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Hindi Film Geet Kosh Update Project

Written by Abhay Jain

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).


Some artists were listed with varying names either on records or in film booklets and got carried over into Geet Kosh. Examples: Madhok or D. N. Madhok; Amirbai or Amirbai Karnataki, Alla Rakha or A. R. Quereshi. For names of singers, lyricists and music directors, I have attempted to normalize names. I tried to use one name for artists with different names. There are still many names with variations and I suspect may be same but without verification, they have been left alone. This is one area where knowledgeable people can help contribute to.


Movie name, singer name, lyricist and the music directors are all proper nouns and hence as per English language convention, they are capitalized.


My collection of 1930s and 1940s songs is from various sources. Anytime, if there was a doubt about information provided on internet, it was left out. In spite of being very careful, I am sure there are still many mistakes. I would appreciate if people provide me with appropriate corrections. Send them to me at abhayjain [AT] yahoo [DOT] com. so that the details can be updated and disseminated.


Missing Song Information

 This work is not complete because it documents ONLY the songs that I have access to. Others may have missing songs in their collection that are not covered in my information spread sheet.People with such songs can contact me via email to abhayjain [AT] yahoo [DOT] com. Intent is to make this information in spread sheet as complete as possible.



How Information is Stored/Generated?


All relevant information about the song is tagged with ID3 v2 tags. There are some additional custom tags. Initially I had created a spread sheet of song information by dumping it from songs. Then I manually tried to color code information in spread sheet which deviated from Geet Kosh. Gajendra Khanna suggested that additional column should be added to the spread sheet so that changes could be easily searched or sorted. Problem with manually updating of spread sheet approach was that it would be labor intensive and could easily be out of sync with information in the songs. That approach was abandoned and I decided to keep all deviations also into the song itself. That turned out to be a major effort to individually tag every change into a custom tag field of each song. But it was worthwhile.


Information dumped from songs into spread sheet also contains deviations from Geet Kosh. If information is further corrected or new songs are added, a new spread sheet will be created and updated online periodically.


What Information is updated?


Information is updated against the Geet Kosh book pages only. Updates may be duplicates with any updates that may have been issued in Listeners Bulletin because not everyone including me has access to all of its issues or Geet Kosh addendums.


Following are the categories of the information corrected.-

1.Mukhda: This is where I found the biggest discrepancy in Geet Kosh. Some are minor and some major.


For so many songs, either words or set of words were repeated which were not captured in booklets. If beginning words of a song were not clearly heard, mukhda is now listed starting with a set of periods (…).

Here are few types of updates:-


1.1 .Beginning of song: Alaaps could be missing, or songs starts differently that listed. In cases where     song was recorded twice, once for film and once for record is different and booklet lists film version.

For example Shabnam 1949, song 3 is listed as
Mera Dil Tadpa Kar Kahan Chala
This is what is heard
O O...Mera Dil Tadpa Kar Kahan Chala

1.2.    Extra words in song: Extra words are heard in the song.
For example Shoharat 1949, song 4 is listed as
        Jamuna Ke Teer Raja, Balam Tu Aaja Re
We hear word “Ho” as the third word
        Jamuna Ke Ho Teer Raja, Balam Tu Aaja Re
1.3.    Different beginning of song.
For example Shoharat 1949, song 1 is listed
Gar Jeena Hai To Pyar Karo
          Following is what we hear
            Hoton Pe Machalti Hai…Gar Jeena Hai To Pyar Karo
1.4.    Extra word(s) in Geet Kosh: These word(s) are not heard in the song
For example Panihar 1946, song 5 is listed as
        Sola Singaar Main Sajaoongi
We don’t hear word “Main”
        Sola Singaar Sajaoongi
1.5.    Repetition of word(s) missing. This is the area where I found lots of discrepancy. It is not a big thing because booklets captured the spirit of the mukhda.
For example song 7 Bindiya 1946, is listed as
Marne Se Kya Darna, Mardon Ki Yehi Shaan Hai
         We hear
Marne Se Kya Darna-3 Mardon Ki Yehi Shaan Hai
1.6.    Wrong count of repetition of word(s): Repetition is indicated by count after a dash following set of words which are repeated. Count heard in mukhda is different than what is listed in Geet Kosh.
For example in song 6 Kurukshetra 1945, repeat count is listed as 4 whereas we hear repeat count of 8.
2.    Music Director: Either wrong music director or missing music director information available now.  
For example Chamakti Bijli music director is listed as “Vasant Kumar Naidu”.
As per Girdharilal Vishwakarma, all records show music director as “Premnath”.
Normalizing of name did not qualify as update
3.    Lyricist: Either wrong lyricist or missing lyricist information available now.
For example Putli 1950, song 9 no lyricist is listed.
Lyricist is “Wali Saheb”.
Normalizing of lyricist name did not qualify as update
4.    Singer(s): Types of singer update. Normalizing of singer name did not qualify as update.
4.1.    Missing singer information now available, I have relied on the information provided by the person who has digitized the song. If information is not available or if there is doubt, terms such as male, female or samuh are used.
4.2.    Additional singers. After listening to song found some additional voices or additional voices listed on record as per person who provided the song.
For example Vishnupant is the only singer listed for song 15, Narsi Bhagat 1940. Upon listening to song, we also hear Amirbai Karnataki.
4.3.    Singer order: It is not necessarily a mistake but I have tried to list singers (for songs with more than one singer) in the order voices are heard. There are so many instances of this types of update.
For example song 6, Jugnu 1947 “Yahan Badla Wafa Ka Bewafai Ke Siwa Kya Hai” has singers listed as Noorjehan, Rafi, whereas song starts with voice of Rafi. Hence singers are corrected to Rafi, Noorjehan.
5.    Extra Song: Many times extra song is found either in the film (most often) or from record which is not listed in Geet Kosh. I have given them a new sequence number. If same song is by a different singer or two versions (film vs record), I have used same sequence number as in Geet Kosh. It may be noted that version records are not considered in this exercise.


 Spread Sheet Columns


 Attempt has been made to keep all song related information in the song tags instead of providing some as part of the file name as many folks do. Reason being that tag information can easily be seen or sorted in Windows Explorer or of course into an audio player or a song library.
This information is dumped in spread sheet from song tags. Advantage of spread sheet is that information can be searched or sorted against any column or set of columns. Only the following tag information is dumped to spread sheet:-
1.    Year. It is the year in the Geet Kosh. For unreleased films, file names contain words such as 1940s, 1950s. However, libraries do not permit non numeric characters in the year field such as 1940), I have tried to guess the year of record based on the record number and assigned it the song.
2.    Album. Movie name. Tried to keep mostly as listed in Geet Kosh. Sometimes corrected the spelling. Unreleased movies have word (unreleased) added after the movie name.
3.    Track Number. This is the sequence number of song in Geet Kosh
4.    Song Title. It is in similar to title of poetry and hence first letter of each word in song title is capitalized as per English language convention. In windows explorer song title maps to Name.
5.    Singer(s). For unknown singers, terms such as male, female is used. Word chorus is used for extra singers. For multiple singers, order of singers in the order they are heard in the song. In windows explorer this maps to Contributing artists.
6.    Lyricist. Used term unknown if lyricist is not known. In many cases, multiple lyricists are listed for a film but individual lyricist for a particular song is unknown. All lyricists are listed with separation or. If multiple lyricist were involved in a song, they are listed with and. In windows explorer this maps to Writers.
7.    Music Director. This shows music director(s) for the song. Used term unknown if music director is not known. In many cases, multiple music directors are listed for a film but individual music director for a particular song is unknown. All music directors are listed with separation or. If multiple music directors were involved in a song, they are listed with and. In windows explorer this maps to Composers.
8.    Length. This is the song duration. In some case song is incomplete (in many cases when obtained from YouTube) – not sure if the song is of small length or complete song was not uploaded. Sometime duration is small if the song source is video. In windows explorer this maps to Length.
9.    Picturized on. For videos that are available and artists can be recognized, information is provided. For the decade of 1930s and most of 1940s, singers used to sing for themselves. I have taken liberty in assuming that if artist(s) have acted in the movie and are also the singer(s), than song must have been filmed on them. There may be some isolated instances where this may not be true. Name appearing in parenthesis means artist is only in frame without lip synching.
10.    Update Type. For multiple updates, they are separated by a comma.
10.1.    Mukhda Update
10.2.    MD Update: This could mean missing or change from listed music director.
10.3.    Singer Update. This could mean missing or change or reordering of singer names.
10.4.    Lyricist Update. This could mean missing or change from listed lyricist.
10.5.    Extra Song.
11.    Date Modified. This is the date when tag information was modified in the song itself. In windows explorer this maps to Date modified.. This will allow people to see when any information was updated.  Prof. Surjit Singh had a nice suggestion that set of updates should be bunched together and posted periodically such as once a month or so.


Links for seeing the database spreadsheets yearwise are available on this page HERE. (Click on the links and download the files. MS Office or LibreOffice or equivalent shall be required to open them).


I would like to Thank the following people:-

Mr Vishwakarma who has provided majority of information updates.

Mr Arun Deshmukh for clarifying names of singers and music directors.

I would like to thank Mr Gajendra Khanna for help along the way and hosting of the information database.

Abhay Jain






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