Many artists fear that their work will go unrecognised and forgotten. This is seen in the Hindi film industry where some talented artists have been overlooked or deliberately pushed aside. A notable example is S Balbir, a prominent voice from the mid-20th century, who despite a vast body of work, is now largely unknown and little is known about the circumstances of his disappearance or death.
S Balbir: A singer second to none
In 2013, Subhash Kapoor directed the film ‘Jolly LLB’ hit the theatres. The audiences saw the brilliant chemistry between the versatile actor duo – Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani. At that time, one particular song of the movie named “Ki Main Jhooth Boleya” was well-received by the audiences. But do you know that this satirical song was not an entirely original song of the movie.
The original song was a part of the film ‘Jagte Raho’ which was released in 1956. The movie was directed by the Maitra brothers. It had Raj Kapoor and Pradeep Kumar in the lead roles.
It was based on a popular folk song of the same name. Both the film and its song got a great buzz among the audiences. “Ainve Duniya Deve Duhai” and “Ki Main Jhooth Boleya” are the prominent songs of that movie. As the name suggests, the latter song was adapted in the film Jolly LLB. The catchy song was sung by music maestro Mohammed Rafi and a budding singer S. Balbir.
A significant number of young people and virtually everyone from that era have a clear recollection of legendary singer Mohammed Rafi and his contemporaries. But can you say the same about S Balbir? Yes, the scantily talked about Singer Balbir was second to none in all parameters. At that time, he was matching the likes of Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh and Lata Mangeskar among others.
Despite being vastly talented and giving noteworthy songs, S Balbir hardly received the glare of media and Hindi film industry which he deserved.
Even if you try to find academic or basic details about him, your struggle will be futile. There are very few people who know S Balbir was or where he came from. There is hardly any information about his initial upbringing.
To make his career in the Hindi film industry, Balbir came to Bombay to prove himself. Afterwards, he got success in the 50s. He started singing in Hindi films with a mix of Punjabi words.
A remarkable career
In his nearly one-and-a-half decade of singing career, he gave many songs that had a remarkable impact on the listeners. Just like the songs in”Jagte Raho”, as stated-above, he voiced the iconic song “Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka“, alongside Rafi. The patriotic song was released in the Dilip Kumar-starrer movie “Naya Daur” in 1957.
Since then, this patriotic song has left an indelible mark on the listeners and filled everyone with pride for the motherland. The song has been played on loops on every significant event and cherished by millions, if not billions.
Between 1950s-1970s, he sang more than 120 songs. His songs were an important part of many prominent films like Jaget Raho (1956), Sadhna (1958), Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), Dharmaputra (1961), Jaanwar (1965), Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969), Heer Ranjha (1970) and Mere Humsafar (1970) among others.
In the 1970s, S Balbir, the legendary singer who voiced Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawano Ka, disappeared all of a sudden. As per a musician Omi Ji, it was sometime around the 1970s that S. Balbir had to attend the funeral of a relative. After that event he disappeared from the scene. But no specific information is available about what happened or where did he go? Was he killed or kidnapped?
As per some claims, Balbir had gone to his village, and then went missing from there. Omi Ji claims that when some people went to find out about him, they found that the situation was different.
Reportedly, when he reached the village, he had a fight over the land in his village with his nephews. It is alleged that his nephew wanted to usurp the area. This resulted in a violent fight between the two and perhaps his own nephews killed S. Balbir.
The veracity of these claims is yet to be ascertained. But it is for sure that after his departure from the Hindi Film industry, a large void remained which has not been filled ever since. The unfortunate thing is that the industry did nothing much to commemorate the legacy of the great artist and keep him alive through his work.
Support us to strengthen the ‘Right’ ideology of cultural nationalism by purchasing the best quality garments from TFI-STORE.COM