Birds, animals have always been a part of our lives. A poet’s sensitivity has no limitations; many of them have written poetries giving voice of the bird’s connotation of human feeling. Many of us even today say that when the crow cawed it is an advance intimation of a guest coming; when the koel cooes (cuckoo) in the monsoon, it rains; when the papiha (hawk cuckoo) sang far away it’s an intimation that the night is only half left. When Adya Guru Shakaracharya heard a parrot uttering deeply metaphysical aphorisms like स्वतः प्रमाणं परतः प्रमाणम्‌ he knew he had reached the house of Pandit Mandan Mishra.

Lot of Hindi lyricists such as D.N. Madhok, Rajinder Krishna, Kedar Sharma, Gulzar have artistically praised the communicative skills and musicality of birds in their poetries. Birds sing chirpily when they actually respond to change in weather and seasons. “Birds use the same sensory apparatus we use to process sounds, but they use it to build a completely different universe than we live in” says Dr. Jeffrey Cynx of the Rockefeller University in New York in an interview. From his studies of bird songs he has come to a conclusion that each animal lives in its own sensory and perceptual world. Thus what we hear in the bird’s song may only softly resemble what the bird hears.  Poetries are the natural overflow of feelings; some of the great Hindi lyricists have made the papiha part of their lyrics: somebody has mocked the papiha for spreading rumors, somebody is asking the pahipa whether the lover has arrived in nearby vicinity, somebody says that papiha has messaged that spring has arrived………..each lyricist has given the papiha a role in his poetry (song).

I present hereby few Hindi film songs which are related to ‘papiha’ (hawk cuckoo) singing, listen to the lyrics intimately by closing your eyes…….these are simply magical songs.

Papi papiha re (Parwana 1947) featuring a young Suraiya and sung by her. The movie also featured KL Saigal with music by Khurshad Anwar.

Sakhi re sun bole papiha uspar (Miss Mary, 1957) by Asha & Lata with music by Hemant Kumar. Meena Kumari is featured in the song, this movie also starred Gemini Ganesan & Kishore Kumar.

Woh dekho dekh raha tha papiha (Fariyad 1964). Song sung by Mahendra Kapoor & Suman Kalyanpu

Sunoo Sajana papihe ne (Aaye Din Bahaar Ke, 1966): Featuring Asha Parekh and Dharmendra on screen.

Bole re papihara (Guddi 1971) featuring a young Jaya Bhaduri and Samit Bhanja sung by Vani Jairam.



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