13 Apr

written by Chetan Vinchhi



Avinash Vyas was born on July 21, 1912 in Ahmedabad. Not much has been written about his very early life. He came to Bombay at the age of 27-28 and began learning music from Ustad Allaudin Khan. Being a talented musician, he soon became a freelance instrumentalist with HMV and Young India record labels. His first record may have been issued as early as 1940 itself, and his compositions began to be aired on AIR. It was during this phase that he met and befriended the tabla maestro Alla Rakha. He got his first break in filmdom with his new friend. The two jointly composed the music for the 1943 film Mahasati Ansuya (incidentally, Alla Rakha / A.R.Quereshi sang a duet with Rajkumari in this film!).

The next few years must have been years of struggle. He got a couple of Hindi assignments – Krishna Bhakta Bodana (1944), Laheri Badmash (1944), but not much else. He got his first Gujarati film in Hothal Padamni (1947). It was successful, with the top-billing singer of the time Rajkumari singing 2 songs for it. Avinash-ji got 3-4 more films to work on during the same year. But he struck a gold mine with his first assignment of 1948, Gunsundari. This is social drama based on the famous maha-granth Saraswatichandra. It was a musical super-hit. Avinash Vyas, the main singer in the film Geeta Roy and the heroine Nirupa Roy became overnight celebrities in Gujarati-speaking areas. The songs from this film are popular to this day.

With the 1947 film Krishna-Sudama, Avinash-ji seemed to have developed a couple of new facets of his personality! The film had 15 songs, 14 of which were written by him (1 was by Kavi Premanand). Additionally, he sang a number of the songs as well. Although he didn’t sing much in later films, he wrote the lyrics of most of his songs from this point onwards. He is one of the few composers who are equally adept and prolific lyricists. This raises an interesting thought about the creative process. Whether the words came first or the tune may be moot in his case, since the two probably evolve together in one creator’s mind. Perhaps this is the reason his lyrics are always very well suited to the music. This is a very unique aspect of Avinash-ji’s oeuvre.

His non-film work is almost as popular as his film songs. As usual he wrote and composed most of these himself. Outside the constraints of a film’s storyline, perhaps his poetry and maybe even music are found to be more expressive. A case in point being the timeless Mukesh classic “pa.nkhiDaa ne aa pi.njaruu.n”.

Avinash-ji has worked with most of the star singers of HFM in Gujarati films. His work with Asha Bhosale deserves special mention due to its consistently high quality – “chhanuu.n re chhapanuu.n kai.n thaay nahii.n” is one of their early and best-known collaborations. It was such a hit that it was re-used in the Hindi film Teen Batti Char Rasta for a multilingual sequence!

Due to the nature of Gujarati films, Avinash-ji needed to draw on the folk music of Gujarat. He has done it with great aplomb, adapting and rewriting many traditional songs and presenting them to the public in a new avatar. In doing so, he also gave breaks to aspiring as well as well-known folk artists such as Diwaliben Bhil, Praful Dave, Damyanti Bardai etc.

Avinash Vyas had a stellar career in Gujarati film (and non-film) music spanning nearly 4 decades. He gave the music for 190 Gujarati films, making him the most prolific composer in GFM. What is not so well-known is the fact that he also gave the music for 62 Hindi films. This puts him in the elite league of composers with more than 250 films.

A fairly large proportion of Avinash-ji’s work in Hindi is from mythological films. Such films typically have a very niche audience and very rarely get wide popularity. As a result, the music of his films in Hindi is not often talked about or even remembered. Listening to his repertoire would make one realize that his compositions were mostly high quality with a strong emphasis on melody.

The kind of films also, in a way, defined his association with various lyricists. A fairly large chunk of his songs in Hindi are written by poets/lyricists that wrote in pure Hindi as opposed to Urdu. The lyricist with whom he did the maximum amount of work was Bharat Vyas. One of the best known songs of Bharat Vyas with Avinash Vyas is from Jagadguri Shamkaracharya – “sar pe himaalay kaa chhatra hai… Jai Bharti Vande Bharti”. Avinash-ji also worked with other Hindi poet/lyricists like Kavi Pradeep, Gopal Singh Nepali, Neelkanth Tiwari, Saraswati Kumar Deepak, etc.

Among female singers, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle seemed to be his favourite, in Gujarati as well as Hindi. However, he did utilize the services of other singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Suman Kalyanpur, Shamshad Begum, Sudha Malhotra, etc. Among male singers, a strong tilt towards one singer is not evident in his work, with a fairly even distribution Mohd. Rafi, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Hemant Kumar, Talat Mahmood, etc.

In spite of being so prolific, Avinash-ji’s music retained a commendable freshness and sincerity, as he delved deep into his knowledge of lok-, sugam- and shastriya- sangeet. Be it the lilting “tame thoDaa thoDaa thaav varaNaagii” or the anguished “ka.nkar ka.nkar se mai.n puuchhu.n” in Gujarati; or the serene “ek dharatii hai ek hai gagan” or the melodious “jaa re baadal jaa” in Hindi, his tunes are evergreen.

Avinash Vyas Filmography (Hindi)

1. 1943 – Mahasati Anusuya
2. 1944 – Krishnabhakt Bodana
3. 1944 – Lehri Badmash
4. 1950 – Bhimsen
5. 1950 – Har Har Mahadev
6. 1951 – Dashavatar
7. 1951 – Jai Mahalakshmi
8. 1951 – Ram Janma
9. 1951 – Shri Vishnu Bhagwan
10. 1952 – Rajrani Damyanti
11. 1952 – Shiv Shakti
12. 1952 – Veer Arjun
13. 1953 – Bhagyawan
14. 1954 – Adhikar
15. 1954 – Chakradhari
16. 1954 – Hukumat
17. 1954 – Mahapooja
18. 1954 – Malika-e-Aalam Noor Jehan
19. 1955 – Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja
20. 1955 – Ekadashi
21. 1955 – Jagadguru Shankracharya
22. 1955 – Riyasat
23. 1955 – Waman Avtaar
24. 1956 – Dwarkadheesh
25. 1956 – Sudarshan Chakra
26. 1957 – Aadhi Roti
27. 1957 – Bhakt Dhruv
28. 1957 – Lakshmi
29. 1957 – Naag Mani
30. 1957 – Neelofar
31. 1957 – Ram Laxman
32. 1957 – Sant Raghu
33. 1957 – Sheshnag
34. 1958 – Gopichand
35. 1958 – The Great Show of India
36. 1958 – Jang Bahadur
37. 1958 – Pati Parmeshwar
38. 1958 – Ram Bhakti (Same as Bhakt Raj – 1960)
39. 1959 – Charnon Ki Daasi
40. 1959 – Grihalakshmi
41. 1960 – Bhakt Raj (Same as Ram Bhakti – 1958)
42. 1962 – Bapu Ne Kaha Tha
43. 1962 – Hawa Mahal
44. 1962 – Kailashpati
45. 1963 – Royal Mail
46. 1964 – Bhakt Dhruv Kumar
47. 1968 – Mata Mahakali
48. 1969 – Badmash
49. 1969 – Beti Tumhare Jaisi
50. 1969 – Surya Devta
51. 1970 – Takht Aur Talwar
52. 1973 – Mahasati Savitri
53. 1974 – Daaku Aur Bhagwan
54. 1977 – Chhoti Behen
55. 1978 – Maa Baap
56. 1980 – Bhakt Gora Kumar
57. 1981 – Naag Devta
58. 1982 – Sati Ansuya
59. 1983 – Bachche Teen Aur Daaku Chhe
60. 1984 – Maya Bazaar
61. 1985 – Bhagwan Shri Krishna
62. 1985 – Narsi Bhagat

1 Comment

Posted by on April 13, 2013 in Articles, info and facts, pictures


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One response to “AVINASH VYAS

  1. Arun Gupta

    July 2, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Thanks for commemorating Vyas Ji. I remember him for his spellbinding music of ‘Har Har Mahadev’


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