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Aaj Kal Main Dhal Gaya-a Lullaby (Lori) from Rafi Sahab

Written by Sivanandam Palamadai

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

A lullaby (Lori in Hindi) is a soothing song sung to put a child to sleep. Each country in the world has its own rich tradition of lullabies. Our own country, with its great civilization and culture  has a very rich collection of such songs from each region.

It is a universally known fact that lullabies are generally sung by a mother to make her child sleep. Lucky indeed is that child that has a father who can sing a Lori. And if that father has a voice like Rafi? Eternal bliss!!!

There are many Lori songs in Hindi film music (HFM) which are evergreen, generally sung by female singers. Lata’s  ‘Dheere se aajari ankhiyan mein ’ is considered one of the best Lori ever composed and sung in HFM. There are of course many more from Lata whose sweet, soothing Loris can put even an insomniac to sleep!!

It is generally rare for a male singer to sing a Lori. There have been quite a few in HFM with Mukesh’s Ram kare aisa ho jaye in Milan, Manna da’s Tujhe suraj kahoon ya chanda in Ek phool do mali. Although many of them are very good, as always, Rafi sahib excelled in this genre of songs also. His golden voice can put to sleep a child and also soothe the nerves of a stressed-up adult. There are two such masterpieces –one very well known and the other one not so popular but I would rate the second one even better than the popular one.

Mein gaaon tum so jao from Bramhachari and Aaj kal mein dhal gaya from Beti Bete are two such soulful numbers that one can listen for hours together. The first one is very popular but the second one, is truly a masterpiece. Both are composed by Shankar-Jaikishen and written by that magician who can create poetry with simple words-Shailendra.

I was in real dilemma as to which song I should write about. After thinking for few days and listening to both these songs many times I decided to write this article on “Aaj kal mein dhal gaya”. Listen to this song first…….

Aaj Kal Mein Dhal Gaya from Beti Bete

The most striking feature of this Lori is that Rafi sahib has put his soul into each and every word. And what a grand but at the same time restrained orchestration by those two wizards-Shankar & Jaikishen!! And what a poetry from the pen of Shailendra! It is always very difficult for anyone writing about such evergreen melodies from those golden years. Where to begin –the singer? the music director? or the lyricist? All three are just made for each other.

I shall try to take each stanza and write on all these three aspects.

The song starts with that typical flourish of SJ –violins and piano complementing each other-Rafi sahab’s soothing, restrained voice takes over and sets the tone for the song with the two opening lines.

Aaj kal main dhal gaya, din hua tamaam
Tub hi so ja so gayee rang bhari shaam
So gaya chaman, chaman, so gayee kali kali
So gaye hai sab nagar, so gayee gali gali
Neend keha rahi hai chal, meri bahen tham
Tub hi soja so gayee rang bharee sham
Aaj kal mein dhal gayaa…..

Rafi sahib, in his inimitable style sings the above lines with the first rendition in a straight manner and then when he repeats them the second time brings in so much emotion that only a sensitive singer like him can get into the soul of the song.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

This is the special touch of Rafi sahab that makes him a class apart. When it comes to bringing out the emotions in a song Rafi sahib is the leader. Shailendra’s rich imagination in “Neend keha rahi hai chal, meri bahen tham” conveys the essence of a Lori so poetically and at the same time in a language that even a common man can understand.

During the interludes the restrained, masterly usage of the violins, piano, flute reveals the genius of Shankar-Jaikishen. Since this is a Lori they have kept the orchestration so melodious and at the same time having their trade-mark grandeur of orchestration. Many critics felt those days that S-J used to embellish the songs with too much of orchestration but I feel this song proves that those critics were wrong.

Hai bujhaa-bujhaa sa dil, bojh saans-saans par
jee rahe hain phir bhi ham, sirf kal ki aas par
kah rahi hai chaandni, leke teraa naam,
tu bhi so jaa, so gayi, rang bhari shaam
aaj kal mein dhal gayaa…………

Here I should definitely mention about the positive tone in most of Shailendra’s compositions—jee rahe hain phir bhi hum sirf kal ki aas par. How true this is in everyone’s life and how simply he has conveyed this!

(You would find similar lines in the other Lori Mein gaaon tum so jao from Brahmachari-Par jag badla, badlegi ek din taqdeer humari; kal tum jab aankhen khologe , tab hogaa ujiyara etc…) Conveying great ideas in a simple manner that everyone would understand is a very difficult thing which was mastered by Shailendra.

kaun aayegaa idhar, kiski raah dekhen ham
jinki aahten suni, jaane kiske the kadam
apnaa koi bhi nahin, apne  hain to Ram,
tu bhi so jaa, so gayi, rang bhari shaam
aaj kal mein dhal gayaa…………………

He ends the song with a final message that apnaa koi bhi nahin, apne hain to Ram . Rafi sahab’s rendition of jinke aahten suni, jaane kiske the kadam is a lesson in playback singing where he conveys the pathos with an excellent control over the tune

Now I come to the most interesting part about this song. There are totally three versions of this song. One is a solo version from Lata which is picturised on a kid; second a duet version of Rafi & Lata picturised on Sunil Dutt and Jamuna (actress from South) and the third is the solo version. I am not aware if the solo version appears in the film, but I feel that is the best one. The duet version is also good but it is without the interlude music. Lata’s duet version is excellent and matches Rafi equally. In the solo version of Lata, maybe due to the fact that it is picturised on a kid she might have underplayed the rendition.

For those curious to know what was the story of this film Beti Bete-it is about a poor father who loses his eyesight and then his job and as result his children are torn apart from each other. Later on they grow up and how they find each other forms the major part of the movie. The Lata’s version is sung when the eldest daughter sings the Lori for her kid-brother and Rafi-Lata duet version is when they have grown up. Many people may find it odd, but I generally do not like to “see” these songs much and hence I am very poor in remembering the actors/situations. My very personal opinion is that the best way to enjoy Rafi sahab’s masterpieces is to close one’s eyes and just get immersed in the vast ocean of melody…..

Now don’t you think any child that can listen to the Lori from the “mother” Rafi is very lucky?

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26 Blog Comments to “Aaj Kal Main Dhal Gaya-a Lullaby (Lori) from Rafi Sahab”

  1. Uruj Shahid says:

    Aaj kal mein dhal gaya din,Mein gaon tum so jaao is world’s best mind and soul relaxing song by Rafi Sahab. I am still used this great songs to relax my mind and sleep. THANKS RAFI SAHAB… AAP KI AWAAZ KI JADUGARI QAYAMAT KE BAAD BHI JANNAT MEIN HUMEIN MILE YEHI KHUDA SE DUA HAI HAMAARI.AMEEN

  2. Imran Ali .Engg says:

    Dear sir,great song from a geat a great singer.only Rafi smahab can produce magic.

  3. birupakshya says:

    love these lost indian lullabies , specially this song

  4. Geeta Markande says:

    Very nice article. Too goood………I am very happy o read it. Every work about Rafi sahab is true. What a great singer.

    Thanks for the upload. How to download this songs? Please guide.

  5. Sunil says:

    Excellent article Sir
    Aaj Rafi Saab hote to ab bhi yahi gaate “Jee karta hai jeete ji Main yuhi gata Jau..Gardish mein thake haroka matha sehelata jau…phir ek din tum doharao”
    There cant be any match for Mighty Rafi Saab and also there cant be anyone like sensitive Shailendra Saab.


  6. girish prahalad says:

    Lovely article Siva

    You have picked an absolute gem for the review & done a sterling job with it.
    The subdued music in this song and Rafisaab’s magic raises the song to a different level. Here each & every word from Shailendra’s pen gets the
    master’s diligent & delicate treatment creates a spell from which one finds it difficult to come out.

    Agree with you when you say that critics often accused SJ of ‘over orchestration”. This song proves them wrong along with one other magical one from Lal Patthar – ” Unke khayal aaye tho” where they have used just two instruments – sarangi & tabla and ofcourse rafisaab;s voice.

    Keep writing

  7. Sudhir Kumar says:

    Dear Sivanandamji! Its just a coincidence that I have been playing and humming this song every night for the past 8-9 months, to put my baby daughter to bed. And it works without fail! Its the mother of all hindi film lullabys, a great soulful and touching rendition by Rafi Sahab. And miles ahead of Lata’s version when one realises the amount of emotion Rafi Sahab stirs with each word- there is no comparision.

  8. Siva Ji…Beautiful soulful song of Mohd Rafi which can bring tears in your eyes..Rafi is at his best and as happened in various other songs sung by Lata and Rafi separately like ‘Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par’ ‘Ajee Rooth kar Ab Kahaan jaeeyega’ or ‘Mere Mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki kasam’ –In this song too , Lata proved to be second to him.. This song was picturised in the back ground on Sunil Dutt, There are three versions of this song but not sung by Rafi and Lata ‘together’..It has best of all which a song should have –the lyric, the tune and the voice..

  9. sundeep pahwa says:

    aaj kal mein dhal gaya from the film beti bete
    was a beautiful composition, lata solo number
    was picturised on baby farida ( the kid) who acted
    in various movies like ram aur shyam, brahamchari
    teen bahuraniyan etc and then went away from the
    silver screen. incidently she was seen recently in
    3 idiots playing the part of madhavan’ s mother
    sundeep pahwa newdelhi

  10. binu nair says:

    Dear Siva : A great song – well reviewed. s.j. was the trendsetter after naushad saaheb. a favourite song of music lovers the song will be counted as one of the best ever lullaby of hindi cinema.
    the picture of rafi saaheb is eye-catching. look forward to read more articles from u.

    good day,

    binu nair, rafi foundation – mumbai

  11. Sivajinandam Sir has done great job while expressing the inner feeling of each line as well as each word alongwith describing the orchestral novelty of this song. Rafi Sahab, undoubtedly had got super natural mastery to express feeling of song and its words as well. Really Shailendra ji was genius in writing lyric on given tune.

  12. Rajkumar Akela says:

    My dear rafian friends !

    There is a “country ranking” for Indian musical artists named “Whopopular” and I request you all to vote for Rafi Sahab in the following link and glorify him…

    Rajkumar Akela

  13. Ali says:

    As I think the best music director in 1940’s was Anil Biswas,In 1950’s Naushand who changed the music world,In 1960’s was SJ and I feel they are the all time best ever 1970’s i think LP…
    1.Naushand was alone the best in 1950’s
    2,SJ was best ever born as I feel
    3,LP was alone in 1970’s but the best music given by madan mohan in only two films in 1970’s as I think,in 1970 the media was not fair with great names.
    4,offourse there are many great names in music world like Ravi,OPN,KA,SDB, RD,…………But like SJ the best

  14. E Chalam says:

    am a great fan of SJ and Aaj Kal Mein dal gaya is one of my favourite song . Thanks to Sivanandam Palamadai ji for bringing out such good article.

    well done Sivanandamji

    E Chalam

  15. E Chalam says:

    I am a great fan of SJ and Aaj Kal Mein dal gaya is one of my favourite som . Thanks to Sivanandam Palamadai ji for bringing out such good article


    E Chalam

  16. Siva says:

    Dear friends
    Thanks for your kind words-It is only a small attempt from me to highlight this genre of songs from Rafi sahab. Of course we all know that whatever we write, it would not fully describe the beauty of his songs as he says it all with his excellent rendition .
    I tried my best to put a picture of sahib holding his granddaughter but couldn’t get hold of the same at that time, but just 2 days back I saw iit in the Net. How childlike he also looks along with his granddaughter!!
    His pure soul shines through his smiles and that is why his songs always sound so true in whatever emotion he sang!!
    Thanks once again for your kind words…
    Siva (Sivananadam)

  17. Priya Sanyal says:

    Sivanandam Palamadai ji ,aaj kal me dhal gayi is my all time fav song…I cnat` tell how many times I`ve heard this song…
    But after reading ur article my liking for the song has got more intense…Very well written article!
    rafi sahab have many superb song for Sunil dutt,this is one of them.

  18. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Both the mentioned lories are out of this world (as all the songs of Rafi Sahab)!
    And very beautiful article too! Sivanandam ji has skillfully described the great song by the great singer. Many congratulations to him for writing such a brilliant piece of work.

    There are two more lories in addition to those mentioned in post numbers 2 and 4. Both of these are very beautifully and melodiously sung by Rafi Sahab:

    1. Door hai wo aanchal … So ja so ja from film Wapas (1969), music by Laxmikant – Piyarelal and lyrics written by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

    2. So ja sanam teri jawan palkon tale, from film Rocky mera naam (1973), music by Sapan – Jagmohan and lyrics written by Naqsh Layallpuri.

    Thanks and best regards.


  19. Sal says:

    Though my favorite is Brahmchari, Aaj Kal Mein is equally soulful and put you to sleep.

    Nice article

  20. Ghulam Mujtaba says:

    Dear Sivanandamji,

    Outsanding choice to a classical song sung by Mohammad Rafi Sahib and Lataji, natural creation word to word is amazing by Shailenderaji and SJ’s orchestra designing is outstanding for the creation of soulful and making of geniun sad moments. However, Lt. Col. Javed Sahib has expressed our voice with each dimentions. May any music director can creat such master piece ?as this evergreen song became after 48 years to discuss its music and singing quality before music lovers and thousands of members of this forum.

    Thanks & regards.


  21. Lt Col Javed Sayyed says:

    Dear Sivanandamji,
    A soulful article. A great choice of the Lori. We totally submit to all that has been written about the song, SJ, Shailendra & our beloved Rafi sahab. Many songs have that feel to just close the eyes & enjoy the divine, soulful rendition. But there are many songs which enhances our enjoyment by seeing them rendered by the great actors on screen. It shows us as to how absolute perfectly has Rafi shahb rendered the same. Thousands of factors Rafi Sahab must have worked out, practised, rehearsed & then recorded the songs! Factors like- Actor, his mannersims, his style, pronounciation of different words, speed of saying the words, Breathlessness during the running of the actor, his natural scale of his voice, the melody, Rhythm, orchestration & the play & flow of instrumentation, the duet singer & their uniqueness & style of singing, pith of voice, flow of natural breeze, nasal qualities if actors, emotional scale of the actor, etc etc. Its endless!! I cant even imagine all those factors, let alone list them!!! Just saw another song from the same film- Dil ke jharokhe mein tujh ko bethakar…. Can anyone say its sung by anyone else but the actor Shammi kapoor himself!! Thats the expanse of actual playback singing!! Only Rafi sahab could do it. Singing actually in the actors voice!!! In all of his songs-for all type of actors. Thats the final word on playback singing. All others merely mouth the words & try to flow with the music barring few singers in fewer songs.

  22. V.Ramdas says:

    Dear Mr.Sivanadam,

    Thank you for your article.Actually we yet to listern many songs sung by our Rafisaab in his younger age.I am an ardent lover of Radio Ceylon. i am very fortunate to listern many never heard Rafisaab songs from Rc. All those who read my letter kindly tune to RC.It would be a wonderfull experience. Once i heard a Rafisaabs song “Bambai ye hai Bambai” from RC. the music director is Vipin Babul i presume.I have never heard that song thereafter. Such gems You could get from RC.every mornig around 7am you could listern RC in 41 meter band till 8.30am.

  23. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Dear Sivanandam Saheb, Bahut khoob, great article on a unique topic.
    I want to add one more “LORI” song, sung by our maestro for the movie “KOSHISH”,
    lyrics by Gulzar and music by Madan Mohan.
    “Mere baaba re nanhe baaba re, soja baaba mere soja”.
    With regards to all rafi lovers,
    An ardent fan of Rafi Sahab,
    Khaja Aliuddin, MD

  24. Samina says:

    Sivanandam ji,

    What a song you have chosen!! I am in love with this song and listen to it almost every night before sleeping. When the whole day’s running around keeps lingering in the mind before hitting bed, I play this song and how could I not succumb to such a divine request.

    I watched the movie online only for this song. The solo version of Rafi saab was not there in the movie. I am sure SJ must have been smitten by Rafi saab’s magical rendition so much so that they decided to record a solo non-film version in his voice.

    I am particularly in love with the line – “Kaun aayega idhar, kiski raah dekhen hum…..jinki aahatein suni, jaane kiske the qadam” Just out of the world!!!

    Thank you once again,

  25. A S MURTY says:

    well done Sivanandamji by paying rich tributes to a very classic song of the night by rafi sahab. an immortal song by all standards. i had seen the movie “beti bete” while still as a child and remember the songs and the story till this day. a very moving tale that would bring tears to all. i would rate this lullaby song as one of the all time best. listening to this song during night would put even us to good sleep even now, so a child would naturally feel most comfortable and relaxed. rafi sahab’s ability to carve out the mood of the song by his impeccable and unique rendition style puts him shoulders above the rest of his contemporaries. my sincere thanks to you for giving us a review of this song and the movie. the other song mentioned by you “brahmachari – main gaoon tum so jaao” is also an immortal song, sung with so much passion even to this day by several admirers of rafi sahab in various mehfils and musical shows. there is yet one more song that perhaps you have missed out on – this one is from the film ‘khandan’ once again a sunil dutt starrer movie. the song is ‘tu hoke bada ban jana apni mata ka rakhwala”. though not completely a lullaby song, still the the song makes the baby in the arms of sunil dutt sleep towards the end.

    thanks for coming up with excellent writing.

    Hyderabad chapter

  26. N K V RANGA RAO says:

    The one i remeber RAFI saab ‘s lori is'” mai gaoon tum so jao” from brahmachari,great song from a great singer.

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