18 comments on “Found on YouTube: Mukti (1937) with English subtitles!

  1. I was somewhat careless when I conveyed the impression that Mukti was the first film to have Pankaj Mullick as the music director. I was aware PM was the music director of Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933). Whether this is also his first film as composer I have to confirm from some authentic source (now I would like to be more sure). Unfortunately his so called official web site http://www.pankajmullick.org/ is very poor in providing any substantial information on him. I am making the correction on Songs of Yore. I thought I should put the record straight. Thanks for acknowledging my blog on PM. Yours is one site I like for its vintgae appeal.

  2. just had look and am very much fascinated by the natural acting! Not at all theatrical as other films of that day!

  3. I would like to make a small point. The term Bollywood with somewhat pejorative connotation, I believe, came in usage post 1960s when the films were quite trite, and the cliches of running around trees etc had become jarring. I would avoid using this term for the great classics of earlier era.

  4. AK, thanks for sending me the correction, in addition to sending nice words :) . I looked up Yahudi Ki Lakdi at IMDb, and that looks interesting – I guess this is kind of an earlier version of the 1958 Yahudi? Anyway, looking at music director credits, I see that for this one and 1936′s Maya, Pankaj Mullick shares music director credits with Rai Chand Boral. Could it be that Mukti was the first film in which Pankaj Mullick was sole music director? Just a thought… But I’ll probably just delete that statement from my post soon.

    Re. “Bollywood,” yes, I’ve heard this before. I didn’t know exactly when the term originated, but the time frame you mentioned sounds right to me. But I just don’t worry about the term “Bollywood” having such a pejorative meaning these days, especially since I’ve seen that many people who also love the older films use that term freely and it’s been in widespread use, mainly for convenience, for so long. (Plus, it seems to me that few people give a second thought these days to writing about “Kollywood,” “Tollywood,” “Mollywood,” etc., regardless what decade they’re referring to.)

  5. Harvey, in Bollywood: A History, Mihir Bose points out this natural acting as one of the innovations for which Barual became famous:

    Until then, Indian cinema’s dialogue was far removed from the way common people talked. Dramatic literature had long been associated with the language of the courts. Perhaps, for this reason, dramatists in the vernacular tended to write in a florid style, reaching for a remoteness associated with what they perceived [as? - RS] the status speech should achieve in film. But Barua had been exposed to European naturalistic trends and wanted to discard such language. He also demanded from his actors a quiet, natural tone. The actress Durga Khote was astonished when she joined New Theatres to find how quietly actors delivered their lines.

  6. Yahudi Ki Ladi (1933) was Pankaj’s first film as the music director. His last 2 hindi films as M/D were Kasturi and Chitrangada, both released in 1954.

  7. Nowadays, the word Bollywood has become synonymous with Hindi films made in Mumbai, but it can’t be used for earlier films especially films made before partition, because at that time Hindi/Urdu films were produced at 3 centers i.e. Bombay, Lahore and Calcutta.

  8. Crossed comments here… I meant that I would fix the statement about this being the first film to have Pankaj Mullick as a music director (and I did :) ).

    Regarding the usage of “Bollywood,” though… Still, people do use the term for pre-Partition films as well. Look how often people refer to “vintage Bollywood.” (Look at the titles of some of the blogs by our friend Vidur Sury… You know he’s going to talk about pre-Partition movies when he talks about “vintage Bolly fun.” :) ) And note the title of Mihir Bose’s book that I just referred to… Close to half of the “Bollywood history” written here took place before Partition. So, while there may be a technical distinction if you want to be precise about it, I don’t see that it “can’t be used…” because it is all the time. :)

  9. Yeah, I should take that statement back Because now thinking about it, I also use the word Bollywood for pre-partition movies too lol!

  10. Hindi Film Geet Kosh mentions Pankaj Mullick as the sole music director of Yahudi Ki Ladki (1933). This can be taken as an authentic source. I also read somewhere and as another reader has mentioned, this would be his first film as music director, exclusively. As for the term Bollywood, I see the point of convenient usage, though I do not use it for vintage films and songs, without any conscious effort.

  11. I’m so grateful for the link Richard. I’ll definitely watch this one, and hopefully it will also lead me to other Bengali films with subtitles which I’ve been longing to watch.

  12. AK, so there is a contradiction between Hindi Film Geet Kosh and IMDb. I don’t really know anything about Hindi Film Geet Kosh. I know that IMDb contains errors often, but not usually this kind of error – most often, it mixes up actors with the same name or times something 20 years off due to a typo. But why would Rai Chand Boral be added as a co-music director? I think we’ll need more sources to solve this one (whoever has the energy and time :) )…

  13. Pacifist, you are welcome. Sometimes the subtitles are a bit off, but I think they’re good enough to contain the meanings, and the fact that, at least in Mukti, there’s lots of meaning in lots of lines. :)

  14. I saw the Hindi version of this film (which, I certainly comprehend better) and it was great. Kanan Devi Ji, Pankaj Mullick Ji and Kalyani Ji at their best as singing stars and very good performances by Menaka Desai Ji and P. C. Barua Ji himself as well. I got confused because this Menaka Ji was not such a huge singer and I had (before seeing) thought that it was the great classical singer of Pukar (1939), Sikandar (1941), Prothvi Vallabh (1943) and many Sohrab Modi Ji films. Of course, I realised that was Menaka Shirodkar Ji. The film is a mustc watch truly.

  15. @Richard S
    Harmandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’ spent a lifetime in making decade-wise compilations of name of films, other details, songs, singers etc. Each volume pertaining to a decade runs into about 1000 pages. An awesome work, and only one of its kind for reference. Human errors are possible anywhere. But in case of contradictions, Hindi Film Geet Kosh is obviously more credible.

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