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Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari – This song is now 50 years old

This article is written by Mr. Achal Rangaswamy

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman and Guru Dutt

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman and Guru Dutt

Arey dekhi zamaane ki yaari
bichhade sabhee, bichhade sabhi baari baari
kya le ke milen ab duniya se, aansu ke siva kucch paas nahi
ya phool hi phool they daaman mein, ya kaanton ki bhi aas nahi
matalab ki duniya hai saari
bichhade sabhee, bichhade sabhi baari baari

what a song!! What lyrics!!
And what a rendering!!!

Chronologically speaking, this song is 50 years old today!! But honestly, doesn’t it reflect a lot of how the world works today??

The film Kaagaz Ke Phool has Guru Dutt, the out-of-job and out-of-sync-with- the- world director looking back and reminiscing the days of glory and success and cynically viewing the current scenario.

Watch Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari from Kaagaz Ke Phool. Courtesy: anusharma249 @ youtube

Rafi saab sang this song 50 years back, but we can’t help remembering it time and again. His superb control over the words and his mastery over the frequent change of pace (remember, this song has actually two parts-one slow and the other more pacy, for the flashback to the better and more prosperous times the protagonist saw) emerges very clearly in this song. Assisting him is a very interesting chorus.

And yet again, the stanza where he sings- “ud ja ud ja pyaase bhanvare…” the pathos, the despair, the total despondency that surrounds the defeated film maker. The sheer hopelessness he faces comes alive in the words “kaagaz ke phool jahaan khiltey hain, baith na un gulzaaron mein”.

I am game for a debate on the subject but surely do feel that when it comes to expressing pathos through beautiful voice inflection nobody can beat such sad songs and nobody is better than rafi saab. He excelled in this form. He emoted with his voice like nobody else did.

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman and Guru Dutt

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman and Guru Dutt

Kaifi Azmi has penned what I consider one of his best ever lyrics and Rafi Saab is in his usual brilliant form. It is said that S.D.Burman who gave the music for this film didn’t do much of these type of songs after Kaagaz Ke Phool. Apparently he had touched a climax with these numbers.

“Naadan tamanna reti men, ummid ki kashti kheti hai
ik haath se deti hai duniyaa, sau haathon se leti hai
ye khel hai kab se jaari …”

Rafi Saab ends the song with this refrain…almost asking the world long has this been going on, and how long will this last..?

50 years is a long time. Yet, it appears as if Rafi Saab sang this for us just the other day. And that he, Kaifi Azmi, Guru Dutt and S.D.Burman all carried this prophecy- at the end of the day you walk alone.

I cant help but remember listening to one audio clip where Rafi Saab offers his condolences on the passing away of S.D.Burman where he laments the loss of people like ‘Roshan sahib, Jaikishanji, Madanji and D.D.Burman dada’. He goes on to say that if one after the other each of these great musicians go, “hindi filmi sangeet ka khazaana bhi khaali ho jaayega”.

Very true and rightly said, Rafi Saab. Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari.

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28 Blog Comments to “Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari – This song is now 50 years old”

  1. Kapil says:

    Dekhi zamane ki yari and Waqt ne kiya kya hasin sitam are in my opinion the finest songs from the year 1959. I have gone through the other albums as well from the same year by the stalwarts like S-J, Naushad, OP, Roshan, CR, MM etc. but found nothing better than these two gems by SD. Dada was indeed a giant of a music director.

  2. Nadeem ahmad says:

    Hii sir iam big fan of rafi sahab,i have created a page to give a tribute to rafi sahab please published my page by following the link

  3. sundeep pahwa says:

    ref post 25, achalji you are right this memorable
    song is from the manoj kumar- asha parekh starrer
    apna bana ke dekho composed by raviji sundeep

  4. ashok ji

    this is a terrific idea, trying to get hold of bhoole bisre geet.
    please tell me how i can help you, though i must say that there are people like dr suman gupta and mr sanjeev dixit who probably have a khazana of songs at their disposal. i am like rafi saab’s gwalo rakhwalo, only churaaoing maakhan- in this case the maakhan being the songs being compiled so beautifully by sumanbhai etc.
    but all the same, i guess we all have little nuggets from the treasure.
    i myself am trying to get hold of the great non filmi song- tum saamne baithi raho, main geet gaoon pyaar ke. and also the lovely song main kab gaata mere swar main, pyaar kisika gaata.

    one filmi song that escaped my attention all these years- raaz dil unse chupaaya na gaya, ek shola bhi dabaaya na gaya. i am not so sure about the film. maybe it was apna banaake dekho.

    kindly let me know what inputs you need ashok ji. i am at your service.

    kind regards

    achal rangaswamy

  5. Prashant L. Nemani says:

    This is a perfect teamwork of Sachin Dev Burman, Mohd. Rafi and Kaifi Azmi. Overall this song depicts the entire story of the film with light music and the way this has been sung by Mohd. Rafi is really splendid. Words cannot express the emotions with which this has been sung keeping in mind the excellent photography, settings, backgound and moreover the natural acting of Guru Dutt.

    Indeed what Mohd. Rafi has mentioned:

    “I cant help but remember listening to one audio clip where Rafi Saab offers his condolences on the passing away of S.D.Burman where he laments the loss of people like ‘Roshan sahib, Jaikishanji, Madanji and D.D.Burman dada’. He goes on to say that if one after the other each of these great musicians go, “hindi filmi sangeet ka khazaana bhi khaali ho jaayega”.

    Very true and rightly said, Rafi Saab. Bichhade Sabhi Baari Baari.


    Prashant L. Nemani

  6. Ashok Mehta says:

    Dear Achal Ji

    Thank God and may God bless you. I cant express my joy and happiness on reading your reply.If i say today is one of the most happiest day in my life it will be an understatement.You are perfectly right the song is from Chacha Chowdhary.Only a day back i recalled an old link of mine who also told me the name of this film but was not sure.But with your message it is confirmed.Incidently my link told me that he can get not only this song for me but many others eg Daulat ke jhote nashe mien ho choor.Now i am making a list of such rare and beautifull Rafi songs to get this recorded.I invite your inputs to help in compiling the list.
    Indeed once again you have high lighted 2 beautiful songs and tere bin suni is another rare and outstanding. Real good rendring of a rare quality song only Rafi Saab can do the magic.
    You must have heard of non film songs like Main gwalo matwaro maiya,Dard Minnat kashe-gawa na hua,More sham pal pal more mukhse nikle,Saki ki har nigah pe.I once again invite you for your precious comments.In eager waiting Ashok Mehta

  7. achal rangaswamy says:

    ashok ji the song you are talking about was from the 1953 film Chacha Chaudhary. rajendra kishen wrote the song and madan mohan composed the music. the intensity of both songs is marvellous and i agree with you that certain songs haunt you for years on end.

    i am deviating from the main subject but i cant help say that a couple of rafi saab’s songs that have haunted me many many years are:

    tere bin soone nain hamaare
    sapne jhade phool se…kaarvaan guzar gaya, ghubar dekhte rahey

    thank you sir for your kind comments. i shall try and lay my hands on the songs mentioned by you.

    and a big thanks to all our friends here who liked this piece i wrote on this great song of rafi saab.

    achal rangaswamy

  8. Ashok Mehta says:

    The song from kaagez ke Phool is amazing song sung by Rafi Saab. I immediatey listened the song after reading your comments and now i am thanking you for the enjoyment i had listening this song.But there are songs that i want to listen but not able to lay hands on these songs.
    I had somewhere in my childhood had heard Rafi sabbs 2 songs that still haunts me.I carry the haunt with me all these years as i never heard these songs in the past may be 45 years.One song was ” Bolo aye Zammen bolo aasma” from Film Chakradhari and the second song was “Ye Duniya Paglon ka Bazaar, ye duniya paglon ka bazaar”.I do not know the name of the film.If someone can comment on these songs that shall be highly appreciated and where if it is possible to listen these songs.

  9. Imran Rustam says:

    Dear Mr. Abid Khalil,

    Thanks a lot for providing a very useful link.


  10. Imran Rustam says:

    Dear Mr. Achal Rangaswamy,

    Very nice selection of my all time favorite song for your beautiful write up. This song can never be old even after million years because life changes and this song really expresses what happened in life. This is song of ages and Rafi Sb gave his divine voice to the lyrics of kaifi jee and combination became unforgettable.


  11. Yes its now a history composing songs which used to be done with dedication and sincerity. I do whole heartedly concur with Mr. Padmanabhans views about Rafi Saheb.

    The pain with which he sang in Kagaz ke Phool and the way it was composed and written even Guru Dutt deserves a place in getting this song done.

    No amount of words will get back our Rafi Saheb its now a history which cannot be re written. Only by exchanging our views and listening to his golden voice with the sweet smile we have to be happy
    G Sunder Rajan
    Rafi Foundation
    Hyderabad Chapter

  12. Samina says:

    Ref post 16
    That’s an awsome rendition by Rafi saab. I wonder if anyone else with so called low octave expertise could do justice with that. In fact, Lata sounded screechy in that (no offense though). She didn;t seem to be matching Rafi’s saab’t low, velvetty, smooth and flawless singing that makes you feel as if you are floating with the clouds or rowing down a calm lake in twilight….

  13. sundeep pahwa says:

    ref post 5 reg rafi saheb voice of lower
    octave song i am reminded of another
    composition of madan mohan in heer
    ranjha meri duniya mein tum aye
    sung alongwih lata. can anyone say
    that it was a weak voice?
    sundeep pahwa

  14. Jay Iyer says:

    achalji, Thanks for bringing back old memories of this great song. This song rivals the one from ‘pyassa’ by Rafi and sdb, ‘yeh duniyaa agar mil bhi jaaye tho kya hai’. i can see the passion u feel for rafi and this song. you have a great writing style. keep writing more sir.


  15. Anmol Singh says:

    achal rangaswamy ji,

    Great Write Up.

  16. dearest rangajee,

    bicchhade sabhi bari bari, aur rafi sahab -gaatey gaatey chaley gaye – duniyaa kee sacchhayi, iss gaaney mey bakhubhi – phoot phoot kar – beh rahi hai.

    waah rangajee, kyaa gaanaa hai, aur aapney bahut hee acchhi tarah logonko baat kee gehraayi tak lekar – baat samjaayi hai.

    yah zindagi kee sab sey badhi vidambana hai – ” this also will pass “.

    waah rey maalik – hum sab ko ek din jaanaa hai.

    lekin jab rafi sahab aur anyaa ” dhurandhar ” log chaley jaatey hain – toh “”””

    they create a vaccuum – ir-replacable.

    rangajee, lovely song – lovely take – cool – i wonder – what else could be added to what you have already said.

    keep writing – the forum is that much richer with your upright views.


  17. Padmanabhan NR says:

    Achal bhai,

    If life could be expressed in a short lyrical form, this is that depiction. we rush to possess power, pelf and other material obsessions, not knowing that what you takeaway in the end is a big zero. the slow rhythm of the song in rafisaahab’s meandering voice is symbolic of the way we fail to understand the essential truth – that nothing is eternal and meets it’s end here itself.

    What remain with us are those enriching memories during our life time. And such beautiful renderings which not only survive the test of times but also go much, much beyond our lifetime.

    Thanks for an excellent article. May this song – and thereby rafi saahab’s golden voice – transcend the limitations of times forever……

    Padmanabhan NR
    Rafi foundation, hyderabad chapter & baar baar rafi, bangalore.

  18. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    achal rangaswamy saheb,
    “Bahut khoob”. I admire you for such a beautiful reveiw of one of the finest song of our maestro.
    with regards,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  19. Siva says:

    Rehne dijiye Bhagchnadani ji–refer yr post 5. Let those in the neighbouring site do “Ph D” in high, middle & low octaves!!! Just theoretically let us assume Rafi sahab did not reach the 3 levels of octaves as claimed by them(now I do not know anything theoretical about music )-still it does not make any difference at all to all of us as Rafi sahab always sung with his heart (that too a golden heart with a golden voice) and we also listen, not through our ears but through our hearts. In that aspect Rafi sahab’s thousands of songs touch one’s heart and that alone is enough for us–not the “octaves”.
    They do not realise that in the do pehlu version of Hume tumse pyar kitna rendered by Begum Parveen Sultana and KK, although no one can even attempt to comment anything on Begum’s rendition, as she is a great classical singer, KK’s version was also good and more popular. Personally I felt KK’s version touched the heart more. We Rafi fans always have great respect for other singers as well, though we may love Rafi a bit more than others…….

  20. ashish kapoor says:

    dear achal ji, this is one of the finest songs ever of the greatest legend called mohd rafi, and called as “rafi sahab” by by his countless admirers.
    i can listen to this song endlesly . what a master piece!!!
    ashish kapoor,

  21. achal rangaswamy says:

    thanks all of you for your wonderful thoughts.
    this song has always been reminding me of the fact that nothing lasts forever, and that people, places, material wealth and everything around you shall never be everlasting.

    but the fact also remains that Rafi Saab’s songs shall remain with us forever..and ever

    achal rangaswamy

  22. Bina says:

    Achal jee:

    You have paid a fine tribute through this song to Rafi Saab and Kaifi and Guru Dutt and SD all who are no longer with us..but the song is and will live even when it celebrates its 100th anniversary.

    This is also actually very serious and relevant topic literally.we have hardly any more legends and great hastis left in our midst from those times except say, Manna Da, music directors Ravi and Pyarelal, Sharada, ..and we must treasure their presence as long as they are with us.


  23. sundeep pahwa says:

    tks achalji for the article to remind all, 50 years
    of kagaz ke phool, it was rafi saab callibre to sing
    song of epic propotion otherwise who can sing in
    a film like pyasa songs as like yeh mahlon,jinhe
    naaz hain,serioussongs,and also sar jo tera chakraye
    picturised on johny walker with equal ease
    wonderful indeed sundeep pahwa newdelhi

  24. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    ‘Bichhde sabhi baari baari’ are the four hindi words that define the essence of all human beings on this planet. How in life travelling through various stages we experience the separation of beloved ones, friends etc. ( and still have to move on). This separation can be in the form of moving from one place to another, death or when we enter another phase of life. One after the other ‘bichhde sabhi bari bari…’.

    It is not merely a song. It is life’s ultimate truth packed here into a 7-8 minutes song which otherwise has been written in so many voluminous books by learned writers.

    Powerful lyrics are backed by absolutely unique, brilliant composition and out of this world rendering by Rafi saab. Some ignorants at the neighboring site have opined that Rafi was weak in modulating voice at lower octave. They just have to listen to this song (and Pyaasa film’s ‘Ye kuche ye galiyaan…’ and Dastak’s Tumse kahoon ek baat paron se… etc.) and then speak.

    The song is ageless. It moves you. Kudos to Achal Rangaswamy for wonderful write-up.

  25. siva says:

    Thanks, Achalji, for remembering this masterpiece from Rafi sahab. Although there are thousands of good songs in HFM, I would rate the following songs as songs of EPIC PROPORTION, which no one else could have attempted except Rafi sahab:
    1)Ye mehlon ye takhton from Pyasa
    2) Jinhe naaz hai hind par woh kahan hai from Pyasa
    2) Dekhi zamane ki yari from Kagaz ke phool
    3) Caravan guzar gaya from Nayi umar ki nayi fasal
    4) O duniya ke rakhwale from Baiju Barwara
    Simply out of the world compositions and renditions!!!

  26. abid khalil says:

    what a song like all the songs sung by rafi saheb
    nice comments and write up of the great maestro
    if you want to listen to or want to download all the songs
    at one single place for free you are welcome to visit

  27. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    Kya gaana hai? I think the sucees of this song which is even now remembered even after 50 years is beacuse of the meaningful lyrics of Kaifi Azmi, the brilliant music composed of SDB, the excellent picturisation by Guru Dutt but above all the out of the world rendering by Rafi Saab. Who else could have done justice to this song. Guru Dutt the master Director gave us three most memorable songs in his career all sung by Rafi Saab, which can be considered as few of the bests of the lyricist, SDB and Rafiji – Yeh Mahlo, Ye Kooche and Dekhi Zamane Ki.

    Badiya article.

  28. Gan Sharma says:

    Hi Achal,

    Great write-up of a beautiful song. Whenever I watch KKP, I cannot but listen to this song at least two times, often more than that. Unquestionably, even fifty years later, this rendering of Rafi saab’s brings something new to the listener each time she or he listens to it.

    Thanks for writing!

    Gan (Mohan)

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