Thursday, July 17, 2008

Music directors in Binaca geetmala

Binaca geetmala was a barometer of popularity of songs, which in those days of primitive technology was not very scientific as it was based on sales of records and votes of Listeners clubs. Records were unaffordable for common man so the quantity of records sold were quite abysmal really. Binaca geetmala considered sales of records of only about 40 record sellings outlets in 7 or 8 cities. But this was later discarded and the radio listener clubs were developed.These listeners clubs ( about 200 odd in numbers) would decide the popularity of songs and advise Binaca geetmala.

Of course,popularity of songs were not necessarily proportional to quality of songs. Many of the old songs that became very popular subsequently fared poorly in Binaca geetmala, and some of these songs even failed to appear in the annual countdown of Binaca geetmala on the last wednesday of the year. If songs were released late in the year, then the songs would fall between two stools. They neither ranked high in the year of their release, nor did they qualify for next year's coundown, as they would become previous year's song by then.

For the sake of this discussion, I have assumed that Binaca geetmala was the one hour programme broadcast on Radio Ceylon (later called SLBC) from 1954 to 1987. From 1988,this programme was taken off SLBC.For all practical purposs, this programme came to an end there.

We had programmes variously called Cibaca sangeetmala, Cibaca geetmala, Colgate Cibaca Geetmala etc on Vividh Bharati, but these could hardly be called Binaca geetmala because these later programmes were half an hour programmes, and moreover, the Radio listeners clubs, which were the backbone of judging the popularity of Binaca geetmala shows were well and truly defunct by that time. So, for our purpose, Binaca geetmala programme was the one hour countdown programme that was broadcast on Radio Ceylon from 1954 to 1987.

Based on the songs played in Binaca geetmala finals during this 34 years period, here is how various music directors fared in Binaca geetmala:

Laxmikant Pyarelal( 174 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Laxmikant Pyarelal, who made their debut in Binaca geetmala finals in 1963 with their debut movie "Parasmani" would go on to become the most prolific music director in the history of Binaca geetmala.During their long and illustrious career, Laxmikant Pyarelal won the top position in Binaca geetmala finals in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975,1980,1984,1986 and 1987. In fact, the pale shodow of Binaca geetmala that was subsequently broadcast for a few years ( which I do not regard as Binaca geetmala for this article) also saw Laxmikant Pyarelal earn two more top positions- in 1989 and 1993.

Laxmikant Pyarelal were statistically the most successful music directors in the history of Binaca geetmala.

Shankar Jaikishan ( 133 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- The most successful music directors in the early days of Binaca geetmala were this amazingly prolific and successful music director duo known as Shankar Jaikishan.Their songs finished first in the Binaca geetmala finals of 1955,1961,1962,1964,1966 and 1971.And considering that they notched their wonderful run in Binaca geetmala while competing against many all time great music directors at their best, the achievements of Shankar Jaikishan just boggles the mind.

RD Burman( 118 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Chip of the old block,the son of S D Burman started his career in 1961 with Chote Nawab, and then cooled his heels for a few years, before he started to serve notice on the old guard of Bollywood music world. And before one could realise what was happening, the old guard, despite continuing to churn great music, found themselves out of work. That is how strongly the hurricane Pancham and Hurricane Kishore Kumar hit the Bollywood music world in late 1960s and early 1970s.

Surprisingly, despite the overwhelming dominance of R D Burman in Binaca geetmala for much of 1970s, R D Burman had just one first place finish in Binaca geetmala finals- and it was in 1972.But statistics like this do not do him proper justice. He was the most influential music director of Bollywood of that era( circa 1966-80)who changed the taste of public for good.

Kalyanji Anandji(74 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Kalyanji Anandji were just as resilient as Laxmikant Pyarelal, who could hold their own despite changing tastes of the public. They made their debut in Binaca geetmala 1960 and survived till late 1980s. Their songs topped the list of Binaca geetmala finals in 1965, 1973,1974, 1979 and 1981. Quite impressive, one must say.

S D Burman(55 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- S D Burman was already an established music director when Binaca geetmala countdown show began in 1954. And it was a S D Burman composition that had the honour of becoming the first ever top song of the year in 1954. S D Burman's songs topped the Binaca finals lists in 1958 and 1959 as well.

Ravi(46 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Ravi was one music director who survived almost the entire duration of Binaca geetmala from 1954 to 1980s.Making his debut as a music director and in Binaca geetmala with the memorable lori-"Chanda mama door ke" (Vachan),Ravi's songs never topped Binaca geetmala finals, but he came close on a few occasions.His songs finished second in 1958,1960 and 1983 and third in 1963,1968 and 1983.

Bappi Lahiri(44 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Bappi Lahiri, whose debut movie Zakhmee (1975) had some decent songs, and who began as a poor man's R D Burman soon jumped into the bandwagon of chalu songs, which saw him emulating R D Burman as a singer cum music director- and he would sing for Mithun Da, poor man's Amitabh Bachchan.His other brand of Chalu songs were for Jeetendra. Despite being a very popular music director in 1980s, Bappi Lahiri never had the satisfaction of seeing any of his songs reach number 1 in the Binaca geetmala finals, though a few of his songs came close and finished second in 1982 and 1984 and third in 1982,1984,1985 and 1986.

Naushad(34 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Naushad was already a legendary music director when Binaca geetmala began. Naushad's songs never topped Binaca geetmala finals. But his songs were number 2 in 1955 and 1962 and third in 1964.

O P Nayyar(33 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-O P Nayyar was just as influential in 1950s as was R D Burman in 1970s. And O P Nayyar rewrote the rules. His influence cannot be properly gauged by looking at the cold Binaca geetmala statistics, which shows that he made his debut in 1955 and he had just one top finish in Binaca geetmala finals- in 1956. O P Nayyar was a far more influential music director than what his Binaca geetmala statistics suggest.

Rajesh Roshan (28 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Chip of the old block, Rajesh Roshan got third position in Binaca geetmala in his debut year of 1975. And he managed the pole position in Binaca geetmala finals of 1982, thus emulating his father,Late Roshan's feat, who had achieved it some two decades back.

Madan Mohan(24 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Considering how most of his movies fell flat at the box office,and his music appealed more to classes than masses, Madan Mohan's music did quite well in Binaca geetmala popularity stakes. One second place finish in 1966 and one top finish (posthumously) in 1977 is not bad for Madan Mohan, who had the mortification of seeing many of his top songs failing to even make it to Binaca geetmala finals,though they won rave reviews and even national award.

Roshan(17 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Roshan was at the peak of his creative abilities when he died. And so his 17 Binaca geetmala entries do not do him justice. Two of these 17 compostions earned him top positions in Binaca geetmala finals in 1960 and 1963.

Salil Chowdhary(15 Binaca geetmala finals)- All of Salil Chowdhary's 15 Binaca geetmala songs are classics, which are evergreen even today.His best ranking in Binaca geetmal finals was 5th position in 1958 and 7th in 1956 and 1971.

Hemant Kumar(14 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Another one who was there in Binaca geetmala right from the beginning. Hemant Kumar was a music director as well as a singer. His 14 songs as music director include second position in 1954 binaca geetmala finals, and third position the next year ( both for the same song). Hemant Kumar also topped the Binaca geetmala 1958 finals list- this time as a singer.

Usha Khanna(12 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- The only lady music director to have figured in Binaca geetmala finals ( not that there were too many of them to begin with), Usha Khanna made her debut in Binaca geetmala in 1958. She has had only 12 songs in the Binaca geetmala finals, but one of them was top of the finals chart- in 1983.

C Ramchandra(8 Binaca finals songs)- Here is another music director whose influence on Bollywood music cannot be gauged just by going through the list of his Binaca geetmala songs. His influence can be felt in Bollywood music even today, and many of his memorable songs never made it to Binaca geetmala because they were composed before the days of Binaca geetmala.

The highest rank that his songs reached in Binaca finals was 6th in 1955, but as mentioned above, his Binaca geetmala statistics do no justice to this all time great music director.

Chitragupt(8 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Chitragupta, the father of Anand Milind, and Sulakshana and Vijayeta Pandit,was mainly confined to grade C movies- viz stunt and mythological movies, and their songs normally did not become popular enough to figure in Binaca geetmala. But Chitragupta managed to buck the trend whenever he got a chance.The highest that his songs reached in Binaca geetmala finals was 8th position in 1958, but what a song it was- "Chal ud ja re panchi ke ab ye desh hua begana" from "Bhabhi".

N Dutta (7 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- A highly underestimated and underutilised music director, who has become largely forgotten. But can we forget his Binaca geetmala songs? And he managed a position as high as number 3 for one of his compositions in 1957.

Khayyam(7 Binaca geetmala finals songs). Though Khayyam was a senior music director who made his debut in 1959, his Binaca geetmala appearances were few and far between.One song in 1959,next in 1967 ( in 3rd position) and the next appearance was in 1976 with two songs( one of them ending up at number 1 position). Then his next appearances were in 1980, 1981 and 1982.

Ravindra Jain (7 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Ravindra Jain became the regular lyricist cum music director for Rajshri productions in 1970s, and his 7 songs include two songs which finished number 1- one in 1978, another in 1985.

Vasant Desai(7 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Vasant Desai was a much better music director than what his paltry 7 Binaca geetmala finals appearances show.Madan Mohan considered Vasant Desai as his alter ego. Vasant Desai, before he met a tragic death, had composed some nice songs.In fact,two of his songs finished second and fourth in the Binaca geetmala finals of 1956.

Anu Malik(6 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Son of Sardar Malik, Anu Malik was one who was known for composing chalu songs in 1980s and beyond.5th position in 1986 was the highest that his songs reached in Binaca geetmala.

Jaidev(5 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Another music director who deserved better than what he got.He made his debut in 1961 with "Hum dono" amd a song from this movie finished number 2 in the Binaca geetmala finals of 1961. Unfortunately, Jaidev was not given enough opportunities to prove his worth.His next apprearances were in 1974, 1977 and 1978, and that was it.

Biddu(5 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-His "aap jaisa koi" became an unexpected hit, and that made Nazia Hassan a big star.This song, which finished number 4 in Binaca geetmala finals 1980 had purists disgusted.Style without substance could not be sustained for long. Happily for Bollywood music, hardly anyone remembers his music any more, even though his music had become a big rage in those days.

Sonik Omi(3 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- The uncle nephew duo had acted as assistants to many music directors viz Madan Mohan, Roshan etc, before they tried their hands as independent music directors. Though they gave some scintillating music in the few opportunities that they got, Binaca geetmala was not too kind to their music. Their absolutely wonderful musical blockbuster "Dil ne phir yaad kiya" could only garner one lowly spot. Same were the fates of their songs in "Saawan Bhaado" and "Dharma". Just three ongs from these three musical blockbusters were poor return for this music director duo.

Ghulam Mohammad(3 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-His first appearance in Binac geetmala finals was in 1955 at number 12, and the next two appearances came in 1972, at number 2 and three positions- that is all Ghulam Mohammad achieved in Binaca geetmala finals.

Sardar Malik(2 Binaca geetmala finals appearances)-His two appearnces were in 1961 for "Saarangaa" at number 8 and 18.

S N Tripathi(2 Binaca geetmala finals appearnces)- Like Chitragupta, S N Tripathi too was the music director for C grade moview viz mythologicals. But two of his mythological movie songs became so popular that these two songs were elevated to the level of Binaca geetmala finalists. And one of them actually became a surprise number 1 in 1957 finals.Number 1 in 1957, number 6 in 1959,both for C grade mythological movies- were the two Binaca geetmala finals appearances for S. N. Tripathi.

Shiv Hari(2 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Long time asistants to music directors- Shiv-Hari (Shiv Kumar Sharma- santoor exponent and Hari Prasad Chaurasiya- flute exponent)tried their hands as independent music directors, but lack of opportunities hampered their growth.

Uttam Jagdish(2 Binaca geetmala finals songs)- Both songs were in Painter Babu, a box office disaster that was made to launch the career of Manoj Kumar's son.The songs were 21st and 25th in the 1983 finals list.

Jagjit Singh( 2 Binaca geetmala finals songs)-Both songs were from Arth, a 1983 movie.One appeared in Binaca finals 1983, and the other in 1984 finals.

Anil Biswas( 1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-5th in 1954 Binaca geetmala finals

Dattaram(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-21st in 1958

Ramlal(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-11th in 1965

G S Kohli (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-20th in 1964

Husnlal Bhagatram(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-15th in 1954

Jagmohan Sursagar(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-13th in 1955

Sudhir Phadke(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-29th in 1962, but what a song! "Jyot Kalash chalke"

Sapan Jagmohan(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-23rd in 1971

Timir Baran (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-8th in 1954

Shyamal Mitra (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-7th in 1975. This song " Dil aisa kisi ne mera toda" earned Kishore Kumar and Indeevar the awards for best singer and lyricist respectively, but the music director was left high and dry.

Aziz Nazan (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-"jhoom barabar jhoom sharabi"-A popular quawwali from "Five Rifles" produced by I S Johar.

Brij Bhushan(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-35th in 1973. The immortal song-"kai sadiyon se, kai janmon se" from "Milaap"

Snehal Bhatkar(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-1961 movie "Hamari yaad aayegi".Lyrics by Kidar Sharma and sung superbly by Mubarak Begum-"Kabhi tanhaayion mein yoon hamari yaad aayegi" which is regarded as a classic song by music buffs.

Kishore Kumar(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-Kishore Kumar was the music director in the movie Jhumroo. He earned 7th position for Jhumroo song "Koi humdum na raha, koi sahara na raha" in 1961 Binaca geetmala finals.

C Arjun (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-"main to aarti utaaroon re",the title song of the surprise hit "Jai santoshi maa". This song was 3rd in 1976 Binaca geetmala finals.

Ram Laxman (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-15th in 1980 from Tarana-"Sultana Sultana, mera naam hai Sultana"

Ghulam Ali(1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-"chupke chupke raat din aansoobahana yaad hai". 30th in 1983 Binaca geetmala finals.

Remo Fernandes (1 Binaca geetmala finals song)-From Jalwa."Dekho Dekho ye hai jalwa".8th in 1987.


Raja Swaminathan said...

Atul, what can I say ? This is just a fantastic overview of Binaca geetmala, by music director. I have, for long, wanted to know something like this. And now you present the complete picture - of 34 years - encapsulated so beautifully here.

One thing. I may be wrong but I vaguely remember the very first Binaca Geetmala having "tu ganga ki mauj" from Baiju Bawra as #1 song. Naushad's music.
You mention that Naushad never got a #1 song - is it that you did not consider this edition because of some reason ? Maybe it was not a 1-hour edition. I vaguely also recall that the geetmala started off as half an hour and then became a 1-hour programme because of its popularity. This, being the first edition, was probably the half-an-hour edition.

Or I may even be totally wrong. Just speaking from memory. I remember the Ameen Sayani presentation on this which I think had this point and song.

Let me know if I have it wrong.

Thanks for a really very good synopsis. And it is great to see names like Ganesh and Ramlal there.

squarecut.atul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
squarecut.atul said...

Thanks for your detailed comments, Raja.
Naushad's "Baiju Bawra" was a movie of 1952, and its songs, though very popular may have only appeared in Binaca geetmala in 1953, when Binaca geetmala was not a countdown programme. 1954 top song was ofcourse from Taxi Driver and music was by S D Burman.

Ganesh has not figured in my list, but he certainly deserved it, for his immortal composition- "dil ka soona saaz tarana dhoondhega".

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squarecut.atul said...

Nice to see Vividh Bharati's Station director visiting my blog. I thank you for your kind offer.I will definitely visit this site.

Silent Melody said...

Comprehensive post Atul. Loved you take on Bappi Da

"...jumped into the bandwagon of chalu songs"

The eighties can only be described as Hindi film music’s dark ages.So, it’s hard to pick the best musician of the eighties. It is extremely easy to do is pick the musician who defined the eighties. That musician was Bappi Lahiri.
Planet Radio City takes on the uncrowned king of disco...

Pretty funny :D

squarecut.atul said...

Thanks,Silent Melody,
It is nice to see someone who agrees with my assessment of Bappi da.
He was capable of doing much better than what he ultimately did. Movies with his better quality music viz- Zakhmee,Chalte chatle,Namakhalaal etc were sadly outnumbered by movies with tasteless chalu songs. Quite a few such movies were those featuring Jeetendra or Mithun da, and such movies and their songs had no pretentions of being anything other than cheap and tasteless.

Ajay said...

The "FACT" is that Laxmikant-Pyarelal have a complete domination in the BINACA GEET MALA..Even in eighties ( where media is trying to project Bappi Lahiri as the music director for eighties)..films like Hero, Ek Duje Ke Liye, Ek Hi Bhool, Fifty Fifty, Kranti, Naseeb, Pyasa Sawan,Utsav, Woh Saat Din, Naam, Sur Sangam, Ram Lakhan, Karma, Eeshwar, Nagina, Andha Kanoon, Arpan, Pyar Zukata Nahin, Ghulami, Mr. India, Dayawan , Tezab, Meri Jung, Chalbaaz.. I am keen to see the list of eighties..and the facts will be known...

squarecut.atul said...

Ajay, if you read the link above, media is not trying to project Bappi Lahiri as the dominant music director of 1980s in that article. The report states that Bappi Lahiri was identified as the major contributor for deterioration in musical standards in 1980s.

Ajay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ajay said...

Atul !! I am not at all disputing over the comments made by you. But in general, today media is promoting Bappi Lahiri as the music directors for eighties. In K for Kishore Bappi Lahiri's songs had an upper hand. If you are talking of Kishore's GEMS..It must be KK-LP combo after KK-RD>SD combo.

squarecut.atul said...

The golden era of Bollywood movie songs ended sometime in 1970s in my opinion. The deterioration in the quality of songs in general was for all to see.

There is no point judging a music director on the basis of his performance vis a vis Bappi Lahiri.I do not think Bappi Lahiri should be the yardstick.

Laxmikant Pyarelal did extremely well in 1960s and 70s against music directors of much better calibre, and that is what matters more.

kitcha said...

Dear Atul,
I started reading your blog today and I must confess I am simply amazed at the wealth of information available here. The golden era of HFM ended in 70's. For me your list of Binaca annual programmes from 1954 is like manna from heaven. Your list contains only 16 songs in some years, will you please clarify? Also I find 1966 missing. Can you please post the same?


M V Krishnan