In Remembrance, Nalini Jaywant

21 Dec

My ten favourite Nalini Jaywant solo songs

If I ask my niece who is Nalini Jaywant, she will most probably say that she must be one of my innumerable aunts. In fact, I do have a distant aunt with the name of Nalini. But the actress Nalini Jaywant seems to have faded into oblivion. When one reads discussions on Hindi film actresses of the 50s, her name hardly appears. Maybe the reason is her self-imposed exile, otherwise it is hard to understand, why she should disappear from public memory. In her heydays she was considered the most beautiful actress and as a talented actress by her colleagues.

She started her career in her teenage years, playing sister (the title role) to Sheikh Mukhtar in Mehboob Khan’s Bahen [1941], where she sang all her songs in her own voice.. Her films in the 40s were nothing to write home about, till she made a splash with Anokha Pyar [1948] as the all-sacrificing part of the triangle, showing Dilip Kumar once again between two strong ladies, the other being Nargis. After that there was no looking back for her, acting in hit films like Samadhi, Naubahar, Rahi [1952], Shikast, Munimji, Nastik and Kala Pani. Like many of her contemporaries she couldn’t carry her success streak into the 60s and retired from the silver screen. She appeared only in two films in the 80s Bandish [1980] and Nastik [1983].

More detailed writing on her career can be found at Upperstall and by Shishir Krishna Sharma on his blog. The first and last photo in this post are from his collection. Thank you Shishirji for the loan!
Here are my ten favourite solo songs of this beautiful and talented actress. Enjoy!

abhi shaam aayegi niklenge taareSamadhi [1950]
MD: C. Ramchandra; Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Nalini Jaywant plays a reluctant spy to Ashok Kumar’s patriotic freedom fighter in this film. During the shooting of this film, supposedly Ashok Kumar and she came closer and had a deep relationship, which people say lasted for ten years.

jab nain mile nainon se – Jadoo [1951]
MD: Naushad; Lyrics: Shakeel; Singer: Shamshad Begum
A film based on the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, which was based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée. She plays the role of a gypsy involved with a band of thieves and in love with a policeman. Well, such a love between an independent fiery gypsy-girl and a convention bound policeman is bound to end in a tragedy! My mother told me, that the refrain lara loo became very famous in those days.
I was torn between this song and lo pyar ki ho gayi jeet. The scales dipped in favour of Shamshad Begum to escape the dominance by Lata in this list. The score being from Naushad, there are more forgotten gems in this film.

thandi hawayein lehra ka aayeNaujawan [1951]
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
One of my favourite S. D. Burman songs! This tune would inspire many Hindi film music directors in the decades to come. One of them would be his very own son. But we will devote more time to it in a post of its own. The tune is supposed to have been lift-off of a melody from Algiers [1938]. I couldn’t find the original though. So if anybody has a link to it, please do pass it on to me.

ae ri main to prem deewaniNau Bahar [1952]
MD: Roshan; Lyrics: Meerabai; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
It seems Meerabai’s bhajans were the in-thing in the early 50s. Jogan [1950] was chock full of them and then this. But Nalini Jaywant doesn’t play a jogan here, nor is she at this moment in deep love with him. It is just the light flirtation at the beginning of grave love story.

kare badra tu na jaa – Shikast [1953]
MD: Shankar Jaikishan; Lyrics: Shailendra; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
In Shikast Nalini Jaywant departs from her normal fare of goody two-shoes. She plays here a frustrated and violent widowed sister of a land-lord, who falls in love with the local social reformer. The songs heralds the blossoming of tender love in her bosom.

kanha bajaye bansuri aur gwale bajaye manjireNastik [1954]
MD: C. Ramchandra; Lyrics: Pradeep; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
If in Shikast, she was the reformee, In Nastik she plays the patient and all-suffering reformer of an atheist and rebel, played by Ajit. The tune reminds of dandiya-raas tune played at the navratri pandals in my childhood.

ghayal hiraniya main ban banMunimji [1955]
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
She gets to mouth Lata’s semi-classical number here. Although supposed to be afraid to wander around the forest, she appears to be quite amused about her surroundings, which looks more like an unkempt garden than a wild forest. Stock footage of some animals not native to India, just make it more lively. But who cares about such things, when one sees the beautiful Nalini singing in Lata’s magical voice!
A click on the movie title will lead you to the review of the film, written by Madhu on her passing away in 2010.

chand madham hai aasman chhup haiRailway Platform [1955]
MD: Madan Mohan; Lyrics: Sahir; Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
From the cheerful song above, we shift into sadder gears with this song. Listening to this wonderful song, I get reminded of Javed Akhtar talking about Sahir’s depiction and involving anture in his verses. door waadi mein dukhiyaa baadal, jhuk ke parbat ko pyaar karte hain (in distant valleys, sad clouds bow down, to make love to mountains). Such imagination, such a poetry!

beimaan balma man bhi jaa – Hum Sab Chor Hain [1956]
MD: O. P. Nayyar; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Singer: Asha Bhosle

From the melancholic chand madham hai to cheerful beimaan balama is just a small hop. Alone watching this song makes me want to watch this film. Nalini Jaywant seems to be adept in comedy just by using her eyes and without falling into slapstick, which is also seen in this song of Munimji. A pity that she didn’t get more such roles.

dil laga ke kadar gayi pyaare – Kala Paani [1958]
MD: S. D. Burman; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Singer: Asha Bhosle
Nalini Jaywant won her only Filmfare award for the role of a nautch-girl in possession of a secret, which would prove Dev’s father’s innocence. She surrenders this information, which would also mean a life-long economic security for her, in her love for Dev. She portrayed all the emotions of this character from the cunning prostitute to love-smitten maiden to an all-sacrificing lady in all its shades, for which she deserved every award she could get. Although seen as a supporting role, I find her role compared to that of Madhubala very central to the plot and deservingly she gets three solo songs in the film.

Nalini Jaywant left her earthly body on 20th or 22nd December two years back. The photo below was clicked by Shishir Krishna Sharma a few months before her death. She reminds me very much of my own mother here, frail but full of life!. Thank you Nalini, you enriched our life with your art!

Enjoy the playlist!


Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Bollywood, Lists


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34 responses to “In Remembrance, Nalini Jaywant

  1. Gayatri Rao

    December 21, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Pramod, this is a very well-written article. I wonder, where you get all this information from. I am sure, you don’t copy-paste from the net, do you? And you say you are not interested in a journalistic career.

    • harveypam

      December 21, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Thank you Gayatri!
      Coming from a journalist, that is quite a compliment! I think a hobby is a hobby. Trying to earn your daily bread from it is a more difficult task! I will leave that to professionals like you!
      As for the information, it is from different sources. I don’t copy-paste, but I do use the info from other sites like Upperstall or from the books I’ve read or what I remember from my conversations with my friends and relatives.

      • Gayatri Rao

        December 22, 2012 at 2:55 am

        Hi, Pramod, you say that you write from the conversations you have had with your friends, besides other things. Coming from a bhulakkad person like you (He he he, your words not mine), you still remember the conversations? Anyways, I would definitely say kudos to you. It is a pity you cannot join us in our profession (I could not continue with Botany like you are doing and you are not ready to take up journalism.) But I would say that ultimately maintaining a blog of this kind with a lot of research and original content (I mean by re-writing and not copy-pasting) is in itself worth the money. What else do we do? Anyways, I am not the one to decide what you should do. Each to his own. But I do want to repeat that this is a job well done.

        • harveypam

          December 23, 2012 at 6:17 am

          Thank you Gayatri!
          Feels good to hear that!
          See you soon!

  2. dustedoff

    December 21, 2012 at 5:35 am

    Wonderful post, Harvey! You’ve listed some of my favourite Nalini Jaywant songs (though I must admit that if it had been left up to me, I’d have chosen Lo pyaar ki ho gayi jeet over the one you chose). 🙂 Nalini Jaywant was so expressive and so beautiful. Just last night, I was reading Housefull, about the Golden Age in Hindi cinema, and there was a mention about some contemporary listing Nalini Jaywant as the most beautiful Indian actress – even above Madhubala (I’m quoting).

    Thank you, very especially, for the song from Shikast – I’d completely forgotten about that one. Lovely song!

    Another one I like a lot is Najar laagi raja tore bangle par:

    And, from Munimji, Ek nazar bas ek nazar:

    P.S. I love the first photo and the last! So beautiful. 🙂

  3. harveypam

    December 21, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Thanks Madhu!
    lo pyar ki ho gayi jeet is indeed beautiful! I find it good too. By the way, it was rumoured that Shyam Banegal also wanted to make a movie on the story of Carmen with Urmila Matondkar supposed to be playing in Rajasthan on the border to Pakistan. But unfortuantely nothing materialised.
    What is Housefull? I read about somebody listing her as the most beautiful actress at Upperstall. But such things are so subjective. But it makes me feel good for Nalini!
    The Shikast song is one of my favs!
    How come I knew that nazar laage raja would be one of your favs! 😉 Love her nakhras there! And a big share of the credit also goes to Asha and SDB!
    Doesn’t she look lovely in Munimji?
    You are so right about the photos!
    Thanks for your contributions!

    • dustedoff

      December 22, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Housefull is a recently published book on the Golden Age in Hindi cinema – mostly the 50s and 60s. I’m currently reading it, will post a review once I’m done. Theek hai.

      • harveypam

        December 23, 2012 at 6:15 am

        Is it? I’ll have to look it up in soem bookstore soon! Thanks for the tip! Am looking forward to your review! 🙂

  4. Subodh Agrawal

    December 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I posted a comment in the morning which didn’t get through. Hoping for better luck this time.

    First, thank you Harvey for this post on an actress I knew little about apart from Kala Pani and Thandi Hawayein. I will look for her movies now.

    I came across this video on Youtube containing stills taken by James Burke, Life magazine’s photographer in the early fifties as part of the ‘movie queens’ series. Hope you will like it:

    Of course the most famous – out of this world – photos James Burke took are of Madhubala. I am sure they would have figured earlier in yours, Madhu’s or Anu’s blog. Just in case here is the link:

    • harveypam

      December 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Sorry about that mishap with the comment, Subodh! I looked it up in my SPAM-folder and all, but couldn’t find it. Thanks for taking up the effort again!
      I am happy that this list kindled up your interest for Nalini Jaywant and her films. I myself would like to get my hands on Hum Sab Chor Hain, which sounds to be quite funny!
      Thanks for those wonderful pics of Nalini Jaywant in the Life magazine. I knew about the pics but never saw all of them at one go, like in this youtube video. I also saw them at a site called Old Indian photos with pics dating from the 1850s
      I think you will like it!

      • Subodh Agrawal

        December 22, 2012 at 7:44 am

        Old Indian Photos is a real treasure. Thanks Harvey.

        • harveypam

          December 23, 2012 at 6:14 am

          Glad to help Subodh! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  5. thandapani

    December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you so much for this Harvey. Her beauty was surely mirror-cracking material. I have not watched any of her movies recently, but all speak of her great talent. I have not heard/seen many of these songs, and I am going to treat myself by watching them tonight 🙂

    • harveypam

      December 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      You are most welcome dear Ava!
      She was indeed very beautiful! I also would love to watch one of her films one of these days! But I am happy to see her in the songs as well!
      I forgot to make a playlist. I will do it right away!

  6. thandapani

    December 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    What a gem of a song this was, such lovely poetry

    chaand maddham hai aasmaan chup hai
    neend ki god men jahaan chup hai
    chaand maddham hai……………….

    dur vaadi men dukhiya baadal
    jhuk ke parbat ko pyaar karate hain
    dil men naakaam hasaraten lekar
    ham tera intezaar karate hain
    chaand maddham hai……………….

    in bahaaron ke saaye men aaja
    phir mohabbat javaan rahe na rahe
    zindagi tere na-muraadon par
    kal talak maharabaan rahe na rahe
    chaand maddham hai……………….

    roz ki tarah, aaj bhi taare
    subah ki gard men na kho jaaye
    aa tere gham men, jaagati aankhen
    kam-se-kam ek raat so jaaye
    chaand maddham hai……………….

    aur sone pe suhaga, MM ka music. Am floored 🙂

    • harveypam

      December 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      It is truly beautiful! kya melancholy hai, kya saaz hai, kya bol hain, kya awaaz hai!
      Can’t find a single fault with this song!
      Thanks mere hum-appreciator!

  7. Anu Warrier

    December 22, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Harvey, echoing everybody else here – a wonderful, wonderful post. And the two photographs of her – she looked so beautiful even when she was so much older, no? There’s such serenity in her face. Listening to the songs one by one. Too ill to add any at the moment, even if I could think of them.

    • harveypam

      December 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

      O dear, you are ill! Wish you a fast recovery! Hope the songs cheer you up a bit!
      Thanks for your nice words, Anu!
      Yes that is it, the serenity in her face, which makes it so attractive. Very beautiful and at so much peace with herself and the world!

  8. Richard S.

    December 27, 2012 at 7:04 am

    A fine post about an excellent and beautiful actress…yes, going all the way back to Sister (1941), but maybe there she was upstaged by Baby Meena Kumari? On the other hand, she definitely took the spotlight from Madhubala in Kala Pani… Is she really that unknown these days? I personally think of her as one of the greats… And, Harvey, I think you have covered all of her of great appearances too.

    • harveypam

      December 30, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Thank you Richard for your kind words!
      Yeah, I wonder what was the reason behind her few appearances although having given such a magnificent debut. It seems her marriage and some contract clauses stopped her from making regular appearances in the movies. At least that is what I could read between the lines at Shishir Krishna Sharma’s blog.
      Well, with us bloggers of old Hindi films, she may not be unknown, but in public memory she is all but forgotten. At the most she is remembered for her appearance in Kala Paani.

  9. Shilpi Bose

    December 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I have been running short of time and therefore I find it very difficult to post my comments, however this post is one of your finest, so I had to post a comment. I loved that last photo, despite her age she still looks so bright. Your song selection is excellent and what you did not select your readers have, so I have nothing more to add. There was one film of her’s in which she and Ashok Kumar played the lead, they were both quite old then, the film was Toofan Mein Pyaar Kahan, dad played the villain in this one. The film remained incomplete but surprisingly on searching the net I found that the film’s VCD is available.

    • harveypam

      December 30, 2012 at 7:05 am

      Dear Shilpi, glad to see that you still found some time to put up a comment. Thanks, dear for your nice words. Yes the last photo is too lovely for words. So fine, so refined, fragile and such a woman of substance!
      That is completely new fact you bring to light about Toofan Me Pyaar Kahan! I didn’t know of that film. Will have to look up that! I didn’t know that Tarunji played villain so many times. Although your dad always played a refined villain, it is his soft roles, that remain in my memory and for which I fondly remember him.

  10. Shalini

    December 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Great post, Harvey! Nalini Jaywant is among my favorite golden age actresses.

    I’m delighted to see “ghayal hiraniya” among the selections; all the songs of “Munimji” are wonderful but “ghayal” is my personal favorite from the movie. There is one song on the list that I’m afraid can’t be included – chand madham hai! The song was deleted from the movie so there is no way to know whether it was picturized on Nalini Jaywant or not. The video you posted is fan-made – a mash-up of the song audio and video clips from “Milan” and “Railway Platform”. Speaking of “Milan”, here’s my contribution to the list – the magnificient “haye jiya roye.”

    Haye jiya roye – Milan

    • harveypam

      January 1, 2013 at 4:33 am

      You are right Shalini! Chand madham hai doesn’t really fulfill the criteria of the post. I so much love that song, that I had to include it! Thanks for the correction.
      Ghayal hiraniya is a fabulous song, it is also one of my favs.
      I am glad that you included hai jiya roye. It was on the 11th position!
      Nalini looks simply wonderful there!

  11. Songs Of Yore

    January 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    A great post which contains some songs which are not only Nalini Jaywant’s best, but all time landmark songs which now have cult status: Ae ri main to prem diwani (the best of Roshan-Lata, one of the best in Raga Bhimpalasi), Thandi hawayen (one of the best of SDB-Lata), Kanha bajaye bansuri (one of the best of CR-Lata), either of Kala Pani songs (one of the best of SDB-Asha Bhosle). Rarely I see a list with which I relate such a great deal. Thanks.

    • harveypam

      January 6, 2013 at 7:06 am

      Thanks AK!
      How right you are aboutthe songs being landmark songs!
      I think each one of us can relate to at least few of the songs.
      Feels good that you can appreciate it!

  12. Chris

    January 6, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Those are some very good songs I see, Jadoo is new for me.Thanks for the post.
    OK, I AM one of those who finds Nalini Jaywant MORE beautiful than Madhubala and liked her pair with Dadamoni. Also Rekha over Hema , Rekha was the only 70s heroine to not only survive the 80s but even did her best films in that decade. Hema is lucky her long list of trashy 80s films after Satte pe satta are not mentioned.

    • harveypam

      January 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you Chris!
      Jadoo, the film is new for me as well, though the songs were known to me! Love the songs!
      Nalini Jaywant was very beautiful, wasn’t she? I don’t know if I can say she is more beautiful than Madhubala. But I can’t say Madhubala was more beautiful than Nalini.
      It is so difficult to choose between Rekha and Hema. Early 70s I surely would shoose Hema over Rekha and later Rekha over Hema. Actingwise surely Rekha over Hema. But all the same, hema had this presence, which only few have.

  13. Vicente S. Fleming

    January 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

    When the Talkie came to India and films were made, only one thought was there in the minds of the producers and that was to make films based on Mythological and Historical stories. This went on for first 5-6 years, but then film makers realised that people will like their films if they could relate their lives with it. So, films based on stories with village background, the caste system, dowry, the moneylender and the farmers were made. These became popular. The urban and the city viewer who was educated were looking for something different. Thus, films were made on love stories set in cities and bigger towns.

  14. Anwar Mahmood

    July 6, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Each so prettiest, yes them two
    Nilini, Madhubala just so true
    Love them both, equal, yes
    Equal beauty both possess

    • harveypam

      July 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Quite a poem that!
      Thank you Anwar!
      Yeah, I like both of them too.


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