It is 20 years since Hemant Kumar left this world. First ever song sung by him, which I heard, was from a famous movie called “ Anupama ”. It was a Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed movie, for which Hemant da scored music also. The song, which caught my fancy was “ Ya Dil Ki Suno Duniya Walo, Ya Mujhko Abhi Chup Rehne do ”. It was picturised on Dharmendra. As I mentioned in my blog about Lata Mangeshkar, titled “ Lata Mangeshkar is 80 ”, I started listening radio when I passed 8th standard. I got introduced to the voices of Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey and of course Lata Mangeshkar. One day sitting in the study of KRISHNA KUNJ, my Deoria house, I came across this above mentioned song. Distinctive sonorous quality and deep voice immediately attracted my attention. It is needless to say that I fell in love with the song and the singer. At the same time a duet of a film “ Mamta ” , sung by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar and tuned by legendary music director and Hritik Roshan’s grandfather Roshan, was being aired on Radio Ceylone. The song in question was “ Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein Pyar Mera ”. It fortified my relationship with the genius called Hemant Kumar.
I started following his music seriously. I got to know that S. Mukherjee’s “ Nagin ” was his first Hindi film. S. Mukherjee was brother-in-law of legendary Ashok Kumar and Kishor Kumar, father-in-law of Tanuja, father of yesteryear actor Joy Mukherjee, grand father of Kajol, and Ayan Mukherjee, whose first directorial venture “ Wake Up Sid ” just got released. He was grand uncle of Rani Mukherjee and grand-father-in-law of Ashutosh Gowarikar and Ajay Devgan. My God, what a pedigree! He culled Hemant Kumar from anonymity and gave break to him. All the songs of “ Nagin ” were rage in their time and they are still popular. It is worth remembering that Kalyan ji-Anand ji and Lakshmikant-Pyarelal, who in later years became famous music directors themselves, were his assistants in this movie. Little did I know then that the famous been tune in “ Man Dole Mera Tan Dole, Mere Dil Ka Gaya Qarar Re, Ye Kaun Bajaye Bansuria ” , which enamoured the whole nation and which enchanted me in my adolescent years will be copied by Pritam in the song “ Its A Twist ” in “ Love Aaj Kal ” almost 50 yeas later.
Hemant Kumar, apart from Kishor Kumar, was the voice of Dev Anand. Songs like “ Hai Apna Dil To Awara, Na Jane Kis Pe Ayega ”, “ Teri Duniya Me Jeene Se To Behtar Hai Ki Mar Jayen ”, “ Ye Rat Ye Chandani Phir Kahan, Sun Ja Dil Ki Dastan ”, “ Na Tum Hamen Jano, Na Ham Tumhen Jane ” and scores of other golden hits still mesmerize the connoisseurs. In Hindi he was voice of Guru Dutt also. “ Jane Vo Kaise Log The Jinke Pyar Ko Pyar Mila ”, a song from the film “ Pyasa ” easily comes to mind. In spite of being a music director himself, his voice was used by other legendary music directors for classical raga based songs. Naushad used him for “ Chadan Ka Palana Resham Ki Dori, Jhoola Jhulaun Main Nidia ko Tori ” in “ Shabab ” . Vasant Desai used him for “ Nain So Nain Nahi Milao ” in V. Shantaram’s “ Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje ” and C. Ramchandra used him for “ Jag Dard-e-ishq Jag, Dil Ko Beqarar Kar ” in S. Mukherjee’s “ Anarkali ”. Famous classical singer Ustad Amir Khan Saheb heard his voice and when he got to know that Hemant da is not classically trained singer, he was awestruck.
Apart from Hindi films, his contribution to Bengali films are significant too. Huge number of Rabindra Sangeet songs bear testimony of his genius. Apart from Rabindra Sangeet, he sang large number of Boul songs also. In Bengali films he was the voice of Uttam Kumar.
His swan song “ Tumhara Intezar Hai, Tum Pukar Lo ” , sung and tune by him for his own production “ Khamoshi ” , filmed on legendary Waheeda Rehman , is still fresh in my memory. Another gem tuned by him for this film and sung by Lata Mangeshkar is “ Hamne Dekhi Hai Un Ankhon Ki Mehakti Khushboo, Haath Se chhoo Ke Ise Rishton Ka Ilzam Na Do ”. I watched this film in 1972 in Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad and was so enamoured and influenced by the music and ethereal beauty of Waheeda Rehman, that I cried and did badly in my examinations. After my graduation I came to Mumbai in 1972 to pursue a career in films. One day I gathered courage and reached Hemant da’s bungalow Geetanjali in Khar. Almost trembling, I rang the door bell and to my utter dismay and shock, door was opened by legendary Hemant da himself. He asked, “Yes?” and I fumbled for the first time in my life. I gathered courage and said that I would love to work in his production. Instead of getting angry, he looked at me with compassion and sensing my condition, he called me in, offered me a glass of water and said very politely, “ Beta, abhi to koi kam nahin hai, phir kabhi milna. Main zaroor tumhen kam doonga.” I came out of his house quite elated. I was on cloud nine. I could never believe that I was sitting with a legend and that he was so humble, so humane. After living here for a year, I returned to Allahbad to complete my post graduation. I came again in 1989 and started my struggle. I was in Mumbai when Hemant da died. Few month after his death, I went to meet Mr. Hrishikesh Mukherjee. He was directing a serial named “ Talash ” and gave me a brief role in it. When I went to shoot, I got goose bumps. By a quirk of destiny, “ Talash ” was being produced by Hemant da’s son. I shot for a day and after pack up, wondered that Hemant da was true to his words. He promised to give me work one day and though he was dead, I got a chance to work in his banner.
Years later I got a chance to train his grand daughter Meghaa. She is extremely talented and well behaved. In October this year, she made her debut with a filmed called “ Ruslaan. ” I am happy that I am still associated with Hemant da’s family. Once he was kind enough to give me time and was very considerate and compassionate. Though he was a living legend and I was simply a spec of dust, he was a celebrity and I was a non entity.
Farewell Hemant da !
You shall always be there in my heart.
Filed under: Down Memory Lane