I cam through the berry bushes
    You came all hunched and crawling
    Waddling like a hen (this is where the music comes in)
    Didn’t like it too much
    waddling like a hen

    I salute your acacia trees
    I salute your berry bushes
    And the path that you came on
    You tall jatt woman
    I am in love with you
    You tall jatt woman

    In tiny little drops
    The rain falls
    The rainy season drips
    You little (kidney) bean have gotten wet
    For not wearing a sheet

    Listen to me girl
    I am young
    I am your partner
    And being afraid of the world
    I haven’t worn a sheet

    You bean have gotten wet/for not wearing a sheet
    Afraid of the world/I have not worn a sheet

    I hope this very rough and unpoetic translation will help you understand Naheed and her sister’s delightful expressions and gestures.

  10. Hello..no not because of the translation, but I thought both posts were getting long-winded!
    liked the belated Xmas post very much!

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