The Classical Music Giants contribute to Hindi Cinema – IV

Have I surprised you all by the title of the post? I might have!
I already have posted three parts of the series and covered singers and composers separately.
But later, I realized that I have missed some important names on the list. Dr Pradeep Kumar Shetty, an enthusiastic reader, pointed out one name to me, which I had completely forgotten. I realized about the other names, though actually all the names were there on my rough list. I somehow missed some of them, and that’s why I’m here today with the last part of the series.

1. Pannalal Ghosh –

pannalal ghosh

He was a renowned flute player, who also composed for Hindi films. His contribution as a flute player is undoubtedly credible. His initial training in music was with his father, who was a sitar player. He was a disciple of Ustad Allauddin Khan. I also find mentioned that he learnt the flute on his own. As a flute player, he popularized the flute in Indian Classical music concerts. He also modified the flute to incorporate an additional hole (called Teevra Madhyam Hole) in to it. This addition made the flute more useful for playing some of the Raagas in Indian Classical music. He also observed that a longer flute suits more to both classical and light music, and in the process he decided to use a Bamboo flute after experimenting with various woods and metals. He chose a length of 32 inches.
He married Parul Biswas (Anil Biswas’s sister) in 1924, who later became popular as one of the first singers to offer playback. Parul Ghosh sang for a number of films.
Ghosh babu contributed to Hindi film songs by composing for a handful of films in the early years of the 1940s. He was with New Theaters in Calcutta (now Kolkata) for sometime before he came to Mumbai for a bigger career in the music industry. Sneh Bandhan aka Intezar (1940) was his first Hindi film as a composer. The film had ten songs and fortunately the majority of them are available on YouTube. The singers were Bibbo (who was a singer actress), Khan Mastana and Miss Kamla. After this film, he composed for a few films, offering a few songs to his wife, Parul Ghosh. But, majority of the songs are not available on the internet. His last film was perhaps, Andolan that was released in 1951. The film Basant (1942) was credited to him, though Anil Biswas actually composed all the songs, but could not openly mention his name due to his contract with a production house. It’s also mentioned that, Pannalal Ghosh got the songs as per the tunes composed by Anil Biswas.
In the majority of the songs from Sneh Bandhan, we find use of flute in the prelude music pieces. It is obvious enough that, he tried to portray his forte in full expression. All the songs have the typical vintage era flavour and I’m sure the readers are going to enjoy those songs. (Incidentally I’m posting the article just one day late to his 108th birthday)
His other films include,
Anjaan (1941)
Duhai (1943)
Bhalai (1943)
Sawal (1943)
Police (1944)
Beesavi Sadi (1945)
Andolan (1951)

Sneh Bandhan Mein Bandhe Hue Hum – Sneh Bandhan (1940) Khan Mastana & Bibbo / Lyrics – Narayan Prasad ‘Betab’
A typically sweet vintage era song. The couple is deeply in love and never wants separation. The tune is simple but very impressive and the song happens to be one of the most popular from the film.

Pilaye Ja Pilaye Ja – Sneh Bandhan (1940) Miss Kamla / Lyrics – Narayan Prasad ‘Betab’
This appears to be a Mujra song, though it has more of a classical touch than a conventional Mujra. The singer ‘Miss Kamla’ was unknown to me, and I still don’t know much about her.

Mere Jeevan Ke Path Par Chhai – Anjaan (1941) Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani / Lyrics – Kavi Pradeep
Another sweet melody that reminds us, ‘Main Ban Ki Chidiya’ by the same pair of singers. A simple tune, and musical instruments supporting and guiding the singers throughout! It is presented as a song with conversation, the man asking a question and the lady answering it with the same answer, ‘Poonam Ki Chandani’. A playful conversation.

Vande Mataram – Aandolan (1951) Sudha Malhotra, Parul Ghosh and Manna Dey / Lyrics – Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
The song is set to tune in a different way, one year before ‘Anand Math’ was released. The latter had the power to stimulate patriotism with ‘veer ras’. The tune by Pannalal Ghosh, makes us overwhelmed emotionally. It touches the soul, stimulating patriotism.

2. Shambhu Sen –
Born in 1934 in Bikaner district of Rajasthan, Shambhu Sen was a musician, an actor, a composer, a lyricist, a vocalist and dancer as well! His father, Jamal Sen has also worked as a composer in Hindi films, his most notable films include, Daaira and Shokhiyan.
Shambhu Sen choreographed, composed, and acted in several ballets, that include, the famous, “Dream of Meera” featuring Hema Malini. ‘Meghdoot’ and ‘Maharani Padmini’ were the other plays. He has also composed for TV serials and other projects, many a times writing lyrics as well. He has performed at National & International platforms for social causes.
He also offered tutelage to a number of students in Music and Dance. Shambhu Sen continued the family tradition in a more broad way by adding a sixth dimension to his multi talented personality. He wrote a book named ‘Sangeet Ved’, an encyclopedia with 1500+ pages covering all the aspects of Indian music, mainly राग, ताल and लय. It took a great deal of research and dedication of more than 25 years to come up with a book of the kind. He presented all the aspects of Indian music in a comprehensive and scientific way. The ancient knowledge, inaccessible to a common man, has been simplified and presented in a lucid language. The book, though was originally designed in Hindi has also been translated in English, so that now it has a universal appeal.

Coming to his Hindi film career. He composed for a couple of films, Mrig Trishna (1975) and Banno (1990), the former being well known for the songs rendered by Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle & Mehdi Hassan. His experience in this field perhaps wasn’t very pleasant and he didn’t compose for Hindi films later. But his immortal compositions in Mrig Trishna, for which he penned songs as well, are critically acclaimed for their beauty as one of the finest pieces of classical based songs of Hindi films. But the film performed poorly at the box office, and the songs remained in the dark for a long time. But the internet era helped them achieve the deserved popularity over the years. I couldn’t get any information about the film, Banno (1990). I could not find Shanbhu Sen’s photo on the internet.
His sons, Sameer (from Dilip Sen – Sameer Sen duo), Sanjeev and Lalit Sen are also into music and now, their children too are associated with it.

Nain Thake Ghadi Pal Ginate – Mrig Trishna (1977) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Shambhu Sen
A soulful song, creates a melancholic atmosphere that captures the mind! And look at the lyrics, good as well. Shambhu Sen himself penned songs for Mrig Trishna. I think, though he did his job satisfactorily, the failure of the film disheartened him. If he would have composed for a few more films, his talent would have shined distinctly among the composers of the late 1970s.

Sun Man Ke Meet – Mrig Trishna (1977) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Shambhu Sen
It’s a wonderful song! Leave apart the film or the situation. I haven’t been able to decide if the singer has done a perfect job or the composer! Though the tune appears simple and straight, it may not be actually so to sing. And such lovely expressions!

Aas Ka Jhootha Bandhan Toota – Mrig Trishna (1977) Mehdi Hassan / Lyrics – Shambhu Sen
Perhaps Mehdi Hassan’s only song in a Hindi movie. A good song about the futile expectations and desires. Well composed!

3. Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan –


I already have covered his career as a singer. But I didn’t mention him in the first part of the series, that covered the composers. So here’s his contribution as a Hindi movie composer. He is a classical vocalist of the Rampur-Sahaswan Gharana, now in his late 80s. He got music as an inheritance. His first Gurus were his parents, and later he was trained by Ustad Fida Hussain Khan and Nissar Hussain Khan. That’s why there is a blend of different Gharanas in his singing.
In 1984, he composed for a Hindi film, Aagaman. Neither the songs or the movie could stand out distinctly, though he composed the songs excellently.

Yeh Daagh Daagh Ujala – Aagaman (1984) Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan & Anuradha Paudwal / Lyrics – Faiz Ahmed Faiz
The movie appears to be based on politics. It’s a background song throughout, spreading hopes for optimism in the society. Unfortunately the video of the song has disappeared from Youtube, so I’m putting an audio link.

4. Rajan Mishra & Sajan Mishra –

mishra brothers

The pair of brothers from Banaras is famous for Khyal Gayaki, along with Tarana, Thumris and Bhajans. They represent the Banaras Gharana. The music is in their blood, as they are from a musical family from Banaras. Their Granduncle, Bade Ramdasji Mishra, Father, Pandit Hanuman Prasad Mishra and Uncle, Pandit Gopal Mishra, all inherited music and were their gurus. They first performed in a temple in Banaras, when the elder brother, Rajan was 10 and Sajan 5.
They strongly believe in Guru-Shishya Parampara and started their Gurukul in Dehradun.
A documentary film, ‘Adwait Sangeet – Two Voices One Soul’, based on the life story of the duo was released in 2011.
Coming to their Hindi film career, I could find only one film. The Hindi remake of the movie ‘Shankarabharanam’ was released with the name ‘Sur Sangam’ in 1985. It is one of the last films that had purely classical based songs. The film depicted a story of a classical vocalist who struggles to keep the Indian classical music alive and wants to find someone
to continue the legacy. The changed times show him western influence dominating over the classical music. He finally finds a disciple, who has secretly learnt music by disguising himself as his servant. He dies peacefully while performing on stage, leaving the boy as heir to his music. The heart touching story also portrays Guru-shishya parampara.
All the songs from the movie are fantastic, I’m choosing the ones that I like. There is only one voice in all the songs. Some songs on the YouTube mention only Rajan Mishra as the singer.

Hey Shiv Shankar Hey Karunakar – Sur Sangam (1985) Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Vasant Dev
A beautiful bhajan,written excellently by Vasant Dev. The God himself sings through a singers voice, and it’s as if, he is listening to his own voice, when a singer sings.

Dhanya Bhaag Seva Ka Avasar Paya – Sur Sangam (1985) Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra & Kavita Krishnamurthy / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Vasant Dev
Excellent song again. I think it’s raag Bhairavi.

I also like, Maika Piya Bulave and Jaaoon Tore Charan Kamal Pe.

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.

22 Replies to “The Classical Music Giants contribute to Hindi Cinema – IV”

  1. Anup,
    I was indeed surprised, but this is again an excellent and very informative post. The first four songs composed by Pannalal Ghosh are all outstanding. His ‘Vande Mataram’ though not so well known, when heard carefully, especially seen with the picturisation is very impressive and moving.

    His contribution as a flautist in many great songs is even more important than as a composer. I can mention ‘Main piya teri, tu maane ya na maane’ as an example. One noteworthy feature about the classical instrumentalists is that while they had great respect as a concert performer as a soloist in classical music, they were quite open to play in films in the orchestra or background music. The vocalists had some reservation. So you have scope for a Part V in the series. 🙂


    1. Thank you AKji for the kind words.
      Vande Mataram from Andolan really moves you and you get overwhelmed with emotions.

      And I agree, the songs by Pannalal Ghaosh are really good.
      Mainly the one by Miss Kamla! such a raw and husky bur expressive voice hers was! Here I remember a comment by Neeruhauf on your blog in one of the recent posts about the variety of voices getting disappeared after the Lata Tsunami.

      And as you rightly said, the instrumentalists never hesitated to play for a film.
      Thanks for suggesting the topic which really will complete the series satisfactorily.
      It’s really a good topic to follow and will certainly be in line with the series. I must think about it and proceed.
      Off hand I can remember, Bismillah Khan for Shehnai in Goonj Uthi Shehnai
      and, Samta Prasad for Nache Man Mora Magan on Tabla.
      Do you have any idea, where I can get to know about other instrumentalists? I mean a book or article or something like that?


    1. Thank you Madhuji!
      And yes, I’m thinking about the part V, may be after a few months, till I gather the information.
      Do you have idea, where I’ll get to know about the instrumentalists playing for Hindi films?
      I think I need help there. The info must be authentic too! So I’ve to carefully search for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No idea! But if you made a laundry list of major instrumentalists, I guess you could search for them on IMDB – that would show up any films in which they’ve played. Of course, IMDB is not infallible and it doesn’t cover all movies, but still.


  2. Anup,
    Abdul Halim Jafar Khan, sitar in Kohinoor and many films.

    Shiv Kumar Sharma santoor

    Hari Prasad Chaurasia flute

    Ali Akbar Khan sarod

    Ramnarayan Sarangi

    I know they played in many films, I don’t know if there is one place you can get all the info.



  3. Anupji, I read something yesterday that reminded me of the discussion about classical musicians playing instruments in films. In HQ Chowdhury’s biography of SD Burman, the foreword by Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma has him mentioning that he played the santoor in several of SDB’s films, and that SDB even got him to play the tabla (which Sharma had long back given up) for Mose chhal kiye jaaye.


    1. Yes,
      I also have heard about Shivkumar ji playing Tabla for Mose Chhal Kiya Jaye
      And the book (Marathi translation) is with me, but I haven’t looked for the foreword. How ignorant of me!
      Thanks for remembering the discussion and commenting Madhuji!
      Thanks you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. And I checked the Marathi translation of the book, the foreword by Shivkumar sharma is not there in it!
          How sad!
          But I’ll all the books on old Hindi cinema that I have with me, I’ll get more information. I hope so at least.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok! Thank you so much!
      You have really helped me a lot! I think I should be doing it next month. The fifth and final part finally. But it will really complete the series. I must thank AKji as well who suggested me.

      Liked by 1 person

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