This post is written by : Arun mudgal
If one think of Indian film music and its development one of the most prominent name which comes to mind is R C Boral. Right from the year the
moving pictures started talking and singing one finds R C Boral there.
The pioneer, the achiever of many a firsts and the musician par excellence R C Boral , was born as Raychander Boral on 19th of october 1904. As his father Lalchand Boral was an accomplished ‘Dhrupad’ musician and ‘Pakhawaj’ player so R C Boral got an exposer to the Sur and beat of music at a very early age. R C Boral learnt ‘dhrupad’ from Pt. Vishwanath Ray and Tablafrom Ustad Masitullah Khan.
In Lucknow Sangeet Sammelan he got rave reviews and was bestowed upon the Title of ‘Saraswat Mahamandal’ . Impressed by his musical talent and fame Indian Broadcasting Company ( which latter became Akashvaani ) invited him to head their music department, after working for
some time there he Joined New Theatres Calcutta and started working there as Composer, and rest is history.
R C Boral started his carrier in film music by Conducting the music from stage for Charu Roy Directed silent film ‘ Chorkanta’ in 1931. In the same year he composed music for New Theatres Talkie Dena Paona and after that till his last film score for ‘Notun Fasol ‘ he remained a force to reckon with in Indian Film Music.
His musical scores replete with great, evergreen and immortal melodious songs in Pooran Bhagat, and Rajraani Meera in 1933 and then Chandidas made R C Boral a household name in Indian Film Music.
R C Boral is one of the most important figures in the history of IndianFilm music. This is because he played a major role in crystallising what can be described in retrospect as the Bengal School of Hindi Film Music.
His family background, ideological and cultural stance of the then Bengal in general and that of New Theatres in particular which was his main platform contributed to his achievement.
One of Boral’s major and most important contribution to Hindi film music, and for which he is and will be remembered for ever, was the way he adapted Ghazal and geet in to a lighter form and mode of singing specially as interpreted through Saigal for example ,Saigal-Umashashi duet, ‘prem nagar main banaungi…..’, ‘ tadapat beete din rain …’ in Chandidas . Even with Binota Bose he composed one of the most beautifully soulfully sung Ghazal in Hamraahi 1945.
He also composed for Street Singer, Vidyapati with singers such as Pahari Sanyal, Kanan Devi and Talat.
In his developed instrumental idiom Boral used big string sections that included Violins and Sitars. Developing and giving a new face to orchestra is another of his contributions to film music. Though Boral certainely
inclined to use Indian music and instruments for his compositions but he could also adapt to western instruments with great finis. One can listen wonderful Piano in his songs composed for Lagaan 1941.
In his impressive 30-piece orchestra, latter celebrities such as Pannalal Ghosh, Khemchand Prakash, Jaidev, Pankaj Mullick participated as instrumentalists. He combined forms like Thumari, Kirtan , Ghazal, amd Kabigaan , thus
emphasising that categories of Hindustani art music and Bengali devotional and popular music were his main resources.
Boral is credited to begin playback singing in Films. It has been repeatedly mentioned that he introduced playback singing in 1935 in ‘Bhagyachakra’ and its Hindi version ‘Dhoop Chhaon.
His use of background music in Chandidas 1932 is regarded a pioneering venture. And How one can forget the most melodious and immortal gift Boral presented the film music lovers with by Introducing the sweetest, the sureeliest. and
the most melodious voice listeners have cone across ever The One And Only KL Saigal.
Even Singers like Kanan Devi, Pahari Sanyal , Harimati, and Binota Bose and others owe their fame and name to Boral to a greater extent.
And above all R C Boral gave orchestration for Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagorer composed song and tune to our National Anthem ‘Jan Gan Man …’in his film Hamraahi in 1945.
His compositions in his Benagli films like Udayer Pathe and many more are any and every music lover and connoisseurs delight. Boral was not only aware of the Raga corpus in Traditional Hindustani
classical music , but also stood out as its concious explorer. It does not, therefore , come as a surprise that in ‘Street Singer he could compose a song almost bordering on ‘Lakshangeet’ in ‘Jeevan been madhur….’ . This composition included listing of musical features of raga, instruments,etc., and emphasised words to bring out the poetic craftsmanship involved in such a song . But at the same time he was also quite adapt to handle music in a lighter idiom too, as is evident in ‘ Jo naukari dila de …..’ in Karorpati 1936. Such compositions achieve the feat of including minimum
melody, a light and catchy rhythm , unforced delivery and a flow of the verse- line to make the thrust of the meaning clear.
R C Boral the Doyen of Indian film music remained active even after his last film score in Natun Fasol in 1960 , though he did not compose for films after this but remained involved with Akashvaani. He got the President award for his Bengali film ‘Sagar sangamey ‘ in 1959, awarded the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 197
8 and was Given Dada Saheb Falke Award in 1979 by the Govt. of India.
He breathed his last in 1981 but , R C Boral The legend of Indian film music will always live in the heart and minds of Music Lovers through his songs across the boundaries of language and geography.
[ source material from Ashok Ranade;s and Pankaj Rag’s books ]
(With thanks to Arun Mudgal ji and ,Rajesh kumar ji )