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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 If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of, then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

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Today’s song is from a film Iqraar-42. The song is sung by Bulo C Rani, who became a Music Director himself in 1943. Music Director for this film was Khemchand Prakash. The film was directed by Manibhai Vyas. The 10 songs of the film were written by Pt. Indra and Munshi Dil. The cast of the film was, Madhuri, Motilal, Rama Shukul, Shanta Kashmiri,Bhagwandas, Tarabai, Bhoopat Rai and others.

Cut to….

Place- Shanmukhanand Hall,Mumbai
Date 7-2-1999
Time- 7 p.m.
Programme- Felicitation to ‘ Stars from the Silent Era’
Organisers- ” Amrut” and ” Cine Society of Bombay ”

The entire hall was overcrowded. Not only all the seats were occupied,but people were standing wherever possible. Everybody wanted to see the Two STARS on the stage-Jairaj and Madhuri. Both were in their late 80s,but looked radiant and smiling. For Madhuri it was a surprise,that the organisers found her out after living in oblivion for over 50 years. She was simply overwhelmed with the people’s affection and love. For Jairaj,these things were not new. He has been around all the time.

Madhuri and Jairaj were a Popular pair in Silent film era. They worked as a lead pair in 3 films, one each in 1930-Rasili Rani, 1931-Warrior from the wild and 1932-My Hero. They came together after almost 70 years,on this stage.

Like many others, Madhuri too was an Anglo Indian. Her name was Beryl Claessen. She was born on 3-11-1913 at Delhi. Her father was a big officer in Government. Her initial schooling took place in Nainital. She learnt music too,because she wanted to become a Music Teacher. However that she never became,but on a visit to Bombay she was picked up by producer Indulal Yagnik and she started acting in silent films.

Many Heroines in those days were Anglo-Indians, Europeans or Jew girls. Since silent films did not require speaking Hindi or Urdu ( or any language,for that matter),these girls were preferred, as Indian audience loved their fair colour (Gori Mem). Additionally,these girls did not hesitate to give intimate scenes like kissing or doing stunts themselves. Most girls knew Horse riding, fencing and fighting.

In 1928,there was a Silent film Madhuri, but actress Sulochana(Ruby Myers) did this role and in 1932 there was a Talkie film Madhuri,in which also Sulochana only did the role. When Talkie films era began most of the Anglo Indian girls became jobless, since they could not speak Hindi/Urdu nor could they sing a song-the two requirements for actresses in Talkie films. However, a few intelligent and professional actresses learnt Hindi/Urdu language speaking. Madhuri and Sabita Devi (Irene Gasper) were two such clever girls who achieved proficiency in these matters.

Madhuri was very beautiful. After doing 17 silent films,she made her debut in Talike films with ‘ Pardesi Preetam’-1933. Jaswantlal Nandlal directed his first film here. Her Hero was Raja Sandow. She did many films for Ranjit under the direction of Jayant Desai. From 1933 to 1942,she acted in 26 films. They were (not in order) Kashmeera,Mitti ka Putla,Noor e watan,Secretary,Lehri lala,Rangeela Raja,Sitamgarh,Prithviputra,Thokar,Raj Ramni,Diwali,Matlabi Duniya,Toofani Toli,Shama parwana,College Girl,Nadira,Veer babruvahan,Zamin ka chaand,Ban ki chidia,Toofan Mail,mehmanSasural,shadi and Ikrar. By the way, Iqrar – 42 was Madhuri’s last film.

In 1941, Madhuri got married and retired from Film line. After this she simply disappeared for next 50 years without a trace,till the organisers of above programme located her.

This film was made by the film producing machine of the Industry- Ranjit Movietone. The huge set up of the studio, having a galaxy of stars on its roll, had at one time, as many as 300 persons on its pay roll. Most of the workers used to live in studio premises or around it. The Government had opened a Ration shop in the studio campus, for the benefit of their families.

I said it was a film machine, because at a time 5 to 6 films’ shootings took place on the 6 floors of the studio and films for future were planned at the same time. As per a News item published in Film India Magazine of November 1942, the studio had films ready for release…Gauri, Chhoti Maa, Bhakta Surdas, Dukh Sukh, Fariyad, Andhera and Iqrar. The films on floor were Tansen, Vish kanya, Sati Parvati, Kalidas, Shrawan kumar, Rakhi and Jaydev. Due to this continuous activity, the studio staff was always busy and one could hearthe musical rehearsals from near the Music Department.

Like all studios, Ranjit too had a system of employing Music Directors on monthly basis for long terms. In 1942, it was Khemchand Prakash. Hailing from Sujanghar in Rajasthan, Kemchand Prakash, born on 12-12-1907, was an accomplished Kathak dancer and a classical singer. The earthy music of Rajasthan flowed in his veins and helped him infuse irresistible charm into his compositions.

He learned Dhrupad *gaayaki* from his father Govardhan Prasad. He then went to Nepal and lived there for eight years under the patronage of the Maharaja. His career in films began when, on his return, he joined New Theatres (Calcutta) as an assistant to Timir Baran on a monthly salary of Rs.120. When he left New Theatres in 1939 he was drawing Rs. 500 p.m.

As Baran’s assistant he was said to have composed Saigal’s “baalam aaye baso more nam me.n” (in Raag Kafi) and “dukh ke ab bitat nahin” (Raag Des) in’Devdas.’ He even enacted a comic scene and sang a song “lo khaa lo madam khaanaa” in ‘Street Singer’ at the suggestion of the director, Phani Majumdar.

Khemchand migrated to Bombay with Prithviraj Kapoor and Kidar Sharma in search of independent assignments and joined Ranjit Movietone. Khemchand was employed by Ranjit Movietone from 1940 to 1945, in place of Gyan Dutt who was in Ranjit from 1937 to 1940 ( 15 films). Khemchand gave music to 20 films in 5 years period. When he left Ranjit, his friend Bulo C. Rani joined in his place. However ,by that time Ranjit was already going downhill due to financial difficulties caused by the gambling of Sardar Chandulal Shah. With ‘Meri Ankhen’ (1939) he proved himself as an independent composer. Followed ‘Pardesi’, ‘Shaadi’, and ‘Umeed’in 1941 which gave him a firm foothold in the Bombay industry.

One of the most popular songs composed by him during the early phase was sung by Khurshid: “pahele jo mohabbat se inakaar kiyaa hotaa.” “But Khurshid,” recalls Pandit Jagannath Prasad, a cousin and close associate of Khemchand, “was reluctant to sing the song.” And an angry Khemchand gave her the ultimatum: “Sing or get out.”

Unwilling to offend acomposer of Khemchand’s calibre, Khurshid finallygave in and rendered the song. Khurshid had her own reason for hisitating to sing the song, which was a recognizable rehash of Begum Akhtar’s famous ghazal,”deevaana bannana hai to.” She didn’t want to risk a comparison with the great Begum, for she was never really sure of her own calibre as a singer. Ironically, “pahele jo mohabbat” brought her unprecedented laurels!

Khemchand had more hits in 1942–like ‘Chandni’ and’ Khilauna.’ But it was ‘Tansen’ (1943), which sent hsi stock soaring. Based on the immortal singer’s life, ‘Tansen’ inspired Khemchand to come out with a veritable feast of light classical songs, which pleased both the connoisseur and the uninitiated. The film paired Saigal, who had been lured to Bombay by monetary considerations, with Khurshid. And Khemchand gave them a wide range of hummable songs to sing. “more baalaapan ke saathi” (Khurshid,Saigal), “dukhiyaa jiyaraa” and “baraso re” (Raag Megh Malhar–Khurshid), “ghata ghan ghor ghor” (Raag Sarang–Khurshid), “rumjhum rumjhum chaal tihaari”(Raag Shankara–Saigal), “diyaa jalaao” (Raag Deepak–Saigal) and “sapt suran teen graam” (Raag Hameer in Dhrupad–Saigal) were all brilliant compositions, which contributed in a big way to the film’s commercial suceess.

Khemchand’s sway over the Hindi film music scene continued unabated even after the influx of the robust Punjabi brand of music. He stuck steadfastly to classical and Rajasthani folk music and ghazals. His compositions in ‘Bharthari’ (“chandaa des piyaake jaa”–Amirbai), ‘Bhanwara’ (“ham apanaa unhebanaa na sake”–Saigal) and ‘Shahenshah Babar'(“mohabbat me.n saara jahaan jal rahaa hai”–Khurshid) became a rage.

Khemchand was in trouble when the Ranjit boss,Chandulal Shah, started disapproving of his association with outside producers. (Prakash Pictures’ ‘Samaj Ko Badal Dalo’ and Filmistan’s ‘Sindoor.’). The rift came to a head when Shah refused to let Khemchand use a raw voice for a song. “I don’t want an unknown voice in my film.” Shah told off Khemchand. And Khemchand walked out of Ranjit Movietone. The “unknown voice” was young Lata Mangeshkar’s! (Lata had been recommended to Khemchand by Anil Biswas, and he took an instant liking for her mellifluous voice.)

From Ranjit, Khemchand went to Bombay Talkies to score the music for ‘Ziddi.’ The success of the film vindicated his stand on Lata. Lata’s rendering of “chandaa re jaa re jaa re” based on a Rajasthani folk song “kaagaa re jaa re jaa re” was unanimously acclaimed.

‘Ziddi’ launched another eventful career–that of Kishore Kumar’s. In spite of his reputation as a ‘master yodeller’ and a singer of the frothy, light numbers, Kishore invariably excelled as a singer of sad songs. Khemchand Prakash was the first to discover this talent in Kishore. Besides the sad ‘Ziddi’ number (“marne ki duvaaye.n kyaa maangu”), he gave him another pathos-ridden song in ‘Rimjhim’ (jag mag jag mag kartaa nikalaa chaand poonam ka pyaara”).

A line in the song–“meri chaandani bichhad gayi mere ghar mein huaa andhiyaara”–proved ominously prophetic a fortnight after he’d composed the song, when his wife died, which made him a sad, lonely man, and perhaps accounted for the pathos recurring in his later compositions.

Nevertheless, Khemchand wore the facade of a ready-witted jovial person. He had an incorrigible weakness for good food and liquor. In his while dhoti and silk kurta, he was often mistaken for a rich Marwari, while he actually led a frugal existence. At Ranjit Novietone, Khemchand was paid Rs. 100 p.m. When he composed music for his last film at Bombay Talkies, he drew a salary of Rs.1,500. Producers for whom he freelanced seldom paid him his dues in spite of making the best use of his exceptional talent. Once, to collect the two thousand rupees Kishore Sahu owed him, he told the producer-director that he needed the money desperately to perform the last rites of his grandmother. When lyricist Bharat Vyas heard of this ‘bereavement’, he went to Khemchand to offer his condolences. The composer smiled wryly and said, “My grandmother is 90 and fit as a fiddle. I have been ‘killing’ her again and again only to collect my dues from the producers.”

In spite of his meagre earnings, Khemchand was a large-hearted man. He went out of his way to present a radio set to the general ward of Bombay’s K.E.M. Hospital where he had once undergone treatment. (“The antique piece is still working,” says his now physician, Dr. Hindlekar).

Khemchand never allowed his financial worries to affect his creativity. He exhibited his versatility in every composition of his of his–whether it was based on a classical raag (“kukat koyaliyaa kunjan mein”/raag Sarang/Kajjan/’Bharthari’); a Rajasthani folk tune (“silvaa de re sajanavaa mohe/Paro, SushilSahu/’Sindoor’); a ghazal (“dil lagaane mein kuchhmazaa hi nahin”/Khurshid/’Shahenshah Babar’); abhajan (“prabhu ke gun gaaoon main”/Khurshid,chorus/’Shadi’); a romantic song (“ye kaun aaj aayaare”/Kishore, Lata/’Ziddi’); or a heart-reding musical wail (“o roothe hue bhagavaan tum ko kaisemanaaoon”/Amirbai/’Sindoor’). Even as his stock went up as a musician and he came to be acknowledged as one of the best ever composers the film industry had known, Khemchand suffered an acute feeling of loneliness towards the later stages of his career after his wife’s sudden demise, and he began drowning himself in liquor.

During this phase, when he was hospitalized for abdominal ailment, he fell in love with a pretty nurse, Sridevi, who was to be his inspiration in times to come. Khemchand was in poor health when,unexpectedly, Kamal Amrohi assigned the music of Bombay Talkies’ ‘Mahal’ to him. Ashok Kumar had just come back to take over the reins of Bombay Talkies in a desperate attempt to prevent a great institution from crumbling. But the choice of Khemchand as the music director raked up a controversy, as doubts were raised about his about his ability to meet the needs of a changing breed of filmgoers. The music scene in the Bombay film industry had begun to change with breezy, catchy tunes taking over from the slow, classically oriented numbers. The rhythmic, rustic and fast-paced Punjabi folk music was becoming immensely popular. Would the ‘slow’ style of Khemchand suit the changing scene? When he heard the *mukhda* of”aayega aanevaala” in its formative stages, one of the producers of Bombay Talkies, Savak Vachcha, lost his temper, and asked Khemchand, “But when will it(the song) come?” (referring to “aayega” which is repeated five times in the song.) In his faltering Hindi the genial Parsi is said to have asked, “Aap to ‘aayega, aayega’ karte hain, vo aanevaala kidhar hai?”, which provoked the composer to walk out of the room in a fit of fury.

Sometime ago when Kamal Amrohi (who directed’Mahal’) was asked as to what had influenced the choice of Khemchand Prakash for the film, the 69-year old veteran said, “I’d been greatly impressed by Khemchand’s talent when he was with Ranjit. There was always an undercurrent of pathos in his music which reminded me of *marsia* (a dirge) and *noha*(the mournful songs of Moharrum). But he was reluctant to work with me because of my abusive tongue. When I wrote the first part (“khaamosh hai zamaane..”) of “aayega aanevaala”–the rest of the song was written by Nakhshab–and showed it to him,he instantly moved his fingers on the harmonium and played a tune… and I approved it on the spot. Though Nakhshab was angry with me for accepting the very first tune, Khemchand was relieved that I wasn’t so difficult a person after all! Nobody at Bombay Talkies, barring me, was confident of the success of ‘Mahal’ or its songs.”

The film and its music, however, went on to make history. “aayega aanevaala”, based on a Rajasthani folk tune, not only became the film’s major draw,but has remained a perennial favourite of music lovers. The song also opened floodgate of opportunities for Lata Mangeshkar.

Rajkumari, Khemchand’s favourite singer, also sang five memorable songs in ‘Mahal’ (including”ghabaraake jo ham sar ko” and “haaye mera dil”). Though, unfortunately, one of them (“suno mere nainaa”) had to be deleted from the film.

When ‘Mahal’ was released on October 13, 1950 at Bombay’s Roxy cinema to overwhelming response, Khemchand Prakash wasn’t alive to see the fruits of his labour. He had died two months earlier at the Harikisondas Hospital–on August 10, 1950–at the young age of 42.

At the time of his death, Sridevi was beside him. As she wasn’t married to Khemchand and had no legal rights over what he’d left behind, she was left high and dry.

Today, many years after Khemchand’s death, nothing seems to have changed for Sridevi. She still lives in the past, on the pavements of Borivli. Khemchand’s old physician, Dr. Hindlekar, still treats her with great care, but she’s no longer in a position to respond to anybody’s sympathy. The only sound which brings her back to ‘life’ is the strains of “aayega aanevaala.” Whenever she hears the song she stands still on the road, clutching at her only possession–a small sack of clothes and memories of a ‘melodious’ time.

( adapted from articles by Nalin Shah, Satish Chopra, Pankaj Raag and my notes, HFGK, MuVyz and Mid Day 12-2-1999.

Thanks to Harish Raghuwanshi ji )

I have not seen this film and I do not know its theme. However, from a photo with comments in Film India magazine, it can be presumed that the film was a Love Triangle film. Two friends, Motilal and Rama Shukul vying for the same girl Madhuri. In the process they distance themselves from each others and Madhuri tries to bring them together again. One of the actors in this film is Tarabai. She was the elder sister of Sitara Devi and mother of famous Dancer Gopi Krishna. After marriage with Marutirao Pehelwan, she fell on bad days and started working sundry roles in films. Later on her condition became worse and she used to live in Bombay’s slums. Another actor Bhagwan das, who did small roles in films, became a big time producer, later on and then became a pauper also. He had married actress Poornima. One of the 10 songs of this film is sung by one Master Vithal. He was not that Vithal who acted in Aalam Ara-31-India’s first Talkie. This master Vithal was a professional singer from Sholapur.

Today’s song is sung by Bulo C Rani (6-5-1920 to 24-5-1993). He gave music to 71 films composing 574 songs. He sang 37 songs in 19 films also. His end was terrible. He committed suicide by burning himself in his house. Bulo C Rani had joined Ranjit after Khemchand Prakash left in 1945, but by that time, Ranjit was already drowning.

This song is a very slow paced song and I feel it has inspired some other popular song from some later film, but I am unable to pinpoint the song.

Song-Muhabbat mein luta dee apne haathon zindagi apni(Iqraar)(1942) Singer- Bulo C Rani, Lyrics- Not specified, MD- Khemchand Prakash


Muhabbat mein luta dee
apne haathon zindagi apni
Muhabbat mein luta dee
apne haathon zindagi apni
dil apna
aarzoo apni
hansi apni
khushi apni
dil apna
aarzoo apni
hansi apni
khushi apni

meri ghamgheen raaton mein
ujaala bhi andhera hai
meri ghamgheen raaton mein
ujaala bhi andhera hai
unhi ke bazm mein ae shamma
le ja raushni apni
unhi ke bazm mein ae shamma
le ja raushni apni

main barbaad e tamanna hoon
main naakaam e muhabbat hoon oon oon
main barbaad e tamanna hoon
main naakaam e muhabbat
muhabbat ke haseen waadon pe duniya
ro rahi apni
muhabbat ke haseen waadon pe duniya
ro rahi apni

tamanna thhi ki shaam e gham
tamanna thhi ki shaam e gham
kabhi saahil pe ?? hote ae ae ae ae ae
tumhaari qaid hoti aur ?? apni
muhabbat mein ??

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Today, May 24, 2017 is the Remembrance Day of Bulo C Rani,  the music director and the singer who left this day 24 years ago under unfortunate circumstances. A contemporary of music directors like Anil Biswas, Ghulam Haider, Naushad, C Ramchandra and Khemchand  Prakash, it is a sad commentary on Hindi film industry that Bulo C Rani could not attain the stature of these music directors. And this is despite the fact that he was associated with the Hindi film industry for over 2 decades and had churned out some immortal compositions.
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