Rediscovering classics: Pankaj Mullick

Spending some time this weekend going through audio cassettes I accumulated through the 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s, which is when I initially got into appreciating music through somewhat of a better understanding of the lyrics and the diversity of the instruments and compositions. Every once in a while, I find it useful to digitize albums that I simply cannot justify not carrying on my iPods.

One of the cassettes I unearthed from the boxes was from the HMV Golden Collection Series, this one titled 'The Best of Pankaj Mullick', and released by The Gramophone Company of India Limited. And amid all the dust that came with these cassettes lying untouched for several years, I finally gave it a listen (I had bought the series from Rhythm House in Kala Ghoda, Bombay).

And I am glad I did. It is truly traditional Indian music at its finest. The album has about 23 tracks, 14 of which are from old films (from the 1930s and '40s). I am a lover of classical music, and had listened to about half of the tracks in this album in the past. Yet, this compilation is truly fantastic and unlike anything I have listened to in a while.

From among the several excellent songs, my favorite song is Do Naina Matware from the film My Sister (1944). Sung by K.L. Saigal, it's poetic quality at its best, and the music by Pankaj Mullick is fascinating. Sample it in the clip below. What do you think?

Who am I to find any flaws in Mr. Mullick's music? I am going with close to five stars for an amazing compilation of pieces that reflect musical genius by a truly amazing artist.

Album rating: 4.75/5 (Excellent!)

Read more on Pankaj Mullick (1905-1978) at


Anonymous said...

Very hypnotizing tune. It makes a transition at about 1:40 into an almost different song. I was inspired to go on and listen to this:

All the best,

theBollywoodFan said...

Sita-ji: Thank you for sharing Diya Jalao. It is truly wonderful. Yes, that little segment after the initial 1:40 of Do Naina is interesting. Just as the music is beautifully put together, so are the lyrics. My favorite lyrical piece from that segment:

Jab hoti ho tum us paar,
Mann ki bina ke baj uthtey hain zor zor se taar

My translation:
When you are on 'that side' (as in 'across me', and the 'you' referred to is a woman),
the strings to the lute of my soul play out loud.

Excellent poetry indeed.


Anonymous said...

Dear bollywoodfan, Thanks for the lovely translation. Beautiful!
Ahhh, I wish I could understand Hindi and Urdu! Part of the reason I love Hindi cinema is the music and at times this is augmented instead of hindered by my lack of knowledge of Hindi. I will hear a song and because I can only understand a small fraction of the lyrics, I have to listen in a different way, and I think I can hear the music purely, but also feel some of the emotion, then I get hooked on a song. Then I go and fish out the lyrics and find it even more beautiful and wonder if the English translation is so good, how beautiful it must be in the original language. One example was the song
"Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Mein" from Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam.

I loved the song and its picturization on Waheeda-ji. Then when I read the translation of lyrics it was so moving that I was touched even more. I remember in this case the song was translated, which its sometime not, and I went back and transcribed it for myself. It perfectly captures the feelings of regret unspoken words and the loss of a relationship. Not sure if this link will work, but give it a try.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen this blog:

I think you'd enjoy it a lot.


theBollywoodFan said...

Sita-ji: It's a beautiful song. Thank you so very much for sharing. I want to watch the movie now!

You must go through some very interesting listening experiences. I can somewhat relate to it, for I go through a similar experience when I listen to a song in Arabic or Spanish. Both are languages I have tried to learn but ran out of time to commit to learning seriously. Then again, your Hindi/Urdu vocabulary is probably better than my Spanish and Arabic combined!

Also, thank you for the blog recommendation. I am looking forward to reading it soon!

Anonymous said...

As sitaji says, it's nice to find someone who can translate the lyrics since I can't...but I have gotten so hooked on some lyricists (Sahir and Kavi Pradeep, for two) by subtitled songs.

I wonder if there's a book anywhere of Hindi movie lyrics with English translations...I have Talking Songs (Javed Akhtar) but would love a similar thing for these older films.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Memsaab. I do not know of any resources in particular, but will be on the lookout. Hopefully there are some useful ones out there.