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

Tum bhi kitne raseele

Posted on: September 8, 2021


This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, 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 :

4800 Post No. : 16564 Movie Count :

4511

Today’s song is from an old film – actually a very old film, which is 84 years old – Dhanwan-aka Mazdoor ki beti-1937.

The film was made under the banner of the Imperial Film Company, Bombay and was shot in its studio. It was directed by Premankur Atorthy and the Music was by Harshchandra Bali or H.C.Bali. The cast of the film was Rattanbai, Jamshed ji, Hafisji, W.M.Khan and others. This was the last film made by the Imperial Film Company.

From 1913 to around 1945 upwards, it was strictly a period of Studio Culture. Names of Heroes and Heroines were less important than the name of the studio making the film During the Silent film era films used to be made within a span of a month or even less than that.Most films were shot during day time in the studios where there used to be no roof to its 4 walls, because they needed Sunlight for shooting. An improvement on this was a Glass Ceiling in Imperial studio to filter the strong sunlight in summer.

Studios used to employ people needed to make films, like Actors-M and F, Directors, MDs, Lyricists, Writers, Cinematographers etc on monthly basis pay. For big studios, the Pay-roll lists would have artistes and others in hundreds. Ranjit studio boasted to have more than 900 people on its monthly Pay list at one time. The Government had opened a Ration shop inside the studio premises for their families. Bombay Talkies had made Entertainment and play areas (like Tennis, Badminton courts etc) for use by its employees. Every studio used to have a Canteen for the workers and the other people. Prabhat had appointed some Extra actresses, who used to sweep, do Housekeeping and cook for the studio staff as well as work in small roles in the films, whenever needed.

While there were 20 film companies in Calcutta, at the same time in Bombay there were 31 film companies with studios ( as on today, there are just 13 film studios which are given on rent for shootings). Over a period, the studio system ended, every artiste became a Freelancer and studios remained only for renting out for shootings to independent producers. Films stopped being sold on studio names and actors and directors became the attraction for the audiences to see the films.

Studio system was one of the biggest factors in the evolving and development of the Indian film industry. From this onwards, I plan to write on different well known studios, in my future posts, whenever possible. Today we will know more about the Imperial Film Company. Being the first to make a Talkie film in Hindi, it deserves this honour !

Ardeshir Irani (5-12-1886 to 14-10-1969) built the Imperial Studio of the Imperial Film company, near Kennedy Bridge in Nana Chowk, Bombay, in 1922. At the same time he built another studio, near Chowpatty for Sagar Movietone. All the studios used to be without a roof. These were the days of Silent films.Most Stunt films were shot outdoors but others like Mythologicals were shot in the studios. Films made here were released in Irani’s own Majestic Theatre.

India’s first Talkie film ” Alam Ara” was made in 1931. There was a Processing lab also in the premises. Imperial made some Marathi films also like ‘ Rukmini Haran’ and ‘ Devki’ etc. Till 1937, Imperial was a leading studio. In 1937, Imperial made India’s First indegenous Colour film “ Kisan Kanya”. Irani had not spared any effort to make it technically superb. Unfortunately this film flopped leaving a heavy loan on Irani’s head. He first sold Sagar Studio and then some more land also. In 1938, Ardeshir irani mortgaged Imperial Studio to Kapurchand Mehta against a big sum, but could never redeem it again. Mehta later changed its name to ” Jyoti Studio” and started renting it to other companies for shootings. Some land was sold to Motor garages. After the death of Ardeshir Irani, his legal heir Shapurji looks after whatever land and buildings are left over.

In 1925, Ardeshir Irani founded Imperial Films ( Imperial studio, Imperial Film Company and Imperial Films are all different – legally), where he made sixty-two films. By the age of forty, Irani was an established filmmaker of Indian cinema. Ardeshir Irani became the father of talkie films with the release of his sound feature film, Alam Ara on 14 March 1931. Many of the films he produced were later made into talkie films with the same cast and crew. He is also credited with making the first Indian English feature film, Noor Jahan (1931). He completed his hat-trick of earning fame when he made the first colour feature film of India, Kisan Kanya (1937). His contribution does not end only with giving voice to the silent cinema and colour to black-and-white films. He gave a new courageous outlook to filmmaking in India and provided such a wide range of choice for stories in films that till date, there are films being made which have a theme relating to one of the one hundred fifty-eight films made by Irani.

In 1933, Irani produced and directed the first Persian talkie, Dokhtar-e-Lor. The script was written by Abdolhossein Sepanta who also acted in the film along with members of the local Parsi community.

Irani’s Imperial Films introduced a number of new actors to Indian Cinema, including Prithviraj Kapoor and Mehboob Khan. He also interfered with the medium. He produced Kalidas in Tamil on the sets of Alam Ara, with songs in Telugu. Also, Irani visited London, England for fifteen days to study sound recording and recorded the sounds of Alam Ara on the basis of this knowledge. In the process, he created a whole new trend unknowingly. In those days, outdoor shootings were shot in sunlight with the help of reflectors. However, the outdoor undesirable sounds were disturbing him so greatly that he shot the entire sequence in the studio under heavy lights. Thus, he began the trend of shooting under artificial light.

Imperial Films Company Est: 1926. Successor to the Majestic and Royal Art Film companies set up by Ardeshir Irani as a diversification of his exhibition interests in partnership with Esoofally, Mohammed Ali and Dawoodji Rangwala. Organised as a vertically integrated combine with its own exhibition infrastructure. Started following the decline of Kohinoor, it continued many of the latter’s Mohanlal Dave-inspired genres, often with the same stars and film-makers. Imperial became closely associated with the costumed historical genre launched with Anarkali (1928), shot and released almost overnight in direct competition to Charu Roy’s The Loves of a Mughal Prince (1928).

Irani also rushed out Alam Ara (1931), released as India’s first full talkie narrowly beating Madan Theatres’ Shirin Farhad (1931). Imperial was the first studio to shoot scenes at night (in Khwab-e- Hasti, 1929) using incandescent lamps. It owned India’s top silent star, Sulochana, and promoted her along with Zubeida, Jilloo and, for a while, the young Prithviraj Kapoor. This was perhaps the first major instance of a deliberate manufacturing of a star-cult as a marketing strategy.

Top Imperial film-makers include R.S. Choudhury, B.P. Mishra and Mohan Bhavnani, whose film-making set the house style, as did Nandlal Jaswantlal’s sound films. A fair number of the studio’s talkies were remakes of its own silent hits with Sulochana (Anarkali, 1928 & 1935), Wildcat of Bombay (1927) became Bambai Ki Billi (1936), etc. It made films in at least nine languages: Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Burmese, Malay, Pushtu and Urdu. The first Iranian sound film, Dukhtar-e-Lur (aka Dokhtare Lor Ya Irane Diruz Va Emruz, 1932) was also made here. Kisan Kanya (1937) by Gidwani was India’s first indigenously manufactured colour film, made with the Cinecolour process. When it closed in 1938, its economic and generic inheritance was continued by Sagar Movietone.

Film Kisan Kanya-1937 was famous as the First indigenously made colour film of India, made by Ardeshir Irani’s company- Imperial Film Company. Film pioneer Irani was the first to make an International Co-Production, with Italy, film Nala Damayanti- a silent film of 1920. Secondly, he had the honour of making and releasing India’s First Talkie Film ” Alam Ara-1931″. And with the film Kisan Kanya, he achieved a Hat Trick of ‘ First in India’ credit in film making.

Ardeshir Irani was very keen to become the First to make a Talkie film of India. He knew that Madon Theatres of Calcutta too were busy in making their First Talkie film, with two popular stars of the day. Irani hastened the speed of his shootings and recordings. Lot of secrecy was maintained in filming the movie. From his secret sources in Calcutta, he was getting information on the progress of Madon Theatres’ film in making. He came to know that their film was to have about 20 songs in the film. Irani decided to limit the number of songs in his film to save on time. Now they would have only 7 songs. Thus they saved on many days of shootings and recordings. Thus, while Alam Ara was released on 14-3-1931, Madon could only release their First Talkie film “Shirin Farhad” on 30-5-1931, a cool two and a half months later !

Similarly, Irani studied why Prabhat’s first colour film ‘ Sairandhri-33″ failed technically and decided to do all technical processes in India, for his colour film Kisan Kanya-37. Thus his colour film came out much better than Prabhat’s film.”Irani perhaps was the world’s first multilingual film maker,having made forays into English, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Persian, Burmese, Indonesian and Pashto. He is credited with launching the Talkie era in countries like Burma, Indonesia and Iran. He made nearly 120 Talkies in a span of just 8 years. He was also the first to establish a colour laboratory imported from Hollywood.

Irani made one hundred fifty-eight films in a long and illustrious career of twenty-five years, between the First and Second World Wars. He made his last film, Pujari, in 1945, under the banner of Ardeshir M. Irani Productions ltd. The film was shot in Jyoti Studios, ironically ( it was his own Imperial studios earlier). Irani was not compelled to live like Dadasaheb Phalke for he realised that the war was a time not suitable for film business and therefore he suspended his film business during that time. He died on 14 October 1969 at the age of eighty-two, in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Noted film director Mehboob Khan had a little story about his connection with Imperial Film company. After the successful film Ek hi Raasta-39, Mehboob started work on Alibaba. He had made the beginning of his film career by acting in the silent film on Alibaba, at the Imperial film company. He was one of the 40 thieves ! By now, due to his continuous success, Sagar Movietone had benefited much and he was highly respected in the company.

Besides Mehboob, Sagar Movietone had a team of other directors like C M Luhar, Sarvottam Badami, Hiren Bose, Ramchandra Thakur etc. They too were making films for Sagar. However, their films were not as successful as those by Mehboob. In addition, the onset of the Second World War had a negative impact on Sagar and it went into loss. Soon, the owners decided to close the company.

By this time, Mehboob was ready with all the arrangements to start the shooting of Alibaba. Closing down of Sagar was a shock to him. He approached Ardeshir Irani of Imperial and asked for permission to shoot his film there. Irani was very happy. The novice ‘ extra ‘ who had worked in his company-without pay for the first five months- had now become an acclaimed top class successful Director. Irani was proud of Mehboob. He gladly permitted him to shoot his entire film there. (Thanks to wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, The formative phase of Indian Cinema-Ashok Raj in Hero-I ,article by D.B.Samant, Shirish Kanekar, Bhai Bhagat’s book ‘ Teen bhintinchi Duniya ‘ (तीन भिंतींची दुनिया ) and my own notes. )

One of the names in the cast is peculiar- Jamshed ji. His full name was Jamshed ji Bairam ji, Khan Saheb. In some films, he was credited as Khan saheb also. He was born in Bombay in 1889 as a typical Parsee. He was one of the oldest and most experienced actors having worked with several directors and over 25 years of acting.

He started with Silent films like Pyari Mamta, Madhuri, Sohni Mahiwal, pooran Bhagat, Gulshan E Arab, Hoor E Baghdad and Indira. His first talkie films were Daulat ka nasha-31 and Noorjahan-31. He acted in about 50 films. His last known film was Andaz-1949.

Jamshed ji, also gave music to 3 films- Naya Zamana-35, Zaate Shareef-36 and Jagat kesari-37.

With today’s song by Rattanbai, film dhanwan-37 makes its Debut on this Blog.


Song-Tum bhi kitne raseele (Dhanwaan)(1937) Singer- Ratanbai, Lyricist- Not known, MD- H C Bali

Lyrics

aa
haay aa aa haay
haay haay
haa aa aa haay haaay

tum bhi kitne ae ae raseele
haa aa aa aa aa
tum bhi kitne raseele
bane baabu raaja
bane baabu raaja
aa aa aa
tum bhi kitne raseele
haan aan aan aan
khade morey dwaare
haan aan aan aan
khade morey dwaare
bane baabu raaja
bane baabu raaja
aa aa aa
tum bhi kitne raseele
haan aan aan aan
malmal ka kurta
makhmal ki jaackit
haan haan
makhmal ki jaackit
haan
malmal ka kurta
makhmal ki jaackit
haan haan
makhmal ki jaackit
Lucknow ka palla pahne
han aan aan aan
Lucknow ka palla pahne
pahne baabu raaja
pahne baabu raaja
aa aa aaa
tum bhi kitne raseele

pahne baabu raaja
pahne baabu raaja
aa aa aa
tum bhi kitne raseele
haan aan aan aan
sone ka kangana
chaandi ki jhaanjhar
haan
chaandi ki jhaanjhar
haan aan aan
sone ka kangana
chaandi ki jhaanjhar
haan
chaandi ki jhaanjhar
laaye kahaan se gahne
haan
laaye kahaan se gahne
gahne baabu raaja
gahne baabu raaja
aan aan
tum bhi kitne raseele
haan aan aan aan
tum bhi kitne raseele

6 Responses to "Tum bhi kitne raseele"

Thank you Guruji for this very informative (as all your posts are, rather normal) on the Imeperial Studio, Imperial Films, Imperial Film Company ab related enterprises.
This post will be very useful to any student researching on Indian Films. I read each paragraph twice to get it into my head. Specially this sentence:
“He produced Kalidas in Tamil on the sets of Alam Ara, with songs in Telugu.” I found it interesting and intriguing.
And the race to be the “first with a talkie” another interesting point. 😀
I may ending up writing comments as long as your post, there are so many things I read in the post. So i will simply say Thank You
This is a good series you have begun on a subject which you had touched in the passing in various posts of yours. Thank you again

Like

Peevesie’s Mom ji,
Thanks for your kind words.
This post became so long because I controlled my urge to write more, otherwise it would have become longer than this !
I want that all my posts should be useful to anyone who is eager to know more about the yesteryear films and the people who made the film industry such a big industry.
-AD

Like

Heard the song after I wrote the above comment. The lyrics are conveying thoughts that are coming down the ages in the same way:
“Sone ka kangana,
chaandi ki jhaanjhar,
laaye kahaan (where the ? is) se gahne
babu raja”,
These have been repeated down the years in so many songs.
Would love to know when these were used first time in any song

Like

The song is very good and clearly shows that Rattanbai was really a Tawaif – a professional singer. For once, H.C.Bali has used the singer appropriately, otherwise he was known only as a copy master.
-AD

Like

Arunji,
This is a fascinating journey into the early years of film making. The race between ‘Alam Ara’ and ‘Shirin Farhad’ reads like a thriller. It is surprising Madan didn’t realise the urgency of being #1. And they didn’t mount counter-intelligence against Imperial.

Elsewhere you have mentioned the theatre where ‘Alam Ara’ was released. Had you mentioned it again, it would be a good question for KBC.

Like

AK ji,
Thanks for your appreciation.
The history of every studio is equally interesting, I assure you.
Though I have not specifically mentioned where Alam Ara was released, I did mention that ALL films by Imperial were released in Majestic Theatre, as it was also owned by Ardeshir Irani himself.
Thanks again.
-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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