Dinanath died leaving five children
with nothing more than his passion for classical and theatre
Sibling revelry with three bhakti poets
Mera Soor Kabira
Hridaynath Mangeshkar and his star sister
Lata come together for a bhajan album that packs in Meera,
Soordas and Kabir
By his own admission, Chala Vai
Des, the album Hridaynath Mangeshkar recorded with his
sister Lata, became a bigger hit in Pakistan than in India.
That was 20 years ago. The siblings come together again
Soor Kabeera, which, as the name makes obvious, is a
compilation of the songs of three outstanding bhakti poets
-- Meera, Soordas and Kabir.
a great Lata fan, and ranks her above his other three
singer-sisters -- the illustrious Asha, and less known Usha and
Meena. He also places herabove Ustad
Amir Khan, his guru who he feels is not as "timeless" as Lata.
That's not an assessment that will go down too well with devotees of
the ustad, who revere him for his austere music. But it should
give you an idea of the high esteem in which Hridaynath holds
Film music lovers know Hridaynath from his score for
Lekin, which starred Sridevi and featured songs by
Gulzar. He has otherwise been a low-key composer, working on
occasional devotional albums.
Hridaynath's music owes its roots to his father Dinanath
Mangeshkar's theatre music and quite a bit of Mumbai's
film music, which you will notice in the interludes and the
orchestral arrangement of Meera Soor Kabeera.
Dinanath died leaving five children with nothing but his passion for
classical and theatre music. They grew up through hard times, and
everyone knows how Lata excelled in film music to become one of
India's national icons. Besides film music, where her repertoire
ranges from the exquisite (Yeh zindagi usi ki hai) to the
indifferent (Didi tera deewar diwana), Lata
has recorded for Hridaynath verses from the Bhagavad Gita and
the Marathi devotional classic Dhyaneshwari.
Meera Soor Kabeera brings three bhakti poets
together. Kabir (born in June or July 1398) wrote couplets,
called dohas, that sought to stress the oneness of god. Meera
was a romantic who boldly went against all convention and
claimed god Krishna for her lover. Surdas was the blind Milton of
All three have long been legends with miracles and myths to their
names. To Kabir goes the credit of bringing together clashing Hindus
and Muslims with his aphorisms. These singer-saints together
spearheaded the bhakti movement in the 14th century.
Hridaynath's style is staid, and has none of the
wild energy of Kumar Gandharva, who also made tunes for Kabir
bhajans. Hridaynath uses the violin ensemble quite generously,
which slots his entire style with
Mumbai's long-standing film style that's only now giving way to
Hridaynath admits to having simplified
some of the lyrics. A summary of each verse appears on the
While quite a few songs are in the
well-established bhajan format with the manjira (small cymbals) and
a 4/4 beat on the dholak, others like Arre dil mere mann are
in the old film style, with heavy violin back up and
drums. This song echoed popular film songs like Dard e dil,
dard e jeegar. Lata's Bhabi Ki Churiyan hit Jyoti
kalash jhalake finds an echo in Hari bin kun gati
nahin. The same Shuddh Kalyan tune, and similar orchestra.
Naa main dharmi naa main adharmi represents the
eternal quest for god, and is in the form of a dialogue. God (here
the voice of Roop Kumar Rathod!) chides the bhakta for looking far
and wide for divinity whereas He lives near the
Surdas's poetry takes up the futility of worldy
relationships, time wasted in childhood, youth and old age, and the
illusory nature of the world. Meera
is the lover, the agony of waiting and longing and the joy of
welcoming the lover reflected in her poetry.
saajan ghar aaya ri has a some surprising turns of phrases.
Dheemi chadariya by Kabir is a beautiful poem which uses
the image of the body as the bedspread which the poet keeps
unblemished to place at god's feet.
younger than in some of her more recent songs, and this
album will add some more tunes to her devotional repertoire.
Other Hridaynath-Lata albums:
Chala Vahi Des:
Lata Mangeshkar Sings Ghalib
Lata Mangeshkar Recites Bhagvad Geeta and Dnyaneshwari
Lata's devotional albums with
music by Shrinivas Kale
Ram Shyam Gun Gaan: with Bhimsen Joshi
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