B S Hoogan, the distinguished music director who had a remarkable influence on C Ramachandra’s compositions, is credited for composing some melodious tunes for the Indian film audience.
Born as Balwant Singh Hoogan in 1901 to a Kashmiri Brahmin family in Ferozpur, Punjab, he was trained in Indian classical and western music. He was also skilled in playing some western instruments. Under the guidance of Mr Victor Aimes from Albert Music Company, he trained to conduct orchestras. Hoogan often played orchestra that accompanied silent film screenings to amplify the visuals back in the day. He conducted an orchestra of twelve musicians.
In 1933, he entered the film industry when he joined Mohan Bhavnani’s Ajanta Cinetone. Under this banner, he composed the music for Afzal (1933), Rangeela Rajput (1933), Dard-e-Dil (1934), Mazdoor (1934), Registan Ki Rani (1935), Sone Ka Shahar (1935), Parakh (1937), Vijay Marg (1938) and Sansar Sagar (1939).
When he joined Minerva Movietone, replacing the previous composer Habib Khan, he struck up a good relationship with C Ramachandra. Hoogan impressed Ramachandra by using foreign instruments in a classical raga. Hoogan also took Ramachandra around the fancy hotels in town where orchestras performed to draw inspiration. As Hoogan would make tunes, Ramachandra was responsible to take down the notations. The latter would often improvise them without Hoogan’s knowledge and these would be carried along for the final song. Tales of their partnership find mention in Ramachandra’s autobiography.
Hoogan passed away at a young age of 37 in September 1938, in Ferozpur.