Awaz De – Anmol Ghadi

There are some songs that will live with you during your life. This one created by Naushad and sung by Noor Jehan and Surendra in 1946 is like so for me. I enjoy it each time I hear it and always marvel at Noorjehan’s thick and husky Punjaban voice. Of recent, only one singer created such a tonal quality – it is Richa Sharma (try listening to her Zindagi mein koi kabhi aye na rabba – Musafir)..

The year was 1946, the film Industry was hard at work creating excellent B&W movies and a number of new heroes and heroines were coming to the forefront. Hema Malini was just born, Yusuf Khan (Dilip Kumar) was making his entrance into Bollywood, Suraiyah was making her mark, Lata Mangeshkar was just entering the scene, Naushad Ali was creating waves with his music and Madam Noor Jehan – Mallika e Tarannun (Queen of melodies) had not even started contemplating whether to remain in India or move to Pakistan…She was at that time an established singing - acting star, all of 20 years old, graced with stunning looks and a deep voice. Lata had just finished her first Hindi recording Paa Lagoon Kar Jori for Vasant Joglekar's Hindi movie, Aap Ki Seva Mein.

The World war had come to an end. Mehboob Khan’s movie Anmol Ghadi (Precious Watch) had been released with a star studded line up of singers Noor Jehan, Surraiya and Surendra with melodious music crafted by the maestro Naushad. In the movie Noor Jehan played the love triangle acting out the role of “Lata”. Anmol Ghadi had just rejuvenated the languishing career of actor-singer Surendranath B.A. LL.B. On another desk, Sir Cyril Radcliffe of the British government was hard at work, drawing the lines that would split the film industry and the country itself…He did not know about Noor Jehan , Lata Manageshkar or Yusuf Khan… they were deep in discussions with Gandhiji, Nehru and Krishna Menon about the various aspects of India’s independence.

The most memorable song in Anmol Ghadi was Awaz De kahan hai sung by Noor jehan and accompanied by Surendra with his soothing voice singing out the part Kismet Pe Chha Rahi Hai Kyon, Raat Ki Siyahi (siyahi BTW means darkness)…It also became a personal favorite of Noor Jehan over the years. The lines were written by Tanvir Naqvi who migrated to Pakistan as well.

Picture the recording - While recording Aawaz De Kahan Hai, they had only one microphone. So Noor would stand on one side, and Surendra Nath on the other. Surendra Nath her co star in the movie happened to be a very timid man. What Noor would do is sing her lines and instead of turning away, she would stare right into Surendra Nath's face, making him nervous. A thorough gentleman he was, but he could not take Noor Jehan's mischief in his stride! He could stand it no longer, so he went to Naushad and requested him to ask her to turn away once she finished singing her lines. She laughed and then did what Naushad asked her to do. Thus went the recording of this memorable song.

Noor Jehan moved to Pakistan with her husband Shaukat Rizvi in 1949 and after an active musical career, passed away in Dec 2000. Lata Mangeshkar stated, "Maine unke suron ki ungli pakad kar gana seekha hai," (I learned to sing by holding the fingers of her notes). Lata in a way even owed her entry into Mumbai filmdom to the two Noor Jehan numbers that she sung for her first audition. She always admired and respected Noor Jehan and Noor Jehan duly reciprocated
. It was late in 1951 that Lata Mangeshkar, on a visit to Amritsar, approached the local authorities to arrange her meeting with Noor Jehan at the Wagah border. There they met on the fence, and talked of times gone by.

Anmol Ghadi (1946) – Aawaz De Kahan Hai

aawaz de kahaan hai, duniya meri jawan hai
aabaad mere dil mein ummeed ka jahaan hai
duniya meri jawan hai ...

aa raat jaa rahi hai, yu jaise chandani ki
baaraat ja rahi hai , chalne ko ab falak se
taaron ka kaarvaan hai , aaise mein tu kahaan hai
duniya meri jawaan hai ...

kismat pe chha rahi hai, kyon raat ki siyaahi
viran hai meri neenden , taaron se le gavaahi
barbaad main yahaan hoon , aabaad tu kahaan hai
bedard aasmaan hai ... duniya meri jawan hai
aawaz de kahaan hai ...

Trivia -
Sour and oily food is death to a good throat - who doesn't know that? And yet Noor Jehan used to eat a lot of pickles. The interesting thing was that whenever she had a film song to record, she would eat a lot of pickles quite ritualistically, wash it down with ice-cool water, then reach over to the microphone. She said her voice was enlivened this way. Despite being deaf in one ear, Noor Jehan's voice and her music are immortal. Noorhehans name was actually Allah Wasai. Noorjehan never sang without receiving advance payment for her songs. Sonia who acted in Taj mahal and Khoya Khoya Chand is her granddaughter.

Naushad Saheb told Lata to imitate Noorjehan for the song 'Uthaye Ja Unke Sitam' Andaaz (1949), he said "Achha Latabai Ab Apni Pakistani Behen Ko Yaad Kar Ke Yeh Gaana Gayiega." Naushad’s foray into Malayalam cinema produced one movie in 1988 Dhwani - A popular number is Janaki Jaane rama (Solos sung by KJY and P Susheela).

Awaz de’s tune ‘inspired’ P Bhaskaran in the song Palazyiyaam Nilavil for the movie ‘Thiramaala’ sung by Kozhikode Abdul Khader & Shanta P Nair


Good one - Anmol Ghadi is one of the first tapes (8-track) that I remember having in our house. Nice detail, as usual.
Indrani said…
The recording episode was funny.

Old Hindi songs are my favorite too.
narendra shenoy said…
lovely post sir. Brought back memories of Vividh Bharati, our old Phillips radio which would take five minutes to warm up, the "antakshari" games where all these old songs were sung with great fervour, if not talent, by aunties and uncles, and of course La Dame Noor Jehan who was everybody's favorite. My mom used to do a nice imitation of hers by singing thru her nose this very song.

harimohan said…
s.p.balasubramaniam is a smoker and he tells dasannan as he calls him repeatedly advices him to leave it as he is a stickler for such things but spb continues to so ,for some like him ,noorjehan,lata and others thier talent is so good that they can do anything ,they are true gandharvas born to pleasure us folks
harimohan said…
s.p.balasubramaniam is a smoker and he tells dasannan as he calls him repeatedly advices him to leave it as he is a stickler for such things but spb continues to so ,for some like him ,noorjehan,lata and others thier talent is so good that they can do anything ,they are true gandharvas born to pleasure us folks
Lovely , lovely post. And such interesting details and trivia. Thanks for the audio as well.
The old songs are so melodious. When Noorhjehan returned to India after many years in 1982, as a visitor from Pakistan, she was welcomed and feted so grandly, and was even received by Indira Gandhi.
Maddy said…
Thnaks BPSK, Narendra, Hari, Indrani - Noorjehan is a very intereting person, her life story is a book by itself...

Thanks Raji for dropping by - I saw that telecast when Noorjehan sang in Mortal singers Immortal melodies. You can see her singing this and hear it on youtube..
Maddy, thanks for bringing Anmol Ghadi back to mind.
Who sang 'Dharthi ko aakash pukare' in 'Mahal'. If you have the information, pl. let me know.
s.j.simon said…
I love bollywood songs! Check out this site… it has awesome lyrics from thousands of songs.
Roop Rai said…
:) very nice post.
Jo said…
I miss your posts related to music. :-)
Maddy said…
thanks jo - have done exactly that - post one on music
Richard S. said…
Hi, there. Very nice post and interesting blog. I stumbled upon this while I was looking up this film, after enjoying a clip of "Jawan Hai Mohabbat."

It is interesting that you are a wandering Mallu living in the U.S. I am a native of the U.S. who would love to wander to Kerala. For various reasons, it's a place that's fascinated me for quite some time.

It seems that it's been a while since you posted about films here(?)... I'd like to see more posts from you about films.

I have a blog (linked here) that I once started as a music blog which is now devoted almost entirely to classic Indian movies.

The one person who gets more attention than anyone else there these days is Padmini. For over a year now, I have simply been in love with the Padmini of about 1955 to 1971. Having read about your origins and your historical knowledge, it would be very interesting sometime to learn what you might know about the Travancore Sisters.
Maddy said…
Thanks Richard - well Kerala is a nice place to visit and wander around in.

I see quite a lot of movies mainly Hindi, Tamil & malayalam and a few English ones as well, but so many people write about movies and so well. Hence i avoid it unless i really like a movie. In fact i was planning to post one on a few movies i saw recently, but most of them being malayalam may not interest you..

Anything specific you wd like to know about Padmini & Ragini? Today their tradition is carried on by their relatives & actors like Shobana and Vineet. All of them are on wikipedia.
Surendranath and Noorjehan deivered the immortal song of all times.Awaz de kaha hai... that has no parallel.The film had many hit songs. In the same filmSurendra gave out the haunting melody kyo yaad arahe hain. Only Surendra could sing that song in his famous voice and style. No doubt he was called saigal of Bombay. many even today mistake the singer as saiga sahib.Sadly after Gawaiah Surendra stopped singing once for all and lovers of good music remained loosers.

Dr K Prabhakar Rao
Surendra gave out some very good songs in Gawiah 1954. The song Teriyad ka deepak Jalta hai was one of the best songs of the great surendranath. His way of singing was entirely different nad only Surendra could do that. Talat also sang this song with different lyrics. But Surendra was Surendra. His version was very much liked by all. No doubt Surendra is immortal.

Dr K Prabhakar rao
Surendra also gave best songs in Gawaiah. these are ..1. Teriyad ka deepak Jalta Hai.,2. Nazar se Jab ye nazar mili hai.. 3. Hamari aankho se dil ke tukde ab aasu ban kar nikal rahe hain.. These songs are extremely good and with such fine performance great Surendra called a good bye as singer to a thankless world. He is immortal with his songs.
Maddy said…
Thanks Dr Rao.
I am going to find those and listen. I have missed them except for one..
These songs are availble on Thanks. You will surely enjoy them. Long live memory of Surendraji
In a rare action, Surendranathji sang a song along with Mannadey in pati patni in 1964 or 62. It was indeed a play back for OM prakash. He ofcourse kept singing talent alive privately.