AIR FM Gold Brunching with music

The gentle giant

My greetings to everyone today on Monday October 3, one of the most important days of the Navratri/ Durgapuja festival: Maha Ashtami.

The 36th of my fortnightly programs on AIR Delhi FM Gold marked some changes from the previous ones over the last few months. I started on this series of programs with the composers from Hindi Film Music, then shifted to bands and singers of the west and now I am back on Hindi Film Music.

I was also happy to be able to present a selection of songs from easily my most favourite male singer, who is so much more than could be indicated by being pigeonholed as a singer alone.

Hemanta Kumar’s first known entry into music that is available on recordings was at the All India Radio in 1933 when he was all of 13. To me he is music director, composer and a film producer who achieved much in both the domains of Bangla and Hindi films with some degree of adroitness. Born Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, he was a much revered exponent of Rabindra Sangeet and contributed perhaps more than anyone else from his generation in this field and has left a rich legacy of soulful music for his millions of fans.
No less a person than Bharat Ratna Latadidi has once remarked about Hemant Kumar who was not only a fabulous singer but also an equally indomitable composer, “Listening to Hemantada, I feel as though a sadhu is sitting in a temple singing bhajan”. In Hemantada’s voice one could experience an amalgamation of Rabindra Sangeet, Bengali folk music, and modern and classical elements. Hemantada was born with several unique gifts. As a singer he created a very high position for himself in Kolkata and Mumbai. As a composer his versatility and durability in the charts as well as the mind space of hundreds of millions are truly astonishing. From Naagin and Jaal to Bees Saal Baad and Kohraa through to Khamoshi, the 50’s and 60’s are truly the decades that belonged prominently to his unique talents and brilliance.

Hemant Kumar Mukherjee was born on 16 June 1920 in Varanasi, but his family originally hails from Baharu in West Bengal. When he was young, his family shifted back to Calcutta where he grew up and attended Mitra Institution school of Bhawanipore. After he graduated from Intermediate, he attended the Jadavpur University and began to study engineering.

Music seemed to be an inherent part of his life from the outset. Why else did he become a professional singer at the age of 17? The earnest boy studied music under stalwarts like Phani Banerjee and Shailendra Prasad Gupta. The early training stood Hemantada in good stead. He could impart a luminous but light weight classicism to his film music without making his tunes cumbersome or overtly erudite. He could master the popular idiom and could also set aside his learned antecedents to infuse a freshness and modernity into his songs and that too without sacrificing the tonal propriety.

Let’s take for example the immortal solo ‘Ye Raat Ye Chandni..’. The tune contains some jolting jazz – tinged interludes which fit into the overall design of the song like a hand in glove.

The sound of Hemant Mukherjee is the sound of today. The past translates effortlessly into expressions of tuneful emotions. If ‘Man Dole Mera..’ in Naagin had audiences throwing coins at the screen in Bombay, in Calcutta Hemantda regaled audiences as the legendary Uttam Kumar’s voice singing such all-time hits in Bangla as ‘Ei Path Jadi Na Shesh Hoi..’ in Saptapadi.

Hemantada virtually had the best of the worlds he so prominently contributed to and yet his head remained firmly on his shoulders. People in the industry were floored by his utter genuineness as a human being and his generosity of spirit. I have myself seen the lack of airs and humility of the man when I met him at the studios of Doordarshan Mumbai.

The singer, composer, and producer went on to record approximately 2000 songs in his illustrious career.
Although he started early, it was never clear that Hemant Kumar would become a singer. His original training was in engineering and initially he tried his hand at writing and even managed to have a short story published in a major Bangla magazine. But it was only after a while that it became clear that his calling was music. He had a reasonable degree of formal training in music and the major portion of his training had been under Sailesh Duttagupta. He also studied under Phani Banerjee, and received his training in Rabindra Sangeet under Anadi Dastidar. Later he was a disciple of the great Ustad Faiyaz Khan. Unfortunately this training did not last very long, as it ended with the demise of Ustad Faiyaz Khan in 1950.
As a 17 year old, in 1937 he turned professional and recorded his first record with the songs, Janite Jadi Go Tumi and Bolo Go Bolo, with lyrics by Naresh Bhattacharya and composed by Sailesh Dattagupta. This was recorded under the Columbia label. However, thereafter he had a sustained output of non-film songs from the Gramophone Company of India up until the’80s.

His career as a film playback singer began with the Bangla film “Nemai Sanyas” which was released in 1941. After that he did playback for a number of other Bangla films.
He sang his first Hindi film song under the music direction of Pt. Amarnath in “Irada” released in 1944.

Hemant Kumar turned a music director with the Bangla film “Abhiyatri” in 1947 which were all very fine achievements.
The mid 1940’s was a tumultuous period in India and Hemantda felt obliged to use his art for social and political awakening of the masses.The waning days of the British Raj made the problems of imperialism very evident so Hemant Kumar joined Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) to create works of art that would raise the political consciousness of the common man. Plays, music, and other dramatic works were created with the aim of focusing on the social and political inequities of the day.
Hemant Kumar’s participation in IPTA gave him the satisfaction of standing up for his beliefs. It also produced some interesting collaborations with Salil Chowdhury. In 1948 he sang an epic 6 minute song (We must not forget that in those days this occupied both sides of a 78 recording). This song was Ganyer Badhu. It is said that when this song was released, Salilda was not even present there but the success of this song paved the way for a number of collaborations with Salil Chowdhury in the future.
Other music directors also began to take note of his abilities. In the late 1940’s Hemantada started composing music for the director Hemen Gupta, who had once been Netaji Subhashchandra Bose’s personal secretary . This association would bring Hemant Kumar to Bombay in 1951. Sometime earlier Hemen Gupta had moved to Bombay to work in the growing Hindi film industry. Hemen liked Hemant Kumar’s music so much that he called him to Bombay to wear the music director’s hat for his first Hindi Film. It was 1952, and a music director in his early 30s was making his debut in Hindi films. He had been fairly successful in Bangla cinema, both as a singer and a composer, but Bombay’s film industry promised new avenues. It was the historical drama Anand Math , released under the Filmistaan banner where newcomer Hemant Kumar chose ‘Vande Mataram’, a song everyone was familiar with. Sung in separate versions by Latadidi and Hemant Kumar, the success of ‘Vande Mataram’ hit the patriotic chords of people, and became extremely popular that forced filmmakers look at Hemant Kumar in a different light.
Although this movie may not be considered a great commercial hit, it performed well enough for the Hemant Kumar / Hemen Gupta collaboration to produce several more films together.
Hemant Kumar’s fortunes were about to change thanks to Anandmath. It was S D Burmanda who gave him his break for the film “Jaal” in 1952. The song, “Yeh Raat, Yeh Chaandni Phir Kahan“, became a big hit, and cemented his position as a major playback singer.
The following year, his voice was noticed in the Patita song “Yaad kiya dil ne,” composed by Shankar-Jaikishan. He made a mark singing ‘Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag’ for C Ramchandra in Anarkali . Although Latadidi had some iconic songs in the film, Hemant Kumar’s voice attracted attention for its unique smooth texture and a distinct depth unlike no other. After the success of “Nagin” he went on to be the music director for numerous famous films including “Jagriti” , “Bees Saal Baad” , and “Khamoshi“.
In the 1950’s, Hemant Kumar had a varied, multifaceted artistic life. In Bengal he is, to this day, known as a (if not THE) major exponent of Rabindra Sangeet. In Bombay he now had two occupations. He was known by many as a successful playback singer, and to others he was a music director. He also ventured in as a film producer and established a film company Geetanjali Productions whose first production was the Bangla film, “Neel Akshar Neechay” which won him the “President’s Gold Medal“.
It was under this Geetanjali Productions banner, films such as “Bees Saal Baad”, and “Khamoshi“, were released.
He won the Filmfare Award for the Best Music Director for his score in the film “Nagin” .
Salil Chowdhury once said, “If God ever decided to sing, he would do so in the voice of Hemant Kumar.
Bhupen Hazarika in his close association with Hemantada remembered him as one of the most generous human beings he ever met. Bhupenda recalled his first encounter with Hemant Kumar. “I had the opportunity of knowing what a great man Hemantada was.” Bhupenda recalled going to Calcutta as a student to collect royalty for the songs he sang as a child artiste from a private music company. Suddenly a tall handsome man appeared in front of Bhupenda. By then Hemant Mukherjee was nationally famous as Hemant Kumar, singing both film and non-film songs. Bhupenda saw the famous singer composer approaching him. After introducing himself Hemantda offered to take Bhupenda to his own recording company HMV. “Which rival musician would provide that kind of
encouragement to an unknown musician like me?” Bhupen Hazarika shook his head in disbelief. Hailing a taxi Hemantada took the stupefied Bhupen to the HMV office in Calcutta and a deal was finalized on the spot. Later in Bombay Hemant Kumar, who was by then already a reputed singer – composer, introduced Bhupen Hazarika to Latadidi and a host of eminent musical luminaries telling them about this talented young musician.
His career -with all its complexities- can be broadly divided into four segments — Bangla music, Hindi music composing, Hindi playback singing, and singing in other regional languages. For Indian audiences at large, his role as a Hindi film singer has probably been the most admired, with Lata didi and Ashatai naming him among their favourite singers.
S D Burmanda had tremendous faith in Hemant Kumar’s singing skills and, interestingly, some of their best songs were picturised on Dev Anand. These included the hits like ‘Teri duniya mein jeene se’, ‘Chup hai dharti’ and ‘Na tum hamein jaano’.
One of Hemant Kumar’s most iconic songs with Burmanda featured Guru Dutt. Interestingly, while Rafisaab sang the other songs for Pyaasa , ‘Jaane woh kaise log they’ was rendered by Hemant Kumar and this was despite the fact that the director Guru Dutt wanted Rafisaab to sing it. Although the filmmaker was not convinced, he had to bow to his music director’s wishes.
Hemant Kumar’s solo career had many other gems. He had ‘Nain so nain’ for Vasant Desai. For Roshan, he sang ‘Chupa lo dil mein’ and for Kalyanji-Anandji, he had ‘Neend na mujhko aaye’ and ‘Tumhe yaad hoga’.
Predictably, he produced some of the best songs where he composed the music. The two best known examples were his productions, Bees Saal Baad and Kohra. The former had ‘Beqarar karke’ and ‘Zara nazron se’, sung by him, and the Latadidi classic ‘Kahin deep jale kahin dil’, whereas Kohra had ‘Yeh nayan dare dare’ in his voice and Latadidi’s ‘Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat’.
As a music director, his early successes after Anand Math included Shart , which had the song ‘Na yeh chand hoga’, Jagriti , with ‘Aao bachchon’ and Nagin , which had the super-hit ‘been’ song ‘Man dole’. His other successes as a music director included Khamoshi (best known for his ‘Tum pukar lo’ and Kishoreda’s ‘Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thi’).
He remains a huge name in Rabindra Sangeet, also composing for numerous Bengali films. He sang in other languages too, with the 1969 Marathi duet with Latadidi, ‘Mi dolkar daryacha raja’, composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, becoming a big hit.
Hemant Kumar’s career reached new heights and he truly left behind a rich legacy and an irreplaceable voice. He was nominated for both Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, both of which he politely refused.
Hemant Kumar always went out of his way to help his colleagues from the music world.
I suppose this man could sing like an angel because he came close to being one in his real life. Illustrious but never cheaply flamboyant throughout his career, Hemant Kumar never thrust his vocals on any song. He could have insisted on singing each and every male number that he composed. After all Hemant Kumar was always a big enough name but he chose Kishoreda to sing ‘Wo Shaam Kuchh Ajeeb Thi..’ in Khamoshi and he kept the quieter ‘Tum Pukar Lo..’ for himself. This was typical of Hemantada. Never an attention-seeker either in real life or in his musical output, he always wanted his work to speak for himself!

The entire recording of the program broadcast on Monday 3rd October 2022 on AIR Delhi FM Gold is available at this link:,_2022.mp3

1. Raahi Tu Mat Ruk Jaana: is from the Kishoreda movie “Door Gagan Ki Chhaaon Mein”. The poignant lyrics by Shailendra are set to a wonderful, melodious composition by Kishore Kumar. The song appears in the movie in three different parts. It’s a rare and unique song for one more reason. Although Kishoreda has sung several songs under the music direction of Hemant Kumar, here the roles have been are reversed. Kishoreda is the composer (of his home production), and Hemantda’s voice is in the title track.
This special song is from Kishoreda’s home production, that was a real labour of love for him and showed the relevant side of the versatile genius that he truly was. In fact it’s the theme song cum title song of the movie and also the movie’s opening song. The credits roll on the screen as this song gets played in the background.
Hemantada , the king of melody, had the most calming, serene and resonating timbre to his amazing voice. His songs establish an unbreakable bond between his gdntle soul to the audience’s. Though a great music director in his own right, his singing magnificence was always par excellence.

Kishoreda’s multirole contribution in the movie is a tribute to his genius and an affirmation (for those who need to be told ) of his amazing multiple, equally well honed, skills. When he is not acting, he is directing. When he is not singing, he is composing. Not to forget, he is the producer too of this critically-acclaimed effort. In this much-watchable and must-watch movie, he is a melancholic character, who wins your heart with whatever he does — singing, acting, directing or composing. A must-watch movie for those of you haven’t yet seen this heart tugging movie.
From the time the movie opens to a baritone background track by Hemantda, it takes you on a splendid emotional journey.
This was Kishoreda’s directorial debut and successful by any yardstick which earned wholesome praise from the critics. Kishoreda was himself mighty pleased with the response from the connoisseurs of good cinema of the likes of Satyajit Ray.

2. Ye Nayan Dare Dare…. is from “Kohra” for which Hemantda was the Music Director, Composer as well as the playback singer. The lyrics of the Hindi version were by Kaifi Azmi.
This song is the Hindi version of an equally popular Bangla song, picturised on Suchitra Sen, Ei raat tomar amar, from the landmark movie Deep Jwele Jaai and both the Hindi and Bangla versions have great, meaningful lyrics by Kaifi Azmi and Gouriprasanna Majumdar, respectively.
Biswajit certainly had some timeless melodies picturised on him; the songs of Kohra and of Bees Saal Baad, both of which had Hemantada gave playback for him, are a case in point. Hemantada’s humming, and low pitched soothing singing is nothing short of mesmerising. Pure magic, simply and one that has bewitched hundreds of millions like me for more than three quarters of a century.

3. Ya dil ki sunon duniya walo:

In this song as well as in the movie, Anupama there’s a sensitivity and a beauty that few works can match. Kaifi Azmi’s lyrics are touching, and Hemantada does full justice to them, in a voice full of empathy for somebody who finds it difficult to articulate her feelings.The movie is a poignant classic with a treasure trove of soulful songs however, this one has one addicted. The movie itself is a masterclass in movie direction and both hearing and watching it as a part of the movie is a surreal experience. Even after the movie ends, the song, along with its sublime visuals, stay with the audience.

While the song is a combined genius of a high-performing team; Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Jaywant Pathare (a cinematographer par excellence who won the Filmfare Award for Best Cinematography for Anupama), Hemant Kumar, Kaifi Azmi and, of course, Dharmendra—the credit must also go to the visionary captain of the ship , Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
The first thing one will notice about the song is the static, statuesque stance of the protagonist, with a shadow cast on the floor. Throughout the song, the hero remains transfixed—Dharmendra doesn’t move an inch! In fact nobody moves except Sharmila Tagore, who seems to be in another world. The only thing mobile in the song is the camera and, therefore, the audience’s perspective.

A brilliant creative gambit! The stillness of the protagonist anchors the viewers, pulling them into the song, forcing them to listen, to appreciate the depth of the words, to decipher the metaphors and their meaning. The camera moves and the angles change but the hero stands and delivers.
This emulates real life singing as Dharmendra sings in Anupama. Also, notice the people in the song—they are enthralled and some are even surprised at the sombre tone of the song in a lively party like that. One can almost feel they understand there is empathy but they can’t fathom its depth. It’s all so real yet so surreal—an ordinary moment depicted extraordinarily and that’s where the genius of Hrishikesh Mukherjee lies.
And then there is Sharmila Tagore, who brings a sharp contrast to the melancholy of Dharmendra in the song. The hero is a person of cheerful disposition but right now, he is sombre after learning the fate of the princess in the castle—Anupama. Anupama, a shy girl on the other hand, has just found a glimmer of hope, and happiness. The two of them in different states of mind deviating from their natural selves. They complement each other. The hero is bold, expressive and lyrical; the heroine is soft, subdued, and musical. So is it a coincidence, then, that Hrishikesh Mukherjee pictured the lyrical portions on Dharmendra and the musical interludes on Sharmila? One, too sad to move, the other, fidgety and too moved to stand still.
Hemantada can make one weep in this song, and to heighten the mood of this unforgettable solo; Dharmendra being a picture of restraint, the cameraman creates the perfect ambience with the chiaroscuro lighting!
It is said Dharmendra was a little apprehensive about Hemantada’s voice matching his. He certainly should never have worried.

4. Na tum humein jaano: is from the movie, “Baat Ek Raat Ki”, featuring Dev Anand, and Waheeda Rehman in the lead roles. The lyrics were penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
Despite the fact that many of Dev Anand’s earlier songs were sung by Mohammed Rafi and his later ones by Kishore Kumar, Devsaab has had many other singers give playback for him and one notable among them was Hemant Kumar.
Dev Anand didn’t really have a ‘preferred singer’ like say, Shammi Kapoor’s avowed fondness for Mohammed Rafi, even if he did have a soft corner for Kishore Kumar.
Now this is Classic Hemant Kumar. This song has it all – a lovely melody, fantastic lyrics, and this warm, mellow voice singing with such pathos and empathy, like a warm blanket draped on you on a cold winter’s night. His silken vocals evoke the essence of a gentle emotion even though in the movie the situation is not so. Dev Anand, playing an investigating officer, is trying to restore Waheeda’s memory through this song. Suman Kalyanpur joins in towards the end as Waheeda’s memory is revived which is the song she had sung to her beloved earlier.
Hemantada seems to have had a track record of 100% success with S D Burmanda as all of his songs for him were superhits; this particular song would sadly be the last one that he would sing for Burmanda.
Hemant Kumar once remarked that he was the ‘romantic’ voice of Dev Anand, and that singing for him established Devsaab’s career.

Hemantada sounds so perfect when he hums, and this song starts off with that, before moving into an equally beautiful set of vocals of high and low notes which he sings in a smooth, evocative style that’s enhanced by a faintly Bangla accent and Suman Kalyanpur’s cameo in the song is just so. It couldn’t have been better although it could , actually also qualify as a duet.

A truly amazing song. I remember watching the movie at my oldest uncle’s place with my cousin Rita holding my hand tight to reduce her stress and fear.

5. Na Ye Chaand Hoga:

This one from the movie Shart was one of the popular songs that featured on the Do Pehlu Do Rang Do Geet programme of Radio Ceylon which has a version by Hemant Kumar picturised on Deepak and the female version of the song by Geeta Dutt picturised on Shyama respectively. The music was by Hemantada and the lyrics by S H Bihari.
It is better to savour both the versions instead of comparing the two. This song has gone on to become an iconic classic and the lyrics of this song must be one of the most well known lyrics that S H Bihari ever wrote.The music was composed by Hemant Kumar which was just his second movie as a music director. This movie was preceded by “Anandmath” and followed by “Nagin”: two most memorable, huge hits. That was the kind of timeless musical score Hemant Kumar could create that would last, without losing it’s gloss over the decades.
There is this magical quality of Hemantda’s voice along with the message that love is eternal and outlives the universe itself. It has this unforgettable quality about it which makes it particularly special.

The version by Geeta Dutt is also wonderful, albeit sounding a little different. You will find both versions on the following link.

6. Ye raat ye chandani fir kahan

is from the movie Jaal was the second film of Gurudutt, after Baaz in 1951, with the same star cast of Dev Anand and Geeta Bali.
The story of the film revolves around the peaceful and hardworking Christian fisherfolk community of Goa.
This was the first time Hemant Kumar gave playback for Dev Anand and for this film, two voices were used for Dev Anand; Hemant Kumar for “Ye Raat Ye Chandni Phir Kahan” and Kishore Kumar for the peppy song, “De Bhi Chuke Hai Dil Najarana” with Latadidi.

Subtlety is the keyword in the lyrics and nobody understands it better than Sahir Ludhianvi. Intense, insightful and deeply emotional, his nonpareil words bring about everything defining the melody of love.
Guru Dutt himself is seen in a little cameo (Alfred Hitchcock style) as a fisherman in the song Zor Lagake Hai Haiya.
The languorous lilt in the air, and the moist, cool breeze is good enough to mesmerise her to the charms of Tony and her mind melodiously lingers abstractly. This climate will disappear soon. Hear what your heart says…. The moonlight has spilled over lazily on the branches of the trees. It narrates a simple, unglamorous tale. Lyrics as profound as this, can’t get any better and no better person than Hemant Kumar to sing a slow paced, emotive song. His voice hauntingly trickles down to one’s heart and stays there forever. The vocals soothing while singing and leave alone the words, he hums so warmly. Apt for an actor like Dev Anand whose forte was romancing! Dev Anand looks breezy and rakish with his boyish charm. S D Burmanda has set it perfectly on the folksy Raag Kafi.

The song itself has two versions; A Hemant Kumar solo and another Latadidi -Hemant Kumar duet. For both the versions music arrangement has been done by the legendary Anthony Gonsalves.
It’s a mellow tale of serenading us with two beautiful people, a guitar, a beach, a rising storm and Hemantda’s voice. The ever charming Dev Anand, is expectedly as delightful as the song itself!

The movie was also a super hit and this song is a perfect example where the irresistible combination of lyrics, melody, singing , composition, music, picturisation and acting by both Dev Anand and Geeta Bali are in perfect sync and add to the eternal beauty and charm of the song and ensure the song remains unforgettable 7 decades after it was released.
Hemant Kumar sang 17 songs (duets included) that were picturised on Dev Anand and each one is unforgettable. The screen crackled with the intensity of their emotions, and when Hemant Kumar intoned Sun jaa, dil ki (emphasis) dastaan, it was not just a hapless Geeta Bali who showed a whirlwind of emotions ,an entire nation also got charmed by this exciting new baritone that so extravagantly caressed their eardrums.
This was Hemant Kumar’s first Hindi film hit. Composer S D Burman, who was aware of Hemant Kumar’s earlier Bangla films success, gave the singer a chance to make a major splash and brought him into the mainstream Hindi cinema.
In this marvelous singing encompassing the undeniable feelingly rendered call, for his beloved, Hemant Kumar’s baritone along with Sahir Ludhianvi’s luminous lyrical imagery created a filigree-thin web of entrancement.
The success of this song established Hemantda’s career in the Hindi film industry and as a result Shankar-Jaikishan promptly signed him for their under-production, Patita.

7. Zindagi kitni khubsurat hai

This is from the fairly well known movie, Bin Badal Barsaat
Music and playback were by Hemant Kumar and the lyrics were penned by Shakeel Badayuni . Another version was sung by Latadidi with a different set of lyrics.
The emotions surge across the Motion Picture Screen in a blaze of colour and splendour in this supernatural story featuring Biswajeet and Asha Parekh in the lead roles.

Arrayed in the flotilla is the song in traditional khayal composition and its elaboration by the master, Hemant Kumar. Although it boasts a refined musical stature, Raag Chhayanat is not so well known to the general public. Nevertheless, there are compelling points to be enjoyed in this timeless composition. The Hemant Kumar version is far more impressive with Hemantada weaving vocal magic that can seduce any lady who even doesn’t have the four letter word in her lexicon: L O V E.

8. Ae Dil Ab Kahin Na Jaa…

This sombre, introspective and somewhat self abnegating melody is from Bluff Master, and was filmed on Shammi Kapoor. Kalyanji , who had been Hemantada’s assistant composed the music with his younger brother Anandji and the lyrics which are full of verve are by Rajendra Krishan. The playback was given by Hemanta Kumar in Raag Bhairavi.

This song is inspired from a piece by Sidney Bechet’s ‘Petite Fleur‘ played by acclaimed Saxophonist Fausto Papetti which had been released a decade earlier that sounds really beautiful. Sidney Bechet was the first person to play jazz on a soprano saxophone and his ‘Petite Fleur’, became a world-wide hit.

Manmohan Desai was a peerless filmmaker in Bollywood. From stories and scripts that defied logic, the man could weave magic by inventing situations with which people could identify as well as share their laughter and tears. Experts and critics, who decry his films as being mediocre or are confounded by their box office successes, conveniently overlook the fact that Desai painted emotions from the palette of life, making the common cinegoers instinctively bond with his larger-than-life creations.

Bluff Master is a comic entertainer from Desai’s stable though it wasn’t based on his patented lost and found formula. Despite all the ingredients that might seem absurd or illogical, the film arrests audiences of all ages just like his numerous other pot boilers that went on to become jubilees. Like his other films, this one too abounds with usual cinematic clichés, yet there is never a dull moment in this tale of a do-gooder Shammi Kapoor.

Camerawork by N. Satyen and set designing by the legendary art director Sudhendu Roy are in tandem with one another, enhancing the visual appeal of the story.

Check out Sidney Bechet’s Petite Fleur

9. Tum Pukaar Lo: is from Khamoshi with lyrics by Gulzar.
This song, sung and composed by Hemant Kumar, was the equivalent of “Ei Raat Tomar Amar” from the earlier Bangla film “Deep Jwele Jaai” , of which the Hindi film was a remake after a decade. Such was the popularity of the Bangla version and its significance that the director Asit Sen insisted that Hemant Kumar use the same tune for this Hindi equivalent. However, since Hemant Kumar was not willing to repeat it for another Hindi film song, he came up with an idea. While recording “Yeh Nayan Dare Dare” Hemant Kumar had discarded the introduction to “Ei Raat Tomar Amar”. He took this introduction as-is for this song but came up with a completely different tune for the rest of it.

The cinematic presentation of Tum Pukar Lo from the film, are moments poignantly etched in one’s memory. The expressions on Dharmendra’s and Waheeda Rehman‘s faces are certainly a classic cinematic moment. From that moment, Hemanta Kumar, takes over the song and the presentation. His unique velvety, beseeching voice brings out all the emotions of a lonely heart, sleeplessly waiting to make its fervent plea. The opening piano bars, and rich, resonant humming beautifully create an exotic tapestry of emotions with Gulzar‘s lyrics. The minimalist orchestration; a characteristic Hemant Kumar quality, features some exquisite string interludes mingling with a delicate piano providing just the right mood and atmosphere.
One of my most favourite songs from a genius of the highest caliber!

10. Jaag e Dard Ishq is from the early 50s movie, Anarkali.
The music is so beautifully composed in a classical base and the song, set to such a lovely Raag Bageshri by C Ramachandra with Rajendra Krishna’s sublime lyrics. The song is no mean achievement by Hemantada along with Latadidi. Hemant Kumar was more than equipped to accept the challenge despite the fact that Latadidi sang the stanzas and Hemant Kumar’s voice, like bookends, can be heard largely in the beginning and at the end, one associates the classic with Hemantada. His variations on the single word ‘Jaag’, delight the audience as well as convey the urgency of his feelings. Anarkali had fabulous songs and the movie was fast-paced for its time and if you forgave the studio bulb officiating for a full moon, and Sulochana (Ruby Myers) who played Jodha Bai and Pradeep Kumar notwithstanding, you really liked the movie.
Interestingly this movie has both Geeta Dutt and Latadidi sang excellently for the same person on screen – Bina Rai.

That happened because initially Khemchand Prakash’s brother Basant Prakash was supposed to be the Music Director.

He had a fallout after the first song was recorded. He was then abruptly thrown out of the project. Then C Ramchandra was brought in and promptly said he would want all songs to be sung by Lata.

The reason was they were in a relationship that time and he did create some immortal melodies to highlight her voice (told to me by Annasaheb himself)

He wanted to delete the Geeta Dutt song. But the producer prevailed on him. As a result the Geeta Dutt song stayed. If you see the credits, it reads Basant Prakash for the Geeta Dutt song.

I loved doing this program for various reasons. First and foremost, it marked a return to Hindi Film music after doing Western singers and bands for many months. Secondly, I could present Hemantada, personally my most favourite male singer of all brilliant singers of the generation and Thirdly, at being given the creative freedom by the gracious Kiran Misra ji to present my most favourite solo songs by the richest and most romantic baritone I have heard in my listening Hindi Film Music over a lifetime. As McArthur said, I will be back.

Stay happy and healthy folks, Hemantada will haunt me all day and all indeed all week.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

16 replies on “The gentle giant”

सर्वांगसुंदर विवेचन, अप्रतिम गीतांची निवड व हेमंतदांचे अनेक पैलू समजले.

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काल रेडिओ कार्यक्रम ऐकल्यावर असे वाटले सर्व ऐकले पण आज वाचल्यावर जाणवते बरेच राहिले होते. रेडिओ कार्यक्रमात वेळेची मर्यादा जाणवते. अप्रतिम प्रस्तुतीकरण व उत्तम गाण्याची निवड, कार्यक्रम फारच उत्कृष्ट झाला. हेमंतदा ची उत्तम निवडक गाण्या बद्दल मनपूर्वक धन्यवाद 🙏

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Hemant’da is my favorite too. You have given a through insite as usual regarding his life and musical achievements. Thank you so much for creating such a fabulous program and sharing it.👏🏼

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अप्रतिम, अथांग collection !
Made my afternoon on a working day… 😀😊… although wfh enjoying with a cup of tea and recordings…wah

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