11 comments on “Ten Favorite Naushad Soundtracks from the 1940s

  1. Lovely selection, Richard! Especially Aawaaz de kahaan hai, which I simply adore. And the songs from Dulari and Dard in particular. Both are favourites of mine too. I also love this song from Andaaz:

  2. Anu, you are very welcome. And it’s OK that you didn’t have anything up for Naushad’s birthday, especially considering that you did put a post out for Raj Kapoor’s (which was fun to see, though I was not able to answer your quiz questions).

    And Madhu, thank you for the nice words. I am glad that we share some favorites!

    I actually almost posted the song that you just posted in comments, but then I thought, I have to post the one with Cuckoo’s dance! (Is that cheating, to base my final musical selection on fondness for a dance?) But I also liked including a Mukesh song, considering that I knew female singers would far outnumber male singers in this post – as they do in my blog in general.

    I did realize after I published this post that I had managed to do a top ten Naushad list without one song by Lata. But that’s OK – it’s actually kind of an accomplishment. :)

  3. Obviously, the Naushad of the 40′s is way out of my comfort zone . . . thus I found that the easiest tunes for me to digest were those closest to 1950. Yet, comfort zones are made to be broken … and your posts are always great guide to an era I have little knowledge of.

    The number from Shahjahan was probably the most tentative favorite . . . while the bit from Andaz was seductively familiar . . . and the kite flying “Pyari Patang” was really adorable. Really, I enjoyed all of these (despite feeling on quite shaky temporal ground) . . . but I have to say, Phir Aah Dil Se from Mela was the no contest winner for me at least–it brought tears to my eyes almost immediately. Soooo haunting and perfect both in melodic expression and picturization (and if I had it on an LP, I would surely wear that record out!!).

  4. Thank you, Miranda. It is interesting that you talk about the ’40s being so much out of your temporal comfort zone, but your favorite song by far on this list is sung by Zohrabai Ambalewali, who was so much a singer of the 1940s. :) Anyway, yes, I agree, that is a good one (though I’ll stick with the rank that I gave it, because I love nos. 6 through 1 so much)… I really like her singing voice, too, and I also can’t help thinking how different it is from the kind of female singing that dominated in Hindi films starting in the 1950s, after Lata Mangeshkar set the standard (and also took over almost everything for a while).

    If you would like to hear more Zohrabai songs, I would be happy to recommend them. :) (Actually, she was also the singer in that opening song from Ratan and a couple of others in that film – which I very consciously chose for second place here,)

    “Phir Aah Dil Se” is very moving, as you pointed out. The songs in this movie are all very good, but I found the movie as a whole to be too dark and depressing even for me – which is quite something! A contender for first place on the list that I’ll make some day of the most relentlessly unhappy films…

  5. Good tribute to Naushad on his birthday.Year1949 had some very good songs from Naushad, you have included 3 of the 4 movies he composed in 1949, this the 4th one Chandni Raat

  6. Richard,
    I think the vocalizing in a minor key thing was certainly a factor in my feeling toward Phir Aah Dil Se, but I also enjoyed the richness and the gravely layers of her voice . . . and I would much appreciate some recommendations of other Zohrabai numbers.

    In general I tend to prefer female (and male . . . my favorite Hindi singer is M. Rafi) voices in the lower range. . . and I agree that the preferred sound in the 70′s and onward (let’s just call a spade a spade and call it the Lata era, for better or for worse) was very much dominated by the higher female register. At least Asha Bhonsle added a slightly lower pitch for variety.

  7. Miranda, I agree totally regarding the “richness and gravelly layers of her voice”!” That was very nicely put (that is, assuming you meant “gravelly” and not “gravely” – sorry, I’m an old proofreader :) )…

    Below are some other posts with Zohrabai that I’ve done over the past almost-five years… I might have just recommended typing “Zohrabai” into the search bar, but when I did that, myslef, I decided to pick out the ones that had singing by Zohrabai (as opposed to, for example, a post where I mentioned her because I was writing about her daughter, the dancer Roshan Kumari). I also noticed that there were some clips that needed replacing and some that weren’t showing, so I fixed those..

    (A note to all blog readers who see this: Sometimes in the time between 2008 and 2010, I have posts where the clips don’t show at all. That’s because I had typed a special format code in the YouTube URLS, which had been recommended to me by a guy named Tom Daniel ;) in 2008 in order to get the best format, but the code became obsolete as YouTube’s automatic formatting procedure changed, and so at some point, it wasn’t being read anymore. I tried to fix a whole lot of these, but there were so many that after a while, I left a bunch to just fix as I find them, when they’ve been referred to, etc.)

    Anyway, back to Miranda – hope you like these!

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/a-few-found-delights-by-zohrabai/

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2009/05/23/three-with-zohrabai/

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2010/12/26/zohrabai-on-cuckoos-in-mirza-sahiban-1947/

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/shamshad-and-zohrabai-on-rehana-and-chorus-in-shama-1946/

  8. Ashraf, thanks for the information and for adding another fine Rafi song here! I have heard of this soundtrack and film. (Though when I see that title, I also think of so many great songs with a similar name. ;) ) But it is actually the one that I was least familiar with, so I will definitely have to look into to it some more.

  9. Richard,
    I did mean “gravelly,” lol. Thank you for the proofing and the “profing” . . . I appreciate you taking the time to curate Zohrabai songs for my edification and consumption ;)

    I really loved the song and dance number from Amber (Dil ke Shish Mahal) . . .once again, it gives her the chance to show off her qawwali-esque vocalizing. The Shama (1942) number was fun as well.

    Also, how awesome is Cukoo? I recently discovered her in Awaara. She’s just fabulous.

  10. Miranda, I’m happy to see that you like Zohrabai’s singing so much. I do too! She is one of my favorites.

    And, yes, Cuckoo was great. I discovered her first in the couple of dances that she did with her protege, Helen. I think a lot of people who find out about Cuckoo do so because they heard that she was the actress-dancer who helped Helen to get her start. (They might have seen her in a film or two but not been aware of her until they followed the Helen connection.) But I actually like Cuckoo much more than Helen at this point.

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