The gentle giant who was affectionately known by several names: Annasaheb, Chitalkar and mostly as C Ramchandra, was born in Punatamba, Maharashtra in the year 1918. He was a student of Vinayakbua Patwardhan at Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya music school. He joined films with Y.V.Rao's flop, Naganand followed by chuck roles in Minerva Movietone (Saeed-e-Havas, Atma Tarang). He became a Harmonium accompanyist for Minerva composers Bindu Khan and Habib Khan. He often got opportunities to sing and act in Marathi films.
His debut film as a music director was in Tamil films with Jayakkodi and Vanamohini. He got his first Hindi film, Bhagwan's Sukhi Jiwan, in 1942. Ramchandra's juvenile songs may be sub-divided into those with highly westernized male and / or female choruses, duets or quawwalis. The mood of these songs was zany, saucy, raucous, irreverent, mischief-laden..joyful noice. The composer's natural ebullience, boyish vigor and state of camaraderie with the young man of the Hindi cinema are evident here. It was 'let's have a good time' music; on the screen the purveyors of these songs were either the raunchy comedy team of Yakub and Gope (Patanga, Saaqi, etc.) or the funnyman Bhagwan (Albela, Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo, etc.) who was often Ramchandra's juvenile persona on the screen.
An outstanding feature of many of these songs is their intense curiosity about western mores and manners; they often employed western musical idioms in exaggerated fashion either for satire or irony. These songs mirrored the curiosity of the educated, urbanized Indian youth of British India regarding their colonizers. Popular belief has it that Ramchandra introduced rock 'n' roll in India before it became a rage in the west. This is a paltry statement in the face of his numerous experiments in western/Indian and middle-eastern styles. For example, in 'Meri Jaan..Sunday Ke Sunday..' (Shehnai) he introduced the Benny Goodman style of jazz clarinet in combination with an Indian melody. The song is infused with hilarious verbal and musical incongruities resulting in a comical effect. Other westernized songs e.g. 'Shola Jo Bhadke..' and 'Ye Diwana Ye Parwana..' (Albela) employed cabaret type dance feturing bongo drums, oboes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, etc. The spirit and atmoshphere of these songs convey much hilarity, exuberance and gaiety of the sort one finds in opera comique of Jacques Offenbach.
Those who lavish extravagant praise - richly deserved, of course on the filmi ghazals of Madan Mohan and Khaiyyam, forget that C Ramchandra composed some of the most exemplary song in this genre. One need only to point to those sung by Lata or by Talat Mehmood in Parchhain, Yasmin and Kavi. Furthermore, those who simplistically claim that Lata Mangeshkar was at her best under Madan Mohan's baton engage in cruel, selective memory. Song upon song composed by Ramchandra for Lata Mangeshkar belie those contentions. Moreover, it is conveniently forgotten that Madan Mohan worked under Ramchandra for the songs od Shabistan (1951). No wonder, then, that Madan Mohan's music has an underlying Ramchandran flavour. The supreme lyricism of their melodies united them; further, their orchestra had similar sound and ambience. Except that Ramchandra's string section (violin) had a more dancing , 'waltzing' sound. In a Madan Mohan song the 'waltzing' effect was more muted, to create a more somber sound.
It is noteworthy that although C Ramchandra was most commonly associated with lyricists Rajendra Krishan and Santhoshi. In Anarkali he worked with three lyricists, Krishan, Shailendra, and Hasrat Jaipuri. In his later he employed Noor Lakhnavi (Parchhain), Jan Nissar Akhtar (Yasmin), Pradeep (Nastik), Shakeel Badayuni (Zindagi Aur Maut) and others. The diversity of poetic sources notwithstanding, his style remained intact.
If in the mid 50's someone had suggested that the artesian well of Ramchandra's creativity would shortly run dry, he would have invited scornful ridicule. And yet, this is exactly what happened. By the early 60's Ramchandra had fallen silent..this silence became permanent on January 5, 1982.
He worked on Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Bhojpuri films. And briefly he turned producer with New Sai Productions in 1953 and produced Jhanjhar, Lehren, Duniya Gol Hai under his banner. In the late 60s, he composed for successful Marathi films: Dhananjay, Gharkul. He got his autobiography published in the year 1977.
Extracts taken from : Article By M Ashraf Aziz, Cinema Vision.