Anmol Fankaar: Dedicated to Talent of the World

Vyjayantimala's Singing Debut for Composer Master Venu

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Contributed by Lakshmipriya

In January 2016, I came across a news Item stating that at the age of 79, Veteran actress VYJAYANTIMALA  would be making her singing debut . She would be performing  live in Chennai at two concerts organised by the Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University. She even told in an interview that she had devoted 20 years of her life to acting . After which she had devoted herself to dancing & that now she would like to devote her time to singing . However not many know  that Vyjayantimala used to learn light music from telugu composer Master Venu in the early 1950s .Two of her non filmy songs in telugu even  released  as a private album. They were composed by  Master Venu himself . The lyricist is unknown (Request for information from music loving friends)
Vyjayantimala Singing















An introduction to MASTER VENU

He was born in Bandar/ Machlipatnam in 1916. He was brought up in his maternal uncle's house who was a music composer. From the age of 9 , Venu began learning instrumental music from his uncle. He learnt the harmonium and mastered it in only one year. The way this young boy's fingers danced over the harmonium was a sight to behold and many used to stand and watch him while listening to this young prodigy. This played havoc with his studies and he stopped going to school. With even more enthusiasm he began mastering instruments along with singing practice. Venu's mother too learnt along with him from her brother and both used to enjoy those musical sessions very much. At the age of 14 years, He began giving harmonium concerts which were a huge hit. Audience used to wonder if harmonium is assisting his singing or vice versa. SUch fame he gathered through his concerts.

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Hindi Film Geet Kosh Update Project

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Hindi Film Geet Kosh Update Project……..

By Abhay Jain




Historically, Indian society has never paid enough attention to documenting or archiving things. Similarly, film industry has also suffered from the same indifference towards archiving. With desire to get information about Hindi film songs, Mr. Hamraaz embarked on a mission to painstakingly create a document of Hindi films/songs. Effort involved obtaining information from censor records, film booklets, catalogues of record companies, gramophone and vinyl record labels, interviews with music personalities, magazines, record collectors, music lovers, Radio Ceylon listeners etc. Without listening to actual songs, information could not be verified. His effort of documenting Hindi film songs resulted in five volumes of Hindi Film Geet Kosh in book form starting from 1932 (one volume per decade). Without his effort, most of the music and information would have never seen the light of the day. Many songs particularly the rare would have just stayed with collectors and some played on SLBC. I would say that my own interest would have been limited to what songs I had listened.


However information in Geet Kosh is not always complete or accurate because booklets either have errors, record companies had incorrect or incomplete information, many artists have passed away (and thus incapable of confirming the information) or the memory of living artists was fading (due to old age), some artists even provided outright misinformation for reasons best known to them. Moreover, actual songs were not always available. Ever since the publication of Geet Kosh volumes, corrections have been discussed by many music lovers, sent to Mr. Hamraaz but that information is not easily accessible to everyone at a central place in any form. Some of the errata information regularly appears in the periodically published Listeners’ Bulletin However, the scattered nature of the information is not very helpful and next editions of the Geet Koshs are long pending. For details about the Geet Kosh volumes and purchase information please visit the website .


My effort is an attempt to centrally document correct information for songs of 1930s and 1940s. The information for these decades is most obscure and current focus is on these decades though if interest is there other decades can be seen at a later date. We would keep this information (one document per year and a separate one for 1940s) online to be accessible by everyone. It is built on the foundation laid out by Hindi Film Geet Kosh.


My Methodology of Information Update


It must be emphasized that it is a stretch to call it correct information. Especially towards singer names, it is the ears of people who have tried to recognize the voice where singer name is not available. One person’s “correct” guess may not match another person’s. It becomes particularly difficult in the case of obscure singers or where misinformation is there in other sources including the records themselves. There are some cases where listening is the only way to know. For example, in movie Muqabla (1942), Khan Mastana sang for both himself and Yakub but singing credit is mentioned as Yakub for the song actually sung by Khan Mastana because it was picturised on Yakub (It was a common practice for record companies/producers in 1930s and 1940s to mention the name of the artists it was picturised or even the name of the characters in the movies because of which one only has to resort to listening to guess the singers).


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Kamala Dasgupta

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His full name was Kamala Prasanna Dasgupta. His parents were from the village Kalia of Jessore district,although it was in Cooch Behar , when the family had moved there, Kamal Dasgupta was born on 28th of July in the year 1912. His schooling started in Cooch Behar and he graduated as an engineer from the Bengal Engineering College in Shibpur.His parents Taraprasanna Dasgupta and Kaminiranjan Dasgupta . Both were well trained in classical music and hence a musical environment existed at home. Kamal Dasgupta often told that because of the disciplined training in music at home five/six out of the ten brothers and sisters could record songs at HMV at very early ages, and three brothers excelled as music directors, including his eldest brother Bimal Das Gupta and his younger brother Shubal Das Gupta, who composed many memorable songs. The two brothers Kamal and Shubal would sing kawali in the radio as Chand-Suraj Kawals....

Composer Kamala Dasgupta

Kamal Das Gupta had his first formal training in music from his elder brother. Then he devoted three/four years for learning and practicing mainly Sargam in the company of the famous singer Sri Krishna Chandra Dey, who was blind. But, it was the renowned Ustad Zamiruddin Khan who was Kamal Das Gupta's true Guru. Early Days,at the age of only eighteen, he joined His Master'sVoice (HMV) as a music director. It did not take time for the Ustadji to notice the extraordinary talents of this young man who had already mastered the basics. Kamal Das Gupta learned all he could
from the Thumri king Ustad Zamiruddin Khan, and like an expert craftsman brought out the deepest secrets of Sur to compose his immortal tunes. His composition was first released as a record in 1932 in the voice of Satyaboti.


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Tamancha Jan of Lahore

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Written By Arunkumar Deshmukh


Admin’s Note: We are thankful for the permission to use material from We also greatfully acknowledge our other sources including writings by Pran Neville ji.

Tamancha Jan


While going from my house towards Juhu, there is a building at the corner of Gulmohar Circle which has a board-” Karachi Residents’ Association”. On enquiry I discovered that this was a building owned by Sindhi speaking Hindu and Muslim people, who had lived in Karachi before Partition. I was told that 5-6 such buildings exist all over Mumbai. On further enquiries, I was informed that there were a few buildings named ”Lahore Residents Association” in existence too! (Punjabi speaking Hindus and Muslims). When I met one of the residents of ”Lahore” wala building, that old gentleman was speaking so lovingly about old Lahore that I was surprised. Even after 65 years of Partition, these people had such fondness for Lahore…or Karachi, for that matter !!!

Lahore had played an important role in India’s film industry till Partition separated us. Lahore had a built in advantage that it was in the midst of a population who understood Hindi/Urdu well and it was a ready market for them. Bombay was far off and Calcutta and Madras catered mainly to regional aspirations. In the 40s, some really good films like Khazanchi, Khandan, Daasi etc were made in Lahore. All the three leading actors, Dilip, Raj and Dev had roots across the border. Shyam, Omprakash, Karan Dewan, Pran, Surendra, Balraj Sahni, Khursheed, Mumtaz Shanti, Veena, Begum Para, Noorjehan, Meena Shorey, Suraiya, Manorama, Kamini Kaushal, Shyama…. a string of artistes from Lahore enriched Indian films. Pancholi, Kardar, Rafi, Shamshad Begum, Jhande Khan, Ghulam Haider, Pt. Amarnath and brothers, Hansraj Behl, Khayyam, Vinod also came from the Lahore film industry.

( A separate article can be written about Lahore’s contribution to Bombay’s film industry).

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Singer Abhram Bhagat

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Written By

Arunkumar Deshmukh


Admin’s Note: We are thankful for the permission to use material from

Singer Abhram Bhagat 

The role of music, dance and songs in the cultural life of India is as old as Civilisation. In olden times, kings and badshahs used to have court singers, court dancers and musicians and they supported many fine arts too.Thus Music not only had the Public support but also Royal Patronage.


No wonder then,that in every nook and corner of India, music, songs and dance had its variations thriving in each state, specific to its local culture. Carnatic music, Hindustani classical music, film music and non-film music had its own supporters.


Much before films started talking and singing, the non-film songs were popular in many forms. They could be classified in 3 categories,broadly-

1. Ghazals and related types

2.Bhajans and other devotional songs 

3. Geets.


Out of the above, ghazals and the related songs had a base of pure urdu. Hence, it was limited to a certain class of people who knew, appreciated or understood that language. Though, there have been ghazals in other languges like Gujrati, Punjabi and Sindhi, they have not been so common.


Bhajans and Geets had simpler grammars and were available in many local languages, so these type of songs being more common man friendly had a widespread acceptability.

As such, bhajans and religious songs were a part of our social life and Indian culture all over the country. As a result, many bhajan singers became quite famous. A large chunk of non-film songs consisted of Bhajans.Added to it were songs written by our various saints like Tulsidas, Meerabai, Soordas, Kabir, Tukaram, Namdeo, Ramdas and Thyagraja to name a few.

 Singer Abhram Bhagat

75 % of Indian public enjoyed Hindi bhajans and so the recording companies were always on the lookout for good bhajan singers. In the early 40s,50s and 60s many Gujarati, Rajasthani and Marathi bhajan singers became well known.


Today, we will learn about one such Gujrati Bhajan singer,who was famous not only in India, but also in USA, UK, Canada, African and European countries from 40s to 70s.


His name is ABHRAM BHAGAT.


Many senior readers,especially the Gujrati readers will certainly remember his name. Though Abhram Bhagat was internationally famous as bhajan singer, very few know that he was actually a Muslim ! And, he was a handicapped person, having lost one leg completely !!


I first heard his name in the early 50s. My father was a great Shiv Bhakt. We had a Big Shiv Mandir built in the open area surrounding our House. All of us were fond of Shiv bhajans. One day my father brought a new 78 RPM record,which was a Bhajan by Abhram Bhagat. We were all memsmerised with his clear pronunciation and his style of singing. From time to time the record shop used to send us any Abhram bhagat record they received. We did not know much about him, except that he was from Gujrat. Though in later years I left Hyderabad and was busy in career building, family raising etc, I used to recollect one particular Bhajan by Abhram Bhagat-" Haath chakra Trishool Sadashiv" always. I had all its Lyrics jotted down that time.


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