We pay our tribute to Vanraj Bhatia who left for heavenly abode on 07.05.2021.
Vanraj Bhatia dies at 93, He was best known for the music of films such as Ankur, 36 Chowringhee Lane and TV show Tamas, has passed away at the age of 93. The veteran music composer was battling poor health and financial constraints.
‘An Indian film without songs is meaningless’ – Jyoti Punwani draws memories from her interviews with the legendary composer – Vanraj Bhatia himself explained what made his music so unique…. “The first duty of music is to express the film’s texture, and the second is to be able to stand on its own feet. It must be absolutely perfect,” he said…. “When I compose, I make the music matter in the film, even if the director pushes it into the background. Like my teacher would say, you must speak the same language as everybody else, but infinitely better.”
When Vanraj Bhatia asked me to mail his opera DVD and resume to the world’s major opera houses – Luis Dias – In an interview in early 2013, the great music composer professed to me his love affair with opera and shared his earnest hopes.
Night Music for Solo Flute (Rachel Woolf) by Vanraj Bhatia
Legacy Of The Enigmatic Vanraj Bhatia – Sunil Sampat – On the occasion of a felicitation of Bhatia at the NCPA in March 2017, Zakir Hussain said, “Vanraj Bhatia is India’s greatest ever composer. Period.”
Vanraj Bhatia’s extraordinary, multi-faceted oeuvre – Ranjit Hoskote – The composer’s transcultural experiments were always intense and persuasive.
I have always liked Vanraj Bhatia’s interview with Irfan, of Rajya Sabha TV – Guftagoo with Vanraj Bhatia for his candid views. The song that Vanraj Bhatia refers to @22.48 is Barse Ghan Saari Raat – Tarang (1984) – Lata Mangeshkar – Vanraj Bhatia – Raghuvir Sahay
It’s a long narrative number describing a deserted wife’s desolation. About the song, Lataji recalls, “It was one of the most difficult and complex songs of my career. [Ref: Vanraj Bhatia’s CHALLENGE for Lata Mangeshkar – SUBHASH K JHA]. The story that is connected with the song is also narrated by Harish Bhimani in In Search of Lata Mangeshkar’ (1955, Harper-Collins, ISBN 81-7223-183-0) – excerpted as hereunder, as a footnote on page 102 – “Composer Vanraj Bhatia rushed in excitedly….exclaiming, “(Lata) Bai stayed back yesterday to listen to my recording !”……”….The intent of this passage is that Lata Mangeshkar, who never waited to check back on her recording, was keen to know how the song was recorded.
We now move on to other tributes and memories:
The Masters: Majrooh Sultanpuri – Majrooh’s simple turns of phrase expressed the most profound emotions. With more than 6,000 songs in over 300 films to his credit, Majrooh’s poetry traversed the gamut from the soulfully romantic to philosophical, cynical and devotional.
Remembering Bulo C Rani who debuted as independent music director in Pagli Duniya (1944).
Remembering Naushad: The music director beyond compare – Ajay Mankotia – Naushad passed away on May 5, 2006 – 15 years ago. But old masters never die. The music lovers and connoisseurs still adore him.
India’s DeMille: Remembering Mehboob Khan on his 57th death anniversary – Shaikh Ayaz – We know him as the ambitious maker behind Bollywood’s greatest ode to Indian womanhood (1957’s Mother India) and perhaps as the founder of Mumbai’s iconic Mehboob Studio. But Mehboob Khan was more than that.
‘Teesri Kasam’ was the perfect meeting of minds between Phanishwarnath Renu and Shailendra – Phaniswarnath Renu had named his youngest daughter Waheeda Rehman, after the actor who played the lead in Teesri Kasam.
Dattaram Part 1: Under the shadow of big banyan tree with songs of Mukesh and Manna Dey – Even as several of Dattaram;s songs with Mukesh and Manna Dey have had large following, Dattaram was not limited Mukesh And Manna Dey.
Shailendra Sharma @ Golden Era of Bollywood has posted following memorial tribute posts:
- Laxmikant Pyarelal – Their Music was a Key to Succ…
- Majrooh Sultanpuri- A Long Lyrical Journey from 19…
- Subodh Mukharjee- Freedom Fighter to the Leading F…
- Nainital and ils Bollywood Connection
- Aaja Nachle with Madhuri Dixit
- The Great Muslim Socials of the Golden Era of Boll…
- 50 Years of Navketan’s ‘Tere Mere Sapne’
- Top 15 Doctor/Nurse based Bollywood Films
- The Evolution of Mothers in Bollywood
- ‘Tere Mere Milan Ki Ye Raina’- The Song based on R…
- Naushad- The Man Who Introduced Raaga Based Song…
- The Story Behind the Song ‘Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli’
- 50 Years of ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’
Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s story is as much about friendship as it is about their tunes – Ganesh Vancheeswaran – The 1963 B grade film, Parasmani set the tone for an unprecedented 35-year-long run for Laxmikant-Pyarelal, in which they offered 3,000-odd songs they composed in about 500 films.
Ban Mein Bahar Aa Gayee, Man Mein Umang Chaa Gayi – Balwant Singh was born in 1918.He got his break aas a singer, for Bomaby Talkies’ film Jeevan Prabhat (1937).. Here is his duet with Devika Rani from the film – Tum Meri Tum Mere Saajan (Music – Saraswati Devi = Lyrics: J S Kashyap).
Digging (Into) the ’60s and early ’70s Songs of Usha Uthup/Iyer – Usha Uthup has a very special voice as far as Indian film singers go, a bit lower and thicker even than many western female singers’, and it often has a certain unusually appealing hoarseness too. before she sang in Hare Rama Hare Krishna for R.D. Burman, she got a role singing as part of a Shankar-Jaikishan soundtracks in Bombay Talkie (1971) – Hari Om Tat Sat and Good Times and Bad Times..
1942 – 1946 in our 2018 issue,
1947-1950 in the 2019 episode, and
1951 – 1953 in the 2020 episode.
When Rafi sang for Hanuman, Manna for Ravan… – On the legendary Manna Dey’s 102nd birth anniversary, Subhash K Jha traced an interview he had done with Mannada way back in 1997.
We now move on to songs on other subjects –
Romantic Songs with a Third Person – These are songs where apart from the couple in love, there is someone else in the frame – either obtrusively or unobtrusively
- Sharada: Of love that is beyond labels – Starring Meena Kumari and Raj Kapoor, LV Prasad’s Sharada is the kind of romance that makes you question your understanding of love, and how meaningful relationships can exist, even with the strangest labels.
- Awara: Of nature vs nurture – Starring Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Prithviraj, Awara is set in an era where climbing out of the vicious cycle of poverty was near impossible, and strangely enough, times haven’t changed much in the last 70 years.
The Catch-22 Songs which juxtapose options and thus, present dilemmas. Some are frivolous whereas the others are weighty.
Composers sing for themselves: Ten songs are the songs where a composer actually recorded—and it was included in the film in question—a song in his/her own voice
Anand Bakshi on his legacy as a film lyricist: ‘My songs will beat just as our heart beats’ – An excerpt from a biography, Nagme, Kisse, Baatein, Yaadein – The Life & Lyrics of Anand Bakshi, Rakesh Anand Bakshi, Penguin Random House India, of the songwriter whose career in Hindi cinema spanned six decades.
Regional Star, Hindi Also-Ran: Ten Actors, Ten Songs –who, for some reason or the other, never could make it big in Hindi cinema.
‘क्या भूलूँ क्या याद करूँ’ – a journey into what one wants to forget and what to remember.
In continuation to our tradition of ending the post with a few songs of Mohammad Rafi, each one of which basically has a link with the topics discussed in the present post.
Tum Hase To Gam Sharmaya – Dana Pani (1953) – with Shamshad Begum – Mohan Junior – Kaif Irfani
Aate Jaate Aankh Bachana ..Haye Re Tera Jawaab Nahin – Mehbooba (1954) – with Shamshad Begum – OP Nayyar – Majrooh Sultanpuri
Mujhe Jag Ki Bana De Malika, Phir Malik Ban Mere Man Ka – Dark Street (1961) – with Suman Kalyanpur – Dattaram – Gulshan Bawra
Shokhiyan Nazar Mein Hain – Aasra (1966) – Laxmikant Pyarelal – Annad Bakshi
I look forward to your inputs to enrich the contents of Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music.
Disclaimer: This monthly series of posts is my best-effort-based compilation of posts on Hindi film songs that I normally visit regularly. As I record my sincere thanks to all the original creators of these posts, any other posts that I have nor covered herein shows my lack of awareness of existence of such posts and is by no means any disrespect to their work. The copyrights to the posts, images and video clips remain the properties of the original creators.