Hemant Kumar - Geets
Of M]Hemant Kumar - S/33ESX 4267 - (Condition - 90-95%) - LP Record
Early Life -
Hemanta was born in
the city of Varanasi, India. His family originated from Baharu village in
West Bengal. They migrated to Kolkata in the early 1900s. Hemanta grew up
there and attended Nasiruddin School and later Mitra Institution school of
Bhawanipore area. There he met his longtime friend Subhas Mukhopadhyay who
later became a Bengali poet. During this time, he developed a friendship with
the noted writer Santosh Kumar Ghosh. At that time, Hemanta wrote short
stories, Santosh Kumar wrote poems and Subhash Mukhopadhyay sang songs.
After passing the
intermediate examinations (12th grade), Hemanta joined Bengal Technical
Institute at Jadavpur to pursue Engineering. However, he quit academics to
pursue a career in music, despite parental objection. He briefly tried
literature and published a short story in a prestigious Bengali magazine
called Desh, but by the late-1930s he was committed entirely to music.
Early Music Career -
Under the influence
of his friend Subhas Mukhopadhyay, Hemanta recorded his first song for All
India Radio in 1935. The first line of the song was "Amar Ganete Ele
Nabarupi Chirantanii." Hemanta's music career was primarily mentored by
the Bengali musician, Sailesh Duttagupta. In his early life Hemanta used to
follow the famous Bengali singer Pankaj Mullick. For this he was nicknamed as
"Chhoto Pankaj".In an interview on television in the early 1980s,
Hemanta had mentioned that he had also received classical music training from
Ustad Faiyaz Khan's student Fanivusan Banerjee, but his tutelage was cut
short by Ustad's untimely death.
In 1937, Hemanta cut
his first gramophone disc under the Columbia label. The songs (non-film) on
this disc were "Janite Jadi Go Tumi" and "Balo Go Balo
More" whose lyrics were by Naresh Bhattacharya and music was composed by
Sailesh Duttagupta. Thereafter, every year Hemanta continued to record
non-film discs for the Gramophone Company of India (GCI) till 1984. His first
Hindi songs were "Kitana Dukh Bhulaya Tumne" and "O Preet
Nibhanewali", released in 1940 under GCI's Columbia label. Music for
these songs were composed by Kamal Dasgupta; lyrics were by Faiyaz Hashmi.
Hemanta's first film
song was in the Bengali film Nimai Sanyas released in 1941. Music was scored
by Hariprasanna Das. Hemanta's first compositions for himself were the
Bengali non-film songs "Katha Kayonako Shudhu Shono" and "Amar
Biraha Akashe Priya" in 1944. Lyrics were by Amiya Bagchi.
His first Hindi film
songs were in Irada (1944 film) in 1944 under Pt. Amarnath's music direction.
Hemanta is considered a foremost exponent of Rabindra Sangeet. His first
recorded Rabindra Sangeet was in the Bengali film Priya Bandhabi (1944). The
song was "Pather Sesh Kothaye". He recorded his first non-film
Rabindra Sangeet disc in 1944 under the Columbia label. The songs were
"Aamar Aar Habe Na Deri" and "Keno Pantha E Chanchalata".
His first movie as a
music director was the Bengali film Abhiyatri in 1947. Although many of the
songs Hemanta recorded during this time received critical acclaim, major
commercial success eluded him until 1947. Some contemporary male singers of
Hemanta in Bengali were Jaganmay Mitra, Robin Majumdar, Satya Chowdhury,
Dhananjay Bhattacharya, Sudhirlal Chakraborty, Bechu Dutta and Talat Mahmood.
Hemanta had three
brothers and a sister, Nilima. His elder brother, Tarajyoti, was a
short-story writer in Bengali. The youngest brother, Amal Mukherjee, composed
music for some Bengali movies, most notably Hospital and Abak Prithibi. He
recorded a few Bengali songs in the 1960s.
In 1945, Hemanta
married Bela Mukherjee (died 25 June 2009), a singer from Bengal. Although
Bela had sung some popular songs in a TV =newsfeed&oq newsfeed&oq
newsfeed&oq newsfeed&oq movie, Kashinath (1943), with music by Pankaj
Mullick, she did not actively pursue her musical career after marriage.
They had two
children: a son, Jayant, and a daughter, Ranu. Ranu as Ranu Mukhopadhyay
pursued a music career in the late 1960s and early 1970s, with somewhat
limited success. Jayant is married to Moushumi Chatterjee, an Indian film
actress who was popular in the 1970s.
migration to Mumbai -
In the mid-1940s,
Hemanta became an active member of the Indian People's Theatre Association
(IPTA) and started an association with another active IPTA member — songwriter
and composer Salil Chowdhury. One of the main driving forces behind the
establishment of IPTA was the Bengal famine of 1943 and the inaction of the
British administration and wealthy Indians to prevent it.
In 1947, Hemanta
recorded a non-film song called "Ganyer badhu" ("The rural
bride") that had music and lyrics by Salil Chowdhury. The six-minute
song recorded on two sides of a 78 rpm disc was sung at a varying pace and
lacked the conventional structure and romantic theme of a Bengali song. It
depicted an idyllic, prosperous and caring rural woman's life and family and
how it gets ravaged by the demons of famine and ensuing poverty. This song
generated an unforeseen popularity for Hemanta and Salil in eastern India
and, in a way, established Hemanta ahead of his male contemporaries. Hemanta
and Salil paired again in several songs over the next few years. Almost all
these songs proved to be very popular.
Around the same
period, Hemanta started receiving more assignments for music composition for
Bengali films. Some were for directorHemen Gupta. When Hemen moved to Mumbai
a few years later, he called upon Hemanta to compose music for his first
directorial venture in Hindi titled Anandmath under the Filmistan banner.
Responding to this call, Hemanta migrated to Mumbai in 1951 and joined
Filmistan Studios. The music of Anand Math (1952) was a moderate success.
Perhaps, the most notable songs from this movie is 'Vande mataram' sung by
Lata Mangeshkar, which Hemanta set to a marching tune. Following Anandamath, Hemanta
scored music for a few Filmistan movies like Shart in subsequent years, the
songs of which received moderate popularity. Simultaneously, Hemanta gained
popularity in Mumbai as a playback singer. His songs playbacked for actor Dev
Anand under music director Sachin Dev Burman in movies like Jaal, House No.
44, Solva Saal and Baat ek raat ki became quite popular.
Career Rise -
By the mid-1950s,
Hemanta had consolidated his position as a prominent singer and composer. In
Bengal, he was one of the foremost exponents of Rabindra Sangeet and perhaps
the most sought-after male singer. In a ceremony organised by Hemanta
Mukherjee to honour Debabrata Biswas (1911–1980), the legendary Rabindra
Sangeet exponent, in Calcutta in March 1980, Debabrata Biswas unhesitatingly
mentioned Hemanta as "the second hero" to popularise Rabindra
Sangeet, the first being the legendary Pankaj Kumar Mallick. In Mumbai, along
with playback singing, Hemanta carved a niche as a composer. He composed
music for a Hindi film called Nagin (1954) which became a major success owing
largely to its music. Songs of Nagin remained chart-toppers continuously for
two years and culminated in Hemant receiving the prestigious Filmfare Best
Music Director Award in 1955. The very same year, he scored music for a
Bengali movie called Shapmochan in which he played back four songs for the
Bengali actor Uttam Kumar. This started a long partnership between Hemant and
Uttam as a playback singer-actor pair. They were the most popular
singer-actor duo in Bengali cinema over the next decade.
In the latter part
of the 1950s, Hemanta composed music and sang for several Bengali and Hindi
films, recorded several Rabindra Sangeets and Bengali non-film songs. Almost
all of these, especially his Bengali songs, became very popular. This period
can be seen as the zenith of his career and lasted for almost a decade. He
sang songs composed by the major music directors in Bengal such as Nachiketa
Ghosh, Robin Chatterjee and Salil Chowdhury. Some of the notable films Hemanta
himself composed music for during this period include Harano Sur, Marutirtha
Hinglaj, Neel Akasher Neechey, Lukochuri, Swaralipi, Deep Jwele Jaai, Shesh
Parjanta, Kuhak, Dui Bhai, and Saptapadi in Bengali, and, Jagriti and Ek Hi
Raasta in Hindi.
Movie Production -
In the late 1950s,
Hemanta ventured into movie production under his own banner: Hemanta-Bela
productions. The first movie under this banner was a Bengali film directed by
Mrinal Sen, titled Neel Akasher Neechey (1959). The story was based on the
travails of a Chinese street hawker in Calcutta in the backdrop of India's
freedom struggle. The movie went on to win the President's Gold Medal — the
highest honour for a movie from Government of India. In the next decade,
Hemanta's production company was renamed Geetanjali productions and it
produced several Hindi movies such as Bees Saal Baad, Kohraa, Biwi Aur
Makaan, Faraar, Rahgir and Khamoshi — all of which had music by Hemanta. Only
Bees Saal Baad and Khamoshi were major commercial successes.
Back in Bengal, Hemanta
scored music for a movie titled Palatak in 1963 where he experimented with
merging Bengal folk music and light music. This proved to be a major success
and Hemanta's composition style changed noticeably for many of his future
films in Bengal such as Baghini, and Balika Badhu. In Bengali films Manihar
and Adwitiya, both of which were major musical as well as commercial
successes, his compositions had a light classical tinge. In 1961, for
commemorating Rabindranath Tagore's birth centenary, Gramophone company of
India featured Rabindrasangeet by Hemanta in a large portion of its
commemorative output. This too proved to be a major commercial success.
Hemanta went on several overseas concert tours including his trip to the West
Indies. Overall, in the 1960s decade he retained his position as the major
male singer in Bengal and as a composer and singer to be reckoned with in
In the 1960s he was
the predominant and lead male voice in many of Tagore's musical dramas like
Valmiki Pratibha, Shyama, Sapmochan, Chitrangada and Chandalika. With Kanika
Bandopadhyay (1924–2000) and Suchitra Mitra (1924–2010), who were the lead
female voices in these, he was part of the Rabindra Sangeet triumvirate that
was popular and respected. It was referred as 'Hemanta-Kanika-Suchitra' and,
with Debabrata Biswas, this quartet was and continues to be most heard
exponents of Tagore compositions.Along with Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Debabrata
Biswas, Kanika Bandopadhyay and Suchitra Mitra, Chinmoy Chattopadhyay, Sagar
Sen and Sumitra Sen were the other leading exponents of Rabindra Sangeet at