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

Posts Tagged ‘Miss Vimal MA


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 :

4597 Post No. : 16223

Today’s song is from an obscure film of 1944 – Dil ki Baat. The film was made by Atre Pictures, partly owned by P.K.Atre and actress Vanmala. Their relationship was similar to what C.Ramchandra and Lata Mangeshkar had in later years. The film was directed by Atre himself. The only other film he ever directed was Parinde-1945. He believed in hiring directors rather than directing films himself.

The music was composed by C.Ramchandra for the songs written by Ram Murthy and the film’s story, screenplay and dialogues were also written by P.K.Atre himself. The cast of the film was Durga Khote, Ishwarlal, Vanmala, Dixit, Leela Mishra, Vasant Sawkar, Jayram Desai etc.etc.

The year 1944 was a time when the world knew that the end of World War II was near, however, till that time the Raw Film shortage was troubling the film makers in India. Black money generated through Black marketing was disturbing the industry. The cost of the filmmaking, which was about a Lakh or so in 1940, had escalated to 5 to 6 lakhs per film. Studio system was weakened due to individual production practices started by black money investors. Star salaries had inflated. Many stars worked on FreeLance basis. The law of war promotion movies was now forcefully implemented. Many producers made War propaganda movies to get the Raw Film at controlled rates. Government had increased the Entertainment Taxes in Bombay, Madras, UP and CP areas, so the cost of Cinema tickets had increased. Prithvi Theatre was launched by Prithviraj Kapoor. Film artistes gathered under the leadership of EVR Naicker in Madras to form DMK party. M. Karunanidhi was a prominent leader.

In Spite of all this, some good Musical films were made in 1944. Saigal, who arrived in Bombay from Calcutta for good, made his second film in Bombay. New composers, New Heros and New heroines brought a variety of Genres of films made in 1944. Some of the major films of 1944 were….

Bhanwara – Second film by Saigal and Khemchand Prakash in Ranjit in Bombay. Made in just 9 days’ shooting for Saigal, by director Kidar Sharma. It was the second film for Monica Desai too (sister of Leela Desai and wife of Phani Mujumdar).

Bharthari – Last film in India by singer actress Jahan Ara Kajjan who sang her last 2 songs in it. She migrated to Pakistan in the wake of Partition. Very good songs in the film, especially ” Bhiksha de de maiya” by Amirbai and Surendra.

Chal Chal re Naujawan – First film from newly established Filmistan, by the deserters’ group from Bombay Talkies, led by S.Mukherjee and Ashok Kumar. Ashok Kumar sang 6 songs in it for the first and the last time for Ghulam Haider. His song ” Bolo Har Har Mahadev” was very melodious and popular.

Chand – Debut film of Husnlal-Bhagatram team. They were recommended by elder brother Pt. Amarnath, who was the first choice of D.D.Kashyap. After V.Shantaram and his team left Prabhat, this was an attempt by Prabhat to join the mainstream by opting for the first time a Non Marathi star cast and Punjabi style musicians. 5 singers were used by H-B for 11 songs. A mild success film.

Daasi – it was a musical from Lahore by Pt. Amarnath- with his favourite Zeenat Begum.

Film Dost produced the evergreen Noor Jahan song ” Badnam – muhabbat kaun karen” composed by Sajjad Hussain. This one song alone made them both immortal.

Draupadi – a feeble attempt by Baburao Patel to make a Heroine out of his secretary Sushila Rani.

Gaali – Another film by Sajjad, but with only 3 songs to him and 9 to Hanuman Prasad.

Iraada – Pt.Amarnath brought Hemant Kumar two years after his debut in film Meenakshi-42.

Ismat – The first and the only film of the brothers Pt. H.P.Sharma and Pt. Govardhan pershad, as a composer team.

Jwar Bhata – Devika Rani’s discovery, Dilip Kumar’s first film. He was the side Hero and the Hero was Agha. Actress Mrudula also debuted as Dilip’s Heroine.

Krishn Bhakt Bodana – The only film of the Revolutionary Poet singer Master Vasant from Surat. Avinash Vyas, Shankar rao Vyas composed music, while S.N.Tripathi gave background music.

Musical film Lal Haveli – Only time when Noor Jehan and Surendra sang together under Mir Saheb.

Mann ki Jeet – W.Z.Ahmed brings new Heroine Neena, who sings in the voice of Debutante Sitara of Kanpur in all her films. Neena was a Non-Singer.

My Sister – Saigal goes back to Calcutta to complete a Musical film ” My Sister”. Pankaj Mullick gives excellent songs by saigal and others.

There were two films ‘ Panchhi’ and ‘ O Panchhi’ with average songs.

Panna – A war propaganda film based on ” Mata Hari” story, with a new Heroine Geeta Nizami. MD Amir Ali dies before the film is released. The credits in the film dedicate the film to Late Amir Ali.

Perhaps the best music was by Vasant Desai to film ” Parbat pe apna dera”. Vanmala and ulhas excel in acting in a story of sexual repression. All songs are excellent, especially Amirbai’s song ” Pareshan hoon main ” is simply divine.

Lastly, the Best one. Record breaking musical ” Rattan” gave superlative songs by Naushad. Barring 2 songs by Manju, the other 8 songs were all Hits. Rattan gave 200% returns on the film and song records, to the Producer.

The director of this film-P.K.Atre, known popularly in Maharashtra as Acharya Atre, was a writer,Poet, Novelist, Dramatist, Journalist, Politician and a Newspaper owner. In his later years he became famous for his campaign of ” Samyukta Maharashtra” to get a separate Maharashtra state.

The heroine of the film, Vanmala was one of the only 3 Heroines who had Brown Eyes. The other two were Kamala Kotnis and Ragini.

Vanmala was one of those actresses, who not only came from a very respectable Royal family, but was also a highly educated person. In those days, these two things were valued highly. Veteran Marathi and Hindi actress Vanamala will always be associated with her roles in the landmark films, Sikandar (1941) opposite Prithviraj Kapoor and in particular the title role in Shyamchi Aai (1953), the first film ever to win the Best Film Award when the National Awards were instituted for Indian Cinema in 1954.

Vanamala was born as Susheela Devi Pawar on 23-5- 1915. Her father Lt.Col. Rao Bahadur Bapu Rao Pawar was a Minister in Gwalior state. Vanmala grew up in the Royal palace with Princess Kamla Devi. Vanmala graduated from Agra University in 1935 and did her B.T. from Bombay University in 1937.

At 21, Vanmala Devi, was a double graduate and a teacher in the progressive Agarkar High School of Poona. She felt she had a mission in life. Did she find what she was seeking? It is anybody’s guess but teaching was a first try and then she went on to films to find expres­sion for her irrepressible talent.

There was a wrench. Vanala tore herself away from the forbidding regulations of a tra­ditional Maratha family ruled by her father and the devotional orthodoxy handed down to her by her mother along with a love for nature and literature. Vanmala sought to reconcile the irreconcilables with the firm belief that, down the ages, all expressions of art in India were developed and presented by way of a sacred duty.

That was why, when neces­sary, she did not hesitate to turn her back on lucrative film assignments to appear on the Marathi stage. In fact, she work­ed gratis for the building fund of the Marathi Sahitya Sangh at Bombay. Her lead role in the Marathi version of Oscar Wilde’s ‘Lady Windmer’s Fan’ (शोभेचा पंखा), written by Prof. V.H.Kulkarni, is memorable. That was in the early forties.

She began her career in the late 1930s following her graduation and having become a teacher in Pune’s Camp Education Society. Vanamala entered films at a time when it was considered taboo for women from respectable families to work in films though women like Devika Rani and Durga Khote had started working in films by then. It was V.Shantaram who encouraged her to come into the film industry as an actress. Her first film was a Marathi film ” Lapandav”. Pricipal Acharya Atre became very friendly with her and brought her to Hindi films. Vanmala had unusual Brown eyes. Hindi film industry had only two actresses with Brown eyes. One was Vanmala and the other was Ragini, who migrated to Pakistan, after partition.

Prithviraj used to call her Diana the Moon Goddess. The lyrical Pahari Sanyal used to call her “Mala”. Motilal was more-down-to-earth and called her just plain “Bright Eyes”. In fact, it was her eyes that got her the role of Ruksana and it put her in the front rank of Indian film stars with the suc­cess of “Sikandar”. It was one of the early suc­cesses of Minerva Movietone and it has made film history in India.

Vanamala acted in both Hindi and Marathi Cinema. Among her Hindi films, Vanamala will always be best remembered for Sohrab Modi’s historical Sikandar and Sharbati Ankhen (1945), directed by Ramchandra Thakur for Wadia Movietone. In the former she played Alexander the Great’s love interest, a Persian woman, Rukhsana, who fearing for Alexander’s life extracts a promise from Porus that he will not harm Sikandar. Vanamala made a major impact in her role, her beauty coupled with her light-coloured lively eyes taking the audiences breath away. The film itself was a spectacle – its lavish mounting, huge sets and production values equalling the best of Hollywood then particularly its rousing and spectacular battle scenes. It was rated by a British writer as, “…well up to the standard of that old masterpiece The Birth of a Nation.”

The eyes that got Vanmala Devi the lead role of Ruksana in “Sikandar” had soon to be “disowned” in her next picture. In “Parbat Pe Apna Dera”, Van­mala Devi played the role of a blind girl with great effect. First Ulhas was seen, stick in hand, or rather his legs and the lower part of the stick. Then came Vanmala’s dainty feet taking each cautious step. Finally, the camera turned up­wards to feature her full figure. She later told that she was so involved with the role that she actually felt blinded. Once, she had to blink her eyes before she could focus them and look at V. Shantaram who was try­ing to draw her attention.

In Sharbati Ankhen, her Brown eyes were again used to mesmerising effect, the film so aptly titled one feels, after her! The film has some of the earliest songs sung by Mohammed Rafi in his career including Pyaar Karna hi Padega and Bahut Mukhtasar Hai Humari Kahani. The music for the film was done by Feroz Nizami who went on to compose unforgettable music in a hat-trick of films with the great Noor Jehan (Jugnu (1947) in India and Chan Wey (Punjabi) (1951) and Dopatta (1952) in Pakistan).

However, the one role that undoubtedly immortalized Vanamala forever was the title role in the National Award winning Marathi film, Shyam chi Aai-1953, directed by PK Atre. The film, regarded as a cult classic today, is based on one of the most influential Marathi novels of the 20th century (1935), a fictionalised account of the childhood years of Sane Guruji (1899 – 1950). A nationalist influenced by Vinoba Bhave and especially Gandhiji, he was imprisoned repeatedly for his work among the peasantry and participation in the Quit India agitations. His book Shyamchi Aai, written in jail, has 45 episodes in which Shyam, a youth living in poverty in Konkan, recalls the teachings of his mother, a devoutly religious person with an earthy and practical philosophy. The hit film has remained a generic landmark in Marathi Cinema and especially so for Vanamala’s maternal prototype. Actor Madhav Vaze, who played the role of her son Shyam in Shyamchi Aai, recalls Vanamala as a woman of few words. “Her actions spoke for her. She was well-educated and a cultured woman who belonged to a noble family from Gwalior,” he said.

Some other films that Vanamala acted in include Payachi Dasi (Marathi)/ Charnon ki Dasi (Hindi) (1941), Vasantasena (1942), Dil ki Baat (1944), Hatim Tai (1947), Beete Din (1947) and Shree Ram Bharat Milap (1965). In all, she did 25 Hindi films. She sang 24 songs in 5 films in her career. For some time she was a partner in Atre pictures also. She produced the film Bramhan Kanya aka Khandani-1947.

Eventually she did build a bungalow at Khandala and rented out a flat by the sea in Bombay which she furnished with taste and equipped with a selective library. But that still didn’t make a “home”. The nearest she got to it could be when she settled down in Gwalior to look after her ailing father. Perhaps, she had almost arrived at a “home” when she bought over a studio and became the first woman to own one.

The supposedly demure Vanamala was a staunch nationalist and was deeply involved in the freedom movement along with stalwarts like Aruna Asaf Ali and Achyut Patwardhan. She was deeply involved in several social causes and was a member of the Chhatrapati Shivaji National Memorial Committee. She also ran a school to train children in traditional Indian arts and culture, The Haridas Kala Sansthan.

Vanmala Devi’s retirement from films was no surprise to her friends. She had realized that the crusading zeal and aesthetic values of the pioneering days were giving place to new norms of success. She found that filmdom could not afford her the avenue for expression which she wanted— or needed. She sublimated all her yearnings for expression in the worship of Lord Krishna at Vrindavan and later in the ser­vice of her father.

Vanamala who had been suffering from cancer, passed away in Gwalior on May 29, 2007.
(My thanks to Upperstall and Sumati Dhanawate ji-Vanmala’s sister, for using some parts of their articles on Vanmala, along with my notes.)

Songs of film Dil ki Baat-44 are difficult to get. Only 2 songs are available in circulation. With today’s song, both the songs are on this Blog. C.Ramchandra had not developed his trademark style of music cmposition. That was still two years into the future.


Song-Sun re sajan sun re sajan sun re sajan sun (Dil Ki Baat)(1944) Singer-Vanmala, Lyrics-Miss Vimal MA, MD-C Ramchandra

Lyrics

Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun
meri paayaliyaa ki
meri paayaliyaa ki tu
runan jhunan jhun
sun
sun
Sun re sajan
sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun

aaj maine haathhon mein mehndi rachaayi
aaj maine haathhon mein mehndi rachaayi
aaj meri aankhon mein preet samaayi
preet samaayi
aaj meri aankhon mein preet samaayi
preet samaayi
alsi sajaayi maine
champa chameli sun
ho champa chameli sun
alsi sajaayi maine
champa chameli sun
ho champa chameli sun
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun

o kaali koyaliyaa
kook uthhi re
o kaali koyaliyaa
kook uthhi re
man mein mere meethhi si hook uthhi re
man mein mere meethhi si hook uthhi re
goonj rahi door kahin bansi ki dhun
haan bansi ki dhun
goonj rahi door kahin bansi ki dhun
haan bansi ki dhun
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun

meri paayal se praanon ki preet jhare re
aa aa aa aa
meri paayal se praanon ki preet jhare re
aa aa aa aa
meri paayal se pankh tere baat kare re
meri paayal se pankh tere baat kare re
gaaye kisi chhaliya chhabele ke gun
gaaye kisi chhaliya chhabele ke gun
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan
Sun re sajan sun
meri paayaliyaa ki
meri paayaliyaa ki tu
runan jhunan jhun
sun sun


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

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