Guest article by Arunkumar Deshmukh
(On the blogosphere dealing with old films and music, Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh is known as a living encyclopaedia. SoY regulars are aware of the mega series on multiple version songs, started by another stalwart, Mr Ashok Vaishnav, spanning across singers, films, genres and languages, some parts of which may require treatment by super specialists. Here comes the living encyclopaedia, writing a guest article on Hindi films and songs which have their Marathi versions. While doing this, he takes us on a fascinating journey to the earliest days of our films when Marathi theatre and films were a major influence on Hindi films. – AK)
Bombay was the first major centre of film making in India. The industry thrived, prospered and grew here. Bombay being the biggest city in Marathi speaking area, no wonder, initially, the industry was dominated by Marathi speaking artists. As the industry grew, more and more Marathi people joined it in all the branches of film making, whether it was production, editing, choreography, script writing, acting, composing or singing. The period of 1920s to 1960s was a time when Hindi film industry was crowded with Marathi artists.
The first talkie was made in Bombay and, as expected, music became the main attraction in cinemas. It was a better alternative to radio as people could see and hear too. To start with, there was a heavy influence of Marathi stage/theatre music on Hindi Film Music (HFM). Gujarati and Parsi theatres were also there, representing the three main communities in Bombay’s commercial, business and socio-political activities in Bombay.
The Marathi stage has a very old history. Influenced by Yakshagana, traditional dance drama of Karnataka, the Marathi stage achieved a clear regional form by the middle of the 19th century.
- Vishnudas Bhave started Marathi theatre in 1840
- Parsi theatre (mainly Guajarati language) started in 1850
- Dadi Patel started Urdu dramas in 1871, and
- Mulji and Waghji Asharam Oza established Morbi Natak Mandali in Saurashtra in 1878
After 1840, many Natak Mandalis were founded and they staged Sangeet Nataks, running for 4 to 6 hours at a stretch, having at least 25 to 40 songs in it. These were called Natyageet. The stage dramas in Maharashtra had a deep and emotional impact on Marathi community, becoming a major means of entertainment, followed by Tamasha – a musical folk drama for the lower strata of the society. So, when the talkies came and provided music, many professionals of Marathi dramas joined this new avenue of entertainment. Thus, the first rung of composers and singers came from Marathi stage, forming the single largest group.
They had a classical music base and theatre background. Some of the names were very well known. Musicians like Deenanath Mangeshkar, Annasaheb Mainkar, Suresh Mane, Keshavrao Bhole, Govindrao Tembe, Master Krishnarao, Dada Chandekar, S.P.Rane (he hailed from Gujarat), Prof.B.R.Deodhar, Bapurao Ketkar, Vamanrao Sadolikar, M.G.Tembe, Dinkar Bidkar etc composed music in Hindi films in the 30s. Their music was essentially based on Natyageet and even the tunes were picked up from famous Natak songs. People in Maharashtra welcomed this style, familiar as they were with it, treating it as an extension of Nataks.
The film production companies like Prabhat, Hans, Navyug, Saraswati, Cinetone, Shalini Cinetone, Balwant Pictures etc made films in both the languages, Marathi and Hindi. The language was different but the tunes and translated lyrics were almost the same in most songs. Particularly those songs which became popular and famous were retained in Hindi versions unaltered. Some examples:
1. Jamuna bich khelu khel kanhaiya, sung by Meenakshi Shirodkar in Bramhachari (1938), was a ditto copy of Marathi "Yamuna jali kheku khel kanhaiya."
2. Ab kis liye kal ki baat, sung by Shanta Hublikar in Aadmi (1939), was a ditto copy of the multilingual Marathi song "Aata kashala udya chi baat" from Maanus.
Kis liye kal ki baat, music Master Krishna Rao
Kis liye kal ki baat is quite a landmark song. Each version was actually multilingual. As her clients are from different regional backgrouds, Shanta Hublikar sings in Hindi (Marathi), Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi,Telugu, Bangla and Tamil languages (in that order). For Hindi and Urdu, the lyricist was Munshi Aziz. For Gujarati it was Jitubhai Mehta; for Punjabi, Abid Gulrej; for Telugu the lyrics and music was by V.N.Bhushan; for Bangla, the lyricist was Anil Biswas and MD was Mrs.N.C.Ganguly and for Tamil, the lyricist was Kalyansundaram and MD was S.Ramamirtham. The Marathi lyricist was Shantaram Athavale. Rarely you come across a solo of eight minutes, but you remain absorbed because of the carefree dance of Shanta Hublikar, and changing mannerisms, inflexion in voice and get up appropriate to each regional language – especially remarkable is her Bengali act ( was she doing a playful spoof of Kanan Devi?).
Now listen to the Marathi versions of the above two songs:
3. Man saaf tera hai ya nahi, sung by Parshuram in Duniya Na Mane (1937), was a ditto copy of its counterpart in Marathi Kunku, "Man shuddha tuza."
These are a few popular examples, but it happened with almost every bilingual film. No one would mind it too. The influence of Marathi music was so much that these songs, even if they were in Hindi, felt like Marathi songs.
Contrary to popular belief, the bilingual film production and using the same tune/lyric was not restricted only to films made by Prabhat Company, but many others like Ranjit (Sant Tulsidas) followed it. Sirco Productions (Mahatma Vidur), Menaka Pictures (Swarn Mandir), Samrat Cinetone (Naganand, the first film of C.Ramchandra as a hero aginst Azambai), Veena Films (Neela), besieds Kolhapur Cinetone, Hans Pictures, Shalini Cinetone, Saraswati Cinetone and Balwant Pictures also did the same.
From 1932, the bilingual films were Ayodhya Ka Raja, Jalti Nishani, Maya Machhindra, Shyam Sunder, Amrit Manthan, Krishnarjuna Yudha, Swarna Mandir, Chandrasena, Dharmatma, Kaliya Mardan, Naganand, Neela,Usha, Chhaya, Duniya Na Maane, Pratibha, Premveer, Bramhachari, Raja Gopichand, Aadmi, Brandi Ki Botal, Sant Tulsidas, Sant Gyaneshwar, Sant Sakhu, Sant Janabai, Padosi, Dus Baje, Mahatma Vidur etc etc.
(Note: The thumbnail used in this article is a scene from Ayodhya Ka Raja – AK)
Post partition, some iconic Marathi films were remade in Hindi. In these films, however, the composers were different and barring a few copied songs, most were new songs. Some of these films were:
- Bhabhi Ki Choodiyan – 1961 (Vahininchya Bangadya – 1953)
- Aurat Teri Yehi Kahani – 1954 (Stree Janma Hi Tuzi Kahani – 1952)
- Nanhe Munne – 1952 (Chimni Pakhare – 1952)
- Mera Saya – 1966 (Pathlag – 1965)
- Piya Ka Ghar – 1972 (Mumbaicha Jawai – 1971)
- Chacha Chaudhari – 1953 (Pedgaonche Shahane – 52)
- Baaghban – 2003 (Oon Paus – 1954)
- Pinjra – 1973 (Pinjra –1971) etc.
In Chacha Chaudhari, Madan Mohan had used Marathi tune for the song by Asha Bhosle in More piya, chhede jiya. He also used the comedy song "Zanzibar" ditto with tune and lyrics (looked like a dubbed song actually).
Over a period the public taste changed. With the entry of many outside composers (I only mean composers from outside Maharashtra) who were talented, the cine-music became extremely diversified, and by about 1942-43 the impact of Marathi stage music waned considerably.
From the catchy songs of Khazanchi-1941, Punjabi and folk tunes became a rage.
With diminishing participation of Marathi composers with stage background, now it was the turn of the singers from Maharashtra to contribute to HFM.
In addition to Lata, Asha, Usha, Meena and Hridaynath Mangeshkar, singers like Vanmala, Snehprabha Pradhan, Shanta Apte, Shanta Hublikar, Mohantara Ajinkya, Shahu Modak, Sadashiv Nevrekar, Shridhar Parsekar, Meenakshi Shirodkar, Manik Verma, Hirabai Badodekar, Vatsala Kumthekar, Pasrshuram. Manju, Balakram, Suresh Mane, Bhimsen Joshi, G.N.Joshi, Sulochana Kadam, Lalita Deolkar, Leela Chitnis, Pramodini and Vinodini Desai, Saraswati Rane, Saroj Velinkar, Shyama Hemmady, Sudhir Phadke, Suman Kalyanpur, Vasanti, Ratnaprabha, Balgandharva, Suresh Wadkar, Indira Wadkar etc from Maharashtra constituted the single largest group of singers from any region. (This and earlier all lists are only indicative and not exhaustive.)
As the years passed by, the number of Marathi singers also dwindled and you could count them on fingers. It was not because they could not stand competition, but they had enough opportunities in Marathi film industry which was growing very fast.
Composers like Vasant Desai, C.Ramchandra, Datta Davjekar, N.Datta, K.Datta, Dattaram (Wadkar), Sudhir Phadke, Snehal Bhatkar, Ram Laxman, Vasant Pawar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar etc. were activeg. Even these composers continued using Marathi songs and tunes, which were popular in the Natyageet and Bhavgeet genre.
Here are a few examples:
1. Ye zindgi usi ki hai (Anarkali, 1953) was a copy of the tune of a famous song from drama Sharada (Moortimant bheeti maj samor ubhi rahili).
2. Koi pyar ki dekhe jadugiri (Kohinoor, 1960) was based on Bhavgeet, He doodh tujhya tya ghatatale, sung by Lata Mangeshkar
He doodh tujhya tya ghatatale by Lata Mangeshkar
3. Gaya andhera huwa ujala (Subah Ka Tara, 1954) was based on Bhavgeet, Raadha gavlan karite manthan, sung by Asha Bhosle.
Radha gavla karate manthan by Asha Bhosle
4. Bade bhole ho (Ardhangini, 1959) was a copy of Vasant Desai’s own song, Tujya preeti che dukh mala from Amar Bhupali (1952).
Bade bhole ho by Lata Mangeshkar from Ardhangini (1959), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri
Cover version of Tujya preeti che
Now watch the Little Champs performing the Marathi version of this classic song.
5. Dharati ko aakash pukare (Mela, 1948) was based on Bhavgeet, Valana varuni valali gaadi
To sum up, in the founding years of HFM, the contribution from bilingual films and songs, as well as from Marathi composers and singers was very significant. Not that they did anything extraordinary, but their influence is permanently etched on the early songs of Hindi Film Music.
(Credits: HFGK,Yadon Ki Baraat,Gaaye Chala Ja,Wo bhooli Dastan, Ruperi Smaranyatra, Dhunon Ki Yatra, Swaron Ki Yatra, Listeners’ Bulletins, Isak Mujavar’s articles etc.)