I have been planning a post on Khemchand Prakash’s songs for a couple of years. Last year I couldn’t, so this year I made it sure not to miss it. Today on the occasion of his 72nd death anniversary, let’s remember him by revisiting a few of his songs.
Khemchand Prakash was born in 1907 at Sujangarh, Rajasthan in a family of musicians. His father Pandit Govardhan Prasad was the court singer of Jaipur who trained young Khemchand in music. He also received training in Kathak. He joined his father as a singer in the Royal court of Jaipur at the age of 19. Later he also served as a court singer of Nepal.
He was working as a radio artist in Kolkata, when he was spotted by Timir Baran and the latter eventually offered him to join New Theaters. He assisted Timir Baran in Devdas (1935) and it is said that the popular songs of Devdas, Balam Aaye Baso More Man Mein and Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Nahi were actually tuned by Khemchand Prakash. Young Khemchand Prakash acted in Street Singer (1938) and the comic song, Lo Khalo Lo Madam Khana, was picturised on him. I was surprised to find its video on the internet, the link is added above. The song was sung by Khemchand Prakash & Miss Rekha.
He also played a small role in Sapera (1939). It was during these days that he got acquainted with Prithviraj Kapoor who helped him when he moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the late 1930s.
His first film was Supreme Picture’s Gazi Salahuddin (1939). It’s said that Naushad assisted him for this movie. The same year saw him composing for yet another movie, Meri Aankhen, again by Supreme Pictures. It was Khursheed’s first film with Khemchand Prakash. I’ve no idea if the songs were popular or not, but the songs clearly pointed to the introduction of a brilliant composer.
Kabhi Neki Bhi Uske Jee Mein – Gazi Salahuddin (1939) Miss Kalyani / Lyrics – Mirza Ghalib
We have heard this Ghalib ghazal rendered by many singers. This simple tune and orchestration still attracts me. The style clearly has an influence of musical plays that were prominent in those days. I haven’t heard much pf Miss Kalyani, but she does sound wonderful.
Manaoongi Manaoongi Roothe Piya Ko – Meri Aankhen (1939) Sitara Devi / Lyrics – P L Santoshi
Though it was from his first couple of films, his command over classical music was appreciable. The song flows so smoothly, just flawless! And Sitara Devi’s singing is impressive too.
It was in the year 1940 that Khemchand Prakash got associated with Ranjit Movietone and had a long innings with it. The alliance opened with Aaj Ka Hindustan, Diwali, Holi and Pagal, all in 1940. It was for a few of these films that Bulo C Rani assisted Khemchand Prakash. I’m adding a song from one if these films,
Phagun Ki Rut Aayi Re – Holi (1940) Sitara Devi & Amritlal / Lyrics – D N Madhok
A very charming song. Just enchants you. Perhaps it has roots in folk music, but the song is very catchy. The female voice is happy, but the male voice is sad, may be he is away from the holi celebrations. A must listen for vintage era lovers.
The film, Holiday In Bombay, was produced under the banner of Sudama productions which seemed to be connected with Ranjit Movietone. I hadn’t heard of Vatsala Kumathekar and wasn’t much aware of her songs. So I was impressed with her song from this movie. Let’s listen to it.
Tere Nainon Mein Naina Dale – Holiday In Bombay (1941) Vatsala Kumathekar / Lyrics – D N Madhok
What a beautiful use of jaltarang and such a catchy tune. This is the first song of Vatsala Kumathekar that I heard and she’s good.
Khemchand Prakash’s ventures with Ranjit Movietone continued and in the year 1941, the prominent films were, Pardesi, Ummeed, Pyas and Shadi. Khursheed’s popular career was mainly associated with Ranjit Movietone and she was a part of a couple of movies. Let me add a couple of songs from these movies,
Mori Atariya Hai Sooni – Pardesi (1941) Khursheed / Lyrics – D N Madhok
Yet another beautiful tune and enchanting orchestration. Khursheed had a few of her career bests with Khemchand Prakash and for me this is one of those songs.
Hari Ke Gun Gaoon Main – Shadi (1941) Khursheed / Lyrics – D N Madhok
A good Bhajan by Khursheed. A good tune and a typical orchestration. The film had a few other solos by Khursheed which were equally good.
In 1942, Khemchand Prakash composed for Ranjit Movietone again. The prominent films were Dukh Sukh, Fariyaad and Chandni.
Singer Mukesh was trying to establish himself as a singing actor and debuted opposite Nalini Jaywant in Nirdosh (1941). He also tried his luck in Dukh Sukh in 1942. It would be appropriate to listen to a song from the movie.
Ab Der Na Kar Sajan – Dukh Sukh (1942) Mukesh & Sitara Devi / Lyrics – Wali Saheb
Rajkumari was also quite a regular with Khemchand Prakash. She sang quite a few songs for him, right from the beginning till the film, Mahal. I have selected a solo from one of the films from the early 40s.
Na Jaiyo Na Jaiyo Re – Fariyaad (1942) Rajkumari Dubey / Lyrics – D N Madhok
In the year 1943 came the turning point in Khemchand Prakash’s career as he got the opportunity to compose for K L Saigal for the first time. And he created wonders with Saigal and Khursheed both of whom sang a few of their career bests for the movie, Tansen. I’ve already covered the duet in one of my earlier posts on Saigal songs.
And a couple of Khursheed’s solos in a post on her songs, I wish to add yet another solos, one each of Saigal and Khursheed.
Bagh Laga Doon Sajni – Tansen (1943) K L Saigal / Lyrics – Pandit Indra
A beautifully rendered song in Raag Bahar. The song creates magic when Tansen sings it and leaves grow out and flowers bloom on dried up branches of the trees. While it was very difficult to choose from so many of Saigal’s solos, I preferred this delightful song.
Ab Raja Bhaye More Balam – Tansen (1943) Khursheed / Lyrics – D N Madhok
Tani sings the songs standing outside Tansen’s haweli. I wasn’t quite familiar with the song, though I liked it when I listened for the first time. Khursheed had a bunch of happy and sad songs in the film and I wanted to select a song I hadn’t covered so far.
The year 1944 saw him composing for Bhanwara, Mumtaz Mahal and Shahanshah Babar, all for Ranjit Movietone. He again had Saigal for Bhanwara, while Khursheed was a part of Mumtaz Mahal and Shahanshah Babar. Let me a couple of my favourites from these films,
Diya Jisne Dil Loot Gaya – Bhanwara (1944) K L Saigal & Amirbai Karnataki / Lyrics – Pandit Indra
Regular readers of the blog know about my fascination with Amirbai Karnataki’s songs. I was going to select ‘Teri Pee Pee Ki Pukaron Ne’ , but finally settled for this one. And can you imagine Saigal singing this rather fast paced number on screen? At least I couldn’t! The female singers are not mentioned, though some sources mention Amirbai Karnataki and Naseem Akhtar, while the link added here says, Uma Devi.
Dil Ki Dhadkan Bana Liya – Mumtaz Mahal (1944) Khursheed / Lyrics – Wali Saheb
A beautifully composed ghazal, very well rendered by Khursheed. The song opens with an enchanting violin piece that plays for around half a minute. I had missed this song while compiling a list of Khursheed songs.
In addition to the films for Ranjit Movietone, Khemchand Prakash also composed for Navin Pictures. The film was Bhatruhari or Bharthari and had a few career best songs by Amirbai Karnataki.
Desh Piya Ke Ja Chanda – Bhatruhari (1944) Amirbai Karnataki / Lyrics – Pandit Indra
One of the best songs by Amirbai Karnataki. What a flawless rendition. Amirbai’s classical training is evident from this song. The film also had a few other solos and duets with Surendra. Khemchand Prakash did offer a lot of songs to her and the majority were really good.
Khemchand Prakash’s last film with Ranjit Movietone was Prabhu Ka Ghar which was released in 1945. Some of the songs were composed by Bulo C Rani. This film had Khursheed in the main lead again.
It is said that Khemchand Prakash had differences with Chandulal Shah of Ranjit Movietone. It was regarding the fresh new singer with a ‘thin voice’. Khemchand Prakash wanted to engage Lata Mangeshkar with his musical team, while Shah was against it. Finally Khemchand Prakash decided to leave Ranjit Movietone. After separating from Ranjit Movietone, Khemchand Prakash worked for different banners, till he joined a big production house like Bombay talkies.
In 1947, his prominent films were, Chalte Chalte, Gaon, Mulaqat, Sindoor, Samaj Ko Badal Dalo, Mera Suhag etc. I was going to add Amirbai’s songs from Sindoor, but decided to explore some unknown and lesser heard songs. I know these songs are not popular, not taken as Khemchand Prakash’s bests. But after listening to these songs, I felt that the songs should be highlighted. Let’s have a look at a few of the songs during this period. The songs are not sung by popular playback singers, except Meena Kapoor.
Jinka Intezar Tha – Mulaqat (1947) Naseem Bano / Lyrics – Dil Lukhnawi
The song starts after a prelude of 45 seconds. Naseem Bano’s somewhat raw and amateurish voice sounds very innocent.
Silwa De Re Sajanwa – Sindoor (1947) Sushil Sahu & Paro / Lyrics – Ambikesh Kuntal
As I said already I wasn’t going to add Amirbai’s songs. But at the same time, I came across this lesser heard song from Sindoor. The song was very interesting and I couldn’t stop myself from listening to it fully. The female voice is very unconventional but expressive. The male voice enters late. If you haven’t heard it before, please do.
Aate Hain Woh Aahista Aahista – Chalte Chalte (1947) Meena Kapoor & Patanjal / Lyrics – Lalchand Bismil Peshwani
The song has a cute waltz like rhythm that’s quite interesting to listen to.
Khemchand Prakash joined Bombay Talkies and composed a lot of popular and melodious songs for the next few years. He had two releases in 1948, Asha and Ziddi.
Khemchand Prakash was one of those composers who could gauge the potential in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice and was prompt to offer her songs in his films. I’ve already covered Lata’s solos from Ziddi and her first duet with Kishore Kumar, Yeh Kaun Aaya Re, in my previous posts. So this time I thought of sharing Kishore Kumar’s first solo for a Hindi film. So the credit for introducing Kishore Kumar in Hindi films goes to Khemchand Prakash and also for recording his first duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Let’s listen to a couple of songs from these films.
Marne Ki Duayen Kyon Maangu – Ziddi (1948) Kishore Kumar / Lyrics – Mohin Ehsan Jazbi
It was Kishore Kumar’s first solo for a Hindi film. He later was the preferred voice for Dev Anand and what a great coincidence! His first ever Hindi film song was also for Dev Anand. Saigal’s influence on his singing is quite evident from this one. Saigal was an inspiration for a number of aspiring singers and young Kishore Kumar wasn’t an exception.
Phir Mere Armaanon Ki Ujdi Hui – Asha (1948) Unidentified male voice / Lyrics – L Meghani
The film had five solos by Lata Mangeshkar and a couple of solos by a male singer. While Lata’s solos are relatively known, I wasn’t even aware of this one. HFGK also doesn’t mention the name of the playback singer and I want to thank Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh for sharing the details. The voice somewhat resembles that of Manna Dey.
After Tansen, another turning point was awaiting Khemchand Prakash at Bombay Talkies. He composed for Kamaal Amrohi’s Mahal, starring Ashok Kumar, Madhubala and Vijayalaxmi. He very carefully chose the instruments and other musical arrangements for the song, Aayega Aanewala. The results were phenomenal! The song was immensely popular across the country and Lata Mangeshkar got instant recognition.
Aayega Aanewala – Mahal (1949) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Nakshab Jarchavi
The song has achieved an iconic status over the years and surely it deserves. It’s been one of the most popular songs of Hindi cinema, for the last 73 years. No mean feat! The song, a perfect haunting melody, sets the aura of suspense. The song opens without any rhythm instrument, and Lata Mangeshkar sings the verse at a slow pace. The opening verse was written by Amrohi himself. The recording was done with meticulous instrumental arrangement and Lata Mangeshkar was told to start at a distance from the microphone and slowly move towards it to create an impression of voice coming from a far away place. It achieved a perfect effect! The song became popular and Mahal was a box office hit. The rest is history!
The film Mahal also featured three solos by Rajkumari. Though she also sang the songs wonderfully well, the popularity of Aayega Aanewala overshadowed all the other songs. That was a bit unfortunate for Rajkumari whose career was already on a downfall. I had Rajkumari’s most popular song, on my list of Rajkumari Dubey songs, I’ll chose yet another of her solos,
Main Woh Haseen Hoon – Mahal (1949) Rajkumari / Lyrics – Nakshab Jarchavi
A song that aptly portrays the emotions of the character played by Vijayalakshmi. Sung so well by Rajkumari and woven in a soulful melody. The opening lines of the song are not a part of the song usually available. It’s so unfortunate that Rajkumari’s songs were completely overshadowed by Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and couldn’t revive her falling career.
The film, Mahal, though certified by censor board in 1949, was released in 1950. Unfortunately it was after the untimely death of the composer, Khemchand Prakash that his best score attained heights of popularity and success. He couldn’t witness it.
His other films, Sawan Aaya Re, Rimjhim also had good songs, and the list won’t be complete without adding my favourites from these films.
Ae Dil Na Mujhe Yaad Dila – Sawan Aaya Re (1949) Shamshad Begum & Rafi / Lyrics – Bharat Vyas
Rafi sang for him just for a couple of duets. I’m adding the one of the songs. I liked the song from the moment I heard it. The song is being played on a radio / Gramophone, I couldn’t exactly get it. It’s picturised on Kishore Sahu and Ramola.
Jagmag Jagmag karta Nikla – Rimjhim (1949) Kishore Kumar / Lyrics – Bharat Vyas
After he introduced Kishore Kumar in Ziddi, he again offered him a soulful solo in Rimjhim. Kishore Kumar’s performance was highly influenced by Saigal as far as the style of singing goes. But still I think, Kishore Kumar did add his own as well to the song. For that you can compare his earlier song from Ziddi. Kishore Kumar being his own find, appeared to be his favourite. He again offered him songs in Muqaddar.
In 1950, his films, Muqaddar, Jaan Pehchan and Bijli were released. The film, Muqaddar had three composers. But Khemchand Prakash and Bhola Shreshtha worked together for the songs, so the songs are jointly credited to the duo. The third composer, James Singh alias Jimmy independently composed three songs. The film had three solos by Nalini Jaywant, all composed by the duo, Khemchand Prakash and Bhola Shreshtha. I particularly liked, Jab Nainon Mein Koi Aan Base
But for today’s list, I want to add,
Aati Hai Yaad Humko January Farwari – Muqaddar (1950) Asha Bhosle & Kishore Kumar / Jointly composed with Bhola Shreshtha Lyrics by Raj Shekhar
This was Kishore Kumar’s first duet with Asha Bhosle. A fun song, counts the months of a year, adding comments on the couple’s haal e dil in a comical way. Perhaps the western touch was added by Bhola Shreshtha, who was his assistant for the film and then was associate music director. Not perhaps a great song, though certainly enjoyable.
Armaan Bhare Dil Ki Lagan Tere Liye Hai – Jaan Pehchan (1950) Geeta Dutt & Talat Mahmood / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
What an excellent and enchanting orchestration! Manna Dey assisted him for the majority of the songs, as most of the songs are credited to both jointly. Such a beautiful song it is! A perfect song to end the list.
He died due to liver cirrhosis (the most common fate in Hindi film industry) and hypertension on 10th August 1950, even before the film, Mahal was released. So he couldn’t experience the phenomenal success of its songs and the immense popularity of Lata Mangeshkar.
Few of his films were released posthumously. Latika Picture’s Jai Shankar (1951) was completed by his brother Basant Parkash.
Shri Ganesh Janma (1951) was completed by Manna Dey.
His last released film was Bombay Talkies’ Tamasha (1952). But most of its songs were composed by Manna Dey and S K Pal and Prakash was almost for namesake.
Before I end,
- Khemchand Prakash had to offer songs to singing actors and actresses. All of them were not good singers, still he could deliver good songs
- And he created masterpieces when he got the opportunity to compose for Saigal and Khursheed
- After the partition, he supported Lata Mangeshkar and could compose absolutely marvelous melodies. So even if Ghulam Haider introduced Lata Mangeshkar, Khemchand Prakash actually helped her achieve success with the songs of Mahal
- He also introduced Kishore Kumar with the film, Ziddi. Kishore Kumar’s first duets with the Mangeshkar sisters were also composed by him
- He worked with many lyricists, and I came across a few of the lyricists for the first time
- In all, his career spanning over just 11 years saw him composing for about 45 films
- It is mentioned that he composed for a few of his films with the name, Khemraj
Please add your favourite songs by Khemchand Prakash.
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