The Story Behind नको देवराया

By the time I had turned music composer, a variety of songs had become part of my system. Some of them were songs in my mother tongue. One of the songs was नको देवराया, an abhanga by Kānhopātrā.
Although the Anandaghan version is quite exquisite in its own way, I always felt that there was something amiss in the song. For a long time, I could not place what it was. Then as I began to understand a few things of poetry I discovered that there was a problem with the metre of the song. And that was the issue that had foxed me. Take any abhanga. It will have a rhyme (यमक) in the second and third phrases.

देह शुद्ध करोनि भजनी भजावे
आणिकांचे नाठवावे, दोषगुण
नको नको मना, गुंतु मायाजाळी
काळ आला जवळी, ग्रासावया

But in case of this song –

नको देवराया अंत अता पाहु
प्राण हा सर्वथा जाऊ पाहे

पाहु and सर्वथा just did not make sense to me. Where was the rhyme? How could Kānhopātrā make such a simple mistake? Or if she had done it on purpose what was the purpose? You may choose not to believe me, but these questions tormented me for days. I was certain that Kānhopātrā had written something else and this was not the original representation of the abhanga. All the bhaktigeet books corresponded to the abhang in the same manner as had been represented by Anandaghan. I then asked Shri Shankar Vaidya – the man to turn to in such difficulties – but he too could not recollect the correct words. He advised me to look up the abhanga in the Sakal Santa Gātha. I did just that and was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. My hunch proved right. The words had been tweaked to turn it into the song. Here is the abhanga as Kānhopātrā wrote it.

नको देवराया अंत पाहु आता
प्राण हा सर्वथा फुटो पाहे॥

हरिणीचे पाडस व्याघ्रे धरियेले।
मज लागी जाहले तैसे देवा॥

तुजविण ठाव न दिसे त्रिभुवनी।
धावे हो जननी विठाबाई॥

मोकलोनी आस, जाहले उदास।
घेई कान्होपात्रेस हृदयात॥

The right words suddenly shed light on a number of mysteries. The song by Lata Mangeshkar is of a slow pace. I surmised that the tune of the song must have come before the words were put and hence the words must have been changed. Note that फुटो पाहे has been replaced with जाऊ पाहे. This has a direct effect on the intensity of the statement. प्राण हा सर्वथा फुटो पाहे is much more intense an expression than प्राण हा सर्वथा जाऊ पाहे. After the right words fall into place one also realises the significance of हरिणीचे पाडस व्याघ्रे धरियेले। मज लागी जाहले तैसे देवा॥ and its intensity.
Now I had to set the abhanga to a new tune – a tune that would justify the words as they were. The tune came to me in Raag Kirwani and I had composed the song before I knew it!
A few months later when Gajendra Ahire narrated me the screenplay of the film Not Only Mrs. Raut for which I was composing the music, I found a place in the story where this abhanga would really lift the situation. Gajendra also approved of using the abhang for the film. I recorded the song with Sanjeev Chimmalgi. I have put up my version of this terrific piece of poetry at Here is the link.
Please listen to it and do post your comments.
© Kaushal S. Inamdar, 2005


  1. Ravindra Manjarekar says:

    Hi, I’ve already listened this song in said film.
    But it was much better to listen it separately. It’s APARTIM!
    Just wanted to share one thing, this abhang is rendered by Hridyanath Mangeshkar in marathi
    film, probably Maratha Tituka Melavava, and composed by Aanadghan i. e. Lata

  2. Deepak says:

    It is a wonderful effort to go to the root of the abhanga. Congratulations for your perseverance. Keep it up.

    with best wishes
    Deepak Waikar

  3. Thank you Ravindra. You are spot on! The song was composed by Anandaghan,i. e. Lata Mangeshkar and was in the film ‘Saadhi Maansa’. I have corrected the reference. Keep reading the blog and posting your comments. I appreciate it.

  4. Thanks a lot Shri Waikar. I hope to share a lot of such experiences with you. It’s not really perseverence, just love for the subject. Please keep reading and posting your comments. I value them highly.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi, It is a treat to our ears…Wish we had more such composers who help us connect with our inner feelings….keep it up.

    Ram & Udaya…..

  6. Hey Ram & Udaya, what a pleasant surprise to see you here! Actually, what we need is a sensitive audience like you for composers like us to keep going. Keep reading and listening and help me grow!

  7. Amarendra R. N. says:

    Kaushal ,
    Good effort to trace the correct words . Now that you mention it, I feel there’s a sudden dip in intensity from praaN haa sarvathaa to jaa_uu paahe in the LM/HM song.
    But I doubt the change of words was made to suit the tune . I’m not a music expert , but I think the same tune could’ve gone well for the actual words .
    Maybe they didn’t refer to an authentic source for the abhang .

    Kudos for the nice tune ! Great singing by Sanjeev !
    The interludes seem to be put to suit the play situations I guess.

  8. You are absolutely right, Amarendra. The interludes are for the situations in the cinema. Given an opportunity, I would like to record the abhanga again with a different arrangement.

  9. Arvind says:

    Hi Kaushal,

    I listened to this song. Very soulful composition – and the rendition was quite well too.

    Pardon my curiosity- the initial Strings section, sound say keyboard’ish as opposed to original arrangement – is that intended – or is it also a factor of logistics/cost of such an arrangement…(e.g. starting at 1.52, a french horn kinda instrument takes over, that also sounds very “synthetic”…)

    And my last question – the mixing of the vocal sounds much better than an average filmi composition – but, is the vocal still not too hollow for CD quality ? (it sounds more like a hall-quality-reverb)

    Yet again, am just curious as to what goes behind the mind of a composer – it will be valuable experience to musically-inclined-but-lay-people like me ! 🙂


  10. Arvind, you’re right about the low budget. The whole film NOT ONLY MRS. RAUT was made in a budget of 11 lakhs!!! So you can imagine the budget for the songs and there were four! I had insisted on Sanjeev Chimmalgi as a singer. I’ll sometime post the other songs of the movie too, some of which I recorded at home. When in my last comment I said that I’ll record the song again if given a chance, it was for variety of reasons. The sound IS definitely synthetic and the production quality is quite below par. The saving grace is the excellent rendition, the soulful lyric and an honest composition.

  11. The Visitor says:

    Hello Kaushal,
    I dont understand marathi or music, but I can see that you are an original person,not willing to compromise on your values, for whatever reasons. All the best.

  12. Sonali Patil says:

    Hello Kaushal!!
    I don’t know much about music except I just love it…….can’t even pass a single day without listening to music…..but i never knew the enormous efforts taken before any piece of music comes to ears of listeners…..the abhanga was awesome!! …I was listening to it repeatedly….It’s great experience to come across personality like you (through blog)………who works zealously for something ……..keep it up!!!!

  13. कौशल, पाडगावकरांच्या नक्षत्रांचे देणे या कार्यक्रमामध्ये तुमचे गाणे ऐकले!! तुमचे आणि संजीव यांनी सादर केलेले कबीर यांचे भजन (का अजून काही… मला नक्की शब्द माहीत नाही)… फारच सही होते ते! संगीतातील मला फार कळत नाही.. पण मला अस्वाद घ्यायला फार आवडते!! तर सांगण्याचा मुद्दा हा की मी नुकतेच तो कार्यक्रम बघितला…येथे अमेरीकेत VCD आत्ता मिळाली!
    तर सहज तुमच्या नावाचा शोध घेतला, तर तुमच्या ब्लॉगचीच लिंक मिळाली…. मी भारतात येतो तेव्हा बय्राच कॅसेट घेऊन येत असतो… तुमच्या काही असे नवीन कॅसेट आहेत काय? यंदा घेण्याची ईच्छा आहे!
    आणखी एक, नको देवराया ऐकले… फारच आवडले… सूनामी पण ऐकले… पण नीट नाही!! नको देवराया बद्दलचा ब्लॉग पण वाचला.. खरंतर आभंग नव्याने कळला… धन्यवाद!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Great Work Kaushal. A bit westernized start can be changed using harmonium/Taal type effect.

    You have gone deeper and retrived original composition. The original comp is just awsome and effective too.

    Thanks and best wishes for the good work to continue.


  15. Sandeep says:

    Dear Sir,
    After your narration, I heard the Song…it was really…a diff experience…It was gr8!!!!
    Thanks for this Devine….experience…
    Basically i was searching on net…how many songs did Lata didi and Asha didi sung together…and i found this blog…nice to see it…
    Sandeep Mudgalkar,Pune

  16. sandesh says:

    hi Kaushal
    I listened to this song. Very soulful composition – and the rendition was quite well too. I have listened to ‘Not only Mrs. Raut’ film song. liked it very much.I like your music for nako devraya song. I listened this old song & this your composing song, both song very difference. very good. Plz say me your latest song (Album or film song music).

    with best wishes

    sandesh shinde

  17. sandesh says:

    hi Kaushal
    I listened to this song. Very soulful composition – and the rendition was quite well too. I have listened to ‘Not only Mrs. Raut’ film song. liked it very much.I like your music for nako devraya song. I listened this old song & this your composing song, both song very difference. very good. Plz say me your latest song (Album or film song music).

    with best wishes

    sandesh shinde

  18. Namskar Kaushalji,

    Aaj Thanyat Sanjeev Chimmalageenkadun ha abhang ani varil kissa aikavayla milala..Kharach far chhan jamliy hi chal ani ek veglach rang ani dard aalay

    – Gaurav Soman

What do you think?