PANDIT GOBINDRAM by Vidur Sury
In the pre-partition period of Hindi films, there were many schools of music directors, many times on a regional basis, but some were just unique. The Punjabi school of film composing was a very important and innovative school among these. This school gained popularity in the 1940s, which also resulted in the immense popularity of Punjabi folk music. Ghulam Haider Ji was considered to be the most important of these, but equally great were Pandit Amarnath Ji, Shyam Sundar Ji, Husnlal – Bhagatram Ji, G. A. Chishti Ji, and Pandit Gobindram Ji, the last of whom we are featuring today.
Pandit Gobindram Ji was a trained musician from Lahore, and was equally popular in both Hindi and Punjabi films. Unlike other music directors of the Punjabi school, music composed by him did not typically reflect native Punjabi trends, but instead lay firmly in the category of mainstream 1940s’ music. We could very well say that he played a crucial part in shaping the music of the 1940s. His music is truly melodious and varied, with a unique combination of highly expressive tunes, yet very fun and foot tapping and rhythmically catchy. He is one of the music directors who used a very large number of singers, by my count, only second to Gyan Dutt Ji, one of his worthy contemporaries. He excelled equally in composing happy, sad, romantic, serious, comical, classical, just any kind of songs. It is a pity that he has never received the attention that he deserved.
Among his landmarks are the introduction of and enormous contribution to making Shamshad Begum Ji and Zohrabai Ji the top singers in Hindi films. He recorded the maximum number of Hindi film songs with Shamshad Begum Ji – 86 songs in 19 films. He was also one of the foremost music directors to encourage and bring forward great veteran Rafi Ji, and also introduced great singer Zeenat Begum Ji to films. He has about 30 films to his credit and each one had equally superb music. Most popular singers of that period have graced his songs. His use of light music, Ghazals, Thumris and various popular music forms in films, provide a ready insight into the uniqueness of 1940s music, and with a slightly unique flavour of both his compositions as well as a tiny tinge of Punjabi style.
Pandit Gobindram Ji started his career with Jeevan Jyoti (1937), which starred Shakuntala Bai, R. L. Monge and Urmila Devi. The film unfortunately went unnoticed. This was followed by another unsuccessful film, Khooni Jadoogar (1939). 1940s was the true decade for Gobindram Ji. His Punjabi filmography is not properly available, but his first Hindi film in the 1940s was Himmat (1941). Today, it is remembered for being the second ever Hindi film of veteran singer Shamshad Begum Ji, where she beautifully sang the traditional Dadra ‘Inhin Logon Ne Le Leena Dupatta Mora’ with Aziz Ji, in her young, sweet but powerful voice. The famous song with the same lyrics in Pakeezah (1972) is largely a copy of this song. This was the first song composed by Gobindram Ji that helped him gain recognition. Other songs from this film included ‘Is Jag Ke Sundar Natak Ka’, the first solo film song of Zohrabai Ji from 1941 to 1950, and a beautiful duet by Ghulam Haider Ji and Umraozia Begum Ji, ‘Main Hoon Rani Ek Sunehri Nagri Ki’.
But it was his next film, Mangti (1942) in Punjabi, which made him one of the most sought after music directors of the 1940s. This was the debut film for top Lahori singer Zeenat Begum Ji, apart from being the first film for famous heroine Mumtaz Shanti Ji, and took both of them as well as Gobindram Ji to the top notch. This film, which went on to become the first silver jubilee Punjabi film, played an important role in popularising Punjabi folk tunes and the use of a mix of original Hindi film music and Punjabi folk music in films. ‘Aawe Chan We’, ‘Mainoon Suttiyan Neend Na Aayi’, ‘Sapne Wich Mahi Aaya, ‘Tere Daras Di Pyasi’ and ‘Ud Ja Bholeya Panchiya’ (with Nandlal Nurpuri Ji) were some memorably melodious songs in which Zeenat Ji shone under Gobindram Ji. It is also worth remembering for being the first ever South Asian film to have a female Qawwali, ‘Baanke Nainanwaleya, Nainan Milanda’ by Zeenat Ji and Rehmat Bai Ji, a very enjoyable one. This legacy was continued only 3 years later in Hindi films, with the famous Qawwali of Zeenat (1945), ‘Aahein Na Bhareen’ (Noor Jehan Ji, Zohrabai Ji, Kalyanibai Ji). Other songs in this film were by the talented Shamshad Begum Ji and Rehmat Bai Ji.
Following this, Gobindram Ji was one of our best music directors of the 1940s, with memorable films with superhits like:
• Aabroo (1943) – ‘Gori Baanke Nainan Se Chalaye Jaduwa’, ‘Piya Milan Ki Rut Aayi Hai’ (both romantic duets of Sitara Devi Ji and G. M. Durrani Ji)
• Pagli (1943) – ‘Ummeed Tadapti Hai’ (a Ghazal by Naseem Akhtar Ji)
• Sahara (1943) – ‘Sabr – O – Qarar Chheenke’ (Ghazal by S. D. Batish Ji), ‘Main To Lehenga Naahi Pehnoon (comical Zeenat Ji – male voice duet), ‘Wo Bhola Baalam Kya Jaane’, ‘Beqason Ki Zindgani’ (both by Zeenat Begum Ji – the second song has the use of a rare instrument with a rare lower pitch very unlike a Punjabi music director)
• Salma (1943)
• Chalis Karod (1945) – ‘Jaago Jaago Savdhan Ho’ (inspirational uprising Zohrabai Ji, Khan Mastana Ji), ‘Rain Andheri Baadal Garje’ (seductive number by Zohrabai Ji and chorus)
• Hamara Sansar (1945) – ‘Choti Si Ek Banayeinge Naiyya’ (Zohrabai Ji – Rafi Ji romantic duet along with a contrasting sad part by Shamshad Ji), ‘Kaun Jeevan Mein Mere’ (romantic song by Zohrabai Ji), ‘Hum Kisse Karein Shikwa’ (a sad Ghazal by Shamshad Begum Ji)
• Laila Majnu (1945) – ‘Tumhari Jaan – E – Tamanna Salam Kehti Hai’, ‘Saans Jo Seene Mein Hai’ (both famous Ghazals by Naseem Akhtar Ji), ‘Ja Raha Hai Karwan’ (narrative duet with chorus, of Zohrabai Ji and Khan Mastana Ji), ‘Sakhi Ki Khair Main Baba Ki Khair’ (a streetsong trio of Rafi Ji, Khan Mastana Ji and S. D. Batish Ji, with Rafi Ji’s first and rare screen appearance)
• Naseeb (1945): ‘Hum Panchi Hain Azaad’, ‘Deewani Teri Do Din Ki Zindgani’ (narrative duets of Khan Mastana JI and Hamida Bano Ji), ‘Haal – E – Dil Tumko Sunaya Jaayega’, ‘Unhein Yaad Aaye’ (romantic Ghazals of Rajkumari Ji), ‘Sejiya Sowat Mori Rani’ (Lori by Rajkumari Ji), ‘Chane Masaledar Babu Le Lo’ (inspirational streetsong by Zohrabai Ji and Hamida Bano Ji)
• Parinde (1945): ‘Doobte Bharat Ko Bachao’ (patriotically devotional melody by Zohrabai Ji), ‘Kabhi To Jaago Ae Sonewalon’ (moralising song by Parul Ghosh Ji), ‘Upar Ho Chand Tara’, ‘Sajanwa Bhool Hamein Na Jaana’ (romantic duets of Surendra Ji and Parul Ghosh Ji), ‘Aaja Aaja Salone Sipahiya’ (coyly romantic song by Parul Ghosh Ji)
• Ratnavali (1945): ‘Ratiyan Ghuzaroon Kaise Haye Ram’ (romantic Zohrabai Ji – Surendra Ji duet), ‘Jhoom Raha Aaj Mera Ang – Ang’ (cheerful song by Rajkumari Ji), ‘Meri Pukar Sun Le O Jag Ke Rakhwale’ (desperately devotional song by Rajkumari Ji, one of the earliest remixed songs, made into ‘Fariyad Meri Sun Le’ in Ghar Ki Izzat – 1948), ‘Ye Mere Hain’, ‘Nain Baan Se Karke Ghayal’ (romantic duets, the former by Naseem Akhtar Ji and Surendra Ji, and the latter by Shamshad Begum Ji and Surendra Ji)
• Rupa (1946): ‘Watan Ki Amanat Meri Zindgani’ (patriotic duet by Shamshad Begum Ji and Rafi Ji)
• Sassi Punnoon (1946): ‘Arman Bhi To Is Dil – E – Nakam’, ‘Zabt Kar Beher – E – Khuda’ (both melancholic melodies of Durrani Ji), ‘Dekho Ji Kya Saman Hai’ (Shamshad Ji, Durrani Ji)
• Do Dil (1947): ‘Kaghaz Ki Meri Nao’ (romantic duet of Suraiya Ji, Mukesh Ji), ‘Din Din Joban Dhalta Jaaye’ (lively song by Suraiya Ji), ‘Mati Ka But Bha Gaya’ (romantic duet by Suraiya Ji, Mukesh Ji)
• Doosri Shadi (1947): ‘Toota Huwa Dil Gaayega Kya’ (sad song Zohrabai Ji), ‘Bhakton Ki Ye Fariyad Suno’, ‘Auron Ke Dukh Hare Hain Tumne’ (both devotional songs by Zohrabai Ji), ‘Man Bhooli Khatayen Yaad Na Kar’ (optimistic song by Shamshad Begum Ji), ‘Dekho Ji Aayi Suhani Raat’ (cheerful song by Rajkumari Ji)
• Ghar Ki Izzat (1948): ‘Taron Ki Toliyon Pe’ (romantic duet of Shamshad Ji, male singer), ‘Saari Duniya Ke Sartaj’ (duet with chorus of Shamshad Ji, Meena Kapoor Ji in praise of Mahatma Gandhiji), ‘Dar Dar Ki Thokren Hain’ (sad song by Shamshad Ji), ‘Bagh Mein Koyaliya Yahi Gaaye’ (cheerful duet of Shamshad Ji and Zohrabai Ji). The film also had two of the earliest proper film song remixes: ‘Fariyad Meri Sun Le’ (Shamshad Ji), a variation of ‘Meri Pukar Sun Le’ (Rajkumari Ji in Ratnavali – 1945), which was also Gobindram Ji’s own composition (!), and ‘Ae Dard Zara Dam Le’, a reorchestration of Amirbai Ji’s song in Zamana (1948).
• Rangeen Zamana (1948): ‘Tirchi Nazariya Milake Dil Loot Liya’ (fun song by Zohrabai Ji), ‘Premi Ki Yahi Nishani’ (parodical love song by Rajkumari Ji), ‘Jawani Na Aati’ (sad song by Shamshad Ji)
• Bholi (1949): ‘Piya Piya Tu Bol Papiha’ (coy song by Shamshad Ji), ‘Hum Kisko Kahein’ (melancholic song of Shamshad Ji), Itna Bhi Bekason Ko Na (pathos ridden song of Lata Ji)
• Dil Ki Duniya (1949): ‘Dil Ki Duniya Mein Meri’ (romantic duet by Shamshad Ji, S. D. Batish Ji), ‘Sham – E – Gham Ki Qasam’ (song in waiting by Rajkumari Ji), ‘Dil Ka Sahara’ (sad song by Mohantara Ji)
• Maa Ka Pyar (1949): ‘Teri Duniya Hai Kya’ (revolting song by Shamshad Ji), ‘Sun Meri Motor Chale’ (fun duet of Shamshad Ji, Ram Kamlani Ji), ‘Mohe Lehenga La De Makhmal Ka’ (fun and naughty song of Shamshad Ji), So Ja Mere Nanhe (a lullaby by Lata Ji)
• Nisbat (1949): ‘Taron Ka Ye Khazana’ (romantic duet of Shamshad Ji, Rafi Ji), ‘Aankhon Ne…Meri Mohabbat’ (romantic melody by Shamshad Ji), ‘Jiyoon Kis Tarah Kuch Sahara Nahin’ (desperately sad song by Zohrabai Ji)
• Chor (1950): ‘Dil Mein Hamare Rehte Ho’ (teasing duet with chorus of Amirbai Ji and Hamida Bano Ji), ‘Tere Gaon Ki, Saajan’ (fun song of Shamshad Ji, Batish Ji), ‘Mera Khainu Rang Rangeela’ (stylish and lively song by Shamshad Ji), Barbaad Hue Par Aah Na Ki (sad song of Asha Ji), Tu Chanda Kyun Muskaye (light, romantic song by Lata Ji)
• Raj Mukut (1950): ‘O Paltanwale Jamadar Ji’ (fun song of Shamshad Ji), ‘O Rang Rangeele Balma’ (romantic song of Shamshad Ji), ‘Dil Hai Lagane Ke Liye’ (teasing chorus of Amirbai Ji, Shamshad Ji and Rafi Ji), Meri Lagi Kisi Se Preet (romantic song of Geeta Ji), Panghat Pe Na Jaiyo (rhythmic duet of Geeta Ji and Lata Ji)
• Shaadi Ki Raat (1950): ‘Pooch Rahe Wo Yaar Ke Biwi Kaisi Ho’ (fun duet of Surinder Kaur Ji and Durrani Ji), ‘O Dil Matwale Ga’ (lively and cheerful song by Shamshad Ji), ‘Main Bhi Jawan Gori’ (lively romantic duet of Geeta Dutt/Roy Ji and Khan Mastana Ji)
• Sarkar (1951): Main Maali Ka Chhokra (fun duet of Shamshad Ji and Rafi Ji), Kabhi Aise Mein Aa Jaao (song of yearning by Lata Ji)
• Jalpari (1952): ‘Khushi Ke Phool Liye’ (romantic song of Shamshad Ji), Kaari Kaari Andhiyari Raat Mein (romantic song of Lata Ji)
• Jeevan Nauka (1952): ‘Ae Dil Mein Basanewale Ho’, ‘Prem Ke Suhane Geet’ (both romanic duets of Shamshad Ji, Rafi Ji)
• Raj Mahal (1953): In Shokh Hassenon Se Kabhi (lively duet of Asha Ji and Shamshad Ji)
• Naqab (1955): Dil Se Dil Ka Paimana (lively song of Shamshad Ji), Hum Unki Mast Nigahon Ke (romantic song of Talat Ji), Tera Khayal Dil Ko (ghazal by Talat Ji)
Gobindram Ji worked with more than 30 lyricists during his career. With 56 songs in 8 films, his collaboration was the highest with Ishwar Chandra Kapoor Ji. The films where the two worked together were Bholi, Chor, Doosri Shadi, Ghar Ki Izzat, Maa Ka Pyaar, Naseeb, Ratnaavali and Sassi Punnu. Some of the other prominent lyricists he worked with include Bharat Vyas Ji (Chor, Jalpari, Jeevan Nauka, Raj Mukut), Ram Murti Chaturvedi Ji (Chor, Naseeb, Parinde, Ratnavali), Ramesh Gupta Ji (Hamara Sansar, Jeevan Nauka), and Qamar Jalalabadi Ji (Pagli, Sahara, Sarkar).
Gobindram Ji’s musical genius and unique style remain alive even today with his compositions, hence never can he be forgotten.
• Hindi Film Geetkosh