Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron

Posted on: May 31, 2012


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

I had heard popular songs from ‘Kismet’ (1943) in my childhood. But it took another two decades for me to know that Anil Biswas composed those immortal songs. It was during one of the sittings in my friend’s house sometime in early 70s when I listened for the first time a song from ‘Taraana’ ( 1951)- seene me sulagte hain armaan that I came to know of him as music director. Subsequently,I heard many of his songs from films of 40s and 50s and I started liking those songs. It took me another four decades to know about Anil Biswas’s detailed profile and filmography by which time I realised that he was an institution by himself.

He was a mentor for playback singers like Mukesh, Talat Mehmood and Lata Mangeshkar who benefitted from his advices in furthering their singing careers. One of the top most music directors of 50s, C Ramchandra worked under him before embarking on his independent career in music direction. He was the pioneer in introducing the concept of full orchestra in the film music and the first music director to use the 12 piece orchestra. He was also the first music director to introduce the counter melody in the film song composition which was adopted by the later music directors like Shanker-Jaikishan. As far as I know, he was the first music director to compose raag malas (multiple classical raagas) in a Hindi film song ritu aaye ritu jaaye sakhi ri in ‘Hamdard’ (1953). Incidentally, ‘Ritu Aaye Ritu Jaaye’ is the name of the autobiographical book on the life of Anil Biswas in Hindi written by Sharad Dutt. ( I have yet to get the book). In na dir dim taana from ‘Pardesi (1957), he successfully experimented blending a song rendered in a Hindustani classical raag with orchestration played on Carnatic musical instruments. Finally, I love those beautifully played piano music at the beginning of the songs man mein kisi ki preet basaale and ae jaane jigar dil mein samaane aajaa from film ‘Aaraam’ (1950). Most of his compositions were based on classical raagas, folk based tunes and Rabindra Sangeet.

Despite his stature as a doyen among the Hindi film music directors, he was a very modest person. He was the only music director who had openly recognised that Sajjad Hussein was the only music director among them to use the original musical notes and rest were getting inspired in their compositions by our vast repositories of classical and folk based tunes. He bid adieu to Hindi film industry in early 60s and generally for such people, ‘out of site out of mind’ dictum applies. He was an exception to this dictum. He was one of the most discussed music directors and a prominent reference point while discussing the Hindi film music even during his post-retirement period.

The profile of Anil Biswas (07/07/1914 – 31/05/2003) is very inspiring which I have paraphrased here from the information culled out from http://www.anilbiswas.com. He was born in Barisal ( now in Bangla Desh). His mother who was a musically inclined person, arranged for Anil’s music training at a very early age. At the age of 5, he could play tabla, at 10, he could act and at the age of 14, he was already an accomplished tabla player. When he was doing his matriculation, he joined a revolutionary party in pursuit of Indian struggle for independence. He was arrested and put in jails 6 times. In 1930, he shifted to Calcutta (Kolkatta) in disguise to escape arrest. After doing some odd jobs, he joined Hindustan Recording Company as a singer, lyricist and composer where he came into contact with the renowned Bangla poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Through his guidance, he acquired mastery in singing khayal, thumri, dadra and devotional songs. Later on, he switched over to Ranga Mahal Theatre where he composed and sang songs in addition to acting and dancing. This was the period when he learnt the nuances of composing music for the masses. This got him to the notice of film director Hiren Bose who advised him to come to Bombay (Mumbai) in 1934.

In Bombay, after struggling for a while, he worked with Ram Daryani of Eastern Art Syndicate. His first composition for a Hindi film was ‘tere poojan ko bhagwan bana man mandir aalishan’ from ‘Bharat Ki Beti’ (1935)sung by Rattan Bai (mother of Shobhna Samarth). The popularity of this song gave him the recognition. He got his first break as an independent music director in ‘Dharam Ki Devi’ (1935) produced under the banner of Eastern Arts. In 1936, he joined Sagar Movietones as singer and composer assisting music director Ashok Ghosh. After its merger with RCA, Sagar Movietones was renamed as National Studios in 1939. During 1939-42, Anil Biswas composed music for films produced under the banner of National Studios. In 1942, he joined Bombay Talkies and his first film for this banner was ‘Basant’ (1942) which became a box office success. Due to some contractual obligations, the credit as a music director for this film was given to his brother-in-law, Pannalal Ghosh who later became a renowned flute player. This was followed by ‘Kismat’ (1943) which broke all box office records and all the songs from this film are still popular.

In 1947, he left Bombay Talkies and became a freelance music director. Some of his immortal songs were composed during his freelancing period. During this period, he was also music director for films produced under the banner of Variety Pictures owned by his then wife Ashalata Biswas. Disillusioned by the changing trends in the Hindi films music where music directors became pawns in the hands of distributors, in early 60s, he decided to retire from the Hindi film industry and shifted his base to Delhi. During this transition, he gave music to two films – ‘Sautela Bhai’(1962) and ‘Chhoti Chhoti Baatein’ (1965) which was his last Hindi film.

In Delhi, he was the Chief Producer (Light Hindustani Music)in All India Radio from 1965-75 followed by a two year advisory assignment in Jawaharlal Nehru University . He was also associated with providing music to Doordarshan’s mega serial ‘Hum Log’ (1984) and other documentaries produced by Film Division. His last public appearance was in a TV musical ‘Sa Re Ga Ma’ in 1998 as one of the judges. He left for his heavenly abode on March 31, 2003 at a ripe age of 89. The one sentence in the tribute paid by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister says a lot about Anil Biswas’s contributions to Hindi film industry – ‘he struck a rare balance between classical purity of music and the popular pulse’.

While going through the filmography of Anil Biswas, some interesting facts emerge. In the earlier phase of his carrier, he has sung many songs. But over a period of time, he gradually withdrew from singing. He had no occasion to work with actor-singers Noor Jehan and K L Saigal though, it is said that the latter was his close friend. Among the male playback singers, he has mostly preferred Mukesh, Talat Mehmood and Manna Dey. He has used Mohammed Rafi’s voice sparingly. Among the female playback singers, he used voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Meena Kapoor (his life partner) the most followed by Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhonsle. Of course, in the cases of actor-singers, he had to take them as playback singers for granted.

On the occasion of the death anniversary of Anil Biswas, I have chosen an iconic song ‘yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron is suhaani raat ko’ from the film ANOKHAA PYAAR (1948). The film’s story is a love triangle between Ashok, the writer (Dilip Kumar), Geeta, the doctor’s daughter ( Nargis) and Bindiya, the flower girl (Nalini Jaywant). Ashok and Geeta were in love but Bindiya’s love was one sided as she assumed Ashok’s liking for her childlike innocence to be his love for her. This song written by Zia Sarhadi was the backbone of the film as it was played in three different situations involving all the three characters of the love triangle. First, Meena Kapoor lip syncs for Nargis when Dilip Kumar was in her house-cum-nursing home for eye treatment. Second time, Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar lip sync for Dilip Kumar and Nalini Jaywant when he leaves Nargis’s house after completion of his eye treatment and meets Nalini Jaywant. Lastly, towards the end of the film when Dilip Kumar is depressed by Nargis’s ‘no’ to his love for her, he requests Nalini Jaywant to sing the same song before leaving for the river side for committing suicide. This time, Lata Mangeshkar lip syncs for both Nalini Jaywant and Nargis as for some time, Dilip Kumar imagines Nalini Jaywant to be Nargis.

This song is one of Anil Biswas’s masterly compositions. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice in all the songs of this film looks fresh while Meena Kapoor’s voice lends a different charm. The record version was, however, issued only in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice.

Incidentally, both Meena Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar sang songs for the first time under the baton of Anil Biswas in this film.

Audio (Meena Kapoor version) :

Video (Meena Kapoor version) :

Audio (Mukesh- Lata Mangeshkar) :

Video (Mukesh- Lata Mangeshkar) :

Audio (Lata Mangeshkar version) :

Video ( Lata Mangeshkar version) :

Song-Yaad rakhna chaand taaron (Anokha Pyaar)(1948) singers-Meena Kapoor, Lata/ Mukesh, Lyrics-Zia Sarhadi, MD-Anil Biswas

Lyrics ( based on Meena Kapoor’s rendition)

yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko
yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko
do dilon mein chupke chupke
jo huyi so baat ko
do dilon mein chupke chupke
jo huyi so baat ko
yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko
yaad rakhnaa

aa gayi mere chaman mein
bhool kar kaise bahaar
aa gayi mere chaman mein
bhool kar kaise bahaar
jhoom kar bajne lage hain
aaj man veenaa ke taar
jhoom kar bajne lage hain
aaj man veenaa ke taar
ye khushi uthati huyi ye
zindagi hansti huyi
ye khushi uthati huyi ye
zindagi hansti huyi
yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko
yaad rakhnaa

aasmaan par aasmaan ke
premiyon kaa mel hai
zindagi ke kone kone
mein khushi kaa khel hai
zindagi ke kone kone
mein khushi kaa khel hai
aarzoo machli huyi ye
zindagi hansti huyi
aarzoo machli huyi ye
zindagi hansti huyi
yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko
yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron
is suhaani raat ko

11 Responses to "Yaad rakhnaa chaand taaron"

Kamath ji,
A very good write up on Anil Biswas.
The Rattanbai,which you have mentioned as Mother of Shobhana Samarth,is NOT Shobhana’s mother.
This is a different Rattanbai.She was born in 1911 at Calcutta in the family of Professional singers(read Kothewalis).Her real name was
Imambandi.That was a time when women from good houses were not joining films and hence Rattanbai got a chance as Heroine in New Theatre’s ” Subah ka Sitara”-1932,as a Heroine of Sahgal.Her second film was also with Sahgal,’Yahudi ki Ladki’-1933.
When she came to Bombay,she did 3 films in 1935,Yasmin,Bhikarin and Bharat ki Beti.In Bharat ki Beti there were totally 12 songs.9 songs were composed by Zande Khan and 3 were by Anil Biswas.One of these 3 was ‘Tere poojan ko bhagwan….’
Shobhana Samarth was born as SAROJ SHILOTRI to banker P.S.Shilotri and Ratan bai Shilotri.This family was not connected to films at all.After marriage to Kumarsen Samarth,Saroj became Shobhana Samarth.her first film as Heroine was a Marathi film,’Vilasi Ishwar’-1935.She also acted in Nigahen Nafrat in 1935.
Many people mistakenly consider singer Rattan bai as Shobhana’s mother Ratan bai Shilotri,which is NOT the case. Hence this note.
-AD

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Thanks a lot for this information. Indeed it is easy for most people to jump to the conclusion that just because Shobhana Samarth’s mother was called Ratanbai, so she must be the singer Ratanbai.

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What an absolutely outstanding write-up, Kamathji. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Anil Biswas was indeed a doyen amongst music directors of yesteryear, I remember reading that singers would be in awe of him, just happy to get a chance to sing for him.

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Dear Mr Kamath
What a nice write up on Anil Biswas !
Thanks
K S Shenoy
Bangalore

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Thanks for a very wonderful and informative write up and also a fitting song for commemorating Anil Biswas.

Your mention Kazi Nazrul Islam reminds me of another school of music called “nazrul geeti” or some similar name. Now, I am tatally ignorant about this and wont be able to recognize a particular song as based on ‘nazrul geeti’ even if i am hearing it. I have wondered if any hindi film song based on this form of music is there. It could be naatiya song/poetry. If either Anil Biswas or S. D. Burman have ever used this music form for a film song, it would like to hear it, just to know why it is an important form of music.

Like

nahm ji,
please listen to the Hindi song(a nazrulgeeti) by Feroza begum.Also read the write up on UT.

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Thanks for the link. It really is a beautiful poignant song. It seems there are no HIndi film songs written by Kazi nazrul Islam. I found a few nazrul geeti songs on youtube which are composed/sung by S. D. Burman, but they are in Bengali.

Another one in Bengali by Rafi :

It appears that like Rabindra sangeet, songs written by Kazi Nazrul Islam are knows as ‘nazrulgeeti’. And he wrote Bengali songs and hindi/urdu songs too.

Like

nahm ji,
After an intensive search,I found that atleast for 1 Hindi film Kazi Nazrul Islam has given Music(though along with Hanuman Prashad Sharma) and his 2 songs are sung in this film.
CHAURANGEE-1942.
1.chaurangi hai ye and
2.sara din chhat peeti
He may have given Music to few Bengali films,and many of his songs are sung in Bangla films.
-AD

Like

Thanks a lot Sir for your research and informations. In the evening i will try to find these songs. Thanks again.

Like

Here is a combined video for all versions-

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Thanks a lot.

Like

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