Bollywood’s Only Living Music Composer-Entertainment News, Firstpost

Alright, guess. Who composed these chartbusters? Dil deke dekho (Dil Deke Dekho), Chhoro kal ki baatein kal ki baat purani (Hum Hindustani), Hai tabassum tera (nichan), Madhuban khushboo deta hai (Sajan Bina Suahagan), Tu iss terah se meri zindagi mein shaamil hai (Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi), Teri galiyon mein na rakhenge qadam (hawas), Barkha rani zara jamm ke barso (sabak), Raat abhi baqi hai baat abhi baqi hai (Make Khiladi), Dil ke tukde tukde (hobby), Chai pe bulaya hai (Support)….

Chances are you grew up humming these evergreens without knowing who made them. Usha Khanna is the only living composer in Bollywood apart from Sneha Khanwalkar who is not really part of mainstream Hindi cinema.

Usha Khanna took on the male bastion that was the film industry. Back when male composers Naushad, Shankar-Jaikishan, OP Nayyar and C Ramachandra ruled the Hindi film industry, Usha confidently entered the office of producer Sashadhar Mukherjee and asked for a job. Mukherjee asked Khanna why he would entrust her with the task of composing music when he had OP Nayyar to do the necessary.

“Because I’m good at it, sir,” Usha answered confidently. That’s how she got her first break Dil Deke Dekho. Shammi Kapoor who wouldn’t make a movie without Shankar-Jaikishan had to approve Usha’s tunes.

The much-missed Asian Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar always had kind words for Usha Khanna. “Usha is also my sister’s name. So maybe I liked Usha Khanna. I sang him beautiful songs. It’s rare for a female composer to make a name for herself in this industry. At the very beginning of my singing career, I recorded a song with Saraswati Devi who was the first music director of Hindi cinema. Then for a very long time, I only worked with male musical directors because there were practically no women in the musical direction. Then after a very long time came Usha Khanna. I sang several songs for her including the very successful Chai pe bulaya hai in Support, Ek sunehri sham thi (Aao Pyar Karen) and a beautiful melody that few have heard Zindagi kaise kategi in a film called Meri Biwi Ki Shaadi.”

And then, with a mischievous smile, Lataji said, “Oh yeah, there’s one more female composer I sang for. I was very, very close to her. Her name was Anand Ghan. Anand Ghan was the pseudonym Lataji adopted to compose the music for five Marathi films: 1960 – Ram Ram Pavhana1963 – Maratha Tituka Melvav1963 – Mohityanchi Manjula 1965 – Sadhi Manase and 1969 – Tambadi Mati.

Female music composers have always struggled in Hindi cinema. Usha had to settle for small projects while the big ones went to male composers. She shone with songs that far outlived the parent film. Who remembers the 1983 movie Sweekar Kiya Maine? But the Lata-Kishore Chand ke paas jo sitara hai is hummed to this day.

Usha Khanna’s collaboration with filmmaker Sawan Kumar Tak who was her ex-husband spanned eleven projects. Although her tunes have brought Sawan’s films to life, I’ve often heard filmmakers refer to Usha Khanna as “Sawan Kumar’s wife”, a damaging label for any woman’s career, especially in the film industry. entertainment. But Usha lived with the label, and proudly.

His last soundtrack was for Sawan Kumar Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya in 2003. Why has she been unemployed since?

Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has written about Bollywood long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.

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