indian cinema heritage foundation

'Thi Chaar Din Ki Hansi' - Ramkrishna Shinde

15 Apr, 2020 | Beete Hue Din by Shishir Krishna Sharma
Ramkrishna Shinde. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

The history of Hindi Cinema contains numerous instances of talented composers who, in spite of their capabilities and knowledge of music could not make the kind of name in its annals which they were capable of. One of the major reasons for this is that they did not have the extremely important skill of marketing themselves in showbiz. One such composer is Ramkrishna Shinde who debuted in 1947 with the film Manager
 
Nalini Shinde with kids. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Nearly twenty-six years have elapsed since the demise of Ramkrishna Shinde but his wife and two daughters continue to reside in Mumbai. The family neither had much contact with filmdom nor did they show an inclination towards it. His demise put an end to whatever limited contact they had with filmdom also. 
 
At the recording. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Ramkrishna Shinde was born to a Maratha family in Western Maharashtra's Malwan area. The exact month and date of his birth are not known. According to the estimates of his family he was born in the year 1918 on the day of Ramnavmi which led to his being named Ramkrishna. He was the eldest among two brothers and two sisters. He was merely nine years old when his father passed away. In this situation, his mother's brother and sister took the family to Mumbai where his childhood was spent in the Nana Chowk area. 
Shalini Shinde. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Although the family did not have a tradition of music, he showed a natural inclination towards it. Without his mother's permission, he started learning vocals from Pandit Sitaram Pant Modi and taking sitar lessons from Pandit Madhav Kulkarni. He also started participating in various musical events at fairs and exhibitions. Singer Lata Mangeshkar had also participated in few such programs, as after her father's demise she had the responsibility of taking care of her family. To take care of his family, Ramkrishna also had to take up a job at well known industrial family Ruia owned Don Mills in Parel. In 1944 he got married to Nalini, the daughter of the Manjrekar family which resided in Mumbai's Opera House area. It was during this time that Ramkrishna got introduced to famous tabla player Ramakant Parsekar and dance director Parvati Kumar Kambli. One day he decided to take up music as a career and resigned from his job at Don Mills.
 
Bihari (1948).
Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Initially, he started composing for Marathi plays. His compositions started gaining popularity and he became a known name among the enthusiasts of Marathi plays. It was these melodious tunes that brought the offer of the movie Manager to him. This 1947 film was made under the banner of Tiwari Productions and was directed by I.P. Tiwari. The main cast comprised of Jaiprakash, Poornima, Gobind, Sarla, Aziz, Ameena and Tiwari. Around the same time, he also got the opportunity to compose music for the film Bihari (1948) which also had another composer Naresh Bhattacharya for it. This film, made under the banner of Samaj Chitra Mumbai, was directed by the duo of K.D. Katkar and A.R. Zamindar. Its artists were B Nandrekar, Surekha, H.Prakash, Faiyaaz Bai, Namibalkar, Samson and Shabnam. The song in lyrics of Munshi Farogue, Sabze Ki Durfishani, Phoolon Ka Shamiyana in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar became fairly popular. The film actually got released in 1948. Another film, Kiski Jeet also released in 1948. This film was also made by Tiwari Productions. Its director was Safdar Mirza and its cast included Sadiq, Indu Kulkarni, Pushpa, Maqbool, Ameena Bai, Chandrika, and Tiwari. It had lyrics by Kumar Sharma
 
Gauna (1950) Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Apart from Marathi theatre, the ballet dances of Indian National theatre brought him immense popularity and his name at one time became synonymous with ballet dance music. During his lifetime he composed for 27 ballet dances whose shows all over the world brought him lots of accolades. It was due to the popularity of these music pieces that composer Amiya Chakraborty chose him to arrange some dance music for his movie Gauna in 1950. Although Husnlal-Bhagatram were the composers for the movie, Ramkrishna was specially called to compose the dance music which was picturized on Usha Kiron

After composing by the name R.K. Shinde and Ramkrishna Shinde in the 1940s, he returned to film music with a new name, Hemant Kedar which led many to mistakenly assume him to be a composer duo! When we met his wife Nalini recently, she told us that Hemant and Kedar were the favorite ragas of Ramkrishna. Due to this reason he had changed his name to Hemant Kedar. He composed for Khaufnaak Jungle (1955), Police Station (1959) and Captain India (1960) with this name. Shyam Film Service had produced Khaufnaak Jungle which released in 1955 under the direction of Godrej K Appu. The cast consisted of Baburao, Indira, Nihal, Raja Salim, and Manju. The lyrics were by Girish Mathur
Kiski Jeet (1948) 
Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

His 1959 movie, Police Station was produced by Savitri Movietone and its Producer-director was K.Kant. It's cast included Kamran, Krishna Kumari, Anwari Bai, Sheela Kashmiri, Indira, and Mirajkar. Its songs were written by lyricists Prabhat Kiran, Indivar and Hairat Sitapuri. The singers were Manna Dey, Mubarak Begum, Usha Khanna, and Abdul Rab Qawwal. The movie had another composer Robin also. 

His other film Captain India (1960) was produced by Rajaram Saqi under the banner of Madhushala Productions and was directed by C.Kant. Its cast included Kamran, Krishna Kumari, Rajan Kapoor, Moni Chatterjee, and Madhumati. Rajaram Saqi wrote the lyrics for them and the songs were sung by Asha Bhosle, Talat Mahmood, and Sudha Malhotra
Police Station (1959) from Cinemaazi archive

Ramkrishna Shinde's daughter Ragini tells us that there were a few movies composed by him for which though the songs were recorded but the films remained unreleased. These include the following movies:-

1. Hamari Kahani (the 1940s) made under the banner of Raj Theater 
2. Avinash (the 1950s) made under the banner of Chitra Shikhar
3. Sati Mahananda under the banner of Shankar Productions 
4. Jannat Ki Hoor under the banner of A Karim Productions.

He had also recorded two songs for the movie Peeli Kothi. One more movie of his was Pataal Devta which was the first movie for which actress Mumtaz faced the camera. Had the movie been released, it would have been the debut of Mumtaz.
 
At the recording. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
 
Shinde also composed music for two Marathi films. The first one was To Chi Sadhu Olakhawa (1966) and the second was Aai Aahe Shetaat (1970) which was also produced by him. He also composed for a few programs for All India Radio among which his music for Honaji Bala, Billi Mausi Ki Fajeehat, Sona Aur Saat Baune, Mansi, and Usha Muskaayi brought lots of appreciation to him. 
 
The Shinde family has been cut off from the film world since the patriarch's death. The financial uncertainties which his work brought led to his wife Nalini to take up a job. She worked for over thirty years as a Government school teacher which helped her get their two daughters married in good homes. 
 
A still from a Marathi film. 
Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Their elder daughter Ragini's husband Vilas Andhare retired as director of the Maharashtra Government's Publication department's Maharashtra Granth Nirmaata Mandal. Their second daughter Anuradha's husband Hemant Shende has retired after service of forty years from Dena Bank last year. Nalini is now 83 years old. She now spends time with the families of her elder daughter Ragini (who stays at Ghodbandar Road, Thane) and younger daughter Anuradha (who lives at Worli, Mumbai's Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road). 
Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

 Although Hindi Cinema did not give Ramkrishna Shinde his due, Ballet music gave him due recognition. Even at the time when he passed away due to a heart attack on 14 September 1985, he was composing for Raja Dhale's ballet, Chandalika and Ajit Sinha's ballet Rituchakra which was being made for Doordarshan.


[part of Shishir Krishna Sharma's Beete Hue Din blog series]
 

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