There are a few music composers of Hindi cinema, who never made it to the first rung. The reasons would have been many. But some of the composers were really unfortunate. In spite of having talent, they couldn’t make a mark of their own. Perhaps the era which they were composing in, already had popular composers and they couldn’t get enough exposure or publicity. Their careers were eclipsed by other prominent composers.
Today let me present to you one of them. Bulo Chandiram Ramchandani, born on 6th May in Karachi, better known as Bulo C Rani, was interested in music since childhood. His father was also a popular music composer of his times. Bulo used to recite sufi shayari of Shah Latif. He was fortunate to attend the recording of Tu Kaun Si Badli Mein which Noorjahan sang under the baton of Master Ghulam Haider. There he met the lyricist, D N Madhok who asked him to come to Mumbai. In Mumbai, he worked as an assistant to Khemchand Prakash and Gyan Dutt. He must have earned a lot of knowledge from the stalwarts. He also composed a few songs for the film, Paigham in 1943, where Gyandutt was the main composer.
Finally his first film as an independent composer was released, Pagli Duniya in 1944. The film was made under the banner of Ranjit Movietone. The company consistently offered him films as a composer and played a big role in his career. But as the company faced downfall, Bulo C Rani’s career also experienced a major setback. Bulo C Rani composed for around twenty films produced under the banner of Ranjit Movietone. It includes some prominent films like, Carwan, Moorti, Rajputani, Bela, Bichhade Balam, and Jogan. His last film with Ranjit Movietone was Aurat Teri Yehi Kahani (1954).
The film, Pagli Duniya had a dozen songs of which half a dozen were sung by Amirbai Karnataki. Bulo C Rani himself sang under the pseudonym Bhola in the film. He continued his singing for a few films in the initial years of his career. Let’s start with the songs from Pagli Duniya.
Pagle Udas Kyun Rehta Hai – Pagli Duniya (1944) Bhola & Amritlal / Lyrics – Wali Saheb
I of course heard it for the first time. Quite a good song of optimism. Typical vintage era composition with instruments just adequate for the rhythm and for supporting the tune. But though the voices could be differentiated, I couldn’t establish who sang the initial part and which singer sang the last part, as both the voices were unknown to me.
Sham Bhai Ghar Aaja – Pagli Duniya (1944) Amirbai Karnataki / Lyrics – Bootaram Sharma
A very melodious, sweet song by Amirbai Karnataki. Good tune and impressive rendition. She had around six solos to her credit and was Bulo C Rani’s main female playback in the initial years of his career.
The same year saw Amirbai Karnataki singing for yet another film, Carwan. In the film, Bulo C Rani also offered a couple of songs to Zohrabai Ambalewali.
Sooni Padi Hai Pyar Ki Duniya – Carwan (1944) Amirbai Karnataki / Lyrics – Butaram Sharma
A beautiful ghazal by Amirbai Karnataki. While it was a part of my post on Amirbai Karnataki, I repeated it. It’s a very wonderful song, and one of my great favourites. It can be noted that Bulo C Rani composed quite a good number of beautiful ghazals in his films. And though he maintains the conventional style of ghazal recitation, the musical arrangement is different in some of the songs.
Aankhon Mein Intezar Ki Duniya – Carwan (1944) Zohrabai Ambalewali / Lyrics – Munshi Aziz
Another ghazal composed by Rani. What a beautiful rendition. Zohrabai’s voice, a little hoarse, but extremely expressive and beautiful, makes it a musical treat for the ears. The violin pieces are enchanting too. Zohrabai Ambalewali was a part of his team for a few years to come.
In 1945, the songs of the movie, Moorti were popular.
Badariya Baras Gayi Us Paar – Moorti (1945) Mukesh, Khurshid & Hameeda Bano / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
One of the earlier hits of Mukesh. It’s a really wonderful song with an enchanting tabla rhythm and powerful rendition by singers. I’m very much fond of the song. It was perhaps Mukesh’s first film with Bulo C Rani. Later he became Rani’s favourite playback singer and had a fair share for the next few years.
Haseeno Se Haseeno Ko Mohabbat – Moorti (1945) Mukesh / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
I couldn’t help adding another song from Moorti, a ghazal by Mukesh. We can clearly hear Mukesh following Saigal’s style of singing including pronunciation of words. It took a few years for him to be out of the influence and develop his own style. While the majority of his songs from the era were of sad mood, this one is refreshingly different. It is a playful song of teasing and praising.
For the film, Bela, Bulo C Rani chose only Zohrabai Ambalewali to sing all the songs, and though I know at least four of those, I’m adding only one,
Bheegi Bheegi Palkein Hai – Bela (1947) Zohrabai Ambalewali / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
A song with pathos. Listen how effectively he composes the slow paced melody, with less orchestration and mainly letting Zohrabai’s voice take the lead role. Still the rhythm instrument is audible in the background. The tune is good too.
In addition to Amirbai Karnataki and Zohrabai Ambalewali, Mohantara Talpade was also a regular singer in his team.
Rooth Gaye Mose Manmohan – Dharti (1946) Mohantara Talpade / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
I haven’t heard much of Mohantara Talpade, but she is very impressive in this song. Her voice is very expressive and it very aptly portrays emotions of a lady separated from her beloved. The song almost sounds like a devotional bhajan. The tune is so flowy, the melody flows smoothly, with Mohantara modulating her voice effortlessly.
Shamshad Begum made a brief appearance in Bulo C Rani’s musical team in the late 40s mainly. Her prominent songs with Bulo C Rani perhaps feature in Anjuman and Mitti Ke Khilone. I’m fond of the song, Chakuwalah Chhuriwalah from Al Hilal. It’s such a catchy song in rock n roll style and Shamshad Begum has excelled in it.
And I found a very funny, light hearted song in one of the films. It was a surprise to have such a song by Bulo C Rani, also the lyricist was a surprise too!
Humko Tere Dil Ke Bangle Mein – Maghroor (1950) Shamshad Begum & G M Durrani / Lyrics – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
Such a light hearted fun song! Simple tune too. Shamshad Begum absolutely steals the show. The song was picturised on Meena Kumari and Mirza Musharaff. It could be a stage performance. Whatever it was! A thoroughly funny song. I remembered Shamshad’s duets with Chitalkar, it’s quite similar as far as the mood of the song, subject and lyrics are concerned.
Mukesh was certainly his favourite singer, to whom he offered many songs during the early years of his career. In addition to the songs of Moorti, let’s listen to some more of Mukesh’s songs sung under Bulo C Rani’s baton.
Ja Parwane Ja – Rajputani (1946) Mukesh & Hameeda Bano / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
It’s just a wonderful experience, listening to this vintage duet. What a great melody, you just get mesmerised. It’s really unfortunate that the composer of such a brilliant song couldn’t get assignments in the later years of his career. Perhaps he couldn’t adjust with the changing trends of film music.
Woh Teer Kaleje Par Ek Shokh Ne – Anjuman (1948) Mukesh / Lyrics – Majrooh
One more romantic ghazal composed by Bulo C Rani. I wasn’t aware of many of his songs of the 40s and now I feel I have found a treasure trove of excellent ghazals. He really has a number of ghazals to his credit. And in the song, it seems like Mukesh has found his feet. He still has Saigal’s influence, but is on the way of establishing his own style. Such beautiful expressions!
Unki Gali Mein Aaye Hum – Nazare (1949) Mukesh / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
I echo my own wordings from the commentary above. Yet another beautifully rendered ghazal in a typical style. While Mukesh is considered King of sad songs, he is equally at home with these romantic ghazals. Even if I heard these ghazals for the first time, I feel like revisiting them. Magnetic effects these ghazals have!
Armaan Bhara Dil Toot Gaya – Wafa (1950) Mukesh & Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
Bulo C Rani composed perhaps only a couple of songs for the movie, the others were composed by Vinod. But still he had this memorable duet to his credit. Listen to this pathos laden melody. It has a simple tune, and just enough orchestration to offer it a rhythm that sounds like a matka rhythm. Slow paced song with very little Interlude music, all the responsibility on the singer’s shoulders. I count this song among the best duets by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh.
Mast Chandni Jhoom Rahi Hai – Pyar Ki Baatein (1951) Mukesh & Geeta Dutt / Lyrics – M L Khanna
The song is picturised on Trilok Kapoor and Nargis, and is written by Manohar Khanna, Usha Khanna’s father. A sweet romantic song. I guess it’s not very popular, though it’s very good to listen to.
And, while Geeta Dutt had sung for him for the first time for the 1949 movie, Bhool Bhulaiya, it was the film, Jogan, that portrayed their best collaboration. In 1949 release, Darogaji, Geeta Dutt sang all the songs for Nargis, with a couple of my favourites, Le Ja Le Ja Babu and, Mere Man Ke Aangan Mein.
For the film, Jogan, Geeta Dutt sang Meera Bai Bhajans with great dedication and devotion. The film had 15 songs with Geeta Dutt singing a dozen of those. For me it’s one of the best recitals of Meerabai bhajans. The film also had songs by other lyricists. It also had a couple of Mujra songs by Shamshad Begum and a solo by Talat. In addition to the songs added on the list, I like ‘Chanda Khele Aankh Micholi’. The music piece played immediately after the opening line does manage to portray a moon getting overshadowed by clouds, or clouds moving off the moon. And I was disapponited not to find it in the video. While all the songs are my personal favorites, let’s listen to a couple of songs,
Ghunghat Ke Pat Khol Re – Jogan (1950) Geeta Dutt / Lyrics – Meera Bai
It was difficult to choose a bhajan from the wonderful set. Heart touching rendition and a very sweet melody by Bulo C Rani. I’ve heard a number of recitations of the bhajan by various singers, but for me this is the best. The other Meera Bai bhajans are excellent too.
Daro Re Rang Daro Re – Jogan (1950) Geeta Dutt & Chorus / Lyrics – Pandit Indra Chandra
Unparallelled sweet melody with excellent use of Jaltarang. There’s so much innocence and simplicity in the rendition and in picturisation. It’s one of my favourites since the day I heard it.
In all Geeta Dutt lent her voice to Nargis for three films in consecutive years, Darogaji (1949), Jogan (1950) and Pyar Ki Baatein (1951), all under the baton of Bulo C Rani.
And, I would also mention a song from Baghdad.
Raat Abhi Baki Hai – Baghdad (1952) Geeta Dutt / Lyrics – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
A song with beautiful musical arrangement that elicits an unmistakable aura of Arabian flavour. What a perfect amalgamation of musical instruments! Still each one has its own presence. And a magical performance by Geeta Dutt.
Similarly Talat Mahmood also had a few of his best songs with Bulo C Rani. While, Sundarta Ke sabhi Shikari would be the best known, I would mention other songs.
Ae Jazba e Ishq Tera – Haseena (1955) Talat / Lyrics – Jaan Nisar Akhtar
A beautiful ghazal, this time with Talat. What a perfect rendition by Talat in his silken soft voice. The song made me remember, Ae Pyar Teri Duniya Se Hum by Lata Mangeshkar.
Kabhi Aansoo Bahate Hai – Madhur Milan (1955) Talat Mahmood & Rafi / Lyrics – S H Bihari
The film had a bunch of beautiful songs. This song by Talat Mahmood is my favourite. Though it’s technically a duet, Rafi enters for the last couple of lines. I wonder why it was so.
Talking about the songs composed by Bulo C Rani, I should mention Bilwamangal, which had a few of the best songs by Suraiya and C H Atma. While I was aware of just a couple of songs, actually the entire album is full of melodious songs. It’s a pity, Bulo C Rani couldn’t get connected to popular and big banners. If you haven’t heard the songs of Bilwamangal, please listen to the wonderful songs. I’m enchanted by Suraiya’s duet with Atma. While Parawanon Se Seekh Sikh Le, should be considered the most popular song of the film, I would highlight,
Jake Bain Pyare Pyare Hai – Bilwamangal (1954) Suraiya & ? Male voice / Lyrics – D N Madhok
What a melodious, soothing melody, full of extreme sweetness. Suraiya is at her best. A little complex tune, yet very impressive. There’s a male voice at the end, it doesn’t sound like Atma’s. Could anyone please let me know whose voice it is? Though popularly known as Jake Nain Pyare Pyare Hai, it’s actually जाके बैन प्यारे प्यारे हैं. I think it means, जिसकी मधुर वाणी हैं.
Chubh Gaye Do Naina Matware – Bilwamangal (1954) C H Atma / Lyrics – D N Madhok
I haven’t heard much of C H Atma, but he is very impressive in this movie. His style of singing very much resembles that of Saigal’s.
Coming to his songs sung by Mangeshkar sisters. Asha Bhosle was a part of a few songs in the late 50s mainly, though hardly any of the songs was popular. But I’ve a favourite from the film, Aarboo.
Jo Kal Banaya Tha Ashiyana – Aabroo (1956) Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – D N Madhok
I like the song, whether it is popular or not. It has meaningful lyrics, simple but catchy tune and Asha’s heart touching rendition. If you haven’t heard it before, please do listen. The stanzas are composed in a different tune. The song has a mixture of different emotions. It has shades of anger, frustration, helplessness and perseverance. The lady hasn’t given up yet, she is still keeping her spirits high.
Coming is the senior sister, Lata Mangeshkar. Perhaps their first film together was Wafa, where he had a solo and a duet sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Though he composed a good number of beautiful songs for Lata Mangeshkar, very few became popular. The ones from Gul Sanobar and Madhur Milan are well known. Perhaps it was the commercial failure of the films that the other songs were not popular.
Chupke Chupke Dil Mera Dhadka Jaye – Rasiya ( unreleased) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – D N Madhok
A couple of songs from this unreleased movie are available. While I had the other one on one of my earlier lists (Lata with lesser known composers), I chose this. And what a beautiful and cheerful composition. Lata’s voice exudes playful attitude, innocence, though it also has a touch of bold confession of love.
Kya Haal Hai Dil Ka – Shikar (1955) Lata Mangeshkar & G M Durrani / Lyrics – Arshi Ajmeri
Hadn’t heard it ever before, but liked it instantly on the first listen. Composed in style of conversation. The answer to a question is also a question in itself. A lot of teasing and leg pulling going on. And poor Durrani! I don’t know why he was suddenly thrown out of the race in the early 50s. He was singing perfectly otherwise.
Tarase Jiya Barse Piya Nain – Veer Rajputani (1955) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – G S Nepali
A good song, Lata Mangeshkar sang many good songs for Bulo C Rani. Unfortunately the songs were forgotten due to the film’s failure. I feel so bad for the unfortunate composer. Quality of his songs never dropped, he always maintained a high standard.
Na Baaz Aaya Muqaddar – Sunehre Qadam (1966) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Mahendra Pran
Lata Mangeshkar sang a couple of songs for his last film. While the movie wasn’t popular, the songs are known to some extent. And for me these are one of the best songs of Lata Mangeshkar. Heart touching rendition, very well woven in a soulful melody.
But, his career wasn’t finding any rhythm, though he went on to compose for B and C grade films in the 1960s. Though all the songs were not outstanding, a few were good and melodious. Let’s listen to some of his songs from the 1960s.
Baharen Luta Ke – Anarbala (1961) Subir Sen & Suman Kalyanpur / Lyrics – Ramesh Chandra Pandey
A very melodious romantic song. Hard to believe it’s from an obscure film. Has everything a popular song is supposed to have!
Hum Bhi Kho Gaye Hai – Madame Zorro (1962) Mukesh & Kamal Barot / Lyrics – Shewan Rizvi
What a pleasant romantic song! Again what an ear pleasing melody from an obscure film. Mukesh sang for him after a gap. These songs from the 60s prove that Bulo C Rani still had the ability to compose good melodies, alas! Never got to compose for a big banner.
Main Hoon Deewana – Haqdaar (1964) Mukesh / Lyrics – Prem Babartani
His favourite Mukesh sang again for him. It’s a good song, though it can’t be compared to their initial magical collaboration.
And, I know you are missing something. Of course, I’ve reserved the song to end today’s list. It’s like a cherry on the icing. The wonderful Qawwali from Al Hilal. Unfortunately even the popularity of the song couldn’t save his career. And he continued composing similar qawwalis in a few of his later films, though the songs couldn’t recreate the magic. So here we go, the last song,
Humein To Loot Liya Milke Husnawalon Ne- Al Hilal (1958) Ismail Azad Qawwal and Party / Lyrics – Shewan Rizvi
The Qawwali still holds its popularity. And it surely deserves it. Aren’t the harmonium pieces in the Interlude really wonderful? The song is a perfect qawwali.
In his entire career he composed for around 66 films, with around 550+ songs in total.
It would be interesting to note that more than 50% of his songs are female solos. He was inclined to Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai Ambalewali, Hameeda Bano, Mohantara Talpade in the earlier years of his career and later had Geeta Dutt (mainly in the early 50s) and Shamshad Begum (mainly in the late 40s and then perhaps as required) as a lead singer for a few films. He then appears to have turned to Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar of course, though his songs with the former couldn’t become popular, while the latter had relatively less number of songs. He also offered songs to Sudha Malhotra and Suman Kalyanpur, though it was the late phase of his career, where majority of the films were obscure or b grade. Some unheard singers like Vishni Lal also appear in his films.
Among male singers, after offering a number of songs to Mukesh in the early part of his career, he later chose Rafi, Talat Mahmood. In the case of Manna Dey, however, Bulo C Rani was one of the composers to offer him songs in the early 1940s. He also sang for Bulo C Rani in the later years. Very interestingly, G M Durrani was a part of his musical team right from the 50s, when actually Durrani’s career was experiencing a downfall. He sang for his last Hindi film, Sunehre Qadam as well. He was the voice of Rehman, the main lead and Agha, the supporting character, both. Ismail Azad Qawwal and the party also had a fair share, though barring the Al Hilal song, other qawwalis are hardly remembered today. It’s very interesting to note that he made Meena Kumari sing for a film, Piya Ghar Aaja. She also sang for the film, Bichhade Balam. And director Raj Khosla also sang under his baton, for the movie, Bhool Bhulaiya.
He worked with a number of lyricists, right from Wali Saheb and Pandit Indra Chandra to Indeevar, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, S H Bihari and Hasrat Jaipuri. And from the lesser known Shewan Rizvi, Butaram Sharma to almost unknown, Arshi Ajmeri and Mahendra Pran.
His last Hindi film was Sunehre Qadam which was released in 1966. He was successful in Sindhi films thereafter. He was also engaged in music tutions for a period. He also composed NFS most probably in the 80s, but though his songs were praised, that doesn’t help him in any way. He couldn’t digest his loss of assignments in Hindi films. He slowly faded away from people’s memories. He had to shift to a suburb in Mumbai due to financial problems. He was there, alone, no one recognising him. Finally he fell prey to alcohol. He must have been severely depressed too and in a fit of depression, he took extreme steps on 24th May 1993. He committed suicide by setting himself on fire. Can’t even imagine what he must have been through. Such a tragic and unfortunate end of a talented composer. Only if he could have got a film or two by a big banner, who would have supported his creativity and talent! But that wasn’t to be.
A special thanks to Mr ArunKumar Deshmukh, who cleared my doubts and helped me. Thank you for bearing with me.
This time, my list has 30 songs, the highest ever on a single post on my blog. But if I have missed your favourite, please add it.
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