AVM and classical music

There  is a usual tendency to talk at length about the literary contributions of renowned lyricists to Hindi cinema, be it Urdu or chaste Hindi, or music directors who, through their immense talent, produced great classical pieces. However, not much is spoken of  the production units who created these situations in their movies, hence providing a rich ground for the birth of gems which live on after half a decade of their creation.

This post is dedicated to one of the earliest production units of India, AVM, who produced superb movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu.

This post will attempt to highlight some of the best classical music based compositions under the AVM banner. Inclusion of Indian classical music is in a movie is a significant contribution towards the preservation of rich heritage of Indian music. The author would like the reader to appreciate that each of the songs has a different music director, contrary to popular belief that music directors like Chitragupta were their usual picks for music.

Baat Chalat – Ladki(1953)

Music : R Sudarshanam & Dhaniram

We start proceedings with a lovely  traditional Thumri in Bhairavi, picturized on a very merry Anjali Devi  This verion of the thumri, rendered by Geeta Dutt, portrays her strength in classical music. Lyrics are credited to Rajinder Krishen. This Thumri also found its way in Rani Rupmati, rendered by Krishnarao Chonkar and Mohammed Rafi.

Rasik Balma Chori Chori (1956)

Music : Shankar Jaikishen

Another big hit in Shudh Kalyan. This song is not particularly a favourite, but a mega hit nevertheless. There must have been something good in the song that must have made it so popular. Nargis in pain, Lata’s voice in pain, Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics full of pain. Resaonably good interpretation of the raga.

Brindaban Ka Krishna – Miss Mary (1957)

Music : Hemant Kumar

A very light hearted song in Durga, featuring Jamuna, Gemini Ganesan and Meena Kumari. The song has such apt lyrics “Man Hi Man Kyun Jale Radhika“, though this is the Hindi version of the original song in Tamil, which has exactly the same meaning. Savitri is at ease, but Meena is unfortunately seen struggling. A lot of credit needs to go to Rajinder Krishen for preserving the spirit of the original song.

The movie had another lovely piece in Khamaj.

Kare Kare BadraBhabhi (1957)

Music : Chitragupta

Chitragupta’s elegant composition in Brindabani Sarang. Shyama is introduced in the movie with this song. The lyrics are by Rajinder Krishen, seriously the picturization could have been much better.

Main Apne Aap Se – Bindiya (1960)

Music : Iqbal Qureshi

This is a personal favourite, a melodious composition in Tilang by the ever-so-talented Iqbal Qureshi.  Lyrics by Rajinder Krishen are superb and very meaningful. Balraj Sahni’s acting is great, and so is the picturization.

Cham Cham Nachat Bahar– Chaya (1960)

Music : Salil Chaudhary

Based on Basant Bahar, this song is picturized on a very pretty Asha Parekh. One can readily appreciate that she has learnt classical dancing. Salil da’s music is excellent. Lyrics by Rajinder Krishen.

Chanda Ja Chanda Ja Re – Man Mauji (1962)

Music : Madan Mohan

This song has all the ingredients of a great song. Rajinder Krishen and Madan Mohan’s partnership, picturized on a beautiful Sadhana. Sadhana looks amazing here! Notice the copious close ups and her fine emoting.

I have reached the end of this journey of the celebration of classical music under the AVM banner.  The readers may have noticed that almost had lyrics by Rajinder Krishen. That is because Rajinder Krishen knew Tamil very well, and was a natural choice for the production unit for any re-makes from Hindi. Rajinder Krishen wrote dialogues and screenplay for several of the movies mentioned above.



  1. Anu Warrier said,

    September 22, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Karthik, that is an interesting tid-bit about Rajinder Krishen – knowing Tamil, I mean. AVM was also responsible for introducing many classical dances in their films; it helped that there were some very good trained dancers in Tamil and Telugu.

    Thanks for these songs (and some of their Tamil equivalents). Brought back childhood memories!

    • September 22, 2012 at 2:24 am

      Thanks Anu, as usual, you are the first to comment! :).
      I was meaning to do this post for quite sometime, as AVM richly deserves special mention for their work towards preservation of Indian culture. You are right, they introduced several classical dances in their films.

  2. dustedoff said,

    September 22, 2012 at 3:39 am

    Good post, Karthik! There were a couple of songs here that I’d forgotten about, but several that I did remember – and which I like (especially Kaare-kaare baadra – I watched the film just for that song!). I hadn’t heard Main apne aap se ghabra gaya hoon before – or at least, I don’t remember. Lovely song.

    • September 22, 2012 at 4:22 am

      Thanks Madhu! Ab to Iqbal Qureshi special banta hai.Look forward to your post. 🙂

  3. SSW said,

    October 1, 2012 at 12:39 am

    I say Karthik on the song from Miss Mary aka Missiamma aka Monmoee girls school, I take exception to the statement that Meena was struggling. Nyet… if you look she has the same “I’ve got a cockroach in my porridge” expression as Savitri has , only she looks more anti-cockroach because as a well brought up girl she has to stomach Jamuna going around like one of those bomma kollu dolls put up during Shivratri. I mean a cockroach is one thing but compounded with Gemini Ganesan who is patently not playing the piano and Jamuna who is patently not dancing, what’s a girl to do? Eh?

  4. November 7, 2012 at 3:57 am

    Many thanks for bringing in a ‘classical’ perspective to the films from one of the most prolific film production houses of the yesteryear. –
    Many , like me, who do not much of classical side of the music, knowing ‘raag’ of a song always add a new perspective to appreciating why I liked a song, e.g. Main Apne Aap Se.
    In any case, the efforts by articles like this one does bring several historical institutions back to life from their fossilized state.

    • November 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks Arunji for your kind words. Yes, it is my endeavour to bring such unnoticed facts to light, or draw focus on to these aspects of film making that have been long forgotten.

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