Datta Naik: The Musical Maestro Behind Bollywood Hits

OV Digital Desk

Datta Naik (12 December 1927 – 30 December 1987), also credited as N. Datta, was an Indian film music director in Hindi films.

Life and Career

He was born on 12 December 1927, in Goa, India. When he was 12, he ran away from his family and moved to Mumbai. He learned classical music there and later assisted Ghulam Haider. He was a close friend of Chandrakant Bhosle who played rhythm with Shankar Jaikishan’s orchestra. Also, he used to participate in street music programs, where Sachin Dev Burman spotted his talent. While working for the maestro, N Datta developed a notable career as an independent composer. He had a great sense of melody and orchestration in his compositions. Sahir Ludhianvi, his close friend and lyricist, ensured that his songs were always full of meaningful poetry. He also worked closely with lyricists Majrooh Sultanpuri, Jan Nisar Akhtar, etc.

In 1951, Naik had his first break with the Punjabi film Baalo and in Hindi cinema with the Raj Khosla-directed Milap (1955).

The songs “Daman Mein Daag Laga Baithe” and “Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega” were composed by N. Datta for the film Dhool Ka Phool. One of the greatest Marathi writers and music fans P.L. Deshpande said once that every time he heard Lata’s emotional title song from Dhool Ka Phool, he felt as if a delicate flower petal was gently placed in flowing water when he listened to it.

In Naach Ghar, Lata’s silky rendition of N Datta’s waltz-based club song “Aye Dil Zubaan Naa Khol” subtly exposed this materialist world’s duplicity. He died on 30 December 1987, in, India.

Major works

He’s best known for his compositions in B R Chopra’s Dhool ka Phool, Sadhna, and Dharamputra. Popular songs from later movies include “Ponch Kar Ashk Apni Aankon Se”, “Maine Pee Sharaab”, “Tune Kya Piya”, and “Jaan Gayi Mein Toh Jaan Gaya” from Naya Raasta (1970). He also composed music for a bunch of Marathi movies. There’s a very popular song in Bala Gau Kashi Angai (1977) called “Nimbonichya jhaadaamaage Chandra jhopala ga baai” sung by Suman Kalyanpur.

Some of his other popular tracks include “Ab Who Karam Karen Ki Sitam” (Marine Drive), “Yeh Baharaon Ka Sama” (Milap), “Maine Chand Aur Sitaron Ki Tamanna Ki Thi” (Chandrakanta), “Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman Banega” (Dhool Ka Phool), “Main Tumhi Se Poochhti Hoon” (Black Cat), “Pyar Ka Jahaan Ho” (Jaalsaaz), others.

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