Forgotten Composers Unforgettable Melodies (9): Lachhiram

March 30, 2014

LachhiramWho is not aware of Tu shokh kali main mast pawan, tu shamm-e-wafa main parwana or Dhalti jaye raat kah de dil ki baat? The songs are among all time greats of Rafi. But many lovers of old film music may not be aware or might have forgotten the name of Lachhiram. A very awkward and unfamiliar name, and not among the mainstream composers, he is a perfect candidate for my series on the Forgotten Composers: Unforgettable Melodies.

In my active radio listening days, the above songs were a regular feature on various programmes. It was precisely because it was such an odd name that Lachhiram stuck in my mind. There is some sociology behind such names. In the days of high infant mortality, when in a family children died successively, it was believed that giving an embarrassingly odd name would ward off the evil curse and the child may survive long. In some cases these were used as pet names, and at the right time the person was given a more respectable proper name. However, in many cases these were the only names that were retained in order to make the protection more effective. Most sites mention only his first name, some mention his surname ‘Tamar’, though my recollection is that radio programmes mentioned his surname as ‘Tomar’.

Lachhiram was born in Kuthar princely state of Himachal. His father was an employee in the court of Rana Saheb Jagjit Chandra. Lachhiram lost his father at a very young age, and was brought up and trained by the music lover Rana Saheb. He subsequently received training under the court musician Noore Khan. At the age of 20-21 he came to Delhi and got a job with HMV for whom he also sang many songs. He was discovered by Aziz Kashmiri, who had come to Delhi as an emissary of Shourie Pictures to look for a music director. Thus, his career in films started with Champa (1945), and continued in fits and starts till 1964, when it ended with the most successful film of his career, Main Suhagan Hun. Even though his songs of only a couple of films are well known, it appears he gave music for about twenty films as follows:

1.  Champa (1945) with Anupam Ghatak
2.  Badnami (1946) with Anupam Ghatak
3.  Kahan Gaye (1946)
4.  Khushnaseeb (1946) with Anupam Ghatak
5.  Shalimar (1946) with Anupa Ghatak and Pt Amarnath
6.  Arsi (1947) with Shyam Sundar
7.  Director (1947)
8.  Mohini (1947) with Bhai Lal
9.  Birhan (1948)
10. Guru Dakshina (1950)
11. Madhubala (1950)
12. Maharani Jhansi (1952)
13. Ameer (1954)
14. Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh (1954)
15. Do Shahzade (1956)
16. Guru Ghantal (1956)
17. Hazar Pariyan (1959) with K Narayan Rao
18. Razia Sultana (1961)
19. Main Suhagan Hun (1964)

His early films are not very well known, even Ranjit Movietone’s Dev Anand-Madhubala starrer Madhubala (1950) not doing much to his career. Therefore, let me start with his last film which had the most well known songs, and which make him unforgettable.

1. Tu shokh kali main mast pawan by Rafi/ Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Main Suhagan Hun (1964), lyrics Kaifi Azmi

This fabulous song has a Rafi solo version picturised on Kewal Kumar and a Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet version picturised on Ajit Kumar and Mala Sinha. Obviously it is a love triangle; Kewal Kumar’s singing makes Mala Sinha restless. My impression is that the duet came first in the film as a happy duet between the lovers, until the third angle came later to sing the solo in a different tune.

 

2.  Sab jawan sab haseen koi tumsa nahin by Rafi from Main Suhagan Hun

Another immortal Rafi song, performed by the handsome musician in the mehfil. The romantic poetry and the rendering leaves Mala Sinha in no doubt that it is meant for her, and she is not left untouched.

 

3.  Gori tore nain kajar bin kaare by Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Main Suhagan Hun

Now we can piece the story. Kewal Kumar is a music teacher. This beautiful duet composed in Raga Des shows the student (Nishi?) following her teacher. The song ends with a beautiful tabla piece, played probably by a professional player, the lady now dancing to the beats. (So, it is no longer a triangle, but a quadrangle?)

 

4. Ae dil machal machal ke kyun rota hai zaar zaar kya from Main Suhagan Hun, lyrics Butaram Sharma

Now this superb pathos-filled song by Lata Mangeshkar would compare with the best by any top composer.

 

5. Dhalti jaye raat by Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Razia Sultana (1961), lyrics Anand Bakhshi

Being the only woman ruler of the Sultanat and the Mughal period, Razia Sultan’s love affair with one of her advisors, an Abyssinian slave Yakut, has attracted film makers over the years. Whether the films were hit or flop, the romantic tale inspired superb music. We have seen Khayyam’s music in the 1983 version starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini. In the 1961 version starring Jairaj and Nirupa Roy, Lachhiram’s music is equally ethereal. (This one uses ‘Sultana’ in the title rather than the gender-neutral ‘Sultan’.)

 

6.  Jao ji jao badi shaan ke dikhanewale by Asha Bholse, Sudha Malhotra, Mahendra Kapoor and Balbir from Razia Sultana, lyrics Asad Bhopali

This is a beautiful qawwali muqabala between males (Agha and another?) and females (Madhumati, Jeevankala?). With the ladies being terrific dancers too, and accompanied by a few more dancers, the men have no chance.

 

7. Chali jaati chhabiliya matakati..bhes badal kar gori nikli by Geeta Dutt from Razia Sultana, lyrics Kaifi Azmi

Those days when the leading lady’s love affair became known, her gang of sakhis teased her. This unknown gem by Geet Dutt has excellent picturisation.

 

8. Aansoo na baha kar yaad use jo is sansaar ka data hai by Rafi from Guru Ghantal (1956), lyrics Gafil

A completely unknown song until I started researching for this post, but it has grown on me. I find no reason why it should not rank with Rafi’s most melodious gems.

 

9.  Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai by Rafi from Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh (1954), lyrics Ram Prasad ‘Bismil’

This is one of the most iconic songs of our freedom movement, written by a revolutionary himself. Among numerous versions – a comment on YT mentions Rafi himself had sung four versions – this one is special because of its somewhat different tune than the one we are familiar with.

 

10. Ye duniya bewafai ki wafa ka raaz kya jane by GM Durrani from Madhubala (1950), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

This Ranjit Movietone’s Dev Anand and Madhubala starrer must be Lachhiram’s most prestigious project. The film might have bombed. As for the music, though melodious, without Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh and Rafi (this movie had GM Durrani and Asha Bhsole as the main singers) it would have been impossible to make a mark in the face of titans Naushad, C Ramchandra and Shankar Jaikishan. However, this song by GM Durrani, Rafi’s idol in yesteryears, which must have been lip-synched by Dev Anand, is outstanding. I have earlier written on different singers for Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor – it would be interesting to compile for Dev Anand too, and see who had the most voices.

 

11. Are O denewale tune kaisi zindagi di hai by Asha Bhosle from Madhubala (1950)

Early Asha Bhosle makes a very interesting study. When the elder sister defined the female voice, and other leading singers were Geeta Dutt and Suraiya (I am putting Shamshad Begum in a class by herself), what could Asha Bhosle do? In several songs I have noticed clear Lata style; the impact of Geeta Dutt on her is well known. This song reminds me of Husnlal Bhagatram-Suraiya.

 

12.  Sajan ki yaad suhani hai by Prem Pal from Guru Dakshina (1950)

No information is available about this film or about the singer except that some good soul has uploaded the song on YT. Very curiously, Prem Pal is clearly a lady, but the song is outstanding.  The song starts with a slow recital ‘Dil jab se diya hai sajan ko’ and flows into a very fast song. It must have been picturised as a group dance.  Lacchiram has used slow recital as a prelude  to great effect in some other songs also mentioned above.

 

13.  Kisi ke dard ko seene mein hum chhupa ke chale by Ira Nigam from Guru Dakshina

Now you have this excellent ghazal from the same film by Ira Nigam who was a talented singer of the late 40s to early 50s. Belonging to a Delhi based family, she was born in October 1930 at her nanihal in Madhya Pradesh. From a very young age she started singing in conferences and on the radio. On Roshan’s recommendation, who was a musician in AIR Delhi, she got a break under Khursheed Anwar in Parakh (1944). She also sang in Rakhi (1949), Chaar Din (1949) and a few other films. But sadly, family circumstances prevented her from achieving her true potential as a singer or as a composer.

 

I doubt if Lachhiram’s pre-1950 songs would be available. But we should count our blessings. It is clear, he was much more than Main Suhagan Hun and Razia Sultana. I am very happy to present this forgotten composer who has been my favourite from my college days.

Acknowledgement: I have taken some information from Pankaj Raag’s Dhunon Ki Yatra and Anil Bhargav’s Swaron Ki Yatra.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sunit jolly March 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm

very informative website full of good old songs

2 Yamini Kunder March 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Lovely article.

3 Hanief March 30, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Fabulous and very informative. Thank you. I subscribed to this site.

4 ksbhatia March 31, 2014 at 12:31 am

AK’ji , What a great choice ! The blog takes me to a time shift of 1965 . I was on a training period at that time at beas dam and was stationed at talwara for two months . Talwara being a small township there was only one cinema hall and films used to run for three or four days only. I had the oppertunity to watch Main Suhagan Hoon and I liked all the songs so much that I saw the movie again and again for three days . The reason being the high pitch used by Lacchiram for Rafi and soft tunes for Lata ji.
If I am not mistaken there was one song by Talat also . Music of Rajia Sultana was equally good .

5 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 31, 2014 at 7:07 am

It certainly can be considered a great coincidence that songs that we find available on internet are the only ones that Seemed to have been greatly popular !
At least, I have not heard songs from the pre-1950 films that have been documented earlier in this post.
Well, that hardly seems to matter, too !!!

6 AK March 31, 2014 at 10:16 am

Sunit Jolley, Yamini Kunder, Hanief
Welcome to Songs of Yore, and thanks a lot for your compliments.

7 AK March 31, 2014 at 10:39 am

KS Bhatiaji,
Thanks a lot.

It must be very nostalgic remembering those days. You are right, Main Suhagan Hun had a Talat song too, Ye kis manzil pe le aayi meri badkismati mujhko. A standard Talat fare.

8 AK March 31, 2014 at 10:42 am

Ashokji,
Internet is a great source for all kinds of songs. There is a great deal we have never heard earlier, and that includes absolutely obscure songs.

9 mumbaikar8 March 31, 2014 at 5:35 pm

AK,
Lachhiram may be forgotten but he was a forceful MD.
Rafi was known to be obedient to his MDs, imprints of some powerful MDs of yesteryear are visible in his songs and Lachhiram was one of them.
Thanks for recalling the memory of another forgotten maestro.

10 A P PATEL March 31, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Your programme of yore songs,music directors,and lyricists satisfy my nostalgia for everything in yore music.Thanks a lot for this.I wish the best for all those associated with this superb and admirable work.

11 Anu Warrier March 31, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I must confess that many of these songs are new to me. (So are the films!) Dhalti jaaye raat is the only song in your list that I can remember having heard before. Looking forward to listening to the rest. Thanks for shedding some light on composers who have not risen to as much fame as their peers.

12 AK March 31, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Mumbaikar8,
Rafi’s songs by Lachhiram are indeed among his best. I am happy you liked the post.

AP Patel,
Thanks for your appreciation. I am happy the blog gives you pleasure.

Anu,
You couldn’t have not heard the songs of Main Suhagan Hun. These were among the perennial favourites in the radio era.

13 Arunkumar Deshmukh March 31, 2014 at 9:41 pm

AK Ji,
Thanks for writing on Lachhiram Tomar who was a Punjabi Chaudhari.
He used to play violin on AIR sometimes,before Roop Shorey engaged him and Anupam Ghatak for Champa-1945.
For your information,the song No 4 in the above list,a solo of Lata from film Main Suhagan Hoon is the ONLY song of Lata,Lachhiram ever composed. He was the ‘one film-one song’ composer of Lata.
I would say,he was not that unlucky,having composed music for 19-20 films,unlike some other talented composers who got less than even 10 films.
Lachhiram Tomar died on 5th February 1966, at Bombay.
-AD

14 AK April 1, 2014 at 3:54 am

Arunji,
Thanks a lot for the additional information on Lachhiram. It is interesting that a composer should take Lata Mangeshkar for one song in 20 films (about a dozen in 50s and 60s – peak of her career). I wonder if the reason was something like OP Nyyar’s.

15 Arunkumar Deshmukh April 1, 2014 at 10:33 am

AK Ji,

The reasons need not be OPNish alone. One reason is limited films,secondly,Lata’s personal dislikes etc.
One will be surprised to know that there are 40 MDs who were ‘One film-One song’ for Lata Mangeshkar. The surprising names are…
Arunkumar mukherjee
Anand Milind
Ajit merchant
Meena Mangeshkar
C.Arjun
Sapan Chakravarty
Gyan Dutt
Lala Sattar
Shridhar Parsekar ( he had composed several Bhavgeets for Lata in Marathi)
Chand pardeshi.

It was well known that Lata never gave importance to minor MDs-unlike the Generous Mohd. Rafi-who would sing free for them,if needed.
-AD

16 AK April 1, 2014 at 11:45 am

Arunji,
Considering that Lachhiram composed such a nice song for her, Lata’s reluctance does not put her in a good light.

17 mumbaikar8 April 1, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Arunji, AK,
Successful MDs like Bulo C. Rani and Khurshid Anwar were not very comfortable working with Lata but they could not sustain their success in 50s.O P was only MD who could survive, perhaps he was smart enough to take another Mangeshkar under his wings and use a diamond to cut a diamond, few more things did not put Lata in good light she was also known to dump major MDs too when they seemed to exhaust their creativity, but she has the legacy of almost all good songs while Rafi has the legacy of goodwill and a lot of mediocre songs.
What does goodwill fetch? Not even a Padmabhushan.

18 AK April 2, 2014 at 7:19 am

Mumbaikar8,
You seem to project Rafi as a loser. I am sure Lata Mangeshkar too had a good deal of mediocre and bad songs. Being remembered as a nice person is a reward in itself. As for Padma Bhushan, Rafi passed away at a very young age. Talat Mahmood’s career ended much earlier, but was honoured with Padma Bhushan very late in life. In any case, we should not regard these awards as a measure of someone’s merit.

19 mumbaikar8 April 2, 2014 at 5:15 pm

AK,
Me projecting Rafi as a loser? I surely went wrong in my projection.
I truly belive, Rafi was far more talented than his legacy and his achievments project, that makes me wonder, WHY?

20 N Venkataraman April 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

AKji.
I have heard the songs Tu shokh kali main mast pawan, and Dhalti jaye raat kah de dil ki baat earlier, but I was never aware that these wonderful songs were composed by Lachhiram. Yes I have heard his name before, but could not associate him with any songs. I have not heard most of the songs that you have posted here. Thanks for introducing Lachhiram and his songs. I have not gone through your other posts in this series -Forgotten Composers Unforgettable Melodies. I wish I will be able to do it soon. On a quick browsing, I could find this song from the film Arsi 1947 for which Lachhiram and Shyam Sunder had scored music together.

O Sahu kaar Ji O Nambar daar Ji by Zeenat Begum, film Arsi (1947), lyrics Sarshar Sailani, music Lachhiram and Shyam Sunder
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKRO0jCKxCc

A lullaby by Mubarak Begum
Lakh lakh taray liye by Mubarak Begum and chorus, film Ameer (1954), lyrics Pyarelal Santoshi, music Lachhirami
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN4B0IjTFCo

21 AK April 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

Venkataramanji,
Thanks a lot for your additions. Pre-50 films and songs appeared so obscure that I had no hope we would find them. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we come across some more.

There are a number of forgotten composers like Lachhiram, whose some songs of 50s and 60s are very well known, but listeners are generally not able to associate the name of the composers. I hope you are able to go through my other posts in the series.

22 Rakesh Srivastava April 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Very informative post that spells hard work and deep research.It is easier to discuss popular names but very difficult to discuss obscure ones .Accept my congratulations. In my radio era,name of Lachhiram was associated only with songs of Main Suhagan Hoon and Razia Sultana.His other movies and songs discussed above are absolutely new to me and had never been heard by me before. I will appreciate if a similar post is there on music director Ajit Merchant also.

23 Canasya April 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Thanks AKji. These posts make the title Songs of Yore so apt.

According to Pankaj Raag (Dhunon ki Yatra) ill health (TB) played havoc with Lachhiram’s career. He delivered his most memorable tunes after having lost one lung. Here are couple of more songs from Arsi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WknvPKqi2Dk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zer1aCwkQDo

24 mumbaikar8 April 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm
25 AK April 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Rakesh Srivastava,
Thanks a lot for your generous words. In the radio era, I too was aware of his songs of only Main Suhagan Hun and Razia Sultana. Other songs in the post I became aware in the internet era, or while researching for this post. Yet, I would have never imagined that he had composed songs pre-50 for singers like Zeenat Begum.

I would keep Ajit Merchant in mind.

Canasya,
Thanks a lot for the two songs of Zeenat Begum. These are really songs of yore.

Mumbaikar8,
Thanks for adding these songs from Ameer. Asha Bhosle is really very good in these songs. Arunji has mentioned that Lata Mangeshkar sung only one song for Lachiram, which I have included.

26 Subodh Agrawal April 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm

My favourite from this list – it also figured in my guest post on Des – is ‘Gori tore nain’. The other songs are also good and most of them new discoveries for me. The 1954 version of ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna’ is fine, but I think the 1965 version by Prem Dhawan captures the mood better.

Thanks for this post and for additions to my collection.

27 arvindersharma April 5, 2014 at 11:54 pm

Dear AK Ji,
I am curious about one thing. The song (no13) ‘Kisi ka dard leke’ , sung by Ira Nigam is making me remember something. Is this lady the same one who later married Roshan and became Ira Roshan ? I have also heard that upon Roshan’s untimely death, she was the one who completed the song ‘Mahlon ka raja mila’.

28 Arunkumar Deshmukh April 6, 2014 at 8:52 am

Arvind Sharma ji,

IRA NIGAM AND MRS. IRA ROSHAN NAGRATH are two different persons. This is a case of ” Same Name Confusions”.
To know about Ira Nigam the singer, please read the following article on her–http://atulsongaday.me/2012/10/09/koi-kyaa-jaane/
Ira Moitra who was a music student in Delhi and who was being tutored by Roshan Nagrath-who was working in Delhi AIR initially and later helped Khursheed Anwar ji also as assistant, fell in love and they got married. Thus Ira Moitra became Ira Roshan Nagrath.
It is true that she helped others to complete the recording of balance songs,after the sudden demise of her husband,in a Party.
I hope this answers your query.
-Arunkumar Deshmukh

29 arvindersharma April 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

Thanks AK Ji.
My misunderstanding is cleared.

30 Arunkumar Deshmukh April 6, 2014 at 10:24 am

Sharma ji,

I am not AK ji.
I am different. ( same initial confusion ? )
-AD

31 arvindersharma April 6, 2014 at 10:37 am

I am sorry. Will take care next time.

32 bollyviewer April 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm

In common with most people here, I was familiar only with the Razia Sultana and Main Suhagan Hoon songs, and I was not aware of Lachhiram either. These old songs make me nostalgic for Vividh Bharti of yore, when Bhoole Bisre Geet meant songs from 40s and 50s, not 70s and 80s! I’m looking forward to listening to all the songs in the post and comments, and finding more about other forgotten composers.

33 AK April 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Bollyviewer,
Welcome to Songs of Yore, and wish you happy browsing.

34 Asmat Nawaz July 16, 2014 at 11:09 am

May I point to two main missing songs in the above list.It is surprising coincidence that both misssing songs figure Talat Mahmood which AK claims to be his favorite singer.
One song is from film ” Mein Suhagan Hun” sung by Talat Mahmood which is “Ye kis manzil pe le aai””.
The song is one of the greatest songs rendered by Talat during fag end of his career.
The other missing song is a duet,again by Talat Mahmood with Shamshad Begum from the film “Madhubala” which is “Jawani ke zamane mein jo dil na lagai ga.”

35 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

AK ji,
Here is that melodious song from Madhubala-1950-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaUVLZN2Eu0

-AD

36 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm

AK ji,

Here is Main suhagan hoon-1964 song-

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

-AD

37 AK July 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Asmat Nawaz,
Thanks a lot for mentioning the two songs. in my main post I generally put in only 10 songs. In this case I exceeded by 3 more. Readers add other songs in the comments section.

Arunji,
Thanks a lot for giving YT link of the two songs. I found Jawani ke zamaane mein quite unique. Even after hearing it carefully, it seems to me Surendra’s voice. Other three male solos in the movie are sung by him. Is it possible HFGK, and, consequently YT, might have erred?

38 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 19, 2014 at 10:59 am

AK ji,

1. In film ‘Madhubala’-1950,there is no Surendra. G.M.Durrani sang
3 songs.
2. It is certainly not Durrani’s voice. It is Talat’s voice.
3. In the site http://www.talatmehmood.net, the list of his songs includes this song.

-AD

39 AK July 19, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Arunji,
I meant GM Durrani. With your clarification, we have to accept that.

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