Vasant Desai

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Vasant Desai
Born(1912-06-09)June 9, 1912
Sonwad village, Savantwadi, Maharashtra, India
DiedDecember 22, 1975(1975-12-22) (aged 63)
Occupation film score composer

Vasant Desai (1912–1975) was an Indian film music composer, most remembered for his score in V. Shantaram films like Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1953), Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955), Vijay Bhatt's Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), Sampoorna Ramayan (1961), Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Guddi (1971) and Aashirwaad. [1]


Early life

He was born in 1912 into a wealthy family in Sonawade village, Savantwadi state, ruled by the Bhonsale clan, and grew up in Kudal area, also in Konkan belt, Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra in western India. [2]


He was with the famous Prabhat Film Company since it started making talkies. He acted, sang, and sometimes composed songs in Prabhat's films like Dharmatma and Sant Dnyaneshwar. After learning the craft of music composition, he stuck solely to it since the 1940s.

He scored music for a majority of V. Shantaram's films when the latter broke away from Prabhat to form his own film studio. Their relations soured in late 1950s after which Vasantrao Desai never worked for his former mentor again.

His memorable songs are, Hindi Filmi Devotional song, Ae Malik Tere Bande Ham Do Aankhen Barah Haath , 1957. and launched play back singer, Vani Jairam with the song, Bole re papihara in Guddi (1971). [3]

Maithreem Bhajata is a benediction composed in Sanskrit by sant Jagadguru Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Mutt.

The song was set to a Ragamalika by composer Shri Vasant Desai. It was rendered at the United Nations on Oct. 23, 1966 on the occasion of the UN day, by Bharat Ratna Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi.

In Marathi, some of his memorable songs are Sanga Mukund kuni ha pahila, Uthi Uthi Gopala from Amar Bhoopali, Ramya hi swargahuni Lanka from Swayamwar zale Seeteche, Deh devache mandir from Preetisangam, Manuskichya shatrusange yuddha amuche suru from Chota jawan. [4]

Last recording

Vasant Desai went back home on 22 December 1975 after a full day recording of a special musical programme at HMV Studios attended by high-profile musicians as it was in praise of Indira Gandhi. He stepped into the elevator of his apartment building and due to some technical glitch, the lift began to move, crushing him to death. [5]

Partial filmography

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  1. Vasant Desai Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema, by Gulzar, Govind Nihalani, Saibal Chatterjee. (Encyclopædia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd,) Publisher: Popular Prakashan, 2003. ISBN   81-7991-066-0. p. 544.
  2. Vasant Desai Hindi Film Song: Music Beyond Boundaries, by Ashok Da. Ranade. Bibliophile South Asia, 2006. ISBN   81-85002-64-9. p. 229.
  3. Nostalgia unlimited: Vani Jairam's songs in Malayalam continue to enchant a new generation of music lovers The Hindu, 2 December 2005.
  4. List of songs by Vasant Desai
  5. (p. 23)
  6. Filmography