Some musical pearls in raag Yaman-Kalyan

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Raag Kalyan was established around the end of the 15th century. It is one of the popular ragas. It has undergone many changes since its creation. Raag Yaman is often used synonymously with raag Kalyan, and is the main raag in the Kalyan thaat. Some historians of music believe that Yaman was created by Amir Khusro, others argue that there seems to be no evidence to support this claim. Yaman is also known variously as ‘Aiman’, ‘Eman’, ‘Iman’, etc. If a distinction is to be made between Raag Kalyan and Yaman, it would be that in Yaman, the Sa and Pa are omitted in the Aaroha, or ascending sequence. According to music scholars, Yaman and Kalyan are same.

‘Thaat’ is an arrangement in which the alternate forms of swar (notes) are set.  The transformation of the various forms has given rise to numerous scales with immensely differing intervals. Kalyan thaat consists of an important group of evening raagas. It is characterized by the Teevra Madhyam. Kalyan thaat literally means benevolence or goodwill. It is a soothing raga. Kalyan raga is performed in the evening at the beginning of a concert. This raag creates a feeling of goodness in the concert while it unfolds the evening. Kalyan thaat is enormous and consists of many variations on the basic kalyan that. Some famous raagas in Kalyan Thaat are Yaman, Bhupali, Hindol, Kedar, Kamod, etc.

For a long time there has been a spurting debates concerning the difference or equivalence of Yaman, Kalyan and Yaman-Kalyan.  The scholars of Indian music are unable to reach a consensus as to whether these are distinct rags or not. The music directors of films without getting into the arguments and opinions have set some beautiful, memorable songs. We find many songs in ‘Yaman-Kalyan’ in Bollywood. The composers have used this raga for various moods of songs; such as devotion, gravity, romance, serenity, and poignancy.

Among the different raagas of Hindustani Classical Music, Yaman Kalyan is probably most famous among the music composers of the film industry. It has a soothing quality and healing touch that comes with its ‘evening’ character; it gives the songs a romantic tranquility. It has the magic of calming the nerves and it has the power to portray the emotions or the lyrical excellence of a song.

Here are some of the best Bollywood songs based on Raag Yaman Kalyan.

Abhi na jao chodkar: Film Hum Dono, 1961, Music Director: Jaidev: This song is such a romantic song! Sigh! It’s one of the greatest romantic duets to have been written by Sahir Ludhiyanvi. The song has been composed by Jaidev, passionately sung by Rafi saab and Asha Bhosale. You see handsome Dev Anand begging a fragile beauty Sadhana not to leave him as his heart is not yet filled with joy. The song Abhi na jao chodkar has several layers. On the surface it seems like a soft romantic song. But if look beyond, you will find it is like a messenger to the twists and turns that unfold in the story. No wonder the hero is hesitant that if the heroine leaves him, then their paths may never meet again. The lovers part in the movie, face many troubles and meet in the end. It is one of evergreen songs.

Dhalati jaye raat kehede dil ki baat: Film Razia Sultan, 1961, Music Director, Lacchiram: This is another pearl in which excellent use of Raag Yaman Kalyan is used to denote the mood of night and romance. The tranquil quality of this number echoes with Yaman Kalyan at its best.  This great composition was a creation of Lachhiram, while the lyrics were written by Anand Bakhshi. This great number owes its immensity to two great singers, Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle who have perfectly caught the mood of the song and blended it with the virtues of Yaman Kalyan.

Is moad se jaate hai: Film Aandhi, 1975, Music Director, R.D.Burman: The song is superbly composed in Yaman Kalyan, for film Aandhi sung ecstatically by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. The lyrics are penned by Gulzar. It seems R.D, Kishore and Gulzar were great pals of each other. The trio has some great songs to their credit. The song was shot at Pahalgam (Kashmir). This film’s most of the songs have been shot in architectural ruins as a backdrop which depicts parting. The song is shown twice at two very important junctures in the movie; first in a romantic mood and the second time in the climax of the movie. Both actors Suchitra Sen and Sanjiv Kumar impeccably portrayed romance, longing, pain both times.

Jab deep jale aana: Film Chitchor, 1976, Music Director Ravindra jain: The song is shot in the evening in simple backdrop; Amol Palekar sings the song for heroin Zarina Wahab accompanied by Master Raju. It’s sung soulfully by non Urdu speaker-singer Yasudas accompanied by Hemlata. The lyrics are so simple yet heart touching written by Ravindra Jain himself. It is one of most melodious song composed in Yaman Kalyan, which is very well shot. I can listen to this song again and again for the adoring voice of Yasudas.  There is a streak of innocence about the romance that signifies the essence of this movie. It is a typical Basu Chatterjee presentation, so infectious, so appealing.

Ghar se nikalte hi: Film Papa Kehate hai, 1996, Music Director Rajesh Roshan:  This dreamy song is sung by Udit Narayan, music composed by Rajesh Roshan and the song penned by Javed Akhtar. The song is picturised on Jugal Hansraj and Mayuri Kango. The song was nominated for Filmfare award for the best male playback singer. The film has good songs composed excellently by Rajesh Roshan.

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