The Indian film Industry, Bollywood is renowned for songs and dance unlike other major movie industries from around the world. In today’s time where music in India has become synonymous with film music, it’s interesting to see how this journey of (Film)music has been. It has given us the names that will never be forgotten, the void those legends have left are too gargantuan to be filled.
Let’s embark on this little voyage to visit good old days.
The music as we know has always been an integral part of Indian cinema. For most, K. L Saigal was the first known face of the singers’(implies film musicians’) league and to many even of the cinema’s. He was hugely popular actor-singer. Music was good and was really climbing up only to be followed by what is now called the Golden age of Indian film music and overall movie making.
Newbies like Mohammed Rafi, Lata mangeshkar were making their presence felt and with the rise of RK banner, in came the magical composer duo Shankar-Jaikishan, who were about to make unvanquishable mark in the bollywood music.
The Golden Era –
It was the dawn of the golden days which lasted from 50’s through early 70’s. 50’s was the period when compositions based on Ragas (or Rags) were made. What created wave and brought about a revolution in the music was the Music of ‘Baiju Bawra’. It was so popular at the time of its release that Rafi overtook talat Mahmood as leading vocalist.
Songs like man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj, O duniya ke rakhwale (remains among my top 10 even after 60+ years) are rare gems. Naushad bolstered the belief in the classical based composition and followed it with the breathtakingly amazing music in aadmi(aaj purani rahon se), Kohinoor (Do sitaronka jamee par hai milan), Mughal-e-azam and many more.
Naushad ali , S D burman (Guide, tere ghar ke saame), O P Nayyar (Naya daur), Ravi (Khandaan), Salil Chowdhary(Madumati), Madan mohan (mera saaya) and evergreen duo of shankar jaikishsan (dil apna aur preet parayi, brahmachari, chori chori, suraj and so on) are among the music directors who made this decade beautiful and strongly seminal with their music.
Some really mesmerizing songs from the times being suhana safar (Madhumati), tumsa nahi dekha (title track), ye raatein ye mausam (dilli ka thug), teri mehfil me kismat(Mughal-e-azam) .
The voices of time were Talat Mahmood, Suraiyya, Geeta dutt, manna dey, mukesh, shamshad begum and and rising stars Mohammed rafi, Lata mangeshkar and Aashsa bhosale. Later was mostly utilized by O P nayyar (e.g C.I.D, Naya daur) which provided push to her career as well, on the other hand Lata and Rafi had reached their Peak. Earlier, Mukesh used to be the voice of dilip kumar but interestingly went on to become the voice of Raj Kapoor whereas Rafi sang most of the songs for dilip kumar.
It was the time when singers like Suman kalyanpur who was looked by many as replacement to Lata Mangeshkar (Many who could not afford lata would go for suman as her thin voice resembled Mangeshkar’s) and Kishore kumar had started to find their audience.
Particularly Naushad and SD burman kept on composing heavily classical music along with salil cowdhury, It was S-J whose popularity was growing by leaps and bounds, they were dominant force in 50’s and 60’s with high quality and hugely popular music and remains one of the most popular composer duo with 9 filmfare best music awards to their name .
In the time to follow Laxmikant-Pyarelal Joined the big league and gave some immensely melodious and popular songs, Dosti proved to be stepping stone of their career with Rafi winning the Best singer for the Chahunga mai tujhe and entire album of Dosti was raved. They went on to give everlasting music in meelan (sawan ka mahina), jeene ki raah(aane se uskse aaye bahar) and other songs like bindiya chamkegi, dafliwale, parda hai parda and lots more.
The composing and entire music production was at the zenith and the quality of the music produced in the decade of 60’s is right atop. It is further understood given the fact that most of the all time greats were working in that period, the little enhancement in recording technology (even the cinema was transforming from B&W to Colour) was helping it, Music artists were well established, had their grounds firm and were being innovative and fusing a bit of pop/western things occasionally (Evening in paris, Teesri manzil). Journey so far has been upwards and gave really stupefying music.
One more very vital aspect that is unfortunately not given any importance today is ‘THE LYRICS’. I agree on the fact that quality of music was generally better, however I see glare contrast in the lyrics between todays songs and songs from those good old days. Songs came alive with the immortal lyrics intertwining the intricacies of the life. It had much more than just cliched PYAR to it. The legends and connoiseurs of language like Shakeel badayuni, sahir ludhiyanvi, majruh sultanpuri and shailendra penned down the gist of life in those beautiful ballads. Later Anand bakshi, gulzar and Javed Akhtar joined and kept the good work going.
50’s and 60’s saw really honey drenching music with Mukesh singing songs like mera juta hai japani, chand si mehbooba ho meri, Rafi like aaja tujhko pukaare mere geet, tariff karu kya uski, Lata mangeshkar had aaj phir jeene ki tamanna, lag ja gale. Kishore kumar had his share with the songs like mere mehboob qayamat hogi but it was formers who dominated the 50’s and 60’s. KK era was about to take the music industry by storm and his camaraderie with RD burman was to give it a new turn altogether.
An aricle about Naushad’s composition – Top 3 composers of the golden era in Indian film music – part 1