Guest article by N. Venkataraman
(Mr Venkataraman’s first part of Hindi-Tamil similar songs was on ‘Inspired and adopted songs’. He also mentioned in that article that he would be covering the subject in three parts. In the second part he discusses songs from Hindi movies which were dubbed in Tamil. Synchronizing the lyrics, meaning, meter and lip movement requires a great deal of talent. It is a journey into a fascinating world, which, I presume, is unknown to most of us. There is a warning though. There is something infectious about these songs – you would soon forget that Madhubala ever sang ‘Mohabat ki jhoothi kahani pe roye’, because ‘Kanu kanda kaathal’ will grip you, or that Nargis sang ‘Raja ki ayegi baraat’, because after reading this article you would be humming, ‘Kalyana oorvalam varum’, and so on. – AK)
At the outset, I feel like a traveller commencing the second part of my journey through a desert looking for the elusive oasis. I am afraid that the scope and variety found in the first part will be lacking to a great extent in this article. Except the lyrics and the singer(s), everything else will be almost similar in both the versions. Even the singer(s) in one or two instances can be the same. Hoping that the deserts too can provide enough charm on a calm and moonlit night.
Expectation leads to disappointment, but hope leads to hope. Let me follow the saying, ‘When in Hope, do as the Hopefuls do’.
Dubbing movies in Tamil is not a recent phenomenon. Dubbing started as early as 1944. Harishchandra, released in 1944, was the first film to be dubbed in Tamil from a 1943 Kannada film Satya Harishchandra. Later Tamil movies were also dubbed from others languages. In the 60s a lot of mega Hindi movies were dubbed in Tamil mainly for their songs. But in the seventies many B-grade crime thrillers and action movies were dubbed in Tamil. Now dubbing movies is a separate industry by itself. Although Tamil films were remade in Hindi for the North Indian viewers, it is rare to find instance of Tamil films dubbed in Hindi before the eighties.
Gulebakawali (1955) / Gul-e-Bakawali (1956) – Music K V Mahadevan, M S Vishwanathan- Ramamoorthy
(Note: The thumbnail of this article is from the movie Gulebakawali).
One such rare occasion was in 1956. The Tamil film Gulebakawali (1955) was dubbed in Hindi as Gul-e-bakawali (1956). Gul-e-Bakawali is a species of cactus also known as Night Queen or Nishagandha. Kissa-e-Gul-e-Bakawali was a popular medieval romance story derived from a Persian Masnavi. Besides Pushtu, Punjabi and many other Indian languages, this was translated in Kashmiri by Lasa Khan Fida and in Bengali by the seventeenth century Bengali poet Nawajish Khan. Starting from the silent era till the 1980s, there are at least ten versions of this film, made in Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil. Two versions were made during the silent era. Let us listen to two Tamil songs from this film made in 1955. Before I proceed, let me confess that I have used audio-video remix for those songs, where the original dubbed versions were not available.
1T. Mayakkum malai pozhuthe nee po po by A M Rajah and Jikki from the film Gulebakawali (Night Queen) (1955), lyrics TN Ramaiah Dass, music Vishwanathan-Ramamoorthy(?)
The song Mayakkum malai pozhuthe nee po po was initially composed by K V Mahadevan for the film Koondukkili. (1954). Koondukkili was the only film where M G Ramachandran (MGR) and Shivaji Ganeshan acted together. Both of them wanted the song. The producer, Ramanna, unable to resolve the issue, decided not to use the song in this film. Later the song was used in the next film Gulebakawali for MGR! The credit for this song was given to Vishwanathan- Ramamoorthy pair, who scored the music for Gulebakawali. Let us listen to the Tamil version.
1H. Mera kahan hai man mera by Talat Mehmood and Jikki from the film Gul-e-Bakawali (1956), lyrics Indeevar, music Gyan Dutt
This is a rare and equally beautiful duet of Talat Mahmood and Jikki. Music direction was credited to Gyan Dutt. I have provided link to the remix of Tamil video and Hindi audio for the Hindi version, because the original Hindi dubbed version is not available in the You Tube. Let us listen to Talat Mahmood singing for Puratchi Thalaivar MGR, who later became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
2T. Acchu nimirndha vandi by Chandrababu and Jikki from the film Gulebakawali (1955), lyrics TN Ramaiah Dass, music Vishwanathan-Ramamoorthy
Few words about J P Chandrababu who rendered this song with Jikki and can be seen in this song sequence also. Joseph Panimayadas Rodriguez Chandrababu was a Tamil film comedian-actor, singer and dancer, whose on-screen movements and singing style made him popular from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. But J.P. Chandrababu’s life was a tragedy and he died a pauper in 1974. It was Sivaji Ganesan who bore the cost of his funeral expenses. He was laid to rest at a graveyard in Chennai in 1974.
Let us listen the other duet from the same film, first the Tamil version followed by the Hindi version.
2H. Bhaire maine is aalam by Md.Rafi and Shamsad Begum from the film Gul-e-Bakawali (1956), lyrics Pyarelal Santoshi, music Gyan Dutt
In the 1950s and early 60s a lot of mega Hindi movies were dubbed in Tamil. Movies like Aan, Aah, Udan Khatola, Naya Daur and Mughal-e-Azam were some of the Hindi films dubbed in Tamil, mainly for their songs. Naushad remains the most popular composer in the dubbed genre also. But none of the dubbed version of the films did well at the box-office. And in the sixties, this trend came to an end, to be continued again much later.
Aan (1952) – Music Naushad
Aan was first Hindi film to be dubbed in Tamil. It was also dubbed in French, English and Japanese. Mehboob Khan, a socialist, was an advocator of Welfare State and inclusive development. Through his films, he tried to speak the language of the have-nots. Scoffing at the royalty, films like Aan were popular among the masses. Dilip Kumar and Nadira did the lead roles in this film. Right from the beginning nothing was going right for Mehboob Khan. The film’s muhurat was done with Nargis. Nargis was busy with her assignment with RK Films. Finally Mehboob Khan was compelled to replace Nargis and the role went to Nadira. Although Aan was not a thumping success in India, it had remarkable success abroad. It still remains one of the masterpieces of Mehboob Khan.
The Tamil version was also titled Aan. The lyrics were written by Kambadasan. In YT, both the versions are available only for three songs. I have presented the Hindi song Mohabbat choome jinke haath in my previous article. It is surprising that Mehboob Khan decided to use S M Sirkar, his assistant director, to render the Tamil version of Md. Rafi’s songs, instead of using one of the South Indian male playback singers. It seems Md.Rafi was not interested in singing the Tamil version songs.
3T. Manthinil kaadal by S M Sirkar, lyrics Kambadasan
In spite of the fact that he did not have clarity in diction, S M Sirkar’s songs remained unchanged, Thus S M Sirkar’s name also got included to the many voices of Dilip Kumar. I am presenting the song rendered by the unknown singer S M Sirkar followed by the Hindi version rendered by Md Rafi.
3H. Dil mein chhupa ke by Md.Rafi, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Initially, Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum sang the female version of the Tamil songs. The feedback received by Mehboob Khan was not very encouraging. Later Mehboob Khan got M.S.Rajeswari to sing the Lata Mangeshkar solos and Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi to sing the Shamshad Begum songs. But these changes too were done hurriedly and did not make much of an impact. Next I am presenting the Tamil version of a female solo from this film followed by the Hindi version.
4T. Naan raaniye raajavin by Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi, lyrics Kambadasan
4H. Main raani hoon raja ki by Shamshad Begum, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Aah / Avan (1953) – Music Shankar-Jaikishan
The R K Production film, starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis too did not live up to the expectation. The Filmfare reviewer writes; ‘For a young man weighed down by a frustrated love affair, two infected lungs, and a sensitive tortured poetic mind, he looks surprisingly well and plump.’ Compared to other RK Films this was not a success story. In a later dubbing the end was changed to a happy one but by then it was too late.
The film was dubbed in Tamil as Avan and in Telugu as Premalekhalu. The lyrics in Tamil were penned by Kamabadasan. Initially, Lata Mangeshkar was assigned to sing the Tamil as well as the Telugu version of the songs. There were objections to Lata’s Tamil pronunciation and M L Vasanthakumari’s name came up. Eventually Jikki and her husband, A M Rajah rendered both the Tamil and Telugu versions. I am presenting two songs out of the four songs for which both the version are available on the You Tube. Both of them are worth listening to.
5T. Anbe vaa, anbe vaa, azhaikinra by A M Rajah and Jikki, lyrics Kambadasan
A M Rajah and Jikki have rendered this song quite well.
5H. Aaja re ab mera dil pukara by Lata Mageshkar and Mukesh, lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
This duet can be a strong contender for inclusion in the short list for ‘The Best Duets of 1952’.
6T. Kalyana oorvalam varum by Jikki, lyrics Kambadasan
6H. Raja ki aayegi barat by Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Shailendra Needless to say, which version stands apart!
Udan Khatola (1955) / Vaana Ratham (1957) – Music Naushad
The Hindi film Udan Khatola was dubbed in Tamil as Vaana Ratham. This was Nimmi’s last film with Dilip Kumar. Again Kambadasan was assigned to write the lyrics in Tamil. The songs for the Tamil dubbed version were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, TA Mothi and R Balasaraswathi. Incidentally T Suryakumari, a well known South Indian actor-singer of yore, acted in this movie. She was nominated for the ‘Filmfare Award-Best Actress in a Supporting Role’, for her performance in the role of the queen in this film. Ultimately, Nirupa Roy got the award for her role in Munimji.
There were in all twelve songs in Udan Khatola. All the three songs sung by Md.Rafi were recorded in the voice of T A Mothi in the Tamil version. Initially two songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar were recorded in the voice of R Balasarswathi in Tamil. R Balasarswathi had gone to Bombay for the recording at the invitation of Naushad and Ghulam Mohammad. Surprisingly after the recording of two songs, Balasarswathi returned to Madras. The Tamil version of the other five songs was rendered by Lata Mangeshkar. R Balasarswathi should have been the natural choice, because her pronunciation would have been perfect, unlike that of Lata Mangeshkar. Let us listen to two songs from this film.
7T. Enthan kannalan karai nokki pogiran by Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Kambadasan
In the film Aan Naushad used a hundred piece orchestra, while in Udan Khatola he recorded an entire song without the use of orchestra. The interludes consist of chorus voices. Let us listen to the Tamil and Hindi versions of this song based on the Raag Piloo.
7H. More Saiyyanji utarenge paar by Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
There are five songs of both the versions available on the YT. I tried my best to locate the two songs sung by R Balasarswathi, but in vain. Among the two male Tamil version songs, the song Nee neerodaadaathe, is better rendered by T A Mothi.
8T. Nee neerodaadaathe by T A Mothi, lyrics Kambadasan
Now let us listen to the original Hindi version rendered by Md.Rafi.
8H. Na toofan se khelo by Md.Rafi, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Naya Daur (1957) / Paataliyin Sabatham (1958) – Music OP Nayyar
Paataliyin Sabatham, a very good dubbed version of Naya Daur, was based on a simple romantic story with a blend of socio-economic conditions prevailing at that time in our country. A BR Chopra Film, it is still remembered for the thrilling race between a bullock cart and a bus at the end, and memorable performances by Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Pran and Ajit. Madhubala was originally supposed to do Vyjayanthimala’s role in Naya Daur. Due to her father’s reluctance to allow her for outdoor shootings, B R Chopra had to replace her and it led to an acrimonious court case. Asha Bhosle’s first big success was Naya Daur. Her duets with Rafi like Maang ke saath tumhara, Saathi haath badhana and Uden jab jab zulfein teri, penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by O P Nayyar, gave her recognition. It was the first time that she had got to sing all the songs for the leading lady. Originally the film was made in Black and White, but later it was converted to colour. Let us listen to a beautiful duet from the Tamil version followed by the Hindi original.
9T. Un mugil surul enthan koondal by T M Sounderarajan and P Susheela, lyrics Kamabdasan
9H. Ude jab jab zulfein teri by Md.Rafi and Ash Bhosle, lyrics Sahi Ludhianvi
O P Nayyar was at his best. The song Ude jab jab zulfen teri, set to a beautiful tune, energetic play of the dholak, incomparable rendition by Md. Rafi and Asha Bhonsle, was magical.
Next I am presenting another beautiful duet from the same film. First the Tamil version
10T. Vazhkaiyil un korrikai pole by T M Sounderarajan and P Shusheela, lyrics Kambadasan
10H. Maang ke saath tumhara by Md.Rafi and Asha Bhosle, lyrics Sahir Ludhianvi
Just listen to the violin piece at the beginning of this clip, a superb display of soul wrenching and heart melting appeal (Maang). A beautiful composition, full of pathos and pleasure leading towards an expectation, from O P Nayyar! The entire build up to the song, starting with the violin solo, the sound of gong resonating, the dialogue between Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, all together add to the aural delight.
Mughal-e-Azam (1960)/ Akbar (1961) – Music Naushad
K Asif had planned to make Mughal-e-Azam in three languages – Hindi, Tamil and English. While the Hindi version was a blockbuster hit, the Tamil version flopped badly. So the makers subsequently aborted the idea of dubbing the English version with British actors. But all the songs became popular. The lyrics written by Kambadasan were closely connected to the meaning of the original songs. The songs were sung by P Susheela and Jikki. Six songs from the 1961 version can be found in the You Tube. I would have liked to present the Tamil version of Bekas pe karam keejiye. But I could not locate it. I am presenting the Tamil version of the song Mohabbat ki jhooti. P Susheela has done justice to this composition. But comparison with Lata Mangeshkar’s rendition will not be fair.
11T. Kanavu kanda kaathal by P Susheela, lyrics Kambadasn
11H. Mohabbat ki jhooti kahani by Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
The same Mughal-e-Azam was dubbed in Tamil again in 2006. It was released as Anarkali after it was digitally coloured. Nagore Salim re-wrote the lyrics and songs were rendered by Swarnalatha. Swarnalatha in her 30s, met with premature death in later part of 2000. Those who are interested in listening to this version can find four songs of this version in YT.
12T. Aatrin karai thanile by P Susheela, lyrics Kambadasan
In the 1961 version sung by P Susheela, Kambadasan has remained faithful to the original lyrics. Let listen to 1961 Tamil version.
The original song composed by the all time great Naushad.
12H. Mohe panghat pe Nandlal by Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
With this beautiful song I come to the end of Part 2. One might have not found the elusive oasis, but definitely towards the end the full moon appearing twice would have provided the calm and the charm which I was looking for. Yes twice! Once in the first song of Naya Daur, where we saw one side of the moon revealed to us. And then the other side of the moon which was hidden from our view too was revealed in the last song from Mughal-e-Azam. Beauty personified.
Before I conclude, I will like to mention a point. In the dubbed version songs, the real challenge was with the lyricist. The lyricist had to strike as close a balance between the lyrical meter and musical meter, maintain the meaning as close to the original version as possible and try to match the lip movement. And this was a daunting task, especially in the close-up shots. Here Kambadasan who had written the lyrics for the Tamil dubbed versions, had tried his best to connect to the pronunciation and meaning of the original song. I dedicate this article to Kambadasan, who was adept at penning lyrics for dubbed films. He received very little recognition in his life time.