HomeIndia NewsDastaan-Go: Shashadhar Mukherjee 'made up the stars', but remembers to reject Lata...

Dastaan-Go: Shashadhar Mukherjee ‘made up the stars’, but remembers to reject Lata ji

Story-Go: Is there any time to tell and listen to stories? Maybe it would have happened. Or would it not happen. But one thing definitely happens. Tales, stories are interesting to everyone. It would be better if they were present on time. If it is not, it is of the past, even then it is not bad. Because they always go not only by telling us something, but also by teaching. Brings back memories of our times. Even after sweetening the spices of the serious ones, they drink it softly. That’s why ‘Dastaan-Go’ has started, the process of bringing interesting stories to your loved ones. Will try to continue this process. Monday to Friday, everyday…

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Sir, Mistakes happen to humans only. But sometimes it also happens to someone that one mistake of theirs spoils the work done. Overwhelms all his other work. As soon as people take their name, people see their same mistake first, remember everything else related to them later. Or sometimes other things are not visible at all. The biggest example of this is Shashadhar Mukherjee, the big filmmaker of Hindi cinema. It was only a day ago, on 28 September. It was the birthday of Queen Lata Mangeshkar, the Queen of Music. On that occasion, many people remembered Mukherjee sahib along with Lata ji. But why? Because Mukherjee sahib was the person who first rejected Lata ji in the film world. Describing his voice as ‘too thin’, he had said that ‘it will not work’.

This is the year 1948. At that time Mukherjee sahib had started ‘Filmistan Studio’. His brothers-in-law, Ashok Kumar Ganguly (Grandfather Muni, whose sister Shashadhar ji was married) and Rai Bahadur Chunilal (musician Madan Mohan’s father-in-law) were his partners. These people were then making ‘Shaheed’ picture. Kamini Kaushal was the thin voice actress in that picture. In front of him was the actor Yusuf Bhai i.e. Dilip Kumar. Master Ghulam Haider was responsible for composing the music of this film. He first met Lata ji that year. Lata ji herself has disclosed this incident in her interviews. He has even called Master Ghulam Haider as his ‘real God Father’. So sir, Ghulam Haider Sahib took the voice test of Lata ji. He called her in the studio and sang some songs and she liked that voice.

Therefore, he made up his mind to lose Lata ji in the film ‘Shaheed’ itself. But he was the only music director. Could not have taken such a decision related to the film himself. So, he recorded the song (Badnaam Na Ho Jayen) being prepared for the movie ‘Shaheed’ in Lata ji’s voice and reached Mukherjee Sahab. Being the producer, distributor of the film, he could have decided about such things. For this reason, Ghulam Haider sahib reached Lata ji and his voice recording tape. He heard Lata ji’s voice but after listening to her, he rejected her. Saying, ‘Very thin voice. Will not match our heroines. Whereas then consider that Kamini Kaushal, the actress of the film ‘Shaheed’, is the owner of a thin voice. Anyone can listen to them even today if they want. She is 95 years old.

So, Master Ghulam Haider was stunned after listening to Mukherjee sahib. There came the challenge, ‘Well, it is such a thing. No problem. But you will see, one day all the filmmakers, musicians of this film world will fall at the feet of this girl (Lata) and request her to sing in their films. Saying this, he left ‘Filmistan’ with Lata ji. As Lata ji herself told, ‘We went to the station on foot. The station was very close, to Filmistan. Me, he (Ghulam Haider) and my sister. We were standing. He had a box of 555 (cigarettes) in his hand. Putting a beat on it, he said – just sing, son. He told me by singing the song- ‘He broke my heart, don’t leave me somewhere’. So he sang, I sang together. Hearing that, they started saying – very good, this is what I want, come on. took me. And went there and started the rehearsals. After two days the recording of the song was done.

This song was sung by Ghulam Haider Sahab to Lata ji for his second film ‘Mazboor’. He was a famous Musiqar of that era. He also had the responsibility of giving music in ‘Mazboor’. Nazir Ajmeri was the director of this film. And Munavvar Sultana was its actress. He had a heavy voice. In fact, Lata ji’s voice doesn’t suit him at all. Despite this, Ghulam Haider Sahib took a risk on Lata ji. Because he had faith in his understanding and skill of Lata ji. He sang all the songs (which were filmed on the actress) of the ‘Mazboor’ picture to Lata ji and they went on. Not only this, Lata ji also started in the film world from here. Because while the songs for ‘Mazboor’ were being recorded, then two other big musicians of the films also listened to them. They were- Anil Biswas and Khemchand Khemchand Prakash. He also liked Lata ji’s voice. So, both of them also decided to lose Lata ji in their films, there.

In this way, the prophecy of Master Ghulam Haider came true. And Mukherjee sahib also had to admit his mistake later that he had made a mistake in understanding about Lata ji. Even further in his films, Mukherjee sahib sang songs from Lata ji only because the world of Hindi films saw a long period when Lata ji’s songs were guaranteed to be a hit. And every filmmaker wants hit films. However, in the case of Lata ji, whatever happened with Mukherjee sahib, surely no one would like that. But what to do, sometimes mistakes happen. Although Lata ji was not the only one whom Mukherjee sahib rejected. The famous Musikar OP Nayyar sahib was also rejected by Shashadhar ji in the initial phase. This thing is also around the same period, when this kind of incident happened with Lata ji.

OP Nayyar is known as the ‘Magician of Music’. But in the early days, when he reached Bombay only around 1946-47, once a big actor of that era Shyam sent him to Mukherjee. Shyam was actually a good friend of Nayar sahib. It was he who had called him from Delhi to Bombay. So when Nayyar sahib reached Shashdhar ji, he gave him a song. Said, ‘This is the song of Raja Mehndi Ali. Compose it’. Nayyar sahib composed the music of that song in two hours. But that music did not make any special impact on Mukherjee sahib. And he told Shyam sahib, ‘This boy (Nayyar) does not have the power… it is not a new thing.’ However, it will also be interesting to know beyond this that ‘Yhi Boy’ i.e. Nayar Sahab became the guarantee of success of many films of Mukherjee Sahab at one time. That is, Shashdhar ji had to return to Nayyar sahib too.

However, barring a few such cases, the scope and influence of Shashadhar Mukherjee sahib remains very large in the world of films. His parents used to do government jobs. Shashdhar ji was born when he was posted in Jhansi city of today’s Uttar Pradesh. Today’s date i.e. on 29th September, in the year 1909. There were four brothers in total. Two small and one big. The family had nothing to do with films then. But Shashdhar Sahab was caught by the ‘Mayavi Duniya ki Maya’ in his youth and he came to Bombay. He was married at an early age to Sati Devi. This Sati Devi was the sister of famous actors, singer brothers- Ashok Kumar, Anoop Kumar, Kishore Kumar. On the other hand, in Bombay at that time famous actress Devika Rani and her filmmaker husband Himanshu Rai had set up a film studio in the name of ‘Bombay Talkies’. This is about June 22 and 1934.

So when Mukherjee sahib came to Bombay, he found a place in this ‘Bombay Talkies’. When his feet got frozen in it, he also called Ashok Kumar to Bombay. It is said about Devika Rani that she started considering Mukherjee sahib as her brother. But then in the year 1940, Himanshu Rai died and not only the relationship, the entire team of ‘Bombay Talkies’ got disintegrated. Mukherjee sahib had some rift with Devika Rani and he separated from her and formed ‘Filmistan’ studio, which was mentioned earlier. While making films under the banner of ‘Filmistan’ and even after that, Mukherjee sahab did such feats that he got the title of ‘Star Maker’ at one time. That is, ‘the maker of stars’. Some examples- The first film of ‘Filmistan’ studio was ‘Chal Chal Re Naujawan’. This film established Ashok Kumar as an actor in the film world.

Similarly, films like ‘Tum Sa Nahi Dekha’ (1957) helped Shammi Kapoor sahab and ‘Munim ji’ (1955) helped Dev Anand sahab’s career. It was Mukherjee sahib who brought famous actresses – Asha Parekh and Sadhna to the world of films. Even Sadhna’s special hairstyle, which was called ‘Sadhana-cut’, it is said that it was because of Mukherjee sahab. The credit for preparing, bringing the famous film director Nasir Hussain to this position, goes to Mukherjee sahib. He created his own separate ‘Filmalaya Studio’ in 1958. A school teaching acting was also opened with him. Actors like Sanjeev Kumar came out of this school after learning acting. So, the person who played such an important role in the life of others, how, why would he ignore his family. Even Mukherjee sahib did not.

Mukherjee’s two younger brothers Prabodh and Subodh Mukherjee became the producers, directors of films. His eldest brother Rabindra Mohan was not associated with films, but his granddaughter Rani Mukerji is a famous actress of films. Shashadhar’s brother-in-law Joy Mukherjee became a famous actor of the film world. His two other sons- Deb and Shomu Mukherjee were producers, directors of films. Among them, Ayan Mukerji, son of Deb Mukherjee, is a well-known director, producer of the current era. While Shomu Mukherjee’s daughters Kajol (Devgan) and Tanisha are actresses. That’s why those who say it even say that the effect (Prithviraj) of Kapoor family in the film world is almost the same as that of Shashadhar Mukherjee Sahab. Despite this, whenever Shashadhar Mukherjee is remembered today, it is because he rejected Lata ji. Surprising isn’t it? But it happens sometimes.

Tags: birth anniversary, Kajol Devgan, News18 Hindi Originals, Rani mukerji

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