The first few songs to hit the nation as a whole may well have been from ACHHUT KANYAA and some contemporary Sagar Movietone productions. The time was 1935-36, and if this is where it started, we might have a candidate here for bringing in the Golden Age.
Hindi Film Music in the 40s was changing, new experiments and modern techniques were tried. In this decade playback singing started. The 1940s were the years of flux. A new order came into existence. More robust Punjabi style of music pushed back the soft Bangla style. Playback singers replaced the genre of singing stars.
The technique of recording song was rudimentary, The studios at that time only had two microphones. It would usually take around four to eight hours to make a song, but the preparations for a few difficult compositions would go on for a month. in spite of that many immortal songs were created by our first generation Composers. In this blog, I take four composers who gave the film songs, still in its infancy, a distinct identity.
Saraswati Devi,(1912 – 1980), was an Indian director of music and score composer who worked in Hindi cinema in the 1930s and 1940s. She was the first female composer, working with Bombay Talkies, and is most noted for her score, Mein Ban ki Chiriyra Banke Bun Bun Bolun Re (Achut Kanya 1936).
Also in 1936, she gave the music for the film, Janmabhoomi, it was released during the Indian independence movement, and featured one of the first explicit nationalistic songs of Hindi cinema, "Jai Jai Janani Janmabhoomi" written by J. S. Kashyap. Subsequently, a tune from the chorus of this song was used by the BBC as a signature tune for its Indian News Service.
Pankaj Mullick (10 May 1905 – 19 February 1978), he introduced Rabindra Sangeet to Hindi film industry. He contributed in various capacities to Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and Tamil language films for 38 years, starting in 1931. He worked as music director to artists like K.L. Saigal, S.D. Burman, Hemanta Mukherjee, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle. He acted with famous film actors like K L Saigal, P.C. Barua and Kanan Devi. Along with Nitin Bose and his renowned sound engineer brother Mukul Bose, Mullick introduced playback singing in Indian cinema.
In 1933, he made his debut as an independent music director for a Hindi/Urdu film Yahudi Ka Ladki, a New Theatres costume drama directed by Premankur Atorthi. Pankajbabu was one of the first music-arrangers and orchestra conductors to extensively use western musical forms and instruments like the piano and the accordion in composing music for Indian films. The imaginative use of background music to emphasise the mood, action and tempo of the film scenes is one of Pankaj Mullick’s great contributions to music in Indian cinema.
Pankaj Mullick along with RC Boral composed music for some of the most memorable films – many of these had Bengali and Hindi/Urdu versions – such as Hem Chandra’s Krorepati/The Millionaire (1936), Nitin Bose’s Didi/President (1937), PC Barua’s Grihadaha/Manzil (1936), Maya (1936), both Hindi & Bengali, 1936 and the classic Devdas (1935) in Hindi which had KL Saigal singing the immortal Balam Aaye Baso Mere Man Mein and Dukh Ke Din Ab Beete Nahin
Anil Biswas (7 July 1914 – 31 May 2003), an Indian film playback singer and music composer from 1935 to 1965, who apart from being one of the pioneers of playback singing, is also credited for the first Indian orchestra of twelve pieces and introducing orchestral music and full-blooded choral effects, into Indian cinema.
He also worked as a singer, lyricist and composer, with the 'Hindustan Recording Company', where Kundan Lal Saigal and Sachin Dev Burman, before migrating to Bombay themselves.
Mehboob Khan's Jagirdar (1937), a commercially hit, established him as a musical force in the film industry. Soon many more independent assignments came his way, most notably, 300 Days and After, Gramophone Singer, Hum Tum Aur Woh, Ek Hi Raasta, and Mehboob Khan's Watan (1938), Alibaba (1940), the classic, Aurat(1940), Bahen (1941), before working with him again, in Roti (1942), for which he also credited with the story and concept,and which featured many songs by film's actress, Akhtaribai Faizabadi(Begum Akhtar)
Khemchand Prakash ( 12 December 1907 - 10 August 1949), was assistant to composer Timir Baran in Devdas (1935 film), and he sang a comedy song 'lo kha lo madam khaana' in Street Singer (1938). He then moved to Mumbai and made his debut as music director in 1939 with Supreme Pictures' films Meri Aankhein and Gazi Salauddin, and was soon signed up by Ranjit Movietone Film Studio.
His biggest hit with Ranjit Studio was the film Tansen in 1943. Songs like "Diya jalaao jagmag jagmag", "Rumjhum rumjhum chal tihari", "More balpan ke saathi", "Sapt suran teen gram", "Hath sine pe jo rakh do to karara aa jaaye" were big hits.