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

Ye bade sahab ka topaa hai

Posted on: April 22, 2022


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 :

5026 Post No. : 16934

Today’s song is from the film Diwali-1940.

Going through the Film Index book, listing all Hindi films from 1931 to 2012, I was surprised to see that only one film was made with the title of Diwali. One more film was Diwali ki Raat-56. Similarly, only one film was made with the title Dussehra-1956. There are 2 films on Holi-1940 and 1984 while another was Holi ayee re of 1970. This is the end of Indian Festival films. 2 Films were made on Eid ka chaand in 1933 and 1964, Idd ka salaam-1976 and finally Idd Mubarak-1988.

I fail to understand, when so many films are made on Mythological stories, Gods, Arabian Night stories and Mughal Kings, why were the filmmakers disinterested in making films on Indian festivals ? It is ofcourse most unlikely, rather impossible, that any Indian producer will read my question and give a convincing answer. Likewise there are not many songs on Diwali or other festivals either. I found many songs on Holi and Rakhi, though. I don’t expect any explanation for this either !

I am not aware of the storyline or any other matter concerning today’s film. The film was made by Ranjit Movietone and was directed by Jayant Desai. Music was given by the inhouse MD- Khemchand Prakash. This was his first film with Ranjit. Before him Gyan Dutt was the resident MD who worked from 1937 to 1940. After Khemchand prakash left Ranjit, it was Bulo C Rani from 1945 onwards.

In the early era, Ranjit was one of the most powerful and famous filmmaking companies in India, boasting of famous and popular artistes on its payroll. owned by Chandulal Shah, Ranjit Movietone made,in all, 175 films during its existence. Calcutta’s New Theatres, however, stands tall at No.1 with 177 films to its credit.

Film Diwali-1940 had 13 songs, written by D N Madhok, Pt. Sudarshan and P L Santoshi, but HFGK does not credit any song to any Lyricist. The cast of the film was Motilal, Madhuri, Ishwarlal, Keshavrao Datey, Dikshit, Indubala, Suresh, Vasanti etc.etc. The name of Indubala is a misfit. She was a Bengali and did Hindi films mainly made by Calcutta producers in Calcutta and she acted during a period from 1932 to 1949. She sang 30 Hindi songs in 14 films She acted in 33 Hindi films. In most films, she did comic roles. Even in this film she is paired with comedian Dikshit ( of the Ghori-Dikshit pair of the 1930s films). Here is Indubala’s Biodata based on an article by Dr, J.P.Guha, with thanks to him.

Indubala’s mother was Rajabala, who along with sister Matibala and brother Tinkary worked in Motilal Bose’s The Great Bengal Circus, also known as Bose’s Circus or Professor Bose’s Circus. Harimati was the eldest sister of Rajabala and had a different life. Rajabala performed mainly as a trapeze artiste and got married to Motilal Bose at a temple in Ujjain, India. At the time he was then in his forties while Rajabala was still a teenager. The marriage was never accepted as legal by Motilal’s family. Motilal Bose’s first wife was Mrs. Annadamohini Devi.

Indubala was born in November, 1899 at Amritsar, where the circus party had gone for performance. Indu was born premature and Dr. Bidhumukhi Basu was taken to Amritsar from Calcutta to attend Rajbala. Such was the affection and concern of the husband for his young wife. Motilal’s interest in Rajbala dwindled later, supposedly because Rajbala showed no interest in going back to the circus after Indu’s birth and soon she was left to fend for herself. She came to Calcutta with her daughter and was given shelter by a Jiban Krishna Ghosh, who remained loyal to her till his death and also played a major role in establishing Indubala in her life as a performer. Once in Calcutta, Rajabala trained herself as a singer and Indubala’s first training in music was from her mother. The initial plan was to train Indu as a nurse and she was admitted as a trainee in a hospital in the Pataldanga locality of Calcutta. Indu did not take fancy in the job and ran away from the hospital, much to the disappointment of her mother, who never wanted her only daughter to be forced into a life of indignity.

After this incident Indubala’s musical training started. Although her father ignored wife Rajabala completely, he remained fond of his daughter and kept in touch with her and often invited her to his ancestral home where he lived during his brief visits to Calcutta and sent her a monthly pocket money of Rupees twenty till his death. Indubala’s first performance was at a gathering of distinguished guests where her mother was the chief entertainer. Each one of the guests appreciated Indu’s singing and thus began her formal training from Gouri Shankar Mishraji. Indu was only about twelve then. This also marked the entry of Indubala into the red light world. Amongst her trainers were Kali Prasad Mishra, Elaahi Bux and Miss Gauhar Jaan. Apart from music, Miss Gauhar Jaan, credited as Prima Donna of India, Indu also learned etiquette from the elder artiste and developed a close friendship with her. This association provided Indu with valuable musical knowledge and experience.

In later years she took training from Girin Chakraborty, Kamal Dasgupta, Subal Dasgupta, Jamiruddin Khan and Kazi Nazrul Islam. In time she came to be one of the major exponents of Nazrul songs and her songs along with those of Miss Angurbala and Kamala Jharia are still referred to for authenticity of lyrics and tunes of Nazrul songs. In 1916, Indubala recorded her first songs. She was brought into the record circle by Bhagabati Charan Bhattacharya and Mr. Manindra Nath Ghosh, alias Mantababu, himself a gramophone singer of repute. The first songs published as a record were Asha Phuraye Gelo, Sindhu Khambaj and Aar Mukhey Boley Ki Hobey, Kedara. The record number was P 4306. In the beginning she did not take any money from the Gramophone Company and as such was credited in the records as Miss Indubala (Amateur). She was not the first amateur artiste of the company but enjoyed the privilege of announcing her name at the end of each song saying “My name is Indubala”. The amateur status continued for a fairly long period. Later on she received Rupees two hundred per record and also received a royalty of five per cent over the sales. Her first songs of Nazrul on the disc were “Cheyona Sunayana” and “Rumjhum Rumjhum Ke Eley Nupur Paye”. The record number was P 11661. To Indubala also goes the credit of being the first Bengali artiste to record Hindustani songs for the Gramophone Company. For the Indian State Broadcasting Center, later named All India Radio, Indubala first sang on the second day of the radio company’s broadcasting in 1927 in Calcutta and went on singing in this medium for nearly fifty years. Over the radio, Indubala sang not only from Calcutta but from several other stations by special invitation all over India. Apart from discs and the radio, Indubala was well established by the thirties in cultural functions all over India. Frequent invitations used to come from Shahjahanpur, Pakur, Madras, Bangalore, Palanpur, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Oudh, Trivandrum, Vizagapattam, Ajmer, Coimbatore, Dacca and several other places.

In 1936 she was appointed court musician to His Highness, The Maharajah of Mysore. She received a monthly salary of Rupees two hundred and fifty and this continued till the time when the native princes faced withdrawal of privy purse. In all Indubala had recorded some two hundred and eighty songs, including about two hundred forty basic songs, the rest being from films. Indubala’s first stage appearance was in The Rambagan Female Kali Theatre, established by her mother Rajabala in 1922. Both mother and daughter took part in the plays and Indubala appeared in about twelve plays in this short-lived company which lasted for only two years and in 1924 she joined Calcutta’s most prestigious stage, The Star Theatre. She continued to appear on the stage mainly in singing roles and her songs were a major attraction in each of the plays. By rotation she acted in all the public theaters of Calcutta and even took part in the Hindi Parsee Theatre in 1945 and 1946, the plays being Ghar Ki Laaj and Jasoos. Her last appearance in the public stage was in the play Prithviraj in the role of Mehga at Star Theatre in 1950. Thereafter she worked in call shows till almost 1958.

Jamuna Puliney (1933) has been credited as her first film. This is probably because this was her first film contract although Ankh Ka Tara (1932) released before Jamuna Puliney. In all she acted in about forty eight films in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Tamil languages. In most of them, she had songs as a major attraction or else did comic roles as in Bengali Indira (1937) and Hindi Diwali (1940) to name a few. She did the role of Dhai Ma in both the versions of Swayamsiddha (1947). Thereafter she was not seen on the screen. As a playback singer she lent her voice in films like Alibaba (1937), Chandragupt (1934) in Hindi, Ab E Hayat (1933) in Urdu and Dil Ki Pyaas (1935) also in Urdu. She did not act in these four films. Indubala did not receive any major award apart from the Gold Disc given on behalf of His Master’s Voice. The government of India never considered her name for any award. The Sangeet Natak Academy however honoured her with a lifetime achievement award in 1975. The government of West Bengal, India however did arrange for a pension for which a lot of running about had to be done.

In personal life, Indubala was most humble and polite and bold in her behavior and was never ashamed to admit or discuss her origin. Even when established as a major singing artiste with an all India fame, she refused to move out to a respectable place leaving her residence in Rambagan, a notorious red light area of Calcutta. Indubala got herself involved in voluntary work for the uplift of fallen women and worked actively for their rights in society through various organizations, which were patronized by top political leaders of the time. She had some interesting hobbies like writing poetry and collecting perfumes.

Even at old age all the empty perfume bottles were kept within her view. She was fond of jewelry too and had a great collection, either purchased or gifted by admirers. These valuables vanished when she was too unwell to keep track of them. Her contemporary artiste Miss Angurbala was a close friend with whom she confided and shared the joys and sorrows of life and this friendship lasted till the very end. Indubala adopted a nephew of her mother’s friend Jiban Krishna Ghosh. The boy’s name was Pranab Ghosh. This foster son did not look after her mother very much when in old age Indubala suffered from conditions like cataract and then paralytic strokes. It was Dr. Badan Sengupta who made necessary arrangements for her treatment. She could not afford nursing homes and therefore was treated at state government hospitals in all occasions of illness.

The end came on the thirtieth day of November, 1984 after a prolonged illness during which again Dr. Badhan Sengupta looked after her as his own mother. Perhaps by coincidence her friend Angurbala died the same year.

Today’s song is sung by Vasanti and Suresh. Vasanti was a very well known and popular Child star. So was Suresh. However Suresh became an adult star in later years. I know of only 2 child artistes, who left the film world, though they were in great demand. First was Vasant, who got married at an appropriate age and left films. The second was Shashi Kapoor Sr. who quit a quite flourishing film career to pursue higher education. He spent his life as a Professor in an US University.

Let us now listen to the duet of Vasanti and Suresh.


Song- Ye bade sahab ka topa hai (Diwali)(1940) Singer- Vasanti, Suresh, Lyricist- Not known, MD- Khemchand Prakash

Lyrics

Ye bade sahab ka topa hai
ye memsaab ka baja
Ye bade sahab ka topa hai
ye memsaab ka baja
ye dholak Natthu dhobi ki
ye Kalkatte ka Raja
ye dholak Natthu dhobi ki
ye Kalkatte ka Raja

Ye bade sahab ka topa hai
ye memsaab ka baja
Ye bade sahab ka topa hai
ye memsaab ka baja
ye dholak Natthu dhobi ki
ye Kalkatte ka Raja
ye dholak Natthu dhobi ki
ye Kalkatte ka Raja

Raja ke ghar saab aaya
gitpit gitpit boley
Raja ke ghar saab aaya
gitpit gitpit boley
Raja Rani pade soch mein
kaun kiwaade kholey
Raja Rani pade soch mein
kaun kiwaade kholey

Natthu dhobi aaya re
Natthu dhobi aaya re
sang mein dholak laaya re
sang mein dholak laaya re

dhanak dhanak dhan dhanak dhanak dhan
dholak baaje re
dhanak dhanak dhan dhanak dhanak dhan
dholak baaje re
raja ke ghar topey waala
saath biraaje re
raja ke ghar topey waala
saath biraaje re

maange sodawater
oye
maange sodawater
Raja ?? baaje
Raja ?? baaje
maange sodawater
maange sodawater
Raja ?? baaje
Raja ?? baaje

haa aa ha ha ha ha aha
aah ha ha ha h ah
haa aa ha ha ha ha aha
aah ha ha ha h ah
haa aa ha ha ha ha aha
aah ha ha ha h ah
haa aa ha ha ha ha aha
aah ha ha ha h ah
hey

5 Responses to "Ye bade sahab ka topaa hai"

Thanks Arun ji for the rare information about Indubala

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Prakash ji,
Thanks.
-AD

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I remember reading names like MAHA SHIVRATRI, DURGA POOJA etc. Must be 60s and early 70s movies.

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Wasn’t there a NAG PANCHMI with Prathviraj Kapoor?

Like

drpradeepshetty87gmailcom ji,
These were all Mythological films. There were many like, for example Ekadashi etc. The decade of the 50’s is called Golden decade for Mythological films. It released 124 such films from 1951 to 1960, averaging 1 new film every month. However, films on our Festivals like Diwali, Dassera, Sankranti, Bhaidooj, New year, Holi, Rakhi etc, were not many at all.
-AD

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