Let’s celebrate Chitalkar’s 102nd birthday with his songs from the 1950s. He has a large chunk of films from the 1950s. For convenience, I have divided the decade in two parts. Today’s part will cover 1951 to 1955, with around 30 films to consider. That means six films per year on average. This is really a huge number. And it was the peak of his association with Lata Mangeshkar. He hardly went for any other voice. He even forgot Shamshad Begum. His duets with Shamshad was a memorable part of his career in the 1940s, but in the new decade, Shamshad’s share of songs decreased remarkably rapidly.
Let’s consider the films in the order of release year. As usual the films Not included on the list would be highlighted more.
In 1951, seven of his films were released. Albela was a huge success, the other notable films were, Sagai, Sangram, Khazana, Ustad Pedro and Shabistan. I think majority of the songs from these films were popular too.
— Albela could be a topic in itself. The films was acclaimed for its songs, dance steps by Bhagwan dada and Geeta Bali. Nearly all the songs have a trivia or a story connected to it. Out of the twelve songs, the lullaby by Lata Mangeshkar was perhaps the most popular song. The lullaby has a duet version too, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar. I’m not a Bhagwan dada fan, but I like all the songs a lot.
— Sagai also had memorable songs. Majority of the songs were light hearted, or comedy songs. With Yakub and Gope, such songs would be obvious enough. ‘Ek Din Lahore Ki Thandi Sadak’, ‘Daddy ji Meri Mummy Ko Satana Nahi Achha’, ‘Haseenon Ki Gadi Mein’ can be cited as examples. But I’ve my favourite on the list.
— Shabistan also had good songs, and Shamshad had three solos. Talat entered Chitalkar’s musical team with the film. One of Shamshad’s songs was composed by Madan Mohan. He had to join just for a song, when Chitalkar left the movie.
— Ustad Pedro had a couple of Shamshad solos, and four Lata Mangeshkar – Chitalkar duets. Rafi had only one duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Khazana would be remembered for its songs with ‘अनोखे बोल’. Shamshad is absent from the singer’s team of Khazana.
In 1952, six of his films appeared on Silver screen. Five of them had best to good songs. The sixth film ‘Chhatrapti Shivaji’ is not popular. But for the film, Shailendra penned all the songs, perhaps his first with Chitalkar. Chitalkar obviously used tunes that would have essence of Maharashtra. The local folk styled song, ‘Madbhare Pawan Mein Jaise’ by Lata Mangeshkar, the patriotic, वीर रसपूर्ण ‘Desh Ki Dharati Ne’ by Chitalkar himself, and perhaps picturised on little Shivaji, riding his horse, ‘Mera Bachpan Kabhi Na Beetega’ by Lata Mangeshkar can be cited as likeable songs.
Of other films,
— Ghungaroo had Om Prakash in double role, with four Lata Mangeshkar solos, and a couple of Chitalkar – Shamshad duets. Rafi was reduced to a duet with Zohrabai Ambalewali. Case was the same with Geeta Dutt, who had just a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. I would mention, ‘Kali Kali Ratiya’ from Ghungaroo as the most popular song.
— I wanted to include, my favourite from Saqi on the list, but finally dropped. But I like, ‘Ishq Mein Jo Kuchh Na’ and ‘Kise Maloom Tha Ek Din Mohabbat’. The songs have a touch of Arabian music to suit the background.
1953 saw five releases, including the superhit Anarkali.
— The least known of the five films is Lehren, starring Kishore Kumar and Shyama. I have no favourite song from the movie, but it was Kishore Kumar’s first movie with C Ramchandra, as a singer – actor.
— Jhanjhar was a joint production by Chitalkar and Om Prakash under the banner, New Sai Productions. But the film wasn’t a success. The film had Madhubala Jhaveri’s duet with Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Ja Ri Ja Nindiya Ja’. Kedar Sharma while directing the film, didn’t pen the lyrics himself. But he added the initial nazm,
‘बहारें बेच डाली, फूंक डाला आशियाने को,
ज़रासी राख रख दी, बेवफा तेरे दिखाने को।’
to the song, Ae Pyar Teri Duniya Se Hum.
— Jhamela being Bhagwan starrer film, Chitalkar himself sang more than half a dozen songs, including five duets with Lata Mangeshkar. The latter’s solos were surprisingly reduced to two. After the grand success of Albela, Jhamela was expected to do better on the box office, but it couldn’t.
— AVM’s Vaijayantimala starrer, Ladki had three songs composed by C Ramchandra. But the credits of the films do not mention his name as a composer. The main composers were Sudarshan & Dhaniram.
In 1954, again five films released, including V Shantaram’s Subah Ka Tara.
1954 also marked the beginning of Asha Bhosle’s association with Chitalkar. She sang for three films in 1954 under his baton. Shamshad nearly disappeared from his team.
— Kavi, starring Bharat Bhushan, Nalini Jaywant and Geeta Bali, was based on a story of a poet. Chitalkar chose Talat Mahmood for the movie, who sang a number of solos, ‘Main Peeke Nahi Aaya’ would be the popular song. Lata Mangeshkar had only one duet with Talat and that’s all. Asha Bhosle had a duet with Chitalkar, which was a light hearted comedy song, typical of Chitalkar’s.
— Meenar also had Bharat Bhushan, along with Bina Rai and Sheila Ramani. Talat and Lata Mangeshkar were the lead singers. But Asha Bhosle also sang three solos, which were picturised on Sheila Ramani and other characters.
— Pehli Jhalak had Kishore Kumar and Vaijayanti Mala in the main lead. Majority of the Lata Mangeshkar songs in the movie were classical based. Asha Bhosle and Shamshad Begum had one solo each. Who had an idea, it was an entry of the former and exit of the latter from Chitalkar’s team.
— Nastik is popular for the song, ‘Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Halat’ written and sung by Pradeep. The song still holds true, even after 65 years. Lata Mangeshkar was the main singer for Nastik.
In 1955, again six films were released. Except, Azad, Insaniyat, Teerandaz, and Yasmin, other films were not so popular.
— Madhubala starrer Teerandaz had all the six songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Out of those, ‘Yeh Haseen Sham’ is my personal favourite.
— Duniya Gol Hai was the second production of ‘New Sai Productions’, a joint venture by Chitalkar and Om Prakash. The latter directed the film as well. ‘Lagi Lagi Karjwa Mein Chot’ was the most popular song. It had a solo version by Lata Mangeshkar and a duet version by Lata Mangeshkar and Talat.
— Other film, released in 1955 was Lutera, where Asha Bhosle, Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar were singers. But the songs were not popular.
Chitalkar and his playback singers in the early 1950s –
The whole period was full of Lata Mangeshkar. Shamshad was still there for a film or too in the early years. But soon she was replaced by Lata Mangeshkar. The peppy catchy naughty numbers, which was a strong forte of Chitalkar, used to feature Shamshad Begum. Let it be a solo or a duet. Slowly Shamshad was sidetracked for songs of other characters and Lata became the lead singer. A bit later, Shamshad completely vanished from the team. Number of Lata’s solos was average 4-5 per film. Of course, he was the composer and had full right to choose a singer, he feels perfect for a song. So I’m stating my observations and have no intention to blame anyone. Asha Bhosle entered his team in 1954, and sang for three films. After singing duets for other films, she sang three solos in Meenar, though not for the main lead. Her entry was a farewell to Shamshad. Geeta Dutt was also one of the singers of his team since late 1940s and their association continued for a film or two in the 1950s. Shabistan (1951) had three duets by Geeta Dutt. Other singers from the vintage era disappeared altogether from his team.
Talat made a debut in his team of singers in 1951. Shabistan was perhaps his first movie with Chitalkar. He sang three duets with Geeta Dutt. Later he was consistently offered songs in his movies. Chitalkar’s own playback singing declined a bit over the period. And Hemant Kumar was his choice for Anarkali, who sang all the male songs, let those be for the main lead or supporting characters. Why he didn’t choose Rafi for Anarkali, remains a mystery. Rafi’s command over classical music was well known by then. Rafi’s share also decreased significantly. Chitalkar called him just for a duet or so for a few films. But for Insaniyat, he again had a number of songs, and Manna Dey also made an entry to Chitalkar’s team.
Chitalkar and lyricists in the early 1950s –
The year 1950 saw a great success with all the films being musical hits. His association with Rajendra Krishan became so strong that, he started insisting for the latter. So majority of his films had Rajendra Krishan. Still, when he worked for V Shantaram, for Parchhai and Subah Ka Tara, it was the latter, who would dictate terms to his composer. So Chitalkar worked with Noor Lukhnowi for both the films. The ghazals sung by Talat for both the movies are among his best Hindi film songs. Similarly when Chitalkar worked for Kardar films (Yasmin 1955), who already had a lyricist, Jaan Nisar Akhtar, he couldn’t insist for Rajendra Krishan. He had Raja Mehdi Ali Khan for Ustad Pedro and Pradeep for Nastik.
For Anarkali, he included, Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri. Both contributed a couple of songs each, and those songs were hit too. For Anarkali, the song composed by Basant Prakash (Aa Jane Wafa) was written by Jaan Nisar Akhtar and sung by Geeta Dutt.
But in general, Chitalkar didn’t prefer hard core Urdu lyricists. For his playful, happy or comedy songs, Rajendra Krishan was the best. It is said that, when the duo was working for Azad, they couldn’t complete the songs in time. The angry producer challenged them to come up with songs overnight. And the duo did come up with songs the next morning. And all the songs were superhit. The catchy tunes and Lata Mangeshkar created their magic and the rest is history!
As far as the songs are concerned, Chitalkar was still composing light hearted, peppy songs which was his forte. But as he started exploring the soulful songs of Lata Mangeshkar, his attention to western style songs appears to have decreased. In 1952, the films like Parchhai and Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo are still remembered for the soulful Lata Mangeshkar solos than for anything else. And for a film like, Anarkali in 1953, he had classical based songs altogether and Lata Mangeshkar became a necessity for him. Can we take it as a turning point in his career? His naughty, peppy songs became less in number and soft, romantic and Indian styled songs became prominent. In 1954, the majority of his songs had less western influence. Though he still used western instruments in his music, the tunes were more of Indian style.
He sang for other music directors as well during this period. In 1951, his assistant Chic Chocolate composed for Dev Anand – Madhubala starrer ‘Nadaan’, under his guidance. He sang for Dev Anand in the movie. In 1954, Roshan and Hemant Kumar offered him songs in Barati and Samrat respectively. In a way, it was a tribute to his playback singing. Though he was always criticized for it, some songs really needed his playback to get the exact effect.
And, now let’s see which songs have made up to the final list. It is not at all surprising that, majority have a common factor, Lata Mangeshkar. The songs are arranged in chronological order. So my favourites from 1951- 55, from C Ramchandra films.
1. Bholi Surat Dil Ke Khote – Albela (1951) Lata Mangeshkar & Chitalkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
The song has an infectious, captivating rhythm, that makes you dance. A faux rift between the genders is what the song portrays! After teasing each other, finally they celebrate equality.
Bhagwan dada doing his iconic dance steps looks good. Geeta Bali as lively as usual, looks pretty. But still, the song isn’t a visual treat. It’s better to listen to it and enjoy the rhythm. It is said that, Chitalkar heard the rhythm, being played on a musical band, in a marriage. He was very much attracted to it and he invited the drum player for recording. The poor drum player, unaware to the basics of the recording process, created a mess. But finally Chitalkar succeeded in getting the required effect.
As I said, the film is a topic for a separate post. It was most difficult to select just one song. All the songs have their own magic and all the duets by Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar are my particular favourites.
2. Mohobbat Mein Aise Zamane Bhi Aaye – Sagai (1951) Lata Mangeshkar & Talat / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
While Sagai was studded with light hearted, funny songs, Chitalkar was more happy to include soulful songs in Lata’s voice. The said duet portrays two lovers, separated from each other. As I said in the introduction, this is my favourite from the movie. The agony of separation becomes quite evident, as you listen to it.
Premnath, in a prison, sleeping on a bed of straw, occasionally chewing it, tries to look sad. Rehana also in distress, not exactly in jail, but under restrictions. Though the interlude pieces appear cheerful, the song has a gloomy mood. Perhaps the pieces were meant to accompany the scenes of remembrance of happy memories of the past. But the idea of picturisation was changed at the last moment. That’s just a guess! Not that the present picturisation is impressive.
3. Mera Paan Mohhabat Wala – Ustad Pedro (1951) Lata Mangeshkar & Chitalkar / Lyrics – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
What a delicacy her Paan proves to be! She has enriched the Paan with her affection, her soul. Her नखरे add a spice to the Paan. It creates magic for the consumer. A cute rhythm of Chinese blocks makes it more enjoyable.
The song is perfect for Shamshad, but Chitalkar offers it to Lata Mangeshkar. The former sings two solos, whereas the latter has four duets with Chitalkar, one with Rafi and a solo too. Shamshad’s ‘Mere Husna Ke Charche’ was popular too.
Though Raja Mehdi Ali Khan couldn’t form a long successful association with Chitalkar, he is spot on with his funny side of lyrics. Usually Khan Sahab is considered a serious kind of lyricist, writing soulful, heart touching ghazals for Madan Mohan. But we get to know his lighter side in this film.
4. Dil Dil Se Keh Raha Hai – Parchhai (1952) Lata Mangeshkar & Talat / Lyrics – Noor Lukhnowi
A soft, romantic dream sequence. The couple is, single soul – two bodies. Lata and Talat singing in two different notes in tandem, and it’s almost a whisper. Very low notes. The voices are so soft, so tender, it’s wonderful. There is subtle instrumentation. The chorus in the end gives it a grand opera like feel. In all, a fabulous use of western style composition. The song is so melodious and sounds so dreamy that I had very high expectations from its video. But Jayashree’s expressions made me laugh.
Parchhai was Chitalkar’s first film with V Shantaram. It is said that, Chitalkar clearly told him that he wouldn’t allow Jayashree to sing for herself, but Lata Mangeshkar would sing for her. (From a Marathi book by Isaq Mujawar) And it’s so different from Chitalkar’s usual light hearted fun songs. Of course, he must have moulded his style to V Shantaram’s vision. Lata’s doleful, ‘Katate Hai Dukh Mein’ and Talat’s equally eloquent, ‘Woh Zalim Pyar Kya Jane’ surely deserve a mention.
5. Tum Kya Jano Tumhari Yaad Mein – Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo (1952) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – P L Santoshi
The fantasy movie, with Ranjan and Rehana in main lead, is remembered just for the song. The costume drama had seven songs, with Lata Mangeshkar’s presence in all the songs. The song opens with heart touching notes of sarangi and then tabla takes over, continuously being played in the same rhythm. A melodious masterpiece by the duo. Lata’s voice dipped in honey and agony creates a great impact.
Kishore Kumar’s first song as a playback singer for Chitalkar was for Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo. It was a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Later as a singer – actor, he sang for Chitalkar for four to five films.
6. Dard Ke Maare Hue – Hungama (1952) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Though many of his films in the early 1950s had fun songs, the songs full of despair have made those memorable. Today, we may or may not remember the cast or the story of the film, but we surely recollect the songs. For most of the films, Lata’s solos have stood the test of time. There is something touchy, when she sings, ‘कौन सी दुनिया में जाएंगे ये दिल टूटे हुए’. You can just feel her inner sorrows. I remember the film just for the song!
7. Mohabbat Mein Aise Qadam Dagmagaye – Anarkali (1953) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Anarkali dancing and singing under the influence of alcohol. She is unable to stand properly, but she unknowingly pours out her heart and declared her love. What a suitable lyric, Rajendra Krishan has come up with.His command over Urdu is so apparent. Woven in a simple melody, the song has always enchanted me no end. Though I adore, ‘Mohabbat Aisi Dhadkan Hai’ and ‘Yeh Zindagi Usi Ki Hai’ a lot, I chose the song, that I love a lot! Of course, I should mention, Classical based duet, ‘Jaag Dard E Ishq Jaag’. And how versatile Chitalkar was! While he was influenced by western music, the roots of Indian classical music were too firm! How miraculously he has composed each and every gem of Anarkali.
It is said that, when Anarkali was on the floor, Chitalkar’s own project, Jhanjhar was also in process. He was more inclined to the latter, still all the songs of the former turned out to be hits. Basant Prakash was originally composing for Anarkali, but after differences with S Mukherji, he left and Chitalkar took over. But one Geeta Dutt song, composed by Basant Prakash, however was retained and was popular too. The film also brought limelight to Bina Rai and Pradeep Kumar.
8. Apna Pata Bata De – Shagufa (1953) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Premnath and Bina Rai wanted to celebrate their marriage and also the success of Anarkali. The film, Shagufa was produced under the banner, P N Films. He also chose Chitalkar to recreate the magic of Anarkali. He did his Job well and again composed very melodious songs. The film however couldn’t be successful. The song has two parts, but I couldn’t get a good quality audio. Other songs of the film were popular too. It is said that, the song, ‘Yeh Hawa Yeh Sama’ was so dear to Shankar Jaikishan, they composed a song based on the tune for Kanyadan, years later. The song was ‘Mil Gaye MIL Gaye Aaj Mere Sanam’.
Lata sang nine songs for the movie, whereas other character’s songs were sung by Geeta Dutt.
9. Chhed Gayo Mohe Sapne Mein – Jhanjhar (1953) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
As I already told, it was Chitalkar’s own movie and he had big expectations. Though the songs were popular, film was a flop. Perhaps Lata’s duet with Madhubala Jhaveri, ‘Ja Ri Ja Nindiya Ja’ would be the most popular songs. But when I heard the said song, I was completely charmed. It had a mesmerizing effect. I won’t be able to place a reason. It creates magic for me. Just a peaceful experience! Heavenly!
Sunder was the main lead for Jhanjhar, and he sang ‘Teri Atariya Pe Kaga’ which was a duet with Chitalkar
10. Gagan Jhanjhana Raha – Nastik (1954) Lata Mangeshkar & Hemant Kumar / Lyrics – Kavi Pradeep
The God himself warns and guides his devotee. The latter prays for her safety and ultimately reaches safely to her destination. The boat oscillates wildly in the storm, the thunders make the journey even more dangerous. But her faith in God solidifies her confidence. We can feel the thrill just listening to the song. Ringing church bells in the background actually uplift the song to the next level. And not to stress the importance of the chorus in the song! But it’s really really effective, it creates an aura! What a different composition it is! Really Chitalkar has composed songs of so many different styles. And each song is perfectly melodious.
Hemant Kumar is a perfect choice for a voice emitting from a mysterious deity. It has so much of a solemnity. It is sombre and reassuring. Chitalkar has offered very few songs to Hemant Kumar in comparison to Rafi and Talat. But majority of the songs are memorable.
11. Charandas Ko Peene Ki Aadat – Pehli Jhalak (1954) Kishore Kumar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
After Lehren, it was Kishore Kumar’s next film with Chitalkar. This time, the latter had an opportunity to explore the comic side of his personality. This hilarious song in a way, has a social message too. How a man, and in turn a couple and eventually the home is ruined by alcohol is portrayed in an effective way. The song has a touch of Marathi folk music.enjoy !
12. Apni Nakami Se Mujhko – Subah Ka Tara (1954) Talat Mahmood / Lyrics – Noor Lukhnowi
Entering Chitalkar’s team in 1951, Talat Mahmood soon became an important part. He was consistently offered songs and though the association wasn’t very long, many of his songs became iconic. Some of the songs can be counted among the best by Talat. And that list would have this song. Talat is known for heart touching rendition of soulful Ghazals and he does his job perfectly.
Chitalkar also introduced Usha Mangeshkar with the song, ‘Bhabhi Aayi’, who lent her voice to baby Rajashree. The most popular song from the film, is of course, ‘Chamka Chamka Subah Ka Tara’ by Talat and Lata Mangeshkar.
13. Na Bole Na Bole Re – Azad (1955) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
What can I say about it? It has beautiful Meena Kumari, Lata Mangeshkar and C Ramchandra. What more could I ask for? Fantastic!
It is said that Dilip Kumar was feeling depressed after Devdas and was advised to accept a light hearted film. He accepted Azad, which was completed in a short period and offered a refreshing change to Dilip Kumar. The songs and the movie both became successful. The dance numbers performed on screen by real sisters, Sai and Subbulaxmi, were sung by Mangeshkar sisters. I already had both the songs on one of my earlier lists, so I skipped the songs. Click here for the video.
14. Tum Apni Yaad Bhi – Yasmin (1955) Lata Mangeshkar & Talat / Lyrics – Jaan Nisar Akhtar
The separated couple wince for each other. There’s a touch of regret in their minds. If you wanted to leave, it would have been better to take away the memories as well with you.
When Chitalkar accepted the movie, lyricist Jaan Nisar Akhtar was already there. The story set in the Middle East demanded a Urdu poet and Akhtar sahab was a perfect choice. ‘Bechain Karnewale Tu Bhi Na Chain Paye’ was however written by Tanveer Naqvi. Undoubtedly he wrote excellent songs, and were set to tune perfectly keeping the background in mind. He aptly used an Arabic touch to the music. Talat’s ‘Bechain Nazar Betab Jigar’ was a part of one of my earlier posts. So I did not repeat it.
15. Apni Chhaya Mein Bhagwan – Insaniyat (1955) Rafi / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
A good devotional song, describing the greatness of humanity. Insaniyat was the only movie, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar worked together for. Talat has offered playback to Dev Anand. Rafi had four solos and one duet with Asha Bhosle.
It had an array of singers. With Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi, Talat, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar were also a part. Manna Dey perhaps worked with Chitalkar for the first time in Insaniyat.
Which song would you add to the list?
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