Dilip Dholakia? D. Dilip? Dilip Rai? – A Singer or A Music Director or A Music Arranger?
A tribute to Dilip Dholakia on his 6th death anniversary (15 October 1921 – 2 January 2011) by guest author Ashok M Vaishnav
(Hindi film music attracted talents from different regional languages and musical traditions. Some, especially from Bengal, achieved great success and, in fact, became known as founding fathers of Hindi film music, such as RC Boral, Pankaj Mullick, Anil Biswas and, later, SD Burman, Hemant Kumar and Salil Chaudhary. Stalwarts from some other regional languages, such as Gujarati, could not achieve the same success. Dilip Dholakia is one such doyen from Gujarat who in Hindi film music is primarily known as assistant to Chitragupta. Ashok Vaishnav introduces us to many unknown aspects of this multi-faceted talent. Earlier, he had written an excellent article on another doyen from Gujarat, Avinash Vyas. This is an important addition in the series on Forgotten Composers Unforgottable Melodies. Thank you Ashokji for this enlightening article as a tribute on the 6th death anniversary of Dilip Dholakia which was a few days ago. – AK)
Those who are familiar with any aspect of Dilip Dholakia’s world of music probably may know of him by any one of these names that he used for his different music career roles. For Hindi Film’s mundane history, Dilip Dholakia (Born: 15 October 1921 / Death: 2 January 2011) was probably noticed more as an assistant to Chitragupta or S N Tripathi or to the music-duo Laxmikant Pyarelal. And yet, Dilip Dholakia remained all of singer, music director, music arranger and at times even lyricist and an actor, during his active career. Probably that is the reason the lady luck did for not favour him with great worldly success in any one field!
Dilip Dholakia’s music legacy was also multi-dimensional. His father used to play the flute while his grandfather would sing hymns and prayers at Swaminarayan Temple in his birth town of Junagadh (Saurashtra, Gujarat). Dilip Dholakia would join them in singing or in playing the pakhwaj when he was a toddler. He migrated to Bombay after his graduation and did some odd jobs. However, his association with singing continued. He trained under Pandurang Amberkar to hone his raw musical instincts into systematic classical mould. His introduction to Snehal Bhatkar, who then worked for HMV studios, led him to cut his first ever music record, with two Gujarati songs: Bhint phadi ne piplo re ugyo and Aadha tel aur aadha pani.
It was Khemchand Prakash who gave Dilip Dholakia first formal break to sing in the chorus in Thukra rahi hai duniya hum hain ke so rahe hain– @2.24 with K L Saigal for film Bhanwara (1944). In the same year, Dilip Dholaki could get to sing two songs – Gori chalo na seena ubhar ke and Dekho humse na aankh ladaya karo – under the music direction of Khemchand Prakash’s younger brother, Ratanlal, for Kismatwala. He got one more song under the baton of Ramchandra Pal for Laaj in 1946 – Dukh ki is nagri mein Baba koi na puoochhe baat.
It was another Gujarati music director Avinash Vyas, who paired him with the vintage era doyenne, Amirbai Karnataki, in the Gujarati film, Sati Sone (1948) – for the duet:
Shravani ni vadaladali tu ja..ja sandesho lai
(O cloud of monsoon! Go.. go take my message..)
It was a stroke of luck that got him his first major successful break. Ajit Merchant had planned to use Mukesh for a solo song of Divadandi (1950), but it was Dilip Dholakia, who was destined to enshrine this song as one of the most iconic ever Gujarati songs:
Taari aankh no afini taara bol no bandhani, Taara roop ni poonam no paagal hun eklo
(Addict of opium-intoxication of your eyes, and your spoken words, I am the only lunatic of your full-moon beauty).
Incidentally, this tune has been used by Chtragupta in Naya Sanasar (1959) for Lata Mangeshkar’s cradle song Chanda loriyan sunaye hawa jhulna jhulaye mere laal ko.
Apparently, Dilip Dholakia was either intrinsically more inclined to music direction or could sense that he may not make space for himself in the then competitive world of Hindi film play-back singing. So he took up the assignment of assisting S N Tripathi, and later on Chitragupta, who himself was S N Tripathi’s assistant before he charted his independent course. His foray into music direction / music arrangement was under the name of D. Dilip.
Dilip Dholakia could get his first independent assignment of music direction for Bhakta Mahima (1960). Even as he composed no less than 16 songs for this film, none of the otherwise quite resourceful netizens have yet been able to lay hand on any the songs.
Dilip Dholakia’s next film was Teen Ustad in 1961. The six songs of the film, of which one Talat Mahmood- Suman Kalyanpur duet and one Mohammad Rafi- Suman Kalyanpur duet as well as one solo each of Lata Mangeshkar and Usha Mangeshkar, have been mentioned in several HFM-related documents, but two singers for the two songs remain unidentified. I have not been able to locate any digital version of the songs from this film.
In the same year Dilip Dholakia got to compose music for Saugandh. He composed two Talat Mahmood-Lata Mangeshkar duets, a Mohammad Rafi-Lata Mangeshkar duet in which Dilip Dholakia (music director) and Prem Dhawan (lyricist) join in an innovative chorus; two Lata Mangeshkar solos, and another song for which the singer is not identified.
Aaja re chaand mere aa ja re, chaand mere chaand mere dil ye tera re – Saugandh (1961) – Talat Mahmood & Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
Saugandh seems to be remake of a Telugu film. He has woven Talat Mahmood’s soft voice with a soft tune and equally soft orchestration. The song has been filmed on Gemini Ganeshan and Anjali Devi in the film.
Baghdad Ki Raatein followed in 1962. Dilip Dholakia composed three solos for Geeta Dutt, three solos for Lata Mangeshkar, a duet of Mohammad Rafi and Shamshad Begum, and one more duet of Mohammad Rafi with Geeta Dutt. It seems that apart from the considerations of availability of the singers and the related economics, Dilip Dholakia was using the opportunity to present his music in as many variants as possible so as to hit the chords of success.
Zulfowalon se na bhool ke bhi pyar kijiye ji – Baghdad Ki Raatein – Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum and Chorus – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
Being a light-mood song, Dilip Dholakia has given enough space for Shamshad Begum and Mohammad Rafi’s harkatein for augmenting the mood of the song.
Kisi se pyar ho to dil beqarar ho to, aao zara lete jao aji dil ki dawa – Baghdad Ki Raatein – Geeta Dutt – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
Orchestration has mid-eastern accent and Geeta Dutt is at her silken best in tune with the dance song.
Dilip Dholakia had one more film in 1962 – Private Secretary. The film had Ashok Kumar and Jayshree Gadkar in the lead. Dilip Dholakia also rose to the challenge. All the seven songs had perfect blend of melody, erudite composition, ease of singing for the spectators – all possible factors that can help the songs of the entire album to be commercially successful enough so as to provide the necessary escape velocity to the music director to move in to A-league films.
Ja ja re chanda ja re teri chandani bhi mera jiyara jalaye – Private Secretary (1962) – Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
Here we have as good as any Lata Mangeshkar solo of that time. Dilip Dholakia has been able to touch the melody chords that have been signature aspect of Chitragupta compositions. There are three more Lata solos in the film. All of these are available on YT.
Ja re beimaan tujhe jaan liya – Private Secretary (1962) – Manna Dey – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
This one is semi-classical song for a light situation in the film. The composition must have gone into augmenting the trend of using Manna Dey for light situation-classical song genre that was evolving at that time.
How Dilip Dholakia had peaked can be gauged from the songs he composed next year for a Gujarati film – Satyavan Savitri. This was his maiden Gujarti film as a composer. All of Rafi and Lata songs had become quite popular among Gujarati listeners at that time.
Aawi rasili chandani, van vagado lahervati – Mohammad Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics Bhaskar Vora
(So enjoyable full-moon light has arrived, lighting up forest trees on the way)
The orchestration has very distinct Chitragupta effect.
And now was a sort of drought of music direction assignments in Hindi films. The next film – Veer Ghatotkatch – to come up is again a mythological film, in 1970. Dilip Dholakia has composed a solo each for Mukesh and Manna Dey, two for Suman Kalyanpur and a female-female duet for Suman Kalyanpur and Reshma. Thus, he keeps trying to be as creative as possible even possibly within shoe string budgets.
Us pratham pratham parichay mein hi maine khoya tha apnapan – Veer Ghatotkach (1970) – Mukesh – Lyrics: B D Mishra
The song presents Mukesh at his usual romantic best.
1970 had one more C-grade film assignment, Dagabaaz, for Dilip Dholakia, in the name of Dilip Roy. He composed two solos for Mukesh, one for Mahendra Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar each and a duet for Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle for the film.
Aa meri baahon mein jhool ja – Dagabaaz (1970) – Mahendra Kapoor & Asha Bhosle –– Lyrics: B D Mishra
The couple goes to play their romance wandering happily in the garden is a very typical duet for Hindi film situations. The song is filmed on Chandra Sekhar and Helen, who themselves have not been able to get the A-grade lead actor roles, in spite of enough talent and looks.
The eighth Hindi film for which Dilip Dholakia could get to compose music was again a C-grade mythological film, Mata Vaishnodevi.
Man ke kore kagaz pe tasveer kheench lo Ram ki – Mata Vaishnodevi (1970) – Manna Dey – Lyrics: B D Mishra
The song has twin version in Asha Bhosle’s voice, filmed on Jayshree Gadkar, who was quite successful on Marathi screen, but destined to play the lead roles in mythological Hindi films.
Dilip Dholakia had a similar run in Gujarati films, where he had 11 films to his credit. He did a couple of A-grade films like (a national award winner regional film) Kanku or Mena Gurjari there. He continued to experiment and innovate here as well.
Eklaj avya hata, ekla javana – Jalim Singh Jadeja – Bhupinder – Lyrics: Barkat Virani
(Had come alone, will go alone too)
Even though his career as a music director continued for several more years, that was probably not enough to meet his basic needs for a decent living or provide him creative satisfaction. So he had to resort to the next best career option – work as music directorial assistant for some more successful music director. This he did so well for Laxmikant Pyarelal, from 1972 to 1988. He recorded his last song in 1988.
He also had worked with Hridaynath Mangeshkar to record his compositions like Meera Bhajan (Part-I), Bhagavad Geeta, Gyaneshwari Geeta, and an album of Urdu gazals by Ghalib. He also composed for HMV records sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Kishori Amonkar. He composed music of Chausanthpadi written by Nishkulanand Swami.
The tradition of music runs into the fourth generation, the torch being kept alive by Dilip Dholakia’s son Rajat Dholakia.