Tribute to Hindi cinema’s Master Music composer Anil Biswas, on his 105th birth anniversary today.

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Tribute to Hindi cinema’s Master Music composer Anil Biswas, on his 105th birth anniversary today.

Anil Biswas was one of the pioneers of Hindi film music and credited with popularising playback singing and orchestral music in films. He was considered one of the first music directors to understand the distinctive features of the film medium and make its presence felt in his music. His music was interspersed with the sounds of folk, classical music and at times, even Rabindrasangeet.
Amongst his many strengths as a music director was his ability to pick and groom singers. Anil Biswas introduced singers like Zohrabai Ambalewali (Gramophone Singer, 1938), Begum Akhtar (Roti, 1942) and mentored Lata Mangeshkar, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh and of course, Meena Kapoor, whom he would go on to marry.

For nearly three decades, from 1935 to 1965, he gave some brilliant work to the film industry. In the early 1930s, he first made his name in Kolkata and then later moved to Mumbai around 1934. ‘Dharam ki Devi’ in 1935 was Anil’s first big break. It followed with many hits in more than a hundred films, including the super-hit, ‘Kismat’. The success of Kismat in 1943 was the peak of his career. The film was screened in a single cinema house in Calcutta for over three years, breaking records and establishing Ashok Kumar as the first evergreen hero of Indian cinema. Anil Biswas also gave the music for Dilip Kumar’s first film, ‘Jwar Bhata’. He established Mukesh as a lead playback singer through the song “Dil Jaltaa Hai To Jalne De” in ‘Pehli Nazar’. He gave a break to Talat Mahmood in ‘Arzoo’ in 1949, thereby gifting the Indian film industry with a melodious voice that will always be associated with the song, “Aye Dil Mujhe Aisi Jaga Le Chal Jahan Koi Na Ho”.
Anil Biswas was perhaps the first composer, who understood deeply various complexities of background music and also introduced counter-melody in his music. This was the reason that another maestro -Naushad called him his ‘Guru’.

In the year-1965 Anil Biswas left Bombay and joined All India Radio, New Delhi as Director, National Orchestra.
He did the music for Door Darshan’s “Hum Log” (1984), “Baisakhi” and “Phir Wohi Talaash”. He has also worked on numerous documentaries with the Films Division. He won the ‘Sangeet Natak Akademi Award’ in 1986. In 2000, he won the Lata Mangeshkar Award for his contribution to music.

In Delhi Anil Biswas breathed his last on 31 May, 2003.
Though never a front-ranker, for a long period in the 1940s and 1950s, Anil Biswas occupied a special place in music direction. His substantial erudition combined with his grasp over the grammar of film composition made his tunes eminently durable and timeless.

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Celebrating Cinema

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