Guest article by Arunkumar Deshmukh
(When I mentioned that Arunji is a living encyclopaedia, I was thinking of Hindi, Marathi, and perhaps Telugu films because of his early association with Hyderabad. While I was still struggling if I knew anyone who could write about Kannada, out of the blue, Arunji made an offer to write on similar songs in Hindi and Kannada. Now I know whom to approach for Santhali, Chhatisgarhi, Dogri or Manipuri languages, but I am sure Arunji will never cease to surprise us! After his excellent piece on Hindi-Marathi, please enjoy another highly educative article on the history of Kannada films, and their linkages with Hindi and other languages. – AK)
The First Talkie in 1931 was the beginning of a revolution in Filmdom. As expected even the first talking film was singing too! It had 7 songs. This stressed two points, one – India did not lag behind in technology, and two – music was an integral part of our lives, including entertainment.
From historical and even mythological times all kings – big or small had their “Court-Singers”. With love of common people and the royal patronage, it was not a wonder that ALL talkie films in ALL languages had songs in it.
Hindi – Aalam Ara (March 1931)
Telugu – Bhakta Pralhad (Sept 1931)
Tamil – Kalidas (Oct 1931)
Marathi – Ayodhyecha Raja (1932)
Gujarati – Narsi Mehta (1932)
Kannada – Bhakta Dhruva/Sati Sulochana (1934)
Malyalam – Balan (1938) etc
You will observe that while Telugu and Tamil films competed with Hindi films, Marathi and Gujarati films were closely following these three. But Kannada and Malayalam had very late beginnings. Not only that but Kannada film industry had a very slow development. Out of the four South Indian languages, Kannada films lagged behind not only in numbers but also in original productions till the 70s, comparatively.
In Karnataka, cinema started from the silent era, but the production was too small to be an entity here. This was because financiers and producers wanted to invest money in more profitable languages like Tamil, Telugu and Hindi. These films had a larger market and more profits. This attitude actually delayed the development of Kannada film industry. Initially only dubbed films from Tamil, Telugu and Hindi were shown in Kannada. People were fed with this.
For a long time Kannada films were made and processed in Madras as there were no studios in Karnataka. These films were mainly either the dubbed films or remakes of other languages.
In 1928, Surya film co. was established in Bangalore by Dave brothers. Almost 40 silent films were made here from 1928 to 1932 when Talkie films started dominating.
According to some historians, the first talkie film in Kannada was Sati Sulochana (1932). (Note: The thumbnail in this article is from the film ‘Sati Sulochana’.) It was shot near Kolhapur and was produced and directed by a Tamilian, Y.V.Rao. (It is said that when a lion roared in the film, half of the audience ran out of the theatre and many fainted with fear in the theatre itself).
Th Gubbi Veeranna Co. or Veeranna’s Sri Chennabasaweshwara Krupa Poshit Natak Sangh and other groups established themselves first as Drama Companies and then dominated the films. They provided all the first directors like H L N Simha (H.Laxmi Nar Simha), B R Panthulu and G V Iyer. It also provided the leading stars like Dr. Raaj Kumar, Leelavathy and most of the early hits like Bedara Kannappa (1953).
The production of Kannada films was very slow in the initial years.
In the 30s only 15 films were made (11 out of them by outsiders like Tamil and Telugu producers).
In the 40s only 21 films were produced.
In the 50s only 71 films were produced.
In the decade of the 50s, Raajkumar appeared on the scene and he changed the face of Kannada films in later years. In the 50s he had 8 films made with him in the lead. He was discovered by G V Iyer, standing in a bus queue in Bangalore. Raajkumar acted in 206 films and he never worked in any other language film – unlike other southern stars – excepting in ONE Telugu film Kalhasti Mahatmyam. The star line was followed by Narsimha Raju, Uday Kumar, Kalyan Kumar etc.
The point being made here is that right from the beginning till today, Kannada films depended heavily on remakes and dubbed films from Tamil, Telugu and Hindi.
When I sat to make a list of remade Kannada films, the list became so long that I simply gave up the idea. If one visits the IMDB site and looks for lists of remade films, he will find a list of more than 2500 remade films in one list alone.
Not that every film was a remade film. Some Kannada films were also remade into other languages.
Simply for this reason, there are many, in fact too many musical tunes in Kannada films which are copied from Hindi films. Of course some songs are from Kannada to Hindi too.
This is because when a Hindi film is remade, some of the songs are also copied ditto, in tune and in verse too.
In the initial era, when the regional centres were doing small business and did not have enough talented composers, borrowing tunes from others was understandable. Over a period of time, this practice diminished, as regional centres also became powerful, but it looks as if Kannada films have yet to grow out of it. Even today the number of remade films is more than the original Kannada films.
When I sat to select multiple version songs from Kannada films, it was so easy to select because the choice was very wide.
Here are about a dozen songs, where Hindi to Kannada and Kannada to Hindi songs are selected to be fair.
Enjoy the versions……
(I sincerely thank my friend Mr. Prakashchandra Udupa,from Udipi, who has done the selection of songs and provided the You Tube Links also. Thank you, Prakashji.)
Kannada film songs copied into Hindi film songs
Hindi movie songs copied into Kannada movie songs
1. Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970)
Ye dil deewaana hai, dil to deewaana hai
Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi
Kasturi Nivasa (1970)
Nee bandu ninthaagaa, ninthu nee nakaagaa,nakku nee nalidaaga sothe naanaaga
(Dr.Raj Kumar, Arathi)
2. Yeradu Kanasu (1974)
Yendendu ninnanu marethu badukiralaare
P.B.Srinivas, Vani Jayaram
Lyrics: Chi.Udaya Shankar
Music: Rajan Nagendra
(Dr. Raj Kumar, Manjula)
Jaan Se Pyara (1992)
Bin tere kuchch bhi nahin hai jeevan meraa
Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam
(Govinda, Divya Bharthi)
3. Bayalu Daari (1976/77)
Kanasaloo neene, manassaloo neene, nannaane,ninnaane
Vani Jayaram, S.P.Balasubramaniam
Lyrics: Chi.Udaya Shankar
Music: Rajan Nagendra
(Kalpana, Anant Nag)
Aisee deewangee, dekhi kahin nahin
Vinod Rathod, Alka Yagnik
(Divya Bharthi, Shahrukh Khan)
4. Ratnagiri Rahasya (1957)
Amara madhura Prema, nee baa baaro chanda maamaa
Lyrics: Kanagal Prabhakar Shashtri
(Jamuna, Udaya Kumar)
Chamko poonam chanda is dil ka sandes de do
Singer: Asha Bhosle
Lyrics: Ehsan Rizvi
5. Sapan Suhane (1961)
Naam Mera nimmo, muqaam Ludhiyana
Lata Mangeshkar, Dwijen Mukherjee, Manna Dey
(Helen, Bhagwan Dada, Chandra Shekhar)
Samshaya Phala (1970)
Dooradinda bandanthaa sundranga jana
Lyrics: Ku. Ra. Seetharama Shashtry
Music: Salil Chowdhury
6. Mera Saya (1966)
Nainon mein badra chhaye
Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
Yedakallu Guddada Mele (1973)
Viraha nooru nooru taraha, viraha prema kaavyiada kahi baraha
Lyrics: Vijaya Naarasimha
Music: M. Ranga Rao
Tande Makkalu (1971)
a) Raadhike ninna sarasavidenu (S.P.Balasubramaniam)
b) Sanje kempu moodithu, irulu seragu haasithu (S.P.Balasubramaniam, P. Susheela)
(Ramesh, B.Saroja Devi)
8. Do Raaste (1969)
Bindiya chamkegi, chhoodi khankegi
(Mumtaz, Rajesh Khanna)
Ondagi Baalu (1989)
(Manjula Sharma, Vishnu vardhan)
9. Saaheb (1985)
Pyar bina chain kahan re
Bappi Lahiri, S.Janaki
(Anil Kapoor, Amritha Singh)
(Vishnu Vardhan, Sumalata)
10. Naagara Haavu (1972)
Haavinaa dweshaa hanneradu varushaa
Zehreela Insaan (1974)
Saanp se badhke mera zehar hai
Rahul Dev Burman
11. Geetha (1981)
Jote joteyali iruvenu heege yendu, hosa harushava taruvenu
(Shankar Nag, Akshata Rao)
Cheeni Kum (2007)
Jane do na
(Amitabh Bachchan, Tabu)
12. Johnny Mera Naam (1970)
O mere raja, khafa na hona, door se aayee, der se aayee
Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle
(Dev Anand, Hema Malini)
Apoorva Sangama (1984)
Tharaa o thaaraa, naa ille iruve, jotheyalle baruve
(Dr.Raj Kumar, Ambika)