Why old still remains Gold
In our monotonous lives, melodies jazz things up. With music being an ever-changing art, here’s an overview of the evolution in our very own B’town.
Nostalgia is bound to be subjective. But it is as likely that what the generations of the 1940s and 1950s raved about, the present generation may like too. To understand the changing trends of film music, let's first have a bird's eye-view of these vintage genres of music.
With the advent of talkies, song and dance became an integral part of Indian Cinema. When Wazir Mohammad Khan sang, 'De de khuda ke naam pe pyare' in Alam Ara (1931) and became the first playback singer of Hindi films, it set the pace and created stiff competition to have a dozen songs or even more in a film. The film Indra Sabha (1932) had 69 songs. It sounds incredible, but the decades between 1930s-50s launched an era where each big studio and a big banner had its own music composer. New Theatres had RC Boral, Pankaj Mullick and Timir Baran in the music department. Bombay talkies had Saraswati Devi (nee Khursheed Minocher Homji), who happened to be the first woman composer. Prabhat of Pune had Govind Rao Tembe and Keshav Rao Bhole on its payroll. Composers like Master Ghulam Haider, Shyam Sunder, Pandit Amarnath and GA Chishti dominated the film music scene in Lahore.
The 1930s were the years of singing stars. New Theatres created the most popular duo, Kundan Lal Saigal and Kanan Devi. Bombay talkies had Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani. Santa Apte was the most popular singing star of Prabhat. Saigal's 'Balam aaye baso morey man mein in raga desh' that he sang in Devdas, and Babul mora in raga bhairavi in Street Singer, were the most popular songs of that decade. 'Main ban ki chidiya' sung by Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani was the rage of its time. Shanta Apte's 'Suno suno ban ke prani' (Amar Jyoti) and 'Kamsini mein dil pe gham ka' (Amrit Manthan) were great hits. The major achievement of the 1930s was the introduction of playback singing in Dhoop Chaon (1935).
The 1940s saw the emergence of folk tradition in films. Master Ghulam Haider introduced Punjabi folk with beats of dholak in film Khazanchi (1941). Its song 'Sawan ke nazare hain' became a cult song. He also introduced Shamshad Begum, Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar. Anil Biswas created a sensation in the film Kismet with the romantic number, 'Dheere dheere aa re badal', and the patriotic song, 'Door hato ae duniya walo Hindustan hamara hai'.
Naushad brought Uttar Pradesh's folk tunes in Rattan (1944) in that noticeable song, 'Akhiyan mila ke', sung by Zohra Bai Ambalewali. Naushad gave musical hits like Dard (1947), Anmol Ghadi (1948), and Dillagi (1949).
After Partition, many artists like Ghulam Haider, Noor Jehan and Firoz Nizami among others, migrated to Pakistan, while OP Nayyar and lyricists Sahir Ludhianvi and Qamar Jalalabadi came to India. Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Guru Dutt gave utmost importance to music in their films. Raj Kapoor introduced composer Ram Ganguli in Aag (1948) and duo Shankar Jaikishan in Barsaat (1949). Lata Mangeshkar provided playback for various actors in film for the first time. Music director Khemchand Prakash introduced Kishore Kumar in Ziddi (1948). Kishore did playback for Dev Anand (Marne ki duayen kya mangoo), and also composed for Mahal, which gave Lata Mangeshkar her all-time great song, 'Aayega aane wala'.
Another hit of 1949 was Mehboob Khan's Andaz. Mukesh gave playback for Dilip Kumar and Mohammad Rafi lent his voice for Raj Kapoor. Lata Mangeshkar also sang one ghazal in Andaz (Uthaye ja unke sitam) composed by Naushad.
The 1950s were dominated by composers C Ramachandra, SD Burman, Madan Mohan, Khayyam and Hemant Kumar. C Ramachandra gave such catchy tunes to music lovers in films like Shehnai (Aana meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday) and Patanga (Mere piya gaye Rangoon) in 1949. He kept this trend in film Samadhi also with 'Gore gore, o banke chhorey'. But his music in Anarkali and Azad was a forerunner.
Naushad's compositions in Baiju Bawra were raga-based and he roped in great masters like Ustad Amir Khan and Pandit DV Paluskar to give playback for films Tansen and Baiju Bawra. Naushad also made use of western instruments while composing for films like Jadoo and Dastaan.
SD Burman composed for Dev Anand's banner Navketan right since its inception. He gave peppy numbers in Baazi directed by Guru Dutt. 'Tadbir se bigdi hui taqdir bana le' penned by Sahir Ludhianvi is hummed by music lovers even today. SD Burman had showcased a bewildering range in his music. He blended classical and western music and rendered jazzy and trendy tunes in Dev Anand's films, Taxi Driver, Nau do Gyrah, Kala Pani, Kala Bazar and Jewel Thief and he composed music for Bimal Roy's films. In Devdas he composed two 'mujras' and Bangla folk tunes. In Sujata he revived Talat Mehmood's career by giving him a heart-rending song, 'Jalte hain jiske liye'. In Bandhini he sang himself, 'O manjhi re', based on Bangla folksong Bhatiyali. His best creations were Guru Dutt's Pyasa and Kagaz ke Phool. In Pyasa, 'Jaane kya tune kahi, Jinhe naaz hai, and ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye' and light number 'Sar jo tera chakraye', were all sung by Mohammad Rafi, and it also had a solo number by Hemant Kumar, 'Jaane wo kaise log thei'. All these were chartbusters of that time. In Kagaz ke Phool he gave Geeta Dutt her best song, 'Waqt ne kiya'.
Guru Dutt brought OP Nayyar in his home production Aar Paar (Sun sun sun zalima, Ae lo main haree piya, and Kabhi aar kabhi paar) which truly created a sensation. He repeated OP Nayyar in Mr and Mrs 55 and CID as well. Who can forget the songs of CID (Le ke pehla pehla pyar and Aankhon hi aankhon mein) sung by Mohammad Rafi, Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum, who did full justice to the melodies of Majhrooh Sultanpuri? OP Nayyar used Punjabi folk in film Naya Daur (Udey jab jab zulfein teri and Reshmi salwar kurta jali ka) that won him the Filmfare Award. He also composed the biggest hit with the rock 'n' roll number, 'Mera naam chin chin choo', sung by Geeta Dutt in Howrah Bridge.
Another music director from Bengal, Salil Chaudhari introduced a bhangra number for the first time in Raj Kapoor's Jagte Raho. His best creations were Madhumalti, Parakh and Anand. And Madan Mohan, who was known as the king of ghazals, composed two ghazals for the film Adalat (Yun hasraton ke daag and Unko ye shikayat hai). He also composed 'Kaun aaya mere man ke dware' sung by Manna Dey and also gave music in Heer Ranjha (the only film written in verse), 'Ye duniya ye mehfil'.
The 1950s and 1960s were dominated by Shankar Jaikishan. They gave their best to Raj Kapoor in Awara (Awara hoon); Shri 420 (Mera joota hai Japani and Pyaar hua iqrar hua); Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (Mera naam Raju and O Basanti pawan pagal), Sangam (Bol Radha bol and Dost dost na raha), Mera Naam Joker (Jaane kahan gaye wo din and Kehta hai joker). They were also lauded for their compositions based on classical ragas for film Basant Bahar, and gave unforgettable numbers for Dilip Kumar in Daag (Aye mere dil kahin aur chal) and 'Ye mera deewanapan hai' in Yahudi. They gave music in a maximum number of films for Shammi Kapoor, too, from Ujala, Junglee to Pagla kahin ka. The music was popular but not lasting. All the same, their magic was restored in films, Amrapali' and Teesri Kasam.
Composer Roshan also composed unforgettable qawwalis in Barsaat ki Raat and Taj Mahal. He also composed melodious numbers in Anokhi Raat (O re taal mile), in Chitralekha (Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare) and in Mamta (Rahen na rahen hum). Jaidev also composed melodies like 'Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegi' in Mujhe Jeene Do and in Hum Dono (Abhi naa jao chhod kar and Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya). Khyyam gave music in lesser films but it was everlasting – be it the compositions of Phir Subah Hogi, Umrao Jaan, Razia Sultan or Kabhi Kabhi. In the 1970s, Rahul Dev Burman, Kalyanji Anandji and Laxmikant Pyarelal evolved their own distinct style and set a new trend.
In the 1980s, the taste of Indian audiences changed drastically. Sex and violence replaced the socially relevant cinema. In such films, music had no significant role to play. Item numbers became a must in every film. Music became an industry within an industry. Sometimes one or two catchy numbers were noticed but these were ephemeral. The music aficionados recall the 1950s and 60s as the golden era of Hindi film music. The decline started by the mid-70s, but by the end of the 20th century, AR Rehman came as a fresh air in the suffocating film music of Bollywood.
In the new millennium, the trio Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa took the lead from AR Rehman and offered stirring music in Mission Kashmir, Dil Chahta Hai, and Tare Zameen Par. They gave two fresh versions of the numbers of film Don (Khaye ke paan Banaras wala and Ye mera dil payar ka deewana) that passed the litmus test of the audience. So did Vishal Shekhar and Saleem Suleiman show great possibilities in their compositions? Vishal Bhardwaj's music in film Machchis, Maqbool and Omkara were exemplary creations. Amit Trivedi's numbers in Dev D (Ye tera emotional atyachar) and in Wake Up Sid (Ek tara) created its own niche. After Jaddan Bai, Saraswati Devi and Usha Khanna, another female composer Sneha Khanwalkar gave pleasing music in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Love Sex and Dhokha.
It is often said that 'History' repeats itself. Vintage cine music lovers are sure that melody will always triumph over commerce. Inshallah!!!