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

Koi Ummeed Bar Nahin Aati

Posted on: November 29, 2022


This article is written by Sudhir, 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 :

5247 Post No. : 17248

He was only 48 years old when he passed away in 1951. One of the pioneering luminaries of cinema in Bengal, as it was emerging in the 1920s and 30s, he was a multi skilled cinema person who was an actor, a producer, director, script writer, cinematographer, film editor, make-up specialist, lighting specialist – yes, quite a portfolio of skills.

Remembering Pramthesh Chandra Barua, on his remembrance day today. He passed away this day, in 1951.

Born on 24th October, 1903, he was the son of the royal family of Gauripur (in Assam). His school and college education happened in Calcutta. He got married at the age of 18, while still at college. Later in life, he would be married again twice. His third wife was actress Jamuna, who appeared opposite him in the Bengali version of ‘Devdas’ (1935) produced at New Theatres.

His introduction to the world of cinema was quite accidental. While at Shantiniketan, he got introduced to Dhirendranath Ganguly, who then introduced him to the fledgling films industry in Bengal. In 1926, he joined the film company British Dominion Films. His screen appearances start from 1929, as he appeared in ‘Panchashar’ (debut film) directed by Debaki Bose, and ‘Takay Ki Na Hay’ directed by Dhirendranath Ganguly.

His urge was to have his own studio and produce his own films. The opportunity came in 1930, when he had to travel to England for medical treatment. He obtained a letter of introduction from Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore for French film maker M Rogers. After his treatment in London, he met M Rogers in Paris, and learnt the skills of cinematography from him.  He also visited the Fox Studio and Elstree Studios in London and learned the techniques of lighting and scenario composition.

He returned to Calcutta (now Kolkata) with a load of camera and lighting equipment and set up the Barua Studio and Barua Film Unit. In 1931 he produced his first film ‘Apradhi’ which was directed by Debaki Bose. He played the lead role in this film. The film ‘Apradhi’ is a path breaking film for Indian cinema, from a technology perspective. This is the first film that was shot under artificial lighting. Prior to this experiment, the films were always shot using natural lighting. The use of artificial lighting also brought in the need to change the method of make-up of actors. It is notable that in the experimentation on lighting and make-up techniques, Barua wasted almost 50,000 feet of stock footage, and that in an era when raw stock was difficult to obtain, and was costly. But the film production brought in significant changes to the film making techniques and the technical know-how for film directors and cinematographers.

In 1932, he produced ‘Nisher Dak’ and ‘Ekada’. The latter was directed by Sushit Mazumdar, with story by Barua himself. He also appeared in the role of a villain in the film ‘Bhagyalaxmi’ produced by Indian Cinema Arts and directed by Kali Prasad Ghosh.

In 1932, he produced his first talkie film – ‘Bengal-1983’. It was a brave attempt by the young film maker to tackle a futuristic subject. The film was inaugurated by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. But the film turned out to be a commercial disaster, and Barua was forced to close down his studio due to financial difficulties.

In 1933, BN Sircar invited Barua to join New Theaters. With the skills at hand, and the encouraging environment at New Theatres, Barua excelled in his film making. New Theaters brought him to the zenith in his career as a film maker. His first directorial venture was ‘Rooplekha’ released in 1934. He played the lead role opposite to Uma Shashi. With this film, Barua introduced another new technique for the first time in Indian cinema – use of flashback for storytelling.

Then in 1935 came ‘Devdas’. Barua directed all the versions – the Hindi, Bangla and Assamese, and played the lead role in the Bangla version. Critically acclaimed, Barua’s portrayal of the tragic hero was so lively that it made him a legend. He was all but 32 years old at that juncture.

‘Devdas’ was an instant commercial success. It is hailed as the first social film to enjoy success and popularity as never before. From a technical perspective also, the film is rated very high – for the use of multiple techniques – close up, montage, wipe, dissolve, fade-in fad-out etc. The film also uses flashback and introduced a new technique – ‘intercut telepathy shot’.

In 1936 he directed ‘Manzil’ and in 1937 came ‘Mukti’. Both films were bold and much ahead of their times in terms of the subject matter. Taking off from ‘Devdas’, Barua explores the human relations and love triangles which are extremely poignant and thought provoking. The film ‘Mukti’ is notable in that it is a pioneering effort of outdoor shooting. A major part of the film is shot in the scenic outdoors of Assam. It took almost two decades for the rest of industry to become seriously interested in using outdoor shooting for storytelling.

In 1937, he directed ‘Rajat Jayanti’ which turned out to be a roaring riot of laughter. Considered as the first serious attempt at a full length comedy feature, this film was commercially and critically a success. In the same year, he also directed ‘Adhikar’, which is another path breaking film in that questioned the divisions in society and overtly advocated class struggle.

Bimal Roy and Phani Majumdar started their film careers working under Barua at New Theaters.

In 1940, after directing ‘Zindagi’ starring KL Saigal (coming together once again after ‘Devdas’ of 1935), Barua moved from New Theaters and started work once again as an independent and freelancer. Except for one or two, there are no notable films that came from his work in this period post New Theaters. One needs to mention ‘Shap Mukti’ (1940), which he directed for Krishna Movietone, ‘Jawaab’ (1942) which he directed for MP Productions, and ‘Shesh Uttar’ (1942) produced and directed by himself. It appears that Barua and New Theaters was the magic mix, which faded away when he moved out of New Theaters.

In this phase, he took to drinking heavily, and his health began to deteriorate. He passed away in 1951, on this date.

The song I present today is presumably not released on 78 rpm records. I present an edited clip extracted from the video of the film. Unfortunately, the first line of this rendition is not available in the original film clip that I have. On screen, this is actually a two part song that is listed as separate songs in the Geet Kosh. This song itself is a very thoughtful construction. The hero (Prashant, role played by Barua) is in a phase of depression. His earlier marriage with Chitra (role played by Kanan Devi) is a failed venture and post divorce he moves to rural Assam, where he stays in a local inn managed by Pahari (role played by Nawab), and his wife Jharna (role played by Menaka Devi). The couple takes to this depressed young man very kindly. Pahari and Prashant become very good friends.

A passage is shown where Prashant is off in the woods, and in his melancholic despair is singing two couplets from the original ghazal by Mirza Ghalib – ‘Koi Ummeed Bar Nahin Aati’. Incidentally Jharna is also close by, having come to fetch water from the river. She hears him sing these depressing lines, and then she responds with the second part of this song which is an effort to inspire and encourage the young man.

The notable thing is how the director has constructed this scenario. He takes two couplets from a famous ghazal of a legendary poet, and then attempts to juxtapose that against a positive and encouraging thought that answers to the points of despair raised in the original lines. The response is written by Aarzoo Lakhnavi, and is indeed a masterpiece in itself, as it tries to confront Mirza Ghalib, by showing the other side of the picture.

The music is composed by Pankaj Mullick. There is no mention about the identity of the singing voices. And I have indicated that as such below. Are these the voices of the on screen actors themselves? I do not know, and do not want to make an uninformed guess. I request our more knowledgeable readers to please help to identify and confirm the singing voices in this song.

Remembering PC Barua. An attempt to keep alive the memories of this multi skilled pioneer film maker, whose many path breaking contributions have enriched the film making technology and techniques. May these memories be sustained for the future generations.

Song – Koi Ummeed Bar Nahin Aati (Mukti) (1937) Singer – Unidentified Male Voice, Unidentified Female Voice, Lyrics – Ghalib, Aarzoo Lakhnavi, MD – Pankaj Mullick

Lyrics

[koi ummeed bar nahin aati]
koi surat nazar nahin aati
nahi aati

hum wahaan hain
jahaan se hum ko bhi
kuchh hamaari khabar nahin aati
marte hain aarzoo mein marne ki
maut aati hai
par nahin aati
nahin.. aati

hai gila kis ka
koi ummeed bar aa jaayegi
parde aankhon se utha
surat nazar aa jaayegi
parde aankhon se utha
surat nazar aa jaayegi

rakh tu be-aasi pe baaki
aas ka bhi silsila
tu kisi aalam mein bhi hoga
khabar aa jaayegi
tu kisi aalam mein bhi hoga
khabar aa jaayegi

hai museebat ki bhi ek hadd
is se ghabraana hi kya
ghabraana hi kya
maut ki to kya khabar
raahat magar aa jayegi
maut ki to kya khabar
raahat magar aa jayegi

————————————————
Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir Kapur)
————————————————

[कोई उम्मीद बर नहीं आती]
कोई सूरत नज़र नहीं आती
नहीं आती

हम वहाँ हैं
जहां से हम को भी
कुछ हमारी खबर नहीं आती
मरते हैं आरज़ू में मरने की
मौत आती है
पर नहीं आती
नहीं॰॰ आती

है गिला किसका
कोई उम्मीद बर आ जाएगी
पर्दे आँखों से उठा
सूरत नज़र आ जाएगी
पर्दे आँखों से उठा
सूरत नज़र आ जाएगी

रख तू बे-आसी पे बाकी
आस का भी सिलसिला
तू किसी आलम में भी होगा
खबर आ जाएगी
तू किसी आलम में भी होगा
खबर आ जाएगी

है मुसीबत की भी इक हद
इस से घबराना ही क्या
घबराना ही क्या
मौत की तो क्या खबर
राहत मगर आ जाएगी
मौत की तो क्या खबर
राहत मगर आ जाएगी

4 Responses to "Koi Ummeed Bar Nahin Aati"

What a lovely song. And I specifically like the natural sounds and voice of the singers. And the thoughts expressed in the song

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This blog already has a song sung by P C Barua from “Jawaab”(1942). https://atulsongaday.me/2013/12/16/balaayen-loon-main-us-dil-ki/.
In this article, written by Sadanand Kamath jee, he has mentioned that P C Barua has also sung a duet with Menka in “Mukti”(1937). so this song is iindeed sung by P C Barua and Menka.

Like

Yes.

Like

Dear Sudhir ji,

In point of fact there are 4(four) solos by Menaka in Mukti (1937).

Another point in passing is that PC Barua’s first wife was singer Meena Kapoor’s Mausi (mother’s elder sister) and it was to this extended Family that she went back to in Calcutta after her husband’s death.

With warm regards

PARTHA CHANDA

Liked by 1 person

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