Himesh Reshammiya : A Musical Rage

Himesh Reshammiya

Himesh Reshammiya

Whether it is the trendy ‘Aashique Banaaya Aapne’ or ‘Aap Ka Suroor’ or even the sensuous romantic ‘Teri Meri Meri Teri Prem Kahaani’, Himesh Reshammiya has always been able to top the charts. He is one of those rare composers and singers who brought back the trend of nasal voice again in Bollywood making it his trademark ‘Himesh Reshammiya style of singing’.

He believes in change and hence keeps on changing his style of compositions after every 2 to 3 years. The continuous variations in his music has enabled him to acquire top positions at the charts with his every release since 15 years.

Himesh Reshammiya was born on 23rd of July 1973 to Vipin Reshammiya and Madhu Reshammiya. Vipin Reshammiya himself was also a celebrated music composer who did work with Shankar Jaikishan, R. D. Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

Himesh Reshammiya with Karan Johar

Himesh Reshammiya with Karan Johar

At a tender age of 16, Himesh Reshammiya turned into a television producer. He holds the credit for producing television series like ‘Andaaz’ and ‘Amar Prem’ on Zee Television Network.

Himesh Reshammiya’s first break is always credited to Salman Khan. He considers Salman Khan his Godfather for establishing him in Bollywood as a successful music composer.

Salman Khan and Himesh Reshammiya

Salman Khan and Himesh Reshammiya

His first movie was the Salman Khan and Kajol starring ‘Pyar Kiya To Darrna Kya’ in 1998. ‘Odh Li Chunariya’ and ‘Tum Par Hum Hai’ were the two songs from ‘Pyar Kiya To Darrna Kya’ that was composed by Himesh Reshammiya. This was followed by ‘Hello Brother’ in 1999, ‘Dulhan Hum Le Jaayenge’ in 2000 and ‘Yeh Hai Jalwa’ in 2002. ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’ from ‘Dulhan Hum Le Jaayenge’ and ‘Teri Chunariya’ from ‘Hello Brother’ were smashing hits from both the movies.

Himesh Reshammiya with Salman Khan

Himesh Reshammiya with Salman Khan

Himesh’s first massive success as a composer came through ‘Tere Naam’ in 2003. ‘Tere Naam Humne Kiya Hai’, ‘Kyun Kisi Ko’, ‘Tumse Milna Baatein Karna’ were huge hits at the chartbusters. ‘Tere Naam’ stood out to be the bestselling album of the year.

He entered into playback singing with ‘Aashique Banaaya Aapne’ in 2005. His duet with Shreya Ghoshal went on to break all records and stood out as one of the most groundbreaking renditions of the year. He came up with a voice using his nasal tone which instantly clicked with the audiences. ‘Aap Ki Kashish’ from the same film also was equally popular.

Himesh Reshammiya in 'Aap Ka Surroor'

Himesh Reshammiya in ‘Aap Ka Surroor’

He continued to sing with his nasal voice and dished out hits like ‘Tera Tera Tera Suroor’, ‘Tanhaiyyan’, ‘Tere Mera Milna’, ‘Tandoori Nights’ and ‘Madhushala’. He started his acting career with the film ‘Aap Ka Surroor’ in 2007. His long time school friend, Prashant Chadha, directed him in ‘Aap Ka Surroor’ and also holds the credit for giving him the famous look with his cap.

His next films ‘Karzzz’, ‘Kajraare’, ‘Radio’ and ‘Damadamm!’ didn’t do too well at the box office. But most of the movies recovered their production cost through selling the music rights composed by Himesh Reshammiya himself.

Himesh Reshammiya in 'Karzzz'

Himesh Reshammiya in ‘Karzzz’

After a gap of a few years, he made a stunning comeback with his music through Salman Khan starring ‘Bodyguard’. ‘Teri Meri Meri Teri Prem Kahaani’ by Shreya Ghoshal and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan became the most popular romantic number of 2012. He made wonders even with the tracks like ‘Go Go Go Govinda’ from ‘OMG – Oh My God’.

The soundtrack of ‘Khiladi 786′, that released during the same year was just another addition of feather to the already flourishing cap. ‘Saari Saari Raat’, ‘Long Drive’, ‘Hookkah Bar’ are some of the stupendous hits from ‘Khiladi 786′. Among the songs, ‘Hookkah Bar’ deserves special mention as it was rendered, composed and written by Himesh Reshammiya himself whereas ‘Lonely’ was the result of a fruitful collaboration between him and Yo Yo Honey Singh.

He also acted in ‘Khiladi 786′ and received the Dadasaheb Phalke Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for the same. He received the Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Award for ‘Aashique Banaaya Aapne’ in 2006.

He is also going to launch his very first international album named ‘@ Da Edge’ in 2014. Himesh Reshammiya has collaborated with famous Romanian composer, producer and musician Edward Maya for this album. The highly anticipated song ‘I Have Been Waiting For You’ will release sometime during next year. The regular director of Justin Bieber, Roman White, would be directing the promotional music video of the album. All the 15 songs of romantic genre in the album are composed by Himesh Reshammiya and are rendered with different modulations of his own voice.

Himesh Reshammiya

Himesh Reshammiya

He made his comeback on TV through the reality shows of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge’ on Zee Tv, ‘Music Ka Maha Muqabla’ on Star Plus and ‘Sur Kshetra’ on Colors.

Himesh Reshammiya has two big ticket projects coming up in the upcoming years. A sequel of ‘Aap Ka Surroor’ and also a suspense thriller titled as ‘The Xpose’. Supposedly, Himesh would play a character inspired by the yesteryear actor Rajkumar based on a plot of 1960s.
Although being a successful composer, Himesh Reshammiya has been criticised often for his nasal voice. His regular critics also blame him for sidelining music direction for his ambitious acting projects. However, Himesh delivers his best to whatever he touches and continues to be the one of the rockstars of the nation!

K. L. Saigal : An Eternal Legend

K. L. Saigal

K. L. Saigal

K. L. Saigal is a name that crops up in our mind whenever we get to hear any soundtrack from the pre-playback era. The nasal touch, the classical aroma along with the special Saigal aura reminds us of the man constantly even today, almost after 110 years since his demise.

K. L. Saigal was born on 11th April 1904 in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. His father worked as a revenue administrative officer in the Maharaja’s court. As a child he used to accompany his mother to various religious occasions and the bhajans, raag, kirtan deeply attracted little Saigal.

He also enacted as ‘Sita’ in Ramlila during his childhood. Saigal left school and started earning at an early age. He worked as a typewriter and also as a salesman before he landed up in Kolkata. It is said, that Mahenchand Jain was the main man who inspired Saigal to take up his hobby of singing as a career for living.

He recorded his first song under the guidance of Harishchandra Bali in Punjabi which was released by the Indian Gramophone Company. He came to Kolkata in the 1930s and joined the famous New Theatres headed by B. N. Sircar. He met the musical brilliants Pankaj Mullick, Timir Baran and Rai Chandra Boral during this time period who helped him to groom his voice.

In 1932, he acted for the first time on screen in the movie ‘Mohabbat Ke Aasoon’. Just a year later, his bhajan collection of ‘Puran Bhagat’ became hugely popular.

K. L. Saigal in 'Devdas'

K. L. Saigal in ‘Devdas’

A major breakthrough happened in his career in 1935 when he played ‘Devdas’ in P. C. Barua’s screen adaptation of the original Bengali novel ‘Devdas’. The songs of Devdas as well as the movie created an unbeatable sensation throughout the country. ‘Balam Aaye’, ‘Dukh Ke Ab Din’ became extremely popular tracks that time.

Saigal and his association with the New Theatres of Kolkata produced almost seven Bengali movies. He became very competent in the language and was absolutely fluent in Bengali. He rendered more than 30 songs in Bengali too. He continued to act in films till 1940. ‘Zindagi’, ‘Street Singer’, ‘President’, ‘Parichay’, ‘are some of the notable films by K. L. Saigal. ‘Yahudi Ki Ladki’ in 1933 was the first hit of Saigal.

K. L. Saigal in 'Shahjehan'

K. L. Saigal in ‘Shahjehan’

Towards the beginning of the 1940s, Saigal came down to Mumbai. During this period he worked in successful films like ‘Bhakt Surdas’, ‘Tansen’, ‘Bhanwara’, ‘Tadbir’, ‘Shahjehan’, ‘Parwana’.

Saigal shared a close bond with musical maestro Naushad Ali. He rendered songs for Naushad for the movie ‘Shahjehan’. ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani’, ‘Ae Dil’, ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya’ from ‘Shahjehan’ became hits.

K. L. Saigal

K. L. Saigal

During the 1940s, Saigal adopted a regular habit of alcohol. His habit soon became a predominant addiction which slowly started affecting his health. Saigal started believing that his creativity and best renditions came out only when he was under the influence of alcohol.

On the day of recording the song ‘Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya’, Saigal came to the studio, sat for the recording and asked for a bottle of alcohol. He kept singing and drinking simultaneously. Being dissatisfied with his own performance, he started giving takes and re-takes for the same song again and again. After some time he lost all his control and collapsed down due the increasing effect of the alcohol.

Next day when he appeared to the studio again, Naushad requested him to give a take without drinking. Saigal, inspite of his belief, succumbed to Naushad’s idea and rendered the song without consuming any alcohol.

Later, Naushad played both the version of his renditions and on hearing the best one among the two, Saigal commented that he always delivers his best when he is under the influence of alcohol. Naushad gladly corrected him and informed that the best one was the one which he recorded without drinking. The information took Saigal by surprise.

Naushad further told him that those who say that without alcohol he doesn’t sing well, are not his friends. A grieving Saigal regretted and said, “Only if someone told me this before, I might have been able to live a bit longer”.

His last movie was ‘Parwana’ in 1947. ‘Toot Gaye Sab Sapne Mere’, ‘Mohabbat Mein Kabhi’, ‘Kahiin Ulajh Na Jaana’ were the most popular tracks from ‘Parwana’ that released after his death on the 18th of January 1947. K. L. Saigal, in his fifteen years of career span acted in 36 movies and rendered more than 150 songs. His style of singing may have become outdated today but still it is highly recognisable as a typical Saigal style.

K. L. Saigal took his last breath at the age of 42 and was survived by his wife and four children .

Shailendra Singh : The Long Lost Voice

Shailendra Singh

Shailendra Singh

Remember the voice that beautifully rendered ‘Main Shayar To Nahin, Magar Aye Haseen, Jab Se Dekha, Maine Tujhko, Mujhko Shayari Aa Gayi’? When Raj Kapoor was stitching the threads of ‘Bobby’, he not only gave birth to two upcoming stars of Bollywood in the form of Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia but also chose this unexampled voice that would become the ‘singing voice’ for his son, Rishi Kapoor, on screen. Shailendra Singh was undoubtedly a unique discovery by ‘The Showman’ of India.

Born on 4th of October 1952 in Mumbai, Shailendra Singh was trained at the FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) in Pune. He also is an alumni of the St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. In 1971, he was the batch-mate of Shabana Azmi, Kanwaljeet Singh and Zareena Wahab at the FTII. He received his musical training from Master Chote Iqbal.

His father worked as a publicity manager at the Rajshri Productions, who eventually introduced the young Shailendra to Raj Kapoor. Shailendra, the new evolving Ghazal singer sang a few Ghazals to Raj Kapoor and ‘The Showman’ finally found a new voice that he was looking for his upcoming film ‘Bobby’.

Laxmikant-Pyarelal who naturally considered Mohammad Rafi to be the main singer for the male lead in the movie were left flabbergasted by Raj Kapoor when he introduced a 19 year old boy to the duo and announced that he only will be singing for Rishi Kapoor in the movie. Laxmikant-Pyarelal, although not convinced fully, still went ahead towards training, grooming and eventually recording with the new guy.

A Clip From The Song 'Main Shayar To Nahin' from Raj Kapoor's 'Bobby'

A Clip From The Song ‘Main Shayar To Nahin’ from Raj Kapoor’s ‘Bobby’

‘Main Shayar To Nahin’ – Shailendra Singh took almost two weeks to rehearse and get the song right. It was Laxmikantji who trained him initially in playback singing.

‘Bobby’ can be termed as the biggest break for a singer that could have happened to any new budding vocalist. At the tender age of 19, Shailendra Singh got the opportunity to sing with Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey. It is also said that Lata Mangeshkar herself inaugurated the recording of ‘Main Shayar To Nahin’ by cracking the coconut and marking an auspicious beginning for the young singer.

‘Hum Tum Ek Kamre Band Ho’ (Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh), ‘Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai’ (Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh), ‘Jhooth Bole Kaua Kaate’ (Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh), ‘Naa Maangu Sona Chaandi’ (Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh) were all other major hit tracks from ‘Bobby’.

‘Humne Tumko Dekha’ from ‘Khel Khel Mein’ was another super hit track that Shailendra Singh rendered for Rishi Kapoor in 1975. Composed by R. D. Burman, the song was an instant success that made the nation swing along the tune.

‘Anhoni Ko Honi Kar De, Honi Ko Anhoni, Ek Jagah Jab Jamaa Ho Teeno, Amar, Akbar, Anthony!’ – No wonder for even the soundtrack of the song three wonder singers joined together just like the three splendid actors on screen. Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor and Shailendra Singh lent their voice together for the title track of Manmohan Desai’s ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’. While Amitabh Bachchan lip synced to the voice of Kishore Kumar, Vinod Khanna lip synced to Mahendra Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor again was assigned the voice of Shailendra Singh. The movie released in 1977 and was one of the highest grossing movies of the year.

‘Ae Yaar Sun Yaari Teri, Mujhe Zindagi Se Bhi Pyari Hai’ – This would be another tremendously loved duet of Shailendra Singh with Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal again, the song was for Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor starring ‘Suhaag’ in 1979.

Shailendra Singh, Gulshan Bawra and Anandji of the Kalyanji-Anandji Duo (Image Courtesy_ Indianmusictalks.com)

Shailendra Singh, Gulshan Bawra and Anandji of the Kalyanji-Anandji Duo (Image Courtesy: Indianmusictalks.com)

In 1979, under the banner of Rajshri Productions, Tarachand Barjatya produced ‘Taraana’ starring Mithun Chakraborty. The movie was a commercial success at the box office and the entire soundtrack of the movie consisted of Shailendra Singh’s voice. He only was the major singer for Mithun Chakraborty in the movie. Shailendra Singh was at his best in the song ‘Goonche Lage Hai Kehne’ composed by Raamlaxman from the movie. He also had duets with Usha Mangeshkar in the same soundtrack. He sang ‘Kaisi Yeh Judaai Hai’ and ‘Hum Tum Dono’ with Usha Mangeshkar for the film.

‘Frenny O Frenny’ from Basu Chatterjee’s ‘Khatta Meetha’ sung by Shailendra Singh with Amit Kumar is a notable slow piece composed by Rajesh Roshan in 1981.

Shailendra Singh went on to sing ‘Main Hun Sharaabi’ from ‘Ashanti’ for Mithun Chakraborty in 1982. He also sang notable duets with Anuradha Paudwal and Chandrani Mukherjee for ‘Be-Raham’. The song ‘Yeh Saal Ki Aakhri Raat Hai’ from the movie was well appreciated.

R. D. Burman’s composition ‘Jaipur Se Nikli Gaadi’ from ‘Gurudev’ picturised on Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi was again sung by Shailendra Singh and Asha Bhosle in 1993.

Shailendra Singh

Shailendra Singh

He also worked as an actor in his home production ‘Agreement’ with Rekha casted opposite him. The film starred veteran actors like Utpal Dutt and Asrani as well. The romantic comedy directed by Anil Ganguly didn’t swoon over the box office but was an entertaining watch.

Shailendra Singh with Rekha in 'Agreement'

Shailendra Singh with Rekha in ‘Agreement’

However, his first debut was in the movie ‘Do Jasoos’ starring Raj Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar. ‘Do Jasoos’ was directed by Naresh Kumar (brother of Rajendra Kumar) and Shailendra Singh was the prominent recommendation by Rajendra Kumar to Naresh Kumar as the latter was searching for a newcomer.

He also worked opposite Aparna Sen in a Bengali Movie ‘Ajosro Dhonyobaad’. The movie had prominent star cast from Bengal including Ranjit Mullick (The present Chairman of Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata). The film failed to make any mark at the box office although its soundtrack is still famous. The movie marked Mohammad Rafi’s first and last Bengali song that he sung for Shailendra Singh. The other tracks included duets of Singh and Asha Bhosle.

Shailendra Singh’s voice suited the most to Rishi Kapoor. May be just like Mukesh was the trademark singer for Raj Kapoor, he wanted Shailendra Singh to be the same for his son, Rishi Kapoor. However, Shailendra Singh had to face an untimely halt in his career. His fame and name were short lived. After a few years of sky height success, he was suddenly thrust into the grounds of failure.

It is blamed that even after offering him with tracks, the plans of the composers used to change overnight and the songs drastically went to other notable singers. Soon, Shailendra Singh’s voice was lost among the crowd of other musical talents.

Rishi Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan Reviving 'Main Shayar To Nahin' in 'Hum Tum' (2004)

Rishi Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan Reviving ‘Main Shayar To Nahin’ in ‘Hum Tum’ (2004)

Apparently, ‘Main Shayar To Nahi’ still continues to rule the chart-busters. The unforgettable and incomparable track was re-recorded again for the movie ‘Hum Tum’ in 2004. The remake of the song was sung by Shaan and Shailendra Singh, where Shaan’s voice was obviously for Saif Ali Khan. But the surprise came along, when the makers left no stone unturned to revive the magic of Shailendra Singh’s voice for Rishi Kapoor again after decades.

Devika Rani : The First Lady of Indian Cinema


Devika Rani

Devika Rani

1920s – The era was evidently much more conservative and orthodox if compared to today’s world. But Indian cinema got its ‘First Lady’ during this time only. She was the first ‘Dadasheb Phalke Award Winner’, the first woman to own a studio in Bombay, the first ever heroine on-screen, one of the first foreign educated architect, an apprentice under the famous Elizabeth Arden, one of the first female set designer and also a distinguished singer during the initial non-playback days.

This enchanting and fascinating lady who only did set records throughout her life is none other than Devika Rani Chaudhury. She was bold enough to leave India and pursue her academics in Britain during the orthodox period . Also her filmy career marked its inception in the distant country of Germany! And mind it, we are talking about the era of 1920s!

Devika Rani was born on 30th of March 1908 in Vishakhapatnam (previously Waltair) to Col. M. N. Chaudhury and Leela Chaudhury. Her lineage connects her to the Tagore family, making her the grandniece of Rabindranath Tagore. Her father was the first Indian to become a Surgeon General in Madras (currently Chennai).

After completing her schooling from India, she opted to learn drama and music from abroad. By the early 1920s, she left India for London where she studied at the Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art and Music. She is also known to be holding degrees in architecture, textile and designing decors.

A Journey from Germany to India:

By the mid 1920s, she came in touch with Himanshu Rai, an eminent Indian filmmaker who was producing budding film projects with German association under the banner of Great Eastern Film Corporations and Germany’s Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG (presently known as Bavaria Films in Munich and is currently one of the largest film production companies of Europe). His first brilliant piece produced under this joint banner had been the movie ‘Light of Asia’ which was directed by German director Franz Osten in 1925.

Light of Asia or Prem Sanyas (Die Leuchte Asiens in German) was shot extensively in Lahore and the set decoration for the film was designed by none other than Devika Rani. Although the actors in the movie were Indians but almost the entire crew consisted of Germans.

Himanshu Rai later co-produced other movies like ‘Shiraz’ in 1928 and a ‘Throw of Dice’ in 1929. The films were distributed by German, US and UK distributors and were huge successes across the globe. It was the first attempt by an Indian filmmaker to produce and present Indian feature film at the international market.

During this tenure, Devika Rani trained herself at world’s most famous studios including UFA. She also polished her acting skills under the famous German director, Pabst.

In 1929, she married Himanshu Rai. Owing to the growing tension in Germany with Hitler’s rise, the couple decided to return back to India and build up their own production studio. Soon, by 1934, Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai founded the infamous Bombay Talkies, which became India’s primary centre for filmmaking.

Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai

Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai

In 1933, the husband-wife duo, made the ever ‘talked about’ movie ‘Karma’. Both Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani shared screen space in the movie. Even after eight long decades, ‘Karma’ still is a shocking piece of brave cinema that was made in 1933. The reasons for Karma’s being a ‘shocking’ and yet a ‘brave’ piece of art can be cited as below:

  • It was the first Indian film which was made in English
  • The first Indian film which had one English song sung by Devika Rani as a playback singer.
  • It was a joint production of Indo-International Talkies Ltd. at Bombay and Indian & British Productions Ltd. at London.
  • It was directed by J. L. Freer-Hunt and was the first ever Indian film to premiere in London.
  • The film received immense appreciation from western critics and marked India’s first international success.
  • The film featured a four minute kissing sequence between Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai that passed through the censor board in the orthodox era of 1933. The film was shot at the Stoll Studios in London and also in eminent palaces and outdoor locations in India.

It was neither expected nor desired by the social gurus in India, to watch Devika Rani taking the drastic and daring step and going unconventionally bold on screen in presence of the prevailing stringent social norms in the country. This surely proves that the lady in question was distinct and an individual with total contrasting traits from the rest at the contemporary period.

Foundation of Bombay Talkies:

Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya

Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya

In 1935, under the banner of Bombay Talkies, she acted in ‘Jawani Ki Hawa’. In 1936, Bombay Talkies gifted Indian cinema with Ashok Kumar, who was the first leading star of India on real terms. Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar acted with each other in movies like ‘Jeevan Naiya’, ‘Achoot Kanya’, ‘Izzat’, ‘Janmabhoomi’, ‘Savitri’ and ‘Anjaan’

She further acted in other movies like ‘Durga’, and ‘Humaari Baat’. ‘Humaari Baat’ also starred the ‘show man of India’, Raj Kapoor.

Devika Rani also sang songs like ‘Main Ban Ki Chidiya Banke’, ‘Udhi Hawaa Mein Gaati Hai’, ‘Khet Ki Mooli Baag Ko Aam’ from ‘Achoot Kanya’ under the guidance of the first ever female music composer of India, Saraswati Devi.

A Clip of Devika Rani Dancing from the movie "Miya Bibi' (Always Tell Your Wife) [Image Courtsey: Outlook India]

A Clip from the movie ‘Miya Bibi’ (Always Tell Your Wife) [Image Courtesy: Outlook India]

In 1936, under the direction of Franz Osten she acted in ‘Miya Bibi’ ( Always Tell Your Wife).

She also lent her voice to ‘Bharne De Mohe Neer’, ‘Kit Jaaoge Kanhaiya’ from ‘Izzat’ in 1937.

Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar during the filming of 'Izzat' [Image Courtsey: Outlook India]

Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar during the filming of ‘Izzat’ [Image Courtesy: Outlook India]

Most of the movies made under the banner of Bombay Talkies were directed by Himanshu Rai’s old associate from Germany, Franz Osten. However, as the First World War broke out, Franz Osten was sent back from India by the British forces. This development came as a big blow to Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani.

Downfall and Rise Again:

On 16th of May 1940, Himanshu Rai breathed his last. Devika Rani struggled to get control of the Bombay Talkies. Sashadhar Mukherjee, one of the co-founders of Bombay Talkies, finally parted away from the partnership to form Filmistan Studios which later became a direct competitor of Bombay Talkies. Evidently, it became hard to run the studio alone for the lady!

After Himanshu Rai’s demise, Devika Rani, as a producer continued to give successful stories to Bombay Talkies. In 1942, she launched the ever exquisite Madhubala in ‘Basant’, made under the banner of Bombay Talkies.

In 1943, Bombay Talkies had its biggest box-office success ever. Ashok Kumar and Mumtaz starred ‘Kismet’ became a huge box office success and the movie continued to run at the theatres of Calcutta for three long years.

Devika Rani is till date credited for her discovery of Dilip Kumar, whom she launched in ‘Jwar Bhata’ in 1944. Introduced to her by her secretary Guruswami, Dilip Kumar was trained and groomed in Bombay Talkies, who later turned out to be a star of such magnitude.

In 1945, she married the famous Russian painter (Padma Bhushan), Svetoslav Roerich, whose paintings of Nehru and Indira Gandhi still reside in the Central Hall of the Indian Parliament. She left the film industry forever and moved to the city of Bangalore after her marriage.

Devika Rani with Svetoslav Roerich (Left). Devika Rani with Svetoslav Roerich and Indira Gandhi (Right) [Image Courtsey: The Hindu]

Devika Rani with Svetoslav Roerich (Left). Devika Rani with Svetoslav Roerich and Indira Gandhi (Right) [Image Courtesy: The Hindu]

In 1954, Bombay Talkies was shut down marking the end of a historical era.

Outstanding Achievements:

Devika Rani with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

Devika Rani with Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

  • After Karma’s release, Devika Rani was invited by the BBC at London. She had been the first Indian to act in Britain’s first television broadcast and was also requested to inaugurate BBC’s first shortwave length broadcast to India.
  • Devika Rani was awarded the Padmashree by the Govt. Of India in 1958.
  • She was the first in India to receive the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1969.
  • She was appointed as a member in the Central Government Audio Visual Education Board.
  • She was the official nominee of the Indian Government for the Board of National Academy of Dance, Drama, Music and Films and the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
  • She was again appointed as a member of the National Academy (Executive Board), Lalit Kala Akademi and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
  • She was given state honours after her demise in 1994.

Ashok Kumar : A Legacy That Will Live Forever

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

The first super star of Indian cinema, the first ever anti-hero on Indian screen, a renowned homeopath scholar, an accomplished astrologer, an adept singer, a proficient cyclist, a science graduate and a vivid reader. Who comes in our mind when we read about so many traits in one man? He is the man who carried Indian showbiz forward even before Dilip Kumar or Raj Kapoor came into the picture. Ashok Kumar, the first Indian super star, was truly an all-rounder. He had a roller-coaster ride with his career that commenced from 1930s and continued till the late 1990s.

The establishment of Bombay Talkies, the partition era, the eventual fall of show business, the black and white decades and the old Bollywood music without playback, Ashok Kumar has experienced and gradually witnessed it all. The man himself is rich with history and if alive, then would have been celebrating his 102nd birthday this year on 13th of October.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

Originally belonging to a family of lawyers, it was typically expected that he will also follow his forefathers. But been bored with the uninteresting sections, acts and provisions of the legal books, the young science graduate fled to Mumbai without any proper aim to achieve. He lived in Mumbai in a one-boxed room with ten other people with almost empty pockets. Who knew that one day this random and desultory guy would own the first biggest film studio of India?

Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani and Sashadhar Mukherjee already established the infamous Bombay Talkies by this time. The studio was the biggest during the contemporary period and was considered to be a prime location for film-making in India. Ashok Kumar, being a science graduate from the Calcutta University, landed up as a lab assistant at the Bombay Talkies.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

His being an actor didn’t seem to be possible but fate had impossible plans for the man. Just like an unexpected climax in a movie, his life also faced some abrupt twists during this period.

Himanshu Rai was producing the movie ‘Achut Kanya’ at the time with his wife Devika Rani in the lead along with the male lead Najam-Ul-Hussain. Things took a complete about turn when Devika Rani eloped with her male lead to Calcutta leaving behind an incomplete film and a grieving husband.

Later, Sashadhar Mukherjee and Himanshu Rai succeeded in making her return but a major obstacle was faced due to the absence of the lead hero. Himanshu Rai, quite obviously, had sacked the earlier lead and was in search of a new face to cast opposite his wife.

Soon they discovered a young and good-looking lad at their own lab in Bombay Talkies. Without investing any more time they finalised him as the male lead opposite the then shining star Devika Rani. Ashok Kumar, a novice in acting, was playing the lead in a Bombay Talkies production even before he himself could digest the sudden developments that took place in his life. Thus, previously known as Kumudlal Ganguly was newly born as Ashok Kumar in the studio of Bombay Talkies.

Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in 'Achut Kanya'

Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in ‘Achut Kanya’

This way ‘Achut Kanya’ became the debut film of Ashok Kumar and was one of the grand successes of Bombay Talkies in 1936.

Playback was still an unknown technology for composers at Mumbai then. Hence, the actors on screen had to sing also for themselves instead of the current trend of lip-syncing. The novice actor soon started to sing as well and his duet ‘Main Ban Ki Chidiya’ with Devika Rani from ‘Achut Kanya’ still remains to be the talk of town after almost seven decades!

After the success of ‘Achut Kanya’, Ashok Kumar went on to act opposite Devika Rani in other Bombay Talkies’ productions like ‘Izzat’, ‘Nirmala’ and ‘Savitri’. He was the male lead in all of them but wasn’t a star yet. Devika Rani was still the ruling star of Hindi cinema during the period.

Soon, Kumar came out of Devika Rani’s limelight and started working with Leela Chitnis in ‘Kangan’, ‘Bandhan’, and ‘Jhoola’. Almost all the movies were commercially successful but his biggest success was yet to come. The popular track ‘Ek Chaturnaar’ from ‘Padosan’ was originally sung by Ashok Kumar in his movie ‘Jhoola’ in 1941. Kishore Kumar (Ashok Kumar’s brother) later lifted the tune and sung the song for ‘Padosan’ in 1968.

Ashok Kumar in 'Kismet' in 1943

Ashok Kumar in ‘Kismet’ in 1943 (Image Courtesy: rediff.com)

The year of 1943 and India got its first ‘All Time Blockbuster’ hit ‘Kismet’. Starring Ashok Kumar and Mumtaz Shanti, ‘Kismet’ was the first ever Indian film to showcase an anti-hero or a ‘double-role’. Written by Niranjan Pal and directed by Gyan Mukherjee, the film ran in the theatres for three long years breaking all the existing records and setting new records. It remained to be the longest running film in the country until ‘Sholay’ broke its set records 30 years later.

If you ever wondered what makes a hero more attractive when he is smoking a cigarette or a pipe, then you are bound to watch Ashok Kumar, who is also the first hero of Hindi cinema to smoke on screen. Ashok Kumar evolved and moulded himself with a style and fashion that was unseen and unknown to Hindi cinema during the prevailing time. He gradually defined the term ‘Hero’ with his swooning persona on screen.

In 1940, the Bombay Talkies’ founder Himanshu Rai passed away. A battle for ownership took off between Sashadhar Mukherjee and Devika Rani. Devika Rani succeeded in establishing her dominion over the studio. However, she married the famous Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich in 1945 and left the industry forever to settle down with her husband in Karnataka. By this time Sashadhar Mukherjee already left Bombay Talkies to establish his own studio ‘Filmistan’. In order to save ‘Bombay Talkies’, Ashok Kumar took the title in his hands.

Ashok Kumar in 'Mahal'

Ashok Kumar in ‘Mahal’

In 1949, he produced the historical thriller ‘Mahal’ showcasing the theme of reincarnation for the first time on Indian cinema under the banner of Bombay Talkies. The movie went on to set many records and produced unbeatable talents, who later on became legends. It was one of the highest grossing movies of 1949.

Ashok Kumar and Madhubala in 'Mahal' (Image Courtesy: santabanta.com)

Ashok Kumar and Madhubala in ‘Mahal’ (Image Courtesy: santabanta.com)

‘Mahal’ was a big break as a lead for the magnificent Madhubala. ‘The Indian Nightingale’, Lata Mangeshkar, also earned name and fame through her soundtrack ‘Aayega Aanewaala’ from the film. She became the first playback singer in India whose name was credited on-air at the All India Radio due to overwhelming inquiries made by the audiences after airing the song on the radio. The movie was director Kamal Amrohi’s debut venture who later went on to become one of the prolific directors of Bollywood. Bimal Roy was the editor of the movie who again later went on to become another ranked filmmaker in the industry.


Ashok Kumar in 'Samadhi'

Ashok Kumar in ‘Samadhi’

In-spite of the back to back successes, Bombay Talkies was closed in 1954 marking the end of a historical era in Bollywood.

In 1950, he was seen in Ramesh Saigal’s blockbuster super hit ‘Samadhi’. The movie turned out to be the year’s biggest grosser. ‘Samadhi’ was the story of a young soldier of INA who falls in love with a British spy. Being true to the title of the movie ‘Samadhi’, Ashok Kumar as Shekhar, an INA soldier, is martyred at the end of the movie near the Indo-Burman border.


In 1953, he played Shekhar Ray in Bimal Ray’s ‘Parineeta’ opposite Meena Kumari. The film was adapted from Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay’s Bengali novel ‘Parineeta’. The movie was edited by the legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee and is regarded as one of the finest screen adaptation of the original novel. It is known for the blooming chemistry between Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar as Lalita and Shekhai Ray. ‘Parineeta’ was remade again later in Hindi by Pradeep Sarkar in 2005.

Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari in 'Parineeta'

Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari in ‘Parineeta’

Another noted film by him in 1958 would be ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ where he could be seen on screen along with his equally talented brothers, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar. The film went on to become one of the biggest box office successes that year.

Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar in 'Chalti Ka Naam Hai Gaadi'

Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar in ‘Chalti Ka Naam Hai Gaadi’

Ashok Kumar in 'Kanoon'

Ashok Kumar in ‘Kanoon’

The 1960s came and so did B. R. Chopra’s ‘Kanoon’, which was the first Hindi film without any song. The crime thriller was a gripping film that would keep the audiences glued to their seats entirely throughout its 2 hours and 19 minutes run. Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar and Nanda played the pivotal roles in the movie. Ashok Kumar would surprise any viewer through his transformation from a soft hearted judge to a wicked criminal. ‘Kanoon’ can be regarded as one of the best made crime thriller during the ‘black and white’ era.

Ashok Kumar received his first Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Filmfare started in 1954) in 1962 for his outstanding performance in ‘Rakhi’. Waheeda Rahman, Pradeep Kumar and Mehmood were his co-stars in ‘Rakhi’.

Remember ‘Jogi Thakur Chaudhury’ from ‘Aashirwad’? The semi-old man wearing a ‘dhoti’ and running behind a train of children with his ever-so-classic song ‘Rail Gaadi Rail Gaadi Chuk Chuk Chuk’? Ashok Kumar made this character immortal with his unbeatable portrayal of ‘Jogi Thakur’.

Ashok Kumar as Jogi Thakur in 'Aashirwad' (Right) and A Clip from the 'Rail Gaadi Rail Gaadi Chuk Chuk Chuk' song from 'Aashirwad' (Left)

Ashok Kumar as Jogi Thakur in ‘Aashirwad’ (Right) and A Clip from the ‘Rail Gaadi Rail Gaadi Chuk Chuk Chuk’ song from ‘Aashirwad’ (Left)

In 1964, Ashok Kumar got his second Filmfare Award for ‘Aashirwad’. The forever loved and respected Jogi Thakur would bring tears to anyone’s eyes. This masterpiece surely did bring out his best from ‘Dadamoni’. Also, Ashok Kumar happened to be the first rap-singer on Indian cinema through this film. ‘Rail Gaadi Chuk Chuk Chuk’ was the first ever rap song featured on Hindi cinema.

In the 1960s he also performed in a number of films like ‘Pakeezah’ (1972), ‘Bahu Begum’ (1967), ‘Chitralekha’ (1964) alongside Meena Kumari. By the 1970s, he was already playing father to the young generation heroes and heroines of Bollywood.

Ashok Kumar in 'Bahadur Shah Zafar'

Ashok Kumar in ‘Bahadur Shah Zafar’

In the 1980s, along with the big screen, he ventured into the small screen as well. B. R. Chopra’s ‘Bahadur Shah Zafar’ was a milestone series on Indian television and is unforgettable even today. He also acted as the narrator in India’s first ever television soap ‘Hum Log’.

Ashok Kumar lived for 90 years and worked until 1997. He took his last breathe on 10th of December 2001. Dadamoni had a peaceful death during an amicable afternoon. He had his lunch and he calmly went for his afternoon nap which never broke later. He passed away due to a heart failure in his slumber.


Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

He was not only a preeminent actor but also was a caring and humble family man. He fathered three children and was fortunate enough to witness the birth of his great grandchildren. He was shaken to bits after the death of his wife Shobha. It is said that Kishore Kumar had to sing for hours to get his elder brother out of his depression after his wife’s death.

Ashok Kumar With Wife Shobha Ganguly

Ashok Kumar With Wife Shobha Ganguly

In his long life, he witnessed the deaths of his younger brothers (Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar) as well. He denied attending their funeral saying that he hates to bid goodbye to anyone.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

He was a terribly worried father who called up the IG of police at midnight to inquire about his would be son-in-law when he came to know about his daughter’s choice and also was a cheerful grandfather who danced with his trembling stick at the wedding party of his grandchildren at the age of 80. An amused Ashok Kumar even named his brother as ‘Kishore Mohabbat Khan’ when he came to know about his fourth marriage.

A child at heart but an enigma in mind, Ashok Kumar is a legacy, a trendsetter and a pioneer of Indian cinema who will continue to aspire today’s young generation.

Begum Akhtar : The Queen of Ghazal

Begum Akhtar

Begum Akhtar

Begum Akhtar, originally known as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, was an Indian classical singer and a pioneer in Ghazal, Dadra and Thumri. Born at the Faridabad district of Uttar Pradesh, Begum Akhtar did not have a blissful childhood.

Akhtari Bai or Begum Akhtar, were three siblings, who were disclaimed by their advocate father along with their mother.

At the age of seven, Akhtari Bai, started getting attracted to music. She was deeply moved by the music of a theatre group artist, Chandra Bai. Seeing her growing interest in music, her uncle sent her to Patna’s musical exponent Ustad Imdad Khan. She also learnt music from Patiala’s Ata Mohammad Khan.

After some struggle in life, her mother shifted to Calcutta (presently Kolkata) along with her three daughters. Even after shifting to Kolkata, she continued her music classes and started learning from Mohammad Khan, Abdul Waheed Khan and Ustad Jhande Khan.

She gave her first ever public performance at a concert in 1929. She was only 15 at that time.

First Appreciation from Naidu:
In the year 1934, Bihar suffered the deadliest earthquakes of all times which left thousands killed and destroyed properties worth a million. A concert was organised to raise fund, to help the state and the victims. Akhtari Bai sang in the concert and her talent was appreciated and acknowledged by Sarojini Naidu. This inspired her to work hard towards learning music.

Association with East India Film Company:
Her talent and good looks paved the way for her to excel in movies and Hindustani classical music. She also did act in a number of films during the initial 1930s. In 1933, East India Film Company, provided her the opportunity to work in movies like, ‘Ek Din Ki Badshahat’ and ‘Nal Damayanti’.

She also acted in other movies of East India Company like, ‘Ameena’ and ‘Mumtaz Begum’ in 1934 and ‘Jawani Ka Nasha’ and ‘Naseeb Ka Chakkar’ in 1935.

East India Company based in Calcutta was one of the biggest production houses during the era. It is said that, Akhtari Bai started working with East India Company at a salary of Rs 700 which was later increased to Rs 2,000. The amount was considered to be quite a fortune back at that time.

Begum Akhtar

Begum Akhtar

Association With Theatre:
Akhtari Bai preferred stage performances as well. She has been a constant stage artist in the initial years of her career. Her first show on stage was ‘Nayi Dulhan’ which was an instant success among the audiences.

The beautiful actress along with her mesmerising voice enchanted the audiences. She worked with theatre groups like Corianthian, with whom she did mythic theatre shows like, ‘Sita’, ‘Nal Damayanti’ etc. As work pressure increased by the passing years, she chose to do less stage shows owing to excessive exhaustion of her voice.

Association with Mehboob Khan:
In the early 1940s, she shifted back to Lucknow from Calcutta. One of the most successful directors of that era, Mehboob Khan, paid her a visit to Lucknow and proposed her to play the main lead in his movie ‘Roti’, which released in the year 1942. Chandramohan, Sheikh Mukhtar, Sitara devi and Ashraf Khan were her co-stars in the movie.

Begum Akhtar in 'Roti' in 1942

Begum Akhtar in ‘Roti’ in 1942

She also sang six songs for the movie composed by the legendary Amit Biswas. However, four of those tracks out of the six weren’t included in the movie. ‘Chaar Dino Ki Jawaani’, ‘Phir Faasle Bahaar Aayi’, ‘Ulajh Gaye Nainawa’ were some of the appreciated tracks by Akhtari Bai which were included in the film.

The omitted tracks were later released in a separate album by Megaphone Record Company.

After Marriage:
In 1945, she married barrister Ishtiaq Ahmed Abbasi and became Begum Akhtari from Akhtari Bai. After her marriage, she denied several offers proposed to her and stopped singing entirely for five years. Within the tenure of five years, her health conditions declined and she was medically advised to re-consume her music.

In 1949, she returned to singing and sang three ghazals and a dadra at the Lucknow Radio Station. It is said, that after returning from the studio, Begum Akhtar felt genuinely happy and wept out of happiness.

Begum Akhtar with Lata Mangeshkar, Vasant Desai and others

Begum Akhtar with Lata Mangeshkar, Vasant Desai and others

In 1953, music director Madan Mohan somehow made her agree to record two songs for him in his upcoming movies. She sang two most successful and hit tracks for him, ‘Aye Ishq Mujhe Aur Kuch Yaad Nahi Hai’ from ‘Daana Paani’ in 1953 and ‘Humein Dil Mein Basaa Bhi Lo’ from ‘Ehsaan’ in 1954. The tracks became hugely popular after their releases. She also was the background score composer for the movie ‘Ehsaan’ in 1954.

In 1958, she also agreed to play a cameo in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Jalsaghar’, which eventually marked her last presence on screen.

Begum Akhtar in Satyajit Ray's 'Jalsaghar'

Begum Akhtar in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Jalsaghar’

Ghazals from Private Albums:
She released many private albums along with musical maestros of the industry. Some of the noted and hit tracks would be, ‘Ab To Yahin Hain Dil Se’, ‘Bujhi Hui Shama Dhuan’ and ‘Cha Rahi Kali Ghata’ from the album ‘Begum Akhtar-Deedar-E-Ghazal’.

‘Abhi Josh-E-Baharan Dekhna Hai’ , ‘Ashqon Mein Koi Husn Paaya’, ‘Daaman Pe Hai Sadqe’, ‘Dabdaba Aayi Yeh Aankhein’ from the album ‘Yeh Aankhon Ki Aalam’ and ‘Ae Mohabbat Tere Anjaam Pe Rona Aaya’ from ‘Ghazal Ka Safar’ and ‘Barsan Laagin Saawan Boondiyaan’ from the album ‘Varsha Ritu’ deserve special mention.

Begum Akhtar kept on attending concerts and public shows until her last day. Her last concert had been in Ahmedabad. Dissatisfied with the performance at Ahmedabad, she raised the pitch of her voice to higher notes. Soon after that, she felt unwell and was rushed to hospital. She took her last breath on 30th of October 1974 in Ahmedabad.

Begum Akhtar received the Padmashree Award in 1968 followed by the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1972 and the Padmabhushan in 1975.

Amit Kumar : A Singer For All Ages

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar, a prominent name in the music industry, is known for contributing in Indian music since 4 decades. A singer, composer, actor and director, he is all that one can ask for!

Amit Kumar was born on 3rd of July 1952 to the evergreen singer, composer, actor, director Kishore Kumar and singer and actress Ruma Guha Thakurta.

Early Years:
Amit Kumar started off with singing in Kolkata at a very early age. He performed and sang at the stage shows arranged at popular Bengali actor Uttam Kumar’s locality in Kolkata. Later, he also joined Calcutta Youth Choir, set up by Ruma Guha Thakurta (his mother), Satyajit Ray and Salil Chowdhury.

With time, he started losing interest in studies and his focus shifted to music. Confused with her son’s lack of interest in studies, Ruma Thakurta got worried about his future. Soon after that, Kishore Kumar called him over to Mumbai and introduced him to the grand show of ‘Papa Kishore and Sunny Amit Together’. Legendary music director, S. D. Burman was the chief guest in the show. It is said that smitten by his performance at the event, S. D. Burman tossed a garland at the new evolving singer.

Amit Kumar with Kishore Kumar on stage

Amit Kumar with Kishore Kumar on stage

He also took part in Gautam Mukherjee’s grand stage show at Rabindra Sadan in Kolkata. Suprakash Gargari also arranged another show ‘Amit Kumar Presents Kishore Kumar’ in 1972 which was a major event by him.

First Recording:
His first recording was for his father’s movie ‘Dur Ka Rahi’ in 1965 at the Bombay Labs. Kishore Kumar himself composed the music for the film. Amit Kumar recorded the song ‘Main Ek Panchi Matwala Re’ under his father’s guidance. However, the track was never included in the film. Another track, ‘Beeti Jaaye Zindagaani’ was also recorded for the same movie but that was also scrapped off.

Anuradha Padwal, Amit Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle

Anuradha Padwal, Amit Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle

Later, his duet tracks with his father, ‘Sun Chache Bol’ in 1974, ‘Haseeno Ke Chakkar Mein’ in 1976 and ‘Nazar Na Lage Saathiyo’ in 1978 became famous.

With R. D. Burman:
R. D. Burman played a major role in Amit Kumar’s emergence as a singer. In 1976, the song ‘Bade Ache Lagte Hain’ from the movie ‘Balika Badhu’ earned him instant fame. The partnership of Amit Kumar and R. D. Burman produced more than 170 memorable tracks. ‘Aati Rahengi Bahaarein’ from ‘Kasme Vaade’ in 1978 is another hit track composed by R. D. Burman and sang by Amit Kumar.

Love Story (Poster)

Love Story (Poster)

Love Story was a notable film in Amit Kumar’s career. Produced by Rajendra Kumar, Love Story was the launchpad movie for actor Kumar Gaurav. The film released in 1981 and the tracks instantly topped the chartbusters. ‘Yaad Aa Rahi Hai, Teri Yaad Aa Rahi Hai’, ‘Dekho Maine Dekha Hai Ek Sapna, Phoolon Ke Shahar Mein Hai Ghar Apna’ were the nationwide popular tracks from the movie.

The song ‘Teri Yaad Aa Rahi Hai’ also got Amit Kumar the Filmfare Award for the ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ in1982. Co-incidentally, the award was presented to him by his father Kishore Kumar and he also won the award over the most strongest nominee in the category and that was again his father, Kishore Kumar.

He also sang for the movie ‘Jai Shiv Shankar’ produced by Rajesh Khanna. The music was again composed by R. D. Burman. During the era, it is said that, Amit Kumar was one of the most preferable singers for Rajesh Khanna. He sang many songs for the actor from 1980s to 1990s.
In 1984, the tracks of ‘Jawani’ composed by R. D. Burman again hit chartbusters. ‘Teri Kasam’ was another movie in 1982 that had hit compositions by R. D. Burman and rendered by Amit Kumar in its bag. The 1988 release ‘Rama O Rama’ is another super hit track by  Burman and Kumar.

With Rajesh Roshan:
Rajesh Roshan and Amit Kumar too have memorable compositions in their track. ‘Dushman Na Kare Dost Ne Jo Kaam Kiya Hai’ from ‘Aakhir Kyun?’ in 1985 was among the popular tracks of the duo.

Another unforgettable track by Rajesh Roshan and Amit Kumar would be, ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’ from Basu Chatterjee’s movie ‘Baaton Baaton Mein’. Amit Kumar after hearing the track, jokingly asked Rajesh Roshan about the origin of the tune. Rajesh Roshan cordially answered him that the tune was lifted from a background score in the popular movie ‘Bridge On The River Kwai’.

With Kalyanji-Anandji:
Kalyanji-Anandji and Amit Kumar too have many noted tracks in their bag. One of the most successful venture they had together was ‘Haadsa’ which released in 1983. ‘Yeh Bambai Shahar’, ‘Pyar Ka Haadsa’, ‘Y.O.G.A’ were superhit tracks from the movie.

‘Oye Oye Tirchi Topi Wale’, who doesn’t remember this song from ‘Tridev’? This was another noted song composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and sung by Amit Kumar. The original lyrics was ‘Tirchi Topi Waale…oye oye’ which was later changed into ‘Oye Oye…Tirchi Topi Waale’, to add up more spice to the track.

Kalyanji-Anandji has many more notable tracks with Amit Kumar during their tenure together.

With Anand- Milind:
In the 1990s, Amit Kumar had a considerable long partnership with Anand-Milind. He sang many hit tracks for the duo. ‘Baaghi- A Rebel For Love’, ‘Sangdil Sanam’, ‘Swarg’, ‘Maha Sangram’ are successful ventures by them in 1990s. ‘Kaisa Lagta Hai’ from ‘Baaghi’, ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ from ‘Maha Sangram, ‘Aankhon Mein Band’ from ‘Swarg’ are some of the hit tracks from the movies.

Anand-Milind also made him sing for Aamir Khan in films like ‘Deewana Mujh Sa Nahi’ and ‘Jawani Zindabad’. ‘Hum Tumse Mohabbat’ from ‘Deewana Mujh Sa Nahin’ was considerably a hit track back at that time.

With Bappi Lahiri:
His partnership with Bappi Lahiri trails back to the 1977 release ‘Haiwan’ . Till date they have worked together in almost 45 movies. ‘Toote Khilone’ (1978), ‘Bhula Na Dena’ (1983), ‘Pyas’ (1983), ‘Mohabbat’ (1985), ‘Ilzaam’ (1986), ‘Pyar Karke Dekho’ (1987), ‘Khoj’ (1989), ‘Ghar Ka Chirag’ (1989), ‘Naaka Bandi’ (1990), ‘Ghayal’ (1990), ‘Aaj Ka Arjun’ (1990), ‘Phool Bane Angarey’ (1991), ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’ (1992), ‘Himmatwaala’ (2013) are some of the noted films in which Amit Kumar sang for Bappi Lahiri.

Other Composers:
Amit Kumar has worked with every composer in the last four decade. Starting from R. D. Burman to Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Jatin Lalit to Nadeem Sharavan, to the new age music directors like Pritam, he has worked with everyone and has lend his voice to varied form of music. However, after the late 1990s, he stopped singing often, claiming that the kind of music composed at the time wasn’t preferred by him.

As A Composer:

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar is also a proficient composer. He composed many non-film music albums both in Hindi and in Bengali. His compositions dates back to the era of 1980s.

Bengali Albums:-

Amar Bhalobasha – A Bengali music album that was released in 1986, attained good response from the listeners. It had songs that had folk and classical touch along with the fusion of modern music.

Surer Raja & Dui Kishore – Both the albums were in Bengali but the songs were composed keeping the legendary singer Kishore Kumar in mind. The albums can be regarded as tributes paid to Kishore Kumar by Amit Kumar.

Tai Jodi Hoto – The album was released in 1997. However, the most notable fact about the album was that veteran singer Asha Bhosle sang for Amit Kumar’s composition for the first time in this album.

Cholun Beriye Ashi – Another Bengali music album that was released in the year 1998. It also had versatile combination of pop, classical and western music.

Parichay – The album had Amit Kumar’s wife, Reema Ganguly, sing duets with him. The album got released in the year of 2004.

Hindi Albums:

Oh! Sweetheart – This was his first Hindi music album that got released in 1987. ‘Saamne Hai Tu’ is one of the notable tracks from the album.

MAD – Experimental and youthful music is what MAD comprised of. The album was launched by R. D. Burman, who once commented that the music of MAD was 25 years ahead of time. MAD was hugely appreciated by critics and it has been re-launched again on 23rd of February 2012.

Dum Dama Dum – Dum Dama Dum was another music album composed by Amit Kumar.

Compositions Through Technology:

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar also recently launched his own official website from where his compositions can directly reach his admirers. As per the suggestions received from his brother Sumeet Kumar, the website was launched to provide information with regards to all his songs and compositions.

The website is also directly connected to Amit Kumar’s official Facebook Page which instantly updates any recent status from the noted singer. His website can be reached at www.amit-kumar.in

As an Actor:
Amit Kumar also did act in the movies made under his father’s home production. ‘Dur Ka Rahi’, ‘Dur Gagan Ki Chaon Mein’, ‘Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi’, and ‘Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi’ are his acting ventures. He also completed his father’s incomplete movie, ‘Mamta Ki Chaon Mein’ after his demise.

The Father-Son Combo:
There are many hit songs which are originally sung by Amit Kumar in Bengali first and later was again sung by Kishore Kumar in Hindi. ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’, ‘Kya Yehi Pyar Hai’, ‘Zubi Zubi’, ‘Chodo Sanam’ are some of the Hindi tracks that were chartbuster hits but were originally sung by Amit Kumar in Bengali before Kishore Kumar did lend his voice to them in Hindi.

Recent Releases:

From Left- Director Sandip Ray, Singer Antara Chowdhury, Amit Kumar and Actress Deboshree Roy at the release of the album 'Phire Ele Shagorika' at Kolkata on 21st of September 2013

From Left- Director Sandip Ray, Singer Antara Chowdhury, Amit Kumar and Actress Deboshree Roy at the release of the album ‘Phire Ele Shagorika’ at Kolkata on 21st of September 2013

Amit Kumar recently launched his new Bengali album ‘Phire Ele Shagorika’ in Kolkata on the 21st of September 2013. The album is released specially for the upcoming occasion of ‘Durga Puja’ in the state. The same day, he was also honoured for his outstanding contribution to the Bengali music industry by Amit Kumar Fan Club at Kolkata.

Amit Kumar Being Honoured for His Outstanding Contribution To the Bengali Music Industry by The Amit Kumar Fan Club at Kolkata on 21st of September 2013

Amit Kumar Being Honoured for His Outstanding Contribution To the Bengali Music Industry by The Amit Kumar Fan Club at Kolkata on 21st of September 2013

Geeta Dutt : The Shining Diamond In The World of Music

Geeta Dutt

Geeta Dutt

Geeta Dutt was a gifted and shining name in the world of Indian music that could have lived and lasted for a much longer tenure than it actually did. She was a great singer, who evolved and extinguished into darkness due to the unfortunate and untimely events in her life.

Babuji Dheere Chalna
Pyar Mein Zaraa Sambhalnaa
Haan Bade Dhoke Hain
Bade Dhoke Hain Iss Raah Mein

The evergreen voice of Geeta Dutt, singing these legendary lines were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri in 1954 for the movie ‘Aar Paar’. It is still one of the most loved and adored songs in the modern days. Composed by O. P. Nayyar, the song surely was compiled with a versatile touch that appeals to the audiences even today, after almost six decades. But who knew that this song along with some other tracks of Geeta Dutt would signify the mis-happenings of her own life in later future?

Geeta Ghosh Roy Chowdhury was born on 23rd of November 1930 at Faridpur in East Bengal (currently Bangladesh). She was one of the ten children born to Debendranath Ghosh Roy Chowdhuri and Amiya Devi, in a well to do zamindar family in the Eastern part of Bengal. Towards the early 1940s, her family shifted to Calcutta only to later shift again to Bombay in 1942.

Geeta Dutt

Geeta Dutt

She learnt music initially from Hirendranath Nandi. At the age of 16, she was given her first break by Hanuman Prasad in the mythological movie ‘Bhakta Prahlad’ in 1946. However, she was only given two lines to sing for the songs in the movie. She also sang ‘Naina Ki Pyaali Se’, ‘Naina Lagake Mukh Modi Gaya’ from ‘Raseeli’ and a duet with Parul Ghosh ‘Aaja Re Nindiya Aaja’ from ‘Nayi Maa’ for Hanuman Prasad in 1946 only.

Her career took an about turn when musical maestro S. D. Burman gave her a break to sing for him in the movie ‘Do Bhai’ in 1947. The songs, as well as the movie were super hit and Geeta Dutt never had to look back after that.

‘Baazi’ – A Turning Point In Life

Dev Anand, Johny Walker, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt

Dev Anand, Johny Walker, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt

‘Baazi’ was the first movie that was to be made under the banner of Navketan Films – Dev Anand’s production house. As per his promise to one of his closest friend Guru Dutt, Dev Anand handed him over the director’s seat before ‘Baazi’ went on floors. On the muhurat ceremony of ‘Baazi, Dev Anand made Guru Dutt meet the enchanting singer Geeta Roy. Out of the eight tracks from the movie composed by S. D. Burman, Geeta Roy was assigned six of them.

‘Suno Gajar Kya Gaaye’, ‘Dekh Ke Akeli Mohe Barkha Sataaye’, ‘Yeh Kaun Aaya Ki Meri Dil Ki Duniya Mein’, ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Bana Le’, ‘Aaj Ki Raat Piya’, ‘Tum Bhi Na Bhoolo Balam’ are the notable tracks from ‘Baazi’ sung by Geeta Roy. However, the track ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Banaa Le’ had a western touch to it and it was sung by Geeta Roy with such fascinating effect that it stupefied even the new and young director, Guru Dutt.

Geeta Dutt

Geeta Dutt

‘Baazi’ released in 1951 and was a blockbuster success at the Box-Office. The female lead, Geeta Bali’s dance number with the tunes of ‘Tadbeer Se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer Bana Le’ was thoroughly enjoyed and loved by the audiences.

By the time ‘Baazi’ ended, the great filmmaker in making- Guru Dutt, fell in love with the existing diamond in the world of music – Geeta Roy. It was yet to become the most sensational yet tragic love story on the ‘off-screen’ history of Indian cinema.

In 1952, Guru Dutt’s second venture ‘Jaal’ went on floors. Again, Geeta Roy was assigned two solo tracks and one duet with Kishore Kumar for the movie. The film was extensively shot in Goa with Dev Anand and Geeta Bali in the lead again. The movie swooned over the Box Office and turned out to be Dutt’s second big success as a director in a row.

The Most Awaited Marriage:
After the success of ‘Jaal’, Guru Dutt wanted to venture into production. He formed a production house in partnership with Geeta Bali’s sister, Haridarshan Kaur, naming it H. G. Productions. The first movie under the banner of H. G. Productions was ‘Baaz’. This was O. P. Nayyar’s second movie as a music director and again out of the total nine songs that were composed for the movie, Geeta Roy sang seven of them.

The music turned out to be a big success. However, the box office results were dull. This was Guru Dutt’s first failure at the box office.

The failure of ‘Baaz’ created a vacuum space in Guru Dutt’s life. In order to fill the vacuum, he hurried to get married to Geeta Roy. The two lovers finally tied the knot at Geeta Roy’s Mumbai residence on 26th of May 1953, finally turning Geeta Roy to Geeta Dutt.

Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt's sister on the wedding day

Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt’s sister on the wedding day

The grand wedding was completed following the norms of Bengali tradition and was attended by almost the entire film fraternity of the contemporary period.

A year later, in 1954, Geeta Dutt delivered their first newborn exactly on the day of Guru Dutt’s birthday. Their first child, Tarun, was born on 9th July 1954 and he also happened to share his father’s birthday.

Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt and their son Tarun

Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt and their son Tarun

Success Hits The Duo Again:
In 1954, Guru Dutt established his own independent production house. Though, H. G. Productions did remain as his partnership venture. The first movie produced under Guru Dutt’s production house was ‘Aar-Paar’, directed by Guru Dutt himself. Initially he wanted to cast Dev Anand in the movie. However, he changed his mind later and decided to play the main male lead himself.

O. P. Nayyar composed eight songs for the movie and Geeta Dutt sang seven of them. The songs instantly did hit the chartbusters and the scores are still widely played and loved by the current generation audiences. The tracks were much modern if compared with the contemporary era. They were expressive, prompt and erotic in nature which impressed people to no boundaries. ‘Sun Sun Sun Sun Zaalima’, ‘Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa’, ‘Babuji Dheere Chalna’, ‘Ye Lo Main Haari Piya’, ‘Hoon Abhi Main Jawaan Aye Dil’, ‘Mohabat Karlo Ji Barlo’, ‘Na Na Na Na Na Na Tauba Tauba’ were all hit tracks from the movie sung by Geeta Dutt.

Geeta Dutt recording at the BBC Studio at London

Geeta Dutt recording at the BBC studio in London

Geeta Dutt, Lata Mangeshkar and Raj Kapoor

Geeta Dutt, Lata Mangeshkar and Raj Kapoor


‘Aar-Paar’ again marked success for Guru Dutt and swooned over the Box-Office charts.

Geeta Dutt with Mohd. Rafi

Geeta Dutt with Mohd. Rafi

In 1955, Guru Dutt produced and directed another light hearted romantic movie ‘Mr. & Mrs. 55′ starring himself and the ecstatic Madhubala. The music was again composed by O. P. Nayyar and out of the total nine songs, six of them were sung by Geeta Dutt. Three duets with Mohd. Rafi and three solo songs, all were a treat to the music lovers of the time. ‘Neele Aasmaani’, ‘Preetam Aan Milo’, ‘Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata’, ‘Udhar Tum Haseen Ho’ were all stunning and delightful songs from the film.

By this time, critics started blaming that Geeta Dutt only saved and rendered her best for her husband’s movies. However, over and over again she proved this to be a lame blame been put on her.

The Then Emerging Telugu Sensation – Waheeda Rahman
In 1955, a Telugu film, ‘Rojulu Marayi’ released with Waheeda Rahman been casted in one of the super hit songs from the film. The song and Waheeda Rahman, both became overnight success in the Telugu film industry. The film went on to celebrate its Silver Jubilee success and Guru Dutt, while being at Hyderabad, was invited to attend the event. He met the new sensation Waheeda Rahman at this event and this meeting marked the beginning of a new twist in Guru Dutt’s life.

C. I. D in 1956 (Poster)

C. I. D in 1956 (Poster)

In 1956, Guru Dutt decided to produce another movie with Dev Anand and newcomer Waheeda Rahman. He asked his assistant, Raj Khosla to direct the movie. The crime thriller, C. I. D, had six songs composed by O. P. Nayyar and out of them Geeta Dutt rendered for three songs. ‘Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishaara Ho Gaya’ with Mohd. Rafi from C. I. D, became very popular and the music of the movie was a smashing hit.

In 1956, Geeta Dutt delivered her second son, Arun, on 10th of July.

Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt with their sons

Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt with their sons

In 1957, Guru Dutt finally released his dream project, ‘Pyaasa’. ‘Pyaasa’ was a creative masterpiece that was directed and produced by himself. The movie is still considered as one of the best made films in the history of Indian cinema. The film found a place in the list of Time magazine’s list of 100 best films ever made in the world. It has also been ranked among the top 25 must see movies by India Times. In 2011, Time Magazine again placed it among the top 10 best romantic movies in the world!

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman in a scene from 'Pyaasa'

Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rahman in a scene from ‘Pyaasa’

‘Pyaasa’ had S. D. Burman on the seat of the music director. All the songs from the movie did hit the chartbusters and Geeta Dutt had 3 songs in her bag from the movie. All of them were smashing hits including the track, ‘Aaj Saajan Mohe Ang Lagaalo’, which was a musical treat to the listeners. The film starred Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rahman and Mala Sinha in pivotal roles.

‘Gouri’ – Guru Dutt’s First Attempt To Launch His Wife As A Heroine:
‘Gouri’ was supposed to be a Bengali film attempted by Guru Dutt to launch Geeta Dutt as a heroine. After a few shots, the shooting of the movie got suspended. It is said that the growing misunderstandings between Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt were the primary reasons behind the movie getting shelved. By this time, Geeta Dutt had a strong impulse that Guru Dutt was getting romantically involved with Waheeda Rahman. However, if ever the shooting of the movie got completed, then it would have been India’s first cinemascope release.

‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ – Future History Yet A Contemporary Failure

Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam
Tum Rahe Na Tum, Hum Rahe Na Hum
Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam

Written by lyricist Kaifi Azmi, composed by S. D. Burman and sung by Geeta Dutt, this song is embedded in the hearts of a million even now. The song is regarded as Geeta Dutt’s best. Penned by Kaifi Azmi, the words depict the pain and sufferings of the protagonist and Geeta Dutt portrayed it through her vocal with utmost sincerity, probably because it resembled her own life by that time!

The two ever immortal takes from 'Kaagaz Ke Phool'

The two ever immortal takes from ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’

Kaagaz Ke Phool (Poster)

Kaagaz Ke Phool (Poster)

Guru Dutt’s ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ was a cult movie that probably was made much ahead of time. A movie made for an intellectual and thinking audience could not strike its chord with the box office in 1959. Hence, his another dream project ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ fell flat on the collections box causing huge financial losses. The movie turned out to be a contemporary failure. However, it is historically a success as it became the first ever Indian movie to be made on cinemascope. Furthermore, the British film monthly ‘Sight and Sound’ placed ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ among the top 160 greatest films of all time!

The failure of ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’ pulled Guru Dutt into the graves of deep depression and he decided to retire from direction forever.

Blamed To Be A Fickle Minded Filmmaker:
Since 1959, Guru Dutt shelved and cancelled several of his projects without any vital reason. While shooting the movies, he halted and dismissed the films halfway citing no concrete reason for doing so. He started off a movie ‘Raaz’ with Sunit Dutt and Waheeda Rahman. Later, he replaced Sunil Dutt with himself and completed almost half the movie only to shelf it later due to creative dissatisfaction. Raj Khosla adopted the story of ‘Raaz’ later and made ‘Woh Kaun Thi’, which was a super hit movie during the era.

Waheeda Rahman, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt at the premiere of 'Chaudvin Ka Chand'

Waheeda Rahman, Guru Dutt and Geeta Dutt at the premiere of ‘Chaudvin Ka Chand’

He also signed Kishore Kumar and Waheeda Rahman for another movie ‘Professor’. He shelved that one too in the midway. Later the movie was released with Shammi Kapoor in the lead by F. C. Mehra and it became an instant success. ‘Bees Saal Baad’, ‘Neel Kamal’ were some other projects which were also abandoned by Guru Dutt in midway. This regular attitude of Guru Dutt created a rift between Geeta Dutt and him which worsened things further.

In 1960, Guru Dutt produced Chaudvin Ka Chand, starring himself, Rahman and Waheeda Rahman. The movie was also shown at the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival.

‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’- The Last Songs of Geeta Dutt for Guru Dutt

Na Jaayo Saiyaan
Chudaake Baiyyan
Kasam Tumhaari…Main Ro Padungi
Ro Padungi

Composed by Hemant Kumar and sung by Geeta Dutt, the song instills the emotion of an abandoned wife who struggles hard to stop her husband from leaving her behind alone. The extreme grief, pain and fear of isolation is depicted perfectly in the song by Geeta Dutt. Again another brilliant piece that probably went hand in hand with the contemporary affairs of her real life.

‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’ was produced by Guru Dutt and starred himself with Meena Kumari, Waheeda Rahman and Rahman in primary roles. The movie was directed by Dutt’s long time companion Abrar Alvi. It was a huge commercial as well as critical success. Guru Dutt also received the Filmfare Award for the Best Film in 1963. It was also India’s official submission for the Academy Awards that year in the category of the Best Feature Film in Foreign Language.

In 1962, their last child, their daughter Nina, was born in the month of August.

Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt with their daughter Nina

Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt with their daughter Nina

Personal Life Deeply Affected Professional Life:

Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt with their two sons Tarun and Arun and their daughter Nina

Geeta Dutt and Guru Dutt with their two sons Tarun and Arun and their daughter Nina

From the late 1950s, Geeta Dutt being depressed and saddened, ventured into heavy drinking. Her personal life disasters started affecting her career. Music Directors like S. D. Burman and O. P. Nayyar, who always considered her as their primary singer for compositions, started shifting to the new emerging singer in town, Asha Bhosle.

Soon, Geeta Dutt, started to run out of work as she failed to meet the expectations of the composers. By the early 1960s, she detached herself from Guru Dutt and they started living separately.

October 10th 1964 – The Great Filmmaker Passes Away
Even the success of ‘Sahib, Biwi Aur Ghulam’ could not pull Guru Dutt away from his depressions. A solitary life without Geeta Dutt made him live a very ailing life. Being mentally unstable, he attempted suicide thrice. Finally, on the night of 10th October 1964, he breathed his last at the age of 39.

An overdose of alcohol with sleeping pills is reportedly said to be the cause of his death. However, different views exist with regards to the fact about whether his death was an accident or suicide. He last spoke to Asha Bhosle at midnight of October 10th, asking her about the whereabouts of Geeta Dutt, before his death.

The Fall of the Musical Diamond:
Hearing the news of her husband’s death, Geeta Dutt had a severe nervous breakdown. She could not recognise even her children for a long period of time. When she recovered from her mental distress, she faced deep financial crisis. Her musical career almost faced a halt making her insolvent. She performed a few stage shows during this time to earn money.

Geeta Dutt in Bengali film 'Badhu Baran'

Geeta Dutt in Bengali film ‘Badhu Baran’

In 1967, she played the lead role in the Bengali movie ‘Badhu Baran’ and later in 1971, she sang for composer Kanu Roy in the movie ‘Anubhav’, which was her last recording so far. ‘Koi Chupke Se Aake’, ‘Mera Dil Jo Mera Hota’ and ‘Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho, Meri Jaan’ were the three notable tracks sung by Geeta Dutt for the movie ‘Anubhav’.

In 1972, at the age of 41, she died of liver cirrhosis.

S. N. Tripathi : The Ardent Classical Yet Modern Composer

S. N. Tripathi

S. N. Tripathi

Shri Nath Tripathi or S. N. Tripathi was the one of those noted composers in Indian music industry, whose music reflected the Indian classical saga through five decades. Since 1930s to 1980s, he gave out preeminent songs that are inimitable even today.

The multi-talented S. N. Tripathi was not only a composer but also a singer, actor, script-writer and director . However, composing had been his first choice and he primarily concentrated on music direction throughout his career.

S. N. Tripathi

S. N. Tripathi

S. N. Tripathi was born on the 14th of March in 1913 in the sacred city of Varanasi (Banaras) in Uttar Pradesh. He belonged to a very educated family. His grandfather and father were eminent figures in the society. Pandit Ganesh Dutt Tripathi, his grandfather, was the principal of Sanskrit Vidyapith in Kashi. Pandit Damodar Dutt Thakur, his father, was also the principal of the Government High School of Kashi.

S.N. Tripathi was a Bachelor in Science from Allahabad. He took training in classical music from the Morris College of Lucknow which was established by V. N. Bhatkhande. He earned degrees of ‘Sangeet Praveen’ and ‘Sangeet Visharad’ from Prayag Sangeet Samiti and Morris College respectively. He also took training in classical and folk music from Maina Devi in Lucknow.

Early days in Bombay:
In 1935, he joined Bombay Talkies as a violinist. Later, he was appointed as an assistant to the then popular composer Saraswati Devi. He was paid Rs. 100 per month as his salary during that time. In 1936, he sang the song ‘Ae re daiya lachak lachak chalo’ for the first time for Ashok Kumar in the movie ‘Jeevan Naiya’. The song was composed by Saraswati Devi.

In 1938, he left Bombay Talkies and his last movie with them was ‘Bhabhi’. Dhirubhai Desai’s ‘Chandan’ gave him his first break as a music director in 1939. ‘Nanha sa dil deti hoon’ from ‘Chandan’ was a duet of Rajkumari and S. N. Tripathi himself. Unfortunately, the release of the movie got delayed and it finally saw the light of the day in 1941. However, ‘Panghat’ in 1943 gave him his first success as a composer. He also composed for movies like ‘Choodiyan’, ‘Seva’ and ‘Duniya tumhaari hai’ in 1942.

As an Actor:
In 1936, his acting debut happened with the film ‘Jeevan Naiya’ where he played the role of a character named as ‘Chand’. In 1946, he again came on-screen in the movie ‘Uttara Abhimanyu’ for which he composed music as well. He also acted in ‘Woh Zamaana’ which was his 1947 release. In 1948, he played the primary role of Hanuman in the movie ‘Shree Ram Bhakt Hanuman’ and also composed music for it.

S. N. Tripathi playing the role of Hanuman in one of the scenes of Ram Hanuman Yuddh

S. N. Tripathi playing the role of Hanuman in one of the scenes of Ram Hanuman Yuddh

In 1949, he was in ‘Veer Ghatotkach’. He again was on screen in 1951 in ‘Jai Maha Kali’. His other noted films as an actor are ‘Bhakt Puran’ (1952), ‘Aladdin aur jadui chiraag’ (1952), ‘Alibaba and 40 Theives’ (1954), ‘Ganga Maiyya’ (1955), ‘Chiraag-e-cheen’ (1955), ‘Bhagwat Mahima’ (1955), ‘Delhi Durbaar’ (1956), ‘Janam Janam Ke Phere’ (1957), ‘Kavi Kalidas’ (1959).

S. N. Tripathi

S. N. Tripathi

He can also be seen in ‘Piya Milan Ki Aas’ (1961), ‘Bidesiyan’ (1963), ‘Meeting’ (1970), ‘Maha Shivratri’ (1972), ‘Vishnu Puraan’ (1973), ‘Banarasi Babu’ (1973), ‘Jai Radha Krishna’ (1974), ‘Balak Dhruv’ (1974), ‘Ponga Pandit’ (1975), ‘Jai Mahalaxmi Maa’ (1976), ‘Har Har Gange’ (1979), ‘Mahabali Hanuman’ (1981), ‘Paan khaaye saiyaan humaar’ (1984), ’108 Teerthyatra’ (1987) and many more. ’108 Teerthyatra’ was his last movie.

As a Director:
His first directorial venture was ‘Rani Rupmati’ in 1957 followed by ‘Ram Hanuman Yuddh’, ‘Kavi Kalidas, ‘Pakshi Raj’, ‘Piya Milan Ki Aas’, ‘Amrit Manthan’, ‘Sangeet Samrat Tansen’, ‘Shiv Parvati’, ‘Dev Kanya’, ‘Bidesiyaan’, ‘Maharaja Vikram’, ‘Kunwari’, ‘Lav-Kush’, ‘Nadir Shah’, ‘Lahu Pukarega’, ‘Aulad’, ‘Sati Sulochana’, and ‘Naag Champa’. As a director his last movie was ‘Naag Champa’ in 1976.

As a Writer:
He started to write screenplays, stories and dialogues from 1967. His first movie as a writer was ‘Lav Kush’ in 1967 followed by ‘Subhadra Haran’ in 1974, ‘Mahasati Tulsi’ in 1985 and more.

Dropping Curtain Over Criticism:
Tripathi was considered and labeled as a devoted and traditional composer. Most of his movies were mythology based which eventually got him the tag of being a ‘mythological composer’. However, this talented musician dropped curtain on all his critics by composing some outstanding tracks. ‘Jhoomti hai nazar, jhoomta hai pyar’ by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle from ‘Hatim Tai’ surprisingly became a super hit song among the masses. The 1960 release ‘Lal Quila’ presented ghazals that brought a new trend in Hindi cinema.

Lal Quila (Poster)

Lal Quila (Poster)

‘Aa lautke aa jaa mere meet’ by Mukhesh and Lata Mangeshkar for ‘Rani Rupmati’, ‘Raat suhaani jhoome jawaani’ by Lata Mangeshkar in ‘Rani Rupmati’, ‘Na kisi ki aankh na noor hoon’ by Mohammad Rafi from ‘Lal Quila’, ‘Nain ke chain churaa kar le gayi’ by Mukhesh from ‘Chandramukhi’, ‘Tune chal kiya’ by Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar from ‘Piya Milan Ki Aas’ deserves special mention.

No-Compromise on Classical Music:
Tripathi composed music for almost five decades. With time, musical preferences and tastes changed. ‘Music for mass’ no longer carried the flavour of classical touch. But Tripathi never compromised on that front. He composed music with the most possible ‘classical yet modern’ touch which very few musicians could do so far.

S.N Tripathi took his last breath on 28th of March 1988.

Kishore Kumar : The Melodious King of All Times

Kishore Kumar

Kishore Kumar

Can we fail to remember the voice that made us sway along the tune of ‘Mere sapno ki rani kab aayegi tu’? Kishore Kumar, the evergreen legendary singer, actor, producer, director and script writer is still alive among the hearts of millions.

Kishore Kumar, originally known as Abhas Kumar Ganguly, was born on 4th of August 1929 in Khandwa of Madhya Pradesh to Kunjalal Ganguly and Gouri Devi. His father was an advocate by profession. He had three siblings, the eldest of whom was the ‘Dadamoni’ of bollywood, Ashok Kumar. The other siblings were Anoop Kumar (actor) and Sati Devi.

Kishore Kumar followed his brother’s footsteps who eventually helped him to get into the film industry. When he appeared in Bombay/Mumbai, his elder brother, Ashok Kumar was already an established actor at the Bombay Talkies. During his initial days in Mumbai, he started singing in chorus for music director Saraswati Devi for the films made at Bombay Talkies.

The 1940 film ‘Bandhan’ marked the first break of Kishore Kumar as a chorus singer where he sang, ‘Chal chal re nau jawaan’ along with the chorus troupe. The song was originally sung by Arun Kumar (Kishore Kumar’s cousin) and Leela Chitnis. Arun Kumar was one of those first artists to recognize his talent as a singer. He was also an admirer of K. L. Saigal and used to follow his singing style vividly at the very beginning of his career.

In 1948, Kishore Kumar got his first solo break as a singer by Khemchand Prakash in ‘Ziddi’ to sing ‘Marne ki duyaein kyun maangu’. While Ashok Kumar was more interested in his brother’s acting career, Kumar always showed keen interest in singing, although, he never had any formal training in singing.

Kishore Kumar acted in lead roles in several movies including Phani Majumdar’s ‘Andolan’ in 1951, Bimal Roy’s ‘Naukri’ in 1954, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ‘Musafir’ in 1957.

During the recording of ‘Naukri’, music director Salil Chowdhury was skeptical about giving a chance to him as he didn’t have any formal education in music. However, after hearing his voice, he was given the solo track of ‘Chota sa ghar hoga’ scratching out the recording Hemant Kumar, who was originally supposed to playback for the song.

During the 1950s, Kishore Kumar came in touch with music director Sachin Dev Burman, who advised him to adopt his own singing style rather than following Saigal’s touch. Soon after, Burman recorded several tracks with him including Taxi Driver in 1954, Munimji in 1954, House No. 44 in 1955, Funtoosh in 1956, Nau do Gyarah in 1957, Paying Guest in 1957, Guide in 1965, Jewel Thief 1967, Prem Pujari in 1970 and Tere Mere Sapne in 1971.

Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar’s duet on Paying Guest’s ‘Chod do aanchal zamaana kya kahega’ still keeps ringing in our ears and is unforgettable. Kumar is known as the romantic king because of his tremendous success in romantic genre of music. Although, his comedy touch in songs like ‘Eena Meena Dikaa’ (Aasha) or ‘Ek chaturnar karke singaar’ (Padosan) was undeniably brilliant. One cannot help but smile every time they hear these songs.

Kishore Kumar in Padosan

Kishore Kumar in Padosan

In 1958, Kishore Kumar started his film production house with its first movie named as ‘Chalti ka naam gaadi’. All the three brothers, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar starred in this movie along with actress Madhubala. The film turned out to be a super hit at the box office. The tracks ‘Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si’ or ‘Haal kaisa hai janab ka’ are the old unforgettable classics from the film ‘Chalti ka naam gaadi’. Other films that had him on the actor’s seat include New Delhi, Half Ticket, Padosan etc.

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (Poster)

Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (Poster)

In 1961, Kishore Kumar produced another film Jhumroo. He was the director, leading actor and also the music director of the movie. He was also the lyricist of the song ‘Main hun jhumroo’. In 1964, he wrote a script which was turned into a film named ‘Durr gagan ki chaao mein’. The film was produced and directed by Kishore Kumar. The music was also composed by him only. This movie was also the launching pad of his son Amit Kumar, who played the role of his deaf son in the movie.

Towards the end of 1960s, Kishore Kumar became famous on the sets for being notorious and coming late. This period wasn’t smooth for this legendary star and he landed into problems related to income tax. Even during this period, he gave out hit songs like ‘Gaata rahe mera dil’ from Guide and ‘Yeh dil na hota bechaara’ from Jewel Thief.

In 1969, Shakti Samanta’s ‘Aradhana’ bagged him the super hit tracks of, ‘Roop tera mastana’ and ‘Mere sapno ki rani’. Both these enduring tracks are evergreen and they still lure our mind and heart with remarkable feat. ‘Roop tera mastana’ earned Kishore Kumar, his first Filmfare Award.

Kishore Kumar sang for almost all the big bollywood stars during his tenure. However, reportedly he had a little strain with Amitabh Bachchan and Mithun Chakraborty when he stopped singing for the two actors. Later, Kumar again started singing for them resolving the old issues.

R.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar, the combination was like ‘fuel and fire’ in the music industry. Their collaboration became a big success and every track by them started to hit the charts. ‘O majhi re’ (Khushboo), ‘Chingari koi bhadke’ (Amar Prem), ‘Kuch to log kahenge’ (Amar Prem), ‘Meri bheegi bheegi si’(Anamika), ‘Raat kali ek khwab mein aayi’(Buddha Mil Gaya), ‘Humein tumse pyar kitna’(Kudrat), ‘Jaaneja dhoondta phir raha’ (Jawani Diwani), ‘Sagar kinare’(Sagar) are the top chart busters even today!

Kishore Kumar with R. D. Burman

Kishore Kumar with R. D. Burman

He also worked with Laxmikant-Pyarelal and gave out memorable tunes with, ‘Yeh jeevan hai’ (Piya Ka Ghar), ‘Gaadi bulaa rahi hai’(Dost), ‘Mere dil mein aaj kya hai’ (Daag), ‘My name is Anthony Gonsalves’ (Amar Akbar Anthony), ‘Ruk Jaana nahi’ (Imtihaan) along with many more songs.

After the success of ‘Chalti ka naam gaadi’, Kishore Kumar produced ‘Badhti ka naam daadhi’ in 1978. He also produced and directed ‘Door waadiyon mein kahiin’ in 1980 which was his last movie as an actor.

There are also many interesting facts about this evergreen artist. He had a backyard garden with an ample number of plants whom he considered to be his friends. He gave different names to each plant and even used to chat with them at his leisure hours. Kishore Kumar, a loner in general, found his peace and solace in and around the shed of nature.

Kishore Kumar and his contribution to the film industry is undeniable. He took his last breath on 13th October 1987. But he is still alive among us and his music will reside in our heart in future as well. His voice still lingers in our mind with his song, “Ik raasta hai zindagi jo tham gaye to kuch nahi
Ye qadam kisi muqaam pe jo tham gaye to kuch nahi
Ik raasta hai zindagi …”