We at times tend to label some songs as sad songs, some as happy and some as soothing songs. Some songs are nice to listen, some are nice to watch as well and some others have a much stronger visual appeal.
During my journey of exploring the Geeta Dutt/Roy output outside the Guru Dutt domain, several years ago, I discovered this song. To me, it feels like it has shades of sadness and happiness and it is one of the most soothing song I have ever heard! All these years it only had an audio impact on me (since I could not see the video), but now the song has completely mesmerized me in its audio and visual experience as a whole, thanks to our friend who posted the video recently!
The magic of Geeta Dutt (nee Roy) in Bangla Film and non-Film music has been briefly discussed on our main website and it has been rightly mentioned that the song “Nishi raat baanka chaand” is the “Icing on the cake” as far as Geeta’s Bangla singing is considered. It probably is (and possibly will remain) the most popular Bangla song of hers, but that is not the reason for me writing this. I have rarely been swayed by the “oh so popular” ones so far.
The composer Nachiketa Ghosh and the poet/lyricist Pranab Roy deserve a special mention in making this immortal song. Nachiketa Ghosh was a legendary music director in Bangla films. He had successfully directed music over four decades using all leading playback singers. Just like several other talented and great lyricists of Hindi Films, there is practically no information available about the lyricist Pranab Roy.
All these years even without knowing the full meaning of the song (yes unfortunately I do not yet understand the language), I was captivated by the tune and the voice of hers in this song. In this song, she is perfectly gliding on the tune (in much contrast to what some of her popular Hindi songs) and taking the listener to a different world altogether. Just like many music lovers, I too do not have any knowledge of classical music, but I have a strong belief that this song could be based on some Raag. Whether classical based or not, it is something that touches your heart, and to me, that is what matters the most!
It has been well documented on several websites that Mala (original name Alda) was helped by Geeta Dutt during Mala’s initial years of struggle during early fifties. Now the year is 1957, and we see Geeta singing two of her best songs for Mala in the same year. Apart from this Bangla number from the film Prithibi Aaamare Chhay, we have the dream song “Hum aap ki aankhon mein” (with Mohd Rafi) for the film Pyaasa (1957) composed by none other than S D Burman, another magician from Bengal, the land of culture and music! Coming back to “Nishi raat..”, the song is set in the night (which is so obvious) and is filmed on Mala and the icon of Bangla film industry Uttam Kumar.
I am sure everything which can possibly be written about the legendary Uttam Kumar would already have been written. I have not seen many films of him, so the only thing I can say is about his screen presence in this song. He expresses so much through his eyes without saying a single word! And that must be one of the many highlights of his acting.
In a true sense, this song the most beloved song for me. I will pick this one if some one asks me to choose just one song which I would like to listen to any time. I know I do love many more Hindi, Bangla and Gujrati songs of Geeta, but this one has to be the best for me! It lingers on the mind and makes one think about “being content in life”. The lines:
“Whatever little I have got from my life
My heart says I received more than I ever wanted”
coming from a person whom the destiny denied a fair chance, are truly enchanting beyond the song itself.
Bangla to English Translation:
Here is an attempt to convey the meaning of the song, again thanks to a friend from the online community Hamara Forums which is our parent website.
Nishi raat, banka chand aakashe
chupi chupi banshi baaje batashe
The night is dark, the moon not so perfect,
and the wind blows silently like the flute
Bhanga ghore du diner khela ghar
Koto bhanga tobu elo jochona
the broken hut is our play room
So broken yet the moonlight falls on it
Phule, phule, cheye galo baluchor
Swapno bashore kori rochona
The sand shore is filled with flowers all over
I dream of our first night together
Ei jibone joto tuku peyechi
Mon bole taro beshi peyechi
Whatever little I got from life
My heart says I received
more than I ever wanted
Jibone ro pothe pothe cholite
Joto asha giyechilo phuriye
as I walk through the journey of life
All my hopes are lost
Gojo moti hare jano dhuliye
Bhikharini pelo aaj kuraye
A garland of pearl lies a strewn
The beggar-maid comes and picks them up
This could possibly the world’s first blog on a Bangla song written by a person who does not understand the language. Any corrections are most welcome via comments below or by email to email@example.com