Written by Arunkumar Deshmukh
I have been seeing a variety of movies since 65 years or so. Among the ones I saw, I developed a liking for Mythological or Devotional (Dharmik) films, for a while. It was not due to my religious nature, but for the trick scenes (with special effects) in these films, which fascinated me immensely. I liked a scene where a God or a Rakshas multiplied into 10 images to confuse the opponent. Just imagine, 10 Ramas or 10 Ravanas on the screen at a time ! All with same name and appearance!! Not only their opponents,but even the audience in the theatres got confused who the real one was !!!
In real or the reel life, It is not so simple as 10 Ramas or 10 Ravanas. Here the 10 Rama names will be same but each Rama may look different. I remember,during my school days,in my class, there used to be at least 10 boys with the surname Deshpande, 15 Joshis, 12 Kulkarnis and 5 Deshmukhs.
Each boy was called by his initials,like A.B, C.D. or K.P.etc. Sometimes, even the initials used to be the same. In that case, another trick used was to call those boys based on their personality, like Lambu DK or Gidda DK etc.
In film Industry, same name artistes are identified by their vocation, like Lyricist Madan Mohan or Music Director Madan Mohan. But when there are Directors with the same names or singers with the same names, or actors or actresses, then what happens?
In an Industry where ,in the early era(as if there was a shortage of names all over India), there were 5 Nalinis or 6 Gauhars,or 4 Rajkumaris,5 Rajkumars,2 Jagmohans or 2 Trilok Kapoors what do you do ? There is bound to be solid confusion and wrong credits of films,songs etc takes place. The Internet Film sites are notoriously famous for spreading faithfully wrong, non corroborated or verified information blindly by 'Copy and Paste'! Any new student of Hindi films will easily get confused.
I will give an ideal example to prove this point. There is a site called Gomolo.in. If you look for information on the 1939 film ' Brandi ki Botal ',you will find the Heroine's name as Meenakshi Seshadri (instead of Meenakshi Shirodkar). What do you do with such information? I am sure even mother of Meenakshi Seshadri must not have been born in 1939!! Similarly when Shamshad begum (called chhamiya)-old time Gazal singer mother of Naseem Bano or the grand Mother of Saira bano died in 1998, many sites mourned and declared that the popular singer Shamshad Begum had died ! In fact, one site is still having this incorrect information!!! Another famous and otherwise very useful site/blog mentioned the name of Neelam Kothari in a film made in 1943, whereas Neelam Kothari was born in 1964 only ! The name Neelam was misleading in this case.
Being a 'Hobby-tuated' writer on old films,songs and related matters, I get highly agitated when I find enthusiastic novices in this field quoting wrong names in a " Name-Alike " films or songs. I have been writing explanations, till I got tired, how the 2 Ratanbais were different or how actor Shyam never sang any song in his lifetime!
I, therefore, have planned, with the cooperation of my friend Shri Gajendra Khanna ji, a loooong aricle-in 2-3 parts- and take up few confusing cases in details. The idea is to make this article series a reference point for students of Hindi films and Music, once for all. As such, there is a real loooong list of such cases. Here are some such cases :-
1. Actor Shyam and singer/actor Shyamkumar
2. Singer/Actress Rattan bai and Ratanbai Shilotri (Mother of Shobhana Samarth)
3.Rajkumari-Banaraswali,Calcuttewali, Shukla and TR
4. Actor/Director Asit Sen and Director Asit Sen
5. Singer/MD Jagmohan Bakshi and Singer/MD Jagmohan Sursagar
6. Actor Shashi Kapoor Sr and Shashi Kapoor Jr.
7. Actor Amarnath/Director Amarnath/MD Amarnath( Mirza Sahibaan)/MD Amarnath (Garam Coat)
8.Actor Trilok Kapoor and Singer Trilok Kapoor
9. MD Roshan and Singer Roshan
10. Actor/singer Arun Ahuja and MD/Singer Arunkumar Mukherjee
11. Actor Premnath and MD Premnath
12. Actress Zubeda(Aalam Ara) and Actress Zubeida (Film Zubeida wali)
13. MD Iqbal and MD Iqbal Qureshi
14. MD Madan Mohan and Lyricist Madan Mohan
15. Actor Najmul Hasan and Actor/Director Najmul Hasan (Najm Naqvi)
16. Actor Rajkumar (Jaani fame) and atleast 4 other Rajkumars
17. 6 Gauhars
18. 8 Nalinis
19. Neelams, Meenakshis, Madhuris, Noorjehans, Amirbais
20. Khursheeds, Bimla kumaris, Yasmins etc etc.......
This list can further go on, but let us first take a close look at some of these, commonly confusion causing pairs only.
1. The First and the Foremost pair is of Actor SHYAM and Actor Singer SHYAM KUMAR.
Actually Shyam the actor NEVER called himself Shyam kumar and Actor singer Shyam kumar never called himself only Shyam. It is those many writers, sites, Hindi Film Geet Kosh and Youtube uploaders that have caused blunders by mixing these two and calling kumar to both at different times. This not only caused but also escalated the confusion and wrong crediting was done. Most of the time, the aggrieved party was the singer Shyam kumar only.
Let us first be clear on 2 things. ONE- Actor SHYAM NEVER sang any song in any film in his life. He had no singing training,inclination,nor talent nor a desire of singing any time.
TWO- Singer Actor SHYAM KUMAR was only a Playback singer and never sang for himself in any film.
Actor Shyam (Shyam Sunder Chaddha) was born on 20-2-1920 at Sialkot. His father was a medical store keeper in a Hospital. After graduating from Punjab University in 1941, He gave a screen Test in Bombay Talkies and failed. He worked as an Assistant to director J K Nanda and also worked in a Punjabi film. He came to Bombay and did his first film Mann Ki Jeet in 1944. He worked in Aaj aur kal, Shikayat, Raat ki Rani, Patanga, Kaneez, Dillagi, Chandni Raat, Bazaar, Sangeeta, Samadhi and Shabistan.
He had married a Punjabi Muslim girl, Mumtaz Qureshi (Taji for him). He had a daughter from her-Sahira and later a son was born to her 2 months after Shyam passed away.Shyam liked wine and women. His affairs with Diamond and Kuldeep kaur were the cause of Taji leaving him and going back to Lahore. Shyam died while shooting for film Shabistan-51,
( The film was completed with his duplicate Alam Butt), on 25-4-1951. He NEVER sang any song, not even, 'Tu mera chaand main teri chandani' from Dillagi-49. Playback singer Shyam kumar has sung it with Suraiya. Let us be very clear on this.
Playback singer SHYAM KUMAR (real name Syed Hamid Gul) was born in 1913, in a Pathan family settled in Poona. Due to his handsome and muscular physique, Master Bhagwan featured him in 'Sukhi Jeevan'-1942, as a Hero. He started singing from film Namaste-1943. While Shyam Kumar acted in 91 films (and 3 unreleased films), He sang only in the following 14 films:-
- Namaste (1943)
- Sanjog (1943)
- Kanoon (1943)
- Pehle Aap (1944)
- Rattan (1944)
- Sanyasi (1945)
- Sagar Tarang (Unreleased 1940s)
- Dillagi (1949)
- Lachak (1951)
- Mamta (1952)
- Nirmal (1952)
- Chacha Chaudhari (1953)
- Guzaara (1954)
- Vijay Garh (1954)
Other than Sukhi Jeevan, He acted as a Hero in 5 films:-
- Vijay Garh (1954)
- Rashtraveer Shivaji (1962)
- Jungle Boy (1963)
- Krishnavatar (1964) and
- Char Chakram(1965).
Though he was an actor, It is sad that none of his songs appear to have ever been filmed on him in any film. He always sang for other actors. He sang for actor Shyam in Dillagi, though he too was in the film.
He stopped singing from 1954 due to a throat problem, but continued to act in films, till Dus Numbari-1976. After his wife's death, he lived alone and died of Throat Cancer on 22-4-1981.
To conclude, once again, these 2 Shyams were different and actor Shyam never sang any songs in any film.
2. Let us now turn our attention to another popular confusion pair- Actress Singer RATTAN BAI and RATANBAI SHILOTRI (Mother of actress Shobhana Samarth). Except the name there was nothing common between these two women.
Ratanbai Shilotri was married to Dr. Prabhakar Shilotri,a highly educated Ph.D from foreign university. He was a Finance Expert and had established " Shilotri Bank ",having 6 branches in major towns, including his native place. They had only one daughter-Saroj. Dr. Shilotri was very arrogant and was a pucca anti British. The british Govt. also was waiting for an opportunity to teach him a lesson. Unfortunately,Dr, Shilotri was caught by the Govt. on a technicality and was jailed for 2 years. He died in jail itself.
Having lost everything, Ratanbai and Saroj came to Ratanbai's brother Dinkar Jaywant,for support. Saroj was interested in working in films,but Jaywant was dead against it (though his own daughter Nalini Jaywant joined films later). Saroj got married to Kumarsen Samarth,a Germany trained Cinematographer and a handsome person. Saroj became Shobhana Samarth. They,along with mother Ratanbai,shifted to Kolhpur. There Shbhana did her first film- 'Nigah-e- Nafrat'-1935 (aka orphans of the society) and its Marathi Version-Vilasi Ishwar,opposite Master Vinayak. She continued working in films. Her mother too worked in one film- Swarajyachya Seemevar(1937). She did Shivaji's mother Jijabai's role in it. This film was made under the Kolhapur Cinetone banner, produced by Prince Shivaji productions (their only film). The Producer Director was Major Dadasaheb Nimbalkar and was written by Bhalji Pendharkar. Shivaji's role was done by Col. Nanasheb Ingle.
After this single role, Ratanbai Shilotri never ever acted in any other film, till She died as a housewife. Her daughter Shobhana did about 50 films and became famous as india's favourite SEETA MAI , after the film Ramrajya-1943.
Now coming to actress Singer RATTANBAI, she was born at Calcutta in 1911, in a professional singer's family (read tawayaf). Her real name was Imambandi. being a good looker and a singer, She got into films easily and acted opposite Saigal in 'Subah ka Tara'-1932, made by New Theatres. She did Yahudi Ki Ladki(1933), Rooplekha(1934) and Karvan-e-Hayat(1934), again with Saigal. After Uma Shashi entered New Theatre Rattanbai shifted to Bombay and did 3 films: Bhikaran,Yasmin and Bharat ki beti all in 1935. She sang her most popular song 'Tere Poojan Ko Bhagwan" in Bharat Ki Beti under a debutant composer Anil Biswas who became very popular thereafter.
Rattanbai was married to Hafij ji, a small time Director. She acted in many films like Sarla, Dhanwan, Mr.X, Sitara, Gazi Salahuddin,Saheli, Malan,Ujala etc. Her last film was Dharma(1945). Her last days were spent in penury and she died a pauper.
I do hope that now the confusion is cleared and readers are convinced that Rattanbai and Ratanbai Shilotri were two different persons.
Let us now take up the Quartet of RAJKUMARIs.
3. The First and the most famous Rajkumari was known as Banaraswali. After marriage,she became Rajkumari Dubey.
She was born in Banares on 9-2-1918. her career started as a child artiste from 1932 and ended in 1989. She acted in about 29 films and sang in about 214 films. She being the most famous, lot of information on her (including a very informative article by Shri Gajendra khanna ji) is available, which I am not repeating here.
There was another Actress singer Rajkumari in Calcutta. Her real name was Pullobai. She became known as Rajkumari Calcuttewali. She was in Devdas(1935),Pujarin(1936) and millionaire-36 opposite Saigal. She also appears to have sung in Gorakh Aaya(1938) too (for which Rajkumari Banaraswali also sang). Not much is known about this Rajkumari after this. Like a comet she simply disappeared without any trace whatsoever.
The third Rajkumari was known as Rajkumari Shukla. Basically she was an actress. However,to make matters complicated, She did sing a song in film Panghat(1943),along with baby Tara (incidentally, a movie soundtracky dominated by Rajkumari Dubey!). The song was ' O Chachi ji mori,chooha kothey ke beech',a fun song. Luckily for all of us she did not sing any more songs after this and only acted in films. Some of her films were, Society, Panghat, Uljhan, Aaina, Fariyaad, Badalti Duniya, Dulhan, Aagey Kadam, Bandhan, Swami, Dhiraj, Ek Raat, Hamari Baat, Najma, Namaste, Paraya Dhan, Prem Sangeet, Sanjog etc.
In a few films, Rajkumari Shukla and Rajkumari Banaraswali acted together, but their songs were by Rajkumari Banaraswali only.
The fourth Rajkumari, was T R Rajkumari (This was her screen name with her actual name being Thanjavur Ranganayaki Rajayee). She was a famous Tamil film actress (who is sometimes referred to as the first “Dream Girl” of Tamil Cinema) and acted opposite all major actors of the time in Tamil Cinema. She had acted in the Hindi as well as Tamil version of Chandralekha(1948) essaying the title role of Chandralekha, a village belle and a circus artist (Uma Devi had sung most of the songs of that movie). This was her only Hindi movie.
4. Actor Director ASIT SEN and Director ASIT SEN.
The roly poly, slow speaking, heavily built comedian would have actually been an A-class Director, but for his laziness. Born in Gorakhpur-UP in 1917, his Photographer father put him in New Theatres Camera Department. Doing small bit roles, he slowly became an assistant to Bimal Roy and shifted to Bombay in 1950. He was the production executive for Do Bigha Zameen(1953) as well as the asst. director for Parineeta(1953) and Biraj Bahu(1954). He directed two films- Pariwar(1956) and Apradhi Kaun(1957). Though his work was appreciated, perhaps due to his heavy body, he preferred to work as actor than a director. Unfortunately, these two well directed films of roly poly Asit Sen are mistakenly often credited to the other Asit Sen.
After doing small roles in Bimal Roy’s films like Sujata, Parakh, Anuradha, Memdidi and Kabuliwala, he did his first comic roles in Junglee(1961) and Sautela Bhai(1962). It was here that he perfected his slow delivery style.
He worked in almost 450 films in all languages. He also tried doing serious roles, like in Chetana, Zaroorat, Aradhana, but he was rejected. The audience wanted him as a comedian only.
He succumbed to a heart attack on 18-7-1993.
Director ASIT SEN was born in Dhaka in 1922. He joined New Theatres in Calcutta and along with Hrishikesh Mukherjee and others came to Bombay. he worked as a Cinematographer, Screen play writer and finally as a director.He directed many A class artists of Hindi films in his career. Some of his Hindi films were Mamta, Sharafat, Khamoshi, Annadata, Anokhi Raat, Maa aur Mamta, Bairaag, Anari(1975), Anokha Daan, Amar Prem, Vakil Babu and Mehendi(1983).
He died on 25-8-2001.
No one believes that the roly poly Asit Sen could have directed films like Parivaar and Apradhi kaun (One of my favourites) and hence these films are added to the filmography of the other Asit Sen !
Once the comedian was asked what was the difference between him and the other Asit Sen. He quickly replied in slow motion " Woh chhotey Asit Sen hain aur hum Motey Asit Sen hain " ! (He is the small Asit Sen and I am the fat Asit Sen) (Director Asit Sen was thin and short).
5. The next one is the Musical confusion.
JAGMOHAN BAKSHI AND JAGMOHAN SURSAGAR.
Jagmohan Bakshi was born in Murrie in Punjab on 29-7 1929.Love of singing and music brought him to Bombay where he met a similar struggler Sapan Sengupta (born on 17-7-1932 at Sylhet in Bengal). One was originally from an area that was now in Western Pakistan and the other was from an area that was now in East Pakistan. Thus they shared music and partition with each other. They became good friends and shared a room in a Goregaon Chawl. They regularly sang in chorus and saw dreams of becoming MDs one day ! This pair was favoured by Naashaad, S D Burman and Salil Chaudhari.
Finally S D Burman gave Jagmohan Bakshi a chance to sing a duet with Asha Bhosle,in hit film Taxi Driver(1954). The song became popular-' Dekho Maane Nahin Roothi Haseena, Na Jaane Kya Baat Hai'. Still no offers came forth. He sang,a duet, “Ghir Ghir Aaye Badarwa O Bhaiyya, Sar Sar Chale Purwaiya O Bhaiyya” in Hamlet(1954) with Mohd Rafi for composer Ramesh Naidu. He sang his final and third trio, “O Saathi Re Tu Aa Bhi Jaa, Yeh Desh Hamara Pyaara Re” with Lata and Usha Mangeshkar in 'Piya Milan'(1958). In his lifetime Jagmohan Bakshi sang only these three songs with no solos among them (He did manage to sing with three Mangeshkar sisters though!).
Later, he formed a pair with Sapan as Sapan-Jagmohan and as MD gave music to their first Hindi film-Begana-1963. This pair gave music to 43 films,mostly B and C grade obscure movies. They were also a popular composer duo in Punjabi movies starting with the superhit Jeejaji (1961) starring Karan Diwan, Nishi and Achla Sachdev.
Jagmohan Bakshi died on 26-2-1999.
JAGANMOY MITRA known as JAGANMOHAN SURSAGAR is famous
During a glorious career, he was well known for his Non-film songs. Born on 6-9-1918 at Calcutta, his many Hindi NFS like Us Raag ki payal, Meri Aankhen Bani Diwani, Ek Baar Muskura Do, Mujhe na sapnon mein bahlao and many more,with Fayaz Azmi and Kamal Dasgupta became a rage. He sang in several Bangla and Hindi films too but Jagmohan was always equated with melodious NFS. His geets will be heard as long as Hindi music is heard in this world.Sursagar in his name was a Title awarded to him by Bangal Government in 1945. He had composed for just one Hindi movie, Sardar(1955) whose Geeta Dutt solo “Barkha Ki Raat Mein Hey Ho Ha” had featured in that year’s Binaca Geetmala.
After a glorious and well recognised and decorated life he died on 3-9-2003 at Mumbai.
It is indeed a surprise how people mix up these two Jagmohans for the songs.
6. SHASHI KAPOOR jr. and SHASHI KAPOOR Sr.
Till few years back I was not aware of these two Name-alikes.Truth is, I never went into details of the claim that as a child star Shashi Kapoor (son of prithwiraj kapoor and brother of Raj kapoor) acted in about 20 films. My mind had coolly accepted it since it was a practice in actors' families.
When I started writing about old films etc, I suspected this as the timing was not matching and I felt there must be some other Shashi Kapoor also.
Last year the other SHASHI KAPOOR appeared on the Internet, on his own. I had a question-answer session with him and the jigsaw puzzle was solved once for all.
Most of the Internet sites, including Wikipedia, report that Shashi kapoor acted as a child star in about 20 films and the films included Mythological, social and Rajkapoor films. In reality, he has acted as a child star only in 5 films-including 2 RK films.
Born on 18-3-1938,at the age of 10 years, Shashi kapoor did the first child role of Raj Kapoor in Aag(1948), later came Bhakta Bilwamangal(1948), Patanga(1949), Sangram(1950) and his last film as a child star was in Awara(1951).
The other Name- Alike was SHASHI CHAND KAPOOR, son of film producer F C Kapoor, younger brother of film script writer Ravi kapoor and a cousin of singer Mahendra Kapoor.
He was born on 7-9-1934 at Bombay.
Being a sweet good looker, he did a minor role in Lady Doctor-1944. In the next 11 years, he acted in 21 films till 1955. His Filmography is-
Lady Doctor(1944), Parakh(1944), Meena(1944), Bachpan(1945), Tadbir(1945), Dr, Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani(1946), Renuka(1947), Bhakta Dhruv(1947), Bhakta Gopal Bhaiya(1948), Shaheed(1948), Sati Ahalya(1949), Ram Darshan(1950), Samadhi(1950), Veer Babruwahan(1950), Murliwala(1951), Mordhwaj(1952), Sanskaar(1952), Dana Pani(1953), Mahapooja(1954), Parvati Vivah and his last film Bhagwat Mahima in 1955.
After this he stopped working in films. He was more interested in studying maths. He graduated in 1955, completed his MSc in 1957 and LL.b in 1963,from Bombay University. Meanwhile he worked as Lecturer in Wilson college, Kirti college and in State bank of India during 1958 to 1963. He then left for USA and did his Ph.D. from Western Michigan University.
In this University, he worked as a Faculty member in Maths from 1967 to 1996. He retired as Professor Emieritus in 1997. He is happily settled in USA.
Most of the films Shashi chand acted in are credited to Shashi Kapoor, as he was more famous, from a major filmi family and also because Shashi Chand Kapoor was not here to clarify the facts.
But for his own appearance on Internet and hard work by Cineplot and Maitri Manthan sites, the matter would not have been clarified, to the general public.
So, next time Remember, the real child star was SHASHI CHAND KAPOOR and not Shashi kapoor !
Today, we will stop here. In our Part II, we will see some more confusion pairs. Till then....Bye.
" My sincere and heartfelt thanks to Shri Harish Raghuvanshi ji, the well known Film Historian and writer, for helping me time to time,whenever I required any information.
He has been kind enough to scan pages and send them to me propmtly, from rare books in his collection,for this series."
Also, Shri Zoher Gheewala ji has shared some of these rare photos. We are extremely greatful to him for his kind gesture.
My thanks are to-
1. Stars of the Indian Screen-Baburao patel
2.Yaadon ki Baraat- Shirish kanekar
3.Listeners' Bulletins, HFGK
4. Swaron ki yatra-Anil bhargava
5. Dhunon ki yatra-pankaj Raag
6.Rahen na rahen hum-Shantaram mankikar
7. Asen mi nasen mi-Lalita Tamhane
8. Ina Mina Dika- Sanjit narwekar
11. Maitri Manthan
18. Dr. Surjit Singh ji
23. My notes
24. Zafar Abid's brilliant book Sadabahar Cinema (from which many of the pictures are sourced).