Saturday, September 8, 2012


Myself getting the autograph of Nirmala Ji in Kanpur in the year 1988
I met her first time in 1986 during a music conference at Kanpur.It was 1st March and Nirmala Ji was on the stage of fully packed auditorium,clad in a plane light yellow chiffon sari,looking like a saint, presenting thumris,dadras,ghazals and bhajans.She started singing at 2:00 AM and till 6:30AM audience was listening to her melodies with full attention and giving applause at time to time.I still remember her song"JAYE NA PAIHO HAMARI GALEE AIKE ......"being rendered in the early hours of dawn and in that season of Basant and Holi,I saw many morning walkers gathered outside the auditorium, mesmerised by the charm of her superb singing.Nirmala Ji could expand her voice to all the three octaves of music very comfortably.Which is very rare for vocalists.After the concert I sat with her and talked about her acting in Hindi Films as well as her singing.But she in short told everything and said about her son GOVINDA ,whose first debut film 'LOVE 86' was ready for release.
I again got the chance to listen to her melodious singing in 1988, in the concert organised by a local body in Kanpur.I reviewed her work in films and found to the best of my knowledge,that she acted in 13 Hindi movies and sang about 60 songs for music directors like:Naushad,Sajjad Hussain,Firoze Nizami,Pt. Govindram,Shankar Rao Vyas, Vinod,Bulo C.Rani,Madan Mohan and O.P.Nayyar.She also did playback singing in a few films,such as :Shama- Parwana(1954),Musafirkhana(1955),Haseena(1955), Jagir, Zara Bach Ke ,Lady Robinhood (1959),Haqdar(1964) and Bawarchi(1972),Ram Teri Ganga Maili(1985).
She belonged to Varanasi( Banaras) and got groomed in vocal music by Ustad Atta Khan of Patiala Gharana.She was married to film star of that era of Hindi Cinema, Arun Kumar Ahuja, with whom she worked in films: SAVERA(1942),CHALIS KAROD(1945),SEHRA(1948) and JAI MAHALAKSHMI(1951).Since 1942 till 1951 she did acting only in 13 films along with singing about 50 songs.The movies were:Sharda(1942),Savera(1942),Kanoon(1943),Gaali(1944),Geet(1944),Jeevan(1944),Chalis Karod(1945),Piya Milan(1945),Ghunghat(1946),Sehra(1948),Anmol Ratan(1950),Janmashtami(1950) and Jai Mahalakshmi(1951). Further between 1954 to 1985 she did playback singing in 9 films only,singing only 10 songs.Here are some of her popular song numbers:
(1).Ghir Aayee Badariya Ghar Aao..   (film:SHARDA,1942,Music:Naushad)
(2).Hamare Saiyyan Lakhon Mein Ek...(film:ANMOL RATAN,1950,Music:Vinod)
(3).Jhoothe Zamane Bhar Ke..(duet with Moh.Rafi,film:MUSAFIR KHANA,1955,Music:O.P.Nayyar)
(4).Ulfat Ke Jaam Pila...(film:SHAMA PARWANA-1954,Music:Husnlal-Bhagatram)
Nirmala Ji had got recorded many unforgettable light classical melodies,such as: thumris, dadras, chaiti, hori etc.But she also sang very skillfully khayals, taranas, bhajans, ghazals and geets.Music lovers all over the world still keep on searching for her rcordings.Her LP record of light classical songs 'Weekend Pleasure' was a great success.Here I am giving a Chaiti from that record:

After saying goodbye to  films she was fully devoted to her music concerts all over India and cutting records of her singing.In my city Kanpur itself she gave her Five Music Concerts since 1982 to 1988. She was a preferred artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan.Let us enjoy a ghazal sung by Nirmala Devi for All India Radio:

In a collection of Thumries LP released by HMV,she sang in raga Mishra Shivranjani "Ro ro nain ganwaye,sajna na aaye...".Let us enjoy that melody:  

How can  we forget the THUMRI-JUGALBANDI, she presented along with Lakshmi Shankar in two LP records.One of these is being given to enjoy the harmony and melody intermixed very nicely:  
She got recorded the ghazals of Mirza Ghalib for an EP record released by HMV.It is a real treat to listen to these ghazals. Also she had composed and sung many bhajans, but I very much like her bhajan "Hari Tum Bhaktan Ke Hitkari.." in Bhairavi ,which is a masterpiece of music.  Also  her last film-song from Bawarchi(1972),composed by Madan Mohan in raga Alhaiyya Bilawal,sung with,Manna Dey,Lakshmi Shankar,Kishore Kumar and Harindranath Chattopadhyay,is still very popular .The song is being given here:

Nirmala Ji has passed away in 1996,but she is still alive in the memories of her music lovers.She has left behind a treasure of her melodious songs for generations to come.