RMIM Archive Article "139".
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
# RMIM Archives..
# Subject: Year in Hindi Films
# years covered - 1937 to 1939
# Posted by: Surjit Singh, firstname.lastname@example.org
# Source: see the first article in the series
From the RMIM Article Archive maintained by Satish Subramanian
1937 - A Year in Movies
Once again more than 100 Hindi movies were released this
year. I would like to "single" out two of them.
In the era of the talkies this was the first songless
movie which as produced by Wadia Movietone as an exper-
iment. The story took place in a 24 hour span and was
basically about crime, suspence and fighting. But in
many cinema halls people shouted that they had been
cheated and there were reports of the usual riots.
Backgroud music was by Master Mohammad and direction
was by Aspi.
This was a very successful Saigal vehicle, music by R.
C. Boral and Pankaj Mullick. The story was used later
in "bahaare.n phir bhii aaye.ngii." Saigal sung 5 of
the 8 songs, ek raaje kaa betaa, rahegii naa badariyaa
chhaaii, ik ba.ngalaa bane nyaaraa, naa koii prem kaa
rog lagaaye, by himself and, prem kaa hai is jag me.n
pa.nth niraalaa with Pahadi Sanyal. There is a scene
in the movie when veteran actor Prithviraj says to Sai-
gal, in a meaningful voice, words to the effect that he
likes his work very much and is proud of him. I can't
get it out of my mind that it was a case of an actor
praising a fellow actor-singer, and not just the movie
characters. The second name of this movie was " ba.Dii
Some other movies of this year were:
It had a song, "bhaiyyaa aan pha.nsii ab ban me.n", a
parody of "baalam aay baso more man me.n"
duniyaa naa maane
Directed by V. Shantaram, this is the first and the
only movie to dispense with the concept of artificial
background music entirely. Only natural sounds were
used. Whenever there was music or songs, their source
could be seen and identified. The only other movie I
know that used natural sounds is "The Virgin Spring"
directed by the famous Swedish director Ingmar Bergman,
released in 1959, full 22 years later. By using the
fallacious argument that if B did something after S, B
must have copied from S, we get the result that Bergman
got the idea from Dr. V. Shantaram.
India's first completely color film, although experi-
ments in partial color were done before.
This was the first time playback singing was introduced
in a film made in Bombay, great master Anil Biswas was
India beats Sophia Loren, whose movie with the same
name came much later. My tongue is in my proverbial
hit movie, hit songs from K. C. Dey, Kanan Devi and
Pahadi Sanyal. I have been told that whenever K. C.
Dey's "panaghaT pe kanhaiyaa aataa hai" was played,
sachmuch me.n dhoom mach jaatii thii.
zambo, the ape man
Because of copyright law scare, this could not be
called Tarzan, although this was the first of a series
of Tarzan movies made in India. It was also the first
movie appearance by David Abraham, LL. B., hailing from
a Jewish family settled in India in the fifteenth cen-
tury. He got Rs. 75 for this movie. Before acting in
this movie, he had been variously, a clapper-boy, a
continuity-boy, assistant director and a production
manager. He won the Filmfare award for his role as
"John Chacha" in Raj Kapoor's Boot Polish.
1938 - Kamaal Amrohi starts career
The number of Hindi talkies drops to 88 this year. The big
event is the entry of Kamaal Amrohi.
Born in a rich landlord family in Amroha near Moradabad U.
P., Sayyad Ameer Hyder Kamaal "Amrohi" died on February 11,
1993 at age 76. From childhood he liked to write stories. He
went to Madan Theaters, Calcutta, but did not get anywhere.
So he went to Bombay Talkies and wrote a story. He recited
it to Sohrab Modi, who decided to let the young man write
the lyrics and dialogs for the movie "Jailor (1938)" based
on his story. Next year, he gets to write "Pukar", which was
much praised for its dialogs involving the king, Chan-
dramohan and, minister, Sohrab Modi. These two movies esta-
blished Kamaal as a writer.
Producer Ashok Kumar wanted to cast Meena Kumari in Mahal
(1949), but Kamaal did not like her that much. He insisted
on Madhubala and Ashok finally gave in. The first mystery
suspense Hindi movie was slickly directed by Kamaal and was
hugely successful in establishing Madhubala.
A much younger Meena Kumari, on the other hand, saw a pic-
ture of the director of Mahal and fell in love with him. He
was a poet, she was a poet. He knew her as one of the three
daughters of Master Ali Baksh and had rejected her for a
child role in "Jailor" already. One day while travelling
from Mahabaleshwar to Bombay, Meena was involved in a car
accident, and while she was in a hospital in Poona, Kamaal
used to go to see her. Apparently, he liked her now and they
got married quietly on February 15, 1952.
We will pick up their careers later.
Some other movies in 1938 were:
first movie for Chaman Puri, older brother of Madan
Naushad recorded a song as an assistant for Mushtaq
First Hindi movie for Bhagwaan as director.
In her very first film as heroine, Meenakshi Shirodkar
becomes the first heroine to wear a swimming suit,
bathe in cold water and sing a song, "jamunaa biich
khelu.N khel, akelii kyaa, saajanaa, lehare.n hilore
khaatii". It was very controversial, but she was
married and her husband, Pandurang Yashvant Shirodkar,
did not mind!
Anil Biswas records Zohrabai Ambalewali's first song:
"piyaa ghar naahi.n akelii mohe Dar laage" written by
Naushad is assistant again for Mushtaq.
Naushad is assistant to MD B. S. Hoogan.
Kanan Devi sings 6 wonderful songs. Two beautiful songs
by Saigal. A must-see movie available on video. The
famous music director Khemchandra Prakash (Mahal fame)
provides the male voice in a comedy song: "lo khaalo
madam khanaa, kyo.n itanii der lagaaii"
Anil Biswas uses a tune created by Kazi Nazrul Islaam
in the song, "ragge ja.n se Ku.n uchhal pa.De jis pe
a beautiful song from this movie "ai dard zaraa dam le,
karavaT to badalane de" sung by Amirjan, later known as
Amirbai Karnataki was played in the background on the
Radio in the 1948 movie "ghar kii izzat" starring Dilip
1939 - Meena Kumari starts in Hindi movies
Meena Kumari (real name: mahazabii.n) was born on August 1,
1932 to Iqbal Begum, actress and master Alibaksh, music
director. She and her two sisters, Khursheed Junior, actress
(older sister), and Baby Madhuri (younger) used to throw
stones into Naushad's house, who was their neighbor in Da-
dar, Bombay. Naushad complained to their father, and, ac-
cording to Naushad, the three sisters were beaten up by him.
Meena's first movie was Leather Face or Farzand-e-watan
(1939) produced by Prakash Pictures and directed by Vijay
Bhatt. She got 17th billing just before a horse (Bahadur)
and a dog (Tiger). She played the role of Jairaj's daughter,
and, whose sweetheart she would play in Maghroor (1950). In
her early days she did playback for her sister Madhuri and
sang her own songs in many films. After working in about 15
pictures as a child, she got her first grownup role in
Bachchon Ka Khel (1946). Then Homi Wadia cast her in a
mythological called Veer Ghatotkach (1949) and she became a
chhota goddess and acted in a series of those - Hanuman Pa-
tal Vijay (1951), Laxmi Narayan (1951), etc. But she esta-
blished herself as a star in Prakash Pictures Baiju Baawara
(1952), as everybody knows.
Other notable movies of 1939:
Probably the first one to have a song in Gujarati, Pan-
jabi, Telugu, Tamil and Bangla which was sung by Shanta
Hubalikar. It was directed by V. Shantaram and had a
Marathi version called maaNuus.
braa.nDii kii botal
written by the famous Marathi P. K. Atre, it was the
first one to have the flag song, jha.NDaa uu.Nchaa rahe
had four songs, all by Saigal.
first movie for Khemchandra Prakash of Mahal fame.
Gariib kaa laal
had a song, tujhe bibbo kahu.N yaa sulochanaa, umaa
shashii kahu.N yaa ki jamunaa. This is he first time
that names of popular artists of the day are used in a
song. The whole song is full of popular names. You
don't know any of these gals? Well, that is why I call
Pandit Pradeep makes a debut by writing four songs,
among which is "mai.n to aartii utaaru.n raadheshyaam
kii re" sung by Leela Chitnis, Pradeep and chorus. A
very successful movie starring Ashok Kumar and Leela
Chitnis, it ran for six months in Bombay. Music was by
Saraswati Devi and Ramchandra Pal.
Pankaj Mullick sang and set to music probably his most
famous composition, "piyaa milan ko jaanaa" .
hit movie that established Kamaal Amarohi as a writer.
Had excellent music by Mir Sahib. I just love "zindagii
kaa saaz bhii kyaa saaz hai" sung beautifully by
Nasseem Bano, Dilip Kumar's mother-in-law. It was about
the famous justice system of Jahangir (played by Chan-
dramohan), who used to say, "jaan kaa badalaa jaan",
or, if you kill someone, the system will kill you.
Well, his wife kills a poor dhobi by mistake. But he
loved his wife too much, so instead of awarding a death
sentence to Noorjahan, he said that the dhobi's wife
(played by Sardar Akhtar, director Mehboob's wife)
should take revenge by killing Noorjahan's husband.
Dhoban is ready to kill, but the clever minister
(Sohrab Modi) intervenes (he has motives of his own)
and, in a classic copout, offers her lots of riches.
She accepts the money and everybody is happy. Dhobi is
said to have died not in vain but for a good cause!