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Popular Bollywood Songs in Raag Darbari Kanada

Updated on September 7, 2017

Darbari Kanada Songs

Popular Songs in Raag Darbari Kanada

Unlike what most people believe, classical raagas are not just for the purists. They are also at the base of most of the popular music that we hear and enjoy every day. Take the example of Raag Darbari Kanada, a raag that is difficult to master or work with even for the experts. Yet, this raag has been the underlying musical base for many popular numbers of Bollywood, which may not even have any resemblance with the classical compositions.

Here are ten Bollywood songs, which are not for the connoisseurs of classical music. These are numbers enjoyed by the masses, without even being aware of the entity called Raag Darbari Kanada. These songs have enthralled audiences over many decades and will probably continue to do so for a long time to come. They also provide a testimony to the widespread impact of Hindustani classical music on Bollywood songs, which most of us are not fully aware of.

A taste of Darbari Kanada in popular Bollywood music .... ten geat songs !

movie: VISHWAS (1969)

A Very Popular Song of Mukesh based on Raag Darbari Kanada
A Very Popular Song of Mukesh based on Raag Darbari Kanada

Chandi ki deewar na todi....

A very popular songs from the late sixties by Mukesh, whose serene voice is also one of the most characteristic features of this number. The music of this song is composed by Kalyanji Anandji based on Raag Darbari Kanada, which allows the disturbing emotions to flow almost effortlessly with the composition giving them further depth. The lyrics of Gulshan Bawra are effective and convey the whole context in which the song is expressed - the disappointments of a man whose love preferred money over him.

movie: LEADER (1964)

A Fabulous Song Dance from the movie Leader
A Fabulous Song Dance from the movie Leader

Daiyya re daiyya, laaj mohe aye....

An unusual use of Raag Darbari Kanada by Naushad in a glamorous Song Dance sequence, sung by Asha Bhonsle with lyrics of Shakeel Badyuni. Apart from Madan Mohan, Naushad is one of the few who could experiment with such use of this raag. This song is actually more of a medley. The first portion of the song is largely instrumental music characterized by gorgeous stage setting and a grand presentation. The later part is the song-dance which carries the grandeur of the sequence forward.

This song dance is one of the more innovative uses of Raag Darbari Kanada, and the melody of the Raaga gives it the class that differentiates it from many similarly choreographed numbers.

movie: SAJAN (1991)

A Very Popular Song from the Nineties based on Raag Darbari Kanada
A Very Popular Song from the Nineties based on Raag Darbari Kanada

Dekha hai pehli baar, sajan ki aankhon mein pyar ....

The singing style of S P Balasubrahmanayam could have been very well suited to the Raag Darbari Kanada. Unfortunately, no one really tried to experiment, except of course in this number composed by Nadeem Shravan where he is joined by Alka Yagnik. A very popular song from early nineties, with lyrics by Faiz Anwar. Although not is a very classical mould, the composers have used the underlying depth and energy of Raag Darbari Kanada to great effect in creating this scintillating popular number that rode the charts in the early nineties.

This number is a great illustration of the versatility of the composers, as much as the range of the Indian classical raagas in the hands of real masters. 1990s were not 1950s, but a simple composition based on Raga Darbari still stands out apart!

movie: AZAAD (1955)

A Melodious Song from the movie AZAD
A Melodious Song from the movie AZAD

Kitna haseen hai mausam ....

This is an extraordinary number because of the very different manner in which the raag has been adapted. It is also one of the most melodious songs ever composed in Raag Darbari Kanada, reflecting the all round genius of C Ramachandra, who has also lent his voice (as Chitalkar) along with Lata Mangeshkar. Such a harmonious fusion of sounds with Raag Darbari Kanada is not very common. The impressive lyrics are by Rajinder Krishan. Virtually a C Ramachandra special. This number also throws light on the mastery of C Ramchandra, providing more than an indication that this master of light hearted compositions has probably been underrated and given far less credit that he actually deserved.

movie: NAMAK HALAAL (1982)

A very interesting number from the movie NAMAKHALAL based on Raag Darbari Kanada
A very interesting number from the movie NAMAKHALAL based on Raag Darbari Kanada

Pag ghunghroo baandh meera nachi thi...

Not many would dare to compose a comic number in this style with Kishore Kumar and Raag Darbari Kanada. But then, you could always expect Bappi Lahiri to try the impossible, and when he succeeds, as in this number, the results are spectacular. Kishore Kumar justifies his overarching dominance in Bollywood of eighties, by carrying through an impossible task and the on-screen energy of Amitabh Bachchan and his genius in innovative comedy made this one of the most popular numbers of its time and one of the all time classic comedy songs of Bollywood. The lyrics of Prakash Mehra fit in very well too.

In the eighties, when the use of classical ragas was already on the decline, and composers preferred to use it more as part of experimental compositions rather than basing their compositions solely on them, this number is a unique example of what the successful experiments could result in - an everlasting delight, both for connoisseurs as well as the more casual audience.

movie: LAILA MAJNU (1976)

A melodious musical expression of love and desperation by Rafi on Madan Mohan's music
A melodious musical expression of love and desperation by Rafi on Madan Mohan's music

Tere dar pe aaya aya hoon ...

Raag Darbari Kanada is one of the best options for expressing desperation, and when it is used by Madan Mohan, probably the best Bollywood composer in using this raag, the result can only be a popular masterpiece. Mohammad Rafi has sung it to near perfection and the lyrics of Sahir Ludhianwi give it the substance to complement the other two maestros. This number was one of earliest popular pieces in sufi music which has become a dominant force today. The forceful and energic commitment to love that gets and expression in this number is also an ode to the depth of this raag.

One of the last contributions of Madan Mohan, before he left us, this piece is another masterwork of the genius that appears to keep on growing larger with passage of time!


A touchign number by Mukesh in Raag Darbari Kanada
A touchign number by Mukesh in Raag Darbari Kanada

Teri duniya mein dil lagtaa nahin ...

A song that was popular even before the Bollywood entered its Golden Era and remains popular even today after six decades. Sung by Mukesh and composed by Roshan, this number was part of the transformation of Bollywood music from the Saigalesque singing to that evolved by later composers and singers. The poetic lyrics of this number were written by Kidar Sharma. One can also see the impact of Talat Mahmood on this song.

This popular number is also an epitome of what Raga Darbari Kanada represents - passion and depth of emotions that can touch you, pierce you deep down somewhere and more importantly make you understand what another person is going through. It is something that only real great music can do!

movie: MUKTI (1977)

A great sad songs composed by R D Burman
A great sad songs composed by R D Burman

Suhaani chandni raatein humein sone nahi deti ...

This popular song is one of the very few composed by R D Burman using Raag Darbari Kanada as a base, as one would expect with his preferences for melodious harmony and sweet romance - emotions that do not easily fit in to this raag. Even this number has his signatures as the subtle variations move from desperation to loving memories and back. Mukesh's voice is a big plus as are the lyrics of Anand Bakhshi. The selection of the raag almost perfectly complements the style of the music composer, helping to convey the disturbing sentiments with geat ease, courtsey ... raag Darbari Kanada.


A fusion of folk with Raag Drabari from the music of early nineties
A fusion of folk with Raag Drabari from the music of early nineties

Shairana si hai zindagi ki ....

A very effective use of Raag Darbari Kanada created this popular classic number of the nineties. The music of this number was composed by Anu Malik and it is sung with great mastery by Alka Yagnik, bringing out the emotions with great creativity. The lyrics are by Qateel Shifai. You can feel the impending touch of Sufi music that later became the dominant genre in Bollywood. A very underrated song, it is one of the masterpieces of Alka Yagnik. One wonders what it would have sound in the hands of Madan Mohan.

movie: AAP KI PARCHHAIYAN (1964)

A beautiful composition from Madan Mohan
A beautiful composition from Madan Mohan

Main nigahen tere chahre se hataoon kaise ...

Another popular number from the sixties sung by Mohammad Rafi and composed by Madan Mohan. It is another example of his mastery over this raag. He was one of the few who succeeded in creating romantic numbers in Raag Darbari Kanada with an unprecendented frequency. Lyrics are by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. A very typical touch of Madan Mohan is the characteristic of this lovely soft number. This is another number that tells us about the greatness of Madan Mohan and his unique mastery over this raaga. Maybe he could do almost anything with this raaga.... may be he should have done more with it...!


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