In my two previous articles on the same subject ( the link for which I have given below) I have already covered some details about composers like Chitragupt, Sardar Malik, Narayan Dutta, Dattaram, Sapan Jagmohan and G.S.Kohli, who all left their distinctive mark on film music . As we all know, the nineteen fifties, sixties and the seventies were considered the golden years of hindi film music.

Everything about Hindi cinema was at its best - the talented and beautiful stars, some great film makers and some of the best artistes and along with them were some of the best music composers ever. Before I forget, I must say that the singers of those days made all the difference and there were so many of them having their own style of singing - Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Talat mehmood, Suman Kalyanpur, Shamshad many of them , each a legend in his or her own right!

In this article I would like to write about 3 more composers who wre in the same category as the previous six composers. I will be discussing about Ajit Merchant, Iqbal Quereshi and Bipin Babul ( composer duo).

Ajit Merchant ( 1925 - 2011 )

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Veteran Gujarati music director Shri Ajit Merchant was basically a criminal lawyer from Mumbai who was also interested in music. Encouraged by his father , young Ajit had the opportunity of experiencing concerts of well known artists such as Ustad Abdul Karim Kha and other greats of his time which spurred him on to learn classical music under Pandit Shivkumar Shukla. Ajit Merchant began composing music in 1945 when C.C.Mehta, a well known Gujrati film maker invited him to give music replacing someone else.

His songs are enjoyed even today by those who love Gujarati music. Siner Mukesh was instrumental in introducing Ajit Merchant to Hindi film music. He gave music in Hindi films like Sapera(1961), Refugee(1948), Indra Leela(1956), Challenge(1964), Chandi Pooja(1957), Lady Killer(1968), Divadandi(1950), Lady Killer (1968) .. Known to be very punctual and a man of his word Ajit Merchant was respected as a composer although his first love remained Gujrati cinema.

From what I see ,Manna dey was his favorite singer since he gave him some of the most melodious tunes to sing. His 'composition for Sapera 'Roop tumhara aankhon se pee lu ' is one of the most romantic numbers ever sung by Manna dey, so also a duet from the same film Raat ne gesu bikhraye sung with Suman Kalyanpur !

I am listing down a few favorite songs composed by Ajith Merchant – 1, Roop tumhara aankhonse peelu ( Sapera) 2, Raat ne gesu bikhraye ( Sapera) 3, Khatil hai teri ada ( Lady Killer) 4,Mein bhi majboor sajan ( Challenge) 5, Dil karta hai dekhoon tujhe ( Lady killer).

Iqbal Quereshi


Iqbal Quereshi was always interested in songs and singing . He started his career by singing for All India Radio .He later began composing music for movies like Sipah Salaar, Panchayat, Pahadi Nagin, Fauladi Mukka, Night Bird, Teer Andaz etc. His last films as composer, by the name Ikbal Gill, was for Kaala Coat , Jaan Pehchan, both released in the early 90s. The irony is that his movies and compositions often got easily mixed with another composer called Iqbal Qureshi .

Iqbal Qureshi also worked with almost all the big names in playback singing like Suman Kalyanpur, Asha Bhonsle, Mohammed Rafi, Mubarak Begum, Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt and also some of the singers of the eighties like Anuradha poduwal and Amit Kumar. Some of the films for which he composed music were Cha cha cha, Love in Simla, Yeh dil kisko doon, Umar Qaid, Qawali ki raat, Banarsi thug, Bindiya, Dastan e laila majnu, Bombay by nite.

His compositions have always been melodious nd some of his most popular songs have been Mukesh’a Mujhe raat din yeh khayal hai from Umar Qaid, Mohammad Rafi’s Mein apne aap se gabraa gaya hoon from Bindiya ,Tha thaiya kathe aana a popular Lata - Getta dutt duet from the film Panchayat, Lata Mangeshkar’s Yaad suhani teri from Banarsi Thug and Subhaa na aaye sham na aaye and a popular duet Ek chambeli ke manduve thale sung by Asha Bhonsle and Mohammad rafi from the film Cha cha cha..

Iqbal quereshi was immensely talented and has been able to retain his popularity right upto this day with those who love old film songs of the fifties and sixties... I am listing ten of his best compositions which are all my personal favorites – 1, Yaad suhani teri bani zindgani meri ( Banarsi thug) 2, Subha na aaye sham na aaye ( Cha cha cha) 3, Mujhe raat din yeh khayal hai ( Umar qaid) 4, Aaj mausam bhi masthi mein gaa ne lage ( Banarsi thug) 5, Yeh zindgi ke raaste ( Love in Simla) 6, Phir aane laga yaad wohi ( Yeh dil kisko doon) 7, Jab tak duniya rahe rahenge ( yeh dil kisko doon) 8, Woh hum na the woh tum na the ( cha cha cha) 9, Kiya hai dilruba pyar bhi kabhi ( love in simla) 10, O piya jaana na ( Umar qaid).

Bipin Babul

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Bipin Dutt and Babul were composer duo of the fifties and sixties, again small time having composed music for a few, mostly smaller B and C grade films. Bipin-Babul both started their career as assistants to the great music composer Madan Mohan. They began composing music on their own in the early fifties starting with the film Shaahi Mehmaan, a small budget movie and later Salaam-E-Mohabbat.

They later went on to give music for films such as Chandu, Chaubees Ghante, Bus Conductor, Jungle King, Raat Ke Raahi after which they split in the mid sixties and continued o give music independently but sadly they hardly got any films after that .. Chaalis Din was the first film for which Babul composed music after the split. And Bipin gave music for the film Kya Yeh Bambai Hain. Very few details are known about the musicians. However, they gave some very melodious and foot tapping music in films like Chaubees Ghante, Jungle King where Babul himself sang a couple of songs along with Suman kalyanpur, Reshmi roomal , Raat ke raahi and even in Chalis din...

Some of their melodious compositions and my own personal favorites are as follows – 1, Zulfon ki ghata le kar sawan ki pari – (Reshmi roomal ) 2, Is pyar ki basti mein hum rehethe hai masti mein ( Jungle King) 3, Raat kitni haseen ( Badal aur bijlee) 4, Hum e haal e dil tumse kehena hai ( Chaubees ghante) 5, Zindgi mein rang bhra hai pyar ka ( Bus conductor) 5, Aa bhi ja bewafa ( Raat ke raahi) 6, Aankh mein shokhi lab pe tabassum ( Reshmi roomal) 7, Mein is masoom chehre ko ( Baghi Shehzada) 8, Aise bhi na rootho ( Dawat) 9, Gardish mein hai taare ( Reshmi roomal) 10, Tum poochte ho ( Naqli nawab)


In this article like the previous two articles, I have written about three more composers namely Ajit Merchant, Iqbal Quereshi and Bipin Babul who never got their due in their life time and largely remained relegated to small budget and lesser known films. But they were all talented and had their own distinctive style of composition and were able to come up with some very catchy and melodious music  that is popular, is remembered and loved by music fans to this day.

I would again say that this goes to show that there was no dearth of talent during the golden era of music which was before the advent of rock and disco tunes which influenced the film music to the extent that melody took a back seat and noise took over.

( The images are from wikimedia image gallery)

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