The SoY award for the best Music Director goes to?
This is like completing the circle, which means you come to the same point from where you started. So I look back at the mother post on the overview of the best songs of 1955 and I am amazed at the overwhelming response it generated, both in numbers and quality. As I said earlier, the methodology is not some kind of poll, but trying to capture the sense of the house. The SoY regulars would also recall that at the readers’ suggestions, I also wrote categoriwise summaries – Wrap Up 1 for the best male playback singer; Wrap Up 2 for the best female playback singer and Wrap Up 3 on the best duets. These are parts of the whole. Therefore, it is obvious that the final wrap up on the best music director would also draw a great deal from these subsidiary posts. Here I am presenting the final wrap up of the string of posts that originated from the readers’ suggestions and which took shape as we moved on, as my Christmas and New Years Greetings to all.
As a first cut, we can say without any doubt that the music directors who made the most impact in 1955 are the following (not in any order):
1. SD BURMAN
1. Aan milo aan milo Shyam sanwre – Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt
2. Sajan ki ho gayi gori – Geeta Dutt
3. Ab aage teri marzi – Lata Mangeshkar
4. O janewale ruk ja koi dum – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Mitwa lagi re ye kaisi anbujh aag – Talat Mahmood
6. Kisko khabar thi kisko yakeen tha – Talat Mahmood
7. Jise tu qabool kar le – Lata Mangeshkar
8. Wo na ayenge palat ke – Mubarak Begum
House No. 44
9. Teri duniya me jeene se behtar hai – Hemant Kumar
10. Chup hai dharti chup hai chand sitare – Hemant Kumar
11. Phaili hui hai sapnon ki baahen – Lata Mangeshkar
12. Peechhe peechhe aa kar chho lo hame paa kar – Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
13. Jeevan ke safar men rahi – Kishore Kumar/ Lata Mangeshkar (twin songs)
14. Shivji bihane chale – Hemant Kumar
15. Ghayal hiraniyan main ban ban dolun – Lata Mangeshkar
16. Dil ki Umangen hai jawan – Hemant Kumar, Geeta Dutt and Thakur (Pran)
2. SHANKAR JAIKISHAN
1. Suno chhoti si gudiya ki lambi kahani – Lata Mangeshkar
2. Tu pyar ka sagar hai – Manna Dey
3. Kahan ja raha hai tu ai janewale – Rafi
4. Manmohna bade jhoothe – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Mera joota hai Japani – Mukesh
6. Dil ka haal sune dilwala – Manna Dey & others
7. Ichak dana bichak dana – Lata Mangeshkar & others
8. Pyar hua iqrar hua – Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshakr
9. Mud mud ke na dekh – Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle & others
10. O janewale mud ke zara dekhte jana – Lata Mangeshkar
11. Ramaiya vastavaiya – Rafi, Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar & others
3. C RAMCHANDRA
1. Radha na bole na bole na bole re – Lata Mangeshkar
2. Aplam chaplam – Lata Mangeshkar and Usha Mangeshkar
3. Dekhoji bahar ayee – Lata Mangeshkar
4. Ja ri ja ri O kari badariya – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Kitna haseen hai mausam – Chitalkar and Lata Mangeshkar
6. Marna bhi mohabbat me kisi kaam na aya – Raghunath Jadav & others
7. Pee ke daras ko taras gayi ankhiyan – Lata Mangeshkar
8. Kitni jawan hai raat koi yaad aa gaya – Lata Mangeshkar
9. Bechain nazar betab zigar – Talat Mahmood
10. Mujhpe ilzam-e-bewafai hai – Lata Mangeshkar
11. Tum apni yaad bhi dil se bhula dete to achcha tha – Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar
12. Ankhon me sama jao dil me raha karna – Lata Mangeshkar
13. Hans hans ke haseenon se nazar char kiye ja – Lata Mangeshkar
1. Mera salam le ja – Lata Mangeshkar & others
2. Mohabbat ki rahon men chalna sambhal ke – Rafi
3. Na toofan se khelo – Rafi
4. Hamare dil se na jana – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Na ro ai dil kahin rone se taqdeeren badalti hain – Lata Mangeshkar
6. More saiyan ji utarenge par ho – Lata Mangeshkar & others
7. Sitaron ki mahfil saji tum na aye – Lata Mangeshkar
8. Ghar aya mehman koi jaan na pahchan
9. O door ke musafir mujhko bhi sath le le – Rafi
5. OP NAYYAR
1. Ae ji dil pe hua aisa jadoo – Rafi
2. Thandi hawa kali ghata – Geeta Dutt
3. Jane kahan mera jigar gaya ji – Rafi and Geeta Dutt
4. Ab to ji hone laga kisi ki sorat ka samna – Shamshad Begum
5. Chal diye bandanawaz chhod kar mere dil ka saaz – Rafi and Geeta Dutt
6. Idhar tum haseen ho udhar dil jawan hai – Rafi and Geeta Dutt
7. Preetam aan milo – Geeta Dutt
6. VASANT DESAI
1. Jhanak jhanak payal baje – Ustad Amir Khan
2. Saiyan ja ja – Lata Mangeshkar
3. Nain se nain nahi milao – Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
4. Jo tum todo piya main nahi jodun re – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Mere ae dil bata – Lata Mangeshkar
1. Bhula nahi dena ji bhula nahi dena – Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
2. Mohabbat ki bas itni dastan hai – Lata Mangeshkar
3. Tasweer banata hun tasweer nahi banti – Talat Mahmood
4. Kho diya maine pakar kisi ko aag lag jaye is zindagi ko – Lata Mangeshkar
5. Dard bhara dil bhar bhar bhar jaye – Lata Mangeshkar
6. Chhayi re badariya – Lata mangeshkar
7. Dil humse wo lagaye jo hans ke chot khaye – Lata Mangeshkar and Mubarak Begum
This is a fascinating list on many counts. The big five – Naushad, C Ramchandra, Shankar Jaikishan, SD Burman and OP Nayyar – are all there with their outstanding creations. Vasant Desai’s name is synonymous with classical raga based songs, and he comes with probably his career-best in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje. And in this field of titans, Nashad comes up with perhaps his career best Baradari, which stands as tall as any of his more renowned peers. A great year of the Golden Era, this 1955.
The readers’ opinions and comments are broadly reflective of the above scenario. There is hardly anyone who did not include SD Burman in the top five. In most cases he was among the first three, albeit movies being different. With three superb movies, it is natural that individual choices may vary. Next in terms of support come Shankar Jaikishan and C Ramchandra. One common factor between these three is that they had more than one movie with outstanding score in the year. Madan Mohan was mentioned in passing for Railway Platform. But essentially the exercise boils down to selecting 3 or 5 from the above lsit and put them in order.
We can agree on one novel idea, without compromising the end objective – the best music director need not relate to a particular film, but his entire work in the year. After all, when you are looking back after 57 years, what leaves an imprint in your mind is the total contribution of that MD in that year. We broadly followed this line for the best male and female playback singer.
Several readers have given not only their ranking, but also a conceptual framework for taking a decision. The broad parameters for ranking which had been mentioned by readers are – popularity, quality and innovation. To make it more amenable to analysis, we might agree that these parameters would be popularity, quality and the song’s historical importance. We may add another parameter – diversity in terms of singers used and also the type or genre of songs.
With three remarkable films, for SD Burman I have listed 16 songs, all very popular till date. All the songs are musically superb. Coming to their place in history – Talat’s two solos in Devdas, picturised on the tragedy king Dilip Kumar are integral part of a doomed tragic lover. Wo na ayenge palat kar would count as a cult mujra song of Mubarak Beguam, probably the first which brought her national notice. Kishore Kumar’s Jeevan ke safar me rahi and Hemant Kumar’s Teri duniya mein jeene se behatar hai are their respective iconic songs for Dev Anand. The Vaishnav bhajan Aan milo aan milo Shyam sanwre by Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt is again a landmark song on wandering minstrels, and plays a very important part in conveying the subtle theme of the story. SD Burman shows amazing diversity in singers and genres, and comes up with several landmark songs in the year.
C Ramchandra’s music in the 1950s was very Lata Mangeshkar-centric. But in Yasmin, he comes up with a cult Talat Mahmood song Bechain nazar betaab jigar. The song is also remarkable in that he presents a Talat, who is not in a blue mood, but sings a peppy number set to instrumentation in Arabic/West Asian style. In Azaad, his own duet with Lata Mangeshkar, Kitna haseen hai mausam, is an everlasting song. He set about to create a Talat-effect (Dilip Kumar wanted Talat, who was not available), and how he succeeds! The qawwali in the voice of Raghunath Jadav is a real gem. And Aplam chplam on the dancing duo, Sai sisters, is again an iconic song. And Lata Mangeshkar songs? The fact that these were done in quick time has not affected their quality. These are extremely popular even today, and would rank among their best.
Shankar Jaikishan’s Seema and Shree 420 contained several songs which have got cult status. Mera joota hai Japani is a landmark song of Raj Kapoor-Mukesh-SJ team, which is integral to RK’s tramp persona. Then Pyar hua iqraar hua as a romantic duet, with the lovers in rains under an umbrella, has acquired an iconic status. The triad song O Ramaiya vastvaiya also has an important place in the RK films musicology, romanticising the simple hearted, poor street people, pitted against the vicious metropolis Bombay. Tu pyar ka sagar hai is universally regarded as among Manna Dey’s best, as also Lata Mangeshkar’s Manmohna bade jhoothe. SJ score very high on the number of popular songs, quality and their landmark status in history. On diversity too they do well, though it would be difficult to match SDB on this.
Naushad was unapologetically Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar centric in the Golden Era. On diversity he would be far behind. That should not take away from the quality of Udankhatola’s music. He did create some of the most everlasting songs of Rafi and Lata. I am a great fan of Nausad, but probably because of his limited diversity, his name generally came after the above three in readers’ comments. Vasant Desai’s Jhanak Jhank Payal Baje is his undisputed landmark. He was not as prolific as the titans, but the title song in the voice of Ustad Amir Khan, Hemant Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar duet Nain so nain nahi milao and Lata Mangeshkar solo in the film Saiyan ja ja are all iconic songs. OP Nayyar’s Mr and Mrs 55 has an outstanding score, and is one of his important films. But there is an element of sameness about him, and as a reader remarked, he was popular all right, but probably on the quality of music he could not be bracketed with the others mentioned above.
That leaves Nashad, who deserves a very special mention. Here is a man, who had a Naushad complex, and therefore changed his name from Shaukat Ali Dehlvi to Nashad. In some of his films, he was dismissed as a Naushad clone. Then comes Baradari with a score that is entirely his. Tasweer banata hun is a Talat Mahmood cult song, Bhula nahi dena jib hula nahi dena is a landmark Rafi-Lata duet. Dil humse wo lagaye jo hans ke teer khaye by Lata Mangeshkar and Mubarak Begum is a terrific female qawwali-mujra duet. If you listen to it carefully, you get a feeling that this might be a precursor of Mughal-e-Azam’s female qawwali duet Teri mehfil me qismat ajma kar hum bhi dekhenge. With Baradari, Nashad should have been able to exorcise his Naushad-fixation.
And the SOY award for the best music director for 1955 goes to:
Now we are in a position to conclude that the best music directors of 1955 are the following in order:
1. SD Burman
2. C Ramchandra
3. Shankar Jaikishan