One of the greatest and eternal debates of humanity has been about the role of destiny in the lives of human beings. There is no one single explanations for why some people become successful, while others do not. Some people strike it rich in their endeavor with their talent; some make it big with ordinary talent, while some very talented people don’t get the credit, name and fame which they deserve. Success has its own unexplained rationale.

In the Hindi film industry some of the everlasting beautiful songs were composed by some very talented composers, the songs are memorable but the composers are forgotten. Reasons could be many: may be because they lacked support from strong people from the industry, their music was ahead of times, they lacked the talent of self promotion, fund shortage, lack of access to the important music production houses. I think, more often than not, the reason a particular composer’s music is forgotten is subjective…. I pay my tribute to some of those gems in this article.

GS Kohli (Gurusharan Singh Kohli): He was an expert in playing Dholak and many instruments. When Dalsukh M. Panchol gave OP Nayyar his first break with Aasmaan (1952), OP Nayyar chose Kohli as his assistant. Kohli remained his assistant till 1968. Kohli assisted Nayyar even after becoming an independent Composer himself. Till 1960, Kohli had contributed significantly in OP Nayyar’s popular films like CID, Mr. and Mrs 55, Aar Paar, Hum sab chor hain, Naya Daur, Mujrim, Do Ustaad, Kashmir Ki Kali etc.

In 1960 Kohli took few independent assignments as music director. Though Kohli was incomparable as a music arranger for OP Nayyar and as a composer, he could not shine independently and had only B and C grade movies for lending music. His music for films Shikari and Namasteji became very popular. Film Shikari (1963) songs became super duper hits. But, I am presenting here below one of his creations from film “The adventures of Robinhood” (1965). After listening to G.S.Kohli’s compositions, anybody will think why success evaded him in spite of having great talent?

Mana Mere haseen sanam
Film: Adventures of Robinhood and Bandits (1965)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi, Song Lyricists: Yogesh Gaud, Music Director: G.S.Kohli

Lachhiram: Born in Himachal Pradesh, this talented composer was given an odd name because it’s a belief that when infant die one after the other in a family, the surviving child is given a vague, odd name. At the age of 20-21 he came to Delhi and got a job with HMV for whom he sang many songs. He was discovered by Aziz Kashmiri, who had come to Delhi as an envoy of Shourie Pictures to look for a music director. Thus, his career in films started with Champa (1945), and continued till 1964, when it ended with the most successful film of his career, Main Suhagan Hun. Lachhiram gave some most memorable songs to the industry. I give here below one of my favorites:

Tu shokh kali main mast pawan
Film: Main Suhagan Hun (1964)
Singers: Mohammed Rafi & Asha Bhosle
Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi Music Director: Lachhiram

Sonik–Omi:  were composer duo consisting of Master Sonik who was blind, and his nephew Omiji (Om Prakash Sonik). The duo produced some of the best musical tracks. Master Sonik was the creative side of the duo, and Omi was in charge of business activities. This song is one of their master pieces. This uncle-nephew duo has given some of the serene and some of the most flamboyant songs. Listen to this energetic song from film Sawan-Bhadon

Kan me zumka, chal me thumka
Film: Sawan Bhadon (1970)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi, Lyricist: Varma Malik , Music Director: Sonik-Omi

Robin Banerjee: Robin Banerjee was actively involved in composing music in Hindi Film Industry from 1950s to 1970s. He was also a playback singer.  Robin Banerjee gave music for more than twenty films; he gave some of the most soulful music to B and C grade films. He sang almost five songs himself. As the theme of this article is forgotten music directors, this highly talented man did not get the credit her deserves. This song is evergreen and most soulful.

Tum Jo aao to pyar aa jaye, zindagi me bahar aa jaye
Film: Sakhi Robin (1962), Singers: Manna Dey & Suman Kalyanpur
Lyricist: Yogesh Gaud, Music Director: Robin Banerjee.   

Sapan-Jagmohan: Sapan–Jagmohan, consisting of Sapan Sengupta and Jagmohan Bakshi, were a music director duo. They were very active in the Hindi film industry in the 70s. Both of them started their careers as singers in Salil Chowdhury’s Bombay Youth Choir and as chorus singers in Hindi films. In the 1950s, Jagmohan got to sing a few songs in Hindi films, the best known of which was a song filmed on Dev Anand, ‘Dekho Maane nahi roothi haseena’ for film Taxi Driver (1955) They were contemporaries of R.D.Burman, but unlike Burman these great composers never got recognition. Their career remained confined to B-grade movies. I like this song a lot by the duo.

Tumhi rehanuma ho meri zindagi ke
Film: Do Raha (1971)
Singer: Asha Bhosale, Lyricist: Indeevar Music Director: Sapan-Jagmohan

Dattaram Wadkar:  Dattaram Wadkar, born in Goa in 1929, moved to Bombay in 1942 and learnt playing the tabla and the dholak there. He got his big break when he met Shankar and joined Shankar – Jaikishan’s team as music arranger and percussionist. His friendship with Shankar – Jaikishan gave him opportunities to compose music for films independently. He was one of the few composers who made a successful move from being an assistant to a full-fledged music director. Despite getting success as a music director, he continued assisting Shankar – Jaikishan, and never really broke out on his own. While hearing his songs, you will realize that his music had strong influence of Shankar – Jaikishan’s style on them. Dattaram Wadkar preferred living as a low profile man always. Listen to this evergreen song.

Haal-E-Dil Hamara Jaane Na
Film: Shriman Satyawadi, 1960, Singer: Mukesh
Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri, Music Director: Dattaram Wadkar

Sardar Malik:  This great composer is father of music director Anu Malik. Sardar Malik had learned classical music from Ustad Alauddin Khan. He also learned a variety of dancing skills from Pt. Uday Shankar. Some other stars like Guru Dutt and Mohan Sehgal too were part of the troop under Pt. Uday Shankar. Sardar Malik was a little lazy man; he has mentioned this in one of his interviews. He got his break as a Music Director in movie called ‘Renuka’ which released in 1947. He himself sang 4 songs in this movie; 2 solo songs and also 2 duets with Zohrabai. This multi-faceted composer gave music for more than 600 songs, but never got the recognition he deserved.  This song takes you to another world.

Muze tumse muhabbat hai, magar mei kehe naha sakta
Film: Bachpan (1963), Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri, Music Director: Sardar Malik

Iqbal Qureshi: He was one of the finest music composers. For almost a decade his music was esteemed; he flourished in the Golden Era (1950s-60s) of film music, those days film songs reached the masses through the radio. Iqbal Qureshi personified an idealistic life and his work has remained even today labeled as most glorious music. Born in Aurangabad, Iqbal Qureshi was inclined towards music form very early in life, and often appeared on Aurnagabad Radio as a child artist. From Aurangabad he shifted to Hyderabad where he worked in Fine Art Academy where his friends were the film actor Chandrashekhar, and the famous leftist poet Makhoom Mohinuddin. This is one of his best composed numbers from film Cha, Cha, Cha.

Wo hum na the wo tum na the
Film:  Cha,Cha,Cha (1964) Singer: Mohammed
Rafi
Lyricist: Neeraj, Music Director: Iqbal Qureshi

Khemchand Prakash: was born in Jaipur 0n 12th Dec 1907 where his father Goverdhan Das was a Dhrupad singer & Kathak dancer in the royal court of Madho Singh II, and the boy, Khemchand got his first training in music and dance from his father. Soon he became popular for his Kathak dancing talent and for his unmatched skills in drawing animal sketches with gulaal on the floor using his feet while dancing! He had few peers in 1940s. This was considered best decade for Indian film music which started with Saigal very active on the scene and ended when Lata Mangeshkar firmly established herself as singer. Lata sang few of his compositions in films Asha, Ziddi, Mahal when she started making a name for herself. Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Naushad are considered gems of the Hindi film music world. It is not wrong to state that any essay or write-up on the music of Hindi cinema would be incomplete without the mention of the trio. However, very few people remember the person who played a major role in shaping their careers – the late composer Khemchand Prakash.

Ayega, aanewala, Film:  Mahal (1949)
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Lyricist: Nashad (Shakat Ali Dehelvi)
Music Director: Khemchand Prakash. 

There are many more who have contributed great music to the film industry, but I have my own limitation to research about them all, hence I will continue writing about them in another post.

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