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

Archive for the ‘Song of 1940’ Category


This article is written by Arunkumar Deshmukh, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

5026 Post No. : 16934

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Lyrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 :

4979 Post No. : 16859

“Main Haari”(1940) was directed by Gajanan Jagirdar for Minerva Movietone, Bombay. The movie had Navin Yagnik, Maya Devi, Naseeb Bano,Hari Shivdasani,Ghulam Hussain,Eruc Tarapore etc in it.

The movie had six songs in it. One song has been covered in the past.

Here is the second song from “Main Haari”(1940). The song is sung by Menaka Bai. Kamal Amrohi is the lyricist. Music is composed by Meer Sahab.

Only the audio of the song is available. I reuest our knowledgeable readers to thro light on the picturisation of the song.

Lyrics of the song were sent by Prakashchandra.

audio link:

Song-Saanwariya se hamri naaheen banee re (Main Haari)(1940) Singer-Menaka Bai, Lyrics-Kamal Amrohi, MD-Meer Sahab

Lyrics(Provided by Prakashchandra)

saanwariyaa se hamri naaheen banee rey ae ae
saanwariyaa se hamri naaheen banee rey ae ae
saanwariyaa se hamree naaheen banee rey ae ae

bas ek baar charnon mein bichchney ki ??
bas ek baar charnon mein bichchney ki ??
aa aa haa aan aa haan aan aaa
aan aaan aa aaa
main sau baar sainyyaan ke paaiyyaan padee rey ae
main sau baar sainyyaan ke paaiyyaan padee rey ae
saanwariyaa se hamree naaheen banee rey ae ae

main ujdee bhee
sanwri bheeee
bigdi banee rey
main ujdee bhee
sanwri bheeeee
bigdi banee rey ae ae
ke paaoon unhein jaisey waisey sajee rey ae
ke paaoon unhein..aen jaisey waisey sajee rey ae

paseejey kisee baat se bhee na saajan..n.n.n.n.n
paseeje kisee baat se bhee na saajan
main royee main tadpee
main roothhee manee rey
main royee main tadpee
main roothhee manee rey
woh kaisey mujhey ae apney mann mein basaatey ae
woh kaisey mujhey ae ae apney mann mein basaatey ae ae
woh ho honthon se mere aey ae ae aey ae ae ae
woh ho hoke mere main thee hee bujhee rey aey ae ae ae


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 :

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 :

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 :

4820 Post No. : 16592 Movie Count :

4522

Today’s song is from an obscure old film Jhoothi Sharma-1940. The film was made by Bhavnani Productions, Bombay and was directed by its owner Mohan Bhavnanni himself Music was given by the veteran, multi-talented Badri Prashad and the songs were written by D.N.Madhok.

Though the film was obscure which remained unknown in later years, it was a special film because a German had written its story and screenplay, while another German had provided the background music and the orchestration for the film. Now, where did the Germans come from in this film ?

Very few people know that Indian Cinema had a little known connection with the rise of Hitler in Germany in 1932-33. A group of men , engaged in Cinema in Germany, flocked to India in the 30’s and played a vital role in Indian Cinema and the arts of that time. After Hitler took over Germany in 1933, the German Cine Studio’s glory days were over and they were turned into Nazi Propaganda Machines !

It was at this time that several of its men left the studio and arrived in India, and contributed during the Indian cinema’s formative years.

The foremost among them is Frantz Osten, a German whom Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani met at the UFA when they went to train there (they worked with Lang and Marlene Dietrich). Osten had already been directing films for the couple since 1925, when he made Light of Asia for them from Germany.

In 1934, he came to India and the next year, after Rai founded ‘ Bombay Talkies ‘ the legendary film studio in Malad that now lies in ruins, Osten directed its first film.

He went on to direct the famous Devika Rani-Ashok Kumar starrer, Achhyut Kanya, without much knowledge of Hindi. The film, which featured the song “Main ban ke chiriya”, was shot by Joseph Wirsching; the sets were designed by Karl von Spreti and the laboratory was headed by Zolle, Osten’s team of UFA ex-members who worked for Rai’s state-of-the-art studio.

Osten and his fellow Germans directed 16 films for Rai. It was a remarkable feat for people who knew little Hindi ‘ mistaking the word “bulbul” once for a pair of bulls. While in Bombay, he became a member of the Nazi Party (1936). He was interned by the British at the outbreak of WW2 while shooting his last film there, Kangan. Released and allowed to return to Germany (1940).

“It’s not clear if they had anything to do with the Nazi ideology, either way,” said film historian Amrit Gangar.

“If they did, it did not show in their films. But there were two other people who almost certainly migrated to India because of the persecution of Jews.”

They were Walter Kauffman, a scholar and composer interested in Oriental music, and Wilhelm Haas, a writer and a friend of Franz Kafka.

“Both were Jews, and Haas came to India because of Kauffman, who went on to found the Bombay Chamber Music Society,” Gangar added.

Kauffman arrived in 1934 after meeting director-producer Mohan Bhavnani at the UFA (where V. Shantaram also did a stint).

“Haas was in Czechoslovakia, but left the country for India just after Hitler’s invasion,” Gangar said.

Kauffman, Haas and Bhavnani worked together in Premnagar (1940), Naushad’s first film as music director. Kauffman composed the background score; Haas wrote the screenplay.

“It is debatable, but Kauffman is probably also the person behind the All India Radio signature tune. Haas was a member of the Indian chapter of PEN,” Gangar said. Haas also wrote the script for Bhavnani’s Jhooti Sharam (1939) and Kauffmann provided Orchestration and background music.

The story of Paul Zils ( 1-6-1915 to 30-3-1979 ) stands out, though. Zils, believed to be a Nazi sympathizer, turned up in India under strange circumstances: he was bound for Indonesia in a steamer that got torpedoed by an Indian naval ship during World War II and he was taken prisoner.

After his release, because of his film experiences, the leadership of the sales department in Ezra Mir led government documentary production company, called him to join Information films of India. End of October 1945, he came to Bombay and started his work. In March 1959 he returned to Germany.

Josph Virsching-the Cinematographer, however, stayed back in India till his death in 1967. He did few Hindi films too.

Paul Zils directed 3 Dev Anand films, according to the documents. Hindustan Hamara-50 and Zalzala-52 are found in HFGK, but the third film called ‘ Shabash”, though listed in 1949, gives no details, except the film name. ( Information adapted from the book ” Walter Koffman” by Amit Gangar, with thanks and my notes.)

The cast of the film Jhoothi Sharm-40 was Trilok Kapoor,Bimla Kumari, Shareefa, Navin Yagnik, Nayampally, Girish, Iqbal, Rajkumari and others. The film was directed by Mohan Bhavnani. Most of the new generation readers may not know anything about this pioneer film maker.

Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani was born on 2-10-1903 at Hyderabad-Sindh. He studied at the College of Technology, Manchester (1921-24). After graduation, he went to Germany to study film making at the UFA (Universum Film ArtikenGessel schaft), a German motion picture production company in 1924. He came back to India and joined Kohinoor Film Co. in Bombay. He made several Silent films with actress Sulochana, like Cinema ni rani, Maitri prem, Veer Bala, Bhamto Bhoot, Wild Cat of Bombay ( she played 8 different roles in it) etc. Then he joined Imperial film co. in 1927. In 1931 he became an independent producer with Indian Art Production.

He returned to Germany to study sound film technique, when the advent of the Talkie happened in India. he came back and made his first Talkie Farebi jaal aka The Trapped-1931, a part Talkie film. It flopped but actress Durga Khote debuted with this film and sang 2 songs too. Even his future wife Enakshi Rama Rau also acted in this film in a small role.

He started his Ajanta Cinetone(1933-34) and his own Bhavnani Productions (1935-1948). He hired famous author Premchand to write a story for the film ‘ Mazdoor’ (The Mill)-1934. The film was banned for 2 years. It was followed by the film Jagran-1936- both films on Labourer’s problems. He also produced a film Ajeet-48, the first full length colour film on 16 mm and blown up on 35 mm.

He left filmmaking and joined the Government Films Division as its first Chief producer (48-55). Then he went to China, on the invitation of Chow En Lai to make documentaries for China. He took his cameraman Kishore Rege and S.K.Kulkarni with him.

His wife Enakshi became a famous Dancer and also wrote books on Dances of india. Mohan Bhavnani died on 30-12-1962 at Bombay The 72nd Annual Cannes film Festival was organised from 14th to 25th May 2019 and it was dedicated to short films made by Mohan Bbhavnani of india. What an honour for him to get such a tribute!

Filmography- 1925: Cinema Ni Rani, Matri Prem, Seth Sagalsha, Veer Bala, 1926: Bhamto Bhoot, Diwan Bhamasha, Mena Kumari, Pagal Premi, Ra Kawat, Samrat Shiladitya, 1927: Daya Ni Devi, Gamdeni Gori, Naseeb Ni Lili, Trust Your Wife, Wildcat of Bombay, 1929: Hawai Swar, Khedda, Khwab-e-Hasti, Mysore: Gem City of India, 1930: Vasantsena, 1931: Farebi Jaal, Lafanga Langoor, Shakuntala, 1932: Veer Kunal, 1933: Afzal, Rangila Rajput, 1934: Dard-e-Dil, Mazdoor (Director, Writer), Sair-e-Paristan, 1935: Jung Bahadur, Navjeevan, Shadi Ki Raat, 1936: Dilawar, Garib Parwar, Jagran (Director, Producer), Wrestling, 1937: Zambo the Ape Man, 1938: Double Cross (Director, Producer, Writer), Himalay Ki Beti, Yangrilla, 1939: Zambo Ka Beta, 1940: Jhoothi Sharm, Prem Nagar (Director, Producer), 1945: Biswi Sadi, 1946: Rang Bhoomi, 1948: Ajit (Director, Producer), 1949: Vale of Kashmir, 1950: The Private Life of a Silk Worm, Search For Shelter (Producer), 1951: Lest We Forget, 1952: Kumaon Hills, 1953: Feminine Fashions (Producer), Folk Dances of India, Republic Day Record, Six Years of Freedom (Producer), 1954: Good Manners (Producer), Modest Homes (Producer), 1955: Republic Day 1955, 1956:Operation Khedda, 1957: The Himalayan Tapestry ( Thanks to Encyclopedia of indian Cinema.)

Today’s song is sung by Iqbal Bibi. I do not have any information about this singer/actress.


Song- Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala (Jhoothhi Sharm)(1940) Singer-Iqbal Bibi, Lyricist- D N Madhok, MD- Badri Prasad

Lyrics

Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala
Phoolon ki main layee hoon maala
chun chun kali kali
Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala
chun chun kali kali
koi mohe kahe kahaan
koi mohe kahe kahaan
preet ki hai kaun gali
koi mohe kahe kahaan
preet ki hai kaun gali
Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala
chun chun kali kali
ab Ghanshyam milo
ho ab Ghanshyam milo
bhayi birha ki gali
ab Ghanshyam milo
ab Ghanshyam milo
bhayi birha ki gali
Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala
chun chun kali kali
Phoolon ki main layee hoon maala

torey bin chain nahin
torey bin chain nahin
kal bin rain nahin
torey bin chain nahin
kal bin rain nahin
ab Ghanshyam milo
ab Ghanshyam milo
jag hai chalaa chali
ab Ghanshyam milo
ab Ghanshyam milo
jag hai chalaa chali
Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala
chun chun kali kali
Phoolon ki main laayee hoon maala


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 :

4815 Post No. : 16585 Movie Count :

4519

Today’s song is from an obscure Costume film, Sardar-1940. The film was made by Prakash Pictures, Bombay. It was directed by Dwarka Khosla and the music was by the favourite MD of Prakash Pictures- Shankar Rao Vyas. All the 15 songs were written by Balam Pardesi. However HFGK lists only 12 songs under the film title and 3 more songs are further added through ‘Addenda’, at the end of the Kosh. Today’s song is the first song of this film to be posted here.

Director Dwarka Khosla was born in 1904 at Hoshiarpur, Punjab. He entered the films during the Silent era. His first Talkie films as a director was Josh-E-Jawani-1935. He directed 33 films. His last film was Reporter Raju-1962. The cast of the film was Jayant, Pramila,Shah Nawaz, Amirbai Karnataki, Munshi Khanjar and others. Actor Jayant was a find of Vijay Bhatt. He gave him first chance in Nai Zindagi-1934. He also changed his original name to Jayant.

Jayant was born as Zakaria Khan,on 15-10-1912 at Alwar, Rajasthan. His father Syed Ahmed Khan was originally from Peshawar, but was working as a Sports Coach in the court of the Maharaja of Alwar,Rajasthan. Along with his elder brother Jahangir Khan, Jayant used to sell ‘Makka-Bhutta’ (Maize) on a roadside thela and thus earned his pocket money, with which he used to see films. When he grew up, he was taken by his father to the Maharaja, who recruited him as Second Lieutenant in his Army. Jayant soon got bored with this life, left the job and came to Bombay in search of a job in films. When he met Vijay Bhatt of Prakash pictures, this 6’1″ tall,handsome and young man was liked by him. Jayant also knew Horse riding and swimming. He was named JAYANT by Vijay Bhatt and offered a role in their film Nayi Duniya-1934. Rajkumari Banaraswali also debuted in this film.

Excellent Urdu delivery and handsome personality earned Jayant Hero’s roles in Bambai ki Sethani,Bombay Mail, Lal chithi, Shamsheer-e-Arab, Azadveer, Passing show, Snehlata, Top ka gola, Challenge, His Highness, Khwab ki duniya, Mr.X, State Express, Hero no.1, Sardar and Mala. By now his salary was 3700 per month. He was more at ease in Costume and stunt films than social flicks.

Khwaab ki Duniya-37 was based on the story of Invisible Man and this was the first film as a Director for Vijay Bhatt. Babubhai Mistry from Surat used Trick photography in this film, by using Black Thread on black background.

Jayant was married to 13 year old Kamarbano Sultan. His first son,Imtiaz khan was born on 15-10-42 and second son was born on 21-10-43. He was Amjad Khan (Gabbar singh of Sholay). As a child, Amjad khan was very frail and weak till his second year. Later in his youth, of course he expanded out of proportion. Jayant’s elder brother Jahangir Khan died suddenly in an accident. Jayant was very much attached to him. To forget the sorrow, Jayant started smoking and drinking. After he was out of Prakash Pictures, he was taken by Minerva for Sikander’s role. When Sohrab Modi saw him smoking and drinking on sets, he was summarily thrown out and the role went to Prithwiraj Kapoor, for whom it was a Milestone in his career.

Jayant worked in Aladdin, Laila, Bulbul e Baghdad, Mere saajan, Zewar and Dawat. He even went to Lahore to act in “Poonji” and “Shirin Farhad”. When Shirin Farhad became a resounding flop, Jayant stopped getting roles, but he never went to anyone to ask for roles. P N Arora went to Jayant’s house to sign him for Doli. After Partition, his finances became critical and he had to sell even family jewellery for his drinks. He acted in character roles in Amar ,Insaniyat, Madhumati, Maya, Memdidi, Son of India, Kabli Khan, Hakikat, Leader, Himalay ki God mein, Sangharsh, Do Raaste, Heer Ranjha, Mera Gaon Mera Desh etc. He worked in 105 films. Can you imagine Jayant singing ? Yes, he had sung a song in film State Express-1938, along with Sardar Akhtar.

Jayant was a family man. Till the end he had only one wife and he followed the rule to partake the dinner at home with all family members daily. He contracted Cancer, lost his voice in 1970. His last film was ‘Love and God’,which was released 11 years after his death.

Jayant died on 2-6-1975. ( Thanks to shri Harish Raghuvanshi ji, for Jayant’s profile in his Gujarati book ,Inhe na Bhulana ).

In the last few posts we have seen the brief history of 2 famous studios of yore – Imperial and New Theatres, Calcutta. today we will read the brief history of Prakash Pictures, Bombay.

The success story of the famous Prakash Pictures (1934 to 1971) is also a success and hard work story of two brothers-Vijay and Shankar Bhatt.

The sons of a railway guard, Vijay Bhatt, along with his elder brother and his lifelong partner, Shankar bhai Bhatt, shared a fascination for theatre and films.

The mid twenties brought them to Bombay, where Vijay Bhatt enrolled in St.Xavier’s college and studied upto Inter-Science. While Shankarbhai took up a job in a store selling readymade garments. In order to secure a steady, lucrative job, he obtained a Diploma in Electrical Lighting and Traction from the International Correspondence School, London. Quitting college, he joined the BEST and worked for 3 years rising to be an officer with the designation of Drawing Office Superintendent.

He quit his job after two months and both the brothers decided to take on the world of showbiz.

A flair for writing led him to get involved in a humble way as a storywriter.

It was Ardeshir Irani, the ‘Father of Indian Talkies’ and the maker of ‘Alam Ara’, who would show them the way. At that time, he was the managing director of The Royal Studios. He glanced through the stories, selected one of them and asked the brothers to meet the proprietor of the studio, Seth Aboo Hussein. ‘Show him the story and then come back to me. If it is all right for him, it is all right for me’ they were told.

The story was approved and Ardeshir Irani took it upon himself to teach Vijay Bhatt how to write Screenplay. Every evening after the day’s work and dinner, the Bhatt brothers would make their way to Majestic Cinema, built by Ardeshir Irani in 1918 in partnership with the exhibitor, Abdulaly Yusoofaly. Irani would be here every evening with his friends. And it was here that Vijay Bhatt scripted his very first screenplay, ‘Vidhika Vidhan’, which was made into a film by director K.P.Bhave.

Ardeshir Irani made two more films based on the stories of Bhatt brothers. They were ‘ Paani mein Aag’ and ‘ Ghulam’-1929, both of which were directed by Nagendra Muzumdar. Their third film featured a newly recruited actor from Peshavar, Prithviraj kapoor.

By now, Ardeshir Irani had founded his own Imperial Studios and drawn to it a host of artists and technicians. The Bhatt brothers too had gathered enough experience and ventured to make films on their own.They soon founded the Royal Film Co., in partnership with a cousin and the first film to be produced under this banner was Black Ghost. It starred Master Vithal and Madhuri and was photographed by V. M.Vyas. With Vijay Bhatt at the helm of the creative affairs and Shankarbhai in charge of the business aspect, they made seven silent films under the banner of The Royal Film Company in an open air studio in Juhu. Among them was ‘Heer Ranjha’, where Vijay Bhatt gave A.R. Kardar, a poster maker for foreign film distributors, his first acting assignment.

Then came the year of Talkies and the Bhatts too switched over to this new medium with ‘Alif Laila’-1933, which was based on an Arabian Nights story and made under the banner ofRoyal Cinetone. This was followed by 3 other talkies made under the banner of Kardar Studios. He then founded a film distribution concern, Royal Pictures Corporation, which acquired the distribution rights of ‘Sohni Mahiwal’ for North India for Rs. 11,000 – a sensational amount at that time. For, as he often used to say, “In those days, it cost just about Rs. 8000 to make a film 8 -9 thousand feet in length!”

By now Vijay Bhatt had evolved into a director to be reckoned with. It was time to set up his own production company. And Prakash Pictures was born. Prakash Studios was built in 1934 at Andheri. That time Andheri was an undeveloped suburb of Bombay and not many facilities like roads, Lights etc were available easily there. The place where the studio was to come up was a very big open area. Except for huge open grounds, there was one double storey bungalow. All offices were kept in that. The first film to be made there was the film ‘Actress’-1934 ( Bambai ki Mohini), written and produced by Vijay Bhatt.

After a few more stunt films, a shooting floor was constructed and they made ” Khwaab ki duniya” in 1937. In 1938 they made State Express, Passing show, Challenge and Top ka Gola etc. By that time their reserves for stars included Sardar Akhtar, Pramila, Ratnamala, Ranjana, Jayant, Umakant, Prem Adeeb etc. Harsukh Bhatt and Raja Nawathe were assistant directors. By making stunt films they made good money and completed the second shooting floor also with that money. The famed torch of Prakash Pictures continued to shine over decades and in all, 64 films were made in various Genres, in black and white as well as colour. Vijay Bhatt directed 23 films. He also wrote lyrics for the film Snehlata-1936.

Because of hectic activities in the studio and the traffic to the studio,that part of Andheri became developed with street lights, cement roads, Bus stops etc. Their next film Purnima-38 made excellent business. Bhatt brothers were impressed with Gandhi’s favourite bhajan ” Vaishnav jan to “. They made a film ‘ Narsi Bhagat’ in 1942 with Vishnupant Pagnis and Durga Khote. It ran so well that Prakash made ‘ Bharat Milap’ in Hindi and ( भरत भेट ) in Marathi. The tremendous success made them make ‘Ram Rajya’ ( again in Hindi and marathi) and Prakash became famous all over India, making name, fame and a lot of money.

From 1945 to 1948, Prakash faced a spate of flop films. Bhatta brothers kept silent for 4 years, renting its studio to other producers. Prakash was planning a Love story. Their friend Naushad suggested them Baiju Bawra. They made the film with less famous Bharat Bhushan and Meena Kumari. The film created Box office records.

Goonj uthi Shehnai-59, Hariyali aur Rasta-62 and Himalay ki God mein-65 did well but again few flop films…. Bhatt brothers decided to stop making films from 1971 and sold the studio and all the land.

Vijay Bhatt died on 17-10-1993 at Bombay. Vijay Bhatt played an important role in the careers of some major stars. He was the person who gave Mehzabeen (Meena kumari),the name Baby Meena. He also gave her the first major heroine’s role in Baiju Bawra-52.Till then she did roles in B and C grade films.
O K Dhar Kashmiri was given the name ” JEEWAN “,when he did Narad’s role in Bharat Milap. Later he did Narad’s role in over 100 films.
Suraiyya got her big singing role in Station master-42.
Manoj Kumar was made hero in Himalaya ki God mein-65

Today on that land many factories are erected. Few Housing societies and a Marriage Hall ” Vishal” came up too. Thus ended a glorious chapter of a film making studio called “Prakash Pictures”- a guarantee for wholesome entertainment ! (information for this article is used from vijaybhatt.com, and a book ” तीन भिंतींची दुनिया ” by Bhai Bhagat, with thanks and my notes.)

Today’s song is sung by Amirbai Karnataki (alongwith an unknown male voice, since identified as Sheetal Ghosh). With this song, film Sardar-1940 makes its Debut on this Blog.


Song- Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara (Sardaar)(1940) Singer- Amirbai Karnataki, Lyricist- Balam, MD- Shankar Rao Vyas
Amirbai Karnataki + Sheetal Ghosh

Lyrics

Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

bhakt ki naiyya ka sahaara
bhakt ki naiyya ka sahaara
andhon ka ujiyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

Bhagwaan bhajan pyara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

Pandav aur Prahlad ubaare
bhakt aajaa milte hain saare
Pandav aur Prahlad ubaare
bhakt aajaa milte hain saare
?? nahin hamaara aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

sakal vishw mein goonje hardam
Meera ka iktaara
sakal vishw mein goonje hardam
Meera ka iktaara
Bhaj Raam
Ghanshyam
gaaye baarambaar
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara

Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara aa aa
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara
Bhagwaan bhajan pyaara


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 :

4804 Post No. : 16571

Today’s song is from a Saigal film- Zindagi-1940. The film was made by New Theatres, Calcutta.

At one time New Theatres (NT) was the most successful film production company in India. It was not only prestigious,but it also shaped up and discovered many artistes who made their marks in the Hindi film industry. New Theatres, Calcutta was one of the top 5 film companies in India – the others being Imperial, Prabhat, Ranjit and Bombay Talkies.

The rise and fall of the giant company was a glorious yet a sad chapter. Besides other factors, I feel the ego-conflicts and the obstinate and adamant behaviour of the people coupled with false prestige led the artistes to desert the company leading it to its end. Of course other reasons were equally responsible.

New Theatres operated from 1931 to 1955 and made 177 films, slightly more than Ranjit film co.-with 175 films. B.N.Sircar established New Theatres in Tollygunge, Calcutta on 10-2-1931, as a family concern, where all shares were held by the family members and He was the managing Director. Same year it built its studios in the same area. It had 3 fully equipped units for shooting, with the best technicians and musicians. Like other studios they had salaried staff in all departments, on a monthly basis. In this period there were other studios also in Calcutta, like Bharat Laxmi pictures, Devdutt films, East India Film company, Kali Films and Radha Film co.

Their first talkie film was in Bangla-Chandidas-32. For the North Indian market Hindi film Puran Bhagat-32 was made. NT had markets in East India, North, North west and South, but none in Bombay or western India. Sircar, along with I.A. Hafis ji, toured the unrepresented areas himself and appointed distributors in Madras, Madurai,Trichannapally,Erode, Bangalore, Poona, Bombay, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Kangra Valley and Lahore. Puran Bhagat-32 and Yahudi ki ladli-33 were distributed here.

NT became popular in Non Bangla areas due to its Music, which became their main strength. They popularised Robindra Sangeet, with songs by Pankaj Mullick. Miss Panna Rai ji, the first ever woman to do Ph.D in Indian Cinema, wrote on NT films without knowing Bangla language. WB, EB, Burma and Eastern states were their strongholds.

1940 was the Best year for the company with films Doctor, Zindagi and Nartaki. It was an year of beginning of the end also. The first to leave was director P.C.Barua. The Second World war gave a big jolt with the quota system for Raw film. NT was allowed only 6 films per year. Income reduced. Their monthly salary bill was 45000 rupees. Communal riots in 1946 and Partition in 1947 were great setbacks. Due to Partition, NT’s markets were shrunk and due to curfew, huge losses incurred. In the early 40’s many artistes left for Bombay.

By 1951, son Dilip Sircar said,” people left, finance lost, court cases. My father virtually closed the shop.” Liquidation of Calcutta National Bank, NT’s chief financer, was the last shock. The company was handed over to Arora Film company between June to December-1954. From Jan 55 to Aug 55, it was managed by Deluxe Film company. Then a Court Receiver was appointed. In Jan-56, NT was closed down. In Mar-62 NT went into liquidation. The Liquidation was revoked and NT revived by Dilip Sircar on 8-8-1991. However, no activity was seen except that a 5 part serial on NT was made.

B.N.SIRCAR-Birendranath Sircar( 5-7-1901 to 28-11-1980 ), was the son of Shri Nripendranath Sircar-a well known Jurist and a member of the Viceroy’s committee. B.N.Sircar was a Civil Engineer from U.K. who developed an interest in film making. He left his very lucrative job at Martin Burn and Co. in 1928-29 and made 2 silent films,under the banner of International Film Craft.These were Directed by his First colleague Premankur Atorthy. After testing the film market this way, he founded New Theatres.

NEW THEATRES ( NT ) was established by B.N. Sircar, on 10-2-1931,in Tollygunge, Calcutta. It had 3 studio floors for shooting. It had the best Technicians, the best actors and the best Musicians. He acquired the Tanar equipment and services of Wilfred Denis,imported from Hollywood by Ardeshir Irani. New Theatres attracted major Technical and creative talents from silent studios,which were on collapse now. Thus,”Indian Kinema” provided Directors Nitin Bose and Premankur Atorthy and stars Durgadas Bannerjee,Amar Mullick,Jiban Ganguly etc,” Barua Pics ” gave P.C.Barua and Sushil Mujumdar,” British Dominion Films ‘ gave Dhiren Ganguly etc.

B.N.Sircar was a firm believer that Cinema is a medium between a Novel and a Drama,so he depended upon Bangla famous literature for his films. The first Talkie of new Theatres, “Dena Paona”-31,was based on Sharat babu’s works. Though this film was a flop,he continued to depend upon novels by Sharat babu and Tagore to make his films.His first seven films were flops in a row. Their first big film was Chandidas-1934. New Theatres had many Directors on its payroll and used technological advances with recordist Mukul Bose.

From 1931 to 1955,NT produced 177 films, a Record unlikely to be broken in future by any single production house. The nearest rival was Ranjit studios, with 175 films produced. It is not that there was no competition in Bengal. In 1935,there were 14 production houses in Calcutta and in 1938, there were 18 of them, though some , like Madon Theatres, closed down sooner.

NT was mammoth, peopled by giants. Through the 30s and early 40s,NT had the biggest names in Indian cinema, on their payrolls. K L Saigal, Pahadi Sanyal, Jamuna Devi and Leela Desai were ‘discovered’ by NT. Others like P C Barua, Kanan Devi, Umashashi, Molina and Chandrabati emerged as stars at NT. Some like Durgadas Bandopadyaya and Prithviraj Kapoor had been stars before coming to NT. They had directors like Premankur Attorthy, Debaki Bose, Madhu Bose, D N Ganguly, Nitin Bose, Hiren Bose, R C Boral (only Bangla), Profulla Roy, Phani Mujumdar, Bimal Roy, Hemchandra Chunder, sound recordist Mukul Bose and Musical giants like R C Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Timir Baran and K C Dey.

B N Sircar was the Patriarch, the disciplinarian, who held them together like in a big family. NT had a veritable galaxy and clashes between the Titans were inevitable. NT had its own share of fallouts, peer rivalries, squabbles and scandals. Due to the stern and uncompromising nature of B N Sircar, the first to leave was Pramathesh Barua, then Nitin Bose, and Kanan Devi. There was that famous spat between Debki Bose and Nitin Bose on the sets of Meerabai-1933 itself and they stopped talking to each other. Add to this the heavy drinking of Saigal and Umashashi’s elopement with the heir of Shova bazar palace. Each of these has an independent story.

The political situation in Bengal after the WWII, i.e. 1945 also caused the journey of NT towards its downfall and eventual closure in 1956. If only B N Sircar had changed his attitude, NT would not have died so soon, at least not without a fight and not so tamely, in the face of the competition. The biggest bank of Bengal, which financed NT- The National bank also went into liquidation at the same time to add to their woes further.

Personally, I would not hold B N Sircar alone responsible for the decline of NT, which was Hindi cinema from Bengal itself in reality. Another very important factor was,while many stalwarts like Saigal, Prithviraj Kapoor, Kidar Sharma, R C Boral, etc made a beeline for Bombay, Hindi cinema music in Calcutta remained the same, where it was in 1931,without any change. On the other hand, Bombay had enriched its music by adapting to the changing times with a mix of music from Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Lahore and the south. The music of the 40s in Bombay had become Vibrant, whereas there was no change whatsoever in Bengal Hindi music. It kept on hankering on Robindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti. Maybe, the extreme variety of Regional pride of Bengal came in the way of adopting and adapting to the changes. (This Pride has, even Today, kept Bengal much behind the rest of India.) Thus Bombay became the undisputed capital of Hindi Cinema and Music.

New Theatres was established in 1931,as a family business, with B.N. Sircar as the Managing Director. Once NT started growing, the local regional pride almost forced Madan Theatres-belonging to a Parsee family from the western India-to pack up. By 1938,Madan Theatres had produced over 154 films-silent and Talkie. They made their last Talkie, ” Khatarnak Aurat”-1938 and the company closed down.

New Theatres had the Best actors, best Directors, Best composers and the very best Technical staff in India. They had 4 distinct strengths….

1. Right from the beginning, Bengal had an edge over Bombay and Lahore etc in that the Educated and Respectable family members did not hesitate to join the Film Industry in Bengal. In fact, over 90% of its people were educated-some of them even Foreign educated too. In this ,Bengal was very Progressive. On the contrary, the western centres of film making were confined to Courtesans, Tawayafs and uneducated run-aways in its film industry.

2. NT or the Bengali film industry had a very wide market spread out over the entire West and East Bengal, Bihar, orissa, Assam, the N-E states and Burma. Their Distribution network included Madras,Madurai,Erode,Trichannapally,Bangalore,Mysore,Poona,Bombay,Cawnpore(Kanpur),Kangra valley and Lahore circuits.

3.People who worked for NT were like a united family. Feelings of Goodwill and Happiness permeated the studio. Workers came in the morning and worked till it was finished. Discipline and adherence to deadlines and principles regulated their lives. projects were, therefore, completed always as planned and in time.
( Only Madras of the 40s and 50s came near this. Bombay and Lahore were exactly the opposite, where discipline and punctuality were never a Virtue (Tradition continues…)

4. Almost all films made in Bengal by NT or any other company, were based on either stories or dramas or Novels, by renowned authors from the East(read Bengal). Thus, the film’s story content was so solid that they did not need appendages of comedians or a CSP (comic side plot) or too many songs.
( IN other parts like Bombay and Lahore, studios had what was called “The Story Departments”, consisting of 4-5 writers, the owners, directors, who would work up a story in unison !)

NT popularised a new brand of Music.i.e. Rabindra Sangeet, which was hitherto confined to only Shantiniketan. With all this in place,NT was on its peak in 1940,when their slide started. One of their pillars P.C.Barua left NT. This was the beginning. Debki Bose left. Nitin Bose left after completing ‘Kashinath’ in 1943. Kanan Devi left to join Barua and Uma Shashi eloped with her lover.
Pankaj Mallick, though unhappy over the treatment meted out to him in NT, did not leave till the end. He did Bombay film music at Calcutta-like Kasturi or Zalzala etc. He always considered NT as his Alma Mater.
The ongoing II world war, the communal riots of 1946.the Partition of 1947 and the deteriorating civil conditions of Bengal (specially Calcutta),due to the influx of Refugees, broke NT completely. The Govt. had regulated supply of Raw Film, East Bengal market was lost totally, artistes left for Dhaka or Bombay…all this took NT to its end rapidly.

In such worsening conditions in 1944/45,Sircar tried to mend things by replacing the II and III level artistes to fill up gaps left by departed people. Thus, Bimal Roy, who was a Cinematographer and an Editor, got an opportunity to sit in the Director’s Chair. They made an ambitious film ” Udayer Pathe” -44. A Hindi version was made as ‘ Hamraahi”-45. It was Bimal Roy’s First brush with a Hindi Film Direction. Both versions were successful. But with major things remaining the same for years, without any changes, the house of New Theatres became a dilapidated, colourless, tattered big empty Palace. It’s sad to write about the fall of an Empire- a Giant !
(Article is based on information from “The glory that was New Theatres” by Sharmishtha Gooptu, ” सुंदर ती दुसरी दुनिया ” a Marathi book by Ambarish Mishra, The Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema, with thanks, along with my old writings and my notes.)

Today we will know for the first time more about an artiste who was with NT from almost the beginning. The name is strange and uncommon-NEMO.

Nemo (Mirza Muhammad Begg) was born on 27th December 1903 at Calcutta. He passed his Senior Cambridge. One day he, along with some friends, visited New Theatres to see a film shooting. Mirza Muhammad Begg merely wanted to watch the shooting of ‘Yahoodi Ki Larki’ (1933) but, as luck would have it, his visit to the New Theatres studio in Calcutta led to a small role in the same film. The part was that of a Roman king and little did Begg know back then that he’d soon be turning to Latin to fish out a lasting identity.

A year later, he was invited by New Theatres’ founder B.N. Sircar to work as the production manager of ‘Karwan-e-Hayat’ (1935) and another chance role beckoned. A female actor who was supposed to play an old witch in the film failed to turn up for the shooting and Begg volunteered for the part. The make-up department stepped up to the challenge and Begg, unrecognisable in the get-up, did the job (and always considered it his best effort). What happened next is even more interesting. Once the film was ready, the makers felt apprehensive about revealing to the public that a man had played the witch’s role. Begg came up with a solution – a gender-ambiguous screen name for himself. And in a delightfully wacky move, he picked a name that means ‘nobody/nothing’ in Latin – ‘Nemo’.

The name stuck on and this was the beginning of Nemo’s steadfast association with New Theatres – one that resulted in a string of features like ‘Karodpati’, ‘Dushman’, ‘Doctor’ and ‘Zindagi’. He was Vidushak, the royal jester, in ‘Vidyapati’, a rigid but caring father in ‘Jawani Ki Reet’ and the devoted caretaker Dharamdas in P.C. Barua’s ‘Devdas’. These diverse characters earned him appreciation from audiences and critics alike. Further, the story of the Saigal hit ‘The President’ (1937) was based on his idea and he was duly credited for the same. Alongside his work in films, he also edited and published ‘Akkas’ – a very popular Urdu (and later, Urdu-English bilingual) film magazine in those days. Its surviving copies now serve as an important archive of the early talkies. His last film with New Theatres was Kashinath. When Calcutta was bombed by Japan in late 1942, Nemo migrated with his family to his ancestral hometown, Lucknow. He later went over to Bombay for a short while to work in Mazhar Khan’s ‘Pehli Nazar’ (1945), and then returned to Lucknow to settle into a life far removed from the studio lights.

In the middle of it all lies an extraordinary fact – at the time he entered the movies, M.M. Begg was a national billiards champion! He won the inaugural Indian Open Billiards Championship in 1931 and never left the game thereon, despite a busy and flourishing film career. He won the trophy again in 1937, and between the 2 wins, he was the runner-up thrice. Not to mention, he represented the country at international tournaments and also headed various administrative organisations related to the game. His contributions towards establishing and popularising billiards and snooker in India are widely mentioned, and always in glowing terms. He was also obsessed with Racing.

It was nearly a decade after ‘Pehli Nazar’ that Raj Kapoor managed to pull Nemo out of his sabbatical for 2 memorable final acts in ‘Shree 420’ and ‘Jagte Raho’. In both, Nemo played similar roles of manipulative, corrupt seths who hide their sinister designs behind a facade of respectability. If he was jittery about facing the camera after a long gap, it doesn’t show (unless Seth Sonachand’s trembling chin is not a mannerism 😄). He was particularly effective in ‘Shree 420’, where he puts on the most evil smile possible and hisses to Raj Kapoor, “Aap se mulaqaat ho gayi, is mein fayda hi fayda hai.” He also did 2 more films- Raja Vikram-57 and Naag Champa-58.

Nemo worked for 19 films of New Theatres and 4 others totalling 23 films in all. His Filmography – Yahudi ki ladki-33, Karwaan E Hayat-35, Devdas-35, Karodpati-36, Manzil-36, Vidyapati-37, Anath Ashram-37, President-37, Dushman-38, Dharati Mata-38, Abhagin-38, Jawani ki reet-39, Badi Didi-39, Zindagi-40, Haar Jeet-40, Doctor-40, Aandhi-40, Lagan-41, Saugandh-42, Shri 420-55, Jaagte Raho-56, Raja Vikram-57 and Naag Champa-55. It is believed that he died in Bombay on 18-8-1960.

Cinema, publishing, sports – Mirza Muhammad Begg distinguished himself in everything he touched. And chose to call himself NEMO – a nobody. ( based on information from Filmdom-1946, HFGK, muVyz and mainly an article by Yasir Abbasi, with thanks.)

Today’s song is sung by Aruna.


Song- Aaj mila hai bichhada saajan(Zindagi)(1940) Singer- Aruna, Lyricist- Kidar Sharma, MD- Pankaj Mullick

Lyrics

Aaj mila hai
Aaj mila hai ae
Aaj mila hai
bichhda saajan
aaj mila hai ae
Aaj mila hai
mre man ka
mere man ka
phool khila hai
Aaj mila hai
Aaj mila hai

jaag uthhi hai
aaj jawaani
yaad aayi hai
apni kahaani
jaag uthhi hai
aaj jawaani
yaad aayi hai
apni kahaani
apni kahaani
Aaj mila hai
Aaj mila hai

Aaj mila hai ae
Aaj mila hai
kaise koi dil mein aaya
kaise kuchh khoya
kuchh paaya
kaise koi dil mein aaya
kaise kuchh khoya
kuchh paaya
hamne
hamne jee ko khud banaaya
hamne jee ko khud banaaya
dil se dil ko ?? samjhaaya
Aaj mila hai ae
Aaj mila hai
mere man ka aa
mere man ka phool khila hai
bichhda saajan
bichhda saajan
aaj mila hai ae
aaj mila hai


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 :

4758 Post No. : 16502 Movie Count :

4483

India is a Multi racial, multilingual and Multi religions country. It is not only the largest Democracy 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.

Indian spiritual Gurus set themselves as Role models for the masses. Whether it was Ramkrishna Paramhansa or Shankaracharya or all the others have guided their followers to achieve peace of mind through spirituality. Religion is a way of life in India and most Gurus teach their followers how to follow the right path even while looking after their families.

Some of the saints have done monumental literary works for the masses, bringing what was available only in Sanskrit, to the doorsteps of the common people. Among such saints, Sant Tulsidas tops the list, according to me. He sets an example of how a person can educate himself and how a person can change himself for his Goals in life.

The period of 1300 to 1600 AD, a time frame of 300 years or thereabouts, was when most saints were active in India. This was the period when several outside rulers invaded India and established their rules. This was the time when the culture and religion of India had to be saved from annihilation. The saints of India played an important role in this and maintained Unity and Oneness of Indian culture from getting destroyed. But for them,there was a danger of the whole nation getting converted to Islam or Christianity. India will forever be grateful to the saints for this .

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. The 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.

With a view to bring some of these saints in limelight, I ran a series of 10 Bhajans from films which were made on the lives or incidents of some Saints of India. The title of this series was ” The Great Souls of India” and it ran from 1-11-2013 to 15-11-2013. It was one of the very popular series from my 26 series which I had run on this Blog. Many readers wrote their comments and conveyed that they liked the series.

In that series, I had purposely not included Meerabai, as my purpose, as always, was to highlight less known Saints into the limelight. Meerabai is a character on whom a maximum number of films were made….

Meerabai-1932

Raajrani Meera-1933

Matwali Meera-1940

Meera-1947

Meerabai-1947

Raajrani Meera-1956

Meera Shyam-1976

Meera-1979

Meera ka Mohan-1991 and

Meera ke Giridhar-1993

There was also one film ” Meerabai Not Out”-2008, but I believe it had nothing to do with Saint Meerabai. In the Silent era also I find a film Meerabai-1921 made by Kohinoor film co. and Sant Meerabai-1929 made by Hindustan Cinema Film co., Nashik.

Today’s song is from the film Matwali Meera-1940. This film was made in Calcutta by Bharat Lakshmi Pictures. It was directed by Prafulla Roy and the music was by Master Brijlal Verma. Lyricist was Pt. Bhushan. There were 15 songs, out of which only 5 were Meera Bhajans. The main lead was Mukhtar Begum who sang 3 Bhajans, Fida HGussain and Kamla Jharia one Bhajan each.

The cast had 17 names, out of which 11 were Muslim actors in this Bhakti Pradhan film. I have heard all the available songs-7 and frankly I was disappointed. Mukhtar Begum has sung the Bhajan in Mujra or Ghazal style. As it is in those times the music was very slow, making it further an outrage. I have selected, therefore, a song-not a bhajan- by Kamala Jharia.

With this song, the film Matwali Meera-1940 makes its Debut on this Blog.


Song-Sun ri sakhi ek Gope-suta ki sundar katha sunaaun (Matwaali Meera)(1940) Singer- Kamla Jharia, Lyricist-Pandit Bhushan, MD- Master Brijlal Verma

Lyrics

Sun ri sakhi
haan haan sun ri sakhi
ek Gope-suta ki sundar katha sunaaun
jiske atal prem par main bhi
waari waari jaaun
Sun ri sakhi
haan haan sun ri sakhi
ek Gope-suta ki sundar katha sunaaun

Dwaapar yug thhaa jis vasant ki
Dwaapar yug thhaa jis vasant ki
ras ke jharne jharte
raas rachaate Krishn Kanhaiyya
raas rachaate Krishn Kanhaiyya
man ki peeda harte
mast raag se kal-kal karti
bahti nadi toofaani ee ee
mast raag se kal-kal karti
bahti nadi toofaani
kho gayi jismein bahte bahte
kho gayi jismein bahte bahte
ik gopi deewaani
ik gopi deewaani
prem viyog mein jogan ban kar
is duniya mein raazi (?)
prem viyog mein jogan ban kar
is duniya mein raazi (?)
raaj ?? kul ki shobha
raaj ?? kul ki shobha
matwaali Meera bai
matwaali Meera bai
matwaali Meera bai


What is this blog all about

This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

This is a labour of love, where “new” songs are added every day, and that has been the case for over FOURTEEN years. This blog has over 17100 song posts by now.

This blog is active and online for over 5000 days since its beginning on 19 july 2008.

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Total number of songs posts discussed

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