Let me first wish all the readers and well wishers, a very happy and prosperous new year 2020. May all your wishes come true and let it be a healthy and safe year for all.
My blog recently completed two and a half years. In these years I tried to cover many stalwarts and some lesser known composers. In 2018, I dedicated the entire month of October to S D Burman, covering his career in a series of five posts. I decided to cover another composer whose birth and death anniversaries fall in the same month. But it took me an entire year to actually follow what I had thought of. But better late than never!
Today on the first day of the brand new year, let me announce the beginning of ‘C Ramchandra Month’ on my blog. So the entire month will be full of C Ramchandra songs, composed by him and a few sung by him.
I’ll open the series with a post based on the songs sung by C Ramchandra for Hindi films. He of course has sung with the name ‘Chitalkar’, and though he actually didn’t want to establish himself as a playback singer (or so I think), he also sang for other composers as well. These composers include S D Burman, Roshan, Hemant Kumar, Usha Khanna, Chic Chocolate, Husnalal Bhagatram, Mir Saheb etc. Today’s song list has four songs which he sang for other composers. Nearly 95% of his songs were his own compositions. I’ll be covering the majority of the films in later posts and try to avoid repeating songs.
Though he has always been acclaimed as a great composer, he always received criticism as a playback singer. Though I agree, his voice may not have qualities of a professional playback singers, it had a different kind of rawness that suits certain situations in the movies. So we mainly hear playful, naughty, comedy or western type songs in his voice. But he has sung romantic songs and soulful songs, qawwalis as well. And he had been wise enough to lend his voice for that kind of songs. On the other hand, he also sang for the top heroes of the golden era, Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar. But the association was not an established one. His voice used to suit Bhagwan dada, so he sang 90% of the songs of Albela. I think a majority of his songs were picturised on Yakub and Gope.
Personally I don’t find his voice that offensive. Though I’m not a fan of his playback singing, I don’t think it should have been criticized so much.
After his heydays in Hindi films, he did sing Marathi songs, both film and non film. I’ll cover his Marathi songs in a later post.
We will see his career in details from the next post of the series. Today let’s enjoy his songs as a playback singer. I must admit the list has a lot of duets, and very few solos. He would sing with Shamshad in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and later with Lata Mangeshkar. Geeta Dutt also contributed in the early part of his career.
He preferred Shamshad for peppy, catchy songs, the ones that will make you tap your feet. Those songs no doubt must have been popular then, but the majority of the songs follow a certain pattern and sound somewhat similar. But individually the songs sound fantastic and fill our hearts with joy and pleasure. But slowly even for such songs, he preferred Lata Mangeshkar. So as the 1950s decade progressed, Shamshad faded away from his songs. And slowly Asha Bhosle made her appearance in his team. Till 1957 or so, Asha Bhosle was his choice for the songs of other characters. But more about his choice of singers, in future posts.
Let’s go the list. The songs are not in any particular order.
1. Kabhi Yaad Karke – Safar (1946) with Binapani Mukherji / C Ramchandra – G S Nepali
After struggling for 3-4 years, finally the film Safar brought a ray of hope for Chitalkar. The film and the songs both became popular and he got his first hit.
Binapani Mukherji couldn’t leave a mark on Hindi films, but Chitalkar offered her songs in Safar and Leela.
The song has a typical Chitalkar melody and tune. A song in happy mood, with an infectious and catchy tune. I think such songs suited the most to his voice. Two lovers planning a meeting. Very apt expressions in both the voices.
2. Ek Nai Kali Sasural Chali – Aath Din (1946) with Meena Kapoor / S D Burman – G S Nepali
We know that Chitalkar helped Burman da record the songs of his first film, Shikari. Though he was professionally senior to Burman da, he readily accepted to be his assistant and got the songs recorded.
Burman da offered him a song in his forthcoming film, Aath Din and it was a duet with Meena Kapoor, who was then a newcomer. The song has a Bengali touch, and describes very cutely the alliance between two unknowns in a marriage. Chitalkar later sang a number of peppy songs, but the song offered a soft heartwarming melody, and he sang it effortlessly.
3. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon – Patanga (1949) with Shamshad Begum / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
Any song list of Chitalkar is incomplete without the song from Patanga. A delightful stage performance, picturised on Nigar Sultana and Gope. Chitalkar’s voice was not great, but it was a voice of a common man. It suits the character so well. This comic song is not an exception. He convincingly sings for Gope, who’s in Rangoon missing his wife. The song has a word, ‘telephoon’, a perfect rhyme with Rangoon. The song is 70 years old, it’s still fresh and entertaining. It will make you tap your feet even today. That’s one of the highlights of Chitalkar’s songs.
4. Main Hoon Ek Khalasi – Sargam (1950) with Chorus / C Ramchandra – P L Satoshi
Sargam saw Chitalkar singing for Raj Kapoor. In the film, some of the songs are sung by Rafi. Both the voices suit him, Chitalkar sounds a bit more natural for Raj Kapoor’s character. Again a catchy peppy song, celebrating joy, youth and happiness. It will never fail you, changing your depressed mood to a joyous one.
Raj Kapoor singing and dancing, with full devotion to his character. I feel for once, he isn’t Raj Kapoor but more like the character he is playing.
5. Qadam Qadam Badhaye Ja – Samadhi (1950) with Chorus / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
As I said in the introduction, he sang all types of songs. Originally written by Pandit Vansidhar Shukla, the song still ignites patriotism. Rajendra Krishan wrote different verses, suiting the situation in the film, using the same mukhda. The film song also has the same effect as the original song. Chitalkar sings it with full conviction, the support from the chorus is amazing too.
Here’s the video song.
6. O Betaji Are O Babuji – Albela (1951) / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
In complete contrast to the above mentioned song, here we have a young man, who leaves his home to become a film actor, and in the meanwhile ends up cleaning utensils. It’s actually a philosophical song with a comedy wrapper. It conveys the philosophy as well as brings a broad smile on your face. It’s inspiring and optimistic as well. Chitalkar’s voice perfectly suits the situation and the hero, Bhagwan dada, both.
7. Chalti Hui Gadi Ho Jaye – Nadaan (1951) with Lata Mangeshkar / Chic Chocolate – Rajendra Krishan
In contrast to Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor (for whom he could sing just for a film), Chitalkar sang for Dev Anand in four films. And I think his voice suits him too! A light hearted song, follows C Ramchandra’s typical style, both in tune and mood. Quite an enjoyable song.
Nadaan was a movie, Chic Chocolate composed for, under his mentor’s guidance. No wonder, the songs sound quite like the latter’s.
8. Haseena Sambhal Sambhal Kar – Saqi (1952) with Geeta Dutt / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
The film sounds like a fantasy costume drama. Chitalkar singing for Gope, who’s a genie, and falls in love with Mohna. We can call him a romantic genie. He sings for his love. A lovable cute duet. Rafi and Talat have offered playback for Premnath, where as Chitalkar lend his voice for a supporting character played by Gope.
9. Teri Nazaron Ne Humko – Barati (1954) with Asha Bhosle / Roshan – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
Roshan was one of composers, who offered songs to Chitalkar. He sang a couple of songs for the movie, Barati, which was a comedy movie and his voice suited perfectly for Agha.
The song is picturised on Agha and Peace Kanwal. A romantic song, full of chhed chhad and comedy.
Here’s the link for the video song.
10. Ulfat Ke Jaadu Ka – Sangram (1950) with Lata Mangeshkar / C Ramchandra – Brajendra Goud
Chitalkar sings for Ashok Kumar in the song. A boldly picturised song, for the period. Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant both in swimming costume. And no need to mention, Chitalkar’s voice fits Ashok Kumar exactly. And it’s a total romantic song. I always wonder how Chitalkar manages to sound like other singers. Though most commonly he tried adapting Talat’s style for romantic songs, he could imitate others’ style without actually copying the singer.
11. Kitna Hassen Hai Mausam – Aazad (1955) with Lata Mangeshkar / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
Continuing my comments on the 10th song, do appreciate similarity of his voice to Talat’s voice. The opening mandolin piece promises a melodious song. Though the lyrics are not that great, the overall effect of the song is wonderful. Thanks to the tune and the singers of course!
One of the best romantic songs of Hindi cinema, the song is also a visual treat. The camera captures the serene beauty of nature, the mountains, the waterfall, the clouds, and above all, the young couple looks absolutely lovely.
12. Aana Meri Jaan Sunday Ke Sunday – Shehnai (1947) with Lalita Deulkar & Amirbai Karnataki / C Ramchandra – P L Santoshi
The song is iconic. I won’t add any stories about the song. It’s one of the early western influenced songs from Hindi cinema. It was the most popular song of the movie and it hasn’t lost its charm till date. Hats off to Chitalkar! His songs would compel you dance, at least tap your feet unknowingly. The song has a lot of English words or sentences. The movie version has been sung by Lalita Deulkar and Amirbai Karnataki with Chitalkar. But for a 78 rpm record, Shamshad Begum and Meena Kapoor were called in. It’s a fun song, with its infectious rhythm. I heard the tune as a kid, when it was used for egg campaign, that went something like, “Khana Meri Jaan Murgi Ke Ande, Sunday Ho Ya Monday Roz Khao Ande”.
Enjoy both versions of the song.
The record version.
13. Haat Seene Par Jo Rakhe – Samrat (1954) with Rafi / Hemant Kumar – Rajendra Krishan
As the fun filled, crispy, peppy songs, sung by Chitalkar were extremely popular, other composers were tempted to offer him songs. Hemant Kumar was not an exception.
Listen to the powerful qawwali (again rare for Hemant Kumar), by the duo. Quite an enjoyable qawwali. And it was a discovery for me, I hadn’t come across it before. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Though Hemant Kumar uncommonly composed comic songs, he called for Chitalkar, again, for Lagan (1955).
14. Hum Pyar Karna Sakta – Shabistan (1951) with Lata Mangeshkar / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishan
After offering a number of songs to Rafi, Chitalkar then went for Talat Mahmood. The latter had been his choice for a number of films in the early to mid 1950s. For Shabistan, Talat sang three duets with Geeta Dutt, whereas Chitalkar’s contribution was restricted to a single duet with Lata Mangeshkar. The song follows Chitalkar’s typical catchy tune. It has a distinct Goan flavour.
15. Gori Ek Baat Sun – Girl’s School (1949) with Shamshad Begum / C Ramchandra – Kavi Pradeep
Let’s end today’s journey with this jazzy number.
It’s yet another catchy tune, sung by Shamshad Begum and Chitalkar. Anil Biswas recorded songs with Lata Mangeshkar for the movie, Girl’s School. But when he left the project, Chitalkar took over. He had four duets with Shamshad, all in his typical light-hearted style . The song is picturised on Sajjan and a very young Shashikala. But the video of the song is not available.
Would you add your favourite to the list?
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.