Well-Known Songs … Not So Well-Known Composers

I suppose it should come as no surprise that not all well-known songs from Hindi Film Music were composed by well-known composers. Composers whose names roll off of every one’s tongues – Shankar Jaikishen, R. D. and S. D. Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Anu Malik, Pritam, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and others.

But the other day, I built a playlist of the lesser known composers just for fun. It turned out to be a very enjoyable session filled with beautiful numbers. So I thought I would share some of those songs with you all and invite you to leave comments with more such examples.

Now, “less well-known” does not by any means belittle the talent, creative genius and contributions of these composers. Mostly, it means they did not get quite the media exposure or chose not to compose a lot or were not as prolific as some of their more famous colleagues. Several of these composers have had prolific careers in other languages or other genres of music. And “less well-known” to one person may not be so for another. With these disclaimers, let’s launch into these gorgeous songs – staring with the oldest to more recent ones.

“Kai Sadiyon Se” from Milap with music by Brijbushan is a perfect example of this. Mukesh’s beautiful rendition (“Tere Pyaar Ko Tarse Mera Man”) and the rich orchestration make this a song that has been part of my HFM journey for many decades. (1955)

Dattaram composed the music for “Parvarish” with two very different but fabulous numbers. The lilting, fast paced “Masti Bhara Hai Sama” sung by the late Manna Da and Lataji, and the well known soulful and melancholy melancholic “Aansoo Bhari Hain” by Mukesh. (1958)

“Agar Main Poochoon” from Shikari composed by G. S. Kohli (once an assistant to O.P.Nayyar, as is evident from his style) is another fabulous number, with the notes not just sung, but caressed by Lataji and Rafiji. I get goose bumps each time I hear Lataji sing the words “Zara Zara Hai”, followed by the instrumental repetition. (1963)

If you have not heard Kanu Roy’s “Aaj Ki Kali Ghata” from Uski Kahani, superbly sung by Geeta Dutt, find the song, add it to your collection and listen to it five times in a row. I came across this song late in my HFM journey and it was love at first listen. What simple, short and gorgeous interludes! (1966)

It was the same Kanu Roy that composed “Hasne Ki Chaah Ne” that brought out all the technical perfection in Manna Dey’s voice. And he composed the music for “Anubhav” with multiple well known numbers – two well known songs by Geeta Dutt: “Mera Dil, Jo Mera Hota” and “Meri Jaan, Mujhe Jaan Na Kaho”; and one of my personal favorites, “Phir Kahin Koi Phool Khila” – hard to imagine anyone else but Manna Dey singing this (1971, 1973)

And here is an interesting entry in “less well known composers” – Prem Dhawan. He is better known as a lyricist, but he has composed music for a few films including “Pavitra Papi”. This movie had the well known song “Teri Duniya Se Hoke Majboor” by Kishore Kumar. (1970)

Vanraj Bhatia, like many of the above names, has not been very prolific in Hindi films, but when he stepped in, the result was magic. For “Bhumika”, he turned out “Tumhare Bin Jee Na Lage Ghar Mein” and “Sawan Ke Din Aaye, Sajanva Aan Milo”. For “Nishant”, he composed a once-in-a-lifetime song for Preeti Sagar with “Piya Baaj Pyaala”. What a soul-satisfying, gorgeous number! (1977, 78)

“Sawan Aaya Badal Aaye”, composed by Jai Kumar for “Jaan Hazir Hai” and sung by Dilraj Kaur, is proof that you do not need big marquis names for composers or singers to make beautiful music! (1975)

Of course it doesn’t hurt to borrow a Ghazal legend to sing for you, as Kuldeep Singh did for “Saath Saath”. Jagjit and Chitra Singh breathed gorgeous musical life into Kuldeep Singh’s music for “Tumko Dekha To Ye Khayal Aaya” and “Yeh Batade Mujhe Zindagi”. (1989)

Yet another interesting entry in this list is Roop Kumar Rathod. More well known as a singer, he has also co-composed music for movies such as “Zeher”, and “Woh Lamhe”. Zeher, of course, includes the well known Atif Aslam number “Woh Lamhein Woh Baatein” and “Agar Tum Mil Jao” sung beautifully by both Shreya Ghoshal and Udit Narayan. (2005)

Others songs/composers to quote in this context are:

Mujhko Tum Jo Mile / Detective / Mukul Roy

Yeh Raat Yeh Fizayen / Batwara / S. Madan

Jhoomti Chali Hawa/Sangeet Samrat Tansen / S.N. Tripathi

Saranga Teri Yaad Mein / Saranga / Sardar Malik

Dil Aisa Kisi Ne Mera Toda / Amanush/ Shyamal Mitra

Jyoti Kalash Chalke / Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan / Sudhir Phadke

Do Roz Mein Who Pyar Ka Alam / Pyar Ki Paheli / Kanu Ghosh

Know any others? Leave us your comments.

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