Guest article by N Venkataraman
(Mr N Venkataraman had been benefitting the SoY readers with his erudite comments for quite some time. Therefore, when Mr Ashok Vaishnav’s mega series on Multiple Version Songs came along, my thoughts went to him for doing Hindi songs and their versions in South Indian languages. I am grateful that he accepted my request. He starts with Tamil, and this too he proposes to do in three parts, which he explains in the article. With Ashokji’s three articles, and the last guest article by Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh on Hindi-Marathi, the mega series is now taking shape as we had envisaged. Please enjoy another learned article in the series, which is the first guest article by Venkataramanji. This would be hopefully followed by many more. – AK)
In the first of the series of articles on this theme, Ashok Vaishnavji had presented an overview of the various types of multiple version songs. In his overview he had elaborated the types of possible variations and some very broad categories of this theme. He had suggested separate post for each of the categories/sub-categories and further suggested a collaborative effort in compiling bank of songs and in volunteering to write guest posts on some of the categories. AKji had laid out the road map for further exploration of the subject and reiterated the views expounded by Ashok Vaishnavji on collaborative efforts on this theme. I had mentioned in my comment that this is a monumental task and the effort deserves to be organized and well documented. In the meantime, Ashok Vaishnavji has come out with the second and third part in the series, and in the last post Arunkumar Deshmukhji has given an outstanding overview of Hindi-Marathi linkage in films and songs. Inspired by these painstaking efforts, and after an encouraging communication from AKji, I decided to venture into an area, where I have not made any serious attempt earlier.
The South Indian film songs encompass the four major languages, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Ideally, each of the ‘South Indian language film songs’ should have separate article. My maiden attempt will delve into Tamil film songs only. I have further classified the subject into 3 sub-categories. ‘Inspired and adopted melodies’ in the first part, ‘Songs from dubbed versions’ in the second and ‘Songs from remakes’ in the third. In this article, I will be covering the first part, namely the ‘Inspired and adopted melodies’.
From the late 1940s Tamil film music began to be influenced by Hindi film music. In spite of their inherent limitations in understanding the lyrics, Hindi film music was enjoyed and appreciated by South Indian listeners. ‘Inspired’ by Hindi film music, popular Hindi tunes were ‘adopted’ in South Indian films and the South Indian music lovers enjoyed such ‘Inspirational adoptions’. This trend continued to a great extent till the 60s. But during this period, it is difficult to find any Tamil film melodies adopted in Hindi film music. I would be more than pleased, if our knowledgeable readers come up with examples to the contrary. The music of the South and the North, apparently similar and enjoyed and appreciated by both the listeners, had their differences. One would not find instance of any South Indian music director composing scores for Hindi films in the 50s, 60s or even in the 70s. Some of the double version or multi version films and dubbed films were the exceptions. In most of the Hindi remakes of the Tamil film, the Tamil music directors were replaced by North Indian music composers. The composers of the remakes preferred to score fresh tunes rather than retaining the original Tamil tunes. There were rare instances where they had retained the original tunes.
Let me begin with a selection of ‘Inspired and adopted melodies’ for the delectation of the listeners/readers.
Here are three songs from the film Vazhkai (The life) (1949). The film Vazhkai was produced and directed by A V Mieyappa Chettiar (AVM Productions). AVM simultaneously produced the film in Telugu as Jeevitham and remade it in Hindi as Bahar in 1951. Vyjayanthimala, the budding teenage Bharatanatyam dancer made her debut in this movie and in due course emerged as a major star of Indian Cinema. AVM Chettiar had the screenplay suitably amended to include dance sequences. The original songs were from three different, but earlier Hindi films.
1T. Enni enni paarka manam by MR Rajeshwari from Vazhkai (The Life) (1949), lyrics Kamakshi Sundaram, music Sudarshanam
The Tamil version is set to a faster meter, and Vyjayanthimala, yet to shed her ‘baby fat’, with her expressive eyes and graceful dance movements, had given a scintillating performance. This is a classic example of an adopted song, and Kamakshi Sundaram had done an excellent job by providing fitting lyrics. The Tamil version was rendered equally well by M R Rajeshwari. Let us listen to the Tamil version of the song first.
1H. Chup chup khade ho by Lata Mangeshkar and Premlata from Badi Bahen (1949), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Husnlal Bhagatram
While the street singers enact this beautiful song, the leading pair, Suraiya and Rehman, exchanges silent expressions. This song bears the typical stamp of Husnlal-Bhagatram Music.
In the Tamil version of the next song, Vyjayanthimala drives an open hooded Morris Minor (?) with T R Ramachandran sitting beside her. In contrast, Dilip Kumar drives a bullock cart with Nargis beside him. The orchestration of the Tamil version is also different. The Hindi version of the song, though set to a slower tempo, sounds more vibrant than the Tamil version. Needless to say, the original score was composed by, one and the only, Naushad. Let us listen to the songs.
2T. Sen thamizhum suvaiyum polave by M R Rajeshwari and T R Ramachandran from Vazhkai (1949), lyrics Kamakshi Sundaram, music Sudarshanam
2H. Mein bhanwara tu hai phool by Shamshad Begum and Mukesh from Mela (1948), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
Let me share an interesting anecdote. A V Mieyappa Chettiar and his team were coming out of a cinema hall after watching a Hindi movie, Khidki (1948), when he heard M. R. Rajeswari humming a tune from the film. The music director of the film was C Ramchandra and the song (male chorus & female chorus versions) was Kismat hamare saath hai in which there was a catchy refrain — Dadada dadada dadadada. AVM Chettiar decided to have a similarly tuned song in Vazhkai. Kamakshi Sundram wrote the song and the in-house music director, Sudarsanam, tuned it. Two versions of the song (female and male) were recorded for the film Vazhkai and both the versions became very popular. Let us listen to the male version of the Tamil song first.
3T. Un kann unnai ematrinal by T R Ramachandran from film Vazhkai (1949), lyrics Kamakshi Sundaram, music Sudarshanam
The leading lady teasing the ‘hero’, that too in a male-attire must have been a bold depiction in those days. In the earlier song we saw her driving a car. Here is the female version sung by M R Rajeshwari.
The male version of the Hindi original
3H. Kismat hamare saath by Md Rafi, Chitalkar & chorus from Khidki (1948), lyrics P L Santoshi, music C Ramachandra
Here is the female version of the Hindi original sung by Shamsad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar & Mohantara Talpade. This song is special for several reasons. This is one of the early songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Through this song I have found Mohantara Talpade. Finally this multi version song brings to light another category viz. male chorus and female chorus with more than one (main) singer. Although the Tamil version was rendered well, comparatively the Hindi versions sound much better. I am afraid that I have started ruffling a few feathers!
Let us on move on to the 50s. The film Thai Ullam (Mother’s Mind) (1952) was based on the novel ‘East Lynne’ by Henry Wood. This film was a major breakthrough for the then struggling actor named R. Ganesh, who later came to be known as Gemini Ganeshan.
4T. Konjum purave by M L Vasanthakumari from film Thai Ullam (1952), lyrics Udumalai Narayana Kavi / Surabhi (?), music V Nagaiah and Adheppali Rama Rao
This song was adopted/adapted from the Hindi song Thandi hawaein. M L Vasanthakumari, a classical singer, had beautifully rendered this song in Carnatic style, with subtle Kampithams /Gamakams to suit the taste of the South Indian listeners. This song was very popular. It is not clear whether the lyrics were written by Surabhi or Narayana Kavi. The lilting music of S D Burman has to give way to the use of Violin in the prelude and interlude.
4H. Thandi hawaein by Lata Mangeshkar from Naujawan (1951), lyrics Sahir Ludhianvi, Music S D Burman
This is a beautiful composition with equally beautiful lyrics. This immortal song of Lata Mangeshkar will be a strong contender for the best female song of 1951.
5T. Aasai pongum azhagu roopam by Krishnaveni (Jikki) and A M Rajah from Aasai (Desire) (1956), lyric Marutha Kasi, music T R Pappa
Aasai is the Tamil remake of the Hindi film Dulari (1949). Naushad was the Music Director for Dulari. But, this song Aasai pongum azhagu roopam, was adopted from the 1955 Hindi movie Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje and was again set to a faster tempo.
Nain so nain nahi milao was a big musical hit and was extensively discussed in the post ‘Best Songs of 1955’ and was declared the second best duet for 1955 in ‘Wrap up 3’.
5H. Nain so nain nahi milao by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Vasant Desai
6T. Senthamizh then mozhiyal by T R Mahalingam from Maalayitta Mangai (The Garlanded Maiden) (1958), lyrics Kannadasan, music M.S. Viswanathan—Ramamoorthy
Set to Raag Kapi (Carnatic) Sentamizh Thenmozhiyal is rendered beautifully by T.R. Mahalingam. First let us listen to the song.
MS Vishwanathan was a great admirer of Naushad. There is an interesting story related to this song. Here is a quote from an interview of MS Vishwanathan by Sriram Lakshman, in the year 2005.
“‘Naushad enakku deivam mathiri’ (Naushad is like God to me) is an admiration-laden starting point. Naushad’s music in Anmol Ghadi, Rattan, Udan Khatola, Baiju Bawra, Aan, he says, elevated him to ecstatic states. He fondly recollects the days of waiting on tenterhooks for the release of a Naushad’s Album. Interesting to note that he included Aan which had Muhabbat choome jinke haath, rendered by Rafi, the pallavi of which, though set to a slightly different meter, was applied to kick-start the hugely famous Senthamizh then mozhiyal in Malayitta Mangai (1957). The fact that Naushad used the same meter for his Hue hum jinke liye barbaad sung by Rafi in Deedar (1951) is a different matter altogether”. In AKji’s parlance- ‘Auto-plagiarism’.
(Note: The thumbnail of this article is a photograph of Naushad with MS Vishwanathan).
I think Deedar was produced before Aan and the Tamil version’s start is more akin to the Deedar song rather than that of Aan. Here are those two inspirational songs; first one from Aan and the second one from Deedar. Naushad-Shakeel-Rafi combination is mesmerising.
6H. Mohabbat choome jinke haath by Md Rafi from Aan (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
Hue hum jinke liye barbaad by Md Rafi from Deedar (1951), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
Let us move over to the 60s.
Adutha Veettu Penn (1960) is a Tamil remake of the Bengali movie Paser Bari (1952), which was again remade in Hindi as Padosan (1968). Pakkinti Ammayi, the Telugu version of this film was made twice, once in 1953 and again in 1980.
The Tamil song from this film, which I am presenting next, was adopted from another Hindi film Ghar Sansar (1958). The Tamil version is set to a slower tempo. Another interesting observation is that the tune of a duet, where the female voice is predominant, was used for a male solo in the Tamil version. Adi Narayana Rao had changed the prelude and interlude music effectively. Let us listen to the Tamil song first and then the Hindi version from the film Ghar Sansar.
7T. Kannale Pesi Pesi Kollathe by PB Srinivas from Adutha Veettu Penn (The Girl Next door) (1960), lyrics T N. Ramiah Dass , music Adi Narayana Rao
Here is the romantic Hindi song sequence set on a breezy Poonam Ki Raat on a river bank. The music of Ravi stands out in this composition. Was Kumkum driving a Chevrolet Impala? It will be interesting to have a post on cars of different makes and models used in Hindi film song-sequences!
7H. Yeh hawa yeh nadi ka kinara by Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle from Ghar Sansar (1958), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Ravi
There was one music director, who drew immense inspiration from the popular numbers of the Hindi films. He liberally ‘adopted’ many of those songs in his Tamil films. To be fair to him, it should be mentioned that he also gave many memorable original tunes. He did a ‘yeoman service’ to the music lovers of the South in general and to his fans in particular by adopting many songs – lock, stock and barrel! The list is a long one. I am presenting three such songs of music director Veda. Here are the Tamil version songs followed by the Hindi original.
8T. Manaennum medai mele by P Susheela and T M Sounderarajan from Vallavanukku Vallavan (Master of Masters) (1965), lyrics Kavignar Kannadasan, music Veda
8H. Sau saal pehle mujhe tumse by Md.Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar from Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shanker Jaikishen
9T. Nerukku Ner by P Susheela and T M Sounderarajan from Ethirigal Jakkirathai (Enemies Beware) (1967), lyrics Kavignar Kannadasan, music Veda
9H. O mere sona re sona re sona re by Md Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Teesri Manzil (1966), Lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, Music R D Burman, Singers
10T. Nanathale kangal minna minna by T M Sounderarajan and P Susheela from CID Shankar (1970), lyrics Kavignar Kannadasan, music Veda
10H. Dil pukare aa re aa re aa re by Md Rafi and Lata Mangehskar from Jewel Thief (1967), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music S D Burman
I started Life (Vazhkai) watching young budding actress Vyjayanthimala and ended up with Jewel Thief; Devanand sensuously holding the hands of a matured Vyjayanthimala, after almost two decades. Ah. That is all in a nutshell.
The later period heralded the advent of Music Directors of a different genre in Tamil films. Ilayaraja, Shankar-Ganesh, A R Rehman and many other composers emerged on the scene. Somewhere around the 90s the reverse trend started. In my humble opinion, the songs of this period are beyond the ambit of this post and I am also not very familiar with melodies of this period.