4 comments on ““Nazar Lagi Raja Tore Bangle Par” and Zarina Begum

  1. Richard,
    This is fascinating stuff. The timbre in Zarina Begum’s voice sounds more like she was 70 rather than 80+ when the song was recorded. Whatever, she is too good and it is a discovery. I agree, when one hears Nazar laagi Raja, one would think not only of AB, but Zarina Begum and other tawaifs who might have sung it. But, can we conclusively date the song?

    There is better awareness of the traditional versions of some other songs. Mohe panghat pe Nandlal – the traditional versions by both male and female singers of 1930s are available on the YT. You have discovered Shamshad Begum’s version and Yaqub’s drag version of Jhumka gira re. I don’t know whether you are aware of a traditional version by one MIss Dulari. This sounds clearly like 30s. This was posted by a reader on my blog:

    Jhumka gira re by Miss Dulari


  2. AK, thank you for your interesting comments and the video.

    Starting off with Zarina, I agree that she seems to be much closer to 70 in that performance clip than the 82 years of age that she was when Saba Dewan’s documentary was made. I wondered if the performance could have come from some time earlier than the release of the documentary. But I have not found any information that indicated in might be.

    All of the articles or posts that I saw from 2009 and from 2015 to 2016 indicated that she was, indeed, 82 at the time of this documentary (or 87 to 88 when the latter articles came out). (Sometimes, wrong information about a singer or actor gets spread to a lot of posts, but I am inclined to believe the accounts of Zarina’s age, because they came from a very diverse range of sources over a span of time, and they appeared in very different kinds of blogs and news sites.)

    But, amusingly, our discussion of her age made me realize a glaring error in Shweta Sharma’s documentary, where Shweta says that Zarina was born in 1947. In my original P.S. to this post, I said that Zarina could not have performed “Nazar Lagi Tore Bangle Par” before Kala Pani if she was born in 1947. But, of course, I eventually hit myself on the forehead as I realized that according to all other information, her birth date had to have been 1927, not 1947. So now, I am much more inclined to believe that she and Begum Akhtar both sang this song well before the Kala Pani version (and, of course, I revised the P.S.). But you are right that we have yet to find a definite performance or release date mentioned anywhere.

    Regarding “Jhumka Gira Re,” your comment caused me some confusion because the song that I found being done by both Shamshad Begum and Yakub in drag is “Inhi Logon Ne.” Looking into “Jhumka Gira Re” a little further, I see that there was a version performed by Shamshad Begum, though I do not quite remember seeing that before. I have seen the version sung by Asha Bhosle for Sadhana in Mera Sayya. But, in any event, the version of “Jhumka Gira Re” by Miss Dulari is new to me, and it was nice to hear that one (which definitely does sound like 1930s or earlier).

  3. Richard,
    My mind must have gone blank. I did mix up between ‘Inhi logon ne’ and ‘Jhumka gira re’. I am happy you liked Miss Dulari version. ‘Nazar laagi Raja’ does sound like a traditional Thumri bandish. It would be a great achievement if we are able to find an authentic recording of 1930s/40s.

  4. Well, I’ll keep looking. Maybe that authentic recording will turn up online somewhere. It’s remarkable how often such things eventually do. :)

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