Yeh raat bheegi bheegi – Chori Chori (1956)

Love nature and its peace and calm these days? Lyricist Shailendra, my namesake, brings it to life in raag kirwani based romantic duet put to an extremely hummable tune by Shankar-Jaikishan. 2 other strong reasons to give it a listen is that it’s adorned by singing stalwarts Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar.

Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, yeh mast fizaayein
Utha dheere dheere, woh chaand pyaara pyaara
Kyoon aag si lagaake, gumsum hai chaandni
Sone bhi nahin deta, mausam ka yeh ishaara

Ithlaati hawa, neelam sa gagan
Kaliyon pe yeh, behoshi ki nami
Aise mein bhi kyun, bechain hai dil
Jeevan mein na jaane, kya hai kami
Kyoon aag si lagaake gumsum hai chaandni
Sone bhi nahin deta mausam ka yeh ishaara

Jo din ke ujaale mein na mila
Dil dhoonde aise sapne ko
Is raat ki jagmag mein doobi
Main dhoond rahi hoon apne ko

The beautiful opening guitar riffs slowly take you to Manna Dey’s mellifluous vocals while Lata Mangeshkar alaaps in parallel! Shailendra’s words strike an instant chord and effortlessly compares and juxtaposes the beauty of nature with yearning for the loved one’s attention. The guitar and sarangi interludes add another dimension of beauty to the already superb and extremely hummable composition. Starting at a high-pitch similar to the mukhda, the antara magnificently complements it and Shailendra’s words take wings! On close and repeated listening (which I think is tough to avoid!), you will notice the sarangi, Cello or violin accompanies and mirrors the vocalists throughout the composition. The master singers make it sound very easy but really enhance the beauty of the composition through their intricate murkis throughout the composition. In Gulzar’s words, “Shailendra was the best lyricist produced by the Hindi film industry” [Source:]. Chori Chori gave Shankar-Jaikishan their first Filmfare award in 1957. They went on to win 8 more across their illustrious career that spanned 2 decades. Interestingly, Shankar continued to work under the SJ banner after Jaikishan’s untimely and early death in 1971 (Source: I bet you will keep humming this beautifully romantic number that captures the essence of beauty of nature as much as it does the romantic undertones associated with it! Enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts and listen to such timeless melodies alongside forgetting when this ordeal (read Coronavirus) will get over!

About Shailendra Singh

A music lover, critic and self-proclaimed aficionado!
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