Mehfil Mastee

Swar Baaware

  August 24 2017

Tribute to legendary composer Roshanlal Nagrath in his birth centenary year

Rahe na Rahe hum, Mehaka karaenge, ban ke kali, ban ke sabaa, baag-e-wafa mein

Are we forgetting our music composer legends?

I have always felt that we Indians have a poor sense of our history, and rarely remember and honour our past greats, in any field.  We name roads and buildings after people, but I wonder how many (less than 1%, I am sure) really know the person behind that name.  So it is no surprise that Hindi film music composers of the past must meet the same fate.

We cannot fight public memory and preferences.  If Roshan’s 100th birth anniversary passed us by on 14th July 2017, with barely any noise, it does make me sad but does not surprise me.  I searched on net and found only two links that talked about Roshan’s birth centenary.  If this can happen to the grandfather of Hrithik Roshan, and father of Rakesh & Rajesh Roshan, what about those whose next generations are not in Bollywood?

I hope we remember the creations, if not the creator himself.  To me, it is not just about Roshan, but about a generation of music composers of his era (and of years prior to him).  How will we remember and repay our debts to the likes of:

Anil Biswas (Kismet, 1943, aaj Himalaya ki choti se; Taraana, 1951, Seene mein sulagte hain armaan)

Khemchand Prakash (Mahal, 1949, aayega aane wala)

Sajjad Hussain (Sangdil, 1952, ye hawa ye raat ye chandni; Rustom Sohrab, 1963, Fir tumhari yaad aayee)

Let me stop, because that list is pretty long.  Mind you, a whole generation of composers of earlier era (R C Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Saraswati Devi and again, a long list) already seem to have slipped away from our memories, with rarely, if at all, any mention of them on any media today, and hardly a song being played.

Brings back nostalgic memories of Radio Sri Lanka (Radio Ceylon before that), yes of the Binaca Geetmala fame.  But the memory I am talking about is the morning “Purani Filmon ka Sangeet” from 7:30 am to 8 am, and the last song always being that of the great K L Saigal.  But the reason I bring this up is to remind us that “purani” or “old” itself is a very relative term.  The latest entrants to the job market, the 21-year olds were born after 1995.  When some of them tell me “I like old songs”, I know they refer to DDLJ and Dil to Pagal Hai era, which to me and of my kind, are “new songs”.

The point is, the creator of greatest Hindi film qawwali of all times (Barsaat ki Raat, 1960, Na toh karwaan ki talaash hai / Ye ishq ishq hai) is being forgotten.  What can be done to ensure the creations remain alive and kicking?  In today’s era of heavy rhythm, is there any room for “zindagai bhar nahi bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat”, “jo wada kiya woh” (Taj Mahal, 1963, which won Roshan his only Filmfare award), “khayalo mein kisi ke” (Baaware nain, 1950), “rahe na rahe hum” (Mamta, 1968), to mention only a few of Roshan’s gems?

Please help me find ways to revive the old, keep them in public memory, connect them to the youth.  Do you think If Arijit Singh croons “zindagi bhar nahi bhoolegi ye barsaat ki raat” or if Shreya Ghosal delivers “rahe na rahe hum”, this may have a better connection?  I saw Ram Sampath trying a K L Saigal type of song in Delhi Belly, but that does not seem to have worked.  Can we find a way?

To start with, listen to this and share and ask others to spend a few minutes as a tribute to the great Roshan on the occasion of his hundredth birth anniversary.

P.S. Do you sing?  Do you want to share your singing with us?  Let us know at:

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About the Author

Biren Shah

Biren Shah, member of Mehfil Mastee team and a Hindi film music lover.



A great tribute to the old time music composer! Thoroughly enjoyed the medley of songs. Superb.

Satyarth Srivastava

Very interesting info

Deepak Nagar

Absolutely passionate about music. Giving back to Society is a big initiativ. Thanks for doing it.

Biren Shah Thanks Deepak for being a part of this initiative.

Rahul Kalla

MM beats M&M's ! Great blog

Biren Shah Thanks Rahul.


Great read Biru. Unfortunately, I have come to believe that a generation dies with the generation, or at most the next one. Force of nature. How many of today listen to Beatles or ABBA, even though there are lots of write-ups in western media on both from time to time? Let us, who have "lived" and "loved" with the legends pay them tribute, just the way you have. Thank you for once again bringing back unforgettable memories.

Biren Shah Thanks Partho, and you are very right about how generations die. will do our bit to keep the past generation alive a little longer.

Nitin Desai

Wonderful Biren. Very nicely written.

Ankur Gupta

Excellent thoughts and expressions Biren... Keep sharing please...

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