Chitragupt- A Tribute

Chitragupt is one of my most favourite music directors from the golden era! I am a huge fan of his simple but very sweet and melodious songs.


He was born on 16th November 1917 {We are celebrating his birth centenary year} in Karmaini (Now in Gopalganj District) in Bihar. Chitragupt was one of the highly educated, in Hindi film industry. He was M A in economics. It is also mentioned that in 1943-44, he sang patriotic songs for Pandit Nehruin a big conference, who was impressed by his singing.
He came to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1945, and took formal training in music at Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyalaya. He was introduced by one of his friends to S N Tripathi and worked as his assistant for a few years. And which I believe, was one of the reasons for the sweetness in his melodies.


Fighting Hero (1946) was his first movie as an independent music director. His other films during that period were, Toofan Queen (1946), Lady Robinhood (1946), Jadui Ratan (1947), Stunt Queen (1947), Mala The Mighty (1948), Jai Hind (1948), Bhakt Pundalik (1949), Shaukeen (1949), Circuswaale (1950), Veer Babruvahan (1950).
‘Sindabad the Sailor’ was his one of the first hit movies, where ‘Ada Se Jhoomate Hue'(by Shamshad Begum & Rafi) became hugely popular. It is said that, he got this film on recomandation of C Ramchandra, who was impressed with his earlier songs. Well! He was typecast for action-stunt movies and mythological costume dramas.

main-chup-rahungi-11531But there was a silver line to this dark cloud. AVM’s mythological film ‘Shiv Bhakta(1955) had some melodius songs by Lata Mangeshkar (Kailashnath Prabhu Avinashi, Kahan Jake Yeh Naina). Padmini’s dance added more charm and the songs proved to be popular. In his next social film ‘Bhabhi’, Mayyapan was inclined to give the responsibility of music to Chitragupt. He was also endorsed by Rajendra Krishna, the lyricist of the movie. Chitragupt was apt to grab this opportunity and all the songs were popular. After this he never looked back, and worked with AVM for their social movies. Chitragupt could speak English fluently, which was why he became a favourite to AVM. A V Mayyapan was not comfortable with Hindi and still could communicate with Chitragupt in English easily.kali-topi-lal-rumal

There was a time in 60s, when famous lyricists were writing for him for social movies and for low budget and stunt-action films as well. In my opinion, his music is always ‘A’ grade to meeven though the films were considered b grade. He has worked with nearly all lyricists, but his popular music was mainly with Rajendra Krishna, Majrooh and Prem Dhawan. His association with Rajendra Krishna was mainly for AVM films. But Prem Dhawan and Majrooh worked with him for stunt films as well. Both the lyricists had a very successful association with him for over a decade.His other associations were Sahir (Vasana 1968), Hasrat Jaipuri (Baghi 1964) and Bharat Vyas (Sakshi Gopal 1957, Mahabharat 1965).

guest-house-1959He continued to work till 1980, for more than 100 hindi films. His last popular films were Aulad & Vasna. His popular songs were unnoticed after 1970; his illness also played a part in this. He had heart attack in 1967, and the illness worsened in 1973 and he had to go away for a period, from the mainstream Hindi cinema.

It is also said that, though highly educated, he was superstitious about his ‘White’ footwear. He thought them to be lucky for him and used to wear them for every song recording. Lata once said to him mischievously “Aap Ko apne Chappal par to bharosa hai, par meri Aawaz par nahin!”

Majority of his songs have Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi as lead singers, though he has worked with all playback singers. But when i think of his songs, its always Lata, Rafi solos and duets. Chitragupt’s solos and duets with Lata-Rafi are of course my favourites. Lata and Chitragupt combo in particular is my all time favourites and the never ending list of Lata’s solo with him, is something very close to my heart.

The case is same with Rafi. But at the same time, we tend to forget his songs with other singers, which are equally melodious, excellent in quality, may be less in quantity!

I am trying today to compile a list of his songs with ‘Other’ singers. The word, I am borrowing from you, AKji (From Songs of Yore). I hope you won’t mind!
The singer’s duets with either Lata or Rafi are also not included.
As usual, the songs are from Hindi films from pre70s era and are in no particular order.

1. Suna Hai Jab Se Mausam- Ramudada (1961) Kamal Barot / Lyrics- Prem Dhawan
A fast paced song excellently sung by Kamal Barot. Her voice was a nasal quality, but had a child like innocence as well. That innocence is appriciated in this song in particular! The voice perfectly suits the requirement of the song.

2. Gori Tori Banki- Aadhi Raat Ke Baad (1965) Manna Dey / Lyrics- Prem Dhawan
Chitragupt used Manna da for comedy, classical songs and songs of second lead. This one’s a fusion of classical & western music, excellently done by Chitragupt and of course very well sung. One can’t imagine it to be from a low budget film. This song once again underlines my saying “his quality of music was always ‘A’ grade”. We all know the song ‘Albeli Naar Preetam Dware’ from ‘Main Shadi Karne Chala’

3. Muft Hue Badnaam- Baarat (1960) Mukesh / Lyrics- Majrooh
One of the best known Mukesh song with Chitragupt. Mukesh was a consistent singer for him till early 1960s, when Rafi replaced him. Mukesh also appears to be his choice for low budget films. Many of the films featuring Ajit had songs by Mukesh, under Chitragupt’s music direction. The song is full of sorrow.

4. Payalwali Dekhana- Ek Raaz (1963) Kishor Kumar / Lyrics- Majrooh
The song is wowen in Raag Maru Bihag. It appears that, Chitragupt was not very fond of Kishore Kumar and used him only when, KK himself was the main lead. All the songs from ‘Ek Raaz’ were excellent. Another KK solo from the movie ‘Agar Sun Le Tu Ek Naghma’ is also equally melodius and I find its tune similar to ‘Na Tum Humein Jano’.

5. Kabhi Dhoop Kabhi Chhaon- Kabhi Dhoop Kabhi Chhaon (1971) Pradeep/ Lyrics- Pradeep
One of the later films by him. This happens to be the credits song. Pradeep with his unique voice has sung a number of popular songs in Hindi Cinema. Common man can easily relate to his voice. Majority of the times, he himself was the lyricist. This song describes the main theme of the movie and is one of my favourite Pradeep songs!

6. Tanana Dir Dir Dim- Mahabharat (1965) Usha Mangeshkar / Lyrics- Bharat Vyas
This was one of the mythological movies, Bharat vyas & Chitragupt worked together for. The song has no actual words but aalaps. I couldn’t find the video of the song. But the song should surely have classical dance! Chitragupt has used Usha Mangeshkar for female duets with Lata, in a number of movies. The film Zimbo Comes to Town also has a beautiful solo by Usha Mangeshkar.

7. Machal Ke Dil Kahe Mera- Commander (1959) Geeta Dutt / Lyrics- Sarshar Sailani
There should be a separate post on this combination. I came across one article mentioning more than 90 songs by Geeta dutt- Chitragupt combo. Though he mainly used her in low budgate films and for songs other than the main lead, the number appears quite significant! Just listen to the song, the lyrics are so majestic. She is desparately waiting for him, but again tells him not to come. She finds waiting for him romantic and thrilling. Such a beautiful concept, and Geeta Dutt sings the song so well, that you completely get melted in her voice.

8. Lo Chale Hum Behke Qadam- Zimbo (1960) Asha Bhosle /lyrics- Majrooh
In this film, Asha is the lead singer for actress Chitra. This was obviously a action stunt movie by Homi Wadia. Asha had some good songs in the movie, the other song being ‘Yeh Kiya Tune Kaisa Jaadu‘. Asha has comparitively sung many songs for Chitragupt, though not many of them are popular. My another favourite by Asha is ‘Teri Deed Se Tassali‘ from Samson.

9. Do Dil Dhadak Rahein Hai- Insaaf (1959) Talat & Asha Bhosle / Lyrics- Asad Bhopali
A very soft & romantic duet. The sweetness of this song is uncomparable. Such beautiful melodies became lessse and lesser common even in 1960s & so did Talat’s sad songs! Bhabhi originally had Talat’s version of ‘Chal Ud Ja Re Panchhi’ which was changed to Rafi’s version before the film was released. (I personally like Rafi’s song)

10. Dagabazi Piya Tere Dil Mein – Aulad (1965) Suman Kalyanpur  / Lyrics- Majrooh
A mujra song was never Suman Kalyanpur’s favourite genre. But whenever she was aproached for such song, the result used to be fantastic. She presents this song with amazing enthusiasm and charm. Her soft, gentle voice is something that can sing any type of song. (The second song in the link below)

11. Husna Mazedar ji- Sindbad the Sailaor (1952) Shamshad Begum & Chorus /Lyrics- Anjum Jaipuri

One of the earlier films, Shamshad was the lead singer of the movie. The song based on Arabic tune. The interesting part is the dancer in the song. She is no one else but our own, Nirupa Roy. I was a bit supprised watching the video. Shamshad as usual rocks!

Now, a Bonus Track,

§§ Bhagwan Tujhe Main Khat Likhta- Manchala (1953 ) Chitragupt / Lyrics- Raja Mehdi Ali Khan §§
He has sung a few songs himself, but I don’t like his voice as a playback singer. This one happens to be a popular song in his voice, which was picturised on Aga.
The lyrics of the song are good, the song does impress us. This ones a good audio version of the song.

Which song would you add to the list?

(P.S.- I would be out of station till 19th Nov. So may not be able to reply to your comments.till 19th.)

Disclaimer – Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

13 Replies to “Chitragupt- A Tribute”

  1. Very interesting list, Anupji! – Besides the (just a handful of) songs that I had already heard, I really, really liked the song from Commander. That was new to me!

    Glad to see you included Do dil dhadak rahe hain – that’s the only one our two posts share in common. 🙂 Wonderful song.


    1. Thanks Madhuji,I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
      I do like ‘Do Dil Dhadak Rahein Hai’ a lot, the soft melody with equally soft voice of Talat makes it a lovwly song.
      The commander song also I like a lot! The film also has a few more Geeta songs which are worth listening.
      Of course, your post is very polished and fine, as compared to mine.
      I am yet to achieve that finesse.


    1. Sorry first of all Ashokji for my late response. I was a bit busy, so couldn’t approve this earlier.
      Jaag dil e diwana is my favourite too,
      But my this post was to highlight singers other than Lata & Rafi.
      So i didn’t include it!
      Thanks for visiting and commenting, do visit my blog again!
      Thanks 🙂


  2. Very interesting post, Anup.

    As you have rightly said, he was A grade composer caught in commercially B grade films. But at least he had reasonable success in his career. Many other talented composers have bowed out after single digit films!

    Most of the songs were known to me without actual mental association with Chitragupt.

    A real treat, considering that Rafi & Lata were excluded!


  3. Anup,
    This is a great list. He was among the tops, ignore the ranking, for Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. For ‘other’ singers too, the above list shows his versatility. Among important singers, Mahendra Kapoor is missing – Tumne hansi hi hansi mein (with Lata Mangeshkar) is an outstanding song.


    1. Thanks Akji for your comments. I was searching for a solo of MK with Chitragupt, as I wasn’t going to include other singers’ duets with either Lata or Rafi.
      So I left this one.
      Other singer I missed is Hemant kumar, as I found only one solo that I didn’t like particularly, so finally decided not to include it!


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