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

Aao sajan tum aao

Posted on: October 27, 2020


This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

4484 Post No. : 15997

Today’s song is from a film made by Calcutta’s New Theatres – Roop Kahani-1950.

The film was directed by Sauren Sen, who was also the writer of its story. Music was by the Last Mughal of New Theatres – Pankaj Mullik. The film cast was Asit Baran Mukherji, Ashita Bose, Khursheed, Vijay Kumar, Tulsi Chakrawarty, Jahar Roy etc.etc. The film, like many of its predecessors, was a Bi-Lingual film- Hindi and Bangla (Bangla name Roop Katha).

In this world only two things are truly permanent, inevitable and the main cause for the world to go on and on. Death and Change. Death keeps the balance of the numbers and Change means improvement, development and survival. Those who do not adapt to changes, perish. Everything in Life undergoes a change – clothes, friends, values, attitudes et.. If you want to succeed in life, you must learn to adapt to changes. Those who do not change lose their relevance and existence. The same thing happened to a Giant called New Theatres of Calcutta.

NEW THEATRES ( NT ) was established by B.N. Sircar, on 10-2-1931,in Tollygunge, Calcutta. It had 3 studio floors for shooting. It had the best Technicians, the best actors and the best Musicians. From 1931 to 1955,NT produced 177 films, a Record unlikely to be broken in future by any single production house. The nearest rival was Ranjit studios, with 175 films produced. It is not there was no competition in Bengal. In 1935,there were 14 production houses in Calcutta and in 1938,there were 38 of them, though some ,like Madon Theatres closed down sooner.

NT was mammoth, peopled by giants. Through the 30s and early 40s,NT had the biggest names in Indian cinema, on their payrolls. K L Saigal, Pahadi Sanyal, Jamuna Debi and Leela Desai were ‘discovered’ by NT. Others like P C Barua, Kanan Devi, Umashashi, Molina and Chandrabati emerged as stars at NT. Some like Durgadas Bandopadyaya and Prithviraj Kapoor had been stars before coming to NT. They had directors like Premankur Attorthy, Debki Bose, Madhu Bose, D N Ganguly, Nitin Bose, Hiren Bose, R C Boral (only Bangla), Profulla Roy, Phani Mujumdar, Bimal Roy, Hemchandra Chunder, sound recordist Mukul Bose and Musical giants like R C Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Timir Baran and K C Dey.

B N Sircar was the Patriarch, the disciplinarian, who held them together like in a big family. NT had a veritable galaxy and clashes between the Titans were inevitable. NT had its own share of fallouts, peer rivalries, squabbles and scandals. Due to the stern and uncompromising nature of B N Sircar, the first to leave was Pramathesh Barua, then Nitin Bose, and Kanan Devi. There was that famous spat between Debki Bose and Nitin Bose on the sets of Meerabai-1933 itself and they stopped talking to each others. Add to this the heavy drinking of Saigal and Umashashi’s elopement with the heir of Shova bazar palace. Each of this has an independent story.

The political situation in Bengal after the WW II, i.e. 1945 also caused the journey of NT towards its downfall and eventual closure in 1956. If only B N Sircar had changed his attitude, NT would not have died so soon, at least not without a fight and not so tamely, in the face of the competition. The biggest bank of Bengal, which financed NT- The National bank also went into liquidation at the same time to add to their woes further.

Personally, I would not hold B N Sircar alone, responsible for the decline of NT, which was Hindi cinema from Bengal itself in reality. Another very important factor was,while many stalwarts like Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Kidar Sharma, R C Boral, etc made a beeline for Bombay, Hindi cinema music in Calcutta remained the same, where it was in 1931,without any change. On the other hand, Bombay had enriched its music by adapting to the changing times with a mix of music from Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Lahore and the south. The music of the 40s in Bombay had become Vibrant, whereas there was no change whatsoever in Bengal Hindi music. It kept on hankering on Robindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti. Maybe, the extreme variety of Regional pride of Bengal came in the way of adopting and adapting to the changes. (This Pride has, even Today, kept Bengal much behind the rest of India.) Thus Bombay became the undisputed capital of Hindi Cinema and Music.

New Theatres was established in 1931,as a family business, with B.N. Sircar as the Managing Director. Once NT started growing, the local regional pride almost forced Madan Theatres-belonging to a Parsee family from the western India-to pack up. By 1937,Madan Theatres had produced over 50 films-silent and Talkie. They made their last Talkie, appropriately named ” Zinda Bhoot” in 1937 and the company closed down.

New Theatres had the Best actors, best Directors, Best composers and the very best Technical staff in India. They had 4 distinct strengths….

1. Right from beginning, Bengal had an edge over Bombay and Lahore etc in that the Educated and Respectable family members did not hesitate to join the Film Industry in Bengal. In fact, over 90% of its people were educated-some of them even Foreign educated too. In this ,Bengal was very Progressive. On the contrary, the western centres of film making were confined to Courtesans, Tawayafs and uneducated run-aways in its film industry.

2. NT or the Bengali film industry had a very wide market spread out over entire West and East Bengal, Bihar, orissa, Assam, the N-E states and Burma. Their Distribution network included Madras,Madurai,Erode,Trichannapally,Bangalore,Mysore,Poona,Bombay,Cawnpore(Kanpur),Kangra valley and Lahore circuits.

3.People who worked for NT were like a united family. Feelings of Goodwill and Happiness permeated the studio. Workers came in the morning and worked till it was finished. Discipline and adherence to deadlines and principles regulated their lives. projects were, therefore, completed always as planned and in time.
( Only Madras of the 40s and 50s came near this. Bombay and Lahore were exactly the opposite, where discipline and punctuality were never a Virtue (Tradition continues…)

4. Almost all films made in Bengal by NT or any other company, were based on either stories or dramas or Novels, by renowned authors from the East(read Bengal). Thus, the film’s story content was so solid that they did not need appendages of comedians or a CSP (comic side plot) or too many songs.
( IN other parts like Bombay and Lahore, studios had what was called “The story Departments”, consisting of 4-5 writers, the owners, directors, who would work up a story in unison !)

NT popularised a new brand of Music.i.e. Rabindra Sangeet, which was hitherto confined to only Shantiniketan. With all this in place,NT was on its peak in 1940,when their slide started. One of their pillars P.C.Barua left NT. This was the beginning. Debki Bose left. Nitin Bose left after completing ‘Kashinath’ in 1943. Kanan Devi left to join Barua and Uma Shashi eloped with her lover.
Pankaj Mallick, though unhappy over the treatment meted out to him in NT, did not leave till the end. He did Bombay film music at Calcutta-like Kasturi or Zalzala etc. He always considered NT as his Alma Mater.
The ongoing II world war, the communal riots of 1946.the Partition of 1947 and the deteriorating civil conditions of Bengal (specially Calcutta),due to the influx of Refugees, broke NT completely. The Govt. had regulated supply of Raw Film, East Bengal market was lost totally, artistes left for Dhaka or Bombay…all this took NT to its end rapidly.

In such worsening conditions in 1944/45, Sircar tried to mend things by replacing the II and III level artistes to fill up gaps left by departed people. Thus, Bimal Roy, who was a Cinematographer and an Editor, got an opportunity to sit in the Director’s Chair. They made an ambitious film ” Udayer Pathe” -44. A Hindi version was made as “Hamraahi”-45. It was Bimal Roy’s First brush with a Hindi Film Direction. Both versions were successful. But with major things remaining the same for years, without any changes, the house of New Theatres became a dilapidated, colourless, tattered big empty Palace. It’s sad to write about the fall of an Empire- a Giant !

Dilip Sircar,son of B N Sircar said in 1951,” Our people left for Bombay, Film industry was in disarray, there were several court cases….my father had virtually closed shop ! ”

Today’s song is from film Roop kahani-50, a bi-lingual film( Roop katha-50 in Bangla), made by New Theatres during their last years. It was probably after this film that they closed shop for ever. The film was directed by Souren Sen. Souren Sen was a product of New Theatre’s policy of producing directors from within the company. Examples are Premankur Atorthy ( ex writer), Nitin Bose ( ex Editor) and Bimal Roy ( ex Editor). Souren Sen had started as an Art Director for film Desher Mati or Dharati mata-3 and followed it by films like Kashinath-43,Dui Purush-45, Milan-46, Desher Dabi-47, Nauka Dubi-47, Ramer Sumati-47, Manzoor-49 etc. He got a break as Director only in the last film of New Theatres Roop katha-50 Bangla and Roop kahani-50 Hindi version. Later he also directed one more film from Ashok Films, Calcutta- Chitrangada-54 in Bangla and Hindi. Thereafter he shifted to Bombay and he was an Art Director in Sahib bibi aur Ghulam-56, he did Shankar Narayan Bank-56 and Girls school-5 in Calcutta again. He did in Bombay Ek musafir ek haseena-62,Leader-64, Bahren phir bhi aayengi-66, Shikar-68 and Abhilasha-68.

The cast of Roop kahani was Asit Baran, Ashita Bose, Natwar, Vijay Kumar, Rajlakshmi, Tulsi Chakraborty etc etc. During my visit to Calcutta somewhere in 1992, I saw this film in the “New Theatres film festival” in one of the theatres. The print was terrible and songs were inaudible, but the theatre was overflowing, with extra chairs in the gangway too, to see the films of New Theatres.

As far as Pankaj Mullik, the film’s MD is concerned, if I start writing about him, I will not be able to stop myself. So, suffice to say only this much for now. Pankaj Mullick acted in 6 Hindi films. He sang 41 songs in 15 Hindi films and as a MD for 26 Hindi films, he composed 205 songs, in all.

Pankaj Mullick wrote many books, a few of them are : Geet Valmiki, Swara Lipika, Raga Lakshana Geet Manjari and Mahishasura Mardina. He received Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1972. He died on 19th February 1978. The first person to reach his residence was R.C.Boral.

According to an article in Apna archieve, Pankaj Mullick’s FIRSTS are-

1. Playback singing in films started under his music direction in 1935,along with R.C.Boral.
2. Pankaj Mullick was one of the first to incorporate western instruments and elements of western music such as harmony and counter melody in Indian cinema.
3. He was the first teacher to teach music to millions via radio. The number of singers whom Pankaj Babu trained who then went on to scale extraordinary heights in their field is at least twenty names long beginning with Kundan Lal Saigal, Kanan Devi, Suchitra Mitra and more.
4. He was the first person to win Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s approval and permission to tune his poems, sing them in public and incorporate them in cinema. To quote Gurudev (Jorasanko Thakubari, 1937): “All those lyrics of mine that I will not get the opportunity to set tune during my lifetime, I leave to you to embellish them with your music.” Gurudev’s trust and Pankaj Babu’s dedication helped spread the tranquility and beauty of Rabindra Sangeet all over India. He is fittingly recognized as the foremost ambassador of Rabindra Sangeet.
5. Pankaj Babu introduced tabla in Rabindra Sangeet and also made harmonium an integral part even though Tagore had disliked the use of harmonium.
6. Pankaj Babu was the first music composer to be awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1972.
7. The longest running program on AIR remains the classic live early morning broadcast of Chandipath and Mahishasura Mardini on Mahalaya Amavasya that Pankaj Babu started in 1931 and conducted every year until 1975 (except 1944). The program continues even today.

Pankaj Mullick’s name became famous all over India in the late 30s,40s and early 50s. Readers who grew up in this period will know the craze of his songs amongst the music lovers. I,for one, remember listening to his records on our gramophone. One of my uncles was very fond of his songs and had a box full of records of Pankaj and Jagmohan. In the film ” Yatrik”-1952,Pankaj Mullick sang lines from Shiv stotra and Kumarsambhav etc. His diction and pronunciation of Sanskrit was absolutely flawless. He will be remembered for his delightful Non Film Songs too.

The singers of today’s song are not mentioned in HFGK. When I requested Sadanand Kamath ji to upload this song from my collection, he did it as always, with this remark about this song…..” The song is not only a rare one, it is also melodious. In fact, the other two songs which have been covered in our Blog are also very melodious. These songs take me back to the era of unique song compositions of R C Boral and Pankaj Mullick. I actually feel the atmosphere of the early 1950s surrounding me while listening to such songs.

As discussed, I guess that the female singer could be Utpala Sen. I am, however, certain that the male singer is Asit Baran.”

I agree with him in toto about the songs of 50’s. It is my favourite opinion that ” the essence and greatness of Hindi Film Music is concentrated in songs of films from 1947 to 1957, both years inclusive “. What do you say ?

( I have used information from article ” The glory that was-New Theatres ” by Sharmishtha Gooptu and from book ” सुंदर ती दुसरी दुनिया ” – a Marathi book by Ambarish Mishra, with Thanks, along with my old writings and notes, for this post )


Song- Aao sajan tum aao (Roop Kahaani)(1950) Singers-Unknown female voice, Asit Baran, Lyrics-Prakash, MD-Pankaj Mullick
Both

Lyrics

Aao sajan tum aao o
Aao sajan tum aao
aao re nainon ke pyaare sajan
aao sajan tum aao
o o o
masti mein jhoom ke bhola sa man bahe chanchal pawan
aao
in nainon ke pyaare sapan
aao sajan tum aao
sooratiya tori dekh ke pyaari
sab sukh chain hai paaya
haaye sab sukh chain hai paaya
tere matwaale nainon ne mujhko mast banaaya
haaye

chain jiya ko aaya
haaye
chain jiya ko aaya

door jab tum thhe nayan se
praan mein thhi peer
birah mein tere sajan
ankhiyaan bahaati neer
door jab tum thhi nayan se
praan mein thhi peer
tum mili mujhse sajan
ab khul gayi taqdeer

anjaane
anjaane ik door desh se
rajkumar ik aaya
rajkumar ik aaya
dil ke sinhaasan par
dil ke sinhaasan par
armaanon ne usey bithhaaya
dil ne ab usko apnaaya
aasha ne deepak daale
man jhoole prem hindole
dheere se prem ki maala
rani tere gale mein doley

prem milan se man ki veena
madhur madhur kuchh boley
prem milan se man ki veena
madhur madhur kuchh boley

ab boley
kuchh boley
ab boley
ab boleykuchh boley
ab boley
kuchh boley
ab boley

10 Responses to "Aao sajan tum aao"

Can you please furnish names of 177 total movies produced by NT? I am very much interested or any published data link which lists all movies?

Like

Dear Sunil ji,
I thought you would be having this list.
Anyway, since 5-6 years I am also trying to get this list, but without any success. This list includes their Bangla, Hindi and other languages films also.
Possibly, Harish ji may have this list in some document which he has kept meticulously. Considering his health, someone has to do this search in his databank of books, magazines and newspaper cuttings.
I will certainly keep you informed if I can lay my hands on this information.
Thanks.
-AD

Like

Dear Guruji,

Bimal Roy had started out as a Cinematographer and was selected to Direct UDAYER PATHE as Sircar was impressed by the way Roy had handled the making of the Documentary on Bengal Famine. The Editing at NT was the responsibility of one SUBODH MITTER, affectionately known as “Kanchi-da” in Bangla. In those days they had to edit directly on the negatives, requiring great skill. “Kanchi-da” had an able Assistant named HRISHIKESH MUKHERJEE. As you would be knowing, they had to make UDAYER PATHE from left over raw stock from other Films.

Pride, they say, always come before a fall. Regional Pride is nowadays quite evident even in a flourishing State like Maharashtra. Who knows, the Cinema Capital may shift someday to another State, UP maybe.

With warm regards

PARTHA CHANDA

Like

Dear Partha ji,
I knew that you would comment here.
Thanks for additional information.
I understand your feelings.
Regional Pride, in excess, is bad for a person or a state anytime.
As far as the shifting of Cinema Industry is concerned, I do not attach any credence to politicians’ ramblings and the mad media’s meaningless newscasts. So such things are not even worth discussing, because we know what it’s worth !
It was heartening to read your comments after a long gap.
Thanks again.
-AD

Like

The article on NEW THEATRES is superb. 30s belonged to NT.The songs and artistes are just splendid. Incidentally, there was a ravaging fire – probably in 40s wherein very many negatives of NT films were destroyed and there was huge damage. Kudos for such a great article.

Like

Manohar Lal Dave ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.
Yes, the 30s belonged to NT in the East and Prabhat in the West.
Both brought out meaningful, musical and entertaining films. Great composers, directors and actors/singers emerged from these two institutions.
-AD

Like

Sir,

Thanks for the detailed information about National Theatre’s and the Calcutta’s films production history. This explains why the songs with Bengali composers, singers and song writers of late 40’s and early 50’s sound similar to those of early 40’s.

Looks like the cosmopolitan make-up of the film industry in other place, like Bombay, was by and large absent in the Calcutta film industry. Intellectuals from other regions would have found it difficult to achieve any greatness there. This would specially apply to writers and poets, if the films were all based on Bengali literature. I can imagine the close knit groupism that might have emerged.

I have one doubt, if it is really true that all the songs from these films of were based on Rabindra sangeet, or Nazrul geeti.

About this, ” the essence and greatness of Hindi Film Music is concentrated in songs of films from 1947 to 1957, both years inclusive”, I can say that I feel the same if I only listen to early 50’s songs, for a week continuously. A bit of Roshan, SDB and Madan Mohan beyond 57 also could be included. The period can be stretched up to 63-64.

Thanks and regards.

Like

Mrs.Nahm ji,
Thanks for your views.
Firstly, NOT ALL songs of films made in Calcutta were based on Robindra Sangeet or Nazrul Geeti. Some songs were based on even Himangshu Dutt geeti or Hindustani classical, folk songs of Bengal, Gazals, Mujra geets and other varieties. However the larger part of songs were influenced by RS and NG only.
Secondly, 1947 to 1957 is my personal choice period. Depending on individual liking, the period can be anything. But I feel there will not be any negatives on this period.
In my opinion the religious divide was too sharp in Bengal and so after 1947, many famous musicians, singers, actors and others migrated elsewhere. This too affected adversely the giants like New Theatres and in general became a cause for its decline.
Comparatively, conditions in Bombay were centralised on collective work, so the damage was much less and things improved faster. The very fact that the highest number of films made in 1947 was a record since 1931 to 1985, when it was improved upon.
A lot can be said about this aspect and I have ,from time to time, written on it on this Blog.
Thanks.
-AD

Like

Dear Arun ji,

Lovely write up on Calcutta ( Hindi) cinema history & especially National Theaters.

I concur with your years for the Golden period of 1947 to 1957….absolute bang on!

Warm Regards,

Umesh

Like

Umesh ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.
I feel very bad about the decline of NT. But then almost all other big studios like Ranjit, Prabhat, Bombay Talkies etc too faced the same fate, in some way or the other. Each of these giants had special contribution to Hindi cinema.
कालाय तस्मै नमः I
-AD

Like

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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