The Pioneer of Bollywood Music – Anil Biswas

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Anil Biswas is one of those music directors who introduced some of the great singers to the film industry. Recipient of Sangeet Natak Academy Award, Biswas immensely contributed as a composer and as a lyricist in Indian film industry.

Biswas was born on 7th July 1914 in Barishal, East Bengal which is now in Bangladesh. From early days of childhood Biswas started showing inclination towards music. By the age of 14 he started singing and composing music at local music concerts. Biswas embarked his career in the Kolkata city in 1930s when he started composing music for plays in Kolkata. ‘Rangmahal Theatre,’ was the one where he joined as an actor, singer, and assistant music director. Though known as a composer in Hindi film industry, Biswas excelled in the arena of singing as well. He mastered over styles like khayal, thumri and dadra, and, in Shyama Sangeet and Kirtan styles when it comes to devotional songs.

Biswas entered in Bollywood during the time when the concept of playback singing was being introduced in film industry. He made his first break as a composer with the movie Dharam ki Devi (1935) in which he sang and acted in the song ‘Kuch Bhi Nahin Bharosa.’In 1936 he joined Sagar Moviestones as a composer and the future then saw the introduction of the a legendary composer.

Movies like Jagirdar (1937), Hum Tum aur Woh (1938), Ek Hi Raasta (1939), Aurat (1940), Bahen (1941), Roti (1942), established Biswas as a successful music director. He was the one who scored music for Dilip Kumar’s debut movie Milan (1946). It was Biswas who gave break to singers like Mukesh and Talat Mahmood in Pehli Nazar (1945) and Arzoo (1949), respectively and also was the reason behind the popularity of many singers including Lata Mangesgkar.

Gyan Mukherjee’s Kismet (1943) under the banner of Bombay Talkies became a super hit at the box office. He scored music for Laadli (1949), Laajawaab (1950), Badi Bahu (1951) and Humdard (1953) under the banner of Variety Pictures a production that was owned by his wife Asha Lata. Before he quit his work as a composer he scored music for Pardesi (1957) and Char Dil Char Rahen (1959), and Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965) was his last movie as a composer.

In the initial days of his career he worked as a singer, lyricist and composer, with the ‘Hindustan Recording Company’ and later in 1963 he became director of the National Orchestra at the All India Radio (AIR) and also enjoyed his position as Chief Producer in ‘Sugam Sangeet’ which was a Hindustani Classical Music show at AIR Delhi, till 1975. Not only this, but Biswas won the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1986.

Biswas is still remembered as the one who employed Indian classical and folk into his music and also fused western techniques into his compositions. He died in May 2003 survived by his wife Meena Kapoor who was a play back singer and daughter of the actor Bikram Kapoor. Biswas was earlier married to Ashalata who was an actress and owner of the production house Variety Pictures and had three sons and a daughter. His son Utpal Biswas too worked as a composer in Hindi cinema.

Anil Biswas is such a person whose name counts under those who happened to be the pioneer of Bollywood music and a name never to be forgotten by the music lovers.


Here are few of his wonderful compositions


Talat and Lata sings one of the best ever sad song for Anil Biswas



A patriotic song from Kismat which echoed sentiments of lot of Indians in 1943


A timeless lori from Kismat again


Lot of people assume that KL Saigal sang this but it was Mukesh


Passionate about watching movies and loves listening to songs.

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