Monday, September 23, 2013


The other day I was playing a few volumes of “GEETHMALA KI CHAAON MEIN’,  a series of CDs released by HMV Saregama, reliving the nostalgia of the “Binaca Geetmala” of Radio Ceylon when the out of mind song of Muhammed Rafi,  ‘Oh  dil ki tamanna thi masti’ from the Bharat Bhushan-Mala Sinha film GYARAH HAZAR LADKIYAN (1962)  came on to my utter delight along with the introduction in the familiar but still golden voice of Shri Ameen Sayani. This song was one of our favourite songs those days repeatedly heard on the radio, over the loudspeakers of film theatres while we waited  in the queue to buy tickets and  while waiting for the football match to begin on the make shift bamboo gallery of our town. There are two versions of the song, one a captivating duet of Rafi and Asha and the other a solo of Rafi in his inimitable style. The song penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by N.Dutta (Dutta Naik) in spite of its immense popularity in those days is never heard nowadays and that made its listening a pleasant nostalgic experience.
My thoughts went back to many of the memorable songs composed by N.Dutta from some of the fifty odd films for which he composed music. Though N.Dutta was a highly talented composer and gave outstanding music for several films he remained a highly underrated composer like many others of this category viz., Duttaram, S.N.Tripati, Chitragupta,Vasant Desai to name a few. In fact it is one of the tragedies of Hindi film music that several composers and singers of proven talent were pushed into background by circumstances that prevailed in the film industry

Sri N. Dutta was active in film music for about 25 years beginning with the film MILAP (1955). His first hit was the Bharat Bhushan-Bina Rai film CHANDRAKANTA(1956) with about a dozen songs the outstanding of which being the melodious Rafi number, ‘Maine chaand aur sitaron ke tamanna ki thi’ beautifully penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. In fact Sahir continued to be N.Dutta’s trusted lyricist for many of his successful films to follow. The success of Chandrakanta was followed by his music score in the famous film for children, viz., HUM PANCHI EK DAL KE(1957), in which the child artist Daisy Irany had stolen the hearts of millions. N.Dutta’s music had contributed a lot for the success of the movie. The title  song, ‘Tang tang dole........hum panchi ek dal ke’ is,even today, rated as one of the best in the category of children’s songs.

In the year 1958 with the Asok Kumar –Nutan starrer  LIGHT HOUSE,  N. Dutta established himself as a noted music director with two beautiful Asha Bhosle songs, ‘Kis jaga jaye kisko dikhayen’  and ‘Nainon se naina laage’. This was followed by a variety of beautiful songs in film SADHANA(1958) with Sunil Dutt and Vjayanthimala in the lead. The sweet rustic number ‘Kahoji tum kaya kaya kharedoge’ by Lata was hugely popular.The melodious Lata number ‘Aurat ne janam diya mardon ne’ had scaled far up in the popularity chart and was a frequently heard hit on the radio. There was also the rare  Geeta Dutt number ‘Tora manva kyon ghabraye’ as sweet as ever in the film. Proving his versatility N. Dutta also composed a very popular Quawwali, ‘Aaj kyon humse parda hai with Rafi and singer Balbir rocking. In film BHAI BAHEN(1959), another Daisy Irani film, Dutta’s songs ‘Sare jahan se aacha (Asha)’ and ‘Tandi hawa ke jhoke’(Shamshad Begum) were frequently heard those days.

The credit of bringing Mahendra Kapoor to the forefront of playback singers, augueably, goes to N.Dutta with Yash Chopra’s  film DHARM PUTRA(1960), a Shashi Kapoor,Mala Sinha, Rahman starer and B.R.Chopra’s  Mala Sinha- Rajinder Kumar film DHOOL KA PHOOL (1959). It was a time when Mahendra Kapoor was struggling to come out of the shadow of Muhammed Rafi that N. Dutta gave him the typical Rafi song, ‘Bhool sakta hai bhala kaun tumhari aankhen’, in Dharmputra, to which Mahendra Kapur gave all he could to make it soulful. The individuality  and strength of Mahendra Kapoor’s voice and his distinct singing style was amply evident in this song.The way he succeeded in imparting the required feeling to the song was a revelation to those who were till then frequently enchanted by similar songs of Rafi. In fact this song could be easily mistaken for a Shakeel Badayuni, Naushad, Rafi song filmed on Dilip Kumar! Similar positive points could also be seen in the song ‘Aaj ki raat’ and the chorus ‘Yeh kis ka lahoo hai kaun maara’. The ability of Mahendra Kapoor to sing patriotic songs was revealed by the song ‘jai janani jai bharat maan’. To establish his credentials as a versatile singer there was also this very popular quawwali with Balbir,’Chahe yeh mano chahe woh maano’.The music of Dharmputra is not all about Mahendra Kapoor. There are two Asha Bhosle numbers, the haunting ‘main jab bhi akeli hoti hoon’ and the pleasant ‘Naina kyon bhar aaye’, the first one a big hit in the Binaca Geetmala popularity charts.

The music of film DHOOL KA PHOOL was, probably, the best of music director N.Dutta with the duet sung by Mahenra Kapoor and Lata, ‘Tere pyar ka aasra chaahta hoon’ and picturised on Mala Sinha and Rajinder kumar considered even today as one of the top duets of Hindi films. The film itself was a big box-office hit. The tune, lyric, the filming of the song scene(The lead characters Rajinder Kumar and Mala Sinha singing on a college stage)and the romance filled singing made this song a favourite in the campuses. Similarly the duet,’jo tum muskura do’of Mahensra Kapoor and Asha Bhosle ( her voice at its coquettish best)was also very popular on the radio. In fact, not a day passed without hearing one of these songs at least once on the radio those  days. The songs of the film also included an ‘integration’ song ‘Too Hindu banega na musalman banega’ by Rafi and a semi-classical song  ‘Kaise kahoon man ki baat’ by Sudha Malhotra and a quawwali  ‘Karle job hi karna hai’ by Mahendra Kapoor, Sudha Malhotra and chorus. This also reminds me the duet ‘Tum mujhe bhool bhi jao to yeh haq hai tum ko’ composed by N.Dutta and rendered by Mukesh and Sudha Malhotra for film DIDI.

During the 60s N. Dutta had tuned a variety of songs for films a notable and  popular one among them was the evergreen qawwali 'Tum meri tasveer lekar kya karoge', rendered by Rafi, Asha and Balbir for film, KALA SAMUNDER(1962). In film MERE ARMAN MERE SAPNE with the handsome Pradip Kumar and Laxmi Chhaya in the lead there was a hit song ‘Dheere dheere bol mere payal ke ghungroo’ by Asha. In the 1964 film CHANDI KI DEEWAR  Talat Mahmood  rendered a soft  ghazal ‘Ashkon ne jo paaya hai’ in his silken voice. Yes, there is also this silky soft song of Talat  'Yaadon ka sahara na hota'.in film PATHAR KI KWAB (1969)

Though N. Dutta remained active in film music till 1975 he could not repeat the success of his films of  the 50s and 60s as the films for which he composed music were mostly B grade ones and  the films themselves did not make waves in the box-office. In 1980 he tried a return to the mainstream with films like CHEHRE PE CHEHRA and MISS TOOFAN. But though the music was good it was not enough to revive his career.The music director of ‘Dilki  tamanna’ and ‘Tere pyar ka aasra’ left the world in December 1987 rather unsung and unknown.

Tail piece:-Old LP records of N.Dutta’s films are almost non available nowadays and are the rarest for the collectors. His songs are also not readily available on genuine CDs. Well, even the net does not  provide  much authentic information about him!