Article Hindi

When Kidar Sharma wrote lyrics for PC Barua's Devdas

For the filmmaker's 20th death anniversary (he died on 29 April 1999), we return to Sharma's autobiography where he recounted his experiences as a lyricist on Devdas (1936).

Sonal Pandya

Filmmaker Kidar Sharma, best known for his films Chitralekha (1941), Mumtaz Mahal (1944) and Bawre Nain (1950), worked his way to the studio floors at New Theatres, Kolkata (then Calcutta). Wanting to work in the film industry after watching Debaki Bose’s Puran Bhakat (1933), Sharma arrived in Kolkata hoping for a break.

He took up odd jobs at the studios as a still photographer and a poster painter, eventually graduating to penning Hindi lyrics and dialogues for PC Barua’s Devdas (1936), thanks to his friendship with the star, KL Saigal.

In his posthumous autobiography, The One And Lonely Kidar Sharma, the filmmaker shared how the film changed his life for the better.

Besides cameraman Bimal Roy who shot the film, Sharma was getting an opportunity to showcase his writing prowess with the project.

“Devdas was my first commissioned writing assignment, my real contribution to Indian movies,” he said. “I had changed the very style of writing for films. Dialogue, the style of the theatre, had persisted in film, I had changed that to sound more natural, more like the language of the common people.”

What’s more, Sharma was on the clock trying to write a song that would go on to become a classic.

“When Devdas was ready, one of the distributors felt that another song should be inserted, because the narrative was probably jumpy. There was no time at all. That night [KL] Saigal and I sat down, and I tried to write a song, appropriate for the situation,” he explained.

Saigal helped to compose the music and the next day the song was picturised.

“With the release of Devdas, I was acknowledged as a great pen. The songs, "Dukh kay aab din beetat naahin" and "balam aaye baso moray munmain” were super hits. I was finally acclaimed, by the press, public and my parents,” the filmmaker stated.