A little over two years ago, when I was putting together a post of songs sung by Rajkumari, I did some work to find a song, “Najariya ki Mari,” which was part of the background score that Naushad had put together for Pakeezah after the death of the film’s main musical director, Ghulam Mohammed. Unfortunately, since I wrote that post in May of 2009, the video was wiped out, but I have just recently found a beautiful copy of the song that Ajay posted in March 2010 as an audio clip (with just one lovely picture of Meena Kumari accompanying it):
And the other night, quite by accident, I also found a great video posted by Film Impressions in May of 2010, called “The Lost Thumris of Pakeezah.” This video features a couple of other songs by Rajkumari as well as songs sung by Vani Jairam, Begum Parveen Sultana, and Naseem Bano Chopra.
The video, as you can see, is of excellent quality, a real pleasure to look at as well as listen to. It might be a little jarring at times when the sound comes in mainly through one channel, but it seems this was done deliberately to highlight some of the music that would otherwise have been buried even more deeply in the background. And there is a lot of music buried in the background – in fact, in addition to the identified songs, there are yet more melodies “woven” in. As the Film Impressions description points out:
In some scenes, like when Sahib Jaan visits her childhood friend Bibban (Vijay Laxmi), Kamal Amrohi weaves in some brilliant thumri melodies as some kind of intricate ambient sound…some of which can be heard in the video below. Have a look, and listen hard. There are many riffs that seem to waft in from the neighboring kothas, and maybe a more enterprising viewer can help us identify every lost melody.
Below this description, there is a link to a longer article in the online Film Impressions magazine. This article contains more interesting information, such as the fact that most of these background songs simply are not available in present copies of the soundtrack:
While the song “Najariya Ke Mari” by Rajkumari still appears in recent releases of the Pakeezah soundtrack, the other compositions of Naushad can only be purchased from the HMV archives. The song “Yeh Dhuwan Sa Kahan Se Uthta Hai,” composed by Mir and sung by Naseem Bano Chopra, seems lost forever. The Mehdi Hassan version of this ghazal has, however, been used as the opening track of Sai Paranjype’s Chasm-e-Budoor. The other background numbers are “Kaun Gali Gayo Shyam” by Begum Parveen Sultana, “Maut Ki Ulfat Mein” and “Mora Saajan Sauten” by Vani Jairam, as well as a couple of tracks by Rajkumari, “Mori Baali Umariya Mein Daag” and “Ab Ki Na Jao Bides.”
And so, I feel especially lucky to have stumbled upon this video the other night, which focuses on genuinely rare songs from a truly brilliant soundtrack.