Oh! I’m not posting nursery rhymes this time. Last week while I was strolling in the evening, my four year old daughter pointed towards the sky and said ‘Look at that!’ We looked up in surprise, to find a bright little shining star emerging out of the clouds. My daughter was delighted to find something she loved and clapping happily she started singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, How I Wonder What You Are’. Her happy face made me think of the songs with the word stars in it.
Today I present a song list, with the word, ‘Sitara’, or its other forms. ‘Sitara’ is originally a Persian word that means ‘Star’, while researching I found out it means ‘The morning Star’, which is another name for the planet ‘Venus’. But it has been used in the Hindi film songs as stars.
The word ‘Taara’ is not allowed. So I left out some of my favourites.
Let me present some information about the stars from the astronomical view point. Astrophysics is a very interesting and rapidly evolving branch.
Our solar system is located in one of the spiral arms of our galaxy, The Milky Way. The Milky Way derives its name from its appearance in the sky, as a white band. This is because it’s densely packed with stars. The stars are brightly shining objects in the sky that twinkle. This differentiates them from other shining objects in the sky, like planets, that do not twinkle. The planets just reflect the light, and stars emit heat and light.
A star consists of a luminous spheroid of plasma, held together by its own gravity. The star nearest to Earth is Sun. The others stars appear just as a fixed luminous points, due to their immense distance from Earth. The distance is measured in ‘Light Years’
The shining of a star can be attributed to thermonuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium in its core. The process releases energy, which traverses the star’s interior and radiates into the outer space. When stellar core is sufficiently dense, hydrogen steadily converts into helium, releasing energy in the process. The energy is carried away from its core by radiation and convection. Its internal pressure prevents it from collapsing further under its own gravity. Some stars fuse heavier elements at the core or shell around the core. As the star expands, it throws a part of its mass, enriched with those elements into the interstellar environment, now forming a new star. The core remaining becomes a stellar remnant.
The planets like Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn are visible as steady luminous spots in the sky, which do not blink. Mercury can be spotted with difficulty, as it’s close to the Sun and gets concealed in its glare. Venus is easily visible at night as one of the brightest stars. Mars is usually identified due the reddish hue. Our ancestors had a deep knowledge of these planets and stars. Mayan pyramid in Mexico, and the Egyptian pyramids were also built with strong references to the solar system and the information is absolutely riveting.
The Mayan civilization had a fascination for Venus, they think of it as a major planet. All their important events used to revolve around it. Some facts about the Mayan pyramid, like the sun rays falling at a particular place, on a particular day (21st March & 21st September), creating a shadow of the steps and the inference they used to draw from it, is very amazing.
The shadows of the steps of the pyramid create a snake like figure and its movements along the path was taken as an indicator to start religious ceremonies, and farming related works like, plowing, seeding, harvesting in the fields. The corners of the pyramid correctly coincide with the directions of rise of Venus at the horizon. The Mayan calendar, called ‘Long Count’ was based on revolution of Venus around Sun. The calendar is thought to be exactly accurate.
The observatory of Mayan civilization, called El Caracol, at ‘Chichen Itza‘ is very interesting with its snail shaped upper structure. The upper two storeys of it are now in riuns. It has multiple small windows, three of which have survived. The windows appear to have directed to a particular constellation. They used the watch movements of Venus and the three window shafts seem to align with various celestial events on the horizon. They had made observations about the movements of Venus by Naked eyes. They knew that it completes one cycle in 584 days. The people used to observe its appearance on the western horizon and disappearance on the eastern horizon. They had a deep knowledge of the planets and their satellites, the stars, and constellations. They knew that The Morning and The Evening Star is one and the same, and it’s Venus. They didn’t mistake it as two different stars.
Sky gazing at night sometimes suddenly turns beautiful, if there is black out and we can clearly see star spangled sky in its full glory. We keep wondering about its beauty,which is beyond words. The Hindi film industry is also enchanted by this miracle. Our lyricists have penned songs admiring the moon and stars. The sky full of stars evokes the actors to sing romantic songs, sometimes they curse the sky as if its glory annoys them (Ja Ja Re Chanda Teri Chandani Jalaye). Their commitment of love to the partner is also celebrated with the moon as a witness (Yeh Wada Karo Chand Ke Samne). Sometimes the couple thinks of themselves as a moon and a twinkling star and we enjoy that song, conveniently woven around this concept. The comparison of heroin’s face with the moon (Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra) is also an interesting aspect of Hindi film songs. In all, the world of stars in the sky has a close association with Hindi film songs; let that be a cheerful song or a song of pathos. The Moon and other stars always find a place in a lullaby song as well. Even a Mujra may also mention the moon and the stars. The actors and mainly the actresses have always been referred to as Stars on the Earth.
Before you curse me for this lengthy prologue and get bored to death, here we are with the songs. All the songs are from the films from pre70s era and are in No particular order.
There are only two songs from 60s decade, I like them but are not my particular favourites, but fit the bill.
1. Do Sitaron Ka Zameen Par – Kohinoor (1960) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Naushad – Shakil Badayuni
Both of them are excited about their meeting, evidently after a long time. Her long awaited prince charming is finally meeting her. He is requesting her not to be shy and be a little open. Her happiness knows no bounds, she is in seventh heaven. She feels like the entire world looks like a bride and she is floating among stars.
It’s truly like a union of two stars. For me, this is one of the greatest and sweetest of their duets. Kohinoor was a fantasy costume drama, with both Meena Kumari & Dilip Kumar in light hearted roles, free from their usual ‘Tragedy’ tags. Enjoy this melodious, typical Naushad song.
2. Aasman Par Hain Jitane Sitare – Dr Z (1959) Geeta Dutt / Manohar – Akhtar Romani
A song with pathos. She is cursing him for giving her fathomless sorrows and agony, their number can only be compared with the number of stars in the sky. She further says that he might be unaware of the fact, but all those are gifted by him. She is left with unpleasant memories, with no hope for the future. She has lost her aspirations and dreams. She doesn’t care for the world ( Aag Lag Jaye Duniya Ki Har Baat Ko). Her little world of happiness and love is destroyed forever.
Geeta’s voice is full of deep sorrow. The lyricist has come out with very poignant and situational song. Akhtar Romani was one of the neglected lyricist, but not got opportunity to work with major composers. Sorry for poor audio quality of the song.
3. Yeh Mehfil Sitaron Ki – Arab Ka Saudagar (1956 ) Asha Bhosle & Hemant Kumar / Hemant Kumar – S H Bihari
A soft romantic song, though a little slow paced.It’s one of the very few of their duets. Both are enjoying a romantic night with each other.
As evident, the song has a strong influence of Arabian music, the typical orchestration. Enjoy this beautiful song as it creates a sensuously romantic atmosphere.
4. Yeh Chand Yeh Sitare – Halaku (1956) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
The young couple is deeply in love. They believe their love story is eternal and she doesn’t want the night to end, as they enjoy each others’ company on lovely night with shining moon and twinkling stars. She wants him to commit and be with her forever.
The song depicts a romantic rendezvous between Parvez (Ajit) and Nilofer (Meena Kumari), the latter looking really pretty; she even does a few soft dance steps very elegantly.
What a lovely composition this is, with a touch of Persian music to it!
5. Door Gagan Par Chamke Sitare – Ram Hanuman Yudhha (1957) Geeta Dutt & Dilip Dholakia / S N Tripathi – Shailendra
Let the stars twinkle high up in the sky; she has her own moon with her and doesn’t care for the rest. The cool breeze appears full of happiness and appeals them for romance in a lovely enchanting night.A soft romantic song, that is actually not suitable for a mythological movie. But it is perfectly sweet and melodious, can be easily taken as a song from social film. In this song, Dilip Dholakia doesn’t impress much as a singer, though he started his career as a singer, rather than a composer and sung a few songs in late 1940s. He assisted Chitragupt and S N Tripathi. He also worked for Laxmi-Pyare as an assistant in 1980s.
6. Chand Sitare Karte Ishare – Adal E Jahangir (1955) Talat & Lata Mangeshkar / Husnalal Bhataram – Qamar Jalalabadi
Rather a simple composition with no difficult urdu words. He admires her beauty and wants to be with her always. He is deeply in love, his love is so intense that even the moon and other stars also point at them as true lovers. She shows her willingness, just by humming with his words. It’s such a cute thing. One of the last popular films by H B Duo. I like the song very much, Talat’s soft silky and expressive voice is best suited for such songs. Some sources mention the other singer, as Lata, some as Asha. I find it more close to Lata, though it’s most difficult to say with certainty. Here again, Meena Kumari looks gorgeous and Pradeep Kumar too looks quite handsome.
7. Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Hue – Prince (1969) Rafi / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Here, he compares her saree having brightly sparkling design, with the sky full of stars. Truly enough, that’s a wonderful comparison. But I was expecting a dark colored saree, definitely not cherry red! And both of them look quite old, her hairdo is OMG! For me Rafi is the only attraction, Shammi’s dancing style is quite enjoyable though.
This is perhaps the most famous and most awaited song on the list. Actually this was the first song that I thought of, for the list. But I’m not a great admirer of Shammi Kapoor, and this song is not amongst my favourite S J compositions. So it’s in later part of the list.
8. Chand Nikla Sitare Dheeme – Ten o’clock (1958) Asha Bhosle / Ram Ganguli – Shyam
She remembers old days, when she used to meet him. This remembrance isn’t a happy one, she misses old days and becomes sad.
A typical sad song from 1950s. Ram Ganguli didn’t get much opportunities for composing songs for big banners, even though Aag (1948) was a huge musical success. This
songs is also from an obscure film, sung wonderfully by Asha Bhosle. Not a particularly great song. Just look at the moon as it emerges behind the building, a good example of a bad indoor set in a studio! It must one of those B grade movies, which Geeta Bali did , God knows why!
9. Sona Na Sitaron Ka Hain Kehna – Opera House (1961) Lata Mangeshkar / Chitragupt – Majrooh
My most favourite Lata-Chitragupt combo is here. It’s a stage performance by B Saroja Devi. I can’t say, if the song actually talks about the character’s emotions. But she is portraying a girl waiting for her prince charming! Stars are asking her to be awake, as her most awaited will surely arrive and she should be alert for it. She keeps thinking
about him all the time, completely lost in his thoughts. Her every action appears to be a welcoming gesture to him, and she is thoroughly enjoying that.
Though Ajit is sitting in the audience, occupying front row seat, her song doesn’t appear even obliquely directed to him.
10. Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Angan Hoga – Jeevan Mrityu (1969) Lata Mageshkar & Rafi / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi
The song is a dream shared by two lovers, deeply in love with each other and want to spend their entire lives together. A neatly built cute sand castle is seen in the early part of the song. Their bright future is full of dreams of hopes and happiness. They want to live like one soul two bodies. There is a sweet innocence filled throughout the song that touches our mind, and brings a smile.
This is Rakhi’s debut film, with Dharmendra as a co-star. For a change Rakhi really looks like a young girl, as I think she looked too mature very early in her career.
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