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Archive for the ‘Padma Devi Master Nisar Duet’ Category

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 sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 3564 Post No. : 14287

Today’s song is from the film ‘Kisaan Kanya’ from 1937. This movie is famous for being the first indegenuously made colour film of India, by Ardeshir Irani’s Imperial Film Company. Film pioneer Irani was also the first to make an international co-production, with Italy – the film ‘Nala Damayanti’ – a silent film of 1920. Secondly, and more importantly, he also holds the honour of making and releasing India’s first talkie film ‘Alam Ara’ in 1931. And with film ‘Kisaan 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 in 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 he saved on many days of shootings and recordings. His film, ‘Alam Ara’ was released on 14-3-1931. Madon could only release their first talkie film ‘Shirin Farhad’ on 30-5-1931, two and a half months later !

Similarly, Irani studied why Prabhat’s first colour film ‘Sairandhri’ from 1933 failed technically. So when he planned ‘Kisaan Kanya’, he decided to do all technical processes in India. Thus his colour film came out much better than Prabhat’s film. Ashok Raj, in his book ‘Hero-I’, writes the following about Ardeshir Irani.

Irani perhaps was the world’s first multilingual film maker, having made forays into English, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Persian, Burmese, Indonesian and Pushto. 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.

The first song from ‘Kisaan Kanya’ has recently been discussed on our blog, by our Sadanand Kamath ji, so I will not go into its details like story etc. Instead, I will discuss about 3 important persons connected with this film – namely Master Nisar, Padma Devi and Ram Gopal Pande.

Master Nisar was the most popular hero of the early talkie films. He was also one of the most highly paid stars of that era. His popularity was such – it is said that once due to a very large crowd gathered to see him, the Governor of Bengal was forced to divert his car to another road ! When Master Nisar went to Nashik for shooting Bhavnani’s film, he had to be kept closed in a room of his hotel to avoid his fans and hunters from other film companies, who would try to abduct him ! This same person, who enjoyed fame, name, money and fan following once, had to spend his last days in misery, poverty, neglect and pitiable conditions in a one room tenement in a Kamathipura chawl with few aluminum pots and a box full of photographs. During his heydays, he had learnt the art of massaging, as a hobby. This very art came to his help in his last days and he used to work as a masseur and earn few rupees sometimes.

Film historian Isak Mujawar has written in his book ‘Flashback-II’ about several instances of his later years. Here are two of them. When film ‘Do Bigha Zameen’ (1953) was being made, Bimal Roy wanted a masseur for a scene in which the Zamindar (Ulhas) is getting a body massage. Bimal da asked his the then manager Jugal Kishore (who later on became an actor, director and producer) to bring a masseur having solid physique. When Jugal Kishore brought  a very thin, emaciated looking person, Bimal da was very upset. When Jugal Kishore told him that he was Master Nissar, Bimal da was moved and gave him the role.

Those who have seen film ‘Guddi’ (1971), there is a scene in which a lanky, thin person is massaging Om Prakash. Dharmendra tells Guddi, “Do you know who he is ? Master Nissar, one time a great actor who was popular and very rich. Film line is such that riches to rags stories are very common here”. In his final days, Nisar was seen begging on roads.

Nissar Ali Mohammed Ali was born on 5-3-1902 in Delhi. His uncle brought him to Bhopal, when he was 10 year old. Nisar started singing and acting in his uncle’s drama company for Rs. 15 pm. He learnt music from Pt. Betab and Ustaad Jhande Khan. After few roles of girls and heroines, he got a hero’s role in Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s dramas, due to his good looks, fluent Urdu and singing skill.

He joined Madon Theatres for their dramas. When Madon decided to make their drama ‘Shirin Farhad’ into a talkie film, their first choice for hero was Nisar. Jahan Ara Kajjan was called from Bhagalpur, Bihar for the heroine’s role. The pair became very popular. People became mad after Nisar’s songs. The pair proved to be a gold mine They acted in 8 films together. Their songs became a rage all over India.

Master Nisar shifted to Bombay and joined Bhavnani Films at a salary of Rs. 3000 pm, a princely sum in those days. He was the first person in the industry to own a Rolls Royce car. His heroines were many like Padma Devi, Zebunnisa, Bibbo, Haseena, Sardar Akhtar, Kanta etc. He also acted in India’s first home made colour film ‘Kisaan Kanya’ (1937). This was also his last film as a hero. In the wake of the rise of Saigal, Ashok kumar, Surendra etc., in comparison his acting was very theatrical and it paled before the newer heroes. He shifted to character roles after being a hero in 45 films. In all, he appeared in 75 films during his career. The situation came that he would take whatever role came his way.

Master Nisar married 4 times. His first wife served him lovingly till the end. He survived by doing small and sometimes even un-credited roles like extras. He was friendly with Dilip Kumar, so he got small roles in his films. His style suited qawwaalis and he featured in many well known films like ‘Azaad’, ‘Barsat Ki Ek Raat’ etc. He is seen as the on screen lead singer in the qawwaali “Aaj Kyon Hum Se Parda Hai” in the film ‘Sadhna’ (1958). The writer of the qawwaali, Sahir Ludhianvi, came across Master Nisar, begging on the roadside. On recognizing him, he immediately hugged him, and took him to the office of BR Films. He introduced him to BR Chopra, and got him the role.

Nisar was a religious person and performed Namaaz five times a day. He had no bad habits like smoking or drinking or gambling, still he spent life in penury. Being a self respecting person, he never asked for roles from anyone. Born poor, lived rich and died poor. Master Nisar died on 13-7-1980. It is said that his neighbours collected money for his burial.

One of Master Nisar’s heroines was Padma Devi in some films. She was a Bengali actress named Neelima. She made her debut in silent films with ‘Sea God’, a 1931 production from Saroj Films. She acted in about 15 silent films. While moving to the talkie films, she had difficulty with her diction and singing in Hindi language. But she overcame this with grit and determination, and learnt all this. She did all this while working in films like ‘Laal e Yaman’, ‘Kurukshetra’, ‘Prithviraj Sanyogita’ etc. (all films from 1933).

She was introduced to Baburao Patel and in no time they became ‘special friends’. Baburao cast her as a heroine in 4 films in his own Gandharva Cinetone company. She became a part of his office and personal life too. However after Susheela Rani’s entry as Baburao’s secretary, she was pushed first aside and then outside. She returned to Calcutta in 1946 and appeared in many films in character roles. She returned to Bombay in 1961 and was seen in smaller roles in Hindi films till late 1970s. Her last film seems to be in 1979.

The music for ‘Kisaan Kanya’ was composed by Ram Gopal Pande, who was variously credited as RG Pande, Ram Gopal, Ram Gopal Pandey etc. He hailed from UP. After unsuccessfully trying to become a singer, he became assistant to many well known composers and learned their methods. His first break came in 1936 with ‘Matwaali Jogan’ aka ‘A Girl From Lahore’ (directed by K Amarnath). Then he was called by Ardeshir Irani at Imperial Film Company for their first colour film. Master Nisar and Padma Devi’s songs became popular, so he was given two more films viz., ‘Mere Laal’ (1937) and ‘Vasant Bangalee’ (1938).

Then in 1938, came Mother India, ‘Actress Kyon Bani’ (1939), ‘Flying Rani’ (1939), ‘Perfect Man’ (1938), Daughters of India’ (1939) and ‘Chalti Duniya’ (1940). He was then connected with Mohan Pictures and did 10 movies for them. His last film seems to be ‘Angoorbala’ in 1947. He was left behind as his music was stage and drama type only – he did not change his style.

Today’s song is First song of Master Nisar on our blog making a debut as a singer. After hearing his singing, one can get an idea about the public taste in the early 1930s and one wonders how they became so popular. One incident of his popularity – In 1954-55, when Master Nisar was in Coimbtore for shooting of film ‘Azaad’ (1955), he along with others went to the market for shopping. There they met one lady and talk started about songs of early era. She said, “I used to like Master Nisar’s songs, but after he died, I gave up listening to songs.” All were stunned. Then Master Nisar introduced himself to her. She was so pleased that she invited all the visitors from Bombay for a party in Nisar’s honour, with the promise that in return, he had to sing for her!

Let us now enjoy Master Nisar and Padma Devi song from ‘Kisaan Kanya’. It was uploaded by Shalin Bhatt ji only on 16th March 2018. Thanks, Shalin ji.

[Author’s Note: Acknowledgements and thanks – The above write up refers to and has adapted material from ‘Beete Huye Kal Ke Sitaare’ by Shri Shriram Tamrakar, ‘Hero-1’ by Ashok Raj, Isak Mujavar’s books, Prof. Yadav’s book, muVyz,, HFGK, Listener’s Bulletin, Encyclopedia of Indian Films and my own notes.]


Song – Aisa Nagar Basaaya Jis Mein Swarg Utar Kar Aaya (Kisan Kanya) (1937) Singer – Padma Devi, Master Nissar, Lyrics – [Unattributed], Music – Ram Gopal Pandey

Lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)

aisa nagar basaaya
aisa nagar basaaya
jis mein swarg utar kar aaya
jis mein swarg utar kar aaya

aisa nagar basaaya

jahaan subeh ki kirnen aa kar
sona hans barsaayen
yahaan pe pahunche
premi bhanware
amar geet nit gaayen
chahun or sunehri gun paaya hum ne
aisa nagar basaaya
aisa nagar basaaya

is soney ke preet nagar ke
hum donon hain bhikhaari
jab tak suraj chaand rahenge
tab tak preeti hamaari
aisa vardaan hai paaya hum ne
aisa nagar basaaya
aisa nagar basaaya
jis mein swarg utar kar aaya
aisa nagar basaaya
aisa nagar basaaya

Hindi script lyrics (Provided by Sudhir)

ऐसा नगर बसाया
ऐसा नगर बसाया
जिस में स्वर्ग उतर कर आया
जिस में स्वर्ग उतर कर आया

ऐसा नगर बसाया

जहां सुबह की किरणें आ कर
सोना हंस बरसाएँ
यहाँ पे पहुंचे प्रेमी भँवरे
अमर गीत नित गायें
चहुं ओर सुनहरी गुण पाया हम ने
ऐसा नगर बसाया
ऐसा नगर बसाया

इस सोने के प्रीत नगर के
हम दोनों हैं भिखारी
जब तक सूरज चाँद रहेंगे
तब तक प्रीति हमारी
ऐसा वरदान है पाया हम ने
ऐसा नगर बसाया
ऐसा नगर बसाया
जिस में स्वर्ग उतर कर आया
ऐसा नगर बसाया
ऐसा नगर बसाया

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