(Part 2) Hansraj Behl – A Forgotten Composer

I hope you all enjoyed my last post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here I am with the second and last part. I’ll try to summarize the remaining period of his career, 1956 onward.

Hansraj Behl
He composed some wonderful songs in the later part of the 1950s. But after 1960, slowly his songs lost charm and soul. Though few of his films did come up with a couple of good songs, that actually didn’t help him much to reshape his career.

Let me put forward my observations about his career.

  • Being from Punjab, his songs had the typical Punjabi aroma, apparent in a number of his songs.
  • In the early part of his career, he didn’t depend on Lata Mangeshkar despite composing all time greats with her in Chunaria and Chakori.
  • He introduced Asha Bhosle to Hindi films, though later he didn’t play an important role in shaping up her career. On the other hand, Madhubala Jhaveri was introduced by him and she sang majority of the Hindi movie songs under his baton.
    Majority of the well known and less known singers like A R Ojha, Hameeda Bano, Surinder Kaur sang for his films.
  • Singers like Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Madhubala Jhaveri, had some of their best solos and duets with him.
    He composed some really good duets right from the beginning of his career and it continued till the 1960s.
  • Entering into film production under the banner of N C films, didn’t help him much to establish himself. Though he composed excellent songs, portraying his full talent, for the films produced under the N C Films banner. Rajdhani, Changez Khan, Milan (1958), Sawan, Miss Bombay would be ultimate examples to support my statement. It’s very unfortunate that all his attempts of showcasing his capability were lost to the commercial failure of the movies. And in the absence of commercial success, a ‘B’ grade movie is rapidly forgotten. Due to financial loss, his creativity appeared to suffer in the later part of his career. No need to further elaborate the side effects of composing for B grade films. Once you get typecast for such films, you may never get a chance for A grade films. In the 1960s and till the end of his career, he had to compose for B grade movies.
  • He perhaps never had an assistant, though I found the name of Inder Goel mentioned in one of the films.
  • With time his orchestration got even better, so in the late 1950s, not only the tunes but also the orchestration steals the show.
  • He introduced the lyricist, Verma Malik with the film Chakori in 1949 and had a further association with him as well, though not popular. He was Behl’s friend.
    His earlier films had Pandit Indra Chandra as a lyricist, though later Asad Bhopali, Prem Dhawan, Qamar Jalalabadi appear to be his favourites. Some lesser known lyricists like Naqsh Lyallpuri, Sarshar Sailani, Kaif Irfani, Prem Barbartani also penned songs for him.
  • His melodious songs in the 1960s couldn’t be popular. But if we hear them today, we can appreciate his capability.
  • Rafi seems his favourite, whom he offered songs till the end of his career. In the 1970s, he hardly composed for films, though his last film, Insaaf Ka Khun was released posthumously in 1988.

He died of cancer on 20th May 1984 to leave a legacy of great songs. Though he never became immensely popular, a number of his immortal songs still spread the fragrance of his Punjabi style.

Let’s go to the songs list. Today’s list has some of his well known songs, and majority of the songs are duets.

1. Bhool Ja Sapne Suhane – Rajdhani (1956) Lata Mangeshkar & Talat / Lyrics – Qamar Jalalabadi
The song highlights Behl’s command over orchestration. It’s really magical. With violins accompanying the singer’s voices, and Talat singing at low notes while Lata in high notes, the song literally mesmerizes the listeners. The song creates such an aura of pathos, we can hardly escape it.
One of their best duets. With Rajdhani, Lata Mangeshkar made a power packed comeback in Behl’s camp. She sang six solos and a duet for the movie. The film was produced under the banner of N C films.

2. Mohabbat Zinda Rehti Hai – Changez Khan (1957) Rafi / Lyrics – Qamar Jalalabadi
The song not only portrays Rafi’s range as a singer, it also underlines Behl’s capabilities as a composer.
Produced again under the banner of N C films, the film offered a good opportunity to Behl to compose for a period drama. The film had really wonderful songs, with Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi singing some of their all time greats. Behl also gave a chance to Sudha Malhotra, who sang a solo and a duet for the film.
And, is it possible not to mention, Lata Mangeshkar’ sJab Raat Nahin Katati
Her voice pitching too high in antara, appears completely in contrast with the mukhda which has low notes. Of course the transition appears effortless.

3. Le Chala Jidhar Yeh Dil – Miss Bombay (1957) Rafi / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
A playful song by Rafi. It is the song that the film opens with and it talks about the philosophy of Ajit’s character in the film. It’s full of energy, positivity, optimism and inspiration. Behl manages to keep it cheerful by adding whistling and harmonica. Ajits looks quite handsome, though he seems older. Look at the truck he is driving, and a cute little puppet hanging from the window, that of a man playing violin.
It was again a N C Films production. It’s also one of Behl’s popular films, and the duet ‘Din Ho Ya Raat’ by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur was perhaps the most popular song. Though it’s not a great song, it was one of the earlier popular duets of Suman Kalyanpur. The film also has a soulful Rafi solo, Zindagi Bhar Gham Judai Ka.
But I chose the light hearted song.

4. Haye Jiya Roye – Milan (1958) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
I count it among the most popular songs by Behl. While the Nalini Jaywant starrer Milan wasn’t a success, the pathos laden melody is popular till date. The echo effect and Lata’s voice going very high pitched, both add to the overall impact of the song. I think you should listen to it to experience its magic. The film Milan was also made under the N C films banner.
I consider the period 1956 to 1960 as the peak of Behl’s career where he delivered a number of hits. Incidentally the majority of the films from the period have Lata Mangeshkar singing for him.

5. Nain Dwar Se Man Mein – Sawan (1959) Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
A brilliant piece of work by Behl. Listen to excellent orchestration and smooth amalgamation of slow and fast paced portions. The film was also produced by N C films.
I saw the complete video of the song along with the preceding scene, for the first time. Though the song appears to be a mixture of sad and happy moods, it portrays the pain of falling in love. Bharat Bhushan is not actually singing it emotionally. Anita also sings a verse in a sad mood, which is a part of the original film soundtrack.

6. Bheega Bheega Pyar Ka Sama – Sawan (1959) Shamshad Begum & Rafi / Lyrics – Prem Dhwan
A cheerful romantic song is woven into a Tonga rhythm. But it doesn’t sound like O P Nayyar’s copy. It has a catchy rhythm and a flowing tune that lingers in the mind for the whole day. The addition of ओ हो हो, ला ला ला makes it cheerful.

7. Chalo Chale Dil Le Chale Jahan – Miss Goodnight (1960) Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
Another song with Tonga rhythm, but in contrast to the earlier song, it sounds like Nayyar’s typical song. But it’s playful and romantic. Musical arrangement is very good, a treat to ears. The other songs from the movie are not so good, still I found a Rafi song, you can hear him in a completely different style. Get ready for a surprise! Must listen for a Rafi fan.
Here it is, Hum Kaam Sabhi Kar Nahi Sakta

8. Haseen Ho Khuda To Nahi Ho – Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (1960) Mukesh / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
Mukesh must have sung a very few songs like this, though he manages it well. The song is adorned with beautiful harmonica pieces, but still Mukesh’s voice doesn’t sound much cheerful. It lacks energy and enthusiasm. The song sounds good, but not great! It falls just short of expectations.
The Bharat Bhushan, Anita Guha starrer, couldn’t leave an impact. Though it seems, it had a different story, and some good songs.

9. Pehle Se Kyon Haan Na Kee – Dara Singh (1964) Mukesh & Suman Kalyanpur / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
A cute romantic song picturised on Tabassum and an actor, whom I couldn’t recognize. Though such straightforward simple melodies do get popular for a while, they don’t create an impact. Such B grade stunt films nearly always had good music, but with limited popularity.

10. Mere Pehlu Mein Aake Baitho – Rustam e Hind (1965) Rafi / Lyrics – Qamar Jalalabadi
I guess it’s quite a popular song. Dara Singh and Mumtaz were also a popular pair then. Dara Singh’s stunt films had a legacy of good songs, and the mentioned film is not an exception. Hansraj Behl composes a soft melody, Rafi singing it with a lilt.

11. Kitna Haseen Mera Piya – Sunehra Jaal (1966) Mahendra Kapoor & Kamal Barot / Lyrics – Qamar Jalalabadi
Sunehra Jaal must be a ‘B grade’ film, but the song is quite enjoyable. In the absence of a great tune and with a commonplace rhythm, Behl delivers a catchy song. You want to listen to it repeatedly and the tune lingers for long in the mind. Kamal Barot’s voice with a childish innocence perhaps has a captivating effect. You keep on praising the sweet tune and her voice. Surely the song counts among her all time popular songs.

12. Mastana Ada Lekar – Teen Sardar (1967) Mahendra Kapoor & Kamal Barot / Lyrics – Prem Barbartani
The same pair of singers again do full justice to the tune and the song. In addition the song also highlights Behl’s orchestration skills. Quite good use of accordion and a catchy rhythm. I came across the film accidentally last year when I was researching for Usha Mangeshkar posts. The film has duets by Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar.
I wish the song was picturised on a better pair of actors. But it’s a pity that all his melodious songs in the 1960s were wasted on B grade movies.

13. Yeh Keh Do Tumhe Hum Se – Gul e Bakawali (1963) Asha Bhosle & Surendra Kohli / Lyrics – Naqsh Lyallpuri
A similar situation to the earlier song, as far as the film and the actors are concerned. Behl gave Surendra Kohli a chance for playback singing. A catchy tune and singers make it more enjoyable.
The film was based on the legend of fairy Bakawali and Prince, Taj ul Mulk, and the flower (Gul), that has healing powers. The story has been translated and presented in various languages. A handful of Hindi films are based on the story.

14. Makhmoor Nigahon Mein Teri Doob Jaye – Mujhe Seene Se Laga Lo (1969) Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Qamar Jalalabadi
Asha Bhosle sings a Ghazal like composition and it seems to portray a lady who has drunk a bit more than expected. She seems to enjoy it. Asha Bhosle of course sings it excellently. I came across the song for the first time during the research for the post. It’s actually a very good song, don’t know why it’s not well known. The Urdu word Makhmoor means intoxicated, so apt in the situation.
Though Asha Bhosle sang for her first Hindi film song for Behl, he didn’t later play a major role in her career. He actually offered her songs quite regularly, but was unable to deliver popular songs.

15. Jahan Daal Daal Par Sone Ki Chidiya – Sikander e Azam (1965) Rafi & Chorus / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
The song describes the rich culture and heritage of India. India’s sacred rivers, fertile soil, various festivals celebrated across the country, the brave soldiers of India, all have been portrayed well. Full marks to Rajendra Krishan, the lyricist and Behl for waving it in a simple and easily humable melody. Even though it’s a bit long, we never get enough of it. Wouldn’t you agree?
I take it as the most well known and popular song on the list. As I said in the introduction of the first part, though it’s very popular, very few listeners are actually aware of its composer. It’s a perfect song to end the list and the series.

Please add your favourite to the list.

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

15 Replies to “(Part 2) Hansraj Behl – A Forgotten Composer”

  1. Ah, yes. More songs here that I remembered than from the last list. 🙂 Coincidentally, just the day after you published the last list, I remembered Changez Khan as being a Hansraj Behl album. Good to see it here, and some other songs too that are familiar to me.

    Like

  2. U r absolutely right
    “जहाँ डाल डाल पर सोने की चिडीया करती हैं बसेरा
    वो भारत देश हैं मेरा ”
    is a perfect song to end the list nd serirs.

    I liked this part 2 also .

    Hero in song no. 9 of movie दारा सिंह is Salim Khan , Salman’s dad.

    Besides the 2 mentioned by U of movie चंगेझ खान … मुहब्बत ज़िंंदा रहती हैं and जब रात नहीं कटती …2 other songs were also famous .
    ओ रुक जा रुक जा रुक जा ssss
    लौटके आना होगा
    by Sudha Malhotra
    nd
    the pleasant Lata – Sudha with chorus
    “समरकंद के यारकंद के ताश्कंद के ”
    Let me add audio of this entertaining song

    Anup ji , Thnx for a perfect tribute to a gr8 but underrated music director .

    Like

    1. Thanks Pramodji for the appreciation.
      I mentioned about Sudha Malhotra’s contribution to Changez Khan, though I didn’t link the song URLs.
      Thanks for the duets, it’s good of course!
      And,
      Thanks for identifying Salim Khan from The Dara Singh song. Though I have seen a couple of songs picturised on Salim Khan perhaps from other movies, I couldn’t recognize him.

      And, Thane is badly hit by COVID 19, I hope you and your family are safe.
      Stay Home Stay Safe.
      Take Care.

      Like

      1. Anup ji ,
        Thnx for Ur concern nd best wishes .

        Yes . We r safe .
        Hope everything will get normal soon here in Thane .

        Like

  3. Anup,
    Your two-part tribute to Hansraj Behl is a very exhaustive effort. Congratulations. You have covered all his best known songs. You have mentioned ‘Din ho ya raat hum rahein tere saath’. I am very fond off this song. You have taken two songs from ‘Saawan’, but it had at least two more memorable songs. ‘Kanha chhedo bansuri Kanhiaiya chhedo bansuri’ is an absolutely outstanding song. You have not included any song from ‘Ek Din Ka Badshah’ (1964). It had some very nice songs. From ‘Teen Sardar’ I specially like ‘Apni zulfon ko sunghakar beshosh karo’. But the two-part post on Hansraj Behl is excellent.
    AK

    Like

    1. Thank you AKji for the wishes! I know Sawan has a few more good songs, but I had to drop songs to limit the song-number.
      But I’m glad you mentioned the dropped song, let me add it here, I like it a lot.

      I know a couple of songs from Ek Din Ka Badshah, but not very fond of the songs. So didn’t include.
      The Teen Sardar is of course good, but I must confess, ‘Apni zulfon ko sunghakar beshosh karo’, sounds very weird, as if the lady’s hair smell so horrible that the one who smells it would faint!
      I find it funny and awful at the same time! So I never thought of adding it.
      I hope I’m not hurting your feelings.

      Like

        1. Oh!
          I wonder if we can find a similar situation in any other film song, I mean the songs with such funny lyrics. The lyrics if taken literally or seriously, mean a funny thing! But otherwise they do sound alright.

          Like

  4. Found at least 3 other familiar songs here-“Haye jiya roye”, “Mohabbat zinda rehti hai” “”Bhiga-2 pyar ka sama”, apart from “Jahan daal2 par”. Rest were new to me. I enjoyed your research paper thoroughly.

    Like

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