Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least. I have this with music—it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my ‘now’ song, and the ‘nowness’ (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.
My now song is “Raske Bhare Tore Nain”, a thumri in Raga Bhairavi.
I first heard Heera Devi Mishra’s version of the song from the film Gaman, as an 8- or 9-year-old, when my brother got home an audio recording of Gaman’s songs. I didn’t think much of this song then, as the other songs (Seene main Jalan by Suresh Wadkar and Ajeeb sa Neha by Hariharan) were more appealing. As I grew older, it was “Raske bhare tore nain’s” sensuous music and lyrics and Heera Devi’s earthy voice that captured my imagination like no other. So much so, that I learnt this song from the audio tape and it remains in my repertoire of songs that I dare to sing in public ! Needless to say, it remains one of my all time favourite songs.
For a long time, I thought that only Heera Devi Mishra had sung this song, till quite recently I discovered versions of this song sung by Girija Devi and Bhimsen Joshi. In my opinion, both Girija Devi’s and Bhimsen Joshi’s renditions of this thumri is not as nice as Heera Devi’s.
Yesterday, I stumbled across Barkat Ali Khan’s sublime rendition of this song and I knew then that “Raske bhare tore nain” was my new “now” song. Though Khan’s mellifluous voice and Heera Devi’s earthy tones are in sharp contrast to one another, both their renditions delight in different ways — the former playful and soothing, and the latter sensuous and raw. Barkat Ali’s Khan’s version is given below.
You could take your pick as to which version you liked, or you could enjoy both of them like I did. Do let me know which one you liked. 🙂