Jan 16, 2010

Suresh Bhat and Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Mendichya Panavar Man Ajun Jhulte Ga is a very popular Marathi song. Lata Mangeshkar has sung to the tune by her brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar. The poem is by Suresh Bhat. This song set in motion a lifelong friendship between Hridaynath and Suresh Bhat.

When this song was recorded it was very clear that the wordings and tune were all very modern and at the same time referring to such a perennial emotion. Arun Date who is also a singer asked Hridaynath if he has sought permission from Suresh Bhat to provide tune for his poem. He had not. Arun Date warned Hridaynath to expect a visit from Suresh Bhat on this matter.

Suresh Bhat was an imposing personality. Although his right leg was polio stricken, the person was strong and forceful. Hridaynath was concerned.

One day Suresh Bhat did show up at Hridaynath's home. Banging on the door he demanded to meet Hridaynath. When Hridaynath showed up, he asked him one question.

What do they call you at home?

Baal - said Hridaynath.

Then that's what you are to me from now on - said Suresh Bhat with a hug.

He was so moved by the composition.

Their collaboration is legendary. Both Lata and Asha have sung Suresh Bhat poems composed by Hridaynath.

The only times the two would fight would be when Suresh Bhat would insist on reading out his new poems to Hridaynath in his own tunes. This made it difficult for Hridaynath to break out of the orginal tune and compose music. When asked to just deliver the poems without the tunes, Suresh Bhat would drop the papers and storm out.

Suresh Bhat passed away at the age of 71 in 2003. There are still a lot of his gems there waiting to be composed and sung. Suresh Bhat rejuvenated the Marathi language and Hridaynath Mangeshkar made it accessible by creating popular tunes and composition.

A language needs Bhats and Mangeshkars to thrive - not Thackrey who just impose use of Marathi in Mumbai.