Remembering Sushilarani Patel


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           AUGUST 15, 2014           11.45 P.M.

 

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Sushilarani Patel, a classical singer par excellence, but an almost forgotten classical singer, died on July 24, 2014 in Mumbai at the age of 96.

 

SUSHILARANI PATEL

SUSHILARANI PATEL

 

The name Sushilarani Patel is not going to evoke any memories.

The name Baburao Patel is also not going to evoke even faint recognition.

The name of a magazine called ” Filmindia “ is almost forgotten.

Film ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] does not exist for this generation.

Film ” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] is unknown even to die-hard film connoisseurs.

The song ” … LAGAT NAZAR TORI CHHALAIYA … ” is a distant memory.

So why I am writing this obituary ?

Let me unravel the mystery one by one.

I am writing this blog to pay my obeisance to Sushilarani Patel, a classical singer par excellence. It is sad irony of fate that she is relatively unknown compared to her other illustrious colleague Kishori Amonkar, though they both are disciples of the same teacher.

 

SUSHILARANI PATEL

SUSHILARANI PATEL

 

Baburao Patel was a Member of Parliament. But primarily he was a film critic and editor of a very popular film magazine called ” Filmindia “. Sushilarani Patel was married to him. She was his third wife. ” Filmindia “ was dreaded by the film industry folks of bygone era. It is infamous for its acerbic editorials. Just go through the views of Baburao Patel published in the magazine  ” Filmindia “ about ” Jwar Bhata ” [ 1944 ] , the debut film of Dilip Kumar :

Dilip Kumar, the new hero of Bombay Talkies is an anaemic addition to our film artistes. He needs lots of vitamins and a prolonged treatment of proteins before another picture can be risked with him. He looks gaunt and famished and strikes as a long ill-treated convict, who has escaped from a jail. His appearance on the screen creates both laughter and disappointment. His acting efforts in this picture amounts to nill. “

Can it be considered a critical analysis of a debut making young actor’s acting calibre? Do you think it is decent, sensible and appropriate to comment on looks and physicality of an artiste? But Baburao Patel was known for his scathing, acerbic and derogatory personal comments. And Sushilarani Patel was his wife, third wife. It is alleged that he was jealous of her. It is also rumoured that Baburao Patel was very possessive of extremely beautiful and young Sushilarani. So, it was natural that she starred and sang just in two films and then faded into oblivion. And the two films were directed by Baburao Patel himself. The two films in question were ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] and Gwalan ” [ 1946 ]. These films tanked at the box office without any trace and Sushilarani’s career got an untimely and abrupt end.

 

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Draupadi

 

SUSHILARANI as DRAUPADI in Vastra Haran Scene of DRAUPADI

SUSHILARANI as DRAUPADI in Vastra Haran Scene of DRAUPADI

 

Any print of the film or any link of the songs she sang in ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] is not available today. I copied the above picture of Sushilarani in ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ]  from the internet and posted it above.

” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] , second film of Sushilarani Patel was also produced and directed by Baburao Patel. And Sushilarani Patel sang a duet in this film with legendary play back singer Mukesh. The song in question was tuned by Hansraj Bahl and lyrics were written by Indra Chandra. For lovers of old Hindi film songs ” …………………….. LAGAT NAZAR TORI CHHALAIYA ……………………. ” is a gem. Fortunately the song is available on YouTube. I am providing YouTube link of the song :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgcrVFUZLXE

Just two films ; ” Draupadi ” [ 1944 ] and ” Gwalan ” [ 1946 ] and that is all. That heralded the end. A sad end of a talented singer-actor. A talented artiste’s talent was allegedly crushed under the ego, obsessiveness, jealousy and whims of her husband. Sushilarani’s nephew and some of her students have confirmed these allegations in their interviews.

I think now you have all the answers of the questions , which I put forward in the beginning.

Baburao Patel died in 1982. And Sushilarani Patel could properly start her career only after her husband’s death. But at that time she was 62. Her prime was gone. Her other peer Kishori Amonkar became a legend in her own life time. They both started learning classical music from legendary Moghubai Kurdikar. Incidentally Moghubai was the mother of  Kishori Amonkar.

My student Alvira Khan, who is Salman Khan’s sister, was a student of Sushilarani Patel. So I know Sushilarani in a way. I empathized with her and after her demise, I am saddened.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.


[ Information about Sushilarani Patel and Baburao Patel is taken from several newspapers, YouTube and also from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]

 

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