janam din mubarak Maan saab

I stared my first job in 2004 in Mohali and we used in live in phase 5 and then 3B2. There was a music shop in Phase 5 market (Opposite Khalsa Dhaba. I cant recall the name. Probable Some Audio Hut. It is not there any more. The owner guy closed it down and move abroad I think.). As I was a regular customer there Smile with tongue out so that guy was well known to me. Well before release of any of the new Gurdas Maan albums people started waiting for the audio CDs. Problem was that on release day companies would release only a limited number of copies and shops would run out of stock on the first day itself. In few hours in fact. Because that guy was known to me so he would keep my copy safe and when we went to him after office in the evening he will call me inside and silently hand over the CD wrapped in a paper. Such was this man’s magic. MP3 days had already started but people would make an exception in Gurdas Maan’s case and buy the original CD.

Been some time to all these things and last few years of his career haven’t been that great in my personal opinion but that doesn’t harm the respect, position he enjoys for being the biggest entertainer of Punjabi music in the modern times. There is no-one like him and it is not easy being GM. The kind of space he has enjoyed in the hearts of people of Punjab, not every one gets that. That is why aunties say “eh mar jaana aheja da aheja e pia”.

Je Gurdas nu tu mar jaana kehndi na,

Mar jaane di bhora keemat paindi na


janam din mubarak Maan saab…jeeyo !

ni nanaane beimaane – Ranjit Kaur

This song used to play a lot on radio during my school days. Yesterday from somewhere this line “aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de” was running in my mind. Then i searched for this song and stumbled upon this live version by Ranjit Kaur. I was not able to find the album version. The YouTube description of the video says that it was in Canada in 1982. That makes this song almost three decades old. So not sure even the album version exists somewhere or not.  It is written by Babu Singh Maan (I am not 100% sure but that is what it looks like from the last stanza and the fact the most of the songs sung by Mohd Sadiq & Ranjit Kaur were penned by him). The reason i am posting this song here with lyrics is to highlight how beautiful our music used to be before this “noise pollution” hit the industry.

I am posting the complete lyrics also. See the simplicity and beauty of words. It draws a complete picture of the rural life. Then see the simplicity of music; just harmonium and dholak. Ranjit Kaur’s amazing voice and the grace. It is a pure gem. Enjoy the beauty. You may post in the comments if you aren’t able to understand the meaning of any stanza. I will try to explain.


ni nanaane beimaane
akhan fer gi rakaane
tain hi veer nu kasooti looti lai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

tu hi khich dhooh ke mainu  teeyan wich lai ke gai
awein sangdi sangaundi ne main peengh jhooth lai
peengh chad gai hulaare siron chunni lath gai
pind sauhrian de mach gi duhai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

ghar aa ke kise ditti daar khamban di bana
kise chandre ne ditta loon sewiyan ch pa
khaure hasde hasaunde nu ki sapp sunghia
uhne ik meri suni na sunaai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

tu e bhain o bhara main begaanian di dhee
ni nanaane hunda sarian da ikko jiha jee
hor khaure us chandre de dil wich kee
aje firda e mathe watt pai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

mainu pata’i kahton ‘Maan’ mere kol na khaloye
uhde laajwar la la kahton sass leede dhoye
poore panj din aj saanu russian nu hoye
saadi kise ne v sula’h na karai nan’de
aj tain mainu maar pawai nan’de

(laajwar – neel (Blue), this Robin Blue or Amar Ulaja thing used on White clothes after washing them)


…badi lambi judai

Like most of Indians my first interaction with Reshma ji’s songs was not via Hero movie’s lambi judai song. It was rather via Radio Pakistan, Lahore. The songs like haye o rabba nahio lagda dil mera and akhian nu rehan de akhian de kol kol were already very famous and used to play regularly on Lahore Radio.


But yes it was when lambi judai was recorded that she became a house hold name in India.

Because she mostly sung in Punjabi so she was already well known in Punjab. In those days most of the Punjabi newspapers used to carry articles about her and talking about the very very simple and humble life she used to live. Few of the incidents I still remember. Like:

When she wore saree for the first time and was asked to go on stage she was so scared that it might fall down.

While memorizing a Urdu song she had to put a lot of hard work as she had never attended a school.

Once she went to Russia for some concert. In the evening she went out of the hotel for a walk and while coming back lost the way. She didn’t know English so was confused whom to ask for help. She says that then she spotted a Sardar guy and directly went to him and told him in Punjabi that here is the key of my hotel room (it has the hotel address on the key ring) and I have lost the way to the hotel. Then he helped her reach the hotel. She used to joke that if something hasn’t changed at all it is attire of Sardars and Reshma. She always always wore a salwar suit and dupatta on her head.

She traveled across the world for concerts but her style didn’t change a bit. She remained the same Reshma born in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

I remember when I listened to Masooma Anwar for the first time hers was the voice that immediately reminded me of Reshma’s original husky voice. Of course there is no comparison but if you listen carefully Masooma’s voice is also husky one. Very few female voices fall in that category. For a sample see Masooma’s rendition of ve main chori chori


With her passing away two greatest voices from the Thar are not with us. First it was Mehdi Hasan saab and now her.

I am reminded of a post I did 4 years back when she attended Lux style awards and looked very weak. She wasn’t able to sing properly. Today she is not with us Sad smile .

May her soul rest in peace. Her voice through her songs will live forever !

tera Coke, mera Coke

After the first video from Coke Studio season 6 was released I got a message from one of my friend

Fantastic ….

Par dukh di gal eh hai ki Pakistan te India waale coke studio baaki countries de singer te musicians lai rahe.  But not of each other.
It’s really painful for me..,
Both talk about shrinking boundaries. But not between themselves.
So sad !!!

That indeed is a bitter truth. In Indian version of the Coke Studio this year there were few non-Indian artists but none of them was from Pakistan. Similarly in this season of Coke Studio Pakistan there are many artists from other countries like Serbia, Turkey and many others but no-one from India. In the last reason one song by Rabbi Shergill was recorded but it never went on air. God knows the reasons.

Indian version anyways is garbage so lets not talk about it Smile. But there are many Indian artists who I would like to see feature in Coke Studio Pakistan. Some of them would be Wadali Brothers, Gurdas Maan, Hans Raj Hans, Sukhwinder, Sonu Nigam and Lakhwinder Wadali. There would be many others too. But given the present situation between two countries its doesn’t seem very likely to happen. Even after so much being similar the two countries have been enemy of each other since 1947.

Anyways with the hope that things take better shape in future enjoy Rohail Hyatt’s brilliance. Here is the first song from Coke Studio season 6. Bulle Shah’s main jaana jogi de naal sung by Fariha Pervez featuring Muazzam Ali Khan and Serbian artists.

Zindabaad Murdabaad

We are in Delhi, attending a Sufi music festival and a singer abc from some xyz country is singing Bulle Shah’s poetry “tere ishq nachaya kar ke thaiya thaiya”.

Some hooligans get on to the stage and start raising anti xyz country slogans and obviously the performance is disrupted and the scene is totally different now.

Who could do such a stupid act at a Sufi music festival ?






I think most of you would have guessed the country by now. Let me tell you the event and singer’s name: Sanam Marvi singing at Sufi Sindhi festival. And those murdabaad torch bearers were Shiv Sainiks. (Here is the link to the piece of news in Hindu)

They are well known for all such things but I seriously don’t understand the point of disturbing a singer’s performance even if she happens to be from the country which we don’t have a very good relations with. Personally there are things from Pakistan that disappoint me but those policies and all are governed by establishment not singers.

Honestly to my surprise she started singing again once they were driven off the stage by the event crew folks. Earlier she was sitting but now she was standing and sung few songs. The performance lasted for an hour or little more but obviously they had spoiled the scene !

What crap !

But I do have a suggestion that I posted on FB last night:

“Our govt must create a new regiment in the army where only Shiv Sena walas will be allowed to join. And then that regiment should guard our international borders with Pakistan and China.

Lets use this blood that boils so much !”

Indian singers famous in Pakistan

The popularity of Pakistani singers in India is a very well known thing. But the other thing I have always wanted to know is which Indian singers are heard in Pakistan.So thought of writing a blog post to know little more. Of course there is no hidden agenda Smile with tongue out. Just out of curiosity wanted to know this.

It will be great if you could write the name of the singer in the comments. It will be even more awesome if you could few lines as well.

Please note that Bollywood playback singers don’t qualify as an answer.

Hoping to hear from Pakistani friends !

Challa/Jhalla – Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Bollywood music is not something that even deserves a blog post but when there is some really really big confusion being spread about some of the legendary symbols of folk, it needs to be talked about.

There is a new song stupidly, wrongly, absurdly titled Challa from the movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Lyrics are by Gulzar and the music has been composed by none other than awein hi overrated A R Rahman sahab.

Now the problem with this song is that it has been titled Challa whereas the word he has pronounced (and probably Gulzar has written) is Jhalla. These two are totally different words and have different meanings. Gulzar & Rabbi both are Punjabis and they very well understand the difference. There has been some mess up somewhere in between and it is a big one.

Impact ? Some experts have declared that Challa & Jhalla mean almost the same thing. I am writing this post to address this stupidity. Please…these are two different words and mean absolutely different things. And of course a song Jhalla shouldn’t be titled Challa.

Challa literally means ring…a token of love exchanged between lovers. A girl whose lover is away from her…talks to Challa and tells her pain. In Punjabi folk it is a metaphor which has been used in this kind of context. Later there were other versions written by some other people. But the original one finds its roots in the regions of Sandal Bar (in the present day Pakistan). It developed there as a folk few hundred years ago. Here is a post explaining the meaning of the complete song.

Jhalla on the other hand literally means manaic or foolish. But in Punjabi this word is (mostly) not used in this context. It is used for someone who is passionately in love with someone or someone who is in pain due to separation from his/her loved one. Someone who is so impacted by the pain that he appears like a mad to the rest of the world.

Now tell me how these two words mean the same thing ?

Alwida Mehdi Hasan sahib…

My oldest memories of listening to Mehdi Hasan sahib date back to school days when we used to listen to his duet with Noorjehan jado teri dunia ton pyar tur jayega, das fer dunia te ki reh jayega on Radio Pakistan, Lahore. Almost every alternate day this song played on Radio Pakistan, Lahore or Islamabad.

I loved Noorjehan’s voice but didn’t know much about Mehdi Hasan. While growing up I became a big fan of Pakistani music and regularly used to listen to it on radio but didn’t know about all the singers.

Years gone by and here I was doing my Engineering in 2000. My roommate was a huge fan of Jagjit Singh and from there I also started listened to some ghazals of Jagjit Singh. I don’t remember how but I started listening to Ghulam Ali and became a huge fan of him. I have listened to Ghulam Ali much more than Jagjit Singh. So that was how I started listening to Ghazals. I had heard a lot about the greatness of Mehdi Hasan but had never listened to him properly.

I think it was 2005 (if i remember correctly) that I listened to ranjish hi sahi and I became an instant fan of his rendition.

Then for quite some time I didnt really listen to Mehdi Hasan sahib. It was until 2007 when I came across one CD titled Mehdi Hasan – 40 immortal Ghazals. Once again I loved Mehdi sahib’s rendition of  Saleem Kauser’s main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka. That continued for quite some time but again only one ghazal.

Then came a time in 2007 or 2008 when I was alone for almost 2 months. All of my roommates either moved abroad or to some other cities in India. I was already his fan but now being alone gave me a plenty of time to listen to him. That was when I became his huge huge admirer. His style and handling of ghazals was so different from everyone else and just amazing. It was a different world. The CD I mentioned above had live versions of main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka, abke hum bichde & go zara si baat par. 

For complete 2 months, daily evenings were enlightened by magic of these three ghazals. Then started the journey to other gems like ranjish hi sahi (once again), main hosh mein tha, shola tha jal bujha hoon, yeh dhuaan sa kahan se uth-ta hai amoungst others. This journey continues till date while exploring the different live versions of his ghazals. He was, remains and will remain the king of ghazal singing. His style, the way he rendered poetry and his command on ghazal singing are absolutely magical. Now that he is no more with us, an era has ended. This void will never be filled. There is no one and there will be no one who can sing like him. There was and will be only one Mehdi Hasan. His music will remain alive with us for ever. I think the best tribute to him would be to listen to and remember the beautiful music he created make the coming generations aware of his magic. It is a sad day. I have no words to explain the feeling of loss that all the music lovers must be going through. Perhaps Faraz sahib aptly put it: ab ke hum bichde to shayad kabhi khwabon mein milein

We will miss you Mehdi Hasan sahib…may your soul rest in peace.


Junoon !

Last Thursday I had a chance to watch Junoon (if we may call it so !) live at Blue Frog, New Delhi. It was a good show but not the same Junoon as it was with Ali Azmat and Brian being part of it. Salman Ahmed is an awesome guitarist but Ali’s vocals were something that along with Salman’s guitar made Junoon what it was in its good days. Their choice of lyrics, compositions, singing…everything was awesome. It is really sad to see that these guys parted ways. We don’t know the reason for their split and would probably never know but what we can do for sure is cherish the great music they created during their best times.