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Vasant Prabhu

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Vasant Prabhu:

Vasant Prabhu rendered sweet and simple compositions which had a classical base. Lata Mangeshkar sung the Bhavgeet Ganga Jamuna dolyat ka composed by Vasant Prabhu in 1948. The trio of Lata Mangeshkar, Vasant Prabhu and P Savlaram garnered unprecedented success in the field of film music and bhavgeet after the film Kanyaadaan.

Vasant Prabhu had learnt the Katthak dance form as a child. He was tall and well built and wanted to become an actor in films so he moved to Kolhapur and Pune. Finally, he went to Mumbai and got a job as a music composer in HMV.

Prabhu composed the music for some songs as well as choreographed some dance sequences for the film Ram Ram Pavhana. He composed the music for a Thumri for the film Vaadal, which was produced under Lata Mangeshkar’s Surel Chitra. The thumri was so enchanting, that the audience at a movie theatre in Nagpur threatened to destroy the theatre if the sequence was not shown again. Finally, an extra print of only the thumri sequence was made and shown as per the requests for once mores. This is an exceptional incident in the world of cinema!

Through a lot of hard work, Prabhu managed to make actress Sulochana, a non-dancer at that time, dance beautifully for Dinkar D Patil’s film Taaraka. The audience appreciated Sulochana’s dance, and she was thus recognised as an artist who could also dance.

P Savlaram’s songs were full of motherly love, magnanimity and sentiments. His songs, Ghat doivar, ghat kamarevar and Jo avadto sarvanna became very popular. In Dinkar Patil’s ambitious film, Bhairav, Prabhu got some songs sung by Pandit Firoze Dastur and Dashrat Pujari. He made Pandit Firoz Dastur sing in raagdaari, which was unprecedented. In Putra vhava aisa, Prabhu made the Hindi film singer Talat Mahmud sing two songs in Marathi, which was a first for Talatji. He composed music for several films from 1950 to 1975.

He used to refer to Lata Mangeshkar’s voice as a gift from God. It is said that he used to think up tunes while lying in the balcony at night and the next day he would to go to his friend Maruti Keer’s house to play out the tunes on the harmonium. He was very independent and would never go out of his way to ask for work. At the same time, he was not very street smart. He was honest, straightforward, disciplined, punctual and hot tempered. He had an inbuilt sense of music. Nobody used the violin in songs as beautifully as Prabhu. His audio records always used to sell-out. His most memorable songs are: Tuzhya gala, mazhya gala, Kokila ga, Premswarup aai, Madhumaagasi mazhya, Jan palbhar mhantil. Madhu Potdar’s beautifully written book on Vasant Prabhu, Manasicha chitrakaar to has to be read to know more about Vasant Prabhu.

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