Article Hindi

5 early hits of Bhagatram Batish

On the composer’s 45th death anniversary today (he died on 29 November 1973), we revisit his best-known songs scored together with younger brother Husnlal Batish.

Sonal Pandya

It’s a little known fact that the first music composer duo in the Hindi film scene were a pair of brothers named Bhagatram and Husnlal Batish. Credited as Husnlal Bhagatram, they arrived around the same time as Naushad and C Ramachandra but have not remained in public memory like their contemporaries.

The elder Batish, Bhagatram, struck out first as a solo composer for films like Bahadur Ramesh (1939), Midnight Mail (1939), Hatimtaai Ki Beti (1940) and Sandesha (1940). But upon the guidance and encouragement of their elder brother, Pandit Amarnath, they began composing for Prabhat Studios under a monthly contract of Rs500 each. It is said that they used to address each other as 'Professorji' and 'Panditji'.

Husnlal and Bhagatram began scoring together with Chand (1944), but within two decades separated and went their own ways. Husnlal, a talented violinist, gave up films and started teaching classical music. Bhagatram played the harmonium later for other music composers, including Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

Here are some of their more well-known hits.

1. 'Do Dilon Ko Yeh Duniya' — Chand (1944)

The hit song, 'Do Dilon Ko Yeh Duniya', sung by Manju, actor Karan Dewan's wife, was picturized on her younger brother Balakram. Lyricist Qamar Jalalabadi wrote all the songs on the album. The Prabhat film, directed by DD Kashyap, starred Prem Adib, Begum Para and Sitara Devi. Luckily for the brothers, their first venture together proved successful and paved the way for future hits.

2. 'Tere Nainon Ne Chori Kiya' — Pyar Ki Jeet (1948)

OP Dutta's successful romance starring Suraiya and Rehman featured many hit songs by the singing star, including 'Tere Nainon Ne Chori Kiya'. Once again, Qamar Jalalabadi was the lyricist. The soundtrack also boasted of a popular Mohammed Rafi solo 'Ek Dil Ke Tukde Hazaar Huye'.

Interestingly, Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi (of the popular composer duo Shankar-Jaikishan) assisted the brothers on their songs and even played the tabla for a few compositions. Soon, he branched out to form another composer duo with Jaikishan with Raj Kapoor's Barsaat (1949).

3. 'Chup Chup Khade Ho' — Bari Bahen (1949)

Another superhit soundtrack was DD Kashyap's Bari Bahen with the popular pair of Rehman and Suraiya. While the actress sang most of the songs, the one that has stood the test of time and been repeated in films and Antakshari competitions has been 'Chup Chup Khade Ho'. A rare female duet featuring Lata Mangeshkar and Premlata, the song written by Qamar Jalalabadi was playful and catchy and gave the upcoming Mangeshkar an opportunity to shine in Suraiya's presence.

4. 'Hum Ne Samjha Tha Apna Bhi Hoga Koi' — Naach (1949)

Initially Mohammed Rafi sang for the brothers the non-film song tribute to Mahatma Gandhi after his assassination, 'Suno Suno Ae Duniyawalon Bapu Ki Yeh Amar Kahani'. He got ample opportunity with Husnlal Bhagaratram with songs like 'Ek Dil Ke Tukde Hazaar Huye' from Pyar Ki Jeet (1948).

In the film Naach (1949), directed by Ravindra Dave, starring Suraiya and Shyam, Rafi sang with both Suraiya and Lata Mangeshkar. The heartfelt 'Hum Ne Samjha Tha Apna Bhi Hoga Koi' was right up his alley.

5. ‘Bekaraar Hai Koi’ — Shama Parwana (1954)

The romantic duet by Suraiya and Mohammed Rafi, picturized on Suraiya and Shammi Kapoor, was another enchanting rendtition by the singers. The tragic Shama Parwana featured Kapoor as the poet Gul Mirza and Suraiya as the poetess Aalam Meherbano. Naturally, the soundtrack of 12 songs showed off their interactions in the film.

Though the film didn't do well at the box office, the music of Husnlal Bhagatram was appreciated. A year later, the makers of the Egyptian film Madraset al-Banat (1955) are said to have copied a song from Shama Parwana, 'Shyame Bahar Aayi', into their film.