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The C Ramchandra Life Story Continued

Written by Arunkumar Deshmukh
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This is the third in the series written by Arunkumar Deshmukh ji from CR's autobiography. Thanks to him for doing the translations for everyone's benefit.

 

The relations of Lata and CR were not always one sided and painful.There were occasions when the brighter,softer and kinder side of Lata was seen too. CR has described such incidents also in his book.

The first incident is actually very touching and has some Historical value also.

C Ramchandra and Lata had gone to Amritsar for the launch of Jhanjhar. From the hotel room, Lata made a call to Noorjahan in Lahore. C Ramchandra describes this event thus-

“They spoke for atleast an hour or so. They exchanged not only stories but also sang songs on phone. I was stunned and overwhelmed. I had never seen Lata so happy. Their friendship had crossed caste, creed ,religion and countries. After the phone call was over Lata said excitedly,” Ram we have to go to meet Noorjahan.”

To avoid passport formalities they had decided to meet in the “NO MAN’s LAND” which was about 35 miles from Amritsar. Next day we drove to that place.

Noorjahan came running and the two embraced each others like long lost friends. Both were weeping. All of us who were witness to this divine meet were overwhelmed and tears came to our eyes. Even the soldiers on both sides were weeping. After some time they sat chatting. We had food. They had brought specialities from Lahore and we from India. Noorjahan’s husband was also there. I shall never forget this scene in my life. A great testimony to the fact that Music can break any barrier. After few hours we returned with wet eyes but with a divine and Unique experience indeed !”…………………

When they were together with harmony,Lata used to have lot of faith and confidence in CR.He,ofcourse never took undue advantage of this,but inadvertantly,for once,

Lata and CR both came in trouble because of CR's carelessness.It so happened that....

One day a fair, good looking gentleman came to C Ramchandra, introducing himself as P.R.Bhide. He had floated a plan of filming and recording the classical songs of eminent singers for sale. He invited C Ramchandra to be a partner in it. C Ramchandra was impressed. Not only did he give Rs.1000, he mad Lata and Omprakash also to give 1000 each. So, a company was floated with Lata as the president and C Ramchandra and Bhide as secretaries.

Bhide left and C Ramchandra busied himself in his work. From time to time Bhide used to come in a hurry ,take C Ramchandra’s signature on papers which he said were company meeting minutes. As C Ramchandra had signed, even Lata used to sign without reading.

After few months, Bhide came to C Ramchandra’s house with a court Beliff and a legal notice stating that C Ramchandra and Lata owed him 2 Lakh rupees. In those days 2 lakh was a very big amount. This he claimed was for the films purchased by Lata and C Ramchandra from him. He had their signatures on sale deeds.

C Ramchandra was shocked. He felt bad because due to his insistence Lata was unnecessarily involved in court case. Later the case went to the court and court acquitted C Ramchandra and Lata is a different issue, but it all happened because of the carelessness of C Ramchandra.

CR decided from that day not to sign without reading and not to believe anyone blindly.The third incident happened about CR's mother...

C Ramchandra and his mother had very strained relations. She stayed with his elder brother in Poona. Once Lata and C Ramchandra had been to Poona for some work. Lata asked him,” Your mother stays here,isnt it ?”

” May be”

” What do you mean may be. Afterall she is your mother. You ought to know.”

” but we do not see eye to eye”

” Nothing doing. We will meet her”

C Ramchandra says” we found out their house and met them. I had become emotional. We embraced each others. After that I started sending money to her every month.

It was only because of Lata that this had happened.

 

Hindi film industry has given rise to several controversies, some of them are settled, some are forever a question mark and some controversies come up again and again with the slightest of provocation. The worst thing in a controversy is that even if statements of clarification are given by the concerned people involved with it, it is viewed with suspicion of a personal bias.

When none of the persons concerned are alive, film enthusiasts and historians dig up information from books, newspaper cuttings, interviews, Biographies, auto-biographies etc. Still nothing can satisfy 100% of the fans from both the warring sides.

Controversies like “who sang the famous song- Bharat ki ek sannari-from Ramrajya-1943″ or whether the Rajkumar of Sautela Bhai is Rajkumar Gupta or Rajkumar Pandey are still to be resolved as solutions available are not acceptable to all.

The ever raging controversy about the song ” Aye mere watan ke logon” is always discussed hotly despite the persons concerned having given their clarifications several times.

The persons connected with this are Lata, Asha, C Ramchandra and Kavi Pradeep. Several interviews of these people are available on record.

I have with me versions by Raju Bharatan through his book on Lata Mangeshkar, C Ramchandra’s interviews to him as well as to Shirish Kanekar and Pradeep’s interview given to Subhashchandra Jadhav in “Vo bhooli Dastaan” ,And now I have got the Autobiography version from C Ramchandra too.

To start with there is a minor controversy whether this song is written by Pradeepji or a certain Prabhav Sharma. here is some information-

” Aye mere watan ke logon is not a patriotic song but marsiya. People do cry while listening to marsiya. Please everybody “STOP” giving Nehru example.

It’s the story of Battle of Rezang La, the only battle of the war in which an Indian unit attacked the Chinese on November 14, 1962. In this action, 114 out of a total of 123 Indian soldiers were killed. The casualties on the Chinese side have been estimated to be more than 1000.

Aye mere … written by Prabhav Sharma and composed by S Prabhav commemorates the last stand of C Company, 13 Prabhav Regiment at the First Battle of Rezang La.
Kavi Pradeep liked and used it…on Republic Day 1963.”

I believe there was some sort of court case also and the matter was resolved in Pradeep’s favour in 2005.

So atleast this point is clear that this song is written by Pradeep only.

Now here is what Raju Bharatan has said about this,in short,in his book-

“As far as this song is concerned, noted journalist Raju Bharatan, in his biography of Lata Mangeshkar has written in details about it, while talking to Pradeep and C Ramchandra.

In short, he says that this song was originally written as a duet for Asha and Lata. However,Pradeep ji claims that Lata came to him and asked to sing this song alone on the stage.
C Ramchnadra said he had Air tickets of both Asha and Lata with him. Asha told him,” you know that didi will not allow me to come to Delhi for singing this song.” Later, Asha asked C Ramchnadra to cancel her ticket to Delhi.

This was the time when C Ramchandra and Lata were not even on talking term after splitting, but as professionals,they did work for this song.

Unfortunately, Pradeep ji was not even invited or taken to Delhi for this function. However Pandit ji did ask as to who has written this song and expressed a wish to meet him, which he did after a few days.”

Now what Pradeep has said about all this, in short and touching only relevant points, in his interview-

“The programme in Delhi was to have songs from Naushad(Apni azadi ko hum-Leader),Shankar Jaikishan (Hothon pe sachhai-JDMGBHai), Madan Mohan (Kar chale hum fida (Haqeeqat).

C Ramchandra was also in the list but he had no such song. He came to me and I wrote the song. We were doubtful whether people will like this serious song after the earlier forceful songs. CRamchnadra’s number was the last. We had maintened a secrecy about this song and the song which we gave for the souvenier was deliberately a different worded song. Harindranath Chatopadhyaya translated the song in English and put his own there, without even mentioning my name. I was also not invited to this programme.

At the time of presenting the song Lata and C Raqmchandra were on the stage. The chorus singers were hidden behind the curtain and when in the last stanza they sang “Jai hind,Jai Hind ki sena” the people wondered from where the sound was coming. It had a tremendous impact.”

Now I will present in details, that is written by C Ramchandra in his autobiography (Majhya jeevanachi Sargam-Copyright by yeshwant Ramchandra Chitalkar)…..

” When I was selected as the fourth Music Director to present a song in the function, I had no song with me. All others were to present their own film songs. I went to Pradeep and asked him to write a song for me. He jokingly said,”phokat ka kaam ho to aate ho’(you come here when you want a song free). But when he started writing, he wrote 100 stanzas of the song !

Dilip Kumar was the convener of the committee. He was coaxing me to call Lata for my song-”Tum kahoge to vo aayegi”

I told him she has already declared that she is not attending the function. Moreover she will not sing my song anymore. I am taking Asha for this song.

Dilip was restless.

One day Pradeep phoned me saying that Lata was ready to sing my song. I told him no, Asha is singing. When Pradeep started insisting, I said, OK, both will sing it as a duet. This was on the 21st january. Pradeep informed Lata and she agreed.

The committee was constantly asking for the song and I was saying Pradeep has not yet given the song. For 15 days every night from 7 to 11 we were sitting. Out of the 100 stanzas he had written I had to select 5-6 stanzas. Finally the song was ready and my tune was ready by 18th january.

We had decided to keep the song lines secret, lest someone stole it. On 21st I called my assistant Johnny and gave him just the last three lines for rehersals. On 22nd, I called the Chorus and gave the tune- not the words.

On 23rd I called Asha and Lata. Lata came first, then came Asha. I gave them the song and I was about to begin rehersals when Lata said loudly to Asha,” Asha,why do not you tell Ram that you are not well and that you can not come to Delhi ?”

Asha called me outside the room and said ” Anna, Lata does not seem to want me to sing this song. I will not come to Delhi.”

I was very sad. I said,” but your ticket is also ready. Originally only you were to sing this song. Please come”

She said resolutely,” I will NOT come” and Asha left.

I felt extremely sad. Asha was a good girl and a good singer. Anyway, now only Lata remained. I still do not know why Asha bowed to Lata. May be, she wanted to respect her elder sister- by own sacrifice !

The starting lines of the song are happy, later the song becomes serious and sad. So,just one day before going to Delhi, I gave the happy music to Johnny for rehersals. I taped the song and gave it to Lata asking her to come one day earlier to Delhi.

On 24th january I left for Delhi.

The reasons for all this secrecy was that all the earlier songs of others were on fast track and abour valour, bravery, kil, beat, be a Martyr etc. Only out song spoke about the sacrifices Jawans made, how they suffered and their appreciation. If this idea was stolen, then no fun was left. A Patriotic song can be sad also may not be acceptable to many, that is why all the secrecy for the surprise element !

Lata came on the 26th and stayed in our Hotel, Ashoka. We had plenty of rehersals.

Next day morning two planeloads of musicians, singers and technicians arrived.

The Happy music was to start with Basu Manohari’s Flute. We went to Ramlila Maidan at 1 pm. At sharp 2.30 Pandit ji came and the programme started.

My number was fourthth among all Music Directors. This lot was drawn at Bombay only.

When my turn came and my name was announced, I and Lata came on the stage. I said 1…2…start- but the music didn ot start. Manohari had forgotten that he has to start. Ok, I again said

1…2 start and the song started with Flute.

Lata sang the first few lines. Audience was listening. It was a 10 minute song, but there was Pin Drop silence in the stadium. For first half song, Panditji was relaxed and as the song proceeded to the sad part he listened intently every word.

At the end when the chorus sang ” Jai Hind…Jai Hind ki Sena” Panditji started looking for the source of sound, but I had hidden the Chorus behind the curtain for Echo effect and surprise as if the entire country is singing together. The effect was just superb and electrifying! I have no words to describe the standing ovation we got from the audience and the clapping did not stop for an eternity ! At that moment also I remembered Pradeep and poor Asha !

This was the Happiest day of my life !!! “

This is his part of the story.

A question- Why Lata agreed to sing for him and why he agreed to it ?

The answer- Because both knew each other’s strengths, that is why !

With this we come to the end of C Ramchandra’s Autobiography. I have tried to give you a free form translation of the important events mentioned in the book. Hope I did justice to it.

After CR and Lata separated,there was a curiosity in the minds of people as to what caused the split.

According to CR,in an interview given to Shirish kanekar,Lata wanted CR to marry her,for which he was not ready,since he was already married. ( though after few months,he did marry a girl named Shanta,by going to a state where Bigamy was not a crime).

The same question when asked to Lata ,she gave the answer to Kanekar, " There was a recordist who used to talk rubbish about me everywhere.I refused to record my songs with him and CR persisted,insisted for him,so we decided to separate"

Believable ? But that's what she had said.

In an interview to Rediff movies she is quoted to have said about " Aye mere watan ke logon" thus-

" It was to be sung by Asha and Me.But the Music composer C.Ramchandra insisted that this should be sung by only me !"

One has to read all this and arrive at the conclusions himself.

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