S D Burman and “Other” Male Playback Singers :: 1

SD Burman’s compositions with (the so-called ‘mainstream’) male playback singers like Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Hemant Kumar or Manna Dey or songs in his own voice seem to have been discussed well on different blogs . The discussions have been observed to spread over different contexts like songs composed for heros – for Dev Anand as well as for ‘other’ heroes, composed on comedians like Jhonny Walker or Mehmood, Kishore Kumar or Mohammad Rafi’s duets with either Geeta Dutt or Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar and many other variants and sub-variants .

The statistics also reflect a similar picture.  The songs that S D Burman has composed for Kishore Kumar (115 songs) and those for Mohammad Rafi (90 songs) constitute around 60% of the total around 342 male (solos, duets etc.) songs. If we add S D Burman’s songs for other mainstream singers like, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar and Manna Dey, we would cover around 83 % of SD Burman’s male songs  His songs in his own voice would add further add up to 4%.

This 87% songs account for (2+4+1) 7 singers.  If we call this a classic 80+% ‘Head’ of a rank-frequency power law curve, the 34 songs spanning 18 ‘other’ male singers, a good  13 % of S D Burman’s male songs,  would make a perfect ‘Long Tail’ that does not seem to have been discussed as much.

For the purpose of our discussion of S D Burman’s songs for ‘other’ male singers, we will slice SDB’ career in three period slots such that  each one has had a very definitive set of external factors that seem to reflect his selection of ‘other’ male singers.

As we will see in a short while, each of these three phases has its own distinct pattern in so far as SBD’s use of ‘other’ male singers. It would also be not out of order to note that, barring a few cases, most of these singers have appeared only in song(s) for only one S D Burman-composed film.

 [1]

1946-1949

For our present post, we have taken S D Burman’s songs of ‘Other’ Male singers for the first phase of his career. That phase commences from the beginning of SBD’s Hindi Film career in 1946 and would end in1949, leaving out ‘Mashal’ for the next phase.

S D Burman had composed music for 8 films in this period. We have covered 5 films in our post. The 3 films we have not covered are:

  • Chittorvijay (1947) songs do not seem to have a trace of the digital version on net. The film had had Raj Kapoor, Madhubala, Surendra etc. in the lead. The lyrics of the first line of the songs would lead us to believe that the songs were in female voices. But the trail goes cold beyond that.
  • Vidya (1948) had Dev Anand and Suraiya in the lead. The male songs, filmed on Dev Anand, have been rendered by Mukesh.
  • Shabnam (1949) had Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal in the lead. Here too, the male songs are rendered by Mukesh.

This period has one more Raj Kapoor film for which S D Burman has composed the music. Raj Kapoor sings his own songs for that film. 1n 1950, SDB-RK had one more film – Pyas. The male songs, filmed on Raj Kapoor for that film, have gone on to Kishore Kumar.

With these major indicators, the scenario for S D Burman’s career’s first phase can best be summarised as:

This period of 1946-1949 is the period when The Trio of Hindi Films – Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor – were still the budding, struggling, young actors. Their star-image blazing films were to appear only in 1949 or thereafter. Since they were not stars themselves, they seem to have gone on with any playback singer who was the then flavour of the day. S D Burman himself was still not on the firm footing. That was to happen in Mashaal (1949), His branding association with Navketan was to happen in 1950 with Navketan’s maiden venture Afsar. Moreover, Male playback singing  is yet to become the oligopolic turf of ’50-60’s singers Mukesh, Talat, Rafi or Manna Dey. The actors on the screen were still expected to playback their own songs.

We open the curtains for the day with this rather long prelude –

S D Burman – S L Puri

S L Puri seems to have played minor to major roles in several films between 1934 and 1957. Not very definitive documentation on him seems to be available on net.

Babu Re Babu Re Dil Ko Bachana – 8 Days (1946) – with S D Burman – Lyrics: Qamar Jalalabadi / G S Nepali (?)

What we have is an audio clip, so we assume that S L Puri would have sung for himself, However for who did  S D Burman played back is not known.  These details apart, S D Burman singing a very light song is novel, and a pleasurable, experience!

S D Burman – Chitalkar

How would SDB and CR have teamed as music director-singer combination remains a matter of conjecture – may be C Ramchandra was still not established as music director in his own rights, so he would have been accepting the stand-alone singing assignments or was his availability on Filmistan rolls the catalyst for this combination ? We know not.

Ik Nayi Kali Dubli Si Dulhan Ban Ke.. – 8 Days (1946) – with Meena Kapoor – Lyrics:  G S Nepali

The song appears to be a wedding-occasion song, but cast in a lighter tone.

S D Burman – Chitalkar music director-singer duo has one more song on the records. The song is from a film which dates a good six years after their maiden combined venture. However, we have included that song here to bring all the songs of SDB-CR combination on the same page.

Teriya Teriya Teri Yaad Sataye Teri Yaad – Chalis Baba Ek Chor (1954)- with Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: P L Santoshi

The way Teri Yaad has been played up as Teriya Teriya, the mood, and the composition of the song would lead to believe that song would have been composed by C Ramchandra !.  Moreso, when film belongs to the phase of S D Burman’s career where he, and for that matter most of the then other established music directors,  had well settled with using only the main stream male singers for his songs.

Is that P L Santoshi’s influence, since he was the director of the film as well?

S D Burman – Ashok Kumar

This is the first year of S D Burman in Hindi Film Industry. Ashok Kumar is already the default lead actor for Filmistan banner at that time. Ashok Kumar also used to sing his own songs in that period. So, the combination would not cause many surprises.

Their next association was in Mashaal (1950), by which time Ashok Kumar probably had decided to focus more on his acting. So it is also not surprising that S D Burman has used different singers for Ashok Kumar after this one film.

In the subsequent instance of such a situation, in Meri Surat Teri Aankhen (1963), S D Burman has even used two different singers – Manna Dey and Mohammad Rafi – as he used to do for Dev Anand too, by that time.

Dol Rahi Hai Naiya – Shikari (1946) – with Chorus – Lyrics : G S Nepali

 Dol Rahi Hai Naiya – Shikari (1946) – with Paro Devi – Lyrics : G S Nepali

This is the twin of the foregoing song.

Har Din Hai Naya – Shikari (1946) – with Amirbai Karnataki  – Lyrics : G S Nepali

S D Burman – Shyam Sundar

That this Shyam Sundar is not the then famous actor Shyam is not difficult to know.  It seems there was another Shyam Sundar who as primarily a music director.  Making any statement beyond that is simply outside the domain of my limited knowledge of the pre-1950 Hindi Film Music world.

Loot Liya Dil Chitchor Ne – Dil Ki Rani (1947) – Shyam Sundar – Lyrics: Y N Joshi

Hero’s sidekick friend has landed upon photograph of the beau who has stolen way his heart. So who would miss the occasion of the pulling the leg and get away with?

Muhobbat Ki Na Khana Mithai Na Khana Muhobbat Ki Mithai  – Dil Ki Rani (1947) – Shyam Sundar – Lyrics: (?)

HFGK is silent about the singer or the lyricist. When we llot the video and listen to the song, it is not difficult to surmise that singer is none other but Shyam Sundar.

Sar Phod Phod Ke Mar Jaana Kisi Se Dil Na Lagana – Dil Ki Rani (1947) – Shyam Sundar – Lyrics: Y N Joshi

It seems that now the well-wisher friend of the hero has taken up on himself to get the hero’s lady love to nod in favour of his friend.

S D Burman- Raj Kapoor

Dil Ki Rani (1947) is the second instance when S D Burman and Raj Kapoor have teamed up. In those years, that cannot be the news. The news is Raj Kapoor singing for his own song – whether on his own volition or on the direction of the music director S D Burman, is obviously not known. The fact remains that this is only one such incidence of the kind.

O Duniya Ke Rahanewalo Kahan Gaya Chitchor Bolo Kahan Gaya Chitchor – Dil Ki Rani (1947) – Lyrics: Y N Joshi

Hero is an upcoming singer. Here he is recording his song for radio.

O Duniya Ke Rahanewalo Kahan Gaya Chitchor Bolo Kahan Gaya Chitchor – Dil Ki Rani (1947) – With Geeta Roy – Lyrics: Y N Joshi

The song has become so famous that people from all walks of lives keep singing the song. Technically, this can be termed as Raj Kapoor’s playback song for other actor(s).

S D Burman – G M Durrani

The film is Do Bhai (1947). By now, S D Burman seems to have settled with choosing Geeta Roy for female playbacks.  Incidentally, Mera Sundar Sapna Bit Gaya is the first major evergreen, all-time hit song under S D Burman’s baton.

Aji Preet Ka Nata Toot Gaya – Do Bhai (1947) – with Geeta Roy – Lyrics: Raja Mahendi Ali Khan

G M Durrani was a well-established singer then.

S D Burman – K S Ragi

KS Ragi is one more unknown name to me.  So I search for more information on him on some more versed blogs on the film songs. I do not have to search a great deal, since I land upon a post guest written by Shri Arunkumar Desmukh, wherein he has provided this basic information about K S Ragi:

“Kewal Singh Ragi was born and brought up in Hanamkonda, Warangal in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (now it comes in Telangana).. When he was in his teens, he ran away to Bombay.. and as luck would have it, managed to get entry into All India Radio and started singing there. He was in Bombay for 12 years. He not only got a chance to sing in films,but he composed music too as well as acted in some films,like Daag-52 and Patita-53 etc….He sang in films from 1940 to 1952 and sang songs with Geeta Roy, Shamshad Begum, Uma Devi, Kishori (supposedly, his own sister), Zebunnisa, Khursheed, Roshan ara Begum, Razia Begum etc.…. Some of the films he sang in were, Do Bhai-47, Namumkin-46, Hamari qismet-49, Siskiyan-58, Bulbul-51, Humraz-40, Azamaish-52 etc. He gave music to Bulbul-51 and Siskiyan-58 (unreleased).”

Yaad Rakhana Mujhe Yaad Rakhana, Preet Ki Duniya Meri Abaad Rakhana – Do Bhai (1947) – with Geeta Roy – Lyrics: Raja Mahendi Ali Khan

A close look at the video clip shows that the present song as well as the previous song has been sung by the same actor – Ulhas – on the screen, but S D Burman has chosen to use different playback singers.  This practice of choosing different singers for the same actor in one film – most particularly in the case of Dev Anand – based on the demands of his tune was to become a major differentiator, in the years to come, that separated S D Burman form his peers .

S D Burman – Surendra

The film is Kamal (1949). Surendra was already an established actor-singer by this time. However, S D Burman has very deftly handled the actor as a singer.

Main To Hun Udaas, Woh Bhi Hai Saukh Jafar Gham, Unke Bhi Dil Mein Dard Hai, Ae Dil-e-Udaas Kyun – Kamal (1949) – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

Is the use of Ae dil-e-Udaas Kyun, which were closely rhymes similar to K L Saigal’s Ae Dil-e-Bequarar Kyun do we see a subtle attempt to encash Surendra’s fame as ‘Bombay K L Saigal’!

Ab Raat Gayi Beet Re – Kamal (1949) – Lyrics: G S Nepali

Here is the song that presents both Surendra and S D Burman the way we have always known.

Jhoom Jhoom Ke Naache Manwa Gaye Ja Gaye Ja – Kamal (1949) – Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

To me, it appears tune is more akin to S D Burman’s style of singing!

Kahane Ko Hai Taiyar Magar Kaise Kahe Hum – Kamal (1949) – with Geeta Roy – Lyrics: G S Nepali

Surendra joins in only the last stanza.

S D Burman – Motilal

S D Burman once again explores the vocal chords of someone who is known as an actor …

Pyara Pyar Hai Sama My Dear Come to Me – Kamal (1949) – with Meena Kapoor – Lyrics: Raja Mahendi Ali Khan

Most of us would not be able associate either Motilal or Raja Mahendi Ali Khan in such a light mood!

Thus ends the period when it is said that S D Burman was highly dissatisfied with the fruits of his labor at Bombay and was very actively considering going back to Calcutta.

At this point his career is delicately poised at To Be or Not To Be.

We also take a pause at this point and will resume S D Burman’s career journey through the vehicle of his songs for ‘Other’ Male Singers in the next part of this post.

Advertisements