Thursday, May 7, 2020




"During the period of silent movies, background music was played live on stage while a film was being  screened . In Lucknow, I used to be a member of the orchestra that played live music for silent era films screened in Royal cinema. Royal was the first cinema hall of Lucknow.  My father was an  orthodox man . He detested my learning music and I was given a choice ; if I had to live in the family ,I had to forget music else I had to leave the house. I decided to leave the house and moved to Mumbai.

I slept on Dadar footpath just opposite Broadway cinema. I would sleep on stairs and many times actress Leela Chitnis would walk over me as  she lived on  the first floor of the building under which I slept. I could never think that one day this actress shall sing my compositions. Many times I would sleep hungry. I had come to Mumbai with one rupee in my pocket but with so  many  dreams.  No shoes in my feet  .  Just two sets of clothes. Every night I used to look at Broadway cinema before I slept. " God! Will the day come when my music will celebrate  a silver jubilee  in this cinema hall? " Thanks to DN Madhok Sahib. He loved my music. He had a strange confidence in me. He gave me some work here and there.  Kardar Sahib gave me some films .
D N Madhok introduced me to music director  Khem Chand Prakash. Through Madhok Sahib, I got my first  independent assignment for film 'Prem Naga'r in 1940. And finally Madhok Sahib   sent me to Vijay Bhatt for his Baiju Bawara project. This project kept me involved for more than five months. It  was a game changer. I used Rafi Sahib's full  voice range( O duniya ke rakhwaale, Tu ganga ki mauj mein  and Mun tadpat hari darshan ko aaj )  in this film. For the song 'O Duniya me Rakhwaale 'I raised  Rafi Sahib's voice to the maximum pitch of Tar-Saptak . The composition was based on Bhairavi. I was told that Rafi Sahib didn't sing for two weeks after the recording of the song .
I brought  golden voices of Ustaad Amir Khan Sahib and Pandit DV Paluskar Sahib  to this film.  Amir Khan Sahib sang two superb classical songs  ( Tori jai jai kartaar and Ghanan  ghanan ghan garje ) . Pandit DV Paluskar Sahib sang a classical song in jugalbandhi with Amir Khan Sahib (Aaj gaawat mun mero) . I gave some  melody packed songs to Lata (Door koyi gaaye, Mohe bhool Gaye sanwariya  and Jhoole mein pawan ke  aayi bahaar ). I based most of my compositions on   Puriya Dhanashree, Todi,  Bhairavi, Malkauns, Darbari  ,etc.I belong to Awadh. I belong to Ganga Jamuna tehzeeb of our great country. I knew I had to bring some  feel of Sri Krishna -Radha  love  and Prabhu Bhakti in my music in view of the storyline of the film . And Shakeel Badayuni , whom I brought to films, gave his best to this film. Vijay Bhatt Sahib wanted  to sign Kavi Pradeep as lyricist. I insisted on Shakeel . I told Bhatt Sahib:' Jo Vedana ,Sanvedana,Bhakti ras  aap iiss film ke geeton me chaahte hain vo to  Shakeel ke khoon mein hai. Yeh bhi to Awadh ki mitti ka bana hai. Ye kaam mujh par chhorr deejiye. ' And he trusted me.

From my childhood I had heard the stories with regard to  the magic of  Raag Deepak sung by Baiju .I   knew that Baiju was patronised by Raja Man Singh Tomar of Gawalior. Raja Sahib was a lover of beauty . He was a lover of Dhrupad.  Tomars worshipped Sri Krishna and Shiv Ji Maharaj .And then Baiju also sang in the court of emperor  Akbar  . He also had association with the Mughals.I  knew what music I had to produce.

Whether I succeeded or failed, it was for the audience and music listening connoisseurs to decide. My job was to give my hundred percent to this film.
During the making of Baiju Bawra, friends and even his elder brother would tell Vijay  Bhatt Sahib to keep commercial angle in sight. Bhatt Sahib  was told many times in my presence:' Kaun dekhega yeh shastriya sangeet. Bahut zyada bhar Diya iss mein. Paisa gavaana hai kya ? "   But Vijay Bhatt Sahib had a passion.   The film went on to become not only the second biggest grosser of the year but  was the 8th biggest hit of the 1950s .

Vijay Bhatt Sahib wanted to cast  star names like Dilip Kumar and Nargis .Both had problems with dates. Both were very busy .Bhatt Sahib felt sad.He asked me "Naushad Bhai ab kya karein. Baiju doondiye" .I suggested Bharat Bhushan  and Meena Kumari .They were comparatively newcomers. I could only see Baiju in Bharat Bhushan.

Baiju Bawra  established two new stars: Meena Kumari and Bharat Bhushan.  In Baiju Bawra, Bhushan played a gifted but obsessed musician driven by twin compulsions -- a desire to extract revenge on court musician Tansen, which he achieves through his music and a deep love for his village sweetheart Gauri.

After Baiju Bawra’s success, Bharat Bhushan purchased  a  bungalow near Dilip Kumar’s Pali Hill home, but had to sell it to Jeetendra when he fell on hard times. Bhushan was a man of literary tastes. I saw a huge library in his house.

 And one day a  special show was organised by the owners of the Broadway cinema for Mumbai film Industry . Vijay Bhatt Sahib took me along. At interval time, I came out and looked from the window towards the footpath where I used to sleep. Tears rolled down my eyes. I kept looking at the foot path. Suddenly ,I found Vijay Bhatt Sahib near me .  He said:
" Naushad Bhai, kya dekh rahe ho. Aap ki aankhon mein aansoo kyon? "
I said:
" Bhatt Sahib , I am looking to the spot on  the footpath across the road. It has taken me 16 years to cross this road."

(Avtar Mota)

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