Obituary: Kavi Pradeep
Tuesday 15 December 1998
More than a decade after independence, in 1962, Pradeep wrote the song "Aaye mere watan ke logo" ("Come my countrymen"), which helped to instil a sense of national pride after India's humiliating defeat by the Chinese army over a territorial dispute, when the entire country was overwhelmed by a sense of ennui and loss of prestige. It moved millions, including the prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, to tears. Pradeep donated the royalties from this song - which is frequently heard even today at private and official gatherings - to the ministry of defence.
In a career spanning over five decades Pradeep wrote nearly 1,700 songs, hymns and fiery, nationalistic poems including the lyrics for some 85 films, many of them box- office hits because of his contribution. But it was for his patriotic songs like "Door hat duniya walon . . . Hindustan hamara hai" ("Go away outsiders, India is ours"), influenced by militant freedom fighters such as Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad who were responsible for assassinating British officials, that Pradeep was best known,
During the Quit India movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi against the colonial government in 1942, Pradeep, by then an established film songwriter in Bollywood, India's film capital city of Bombay, wrote a string of nationalistic songs in films like Kismet ("Fate") that became instant hits and infuriated the British who considered them seditious. Although warrants were issued for his arrest, Pradeep managed to evade detention.
Born Ramchandra Barayanji Dwivedi in 1915 into a middle-class Brahmin family in the small central Indian town of Badnagar, in Madhya Pradesh state, he changed his name to Pradeep (meaning light) and moved to Bombay in 1939 after graduating from Lucknow University in the north. Pradeep made his debut as a lyricist in the film Kangan ("Gold Bangle"), which established his credentials as a popular songwriter.
After a string of successful hits, in 1958 he was honoured by the record company His Master's Voice who produced an album containing 13 of his songs; three years later he won several awards including Best Film Song Lyricist. Soon after he was made Rashtrakavi, or Poet Laureate, after which he became known as Kavi ("poet") Pradeep. He was prolific till the mid-1980s, when old age and a newer crop of songwriters more interested in gimmickry than substance forced him into retirement, virtually forgotten by a once adoring public.
Last year Kavi Pradeep was remembered again when Lata Mangaeshkar, India's best known singer, announced that he had won a 100,000 rupee award (around pounds 1,430) for his contribution to Indian cinema and went personally to his house to hand over the money. Thereafter, the government conferred Pradeep with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for a lifetime of achievement in films, which coincided fittingly with India's 50th anniversary of independence.
Ramchandra Baryanji Dwivedi (Kavi Pradeep), songwriter and poet: born Badnagar, Madhya Pradesh 6 February 1915; married (two daughters); died Bombay 11 December 1998.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 2 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
- 5 Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins Mark Wright, Pixie Lott and Judy Murray in line-up
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Al Pacino's The Humbling and Manglehorn, film reviews
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward