The Master of Musical Comedies C Ramchandra and his ‘Patanga’ (1949)

January 12, 2015

A tribute on C Ramchandra’s birth anniversary January 12 (12 Jan 1918-5 Jan 1982)

PatangaIn my simplified history of Hindi film music, when I move from RC Boral-Pankaj Mullick to Anil Biswas to Naushad, it would be quite unfair if I miss C Ramchandra. The Great Maratha (in the sense of one belonging to Maharashtra) was the most worthy rival of the Great Mughal, almost all the way, until Lata Mangeshkar deserted him, and his music floundered. He had no Plan B. But what a spectacle it was when it lasted! If Naushad had Mughal-e-Azam, CR had Anarkali. When Naushad swore by classical music, CR would create lilting classical based songs like Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag, Ye zindagi usi ki hai, Radha na bole na bole na bole re, Jab dil ko sataawe gham, without making a song or dance about it. When Naushad prided on his folk roots, CR would create Shehnai (Hamare angana aaj baaje baaje shehnai) and Nadiya Ke Paar (More raja ho le chal nadiya ke paar).

But he was not a copycat. If Naushad had his Lata Mangeshkar, there was a different CR-Lata Mangeshkar, which became a trademark in the early 50s,  imitated by several composers. If Naushad prided on devoting a year to create good music, CR did the everlasting Aazad in a month. If Naushad lectured on tradition, CR revelled in being an iconoclast, and shocked purists by Ana meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday that became a national craze. So much so that when a debate was raging whether the National Anthem should be Jan gana mana or Vande Mataram, a paper commented, jocularly, why not Ana meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday? No one had heard anything like that. When his once mentor, Anil Biswas, asked him, in anger, what he meant by creating a song like that, he said, “I want it to be known as C Ramchandra’s music and not imitation of Anil Biswas.”

There was one genre – musical comedies – in which he was the undisputed master. I have described Rattan as Naushad’s music to which a film was attached. You can say that with equal force for C Ramchandra for movies like Shenaai, Patanga, Albela, Sagaai, Sargam etc. It is as if these rip-roaring comedies were made to fit rollicking songs and dance created by C Ramchandra. The Great Maratha was one up on The Great Mughal in another respect – he could sing, too. Who can forget the male voice in Aana meri jaan, Shola jo bhadke, Sham dhale khidki taley, Mere piya gaye Rangoon and so many other songs, which was integral to their stupendous success?

Among the films I have mentioned, I am very fond of Shehnaai’s music because of its vintage feel. But I choose Patanga (1949), because it comes in the watershed year of the change of era when Lala Mangeshkar hits the scene like a tornado, and sweeps away the yesteryear singers like Amirbai Karnataki, Shamshad Begum etc. Musically, Patanga best represents that transition, with Shamshad Begum all the way till two-thirds of the film (solo or with other singers), with full-throated songs of dance and fun, when Lata Mangeshkar comes in with three exquisite solos – sad, melodious and eternal, even though two of them are on the second lead, Purnima. And you notice a very interesting process – in Shehnai (1947), Lata Mangeshkar is an insignificant voice in one of the group songs; two years later, in Patanga, there is passing of the baton from Shamshad Begum to her; and further two years down, in Albela, she has completely taken over, singing not only Dheere sre aa ja ri ankhiyan mein and Balma bada nadaan re, but even Shola jo bhadke (with Chitalkar), a song which would have gone to Shamshad Begum earlier.

So let us take a joyride of C Ramchandra’s music to which a film called Patanga has been attached. All its ten songs are superhits and remembered till today.

As the village Chaudhary remonstrates with his God for giving him six daughters in a row, and fearing the worst about the seventh, due any time, a lanky young man comes in looking for him and gives him the good news that he has been blessed with a boy. (The lanky young man, whose role is so fleeting that you miss him if you blink, is unbelievably and unmistakably, Rajendra Kumar, who would emerge in later years as the Jubilee Star. This should be his very first appearance in films.) This calls for a big celebration, and what better than the dance of Cuckoo to the song of Shamshad Begum.

1. Gore gore mukhade pe gesu jo chha gaye by Shamshad Begum

 

The Panditji predicts a very bright future for the boy: he would be surrounded by motorcars on all sides and he would be always jovial. With such a great horoscope, he is named Raja.  So you know what profession he is going to take up. You next see Raja (Yaqub) standing as a traffic cop in Bombay. While one part of the prediction has come true, how could a traffic cop, who has the most arduous and boring job in the world, be always jovial and happy? Ah, there he sees, across the street, an ebullient and charming Nigar Sultana, helping her father sell some concotions with her dancing and singing on the streets.

2. Duniya ko pyare phool aur sitaarey.. balam tujhe mera salaam by Shamshad Begum

 

You can’t blame Raja if he leaves his post from time to time to flirt with Rani (Nigar Sultana), leaving the traffic Bhagwan bharose. His boss is none too pleased with traffic pile-ups and crashes, and suspends him from the job, without pay, for a year. Now two kindred souls, Raja and Rani, are together in search of a sustained livelihood. They wangle their way into Gope Theatre Company, whose proprietor, producer, writer and director, Gope is quite infatuated with Miss Jalwa (Mohana).  Raja’s hard sell of Rani by open denigration of Miss Jalwa’s abilities does not please them to Gope Seth.   On their way out from the place,  they peek into the green room, and after overpowering the actors who were getting ready, they barge on to the stage.  Gope’s attempts to remove them from the stage are of no avail, because this song they start singing brings the house down, and Raja, Rani inevitably become the star performers in the theatre.

3. O dilwalo dil ka lagana achha hai par kabhi kabhi by Chitalkar and Shamshad Begum

 

The proprietor-producer-writer-director Gope is missing only one thing in his impressive resume – a stage actor. That opportunity comes when Raja is taken ill, and Gope and Rani/Nigar Sultana perform to this iconic song.

4. Mere piya gaye Rangoon by Chitalkar and Shamshad Begum

 

Everything was going fine – Raja and Rani; Gope and Miss Jalwa. Then some complications happen. As Gope is checking his troupe into a hotel at a place they are to perform, in the lobby Shyam (Shyam), a wayward and dilphenk son of a jagirdar, is ogling at Rani.  Shyam has his friend and lackey (Randhir) to spur him on. In the evening show, they are in the audience, Shyam remembering the lovely slap Rani gave him in the lobby. Notice Shamshad Begum singing for the lead star, Nigar Sultana, and Lata Mangeshkar for Mohana – a very tentative entry for Lata Mangeshkar, who would soon become the centre of C Ramchandra’s music.

5. Pyar ke jahaan ki nirali sarkaar hai by Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar

 

Shyam-Rani affair takes a serious turn, with embers of love touching both. But the jagirdar had given his word to his late friend to marry his son to the latter’s daughter, Purnima (Purnima), who is now being brought up by the jagirdar himself. Shyam invites the Gope Theatre Company to perform at one of the family’s vacant havelis, pretending the invite to be from an old zamindar (Shyam in disguise) to celebrate the birthday of his son (his friend, Randhir). Gope and Miss Jalwa, Raja and Rani, are superb on the stage; in the box you can see Shyam, disguised as the old zamindar, and his friend, acting as his son.

6. Pahle to ho gayi namaste namaste by Rafi, Chitalkar, Shamshad Begum and Mohantara Talpade

 

Shyam and Rani affair has really become serious. A beautiful romantic duet between them.

7. Boloji dil loge to kya kya doge by Rafi and Shamshad Begum

 

The loyal maali of the jagirdar has overheard Shyam and his friend’s plans, and reports it back to the master. A furious jagirdar confronts his wayward son in the theatre and tells him in no uncertain terms that he would have to marry Purnima; he can’t think of a theatre dancer as his bahu. But Shyam is gone too far. A heart-broken Purnima gives expression to her emotions with this melodious solo by Lata Mangeshkar, one of the earliest CR-Lata songs, but one of the greatest and immortal.

8. Dil se bhula do tum humein hum na tumhein bhulayenge by Lata Mangeshkar

 

But jagirdar would have none of this nonsense. The wedding with Purnima is fixed, but on the D-Day, Shyam leaves home. Purnima in her wedding fineries sees him leaving, shattering her world.

9. O janewale tune armaanon ki duniya loot li by Lata Mangeshakar

 

In the Gope Theatre Company, Raja is sad by the betrayal of Rani. Gope tells him it is his fault, he had never expressed his love to her. How to do it? Gope asks him to recall all the dialogues of Siri-Farhaad and Laila-Majnu. Raja does as he is told, in fact he really puts his heart in it, gives an exaggerated delivery in a flowery language of all the theatrical dialogues of love-legends – one of the funniest scenes in the film. Rani is quite amused, and tells him, Tum jaise ho waise hi achche ho. She is now torn between her two lovers, and sings this sad song. Lata Mangeshkar has to wait till the end when she gets to playback for the lead star. Another CR-Lata all-time great gem.

10. Kabhi khamosh ho jana kabhi fariyaad kar lena magar us bewafa ko chupke chupke yaad kar lena

 

With ten songs already, it is well over two hours, but things are in quite a mess. However, the resolution is pretty quick. Raja tells Rani: For the sake of love I would give you over to Shyam tomorrow. Purnima comes under the car of Rani (Nigar Sultana), who gets her treated. She tells her she has stolen her love. Gope tells jagirdar that his son and Rani are getting married. But at the wedding, the lady under the veil turns out to be Purnima. Rani (Nigar Sultana) emerges from behind, blessing Purnima as an elder sister. Raja and Rani unite, so do Gope and Miss Jalwa, and they all sing O dlwaalo dil ka lagana achchaa hai par kabhi kabhi.

 

 

 

Notes:

1.  You can watch Patanga on YouTube.  Rajendra Kumar comes for 8 seconds at 1.47.

2.  A nice review of the film is here. The comments on that post contain some very interesting trivia.

3.  A mathematical reading of Patanga: SoY regulars, who remember their Bollywood Mathematics from my review of Sangam, would notice a unique feature of this movie. It has both B-type (Shyam-Yaqub-Nigar Sultana) and G-type (Purnima-Nigar Sultana-Shyam) triangles in it. With one side common, the two triangles are effectively a quadrilateral, and the triangles are solved by quad-isation, which is neither ‘perfect’ nor ‘imperfect’, but can be described as ‘stable equilibrium’.  The way the film’s story unfolds, and given the mixed-up relationships of the characters, this was the only equilibrium possible. (The jagirdar’s objection – ‘how can a theatre dancer be the bahu of his khandaan’ – is a mathematical redundancy, because the word given to his friend is a sufficient justification for arriving at this equilibrium, which is the only possible solution in the given set of conditions.)

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 12, 2015 at 11:09 am

AK Ji,

I am very happy that you have written about CR and his music in general and ‘Patanga’ in particular. CR is one of my most favourite MDs,one of the other being Naushad,of course. You are aware that I written prolifically about the life,love and music of CR on various Blogs and sites ( and currently,I am writting on Naushad).
CR always tried to establish and prove that Naushad was no way better than him,and Naushad never ever commented on this ,leaving the matter to the music lovers.
One point must be however mentioned here. Abdul Rashid kardar,who was so much impressed with Naushad’s music,that ultimately he formed ‘ Musical pictures ‘ with him to draw benefit of Naushad’s popularity. He also worked with Naushad in 14 films,excluding films made by musical pictures etc.
Once when Kardar was asked,in an interview,as to who,according to him,was the Best music Director of India, he unequivocally replied that CR was much better than Naushad and that CR was his choice as the Best MD of India.
Though,it was his personal opinion,many critics and lovers of HFM would agree to this. But then let us not enter into this debatable point here. The point ,I want to establish here is,that CR was as good as-if not better than-Naushad.
For me both are equal. I can write about CR as much is possible,but this much is enough here. It would be interesting to read how and what other regulars of SOY ( and a very knowledgeable group too) have to say.
On your part,you have once again hit a Sixer. Glory be to you.
Thanks.
-AD

2 AK January 12, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Arunji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I am aware of your fondness for CR, and I have read your writings on him. I have also been following your series on Vintage Naushad.

I also admire CR a lot, but Naushad remains my top favourite. I think it has to do with the impressions created in one’s formative years. With CR’s birth anniversary being so close, I thought it would be interesting to pit the two giants against each other. I am sure the giants of SoY would love the contest.

After watching Patanga I realised, it is also historically significant as the transition from Shmashad Begum to Lata Mangeshkar in CR’s favour.

Please feel free to write as much as you like on SoY.

3 dustedoff January 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm

I was remembering Patanga for the same reason as you, AK – C Ramachandra! I hadn’t seen the film, though, so your post not only reminded me of its songs, but also acquainted me with its story. Sounds good, though I prefer Shyam to Yaqub, so the resolution to that particular love triangle may not be to my liking.

C Ramachandra was so versatile, wasn’t he? Too many people associate him only with his more peppy songs – whether the Meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday type, or the Eena meena deeka type – but his repertoire is far, far more varied.

4 arvindersharma January 12, 2015 at 2:57 pm

AK Ji,
Once more, a typical film oriented post for another great MD.
It seems that you have mastered the art of story telling, alongwith picking up the finer parts of the films’ storyline (Rattan and Patanga).
I myself consider C Ramchandra to be a creator par excellence, but with a heavy tilt towards Lata.
If one is a devoted fan of old time Lata, then C Ramchandra’s contribution towards the Lata magic cannot be ignored.
Comparison between Naushad and C Ramchandra is inevitable because both gave their best in the same era.
Both used Lata extensively after a particular period, but in my opinion, Naushad had an edge with Rafi being his favorite male singer.
Another factor, which contributed to Naushad’s success was the great chemistry of Rafi’s voice on Dilip Kumar and Bharat Bhushan, both top stars of the era.
My vote between the two will go to Naushad.

5 AK January 12, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Madhu,
This is one film I would strongly recommend. The resolution makes 3 neat pairs. Probably in the given situation this appeared least bad.

There are clearly two CRs. One you have mentioned. The other of CR-Lata supreme melody: Ye zindagi usi ki hai, Dheere se aa ja ri ankhiyan mein, Katate hain dukh mein ye din pahlu badal badal ke etc.

6 AK January 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Sharmaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. As for Lata, Naushad and CR both have given supremely melodious songs. Every music lover would have his own favourite. In my college days I got mesmeried by Naushad’s Lata. Rafi is clearly a differentiating factor. For his songs one can’t mention CR in the same breath as Naushad, SD Burman, OP Nayyar or Shankar Jaikishan. It is intriguing because Rafi’s earliest hit songs were given by CR (though mostly as duets). But if you think of it, can we recall any great Mukesh songs by CR? I have remarked earlier that the male songs by CR that one can instantly recall are mostly sung by himself (again mostly duets). He does figure prominently in Talat Mahmood.

I would ditto you on Naushad.

7 maheshmamadapur January 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm

AK ji,
Let me begin by saying that song no 8,9,10 are simply out of the world as are many others of CR-Lata combo. My introduction to CR was only with Albela and Anarkali. Over period of time, his solos for Lata made me sit up and admire both.
It may be be my personal opinion, but Lata’s voice for CR songs stands apart. There is a sense of more confidence and ease in her voice for CR. I think in this film song no 9 would be a good example.
As far as MD’s are concerned I cannot help bringing in SJ ahead of CR.

Mukesh has only one film solo each for CR and OPN and 2-4 duets.

Lastly, thanking you has become a routine. A great start to the year.

8 AK January 12, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Mahesh,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I entirely agree with you CR-Lata songs stand apart, and some of the Patanga songs are a prime example.

SJ were themselves the harbinger of the change of era. It is difficult to compare them with CR, but They were definitely more versatile than Him.

9 Subodh Agrawal January 12, 2015 at 5:46 pm

I have seen Patanga in patches on different occasions on the TV. It never quite appealed to me enough to try and watch all of it. Yes, the music is great and your article does full justice to it.

I would like to know something more about Shyam. He was a singer too, wasn’t he? Conspiracy theories are nothing new. Any singer or actor who died young – including Master Madan and Shyam – was said to be the victim of a certain actor/singer of the forties. The Wikipedia article on him is quite sketchy. Any other source?

10 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 12, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Subodh ji,

You have raised 2 points.
1. Master Madan, the singer, died when he was just 14,was,reportedly, a victim of Mercury poison.
2. Actor Shyam,who acted in Patanga was NOT a singer. There was another small actor SHYAM KUMAR, who was a playback singer in few films. Actor SHYAM died while doing a stunt scene on a Horseback,when shooting was going on for film Shabistan-1951,in presence of atleast 50 people. There was no conspiracy,nor was ever any rumour to that effect in the industry.
-AD

11 Anu Warrier January 12, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Nice to see the write-up of the plot of Patanga. Brought back memories of watching the film (a long time ago, I’m afraid!). But the songs, of course, have been listened to, over and over again. Thanks for allowing me to brush off some cobwebs. 🙂

12 ksbhatia January 12, 2015 at 10:58 pm

AK’ji ; CR was the one who pushed me for liking of western music during my youth days. I used to visit various cafe’s and restaurents of canaught place [ new delhi] where live music with crooner used to play CR’s western oriented songs like Shola jo bhadke , Mere piya gaye rangoon , Lara lappa, Gore gore o banke chhore etc . . That gave me further liking of Elvis and Cliff richard songs followed by Sinarta and others. This liking finally gave birth to my becoming SJ’s fan . So ; such was the impact that I started listening to CR’s every song and found he was as good in sad and romantic songs as well . To quote some songs which really impressed me were ……1. kat te hain dukh mein din , 2. apni kaho ya meri suno , 3 Koi kissi ka deewana na bane , 4 Mehfil mein jal uthee shama parwane ke liye . 5. Bechain najar betaab jigar yeh dil hai kisi ka deewana , 6. Tum kya jano tumahre pyar mein hum kitna roye, 7. Bhool jain saare gam , 8..Chanda ki chhaon mein thandi [ 2 ] hawaon mein o koi ga raha, 9. Yeh hasrat thi ke is duniya mein ,10 Badli mein chhupe chand ne kucch hum se kaha hai . ………and so many others. Indeed those were the days of joyous listening to fine music along with a cup of coffee/ fine dinning .

13 AK January 12, 2015 at 11:36 pm

Subodh,
I don’t know whether my article would encourage you to see the movie. It is quite interesting.

Arunji has already answered your queries. He has written in detail on Shyam – Shyam Kumar elsewhere. The confusion was compounded because in Dillagi (1949) both the hero Shyam and the villain Shyam Kumar were there, and Shyam Kumar playbacked for Shyam , who never sang, and Shyam Kumar, though he was a singer too, never sang for himself. To add to the confusion Hindi Film Geet Kosh erroneously mentions Shyam as the singer, and the radio was also cavalier in not distinguishing the too. Arunji has taken upon himself to clarify the same name confusion in this as well as several other cases.

14 AK January 12, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Anu,
You are welcome. You can brush off the cobwebs completely by watching the movie on YT. 🙂

15 AK January 12, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Bhatiaji,
Your reliving your fond memories with songs is quite interesting. The songs you have mentioned of CR are all-time greats and everyone’s favourite. Without meaning to nit-pick, La re lappa la re lappa is by Vinod.

16 arvindersharma January 12, 2015 at 11:56 pm

AK Ji,
I was about to raise this query about Shyam, the actor and the confusion about his singing, when this post from you just arrived. Many thanks to Arun Ji for this clarification.
But there is another query of mine, which under the prevalent discussions on this post seems relevant.
Here is the song, where the name of the female singer is given as Geeta Dutt.
Can someone identify the singer correctly ?
Geeta Dutt: Tu mera chaand main teri chaandni : F…: http://youtu.be/C05k714hsFQ

To me, at times it sounds like early Geeta Dutt voice but I am not so sure.

17 AK January 13, 2015 at 12:53 am

Sharmaji,
She is indeed Geeta Dutt singing for Suraiya’s nanad (Suraiya in the meanwhile has been forced by her Maamu to marry the wrong guy). The nanad has learnt the song from the desolate lover of Suraiya, hence her question, Tumne ye gana kahan seekha? I find this situation in many films.

I believe no commercial records were made of this version, even HFGK does not mention it. This is one of the rare Naushad-Geeta Dutt songs. I think there is just one more song of this combo, not very well known.

18 SSW January 13, 2015 at 3:10 am

To me C Ramchandra would remain immortal even if he had done nothing else other than compose this..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgmQGjdKAu0

19 AK January 13, 2015 at 6:37 am

SSW,
I ditto you. We mentioned CR-Lata combo. Tum kya jaano tumhari yaad mein hum kitna roye is one of their best. And in a film titled Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo!

20 arvindersharma January 13, 2015 at 10:01 am

AK Ji,
Thanks for the confirmation.
The other Naushad/Geeta Dutt song is from ‘Son Of India’, ‘mujhe huzoor tumse pyar hai’.

21 gaddeswarup January 13, 2015 at 11:48 am

AKJi,
This is just an impression. I felt that in quite few sons that Lata Mangeshkar sang for C.Ramachandra, her voice was more lively, even mirth sometimes, compared to her songs for others. I do not recall the songs immediately but this was an impression from various listenings at different periods. I wonder whether any one else has a similar impression.

22 Jignesh Kotadia January 13, 2015 at 1:13 pm

Expert Narrator !! I felt, as if i saw the complete movie in just twenty mins. This is the best way to watch a 40’s movie(except the movie has exceptional actors),,,,,, first keep listened the sublime music of particular film,,,,, then listen the story line told with the song situations from an expert narrator like Akji imagining your favorite actors (not the actual actors 🙂 ) and you can get a total enjoyment with saving so much time !! Instead if you dare to go to watch the actual movie by fascinated by it’s music,,,,, it is possible,,, you may find urself pulling ur hairs after seeing the full length horrific actings 🙂 🙂

Akji, your movie narrating posts are excellent … thanks for back to back Ace services.

23 Jignesh Kotadia January 13, 2015 at 1:54 pm

btw,,, is he the same YAKUB who has sung a mind blowing ghazal in “mujrim” (1942) under khan mastana !?!

mujrim hun muhabbat ka jo chahe sazaa dena
par yaad rahe itna dil se na bhula dena
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZC4bTypVQM

24 Jignesh Kotadia January 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

sorry , the film is “muqabla”

25 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 13, 2015 at 2:08 pm

Jignesh ji,

It is the same Yaqub,but this gazal is from film ‘ Muqabala ‘-42.

-AD

26 Jignesh Kotadia January 13, 2015 at 2:27 pm

thank u very much Arunji for this info..actually i have not seen the yakub of “patanga” upto identifiable attention.

27 ksbhatia January 13, 2015 at 5:30 pm

AK’ji ;Thanks for the encouragement and correction of MD of Ek thi ladki’s ‘ Lara lappa ‘ song . I included this song as this was fav. of the audience and the Band masters too and was played regularly along with other hindi / english dance numbers; the likes of Ek do teen aaja mausam hai rangeen [awara], Those were the days my friend [ mary hopkins ] , Kay sera sera whatever will be will be [ doris day] etc. York’s hotel was my fav hangout for a cup of cona / espresso coffee .

28 AK January 13, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Gaddeswarupji,
A slight amendment. The most memorable CR-Lata songs are deeply poignant and melancholy. Some are in Patanga itself, some have been mentioned in the comments. My post on the best songs of Lata by CR contains dozens of such songs.

29 AK January 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Jignesh,
I am happy you enjoyed it. Thanks a lot for your generous praise. I agree with you many movies with great songs are tedious to watch. I would include some Naushad movies too in this category. I had to watch Patanga, but I think if you have no time constraints, it is worth watching.

30 AK January 13, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Bhatiaji,
You are welcome. I have been trying to contact you on mail. Please acknowledge at ak@songsofyore.com.

31 SSW January 14, 2015 at 3:10 am

For a composer who did not care too much for Rafi, C Ramchandra also gave him probably his first really memorable song in 1946. This one from Safar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKTWQZ_ZbP8

To me this predates Naushad’s first really memorable song for Rafi from “Tere kooche mein” from Dillagi.

32 AK January 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

SSW,
And next year Saajan‘s Humko tumhara hi aasra (duet with Lalita Deulkar) too predates Naushad’s Suhani raat dhal chuki. Later also CR gave some outstanding songs for Rafi. I am puzzled why he didn’t use him more often.

33 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

Anarkali was the prime of CR and Mughal-e-Azam can be said to be beginning of creativity downhill of Naushad – that is how I would rate the two comparisons.
No other music director seems to have handled comedy genre so well, so much so that Bhagwan too had gained a stardom which otherwise may have not have been possible.
The way CR used Asha Bhosle in Navrang, it is really surprising that he lost his ground in the competitive arena.
When all is said and done, there is no doubt that he would go down as one who shone like a comet, even when he could have eternally shone as very bright star.
It is so befitting that SoY has put the records in the proper perspective.

34 AK January 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

Ashokji,
Very well said. CR should have been able to overcome Lata Mangeshkar loss. But as long as he lasted, he was among the greatest.

35 ksbhatia January 16, 2015 at 11:58 pm

AK’ji ; Ashok’ji; CR was losing shine between 60’s and 7o’s . He almost faded there after . Between 50’s and 60’s he was riding the peak wave with many hits . He mastered comedy films songs in the presence of Yakub, Gope, Bhagwan and Kishore. His association with Bhagwan is well known . One of Bhagwan’s careers last movie LABELA MD was again CRamchander . CR was a good singer . He gave playback for Dilip sahib and Dev anand in some movies . As said earlier I am citing some songs [ of Sarhad ] which came in fading mode period but are likable : 1 . ‘Aja re aajaa lage na jiya mora’ by Aasha ji 2. ‘Nacho jhoom jhoom jhoom ke’ by CR .3.’ Aa gaya majaa ‘by Aasha and CR . 4 ‘ Duniya hai kya ‘ by Rafi and aAsha . Out of these songs 1 and 2 were copy of some famous italian and western songs .

36 KB January 18, 2015 at 10:29 am

Thanks for a great write-up on CR, AKji.

After Anilda, CR is my favorite MD. Between CR and Naushad, I would always rate CR higher because:
a. CR’s music was so much more spontaneous and creative, and I always felt Naushad was very predictable in his melodies, and his semi-classical creations did not vary much from established cheez in the respective raagas.
b. CR’s choice of Talat Mahmood vs Naushad’s choice of Mohammad Rafi. Talat Mahmood for me any day over Rafi. So that swings my vote for CR.
c. CR’s magic with Lata’s voice was totally in a different zone, just like mixing milk and honey. That chemistry is not too evident in Naushad-Lata numbers.

That said, I greatly admire both Naushad’s music and Rafi’s singing.

37 AK January 18, 2015 at 5:31 pm

KB,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Naushad-CR rivalry makes an interesting reading. I am looking forward to more such comparisons.

38 ksbhatia January 18, 2015 at 11:24 pm

KB’ji ; To me the MDs of the golden period were great and I don’t think there were any rivalry between any of them ; on the contrary they were appreciative of each other work . Naushad , CR, MM , SJ , OP, SDB etc have given series of hit songs in their life time for us to enjoy .Ranking them ;to me ;makes no requirement . As regard Lata ji and Rafi saheb , they have given their best even to the relatively unknown MDs . Moreover listening to Lataji and talat in Naushad’s Babul and Udan khatola is as good as listening to Lata, Talat in CR’s Parchhain , Albela and Sargam or SJ’s Aurat, Daag and Seema . ” To each his own ” every one has given their best .

39 KB January 19, 2015 at 3:19 am

Bhatiaji, please do not mind my comparison. I never said Naushad / Rafi haven’t given their best. It is just that in my heart, I have special place for Anilda, CR, Mukesh and Talat! As you said “to each his own”. Every MD/singer of the golden era of HFM is certainly special and has created/sung many a master piece.

As to rivalry between MDs, I certainly believe they were human beings like us after all, and they did have professional rivalries; although they were appreciative of others’ work.

40 ksbhatia January 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

KB’ji ; Not at all . I am just taking it as your ‘ personal liking ‘ and your comparison as ‘analysis ‘. In fact every MD at some point of time have achieved peak in their career . It is the matter as to how long was the base width of their qualitative parabolic graph [ time period] . Some MDs even got multiple peaks in the form of ‘come backs’ and retained their position for a longer period of time . The peaks varied for each MD from time to time .

41 N.Venkataraman January 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Akji,
Enjoyed the article and your story telling and of course the songs. More over you have made an excellent comparative study of Naushad and C Ramchand. Let me add some of my observations.

In the late 30s, when Naushad, an adept pianist, was providing assistance to composers like Jhande Khan, H C Bali, Mushtaq Hussain, Manohar Kapoor and Khemchand Prakash, C Ramchand was providing Harmonium accompaniment and assistance to Bindu Khan, Habib Khan, Mir Saheb and S Fernandes. C Ramchadra, like Naushad, got his first break as an independent composer in the year 1940. It was for a Tamil film, Jayakodi, followed by another Tamil Film, Vana Mohini (1941). Not many are aware that Bhagwan Dada, during the 1940s, was making movies in Tamil and his biggest success was Vana Mohini. Vana Mohini had ten songs and all the songs were a big hit. The story, screenplay and direction for both the films were by Bhagwan. In 1942 when Naushad’s silver jubilee hits like Sharda and Station Master were getting released, C Ramchandra made his debut in Hindi films. Sukhi Jeevan was the film and once again Bhagwan Dada was the Producer- Director. Thus if D N Madhok was involved in Naushad’s first break, Bhagwan Dada was instrumental in providing initial impetus to C Ramchandra’s career. In the 40s both Naushad (27 films) and C Ramchandra( 38 films) were very prolific. Naushad scored music for four films each in 1944 (1 Diamond Jubilee and 1 Silver Jubilee) and 1949 (1 Golden Jubilee and 2 Silver Jubilee), high by Naushad’s standard and C Ramchandra scored music for 8 films each in 1947 and 1948. In the 50s C Ramchandra continued to score music at almost five films per year, whereas Naushad reduced his assignments to an average of 1 film per year. In the sixties Naushad maintained the same average churning out four more Jubliee hits, whereas C Ramchandra’s stars were not favouring him. His number of films also came down drastically, averaging less than two per year.

Speaking of Patanga, the two songs that at once come to my mind are O dilwalo dil ka lagana achha hai par kabhi kabhi and Mere piya gaye Rangoon. Very early in life these were the two songs that got etched into my memory. I am also thankful to Gaddeswarupji for introducing me/us to the admirable Tamil version of the first song, earlier.

You have rightly highlighted that-
‘”Musically, Patanga best represents that transition, with Shamshad Begum all the way till two-thirds of the film (solo or with other singers), with full-throated songs of dance and fun, when Lata Mangeshkar comes in with three exquisite solos – sad, melodious and eternal, even though two of them are on the second lead, Purnima.”

Let me share an interesting observation from an article, ‘Beyond the Song Sequence: Theorizing Sound in Indian Cinema’ by Neepa Majumdar-
“The storyline logic of the substitution of Shamsad Begum’s voice is clear: as long as the heroine is a stage performer who sings in public, it is Shamsad Begum who sings for her. When she decides to sacrifice her happiness and to trick her lover into marrying the women his parents have chosen for him, her singing voice changes to the lighter tones of Lata’s voice. Not surprisingly, Lata’s voice is also given to the girl that the man’s family has picked for him as a more suitable wife than the stage performer. Her song sequence is remarkable for the stillness of its performance. Where the only movement on screen is a false one: that of her lips in sync with Lata’s voice. Here as in the performance in which Lata’s voice replaces Shamsad’s voice, the restrained gestures of performance signal ‘the effacement of female musician’s body’ in an attempt to make her public presence more respectable.”

By the way the year 2013 was the year of Multi Version songs and S D Burman. You can also call it the year of guest writers. Likewise last year was the year of Anil Biswas and S D Burman continued to occupy significant space. Continuing this trend, are you planning to give some space to C Ramchandra, along with Naushad, who will have the larger share as per your declaration.
Another new trend which I observe and like is the review of the movie and placing the songs at the appropriate situations. Hope there will be more.
Thanks once again for the wonderful post.

42 AK January 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Venkataramanji,
Thanks a lot for your very informative comments. I was generally aware of CR’s debut with Tamil films, but didn’t give much thought to it. Your presentation gives an interesting insight how his career paralleled Naushad’s.

I think Neepa Majumdar is stretching a good deal to fit the data into her hypothesis of ‘pure’ Lata Mangeshkar for the ‘cultured’ lady and Shamshad Begum for the dancing girl. Perhaps she didn’t notice song number #5 in which Lata joins Shamshad – both singing for dancing girls – Lata for the subordinate one, significantly screen-named as ‘Miss Jalwa’, a somewhat flippant term that connotes overt sexuality.

Her attributing Poornima’s stillness to female respectability is again quite convoluted. Why can’t we simply accept that she was wooden because she was wooden, or that the song-situation didn’t warrant much bodily movement?

I am obviously no intellectual. But, if I see Lata’s gradual progression in CR’s music from 1947, I see Patanga as a continuum. She first enters as a junior partner to Shamshad Begum for the minor character, goes on to sing solos for the second lead, finally getting to sing for the lead star.

Naushad has at least half a dozen movies having about 10 songs, all super-hits. Doing too many reviews of this kind may become monotonous. But I do plan to keep him (and CR) as a recurring theme in some form during the year.

I should thank you again for enhancing the post so much by your comments.

43 Arunkumar Deshmukh January 23, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Venkataraman ji,

C.Ramchandra has described his working in Tamil films in details,in his Autobiography in Marathi ” Majhya jeevana chi Sargam ”( माझ्या
जीवनाची सरगम ).
According to him,Jayakodi and Vanmohini,both films,were produced by one Vishwanath. Jaykodi was only directed by Bhagwan. Even Vanmohini was also only directed by Bhagwan. While jayakodi was shot in Bombay studios,Vanmohini was mostly shot near Ernakulam,in Kerala. Further the first Hindi picture of CR -‘Sukhi jeevan’-42 was produced by Harischandra Rao kadam. It was only directed by Bhagwan. By the way,neither Bhagwan nor CR knew how to read or write Tamil. Bhagwan only could manage broken Tamil to talk.
-AD

44 mumbaikar8 January 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm

AK,
Enjoyed the joyride of C Ramchamdra’s Patanga.
Naushad and C Ramchandra simultaneously, you want to revive the rivalry of these two maestros after 60 years and enjoy their fans vying against each other:)
I personally find C. Ramchandra’s music more melodious.
Being a Rafi fan I feel sort of indebted to Naushad, because he was important in Rafi’s career. until 1949 1950 Rafi was progressing leaps and bound but past partition and particularly after Lata’s tsunami MDs lost confidence in Rafi, at that time Naushad was the only MD who consistently gave him solos for heroes, had Naushad not backed him it would have been very difficult for Rafi to survive until 1956 – 57 when Guru Dutt, Shammi Kapoor, SDB and OP happened and Rafi arrived.

It is not that C Ramchandra did not care for Rafi I have read that he tricked Ashok Kumar to record the Sajan’s song Humko tumhara hi aasra, that was before Lata’s entry in his life, after Lata entered his life, all that he cared was for LATA.
He cried at Rafi’s funeral shouting apla rafi ghela, aapla rafi ghela. He surely had remorse in his cry, (No hear say I have seen the video clipping).

45 AK January 27, 2015 at 7:06 am

Mumbaikar8,
Thanks a lot for your comments. About CR I feel sad and surprised that he did not use Rafi more. About Saajan song you are referring, I had read a somewhat different account that Ashok Kumar wanted to sing his own songs, but CR was upfront about it and firmly went for Rafi. That was the realisation for Ashok Kumar that his ‘singing’ days were over.

If he could compose great songs for Talat, and later for Mahendra Kapoor, he could have done so for Mukesh and Rafi too. It is surprising he rarely used Mukesh, and Rafi much less than what one would have expected.

So far from reader’s comments, CR seems to have slight edge over Naushad.

46 PRAVEEN January 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for the post on Patanga

C Ramachandra was always Anarkali for me. I first saw Albela when it was shown in DD. Didn’t appreciate the songs, except ‘Dheere se aaja re’ or ‘Balma bada nadaan’. Perhaps they were my ‘brooding’ college years heavily into dark Russian novels and listening to classical music. But I saw the movie again recently – perhaps my 30s lightened me up – I enjoyed the songs!! Particularly the rhythmic arrangements of songs like ‘O betaji – kismet ke hawa’

Same is the case with Patanga – perhaps I may not come around to love ‘Piya gaye rangoon’, but they can of course leave a smile when listening. And that’s the intention of these songs! Thank you for making us look at Patanga with fresh eyes, AK sir

Must also watch Patanga

47 AK January 27, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Praveen,
Thanks a lot for your comments. If I get you correctly, Patanga‘s Lata solos are exactly up your alley – they belong to the class of Dheere se aa ja. These were the songs that mesmerised me at a very young age. If you have gotten round to accepting CR’s ‘other’ songs too, Patanga is a movie to watch. It has both CR’s, and you also see the transition.

48 PRAVEEN January 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm

AK sir – Yes I actually liked a few songs – my favourite is ‘Pyaar je jahaan’. Never heard this or the other sad songs in this movie.

Btw, when Raja discredits Miss Jalwa’s acting abilities, was he saying so in real life too, because Mohana seems to forget the steps in a few dance sequences!!

49 AK January 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Praveen,
Raja was trashing Miss Jalwa before he had seen her dance, but on the basis of her atrocious pronunciation – she would say things like टुम जानटा, हम नहीं जानटा (filmi Christian you know – I have never seen any like that in real life).

50 Siddharth January 29, 2015 at 9:39 am

AKji,
It is remarkable how you are highlighting the transformation from vintage to golden era. CR is also one of my favorite and song no.8 is my all time favorite. CR songs has such calmness and melody that makes us listen to them again and again.

51 AK January 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Sidharth,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I have written elsewhere that ‘Vintage Era’, according to me, refers not only a period, but also a style of singing, especially female singing – which can be described as pre-Lata and post-Lata. Thus, 1949 is a clear watershed about which I have written earlier, too. After watching Patanga I realised that this film is itself a very good example of that transition playing out.

52 Dinesh K Jain February 3, 2015 at 4:49 pm

AK,
I was taken in by your revelation about Rajendra Kumar. So I checked it out on UTube only for this. And what do I find? That, one, Rajendra Kumar gets credit as the film’s Asst Director and not as an actor (a Sadhu Singh gets credit for both), and two, the later Jubilee Kumar had no idea about acting and he was quite like a complete novice in his fleeting role.

Of course what you said about the film’s music was all very interesting.
I hope you will one day, soon, elaborate on that fleeting remark of yours about Ramchandra and Lata Mangeshkar together. And how later Dungarpur got associated with Lata, in what kind of relationship? To take it further, the real reasons why Lata chose to remain unmarried, for she was not exactly bad looking, even if she had some pock marks.

53 AK February 3, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Dinesh,
Welcome to Songs of Yore. Rajendra Kumar’s fleeting appearance in Patanga could hardly merit a mention. He hardly got time to show his talent in the film. 🙂 Even as the Jubilee Kumar I doubt if he was regarded as a great acting talent. It would be interesting to research if the Asst Director in Patanga is the same person.

I have made some oblique reference to CR-Lata Mangeshkar relationship in my post on their songs, because it was relevant in the context. Unless absolutely necessary in the context, I do not comment on an artiste’s private life. We have kept the focus firmly on music.

54 Anant Desai February 22, 2015 at 6:31 am

I had not heard any of these songs except Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon. CR had a softness in his slides which Lata exemplified. Dil se bhulane wale is perhaps Lata’s earlier if not first songs where she is pure and inimitable Lata under CR. All earlier songs of Lata sound like Shamshad imitations, perhaps at the urging of other MD’s. Even Barsat had Jiya bequarar hai under SJ which sounds like Shamshad. By the way, that is OP’s only favorite song by Lata. My newly formed conclusion is that CR found the silky purity of Lata in her continuous, unbroken slides. His own voice also provides similar interpretation, especially in his duets with Lata. We can hear him on YT singing Muhobbat aisi dhadkan hai which sounds good even in his aging voice.

I am now coming to the conclusion that CR found the true Lata. When I heard O Aasmanwale after many years, I was stunned by the perfection of Lata’s voice that exceeded even her other masterpieces. Yes, Anilda probably knew this but I am not aware of any comparable song before Barsat, except this one. Naushad does not find true Lata until Baiju Bawara and Shabab. Khemchand Prakash did find her voice in Aayega aane wala and SD in Thandi Hawayen but both came later.
I will stand corrected if I have missed the sequence.

55 AK February 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Anant Desai,
Early Lata resembling Shamshad Begum? I was surprised to hear this. A little Noorjehan, yes, here and there.

‘CR found the true Lata’ – I presume you refer to 1949 (Patanga). I go back a year earlier, which I have also mentioned elsewhere, to Anil Biswas (Anokha Pyaar) – Yaad rakhna chaand taro is suhaani raat ko and Khemchand Prakash (Ziddi) – Chanda re ja re ja re. These two songs are immortal, these are ‘pure’ Lata to my mind – she is not Shamshad Begum or Noorjehan.

56 Anant Desai February 22, 2015 at 9:23 pm

AK-ji,
You have rightfully corrected my timing sequence. I agree with you on the two great pieces by Anilda and KP. What I was trying to say that Lata of 40’s sounds nasal and emulating other singers of the era, including Shamshad, Noorjahan and many others. I heard the later Lata first as a child. The songs you mention were on Lata’s Old songs album where I heard them first. My feeling is more about musical voice interpretation. Just as Rafi brought a pure silky voice without any styles of Saigal like Mukesh, Lata also brought a pure, sweet softness. Nayyar called it Khanak, missing which, he refused to use Lata. As far as I have heard, Asha changed her voice to sound different from Lata. OP’s Leke pehla pehla pyar stages both Shamshad and Asha. Naushad shows Shamshad and Lata in Door koi Gaye and later in Teri mehfil mein kismat. Even Alka and Kavita follow these different interpretation.

CR was present at the recording of Aa ab laut chalen. He suggested adding the long alap by Lata in the interlude. We know SJ took his suggestion. This is what many are trying to attribute to CR. SJ, MM sound closest to CR’ style of Lata with songs that made Lata the legend. A very young Lata singing Malkauns on YT sounds soft and silky with no nasality or artificial khanak added, so it is not her embellishment.

Before any Mukesh fans jump on me, he also had a soulful feeling in his voice that created his own style. SDB used him where appropriate. Manna Dey had a silkiness that went beyond Rafi, but Rafi had the purity that went beyond Mannada. Rafi finally lost out to KK because of this purity which sounds lacking in character.

I hope I am adding to the discussion. All for the love for immortal music from a golden era. Lata and Rafi succeeding contemporaneously in the hands of great composers and even greater poets made it so, not to be replicated.

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