The Maestro with a Midas Touch

By Nimish Pachapurkar

Anil Biswas - better known as Anilda among his fans - made his entry on the stage of Bombay film industry in 1934. He made his impact slowly with hits like Aaj himalay ki choti se fir hum ne lalkara hai and Dheere dheere aare badal, mera bulbul so raha hai, shorgul na macha (Ashok Kumar in Kismet - 1943).

This man has an enormous number of feathers in his cap. If I were a composer and if I had composed something similar to Man mein kisi ki preet basa le (Aaram) even once in my life by sheer accident, I would have quit composing and lived on the memories of my own creation like a confirmed Narcisist. Piano has never sounded any sweeter than that. But Anilda never minded such compositions. He went on to compose Aa mohobbat ki basti basayenge hum (Fareb) (can you really believe that it is actually Kishor Kumar with Lata in that song!) and then Tumhaare bulane ko ji chahata hai (Laadali).

Anilda gave break to many a singers in his long career. Two of the superb voices ever known - Talat Mahmood and Mukesh were introduced by Anil Biswas to us. The Talat-ace Ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal jahan koi na ho (Arzoo) was the first effort of the pair. And what a gem it was! Anilda got the best out of Talat in Tarana (1951). Talat simply sang his way to hearts of millions through Seene mein sulagate hai aramaan with Lata. Then there was one more master piece from the duo Nain mile nain hue baware. The Talat solo Ek main hoon ek meri bekasi ki shaam hai also had its share in the gargantuan success of the film.

An anecdote is very famous involving the two. When Talat met Anilda for his first trial with him, he already had at his back two quite popular private songs Tasveer teri dil mera bahela na sakegi (Music: Kamaldas Gupta) and Ro ro beeta jeevan saara. Both of the songs are beautiful. But Talat wanted to act rather than to sing in films. Anilda listened to his velvet voice and asked him to forget about acting. That was very critical advice in Talat's career and success. As Talat gave the audition test for first song for Arzoo (1950), Anilda asked him to come the next day for the recording. When Talat reappeared the next day, his voice was all different. The slight vibration in the voice had disappeared. Anilda was very angry. "Aise kyun ga rahe ho ?", he asked Talat, "Where is the modulation in your voice?". Talat informed him that he had purposefully kept out the quiver as people told him that that was a major drawback in his voice. Anilda scolded him for that and asked him to sing the way he used to. Talat obeyed the king. This is the story of birth of the breath-taking Ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal jahan koi na ho. Other Talat-Anilda beauties include Tera khayal dil se mitaya nahi abhi (Do Raha), Raahi matwale, chhed ek baar, dil ka sitaar, jane kab chori chori aayi hai bahar (Waaris), Shukriya ae pyar tera (Aaram) and the sweet sentimental Muhobbat tark ki maine, garebaan see liya maine (Do Raha). One more worth mentioning is Jeevan hai madhuban (Jasoos) which was based on the famous Kay Sera Sera, as admitted by Anilda himself.

Mukesh was introduced to the audience by Anilda in his debut song Dil jalata hai to jalane de (Pahli Nazar). This nephew of Motilal first hit the fans of Saigal with his Saigal-inspired style. But later went on to cultivate a style of his own. There exists a story regarding this song also. Mukesh did not appear for the recording at the pre-decided time. Angry Anilda found him sleeping in his house totally unaware of the blunder he had made. Anilda gave a fine slap to Mukesh and asked him to come to senses. Mukesh immediately got up and recorded the song which changed his destiny. Mukesh sang the unforgettable melody for Anilda picturized on Premnath for Aaram - Ae jaane jigar, dil mein samane aa ja and the famous Jeevan sapana toot gaya (Anokha Pyar).

Anil Biswas and Lata Mangeshkar - at a recording Lata has always been Anilda's first choice. Number of brilliant pieces has he composed for Lata. One from Aaram (1951) is already mentioned. Tarana sported an all time great from Lata - Beimaan tore nainwa neediya na aaye picturized on unforgettable Madhubala with Dilipkumar reclining in her lap. Yaad rakhana, chand taaro, is suhani raat ko (Anokha Pyar 1948) and Intezaar aur abhi, aur abhi, aur abhi (Char Dil Char Raahen 1959) will be certainly rated among Lata's top notchers. Her Allah bhi hai, mallah bhi hai, Kashti hai ke doobi jaati hai (Maan) was originally composed for Haar Singaar by Anil Biswas. But the movie never saw light of the day. So this beautiful song was wasted on a begger in Maan. Jaana na dil se door aankhon se door ja ke, Ek dil ka lagana baki tha to dil bhi laga ke dekh liya, Bol papihebol re and Katati hai ab to zindagi marne ke intezaar mein are just a few of the wonders the pair created for us.

Anil Biswas did not confine himself to the top playback singers once he made them. He got the all time great Door papiha bola, raat aadhi rah gayi (Gajre) from Suraiyya. Suraiyya also sang Raahi matwale (Waaris) for him. The first one is certainly one of her bests with Anilda's out-worldly touch of mystic added to it.

Artists like Anil Biswas are seldom born. And when they create such ethereal musical beauties as he has, they leave behind a great treasure of first class music to fill lives of millions. Today's music directors would make a living for next thousand years plagiarizing the wealth of music that he has created so humbly in the last fourty years, and yet, they will not be able to explore even one tenth of what Anil Biswas did.

Hats off to the genius!!!


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Recommended screen size 1280 X 1024. Last modified June 1, 2003.