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The ‘Terrace’ Songs – Part 2

While writing my first post on terrace songs, I had mentioned that there could be two kinds of terrace songs; the first are those which are picturized on a terrace and the second where the lyrics mention the terrace. Part 1 of the terrace songs were songs of the first category. Here I present songs where there is a reference to the terrace in the lyrics. The reference is not necessarily in the mukhda of the song. Also these have not necessarily been shot on a terrace. The virtues of the terrace have already been dwelt upon in part 1 and so I shall straightaway come to the playlist.

The songs that I have shortlisted date from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. Many of the older songs on this theme (i.e. of the 1940s and early 1950s) have already been very wonderfully chronicled elsewhere. Further, many of the songs that I shall list also figure in the same posts. I have tried to add a few more. It is important to note here that the nomenclature used for the terrace in the songs listed is chhat/ atariya/ kotha. Incidentally chhat also means roof and it has been used in this sense as well in the song from Biwi aur Makaan. The songs of the playlist are in no particular order.

1) Rehne ko Chhat do (Biwi aur Makaan, 1966) Lyricist Gulzar, Music Director Hemant Kumar, playback singer Manna De. A typical Mehmood song which portrays the travails of those hunting for a house in Bombay. The movie is a rather underrated comedy directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. There are the shades of Master Pillai of Padosan in Mehmood’s demeanour in this song. There is a beautiful play on words by Gulzar when he says ‘chhat pe ho farsh ya farsh pe chhat ho‘. In this song, the reference to chhat is more in the sense of roof. There is an unmissable allusion to the mushrooming multi-storeyed residential buildings in Bombay.

rehne ko ghar do
chhat pe ho farsh ya farsh pe chhat ho
khidki widki bijli wijli
ghanti wanti kuchh nahin chahiye pyare
bas ek chhota sa darwaja ho 
rehne ko ghar do

2) Chhod Atariya Gaye Sanwariya (Naag Champa, 1958) Lyricist Gopal Singh ‘Nepali’, Music Director Manna De, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. This movie had three lyricists with this song being penned by Gopal Singh ‘Nepali’, a nationalist Hindi poet who also wrote songs for films though not very prolifically; What a pleasant surprise it is to learn that the music director was Manna De, though he doesn’t seem to have sung any songs in the movie. The word atariya in this song seems to be mean home in general rather than terrace.

chodd atariya gaye sanwariya
sari umariya du tujhe
dekh teri pardesh phiri
ab kaun nagariya dhundhu tujhe

3) Jhumka Gira Re (Mera Saaya, 1966) Lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Music Director Madan Mohan, playback singer Asha Bhonsle. A spirited dance performance accompanied by some cheeky and risque lyrics made this song of Mera Saaya a rather popular one. The other songs of this court room drama were more sober. There is a reference to the terrace (chhat) in the second stanza. The manner in which the terrace becomes a vantage point and one for romance to bloom is interesting.

Some trivia here would surely add more spice. Though Bareilly actually has nothing to do with any kind of jhumka, taking a cue from this song, early this year, a huge and heavy Jhumka nearly 14-foot-high and two quintals heavy was installed at Bareilly to attract visitors to the town.

ghar ki chhat pe main khadi, gali mein dilbar jaani
hanske bole niche aa, ab niche aa diwaani
yaa anguthi phenk apni yaa chhllaa de nishaani
ghar ki chhat pe khadi-khadi main hui sharam se paani
haay hui sharam se paani, phir kyaa huaa
daiyaa! phir jhumka giraa re ham dono ke is pyaar me

4) Main Jab Bhi Akeli Hoti Hun (Dharmputra, 1962) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Music Director N Datta, playback singer Asha Bhonsle. This is a song which everyone can relate to. I am sure all of us would have sat on an arm chair in solitude and cherished old memories. It is a flashback song. The vivid imagery woven into the lyrics by Sahir almost plays out in front of you as you hear this song. There is a reference to the terrace as kotha in the third stanza of the song. Almost the entire stanza is picturised on the terrace. The stanza speaks of something that some of us with long hair would have done, especially in winters when any sunlight is welcome and what better place to get it to dry your hair than the terrace. I am of course talking of a time when electric hair dryers were not in vogue!

baalon ko sukhaane ki khaatir
kothe pe woh meraa aa jaanaa
aur tumko muqaabil paate hi
kuchh sharmaanaa kuchh bal khaanaa
hamsaayon ke dar se katraanaa,
ghar waalon ke dar se ghabraanaa
beete din yaad dilaate ho

5) Kaare Kaare Baadra, Ja Re Ja Re Baadra (Bhabhi, 1957) Lyricist Rajinder Krishan, Music Director Chitragupt, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely solo by Lata Mangeshkar picturised on Shyama, innocently asks the rain bearing clouds (baadra) to not rumble on her terrace (atariya) and wander elsewhere. The wind (pawan) is asked to aid in this process. The word used for terrace in this song in the mukhda is atariya which has a very rustic colloquial sound, coming from the word ataari.

kare kare badra jare jare badra
meri atariya na shor macha

6) Uden Jab Jab Zulfen Teri (Naya Daur, 1957) Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Music Director O.P.Nayyar, playback singers Asha Bhonsle and Md.Rafi. A very beautifully made movie, Naya Daur showcases the challenges of industrialization in the post independence era. Packed with great performances, a crisp script and great music, it was a blockbuster. Sahir and O.P. Nayyar create pure magic. This particular song is an entertaining, merry, lyrical duel where gazing at the moon on the terrace becomes the perfect excuse for the male protagonist to meet up, something the lady love, of course, does not accede to. What’s also unique about this song is that it is usually the woman’s zulfen (hair) that are the object of admiration in almost all film songs but here, it is the man’s hair that’s being praised, despite the fact that the lady love sports a long embellished plait!

ho tujhe chaand ke bahaane dekhu
tu chhat par aaja goriye
tu chhat par aaja goriye jind meriye
abhi chhedenge galee ke sab ladke
ke chaand bairee chhip jaane de
ke chaand bairee chhip jaane de jind meriye

7) Haye Soniye Hiriye (Himalay ki God Mein, 1965) Lyricist Anand Bakshi, Music Director Kalyanji Anandji, playback singers Md.Rafi and Usha Timothy. The mood of this duet is akin to the one from Naya Daur listed above. It is a dance number picturized on Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha. There is the often made comparison of the heroine’s beauty with that of the moon. The female playback singer has many a time been considered to be Asha Bhonsle, but it is actually Usha Timothy, who worked closely with the music director duo Kalyanji-Anandji. In fact, they were the ones who recognized her talent very early. Interestingly, the lyrics refer to both chhat and Kotha.

o tu raat khadi thi chhat pe
 ni main samajha ki chaand nikala
bura ho tera tujhe dekh ke
 kothe se mera pair phisla

8) Woh Chand Sa Chehra Liye Chhat par tera aana (Qawwali ki Raat, 1964) Lyricist Shewan Rizvi, Music Director Iqbal Qureshi, playback singer Md.Rafi. A beautiful piece of Urdu poetry set to tune from a rather unmemorable film has Rafi at his best, as always. This song is similar to the song from Dharmputra (already mentioned in the playlist), as it speaks of old memories. The moon is of course not spared in this song as well! Here’s another interesting bit of trivia. The actor who sings the nazm is Kamaljeet (born as Shashi Rekhi), who went on to marry the popular actress Waheeda Rehman. She had acted with him in the film Shagun (1964).

Woh chaand sa chehra liye chhat par tera aana 
 Jalwo se tere chaand ka bhi muh ko chhupana

9) Aaya Aaya Atariya Pe Koi Chor (Mera Gaon Mera Desh, 1971) Lyricist Anand Bakshi, Music Directors Lakshmikant Pyarelal, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar. The song is a rustic number almost similar to Jhumka Gira Re from Mera Saaya listed above. The dacoits are around in both songs enjoying the somewhat loud lyrics. The movie Mera Gaon Mera Desh, from which this song is, is sometimes viewed as a precursor of Sholay. The acclaimed dancer in this song who has two other songs in the movie – Maar Diya Jaaye ki Chod Diya Jaaye and Apni Prem Kahaniyaan, all sung by Lata Mangeshkar – is Lakshmi Chhaya. This movie had her play a significant role as she was a part of the main cast. She starred as Munnibai, a girl who works undercover for a dacoit. All the three songs were woven very well into the plot of the film.

aaya aaya atariya pe koi chor
o bhabhi aana deepak jalaana
o bhabhi aana zara deepak jalaana
dekho balam hain ya koi aur

10) Dil Dhoondhta Hain Phir Wohi (Mausam, 1976) Lyricist Gulzar, Music Director Madan Mohan, playback singer Bhupinder Singh (Sad version). Madan Mohan, the music director, had made several tunes for this song and he finally zeroed in on this. However, the unused tunes were discovered by his son after his death and were used in the film Veer Zara.This is a song that true to the name of the film describes the various seasons and how leisure would be defined in each of them. The terrace makes its appearance in the song with the description of the summer night and the wind blowing to provide some solace, as one just lazes around and gazes at the stars. Even today, in rural India, sleeping on the terrace is quite commonplace in the summers.

ya garmiyon ki raat jo purwaiyaan chale
thandi safed chaadron pe jaage der tak
taaron ko dekhte rahe chhat par pade hue
dil dhundhta hain phir wahi fursat ke raat din

11) Chupke Chupke Raat Din (Nikaah, 1982) Lyricist Hasrat Mohani, Music Director Ravi (or Ghulam Ali himself?) playback singer Ghulam Ali. This is a bitter sweet flashback song that has been beautifully rendered by Ghulam Ali, the king of ghazals. There is the reference to the terrace as kotha. The entire second stanza is in fact shot on the terrace or kotha. It is a still from this song that I have in fact used as the featured image of this post. Nikaah saw the debut of the singing star Salma Agha. Her voice has a distinct nasal tone and is easy to recognize.

dopehar kee dhup me mere bulane ke liye
woh tera kothe pe nange panv ana yaad hain
humko ab tak aashiqi ka woh zamaana yaad hain
chupke chupke raat din aansu bahaana yaad hain

Researching the terrace songs proved to be a great learning experience. There are surely many more songs of both the yesteryears and the more recent times which refer to atariya (e.g. Dil Hun Hun Kare from Rudali) which I have not included as the post would have become unwieldy. May I also mention here that the words chhat/atariya are sometimes used in a more generic sense of rooftop or home. As I skimmed through various songs I noticed that various structures/spaces have been used in songs. There is chajja or balcony (Ichakdana ….chajje upar ladki naache from Shri 420, 1956; till now I had thought it was chhat ke upar ladki naache!), munder or parapet (humre munder bola Kaaga Sakhi Ri from Babla, 1951/53 (?)), jharokha or ventilator (Abke Sajan Saawan Mein ……itne bade ghar me nahin ek bhi Jharokhafrom Chupke Chupke, 1975) and aangan or courtyard (Jyoti Kalash Chalke …. ghar-aangan van upvan upvan …from Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan, 1961). These could perhaps be the subject of another post. So, here I sign off. I will surely return with some other subject.

4 thoughts on “The ‘Terrace’ Songs – Part 2

    1. Thanks a lot, Anupji for reading my post. The first song you mentioned was listed in the two blogs that I have provided hyperlinks for and so I didn’t want to repeat the same. The second song has been mentioned by me towards the end of my post. However, Munder is not terrace as per my understanding but a parapet and so would actually not qualify for this post on the terrace.

      Also could you please share the coordinates of Shri N.Venkatraman, who is quite an expert in old Hindi Film music. Would be great to connect with him.


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