Compiling Data of Indian Films
Har Mandar Singh ‘Hamraaz’
Compiler, Hindi Film Geet Kosh
‘DREAMLAND’, H.I.G.-545, RATAN LAL NAGAR,
Phone : 91-512-2281211
As you are aware,
Way back in 1964, Films and Television Institute of India was established in Pune on the site where memorable films had been produced by Prabhat Film Company. Simultaneously, attempts were made to preserve the film related material at the National Film Archive of India located near FTII. Apart from the books relating to films, prints of Indian films are also being preserved thereat.
In my pursuits, I have been visiting National Film Archive of India [NFAI], Pune since 1974. But I'm sorry to put on record that no attempts have been made till date to properly compile data relating to Indian Films.
Before I dig into
the past about the attempts made for compiling the data of Indian
recall my meeting I had with the Director of Film Archive of India at
International Film Festival at
We are assembled
here to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Indian Talkie Films. So, let us dig into the past to ascertain as
to what has been compiled to preserve the data of last 75 years of
films. Approximately 10,000 Hindi talkie feature films have been
date and the first 100% talking, dancing feature film in
Even before Firoze
But before talking about B.V.Dharap's INDIAN FILMS series, let us return to the era of sixties when Mr.Firoze Rangoonwalla was working as the staff of famous cine weekly SCREEN. In 1963, when Golden Jubilee of Indian Cinema was celebrated, he was prompted to compile data on Indian Films. By making strenuous efforts, he was able to compile the data for a book titled INDIA FILM INDEX covering the period 1912 to 1967. This book lists all Indian films - silent and talkie - produced upto 1967. It was published in March 1968. In August 1970, he came out with another book titled INDIAN FILMOGRAPHY covering brief details of all Indian silent films which lasted upto 1934. In this book, he also documented information of all Hindi talkie films made between 1931 and 1969. In addition to brief details of silent films, INDIAN FILMOGRAPHY lists names of Hindi talkie films arranged chronologically alongwith the names of the production company, director, music director and artists.
During the early talkie decades of thirties, forties, and fifties, barring the information made available in the souvenirs of IMPPA, no documentation work seems to have been made at any level. While cine weeklies, fortnightlies and monthlies played indirectly a very important role in documenting the information, it would be worth to mention the publication of FILMINDIA monthly edited by famous journalist Baburao Patel. Beginning from the year 1934 and continuing upto 1959-60 until it turned out to be published as Mother India, it carried reviews, advertisements, articles, etc. on Hindi films. It proved a good source of information of numerous Hindi talkie films produced during a period of about 25 years.
In the late sixties,
when I was a High School student, I was addicted to listening Radio
On making thorough search, I came to know about publication of INDIAN FILMOGRAPHY brought out by Firoze Rangoonwalla. Having borrowed this book from my friend, Mr.K.D. Sharma of Kota (Rajasthan), I found to my dismay that though the names of music directors of Hindi films are listed therein, there was no listing of songs and related credits. When I contacted Mr.Rangoonwalla, he directed me to visit NFAI, Pune to collect song details from the books, cine magazines and booklets of Hindi films.
In 1974, when I visited NFAI, Pune for the first time, I came in touch with Mr.B.V. Dharap, who by that time, had already published his book INDIAN FILMS series. INDIAN FILMS 1972 and INDIAN FILMS 1973 were out by that time. It contained important credits and cast of all INDIAN FILMS produced in that year. Publication of INDIAN FILMS series continued till 1978 but it was discontinued as Mr.Dharap was not prepared to continue incurring huge losses on this publication. INDIAN FILMS series also listed 3-4 words of each song of the films but did not carry respective credits like singer, lyricist, etc. of each song.
mother is a good singer of Punjabi Shabads, etc. who inherited the
her mother. Since I was addicted to listening old Hindi film songs, I
very impatient for getting information about all Hindi film songs. Thus, I started compiling data of Hindi film
songs. I had to travel extensively all over
Mr.Dharap incurred heavy losses, he could not continue publishing
series after 1978 though he continued compiling the information. After a break of 4 years i.e. 1979 to 1982,
NFAI published Mr.Dharap's compilation for the next 3 years i.e. 1983
to 1985. With the sad demise of Mr. Dharap
Frankly speaking, I
was basically a music lover and an addict of listening old Hindi film
As Raj Kapoor said in his MERA NAAM JOKER, this show is not yet finished !
Decade-wise Geet Kosh
compilation need lot of time, energy and money to be spent. Due to increasing number of Hindi films being
After the release of Vol.V in March 1991, without knowing the a, b, c of the computer, I purchased it and started playing with it. When my vendor of computer could not fight with the virus attack, he surrendered and formatted my hard disc. Thus all the information stored had lost. So, I had to intervene and setting aside the vendor, I opened the computer to assemble it again. I was lucky that by spending about 2 years, I could learn as to how it works and how it is to be maintained so that my work of compilation goes on smoothly and I'm not dependent on the AMC [Annual Maintenance Contract] of the vendor.
By spending 2 years' precious time, I was able to come out with the 2nd edition of Vol.III because first edition had many short-comings. Due to lack of funds, I could not include the Song Index which consumes more than 100 pages in each volumes now. Thus, on experimental basis, I composed the information of golden decade i.e. 1951 to 1960 in database by using C-DAC's Gist Card and exported it in text form to Ventura Publisher, a DTP Software. By using C-DAC's ISM, I formatted the text and came out with the 2nd edition of Vol.III in April 1997.
Thereafter, I decided to come out with another compendium HINDI FILMOGRAPHY. As no information for the Hindi films censored after 1980 was available, I thought, by the time further GEET KOSH Volumes are published, brief details should be presented for the benefit of music lovers. Thus, I compiled and published HINDI FILMOGRAPHY in the August 2000, covering the period 1981 to 1999 of Hindi films. Appendices for the period 2000 to 2003 have been published subsequently to update the information and this show goes on !
Poet late Majrooh Sultanpuri has said :
Hum akele hee chale the janibe-manzil magar,
Log saath aatey gaye, kaarvaan bantaa gayaa !
Vol.III in Jan.1980 and Vol.II in Feb. 1984, another music lover Harish
Apart from Hindi films, some efforts have been made to compile information of talkie films and songs made in other languages. Again, Harish Raghuwanshi came into the picture by publishing GUJARATI FILM GEET KOSH in the 1995 which covered the period 1932 to 1994 of Gujarati films and its songs. It has been brought out exactly on the pattern of HINDI FILM GEET KOSH volumes. Such dedication has not been seen for any other Indian language. Brief details of talkie films made in Marathi during the period 1932 to 1981 were published in a Souvenir CHITRA SHARDA in the year 1982 which was edited by Maestro Sudhir Phadke. All the information included in it was compiled by Mr.B.V. Dharap. An attempt to update it upto June 1989 was made by publishing another Souvenir CHITRA SAMPADA in August 1989. Bangla film details were brought out in March 1999 by Nandan, West Bengal Film Centre covering Bangla silent and talkie films from the period 1917 to 1997 under the title BENGALI FILM DIRECTORY. Efforts have also been started by my colleagues under my supervision to publish PUNJABI FILM GEET KOSH exactly on the pattern of HINDI FILM GEET KOSH. Compilation of data of talkie films made in Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and many more is still pending.
Music lovers may not
be aware as to how much difficulties are faced to compile the data
comparatively newly made films. Just to
quote an example, I would say that there is a Regional Office of censor
I do not foresee
that at any time in near future, efforts would be started at Government
to compile and preserve the data relating to Indian films.
Therefore, I always pray that may the tribes
of Firoze Rangoonwalla of Mumbai, Harish Raghuwanshi of Surat, Nalin
Mumbai, Piyush Vyas of Ahmedabad, B.N. Chatterjee of Nagpur, etc., may
long and increase multifold so that some compilation work is done and
available to all !!
© Har Mandir Singh
'Hamraaz'. Please request permission before reproducing.