Guest Article by Piyush M Pandya (Gujarati original) & Ashok M Vaishnav (English Translation)
(Continuing their series on the Arrangers and Musicians our guest authors Piyush M Pandya (Gujarati) and Ashok M Vaishnav (English translation) now write on S Hazara Singh who played several instruments, but became a legend with Hawaiian guitar. His Hawaiian guitar pieces became the identity of many superhit songs of OP Nayyar and several other music directors. His independent LP albums of tunes of old film songs he played on the guitar sold like hot cakes.
Piyush ji and Ashok ji have demonstrated through this series how important was the role of the musicians and the arrangers in embellishing the songs. S Hazara Singh is one of the legends whose Hawaiian guitar pieces in many songs transformed a shell into a beautiful sculpture. Thank you Piyush ji and Ashok ji for another excellent article in the series, and making us aware of S Hazara Singh’s contributions. – AK)
In the initial phase of film music, the instruments like harmonium, shehnai, flute, sarangi were used mainly for the music support of a film song. However, with advent of new generation of experimentalist music directors like Pankaj Mullick, Anil Biswas, Khemchand Prakash etc. instruments like piano and different types of violins, accordions, guitars, pianos, saxophones etc. also found way into film music compositions. With arrangers and instrumentalists from Goa Christian Western music also joining the film music industry, film music underwent a fundamental shift.
In this period of transformation of Hindi film music, sometime around 1942, in the city of Karachi, of the then undivided India, a young man worked as a craftsman of peti (harmonium). He was also very good at crafting the reeds and ‘tuning’ the assembled harmonium pieces. Not before long, he also started working on different string instruments. As the providence would have it, he came to the notice of Ram Singh, the famous saxophone player of the early era during his frequent travels between Bombay and Karachi for recordings. He invited this young man to Bombay. After initial hesitation, somewhere around 1947, the young man did land up in Bombay. The luck was favourable to him as he immediately got his chance to play guitar in the Khemchand Prakash orchestra for the two iconic songs Aayega aanewala and Mushkil hai bahut mushkil (Mahal, 1949). The two songs put the young man into a higher orbit of respected instrumentalists. Since there was another popular Hazara Singh, a vocalist in Punjabi cinema, our young man, Hazara Singh, added S (Sardar) as prefix to his name. We now know that young guitarist as S Hazara Singh. Even though he was proficient in playing all types of guitars, S Hazara Singh’s main body of work for the songs and the background scores is with lead guitar and Hawaiian guitars.
1. Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye – Saza (1951) – Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi – Music: S D Burman
Opening with harmonium, piano and violin ensemble prelude, Hawaiian guitar enters @ 0.44-0.49, it remains the fulcrum of the orchestration of the whole song, in the counter melody as well as interludes.
2. Jinhen naaz hai hind par woh kahan hain – Pyasa (1957) – Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhiyanavi – Music: S D Burman
Hazara Singh’s guitar play adds pathos to the voice of Mohammad Rafi.
S Hazara Singh has played guitar for almost all the music directors of that era, but he was the mainstay guitarist for O P Nayyar.
3. Mera naam chin chin chu – Howrah Bridge (1958) – Geeta Dutt – Lyrics; Qamar Jalalabadi – Music: O P Nayyar
Use of Hawaiian guitar of higher than normally played scale right from prelude into the interludes is astounding.
Hazara Singh has played this song on one of his instrumental records as well. We can see how deftly he slides over the scales to create the effect of the complete song.
Hazara Singh’s initial exposure to musical instruments was as a mechanic. As such, he always experimented with the different technical aspects of the design of the instrument which led him to innovate sounds the instrument could create. He experimented with creating a ‘double-necked’ guitar. That guitar had two necks and fretboards joined together, each one having six strings. Hazara Singh would use this guitar to create a very different effect.
4. Deewana hua baadal – Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: S H Bihari – Music: O P Nayyar
Immediately after sitar and santoor play the opening notes, Hazara Singh plays it again with his double guitar, but to what different dramatic effect!
5. Pukarata chala hun main – Mere Sanam (1965) – Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri – Music: O P Nayyar
Here the lead guitar provides the prelude and interlude as well as rhythm support.
6. Lakhon hain yahan dilwaale – Kismat (1969) – Mahendra Kapoor – Lyrics: S H Bihari – Music: O P Nayyar
Even the tom-fooling ways of Biswajeet playing guitar on the screen fails in breaking the spell of mesmerizing effect that the actual play of lead guitar creates.
7. Nadi ka kinara ho – CID 999 (1967) – Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Varma Malik – Music: O P Nayyar
How innovatively Hazara Singh plays with scales and chords over his fretboard to create that magic effect in the interlude that lingers on even after the song is long over!
In all probability the lead guitarist would have been Dilip Naik, another regular guitarist on O P Nayyar orchestra.
8. Kitna haseen hai ye jahan – Humsaya (1968) – Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri – Music: O P Nayyar
Lead guitar is used to provide rhythm and counter melody support in the pieces based on the western music mould.
9. Aao huzur tumko sitaron mein le chalun – Kismat (1969) – Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: S H Bihari – Music: O P Nayyar
The intoxicating mood that the initial strokes of lead guitar creates sets the stage for Asha Bhosle and soprano saxophone to build upon.
10. Chal akela chal akela – Sambandh (1969) – Mukesh – Lyrics: Kavi Pradeep – Music: O P Nayyar
Guitar comes in quite unusual fashion @ 0.35 to 0.41, and at the end of orchestral music of interludes.
Having covered some of the representative O P Nayyar songs with Hazara Singh’s wide variety of guitar play, we will take up a few more songs from other music directors.
11. Tera teer o bepeer dil ke aar paar hai – Shararat (1957) – Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Shailendra – Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Opening with mandolin prelude piece the songs would have remained one of the usual Shankar-Jaikshan – Shailendra – Lata Mangeshkar happy dance number with multi-instrument orchestra for interludes. But Sebastain D’Souza has imaginatively inserted Hawaiian guitar pieces @0.17 to 0.26 and then @0.34 to 0.44 of the mukda, subtly replicating the main tune, which has been brilliantly executed by Hazara Singh. The mukhda lines in the same style repeat in the song as well.
12. Jiya ho Jiya o jiya kuchh bol do – Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai (1961) – Mohammad Rafi – Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri – Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Guitar also matches high speed beat of the song at the beginning and end of the interludes.
Beat-wise and place-wise following the same pattern, in the female version of the song the guitar also reaches higher scale to match the fairly high-pitched female scale of the song.
However, even more interesting is the use of Hawaiian guitar in the credit titles score (till 1.44). The lyrics part of the song (बोल) of the mukhda is reproduced by the guitar.
13. Aa ja aa ja main hun pyar tera – Teesri Manzil (1966) – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle – Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri – Music: R D Burman
The long prelude is all Hawaiian guitar, with percussion support of drums. In all probability more than one guitarist would have played as a unit for such stunning piece. The guitar also has a dominant role during interlude pieces.
14. Tum ko piya dil diya kitne naaz se – Shikari (1963) – Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Farooq Qaiser – Music: G S Kohli
If the first interlude and the end piece are all Punjabi theka, second interlude is all Hawaiian guitar with dholak in percussion support!
The guitar albums records of S Hazara Singh received excellent response in the market.
One can listen to several of his such records, mainly songs of ‘60s, on YT. However, how I wish we could have got to listen to these shellac records –
Number HMV N. 15937 – having Preet laga ke main ye phal paya (Aakhein, 1950 – Music: Madan Mohan) on one side and Teri Duniya Mein dil lagata nahin (Baawre Nain, 1950 – Music: Roshan), OR,
Number HMV – N. 92616, having instrumental versions of Eint ki dukki paan ka ikka (Howarah Bridge, 1958 – Music: O P Nayyar) on one side and Masti bhara hai sama (Parvarish, 1958 – Music: Dattaram) on the other side, OR
Number HMV N. 92640, having Lovely lovely on one side and Pehla pehla pyar hai (both from College Girl, 1960- Music: Shankar Jaikishan).
S Hazara Singh was proficient with many instruments. But his dazzling guitar performance has overshadowed his prowess with violin or clavioline – the two instruments with which he was equally brilliant.
S Hazara Singh left this world on 3rd January 1972, but his path-breaking work on guitar in Hindi films remains immortal.
Credits and Disclaimers:
1. The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of music lovers. This blog claims no copyright over these songs, which vests with the respective copyright holders. Some songs can be played only on the YT, in those cases only links have been given
2.The photographs are taken from the internet, duly recognising the full copyrights for the same to the either original creator or the site where they were originally displayed.