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

Re mann kaahe soch kare

Posted on: November 15, 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 :

4503 Post No. : 16041

Today’s song is from an early era film- Jeewan Naiya-1936.

The film was produced by Bombay Talkies. This was their just the second full length Talkie film, since the company was started. How Bombay Talkies was conceived, established and became one of the India’s top film studios has been told several times- here and on the Internet. They were pioneers and pall bearers of making films on social evils of Indian society, led by their senior in this field – Prabhat Film Co., which was started a few years earlier.

Himanshu Rai the owner of BT (Bombay Talkies), was born in an illustrious Bengali family in 1892.After graduation, he was sent to England to practice Law. But once he landed in London, he became a participant in London’s Theatre scenes. Devika Rani- the grand niece of Rabindranath Tagore and daughter of Col. M N Chaudhary was born at Waltair (now Vishakhapatanam) in 1908. At the age of 16, she sailed for England on a scholarship from Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and also R.A. of Music-both at London. Rai was introduced to her at a party, He offered her a job of designing Costumes for his films. After 3 years, they got married.

They came back to India and in 1934, Bombay Talkies was established. In 1935, its first Talkie film ” Jawani ki Hawa “-35 was made with Devika Rani and the handsome Najmul Hasan, as the lead pair. During this film, they fell in love. The shooting of the next film started. The film was ” Jeewan Naiya-36′. About 40 % shooting was done and suddenly, the lead pair of Devika Rani and Najmul hasan eloped to Calcutta. BT was shattered. Shashadhar Mukherji rushed to Calcutta and met Devika Rani in Grand Hotel. he managed to convince her to return to Bombay. At this time, she is said to have made a partnership deal with Rai for BT as the price to return. They both came back….without Najmul Hasan !

Actually, Himanshu Rai was already married once to an Austrian girl. They had a son also. He was 16 years older than Devika Rani, but still he married her, considering the benefits his film company would have if a ‘ Home Heroine” was available. He was highly business minded and Devika Rani knew this. She understood that situation and wanted her price to come back to Himanshu Rai’s professional married life. Her shrewdness came out in open after Rai’s death in 1940 and when she handled BT affairs dictatorially.

As a replacement to hero Najmul Hasan, Ashok Kumar was selected. In his screen test the cinematographer Joseph Virsinghe approved him but director Franz Osten had objections. Despite that he was selected by Himanshu Rai. He also changed Kumudlal Ganguly’s name to only ASHOK KUMAR. 4 films – Jeevan Naiya, Achhoot kanya, Izzat and Janmabhoomi were planned for next one year, roughly one film every 3 months. The staff of Bombay Talkies was unhappy with Devika Rani after what she did to Himanshu Rai, but Shashadhar mukherji took a meeting and tried to convince the staff. This had a reverse effect. Devika Rani thought that he instigated the staff against her and their relations soured. This ultimately resulted in Shashadhar and few others leaving BT and starting Filmistan in 1942.

There is another story of the entry of Ashok kumar into the film……Najmul Hussian played the lead role opposite Devika Rani when shooting began. Rani developed a strong crush on her hero, and on a break during the shoot, she ran away with him. The producer Himansu Rai, was Rani’s husband, and he was up in arms at this situation. However, Rani returned to him soon after, but he was in no mood to work with Hussain again. As the film was already half done, this presented a problem. One of his colleagues suggested that he finish the film by casting his laboratory assistant, whose side profile matched that of Najmul Hussain’s, and use creative lighting and shadows for the rest of the scenes so that the audience is not aware of the ‘switch’. This idea clicked with Rai and he successfully completed the film with the new hero. That lucky lab assistant was Ashok Kumar, and thus began his acting career. (Thanks to IMDB)

This was the background of the film Jeewan Naiya-1936. The story was written by Niranjan pal. The story was

“Lata (Devika Rani), daughter of a dancing girl, is brought up by social worker Mathuradas (Prasad) and is engaged to marry the rich Ranjit (Ashok Kumar) when the villain Chand (S.N. Tripathi) arrives to blackmail her with her undisclosed ancestry. Lata is forced to disclose the truth to Ranjit and the assembled wedding guests. Ranjit disowns her but they are reunited when Ranjit, blinded by an explosion, is nursed back to health by a devoted woman who turns out to be his wife. ”
(Thanks to IMDB) .

The film’s dialogues were by J S Casshyap, production incharge was N R Acharya and the film was directed by a German-without knowing Hindi- Franz Osten.

Very few people know that Indian Cinema had a little known connection with the rise of Hitler in Germany in 1932-33. A group of men , engaged in Cinema in Germany, flocked to India in the 30’s and played a vital role in Indian Cinema and the arts of that time. After Hitler took over Germany in 1933, the German Cine Studio’s glory days were over and they were turned into Nazi Propaganda Machines !

It was at this time that several of its men ( mostly persecuted Jews) left the studio and some arrived in India, and contributed to Indian cinema’s formative years.

The foremost among them is Frantz Osten, a German whom Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani met at the UFA when they went to train there (they worked with Lang and Marlene Dietrich). Osten had already been directing films for the couple since 1925, when he made Light of Asia for them from Germany.

In 1934, he came to India and the next year, after Rai founded Bombay Talkies ‘ the legendary film studio in Malad that now lies in ruins,’ Osten directed its first film, ‘ Jawani ki Hawa’-1935.

He went on to direct the famous Devika Rani-Ashok Kumar starrer, Achhut Kanya, without much knowledge of Hindi. The film, which featured the song “Main ban ke chiriya”, was shot by Cinematographer Joseph Wirsching; the sets were designed by Karl von Spreti, the laboratory was headed by Zolle, and the sound recordist was Len Heartley. This was Osten’s team of UFA ex-members who worked for Rai’s state-of-the-art studio.

Osten and his fellow Germans directed 16 films for Rai. It was a remarkable feat for people who knew little Hindi, mistaking the word “bulbul” once, for a pair of bulls.

“It’s not clear if they had anything to do with the Nazi ideology, either way,” said film historian Amrit Gangar.

“If they did, it did not show in their films. But there were two other people who almost certainly migrated to India because of the persecution of Jews.”

Franz Osten(23-12-1876 to 2-12-1956) Hindi director, was born in Munich as Franz Ostermayer, the elder brother of successful producer Peter Ostermayer. They set up a travelling cinema, Original Physograph (1907) and founded Munchner Kunstfilm (1909) after Osten had been making shorts for Pathé, Gaumont and Eclair. Their first feature: Die Wahrheit (1910). Osten’s début as director: Erna Valeska (1911). War correspondent in 1915. Joined Peter’s company Emelka (later Bavaria Film) in 1918. Made Der Ochsenkrieg (1920) with young cameraman Frank Planer of later Hollywood fame, one of Osten’s several contributions to a budding genre that after WW2 became known as the Heimatfilm. In fact, the Ostermayr/Osten brothers claimed to be the originators of the genre.

When Himansu Rai and Emelka made a deal to produce Prem Sanyas aka Light of Asia, Osten was assigned to direct. Continued directing Rai’s productions, often shooting in India as well as in Europe, in addition to directing for numerous companies in Berlin. Moved with cameraman Josef Wirsching and set designer Karl von Spreti to India to work at Himansu Rai’s Bombay Talkies (1934).

While in Bombay, became a member of the Nazi Party (1936). He was interned by the British at the outbreak of WW2 while shooting his last film there, Kangan. Released and allowed to return to Germany (1940). Employed by Bavaria Film until 1945, for casting and setting up its film archive. In addition to Indian films, directed 33 silent features and 10 sound films.

After WW2 became manager of a Bavarian spa. His Indian films, following UFA tradition, were huge Orientalist spectacles with elephants, camels and expansive vistas often shot in deep focus. Effective authorship shared by producer Rai and scenarist Niranjan Pal. Adopted European conventions to introduce main actors, e.g. backlit mid-shots in soft focus gradually becoming more contrasted; also used mobile outdoor shots as in the railway-crossing sequence of Achhut Kanya. Strongly influenced younger Bombay Talkies film-makers Amiya Chakrabarty and Gyan Mukherjee, though they used his techniques for very different purposes.

Filmography-1925: Prem Sanyas, 1928: Shiraz, 1929: Prapancha Pash, 1935: Jawani Ki Hawa, 1936: Achhut Kanya, Janmabhoomi, Jeevan Naiya, Mamata, Miya Bibi, 1937: Izzat, Jeevan Prabhat, Prem Kahani, Savitri, 1938: Bhabhi, Nirmala, Vachan, 1939: Durga, Kangan, Navjeevan.

Who was Najmul Hasan and what happened to him later ? Najmul Hasan was born on 5-9-1910, into a noble family of Lucknow. He was tall and very handsome and was bitten by the urge to act in the films. He left his Law studies and headed for Bombay. He met Sarojini Naidu, who was a family friend. She recommended his name to Himanshu Rai Strongly. His Screen test was taken in which he passed. Though at first sight, Himanshu Rai was not impressed with his manner of behaviour, he still selected him for the First film of Bombay Talkies, opposite Devika Rani in Jawani ki Hawa-1935.

During Jawani ki Hawa-35- which was loosely based on Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient Express”, published in 1934 only- Devika Rani fell in love with Najmul Hasan and they decided to elope. Their second film- Jeewan Naiyya-36 was on floor and the love birds flew to Calcutta. There was a great commotion in Bombay Talkies. Shashdhar Mukherji the production manager was close to his Bengali Boss Himanshu Roy. Mukherjee traced the couple to Calcutta, met Devika Rani and convinced her to return to Himanshu. Devika Rani returned, Himanshu Roy pardoned her, but not Najmul Hasan.

Najmul Hasan did not come back to Bombay. He joined New Theatres in Calcutta and did films like Anath Ashram-37,Dushman-38,Kapal kundala-39,Jawani ki Reet-39 and Nartaki-40. Even in Calcutta, Najmul Hassan had a rocking affair with superstar Jahan Ara Kajjan. After doing film Meenakshi-42, Najmul Hasan decided to migrate to Pakistan in 1947. In Pakistan he did some films like Eid-1951, Ashiyana, Doctor, Mirza Jatt, Taxi Driver and Heer Ranjha etc.

Najmul Hasan, a very bitter man for the treatment he received in Pakistan, died in 1980 in Pakistan.

Today’s song is sung by Chandraprabha. With this song she makes her debut on this Blog as a singer. This is a typical song of the 30’s, fully impacted with Parsi Theatre music.

(information for this post has been taken from thebigindianpicture.com, Bombay Talkies-an article by Ambarish Mishra, indiancine.ma and my notes. Thanks to all.)


Song-Re mann kaahe soch kare (Jeewan Naiyya)(1936) Singer- Chandraprabha, Lyricist- J S Casshyap, MD- Saraswati Devi

Lyrics

Re mann kaahe soch kare ae
Re mann kaahe soch kare ae
ye jeewan hai
hansne ke jiye
ye jeewan hai
hansne ke jiye
re man kaahe
soch kare
hari shyam ghata
ke aanchal se
?? mukhda
?? hai
??
?? ghadiyaan
dil se gham ko
?? jaati hai
dukh jaata hai
sukh aata hai
kat’te hain din hanste hanste
re man kaahe soch kare ae
re man kaahe
re man kaahe soch kare ae
ye jeewan hai hanse ke liye
re man kaahe
re man kaahe
re man kaahe

4 Responses to "Re mann kaahe soch kare"

Arun Ji,
forgot myself reading the post ( more than one does after eating Cadbury 🙂 ).
Wealth of information. Even after reading so much on ASAD ( your posts and others’ ) I did not know Devika rani was grand niece of Tagore. I did not realise that Waltair ( a name I heard in my geography class in school), is now Vishaka pattinam !!
It was commendable for the German Jews team to handle so many Hindi movies admirably, with hardly any knowledge of Hindi. ( LOL on hearing translation of BULBUL )

Liked by 1 person

Dear Satish ji,
Happy to read your comments.
Once I start writing, I have to take efforts to stop writing, lest the article becomes too long. I have so much to inform the readers that the length of the post does become longish.
The German Jew cinema workers could not go to Hollywood as it was already saturated. In India the Film Industry was still in the growth stage and they found scope of work . May be this was their reason of coming to India. Further, before coming here, Himanshu Rai had ensured their jobs and staying arrangements. Historian Amrit Ganger’s book explains this in details.
Besides the German Team at BT, there were some more Germans who worked independently, like Walter Kauffman, Paul Zilch etc. who did work in Music, Direction and other areas of Film making.
I have written about them too here in different posts.
Thanks.
-AD

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Dear Guruji,

Actually, the Railway Station was earlier named WALTAIR, whereas the town bore the name VISAKHAPATNAM (Vizag). Today, the name of the Station has been changed to Visakhapatnam, but there still exists a posh locality in the City known as WALTAIR UPLANDS. You may like to cross check with people you know in Vizag.

Also, Himanshu Rai and his first wife MARY HANLIN had a daughter (and not a son as mentioned by you) who was named NILIMA, and who later married an Australian of German descent and migrated to Melbourne. As you would be knowing, Nilima’s son PETER DIETZE came all the way to Bombay to see BT first hand.

For those not in the know, the film SHIRAZ had recently been revived by BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE and set to music by Anoushka Shankar.

With warm regards

PARTHA CHANDA

Liked by 1 person

Partha Ji,
I have visited Vizag several times from the 70s onwards.,
for official work. My elder brother was also working there in an American Company.
To my knowledge Waltair was a suburb of Vizag city and the station was called Waltair…..like Kurla Terminus or Bandra Terminus. Later that name was changed to Vishakhapatnam after the suburb became part of the city. If I am not mistaken there is still a Waltair Railway Division, under South Coast Railway Zone.
About Himanshu Rai’s daughter etc, I think you have given this information earlier too here. Thanks for this. I will amend the bio accordingly. It was based on the references mentioned in the post.
Your comments are always informative.
-AD

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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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