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Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar

Hemant Kumar...

juggyE Goldie
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Joined: 11 March 2006
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 10:35am | IP Logged

Not much has been posted about him so would like to "copy/paste" so that others can share as well...

"Listening to Hemant da, I feel as though a sadhu sitting in a temple is singing a Bhajan." comments the nightingale Lata Mangeshkar about the unique unvanquished Hemant Kumar who was not only a fabulous singer but also an equally indomitable composer. In Hemant da's voice one could experience an amalgamation of Rabindra Sangeet, Bengali folk music, modern and classical elements. Every distinguished creative artiste is born with one gift, but, Hemantda was born with several gifts. As a singer he reigned supreme in Calcutta and Bombay. As a composer his versatility and staying - power in the charts were astonishing. From Naagin and Jaal to Bees Saal Baad and Kohraa the 50's and 60's were decades that 'belonged' prominently to the unique talents of Hemant Kumar.

Hemant Kumar Mukherjee was born on 16 June 1920 in Varanasi. Music seemed to be an inherent part of his life from the outset. Why else did he leave school to become a professional singer at the age of 17 ?? At an age when young Hemant's friends were taken up with teen sensations, the earnest boy studied music under stalwarts like Phani Banerjee and Shailendra Prasad Gupta. The early training stood Hemant in good stead. He could impart a luminous but light weight classicism to his film music without making his tunes cumbersome or over erudite. While Salil Choudhary couldn't quite master the popular idiom Hemantda could set aside his learned antecedents infuse a freshness and modernity into his songs. And that too without sacrificing tonal propriety. Lets take immortal solo 'Ye Raat Ye Chandni..'. The tune contains jolting jazz - tinged interludes which fit into the overall design of the song like a hand in glove.


The sound of Hemant Mukherjee is the sound of today. The past translates effortlessly into expressions of tuneful emotions. If 'Man Dole Mera..' in Naagin had audiences throwing coins at the screen in Bombay, in Calcutta Hemantda regaled audiences as the legendary Uttam Kumar's voice singing such all-time hits in Bengali as 'Nir Chotto Khati Nei..' and 'Ei Path Jadi Na Shesh Hoi..'. Hemantda virtually had the best of the worlds. And yet his head remained firmly on his shoulders. Friends were floored by his utter simplicity and genuineness as a human being and his generosity of spirit. The distinguished film maker - composer - singer Bhupen Hazarika who was closely associated with Hamentda remembers him as one of the most generous human beings he had ever met. Bhupenda still recalls his first encounter with Hemant Kumar. "I had the opportunity of knowing what a great man Hemantda was." Bhupenda recalls going to Calcutta as a student to collect royalty for the songs he sang as a child artiste from a private music company. Suddenly a tall handsome man appeared in front of Bhupenda. By then Hemant Mukherjee was nationally famous as Hemant Kumar, singing both film and non-film songs. Bhupenda saw the famous singer composer approaching him. After introducing himself Hemantda offered to take Bhupenda to his own recording company HMV. "Which rival musician would provide that kind of encouragement to an unknown musician like me?" Bhupen Hazarika shakes his head in wonderment. Hailing a taxi Hemantda took the stupefied young Bhupen to the HMV office in Calcutta and a deal was finalized on the spot. Later in Bombay Hemant Kumar, already a reputed singer - composer, introduced Bhupen Hazarika to Lata Mangeshkar and a host of eminent musical luminaries telling them about this talented young musician named Bhupen Hazarika.

Sandhya Mukherjee who becamefamous in Calcutta as the voice of Suchitra Sen was brought to Bombay to sing the frolicsome duet 'Aa Gupchup Gupchup Pyar Karen..' under the baton of Sachin Dev Burman, reportedly on the recommendation of Hemant Da. In a world where self-interest not only takes precendence, it also limits the human vision. Hemant Kumar always went out of his way to help as colleagues from the music world. To him the rites and process of music creation weren't isolated. He saw himself as just one unit in the creative universe a brick in the creative wall. This accounts for the illimitable reserves of abiding sweetness in the creative faculties of God's chosen one, aka Hemant Kumar.

Hemant Kumar Mukherjee Hemant Kumar never composed anything but the best melodies. Compromise was alien to him. Whether he composed flirtatious 'Saara Mora Kajra Chhudaya Toone..' or a sublime "Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha..' it was always his dil which spoke up on Hemantda's behalf in the language of the lilt. The piece de resistance of Hemantda's career as a composer in Bombay was Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam (1962). For the opportunity that Hemantda got to compose for Guru Dutt's film (which was dominated by the music of S. D. Burman and O. P. Naiyyar) Hemantda pulled out all stops for a score that ranks as one of the ten best ever composed for the Hindi cinema. Between them Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle created a universe of pain and romance in Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam. From Geeta Dutt's 'Na Jao Saiyyan..' to Asha'a 'Bhanwara Bada Naadan Hai..', each song stuns each note cuts deeply in Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam.

Today as we look back on the profound career graph of this expressive singer composer we encounter a never ending terrain of beauty and harmony helmed by a man who could sing like an angel because he came close to being one in real life. Hemantda's career as a singer began in his teens when he sang on radio. In 1937 he recorded his bengali songs 'Janine Janite Jadi.' and 'Balogo More..'. He began training as a Rabindra sangeet singer under the well known practitioner of the style Aanadi Dastidar. Early vocal influences of Pankaj Mullick soon gave away to his own distinctive style. So pervasive was the 'Hemant Kumar style' in Bengali films and such was his indomitable powers as a vocalist that all the vocalists in Bengal who followed him modelled their vocals on the singing style of Hemantda. As a composer he shifted base to the Mecca of national popularity (Bombay) where he made an instant impact with the everlasting patriotic strains of 'Vande Maataram..' in Anand Math. As a singer in Bombay, Hemantda became a voice to record with in 1952 when he sang of 'Ye Raat Ye Chandni Phir Kahan..' in the thriller Jaal for the debinair Dev Anand. In 1957, Hemantda sang one of his career's best solos 'Jaane Wo Kaise Log The..' for Guru Dutt in Pyaasa. Songs like these branded Hemant Kumar as the melancholic romantic. However there was a lighter equally persuasive side to Hemantda's vocals tapped in flirtatious evergreen like 'Zara Nazron Se keh Do Ji..' and 'Dil Ki Umangen Hain Jawan..' the duet with Geeta Dutt which joyfully exemplifies the vocal genius of Hemant Kumar.

The abiding appeal of Hemant Kumar's songs in attributable to his expression of the common man's desires with uncommon genuineness. While Kishore Kumar and Mohd. Rafi vocals represent velvety romance, Hemant Kumar's chosen thread of expression is cotton home spun, natural, comfortable subtle and very middle class in its appeal. Hemant Kumar never thrust his vocals on any song. He could have insisted on singing each and every male number that he composed. After all Hemant Kumar was always a name to record with! But he chose Kishore Kumar to vocalize the resplendent nostalgia of 'Wo Shaam Kuchh Ajeeb Thi..' in Khamoshi (1969) while he stayed in background with 'Tum Pukar Lo..'. This was typical of Hemantda. Never an attention-seeker either in real life or his musical output, he always wanted his songs to speak for him.

The last song he sang in Hindi was 'Aaja Mere Pyar Aaja..' in Heeralal Pannalal (1978), for Rahul Dev Burman. It was a befitting finale to an illustrious but never cheaply flamboyant career. Exactly twenty-five years prior to 'Aaja Mere Pyar Aaja..' for R D Burman, Hemantda had sung his way into singing super stardom for RD's father Sachin Dev Burman in Jaal.

 
Source: Extracts Taken From HMV's Legends Booklet


Edited by juggyE - 19 March 2006 at 11:06am

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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 10:36am | IP Logged
thanx great!!
juggyE Goldie
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 10:38am | IP Logged
.And another one...

The Voice of God
by Manjulaa Negi


Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum…, Tum pukaar lo, Jaane who kaise log the jinke…, Tumhen yaad hoga, Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan are only some of the gems associated with Hemant Kumar, the late composer-singer who swore by classical strains to enrich his music. Kumar was awarded among others, by Indian Airlines (!) with the Best Passenger Award because he was one of the most frequent travellers (from Bombay to Calcutta and back) given his hectic schedules between the two cities and the two film industries.

But this was really before he made it big. He'd had many a flop before he hit the hit button. Hemant Kumar Mukhopadhaya was born on June 16, 1920, grew up in Calcutta. He barely managed school since music and dance were first priority in young Hemant's life.

College turned out to be worse because he landed himself a job of a singer in All India Radio - then known as Broadcasting House - and quit studying Engineering from Jadhavpur University midway. From the salary that he received at AIR, he purchased a harmonium and concentrated on learning music from Pt. PC Bose, P Bannerjee and Neerapad Mukherjee. Not only that, he also paid attention to learning Rabindra Sangeet.

Of the 262 songs that he collected in his repertoire over three decades, Hemant Kumar's first playback recording was for the film Nimaaee Sanyas in 1940. Prior to that, he'd done a single recording for Columbia Recording Company. Since it flopped Hemant turned to learn typing to get himself a job as a stenographer. But, fortunately for all concerned, he was soon dissuaded.

His first Hindi recording was for the film Meenakshi, where the music was composed by Pankaj Mullick. He followed that up with Iraada in 1944, and he got work from V Shantaram in Shiv Shakti but the film was shelved. Clearly the stars weren't willing to be appeased yet. He returned to Calcutta to work on the Bengali film Purba Raag (1947) but that too did average business. The songs however were noticed by Filmistan's S Mukherjee who called Hemant to compose for his upcoming Anand Math. The film which was based on Bankim Chandra's novel of the same name and starred the inimitable Geeta Bali was released in 1952, to a standing ovation. The film's songs were instant hits especially so the soul-stirring Vande Mataram (sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar with chorus) and Jai Jagdish Hare (by Geeta Roy and Hemant Kumar).

Anand Math would have remained a flash in the pan because the films immediately following - Ferry and Daku Ki Ladki - failed miserably. And once again, Hemant prepared to leave the field when he was advised by S Mukherjee to give it another shot. "You cannot go back defeated like this. Make music like Naushad first, and then go back to Calcutta with honour." Hemant Kumar took the advice and stayed put.

And then came Nagin (1954), starring Vyjayanthimala and Pradeep Kumar. With numbers like Tan dole mera man dole (where the clay-violin had been played and immortalised by Kalyanji bhai of Kalyanji-Anandji fame), Jaadugar saiyan, Mera dil yeh pukaare aaja, the film was a runaway hit. Directed by Nandlal Jaswantlal, Nagin received the Filmfare trophy for its music that year.

Hemant Kumar followed up his success soon after with music in films. 1955 particularly was the landmark which saw Hemant Kumar bloom as composer and singer with songs from films like House No 44, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, Munimji, Milap, Abe Hayat and Faraar becoming runaway successes. Hemant Kumar contributed in no small measure to the Golden period of Hindi films. His work in Guru Dutt's Pyaasa (his rendition of Jaane who kaise… composed by SD Burman), Abrar Alvi's Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (for which he'd gave the music comprising classics like Bhanvra bada nadaan, Na jao saiyan chhuda ke baiyan, and filmed on greats like Guru Dutt and Meena Kumari) is beyond compare.

The 60s decade proved to be equally fruitful for Hemantda who turned in more hits like Pyasse Pannchi, Kabuliwala, Gunga Jamuna (all released in 1961), Bees Saal Baad, Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962) along with Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, Bahurani, Sehra, Harishchandra Taramati (1963) were followed by Anupama (1966), Khamoshi (1969) and Heeralal Pannalal in (1978). Paucity of space doesn't allow a mention of all the films.

Hemant's singing and compositions were distinctive in style and tenor. Indeed, it wouldn't be presumptuous to state that the composer was one all India's all time great musicians. When he passed away of a heart attack (brought on by excessive smoking, and diabetes) in Mumbai on September 26th 1989, the late Satyajit Ray commented: "Rabindra Sangeet has died a second time." Salil Chowdhury who had made Kumar sing in Kabuliwala (Ganga aaye kahan se…) stated that Kumar's voice was the Voice of God. He wasn't far from the truth.
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:23am | IP Logged
Thanks for those wonderful articles. Hemant da bhi gazab ke kalakaar they.
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:33am | IP Logged
Thanks for the article

When i hear the name Hemant kumar.. one song comes to my mind instantly that is - Ye appana Dil to awara... naughty song sang for Dev anand.. I love it...

Do you know actoress Mousami chatarjee is his daughter - in - law
amohanta Newbie
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:35am | IP Logged
Oh what a nice posting. Clap
juggyE Goldie
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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:38am | IP Logged

Originally posted by uknaik99

Thanks for the article

When i hear the name Hemant kumar.. one song comes to my mind instantly that is - Ye appana Dil to awara... naughty song sang for Dev anand.. I love it...

Do you know actoress Mousami chatarjee is his daughter - in - law

I DID NOT know that... All I knew about his family was that Ranu Mukherjee was his daughter...

thanks uknaik...

And its... HAI apna dil to awaara Wink

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Posted: 19 March 2006 at 11:56am | IP Logged

juggyE ji,


Thanks for the great article. And thanks for you initiative for putting up Hemant Da, With any question he was one of the biggest contributors to the Indian music as singer and a great music director.
One song that always comes to my mind that one,


O Nodi Ra Akty Kotha
Sudhai Sudhu Tomara
Bola Kothai Tomar Desh
Tomar Nai ki Choler Shies



Edited by Qwest - 19 March 2006 at 12:15pm

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