Shamshad Begum : छोड़ बाबुल का घर, आज पी के नगर, मोहे जाना पड़ा


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 30 , 2013           07.00 P.M.

Shamshad Begum

April 14, 1919 – April 23, 2013

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Shamshad Begum was one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry. She had sung over 6000 songs in Hindi , Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi languages. Her songs from the 1940s to the early 1970s remain popular and continue to be remixed.

Young Shamshad Begum

Young Shamshad Begum

Shamshad Begum died this month on April 23 , 2013 at the age of 94 and I am forced to write 7th obituary in continuation in the month of April . Shamshad Begum , along with Noor Jahan and Amirbai Karnataki , dominated the pre-Lata Mangeshkar era in Indian playback singing .

Among female playback singers , She was blessed with a distinct voice with slight nasal twang and any lover of Hindi film music can immediately recognize her voice .

Since I was born and brought up in the Lata Mangeshkar era , I was not a fan of Shamshad Begum’s voice initially. But slowly , as my understanding grew , I started appreciating her voice .

The first song of hers , which caught my fancy , was ” Pee Ke Ghar Aaj Pyari Dulhaniya Chali ” . ThisMother India ” [ 1957 ] song was immensely popular . Other songs of the same film ; ” Holi Ayee Re Kanhayi Rang Chhalke Suna De Zara Bansuri ” and ” Gadiwale Gadi Dheere Haank Re “ are also hit even today . Then I watched Mughal – E – Azam ” [ 1960] and its immortal qawwali is still fresh in my mind . ” Teri Mehfil Me Qismat Azma Ke Hum Bhi Dekhenge “ is a connoisseur’s delight . Then I watched ” Aan ” [ 1952 ] and I was permanently hooked to Shamshad Begum’s voice . All her popular songs , like ; ” Aag Lagi Tan Man Me Dil Ko Pada Thamna , Ram Jaane Kab Hoga Saiyyan Ji Ka Samna ” and ” Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Aaj Din Rang Rangeela Aaya “ are still my favourites . But ” C. I. D. ” [ 1956 ] was another revelation . ” Le Ke Pehla Pehla Pyaar , Bhar Ke Aankhon Me Khumar ” and ” Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana , Jeene Do Zalim Banao Na Deewana “ are just immortal . It is surprising that I heard her most popular song very late in my life . ” Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon Kiya Hai Wahan Se Telefoon , Tumhari Yaad Satati Hai “ . This song from ” Patanga ” [ 1949 ] is unforgettable and its several re-mixed versions are still extremely popular . ” Naya Daur ” [ 1957 ] film’s ” Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka “ was a craze of its time . Her last hit  ” Kajra Mohabbatwala Ankhiyon Me Aisa Dala “  from ” Kismat ” [ 1969 ] is one of the songs which was re-mixed again & again .

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Shamshad Begum’s career was somewhat eclipsed with the advent of Lata Mangeshkar . She sang her first duet ” Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le “ with Lata Mangeshkar in ” Andaz ” [ 1949 ] and her last duet with Lata Mangeshkar was ” Teri Mehfil Me Qismat Azma Kar Hum Bhi Dekhenge “ from ” Mughal – E – Azam ” [ 1960 ] . Within these 13 years Shamshad Begum’s career went downhill and after giving her last hit ” Kajra Mohabbatwala “ in 1969 , she bid adieu to playback singing .

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Some Famous Songs of Shamshad Begum :

  • Leke pehla pehla pyar, (CID 1956), (music: O.P. Nayyar)
  • Milte hi aankhen dil hua, (Duet with Talat Mehmood), (Babul), (music: Naushad)
  • Chali chali kaisi yeh hawa yeh, (Duet with Usha Mangeshkar), (Bluffmaster 1965), (music: Kalyanji Anandji)
  • Kabhi aar kabhi paar lagathi re nazar, (Aar Paar), (music: O.P. Nayyar)
  • O Gadiwale Dheere – Mother India – Naushad
  • Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana – CID (1956) – music O.P. Nayyar
  • Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re – (1956) – music O.P.Nayyar
  • Mere piya gaye Rangoon – Patanga – music C.Ramchandra
  • Ek Tera Sahara – Shama – music Master Ghulam Haider
  • Holi aayee re KanhaaiMother India (1957) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni, Music: Naushad
  • Naina Bhar aye neer – Humayun – music Master Ghulam Haider
  • Nazar Phero Na Humse -(Duet with G M Durani) – Deedar (1951) – music Naushad
  • Chod Babul Ka Ghar – Babul – music Naushad
  • Kajra Mohabbatwala Ankhiyon mein Aisa dala (Duet with Asha Bhosle) – Kismat (1968) – Music: O.P. Nayyar
  • Meri neendon main tum, meri khwabon mein tum (Duet with Kishore Kumar) – Naya Andaz – Music: O.P.Nayyar
  • Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat (Duet with Lata Mangeshkar) – Mughal-E-Azam
  • Saiyan Dil mein aana re – Bahar
  • Reshmi salwar kurta jaali da – Naya Daur
  • Milte Hai Ankhen Dil Deewana Hua Kisika – Babul – with Talat Mahmood
  • Kisike Dil Mein Rehna Tha – Babul – with Lata
  • Dharti Ko Aakash Pukare – Mela – with Mukesh
  • do teen aaja mausam hai rangeen – Awara

Shamshad Begum’s fans often allege that her career suffered because of the monopolistic politics of Lata Mangeshkar . I beg to differ . Shamshad Begum played her innings and retired gracefully . Her career suffered because of the changing times and changing taste of film-goers . Talat Memood’s career went downhill with the advent of Mohammad Rafi . Even mighty Mohammed Rafi , towards the end of his career , was confined in his home for many years without recording a single song and Kishore Kumar ruled that era . In the field of art such things happen .

Her distinct style , her nasal twang and her strong voice , which was her forte in the earlier years of her career , became her nemesis towards the end . It is not for nothing that towards the fag-end of her career , her voice was used for vamps and her last hit ” Kajra Mohabbatwala “ in ” Kismat ” [ 1969 ] was filmed on Vishwajeet , who was masquerading as woman in the said film .

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as  Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my condolences to the family of the iconic singer . Self-proclaimed most famous acting school of Mumbai , self-anointed most famous acting institute of India and self-appointed most famous acting academy of bollywood has no time for such courtesy .

Shamshad Begum

Shamshad Begum

May her soul rest in peace ! Her ephemeral body is gone but her perennial voice , the temple bell , will live on forever .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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100 Years of Ashok Kumar : First Super – Star of Hindi Films


Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 10 , 2011           03.00 P.M.

It is centenary year of Ashok Kumar , the first real Super – Star of Hindi cinema . He made his debut in 1936 , just after 5 years of the release of ‘ Alam Ara ” [ 1931 ] , the first talkie of Hindi cinema .

Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli alias Ashok Kumar

October 13 , 1911       –      December 10 , 2001

Born as Kumudlal Kunjilal Ganguli in Bhagalpur city of the then Bengal Presidency [ Now Bihar ] , Ashok Kumar spent his early life in Khandwa , Madhya Pradesh , where his father was a practicing advocate . He was educated at The Presidency College of Calcutta [ Now Kolkata ] . His two younger brothers ; Anoop Kumar and Kishore Kumar were also singer actors .

The Ganguly brothers - Anoop Kumar, Ashok Kuma...

Three Ganguli Brothers with Their Mother

After graduation , he came to Mumbai [ Then Bombay ] and started working as lab assistant in Bombay Talkies , where his brother – in – law Sashadhar Mukherjee was working with the owner Mr. Himanshu Rai . He , accidentally , started his acting career in 1936 with the Bombay Talkies film ; ” Jeevan Naiya ” . As the story goes , the original hero Najam Ul Hassan eloped with Devika Rani , the heroine of the film and wife of Himanshu Rai . indignant Himanshu Rai was furious and dismissed Najam Ul Hassan from Bombay Talkies . One day he saw Ashok Kumar and decided to make him the new hero of ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] . Another film , ” Achhut Kanya ” , which also came in the same year , was super hit and with this success Ashok Kumar was catapulted to super – stardom .

English: Scene from the 1936 film Achhut Kanya

Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani in Achhut Kanya

English: A still from the 1936 Hindi film Achh...

Another Photo of Achhut Kanya - Song Main Ban Ki Chidiya ....

After ” Achhut Kanya ” [ 1936 ] , Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani were paired again in hit films like ” Izzat ” [ 1937 ] , ” Savitri ” [ 1937 ] and ” Nirmala ” [ 1938 ] .

Later on he was paired with Leela Chitnis in super hits like ; ” Kangan ” [ 1939 ] , ” Bandhan ” [ 1940 ] and ” Jhoola ” [ 1941 ] .

He played Hindi cinema ‘s first anti – hero role in ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , which ran for 3 continuous years in the Roxy cinema of Calcutta . [ Now Kolkata ] . This record was broken by ” Sholay ” [ 1975 ] , which ran in Minerva of Mumbai for 5 years .

Before ” Kismat ” [ 1943 ] , he sang all his songs in films , as was the norm and churned out some outstanding numbers . I have a cassette of the songs sung by him in his earlier films . Years later , he again sang in ” Aashirvad ” [ 1968 ] . His song ” Railgaadi …..chhuk , chhuk , chhuk ……… railgaadi “ was a rage and is considered  the first Rap song of Hindi cinema .

After ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , he left Bombay Talkies and started his career as freelance artiste .

He started playing character roles from late 60s . Even as a character artiste , he churned out many marvellous films with some stellar performances .

” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] was his last film . Thus , from ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ] to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] , he had a career span of 61 years as an actor . This is unparalleled in the motion picture history . It was a record , which got eclipsed recently . Dev Anand , who died on December 04 , 2011 , had career span of 65 years as an actor . In his 61 year-long acting career , Ashok Kumar acted in 301 films .

With the advent of television , he whole – heartedly accepted the new medium and in fact was the first major cine – artiste , who appeared in serials . First he anchored ” Hum Log “ and then did title roles in TV serials like ; ” Bahadur Shah Zafar ” and ” Bheem Bhawani ”  His last TV serial was Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed ” Ujale Ki Ore “ . I also did a very insignificant role in it and can say that I have shared screen space with Evergreen , iconic and gigantic super star , Padma Bhushan Ashok Kumar , who was affectionately called , by one and all , Dadamoni , meaning elder brother .

He , apart from acting in 301 films , produced 4 films . They are ; ” Mahal ” [ 1949 ] , ” The Fiancee ” [ 1953 ] , ” Kalpana ” [ 1960 ] and ” Lal Chunariyaa ” [ 1983 ] .

He even directed ” Eight Days ” [ 1946 ] but due to some reasons refused to take credit . He is not billed as a director in the credits .

He also contributed in music department of 4 films . They are ; ” Aashirwad ” [ 1968 ] , ” Kangan ” [ 1971 ] , ” Khubsoorat ” [ 1980 ] and ” Shaukeen ” [ 1982 ] .

In ” Krorepati ” [ 1961 ] and ” Guddi ” [ 1971 ] , he is billed as guest artiste and played himself . It means , he did not play any character but played super – star Ashok Kumar .

Apart from acting , his other passions were painting and Homoeopathy . He was a practicing homeopath . In 1950s , he also became owner of iconic Bombay Talkies , when Devika Rani sold her share and left the studio . He was a linguist and apart from English , Hindi and his mother tongue Bengali , was fluent in Marathi and French . In his film ” Gumrah ” [  1963 ] , he even used French in dialogues .

Devika Rani

Devika Rani

A career span of 61 years , 301 films in Hindi , Bengali and Marathi , various ads and corporate films and half a dozen TV serials , apart from numerous film songs to his credit , this gigantic , iconic Super – star of Hindi films died on December 10 , 2001 in his Chembur residence . He was 90 years old at the time of his death .
Logo of Bombay Talkies

Logo of Bombay Talkies

First film of Ashok Kumar , which I watched was ” Bahu Beti ” . I was in school and went to watch this Joy Mukherjee and Mala Sinha starrer . Ashok Kumar , who was not the hero of the film , was there prominently on the poster and his name came  first in the billing . I got curious . How come an actor , who is playing father in the film , got the top billing ? My cousins , my maternal uncle and some more knowledgeable friends told me about Ashok Kumar and I started watching his films and started following his career .

Initially I was a fan of Dilip Kumar .  I am still a fan but slowly I started veering towards Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand . When I came to Mumbai to pursue career in films I watched Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand from close quarters . I found them humane , warm and without any trappings of a star . I wanted to be close to my icons and these two stars ; Ashok Kumar and Dev Anand permit you to be there in their world . So I became a huge fan of Ashok Kumar and will remain till my death .

This is centenary year of Ashok Kumar . It is sad and appalling that nothing was done to commemorate the occasion . There was just one article in Times of India . Congress government at centre is more interested to preserve the legacy of Nehru – Gandhi family . They have no time for Ashok Kumar . But alas ! Hindi film industry too forgot its first Super Star . MAMI Film Festival also forgot to give him honour in his centenary year .

His contribution is enormous .He ushered in natural style of acting and freed Hindi cinema from the clutches of theatrical style of dialogue delivery . He experimented a lot and did variety of roles . But life is such …………

I am a small man and I have no reach . Still I wanted to write a blog about Ashok Kumar . Through my blog , which is not widely read , I wish to remember Dadamoni Ashok Kumar and paying my unflinching respect to the first real super star of not only Hindi cinema but of Indian films .

Adieu Dadamoni ! You shall always be remembered by a fan like me and your incredible body of work will always be there to enthrall the connoisseurs of world cinema .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

www.vidurfilms.com

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