Remembering 1952 - The Coming of Age for Hindi Music

So we will definitely talk about how 1951 was a better musical year than 1952, maybe some other day. But today we are here to appreciate 1952 for the year of musical gems, it was. India had been independent for 5 years already. And despite sounding donnish, there can't be a better year to start engulfing oneself into the magic of old Indian bollywood.

But before we get started, let me share the greatest thing on Internet first with the readers -

Yes, there is a complete website for Mohammad Rafi, and thats not even close to the most awesome thing this website has. It boasts of an unparallel feat of having a 24 hr Rafi channel. So if you had been searching for God all your life and didn't know which website to look at, here it is. 24 hr of Rafi and you have found God.


1952 holds a special place in Indian history because of the first general elections held in India that year and how India as a country came out of shackles in many aspects. And Bollywood slowly became the pulse of the nation by then. One of the biggest happening that will change the way people had access to music would change dramatically with the beginning of Binaca geet mala on radio Ceylon. A quick trivia there: Binaca is a part of Dabur Group, and would become Cibaca later on. The show would also give India its first and the only superstar of radio - Mr Ameen Sayani. The show ran non stop on Radio Ceylon till 1988 after which it went over to Vividh Bharti and ran for 6 more years before ending in 1994. And if you aren't warmed up yet, then here is something that will start you up (like Cibaca and Binaca)

Now back to business, Hindi cinema kept buzzing with brilliance of Dev sahab, Dileep sahab and Raj Kapoor. But the year became notable for the new talent on the block, Bharat Bhushan. With Baiju Bawra and Anand Math, Bhushan had 2 brilliant inks to his name this year. Both were musical and cinematic masterpieces. Talat and Mukesh kept having a brilliant year as singers but it was slowly becoming obvious that the times were changing and Rafi, being the force of nature he was, was slowly taking over erverything by storm.

And in females, it was obvious in 1951 itself that there was nothing like Maa Saraswati but only Lata mangeshkar, who continued to have a fantastic year in 1952 as well.

It would be interesting to note the best films of the year. Aan, Baiju Bawra, Daag, Jaal, Anhonee, Sangdil and Aandhiyan. Among music composers Naushad had come into his own. With the seminal work in Dulari with Rafi - Suhani raat dhal chuki, the song which some people mistook as the national anthem of Trinidad & Tobago, it was so popular; he was back again and the duo created magic in Baiju Bawra. Each song of the film is a classic and continued to inspire generations of composers and singers. Each song from this soundtrack is a masterpiece starting from the devotional Man Tadpat Hari darshan ko and O Duniya Ke Rakhwale to the poignant Tu Ganga Ki Mauj. It is said that a Hindu from Nepal came to Mumbai afer hearing 'man tadpat hari darshan' and was dumbfounded to know that it was sung by a muslim (Rafi sahab). He literally fell onto his foot and worshipped him like Hari.

Aan was the other masterpiece of Naushad this year and is considered an epic film in its entirety with Dileep kumar and Nadira giving one of the best performances on-screen. Each song of the movie would come across as a claasic with Maan Mere Ehsaan, Lagi Tanman Mein, Tujhe Kho Diya Humne Paa Leneke Baad being the popular numbers, the stand out was Dil Mein Chhupa Ke Pyar Ka Toofan which has Rafi in his melodious best

While Rafi and Naushad were busy in their own league, Talat sahab was having his best year as well. Claimed by many as the replacement of Saigal, Talat was destined to greatness had Rafi storm not invaded the Bollywood planet. But having said that, his smooth silk voice was at its best in 1952. He had so many brilliant songs this year that its hard to figure out some of  the better ones, but Main Dil Hoon Ek Armaan Bhara (Anhonee), Tum Ko Fursat Ho (Bewafa, AR Quereshi aka Allah Rakha Khan or father of Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, the movie had Ashok Kumar and Raj Kapoor in their only screen appearance together), Aye Mere Dil Kahin ( Daag, Shankar Jaikishen), Mohabbat Mein Kashish Hogi (Khoobsurat, Madan Mohan) and the entire soundtrack of C Ramchandra's Parchhayaian with songs like Woh Zalim Pyar Kya Jaane and Kya Dil Ka Lagana Bhool Gaye

SD burman and OP Nayyar had a silent year by their general standards. But someone who did get out if shadows was Hemant da. Jaal and Anand Math turned out to be epitomes of harmonic music, bringing out the essence of Rabindro sangeet. He also got prominence for the toxicating vocals in 'Ye raat ye chandni fir kahan'. SJ also had a silent year, probably the only silent year in the 50s with their prominent creation being Daag.

And now to the singer who would be the only one to out sing Rafi sahab in the bigger scheme of things.  Lata sang more than 100 songs again as she did in 1951.Khelo Rang hamare sang with Shamshad Begum (Aan), all ongs of Nirmohi with Madan Mohan (A relationship that will not end even with the latter dying and lata coming back out of retirement to sing in Veer Zara for him). The total list of Lata songs can be found here, as it would be wrong to pick some out of these gems in 1952 -

So all in all a special year for hindi music and something that generations will keep listening to. And before we part, here's my fav song of the year.

P.S. Kishore da was active too this year but the extent was still lower, would love to hear what other hindi music fans can add here


{ Unknown } at: May 1, 2014 at 3:05 AM said...

Loved this article. I bet you will face the challenge of catering only to a small audience who appreciate this kind of music and revel in nostalgia. These are also the people who would appreciate your article but will perhaps not find time to leave a comment and that is why I decided to post this one.

Look forward to more coverage for the subsequent years in future.

Self proclaimed Rafi Sahab's fan

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