Vasant Desai and classical artistes

Vasant Desai was an outstanding composer in Chitrapat and Marathi drama. He had great knowledge of classical music, and used it to create some immortal compositions. It is one to create a classical composition, but another to invite some of the most respected performing artistes in Hindustani classical, be it gayaki or tantrakari, and earn their respect. Vasant Desai regularly partnered with these stalwarts to produce some great gems.

This post is a humble tribute to his collaborations with the greats of his time.

In this post, I am posting the images of the artistes in question,  rather than the screencaps of the video.

Jala ViharaPandit Ram Marathe 

This creation is from a Marathi movie Baap Majha Brahmachari  released in 1961. Pandit Ram Marathe was one the most distinguished classical artistes in Marathi stage,  in the ranks of  Bal Gandharva, Vinayakrao Patwardhan , Master Krishnarao, Master Dinanath and other Maestros.  Here Panditji has given a great account of Hamsadhwani-notice the intricate taans and the free flow of ideas. There are several delightful moments in the composition itself, which bring out the beauty of the raga.

Jugalbandi – Ustad Bismillah Khan and Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan 

Two stalwarts of Hindustani music, Ustad Bismillah Khan on the shehnai and Ustad Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan collaborate to produce this gem in Chandni Kedar for the movie “Goonjh Uthi Shehnai“.
Abdul Halim saab was a part of some of the greatest musicals such as Anarkali, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje , Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Kohinoor. He has collaborated with other renowned music directors as Naushad, Anil Biswas, C.Ramachandra and Madan Mohan. For example, the sitar taans in “Madhuban Mein Radhika” are unmistakably his.

Vandana Karo – Pandit Jasraj

Ladki Sahyadri Ki” was directed by Shantaram  and the movie is scarcely heard of. There were some lovely songs in the movie and this rendition of Ahir Bhairav by Panditji is superb. A rather young Pandit Jasraj, the voice is extremely sweet, and the Mewati gharana shines all through the rendition. Pandit Jasraj was Shantaram’s son-in-law by 1966.

Jhanak Jhanak Payal BaajeUstad Amir Khan

Amir Khan

A great rendering by a great musician. This song from “Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje” has already been featured in my blog on various themes, and I am certain this will not be the last time.

A quintessential Adana, this song was initially composed in Darbari by Vasant Desai, and it was rejected by Shantaram! Desai then added spark to the composition by changing the notes to the effervescent Adana, and it was instantly approved. This shows the great musical sense of Shantaram too. Amir Khan Saheb, of course,  made this an immortal.

Bandish in Yaman – Ustad Salamat Ali Khan

A soulful rendering in Yaman from an unreleased movie “Amar Samadhi” , a highly subdued Ustadji, but there are glimpses of greatness. The compositions captures some magical pakads of Yaman.Hats off to Vasant Desai.

Incidentally, Lata has chosen this song in her album “Aapki Sewa Mein Main Aur Mere Saathi”. The link is here.



  1. Anu Warrier said,

    July 17, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Welcome back, Karthik. It’s been an awfully long time. I haven’t had the time to listen to the audios yet, so I’ll come back after I do, to comment.

  2. dustedoff said,

    July 18, 2012 at 4:00 am

    As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty much clueless when it comes to classical music. But I know when I like the sound of something, and all of these sounded lovely (and you mentioned Madhuban mein Radhika naache re! – I love that song, and am so glad I know now who played the sitar).

    • July 19, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Dont worry, you will soon get familiar with classical music if you keep visiting my blog 🙂 There is a duet version of this song by Lata Mangeshkar and Ustad Amir Khan, but I never found it on the net!

      • harveypam said,

        July 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

        Here is the duet with Ustad Salamat Ali Khan & Lata Mangeshkar from Amar Samadhi (1950s)


    July 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Indeed, by visiting your blog, our vocabulary of classical music related words and phrases as well as our superfluous knowledge has become so ‘rich’, that we feel like paying mores ‘taxes’ by visiting your posts more frequently – though silently, and sometime surreptitiously. Well, that is what, at least I can do in so far as classical music is concerned – listen with keen interest.
    If you have referred to Maduban men Raadhika for Lata Amir Khan Sa’ab duet, that is is a great news, as I have never ever come across any reference.
    I happen to a [blind] fan of Amir Khan Sa’ab and would look forward to land upon this gem in good time.

  4. harveypam said,

    July 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

    thanks for this beautiful bouquet of wonderful classical renditions in Hindi film music under the baton of Vasant Desai, a music director, who is hardly appreciated like his contemporaries.

    Here he collaborates with Kumar Gandharva in the song uthi uthi gopala from the Marathi film: Dev Dinaghari Dhavala

    In Amar Jyoti 1936 he had Master Krishnarao singing kaaraj ki jyot sadaa hi jale

    • July 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks Harvey! The Amar Jyoti composition is quite nice. The quality of recording is excellent for 1936!

      • harveypam said,

        July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

        I am glad you like it, Karthik! Thanks!

        Sorry for reposting the duet with Ustad Salamat Ali Khan & Lata Mangeshkar from Amar Samadhi (1950s)

  5. August 19, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Just too good! Special thanks to Harvey for uploading two gems – Master Krishna Rao and Kumar Gandharva’s film songs. Salamat Ali Khan has come in for a good deal of praise. Entirely deserved. Here is his Miyan Ki Malhar from Satyajit Ray’s Jalsaghar.

    Jalsaghar was one grand celebration of music and dance – at least that is what I remember of the movie now, which I saw over two decades ago. Here is a wonderful piece by Ustad Wahid Khan to which Roshan Kumari performs exquisite Kathak.

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