RMIM Archive Article "324".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Anil Biswas and Meena Kapoor
# Posted by: Neha Desai
# Source: indiaxs.com
# Author: Lata Khubchandani
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
LOVE MAKES THEIR WORLD GO ROUND
By Lata Khubchandani
Anil Biswas and Meena Kapoor need only love to cement their
ANIL Biswas and Meena Kapoor would probably never have come together
if he wasn't a composer and she a singer. But come together they
did. Even though, after they met, music was never the focal point of
Biswas, a pioneer in playback singing, with R. C. Boral and Pankaj
Mullick, is one of the greatest composers the Hindi film industry has
ever known. However, as is often the case, life was never easy for
this gifted man. His first marriage was a disaster. And he shunned the
world, preferring to lose himself in music.
Till Meena came into his life and changed his entire perspective, even
though she was over two decades younger. Even today, Biswas says,
simply, "I only live by her love."
Their marriage created quite a furore in the '50s. "How could it not?"
asks Meena today. "We are 20 years apart and he was once married. When
I first met him, he was like an uncle. I didn't dream I'd be his wife
one day. Even my parents called him Anilda'!"
Looking back over four decades, Biswas says, "It was Pannalal Ghosh,
my brother-in-law, who asked me to listen to Meena's voice. I sent for
her, but her father came instead, bringing with him some of Meena's
recorded songs. He said,'My daughter is very shy. She won't come.' "
Meena corroborates, "I never auditioned for my first song. Besides, I
was already an established playback singer. I'd sung as many as 62
songs for other composers before I ever sang for him. So, why would I
have had to audition for him?"
Biswas heard her recorded song from 'Khel' - 'Tod gaye hain, tod gaye,
armaan bhara dil tod gaye'. And called her for rehearsals. At the
time, he was composing for 'Anokha Pyaar'. "While recording, he
instructed recordist, Robin Chatterjee 'mike in the mouse' - their
code for a placing the mike very close to a singer's mouth, especially
if she had soft voice.
"Now, since Anil had never heard me sing and realised I was shy, he
assumed I had a very soft voice. So, when I started singing, Robin
Chatterjee yelled, "Anil'da', you are going to spoil my equipment!' I
had a very bold voice."
That was the start of an affair that would stun the film industry.
Says Meena, "I was 13 when I met Anil. He had already separated from
his wife before I came into his life."
Biswas adds: "I was passing through a rough phase in my life. She was
sympathetic and we became close. I was very attracted to her - to the
point of setting out to woo her. And I won her!"
Smiling, Meena continues: "It took me a long time to fall for Anil,
but once I did there was no looking back. My parents were aghast -
they couldn't come to terms with our age difference. More so, because
I was more or less engaged to a boy from a rich tree planters' family
in Assam. But I refused to go ahead with that. I was so sure of my
feelings for Anil that I told this prospective groom about him. The
poor fellow heard me out and said, 'You are so honest, telling me all
this yourself. I don't mind. I'll still marry you.' When I realised
that honesty wasn't going to work, I walked out of the house and
started living with Anil."
Strangely enough, after she met Biswas, Meena's career started heading
downhill. "When people realised we were having an affair, they slowly
stopped calling. And after we got married, they just assumed he would
never let me sing for others!"
Not that Meena minded. In fact, she loved playing the role of
housewife so much, her musical career took a back seat.
"I'd never been ambitious. Personally, I'd never taken my music
seriously or made a move to further my career. It was my father who
loved my singing and wanted me to excel. After marriage, for the first
time, I had a house of my own. This was a novelty because, as an only
daughter, I'd never been allowed to enter the kitchen. Now, it became
more important that I learn to make 'halwa' than sing.
"People accused Anil of ruining my career, but it was I who wasn't
interested. When he got the offer from Delhi to join the Information
and Broadcasting Ministry, he asked me if I wanted to go. At the time,
my songs 'Rasiya re, man basiya re' and 'Kuchh aur zamaana kehta hain'
were very popular. And composers had begun offering work again. But I
preferred moving to Delhi. Many people tried to dissuade me, saying my
career would be completely wiped out. I didn't care." Biswas, of
course, couldn't help but be touched by such devotion. He coaxed her
to take up the offers that came her way, but Meena was adamant.
She has never regretted her aborted career. "I was so attached to him
that, for me, being away from him was more of a punishment." Today,
their relationship is somewhat filial. Meena has retained a 'little
girl' quality that must have enchanted her husband when he first met
her. "When we fight, I just can't sustain it for too long. Finally, I
tell him, 'I'll apologise later. For now, you make up with me!' "
Says Biswas: "She grew up in front of me; her devotion to me has been
complete. I needed her love. I'd been through the most horrible 'maya'
of ugliness. For me, she was like a lotus in the filth that I'd been
through. I once wrote to her, 'You are - I was. We couldn't meet. My
past is going to be your future.'
"I was attracted to her simplicity. My feelings for her grew so much,
they devoured me. When I proposed to her, her response was: 'Is there
even a five per cent chance of your going back to your wife? If there
is, I won't enter your life. If not, I'd like to share it.' "
Meena says, affectionately, "What I like best about Anil is his
capacity to make people feel special. He needs looking after, like a
"I only wish she didn't have this great capacity for anxiety," worries
Biswas. "She gets tense very easily and spoils her health. She takes
sudden likes and dislikes for people, and goes overboard with her
Meena Kapoor smiles with the confidence of a woman who has never been
through a moment's insecurity in her married life. "I don't think he
has loved anybody the way he loves me. And I'm saying this about
someone who's been a very romantic man in his heyday!" she says.
Biswas is a contented man - having got a companion of his choice. As
for Meena, she gets to play the infatuated wife, the little daughter
and the affectionate mother - roles that keep her very busy. Today,
their lives revolve around each other. All else comes a poor second.