Lyricists

 

Bharat Vyas

Notable Films : Navrang, Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Rani Rupmati, Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Kavi Kalidas, Saranga, Stree.

Bharat Vyas was born on 18 December, 1918 in Churoo (Bikaner, Rajasthan). He did his college studies in Calcutta. After finishing his B.Com. degree, he came to Bombay and started work as a writer with producer director V.M. Vyas (no idea if they are related). His principal interest was supposed to have been in becoming a director! But circumstances and his talents inexorably led him in the direction of song-writing. A bit later in his career, he did get to direct a Hindi film, and later some Rajasthani films.

His first film as lyricist was for 'Duhaai' (1943), for which he wrote all the nine songs. The music directors were Rafiq Gaznavi, Pannalal Ghosh, and Shanti Kumar. The film starred Shanta Apte and Noorjehan. Five songs sung by Shanta Apte, including two duets with Rafiq Gaznavi, were released, but two solos by Noorjehan were not. Only source for those songs would be a print of the film, and it is not known if any print of the film exists.

After 'Duhaai', Bharat Vyas attracted the attention of a very interesting Hindi film personality of 1940s, W.Z. Ahmed. He was a producer-director, who owned Shalimar Pictures in Pune. Ahmed had collected a highly talented clutch of writers/lyricists for Shalimar, including Josh Malihabadi, Krisan Chander, Ramanand Sagar, Akhtar-Ul-Iman, and Sagar Nizami. Ahmed enticed Bharat Vyas to come to Pune and join this group, at a salary he couldn't refuse.

At Shalimar, Bharat Vyas started by writing all the 12 songs for film 'Prem Sangeet'. On the soundtrack, he also sang a solo: "ghaayal kar ke ham se poochhate ho dard hotaa hai." The biggest musical success of Shalimar Pictures was 'Man Ki Jeet' (1944), for which Bharat Vyas wrote two songs, the others being written by Josh Malihabadi. He also sang a duet with Shanta Thakkar ("chhip chhip kar mat dekho ji bh.nvar ji"). One of the two mega-hit songs of the film, both in the voice of Tara Bai, was by Bharat Vays: "aye chaand na itaraana, aate hai.n mere sajan". (The single bigggest success was Josh Malihabadi's "nagari meri kab tak yoo.N hi barbaad rahegi".)

Next film I know about from Shalimar is 'Prithviraj-Samyukta' (1946). It starred Neena as Samyukta and Prithviraj Kapoor as Prithviraj. Next came what was to be the last film of Shalimar, 'Meerabai.' The heroine, Neena, music director S.K. Pal, director, W.Z. Ahmed, singer, Tara Bai of Lucknow, who sang all the 13 songs in the film. Bharat Vyas's role was to "adapt" the bhajans of Meera in song form. Now, 'Meerabai' (1947) ought not to be confused with 'Meera' (1947)! The latter was a Hindi dub/remake of the famed Tamil film, in which singer-actress M.S. Subbulakshmi played the title role. The director was one Ellis R. Duncan and the music directors were S.V. VenkaTaramaN, Ramnath, and Naresh Bhattacharya. It had 18 or 19 songs. For this film, the role of "adapting" the songs went to Pandit Narendra Sharma.

At partition, W.Z. Ahmed and Neena left for Pakistan and Shalimar Pictures was no more. Bharat Vyas spent some time in Madras, working for Gemini for which S.S. Vasan was directing the Hindi version of 'Chandralekha' (1948). He collaborated with poet Pandit Indra who was the principal lyricist.

After 'Chandralekha', Bharat Vyas returned to Bombay and realized his ambition of directing a film. The film was 'Rangeela Rajasthan' (in black and white), starring a young Bharat Bhushan. In addition to directing and writing, Bharat Vyas composed three songs for the film. Otherwise, he stuck with many of his earlier associates. The main music directors were S.K. Pal and B.S. Kalla. (Kalla later went on to compose a few incredibly beautiful Lata solos for a couple of South productions: 'Sansaar' and 'Bahut Din Hue.') The principal singer was Tara Bai, who after Neena's departure, was keen to emerge as a recognized playback singer and had a certain measure of success under the name Sitara of Kanpur.

After 1949 Bharat Vyas quietly settled down in his role as a lyricist and had an uniterrupted run of success for more than two decades. He developed a close working relation with Khemchand Prakash in what turned out to be the latter's last years, giving films like 'Ziddi', Sawan Aya Re', 'Bijali', 'Tamasha', 'Muqaddar', and 'Shri Ganesh Janma' (Many of these films had songs by other music directors, presumably after Khemchand Prakash died. For example, Manna Dey was a joint music director for the last-mentioned film).

The fifties were Bharat Vyas's most productive and professionally satisfactory years: The films for which he wrote the songs covered a wide range, including social (both mainstream and message-oriented), historical, mythological, and religious films; and he worked with many top directors, such as, Bimal Roy, V Shantaram, and Vijay Bhatt. Some of the major hit films of Bharat Vyas in this period include: Aankhen, Hamara Ghar, Raj Mukut, Muqaddar, Janmashtami, Nakhre, Bhola Shankar, Tamasha, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Parineeta, Jagaduru Shankaracharya, Andher Nagari Chaupat Raja, Oonchi Haweli, Toofan Aur Diya, Janam Janam Ke Phere, Do Aankhen Barah Hath, Fashion, Kavi Kalidas, Suvanra Sundari, Mausi, Navrang, Rani Roopmati, Anguli Maal, Chandramukhi and Goonj Uthi Shehnai.

In spite of the success of many of his social films, topped by the huge commercial success of the last-mentioned film above and its music, Bharat Vyas got typecast as the lyricist for historical and mythological films and most of his 1960s output is in those genres. He continued to work all the way through the 1970s and early 1980s, but the number of films declined in this period. He passed away in Bombay Hosptial on 5 July 1982.

At the time of his death, he was involved in a project of presenting the Ramayana in poetic form, to be put to music by Shyam Sagar. He was also directing two Rajasthani films.