The old hindi film song stands like a monument on the shore weathered by the winds of time and the gentle caresses of the waves, to be admired across generations. And there are many such monuments along an endless musical shoreline built by a legion of architects, engineers and craftsmen who valiantly worked with their age old tools creating priceless works of art each unique in shape, form and style to create a rich heritage of that golden era of the music.
Khursheed (1914-2001) was a pioneer actress and singer of the Indian cinema. Her career ran through the 1930s and 1940s. She was born Irshad Begum in the village of Choonian in Lahore, then in British India. Most of her films were released between 1931 and 1942, a period during which she went unnoticed. Khursheed acted in a number of films for Ranjit Movietone and her leading men included K L Saigal, Motilal and Jairaj. She was among the two singing actresses of Hindi film industry who have shared stellar honors with the legendary actor and singer K L Saigal. The other one was Suraiya.
Khursheed – Main Prem Baag Ki Panchhi (Sitara 1939) :
Khursheed – Pahle Jo Mohabbat Se Inkar Kiya (Pardesi 1941) :
Khursheed – Mori Atariya Hai Sooni (Pardesi 1941) :
Khursheed started her film career in the silent film Eye For An Eye (1931), the year when the first talkie film of the sub-continent Alamara was also released. Some of her films in 1940s were Musafir and Holi in 1940, Pardesi, Beti and Shaadi in 1941, Tansen and Nurse in 1943. Tansen was a high point in her acting career. She became known both as an actress and a singer and the song ‘Ghata Ghan Ghor Ghor’ became a rage of that time. Her other famous films are Mumtaz Mahal and Shahenshah Babar in 1944, Prabhu Ka Ghar and Moorti in 1945, Aage Badho and Mitti in 1947 and Aap Beetee in 1948.
Khursheed & K L Saigal – Chandni Raat (Bhakta Surdas 1942) :
Khursheed – Ghata Ghan Ghor Ghor (Tansen 1943) :
Khursheed – Mohabbat Mein Sara Jahan (Shahenshah Babar 1944) :
Her last film in India was Papeeha Re (1948), which was a great hit, prior to her migration to Pakistan, leaving her mark in the Indian film industry. Khursheed migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India, with her husband and manager Lala Yakub, who was also an occasional actor, where she settled down in Karachi. Later she divorced Yakub and remarried in 1956 to Yusuf Bhaimia, an admirer of her work, entrepreneur in the shipping business, and a philanthropist. After her marriage to Bhaimia, she appeared in few PTV shows. A number of private shows were also held by her admirers and by private institutions. Khursheed died on April 18, 2001.
In the early days of Indian film industry, actors mostly recorded the songs they were shown singing on the screen. However in the 1940s playback singers began to be increasingly used. This was not immediately accepted. Part of the audience’s enjoyment of early sound films came from their knowledge that the actor on the screen was actually singing the songs they heard. When playback singing first became common, the sudden disjuncture between the voice of the singer and the body of the actor was a source of ‘discomfort’ for audiences. Particularly unnerving was the use of one singer’s voice for many different actors. While playback singing was seen by some at the time as unauthentic, others sensed in it the possibility for greater creativity and entertainment.
Noor Jehan – Shala Jawaniyan Mane (Gulbakawali 1939) :
Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani – Mere Jeevan Ke Path (Anjaan 1941) :
Suraiya – Aise Mein Agar Tum Aa Jate (Balam 1949) :
Lata Mangeshkar – Yad Rakhna Chand Taro (Anokha Pyar 1949) :
Aag (Hindi: आग) is a 1948 Hindi film which was produced and directed by Raj Kapoor. He also played the male lead. The film marked the debut of Raj Kapoor as producer and director and was the first film produced by his R K banner. It was also the first of many films he did with actress Nargis. Premnath, Nigar Sultana, Kamal Kapoor and Kamini Kaushal also starred in supporting roles. Raj Kapoor’s youngest brother Shashi Kapoor appeared as a child artist in this film playing the younger version of his character. The film’s music was directed by Ram Ganguly.
Kewal (Raj Kapoor) reluctantly accepts his father (Kamal Kapoor)’s demands to continue the family tradition by studying law and become a successful lawyer just like him. However due to a lack of interest in becoming a lawyer and more interest in opening up his own theatre company, he fails his law exams and is thrown out of the house by his father. Luckily he finds a patron of the arts, Rajan (Premnath), who is the owner of a theatre company, that has closed down. A childhood romance with a girl named Nimmi haunts his fantasies, and Kewal searches for her in other women, even renaming them after his former sweetheart. With a theatre, a play and a feminine image in his mind, he discovers a woman (Nargis) made homeless by the Partition and the play of his dreams can at last be written and performed.
Rattan (Hindi: रतन), released in 1944 was a landmark movie in more than one way. It brought in a new phase of film music where rhythmic beats of Indian folk percussion instruments like Dholak were introduced for the first time. Rattan also catapulted music director Naushad to dizzy heights of fame. In my earlier post on Rattan (1944), I could but just post four of its songs. Here are some of the remaining.
Manju – Angdai Teri Hai Bahana :
Manju – Jhoothe Hain Sab Sapne Suhane :
Amirbai Karnataki – Milke Bichhad Gai Ankhiyan :
Zohrabai Ambalawali – Aai Diwali Aai Diwali :
Zohrabai Ambalawali – Pardesi Balma :
Zohrabai Ambalawali & Karan Dewan – Sawan Ke Badalo :