Kavi Pradeep: The singer of Message Songs

February 6, 2015

A tribute on the centenary of Kavi Pradeep (6 February 1915 – 11 December 1998)

Kavi PradeepMumbaikar 8 has often complained, with some justification, that I do not give due credit to the lyricists. I believe a vast majority associates a song with the singer and the music director, and, generally, also remembers the name of the film, but finds it difficult to associate the lyricist with the same importance. Kavi Pradeep was among few exceptions. He created a distinct niche with his patriotic, devotional and inspirational songs. Many of his songs not only became stupendously popular, but also created a mystic aura about them, with stories and legends associated with them which have now become a part of the popular folklore. And above all, he was endowed with a powerful and magnetic voice, which made the songs he sung immortal. He was among the few lyricists who acquired a larger than life image.

Reams and reams have been written about his Ae mere watan ke logo, not only how the song brought tears to the eyes of Pt. Nehru, but also how Lata Mangeshkar got to sing this history-making song in the wake of her estrangement with C Ramchandra, and how Pradeep’s family sued HMV for their failure to give account of their earning from this song as the poet had desired that his entire royalty should go to the PM’s National Defence Fund, prompting the High Court to direct the company to pay a lump sum of Rs 10 lakhs to the NDF. One can imagine how many crores HMV would have made from this one song. And, how a thinly disguised anti-British song Aaj Himalay ki choti se phir humne lalkara hai, door hato ae duniyawalo Hindustan hamara hai got past the British censors, which galvanized the nation in the wake of the mass arrest of the nationalist leaders post Quit India movement, and propelled Kismet (1943) to an amazing continuous run of over three years. And, how earlier, his Chal chal re naujawan (Bandhan, 1940) became a popular marching song during the nationalist movement, and the anthem of a young Indira Priyadarshini’s Vanar Sena.

Born as Ramchandra Dwivedi at Badnagar in the Malwa region in Madhya Pradesh on February 6, 1915, he was sent to his maternal uncle’s place for studies. Some taunt from his aunt made him leave their home; he went to Allahabad with his elder brother, Krishna Vallabh Dwivedi, from where he did his Intermediate; thereafter, he went to Lucknow for graduation. UP was then the epicentre of the nationalist and revolutionary movements, which deeply influenced Ramchandra. During this period he wrote inspirational poems of patriotism. He was gifted with a powerful and melodious voice. The poems he sang at conferences earned him fame far and wide. He acquired the pen name of ‘Pradeep’ during this period.

He had gone to Bombay for a Kavi Sammelan when he got a call from Himanshu Rai, and was appointed on the rolls of Bombay Talkies at Rs 200 per month as a lyricist. His very first song for Kangan (1939), Hawa tum dheere baho, mere aate honge chitchor, sung by Leela Chitnis, created a big impact. Pradeep wrote four songs for this film, including one which he sang with Leela Chitnis. Encouraged by the young poet’s gift with the pen, Bombay Talkies had him write all the dozen songs of Bandhan (1940), all super-hits, and Pradeep at 25 became a leading lyricist of Hindi films. Thereafter, he became associated with many landmark films of Bombay Talikes, such as Punarmilan (1940), Anjaan, Naya Sansar, Jhoola (1941) and Kismet (1943). After the post-Kismet split in the Bombay Talkies, Pradeep went with Ashok Kumar-Shashdhar Mukherjee’s Filmistan and wrote for Chal Chal Re Naujawan (1944). Because of some contractual constraints he wrote lyrics for four films of Nandlal Jaswantlal – Kadambari (1944), Amrapali (1945), Sati Toral (1947) and Veerangana (1947) – under the pseudonym Miss Kamal BA. He also tried his hand at film production with Girls School (1949), which was a major failure. After the collapse of the studio system, he wrote lyrics for several banners, some big, some small, including B or C grade mythologicals. He also sang from time to time, creating a special niche for himself.

He has the unique distinction of all his songs from a film being ripped later by a film in a foreign country. SoY regulars are aware that Pakistan’s Bedaari (1957) was a frame-by-frame remake of Jagriti (1954), with songs too being a replica of Pradeep’s songs, with such creative brilliance as replacing ‘Hindustan’ with ‘Pakistan’ in Aao bachcho tumhein dikhaayein jhaanki….ki, and so on. Pradeep also had a very unusual pairing with OP Nayyar in Sambandh (1969) in which the two created some landmark songs, such as Mukesh’s Chal akela chal akela.

Pradeep’s creativity was not one-dimensional. If he is associated with Manna Dey’s Upar gagan vishal, he also created Talat Mahmood-Lata Mangeshkar’s O dildaar suno ek baar kya mera pyaar pasand hai (School Master, 1959, Vasant Desai) or Lata Mangehskar’s Kanha bajaaye baansuri (Naastik, 1954, C Ramchandra), or in the vintage era, fun songs such as Main to Dilli se dulhan laya re (Jhoola).

He had not lost his magical touch many years after he ceased to be actively associated with films. He took up Jai Santoshi Ma (1975) with a view to help C Arjun, who was in need of some work, and whom he had known as an assistant to Bulo C Rani. This B-grade mythological went on to become one of the all-time biggest hits of Hindi films, competing with the mighty Sholay. Besides the blessings of Santoshi Mata, this was no less due to the stupendous songs created by Pradeep-C Arjun.

Hs filmography shows films as late as up to 1992 (I Love You, music Ram Laxman). But even if we take Jai Santoshi Ma as his last significant work, his over thirty-five year reign as a top lyricist marks him as a major figure in our film history, earning him a well-deserved Dada Saheb Phalke Award in the 50th year of independence, 1997. That was in the nick of time, as he passed away soon after, on December 11, 1998.

Such a multi-dimensional artiste cannot be dealt in one post. As my tribute to him on his centenary, I present some songs sung by him, because I put him in the class of singers who could not sing anything which was less than captivating. His songs can be broadly termed as ‘Message Songs’, which had three main strands. One was devotional, such as Doosron ka dukhada door karnewaale tere dukh door karenge Ram; another was patriotic/inspirational we have discussed earlier; and the third was a lament at the state of affairs, showing a stark mirror to the society, such as Kitna badal gaya insaan. His lyrics were devoid of complex literary imagery, they were addressed to the man on the street, in a simple, straight, and often hard-hitting language. Above all, there was conviction and a transparent sincerity in his voice, which could move even a most cynical person.

1. Piyu piyu bol sanjh savere piyu piyu bol from Bandhan (1940), music Saraswati Devi

I start with what should be one of his first solo songs. It is historically significant not only because of its vintage, but also because it presents a different side of Pradeep. He is outstanding in a romantic song too, and his singing is as sweet as his words – मेरे जीवन की जमुना में जाग उठे मंजुल कल्लोल. One can imagine Bombay film industry must have been hearing such poetry for the first time.

Piu piu bol

 

2. Pinjre ke panchhi re tera dard na jaane koi from Naagmani (1957), music Avinash Vyas

Ashokji has described Avinash Vyas as the pole star of Gujarati film music. He also composed some great music in Hindi films, but remained under-recognised. He composed at least two songs for Pradeep, which can be counted among his signature songs. Ashokji has mentioned Tere dwar khada Bhagwan from Waman Avtaar (1955) in his article. Here is another of Pradeep’s signature songs.

 

3. Koi lakh kare chaturai karam ka lekh mite na re bhai from Chandi Pooja (1957), music Ajit Merchant

B-grade mythological, but so what? If Pradeep sings, you can’t help being drawn to it.

 

4. Doosron ka dukhadaa door karnewale tere dukh door karenge Ram from Dashehra (1956), music N Datta

This song has been my great favourite for decades since a friend sung it long ago at a party. The song in keertan style has a charming beat, and a direct message to do selfless service to others.

 

5. Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayi Bhagwan, kitna badal gaya insaan from Naastik (1954), music C Ramchandra

Pradeep comes up with a befitting song in a movie which questions the issue of faith, superstition and true meaning of religion.

 

6. Sukh dukh dono rahte from Kabhi Dhoop Kabhi Chhaon (1971), music Chitragupta

A message that success and failure, happiness and sorrow, victory and defeat are a part of life, just as you sometimes get sunshine, and sometimes shadow.

 

7. Toot gayi hai mala moti bikhar gaye from Harishchandra Taramati (1963), music Laxmikant Pyarelal

LP created a sensation with their debut in a B-grade fantasy film Parasmani in 1963, and got similar or mythological small banner films in their initial years. But their music rose far above their films, such as Sant Gyaneshwar (Jot se jot jagaate chalo) and Sati Savitri (Tum gagan ke chandrama ho; Jeevan dor tumhi sang baandhi). Harishchandra Taramati also had Hemant Kumar’s well-known song Jagat bhar ki roshni ke liye, suraj re jalate rahna. LP create this excellent song for Pradeep in the film.

 

8. Humne jag ki ajab tasweer dekhi from Shankar Seeta Anusuya (1965), music Shivram

The forgotten composer Shivram, who had been consigned to mythological films, creates one of the most charming songs of Pradeep. The poet simply depicts the extreme inequality in the world, without being judgmental, where ten times as many people live in misery as in affluence.

हमने जग की अजब तस्वीर देखी, एक हंसता है दस रोते हैं
ये प्रभु की अद्भुत जागीर देखी, एक हंसता है दस रोते हैं

हमें हंसते मुखड़े चार मिले, दुखियारे चेहरे हज़ार मिले
यहां सुख से सौ गुनी पीर देखी, एक हंसता है दस रोते हैं
हमने जग की…

दो एक सुखी यहां लाखों में, आँसूं हैं करोड़ों आंखों में
हमने गिन गिन हर तक़दीर देखी, एक हंसता है दस रोते हैं
हमने जग की….

कुछ बोल प्रभु ये क्या माया, तेरा खेल समझ में नहीं आया
हमने देखे महल रे कुटीर देखी, एक हंसता है दस रोते हैं
हमने जग की…

 

9. Aaj ke insaan ko ye kya ho gaya from Amar Rahe Ye Pyaar (1961), music C Ramchandra

Pradeep now makes a stinging comment on the degeneration in the society. The recital style singing makes it even more hard hitting. His lament at the disharmony in the society, sectarian conflicts and violation of women’s honour is as relevant today as it was over fifty years ago when he wrote and sang the song.

आज के इस इंसान को ये क्या हो गया
इसका पुराना प्यार कहाँ पर खो गया

कैसी यह मनहूस घडी है, भाईयों में जंग छिड़ी है
कहीं पे खून कहीं पर जवाला, जाने क्या है होने वाला
सब का माथा आज झुका है, आज़ादी का जुलूस रुका है
चारों और दगा ही दगा है, हर छूरे पर खून लगा है
आज दुखी है जनता सारी, रोते हैं लाखों नर नारी
रोते हैं आँगन गलियारे, रोते आज मोहल्ले सारे
रोती सलमा रोती है सीता, रोते हैं क़ुर्र्रान और गीता
आज हिमालय चिल्लाता है, कहाँ पुराना वो नाता है
डंस लिया सारे देश को ज़हरी नागो ने,
घर को लगा दी आग घर के चिरागों ने

अपना देश वो देश था भाई, लाखों बार मुसीबत आई
इंसानों ने जान गंवाई, पर बहनों की लाज बचाई
लेकिन अब वो बात कहाँ है, अब तो केवल घात यहाँ है
चल रहीं हैं उलटी हवाएं, कांप रहीं थर थर अबलायें
आज हर एक आँचल को है खतरा, आज हर एक घूँघट को है खतरा
खतरे में है लाज बहन की, खतरे में चूड़ियां दुल्हन की
डरती है हर पाँव की पायल, आज कहीं हो जाए ना घायल
आज सलामत कोई ना घर है, सब को लुट जाने का डर है
हमने अपने वतन को देखा, आदमी के पतन को देखा
आज तो बहनों पर भी हमला होता है,
दूर किसी कोने में मजहब रोता है

किस के सर इलज़ाम धरें हम, आज कहाँ फ़रियाद करें हम
करते हैं जो आज लड़ाई, सब के सब हैं अपने ही भाई
सब के सब हैं यहाँ अपराधी, हाय मोहब्बत सबने भुला दी
आज बही जो खून की धारा, दोषी उसका समाज है सारा
सुनो ज़रा ओ सुनने वालो, आसमान पर नज़र घुमा लो
एक गगन में करोड़ों तारे, रहते हैं हिलमिल के सारे
कभी ना वो आपस में लड़ते, कभी ना देखा उनको झगड़ते
कभी नहीं वो छुरे चलाते, नहीं किसी का खून बहाते
लेकिन इस इंसान को देखो, धरती की संतान को देखो
कितना है ये हाय कमीना, इसने लाखों का सुख छीना
की है इसने जो आज तबाही, देगें उसकी यह मुखड़े गवाही
आपस की दुश्मनी का ये अंजाम हुआ,
दुनिया हंसने लगी देश बदनाम हुआ

कैसा ये खतरे का पहर है, आज हवाओं में भी ज़हर है
कहीं भी देखो बात यही है, हाय भयानक रात यही है
मौत के साए में हर घर है, कब क्या होगा किसे खबर है
बंद है खिड़की, बंद है द्वारे, बैठे हैं सब डर के मारे
क्या होगा इन बेचारों का, क्या होगा इन लाचारों का
इनका सब कुछ खो सकता है, इनपे हमला हो सकता है
कोई रक्षक नज़र ना आता, सोया है आकाश पे दाता
ये क्या हाल हुआ अपने संसार का,
निकल रहा है आज जनाज़ा प्यार का

 

10. Yahan wahan jahan tahan mat poochhoa kahan kahan from Jai Santoshi Ma (1975), music C Arjun

And finally the song which might be one of Pradeep’s last in films. He is powerful voice is as arresting as it was in his younger days.

 

 

Acknowledgements
1.  Rajya Sabha TV documentary on Pradeep’s life
2.  Kavi Pradeep’s interview on Zee TV

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rakesh Srivastava February 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Very nice post on Kavi Pradeep.There was romantic facet also in his lyrics writing.School Master(You have mentioned),Aanchal,Zindagi Aur Khwab(Kehti Hai Jhuki Jhuki Nazar-Datta Ram),Girls School(Tum hi kaho mera man-This movie was produced also by Pradeep) and Talaaq songs are testimony to this.He and Bharat Vyas,by their chaste Hindi, gave new dimensions to lyrics writing in Hindi Films which was otherwise dominated by lyrics laden with very heavy Urdu.He also made Ashok Kumar sing his lyrics in Shikari-Dol rahi hai naiya-S D Burman-1946.
My appreciations for the hard work on this post !!

2 ASHOK M VAISHNAV February 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I am quite sure it would not just be coincidence that AKji has chosen Kavi Pradeep to carve a distinct Lyricist track on SoY.
Not that it matter, too.
As part of the SoY fraternity, for me this is an additional occasion to enjoy the offerings.
The article reinforces the fact that Pradeepji was indeed a very versatile and creative poet, who could so easily, and so successfully, don the mantle of a HFM lyricist.

3 AK February 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Rakesh Shrivastava,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. He wrote many romantic songs for the Bombay Talkies films too, which Ashok Kumar sang.

4 AK February 6, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Ashokji,
There is a theme titled ‘Lyricist’ under which Sahir Ludhiyanavi has figured earlier, but the focus was on a particular song, Chalo ek baar phir se. Therefore, you are right, this is the first post focussed on a lyricist. I don’t know if I can call it a coincidence because I have been planning for it for some time when I realised that Kavi Pradeep’s centenary fell this year.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

5 N Venkataraman February 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm

AKji,
In keeping with the expectations, you have offered us one more surprise. I too join you and SoY in paying my tributes to Kavi Pradeep on his centenary year.

His songs were a beacon of hope and courage. Kavi Pradeep understood the nuances of the Hindi language and his songs/lyrics were thoughtfully meaningful. The songs you have mentioned bears testimony to this. I think he was not conferred with any Padma Awards till his death. But he received the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (mentioned in your post) and the Sangeet Natak Academy Award. One of his earliest recognition was by Sur Shringar Sansad, Mumbai which honored him with its highest title Raseshwar.

I would like to add one more song here

Mukhadaa dekh le praani zaraa darpan mein, music Vasant Desai, Film Do Behnen (1959)

Thanks AKJi, for an excellent and well researched post.

6 AK February 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Venkataramanji,
Thanks a lot for your very generous words. I am sometimes daunted by ‘high expectations’.

You have hit on a song which was in my mind, and which I could have included in place of some other song.

I don’t think he was given any Padma awards – not his loss. Dadasaheb Phalke award was an adequate recognition.

7 mumbaikar8 February 7, 2015 at 4:28 am

AK,
Keeping up to the expectations SOY regulars is a daunting task!
You surely are living up to it.
His romantic song was a surprise too.
Join you in paying my tribute to the great poet.
Thanks for giving partial justification to my complaint.
Venkataramanji rightly said his poetry was thoughtfully meaning.
How about Sahir’s counter of kita badal gaya insaan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONhVXPh_kvQ

8 Anu Warrier February 7, 2015 at 6:19 am

Nice tribute, AK. 🙂

When we left India, one of our closest friends gave us a cassette of Kavi Pradeep. Ae mere watan ke logon is one song, cliched or not, that I absolutely love, and so also Aao bacchon.

9 AK February 7, 2015 at 6:36 am

Mumbaikar8,
Partial justification’? – you are a Shylock!

But thanks for whatever you throw at me. It keeps me on my toes. 🙂

Railway Platform‘s song is a very interesting tribute by Sahir to Pradeep. Or, would you call it Madan Mohan’s tribute to C Ramchandra?

10 AK February 7, 2015 at 6:42 am

Anu,
Thanks a lot. I am generally irreverent about icons. But never found Ae mere watan ke logo cliched. Post-1962 war disaster, I think the nation was in a mood to cry with the song. It never fails to move even if I hear it today. Aao bachcho is quintessential Pradeep.

11 maheshmamadapur February 7, 2015 at 11:44 am

AK ji,

Many Thanks for a full fledged post on a lyric writer par excellence.
I have not thanked nor commented for the OPN post.
I take this opportunity to post the ONLY solo sung by Mukesh for OPN. This lyrics of highly philosophical number were also penned by Kavi Pradeep and stood 4th in 1969 binaca geetmala final.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhVM300ClHA

PS: I request Anu ji comment #8 to be corrected. Second last word……please remove “J”. I need not say why.

12 AK February 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm

Mahesh,
Thanks a lot. Chal akela is an outstanding song. Probably, Sambandh might also be the only Pradeep-OPN combination. I have mentioned it in my post.

13 SSW February 8, 2015 at 6:58 am

AK my favourite Pradeep song is the one from Nastik , perhaps because I saw it on TV at a very impressionable age. I like the Sahir diversion on it, but though interesting humour does not have the keen edge of pain.

14 AK February 8, 2015 at 8:30 am

SSW,
Sahir’s parody appeared trite to me, coming from him.

15 SSW February 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

Yes he has said it better, but I think those lines are more in the context of the film rather than an attempt at poetic merit 🙂

This is more in keeping with his Marxism.

nau e insaan pe ye sarmaaya o mehnat ka tazaad
amn o tehzeeb ke parcham tale qaumon ka fasaad…
lahlahaate hue kheton pe jawaani ka samaa
aur dehqaan ke chhappad mein na batti na dhuaan…
ye bhi kyon ha, ye bhi kya hai, mujhe kuch sochne de
kaun insaan ka khuda hai, mujhe kuch sochne de

16 AK February 8, 2015 at 9:56 am

Kya baat hai. That’s Sahir.

17 mumbaikar8 February 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm

AK, SSW,
I think Sahir’s parody has more cynicism than humor. I have not seen the movie but this is Sahir’s own atheism. He is as hard hitting on the creator as Pradeepji is on the creation.
The song he wrote on filmy situation was Aana to hai to aa from Naya Daur and that was as convincing.
That is SAHIR

18 SSW February 8, 2015 at 7:53 pm

Mumbaikar I do agree that the Sahir poem is cynical in the truest sense of the word. But the original Cynics in Greek Philosophy were the ones who believed that people are motivated solely through self interest. Just as Pradeep’s poem is heartfelt on the fall of man from a believer’s perspective, Sahir’s words too castigate the creator. The difference is if you are a true unbeliever the real creator of God is man. In my mind they are saying the same thing from diametrically opposite perspectives. Hence the line I added from his poem Mujhe kuch sochne de.

kaun insaan ka khuda hai, mujhe kuch sochne de

But that is entirely my view and I am still not sure whether he rails at God or at religion. To me they are two different things 🙂

19 Subodh Agrawal February 9, 2015 at 8:06 am

AK, this is one post that made me truly nostalgic. Everyone remembers ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’ and ‘Aao bachchhon’. I had heard and enjoyed his other songs too, but they had faded from memory by now and it was good to relive them.

Our generation was around 10 when 1962 war happened – old enough to be aware, too young to be cynical. We were completely carried away by the patriotic surge that swept the country. ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’ was nothing short of magic in that supercharged atmosphere. I heard it first from Anup Jalota, who was a year junior to me in the same school. His voice hadn’t broken yet and he sounded exactly like Lata Mangeshkar. For at least a year after that all school functions had him singing this song. As you rightly said, even at 60+ I can’t listen to this song without feeling that tingle down the spine.

Thanks for alerting me about the Pradeep documentary on DD. One interesting thing I learned from it was that the popular ditty ‘Chana jor garam’ is actually Pradeep’s creation for Bandhan. Gulzar spoke about it in the documentary and said that thanks to this film, it became the sales-song of all chanawalas, and even the product took the name of chana jor garam. I found a short link on Youtube: http://youtu.be/M2EaJYbIUH0

As I went through the post I also recalled another song in Pradeep’s voice ‘Bharat ke liye bhagwan ka vardan hai ganga, sach poochho to is desh ki pehchan hai ganga.’

Coming to ‘Jai Santoshi Maa’ Wikipedia says Santoshi Mata is a recent addition to the Hindu Pantheon and emerged around 1960. According to Wikepedia, the film was responsible for making her one of the most poplar deities in north India.

Finally, ‘Aao bachchon’ probably has the distinction of being the most parodied song, and I am not referring to the Bedaari version. Unfortunately the popular parodies are mostly NSFW, and the ones that are not are politically incorrect.

20 Subodh Agrawal February 9, 2015 at 8:13 am

One thing that intrigued me in the documentary was a story that Pradeep told about ‘Chal chal re naujawan’. When Pradeep was introduced to Pandit Nehru as the lyricist of this song, Nehru told him that Indira sang it as the marching tune of her ‘Vanar Sena’. Indira would have been 22, by the time this film was released. I am not sure she was still involved with Vanar Sena, which was mostly a children’s organization. I couldn’t find much material on Vanar Sena to confirm this. It could well be a case of an old man’s memory sprucing things up a bit.

21 AK February 9, 2015 at 3:15 pm

Subodh,
In most parts of North India, people became aware of a deity called Santoshi Mata by the movie Jai Santoshi Ma.

I am aware of those parodies of Aao bachcho. One favourite pastime on campuses used to be competition who created the best(!) parody of the song.

From what I recall from many sources, Indira did have a Vanar Sena. But 23 is obviously well above the age for such childish excitements. I had also caught this, but didn’t want to spoil the story. I prefer not to dissect such stories which have a nice ring to them. If necessary, I am willing to suspend disbelief.

22 Subodh Agrawal February 9, 2015 at 4:05 pm

I agree about Vanar Sena – Never let facts get in the way of a good story!

23 mumbaikar8 February 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm

SSW.
I agree with you that they may saying the same thing, but their perspectives are diametrically opposite.
My belief on religion and God coincides with you too.
kaun insaan ka khuda hai, mujhe kuch sochne de
I am a confused soul, my question, can any rationally thinking mind be absolutely sure about it?

24 Hans February 12, 2015 at 2:56 am

This is a bumper year. Now the centenary of Pradeep. AK, you have summed up his many qualities correctly. Your say about his lyrics that they “were devoid of complex literary imagery, they were addressed to the man on the street, in a simple, straight, and often hard-hitting language” is absolutely correct. Though he wrote Kavi against his name, but a geetkar in the true sense of the word. But, he was not an icon in the matter of shudh Hindi lyrics like Bharat Vyas as Rakesh Srivastava thinks. He mostly used all common words including Urdu words, though he was well conversant with class Hindi as well as many local languages. But, in these things Bharat Vyas was was in a different class and he was also a true poet. It would also be wrong to say that these two were pioneers for Hindi lyrics, because there were many such lyricists who wrote in Hindi before them.

His songs have a special aura like SDB songs and he wrote special lyrics for his own songs. His songs can be classified in two phases so far as tone of his voice is concerned. His voice for songs prior to Kismat is quite different than his later voice which is the commonly known voice which is heard from 50s onwards. One such song has been posted by AK (N0. 1). Another is from Jhoola ‘Mere bichhade hue sathi’ link for which I am giving here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4OzEsc2To8

His last song was perhaps from Ankh Ka Tara(1977) ‘yateem hain ye’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXJWAv94VXU

25 AK February 12, 2015 at 10:44 am

Hans,
Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. Pre-50, not only Pradeep’s voice was different, he also sang different type of songs.

Thanks for adding the yateem song. It is pure Pradeep.

26 Hans February 14, 2015 at 2:24 am

AK,
Yes it is typical Pradeep, but its picturisation appears to be inspired from the Boot Polish song ‘tumhare hain tumse daya mangte hain’ and the theme is also similar. I dont know whether the story is also somewhat similar because I have not seen this film.

There is a song in Kismet ‘mere piya se kahiyo jaye’. You had posted the audio version of this song in Biswas-Parul article. Perhaps its record was issued in her voice only. But, in the film the mukhda of the song is in a male voice. To me it appears to be Pradeep. I give the link and invite the view of fellow readers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIYGn0kBktg

The male voice in ‘aaj himalaya ki choti se’ has also not been identified in HFGK. It could be of Pradeep. If this is agreed, we can add two songs to his song list. The possibilities to be checked are three Pradeep, Arun Kumar and Anil Biswas. In my view, Arun Kumar has been credited with two songs and if he had sung the songs then he should have been credited. Similarly, Biswas was the composer and it is very unlikely that he would not have been credited if he had sung it. The voice in both the songs also matches Pradeep’s. Now, like Bhatiaji says, the ball is in the court of readers.

As per details available in HFGK Pradeep sang 32 songs (26 solos) in his own films. There may be 2-3 more(at the most) if we know the details of all the songs. So far as I know, he sang only one song in the films in which he did not give lyrics – that too only alaap before the song sung by Kamal Barot (I had given its link in comment 230 in Open House). I wonder why he did not get more songs. Though he looks pedestrian before Rafi in the song ‘are wah re dayalu’ in Chakradhari(1954), but who would not when singing with Rafi.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvBaJA3D90o

27 AK February 14, 2015 at 8:05 am

Hans,
Thanks for adding the video clip of Papiha re. I would rule out Anil Biswas. The singing style is of Pradeep, but early Pradeep and Arun Kumar sounded very similar. The jury is out on this one.

I would rule out Pradeep in Aaj Himalay ki choti se. It does not sound like him at all. I don’t think there is one prominent male voice. The male part comes in chorus.

Wah re dayalu is a fabulous song. Thanks for introducing it to us. I have some different view on Rafi-Pradeep. It goes without saying that the two are not comparable as singers. Pradeep’s charm lies in his special voice. I am fascinated by his voice as I am by that of niche singers like Hemant Kumar. In this song too I liked him a lot.

28 AK February 15, 2015 at 7:52 am

Hans,
Further, one reason why the male voices in the above songs have not been mentioned could be the way records were made by the gramophone companies. It is well known that songs were re-recorded in the studios for commercial release, and these often varied from the film versions. I believe HFGK goes by the record titles.

29 Hans February 17, 2015 at 2:19 am

AK,
Not only ‘wah re dayalu’ but all the songs were great. Chakradhari is a film which shows the variety of Pradeep as lyricist especially the four part song starting with ‘o meri saas ke ladke’. In this film there is a theme of Vishnu and Laxmi coming to help the bhakta Gora and the song ‘wah re dayalu’ is picturised on these three. The same theme was used in Dara Singh film Kisan aur Bhagwan exactly 20 years later and the lyrics were again written by Pradeep and there was a song ‘ are wah re jadugar’. But the lyrics this time were not as impressive.

Regarding Pradeep’s part in the song ‘wah re dayalu’, I think that is just his voice which charms, otherwise his singing is not upto the mark and a singer like Manna Dey would have done wonders. Alternately Rafi could have done singing for both, because, initially Shahu Modak is lip syncing for both. Pradeep was a singer for which special composing was needed and that is the reason he looks good in solos. He was in real terms a niche singer. In my view, you are doing injustice to singers like Hemant by comparing them with Pradeep. Hemant was a complete mainstream singer and not a niche singer. Singers like him fade only in comparison with Rafi. In fact, we should judge all singers other than Rafi, putting them in a different category. At least I do that and I do not find them deficient in singing capability and like the good songs of every singer.

I agree that ‘wah re dayalu’ is a fabulous composition. In fact, recently I have come across a lot of new songs of Avinas Vyas in my preparation for Bharat Vyas article and have been fascinated by his creativity and I wonder why he is so little known. Here is a link of the 4 part song I mentioned above, which will show the class of Pradeep’s lyrics and Avinas Vyas’s composition.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4-PrRpYol0

30 Anant Desai February 20, 2015 at 9:32 am

Kavi Pradeep is truly our Rashtra Kavi. I found out much later that his “Hum laye hai Toofan se kishti Nikam ke” was actually written for our Independence Day and that Pradeepji himself sang it from Lal Quila at midnight on Aug 15, 1947. The opening words are prophetic and stirring:

Pase sabhi ulat gaye Dushman ki chaal ke;
Akshar sabhi palat gaye Bharat ke bhal ke;
Manzil pe aaya mulk har bala ko tal ke;
Sadion ke baad phir ude badal gulal ke:

The final climactic line says: Tum gaad do gagan mein tiranga uchhal ke rings true after Chandra yaan and Mamgal yaan.

Another forgotten gem is “Aaj nahin to kal, bikharenge ye badal;
O raat ke bhule huve musaphir subha hui ghar chal, ab ghar chal”
From Naagmani by Geeta Dutt.

Talaaq had two gems: First a classic Pradeep

Bigul baj raha azadi ka, gagan goonjta naaron se,
Mila rahi hai aaj Hind ki mitti nazar sitaron se,
Ek baat kaheni hai lekin aaj desh ke pyaron se,
Janata se, Netaon se, Faojon ki khadi kataron se ….

Second is romantic and elegant in the style of Bharat Vyas:

Mere jeevan men kiran ban ke bikharne wale, bolo Tum kaun ho?
Kya kisi Dev ke bheje huve varadan ho Tum?
Ya mere pichhale janam ki koi pahechan ho Tum?
Dhoondhata tha jise dil kya wohi meheman ho Tum!

I heard Mere Watan ke in Pradeepji’s own voice from Vividh Bharati before it was recorded by Lata. Hope this adds to this tribute.

Please let me know how I can write for SoY.
Anant.

31 AK February 20, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Anant Desai,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot. You have added a lot about Pradeep.

After Ae mere watan ke logo became famous, Pradeep was often asked to sing it. Some YT links have clippings in his voice. To have heard before it became public must have been a historic moment.

Thanks also for offering to write for SoY. I have sent you a mail.

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