14 comments on “Back to Rajkumari and “The Lost Thumris of Pakeezah”

  1. Thanks for this collection of thumris from Pakeezah, Richard!
    That is a nice find! I knew the Rajkumair thumri from music india online. I don’t know if it is still there. Will have to check it up!

  2. It is interesting to hear Vani Jairam render ‘mora sajan souten ke ghar’ flawlessly. Great find!
    Will be spending some time listening to this now!

  3. I’ll add my ‘thank you’ to harvey’s! Lovely, Richard – I didn’t know about these. The music of Pakeezah was simply out of this world, and it’s a big day for me to discover that there’s more of it out there. Thank you!

  4. OH, Thank you Thank you, Richard.
    For years I have watched Pakeezah several times just to enjoy the thumris in the background. It always leaves me a little dissatisfied. I want to listen to it not as sung softly in the background, but prominently.
    And yet, the softness and the way it floats – close, and then far away, add such a brilliant touch and ambience. Quite a masterstroke.
    Kaun gali gaye shyam and yeh dhuan kahan se uthata hai sound so plaintive and suit the whiole demeanour of Meena Kumari and her longing. Very heartbreaking that ‘yeh dhuan’ sung by Naseem Bano Chopra cannot be traced. Hopefully it will materialize some day.
    I’m going to be listening and watching this clip for some time now :)

  5. I love Pakeezah and the songs are so suited to its ambience. I have long loved the thumris in the background.

    Thank you for posting this.

  6. Pacifist and Ava, you are welcome, and it’s good to see that you have been appreciating these thumris for a while.

    Pacifist, did you really watch Pakeezah several times just to enjoy the thumris in the background? That’s interesting… Your description is very nice too.

  7. >Pacifist, did you really watch Pakeezah several times just to enjoy the thumris in the background?

    Cross my heart, yes Richard. :-)
    Of course it was to watch the film as well, which I like a lot, fast forwarding and back sometimes.

  8. Way back in the 80s I had a cassette of Pakeeza’s songs that contained several of these thumris though not all of them. It was a favourite of mine. Unfortunately, I lost it while shifting homes. The film actually uses only snatches of the thumris. The cassette contained a more full rendition like the clip posted by Ajay. Late I bought another cassette of the film’s songs but it did not feature even one of these thumris.

  9. Thanks Richard. I’m gald you found that little compilation we did over at Film Impressions. We’re trying to get a video compiled from Umrao Jaan next – a lot of lost thumris there as well :)

  10. Hi! It has been exactly 32 minutes since I discovered your blog and fell in love with it.
    I have question regarding the song Inhi Logon Ne in the movie Pakeezah. Could you please tell me why Sahibjaan is wearing long silver nails in that song? Does it have any special purpose or significance?

    P.S – Keep the good work and happy holidays! :)

  11. Pritha, many thanks for your highly encouraging words; it is very nice to see that you fell in love with this blog after half an hour! (And sorry that I took days to notice that your comment needed my approval to go through. Hey, WordPress, of course I approve of this!)

    Regarding the long silver nails, I never even thought about whether they had any significance. That is a very observant question.

    My own hunch is that they were not symbolic but they did serve a purpose in enhancing the performance. She points her fingers a lot here and snaps them a little – at one point in a guy’s face – and the effect is enhanced by the long nails, which stand out even more because of the silver color. That’s my impression, but maybe there is more information to be found about this somewhere.

    Anyway, happy holidays to you, too (that is, what is left of them), and I hope that you will keep tuning in over here!

    P.S. I wonder if at any point the long nails were used to help cover Meena Kumari’s missing left pinkie. I looked at this song a little just now, and I see that she covers it a couple of times – first with the dupatta; then, when she puts her left hand on a pole, she quickly covers it with her right hand. But I would have to look at it again – maybe at a slower speed – to see whether the nails had anything to do with that effort.

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