A versatile man, Ramchandra Chitalkar, composed music for Hindi and Marathi films. An unusual and extraordinary artist who had 5-6 different identities in his entire career. Though mostly known as C.Ramchandra, he was also popular as Annasaheb in the film cirlce. He used the name R.N.Chitalkar in some of the films while only Chitalkar as a playback singer. In the movie Ye Hai Duniya (1948), he is credited as Shyamu. He studied music under Vinayakbua Patwardhan at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and also under Shankarrao Sapre of Nagpur where he studied music alongside Vasantrao Deshpande. He joined the industry playing the lead role in Y. V. Rao’s Naganand. He also had some small roles in the movies Said-e-Havas (1936) and Atma Tarang (1937). He made his debut a as music director in Tamil movies with Jayakkodi and Vana Mohini. However, Shehnai (1947) was the turning point in his career. His repertoire is a concoction of honeyed classical, semi classical numbers and cheeky, mischief-laden, joyful numbers. It mirrors the curiosity of music lovers, be it westernized or Indian. C Ramchandra has fascination for western instruments, which showed extravagantly in the gamut of songs he presented. Melody and sweetness were the highlights of his songs be it western or Indian.
A composer par excellence, a musical genius, who went against the tide to experiment with western instruments and infused the traditional folk or Indian numbers with these instruments. His songs never lost their boyish touch. The use of instruments such as congo, bongas, clarinet, saxophone, mandolin, trumpet and merging them with Indian instruments such as tabla, sarangi, flute, sitar showed his mastery over rhythm. Many of his songs, especially his duets acquired an iconic status. From romantic comedies to deeply soulful ones, they were showcased intricately.
Lets have a look at some of his quintessential duets which have become iconic in Hindi cinema, irrespective of whether or not the movie was successful –
1. Patanga (1949) – Rendered by Shamshad Begum and C Ramchandra himself, this song is always on top of the list when it comes to telephone songs.
2. Albela (1951) – The swashbuckling Albela and some of its songs are still heard with equal zest.
3. Anarkali (1953) – A heart pounding number by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar is sure to put you into a romantic trance.
4. Azaad (1955) – A honeyed melody with almost no percussion, only string instruments used throughout the song.
5. Nausherwan-e-Adil (1957) – An enchanting melody picturized on Mala Sinha and Raaj Kumar.
6. Amardeep (1958) – A hummable melody rendered by Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi.
7. Navrang (1959) – A flawless melody to bring out a flawless poem.
8. Baarish (1957) – Sweetest melody for one of the finest on screen couple Nutan – Dev Anand.
9. Shatranj (1956) – A soothing melody rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar, picturised on Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar.
10. Bahurani (1963) – A lilting romantic melody picturised on Mala Sinha and Guru Dutt.