Written By Arunkumar Deshmukh ji. Thanks a lot Sir for writing this exclusively for Anmol Fankaar.
The autobiography of C.Ramchandra( Majhya Jeevana chi Sargam-copyright by Yeshwant Ramchandra Chitalkar) is somewhat disappointing.Its major part is spent on describing various exploits of CR with different women.Normally one expectes that the writer would focus on his worldly achievements and creations,which gave him name and fame,but on this count this book is a failure.Not that it is totally bereft of such things,but considering his musical successes during the Golden Era,one feels deprived of more discussions on music related topics.
Same case with CR's association with Lata.There are so many anecdotes and stories going around,so one expects to get First hand details of it.To this end I was disappointed.Actually nowhere in the book he specifically names Lata as his companion for few years in clear words,but there are some incidents described in the book, which unmistakably disclose this.
Many writers in last few years have written about it.Raju Bharatan being a major name in this connection.I do not give any weightage to what Raju Bharatan(RB) has been writing about CR-Lata in many of his books and articles.He has lost credibility(with me atleast) completely.Surprisingly nowhere else you would find so much written about this episode as much as you find in RB's writings.
Shirish Kanekar is a journalist and writer on film related subjects.He has been quite close to Lata and her family.He was very close to CR too in his last few years.He has written about this matter in some articles,which I find more informative,objective and credible too.
I will however restrict my article to CR's Autobiography.
During the Golden Era of HFM,important contribution was from CR-Lata combination.From 1949 to 1958, this pair has given us heavenly melodies. The place of Lata in CR's music can not be separated.Together,they ruled over music as if it was their slave.
He first met Lata Mangeshkar at the time of recording a song (Jawani ki Rail...) for Shehnai-47.He was very much impressed with her voice.Someone introduced them "This is Lata Mangeshkar"
They exchanged pleasantries.She sang the song and left for Kolhapur.Her voice haunted him and he started thinking whether she will come back to Bombay for his songs and whether her studio-Huns Pictures of Master Vinayak- would allow her to do so.About their first meeting CR goes lyrical in his book and describes what he thought of her voice.he uses several similies and decorative Phrases....like... 'In the spring all birds sing,but the world listens to only Nightingale'.....'a small black bird that attracts everybody by its divine singing'.....'If you want to paint her melodious voice you would have to borrow colours from the Sun and the Moon' etc.
This is the wonderful song from Shehnai-1947,during recording of which CR met Lata first time in his life. " Jawani ki Rail chali jaaye re "
In another chapter,CR talks more about Lata,but never by direct name.He says,' in my life,I enjoyed company of many women.Few of them called me "Ram" sometimes,but this was one Seeta who always called me Ram in private and public.He describes their First 'close uncounter' thus-
" It may be 47-48 or 48-49,I dont remember now.One of my songs was to be recorded.She was the singer.Unparallelled singing.No other words.Exactly matching the Artist's vision about how his art should be handled.It was some sad song and she poured her heart into it.The genuine artist in me was pleased.As it is I was very weak in case of women(He uses the word " Fislu " meaning
Fisalnewala or one who is prone to falling for women). I fell in love with her. I praised her a lot, using lot of pampering(maska) words.Finally I said," You sang so well,I want to kiss you". I do not know if she was pleased,but she said," You know very well, I love Husanlal.I can only love him". I changed my stance and said," please dont misunderstand me.I just wanted to kiss your sweet throat ! Kya galaa diya hai Bhagwan ne!!"
While returning from studio,in my car,needless to say that she more than complied my request. I started it as a Game and fun but slowly fell deeply in love with her. Ofcourse, it was a one sided love till then.
One day I was sitting with Bhagwan in Bombay labs enjoying a trial show.This Seeta came to meet me. She was crying a lot. I asked,"Kya hua ?"
She said," Husanlal is a liar. A very bad man.I will only marry you."
I was very pleased.All this was happening in my favour. I again asked her," Lekin ,how did you fall in love with him ?"
She replied, "One day he asked me do you know what is between You....and me. I said Love. Then he said,I love you and it all started."
I told Seeta," There can be many words between I and you, like kiss, kill and many xxxx words also."
She said," I saw his wife.She is pregnant"
My God ! She was angry because his real wife was pregnant,so much jealousy. But even I was married,but despite all that we loved each other deeply. We were together everywhere, studio, car, chaupati, almost every place.
Once when we were enjoying and she reached Zenith, she whispered with closed eyes " oh Husnu ! ". Husnu means Husanlal. I was shocked to know the meaning. Like a fool still I continued. God knows when will I get Brains ?! I loved her like a fool.
In our music field, when a musician dies, all recordings are cancelled. When Husanlal died, this Seeta was the first to reach the studios and on her insistence the recording took place.
Most women are possessive. This Seeta was too much. Once she knew that I was her slave, She wanted me to stop drinking. This is where She went wrong. From the age of 12 years, I have been drinking. This was the only true friend who never became angry, never left me. There was no question of my leaving drinking. I dont know why women try to become Head masters,once they get married or fall in love.
Anyway,whenever she asked me to stop drinking, I would say, after our marriage. Ofcourse I had decided in my mind NOT to marry her ever.
I remember one incident. Seeta and I went to Delhi for the release of a film. The local Distributor arranged a Party in the evening. Seeta refused to join me,and she also asked me not to go,leaving her alone. I said I could not do that,the party was for me,it was my picture,but I would try to come early and promised her that I would take only 2 pegs.
The Party went upto late hours. I also drank a lot.I returned to the Hotel room at about 5 am in the morning. She was waiting for me furiously and started shouting for getting drunk. I too lost my balance and shouted at her, " I drink with my money,not anybody's father's money-not even your father's !" She was stunned and cried and cried. I told her,"Come on, press my feet,I am sleeping" and I went to sleep. Next morning around 10 am I got up. She was still at my feet, pressing them. I felt very embarrassed and decided not to hurt her in future.
On one occasion,she arranged a singing mehfil of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. I went for my work. She told me to come there in time,because the programme would not start until I reached there. I promised. But somehow I was late and had also drunk a lot. When I reached the venue,she came running to me. All the audience was waiting for my arrival. She shouted at me in front of others, which I could not bear. I too shouted at her and said many things.She was shocked so much with my outburst that she fainted.There was a great commotion in the Theatre.To bring her to senses I put 2 spoons of Whisky in her mouth.She came to senses and went to rest,but suspected smell of alcohol and asked me if I gave her whisky. I said yes and she started vomitting vigorously for quite some time.
We were always together and my wife Ben knew everything by now. She once said to me, "If at all you had to do this, atleast you should have gone for a better looking girl. How horrible this one looks!" I had become blind in her love. I said,"Look from my eyes. How beautiful she looks when she sings!" Further, like a Majnu, I recited a couplet -
" Dil Se Utar Gayi Duniya Ki Sooraten Sab,
Kuch Aisa Chadh Gaya Hai Koi Meri Nazron Mein!'
There is a limit of tolerance for everyone. Ben also lost her patience and one day she became very aggressive. I was to take Seeta to a film in Metro in the evening. I put her in the car and driver took us towards Metro. Unknown to us, Ben was also following us. As soon as we alighted from the car, Ben rushed forward and slapped 3-4 times on Seeta's face. All were stunned. Ben held her long hair in hands and started shouting at her. About 200-300 people, who knew me gathered. I was a pucca DARPOK in such matters. I pushed Ben in the car and ran away from there, leaving the weeping Seeta alone there. Inspite of all this, I could not come out of her love. But Seeta was writhing with anger and was planning revenge on Ben. After this incident whenever I went to Seeta's house, She used to telephone Ben and say menacingly "See how your Husband is sitting here like my pet Dog!"
She was monstrous in such things and used to derive pleasure from such horrible actions.
That was a time when Refrigerators were a rarity and novelty. Seeta wanted a Fridge. I did not have that much money with me, So I requested my friend Omprakash that he should take out money from Sai productions, our joint venture, and purchase the fridge. It so happened that even that much money was not readily available there. Omprakash was clever. He went to my house and asked Ben for money saying It was needed for erecting sets on the studio. With that money the Refrigerator was purchased and sent to Seeta's house !
One day, In her house, we fought and argued fiercely. I started crying. She was laughing and saying-' why so much fuss?'. She went inside her room. Her friend Mangala was also sitting in her room. While I was crying outside, Seeta's mother came to me and said," Anna saheb, Don't feel so bad for her. She only has a singing throat, Otherwise She is a very cruel person.' When I started for home, Seeta asked me to drop her friend Mangala on the way. When we were travelling, Mangala said, "For whom are you feeling so much? I know her very well. When you were weeping outside she was laughing inside and saying, See how Ram is crying for me. If you pamper her like this, She will become too much proud. You will never get what you are expecting from her."
Not only her friend, but also my friends like Bhagwan, Rajendra Krishna, Omprakash always warned me saying, “She is one of those persons who never love anyone truely." My friend Shams Lakhnavi used to say, 'Saanp aur Aurat jahan miley, marna chahiye. yeh pyar vyar sab jhooth hai'. I always told my friends, If you want to be my friends, please don't talk ill of her and don't try to advise me. But when i used to be alone, I remembered all this and also what my father had told me ' Never believe a woman. Keep away from them'. I was frustrated. To forget all this, I had to drink even more .That was the time, I was drifting away from her and she was drifting away too.
One day I took one girl with me to Bombay labs, introduced her to Seeta and told her that I was going to marry her soon. After some days Seeta came with a man, introduced him to me as a Prince of some state and said, "He is to me now what YOU used to be earlier.' What a terrible woman! Finally, She stopped talking to me and also meeting me.
" Na Aaya Hamen Ishq Karna Na Aaya,
Marey Umra Bhar Aur Marna Na Aaya"
The C.Ramchandra-Seeta episode ended like this-as expected. "Some people call her Cleopatra. She is very ambitious, diplomatic and shrewed.She is an artist-great artist but a third rate human being ' Even today when I compose a song, her image is before my eyes.................. ".
These are some of the incidents CR has narrated in the book.There are few more episodes involving her -sober ones- which will be discussed ,may be ,in one more article- who knows ?!