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

Naach naach re man pankhi

Posted on: September 4, 2021


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular 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 :

4796 Post No. : 16557 Movie Count :

4508

‘Aawaaz’ (1942) was produced by Dadasaheb Torne under his banner, Saraswati Cinetone and was directed by Rafique Razvi. The star cast included Maya Bannerji, Wasti, Swarnlata, Danve, Kailash, Shantabai, Baby Anwari etc. Dadasaheb Torne set up Saraswati Cinetone in 1931 after the sound films came into being. His maiden sound film, ‘Shyamsundar’ (1932) completed silver jubilee run in Mumbai. ‘Aawaaz’ (1942) was the last film of Dadasaheb Torne.

I became aware of Dadasaheb Torne when his name had propped up prominently in many newspapers and magazines around the time of closing of the centenary celebrations of Indian films in May 3, 2013. The day was exactly 100 years after Dadasaheb Phalke’s first Indian film. ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was released. Vijay and Anil Torne, the sons of Dadasaheb Torne claimed that it was their father, Dadashaeb Torne who produced India’s first film ‘Shree Pundalik’ (1912) which was released in the Coronation theatre in central Mumbai on May 18, 1912.

A petition signed by many citizens including the family members of Dadasaheb Torne and Vikas Patil, the producer and the then Chairman of IMPPA was submitted to the then President, Pranab Mukherjee and others seeking the status to Dadasaheb Torne as the producer of the first Indian film ‘Shree Pundalik’ (1912). A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was also filed in Bombay High Court seeking the honour to Dadasaheb Torne for producing the first Indian film. Both the petition as well as PIL have cited the advertisement of the film which appeared in the Times of India dated May 25, 1912 and its screening in the Coronation Theatre. The film ran for two weeks.

I could not get to know whether any decision on the petition or the judgement on PIL came out. But judging by the intense debate in the print media those days on this issue, I do not think that the Government of India gave any final response to the petition.

There were many articles which appeared on this issue in various newspapers of that time such as the Times of India, Indian Express, DNA, Mid-Day etc. Based on the articles in these newspapers, I have summarised the points of arguments for and arguments against declaring ‘Shree Pundalik’ to be the first Indian film produced by Dadasaheb Torne which are as under:

Arguments in favour of ‘Shree Pundalik’ as the first Indian film

1. ‘Shree Pundalik’ was shot on a movie camera with a cameraman. The shooting script was written by Dadasaheb Torne and his friends, Ramrao Kirtikar and Nanasaheb Chitre.

2, Dadasaheb Torne directed ‘Shree Pundalik’ beside acting. Tipnis and Joshi also acted along with other actors. The shooting was done at the junction of the then Girgaon Road and Lamington Road. So, it was a location shooting.

3. The length of the film was 4000 feet, So, it was a feature-length film as per the standard of films those days.

4. Dadasaheb Torne was continuously associated with Indian films as a producer, director, editor, sound recordist and film distributors since 1912.

Arguments against ‘Shree Pundalik’ as the first Indian film.

1. ‘Shree Pundalik’ was a recording of a drama of the same name with a camera fixed on the stage. In other words, there were no camera movements, no close-ups and multiple angle shots. As against this, ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was filmed using the cinematic techniques. It was shot with a movie camera with multiple angles and in parts. All the parts were later joined together to make a full film (editing functions).

2. It is claimed that ‘Shree Pundalik’ was 1500 feet in length with a runtime of 22 minutes whereas the length of ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was 3700 feet with a runtime of 40 minutes.

3. For ‘Shree Pundalik’, the camera was operated by a Britisher, Johnson who took the raw film to London for processing. The negatives of the film is not available in India. The film’s positive print along with other related documents was lost during the Panshet dam flooding in Pune in 1961. ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was processed in India. In the words of Dadasheb Phalke, it was a complete swadeshi film.

4. Raja Harishchandra’ was made with a shooting script. Actors were specially selected for the film. Elaborate sets were designed both for indoor and outdoor shootings. Special costumes were designed for the actors. There were shooting schedules of about 4 weeks. In other words, all the important aspects of a film making – direction, camera movements, a couple of trick scenes, art work, costumes, lighting, editing etc were handled while making ‘Raja Harishchandra’.

Government of India continues to recognise ‘Raja Harishchandra’ as the first feature film made in India and Dadasaheb Phalke as the pioneer of Indian films.

A biographical book on Dadasaheb Torne was written in Marathi by Shashikant Kinikar, a film journalist which was published in 2007. After failing to get the book though I got some material from the preview of the book. I came across an article written by Kumar Kadam in Marathi in Maharashtra Times, dated April 23, 2012 giving a short biography of Dadasaheb Torne.

Ramchandra Gopal (Dadasaheb) Torne (13/04/1890 – 19/01/1960) was born in Sukalwad village, near Malwan in Sindhudurg district. At the age of 3, his father passed away plunging the family into poverty. As a result, Dadasaheb Torne did not complete his primary schooling.

Because of poverty, the family shifted to Mumbai. Soon, the young Dadasaheb went to Karachi with a friend and worked there in a shop learning job of an electrician. After about 6 months, he came back to Mumbai and joined Greaves Cotton in their Electric Department.

In Mumbai, once he attended the premier of the Marathi drama ‘Shree Pundalik’ staged by an amateur drama company. Soon, he became attracted to Marathi drama and joined Advocate Kirtikar’s Shripad Natak Mandali. Because of his multiple talents, he became one of the important members of the drama company.

At that time, the silent films from Hollywood were getting released in Mumbai which had become popular. Dadasaheb Torne’s mind was working on the conversion of Marathi drama, ‘Shree Pundalik’ into a silent film. He was in contact with his Hollywood friend to get the knowledge of making a film and the approximate cost thereof. His friend, Advocate Nanasaheb Chitre arranged for a movie camera and a British cameraman, Johnson. Thus, India’s first silent film ‘Shree Pundalik’ was produced and directed by Dadasaheb Torne which was released in Coronation Theatre on May 18, 1912. It ran for 2 weeks.

Soon after the release of ‘Shree Pundalik’, Greaves Cotton transferred Dadasaheb Torne to their Karachi office where he became friendly with Baburao Pai (He was the same Baburao Pai who became one of the partners of Prabhat Film Company and introduced Dev Anand in ‘Hum Ek Hain’, 1946). Both of them started the business of importing silent films from Hollywood for distribution in Karachi.

After a couple of years in Karachi, Dadasaheb Torne returned to Mumbai and spent 3-4 years in Kolhapur probably to learn the nuances of film making. During the first World War period, he came back to Mumbai and started a company dealing in cine equipment like camera, films and other accessories which were required for making films. His business boomed as many had started making silent films. In 1929, Dadasaheb Torne in partnership with Baburao Pai floated ‘Super Pictures’, a film distribution firm which made a lot of profit during the boom period of silent films.

In around 1927, sound films had made their presence in Hollywood. Dadasaheb foresaw the opportunity in doing business in sound equipment. With his American associates, he learnt the use of sound technology in films. When Ardeshir Irani was planning to make India’s first sound film, ‘Alam Ara’ (1931), Dadasaheb Torne provided him Bell & Havel movie camera and the sound equipment. He himself supervised the sound recording of ‘Alam Ara’ (1931) sitting with the Sound Recordist.

In 1932, Dadasaheb floated his own film production company, Saraswati Cinetone with a studio in Pune and produced its maiden sound film, ‘Shyam Sundar’ (1932). Under this banner, Dadasaheb made 20 films in Marathi and Hindi up to 1942.

The financial constraints forced Dadasaheb Torne to rent out his studio premises in Pune to one of his close associates (W Z Ahmed?). In 1947 in the wake of the partition, his associate mortgaged the premises to a bank by forging the signature of Dadasaheb Torne. Thereafter, he ran away to Pakistan with the money he raised and along with the expensive camera and other equipment. A shocked Dadasaheb got his first heart attack after which he decided to completely retire from the films. He stayed with his family in his bungalow in Shivaji Nagar, Pune until his death in January 19, 1960.

I feel very sorry for Dadasaheb Torne as he came so close to becoming the pioneer of Indian films, but lost the honour on technical points. He was a visionary man who foresaw the advent of silent and sound films well in advance and kept himself ready in learning the techniques of film making. His efforts need to be lauded as he came from a very poor family without even completing his primary education.

It is not known whether Dadasaheb Phalke had occasion to see ‘Shree Pundalik’. But he may be aware of the short comings of the film which could have facilitated him to improve upon while planning ‘Raja Harishchandra’. I feel that Dadashaeb Torne’s contributions to Indian cinema need to be recognised some way or the other – say by instituting an award for some film related activities. A road in Pune is named after him.

Coming back to the last film produced by Dadasaheb Torne, ‘Aawaaz’ (1942) had 10 songs written by Ramesh Gupta and Kaabil Amritsari. However, accreditation of lyricist of each song is not available. There were two music directors for the film – K C Verma and Sadashiv Neverekar. Again, accreditation for each song is not available. Sadashiv Narvekar was associated with Marathi films as a music director who composed Lata Mangeshkar’s first ever recorded song in a Marathi film, ‘Kiti Hasaal’ (1942).

I am presenting the first song ‘naach naach re man pankhi’ from ‘Aawaaz’ (1942) to appear on the Blog. The melodious song is sung by Rajkumari Dubey. An almost similar sounding tune was used in the mukhada of the song, nain dwaar se man mein wo aake in ‘Saawan’ (1959). But I guess that this has more to do with the same raag-based songs than getting inspired from the tune of the song under discussion.

With this song, ‘Aawaaz’ (1942) makes its debut on the Blog.
Audio Clip:

Song-Naach naach re man pankhi tere saajan aayenge(Aawaaz)(1942) Singer-Rajkumari, Lyricist-Kabil Amritsari/Ramesh Gupta, MD-K C Verma/ Sadashiv Nevrekar

Lyrics

naach naach re
naach naach re man pankhi
tere saajan aayenge
naach naach re man pankhi
tere saajan aayenge
phoolon ka chaadar sajaa le
phoolon ka chaadar sajaa le
aasha ke ae ae ae ae
aasha ke man deep jalaa le
aasha ke man deep jalaa le
(??) ko dhoond rahi hain ankhiyaan
(??)ko dhoond rahi hai ankhiyaan
kab saajan aayenge.. ae ae
kab saajan aayenge
naach naach re mann pankhi
tere saajan aayenge

jeewan ki ee ee ee
ho…. o
o o o o
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aaa
jeewan ki ?? lehraaye
?? ankhiyan basaayen
manwa meethhe gaane aaye
gaane gaaye
gaane gaaye
manwa meethhe gaane aaye
kyaa
tere saajan aayenge
haan
aayenge
naach naach re mann pankhi
tere saajan aayenge

2 Responses to "Naach naach re man pankhi"

Sadanand ji,
Thanks for your -as usual-interesting post. I like your style of story-telling. It indicates the efforts taken to collate the required information.

The fact is that though everybody else claimed credit for Torney, he himself never ever claimed any credit to be the first maker of a feature film, because he knew that it was made by shooting the existing drama, shot by Johnson, the cameraman of the company which sold him the camera for Rs. 1000-with 400 feet free film and that the film was processed in England.
Even earlier to the team of Torney ( Torney, Kirtikar, Chitre and Tipnis), another team- Patankar Union (Patankar,Karandikar, Divekar, Ranade and Bhatkhande) had tried to make films. But their films were short films. The first ever attempt to make film was done by Sawe Dada alias Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavadekar (1865-1958).
(Marathi Cinema in Retrospect By Sanjit Narwekar)
-AD

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Arun ji,

Thanks very much for your appreciation.

You said it what occured to me only today morning when I was reading my article on the Blog. And that was my exact thought. Probably, Dadashaeb Torne did not consider that his was a feature film.

Yes, it was mentioned in one or two articles that appeared during the centenary year of Indian films that prior to Dadashaeb Torne, there were few ( you have mentioned two names) who had made short films.

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