Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Amazing Family!

This is unmistakably one of the most unforgettable Lata Mangeshkar melodies from the golden era of Hindi film music. ‘Aeri mein to prem diwäni’ (Film: Naubahar, Music: Late Roshan) bears unmistakable stamp of Raag Bhimpaläs and almost fifty years since it was composed, the song still holds its position on the top of charts. Similarly, Bhimpaläs, an afternoon melody in classical repertoire belonging to Käfi Thät, also retains its popularity amongst vocalists and instrumentalists alike despite availability of other raag-matrices in this time zone.

Some musicologists hold that Bhimpaläs’s originates from Raag Dhanäshri (rarely sung in recent times), but differs from Dhanäshri in its emphasis on Shuddha Madhyam (fourth note). Right from the old maestros like Ustäd ‘Baba’ Alläuddin Khän, Ustäd Faiyäz Khän, Pt Krishnaräo S Pandit, Pt Mallikärjun Mansoor to today’s Pt Kishori Amonkar, Late Dr Vasantrao Deshpände, Pt Jitendra Abhisheki and a host of others have explored Bhimpaläs’s matrix according to individual creativity. The Abhisheki composition ‘Rang chhuye jo kesarake’ is worth mentioning here with the maestro’s creativity highlighting upper half of the Bhimpaläs This composition is available for your listening pleasure in the voice of Vijay Koparkar, Pt. Abhisheki's disciple, elsewhere on this page.

Maräthi nätyasangeet has derived a host of popular numbers from this matrix. Bäl Gandharva’s ‘Swakul tärak sutä’ (Sangeet Swayamvar) is one of the most remarkable and popular compositions in Bhimpaläs. Equally popular is ‘Prem sewä sharan’ from ‘Mänäpamän’ composed by Late Pt Govindräo Tembe in Bhimpaläs. This composition was later given a distinct ‘Multäni’ flavour by Pt Dinänäth Mangeshkar. ‘Marathi rasik’ will also forever remember ‘Amrutähuni god näm tuze devä’ sung by Late Smt Manik Varmä in her inimitable, sweet voice.

There are a couple of other melodies that are close to Bhimpaläs’s structure but with a small variation thrown in. The first that comes to mind is Raag Patdeep, identified separately from Bhimpaläs with the use of Shuddha Nishäd and its emphasis on Pancham. Patdeep has been immortalized in Hindi film-music by Late SD Burman in his composition ‘Meghä chhäye äadhi rät’ (Film: Sharmilee, Music: Late SD Burman) while Veer Säwarkar’s ‘Marma bandhätali thev’ (Sangeet Sanyasta Khadga) has been sung by a number of vocalists over the years and has truly been a treasure-trove.

Another raag-matrix that’s close to Bhimpaläs is known as Raag Dhäni. The emphasis here is on ‘Gandhar’ (third note) and the matrix uses only five notes from the octave. SD Burman once again comes up with a masterpiece in this raag with ‘Khilte hai gul yahän’ (Film: Sharmilee). But the ‘magnum opus’ in Dhani has been composed by Pt Jitendra Abhisheki. His brilliance was evident when he composed an electrifying version of ‘Ghei chhand makarand’ in ‘Katyär Kälajät Ghusali' (also available as a link under "For your listening pleasure..."). Late Jaidev also immortalized Dhäni in ‘Prabhu tero näm’ (Film: Hum Dono)।

Truly an amazing family – Raag Bhimpaläs and its siblings! Then there's Raag Madhuwanti - also from the similar time-slot, but an independent raag-matrix closer to Raag Multäni worth writing a separately on. More about it in some other episode...


  1. Saheb you have become a pro at blogging !

    The post is very informative and thanks for the Youtube links as this has made music easy for us lesser mortals to understand. You should keep writing because you write so flawlessly well.

  2. Kumarji and his son Mukul have both sung a gem of a composition in Dhani - aaye rut aaye. Another sparkler.

  3. What a beautiful write up Raja. Congrats!