Saraswati Devi (music director)

Saraswati Devi (music director)

Mein Ban ki Chiriyra Banke Bun Bun Bolun Re (Achut Kanya 1936) - The person who entertained thousands of music lovers with such enchanting composition of film songs was none other than Saraswati Devi [1] - the distinguished lady music director of Hindi cinema mostly known to compose music for Bombay Talkies during the 30's and 40's.[2]

Khursheed Manchersher Minocher — Homji (original name of Saraswati Devi) in real life was born in 1912 in a Parsi family. She had a natural talent and love for music, realizing this her father made her study classical music under Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande who was specialized in Dhrupad and Dhamar style of singing. Later she joined Lord Morris College at Lucknow and studied music as her subject.[3]

With the setting up of a radio station at Mumbai in late 20s she along with her sister Manek gave musical performances regularly, the programme known as the Homji Sisters was very popular with the listeners. The founder of Bombay Talkies, Himanshu Rai who was looking for a good classicalist for his movies, heard them on radio and got in touch with her and invited her to visit the studio where she was shown the music room. He wanted her to take care of the music department and score music for his movies and Kursheed accepted the offer and took it as a challenge. Her first assignment was for the movie, "Jawani Ki Hawa" - 1935 starring Himanshu Rai's actress wife Devika Rani. She had a tough time making the actors sing and had to simplify the tunes and cover some areas with music instead of song as they were no singers and play back was still not introduced.[4]

"Jawani Ki Hawa" was followed by her first hit movie "Achut Kanya" - 1936. Ashok Kumar along with Devika Rani had to spend several hours a day for many days rehearsing for a song before it was picturised. It was something like teaching a nursery rhyme.

There was a big uproar and a series of protests in the Parsi community. The Bombay Talkies had some of its board of directors from the Parsi community who wanted the Parsi girls out of the Talkies.[5] It was the brave effort of Himanshu Rai who defended them and to conceal their identity, Khursheed was given the name Saraswati Devi.[6] Saraswati Devi is the first female music director in Hindi Films.

Saraswati Devi continued composing film music till 1961. She composed the famous song Koi Humdum Na Raha originally sung by Ashok Kumar [7] in the film Jeevan Nayya (1936) later sung by Kishore Kumar in the film Jhumroo.

Filmography [8]
1935 - Jawani Ki Hawa
1936 - Achut Kanya, Janma Bhoomi, Jeewan Nayya, Mamta, Miya Biwi
1937 - Izzat, Jeewan Prabhat, Prem Kahani, Saavitri
1938 - Bhaabhi, Nirmala, Vachan
1939 - Durga, Kangan w/ RC Pal, Navjeewan
1940 - Aazad, Bandhan both with RC Pal
1941 - Jhoola, Naya Sansar. with RC Pal
1943 - Bhakt Raidas, Prarthana, Prithvi Vallabh, Rafiq Ghaznavi
1944 - Dr Kumar, Parakh Khursheed Anwar
1945 - Aamrapali
1946 - Maharani Mrinal Devi
1947 - Khandani
1948 - Naqli Heera
1949 - Usha Haran
1950 - Bachelor Husband w/ Muhammed Ibrahim
1955 - Inaam w/ SN Tripathi and
1961 - Babasa Ri Laadi (Rajastani)


External links

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