Ilahi tu sunle – Mohammad Rafi – R D Burman – Mahmood | Chhote Nawab (1961)


Movie – Chhote Nawab (1961)

Ilahi tu sunle… was featured in the Mumtaz Films’ social drama Chhote Nawab (1961) produced by Usman Ali and directed by S A Akbar. The movie starred Mahmood, Ameeta, Minoo Mumtaz, Helen, etc.

Chhote Nawab (Mahmood) is a 20-year-old young man. But, having been pampered by his father, he is naïve and childlike. He was born on February 29th and leads a life of luxuries in a Nawab family, consisting of his father, his sister Mehnuma (Minoo Mumtaz) and her husband Safdar (Kumar), besides himself.

Safdar has prompted his father-in-law to borrow a lot of money from Bhagwati Lala, resulting in the older Nawab’s heavy debts. With the approach of Chhote Nawab’s birthday, Safdar and the Lala are plotting to usurp the only property the Nawab family has, their home. Post his birthday, the Lala visits the palace to throw the Nawab family out of the house. While pleading with the man, the older Nawab suffers a heart attack. The doctor says that nothing can be said about the condition of the older Nawab. He may or may not survive. At this time, Chhote Nawab sings this Nazm like a lullaby for his father.

Song – Ilahi tu sunle

Shailendra has penned the lyrics and R D Burman has set the tune of Ilahi tu sunle

The man sings the prayer, “O Lord, please listen to our prayer. We are completely dependent on you for our survival.”

Video – Ilahi tu sunle

The video opens with Mahmood lighting a candle and turning to look at the actor playing his father lying on the bed. The music of the lullaby has begun. The night is windy. The curtains in the room are being blown by the strong breeze. Mahmood begins to sing the song.

Minoo Mumtaz moves about the house trying to complete the day’s pending tasks. She is sad. Mahmood presses the older actor’s feet as he continues to sing. Outside, the storm picks up speed and it begins to rain.

Mahmood runs to set right a picture of the older man hung on a wall and pushed askew by the wind. In the meantime, the older man tries to lift himself to look at Mahmood but falls dead on his bed. Several lamps get blown off symbolizing the death of the older man.

Azaan is heard in the background. Mahmood does not realize what had happened and continues to sing the Nazm. Beautifully picturized! Mahmood thinks that the older man has fallen asleep. The song peters out and the video ends as moves away like a mother would, after realizing that her child has fallen asleep.


Mohammad Rafi has sung this so cutely for Mahmood and Minoo Mumtaz and the actor playing his father looks on.

Cultural Influence

This is a typically filmi song with some covert Sufism, sung like a lullaby set to tune so well by Panchamda. The song and artists are good. The video is watchable for Mahmood’s antics.


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