Sunday, June 29, 2014




VASANT   DESAI  ( 1914 -1975 )

He was perhaps the only musician in  Mumbai’s  film world  who  had thorough knowledge of film technique and classical music.  A tragic  lift accident outside his flat , cut short  the life of this gifted  musician who  gave some memorable , haunting and melodious composition . Yes I mean  VASANT DESAI  ( 1914- 1975 )   ) who  joined Prabhat Film Company  in 1940 as a music assitant.
To describe his music , I shall only discuss four  movies . My mind goes to the 1959 super hit  GOONJ UTHI SHEHNAI. Thanks to Vasant Desai , the viewers were also made to enjoy the Shehnai of great Bismillah Khan   Sahib apart from a Jugal Bandhi  between him and the Sitar mastero Ustad Halim Jaffer Khan . The movie had some classical  vocal patches sung by Ustad Amir khan .The  comforting   tunes are still fresh in my mind . How can one forget the melody of almost all the songs that he composed  for this movie ? I quote some
(1 )  Jeevan Mein Piya tera saath Rahe
(2) Tere sur aur mere geet
(3) Akhiyaan bhool gayee hain sona
(4)  Haule haule goongat pat Khole
(5) Dil ka  Khilona haaye toot gaya
(6) Keh do koyi na kare Yahaan Pyaar

Prior to this he had also scored music for V Shantaram’s DO ANKHEIN   BAARAH   HAATH ( 1953 ). Can we forget his songs like “ Aey maalik tere bandhe hum “ , “Ho ummad ghumad ke aayi re ghata “and " Saiyaan  jhoothon ka bada sartaj nikla ”. For   the song “Sainyaan jhoothon ka badaa sartaj notikla”  ,  picturized on  talented Sandhya  ,he used wonderful  Ektaara  notes .
   ( Blessing Vijayantimala )

   ( With Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sahib)
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955 ) was purely based on dance theme, so he composed classical dance tunes. He used the voice of great vocalist Ustad Amir Khan for the title song  ( Jhanak jhanak payal baaje ) of the film. The movie had  talented actress  Sandhya and classical dancer  Gopi Krishna  in lead roles . Some memorable  classical tracks that he composed for this film are
(1) Jo tum todo piya
(2) Nain so nain nahin milaao
(3) Saiyan jaao
(4) Murli manohar
(5) Suno Suno Suno Ji

And then the 1968 “ Aashirwaad ” under  Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s banner . What a memorable music he scored for this movie?  “ Ek thha bachapan  ” remains my faourite to this day. Other songs that he  composed for this movie are  " Hum Ko mun Ki shakti dena " ,“ Rail gaadi chhuk chhuk chhuk  “, Jeevan se lambe hain bandhu yeh jeevan ke raste ” and “ Jhir jhir barse saawan akhiyaan saanwariya ghar aa “

He also scored music for many more films that include  Parvat Pe Apna Dera (1944), Subhadra (1946), Jivan Yatra (1946), Dr. Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani (1946), Matwala Shaayar Raam Joshi (1947), Uddhar (1949) , Pyaar ki Pyaas, Toofan Aur Diya (1956 ) , Yaadein (1964 ) , Guddi ( 1971 ) and Achanak (1973 ). He introduced Vani Jairam  ( Bole Re Papihara )in Guddi.

Though a highly talented musician, Vassnt ji could not market his immense talent in Mumbai's glitter  to join the  celebrity  group.  Add to that , he remained away from parties, liquor and tobacco. .This is the story of many a talented artists and musicians in  Mumbai's film world. Does  work and recognition travel by being a part of the system  that operates through networks,  brokers and lobbies ? .


                       ( Right to left  Vasant Desai , O P Nayyar and mangeshkar sisters )

Like Sahir Ludhinavi  ,  he was a bachelor passionately wedded to his Art and creativity.

Though a Maharashtrian , he  was proficient  in   Gujrati , Marathi , Hindi and Konkani  .

I end this  brief post on Vasant Desai  with a couplet of poet  Makhdoom ..

Bazm se door woh gaata raha tanhaa tanhaa
So gaya saaz pe  sar rakh ke sehar se pehley

( Avtar Mota)

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