“Baiju Bawra” is a 1952 Hindi film directed by Vijay Bhatt which was a big musical megahit. Vijay Bhatt had earlier made religious classics like “Bharat Milap” (1942) and “Ram Rajya” (1943), with “Ram Rajya” being the only film that Mahatma Gandhi watched. Bhatt's interest in literature and music, compelled him to make a film about Tansen and the folk-legend singer Baiju as the main focus.
The film starred Bharat Bhushan as Baiju, with Meena Kumari playing his love interest Gauri. Initially, Dilip Kumar and Nargis were considered for the roles of Baiju and Gauri. But Naushad insisted that it would shift the focus of the film from its music to the stars. Thus, Bharat Bhushan and Meena Kumari, who were till then relatively unknown became household names with this movie. Surendra, a popular leading actor of the 1930s and 1940s played the character of Tansen.
Bhatt brought in Naushad to give music for “Baiju Bawra” because of his expertise in classical music. Naushad set a new benchmark in film music with this musical milestone. Both Mohd Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar made a strong ground for themselves with this movie. But the crowning glory for Naushad was the fact that he convinced two doyens of Hindustani music Ustad Amir Khan and Pandit D V Paluskar to sing for Surendra & Bharat Bhushan respectively. Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni had to forgo Urdu, and write lyrics in pure Hindi and he created invaluable gems like "Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj", “O Duniya Ke Rakhwale” etc. jointly with Rafi & Naushad. Vijay Bhatt's decision to make a film based on classical music was earlier met with a lot of doubts but the film and its music created box-office history and made it one of the landmark films of Hindi Cinema.
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