Name : C Ramchandra
Full / Real Name : Ramchandra Narahar Chitalkar
Born :
Died : 5 Jan 1982
Notable Films : Anarkali, Azad, Albela, Asha, Jhanjhar, Navrang, Parchhain, Patanga, Sagai, Stree, Yasmin
Contributed by : Neha Desai
Chitalkar Narhar Ramchandra, also called Annasaheb fondly, was born in 1918 in Punatambe, Maharashtra. He studied music under Vinayakbua Patwardhan at Gandharva Mahavidyalaya music school. His first movie as an actor was Y.V.Rao's flop NAAGANAND. After a short stint with Marathi cinema, then Centered around Kolhapur, he veered towards Bombay and landed in a film directed by Sohrab Modi for his Minerva Movietone. Modi despaired over young Ramchandra's acting ability but recognised his ability as a harmonium player. A fateful shift to the music department followed. He became a harmonium accompanyist for Minerva composers Bindu Khan and Habib Khan in a 1939 film PUKAAR. He debuted as a music director in Tamil films with JAYAKODDI(1939) and VANMOHINI. His first Hindi movie as an independent MD was SUKHI JEEVAN(1942)for Master Bhagwan, which established a long-term association that culminated with the musical megahit ALBELA. Briefly turned producer with New Sai Prod. in 1953 with JHANJHAR, LEHAREIN, and DUNIYA GOL HAI.

Influenced by Benny Goodman, he introduced e.g. the alto sax in combination with guitar and harmonica, also whistling in one of his most famous songs 'aana meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday' in SHEHNAI. He also used a bongo, oboe, trumpet, clarinet and sax combination for 'shola jo bhadke' in ALBELA. He also introduced scat singing in AASHA. In SHIN SHINAAKI BOOBLA BOO, he featured his own voice along with Lata's to sing the title song, and incorporated the authentic blue note and rhythm. The raw blue sound seems not have been capitalized on by our composers. The Kishore- Rafi duet from OP's BHAAGAMBHAAG ("chhoD chaley pyaari duniyaa ko") and Asha's brilliantly rendered "tum jaiso.n ko to paayal mei.n baandh loo.n" from RD's GARAM MASAALA are by far the only ones that readily comes to mind.

He sang a number of songs using the name 'Chitalkar', mostly of his own composition. He was a tellingly effective match for Bhagwan (Albela) and for Raj Kapoor (Sargam), but did not quite do justice to this aspect of his music. For Azad, he had lined up Talat Mahmood to sing "kitna haseen hai mausam" but an emergency kept the singer from attending the recording. Ramchandra went ahead and recorded the song in his own voice, doing a fairly good imitation of the famed Talat tones.

Outside of the Hindi space, Anna worked on Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Bhojpuri films. His style has inspired an entire generation of composers from the South. Quite a few of them have gone to school on the soft Chitalkar signature.

His fallout with Lata also signalled a major downturn in his music and his popularity. The Lata solo from the 1966 PAAYAL KI JHANKAAR ("tu aaye na aaye magar jaane waale") may well be her last song for CR. To overcome a fallow period in the late 60s, he relaunched himself as music director, producer and actor in successful Marathi films: DHANANJAY, GHARKUL. His autobiography in marathi called 'majhya jeevanachi sargam' (Melody of my life) was published in 1977.

On 22nd December 1981, he was admitted to the KEM hospital in Mumbai. He had been suffering from ulcers for some time. He was 72 when he breathed his last on 5th January, 1982. His death left behind a vacuum and a silence.

Always open and generous, Ramchandra created one of the strongest musical signatures in the business. The gentle orchestration, the clean melody devoid totally of unnecessary complications, a light approach to orchestration except when the situation really demanded it, total understanding of the Mangeshkar voices - the end result carried that unmistakable CR stamp.

He was not in the least embarrassed about borrowing the occasional musical phrase from his colleagues, as exemplified by the opening bars of "tum kyaa jaano", a Hemanta Mukherji orignial from the Bengali SOORYATORAN. Perhaps there was a special bond between the two contemporaries. Perhaps they shared their views on the virtues of simplicity. One doesn't quite know.