Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki

Author: Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki
Singer: Mohd. Rafi
Music: Naushad
Film: Dulari (1949)

Nazaare Apni Mastiyan
Luta Luta Ke So Gaye
Sitaare Apni Roshni
Dikha Dikha Ke So Gaye
Har Ek Shama Jal Gayii
Na Jaane Tum Kab Aaoge

Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki,
Na Jaane Tum Kab Aaoge?’

(‘Bright worldly gaieties have faded into darkness. Even the stars have gone off to sleep. There is no light in sight. The beautiful night is whiling away. O my beloved, when will you come?’)

The lyrics are beautiful. The tune is superb. The voice is enchanting. More than fifty years have passed since this great song came into existence, yet it hasn’t lost its magic one bit.

The picturization of the song is ordinary - a mandolin- wielding actor wandering aimlessly on an artificial studio set. That actor was Suresh – a name little known today, lying almost forgotten in the back pages of Hindi film history. The film was Dulari (1949)– a non-descript caper that also featured eternal beauty Madhubala and the stunt hero Shyam.

Composer Naushad was then riding high on crest of popularity and he came up with a touch of genius when he conceived this melodious tune for Shakeel Badayuni’s memorable lyrics. But it required another genius by the name- Mohammed Rafi to make it immortal with his singing. It was Rafi’s overpowering intensity of expression that turned this lovelorn song into a classic.

Till that time, Rafi was just one of the many struggling singers trying to make a name in Hindi film music. No doubt, he had had a few hit songs before- especially the famous non-film song Suno Suno Aye Duniyawalo, Bapuji Ki Amar Kahani- composed by Husnlal- Bhagatram but his real potential was not apparent in those earlier offerings. Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki brought him well and truly into his own, paving way for a career at the top that defined limits and set standards for generations to come.


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