Singer Music director Hemant Kumar Kalidas Mukerji was born on 16th June 1920 at Banaras. He was fond of music from his childhood and he had a dream to become singer since then. He obtained education and training of music from Phani Banerjee and Shailendra Gupta. His family waned him to become an engineer but the destiny had decided to make him singer and music director. In his young age he used to sing for All India radio.
At the age of 20 music director Das gave him an opportunity to sing for movie Nimas Sanyas, then when he came to Mumbai, he had an opportunity to sing for the movie, Jamin Asman in 1946. The first song of Hemant Kumar as a singer was, ‘Ek raat Kabhi Aisi Aayi’ and the music director was Kamal Das Gupta. Then he sang for the movies Bindiya, Manmani, Faisla, Maldar, Saja, Aandhiya, Jaal, Shrimatiji, etc.
When Hemant Kumar realized that there is much competition for the singers, he decided to be a Music director and firstly he worked for the movie ‘Anandmath’. Producer Shashidhar Mukerjhee of Filmistan was happy with the wok by Hemant Da. Music lovers like the songs ‘Vande Mataram’ by Lata Mangeshkar and ‘Jai Jagdish Hare’ by Hemant Kumar and Geeta Dutt too much.
After ‘Anandmath’ the movie came named ‘Daku Ki Ladki’, ‘Feri’ etc. but songs of ‘Nagin’ became very popular. Filmistan produced ‘Nagin’ in 1954. The bean played by Kalyanji in ‘Nagin’ is still popular. Hemant Kumar started working as music director in 1952 and only after two years in 1954, he received Filmfare award for ‘Nagin’. Songs in Shart, Jagruti, Samrat became popular after Nagin.
Among total 12 songs in ‘Nagin’ 9 were by Lata. These songs (1) Man Dole Tera Tan Dole (2) Jadugar Sainya Chhod Mori Baiya (3) Aa Ja Mera Dil Pukare Aa Ja (4) Unchi Unchi Duniya Ki Deeware (5) Teri Yaad Me Jalkar Dekh Liya are immortal. ‘Nagin’ is considered to be very important in career of Hemant Kumar.
He used voices of Lata, Asha and Geeta Dutt for songs in ‘Shart’ very nicely. The double effect song ‘Na Yah Chand Hoga Na Taare Rahenge, Magar Ham Hamesha Tumhare Rahenge‘ was most attractive. The duet by Lata – Hemant, ‘Dekho Woh Chand Chupke Karta Hai Kya Ishare’ was very sweet.
As compared with Nagin, the movies like Samrat, Bandish, Bahu, Lagan, Anjaan, Bandhan did not get success. It was some relief that songs by Lata from ‘Durgesh Nandini’ became popular. Hemant Kumar gave music to the film ‘EK Hi Rasta’ by B. R. Chopra. The song from this movie, ‘Chali Gori Pi Se Milan Ko Chali’ became very famous. Then songs from Hamara Watan, Inspector, Laalten, Taj, Bandi, Ek Zalak, Fashion, Hill Station could not get popularity. The song by Lata, ‘Chhu Gaya Koi Re Dur Se Pukar Ke’ from ‘Champakali’ in 1957 as well as ‘So Gaya Saara Jahaan, Nind Kyu Aati Nahi’ from ‘Miss Merry’ were very special.
After ‘Nagin’, the career of Hemant Kumar could not flourish that much. In 1962 he produced a film ‘Bees Saal Baad’. This suspense movie received a great popularity with actors Wahida Rahman, Vishwajeet and others. The song ‘Kahi Deep Jale Kahi Dil’ was successful to create a suspense thrilling atmosphere throughout the film. The songs, ‘Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke’ and ‘Ae Mohabbat Meri Duniya Me Tera Kaam Na Tha’ by Lata were very popular. ‘Zara Nazaro Se Kah Do Tum, Nishana Chuk Na Jaaye‘ by Hemant Kumar as well as ‘Bekarar KarKe hame Yun Na Jaiye‘ were very sweet.
Songs from ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’ by Guru Dutt became very popular. Asha and her songs (1) Meri Baat Rahi Mere Man Me (2) Meri Jaan Meri Jaan (3) Bhanwara Bada Naadan Hai (4) Saakiya Aaj Muze Nind Nahi Aayegi became very much popular with music by Hemant Kumar.The songs by Geeta Dutt (1) Na jaao Sainya Chhudaa Ke Baiya (2)Piya Aiso Jiya Me Samaayo Gayo Re with pampering voice also became famous.
After the success of ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’, the movies with music by Hemant Kumar like Bin Baadal Barsaat, Kohra, Do Dil, Farar, Anupama could not get sufficient success. He made financial profit only in ‘Bees Saal Baad’. The films Kohra, Farar, Bibi Aur Makan, Rahgir, Bees Saal Pahale were flop.
‘Love In Canada’ with his music was released inn 1978. His movies Nagin, Shart, Champakali, Miss Merry, Bees Saal Baad, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam, Kohra, Khamoshi were successful as a music director. Though he tried to become a producer, he was not successful. His work as a singer Hemant Kumar with other music directors seems to be more successful than the music director Hemant Kumar. The song ‘Aa Gupchup Gupchup Pyar Karen Chhup Chuup’ in movie ‘Sazaa’ in the voice of Hemant Kumar and Sandhya Mukherjee was especially famous where music was given by S. D. Burman.
The songs in the voice of Hemant Kumar with another music director became very famous such as (1) Yah Raat Yah Chandani Phir Kaha (Jaal – S. D. Burman), (2) Zindagi Pyaar Ki Do Chaar Ghadi Hoti Hai (Anarkali – C. Ramchandra) (3) Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kaha Ho Tum (Patita – Shankar Jaikishan) (4) Aa Neel gagan Ke Tale Pyar ham Kare (Badshah – Shankar Jaikishan) (5) Rula Kar Chal Diye Ek Dil Hasi Ban Kar Jo Aaye The (Badshah – Shankar Jaikishan) (6) Teri Duniya Me Jine Se (Ghar No. 44 – S. D. Burman) (7) Chup Hai Dharati Chup Hai Chand Sitare (Ghar No. 44 – S. D. Burman) (8) Nain Se Nain Nahi Milaao (Zanak Zanak Payal baaje – Vasant Desai) (10) Jaane Woh Kaun Se Log They (Pyasa – S. D. Burman) (11) O Nind Na Mujhko Aaye (P. B. No. 999 – Kalyan Ji) (12) Chandi Ke Tukado Ke Liye (Satta Bazar – Kalyanji Anandji) (13) Laharo Pe Lahar Ulfat Hai Jawan (Chhabili – Snehal Bhatkar) (14) Na Tum Hame Jaano (Baat Ek Raat Ki (S. D. Burman)
Hemant Kumar sang when he was the music director for those songs; but he never objected for singing for other music directors also. It is his greatness. Ravindra University, Calcutta (Kolkata) conferred D. Litt on him as well as Bangladesh Government honored him with Madhusudan Dutt Award. However, when Government of India was about to honour him Padmashree, he refused to accept. It is the reason that after death, his work was not brought before the world properly as he had insulted the government by refusing the award.
He gave music to ne Marathi movie, ‘Naikinicha Sajja’. He also sang some songs with Lata. ‘Mi Dolkar Dolkar Darya Cha raja’ and ‘Pritichya Chand Raati‘ are specially famous. Hemant Kumar sang the famous Marathi song ‘Marathi Paul Padate Pudhe‘ from movie ‘Maratha Tituka Melwawa’ where music director was Anandghan (Lata Mangeshkar).
Creative talent of Hemant da was tremendous. He had created his own era in the industry, but this artist was trapped in the competition. He left the world on 26th September 1989.
Though Hemant Da is not with us, he has given the treasure of his songs. He must have said, ‘Teri Duniya Me Jine Se to Behtar Hai Ki Mar Jaaye.’