Out of proposed 4 Volumes (1931-70) of ‘Hindi Film Geet Kosh’, with the first being Volume-3 (1951–60) released in January 1980, Volume-2 (1941–50) in February 1984, followed by Volume- 4 (1961–70) in July 1986, I am now presenting ‘Volume-1’ on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee Year of Indian Movies to the Music lovers and while writing about it, I am reminded of the dream that I had seen about 20 years ago!! It is said that day dreaming is dangerous. One shouldn’t think about doing something which seems impossible and so on. But while listening to the songs on Radio Ceylon for the last 20 years, when as a music lover, I faced a difficulty in identifying the title of the film of a particular song which was being played, also as to who was the composer of the tune, I wondered why there was no book which could provide detailed information about songs. After making lots of enquiries, I came to know for sure that there does not exist any such book carrying all such information. And then, it struck to me that why should I not try to compile such a book which will have all these details for the benefit of not only me but all such millions curious music lovers. That was the moment which prompted me to visualize for ‘Geet Kosh’ and thus, I started the work of compilation. The story of when and how this compilation work started is described in Geet Kosh, Volume-3 (1951-60) which was published in the year 1980, goes like this :
"The story is old but not more than 10 years as my age is less than 28 years. Readers can consider this as an interesting story as well.... During 1969-70 as a new regular listener of the programmes of Radio Ceylon, I used to participate in it as well. At that time, along with other programmes, I had a special interest in a programme named ‘Vaakya Geetanjali’. The announcer would announce a meaningful sentence of 7-8 words and wanted the listeners to provide the songs starting from each word of that sentence. Instead of worrying about my name to be announced amongst the listeners who sent correct solution of this puzzle, my interest was more on whatever songs I had quoted were found correct or not. Thus, one can say that indirectly, the thought of a ‘Geet Kosh’ generated from this practice. I used to compile songs in alphabetical order. Volume of compilation thus started increasing slowly day by day. Whenever I used to come across a difficult word in the ‘Vaakya Geetanjali’ programme for which I couldn’t make out a song, I used to get restless. Then I thought as to why not a systematic compilation of Film/Non Film songs produced till date be made. As soon as this thought struck to me, I started focusing more on the compilation of songs. When this idea of compiling the songs related information struck to me, I didn’t think it to be difficult. The compilation work had thus started. The question arose as to the information for which period need to be compiled first and which is to be left out. At that time, non-film song compilation was also started. However considering the magnitude of film songs, the compilation work of non film songs was dropped.
On checking minutely between the period 1931-70, I found that there were around 4,500 Hindi Films made and if I try to concentrate a particular decade or a year and start compiling the songs therefor only, then what would happen to the information of songs that I would come across for other period/years. And if such information is left out to be picked up later, what is the guarantee of getting the same at later stage and that it would not get lost for ever. This thought struck to me quite frequently. After considerable thought, it was decided that all the information for the 4 decades be collected and compiled whatever we come across and once a sizable compilation has been done, it can be decided as to the information relating to which particular decade or years should be published first……………"
(From the preface included in Geet Kosh, Volume-3)
Thus started the task of compiling of songs of ALL Hindi Films. Readers must be well aware that with the advent of the talkies in the year 1931, the trend of including songs in movies started as well. Prior to that, there used to be silent films i.e. films without any sound, which started in 1913 though ended by the year 1934. For the past 20 years, I have been interacting with lot of music lovers, film personalities and others to obtain the songs' related information for the purpose of preparing ‘Geet Kosh’ volumes. The details of the songs of Hindi films that were released between the period 1931 and 1970 was collected. (It need not to be mentioned that even after the publication of Geet Kosh volumes, this exercise continues as an ongoing and unending process). After that, dividing the information of Hindi film songs of 40 years into decade-wise 4 Volumes, first of all, ‘Volume-3’ was published in January 1980 which covered information of 1,163 Hindi Films, released between the period 1951 and 1960 which carried about 9,000 songs. Four years later, Geet Kosh, Volume-2 was released which had information of 1,236 Hindi Films carrying 11,000 songs approximately. This ‘Volume-2’ was released on 25th February 1984 in India’s ‘Film Centre’ Bombay by the musical maestro Naushad Ali. After that, demand for the remaining volumes started increasing. It was my desire also to release the remaining volumes ‘Volume-4‘ and ‘Volume-1’ as soon as possible. However there was a long delay of 2 and half years before ‘Volume-4’ could be released finally. In addition to Hindi films, ‘Volume-4’ included song details from 34 films made in Avadhi, Bhojpuri, Chattisgarhi, Magadhi, Maithili and Rajasthani languages certified during the decade 1961-1970. This added to make in all 1,007 ilms and around 7,000 songs in 668 pages which was released at All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi auditorium by Maestro Anil Biswas on his 73rd Birthday viz. 7th July 1986.
After the release of ‘Volume-4’, I quickly started hunting for the details of the left out information for ‘Volume-1’. From the proposed decade-wise 4 volumes of Geet Kosh, it was planned to release first ‘Volume-3’, followed by ‘Volume-2’ and ‘Volume-4’ and ‘Volume-1’ was to be released last. I did not imagine that I would have to roam here and there much to gather information for the missing details from ‘Volume-1’.
As usual Shri Bishwa Nath Chatterjee (Nagpur) came once more to Kanpur and both of us together started preparing ‘Hindi Talkie Film Index/1931 -1986’ to be included in ‘Volume-1’ itself but looking to the time and labour to be spent for compiling the information, I had to take the help of a computer. We were successful to a larger extent though I had to spend lot money as well in hiring computer services.
In order to obtain the missing information of ‘Volume-1’, I made a humble request to B.V. Dharap (Poona) who had released book series titled ‘Indian Films’ (which included details of all Indian Films from 1972 to 1978) with whom I had established a contact as early as in 1974. For the past few years, we had been exchanging booklets of films or its photocopies. However, as he had already provided me with nearly 100 photocopies of booklets for ‘Volume-4’, he expressed his inability to provide more for ‘Volume-1’ until I provide him with equal number of photocopies of those Booklets that he was looking for. As it was difficult to provide him photocopies of old Film booklets, I tried to get newer ones of recent films with the help of Harish Raguvanshi (Surat) and sent it to Mr.Dharap. While trying to send the new film booklets or its photocopies, I suddenly came to know on 23rd November of Dharap’s passing away on 21st November 1986 from radio. When I heard that the source from where I could have gotten lot of missing information had been lost, I was stunned. I ran away to Poona to meet the sole heir of his movable and immovable property, his son-in-law, M.V.Gondhalekar on the afternoon of 11th December 1986. He assured me that he would continue providing me with the same support which Mr.Dharap used to give. However, he expressed his inability for the time being in providing any material due to lack of time. While returning to Bombay from Poona, I was lucky as I suddenly found to buy many old film booklets (although at very high price) which were important for the compilation of ‘Volume-1’. In a trip of ten days made hurriedly, I was fortunate to meet stalwarts like Saraswati Rane, Firoz Dastur, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi at Poona and Composer Madhavlal Damodar Master at Bombay for some unforgettable interviews so as to gather information for the ‘Volume-1’. In this journey too, my dear friend Bishwa Nath Chatterjee (Nagpur) accompanied me. After reaching Kanpur, I was happy to get the first lot of the ‘Photocopies’ of the missing Booklets for ‘Volume-1’ from Mr. Gondhalekar, although most of it were taken from the Booklets which I had purchased in original in Bombay.
Thus started a series of journeys to get information for ‘Volume-1’. On 30th December 1986, en route Delhi, I reached ‘Shree Ram Darbar’ in Muzaffarnagar (U.P.) to meet Pandit Ramanand Sharma (Father of the famous singer-4 brothers known as ‘Sharma Bandhu’) and collected information about the songs sung by him for the films that he had acted in viz. ‘Noor-E-Islam’(1934), ‘Watan Parasth’(1934), ‘Himalay Ki Beti’(1938) and ‘Prem Nagar’(1940) .
After that, I embarked on a long journey for full one month to get information for ‘Volume-1’ by the end of last week of April 1987. As a support, Shri Chatterjee had reached Bombay as well. Staying in Bombay till May 3, I tried to gather maximum information for the period 1931-40 by meeting old time composers, singers, artists, etc. In Bombay, we met Madhulal Master, Dr.Ramchandra Pal, Ninu Majumdar, Kavi Pradeep, Surendra Nath, Allah Raka Qureshi, Zubeida, Shahu Modak, Sudhir Phadke, Prof. G N Joshi, P.Jairaj, Snehal Bhatkar to name a few. From 4th to 9th May, most of our time was spent in managing photocopies of the booklets of Hindi films from National Film Archive of India, Poona. There we found two cupboards which were locked as its keys were reported lost 3 years ago. On being insisted and getting duplicate keys made by 'duplicate-key maker' for these cupboards, photocopies of the desired booklets were got made which will be an unforgettable experience of my life. The working staff viz. Mrs. Kane and Mrs. Lakshmi made all efforts to support us. We were able to meet the trio singing sisters – Saraswati Rane, Hirabai Barodekar and Kamlabai Barodekar at Poona itself which was a memorable experience. We met A.V.Damle, the son of Late V.G.Damle who was among one of the founders of ‘Prabhat’ and he provided us with booklets of a few ‘Prabhat’ films (In this trip to Mumbai-Poona, Shri Bhim Raj Garg from New Delhi also helped us). From 10th to 16th May 1987, the series of meetings with film celebrities started again which ended just few minutes before leaving Bombay for Ahmedabad. I tried to gather maximum information by meeting Rajkumari, Bhagwaan, Kidar Sharma, Vijay Bhatt, Talat Mahmood, Shri Nath Tripathi, Pramila, Nari Gadiali, Bulo. C. Rani, Ram Daryani, Kersi Mistry, Pandit Narendra Sharma, G M Durrani, etc. In the second part of the journey, I reached Ahmedabad alone and also visited Gondal, Rajkot, Jamnagar, etc. From the valuable collection of Piyush Vyas, I got lots of photocopies of the booklets that he was keeping.
During my tenure at Bombay, I met well known film Journalist and historian Shri Feroze Rangoonwalla for the first time. I was sure that few of the booklets that I was looking for for ‘Volume-1’ would be available with him. With warm and whole-hearted support of current Editor of the ‘Screen’ weekly newspaper, Shri B.K. Karanjia, I was delighted to get hold of photocopies of a few rare Booklets from Shri Rangoonwalla to whom I had been pursuing since long. Although these didn’t contain the cast-credit pages yet these, however, were carrying the wordings of the songs much to my relief. In a similar way, after a making lot of efforts, I was able to get some more photocopies of the booklets from Mr. Gondhalekar. After getting some more Booklets/photocopies from Shri Ram Siddarth (Editor of ‘Gulnar’ Magazine, who had good collection of still photographs and booklets) and Hussaini Bhai Bookletwala, I was convinced that I had gathered from all known sources whatever information was needed for 'Volume-1'.
Thus, after making the longest, costliest and toughest (due to the summer season) one month journey for gathering information, the manuscript of ‘Volume-1’ with the help of Shri Chatterjee was made ready between 15 November and 9 December 1987 whereafter we realized that compilation sheets of 90% Hindi Films made/released in Calcutta are blank at all. As the compiler of the book, I thought it my moral responsibility to search for the information left out. Shri Harish Raguvanshi had earlier suggested me to make a trip to Calcutta too. So from Jan.10th till 17th, 1988, along with Shri Chatterjee, we tried to gather the missing information while staying in Calcutta as the last attempt. During our trip to Calcutta, I tried to collect more information by meeting senior journalist Manujendra Bhanj, Bagishwar Jha and also V.Balsara, Hemant Kumar, one among the first female trio-playback singers Suprava Sarkar, Salil Chowdhury, Juthika Roy, Kanan Devi, Jagdish Chaukhani, etc. After returning from Calcutta, I was thrilled on getting very rare booklets(‘Zinda Laash’(32) and ‘Mohabbat Ke Aansu’(32)) from Shri Dilip Sarkar, the son of Late Birendra Nath Sarkar who was the owner of ‘New Theatres’ and also information from Shri Jagdish Chaukhani, son of Shri Babu Lal Chaukaani, founder of ‘Bharat Lakshmi Pictures’ through one Mr.Anoop Gadodia of Calcutta.
As a final attempt, before the printing of ‘Volume-1’ could start, by the end of January 1988, I again went to Ahmedabad and met Shri Ramesh Rawal, who was involved in the publicity of films and had made collection of thousands of still photographs and rare booklets. I got made the photocopies of the booklets that I needed and returned back. From 15th February 1988, the printing of ‘Volume-1’ started and the same is almost in the last stages now. During this period, my efforts to get the missing information anyhow continued. I called several contacts in Bombay and other cities for small information and/or seeking clarifications innumerable times. For the Film ‘Dhoop Chhaon’(35) for which the first attempt of playback singing was made successfully, I got hold of the video cassette from one Mr. M.Rafiq, resident of Essex (U. K.) so as to get correct information about its songs. Thus, in the last moments too, I tried to obtain and insert the relevant information at the respective pages of the films of 'Volume-1'.
While the printing of 'Volume-1' continued, during April-May 1988, Shri Chatterjee again came to Kanpur and alongwith him, I prepared lists such as Song Index, Film Index (1931-40/Hindi and English) but preparing Title Index of 1931 to 1987 in English was very much tiresome. As always, lots of music lovers supported the efforts of publishing the book of whom Shri Nalin Shah, Narayan Mulani, Vishwas Nerurkar (Bombay), Preetam Mangani (Ulhasnagar), S.D.Kinikar (Poona), Pushpendra Singh Jadeja (Rajkot), Mrs. Shyamala Kalyanpur (Hyderabad), etc. Others include Dr. Prakash Joshi, Shyam Samant, Vijay Nafde (Bombay), Madhusudhan Bhatt, Yasin Dalal (Rajkot), Gauri Shankar Shukla, Bhim Raj Garg (New Delhi) also contributed to their best. I am specially thankful to Shri Krishna Dayal Seth Saxena (I had heard his name a lot in the weekly programme 'Bhule Bisre' on Radio Ceylon during 1970-71 but was able to meet him only in 1986) who, even though he was busy in the construction of his house, did provide me with the missing information for ‘Volume-1’. Starting with 1931, he claimed having seen almost 95 percent of films for next 3 decades including first talkie film ‘Alam Ara’.
Realizing the need to provide a list of films released between 1931-1987, it was initially thought to include the same in ‘Volume-1’ to provide the year of censor for reference purpose. However as the list ran into good number of pages (around 100 Pages), it was decided to release it as a separate book, which is available now.
Many of my friends suggested providing illustrated information of the historical importance of the first phase of the Talkies. However, as by doing so, the number of pages would have increased a lot, we were not able to include the same much to my regrets.
Preparations have started for the release of the ‘Volume-1’ on 8th October, 1988 in Girgaum, Chowpatty at ‘Birla Kreeda Kendra’ (Bombay) for which Nalin Shah and few other friends are leaving no stones unturned. During the final stages of printing as a final attempt once again, I travelled to Bombay by the end of July 1988 (along with Shri Chatterjee) for a week. We met veteran artist Shri Vithaldas Panchotia for collecting some missing information and booklets of ‘Hindustan’(32) and few other Films he was connected with. Also, I got success in meeting some more artists and gathering information such as Master Chhaila, Ezra Mir, Meenakshi Shirodkar, Gajanan Jagirdar, A.R.Kardar, Prof. B.R.Deodhar and K.N.Singh. Whatever information was gathered has now been included in ‘Volume-1’ in ‘Addenda’.
I will always be waiting for any missing information relating to any of the Volume of ‘Hindi Film Geet Kosh’ for which music lovers can contact me anytime (personal/letter/phone). After the publication of all volumes, there has been an increasing demand for the revised edition of ‘Volume-3’. I am well aware of the difficulty that music lovers are facing in the absence of Song Index not included in ‘Volume-3’. Soon after the release of ‘Volume 1’, I would be attempting to make the manuscript of ‘Volume-5’ ready and start preparing manuscript for the revised edition of ‘Volume-3’ as well with its Song Index.
For extracting information relating to ‘Volume 1’, many source material was found in Urdu and Gujarati languages as well besides Hindi for which the Hindi translation was done by my Bank colleague Rashid Ahmed and Yogesh Desai respectively. Translation from Bangla and Marathi was done by my dear friend Mr Chatterjee himself, without even telling him for it !! Himself being a Bengali, he was also instrumental in connecting to Bangla artists during our trip to Calcutta and could interact with them easily.
Music lovers and readers might not be aware that as I have been working to compile the songs for nearly 20 years, I haven’t been able to listen to my preferred songs because once I got involved in this task of compiling information, there was hardly any time left to listen to anything. As I had inherited this habit from my mother, I became a music lover. To make the information of Hindi films and its songs easily available, I had to become a compiler. After this, as no publisher was ready to publish my work, I was forced to do this on my own and print the volumes one by one. I had to take into account the sales coming from the previous Volumes so as to fund the efforts for succeeding volumes. Despite all that, I am satisfied that before completing 37 years of my age, while doing regular job in the bank, all 4 four volumes got published according to the plan. To look after the household affairs and social obligations, it is worth to mention my better half, Mrs. Satinder Kaur who supported (and occasionally interfered also) and kept me away from all the responsibilities which she could manage to her own.
I am thankful to all music lover friends and benefactors who either by presence or otherwise contributed to the publishing of the Volumes in any way.
Main Akela Hi Chala Tha Jaanib-E-Manzil Magar
Log Saath Aate Gaye Aur Caravan Banta Gaya
Born on 13th May 1946 at Nagpur, Shri Bishwa Nath Chatterjee was fond of Hindi Film Songs as early as from 1962-63. Around 1968, the thought struck to him to make a compilation of songs, first for the period 1951 onwards to be followed by for the period 1931 to 1950 with the help of music lovers and friends. But due to lack of resources, he couldn’t do anything except dreaming. However, he started writing down information of songs he used to listen from Radio and other mediums. Upon going through an advertisement in ‘The Illustrated Weekly Of India’, a weekly magazine, in 1970 for the book ‘Indian Filmography’ written by Feroze Rangoonwalla, he managed to purchase it by somehow collecting the money and started the work of compilation for the Geet Kosh. Through weekly newspaper ‘Screen’, Chatterjee contacted me in 1975. During the correspondence, when he came to know that I had almost done 50 percent of Song compilation (starting from 1931 till 1971), he decided to support me fully in the task as it was also his dream to prepare a ‘Geet Kosh’. At the first stage of support, he visited ‘National Film Archive of India’ in Pune alongwith his music lover friend Shri Brijesh Krishna Mishra (Bhopal) in November 1977 to note down the missing information from the sources available there. His wholehearted support which started once continued uninterruptedly. For the past 13 years alongwith providing financial support for the publication of ‘Volume-3’, he also contributed his best in preparing the manuscripts of all 4 volumes as well as making many Indices therefor too. Now, it isn’t possible for me to imagine as to how the publication of the 4 volumes would have been made possible his support !! He visited Kanpur frequently firstly from Bhopal and later on from Nagpur for 2 or 3 weeks to provide me all support for the project. Other than this, even for my trips to Indore, Poona, Baroda, Calcutta, Bombay, etc. for gathering information for ‘Geet Kosh’, he accompanied me to provide free hand support.
Due to lack of interest and information, when I decided to restrict my compilation of Hindi films with its songs upto 1970, he showed interest in the same to extend it for succeeding years. I was very glad to see that the task which I had initially restricted my work for the films certified upto 1970, my friend had shown interest in continuing it further. During our trips made during the last 4-5 years, I had undertaken with Mr.Chatterjee for ‘Geet Kosh’, we collected information and details about songs released after 1970 as well. After providing all kinds of support in the production of the 4 Volumes of ‘Geet Kosh’, Mr.Chatterjee is active in preparing manuscripts of Volume-5 (1971-80) and Volume-6 (1981-90) under my supervision but the responsibility of publishing these volumes is to be carried out by me as usual. We are getting help for the compilation of these relatively new films and its songs from Harish Raguvanshi of Surat (compiler and publisher of ‘Mukesh Geet Kosh ’), Anurag Mishra (Itawah), Shashi Zariwala (Surat), Sanjeet Narvekar (Bombay), Narayan Keshav Phadtare (Pune), Arvind Shah (Rajkot), Piyush Vyas, Ramesh Rawal (Ahmedabad), Harshvardhan Bhagat (Surat), Raju Bharatan, Vishwas Nerurkar (Bombay), Sushil Kumar Khatri (Kanpur) and other music lovers by way of providing booklets of Hindi films. Around 95 percent booklets have been procured for ‘Volume-5’. The task of compilation for ‘Volume-6’ also is going on. The layout of Volumes-5 and 6 will be similar to that of the previously published 4 Volumes of ‘Hindi Film Geet Kosh’.
Now that as per the plan all the 4 Volumes have been made available for the benefit of music lovers, it would be a joint venture with Mr.Chatterjee to publish ‘Volume-5’ by the end of 1989. After that, publishing of ‘Volume-6’ will be planned. Suggestions from music lovers are always welcome for these proposed volumes.
Kanpur : 26 August 1988 Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’