‘Yaad kiya dil ne kaha ho tum’- Remembering Hemant da !

A feeling , a poetry , a wonderful relation and a positive note ..!! Yes, it is nothing but music in itself. Many of the people believe music is the strongest magic that enlightens life, which is true, but the creativity of the magicians behind is always worth noting..!

Born on 16 June,1920 Hemanta Mukherjee widely known as Hemant Kumar is proved as a blessing to the Indian Music Industry. Well known for his vocal texture and singing style, his career length grew after he came to Bombay. Although born in Varanasi, his musical interests are all the gift of Bengal province.

In the early period, when there were no television sets and i-pods, it was a pride for an artist to have a record at All India Radio. Hemanta, after leaving his engineering in the mid term in 1930, decided to spend his life for music and it was soon in 1935 that he made his first stage to the AIR studio. There began a rise in his musical career.

His career was primarily mentored by the Bengali musician, Shailesh Duttagupta. In his early life, he followed the famous Bengali singer Pankaj Mullick and was later nicknamed as ‘Chhoto Pankaj’. He was one of the destined persons to get his classical music training from Ustad Faiyaz Khan’s student Phanibhusan Banerjee. Hemanta’s entry to the film music was one of the turning step of his life.

1944 onwards, the film industry gave a lot of opportunities to the legendary musician. He composed and framed music to many of the Indian movies like Anand Math, Irada, Solva Saal, Jaal, etc and made a mark as music director. Salil Chowdhary, famous lyricist-poet and musician, had been a support system to Hemanta’s rising career graph. Salil Chowdhary once said, “If God ever decided to sing, he would do so in the voice of Hemant Kumar” (noted in Biography of Hemant Kumar by David Courtney).

It was in Mumbai in the 50’s decade, that he became popular as a playback singer. ‘Yeh raat, yeh chandani phir kaha’, ‘chup he dharti, chup he chand sitare’, ‘Hai apna dil to awara’, ‘Bekarar karke hume yun na jaiye’ are some of the melodies gifted by him. He also accompanied many of the artist like Lataji, Ashaji, Rafi sahab, Kishor da along with the Bengali singers. Many of the artists, singers, even today try to imitate Hemant da’s unique voice texture which best suited sad and dramatic songs.

When in Bengal, in 1940’s, Hemanta Mukherjee was a well known personality to support ‘Rabindra Sangeet’, the brainchild of Rabindranath Tagore with the motive to connect common man to music in the era of classical music.

Hemant Kumar composed more than 2000 melodies towards Indian cinema and uncountable awards for his contribution. His death on 26th September,1989 proved a major loss to the era but, his musical life surely is a benchmark for many trainee musicians..!!

(The writer is a trained classical singer)