Guest article by Ashok M Vaishnav
(Ashokji, who is the originator of the mega series on Multiple Version Songs, now takes us to the little known world of cross fertilisation between Hindi and Gujarati film and folk music. He plans to do it in two parts, in the first part of which he presents an overview of the theme and impact of Hindi film music on Gujarati songs. Needless to say, anything from his pen would show depth of research and eye for detail. – AK)
I will begin this post with an humble and honest disclaimer: This preamble will provide an entrée background to our subject of the present post, and is in no way any statement of authority on the subject.
In order to make the posting of the article manageable, we will split the article in two parts, first part dealing with impact of Hindi film music on Gujarati songs, while the second part will present the reverse effect of Gujarati light sangeet on Hindi film music.
Hindi film industry has had a reasonably fair share of Gujaratis associated in a vast range of roles, including back-end functions, like production etc., during all these 100 years of its journey. Many a Gujarati music directors have had a go at the Hindi film music, too. However, except for Jaikishan Panchal (of Shanker Jaikishan duo), and Kalayanji Anandji, no other Gujarati music director seems to have a substantive, and sustained, ‘commercial’ success in the world of Hindi film music, at least not to that scale.
There does not seem to be a major, direct influence of Gujarati music culture to and from Hindi film music, as compared to that of the other Indian languages, where the local film industry has made substantial strides. Obviously, there ought to be valid reasons for such a state of affairs. I am no expert on the subject, but as an individual who has been a ardent fan of all that is good in Hindi film music and Gujarati light music, I may submit that whatever impact, or exchange, has happened between two cultures, the subject does remain an interesting field, both, purely from point of view of enjoyment as well as from the point of view of serious study.
From late 40s to around end of 60s, qualitatively and quantitatively a prolific composer and lyricist in Gujarati sugam (light) sangeet, Avinash Vyas had been concurrent music director as well to around 50 Hindi films, equivalent to around 600 songs.
The possible impact of such an association can be judged by the fact that Geeta Dutt, a major playback singer of his songs, has done more songs in Gujarati (both film and non-film songs) than in her own Bengali. “She has sung 80-odd songs for 25 Gujarati films between 1948 and 1967, plus a handful of non-film songs. While this is not a large body of work, it is larger than her total Bengali output! It is substantial enough to carve a place for her in the pantheon of Gujarati singers of the era.” She would, obviously get the song written down in Bengali, but could deliver (reasonably) clear pronunciations and right throw of the words. (Ref: http://www.geetadutt.com/gujarati_songs.html )
We do also have a good many of songs in the voices of other leading singers like Amirbai Karanataki and Rajkumari too for the Gujarat films released in late 40s, as well as several non-film Gujarati songs around that period. Since then, all front ranking playback singers of Hindi film industry have lent their voice to several Gujarati – film as well as non-film – songs. This trend of mainstream playback singers of Hindi film industry singing in Gujarati, with an excellent native diction, in fact, helped in hugely popularising Gujarati light sangeet in the 60s and 70s. The leading record playing companies were quite comfortable in publishing the records of these songs, and these were commercial successes as well. Interestingly, Mahendra Kapoor went on to become the de facto first choice during 70s for the Gujarati songs based on Gujarati folk tunes. This was the period which must possibly go as quantitatively the most productive period of Gujarati film industry.
With this rather longish opening statement, we now turn to the subject matter proper.
One Gujarati film, Ghar Sansar (1981), will suffice to provide a perfect example of the transfer of tunes across languages. The beauty of such experiments is that unless known, you would always treat the song as native to that language. The master in the art of using the tunes across different languages, Salil Chaudhary’s Gujarati songs (!?) for this film provide us the only possible transfer of the tune, that I know of, from Hindi (or for that matter, from any languages) to Gujarati film music.
I present here one song from this film to illustrate the point:
Ho Halo Re Hans Mala – Singer: Prafull Dave
Prafull Dave was a well versed singer of Gujarati folk, particularly, devotional folk. Salil Chaudhary’s deft use of his voice does certainly help the song fit into the native locale.
The song seems to have its first Malayali version, rendered by Yesudas for a 1977 film Poomanaa
This tune was used again as a Lata Mangeshkar – Kishore Kumar duet for a 1980 Bengali film – Antarghaat as O aamar sojono go
(Note – By pasting these links in your browser, these songs can be heard on-line-streaming.)
Two more such songs from this film and their versions in other languages can be accessed @ http://www.salilda.com/filmsongs/other/gujarati/gharsansaar.asp.
Pag ghunghru bandh Meera naachi re
This Meera bhajan has several versions, which we would re-visit appropriately when we will take up this specific category. However, the two clips that can be accessed through the links provided below will substantiate the indirect influence of Hindi film music on Gujarati sangeet.
Well, Meera bhajans are treated as ancient devotional Gujarati poetry in Gujarati literature too. This audio clip is also sourced from the site which has collection of Gujarati songs only. Be that as it may, the clip, where Pandit Omkarnath Thakur presents this Bhajan, does emphasise the impact of Hindi film music on Gujarati sangeet.
The accompanying audio clip, rendered by Krishna Kalle, just goes on to illustrate the range of singers of Hindi film world, readily experimenting for songs in Gujarati.
We have a very interesting case here –
Parawardigar-e-Alam from film Hatimtai (1957), Mohammad Rafi, lyrics Akhtar Romani, music S N Tripathi, may not be new to most of the readers of this blog.
This prayer has several other devotional versions, which we will address appropriately separately.
Please listen to an interesting Gujarati ghazal version (the similarity of these songs was presented to me by Tadatmya Vaishnav) by Talat Mahmood (Lyrics: Ramesh Gupta ; Music: Kersi Mistry):
Shaane guman karato (1961) – “What for is your arrogance …”
In the second part of this article we will take a look at versions of the Hindi Film Songs, influenced by Gujarati light / folk music.
Till then, more inputs on impact of Hindi films to, or from, Gujarati sangeet are indeed welcome, so as to enrich our discussion of Multiple Versions Songs series.