The First Decade: summing up


           The Thirties - The first decade


The first decade can be summed up as the decade of the big
studios and their popular stars. And they did practically every-
thing that could be done. I will try to bring in some of the
things I failed to mention in the previous ten posts.

The first Persian language talkie, "Dokhtar-e-Lor" was made
in India in 1933 by Ardeshir Irani of Aalam Aaraa fame. Bombay
Talkies made, perhaps, the first officially commissioned ad film
for Dalda vanaspati for Lintas ad agency in 1938. In 1935, the
first Indian cartoon picture, "lafangaa languur" or "The Merry
Monkey" produced by H. B. Gutschwager in Hindi, was shown along
with the main feature, "svapana svaymbar" at the Majestic Cinema,
Bombay. In 1937, Wadia Movietone made history by synchronizing
Hindi songs and dances with the extremely popular American silent
movie called "Thief of Baghdad" starring Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.
They called the dubbed version "Sulemani Shetranji".

Majority of the popular and well-established stars (32 in
all) were mentioned in the following song from the almost-end-
of-the-decade movie "Gharib Ka Lal (1939)" . The lyricists of the
movie were Rafi Kashmiri and Munshi Qabil, the MD was Sagiir
Aasif. The entire song is

"tujhe bibbo kahu.N ki sulochanaa,
umaashashii kahu.N yaa ki jamunaa
tujhe motii kahu.N ki biliimoriyaa,
tujhe saigal kahu.N yaa ki baravaa
tujhe kajjan kahu.N yaa ki shaantaa,
ratanabaii kahu.N mahataab kah duu.N yaa ki maadhurii
merii bimalaa merii kaanan merii jaddan merii rozii,
tujhe gauhar kahu.N ki sabitaa
devikaaraanii kahu.N ki lalitaa,
durgaa khoTe kahu.N ki zubedaa
tujhe ghorii kahu.N diikshit kahu.N
yaa tujhe chaarlii kah duu.N
kahu.N mirzaa musharraf
yaa tujhe mai.n kaabulii kah duu.N
tujhe surendra kahu.N yaa ki vaastii,
mai.n kumaar kahu.N yaa ki Gazanavii"

[A side remark - Umaa Shashi mentioned in this song is the Umaa
who sang with Saigal. Umaa Devii whom Naushad introduced in Dard
(1947), who became an overnight sensation with her very first
song "afsaanaa likh rahii hu.N", who later, unfortunately,
developed an eating disorder and became a comedic actress known
as TunTun, was an entirely different person.]

Apart from the ever popular songs by Saigal, K. C. Dey, Pankaj
Mullick and others, this decade also gave us the following:

"uTh jaag musaafir bhor bhaii,"
From "saliimaa (1935)"; my grandma sang it to me when I was
a child.

"kabhii ai haqiiqate ras bharii, nazar aa libaase sharaab me.n"
A delightful parody of a famous Iqbaal poem, written by
Kidar Sharma for "Millionaire (1936)" a Saigal movie.

"jan gaN man adhinaayak"
Our national anthem was for the first time used in the movie
"insaan yaa shaitaan (1933)".

"Dongaa Dongaa Dam Dam Daakaa aadam bokaa masanam maakaa"
The first song with nirarthak (meaningless) words written by
G. R. seThii and set to music by maaadhulaal daamodar master
for the first part of the 4-part "haatimataaii (1933)".

"tilachaTTaa haai tilachaTTa chhipakalii ne pakaD liyaa"
A tribute to the everlasting cockroach, lyricist mercifully
unknown, set to music by harishachandra baalii for "bhi-
khaaran (1935)".

"bhaalo baashii tomaay aamii taav kii khule bolate hobe"
The first Bangla song in a Hindi movie, "muflia aashiq
(1932)" produced, naturally, by maadan theaters, Calcutta.

"mohammad mohammad pukaare chalaa jaa, yu.N hii diino-duniyaa
sa.nvaaree chalaa jaa"
The first among very rare songs to have the name of the Pro-
phet in them, was in the movie "nuure islaam (1934)".

"yaa ilaahii miT naa jaaye darde-dil"
A song that Mehmood keeps mispronouncing in "aarzuu (1965)"
was from the movie "billii (1938)" , sung by kaanti laal and
suniitaa devii, written by P. L. santoshii, MD was gyaan

"saare jahaan se achchhaa saabun banaa hamaaraa, ham kishtiyaa.n
hai.n isakii"
The first parody of a national song, in the movie "sunaharaa
sa.nsaar (1936)", written by vijay kumaar, B. A. and set to
music by K. C. Dey.

Most of the info comes from the following:

"The Encyclopaedia of Hindi Film Songs," vols. I-IV, compiled by
Mr. Har Mandir Singh "Hamraaz", published by Mrs. Satinder Kaur.

"The Indian Film," perhaps the first Ph. D. thesis in India on the sub-
ject of movies. The writer, Miss Panna Shah, was awarded the Ph.
D. degree working with the eminent Professor G. S. Ghurye of the
University of Bombay in 1950. Reprinted by Greenwood Press, West-
port, Connecticut in 1981.

"Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema," by A. Rajadhyaksha and P.
Willemen, published by Oxford University Press in 1994. Excellent
effort, the only book of its kind. Some obvious errors even in
articles on recent movies could have been easily avoided by
watching the movies just once! I am sure the planned second edi-
tion would be even better.

Surjit Singh, a movie fan period.

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