When Rajendra Kumar’s romance came alive in Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai notes

An Indian doctor (Rajendra Kumar) seeks career advice from Betrand Russell in 1967 Hindi film "Aman"
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Mumbai–Music was always an intrinsic part of the numerous hits in the career of the late Rajendra Kumar, whose musical superhits in the fifties and the sixties earned him the sobriquet of Jubilee Kumar among all of Bollywood’s contemporary stars.

One of Rajendra Kumar’s biggest hits is the 1959 musical romance, “Goonj Uthi Shehnai”. The Vijay Bhatt film co-starring Ameeta and Anita Guha is still remembered for its evergreen soundtrack that featured the eternal voices of Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Geeta Dutt.

Along with such an unforgettable cast of playback voices, and Vasant Desai’s immortal tunes set to the lyrics of Bharat Vyas, there was a classical element that rendered a timeless appeal to the film’s soundtrack. In the film, Rajendra Kumar plays a shehnai player, and naturally the shehnai recitals played an important role, also proving to be an important draw at the box-office.

In a new book on the late Rajendra Kumar, it has been revealed that all the shehnai recitals picturised on the actor were actually performed by Ustad Bismillah Khan.

The interesting fact was revealed in the book “Jubilee Kumar: The Life And Times Of A Superstar” by Seema Sonik Alimchand (publisher: Hachette India).

In fact, one of the highlights of the film is a ‘jugalbandi’ between Bismillah Khan’s shehnai recital and Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan’s sitar performance. The film also featured vocal renderings by Hindustani classical music vocalist Ustad Amir Khan. (IANS)


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