Payal Ki Jhankaar

Payal, or the anklet, has been a favourite theme in Indian classical music and many lovely compositions abound based on this theme.  It has been used extensively in Hindi cinema, especially in compositions based on classical music, and this post focuses on the same.

Nataraja performing cosmic dance

Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje“, “Cham Cham Baaje Payaliya“,Pag Ghunghroo Band Meera Nachi are repeating themes,and even a casual listener of Hindi film music will be familiar with it.

Before I start presenting the songs from Hindi cinema, I would like to bring to focus one evergreen Bandish in Raga Puriya Dhanasree, which has been a faovurite with Hindustani musicians for ages. A good rendering can be found here. Begum Parveen Sultana is well past her prime, but there are glimpses of greatness.

1. Jhanak Jhanak Payal BajeJhanak Jhanak Payal Baje(1955) -Vasant Desai

There are some important points about this song. A most beautiful Adana rendering brilliantly by the great Ustad Amir Khan. The picturization of this song is outstanding. Shantaram’s fertile artistic imagination,using beautiful Rangolis, has infused so much of life into this song. Every rangoli tells a story, and one should notice the sober colours and the artistic appreciation of the director.

The live mehfil recording of Amir Khan Saheb’s relaxed and brilliant analysis of Adana can be found here. Note the complex taans rendered with consummate ease and how effortlessly he traverses the three octaves.

2.Payaliya BawariSaaz Aur Awaaz(1966)- Naushad

A very different treatment of Raga Marwa (which is one of the ten thaats of Hindustani music), and beautifully rendered by Lata. A long forgotten gem, and superb music by Naushad. Lyrics by Khumar Barabankwi. Beautiful Tabla, Damroo usages in the beginning of Saira Bano’s dance. There are some characteristic Marwa pakads in this, though Marwa is typically not amenable to such speedy treatment.

3.Payalwali Dekhna– Ek Raaz(1963) – Chitragupta

The musical genius of Chitragupta comes to fore here, with an outstanding treatment of Raga MaruBehag. Sung by Kishore Kumar, this is quintessential MaruBehag, one of the best examples of the Raga. Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. A beautiful imposing statue of Saraswati and the peacock in the background.

4.Jhanana Jhan Baje Payaliya Rani Rupmati(1957)S.N.Tripathi

A melodious song composed in a very melodious raga Brindabani Sarang. This raga is full of Shringara, and used a lot in Hindi cinema. S.N.Tripathi had fundamentals in Hindustani music, and it is evident in this composition. There is a seamless glide to Raga Basant in the antara for a phrase or two.  Lata and Rafi have teamed up very effectively to deliver the electrifying taans to perfection. Lyrics by Bharat Vyas.

5. Baaje Re Payal Baje Hameer Hath (1964) Shanmukh Babu

A lovely rendering by Manna Dey in pure classical music. A rare use of Jogkauns (sounds like – more knowledgeable readers can confirm). I discovered this song while researching the topic and wow, what a lovely composition!

6.Saaz Ho TumSaaz Aur Awaaz (1966)Naushad

Clothed in beautiful Patdeep (the first two antaras), this is one of the few compositions in this raga. I am not sure if the picturization is terribly brilliant. It looked more like a comedy scene to me :), especially Joy Mukherjee’s antics. He is shown playing the Sarod, Tabla, Shehnai, mandolin,santoor, pakhwaj towards the end of the song.

7. Chanana Choom Payal Baje  – Roopkumari(1956)- S.N.Tripathi

A splendid Asaveri, this song has all the elements of a great song, great classical music for classical dance. It has lovely swaras and a tarana rendered to perfection by Asha Bhonsle. At the beginning of the song, the unmistakable sounds of payal are clearly audible.

8. Jhankar Payal Ki – Nag Devta(1957) – S.N.Tripathi

This is based on Raga Bhimpalasi. Strange picturizations have happened in Hindi cinema, and just as I think that it couldn’t get worse, I am pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong yet again. This song shows the snakes playing the flute, shehnai, veena what not., Anjali Devi’s intense struggle to produce something close to dance. But, one cannot take away the efforts of the music director, or Asha’s rendering.

9.Jhanak Jhanak Tori BajeMere Huzoor (1968) – Shankar Jaikishen


The raga is Darbari. A ever so popular song, that I feel bored listening to it, and not much to be written.

10. Kaun Aaya Mere Man Ke – Dekh Kabira Roya(1957) – Madan Mohan

A most beautiful and aesthetic Rageshree, this is one of the evergreen compositions of Madan Mohan. Great lyrics by Rajinder Krishen.

11. Payal Mori Baje  – Paisa Hi Paisa (1956) – Anil Biswas

This seems to be based on Sur Malhar, though it meanders into other territories as well. But a lovely song nevertheless in line with the theme of the post.

Few other songs are

Binti Karat – Ram Hanuman Yudh(1957) –  Nirupa Roy performing BharatNatyam 😦 – S.N.Tripathi

Jhana Jhana ke – Aashiq(1962) – Shankar Jaikishen

Would love to see what your selections are as well.



  1. January 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Karthik ji,
    Excellent selection of songs.My most favourite is ‘kaun aaya mere man ke dware,payal ki jhankaar liye’,the evergreen Manna Dey song.
    For this one song,I am ready to forget Madan Mohan’s all flops !


    January 24, 2012 at 6:04 am

    Jan Jan Baaje of Raani Rupamati would be my choice as the top one on the subject.
    And to add for the records – Chham Chham Baaje Payaliyaan – Manna Dey – Mere Hazoor – SJ

    • ASHOK M VAISHNAV said,

      January 24, 2012 at 6:07 am

      My apologies for The movie of Chham CHaam …. It is Jaane Anjaane [1971]

    • January 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Glad to hear that you liked the selections! 🙂

  3. Anu Warrier said,

    January 24, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Nice list, Karthik. I really like Jhanana Jhan Baje Payaliya from Rani Roopmati, but my favourite is Kaun aaya mere. Sublime.

    And as long as I’m only listening to Payaliya Baawri , it was all good. You should warn your unwitting reader, you know, that clicking on the link is injurious to their health? I mean, first I saw feathers and veils, and then Saira Banu decided to play football on screen. Sigh. 🙂

    ps: Love, love, love the Natraj moorthi. Where from? I want!

  4. SSW said,

    January 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Karthik, the Amir Khan live mehfil recording is marvellous. I had not heard it before. I find it more endearing than the film version. I wonder if he was the only singer who touched the falsetto notes reaching into the begining of the third octave. It is very difficult to go across the octaves seamlessly. The latter part of the performance he stays in the mid to upper range of the second octave so the can launch into the falsetto. Wonderful.
    Payaliya Bawari is great, for the song itself but I also like the western arrangement at the begining, “Na phoolon ki duniya…” The scale used is Marwa but the choral accompaniment to Lata is performed and arranged very well. There are two sets of voices one singing in chorus after Lata and the other wordless in the background that sometimes play the part of a string arrangement. that is present at the begining.
    The chorus is present in the traditional portion too and it has some interesting stacato notes in the begining that I would not call traditionally Indian.
    The Madan Mohan composition is of course wonderful. I also liked “Chanan choom” from Roopkumari, I had not heard it before.

    Lastly I would like to add a song of mine that has “payal” in it. It is by my favourite MD and is not raga based. The chord patterns that Salilda favoured did not usually lend themselves to maintaining raga purity but still no matter, the song is lovely and deceptively difficult to sing.
    Aha re magan

    • January 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Glad that you liked the mehfil recording, I had heard it sometime back-thought I would share it. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan is another singer who I can think of,who could very easily touch the falsetto notes. Several of his concert recordings have it.
      Payaliay Bawari is excellent isnt? In the beginning, there is use of the murcana to create Sivaranjani,if you listen closely (one phrase). The use of sitar in the interludes is very nice.
      And thanks for the Salilda composition, it was new to me.

      • SSW said,

        January 26, 2012 at 2:47 am

        What is a murcana? I can hear the initial Shivranjani scale in the arpeggio played just after the gong. Is that what you mean?

      • January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        Murchana ragas are one derived from the other by shifting the tonic. The simplest and the best is the shifting of the Sa to the various swaras in Bhoopali to render Dhani,Malkauns,Madhmad Sarang, Durga. The other clasic example would be shifting the Sa for Bilawal(Shankarabharanam) to render Kharaharapriya(Kafi), Natabhairavi(Asaveri),Harikambhoji(Khamaj),Kalyani(Kalyan).

    • SSW said,

      January 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

      About the murchana ragas my wife pointed out to me what meant. Your mis-spelling threw us off. It is just a scale change and I don’t see that in the initial stages of Payaliya Bawari. In the Western idiom the tonic has remained the same. But I could be wrong. Anyway in Indian classical music with the emphasis being on the fixed Sa scale changes are useful only if you are doing something like a ragamalika I suppose. And even in those cases most ragamalikas use the same Sa. The initial Parween Sultana offering reminded of one of my favourite singers.. This Devaki Pandit and Puri Dhanashree

  5. harveypam said,

    January 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    I see, I have come late to the party. In fact I saw your post two days back, but was very busy with my job as well as the post for my blog. It needed a little bit more research than I thought would be necessary. But enough of my woes!
    I should say this is a great list once again, Karthik!
    Loved nearly every song in it.
    Many of them were new to me. What really impressed me was Chanana Choom Payal Baje from Roopkumari(1956).
    Also loved the live mehfil recording of Amir Khan Saheb’s Jhanak jhanak payal baje! What a depth! Would it be a balsphemy that it somehow reminded me of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

    The one song, which comes to my mind, which suits the theme here is:
    cham chamb aje re payaliya from Jaane Anjaane [1971]. I had posted it in a comment to comic classical song sequence already

    One song which I like a lot from Pancham also has a payal theme and it meethe bol bole, bole paayaliyaa from Kinara

    Would Jhan Jhan Paayal Baaje from Buzdil [1951] qualify as well?

    How about mori cham cham baje payaliya from Ghunghat?

    Then there is this payalwali dekhna from Ek Raaz [1963] sung by Kishore Kumar with music by Chitragupta

    And then there is another Kishore rendition, rangoli sajao re from Rangoli [1962]

    Since I am not at all versed in classical music, I don’t know if they are shudh ragas or for that matter which ragas. Would be nice if you can clarify. Thanks for this wonderful post as well as any light you can shed on the songs mentioned above.

    • January 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Glad that you liked the selections :). “Meethe Bol Bole” is a very nice composition,but unfortunately being in the 1970’s I couldnt include it,but yes,one of the best payal songs.Bhupinder is one of my favourite singers. I did surely consider the Buzdil song too. The raga is Nat Behag, a traditional bandish.Listen to this Bengali version, an authentic Nat-Behag by S.D.Burman-

      And this masterly rendition- (I must thank you, because it is through your post that I am able to bring a reference to such an effortless and masterly rendition)

      I have included the Chitragupta composition in my list. The Ghunghat piece is nice too. I did consider it while contructing the list, but it didnt sound truly classical. The tune of Rangoli Sajao is good,but did you notice how unimaginative the antaras are,they are mere musical repetitions, one identical to the other and how many!?

  6. SSW said,

    February 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    There is this song based on Bhairavi which is rather neat, of course Lata and Madan Mohan, from Baap Bete. The prelude is very striking and there is a very interesting flute counterpoint in the antaras. I wonder if this attempt at embedding will work.

    • SSW said,

      February 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      The more Iisten to this song the more it sounds like Kafi and Bairan neend na aaye. So scratch Bhairavi.

      • February 9, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        Sorry for the delay in the replying, I was held up with work. I think it is Bhairavi too, with a few anya swaras-but those liberties can be taken with Bhairavi.

  7. shyamanuja said,

    February 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    The recording of Ustad Amir Khan is a great treat. The popularity of payal continues even today. One 90s song (not too popular) I would point to is the title song of Teri Payal mere geet (picturized on, of all actors, Govinda), with music by Naushad:

    Well, it is nowhere near Naushad-class. But for a die-hard Naushad fan like me still loved it. BTW, I write a blog at, in which some posts are on film music (niche topics)

    • February 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      That Amir Khan rendering is outstanding.
      I am off to visit your blog now 🙂
      Towards,the end of his career, he also composed music for “Taj Mahal”, in which I remember there was a lovely song in Miyan Ki Malhar.

  8. Bhuvanesh said,

    February 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Thanks, especially for pointing out the “Baaje Re Payal Baje”, which was new to me.

    • February 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Yes, that was quite a rare find for me as well,stumbed upon it when I was researching the topic!

  9. Aruna Trada said,

    December 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I just read this wonderful post and have a small question . Jhanana jhan from film aashiq is your last song. Could you tell me the Raag it is based on ?

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