1942 - Suraiya Sings!
Born at Lahore on June 15, 1929, Suraiya Jamaal Shekh
educated at the New High School for Girls, Bombay. On a holiday
from school, she went, with her uncle character actor Zahur, to
Mohan Studios to see the shooting of Taj Mahal. A child actor was
needed and out of fun, she agreed. Director Nanubhai Vakil liked
her very much. But she went on with her education and kept taking
parts in All-India Radio's children's programs along with another
child-actor Raj Kapoor. Everybody was amazed at the ease with
which she reproduced the popular movie songs of the day.
She sang her first solo song, "buuT karuu.n mai.n polish
buuT karu.N mai.N polish" written by tanviir naqavii and set to
music by Naushad, in the film naii duniyaa. G. M. Durrani was an
assistant MD. Other songs were sung by Rajkumari and Durrani.
Apart from naii duniyaa, Suraiya did playback singing in station
master (1942), shaarada (1942), sanjog (1943), kaanuun (1943) and
jiivan (1944), all for Naushad. All of these movies made her very
She sang for herself for the first time in hamaarii baat
(1943) where she got seventh billing and Raj Kapoor, who acted as
a peon, was mentioneed at number 13, the last one in the credits!
She sang 4 songs: 3 duets with arun kumaar and one chorus. In the
very next movie, ishaaraa (1943) she was cast opposite Prithviraj
Kapoor. She never looked back after that. The movie magazines
dubbed her the "chocolate charmer" of the Indian screen. She
experienced the greatest thrill of her life when Saigal saw her
rehearsing a song for Director Jayant Desai's samraaT chandrag-
upta (1945). Saigal liked her lilting voice and suggested to
Desai to cast her as a heroine in tadabiir (1945) opposite him.
She was thrilled. They acted in two more movies, umar Kayyaam
(1946) and paravaanaa (1947). We will pick up her career later.
There were many other firsts in 1942. Here are some of
Filmistaan studios is formed by a group of people,
Mukherji and Ashok Kumar, who were dissatisfied with the manage-
ment of Bombay Talkies.
Abdul Rasid Kardar forms his Kardar studios.
V. Shantaram breaks away from Prabhat Studios and starts
Rajkamal Kalamandir (named after his parents, raajaaraam and
kamal vaNakudre) on the former Wadia Movietone premises.
Homi Wadia starts Basant Pictures.
Mehboob starts his own production company with the
and sickle logo.
Here are some other movies released in 1942.
Baby mumataaz, later known as Madhubala, acts in her first
movie; she gets 10th billing. She lipsynched the very popu-
lar, ik chhoTii sii duniyaa re, sung by Parul Ghosh, with a
tune created by Parul Ghosh's brother, Anil Biswas. More
about Madhubala later.
When Kidar Sharma saw Bharat Bhooshan, he said that that was
the kabiir he was looking for. The moviegoing public agreed
and made him a star. Has the very popular song, bhaj man
raam rahiimaa, bhaj krishaN kariimaa. The Mayor of Calcutta
presented BB with a silver souvenir.
Another excellent movie by Saigal. Has many of his famous
bhajans. One is madhukar shyaaam hamaare chor, another is
maiyyaa morii mai.n nahi.n maakhan khaayo. His younger
brother Mahendra Saigal was Krishan in the movie and his
voice can be heard saying "suurdaasaji" in the song, nis din
barasat nain hamaare. He recorded the song, nainahiin ko
raah dikhaa prabhu, 14 times, but still not satisfied with
his performance, cried openly and bitterly. After a while he
gained his composure and recorded what turned out to be
nothing less than a masterpiece. While reporting on this
incident in an article in Listeners' Bulletin, Har Mandir
Singh writes, echoing every music-lover's sentiments, "san-
giit saadhanaa kaa aisaa tapasvii phir kab milegaa."
Vijay Bhatt's first epic movie based on the Ramayana.
Credits include dozens of literary sources, historians and
Kanan Devi sang her way to fame in this movie directed by P.
C. Barua. Kamal Dasgupta provided the music for hit numbers
like, tuufaan mel, ai chaand chhup naa jaanaa, kuchh yaad
rahe to sun kar jaa.
Mainly a Noorjehan vehicle in which she sings 8 songs, one a
duet with Shamshad. Produced by Pancholi Pictures, music by
Gulam Haider. Four songs are available in the Rare Gems
series by HMV.
The first film to have many new special-effects techniques
by co-director Babubhai Mistry, who ruled this genre for
fifty years. He was a consultant to the hit TV serial
Ramayana of the 80's.
Mehboob's classic movie comparing capitalism and communism.
Popular music was provided by Anil Biswas. A rare appearance
by the "malikaa-e-Gazal" Begum Akhtar, who was known as
Akhatari Faizabadi then. She sang 6 songs. Satyajit Ray's
jalasaaghar (1958) was her last movie. She died in 1974.
The first Hindi movie for C. Ramchandra. More about him
Qamar jalaalaabaadii wrote his first song, duniyaa mai.n
Gariibo.n ko aaraam nahii.n milataa, sung by Shamshad, music
by Gulam Haider. This was a sequel to the hit movie Kazaan-
chii by Pancholi.
Most of the info comes from the following:
"The Encyclopaedia of Hindi Film Songs," vol. II.
"Star-Portrait", by Harish S. Booch and Karin Doyle.
"Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema," by A. Rajadhyaksha and
Posted by SS=Surjit Singh, a movie fan period.
Formatted by SS=Satish Subramanian
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