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

Archive for the ‘Songs of 1930s (1931 to 1940)’ Category


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 :

4899 Post No. : 16701

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No. 10
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Today this series ends with a song from film Durga-1939. No prizes for guessing the name of the star of today’s post. Of course it is Durga Khote. Though she was not a part of this film, still I chose her, because lovers of old films know her too well, but as she ended her career almost 40 years ago, readers in the age group of 50-60 may not know her too well.

Film Durga – 1939 was made by Bombay Talkies, owned by Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai. The cast of the film Durga-39 consisted of Devika Rani, Rama Shukul, V H Desai, Mumtaz Ali, Peethawala, Saroj Borkar, Balwant singh, Lalita Deulkar etc. The film was directed by Franz Osten and the music was by Saraswati Devi. The year was 1939 and inits month of September, the World War started. It did affect Indian film industry too, but the effects were felt from 1940 onwards. In 1939, the industry was trying to free itself from the shackles of stage drama type music, an unnecessary stress on making films on Mythology and Folk tales and old styles of loud acting. New blood had flown in, replacing the spill over of silent movie actors and themes.

The year was 1939 and the British Government had declared war against Germany and Japan, as soon as the WW II began. All countries ruled by Britain were – willingly or unwillingly, drawn into the war efforts and its effects. The war began in the month of September and soon various restrictions came into operation – like rationing, blackouts, shortages etc. The film industry which was still under its development stage suffered. It also realised the importance of remaining united as one industry. However, all that came after 1 or 2 years. In 1939 there was not much effect seen on the film industry.

The industry had its own problems. In spite of the playback system in operation, their problem was that because there was no technique of recording from the film negative yet, the singers had to sing twice. Once for the actual film shooting of the song, and later, with the same set of orchestra, for commercial records. Sometimes, the original singer was not available due to any reason, some other singer had to sing for commercial records. Thus we have many such examples, where the singer in the film song and the record is different. However, this problem continued only till mid 50’s when the Tape and the required technique became available. With just one time recording, the film and commercial recording were taken care of.

Khemchand Prakash. K.Datta (Datta Koregaonkar), Rafiq Ghaznavi and Anupam Ghatak made their Debut as Music Directors. Kavi Pradeep wrote his first film song for film Kangan. In 1939, 2 most Unusual songs were presented, for the first time ( and this record is not yet broken even after more than 80 years.). One was a Multi-Lingual song from film Aadmi-39, a film by Prabhat….Kis liye kal ki baat. This song was in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Tamil and Telugu. ( In its Marathi film version-” माणूस “, this song was only in one language-Marathi.) Different Lyricists and MDs were used for each language. The song became very popular.

Second unusual song was from film ‘ Ghareeb ka Laal’-1939. The song lyrics had the names of 32 artistes, operating in Hindi films that time. Top Heroes and Heroines were mentioned in this song. The beginning of the song was ” Tuze Bibbo kahoon ya Sulochana, Uma shashi kahoon ki Jamuna “. This song was sung by the comedian Mirza Musharraf. In later years many songs with film artistes’ names came but none had so many names. Thus this record is still unbroken, in case of both songs.

Besides these songs, let us quickly take a look at some films of 1939….

Aadmi – Prabhat’s hit film, a remake of the Marathi film ” माणूस “. It had some good songs by Shanta Hublikar, Sundarabai Jadhav and Ram Marathe.

Adhuri Kahani – a trend of Tragedy films set by the effect of film ‘Devdas’. All the 3 main characters of this film commit suicide in the end.

Badi Didi – A New Theatres film.

Brandy ki Botal – Master Vinayak’s comedy remake of Marathi film ‘ ब्रॅंडीची बाटली ‘.

Dil hi to hai – Debut of Kidar Sharma as a Director and Ramola as a Heroine in a Hindi film.

Dushman – New Theatres’ film of Saigal, with only his 4 songs.

Ek hi Raasta – Sagar presents first film with 3 Heroes in one film.

Ghazi Salauddin – Debut of Khemchand Prakash as M.D.

Hukum ka Ikka – First film with a Triple role by Umakant Desai ( who later specialised as Lakshman in 7 films, including Ramrajya-43).

Imaandaar – Debut of actress Shamim Akhtar.

India in Africa – This was the First Hindi film to be shot abroad (in Africa). The Hero B. Nandrekar had also gone to Africa for its shooting. Naaz-54 was not the first such film, though HFGK mentions it so.( Ref – pp 69, Maharashtra-The Birthplace of Indian cinema by Isak Mujawar)

Kangan – First of the 4 Hit films of Ashok kumar and Leela Chitnis, made by Bombay Talkies. Kavi Pradeep’s Debut as a Lyricist in this film.

Kapal kundala – New Theatres. Pankaj mullick’s hit song ‘ Piya milan ko jaana ‘.

Leather Face – Debut of Meena kumari as a child artiste.

Navjeevan – Debut of Hansa Wadkar as a Heroine- Bombay Talkies film.

Pukar – Hit film from Minerva Movietone. Naseem Bano sings ” Zindagi ka saaz bhi kya saaz hai….”

As stated in the beginning, today’s star is Durga Khote. She was one of the most respected artistes from the early cinema. In her glorious and non-controversial career of over 50 years, she acted in 183 films and sang 35 songs in 14 early cinemas. At the end of her career, she wrote her autobiography in Marathi ” मी दुर्गा खोटे “, which was later translated into English by Shanta Gokhale. This book ( along with ” चंदेरी दुनियेत ” by Leela Chitnis ) is an authentic chronicle of Indian film industry development from infancy to adulthood, in addition to personal details.

Durga Khote (14 January 1905 − 22 September 1991) was one of the foremost leading ladies of her times, she remained active in Hindi and Marathi cinema, as well as theatre, for over 50 years, starring in 182 Hindi films and numerous theatre productions. In 2000, in a millennium issue, India Today named her among “100 People Who Shaped India”, noting: “Durga Khote marks the pioneering phase for women in Indian Cinema” as she was one of the first women from respectable families to enter the film industry, thus breaking a social taboo.

She also ranks among the top ten actresses in mother roles in Hindi cinema, most notable among them were as Jodhabai in K. Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam (1960); as Kaikeyi in Vijay Bhatt’s classic Bharat Milap (1942); her other memorable roles as mother were in Charnon Ki Dasi (1941); Mirza Ghalib; Bobby (1973) and Bidaai (1974). She has received the highest award in Indian cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1983), for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.

Khote was born as Vitha Lad, to a family which hailed from Goa and spoke Konkani at home. Her father’s name was Pandurang Shamrao Lad and her mother’s name was Manjulabai. She grew up in a large joint family in Kandewadi. She was educated at Cathedral High School and St. Xavier’s College where she studied for B.A. While still a college-going teenager, she married into the Khote family and settled down with her husband. By the age of 26, Durga Khote was a widowed mother with two young sons; Bakul and Harin. She had to seek work in film to support her children. In doing so, she became a pioneer of sorts: She hailed from a traditional family and the film industry was regarded as the preserve of the base and the bawdy. Also, most of the female characters were played by men at the time.

Durga Khote debuted in a minor role in the obscure 1931 Talkie film Farebi Jaal or trapped, by M. Bhavnani. She had to sing 3 songs also in this film. Followed by Maya Machindra (1932) by Prabhat Film company.. She was soon promoted to play heroine in the 1932 double version (Hindi and Marathi) Ayodhyecha Raja, another Prabhat film, which was the first ever Marathi talkie, and proved to be a runaway hit, where she played the role of Rani Taramati. Indeed, she ventured yet another pioneering trend: Despite working closely with the Prabhat Film Company, she broke away from the “studio system” (exclusive contract with a studio to work in its films on a monthly salary) then in vogue and became one of the first “freelance” artistes of that era by working occasionally with the New Theatres, East India Film Co. (both at Calcutta), and Prakash Pictures.

In 1936, she played Saudamini in Amar Jyoti, which is one of her most memorable roles. The characters played by her were very much like her regal personality and she commanded a screen presence even in front of legendary actors like Chandra Mohan, Sohrab Modi and Prithviraj Kapoor. In 1937, she produced and directed a film titled Saathi ( Sawangadi in Marathi), making her one of the first women to step into this role in Indian cinema. The 40s opened for her in a big way, with award-winning performances in Aacharya Atre’s Payachi Dasi (Marathi) and Charnon Ki Dasi (Hindi) (1941) and Vijay Bhatt’s classic Bharat Milap (1942), both of which got her the BFJA Best Actress Award for two consecutive years.

Durga Khote remained active in the theatre circuit for many years, especially the Marathi theatre in Mumbai. She was actively associated with the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) and worked in several plays for the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh. In 1954, she famously performed the role of Lady Macbeth in V.V. Shirwadkar’s Marathi adaptations of Macbeth, as Rajmukut, (The Royal Crown), along with Nanasaheb Phatak.

Durga Khote played a wide variety of roles over a career that was not only long, but also untouched by scandal. She was the inspiration for several generations of Indian actresses, including veterans such as the late Shobhna Samarth, who frequently spoke of how she had been inspired by Khote’s example. During later years, she played several important character roles, such as the mother of the protagonist. Her portrayal of Jodhabai, the queen of Akbar torn between duty towards her husband and love towards her son in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) was well received. In 1963, she acted in Merchant Ivory’s debut film The Householder (1963).

She went on to play other widely appreciated character roles in later movies, such as the role of the grandmother of the heroine in Bobby (1973), the hero’s aunt in Abhimaan (1973), and the very memorable Bidaai (1974), where she played a mother, a very sensitive role that can make one cry and received the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Her final memorable role was in Subhash Ghai’s Karz (1980), where she played the role of the mother of Raj Kiran and later, mother to Rishi Kapoor, who played the role of Raj Kiran’s reincarnation after the screen death of Raj Kiran in the movie.

She acted in 182 Hindi films in her career. Her last film as an actress was Daulat ka Dushman-1983. She had also sung 32 songs in 13 films. Her last song was in the film Panna Dai-1945. By the 1980s she successfully diversified into production of short films, ad films and documentaries by setting up Fact Films and later, Durga Khote Productions, which produced the Doordarshan TV series Wagle Ki Duniya.

Durga Khote was married when she was a teenager to Vishwanath Khote, a gentleman of her own caste and similar social background, in a match arranged by their parents in the usual Indian manner. It was a traditional marriage into an orthodox family, the couple lived a harmonious and happy life, and the marriage was blessed with two sons. Vishwanath was a mechanical engineer who had graduated from Banaras Hindu University. His family was upper middle class and professional, with modern English education and high social standing; his ancestors had been prominent bankers.

Unfortunately, Vishwanath Khote died young, when Durga was barely into her 20s. She and her sons continued to reside with her in-laws, as is traditional in India, but she was not comfortable with her dependent position, especially because her father-in-law was no more, and they were dependent on other family members for their expenses. She thus felt impelled to make a living any which way she could, and the opening in films happened entirely by chance. The fact that she came from a modern and English-educated family meant that, even as a widow, she was able to act in films, which was derided as a disreputable profession in those days.

She thus raised her two sons, Bakul and Harin, single-handedly. Both of them went on to become well-settled in life. But she suffered the loss of her son Harin, who predeceased her and died in his 40s. Harin was married to Vijaya Jaywant, and they were the parents of two sons. After Harin’s early death, his widow married a Parsi man named Farrokh Mehta and became famous as the film-maker Vijaya Mehta.

Durga Khote’s grandchildren (children of Bakul and Harin) include her grandson Ravi, a filmmaker; granddaughter Anjali Khote, an actress; and grandson Deven Khote, a successful producer who is one of the co-founders of UTV, and who has also directed a film. Deven Khote is noted for producing films such as Jodhaa Akbar and Life in a Metro.

Durga Khote’s brother-in-law, Nandu Khote (brother of Vishwanath), was a noted stage and silent movie actor. Two of Nandu’s children also became actors in the film industry. His son Viju Khote (1941-2019) was an actor perhaps best known for his role of “Kalia” in Sholay (1975). Nandu’s daughter is the actress Shubha Khote, who debuted in Seema (1955) and worked as a heroine in several films before moving to character roles. Still later, she moved to directing and producing Marathi films and also entered television in the 90s. Shubha’s daughter, Bhavana Balsavar, is also an award-winning TV actress who appeared in sitcoms like Dekh Bhai Dekh and Zabaan Sambhalke before deciding to settle down and raise a family. Thus, the acting profession which was pioneered by Durga Khote in her family has been fully embraced by her late husband’s family.

Later in life, Durga Khote wrote an autobiography in Marathi, entitled Mee, Durga Khote, which was translated into English as I, Durga Khote, and moved to Alibaug, near Mumbai. Durga Khote died in Mumbai on 22 September 1991. ( Thanks to her autobiography, wiki,muVyz and my notes.)

This ends my series on Artistes, on whose names film titles existed. This is of course only indicative and not exhaustive one. I wrote only on 20 such artistes, but still about 30+ such films are remaining, most of which are not available with their songs on the social media.

I had plans to revive some more old series again, but readers’ poor response does not motivate me to do so. Still, who knows…….


Song- Ab jaago Radha Rani (Durga)(1939) Singer- Balwant Singh, Lyricist- Narottam Vyas, MD-Saraswati Devi

Lyrics

Ab jaago Radha Rani
Ab jaago Radha Rani

?? bhayi ab hua sawera
jage jagat ke praani
ab jaago Radha Rani

?? bhayi ab hua sawera
jage jagat ke praani
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani

sapne mein ??
sapne mein ??
?? prem kahaani
sapne mein ??
?? prem kahaani
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani

nadi kinaare Kaanh tumhaare
nadi kinaare Kaanh tumhaare
bhar bansi mein baani
nadi kinaare ?? tumhaare
bhar bansi mein baani
?? aaye ??
ab jaago Radha Rani

?? des mein ??
??
ab jaago Radha Rani
ab jaago Radha Rani


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 :

4895 Post No. : 16694

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No. 8
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Today’s song is from the film Azad-1940

The film was made by Bombay Talkies. The lead pair was Leela Chitnis and Ashok Kumar. Earlier Ashok Kumar was paired with Devika Rani since 1936 and they did many Hit films together. Devika Rani or Leela Chitnis had joined films by choice. However, Ashok Kumar had never imagined that he would pursue a Film career. He had joined Bombay Talkies with the help of Sashadhar mukherjee, his Brother-in-law, as a Technical staff, after completing his degree education. But fate brought him to films. Everyone knows how.

But then Ashok Kumar’s case is not unique. The film industry has seen some more such cases, where the artistes dramatically entered the filmline in different capacities. Take the case where one Motor Mechanic became a well known film Director (Sarvottam Badami) while the other became a famous poet, lyricist and a Director (Gulzar), a Navy aspirant was made a hero (Motilal), an International wrestler ‘acted’ in several films (Dara Singh), a Typewriter salesman became immortal singer actor (Saigal), an international dramatist and U.N.O. Executive wrote stories, songs and dialogues of Hindi films and acted too (Dewan Sharar), a Mathematician with a prestigious Tripose from Cambridge University and service in I.L.O. Switzerland became an actress in Hindi films (Shakuntala Paranjpye) and an Editor of Dance magazine with high education was taken out of a Bus queue and made a Hero of over 40 films (Ranjan). These are some examples how Fate changes the course of Life !

Leela Chitnis was senior to Ashok Kumar in acting. Azad-40 was her 13th film, whereas for him it was only the 9th film of his career. They did 4 films together. Their first film was kangan-39. Then came Bandhan-40. Azda was 3rd and last film together as lead pair was Jhoola-41. Three films were hits, but Azad-40 was an average film. This happened because in 1940, Bombay Talkies’ original story writer Niranjan Pal had left the company after a spat with the owner Himanshu Rai. In his place, another Bengali – Sardendu Bannerjee wrote the story, which was a weaker one. The story of the film Azad-40 was…..Azad was a story of 3 friends and the age old conflict of conservatism v/s Modernism.Vijay(Ashok kumar) is a wealthy young collegian with modern thinking and rebellion against bad customs.Loknath(Ramchandra Pal) is a conservative while,Jagdish(Arun Kumar) is oscillating between the two.

One day they come across a girl Jamuna(Leela Chitnis) hunted by a badman.Loknath and and Jagdish stay away,but Vijay rescues her and takes her home.She is stamped a fallen woman,but Vijay knows she is pure and courageous.They fall in love,marry and go away to another village Ratanpur,to avoid trouble from society.

After 25 years, Jagdish settles as a Lawyer in Calcutta.He has one motherless daughter Seeta(Hansa Wadkar),who is rescued from Train dacoits,by Anand,the Doctor son of Vijay.Jagdish calls him home and learns that he is Vijay and Jamun’s son.He is in a dilemma now.

However love triumphs and the youngsters finally get married in presence of Vijay,Jamuna,Jagdish and Loknath.

This was a film in the tradition of bringing new thinking through films by Bombay Talkies,for which they were known.

So much about the film. Our today’s hero is Actor AZAD. in Hindi films there were 2 actors with the name AZAD. Luckily the senior Azad acted only in a few films till Partition and then migrated to pakistan. Hence there was no ‘ Same Name Confusion’. The junior Azad became active only from 1958 onwards. Let us first see about the Azad Sr.

There was an actor named Azaad in Hindi films. His real name was Mohd Hanif. He was born on 16th October 1916 at Delhi in a wealthy family. His father was an electrical engineer and a political leader. His elder brother was in the British Army.

Hanif started a motor vehicles business in Delhi. He got married also. Due to his desire to act in films, he came to Bombay. His acting career started with ‘Himalaya Ki Beti’ (1938). During this film he got to know Kalyani Bai, the singer – actress. Soon they got married.

While she did well in films, he was struggling in his career, without credit. In the film ‘Haqdaar’ (1946), he was credited with his film name Azaad. Frustrated, he left films and went back to Delhi to restart his motor vehicles business. Kalyani brought him back and together they started their own production company – Azad Pictures. However, soon after partition, he and his family migrated to Pakistan. Kalyani stayed back.

In Pakistan Azad became a successful supporting actor in over a 100 Urdu and Punjabi films. He died on 12th September 1986 in Karachi.

It is believed that before films, this Azad worked as a Car Driver to Mohammed Ali Jinnah for some time during 1935 to 1940.

The other actor Azad was a Bodybuilder. He entered the films with a new character ‘ Zimbo” in 1958. He did 3 films on Zimbo. In his initial period he became a Tarzan and did 11 films on Tarzan. In those days(1958 to 1970) Tarzan and similar films featured many Bodybuilders like Randhawa, Dara Singh, Hemant Birje, Viju Penkar, Hercules, Indrajeet etc., but only Azad showed staying power. He acted in a total of 82 films. What’s more, 8 songs were filmed on him in which he even sang on screen. Here is a short post on this Azad…

“Tarzan The Most popular fictional character in the world of cinema Both in foreign films and Hindi cinema. The First film on this Character Tarzan was Made in India in Hindi By Homi wadia Production Directed By Homi wadia Himself. The first Actor who portrayed The Role of Tarzan was John Cavas in the 1937 released film Toofani Tarzan .

Thus the series of Tarzan films was Kept on making By Hindi cinema Production House among Which Basant pictures of Homi wadia were the pioneers.

They Made the maximum number of film’s on Tarzan.

He is Azaad Irani popular as Azaad Who was a Zoroastrian Irani. He was born on 23-11-1938 at Bombay.

He first Debuted as Tarzan in Homi wadia Production Film ,1958 zimbo . The Film was Super Hit and thus the series of Tarzan films has been made.

In most of the film’s Azaad played Tarzan. Lady of the lake, Tarzan And Circus, Tarzan ki Mehbooba, Tarzan and Captain Kishore,Tarzan in Town, jungle Boy, Tarzan 303, Toofani Tarzan,Tarzan and Delilah, Tarzan and magic lamp, Jungle ki Hoor, Tarzan in fairyland, Tarzan Ka Beta, Tarzan and the Gorilla,Tarzan Aur jal pari, Tarzan Aur jaadugar Caption Azaad,jadu Mahal ,Shaahi lootera ,And Many many more
All these films were considered B Grade films. Why I could not understand as most of these Films were successful as the audience used to like Such film’s in which there used to be animals, action , jungle adventure, romance, comedy in short full Entertainer.
It was like By all types of audiences right From children to adults.
Azaad in the sixties became a household name And Was mostly popular among audiences as Tarzan .
In His films the heroines were mostly Chitra, Indra Bala,Tabassum,Helen, Sunita .
Apart from Tarzan series AZAAD Acted in film’s of action genres too Along with Dara Singh, Kamran, Randhawa And Hercules.

After the end of sixties the craze of Tarzan film’s got Faded as many film’s started getting flops as the audience’s got exhausted of watching Tarzan films.
As it was not only Azaad who was popular as Tarzan even Dara Singh and Randhawa started playing Tarzan.

Azaad was not a Hero material who could be cast in other genre’s films , So By end of sixties he was left with no work .

He switched on doing supporting And small roles which were not worth mentioning.
He did many film’s Till eighties like inkaar,Naseeb,Dostana, Dharam veer But his roles were not remarkable.From 1958 to 1989, he acted in 82 films.

Atlast he left India and settled down in America at Maryland he got One son Melvin Irani.
Azaad is diagnosed with a disease called Parkinson and he has been fighting with it since the last few decades as a fighter keeping his screen image of Tarzan alive Who always stays in the jungle in the middle of Wild animals And survived.”
(Article by shri Rajnikumar Pandya ji, with thanks.)

Today’s song is sung by Hansa Wadkar (Ratan Salgaonkar in real life).


Song- Saajan Mohan waari tum mere main tumhaari(Aazaad)(1940) Singer- Hansa Wadkar, Lyricist- J S Casshyap ‘Natwan’, MD-Saraswati Devi

Lyrics

saajan mohan waari
tum mere main tumhaari
saajan mohan waari
tum mere main tumhaari
duniya hamaari nyaari
tum mere main tumhaari
duniya hamaari nyaari
tum mere main tumhaari
bano sajan tum ban ke birwa main lata
kahoon kaan mein dheere dheere dukh katha
tum mere main tumhaari

main banoon phool tum bhanwra banakar aana
birha murjhaayi dekh mujhe apnaana
tum mere main tumhaari
tum hi chanda sooraj nis din baithhi aas lagaaye
ro ro naina khoy diye
tab aaye to kya aaye
aawo krishn muraari
tum mere main tumhaari
aawo krishn muraari
tum mere main tumhaari
saajan mohan waari
tum mere main tumhaari


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 :

4893 Post No. : 16692

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No. 7
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Today’s song is from the film Manmohan-1936. This was a film made by Sagar Movietone in Bombay. The film’s cast consisted of Singer Actor Surendra, Bibbo, Yaqub, Ashalata,Bhudo Advani, Zia Sarhadi and many others. You will be surprised if I tell you that this film would not have been made if K L Saigal was not acting in films of New Theatres in Calcutta ! Strange, but true ! Let us see how….

K L Saigal was discovered by New Theatres and he entered into a contract with them. His first 3 films were most ordinary and non significant, all flops actually – Zinda Laash, Subah ka sitara and Mohabbat ke aansoo, all made in 1932. Next year he made 2 films – Yahoodi ki beti and Pooran Bhagat, made in 1933. In his 5th film-Pooran Bhagat- his 4 songs from this film became famous to some extent. However he had not acted in that film, but only the songs were filmed on him. In the subsequent year, his first famous and popular film-Chandidas-1934 came out with a Hit song ” Prem nagar me basaungi main ghar” along with Uma Shashi. But in this film he was overshadowed with senior actors like Uma Shashi etc.

Saigal caught the nation’s attention in real sense in his 10th film – ” Devdas “-1935 and there was no looking back after this film. He soon became the Trump Card for New Theatres and film after films, his name and fame became known everywhere. The audience and the younger generation at that time had become mad for Saigal’s songs and films. It was a Gold-mine for new Theatres.

This gave jitters to the Bombay film industry and every studio started a ‘Look-Out’ for a new actor-singer to counter Saigal’s and new Theatre’s domination over India.

Surendranath Sharma, B.A., LL.B was discovered by Lala Alopi Prasad, a Delhi distributor of Sagar Movietone films. He had seen and heard Surendra’s singing. He convinced Surendranath to join films and sent him to Sagar movietone in Bombay. Authorities in Sagar were simply ecstatic seeing this young, handsome and highly educated singer from a respectable family. He was soon contracted and handed over to Sagar’s young, enterprising director Mehboob Khan, who not only groomed him, renamed him as only Surendra, but also made him a Hero in film Deccan Queen-1936. In this film he sang a song ” Birha ki aag lagi more man mein “, which was a parody of Saigal’s famous song ” Baalam aay baso mere man mein ” from the film Devdas-1935. All this confirmed the claim of Sagar Movietone that Surendra was Bombay’s answer to Calcutta’s Saigal !

The very next film of Surendra was based on the same story as ‘ Devdas ‘. It was written by Zia Sarhadi. It was titled “Manmohan “, in which the protagonist loses his beloved to another person and takes to drinking and takes his own life. Thus, the film ” Manmohan”-1936 was made because Saigal was popular in Calcutta ! Q.E.D. !!

Film Manmohan also became a Hit film. The handsome Surendra and the beautiful Bibbo enhanced the appeal and very good songs added to its popularity. The most popular song of this film ” Tumhi ne mujh ko prem sikhaya ” is already discussed on this Blog, on 21-3-2014. Today’s song will be the second song from this film,after 7 years. Like that song, today’s song is also sung by Surendra and Bibbo. However, that was a happy song and this is a sad song.

The film revolves around two childhood friends, Vimala (Bibbo), and Ashok (Surendra), who loves her but loses her to another, finally taking to drinking.
Ashok (Surendra) is an artist in love with Vimala (Bibbo). On learning that she is to marry Jagdish (Yakub) he is devastated and paints her portraits which become popular. He starts drinking and finds comfort with another woman. Soon his family wealth starts dwindling. Vimala, who is married by now, tries to help him with her husband’s efforts. However, Ashok misunderstands the overture, leading to tragedy for him.

The music composition was by Ashok Ghosh, with assistance from a then “young arranger”, Anil Biswas. The lyrics were written by a then “small-time” actor Zia Sarhadi. The film’s soundtrack became its “highlight” with “chart-busting” music. Surendra was brought in as a singer actor to counter New Theatres K. L. Saigal. The duet by Surendra and Bibbo “Tumhi Ne Mujhko Prem Sikhaya” is considered a hit song and remains popular. The songs from this film made Surendra a popular singing star.

The star of today’s post is singer actor MANMOHAN KRISHNA – a senior actor who mostly did Character roles. His personality was not exactly suitable to a standard Hero in those times, he would have got lead roles in many films of today, because the definition of a Hero is changed now. He was an excellent actor. Since he could sing well, he sang a few songs in films, which became quite popular. Additionally, some popular songs were filmed on him after he stopped singing himself. He had not acted in the film Manmohan-1936 because he came to films in 1937, though he sang as a playback singer in 1946 itself.

MANMOHAN KRISHNA was born on 11-8-1908, at Lahore in Punjab. He was a very studious person and always stood first in school. He completed his M.Sc. in Physics and started working as a Physics lecturer in a Lahore college. He was very fond of singing and also sang on Lahore Radio.

Once when V. Shantaram visited Lahore, he heard Manmohan’s singing on stage and was impressed. Shantaram offered him the lead role in his forthcoming film, “Matwala Shair Ramjoshi”-1947, In this film Manmohan sang 6 solos and 3 duets with Zohrabai Ambalewali. However, his first song as a playback singer was in Shantaram’s film, ” Jeewan Yatra”-1946, under Vasant Desai’s baton.

In his career of more than 40 years, he acted in 183 films and directed 1 film – Noorie-1979. He also sang 24 songs in 8 films, namely Jeewan Yatra-46, Matwala Shayar Ramjoshi-47, Andhon ki duniya-47, Apna Desh-49, Afsar-50, Aaram-51, Railway Platform-55 and Shehar aur Sapna-1963. During his stay in Bombay, he anchored a Radio show ” Cadbury’s Phulwari” in the 50’s.

Manmohan Krishna was connected with Indian Peoples Theatre i.e. IPTA and acted in few of their dramas. Being an educated person, he was impressed with Nehruvian Secularism. He worked in films like Shehar aur Sapna by K. A.Abbas as well as the first Indo-Soviet film Pardesi-1957. He also got the Film Fare award for playing the role of Abdul Chacha in the film Dhool ka Phool-64. The song in this film ” Tu Hindu banega na Musalman banega ” filmed on him, became very popular.

Being a member of the intelligentia, he could not sell himself nor mix up into the Hindi filmi world fully. He always fought against injustice. He established ‘ Yuvak Biradari ‘ for young Indians, which became a big organisation in due course.

He was a favourite of the Chopra Brothers and acted in most films made by them. Some of his famous films were Deewar, Trishul, Humraaz, Insaaf ka Tarazu, Joshila, Kanoon, Kala Pathar, Dhool ka phool, Waqt, Naya Daur etc. etc. He also worked in 12 Punjabi films. He was prominently spotted in any role due to his thick bushy eyebrows.

In Hindi films, he rarely got a hero’s role, barring few films, because of his ordinary look. He had no looks required for a Hero’s role in a commercial film, in those days. He was of course an excellent Character Artiste. Due to his nature, he kept away from Filmi parties and groupism. He had no real friends in the film industry. Manmohan krishna did not keep good health in his last few years and died at the age of 82 years, in Lokmanya Tilak Hospital, Bombay, on 3-11-1990.
( Based on some information from wiki, ‘Beete kal ke sitare’ by Shriram Tamrakar,muVyz, HFGK, some information from the book “Sagar Movietone” by Biren Kothari ji and my notes. Thanks to all.)


Song- Kisne jahaan mein sukh dekha hai(Manmohan)(1936) Singers-Surendra, Bibbo, Lyricist- Zia Sarhadi, MD- Ashok Ghosh
Both

Lyrics

aa aa aa

aa aa ke chaman ko ujaad denaa
aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
meri khili huyi kaliyon ko ?? lena hai

kisne jahaan mein sukh dekhaa aa
kisne jahaan mein sukh dekhaa aa

kise jeewan mein gham ne jalaaya nahin
kise jeewan mein gham ne jalaaya nahin
kise jeewan mein gham ne jalaaya nahin

kise ne prem ki bansi ee ee bajaa ke ae
loot liya aa aa
aaa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
bahaaron ke ?? ki duniya dikhaa ke loot liya

prem bina is des mein saajan
prem bina is des mein saajan
koi dukhiyon ke man ka ujaalaa nahin
koi dukhiyon ke man ka ujaalaa nahin
koi dukhiyon ke man ka ujaalaa nahin
kisne jahaan mein sukh dekha hai
kisne jahaan mein sukh dekha hai
kise jeewan mein gham ne jalaaya nahin
kise jeewan mein gham ne jalaaya nahin


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 :

4883 Post No. : 16679

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No. 4
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Today’s song is from the film Saadhana-1939, made by Sagar Movietone. The name Sadhana today, immediately brings to mind the face of the famous actress Sadhana, who debuted as a Heroine in the film “Love in Simla”-1960. Her lovely face and unique haircut- which was fashioned in the style of Hollywood star Audrey Hepburn, was carved in the minds of the audience in her heydays. Sadhana was a craze during the 60’s and early 70’s. In this period, according to one source, she was the highest paid Heroine in Hindi cinema.

However, we are not going to talk about that Sadhana, who was named after the famous dancer actress of the 40’s, from Bengal. We will talk about the original Sadhana…( the Bangla pronunciation Sadhona ), who made her Debut in Hindi films with the film ” Kumkum-The Dancer ” in 1940.

Sadhana Bose did not act in the film Sadhana-1939 made by Sagar. Her debut Hindi film was made by Sagar only, just one year later….. the film Kumkum-The Dancer-40. This was the only film she did for Sagar Movietone. Anyway, Sagar movietone itself got merged with National Studios in 1940. In those days Bangla artistes were reluctant to act in Hindi films because of their weakness in talking in Hindi language. Of course, there were some actors like Pankaj Mullik, Ashit Baran, K C Dey and a few others who did act in Hindi films. But their Bangla accent in speaking Hindi was unmistakable. ” Kumkum-The Dancer” was a Bi-lingual film in Hindi and Bangla. It had a Bengali cast and its director as well as Music Director were Bengalee.

Granddaughter of Brahmakesari Keshab Chandra Sen, Sadhona was born on 20-4-1914, in a prosperous Brahmo family and received education as was common with Brahmo girls of those days. Her father was Saral Chandra Sen and she was the second of his three daughters. Her elder sister Binita was married into a royal family of Chittagong (now Bangladesh)and settled into household life, while the youngest Nilina pursued a career in Indian Classical music and earned herself a position of eminence and was known in record circles as Naina Devi.

Sadhona married Madhu Bose, film maker working in Bengal, British India, at a young age, and joined the Calcutta Art Players, a theatrical company owned by husband Modhu Bose and took part as heroine in the plays produced by the unit. Later on Sadhona joined films and played Marjina in Alibaba (1937), made in Bengali under the banner of Bharata Lakshmi Pictures. This film was a runaway hit and is remembered well by film enthusiasts. Modhu Bose had earlier directed a number of films but he tasted real success with Alibaba. For Sadhona this film meant a permanent place in the history of Bengali films. This was followed by Abhinoy (Bengali-1938), another major success for the couple.

They migrated to Bombay and again created history with the immensely popular Kumkum (1940), made in two languages, Hindi and Bengali and thereafter went on to create the first triple version (English, Bengali, Hindi) film of India, Rajnartaki (1941). Sadhona did come back to Calcutta for a double version Bengali movie Meenakshi (1942)with the handsome Jyoti Prakash as the hero. Going back to Bombay soon after the completion of this film where she starred in major films like Shankar Parvati, Vishkanya, Paigham, For Ladies Only, Bhola Shankar and Shin shinaki Boobla Boo.She also sang 7 songs in 2 films, namely Paigham and Shankar Parvati- both in 1943. She firmly established herself as a heroine in her own right without the backing of husband Modhu Bose.

In fact they had fallen quite apart by the mid forties and most unfortunately Sadhona started living much too abandoned a life heavily engaged in drinks,parties and men and slowly lost her carefully earned position. She came back to calcutta after a reconciliation with Modhu Bose but had by this time lost her magic hold over the audiences and acted in films again directed by her husband like Shesher Kabita and Maa O Chhele, without remarkable success.

Sadhona was a dancer in the first place and all her film successes were in dancing roles, although she was also a very fine actress and sang her own songs in some of her films including her first Alibaba.With film offers becoming too infrequent, she formed a dance troupe of her own and made all India tours with plays like Wither now, Hunger and others and met with success again as she was bound to be as a personality trained in dancing. She passed into oblivion slowly.

Even in retired life she could not part with the bottle and without any income worth the name she found herself in the most difficult conditions financially. Modhu bose was ill and it was difficult to get treatment for him. She lost her husband in 1969 and had no money to sustain herself and thereafter came the greatest tragic period of her life when she had to resort to begging in the streets, in and around Park Street of calcutta. It was during this phase of her life that passers by and street walkers came across an old lady, looking distinguished, dressed in clothes that were expensive at one time but now showing the wear and tear asking for help. Some recognised her and gave her enough to go on for some days while some others gave her a rude rebuff. She took all that with a smile.

Sadhana Bose was responsible for the names of at least 2 actresses in Bombay.

Actress Sadhana Shivdasani’s mother was very much impressed with the dancing skills of Sadhana Bose. She was her fan and saw her films repeatedly. When she was carrying for Sadhana, she had decided that if she gets a girl, her name would be Sadhana only. Thus Bombay Sadhana got the Calcutta Sadhana’s name.
Secondly, actress/Dancer Kumkum’s real name was Zebunnisa. When she was selected by Director Shahid Lateef, for his film Sheesha-1952, first time for Debut, there was already an actress Zebunnisa existing. What’s more, this Zebunnisa was also in the film Sheesha-52, so Shaheed was thinking of a new name for the newcomer. He remembered that his favourite Sadhana Bose had acted in a film by the name ‘Kumkum-the Dancer”-1940, so he selected the name Kumkum for this new Dancer and Kumkum got her name.

After Sadhona stopped her dance films as a Heroine, she resumed her work as a Choreographer. In the early 50s, she choreographed in films like Bhola shankar-51, Nandkishore-51, Shinshinaki Boobla Boo-52. She used to do bit roles too in these films to earn money.

Just before her death she got appointed as dance trainer in Calcutta’s prestigious Star Theatre, courtesy her one time boy friend Timir Baran. She trained junior artistes for the play Janapad Badhu and once again her name featured in the newspapers in the advertisements of the play. However, the end had come very near and she passed away on 3-10-1973. A very tragic and unfortunate way indeed for an all India star who at a time had captured the heart and imagination of millions. It is very sad that she died in penury and neglect, but artistes in the 40s and 50s-many of them- had similar stories. (Based on an article by Dr.J.P.Guha, ‘Nayika’ by Babu Moshai, muVyz, HFGK with thanks and my notes).

Film Sadhana-1939 was quite a successful film and its songs also were popular. The MD was Anupam Ghatak, whose name may not be even heard by the new generation readers, because he died in 1947 itself. The music Director Anupam Ghatak – the second-generation Bengali-Hindi composer (after Rai Chand Boral and Pankaj Mullick) was born on 4-12-1911 at Mymensingh(now in Bangladesh). He took music lessons from father Atul Ghatak and Keshav ganesh Dhekan. He became an excellent Flautist. After a short stint in AIR,as a singer in 1930, he joined as asst. to Bishen Chand Boral (brother of Raichand Boral) and later to R C Boral himself for Vidyapati-1937

First independent film score: Payer Dhulo. Later worked at Sagar Film in Bombay, composing Zia Sarhadi’s Bhole Bhale and a series of films for Badami, Luhar et al. (1939). Returned to Calcutta, notably for Barua’s Shapmukti; thereafter had assignments in both Calcutta and Lahore. Known for his wide range, from the sentimental Ekti paisa dao go babu in Shape Mukti to the experimental Gane mor kon indradhanu in Agni Pareeksha.

His Hindi film career started with ‘Tarzan ki Beti’-38 and Bhole Bhale-39. He gave music to only 17 Hindi films,which included Ladies Only, Service Ltd., Sadhana, Uski tamanna, Civil marriage, Sri ramanuj etc. In Lahore he did Champa, Badnami and Shalimar, before Partition. His other films as MD were, Khush Naseeb-46, Aai bahar-46, faisla-47, Aisa Kyun-47 and Banjare-48. He had also sung 4 songs in his first film Tarzan ki beti-1938. His last Hindi film was Shamsheer, which was released only in 1953,after he died on 5-2-1947 itself.

The story of film Sadhana-1939 was ……

Ganesh kaka was a renowned judge .people from his and surrounding villages used to come to solve their disputes. His widowed sister’s son Yogesh studied in a Bombay college.He loved his village but he loved more Sadhana, the moneylender’s daughter.Ramesh the Mukhiya’s son also loved her.The moneylender is pressurised by the Mukhiya to declare the marriage of Sadhana and Ramesh.Sadhan’s mother does not like it as she too favours Yogesh.Ganesh kaka is also helpless.

Few days prior to the marriage, an unwed mother Prema comes to Ganesh kaka, with a complaint that Ramesh is the father of her child. On enquiries, it is proved that the culprit is Ramesh only. Ganesh kaka pronounces his verdict-Prema and Ramesh and Sadhana and Yogesh should get married in the same Mandap.

Today’s song is sung by Prem Adeeb. This was his second film with Shobhana Samarth. The first was Industrial India-1938, They worked in total 13 films together as lead pair. They had become famous all over India, after they had done the roles of Shri Ram and Seeta in films like Bharat Milap-42 and Ram Rajya-43.


Song- Prem yog ab karna yogi (Saadhna)(1939) Singer- Prem Adib, Lyricist- Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi, MD- Anupam Ghatak

Lyrics

Prem yog ab karna yogi
Prem yog ab karna
sab kuchh sahna
kuchh mat kehna
sab kuchh sahna
kuchh mat kehna
ankhiyan tum na chhalakna yogi
ankhiyan tum na chhalakna yogi
Prem yog ab karna yogi
Prem yog ab karna

sab kuchh sahna
kuchh mat kehna
sab kuchh sahna
kuchh mat kehna
ankhiyan tum na chhalakna yogi
ankhiyan tum na chhalakna yogi
Prem yog ab karna yogi
Prem yog ab karna

yaad kiyaa thha ab tak jisko
ab se yaad na karna yogi
ab se yaad na karna
yaad kiyaa thha ab tak jisko
ab se yaad na karna yogi
ab se yaad na karna

yogi
jo kuchh bhi ?? bhool mujhse
yogi
yogi
?? kisi ki bhool ??
sab kuch khatm samajhna yogi
sab kuch khatm samajhna yogi
Prem yog ab karna yogi
Prem yog ab karna


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 :

4877 Post No. : 16672

Songs from Artiste Name Films….Second Season….No.1
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It was the most unexpected and hearty welcome to my very first post on this Blog on 1-10-2012. I was happy, elated and enthusiastic. I began writing posts after posts. In those days, like me there were some other contributors too, like Sudhir ji, Nahm ji, Sadanand ji etc.After 4-5- posts, I thought why not start a Theme Series of posts and I began my first Theme Series” Less known singers’ on 6-10-2012. The readers’ response was tremendous. After 10 songs, I started my second series ” Songs by Non- Singers’ 0n 28-11-2012.

This continued for about 3 years and during this period I did 26 different Theme Series of ,usually 10 songs. But in some cases I did more songs. For example in “Vintage Kishore” I did 21 songs. Thus in these 26 series, I covered 287 songs from as many films, from 30’s to 60’s. Those days readers used to shower comments. Readers were from all over, like UK,USA, Europe, West Indies, Fiji Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hongkong, Dubai etc and of course from all over India. These days, however, the comments have diminished.

There were series with novel ideas, but my favourite was ” Songs from films on Artiste Names “, which ran from 18-9-2014 to 18-10-2014-covering just 10 songs and 10 films. The series was very popular, as it contained information on that actress, even if she did not act in that film. The names were- Madhubala, Nargis, Veena, Usha Kiran, Renuka, Madhuri, Hansa, Zubeida, Kamala and Asha.

I have decided to restart my series of “Songs from Artiste Name Films” in its Second Season. Last time only actresses were covered. This time there will be a mix of actors and actresses. As usual, I will try to cover some less known or forgotten artistes. The posts are mainly for information on the artistes.

Today’s first film is GEETA-1940. In 1940, the first film to stress and emphasize the bad effects of crime and gambling, through a crime story mixed with social theme was made. This was Circo Productions’ film ‘Geeta’. It was the first ever film, which used the formula “Crime does not pay”. It was the first film in which one actor had done a double role of father and son. It was the first film, in which there was a tussle between a criminal brother and a brother who was on the side of the law. This was also the first film in which the mother testifies in the court against her criminal son, to punish him. This was the first film, in which Durga Khote started acting Mother’s role, bringing her career as a heroine to a close.

This was the beginning of a New Era, but the unsuspecting film industry did not recognise it. In the subsequent years and decades, the principle of “Crime does not pay” was used in several films – like ‘Kismet’ (1943) and ‘Sangram’ (1950). Even the remakes of ‘Geeta’ were made in the 1950s and the 1970s. The theme was used in a number of films.

Until the 40s, double roles in films were rare and still a novelty. Actually, the first double role in a Talkie film was in ‘Aawara Shehzada’ (1933). This film was based on the popular Mark Twain novel of 1881 – The Prince and the Pauper. Surprisingly, the first film on this novel was made in India. Hollywood followed much later with Warner Brothers’ film of the same name in 1937. Instead of a double role of one actor , they used two actors who were twins- Billy and Bobby Mauch for the two roles. In Hindi ‘Awara Shehzada’, the double role was done by Shahu Modak and the film was directed by Master Vithal, India’s first hero of the talkie films. Later, ‘Raja Aur Rank’ (1968), featuring Mahesh Kumar was made based on this story.

In the film ‘Geeta’, Chandramohan was the hero and had done the father and son double role. This was a bilingual film in Hindi and Marathi, and in both versions, Chandramohan was the Hero. Earlier, V Shantaram had given a break to Chandramohan in his film ‘Amrit Manthan’ (1934), which also was a bilingual film in Hindi and Marathi. Chandramohan being a Kashmiri and not knowing Marathi, in the Marathi version, his role of Rajguru was done by Keshavrao Datey.

However. soon Chandramohan picked up fluent Marathi and acted in the bilingual films of Hindi and Marathi like, ‘Jwaala’ (1938), ‘Geeta’ (1940) and ‘Apna Ghar’ (1942). He became the first Hindi actor to do roles in Marathi films.

The one line story of the film is “If father is a criminal and influences his son, he too becomes criminal”. In other words ‘parvarish’ or bringing up is important. Chandramohan’s brother’s role in the film was done by Trilok Kapoor. Trilok Kapoor became favourite ‘Mahadev’ of India after his film ‘Har Har Mahadev’ (1950) became a hit all over the country. His role in ‘Geeta’ was that of a sincere and law abiding Public Prosecutor, who in the final scene asks for the death sentence for his criminal brother! Shades of this in ‘Deewar’ (1975) – the mother too joins the good brother, becoming a witness against the criminal son.

Durga Khote had done the roles of wife and mother in this film. This was the end of her career as a heroine and the start of her character roles, ending her 8 years of being a heroine. Vatsala Kumthekar played the role of a Kothewali (which she actually was, before joining films). She was Sundari – the prostitute friend of young Mohan. Her younger sister – Lata’s role was done by Ashalata (Mehrunnisa Moosa Bhagat in reality). In real life, she was the wife of the composer Anil Biswas in this period.

The real sister of Vatsala Kumthekar was also in this film, but she played a different role in the film. She might be about 12 year old at that time. She was Baby Suman. She was also a good singer, being from a singers’ family. She has sung a few songs in this film. In the absence of information about songs in HFGK, we do not know which song was sung by whom. From the information I secured, she had sung at least 2 songs in the film. One was a solo (today’s song) and one was a duet with Harish. This Baby Suman was very beautiful.

In a way, the film ‘Geeta’ was a landmark film, because it opened up a new genre of crime films mixed with social themes. This was soon followed by the film ‘Kismet’ (1943) and later by film ‘Sangram’ (1950). Minoo Katrak was a famous sound recordist in later years of the 60s and 70s. At this time he was a writer and had written the story for this film. Screenplay and direction was by Parshwanath Altekar. Film ‘Geeta’ was remade as ‘Ustad’ in 1957 and again as ‘Karmayogi’ in 1978. In ‘Ustad’ (1957), Ashok Kumar did the father-son double role and in ‘Karmayogi’ (1978), Raajkumar did it. I saw the film ‘Geeta’ in 1960, when it came to a Hyderabad Theatre for a morning show. Even then it ran for 20 days, everyday at 11 am.

As I have said in today’s post we will know more about actress Geeta Bali. She was not acting in this film, but the film bore her name.

In the last so many years- till 1980 – I must have seen hundreds of Films- Hindi, Marathi, English, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada. In the Hindi films, I can not forget 3 actresses, who were Bubbly, playful, with innocent looks and with Natural acting talent. They were Meena Shorey, Nalini Jaywant and Geeta Bali. I enjoyed every film of these actresses, which I saw. It is difficult to forget the role and acting of Meena Shorey in film ” Ek thi Ladki-49″, or Nalini Jaywant in film ” Hum sab chor hain-56″, or Geeta Bali in film ” Aji Bas Shukriya-58″. These were all my favourite actresses. It is very unfortunate that they all met their deaths in very tragic circumstances.

Geeta Bali’s dancing eyes and her animated, expressive face which mirrored her soul were her most outstanding features. Yet life was snatched away from this vibrant personality at an achingly young age of 35.It is some consolation that Geeta crammed a lot into her short life: 80 odd films in a ten-year career. She married struggling actor-turned-megastar Shammi Kapoor and mothered two children: a son and a daughter. Today, she is remembered as a wonderfully natural actress and a fabulous human being.She was quite close to her sisters and brother. Her childhood pet name was KEETA.

True, Geeta’s reputation as an actress rests more on her performances than her roles. Natural, spontaneous and gifted with a spot-on sense of comic timing, she never really found a vehicle worthy of her talent. Largely a shade better than the movies she starred in, she frittered away her talents in B-grade films. Probably the fact that she was born into a family that had to struggle for sheer survival and the fact that she reached the top through sheer grit had Geeta stress on quantity rather than quality. Film lore has it that when mentor [filmmaker] Kidar Sharma first met Geeta, she was living with her family in somebody’s bathroom!

Geeta Bali (real name Harkirtan kaur) was born in Amritsar on 30-11-1930, in a Sikh family, known for its religious and Scholarly traditions. Her father was a Sikh Missionary Preacher and travelled not only all over India, but also to Burma, Ceylon and Malaya. Due to frequent change of place, Geeta’s education was not consistent and it ended after 6th standard. When the family was in Kashmir, she joined the dancing and music classes. Keeta (her family nickname) did dance performances on stage in her schools.

When she was about 9-10 year old, she gave a public performance of her Dance in Lucknow. The puritans in their society objected, made a hue and cry and the pendal was burnt, to stop her show. Such experiences made her very bold in life. While at Lahore, Geeta directly entered the A.I.R. office to get a music contract. She got it also. She used to participate in Children’s programmes.

Through her Dance Director in A.I.R., she got into a documentary ” Cobbler” made by Shorey pictures. Impressed, she got a dance performance in film ” Badnami”-46 as well as Kahan Gaye-46 and Pancholi’s Patjhad-47, before moving to Mumbai. Impressed by her off-screen vivacity, Sharma cast Geeta in his Suhaag Raat (1948). Audiences related to her instantly and watched wide-eyed as she nonchalantly tossed her unconscious hero, Bharat Bhushan over her shoulder in a scene.
Soon, Geeta was inundated with contracts (that’s what they called film offers then). She accepted most. She won raves even in supporting roles like in the 1949 Suraiya starrer Badi Behan and the Madhubala starrer Dulari. In 1951, she became a major star with Guru Dutt’s first hit, Baazi (she went on to do three other films under his direction). Geeta played a gangster’s moll with a golden heart to Kalpana Kartik’s conventional heroine. But Geeta played her role with such gay abandon that hero Dev Anand divulges, “People came repeatedly to theatres to see Geeta’s spirited dancing to Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana de.

Next she worked with Raj Kapoor in Bawre Nain-50, Bhagwan’s Albela-51 and Navketan’s Baazi-51. Now there was no looking back. Geeta Bali went on to act in 80 films in her short career of just 14 years. She even sang a few lines in a song from the film Rangeen Raaten-56, with Shamshad Begum and Uma Devi. She worked with Prithviraj Kapoor in Anand math-52 and his sons Raj kapoor in Bawre nain and in many films with Shammi kapoor. With Dev Anand she did Baazi, Faraar, Milap, Jaal, Zalzala, Ferry and Pocket Maar. She worked opposite Ashok Kumar, Motilal, Balraj Sahani, Prem Adib, Jairaj, Rehman, Bharat Bhushan, Abhi Bhattacharya, Kamal Kapoor, Karan Dewan, Shekhar, Sajjan, Amarnath, Jaswant and Suresh.

Some of her notable films were, Girls’ School-49, Dulari-49, Badi bahen-49, Nishana-550,Bawre Nain-50, Baazi-51, Albela-51, Zalzala-52, Raag Rang-52, Anand Math-52, Jhamela-53, Baaz-53, Daaku ki Ladki-54, Vachan-55, Miss Coca Cola-55, Jawab-55, Faraar-55, Bara Dari-55, Albeli-55, Pocket Maar-56, inspector-56, Coffee House-57, Mujrim-58, Jailor-58, Aji Bas Shukriya-58, Mr. India-61 etc etc.
Geeta proved she could do tragedy (Sharma’s Raj Kapoor starrer Bawre Nain) or and play the lighthearted heroine to comedian Bhagwan in the super successful Albela. Albela’s swinging C Ramchandra composed songs like Shola jo bhadke and Sham dhale mere khidki tale made front-benchers dance with the stars and even fling coins on screen. Pug-nosed Geeta was no conventional beauty, but that transparent face and that smile constantly flirting on her lips made sure you couldn’t tear your eyes away from her.

Watch Geeta Bali in the Guru Dutt-directed Jaal (1952). Dev Anand, a cigarette-smoking smuggler on the run from the police, tries to entice morally upstanding heroine Geeta into his web. Geeta evocatively communicates her struggle against, and her eventual surrender to, handsome Dev’s seduction call Yeh raat, yeh chandni phir kahan Famously down-to-earth despite her star status, Geeta was the antithesis of the coy 1950s’ heroine. She often drove herself to her premieres in an open jeep. Those who knew her claim she was a Samaritan who touched the lives of whoever she met. She is said to have personally groomed Mala Sinha, then a newcomer.

To date, so many years after her death, her secretary Surinder Kapoor’s (Boney Kapoor’s father) productions begin with a shraddhanjali to Geeta Bali.

Shammi Kapoor entered her life when they worked in the quaintly named Miss Coca Cola and Coffee House together. On an impulse, Geeta played a small role of a man in Sharma’s Shammi Kapoor starrer Rangeen Raatein. On the film’s Ranikhet outdoor, Shammi and Geeta fell in love. Kapoor was a year younger to her and was not yet a star, but the twosome were hell bent on marrying each other. Geeta had worked with Shammi’s eldest brother, Raj Kapoor in Bawre Nain, and with his father, Prithviraj Kapoor in Anand Math, Shammi was unsure about their reaction to this match. But on August 23, 1955, with producer-director Hari Walia and friend Johnny Walker as witness, the couple were married at the Banganga Temple at 4 am.

Geeta continued to work after marriage in a few films like Sohrab Modi’s Jailor (1958), where she won raves as a blind girl. With Shammi Kapoor turning into a huge star and the birth of her two children Aditya (nicknamed Mickey) and Kanchan, she eased her workload.

The desire to do that one fulfilling role she would be remembered for prompted Geeta to attempt the production of a classic for herself. She started Rano, based on Rajinder Singh Bedi’s famous novel, Ek Chadar Maili Si, based on a widow’s remarriage to her brother-in-law. Upcoming star Dharmendra played her hero.

Geeta, had not been vaccinated for smallpox, despite the fact her father too had died of Smallpox. She had ignored repeated warnings in the childhood. She contracted the dreaded disease while shooting the film. The best care was rushed to her, but her fever apparently reached 107 degrees. Her doctor saw a picture by his patient’s bedside and asked who the pretty lady was. The disease had so wracked Geeta’s frail frame that he didn’t recognise her as the same person!

Geeta Bali passed away on January 21, 1965, leaving behind eight-year-old Aditya and three-year-old Kanchan in the care of a devastated Shammi Kapoor.

Ironically, she was cremated in Banganga, not far from where she was married. ( adapted from Rediffmail.com, books Star Portraits by Harish Booch and Stars of the Indian Screen by Baburao Patel, India Today, Yaadon ki Baaraat by Shirish Kanekar and my notes – with thanks.)

Songs of the film Geeta-1940 are not available anywhere and are difficult to find. On my request our friend shri Deepak Choudhari ji provided me with this song. My hanks to his generosity. Our own Sadanand ji helped me by uploading it, my thanks to him too. The song is sung by Baby Suman, Harish and chorus.


Song-Saanwra murliwaala Yashoda ne paala Gwaala (Geeta)(1940) Singers- Baby Suman, Unknown female voice, Harish, Lyricist- S K Kalla, MD- D P Korgaonkar (K Datta)

Lyrics

Saanwra murliwaala
haan Saanwra murliwaala
Yashoda ne paala Gwaala aa aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala

chunmun chunmun aangan ghooma
nand ?? tan man ??
chunmun chunmun aangan ghooma
nand ?? tan man ??
gopin ne sundar mukh chooma
ichhaa roop banaao ??
gwaala aa aa
aa aa aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala

maakhan ?? dil ko churaaya
maakhan ?? dil ko churaaya
paapi ?? cheer hara
paapi ?? cheer hara
tan man ki sudh har lee usne
yuva bhaya nandlala aa aa
yuva bhaya nandlala aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala
Yashoda ne paala gwaala aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala

Kans ko maara
Mahabharat bhi
Kans ko maara
Mahabharat bhi
karm sikhaaya Geeta kahi
karm sikhaaya Geeta kahi
?? hain dev hamaare
?? hain dev hamaare
?? hain dev hamaare
bol hain unke aalaa aa aa
bol hain unke aalaa aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala
Yashoda ne paala gwaala aa aa
Saanwra murliwaala


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 :

4850 Post No. : 16640

Today’s song is from the film Mera Ladka-1938. This was a film made by Prabhat Film Company, which was one of the most popular banners in India those days. Prabhat was the company which made the First Talkie ” अयोध्येचा राजा ” in Marathi (Ayodhya ka Raja in Hindi) in 1932. During the period of 1932 to 1944, Prabhat gave excellent films having reformative and educational content for the society of those days, combined with entertainment. Their peak came when films like Sant Tukaramin Marathi-1936 Duniya na maane-1937 and Aadmi-1939 became milestones in Indian film history. The person who took Prabhat to its peak was V. Shantaram, as a Director.

Shantaram was like a Jauhari (Jeweller) who identified the true value of people. His selection of actors for specific roles was nothing but amazing. Durga Khote, Pagnis, Shanta Apte, Shahu Modak, Shanta Hublikar, Vasant desai etc were his selections.

Whatever one may say, but it is a fact that Prabhat lost its sheen, lustre, name and fame after Shantaram’s exit from it. Envy of the partners and a faulty, unjust rule of the company (No Partner of the company should get involved in any actress. Should this happen, he has to leave the company) forced him to quit prabhat. Shantaram became its victim when he fell for actress Jayashree. Earlier , Keshavrao Dhaiber had to leave Prabhat when he married company’s Heroine Nalini Tarkhud. Surprisingly S. Fattelal-another partner cum Director survived from this rule, though he had married Prabhat’s silent film heroine Kamala Devi alias Gulabbai ( one seen with Tutari in Prabhat’s famous Logo). This was because the controversial rule came into being only after his marriage with Gulab bai !

Shantaram had selected Shanta Hublikar for the lead role, opposite Shahu Modak in the bilingual Mera Ladka i.e. माझा मुलगा in Marathi. her performance impressed Shantaram so much that she and Shahu Modak were selected for his next epoch making film Aadmi-1939 (माणूस in Marathi).

The Film Industry had artistes of all types, religions, regions and from different backgrounds. In the early era, most artistes were uneducated. This state remained so till the 4o’s, after which most artistes joining the film industry were educated and from good families. In those early years, there was no investment awareness, investment opportunities or avenues and the artistes led an uninhabited life – living for the moment. This finally led to many old time artisted dying in penury, poverty and with health issues with no one to look after them.

Most of us know about the sad ends of artistes like Parshuram, Vatsala Kumthekar, Rattanbai, Wasti, Sadiq Ali, Master Nissar, Master Shiraz, Meena Shorey and many others. Some of them had to beg on the road and their last rites had to be done by charity collections.

There were four educated lead actresses in the industry at almost the same times. Their careers spanned from the 30’s to the 70’s. They were Durga Khote, leela Chitnis, Shanta Apte and Shanta Hublikar. Shanta Apte and Shanta Hublikar stopped their work by the 50’s, while Durga Khote and Leela Chitnis continued till the 70’s. Let us see how they ended their lives.

Durga Khote remained the luckiest. She had money and recognition till the end but no one to look after her. She lost her sons prematurely and her daughter in law did a second marriage with a Parsee actor. She died a lonely death.

Leela Chitnis married many times, including a Muslim person, in search of happiness, but she never got it. In her last days, she went to USA to live with her sons, but they put her in an old age home. She lost health, suffered memory loss, Alzheimer and finally died all alone in the old age home. No one came even after her death. Only money was sent for cremation.

Shanta Apte remained without marriage till end but had a Live-In relationship with Bombay’s leading Gynaecologist Dr. Shirodkar for many years. She did have a daughter, without marriage and through a reported incestuous relationship-a forced one- from her own brother, but she never stayed with the daughter.

Shanta Hublikar married a businessman after films. The husband wound up his business and lived off her money. Her son and daughter in law kept her in a third rate old age home, from where some reporters rescued her. After her story was published help poured in and she spent her last days in a better old age home. She published her autobiography also in this period. She died unsung, unattended. Her death news flashed after a week or so.

Shanta Hublikar was born on 14-4-1914 at village Athergunchi, near Hubli. She was one among three sisters. The eldest was Neelamma, the second was Shanta, but her name was Rajamma( she was called only Raju) and the youngest was Sharada. She was fluent in Marathi and Kannad and could sing very well. When she was about 18-20 years she went to Kolhapur, which was an active centre of Film making. Her first film was Bhedi Rajkumar aka Thaksen Rajputra-1934. her role was a minor one.

Her first major role was in the film Kanhopatra-37(Marathi). She was picked up by Prabhat stalwarts for their film Mera Ladka (Majha Mulga in Marathi)-38. Her acting and songs impressed V. Shantaram.

Shantaram was planning a path breaking film Maanus (Marathi-Aadmi in Hindi) in those days and was in the process of finalising the cast. Vasant Desai who was Shantaram’s chela in those days was aspiring to become a Music Director. He started his career as an actor in small roles and he sang songs too. He had very high hopes that Shantaram will do something for him. One day Shantaram called him and said,” I am planning a new film. You will be the Hero and Shanta Apte will be the Heroine.” Vasant was very happy. His auditions were good.

Meanwhile “Mera Ladka” became quite popular and its songs particularly,”dekhoon kab tak baat( Paahu re kiti waat-Marathi)” by Shanta bai and composed by Keshavrao Bhole was a great Hit. Impressed with her effortless acting and natural singing style, Shantaram changed his mind and decided to cast Shanta Hublikar and Shahu Modak as the lead pair for Aadmi.

Shantaram called Vasant Desai and told him,” Be ready for a shock. I have decided to make Shanta Hublikar and Shahu Modak as the Hero and Heroine of my new film. You will have to wait. But your time will come ” Vasant Desai was heart broken. With Shantaram’s permission he composed music for Shobha and Aaankh ki sharm in 1942 and Mauj in 1943. He had worked as an assistant to Tembe, Krishnarao Bhole and Mainkar. he had acted and sang in Amar Jyoti. His time came when Shantaram gave him SHAKUNTALA-1943 as its Music Director.

Meanwhile Shanta Hublikar fully justified her selection for Aadmi-39. Her songs and acting became hits. Her multilingual song “ab kis liye kal ki baat” in Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali became a landmark song in Hindi films forever.

Shanta did not do many films. She did a few Marathi, Kannada and Hindi films- Thoratanchi Kamala and Pahila Palna in Marathi, Jeevan naatak in Kannada and Prabhat, Ghar ki Laaj, Maalan, Kulkalank and Jeewan Chhaya in Hindi.

After that Shanta married a rich businessman from Poona-Bapusaheb Geete, proprietor of Deccan Cloth Emporium in Poona. She did try a comeback in 1958 with Filmistan’s ‘Saubhagyawati Bhava and Ghar Grihasthi but that was the end. She then retired from films.
Shanta Hublikar died on 17-7-1992 at Poona.

The film Mera Ladka-38 was directed by Keshav Narayan Kale. He was born on 24-2-1904 in Maharashtra. After his formal education he became a radical Journalist and to give expression to his ideology joined films, as an actor,Director and writer. He acted in major films like Amar Jyoti, Dharmatma, Parakh for which he wrote the story and screenplay also.He acted in 13 films, Directed 7 films and wrote for 3 films, starting with Prabhat’s Wahan, which he also directed. His last film was Didi-1959. He died on 20-2-1974 at Bombay.

I saw MERA LADKA-1938 sometime in the fag end of the 40s, in a Prabhat Film Festival, at Hyderabad. The story was an offbeat one, not the usual love-story. The cast was Shanta Hublikar,Shahu Modak, Ulhas, Vasantrao Thengdi, Balakram, Master Chhotu, Vatsalabai Joshi etc.

Diwakar (Shahu Modak) is a young man full of new ideas, has hot blood and a rebellious thinking. He is a radical Journalist having his Printing press and editing a Newspaper. He has a rich girl Nalini (Shanta Hublikar) as his girlfriend. She sympathises with him but does not share his radicalism. His middle class father does not like all this. He wants Diwakar to do a 9 to 5 job like any other person.
His father expresses his displeasure to the cunning and scheming political friend of Diwakar, Vithal Rao (Vansant Rao Thengdi), who takes advantage of the situation. He arranges a strike in the press and when it closes down, takes over it.

The father is happy, but Diwakar does not yield. Instead of doing a 9-5 job, he decides to contest against Vithal Rao in the Municipal election.
Nalini also contests. First she joins the group of Vithalrao to know his tactics and then shifts to Diwakar’s camp. She even campaigns for Diwakar.

In the elections, Nalini wins, Diwakar loses,but he gives a speech, claiming a Moral Victory for him,as Vithal rao is defeated.

Film director Kale, being a radical journalist himself before entering films ,got so much involved in the film that after the film, he actually wrote a long essay ” Mera Ladka-Some Musings” in a local newspaper in 1939 ! (In Marathi it was titled ‘ Majha mulga chya Nimittane…)

Excellent performances by Shanta and Shahu Modak earned them the coveted roles in Aadmi(Manoos in Marathi)-1939, which happens to be a Milestone film in India.

The music Director was Keshavrao Bhole. Here is the second song from this film in the blog….


Song- Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan (Mera Ladka)(1938) Singer- Shanta Hublikar, Lyricist-Pt. Anuj (S.L.Shrivastav), MD- Keshavrao Bhole

Lyrics

Apne dil ki baaten
maine tumhen hai sunaani
apne dil ki baaten
maine tumhen hai sunaani
shabo roz furkat mein rahoon
main pareshaan
shabo roz furkat mein rahoon
main pareshaan

Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan
Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan
naalon se mere jo uthha hai ye dhuaan
haan
naalon se mere jo uthha hai ye dhuaan
Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan

chaahe mujhe thhukra do yaa
hiya mein basa lo
chaahe mujhe thhukra do yaa
hiya mein basa lo
haal dard e dil ka main karoon kaise bayaan
haal dard e dil ka main karoon kaise bayaan
kaisa jaadoo daala toone jaane jaan-e-jaan

raah e muhabbat se peechhe kadam na hataaoon
raah e muhabbat se peechhe kadam na hataaoon
tu bhi raaz e dil wo pyaar(?) kar de ??
tu bhi raaz e dil wo pyaar(?) kar le ??

Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan
Kaisa jaadu daala toone jaan-e-jaan
haan
jaane jaan


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 :

4843 Post No. : 16631

Today’s song is from a very old, i.e. 83 year old film, which was one of the popular films of Wadia Movietone. The film was Lutaru Lalna-1938 and the title role was done by then famous stunt queen The Fearless nadia. Yes, this was a C grade stunt film. In those years, when the Talkie itself had not even entered it’s Teens, these stunt films, especially featuring Nadia were very popular. C grade stunt films were not yet looked down upon by the elite. That categorisation started from the mid 40’s, when social and films of other Genres divided the audience and stunts became the choice of the lower class of the society.

When the Talkie films started, the audience was awestruck and went to the theatres to see and enjoy whatever the producers served them on the screen. Initially, the films were mostly Mythological and Costume dramas, but in due course, the film makers realised that making a stunt film was much more profitable than a Costume drama. Stunt films could be made in Rs. 30-50 thousand, whereas for other films, the investment was more. Further religious films catered to only a particular religion, i.e. Muslim and Christian audience would not see a Mythological film and Hindu and Christians will not see a Muslim religious film. But stunt films were for all and sundry. There was no restriction.

Due to all this, the pioneers of stunt/action films decided to concentrate on this Genre only. Wadia Movietone was the leading film maker of these C grade films. Other companies who made such films were, Imperial, Ranjit, Sharda, krishna, Saraswati, Saroj, Sagar, Bharat Royal, Ajanta, Madan etc. in 1933 Wadias entered with force in this market, and followed by others, in just 3 years i.e. from 1933 to 1935, a total of 138 films of Stunt/Action, Costume, Arabian Night stories and magic based Imaginary films ( all C grade) were made. Significantly, out of these 138 films, as many as 42 films were Stunt and Action films. This was mainly because of Wadia Movietone. They introduced Fearless Nadia in Hunterwali-35 and virtually ignited the flame of Stunt/Action films from 1935 to 1950. Thus the decade of the 40s could well be called “Stunt Film Decade” with 210 such films from 1941 to 1950.

Wadia Movietone was a noted Indian film production company and studio, based in Mumbai, established in 1933 by Wadia brothers J. B. H. Wadia and Homi Wadia. It was most known for stunt, fantasy and mythological films, including Hunterwali (1935).

Wadia brothers belonged to a Parsi family, and their ancestors came from the ship building Wadia family (Wadia Group), originally from Surat, which also built the British wartime ship HMS Trincomalee (1817). Their ancestors moved to Bombay in the 18th century. It was co-established in 1933, by producer and screenwriter J. B. H. Wadia, his younger brother director Homi Wadia, film distributor Manchersha B. Billimoria, and brothers Burjor and Nadirsha Tata.

However, the Tata brothers left the partnership within three years. The company then continued production of film, documentaries and newsreels from its studios near Lowjee Castle, Mumbai, the Wadia family mansion, owned by their great-grandfather Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia, a noted shipbuilder, who founded the Wadia Group in 1736. The company even had its logo as a ship, honouring their family legacy. Their company made Hunterwali (1935) starring Fearless Nadia, Boman Shroff and John Cawas, which became a surprise hit and its first big success. Thereafter, they made several films based on the Arabian Nights.

However, by the end the 1930s, the genre of stunt, fantasy and mythology films which dominated the early films, was beginning to fail and the company ran into heavy losses, after they invested into ambitious projects which flopped. The last film made by the company was Raj Nartaki (1941) under the direction of Madhu Bose. Thereafter, the studio premises were up for sale; V. Shantaram bought the studio in 1942 and established Rajkamal Kalamandir on the premises. Homi Wadia, who worked as a director of the company, went on to establish Basant Pictures in the same year, though initially as a film production house. Subsequently, he established a film studio under the same banner in 1947, which functioned till 1981.

Riyad Vinci Wadia, grandson of J.B.H. Wadia inherited the studio in 1990. He is most known for his film, Bomgay (1996) and a documentary on Nadia, Fearless: The Hunterwali Story. He died in 2003. Wadia Movietone, besides making stunt films, had some FIRSTs to their credit like, they made India’s first songless movie ” Naujawan” in 1937. First English film “The Court Dancer’-1941 and the first Sindhi film ” Ekta”-1942. They also made a Telugu film “Nar Narayan”-37, two Tamil films ‘Vanraz Karsan’-38 and Bharat kesari-39, one Bangla film ” Raj Nartaki”-41 and one Gujrati film Valo Namori-73.

From 1933 to 1942(till the split) they made 43 films. From 43 to 73 only 24 films. Their last Hindi film was Saaz aur Sanam-71 and the overall last film was a Gujarati film in 1973. J.B.H.Wadia was born on 13-12-1901 and died on 4-1-1986. His brother Homi Wadia was born on 22-5-1911 and died on 10-12-2004.

Their Ace Actress for most films was Fearless Nadia.

Mary Evans (Fearless Nadia’s real name), a devout catholic was born on 8-1-1908 at Perth, Australia, to a Scottish father and a Greek mother. Father,a British Army soldier, was based in Elephanta caves in Bombay. She wanted to be a singer and a dancer. She learnt dancing from father and singing from mother. She sang in the local church choirs on Sundays. In 1915, when her father died in WW I action, they shifted to first Peshawar and then settled in Bombay. After working in an Army canteen for some time, She joined a dancing troupe. Here her name was changed to first NADA and then to NADIA.

One Mr. Eruch Kanga, owner of Lahore cinema saw her performance in the troupe and told the Wadia Brothers, who were looking for a Heroine. They called her for an interview. After seeing her, the brothers realised the difficulty in making a white woman a Heroine in Hindi films. In the interview JBH wadia said, “I have never heard about you before. ” she sprightly retorted,” I too had not heard your names till this morning”. The brothers were impressed and she was appointed in Wadia Movietone. To test her, she was given small roles in films which were in the making, like Lal e yaman and Noor e yaman, while she studied speaking Hindi.

She was launched with ” HUNTERWALI-1935″ ,a dramatic story of a Princess trying to rescue her kidnapped father and salvage his Empire. It was an unconventional role and a new subject for the Indian audience.

The film opened in Super cinema on Lamington road, Bombay and instantly became a great Hit. It was like a revolution. Audience was thrilled to see a white woman, donning a mask and cracking whip at her tormentors. They were awed, happy and mesmerised, wanting more of it .She was named NADIA. They added FEARLESS for her in the ads.

HUNTERWALI was only a prelude to a remarkable career. Encouraged by the success of Hunterwali, films were made on the cause of social injustice, women’s emancipation, corruption, Land grabbing and Exploitation of the poor. She always played roles like King Arthur and Robin Hood.

Her films had a set of characters. There was her pet Horse-Punjab ka Beta, Gunboat the Dog and her jalopy was called Rolls Royce ki beti (later when Homi Bhabha started Basant Pictures with her, there was Horse Rajpoot, Dog Moti and the car- Austin ki Bachhi). In her films, usually the villain was Sayani (his stock line was ” Dekha Jaayega”), John Cawas and Boman Shroff- the heavyweight Bodybuilders.

Her stunts became more dangerous and death defying with every film. She did all her stunts herself, breaking bones many times in this.

From 1933 to 1968 she did 43 films. herv first film was Lal-E-Yaman-33 and the last film was Khiladi-68. She also sang 3 songs in 3 films, namely Noor-E-yaman-35, Hunterwali-35 and Pahadi kanya-36. Her name in many films (starting with Hunterwali) was Madhuri.

She had married and divorced early and also had a son. Later she was in love with Homi Wadia, but could not marry him due to the opposition of his mother. They married in 1961 after his mother died. She was 53 years old by then.

In her last days she was frequently seen in the lanes of Colaba in Bombay ,taking her dogs for walks.

In 1993, her great grand nephew Riyad Vinci Wadia made a documentary on her, in which she had appeared.

She died peacefully on 9-1-1996.

Nadia has a special place in my memories. Sometime in 1972, one of my friends, Mahesh Sharma, who lived in Colaba, Bombay, told me that he frequently sees Nadia in a Garden where he went for his morning walks. She lived near his apartments. Anxious to meet her and talk to her, I stayed with Sharma ji overnight. Next day morning, we both went to that garden. Sure enough, after some time Nadia entered the garden with two of her dogs. She sat on a bench and her servant took the dogs for their walks. Mahesh had a casual acquaintance with her. He greeted her and said ” this is my friend Mr. Deshmukh. He is your great fan “. I greeted her and recited names of her 10-15 films which I had seen. She looked suitably impressed . She smiled and we talked for a few minutes and left. Alas ! In those days, there was no Mobile phone, otherwise I would have had my photos with her as a prize possession. Anyway, I will never forget my meeting with her- the great Stunt Queen, The Fearless Nadia !

Today’s song is sung by Sarita, Master Muhammed and chorus. It is a typical 30’s decade song. The story of this film was almost the same as any other film of Nadia. Kind and simple king, cruel and wicked Senapati, a Masked person to fight against him , a love affair and happy ending after the audience was given a full dose of stunts by Nadia.


Song- Jagat hai sapna koi na apna (Lutaru Lalna)(1938) Singers- Sarita, Master Muhammad, Lyricist- Pt. Gyan, MD- Master Muhammad

Lyrics

Jagat hai sapna
koi na apna
jaag uthha ae bande
Jagat hai sapna
koi na apna
jaag uthha ae ?? bande

dialogues
——————————–
is boodhhe musalmaan ki ??
isi ne hindu ladki se bheekh mangwaai hai
haan haan ye sach baat hai

khaamkhaa
dharm bhrasht kar raha hai

baba
ye jurm mera nahin
jab tum hindu hokar
ek yateem kanya ko
ann aur paani na doge
to kya
ek sachha
?? musalmaan bhi apna farz poora na karega

bandhuon
ye wo buzurg hain
jinhone dharm sankat mein mujhe aasra diya thha
?? muslim se mili taaleem
ye quraan ki
Hindu hi rakkha mujhe
na fikr ki jaan ki
apni jaati ne suna na jab meri fariyaad ko
Hindu beti aa gayi godi mein musalmaan ki

?? baba

??

kya ek musalmaan ek hindu ke liye itni qurbaani kar sakta hai
kyun nahin baba

jab ??ji ka upnishad ?? ek hai
Kashi Kaba mandir masjid ??
sab ka imaan ek hai

?? ka parda ?? ka tum uthha kar dekh lo
fark kuchh mein nahin
hindu musalmaan ek hai

————————–

jagat hai sapna
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa

jaag uthha hai ?? bande
jagat hai sapna koi na apna
jaag uthha ?? bande

??? ek hai ??
??? ek hai ??
ye kahin ??
ye kahin ??
ye kahin ??
ye kahin ??
???

jaag uthha ?? bande
???
jaag uthha ?? bande
jagat hai sapna koi na apna
jaag uthha ?? bande


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 :

4834 Post No. : 16617

When I joined this Blog’s activities in 2010, by way of comments, I used to first read the post fully. In one post our ATUL ji had said something which has been carved deep in my mind. He had said that “In India, people are interested in 3 things- Cricket, Films and Politics”. How true it is !

However, based on my experience of so many years in different fields all over India, I could add one more activity to the above three. And the activity is ” Branding”, Not the kind of Brands in the markets, what I mean is ” Labelling “, in other words. We Indians are quick in branding or labelling everything. In fact it is our very faourite pastime.

Some examples will explain what I mean. Take the case of Cinema – we branded Dilip Kumar as the Tragedy King, Meena Kumari as the Tragedy Queen, Jeetendra as the Jumping Jack, Mithun as Poor Man’s AB, AB as the Angry Young man etc etc. The branding did not change even after DK changed the track and acted in films like Azaad, Ram aur Shyam or Naya Daur etc. AB remained the same even after films like Chupke Chupke, Anand, Abhimaan or Amar Akbar Anthony. Same thing about other actors. Branding/Labelling or the Chhappa is for ever !

Take another example. We feel a Sikh must be either a Taxi Driver or in Army or Police, A Gujarati should only do business, A Bihari must only do Kheti, A Bengali must only read a book or write a book, A Marathi must only do a service in some company or Government etc etc. What if Sikhs are big businessmen, actors, singers ? What if a Gujju is a fine actor, Musician or a singer or a Politician ? What if the Biharis are the single largest group in the successful IAS Cadres (25 % in the last 10 years) ? So on so forth. But No – Branding is almost permanent !

Today we are going to talk about a Gujarati Saint. GUJARAT- the name itself evokes thoughts of Trade and Business. Due to their Business talents, Gujarat was known to Romans, Greeks and Persians, since the pre Christ era. Gujarat Maritime merchant history dates back to the First century after Christ.
Gujarat had produced many worthy souls who made the country proud of them. The top being Gandhi ji. Then there were Sardar Patel, Vikram Sarabhai(Space Ace), Morarji Desai, the Ambanis, Azim Prem ji, Parsis of Navsari, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah etc etc. In the religious field, Gujarat had its share with Jalaram Bappa, Narsi Bhagat, Dadu Dayal, Dayanand Saraswati, Rang Avdhoot ji, Rameshbhai oza, Hemchandra Surishwar, Pramukh Swami etc etc. (these are only indicative examples,not exhaustive).

India had been under the Mughal and the British rules for hundreds of years. A Nation of Hindu majority was ruled by the Minority Mughals, who perpetrated a lot of injustice and tried to destroy the Indian Culture with barbaric brutalities. This gave rise to the Bhakti movement to awaken the Indians and make them self conscious about their own strengths.

The Bhakti Movement was India’s own way to combat foreign attackers, cruel rulers and the sleeping people of India. The movement from 1300 to 1600 AD produced many religious Saints and social reformers from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and from Assam to Gujarat. Indian culture is such that the advice given by a religious saint is more acceptable than that given by a social reformer. Thus, in this hour of need, India’s Saints tried to teach message of reforms such as removal of Untouchability, freedom from Varnashram lifestyles, importance of education, Women’s emancipation and other such matters,through their poems, dohas, Abhangs and writings as well as kirtans. They tried to make the masses wake up against the ill effects of social practices that were being observed those days.

Saints appeared in ALL areas of India,during this period. However,due to language problems, knowledge and information about Saints in other regions trickled down very slowly. States which shared the use of Devanagari script were aware about them in a better way. Thus,Maharashtra,Gujarat,Rajasthan and the Northern Hindi belt states exchanged their knowledge about their saints more frequently than other regions such as Bengal, the Eastern states or the southern states where the scripts were different. Andhra and Karnataka were closer as their scripts are similar, except perhaps the alphabet ‘K’. Tamil and Malayalam scripts have Dravidian origins and were not easily accessible for the rest of India.

India is a Multi racial, multilingual and Multi religions country. It is not only one of the largest Democracies in the world, but also the largest Secular state in the world, where people from different faiths have been living together since centuries.

Many saints and religious leaders have played a significant role in keeping the mixed population of India as One Unit, when it was needed the most. A majority of Hindus, ruled by Muslim Mughals was a natural cause for social divisions, but Saints like Kabir, Surdas, Tulsidas, Ramdas, Tukaram, Ramanand, Narsi Mehta, Purandar das,Namdev, Guru Nanak Dev, Eknath, Bhakta Pundarikar, Rohidas, Mrutyunjaya and many such noble souls, did an excellent job of maintaining harmony amongst peoples of different faiths.

Today we will talk about the ADI KAVI of Gujarati-Narsimh Mehta aka Narsi Bhagat (1414 to 1486). He is one of the most popular saints of Gujarat. No wonder then,that the First Talkie in Gujarati was a film called NARSI MEHTA-1932. In Hindi too,”Narsi Bhagat ” was made as early as 1940. Vishnupant Pagnis (Sant Tukaram fame) had done the role of Narsi Bhagat in this film.(In the first Talkie film of Gujarat “Narsi Mehta”-1932 also this role was done by a Marathi actor Maruti Rao Pehelwan.)

The best Bhajan written by Narsi Bhagat is “Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye”. All Indians know that this was the most favourite Bhajan of Gandhi ji. Actually many people thought that he himself wrote this Bhajan !

Here is a short Biography of saint Narsi Bhagat –

Narsinh Mehta was born in Vaishnava Nagar community at Talaja and later shifted to Junagadh (then Jirndurg) in Saurashtra, Gujarat. He lost his parents when he was 5 years old. He could not speak until the age of 8. He was raised by his grandmother Jai Gauri.

He married Manekbai probably in the year 1429. Mehta and his wife stayed at his brother Bansidhar’s place in Junagadh. However, his cousin’s wife (Sister-in-law or bhabhi) did not welcome Narsinh very well. She was an ill-tempered woman, always taunting and insulting Narsinh Mehta for his worship (Bhakti). One day, when Narasinh Mehta had enough of these taunts and insults, he left the house and went to a nearby forest in search of some peace, where he fasted and meditated for seven days by a secluded Shiva lingam until Shiva appeared before him in person. On the poet’s request, the Lord took him to Vrindavan and showed him the eternal raas leela of Krishna and the gopis. A legend has it that the poet transfixed by the spectacle burnt his hand with the torch he was holding but he was so engrossed in the ecstatic vision that he was oblivious of the pain. Mehta, as the popular account goes, at Krishna’s command decided to sing His praises and the nectarous experience of the rasa in this mortal world. He resolved to compose around 22,000 kirtans or compositions.

After this dream-like experience, transformed Mehta returned to his village, touched his bhabhi’s feet, and thanked her for insulting him. In Junagadh, Mehta lived in poverty with his wife and two children, a son named Shamaldas, and a daughter for whom he had special affection, Kunwarbai. He revelled in devotion to his hearts’ content along with sadhus, saints, and all those people who were Hari’s subjects – Harijans – irrespective of their caste, class or sex. It also seems that he must have fallen into a somewhat ill repute for his close relations with Lord’s sakhis and gopis, Narsinh mehta’s women followers, with whom he danced and sang. The Nagars of Junagadh despised him and spared no opportunity to scorn and insult him. By this time, Mehta had already sung about the rasaleela of Radha and Krishna. The compositions are collected under the category of shringar compositions. They are full of intense lyricism, bold in their erotic conception and are not without allegorical dimensions, this saves the compositions from being something of erotic court poetry of medieval India.

Soon after his daughter Kunwarbai’s marriage (around 1447) to Shrirang Mehta of Una’s son, Kunwarbai became pregnant and it was a custom for the girl’s parents to give gifts and presents to all the in-laws during the seventh month of pregnancy. This custom, known as Mameru, was simply out of the reach of poor Narsinh who had hardly anything except intransigent faith in his Lord. How Krishna helped his beloved devotee is a legend depicted in ‘Mameru Na Pada’. This episode is preserved vividly in the memory of Gujarati people by compositions by later poets and films. Other famous legends include ‘Hundi (Bond)’ episode and ‘Har Mala (Garland)’ episode. The episode in which none other than Shamalsha Seth cleared a bond written by poverty stricken beloved, is famous not only in Gujarat but in other parts of India as well. The Har Mala episode deals with the challenge given to Mehta by Ra Mandlik (1451–1472) a Chudasama king, to prove his innocence in the charges of immoral behavior by making the Lord Himself garland Narsinh. Mehta depicts this episode. How Sri Krishna, in the guise of a wealthy merchant, helped Mehta in getting his son married is sung by the poet in ‘Putra Vivah Na Pada’. He went to Mangrol where, at the age of 79, he is believed to have died. The crematorium at Mangrol is called ‘Narsinh Nu Samshan’ where perhaps one of the greatest sons of Gujarat was cremated. He will be forever remembered for his poetic works and devotion to Lord Krishna. He is known as the first poet of Gujarati.

The role of Narsi Bhagat was done by Vishnupant Pagnis, a Marathi actor who became famous due to his role in film ” Sant Tukaram”-1936 by Prabhat Film co. Vishnupant Pagnis was born in a small place Chikodi, near Kolhapur, on 1-11-1892, in a lower middle class family. After formal education, he was assisted by Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur state to join a Drama company at the age of 10 years. He sang naturally, without any training from an expert. He was a popular artiste doing female roles, till his entry in films. He shifted to work in various drama companies including “Lalit Kaladarsh” of Mama Varerkar- a name connected with many Marathi and Hindi films of that time. In 1913, he floated his own company ‘ Jagchitradarsh ‘, only to wind up after two years in 1915. He continued working in dramas and doing female roles, for which he was famous in those times.

After a few years, he left drama acting. In 1920, he worked in a silent film, Surekha Haran. In this film V Shantaram had also acted. After this he worked as a Music Teacher in Municipal school at Girgaum in Bombay. After his wife died, he lived with his friend Petkar. They started a Gold Jewellery shop “Pagnis Petkar and Mandali” in Girgaon.

When Prabhat Film company planned to make Sant Tukaram, a search was undertaken for the main role and the main female role. This was in early 1936 and he was selected for the role of Tukaram, while a worker in the Prabhat company-Gauri – was selected as his wife. The Director duo of the film- Damle and Fattelal- were not happy about his selection, because his name was associated with female roles. But this became his strong point for the film in which he portrayed a soft, kind and loving Tukaram. He did the role so well that the film Sant Tukaram became an International Hit, in addition to running to full houses in Non Marathi areas like Madras Presidency, covering Andhra, Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka and also in Bengal and Punjab. He became an actor in great demand for Saint films. After the film Sant Tukaram, hundreds of people used to crowd in his shop at Girgaum to pay respects and touch his feet as Tukaram. He also always dressed like Tukaram thereafter !

Vishnupant Pagnis worked in 4 more such films, namely Sant Tulsidas-39, Narsi Bhagat-43, Bhakta Raj-43 and his last film Mahatma Vidur-43. He also gave music to 2 films, Sant Janabai- 38 and Sant Tulsidas-39 (Marathi). These two and Mahatma Vidur were also made in Marathi language. His most famous film Sant Tukaram was released in Hindi only in 1948, but without his songs, because he had died on 3-10-1943. The MD- Snehal Bhatkar sang his songs in the Hindi version.

Vishnupant Pagnis did the immortal role of Tukaram in his first film and then lived the role throughout his life, though he did 4 more films in the same Genre of Saint films.His name became famous not only in India but also in other countries, when this film was hailed as “one of the 3 Best films in the world”at the Venice Film Festival, where it won accolades.

Records of his Bhajans from this film created records ( we too had these records in our house in the 40s.) Even today this film is shown and discussed in the film Institutes of many countries.Many books, essays and articles are published on this film. His performance as Tukaram has become a major reference-point in debates about Indian performance idioms: e.g. Kumar Shahani’s essay The Saint Poets of Prabhat, 1981; Geeta Kapur’s Mythic Material in Indian Cinema, 1987 etc etc.

Today’s bhajan is a very good Bhajan. I like it very much. You may also like it.


Song- Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re (Narsi Bhagat)(1940) Singer- Vishnupant Pagnis, Lyricist- Not known, MD- Shankar Rao Vyas

Lyrics

Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari
Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari
Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari
mohe ek tihaaro aadhaar re
mohe ek tihaaro aadhaar re
saanwre giridhaari
Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari

raakhi ?? Prahlad ki
liyo narsinh Avtaar
kamb phaari pargat bhaye
taaro bhoomi ko dhaar re
saanvre giridhaari
Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari

pooji gopi chandan mori
tulasi kone ko haar
saancha gahna to mero saanwro
mori daulat hai jhaanjh khadtaal re
mori daulat hai jhaanjh khadtaal re
saanvre giridhaari
Mori Hundi sweekaaro maharaj re
saanvre giridhaari
bhajo Radhe Govind bhajo Radhe
bhajo Radhe Govind bhajo Radhe
bhajo Radhe Govind bhajo Radhe
bhajo Radhe Govind bhajo Radhe

bhajo Radhe Govind
bhajo Radhe Govind
bhajo Radhe Govind
bhajo Radhe Govind


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 :

4833 Post No. : 16615

Today I am presenting a Non-Film song by Master Ashraf Khan. Some of you may remember Ashraf Khan, who sang songs in the films Roti-42 and Baaghbaan-38. We all know him mainly as a film actor, who finally became a Sufi Saint, but his contribution to the Gujarati theatre was substantial. Most of us know many things about Cinema, but very little about Theatre and stage dramas.

Prior to films becoming a source of entertainment for the common man, it was the stage drama which diligently and sincerely gave pure and musical entertainment to the commoners. The rich of course could afford private singing jalsas with famous singers and Tawayafs. Stage dramas were popular mainly in Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat, since the early to middle 19th Century. It started a bit late, on a regular scale, in South India, at the beginning of the 20th Century or so.Despite modern means of entertainment like TV and Films, stage dramas are still popular in Maharashtra and Gujarat. These two states have a glorious history and tradition of producing classical singers, many of them through the stage dramas.

Master Ashraf Khan was very popular and famous on the Gujarati stage. He was known as the ” Saigal of Gujarat”. Singing of Gazals in stage dramas started with Ashraf Khan, it is believed. Stage dramas are usually called ” Parsi-Urdu,” ” Parsi-Hindi”, ” Parsi-Gujarati”, because the Parsi community was prominent in this medium. Parsis came from Iran (Persia) into North Konkan, and Gujarat and they merged with the Indian People. All generations of Parsis spoke Hindi and Gujarati (with a typical, recognisable tone) and prospered in various trades and fields of Business.

The Gujarati stage was full of artistes from Saurashtra, North Gujarat and Bombay. They belonged to different castes. Jaishankar Bhojak (Sundari), Amrit Kershav Nayak, Vadilal Nayak, Master Shaani, Master Vikram etc were from Bhojak Nayak caste. From the Meer caste came Himmat Meer, Kasam Meer, Lallubhai Meer etc. -all singer actors. Parsis like Sorabji katrak, Sorabji kerawala, Faredoon irani and some Muslims like Ashraf Khan, Alladdin, Ghulam Sabir, Master Fida hussai, Master nissar, Kumar etc. were some members of this community.

Starting from 1871, these drama companies toured Bombay Presidency, Saurashtra, Calcutta and Bengal and upto Rangoon in Brahmadesh (Burma). Unlike Marathi stage the Parsi and Bangla dramas got women doing female roles sooner than in Maharashtra. Some actresses were, Miss Mary fanten, Miss Fitna, Mehtab, gafooran, Gauhar, Deenabai Mistri etc. In the modern dramas of the 1960 to 1980’s even Saraswati Devi (Vidya Bajpai) and Sandhya(Vijaya Deshmukh) acted on Gujarati stage.

However, in the initial years i.e. from 1890 to 1930, there were actors doing female roles. Anand ji ‘Kabootar’, Vikram, Fakir, Himmat meer and Jaishankar Bhojak were major actors famous in female roles. Jaishankar was popular and did female roles in dramas like Vikram Charitra, Barrister, Vasant Prabha and Saubhagya Sundari. His role as ” Sundari” in drama “Saubhagya Sundari” was so popular that later on his name was changed to Jaishankar “Sundari”. He worked till 1961. In his honour, a Drama Theatre in Ahmedabad is named as Jaishankar Sundari Theatre ! What an honour. He was friendly with Marathi stage actor Bal Gandharva and they both used to see each others’ dramas, without fail.

Orphaned very early, Master Ashraf was brought up by one Baburao, his father’s friend. He was a born singer. His mother tongue was Urdu/Pashto, but he mastered Gujarati so well that people considered him to be a Gujarati actor. Master Himmat meer brought him to the Theatre in 1894. He did only male roles and sang also. many dramas like Prithviraj, Arab ka Sitara, Samudragupta, Sansar Sagar, Ek Abla etc, as its Hero. He did about 3000 shows of his drama ‘ Malavpati”, as it became very popular. In 1960, he was felicitated by the President of India and after that he acted in the same drama once again in 1961, though old. He also worked in Hindi films upto 1941 His Heroines were Zebunnisa, Mehtab, Sardar Akhtar, Iqbal Begum (mother of Meena Kumari). From 1950 onwards he tilted towards Sufism and finally became a Saint.

ASHRAF KHAN was an actor and singer in many films in the 40s. He left films ……..and became……..believe it or not…..a SUFI SAINT !

I had first written about him somewhere 9 years ago…in 2012 or so. Here is his information again, but in a different format with some more information collected later on. My friend shri kamlakar Pasupuleti ji had done a lot of research on this actor. It was from his Blog and his book that I learnt more details about Ashraf Khan.

Ashraf Khan shot to limelight with the film Baghban – 1938 . He played the role of a mendicant and rendered three lovely songs composed by Music Director Mushtaq Husain . Ro ro nain gavanvun ,sajanwa aan milo was the most popular song among the three songs he rendered. The movie was a great hit and all the nine songs in the movie were popular. The movie was directed by AR Kardar. The lyrics were penned by the comedian Mirza Musharraf. He was paid Rs 90 / – for the nine songs he wrote for the movie. It is important to know how he progressed in his life and attained the spiritual powers with which he helped millions of people across the globe .

Ashraf Khan was born in Indore on 22-10-1901. He lost his father at a young age of seven. The burden of taking care of his widowed mother and a young sister fell on his shoulder . Indore was a famous city for wrestling and the wrestling competitions were held for all ages including children. He took up wrestling as a profession for some time . He later became a Shepherd boy and guarded the sheep .

He had a good voice and used to sing while taking the sheep in and out of the city. One evening while returning home from the outskirts he started singing loudly. A Gujarati’s drama company was stationed in a nearby bungalow. The owner of the drama company heard his song and he was called inside. The owner asked the boy if he was willing to work for the drama company. The boy replied Yes. There upon the owner asked him if he can play the role of a girl. The boy daringly replied No, will play the role of a boy . The owner was impressed and he got into the Gujarati drama company.

He started playing small roles and as he grew up was given the role of a hero . His salary increased gradually and by the time he was playing hero roles he was paid Rs 600 / per month. He used to give away his entire earnings to his mother. His mother used to give him four annas a day as his allowance as he had the habit of eating Paan( betel leaf ), but Ashraf Khan used to return back the four annas to his mother in the evening.

Ashraf Khan’s mother tongue was Urdu and Pushtu but he learnt to speak Gujarati with ease and he rendered his dialogues fluently. He gave record breaking performances in Malopati Manjh ( Prithvi Vallabh ). He played the role of a hero Prithvi Vallabh in three thousand shows. Prithvi Raj Chauhan was another stage performance in which he played the hero role of Prithviraj Chauhanbin two thousand shows. Ashraf Khan’s heroine on the Gujarati stage was Sandhya. Ashraf Khan was associated with the Gujarati stage even after joining the films .

With the advent of talkie he moved over to Bombay in 1931. His first film was Shakuntala-31 ( made in Bombay.There was another film Shakuntala made the same year in Calcutta by Madon Theatres) With his experience on stage he was hired for three movies Bhartruhari, Gul-e-Bakavali and Veer Kunal. He played the role of a hero initially and later in life played character roles. He acted in more than a dozen movies. Mehboob Khan portrayed him as a mad professor in his famous film Roti – 1942. It was during the filming of Roti that he came in contact with Peer-o-Murshid ( Spiritual Guide) Ghulam Sarvar. Ghulam Sarvar belonged to Lahore and was employed in railways as a guard. He had many followers in Bombay. Ashraf Khan’s devotion towards his spiritual guide was so great that whenever he visited Bombay he used to carry his luggage on his head and escort him home .

Large crowds used to gather to meet Peer-o-Murshid Ghulam Sarvar in the 1940’s and among the film personalities the notable were A R Kardar, Mehboob Khan, Yaqub, Prithviraj Kapoor , Trilok Kapoor, Sardar Akhtar, Akhtari Faizabadi, Jaddan Bai etc etc to name a few. Akhtari Faizabadi and Jaddan Bai used to sing devotional songs during the assembly .

Taking care of the visitors footwear was the first duty assigned to him by his Peer and Ashraf Khan never thought it was a menial job He knew that the peer is shedding his ego by assigning such tasks. Peer-o-Murshid Ghulam Sarvar was so pleased with his devotion that he handed over his Gaddi ( seat ) to Ashraf Khan. Ashraf Khan became a Peer .

His association with the Gujarati stage lasted till his end. In 1962 after his last stage show at Dhoraji in Gujarat he returned to the Dargah where he was stationed with his family . It was the ninth day of the Gyarhvi Sharif ( the eleventh month of Islamic calendar ). He lay down on his bed and spoke few words to his wife and fell unconscious, but his lips started moving as if he was narrating verses from Ayat Sharif. This situation continued the whole of that night and the next day. His wife , family members and devotees remained at his bedside reading verses from Ayat Sherief He opened his eyes in the evening. His devotees asked him how he was and he replied that wherever he is, he is doing well .

He was brought to the hospital at Rajkot in this condition. Ashraf Khan passed away at eleven PM on the eleventh day of the Gyarhvi Sharif, the eleventh month of Islamic calendar. His mortal remains were brought for funeral to the residence of Dr Malik who was a friend and a devotee. His devotees were chanting holy verses from Ayat Sharif and Darood Sharif . Around 4 O’ clock in the morning he opened his eyes once again, looked all around him with a smile and closed his eyes. This was a surprising moment for all those who were present around him. A dead man opening his eyes and smiling was something strange. The crowd shouted Hazrat is alive, Hazrat is alive, call the doctor. There are several people alive today who witnessed this strange incident. Dr Malik examined him and pronounced him dead. He was buried at Ganj Shahda which is located on the Ahmedabad – Delhi highway . The Urs is celebrated every year and lakhs of devotees all across the globe visit his Mazaar ( Tomb ).

Among the film personalities who used to attend the Urs were Mehboob Khan, Sardar Akhtar, Zaibunissa, Mehtab, Begum Akhtar, Prithviraj Kapoor and Trilok Kapoor etc .

There are hundreds of families in Hyderabad whose vows were fulfilled by the spiritual powers of Hazrat Ashraf Khan. Each family has a different story to narrate. Many sickly people got cured, many got rid of financial troubles, rivals became friends, and many women became mothers after best efforts by doctors failed .

Amirbai Karnataki rendered a couple of devotional songs in his praise. Some disc collectors of Hyderabad had them in their collection .

Ashraf Khan acted in 31 films in all. Some of his films were- Aaiye 1949, Phool 1945, Roti 1942, Baghban 1938, Ajamil 1934, Roop Basant 1933, Malati Madhav 1933, Husn Ka Gulam 1933, Veer Kunal 1932, Gul-e-Bakavali 1932, Bhartruhari 1932. He sang 59 songs in 14 films. Some of the songs rendered by Ashraf Khan were in movies …..Baghban 1938, Baaghi 1939, Aazaadi-E-Vatan 1940, Roti 1942, Pagli Duniya 1944 and Naiya-1947. His last film was Arab ka sitara-1961.

Noted Record Historian, Dr. Suresh Chandvankar also wrote about Ashraf Khan in his book in Marathi ” पूर्वसूरींचे सूर “. He says that after the death of his parents, Ashraf khan was looked after by his father’s Hindu friend Baburao. He learnt Gujarati so well that people thought that he was a Gujarati. He entered the Gujarati stage. Due to his good singing, in later periods he was called Saigal of Gujarat. In 1960, he was felicitated by the President of India. In Bombay he had a bungalow in Girgaon. From 1950 onwards, he inclined towards Sufism, while still working on stage and films.

After his death, his Darga is set up at Dana Limdi, on the Bombay-Gujarat highway, where every year Urs is held and lakhs of visitors come. (Based on information from article by P.Kamalakar ji, book -पूर्वसूरींचे सूर by Dr. Suresh Chandvankar, Gujarati Rangbhumi by K.N.Parekh, HFGK, muVyz and my notes. Thanks to all.)

Six songs of Ashraf Khan are discussed on this Blog. All are film songs. This is perhaps his first Non Film Song to feature here.


Song- Khudi mitaaye na jab tak Khuda nahin milta (Ashraf Khan NFS)(1940) Singer- Master Ashraf Khan Lyricist- Unknown MD- Unknown

Lyrics

Khudi mitaaye na jab tak
Khuda nahin milta
Khudi mitaaye na jab tak
Khuda nahin milta aa
aa aa

?? mein shaakh mein ae ae ae ae
aa aa aa aa aa
aa aa aa aa aa
?? mein shaakh mein
gul mein usi ka jalwa hai ae
ke uspe kehte hain
hamko khuda nahin milta aa aa aa
kiya na uska tasawwur
na dhyaan hai dil mein
ae ae ae ae
kiya na uska tasawwur
na dhyaan hai dil mein ae
kisi ko raasta chaltey
Khuda nahin milta aa aa
(??)jabaan dil se alag rakkho
tu tu mai mai se ae ae ae
jahaan hai ??
Khuda nahin milta aa aa

kisi ka dost na paaya
jahaan mein ae makhmoor
kisi ko dost na paaya
jahaan mein ae makhmoor
Khuda to mil bhi sake
aashna nahin miltaa
Khuda to mil bhi sake
aashna nahin miltaa
?? gair kahin
?? to kya nahin milta
aa aa aa


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 :

4825 Post No. : 16603

The human mind is constantly attracted by imaginary things.He would like to have supernatural powers and do things which he only dreams about. He knows he can not do so, so looks out for those who can do them. A normal person likes to see a man do super-human activity like fighting with hungry lions or teaching a lesson to Roadside Romeos or punishing wrong-doers etc. If possible he would like to do these things himself, but it is not possible for an ordinary man. If someone is thrashing a thief or stopping someone from troubling hapless women, the public gathers and cheers him. We have seen it many times.

Secrecy, Puzzles, riddles, Mystery and fantasy are the initiators of curiosity in Human Mind. The mind dreams of the things it wishes, but can not do and knows that it can not do. That is where the seeds of Action films and stunts are sown.

The film makers took advantage of this human nature and made films about supernatural heroes who rode Horses, fought 10 goons at a time, jumped into and out of fire with ease and generally staked their lives to save the poor and the weak in the society. The audience simply loved it and action films established themselves. There is nothing childish about it. These movies help the majority of moviegoers enjoy such superhuman acts vicariously.

When film making started in India, it was but natural, because of our heritage, that most initial films were mythological. With the beginning of silent films from Raja Harishchandra in 1913 to 1921 almost all films were Mythologicals.

The First off-beat film was ”England Returned or Bilet ferat” a Comedy film made by Indo British films, Calcutta, released on 2-2-1921.

The First fantasy film was ‘Princess Badar or The tale of Kamar-al-Zamin’ made in 1922 by Madan Theatres, Calcutta.

The First Costume film was ‘The song of the slave‘-1922,made by Photoplay Syndicate,Calcutta.

The First Crime film was ‘The Kala Naag or Triumph of Justice‘-1924, made by Kohinoor films,Bombay. The First detective film was ‘ Justice or Nyaya’-1925, made by Premier Photoplay, Poona.

And finally the First Action film was ”The choice of a Bride“-1929, made by Surya Film Company, Bangalore.

After this there were many Action films made in Silent movies till the last silent film in India-” Niyoti”-1934, made by Aurora Film Corporation, Calcutta, released on 15-9-1934.

( Thanks to Dr.R K Verma and his book “Silent Cinema”).

When the Talkie films started , here too Mythologicals led the list. However the First Action Film in Talkie was ” Dagabaz Aashiq”-1932, closely followed by another action film “Do Badmash” made by Imperial and Ranjit respectively.

After this there was no looking back. There was enough material available for Mythological, Historical, religious, social, fantasy and Costume films in India,with its rich Heritage, but for Action and Stunt film stories, movie makers looked to the west.

The legendary King Arthur, Robin Hood, William Tell, Zorro and Tarzan etc all became sources of inspiration for action and stunt films in India. Skillful adaptation and Indianization of western Heroes coupled with the fertile imagination of story writers in our studios provided enough fodder. It is through this that emerged the ideas of ‘Masked men’,’Hunterwali’ and various Baghis.

Out of these the Tarzan stories were more popular as they combined Mystery, jungles, superhuman powers and great strengths which tamed the wild animals. Countless films were made with Tarzan as the central character.

The original Tarzan story was written by Sir Edgar Rice Burrows and it was first published in 1912, followed by its 23 sequels. The story proved to be immensely popular. No wonder, then, that it attracted the Hollywood producers.

The First Silent film ” Tarzan of the Apes” was released in 1918 in which Tarzan’s role was done by Elmo Lincoln and Jane Porter was Enid Markey. From 1918 to 2008, Hollywood made 89 Tarzan Films.

The First Talkie film on Tarzan was ” Tarzan-The Ape Man ” in 1932. Johnny Weissmuller was doing Tarzan’s role and Maureen O’Sulivan was Jane in it.

Johnny was a German bred Romanian settled in America. He was an Olympic Swimming Champion with 5 Gold medals. The pair of Johnny and Maurine was very popular. Johnny Weissmuller did 12 films of Tarzan from 1932 to 1948. 6 films with Maureen, 2 without Jane and 4 with Brenda Joyce. After Johnny 5 Tarzan films were done by Lex Barker and 6 were done by Gordon Scot. After 1960, there were different Tarzan actors in every film.

The Chimpanzee “Cheetah” was there in films from 1932 to 1960, when he died.

In most films, the scripts were loyal to the novels. However, in the novel, Tarzan and Jane get married and they have a son too. But in films, they never got married and their son ” BOY ” was found and adopted by Jane.

Tarzan films attracted Indian film makers too.As far back as the first decade of Talkie films in India , an attempt was made to make films like Tarzan. The name was too obvious to be copied, so a new name was invented- ZAMBO. The adventurous producer Mohan Bhavnani always liked to do experiments and he made a film Zambo- The Ape man in 1937 (aka Sher E Jungle). It had almost a similar story like that of Tarzan but it was fully indianised. Obviously, this film became very successful, because Bhavnani made a sequel ” Zambo ka Beta ” in 1939.

In both the films the Hero was the same-Navin Yagnik. Navin was a well known stunt film actor who did social films also with the same ease. Navin was born in Calcutta on 3-10- 1912. His father was from U.P. and mother from Bengal. During school days, he was more interested in sports,dramas and oratory. He did not complete his Matriculation, but ran away to Bombay, to become an actor-against the wishes of his family.

He joined Sagar Films in 1930, as an Extra, without salary. After a few months he got Rs.35 pm, but no credited roles. After an year or so, he left Sagar and joined Mohan Bhavnani’s Ajanta Film company. He first worked in the film ‘ The Mill ‘-34. Unfortunately, this film was banned for 2 years. The film was based on a story by Munshi Premchand and depicted the poor conditions of mill workers in Bombay. The Mill Owners’ Association brought pressure on the Government and got the film banned. After 2 years, the film was released as ” Ghareeb Parivar”-36 aka ‘Daya ki Devi’. Two more films and Navin became Hero in the film ” Pyar ki maar”-35.

In her autobiography, actress Hansa Wadkar says,” My Hero in this film was one Navin Yagnik, a handsome boy from U.P. He was very shy and after the shootings, he would quietly sit in one corner reading something. He never joined our drink parties,nor did he participate in any other group activity. I was attracted towards him but he gave no response. He sent me an invitation card for his marriage, when it was fixed.”

He also worked in Minerva Movietone, Prakash pictures, Filmistan and other good banners. Some of his well known films were, Zambo-The ape Man-37, Meri Bhool-37, Divorce-38, Vaasanti-38, Son of Zambo-39, Main Haari-40, Jhoothi Sharm-40, Vasantsena-42, Raja Rani-42, School Master-43, Prithvi Vallabh-43, Chal chal re Naujawan-44 etc. His last recorded film was Bhagwat Mahima-55. In all, he worked in 30 films.

Navin Yagnik died on 28-10-1977.

Many films were made on Tarzan in India. Though there was a film ‘ Tarzan ki beti’ made by a Calcutta company in 1938, it was not actually a jungle film, belying its title. It took about 25-30 years to see a Hindi film of Tarzan. In the 60s there was a spate of Tarzan films. About 20+ films were made. Tarzan stories were more popular as they combined Mystery, jungles, superhuman powers and great strengths which tamed the wild animals. Countless films were made with Tarzan as the central character.

When the normal titles finished, the imaginative writers combined Tarzan with Aladdin, Delialah, Rocket, Gorilla, Mermaid, King Kong, Hercules, Cobra, Circus and even Fairyland. When this too was exhausted, they joined him with places like Delhi, spies like 303 etc. They gave Tarzan a Daughter also. When the Indianisation of Tarzan was complete, in came ZIMBO !

Whatever the title, the script ideas were more or less the same. It ensured that the Hero’s supernatural powers and strength was used and wild animals were shown in abundance.

There were also Toofani Tarzan (1937), Toofani Tarzan (1962), Tarzan Aur Gorilla (1963), Rocket Tarzan (1963),Tarzan Aur Jalpari (1964), Tarzan Captain Kishore (1964), Tarzan Comes To Delhi (1965),Tarzan And Circus (1965), Tarzan And King Kong (1965); Tarzan Aur Hercules (1966), Tarzan Ki Mehbooba (1966), Tarzan In Fairyland (1968), Tarzan 303 (1970),Tarzan Mera Saathi (1974), Tarzan (1985), Taarzan – The Wonder Car (2004).

Anyway we are talking about the film Zambo-The Ape man-1937 presently. The music was given by an extraordinarily talented artiste- Badri prasad. He was an actor, singer, Music Director, Producer, Director, Lyricist and a Choreographer in his last lap. I have yet to come across another artiste with so much talent. Additionally he was a Sanskrit pandit and wrote dramas for All India Radio also. We don’t find such people these days !

Film actor and a famous compere DAVID ABRAHAM CHEULKAR, popularly known only as David, made his Debut with this film. David Abraham Cheulkar (21-6-1909 to 2-1- 1981), popularly known as David, was a Jewish-Indian Hindi film actor and a member of Mumbai’s Marathi-speaking Bene Israel Jew community. In a career spanning four decades, he played mostly character roles, starting with the 1941 film Naya Sansar, and went on to act in over 110 films, including memorable films such as Gol Maal (1979), Baton Baton Mein (1979) and Boot Polish (1954), for which he was awarded the 1955 Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award.

He never married. He died on 2-1- 1981 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada of a heart attack at the age of 73.
Today’s song is sung by Sarla devi. It is the second song from this film here.


Song- Hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee (Zambo The Ape man)(1937) Singer- Sarla Devi, Lyricist- Pt. Badri Prasad, MD- Pt. Badri Prasad

Lyrics

Hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee
Hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee
hamre nainan mein nit aas lagi hai
nainan mein nit aas lagi hai
surat kyon hai chhupaayi
Hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee
hamre kaate katat naahin
birha ki ratiyaan
kaate katat naahin
birha ki ratiyaan
tum bin saajan dhadkat chhatiya
neha lagaa ke
tumne saajan
neha lagaa ke
tumne saajan
birha ki aag lagaayi
hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee
hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee

raat andheri
baadal garje ae ae ae
megh chaaye rahe
bijli chamke

aawo ban mein chhupne waale
aawo ban mein chhupne waale
ab pad jaawo dikhaayee
hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee
hamri sudh budh kyon bisraayee


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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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