The Songs of Yore Award for the Best Music Director goes to?
Canasya asked in one of the posts in this series, what was the avowed objective of these posts? Jignesh mentioned that SoY Awards have surpassed the fame of Filmfare Awards (I like that ). Filmfare is indeed a reference point, because this series started last year on some readers’ suggestions that I do a year-wise review of the best songs of pre-Filmfare years. The somewhat presumptuous title and style of writing is all for enjoyment. But music is a serious thing, and the discussions have become deeply involved, the comments both in quantity and quality have increased significantly compared to the last year. So to answer Canasya’s question – some like-minded people, most of whom know each other only in the cyberspace and who are deeply passionate about music, are together embarking on this wonderful voyage of reminiscing about and rediscovering old film music. The survey article together with Wrap Up 1 on the best male playback singer, Wrap Up 2 on the best female playback singer and Wrap Up 3 on the best duets and the present final Wrap Up together represent probably the most unique and comprehensive discussion of the entire music of a particular year. The Final Wrap Up is based on the previous posts and the readers’ comments, naturally, and seeks to focus on the best music director(s) of the year.
From the long list of 93 songs given in my survey article along with some 40 songs mentioned by the readers, i.e. about 130, we can make a manageable list of songs and music directors who made the most impact in the year. This list is not in any order.
1. SHANKAR JAIKISHAN
1. Jane na nazar pahchane jigar – Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar
2. Jo mai jaanati unke liye – Lata Mangeshkar
3. Raat andheri door savera – Mukesh
4. Aja re ab mera dil pukara – Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar
5. Ye sham ki tanhaiyan – Lata Mangeshkar
6. Sunte the naam hum jinka bahaar se – Lata Mangeshkar
7. Raja ki ayegi baraat – Lata Mangeshkar
8. Chhoti si ye zindagani – Mukesh
9. Chahe nain churao chahe daman bachao – Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar
10. Ulfat ka saaz chhedo samaan suhana hai – Lata Mangeshkar
11. Dard-e-jigar thahar zara – Lata Mangeshkar
12. Lapak jhapak tu aa re badarwa – Manna Dey
13. Chali kaun se des gujariya – Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle
14. Khushiyon ke chad muskaye re – Lata Mangeshkar
15. Mohabbat ki dastaan tum bhi suno – Lata Mangeshkar
16. Laga kar dil parishan hain – Lata Mangeshkar
17. Kisi ne apna bana ke mujhko – Lata Mangeshkar
18. Andhe jahan ke andhe raaste – Talat Mahmood
19. Tujhe apne paas bulati hai – Talat Mahmood
20. Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum – Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
21. Mitti se khelate ho baar bar kis liye – Lata Mangeshkar
22. Hain sabse madhur wo geet mere – Talat Mahmood
23. Kare badra tu na ja na ja – Lata Mangeshkar
24. Sapnon ki suhani duniya ko – Talat Mahmood
2. C RAMCHANDRA
1. Ye zindagi usi ki hai – Lata Mangeshkar
2. Meri kismet ke kharidaar – Lata Mangeshkar
3. Mujhse mat pooch – Lata Mangeshkar
4. Dua kar gham-e-dil – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag – Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
6. Mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai – Lata Mangeshkar
7. Mohabbat mein aise kadam dagmagaye – Lata Mangeshkar
8. O asmanwale shikwa hai zindagi ka – Lata Mangehskar
9. Zindagi pyar ki do chaar ghadi hoti hai – Hemnat Kumar
10. Ae pyar teri duniya se hum bas itni nishani le ke chale – Lata Mangeshkar
11. Chhed gay mohe sapne mein Shyam – Lata Mangeshkar
12. Tum bin hamri kaun khabar le – Lata Mangeshkar
13. Mohe laga sara jag pheeka – Lata Mangeshkar
14. Apna pata bata de ya mere paas aa ja – Lata Mangeshkar
3. ANIL BISWAS
1. Aa mohabbat ki basti basayenge hum – Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
2. Husn bhi hai udas udas – Kishore Kumar
3. Ritu aye ritu jaye sakhi ri – Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
4. Torey naina raseley kanteeley haye Ram – Manna Dey
5. Tera haath haath mein aa gaya – Manna Dey
6. Ek pal ruk jana – Lata Mangeshkar
4. GHULAM MOHAMMAD
1. Khamosh zindagi ko afsana mil gaya – Jagjit Kaur
2. Chanda gaye ragini – Jagjit Kaur
3. Mohabbat ki dhun beqaraaron se poochho – Talat Mahmood, Sudha Malhotra, Jagjit Kaur
4. Na wo hamaare na dil hamara – Sudha Malhotra
5. Jo khushi se chot khaye – Talat Mahmood
6. Zindagi denewale sun – Talat Mahmood
7. Baharon ki duniya pukare tu aa ja – Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle
8. Tere dar pe ayah hun fariyad lekar – Talat Mahmood
9. Chal diya karwan – Talat Mahmood
10. Aasmanwale bata teri duniya se ji ghabraa gaya – Talat and Lata Mangeshkar
Rail Ka Dibba
11. La de mohe balma aasmani chudiyaun – Mohammad Rafi and Shamshad Begum
12. Angan more aao ji sajan dheere dheere – Shamshad Begum
5. SALIL CHAUDHARY
Do Bigha Zameen
1. Hariyala asawan dhol bajata aya – Mana Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
2. Mausam beeta jaye – Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
3. Aa ja ri aa nindiya tu aa – Lata Mangeshkar
Discussion and analysis
I have to make it clear that the above first cut does not capture the entire ‘best’ songs of the year in different categories such as male solos, female solos and duets. The SoY regulars would recall many outstanding songs are outside the above list. The reason being that here the focus is on the total impact of a music director in the year. That explains the absence of Khayyam (Footpath, Shaam-e-gham ki qasam) or Husnlal Bhagatram (Aansoo, Sun mere saajna re). They have been adequately covered in the first three Wrap Ups.
Now looking at the music directors, a very conspicuous absence is that of Naushad, who was by then at the pinnacle of his career, having already become the first composer to charge the astronomical figure of Rs one lakh per film. This absence of Naushad was sandwiched between his two great years – 1952 (Aan, Baiju Bawra, Deewana) and 1954 (Amar, Shabaab).
Another conspicuous aspect of the year is SD Burman’s inconspicuous presence – one of the greatest composers by any yardstick. He did compose music for at least four movies in the year – Armaan, Bablaa, Jeevan Jyoti and Shahanshah. I had not included any of his songs in my long list in the survey article. Knowledgeable readers like Jignesh and Venkataramanji mentioned a number of songs from these films. Frankly it requires efforts to recall any of these songs. This also was sandwiched between his two great years – 1952 (Jaal) and 1954 (Taxi Driver). Readers may recall that the first in the year-wise review, 1955, had both Naushad and SD Burman in a major way. This raises important question as to what makes a great music director suddenly develop a composer’s block? SoY has many intense theoreticians like Canasya, Hans, Ashok Vaishnavji, Venakataramanji who can throw light on this.
Does that mean it was a weak year for music? I am afraid Subodh might think so if I extrapolate his dismissive observation about male and female solos. Jignesh also feels that this was the weakest year in the block 1948-1955. I have a somewhat more positive view of the year because there are some compensations in the form of duets, Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Salil Chaudhary and Ghulam Mohammad.
Salil Chaudhary makes a big bang debut with Do Bigha Zameen with innovative orchestration, intelligent adaptation of foreign tunes and Manna Dey’s two great duets and Lata Mangeshkar’s beautiful lori. Many readers have gone lyrical over him, Anuradha Warrier unambiguously declaring him as the best music director of the year.
Matching her passion for Salil Chaudhary is Venkataramanji’s passion for Anil Biswas. We can see where is it coming from – his fascination for classical purity in Hamdard.
Rest of the views generally veer between the more popular and obvious cases of Shankar Jaikishan and C Ramchandra.
I have already said the exercise is not about counting votes, but harmonising various views (including intensity of views which is missed in a vanilla number count) to arrive at what I term as ‘the sense of the house’.
The great film music is the one which is able to marry art with the popular. While Salil Chaudhary is impressive, his is but one film and 3-4 songs. It is difficult to put him above C Ramchandra and Shankar Jaikishan who had several films with a great many outstanding scores in the year. It is significant that they were precisely the composers next in line to catch-up-with-Naushad game, in that order.
C Ramchandra’s Anarkali is not only his personal landmark, but an important milestone in Hindi film music. It inevitably leads to comparison with Naushad’s Mughal-e-Azam, which came seven years later. I am a Naushad romantic, but I find many writers seriously mention that the music of Anarkali remains superior to Mughal-e-Azam’s. Even if you don’t accept it, it does indicate the high esteem in which CR’s this magnum opus is held. Ye zindagi usi ki hai and Jaag dard-eishq jaag are undisputed landmark songs.
Early 50s was also the high point of CR-Lata. Beside Anarkali, you get a proof of this in a number of songs in Jhanjhar and Shagufa. My favourites are Ae pyar teri duniya se hum from Jhanjhar and Apna pata bata de from Shagufa. Arunkumar Deshmukhj is mesmerised by Mohe laga sara jag pheeka, which was not even in the long list of songs. That just shows the range of CR-Lata songs in this period.
Shankar Jaikishan had an incredible year. I have identified eight films, each of which had some stunningly beautiful numbers – Aah and Patita each having at least half a dozen all-time great songs. The most remarkable thing about SJ in this year is their wide diversity in singers – besides Lata Mangeshkar, they do wonders on Talat Mahmood, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar and even Asha Bhosle.
Clearly CR and SJ are the most important music directors in the year, not only for a large number of extremely ‘popular’ songs, but which are also of high artistic merit. Between the two, SJ are more prolific in numbers and variety, and no less in overall quality.
I must mention my special favourite Ghulam Mohammad’s Dil-e-Nadan. This has the kind of music which mesmerises me, as I am sure it does many others. AR Kardar was one of the biggest production houses who was integral to Naushad’s rise to the peak in the 40s. After fall out with Naushad, he chooses his assistant (but once his senior) to score for Dil-e-Nadan, who does a superlative job. Yet the film bombs and with that Ghulam Mohammad remains relegated to the second rung. Luck plays a big part in who reaches where. He also gives some more great Talat songs in Laila Majnu. I think he deserves a special recognition in this year.
Now I am in a position to summarise.
SoY Award for the Best Music Director for 1953 goes to Shankar Jaikishan
Other ranks are as follows:
2. C Ramchandra (Runner Up)
3-5. (Joint Special Mention)
(Acknowledgements: Readers, whose contributions and comments are of awesome quality. I hate to use clichés, but I can’t help saying that this series of posts would not have been what it is without the readers’ participation. )