In a series that had revisited music festivals held several decades ago, this column had included the Swami Haridas Sammelan held in Mumbai in 1962 featuring many leading vocalists and instrumentalists. One of the performances featured at the festival was a violin-accordion duet by the brothers Husnlal and Bhagatram, who were famous as music composers for Hindi cinema.
According to many biographical sketches such as the one available here, both brothers learnt music from Dilip Chandra Vedi, a student of Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale and Faiyaz Khan. Of the duo, Husnalal was a vocalist but also played violin, which he learnt from Bashir Khan. Bhagatram played the harmonium, but he also was an accordion player as is evident from the information provided regarding the Swami Haridas sammelan held in 1962.
In the 16th episode of the present series on Hindustani musicians working as music composers for Hindi cinema, we listen to music created by Husnlal-Bhagatram. Unfortunately, I could not access any recordings of Bhagatram’s harmonium or accordion recitals or even duets by the brothers. But here are few tracks featuring Husnalal’s violin and vocal recitals.
The first track is a violin recital featuring a rendition of the raag Madhuvanti with a composition set to the 16-matra Teentaal.
The second track is an instrumental interpretation of a thumri in the raag Pilu set to the 14-matra Deepchandi.
Husnlal presents another instrumental interpretation of a thumri in the raag Bhairavi set to Deepchandi.
The next track is a vocal recital by Husnlal. He sings a drut or fast-paced khayal composition in the raag Yaman set to Teentaal.
Husnlal presents a drut composition in the raag Purvi set to the 12-matra Ektaal.
We now move to a few songs composed by Husnlal-Bhagatram for Hindi cinema. We begin with a song from the film Hum Ek Hain (1946).
The next song is from the film Heera (1947) sung by Paro Devi and GM Durrani.
Suraiya sings this song in the film Aaj ki Raat (1948).
The next song is sung by Lata Mangeshkar for Sawan Bhadon (1949).
This duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi is from the film Meena Bazar (1950).
Here is one more duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi from the film Stage (1951).
The last song in this episode is a duet by Asha Bhosale and Talat Mahmud for the film Apsara (1961).
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.