The Master of Masters Khemchand Prakash

August 10, 2015

A tribute on his 65th death anniversary (12 December 1907 – 10 August 1950)

Khemchand PrakashIn my cryptic history of Hindi film music, as I moved from RC Boral/Pankaj Mullick to Anil Biswas to Naushad, Richard mentioned the omission of Khemchand Prakash. He was so right. Even in the most facile history he has to be mentioned as a major pillar, not only because the Great Mughal Naushad was once his assistant (Bulo C Rani of Jogan fame also had been his assistant), but also because he created many immortal songs, he introduced or gave career-defining songs for many singers, and his name is associated with some of the most important turning points in the history of film music.

Ayega anewala (Mahal, 1949) is a landmark song in many ways. It is probably the first ‘haunting’ song. The 78 rpm record of this song carried the name of the screen character ‘Kamini’ (played by Madhubala) as the singer as per the prevailing practice then. It achieved staggering popularity, and the listeners forced the radio hosts to announce the name of the real singer, Lata Mangeshkar. Thus, it laid the foundation of the ‘playback’ singers being credited on records and in film credits. This is not the only Khemchand Prakash connection to creating a Lata Mangeshkar wave. I have mentioned earlier that in spite of the popular folklore about Ghulam Haider’s contribution in ‘introducing’ Lata Mangeshkar, I regard Khemchand Prakash’s Chanda re ja re ja re from Ziddi (1948) as her earliest everlasting song. Anil Biswas’s songs from Anokha Pyar, such as Yaad rakhana chaand taaron is suhani raat ko in the same year, also belong to the immortal category, but these have a somewhat shadowed pedigree, because these were sung by Meena Kapoor in the film, but issued on records in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar.

Ziddi has some more landmarks of historical significance. Kishore Kumar sung his first song Marne ki duayein kya maangun jeene ki tamana kaun kare (and what a song!) in KL Saigal style in this film. And its Ye kaun aya re kar ke ye solah singaar is the very first KK-Lata duet.

Coming back to Mahal, it was a landmark for Rajkumari, too. Ghabra ke jo hum sar ko takraayein to achchha ho became one of her most recognisable songs that gave her a long lease of life on music reality shows on TV, many years after her singing-career had come to a halt.

We have seen in the post on Khursheed that Khemchand Prakash was the most important composer in her career with films like Pardesi, Shadi (1941) and Tansen (1943). And Tansen, of course, is regarded as KL Saigal’s most important musical film, with his Diya jalaao in Deepak, and Sapt suran teen graam in Dhrupad ang. Amirbai Karnataki is one of the most important Vintage Era female singers. This is what I have said earlier about her: “If we look at Amirbiai Karnataki’s singing career in overall perspective, Anil Biswas first catapulted her to great fame with Kismet (1943); she sang the maximum number of her songs for Gyan Dutt and maximum number of his songs were sung by her; and Naushad and C Ramchandra arguably composed the most famous songs for her. But if I have to choose one composer for her songs, it would be the Master of Masters Khemchand Prakash, but that’s for another time”. That time has come to remember the Master of the Masters.

Born in Sujangarh in Rajasthan on 12 December 1907, he got training in classical music and Kathak dance from his father, Govardhan Prasad, who was a singer and dancer in the royal darbar of Jaipur. Khemchand Prakash himself became a court singer in Jaipur/Bikaner at the age of 19. With reference from Rajasthan royals Khemchand Prakash got employed by Nepal Darbar. From there he moved to Calcutta which was the most important seat of music, theatre and films. He worked there as a radio singer. Impressed by his singing, the New Theatres stalwart Timir Baran took him as his assistant. He had a small cameo in Street Singer (1939), in which a comedy song Lo kha lo madam khana was picturised on him.

As Bombay was becoming the main epicentre of films and music, most of the Calcutta-based artistes were making their way to Bombay. Khemchand Prakash, too, landed at Bombay at the inspiration of his friend Prithviraj Kapoor. There he got his first break as music director with Gaazi Salauddin (1939) of Supreme Pictures (this was the film in which Naushad assisted him). He also gave music for Meri Aankhen in the same year. He soon joined the prestigious Ranjit Movietone for which he gave music for several films which are regarded as important landmarks of Hindi cinema. Later he was also associated with the most prestigious production house Bombay Talkies for which he composed path-breaking music in Mahal. He composed music for about 45 films in a career of 11 years.

Unfortunately he died very young on August 10, 1950, a few days before he could see the release of his landmark film Mahal. I pay my tribute to the legend with some of my favourite songs.

1. Main to gawan chali hun kahe bole papiha by Amirbai Karnataki from Sawan Aya Re (1949), lyrics Chaturvedi

Amirbai Karnataki passed away in 1965 and we paid a tribute on her 50th death anniversary, and in a unique numerological coincidence Khemchand Prakash passed away in 1950 and we are paying a tribute on his 65th death anniversary. I start with their combination as my joint tribute to them. Their most famous songs are from Bhartrihari and Sindoor. But I have become absolutely charmed by this song since I discovered it in the Internet era. From the picturisation it appears that Kishore Sahu is an impresario who has called an aspiring artiste for a test. On his cue to show her dancing and singing, the lady (Mohana?) puts everything into her performance.  But Kishore Sahu on the piano himself is irritatingly expressionless. Unless he was supposed to act like that as required by the story, he has to take the cake for the dumbest character ever, beating the statues like Karan Dewan or Pradeep Kumar.  But Amirbai’s singing overshadows everything.  She creates magic as she starts with Pahne peeli rang sari, laal laagi ho kinari in slow tempo, and then with a sharp bend starts singing Main to gawan chali hun in fast tempo. One of her most delightful songs.  Another famous song might be coming to your mind: try replacing the words Main to gawan chali by Holi ayi re Kanhai.  Is this Naushad’s subtle ‘inspiration’ from his mentor?


2. Koi roke use aur ye kah de by Amirbai Karnataki from Sindoor (1947), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi

From a peppy song let us move to a soft melody in slow tempo, one of the most well known of Amirbai’s songs


3. O roothe hue bhagwan tumko kaise manaaun by Amirbai Karnataki from Sindoor, lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi

Sindoor had another gem of a song. Amirbai was a Queen of Bhajans. With the Master of Masters she sings one of her best.


4. Chanda des piya ke ja by Amirbai Karnataki from Bhartrihari (1944), lyrics Pt Indra

Do I need to say anything more on Amirbai Karnataki-Khemchand Prakash combination?


5. Mora dheere se ghunghat hataye piya by Amirbai Karnataki from Bhartrihari

If it is turning out to be a post on Amirbai songs by Khemchand Prakash I can’t help it. You just can’t tire of their songs. From a very poignant song we move to its exact opposite in the same film. Amirbai was soft, melodious, devout, seductive – a very special singer among the Vintage Era singers.


6. Kookat koeliya kunjan mein by Jahanara Kajjan from Bhartrihari (1944), lyrics Pt Indra, music Khemchand Prakash

HFGK mentions Kajjan as the singer. I believe she is Jahanara Kajjan, the first female star-singer of our films. You will find her name as the leading lady in most of the renowned films of 1930s and 40s of Madan Theatres and other studios. Bhartrihari became her last appearance. This song must have been pitcurised in a very serious setting. But imagine a lecherous man with handlebar moustaches and uncontrollable libido. Since he is powerful he has to possess any attractive woman he takes a fancy for. This rogue has one endearing habit, he loves to play the 78 rpm record of this song on his gramophone. Here is a very creative and cute use of this song in Ketan Mehta’s wonderful film Mirch Masala (1985). The lecherous subedar Naseeruddin Shah, when he does not stalk Smita Patil, whiles away his time with his gramophone. In this scene he shows off his magical machine to the wonderstruck villagers, and pulls out a record from his box, places it on the turntable and puts the needle onto it with great ceremony. Out comes Kookat koeliya kunjan mein of Jahanara Kajjan. Some taste in music the rogue had!


7. Na tum aye na neend ayi tumhari yaad hi ayi by Shamshad Begum from Rimjhim (1949), lyrics Bharat Vyas

After Marne ki duayen kyun mangun in Ziddi (1948), Kishore Kumar had another superb song in the same style – Jagmag jagmag karta nikla chaand poonam ka pyara in Rimjhim. But since we are in the mood of vintage female singers, here is a great song by our perennial favourite Shamshad Begum.


8. Ghabra ke jo hum sar ko takrayein to achchha ho by Rajkumari from Mahal (1949), lyrics Nakshab Jarachavi

Another great favourite of everyone on SoY is Rajkumari. Mahal became identified with Ayega anewala, but Khemchand Prakash composed one of her best songs in this film.

Let us hear her sing this song live in 1982 at a TV programme. She was 64, but her tonal quality and breath control is almost perfect. Sad that the film world discarded such great singers too early.


9.  Chanda re ja re ja re by Lata Mangeshkar from Ziddi (1948), lyrics Prem Dhavan

Amirbai Karnataki sang Chanda des piya ke ja.  The Master of Masters gives the new girl on the block, then a tender 19, Chanda re ja re ja re.  This is her earliest landmark song.  Does anyone see any Noorjehan tinge in the song?  This is pure and sure Lata Mangeshkar.


10.  Arman bhare dil ki lagan tere liye hai by Talat Mahmood and Geeta Dutt from Jaan Pehchan (1950), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Mahal and 1949 in general was a turning point from vintage to golden when the main playback singers and singing style changed. How does Khemchand Prakash adapt to the change? The proof is this beautiful Talat Mahmood-Geeta Dutt duet. Alas, he did not live long after to show his prowess in the new era.


11. Muskurate huye yun aankh churaya na karo by KL Saigal from Bhanwra (1944), lyrics Kidar Sharma

If you were wondering at my strange omission of KL Saigal, I was keeping him to round up the post. From among over a dozen of his songs from Tansen (1943) and Bhanwra (1944), it is difficult to pick up two or three songs. Saigal was the first Ghazal King, who inspired all the later great singers. Here is a quintessential Saigalian ghazal.


12. Sapt suran teen gram by KL Saigal from Tansen (1943), lyrics DN Madhok

Naushad in his tribute has said that generally songs on Tansen in films are Khayal-based, but Khemchand Prakash being the Master of Masters took care to compose Sapt suran teen gram in Dhrupad ang because Tansen was a Dhrupad singer, and Khayal came later with Raja Mansingh Tomar. Saigal had no formal training in classical music, but his voice was god-gifted.


13. Bina pankh panchhi hun main kaise ud aaun main by KL Saigal from Tansen

Without his muse Tani (Khursheed), Tansen is a bird without wings. All the fame and glory of being the court singer of Mughal Emperor Akbar gives him no pleasure. Saigal’s voice was pathos personified.


Notes and acknowledgements:
1.  Pankaj Raag’s Dhunon Ki Yatra; Anil Bhargava’s Swaron Ki Yatra; various Internet sites.
2. Tribute to Khemchand Prakash (Part 1): This clip has his bit role in Street Singer mentioned in my post.
3.  Tribute to Khemchand Prakash (Part 2)
4.  It has been said Khemchand Prakash passed away a few days before the release of Mahal. This film is credited to 1949. Often there was delay in release in theatres after the censor certification, which is the reference date for crediting a film to a particular year in HFGK. Secondly, the songs were often released long before the film.

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shekhar August 10, 2015 at 10:43 am

A good video clip of “Sapt suran teen gram” is on YouTube at

2 Mahesh August 10, 2015 at 11:09 am

AK ji,

A very welcome and refreshing change. It will take more time for me to savor this post. Let me also pay tribute to Khemchand Prakash and add the following duets.

Many Thanks.

3 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 10, 2015 at 11:22 am

AK ji,

Thanks for writing on one of my favourite composers,Khemchand prakash ji. Hansraj behl,Ravi,Chitragupta and Khemchand prakash are the ones,whose compositions I find very melodious and except Ravi,the other three composers never got enough support of Luck during their career period. Hansraj and Chitragupta lacked the major banners for their work.

Another point is about Release of Mahal and death of KP.

Mahal was completed in 1949 and it was sent to censors. It got got the censor certificate No.14200Ft/U 44884 on 31-10-1949. That is why it is considered a 1949 film. However,for reasons not very well known or confirmed, the film was not released till one more year.
Finally Mahal was released on 13-10-1950 at Roxy Theatre in Bombay. Khemchand prakash died in seth Harkissondas Hospital,Bombay on the 10th of August 1950. His nurse and consort in the final days,Sridevi was the only person with him when he died. (after his death,Sridevi came on the road and was found begging near Haji ali dargah,by Naushad).
Point is, KP died 2 months and 3 days before Mahal was released and not just few days.

4 Nick Kohri August 10, 2015 at 1:17 pm

A very important piece of info is missing from this great article! KP was the original MD of Anarkali, and had composed several songs. But due to his sudden death, C. Ramchandra was brought in. Subsequently, only one KP composed song was retained. This song is Aa jaan-e-wafaa by Geeta Dutt. The power of her voice is for all to hear in this song. Lata lacked this power in her voice. The voice contrast of the two singers is so great in this movie, that Lata used all her music industry connections at HMV to suppress the publication of the Geeta Dutt song! In every EP, LP and CD release, the Geeta Dutt song is missing. It is only with the advent of the movie videos that the audiences have re-discovered this Geeta Dutt gem. In the high octaves of this song, Geeta Dutt does not sound shrill at all. By comparison, Lata’s voice sounds shrill in the higher octaves (just listen to “Bedard zamana tera dushman hai to kya hai – the Hemant+Lata duet).

5 Mahesh August 10, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Aa jaan-e-wafaa by Geeta Roy was composed by Basant Prakash, his brother.

Yes, the voice of Geeta Roy in this song is outstanding.

6 AK August 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm

Thanks for adding the two duets, both new for me. Looking forward to your comments after you have savoured the post.

Thanks for your appreciation and your detailed comments. In your list of unlucky MDs I put Ghulam Mohammad at the top.

You must be right on the dates, but I remember many credible sources mention Khemchand Prakash passed away about a week before Mahal‘s release.

Nick Kohri,
Welcome to SoY and thanks for your appreciation. Aa jaane wafa is credited to Khemchand Prakash’s brother Basant Prakash. I have not seen any source mention KP’s connection to the song.

On Geta Dutt-Lata Mangeshkar comparison in Anarkali, I presume, a qualification that it is your personal opinion is implied. Not being a music expert myself I would not like to enter into this debate.

7 Ravindra Kelkar August 10, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Wonderful post on Khemchand Prakash, a great music director. So unfortunate that he died so young, by the way what was the illness due to which he died?
My two personal favourites of Khemchand Prakash are
Rajkumari song from Mahal-Haye Mera Dil
KL Saigal Song from Bhanwara – Hum Apana Unhe Banana Sake

8 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 10, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Ravindra Kelkar ji,

KP died of high B.P.and Cirhosis of Liver (due to excessive alcoholism).


AK ji,

Have no doubt about the dates given by me. These are confirmed by shri Harish Raghuwanshi ji of Surat. I have his E Mail to this effect.


9 SSW August 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Nice AK, an interesting composer Khemchand Prakash.
As a child the arrangement of “Aayega aanewala” was what really drew my attention to the use of various instruments. I used to hear it on our old radio usually from the Purane filmon ke geet but the fidelity wasn’t good enough to separate out the instruments. But then my cousin gave me a cassette that had the whole song recorded very well albeit in mono when we got a good sound system. The start of the song with the initial piano strokes followed by the piano arpeggios accompanying Lata’s voice and then the entry of the strings along with the oboe is really lovely . The movement of the double bass and the piano when Lata sings “ya dil dhadak raha hai ” fascinated me. I used to rewind the tape again and again to hear that piece and the instrumental piece after the first time Lata sings “Aaye aane wala” and stops and the oboe dies out. You can hear clarinets and bassoon, bass, piano and strings play a lovely piece without any percussion before the song takes off.
The version I had on cassette also had a hawaiian guitar very clearly in the interlude before “bhatki hui jawaani” . I have not been able to find this version since my tape gave up its life.

By the way I’ve heard “Aa jaane wafa” often enough on Vividh Bharati in the 70’s and 80’s long before the music videos and the internet landed up. So I’m sure the song was issued on records and Mr.Kohri was mis-informed.

10 Nick Kohri August 10, 2015 at 8:28 pm

@SSW This is what I said ” In every EP, LP and CD release, the Geeta Dutt song is missing.” Please refer to any HMV LP, EP or CD featuring Anarkali songs and you will see the Geeta Dutt song is missing. I never said the song was not issued on records! It was released only on a 78 rpm disc, which is the source of the Vividh Bharati music. Please read carefully what I said, not what you are implying. From your comments it is clear that you have never held an HMV LP or EP or CD of the Anarkali songs in your hands.

11 AK August 10, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. The two songs you have added are my great favourites too. On his illness, over to Arunji.

12 Anu Warrier August 10, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Will come back to savour the post and the songs later, AK. Just a quick note: Anarkali’s CD released by Saregama (the erstwhile HMV) does include Geeta Dutt’s Ae jaan-e-wafa. Besides, Ae jaane-e-wafa was not composed by Khemchand Prakash, but by his younger brother, Basant Prakash.

13 Anu Warrier August 10, 2015 at 9:12 pm

p.s. Basant Prakash had not composed ‘several songs’ for Anarkali. He had only composed Ae jaan-e-wafa when his untimely death left the producers without a music director. C Ramchandra stepped in, and the rest is history. Also, with all due respect, Lata had nothing to do with the request to remove the Geeta Dutt song from the film. C Ramchandra wanted all the songs to be sung by Lata; he requested that the Geeta song be deleted. While Filmistan (the producers) agreed, for reasons unknown, the Ae jaan-e-wafa was retained in the final print.

14 SSW August 10, 2015 at 9:34 pm

For some reason I cannot see my earlier post. Have you deleted it AK?

Mr.Kohri, since I have no record of what I wrote, I along with a few million people, can only say that I did not depend on music videos or the internet to familiarize me with the song that Geeta Dutt sang.

Onto the other point it is true, that I have not held an LP , EP or CD of Anarkali in my hands.

On the musical prowess of the two ladies in question, I cannot comment, you know more about this topic.

15 AK August 10, 2015 at 9:51 pm

I don’t know how your comment landed up in Spam folder. Here it is up again. Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I am aware of your fascination for Ayega aanewala. The long prose-song recital as prelude to the song is its major charm.

We have discussed Geeta Dutt’s sole song, composed by Basant Prakash, in the film has been discussed earlier. Looking forward to your views after you have gone through the post.

16 AK August 10, 2015 at 10:13 pm

Thanks for adding this video.

17 SSW August 10, 2015 at 10:48 pm

I like this song from Tansen very much.. Khursheed has sung this beautifully. I’m glad that Khemchand Prakash kept the pakhawaj for percussion.

Coming back to “aayega aanewala” I wonder if it would be possible for somebody to locate the version with the prominent hawaiian guitar piece. I think this is the part which was played by Madhulika Liddle’s uncle and she has mentioned it.

18 mumbaikar8 August 11, 2015 at 12:23 am

Good one, enjoyed all the songs, wish had more of Saigal.
One more celebrity dying young because of Cirhosis of Liver, wonder Devdas was the role model of that generation.
He was good at ghazals too.
Saigal with Ameerbai from Bhanwara Lut gaya woh bechara
Khursheed in Mumtaz Mahal dil ki dharkan bana liya unko
Gautami from Vishkanya woh chand ban muskura rahe hai

19 AK August 11, 2015 at 6:12 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. The songs you have added are all outstanding. Some Saigal-Khursheed songs from Tansen have appeared earlier in my post on Khursheed.

20 Siddharth August 11, 2015 at 9:26 am

All the songs you have listed are outstanding.
My most favourite song from Mahal is this Rajkumari and Zohrabai duet –

I wish he had lasted longer. Another highly talented person lost to alcohol.

21 AK August 11, 2015 at 10:53 am

Ye raat phir na ayegi is indeed a terrific mujra song.

22 Siddharth August 11, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Is the song #10 a precursor to the Awara dream sequence song?

23 AK August 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm

If you mean simply in the sense of which preceded, yes. But Awara dream sequence is very different in content, execution and message. #10 here is a plain romantic duet, happening in the dream world rather than the real world. In Awara, RK is a tormented soul, who wants to extricate himself from the life of sin. The end goal is Nargis, symbolising purity. He passes through purgatory, the purity is in sight, but he is trapped and not able to reach there. Thus, the sequence has at least two songs denoting different stages. He wakes up crying at his helplessness, telling the mother, ‘Ma main achcha aadmi banunga‘. This sequence is deservedly called a landmark.

24 gaddeswarup August 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

AKji, Minai thinks that Kalpana may be the inspiration for Awara dance sequence and some other dances in the films of 50s and 60s

25 gaddeswarup August 11, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Minai may be partly right. Two of the Vajifdar sisters worked in the production of Jan Pahchan. It seems that the three Vajifdar sisters had very wide background in dance and two of the three sisters studied in Almora for a while. One Jeroo Chavada son of one of the sisters commented about this in Richard’s blog. Possibly there were diverse influences on both dances, some coming from Uday Shankar school.

26 AK August 11, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Thanks a lot for this detailed information.

27 Jignesh Kotadia August 11, 2015 at 11:40 pm

Your skill to distribute a song in a particular post is stunning ! The preplan When to release khursheed songs and when the others under KP, and a song should not be repeated in other posts, to pick the appropriate date, to select a specific song from a popular bundle(like you selected the song of rajkumari), this task consumes too much brain, and you do it just easily and perfectly ! Bravo !

I also like very much lata’s “Jadoo kar gaye kisike naina, ye man mora bas me nahi” from Ziddi.

28 Hans August 12, 2015 at 1:02 am

A very nice, timely and informative article and a great song selection. Though his name is not forgotten, but most of his music is forgotten. This article would certainly help in remembering the legendary MD’s music.

Regarding the inspiration for ‘holi aayi re kanhai’, I would add another song ‘kal raat zindagi se mulaqat ho gai'(Palki). Not only the tune but the lyrics of mukhda also has some inspiration from the 1947 film Mulaqat’s song ‘kal chalte chalte unse mulaqat ho gai’ sung by Bulo C. Rani.
There is another song in that film ‘jinka intezar tha’. In my view this tune inspired ‘zia beqaraar hai’ (Barsaat)

There is another song by Shamshad Begum from Sawan Aya Re (1949), which is just superb. ‘Nahin fariyad karte hum’

Regarding the Anarkali song by Geeta Dutt, I distinctly remember listening the song on Radio like SSW, which means the song was not forgotten or sidelined. But, Nick Kohri seems to be partly correct. HFGK gives details of the collections of songs issued after the list of songs. It appears some collections did not have that song. Though a cassette was issued in which that song was also included.

Regarding Basant Prakash there is a biography by a person named Rituraj who claims he is his son. That says Basant Prakash died in 1996 and not in 1953 (as told by Anu Warrier). There he says that his father, though the younger brother of Khemchand Prakash, was adopted by Khemchand Prakash because he had no issues. His story seems to be believable. Also some songs of 1966 film Hum Kahan Ja Rahe Hain by Basant Prakash were discussed somewhere in SOY, which is a proof that he did not die in 1953. The link of the story is here:,d.c2E

29 AK August 12, 2015 at 9:51 am

Today you are in real mood. Thanks a lot for your very generous praise.

Jadoo kar gaye kisi ke naina was new to me. I am enjoying the song as I write this. Thanks a lot for introducing this song.

30 Ravindra Kelkar August 12, 2015 at 3:52 pm

So distrbing to know one more premature death due to excessive alcoholism.
If one listens to Mahal songs, it seems Khemchand Prakash was really at the peak of his composing creativity. If we listen to his hit songs of earlier period the influence of New Theaters is obvious. But, when it comes to Mahal, the songs are totally free from this influence. The way he has used Rajkumari in Mahal is quite stunning. The feelings of expression in Rajkumari songs are a real treat to listen to, also due to exquisite use double bass, those songs have reached to a different level altogether. The total score for Mahal is a beauty.
Interestingly, I have an audio CD (original CD from RPG)which has all the songs of two movies-Mahal & Tarana. The recording quality is superb. Whenever I listen to this CD in full, the Mahal songs impact me more than the Tarana songs. This is something I have not been able to find the any logical reason to, because Tarana songs of Anil Biswas are also of the highest quality.

31 AK August 12, 2015 at 6:11 pm

Thank a lot for your detailed comments. The tune of Mulaqaa song seems to be very different, though the mukhadaa is very similar. The song is outstanding.

Shamshad Begum is always very pleasant.

Basant Prakash story has been written in a very credible manner. Thanks for giving its link, which gives new facts.

32 AK August 12, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Interesting comments you have made. Could I suggest a reason for your preference, this could be because Mahal‘s music has more diversity, and it has the transition from the Vintage to Golden?

33 Anu Warrier August 13, 2015 at 2:40 am

Hans, thanks for that link. A curious case gets curiouser – why then did Basant Prakash leave Anarkali after composing only one song? Also, his son makes no note of his having composed for Anarkali at all.

Hans’ link has just raised more questions. I wonder if we will ever know how and why C Ramchandra took over as MD.

34 AK August 13, 2015 at 5:50 am

And also the Curious case of Basant Prakash’s son who was the grandson of Khemchand Prakash.

35 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 13, 2015 at 10:41 am

AK ji,

So much curiosity is generated about Basant Prakash’s exit from Anarkali.
Recently I read a book,in Marathi, “Cinemacha Cinema”by Isak Mujawar,a very senior and wellknown journalist and Film Historian of repute ( He died last month only).
There is a chapter on “Anarkali “films-from silent films to films till Mughal E Azam.
In this book,he says (rough translation from Marathi) ” Khemchand prakash’s brother Basant Prakash was the Music Director of Anarkali of Filmistan. He had recorded one song of Geeta Dutt. However, then there was some dispute with Shashdhar Mukherjee and him and C.Ramchandra was called in. Filmistan had allowed CR to decide whether he wants to remove or keep the Geeta Dutt song. CR decided to keep the song and ensured that due credit is given to Basant Prakash for that song.”


36 AK August 13, 2015 at 11:14 am

This sounds very credible. There is a new information about Basant Praksh from his son’s article linked by Hans. This shows his filmography up to 1986, and he passed away in 1996. This must be correct?

37 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm

AK ji,

I am surprised for 2 things.
1. How and who said that Basant prakash died in 1953 ? To my knowledge he was alive till the late 90s. In fact there is a separate page for Basant Prakash, in ‘Dhunon ki Yatra”by Pankaj Raag which lists all his movies and also mentions that he died in 1996. Then where from this info of 1953 came ?

2. Rituraj claiming to be ( he must be,of course.) the son of Basant Prakash and not having any correct information about father’s films or his date of death or his struggle in film industry….

Anyway, Basant Prakash’s first film as a MD was Jai Shankar-1951,along with brother Khemchand. It is not not known how many songs each one made,in that film.
In 1952 he did Saloni with Vinod, Shrimatiji with Jimmy and S.Mohinder, Nishan Danka and Badnaam. In 53 it was misfired Anarkali
In 57,it was Nilofur with Avinash Vyas, Maharani with J D Mujumdar and again Bhakta Dhruv with Avinash Vyas.
Hum kahan jaa rahe hain-66
Jyot jale-68
Ishwar Allah tero naam-82 ( not 84 as claimed by Rituraj) and
Abla in 1989 and not in 86 as claimed by Rituraj.
Basant prakash was born on 27-1-1928 at Shujangarh in Rajasthan and died on 16-3-1996 at Bombay due to Paralysis. He was 20 years younger than Khemchand and so he was taken in Adoption as a son by elder brother. There was absolutely no property of Khemchand,when he died. In fact his Hospital Bills remained unpaid.


38 AK August 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Now everything about Basant Prakash’s career and life falls in place. Mahesh has sent me a mail from which suggests a small difference in detail in the Anarkali episode. He cites some source according to which CR was initially the MD, then there was a tiff with S Mukherjee; Basant Prakash brought in, recorded the Geeta Dutt song, tiff with him as well; CR re-invited, his condition all songs by Lata Mangeshkar; Filmistan decided to retain the Geeta Dutt song. This small detail does not make a material difference to the story.

39 Ravindra Kelkar August 13, 2015 at 4:17 pm

AKji (comment 32),
Probably you are right. Mahal songs have more variety, so may be they create more impact as compared to Tarana.

40 mumbaikar8 August 13, 2015 at 5:57 pm

AK, Anu, Arunji,
Geeta Dutt site has an article on Geeta C Ramchandra, in this article they have more than one plausible reasons why Vasant Prakash was replaced, but it is quite obvious that their relation had faded after this movie and C Ramchandra and Geeta Dutt did not work with each other after that.
According to this blog, the tale of Geeta song being added by HMV later seems probable too, music director Tushar Bhatia (who is a co-founder of her site) was instrumental in releasing her songs in 1980’s.

41 mumbaikar8 August 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm
42 SSW August 13, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Mumbaikar8, when Anarkali was released in 1953 HMV was pressing only 78 rpm records in India. The Anarkali LP was released in 1974 I think. I don’t know what it means that the Geeta Dutt song was added later. Large scale LP pressing started in India only in the 1970s and only because HMV received competition from Polydor. Even then the demand was not high. If 25000 LPs were sold, that was a big hit. The biggest hit was Sholay, around 500,000 were sold but a large portion of these were not the songs but the dialogues.

43 Nick Kohri August 14, 2015 at 7:24 am

@SSW The Anarkali LP was released in the USA on Capitol Records and this also omitted the Geeta Dutt song

44 SSW August 14, 2015 at 4:49 pm

The Gramophone Company of India owned the rights to all recordings of Anarkali. Capitol records negotiated issuing the LP in the US.
I don’t see anything strange in the LPs being identical and why would Capitol go out of its way to press a brand new LP with different songs and liner notes when the sales were hardly likely to generate vast amounts of money. By the late 70s cassettes were taking over from LPs anyway.

45 mumbaikar8 August 14, 2015 at 6:14 pm

I do not know what songs are there on the LP, when was it released and with or without this song.
I was reading all that is thrown on the web and trying to make sense out of it.
When I read about Tushar Bhatia: to quote
“He was determined to bring out the lesser heard gems of Geeta ji.
Thus came songs like “Naa Main Dhan Chahoon” on The LP of Kala Bazar and Humko Chhod Ke Kahan Jaoge from Shrimati 420 on LP records for the first time. Only then people came to know that Geeta ji and Talat sahab has sung so many melodious songs together. And it re-emphasized the fact that Geeta Roy was the number one playback singer in Gujrati film music in the late forties and early fifties. All this was thanks to one of truly great fan of Geeta ji. Hats off to Mr. Tushar Bhatia ji who single handedly managed to do all this against all odds. Why, just for one cause, to let more and more people know about this great and talented singer named Geeta Dutt. He was also instrumental in releasing LP records of films like Baazi, Chhoo Mantar etc. which had many songs of Geeta ji,” unquote.
It made some sense to me, I thought may be this song might not have been on original LP and added later in 1984.

46 SSW August 14, 2015 at 7:13 pm

Mumbaikar8 , I am sure some of it is true. But the 78 rpm single record was probably the stock release till the late 60s. The first LP was manufactured in India 1959. The first year only around 125 records were released. All I’m saying is that LPs constituted a small market for a short time and Geeta Dutt did not need LPs to further her name. The vast majority of Indian listeners heard songs on the radio. Gramophone ownership was usually restricted to houses with a disposable income. There wasn’t a great deal of disposable income for the middle class in the 60s. Radio programmes and the advent of cassettes made it easier for people to have access to music. I’m sure not a great number of LPs of Choo Mantar etc. were sold.

47 Nick Kohri August 14, 2015 at 10:16 pm

@SSW: At that time, both Gramophone Company of India and Capitol Records of the USA were owned by EMI Group of the UK. The decision to release Anarkali and other Indian LPs by Capitol Records in the USA was taken at the corporate level in the UK, and has nothing to do with your opinion of “when the sales were hardly likely to generate vast amounts of money”! Mr. Bhaskar Menon of EMI India, Calcutta, was transferred to EMI Capitol Records, Los Angeles to oversee the Indian record sales there. And I possess several EMI Capitol Records LPs featuring Indian artistes, which were all released in stereo versions.

48 AK August 15, 2015 at 12:17 am

SSW, Mumbaikar8, Nick Kohri,
I am lost. I guess what you are saying is that Geeta Dutt’s song was not released initially, but it came on LPs later. Therefore?

49 Sathya August 15, 2015 at 1:18 am

A beautiful tribute to this great composer, certainly one of the doyens of Indian cine music.

While I do like “aayegaa aanewala”, I feel it has a rather limited repeat factor as it just.. too simple !! The orchestral arrangements of the song are definitely way ahead of their time but the tune itself is pretty ordinary. In contrast, “mushqil hai” and “ghabraa ke jo” are multi-layered and more intricate compositions. Just my personal view.

For all that, my personal vote for Khemchandji’s greatest song would be for this thrilling beauty from “Aasha” – “door jaaye re”. What a composition ! Truly out of this world experience:

50 SSW August 15, 2015 at 1:20 am

Mr. Kohri, I still don’t understand what your point is?
The facts.
1) Geeta Dutt’s solo 78 rpm record was available when Anarkali was released.
2) People heard this song on 78rpm before the LP came out.
3) People have heard this song on the radio before.
4) People have heard this song where-ever Anarkali happened to play.
Therefore people did not depend on the internet for the knowledge of this song.

I’m perfectly okay with you disregarding my opinion, because it is only an opinion. But you yourself are saying that the same company opted to release its LPs in India and in the UK and in the USA. Why would they release different versions in these countries if there was no monetary benefit or a government ban ?

Your argument that Lata was the reason that this song was omitted and that the internet was responsible for this song becoming famous is questionable

That is all.

Now maybe we should give the rest of the comments here over to Kemchand Prakash as he had nothing to do with any of this.

51 SSW August 15, 2015 at 1:48 am

No AK, I did not say the song was not released intially. I said I heard it often enough on the radio and so the internet was not necessary to make it famous.

Sathya I’m not sure that I entirely agree. If you look at the song in its entirety, the starting slow movement has notes that are not easy to hold. In the antaras the leap to the upper octave is not easy to achieve because Lata is still singing with her chest voice. She is not shouting or using her head voice.. The orchestration of course is excellent.

The other two songs that you mentioned are lovely. “Ghabrake” is more Indian in its use of gamakas and microtones. Even here the orchestration though minimal is quite intricate. You can hear the clarinet play along with the sarangi and sitar in the interludes and of course one cannot forget the tabla bols
There are interesting orchestral passages in “Mushkil hai bahot” too, some very nice obbligatos from clarinet, oboe, hawaiian guitar..

52 AK August 15, 2015 at 6:07 am

Thanks a lot. I too had the same view about Ghabra ke and Ayega aanewala, but after SSW’s explanation; I have started rethinking.

53 ASHOK M VAISHNAV August 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Apart from the side-trip on Basant Prakash’ Geet Dutt song in Anarkali, The main post and discussion has gone to make a fair justice to the Khemcahnd Prakash’s work.
He is one music director who can be studied futher by taking up his songs in greater depth as well.

I ma sure AKji will have several aces up his sleeve on this count. Look forward to each master trick !

54 AK August 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Thanks a lot. I once said what remains to be covered, which I would like to cover yesterday, is much more than what I have covered. With the readers’ support, I hope to carry on.

55 Shalan Lal August 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm

The post on Khemchand is very interesting from many, many points. I think Khemchand has intrinsic quality of making songs sweet and also their relations with the lyrics and dramatic aspects. Free praise for SSV for explaining the way song orchestrated with mentions of various instruments and their role in the architecture of the song; the song is breathtaking in the sound form and more interesting in the visual as it was shot in the film. In the history of SoY this stands at high rank in creativity. The film was extremely well directed by Kamaal Amrohi on his own story. The success of Mahal should go to all the actors and artists behind the scene trained by the Bombay Talkies. But this film did not save Bombay Talkies from its final dissolving, a fade out.
I have got some doubts about the other songs mentioned in the post. The film Sawan Aayaa Re is mentioned as 1945 film but in the Geet Kosh of Har Mandir Singh it is dated as 1949 and in the issues of 1949 of the Film India it was advertised as coming film. But the song “Main to gawan chali hun kahe bole papiha by Amirbai Karnataki from Sawan Aya Re (1945), lyrics Chaturvedi” certainly is very sweet. AK has put a question mark against Mohana. I think she is the same actress Mohana later on appeared as a comic actress in the films like “Naginaa 1951” and acted the comic song “ Humse Karo Pyaar”. Her last film could be Gemini Production “Insaniyat 1955” partnered with Agha in comic relief. In the film there is a monkey called Gippy. This was brought from Hollywood and when it arrived in Madras Mohana kissed it on the lips. The photograph got publicity in the news papers. After this film Mohana came to England and settled here. It is not known if she is still alive. But she certainly gave some good comic reliefs in the Indian films.
In the clip Kishore Shahu is shown as playing Piano. He did the same thing in his early film PunarMilan 1940 with his future wife Snehalata Pradhan. He acted the song Nachao Nacho in the voice of Arunkumar playing on the Piano.
So often Indian actors are shown playing piano with their fingers flat like as if they are playing on the Indian harmonium. Dilip K did the same in Andaz. Piano is played with the fingers bent on the knuckles. This is because the hammers of the keys need more energy as well as it is easier to move fingers from one key to other if the knuckles bent fingers. Perhaps SSV may want to add more in this area as this is his area.
I think Amir Karnataki could sing all kinds of songs without being shrill in high or low voices. Her “. Mora dheere se ghunghat hataye piya by Amirbai Karnataki from Bhartrihari” is in medium low voice, full of control and full of Singar Ras. And her voice in the song “Mari Katyar Mar Jaanaa” in “Shehania 1947 is such that magnificent Samashaad could learn from her. C. ramchandra started some new trend form this song.
There is some mention about C.Ramcahndra and Anarkali. I had opportunity to talk with him about it when he visited England and had some private concerts in late seventies and early eighties. About the Gita Dutt song, nodoubt it was a superb voice and probably later on O.P. developed it with many shades in his creativity with Gita nad later with Asha. C.Ramchandra told me he was a salaried employee in the Filmistan at the time and had no say in what songs should go and what songs should stay. He liked her voice and song. It is also very unlikely that Lata would have interfere in the affairs of the Filmistan or the recording companies at the time. She was becoming power but had no time to execute that kind of power which she might have got later on. She only was angry with her sister Asha as she married early and escaped from the responsibility of hr large family. She might have put some hindrances in the way of Asha. But she could not have done against Gita as she had her own field and she was in the singings before Lata got her break. It is the filmy market forces that ruined many good singers.
All the songs in Bhartruhari are sweet and to be listened again and again.
Shalan Lal

56 Shalan Lal August 15, 2015 at 4:25 pm

One more thing about the the songs in Jan Phachan. I like more the song “Dukh-bhare” in the haunting voice of Shankardas Gupta. I think when people say about voices that have early demises due to certain voices becaming dominant or they have less musicality than the dominant voices, then I feel sad.

Even though KK sang that Ziddi song in the Saigal style he expressed it in extremly good musicality. So did Rafi in his “Ik Dilke Tukade Hazar Huve”, and Mukesh in his “Dil Jalata Hai,” and great C.H.Atma, all his songs are pure gold and should not be seen as of diminished vlaues. It is sadness that Hindi films became a deciding factor of success or failure of a singer instead of enlarging the field for all kinds of singing. To date Hindi films is seen as the singers’ only “podium’”.

Shalan Lal

57 Ravindra Kelkar August 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Interesting to read about the release of LPs like Chhoomantar, etc. There is a bit of story behind this happening (Arunji might correct me here if I am wrong). As everybody knows, HMV had the recording rights of more than 90% Hindi Film songs. HMV was in a bad shape financially by 1980s. In 1985, HMV was bought by RPG group,lock, stock & barrel, so they now had the recording rights. RPG made a thorough research about why HMV was making loss. The research clearly came out with the conclusion that there is a great demand for vintage songs from the period 1950-1970, but are not available. It is said that Lata Mangeshkar & Asha Bhosale both were on the HMV board & used to have a final say about which films songs were to be re-issued & due their bias very few old film songs were being re-issued of music directors like C Ramachandra, OP, Anil Biswas, etc. There is no way to determine how far this is true. The only source available for music buffs to buy old songs was “Chor Bazar” in Mumbai. So, if a music fan wanted to buy ,say, “Jo Mujhe Bhula Ke Chale Gaye” from Sangeeta, he had to search for it in “Chor Bazar” shops & pay whatever price the shop owner demanded. The price used to range from 50 rupees to 500 rupees depending upon the vintage value & demand. I myself have purchased a few OP “78 RPM” records for the price of 100 rupees each, in 1980-1982. There was no bargaining also, if you started bargaining the shop owner used to jack up the price. This I am talking about the period roughly from 1975 to 1985. To come to the point, RPG research correctly pointed to the great demand for the old songs. Fortunately, RPG were completely business minded, they did not care if the singers were Lata or Geeta or whether the Music Director was C Ramachandra, or Anil Biswas, or OP or Naushad. So, RPG decided to take action on this & started re-issuing old popular film songs & between the period of roughly, 1986 to 2000, they re-issued most of the old film titles. It was a great boon to people like me, I still have in my collection LPs/Cassettes purchased in that period, which includes, Howrabridge, 12 O’Clock, Hum Sub Chor Hain, Chhoomantar, Phagun, Ragini, Sone Ki Chidiyan, Baap Re Baap, Naya Andaz, Bahare Phir Bhi Aayengi, Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayengi, Mohhabat Zindagi Hai, Humsaya, Kismat, Kala Bazar, Baazi, Teen Deviyan, Nau Do Gyarah, Munimaji, Kala Pani, House No 44, Fantoosh, Taxi Driver, Ek Musafir Eh Hasina, Jaal, etc. By now, of course, most of the old film titles are available, though due to Internet it has lost its significance. To show how this benefited the old composers also, I remember that, in 1994, when we met OP on his birthday, he told us that he is now in a comfortable position financially (he had left his home in late 1989 & was not in a good shape financially), since he had received a long pending cheque of 9 lacs rupees from RPG as a royalty from the sale of his music for the period of 1990 to 1994. To conclude my long narration, yes I have in my possession Chhoomantar LP as well as Cassette.
PS: The 78 RPM was production was stopped after 1970, I have heard that, HMV dumped the old stock of 78 rpm records on the beaches of Mumbai & many people just lifted whatever they could get their hands on. Is this really true?

58 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 15, 2015 at 5:26 pm

AK ji, Shalan Lal ji,

As far as actress Mohana is concerned, her last films were Suvarna Sundarai and Baghi Sipahi-1958. After this her husband was posted in Beirut and she stayed in Beirut for many years doing theatre on local TV there. In 1986,after husband’s retirement she settled in France and not England. She died on 12-9-1998 at Montelimar,France.
( Information given by her own sister Ophelia. Her interview can be read on


59 SSW August 15, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Mr.Kelkar thanks for the details. From what I have read it seems that the 78 rpm production started reducing from 1970 and was finally stopped around 1978.

I too purchased cassettes from HMV post 1986 (I got my first salary in 1986).

Ms. Lal that is an interesting observation about the piano playing technique. I must confess I had not noticed how the actors play the piano because I am not a great Hindi film buff. So I went off to see how DK played the piano in Andaaz and he did make a hash of it. The techniques are of course different because the instruments are different. With the harmonium volume etc is not controlled so much by the keying hand, it also depends on how you operate the bellows. It is a wind instrument. The piano is a percussion instrument and the volume is controlled by the attack of the fingers and the foot pedal. Plus the Indian use of the harmonium is usually melodic, western piano playing is inherently harmonic and chords have to be played with several fingers and movements from one chord to another is easier with bent rather than flat fingers.

It would seem that DK knew how to play the harmonium. He was very musical.

60 AK August 15, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Shalan Lal,
Thanks a lot for your detailed comments. Sawan Aya Re belongs to 1949. There was a typo, which I had corrected before your comment was posted.

I am happy that Arunji has confirmed Mohana. I think she was the one in Patanga, too, in the song Pahle to ho gayi namaste namaste.

Shankar Dasgupta’s Dukh se bhara hua hai dil is an absolutely melodious song. He sang about 50 songs in all. I think some singers could not go out of their limited groove.

I have some difference with you on film songs being the only podium. Until the 60s, non-film or ‘private’ songs had their own space, being as popular as film songs among music lovers. Singers like Talat Mahmood and Hemant Kumar, and in the earlier era, KL Saigal, Pankaj Mullick earned great fame for their NFS, too. Their best cannot be completed without including their private songs. SD Burman also belongs to this category. We also had Jagmohan and Juthika Roy, who sparingly sang for films, but were enormously popular. One can mention Begum Akhtar too.

Later, we had Jagjit Singh and whole lot of ghazal and light singers like Anoop Jalota, Pankaj Udhas etc. I have not yet included Sufi NFS, and Punjabi Pop.

I learnt a great deal about the difference in playing the piano and harmonium. Thanks a lot.

61 SSW August 15, 2015 at 11:06 pm

The flat finger technique seems to be also used by accordion players and possibly that is where the technique originated.

62 Ms Shalan Lal August 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

AK, SSV, Arun Kumar DeshMukh and others

I thnk you all very much as so much good information has come out.
Please note I am a lady. Lal is my last name.

SSV has given very good analytical understanding of the Piano playing and why it has to be different than the harmonim or other bellow-wind instruments. He has a gift at explaining many things so well.

AK’s information about a podium away from the film is extremly good but when Radio and gramophone recording came into play artists started travelling to that direction. Radio star, or Gramophone artsit were epithets for the artists. Juthika Roy was more popular as Gramophone artists than her private concerts.
I have to accept the information of Mohana given by Arunkumar D. However I had a feeling that I had seen her in England. But then she could be a visitor.

One more thing about Sindoor. In Har Mandir Singh’s Geet Kosh the music director is mentioned as “C.Ramchandra”. Of course it is a mistake but how can Har Mandir Singh make such a mistake? Could there be a mistake in the written material he acquired?

Shalan Lal

63 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 16, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Shalan Lal ji,

Sindoor must be carrying CR’s name in the First edition of HFGK. The subsequent editions give the name of Khemchand prakash. I got HFGK in 2012. This edition carries KP’s name.


64 mumbaikar8 August 16, 2015 at 9:20 pm

AK and others,
Sorry once again? Not only the IDs even the names can create confusion:)

65 Dinesh K Jain August 18, 2015 at 3:16 pm

AK, kudos and thanks for another enlightening write-up.

My suggestion: please think of doing a series of thematic all-time best songs, like the best (or most popular) romantic duets (my best, the Hum Dono opener), the best of Lata, and so on.

Another suggestion: a series of lesser lights, like Hansraj Bahl, C Arjun, and so on.

It would also be great to see a piece on the incomparable Sahir Ludhianwi (but not an extract of the Sahir book you recently recommended).

66 Shalan Lal August 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Hi All Good Readers

This place is not a just place to introduce a topic from the post of “SoY Completes five years. But with some initial stupidity in me if AK and all the readers of this post tolerably ignore my stupidity and read what I have to say they may find my subject will not be of far wide mark.

After listening to the graceful Ghazal written by Mirza Musharrf for the film “Baghbaan (1938),” “Apne Man Mein Preet Basa Le” sung by Ashraf Khan and music by Mushtaq Hussain I become curious to find if Mirza Musharrf has written and acted in any films in the thirties.
perhaps Mr deshmukh could find out more about Mirza Musharraf.

His writing of above Ghazal has a lot of literary qualities and I was very impressed by. I found he has written some lyrics in the films of 1938. But my surfing on the internet suddenly stopped at the film called “Magroor 1950” and I found a jewel of comic song acted out by by Mirza Musharrf, young Meena Kumari in the slack and another actress. The song was “Hum To Tere Bungle Mein Aanaa Mangataa….” The song was well acted and Meena K was good at the comic performances. Sadly later on she became a Tragedy Queen on the silver screen and real life.

But my focus is not above point. I went for looking for other songs and I found a song in the same film called “Badi Bhool Hui Tuze Pyaar Kiya” in the haunting air that cut the heart. The singer was “Vishni Lal”

Her name was mentioned by many of my family elders when I was young and growing. Her name was very similar to the name of my late sister Krishni Lal.

Mumbaikar8 said names are so confusing.

I had a college mate who was called NaliniShankar Chatterji. But he was commonly known as “Nalini”.

Many of the names in Sikh communities are very difficult to tell if they are of female or male. So are the Muslim names as well. For example Amir bai Karantki. She was called Amir before she became singer. Then she added “bai” as the suffix to her name as that was fashion in the female singing community of the time.

In English one would not know if the names “Lesley” or “Hillary” belong to male or female.

I take them as they are and if I make a mistake then I correct it. I do not make “Jushion” of my mistakes.

To tell something more about my name “Shalan” is from the “Shawl” I always wore when I was little and wrapped around me when I was a baby. Isn’t it interesting?

I would like to know more about Vishni Lal and her singing career. Again our great librarian Mr deshmukuh could come to help if he has got information in his great library.

Shalan Lal

67 AK August 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I do some posts on themes, some of which may be quite unusual. On the sidebar, you will find a list of themes I have written on.

Lesser lights are very important. I have a series on ‘Forgotten Composers Unforgettable Melodies’ in which C Arjun has been covered very prominently.

On Sahir Ludhiyanavi, ideally I would be looking for a more competent person to write a guest article.

Thanks again.

68 ksbhatia August 18, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Ms Shalan lal ;

The Magroor song …. hum to tere dil ke bangle mein ….. reminds me of my childhood when me and my brothers used to sing this song loudly , not knowing or understanding their meanings. Other songs of the same period were equally popular like….. charandas ko peene ki jo aadat na hooti ,…… …. yeh zindgi hai yo yo….[ sung by Manmohan krishan in aarman ] …. and Khali pocket rakhte hain per foto geeta bali ki . These songs were our childhood craze . I faintly remember to have seen Magroor in my childhood but can’t recall its story except one dialogue of Mirza mussharuf …” Tup tup tup how sweet “. This dialogue was most probably referd to the steno typist working in the office . I think Hans ji can throw some light on this theme .

Mirza’s other movies which are of my liking are New Delhi [old ] and Barsaat ki raat . In the later movie there is a very funny situation where mirza was interupted five or six time by the offer of Paan and was unable to complete his point to the main artiste .

You are right about the gender puzzle on names used by various community . Why go further ; in our own Sikh family [ we are seven bros.and two sisters ] we have names such as Balbir , Balwant ,Baljeet , Kulwant , Kulbir, Tejinder, Inderjeet , Davinderjeet and Ajit. Any one can guess if the name is followed by singh its male and if by kaur its female . But as you said the names are confusing and often we have to resort to our nick names . Nick names are usually very funny which i think i will not disclose here . Perhaps some other time .

69 gaddeswarup August 19, 2015 at 5:49 am

Might be somewhere above but I just noticed this son by Asha Bhosle in Sati Narmada

70 AK August 19, 2015 at 6:14 am

This is a very nice song. Must be a very rare Asha Bhosle song with Khemchand Prakash.

71 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Ms Shalan Lal ji,

This is an extract from one of my articles of 2013,about Mirza Musharraf-

” Thru Ramesh Advani(son of Bhudo Advani),I got a contact of Mirza musharraf’s daughter,who stays in Versova itself,where I too stay.I contacted them.her husband Muneer Khan,a production manager of Feroze khan earlier gave me some information on Mirza Musharraf Agha.

Mirza Musharraf was born in a sophisticated educated family.he was very fond of writing Lyrics.he came to Bombay to write film songs and was employed by General films.those days educated persons were eagerly employed by film studios.He first wrote Lyrics for A.R.Kardar’s film “Baghbaan”-1938 He got Rs.90 for the 9 songs that he wrote.During shootings kardar required an artist and Mirza was called to fill up the slot,as per the studio norms.Mirza had no dialogues,but he exhibited excellent use of facial expressions and comic timing.This actually killed his dream of becoming a lyrics writer,because after that he was made a comedian and got several films.As a comedian,mirza worked from 1938 to 1972,working in over 400 films.His last film was Roop tera Mastana-1972.
When he was on the peak of his career,a happy producer gave his Bungalow at Versova free to him for living.Though Versova was then quite far off and sparsely populated.Mirza lived there like a king.The marriages of both of his daughters took place there.Mr.Sanjeet Narwekar-the famous Film historian/journalist writes in his book, The story of Hindi Film comedy,about mirza ” His
speciality was interspersing his Hindi dialogues with English words-quite a curiosity in the pre-independence days.He was almost a permanent with V.M.Vyas and played cameo roles in a fairly long career.” According to Saadat Hasan Manto in his book,stars of another sky says-whichever film he acted he used to be the darling of the Heroes.He was particularly liked by Kardar,K.Asif and Rafiq Gaznavi.

In many films Mirza lip synched songs,but only in ONE film,he got few lines to sing himself.That was the film CAPTAIN KISHORE-1957.he sang along with Mohd.Rafi and Tun Tun.”


72 Arunkumar Deshmukh August 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Ms. Shalan Lal ji,

VISHNI LAL was born in Hyderabad( Sindh) in 1926. She came to Bombay in 1943 to sing in films. Ram Daryani recommended her to Khemchand prakash and he gave a break to her in film Chiragh-43. She sang in very few films like Qurbani-43,Anjuman-48 Mitti ke khilaune-48,Maghroor-50,Daamaad-51,Chhoti Duniya-53 etc.
Her family shifted to Bombay in 1947,after Partition. She was married to a businessman Mansukhani. She then settled in Dubai,with her family.

73 Shalan Lal August 20, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Arunkumar Deshmukh, ksbhatiya, AK and others

You all are wonderful folks. So much interesting information Mr Deshmukh gives us that I do not know how to thank him enough. He is a jewel in the AK’s Blog of SoY.

ksbhatiya’s information about the Sikh names is amusing at the same time very informative. My Sikh friend once told me that these unisex names in the Sikh community was a deliberate effort post Guru Govind Sing’s campaign to give Sikh women equal status with men also political to confuse the Moghul persecution of the Sikh community.

I think Hindus too should follow the Sikh idea and give female equal status to women in names as well.

Shalan Lal

74 AK August 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I have seen Radha (Babu) as male name quite frequently. We have a maid by the name of Mukesh. I have a lady colleague Rajwant, we call her Raj. Your name itself is intriguing. However, in Sikhs unisex names are almost universal. You only need to add Kaur to distinguish.

75 Shalan Lal August 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm


Thanks for your list of the unisex or reversal names. Names like Sitaram, Radheyshyam etc are often broken and used as the first part to address that person.

My sisters name Krishni and we have Vishni Lal are also common as to highlight the particular god in the family shrine. The nam Rami is also very known.

But there is nothing intriguing about “Shalan”. In my college days at the St. Xavier in Bombay we had five “Shalan” named girls at a time and a professor used to get confused and we would enjoy his confused state.

But the name “Mukesh” for a girl is unusual but then we had a girl called Raji in our building. Raj Kapoor was called Raji by his family and friends.

Well, I think “a name of any rose” should smell sweet if we take the things as they are.

Shalan Lal

76 Shalan Lal August 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm


The richest Indian man Laxmi Mittal is called just Laxmi or Laxmi Mittal

Shalan again

77 AK August 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm

Shalan Lal,
The issue only arose in the context that we do not commit a faux pas in using a wrong pronoun in referring to someone. This has happened earlier on SoY.

Laxmi is a very good example. I know several men by the name of Durga.

78 Shalan Lal August 24, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Hi all
Now somthing comletely different.
There was some discussion about the “Dream Sequence in Āwārā”. I would like to have my “say” as well.

K.A. Abbas was from U.P. a journalist and a good story teller. He partnered with a Poona Brahmin called Mr Vasant Sathey and they wrote many filmy stories for many producers and for their own production called Naya Sanasar. The unique partnership lasted until the death of Abbas.

His earliest success was on the real event story of Dr Kotnis and called it something like “One that did not return” Shataram under his banner Rajkamal made it into a very successful film called “Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani”. He really made it immortal that whenever there is a good time relation between India and China occurs and the visitors from China come over to India and visitors from India visit China the incident of the sacrifice of Dr Kotnis for China is highlighted. Recently it was highlighted after the visit of a dignitary from China and the visit of Indian PM to China.

After the success of the Barasaat and RK was high in the money raining clouds and was building his own studio Abbas told him his story haphazardly inspired from the Crime and Punishment (1866) of Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-881). RK paid him one rupee and reserved the idea for his future production. RK’s paying one rupee later on became very famous in the Bombay’s film world.

Then with many conferences with RK, Abbas and Sathye created a draft format for the film. RK by now assembled many talented people around him and he worked out the screen play from the Abbas-Sathye’s skeleton format.

The end of the story in the film is a pastiche of the reversal of the end of the Andaz.

The rest is RK. On his success of Barasaat RK got great financiers’ support and the money was no matter.

The dream sequence was all his creation and making it on a huge scale employing real architecture like Acharekar he fabricated an architectural dream based on both Hindu and Christian religious ideas. To match the architecture he created a musical ballet employing latest craze in the Indian dance movement stimulated by the Uday Shankar troupe who was a master of ballet learned the technique from Anna Pavlova a Russian ballet dancer who made Uday Shankar revive the Indian classical dance. Shankar Jaikishan who were already had theatrical experience of working in the Prithvi Theatre knew how to write music that would be theatrical and filmy melodic. To appreciate the musical architecture fully in words one would request the amazing service of SSV.

The heart of the dream sequence comes from the internal struggle of the character of RK comes from the Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime & Punishment,” The Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg, that AK has explained so well. From the Crime and Punishment later film “Phir Subah Hogi” was based but missed the torture of the internal struggle which was the soul of the original story of the Russian Writer.

The “Āwārā” became a landmark in Hindi films and Russia as well as other parts of the world and achieved the status of “Showman” for RK as many of his future films were shot in the gigantic scales like the dream sequences. RK was the first Indian film actor to receive the Honorary Doctorate from the Tehran University.

AK should have been given life time achievement by the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for making Hindi Films popular in the non-Hindi world outside India.

To appreciate “Āwārā” fully perhaps AK should think of a separate post next year as it will be the 65th anniversary of “Āwārā”.

Shalan Lal

79 AK August 24, 2015 at 7:52 pm

Sharan Lal,
Thanks a lot for a very learned exposition of Aawara. When I watched RK films the first time, when I was young, I was charmed more by Shree 420. But now I agree, the former is an exceptional movie. There is something universal in the theme. It should have got similar reception in the post-war Europe, too. But if it was not as enthusiastic as the Soviet Union or Middle East, Egypt etc., the reason could be its length and song and dance sequences, which the Westerners are not able to relate to.

In your last but one para there seems to be a typo – you obviously mean RK instead of AK.

(There is another one – our expert is SSW, and not SSV.)

80 Shalan Lal August 25, 2015 at 3:31 pm


Thanks for pointing the mistakes or Typo. I should have reviewed my comment fully before I pressed the “Submit” button. But as you have pointed out I hope all the readers including SSW will look kindly at my stupidity.

About your comment the song and dance routines in the indian films surely was a problem at that time. If you have seen the sensational film “Chicago” you may see there is a lot of Indian filmy culture.

The English and Hollywood musicals are the musical genre grew up from the Italian operas and grew up on the English stage.

However the songs in the Indian films grew up from the Sanskrit plays.

However as Warren Hastings said in one of his letter to the Chair of the East India Company the British Rule in India has brought India in European Culture, so slowly we are becoming one world people. In this context and also the first Indian film made by Phalke after seeing an American Film called “Birth Of Christ” the movie making American genre arrived in India and flourished well like the part of India. Wherever Indians go, the filmy culture go with them as wherever Americans go Hollywood goes with them.

So it is the Motion Pictures’ heritage RK promoted not just in India but wherever Americans could not reach India reaches.
I know the length of the Indian films is often worried matters. But look at the length of the films like “Gone with the Wind” and even the silent movie “Birth of a Nation”.
But we do not mind the length of “Sholey”
Sholey film is also forty years old.


81 ksbhatia August 28, 2015 at 12:15 am

AK’ji , Ms Shalan Lal ,

When I was young and saw Awara , I too was fascinated by its Dream sequence; specially its music , dance , camera movement and cinematography . Its an RK’s stamp that he experimented with a very tough screenplay conveying the theme of the movie at a single place in the form of a dream . And what a beautiful result he got . As I grew and as I repeatedly saw the RK’s movies ; I got more interested in his films and use to discuss each and every scene with my brothers and friends .

It’s a fact that RK made cohesion of three songs and seamlessly picturised them as a single dream song .

1 tere bina aag yeh chandni…….. by Lata and chorus [ mostly female]

2 yeh nahi yeh nahi hai zindgi……by Mann dey and chorus [ mostly male ]

3 ghar aya mera pardesi…………… Lata and chorus[ male and female ending with RK ‘s voice ]

This song and dream sequence was one of the highlighter of the movie besides the main theme song … Awara hoon . RK carried on with seamless songs in subsequent movies also . In Boot Polish the Three in One song was …..Raat gayee jab din aata hai . The song has three splits

1 raat gayee jab din aata hai ……. by Mannadey and chorus

2 John chacha tum kitne aachey….by Asha’ji and chorus

3 Badtaa chal badtaa chal tu ek hai …. by Mannadey and chorus

The picturisation of the song , acting and song itself was a another highlighter of the movie and feather in RK’s cap .

RK studio continued this trend to some extent in Shree420 as well . One can recall …. Mud mud ke na dekh song that again comprised of :

1 Mud mud ke na dekh …… Asha’ji and chorus

2 mud mud ke na dekh ………by Mannadey and chorus
After these two seamless songs there is a pause of confontration between Raj kapoor and Nargis after which the third song appears

3 O jaane wale mud ke jara dekhte jaana jara dekhte jaana….. by Lata’ji [ no chorus , only soft instrumental violin orchestrisation with touches of mandolen and guitar against the waltz and fast rhythm of the asha / mannadey song .]

There after RK continued with such songs in Bobby also… Pyar mein saauda nahin and Jhooth bole kauwa kaate…..are the example . later on this trend got lost in time .

With these musically rich movies RK became a sort of cultural ambassador and became a world wide personality . Bollywood got their name and fame in Hollywood as well . Beside ‘Chicago’ indian culture can easily be seen in ‘ Moulin roughe’ also .

82 Shalan Lal August 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Hi ksbhatia
Your information is superb and they way you have seen RK movies is very praiseworthy.

But before putting that information you should have sent it to AK first as he could have put it in the post of Awara he might have considered to do it. So I suggest that this post is not the right place to give so much valuable information on Awara. It deserves a solid good post, then all could join in again. There are many aspects of Awara one may want to share with other readers.
Shalan Lal

83 AK August 28, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Shalan Lal,
I see you have already determined there has to be a post on Aawara! Let us accept the challenge.

84 ksbhatia August 29, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Shalan Lal;
Yes; I should have done that. I will request AK ‘ji to put up a post on Awara and Shanker Jaikishan as he did on Naushad and Mughal E Azam .
Thanks for your appreciation .

85 Shalan Lal August 30, 2015 at 5:26 pm

AK and ksbhatia

Thanks for your agreeing to do the post on Awara. Let us celebrate the great thespian who did great things for India, Indian films and motion pictures in general.

Shalan Lal

86 Siddharth September 1, 2015 at 11:46 am

Another name missing in the sequence is Shyam Sunder.

87 AK September 1, 2015 at 2:47 pm

He is among those who were known as Masterji. A great composer, but I don’t think historically as important as the five I have mentioned. However, he is among my list of composers who have to be featured on SoY.

88 D P Rangan October 24, 2015 at 6:52 am

I was just reading the posts as I got up by 3 AM and utilised the calm hours in a most productive manner. The great diversity of topics covered is an eye opener. AK sowed a seed and the shoot sprouted up and a single stalk in the name of Khemchand Prakash was oscillating in tune with the prevailing wind. As it gathered strength it started branching out and we got all these snippets of information from a collective think tank. Single handed effort would not have yielded such rich treasures even in one’s lifetime. AK is a brilliant stage manager. He rolls out the dice and leaves it wide open to expand wide open exponentially. Shalan Lalji of shawl origin has given such a rich variety of information, I think she deserves a better position. I would request AK to recommend her for the post of Ambassador of this blog to the Court of St. James.

89 AK October 24, 2015 at 7:25 pm

DP Rangan,
Thanks for your nice words. Shalan Lal, of course, deserves all praise. There are many who have enriched SoY. As for me, it is my great fortune that so many learned people have been patronising this blog.

90 D P Rangan November 2, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Just came across the first duet of Geeta Roy and Mukesh in the film
Gaon (1947) M D Khemchand Prakash Lyr. D N Madhok

Watan ki mati hanth mein le kar

As expected it is not a live video.

91 Sanjay January 17, 2016 at 9:28 pm

I googled like crazy to try to know what killed khemchand Prakash so young….now I know. Another artist who died very young was raja mehdi ali Khan..any idea what was the reason of his death

92 Kanti Mohan Sharma October 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

In this discourse, there is mention of a song, sung by Ameer Bai Karnataki and written by Chaturvedi, which is obviously a surname. Nobody bothered to find, or at least hazard a guess about his full name. I tried but failed to find, but never the less may hazard a guess which may be correct or incorrect. It may inspire some young researcher to settle the matter, but I do think it could be the famous actor Kanhaiya Lal Chaturvedi. I know for sure, that He did write a few lyrics for the Hindi films; but can’t say the same for this particular song, with any degree of certainty. It is just a guesswork which needs to be explored.

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