Name : Chitragupt
Full / Real Name : Chitragupt Srivastav
Born : 16 Nov, 1917, Chhapra
Died : 14 Jan, 1988
Notable Films : Bhabhi, Ek Raaz, Main Chup Rahoongi, Oonche Log, Opera House, Vasna, Zabak
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Chitragupt Srivastav was a lecturer in Patna (he had a double MA, in Economics & in Journalism) before he ran away to Bombay pursue a career as a composer in films. After working as an assistant to S N Tripathi for a brief interval, he got an independent opportunity with Ramnik Vaidya in 1946. A handful of films followed in close succession, but success eluded him until 1952 when the Rafi-Shamshad duet, adaa se jhoomate hue (Sindbad the sailor), was a popular hit.

After the initial breakthrough, better offers and opportunities followed, but Chitragupt was a reticent man, wary of big names, and happy to pursue his art for art's sake. After S D Burman recommended him to Meiyappan of AVM studios, he became a fixture at AVM studios, starting with Shiv Bhakt in 1955. Bhabhi, Barkha, Main Chup Rahoongi and Main bhi ladki hoon were the other notable ventures of this collaboration. He worked with few big name studios or actors - with Mohan Sehgal, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, G P Sippy, Kishore Sahu and AVM being the exceptions.

His early music bore a similarity to C Ramchandra's music (heightened by the fact that they shared a music arranger and a recording engineer). His classical roots never got into the way of innovation and he parted ways with his erstwhile mentor, S N Tripathi, following a difference on their approach to incorporating themes and ideas from popular Western music. His classical roots are seen in songs like Kishore's "paayal vaali dekhna" (Ek Raaz), while his modern and light-hearted, foot-tapping music could be sampled in songs like "ham matavale naujavan" (Barkha), "dekho mausam kya bahaar hai" (Opera House).

Chitragupt was a good singer as well and sang about thirty of his own compositions. He is said to have a hand in fashioning the lyrics to several of his songs as well. He worked with all the major lyricists of the time - Majrooh, Rajinder Krishan, Anand Bakshi, Prem Dhawan and even Sahir. He is said to have been wary of working with Sahir given the latter's inclination to give his lyrics precedence. But, once Sahir agreed to write to the tunes Chitragupt composed, they produced some wonderful songs in collaboration for Vasna - ye parbaton ke daayre, itani naazuk na bano.

Chitragupt absolutely ruled the roost where it came to Bhojpuri films, with his music for Ganga Maiya tohe Piyari Chadhaibo being a cult favorite. He also composed the music for a few Punjabi and Gujarati films, as well as the music for an MGR film dubbed from Tamil.

He suffered a heart attack in 1968 and a paralytic stroke in 1974. He showed great resolve and resilience in recovering from both to compose for films even afterwards. His children, Anand and Milind, the composer duo, and Sulakshana and Vijayeta Pandit, the singer-actresses have also made an impact on the film world.