MUSIC OF HINDI CINEMA (1913 - 1950)
In silent era, although the scope of incorporating music in film was limited, music was
there as a supporting element. In those days there was a tradition of playing music,
usually band, before starting of film to attract the people which was many times
containing dancing of some girl and it was serving purpose of advertisement. Moreover
this certain constraints involved in technicality of medium of cinema like noise
produced due to running of projector machine, time gape in changing another reel etc.
demanded need of music which not only act as a co-ordinating device but also attract the
In addition to this all theatres viz., Parsi-Urdu, Gujarati or Marathi, were on peak of
their development & their music was highly popular. Also at that time the most of the
films were attempted to be based on some very famous drama of that time as most of major
film makers were associated with theatre.
For all these reasons music was associated in films in different forms either playing of
gramophone record or performing live.
MUSIC OF TALKIE FILMS:
Cinema began to talk from 1931. The first talkie film was ALAM AARA (Imperial Movietone,
Bombay) which was released on 14th march 1931. It was containing 7 songs. However if we
talk about music we should go little more back in to past as although ALAM AARA was
first full length talkie feature film it was not first attempt to incorporate sound in
film along with pictures. Prior to ALAM AARA also few short length talkie films were
made on experimental basis, which were containing songs. However nothing is known more
about those films & songs.
Very less information is available regarding the music of early talkie films as no
reference material is available related to that. Even gramophone records were not
released in this early period. Record production of film songs started in 1932 & the
first songs that were released on gramophone records were of film MADHURI. Even though
records started to be released from 1932. In initial period very few songs were used to
be recorded by record companies for their commercial records & out of them very few are
OVERVIEW OF FILM MUSIC OF 1930’s & 1940’s:
In early period films were highly influenced by theatre & along with other section like
Acting, Direction, Dialogue delivery etc. Music was also very much identical to that of
theatre. However this does not continued much longer & film music created its own
identity in a very short period. Overview of two decades revels following facts:
- Total 931 films were released from 1931 to 1940 & 1236 films were released from1941
to 1950, which were containing about 9000 & 11000 songs respectively.
- Around 125 music directors were associated in film from 1930 to 1940 and around 180
music directors were associated with films from 1940 to 1950. Many music directors
were active in both decades.
- Many music directors/singers of 1930’s were belonging to theatre. The few important
names are Pransukh Nayak, Master Nagardas, Ustad Zande Khan, Ashraf Khan, Fida
Hussain,Govindrao tembe, Master Krushnarao etc.
- Many artists of classical music were also closely associated with films like Dr.
B.R. Devdhar, Pt. Dilipchandra Vedi, Suresh Babu Mane, Firoz Dastur, Hirabai
DEVELOPMENT OF MUSIC :
As described earlier music was more supporting element than an integral part of film in
silent era. Though it was sounding during film show it was not film music. Even with
introduction of talkie the theatrical style of musical narration was adopted for initial
few years. Thus if we consider development of film music from 1931 to 1950 we can
describe this development process in following phases:
- Pre Independence Phase:
- Beginning of incorporation of music in film which was fully under
theatre. This was era of first 3 or 4 years i.e. 1931 to 1934, up to release of
Chandidas (New Theatres).
- Period from 1935 to 1940.This era marked introduction of new style
music by New
Theatres from Chandidas (1934) & Devdas(1935).
- Period of 1941 to 1947. In this era Punjabi style music & use of
from Dalsukh Pancholi’s film ‘Khajanchi’ (1941).
- Post independence Phase (1947 to 1950) :
- The first major event was death of legendary singer / actor K.L.Saigal.
- Introduction of new singers/music directors like Kishore Kumar, Geeta
Bhosle , Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, Hansraj Behal etc.
- Recession of big enterprises like New Theatres, Bombay Talkies, Prabhat
etc. Bombay became main province & center of film industry.
In first phase music of films produced in Maharashtra region was highly influenced by
Marathi stage music & Bhavgeet traditions. Majorities of artists/musicians were
associated with theatre in some way. Only Bombay Talkies was exception in this. Its
music was totally different from music of that period different tradition. New Theatres
introduced Bengoli music along with Rabindra Sangeet. From 1941 Panjabi music was
introduced in Hindi cinema. In this wave singer like Noorjehan, G.M.Durrani, Surinder
Kaur, Shamshad Begum, Johrabai Ambalawali & music directors like Ghulam Haider, Firoze
Nizami, Rafiq Ghazanavi came in limelight. Gujaratis were actively associated with film
since beginning & Music directors and singers like Pransukh Nayak, Madhulal D.Master,
Lalloobhai Nayak, Master Bhagwandas, Ishwarlal, Kantilal etc. were Gujarati. They
constructed foundation on which music developed.
CONTRIBUTION OF BIG ENTERPRISES :
While discussing evolution of film music contribution of big enterprises like New
Theatres, Bombay Talkies, Prabhat etc should not be over looked. Apart from solidifying
the foundation for film music these enterprises played a role of school where great
music directors, singers, lyricists of later period trained/developed. New Theatres
contributed Kedar Sharma (Lyricist, Director), Rajendra Krushna (Lyricist), Bombay
Talkies contributed Pradeep, Narendra Sharma, (both lyricists),S.D.Burman, C.Ramchandra
(Music Directors), Prabhat contributed Husnalal Bhagatram (Music director), Qamar
Jalalabadi (Lyricist) & Ranjeet Movietone contributed Bulo C.Rani, Hansraj Bahel, (All
Music directors), S.H.Bihaari, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan (All Lyricists). Here it is not said
that they all started their carrier from above mentioned big enterprises but in
beginning of their carrier they were associated with such big companies and they
developed there. Contribution of these big companies was not limited to give exposure to
new comer but they also contributed in development of music as a whole.
Film Music of Post Independence Period :
Independence caused great upheavals in all aspects of life. Partition affected film
industry seriously as significant part of film production was done from Lahore, Karachi,
Sindh etc. The distinct aspects of this period are:
- Use of systematic orchestration increased
- Punjabi style music introduced in larger way.
- Style of singing changed.
- Romantic approach with influence of fantasy seen in lyrics.
THE PHONOGRAPH & THEATRE
In the initial period (up to 1866 AD) music was not considered as a part of drama but was
used to present at middle or end of drama in form of concert. Then after tradition of
singing song in main stream of story came in to existence.
In Parsi theatre music one important type was of COMIC SONGS which was a unique feature
significantly found in Parsi – Urdu & Gujarati theatre. Phirozshah Mistry, Sorabjee
Dhondi, Master Mohan etc. were famous comic artists of that time. Their records were
also cut in large numbers, which remained popular for a long time. Comic songs are also
found in Urdu theatre.
Apart from Classical based songs & comic songs there were also some English songs or
Western Music based songs. Many times such songs were comic songs.