Saraswati Devi

Saraswati Devi

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Category: Music

Saraswati Devi Profile

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  • Saraswati Devi

Saraswati Devi Biography

Saraswati Devi was one of the earliest female music directors of Hindi cinema. She was active in the black and white era of 1930s and 1940s. She is most remembered for the music of one of the milestone movies of Hindi cinema – Achut Kanya (1936), with Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in the lead roles. The memorable song was - Mein Ban ki Chiriyra Banke Bun Bun Bolun Re, for which Saraswati gave music and Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani rendered his voice.  One song from Jeevan Naiya (1936) sung by Ashok Kumar has been later re-used by his brother Kishore Kumar for the movie – Jhumroo with certain modifications – Koi humdum na raha. She was one of the earliest music directors who worked for Bombay talkies.


She was born in a Parsi family in the year 1912. She was attracted to music since early days. Observing it, her father gave her formal education of Hindustani music. She learnt music under Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande who was specialized in Dhrupad and Dhamar style of singing. She later joined Marris College at Lucknow where she learnt music. When All India Radio station at Mumbai in late 1920s, she sang regularly aside her sister. The programme known as the Homji Sisters was very popular. When Himanshu Rai of Bombay talkies was in search of a new classicalist to take care of the music section of Bombay talkies, he happened to hear her voice through radio. Thus he offered her the role of a music direction and she accepted it as a challenge.


"Jawani Ki Hawa" in 1935 was her first movie. In those days, the technique of playback singers had not been introduced to Indian cinema and the actors had to sing as well. So, music directors had to simplify the tunes for actors, who are not formally trained in music. Achut Kanya (1936) was her first hit movie as a music director and she had to do several rehearsals with its actors before its recording. Devi continued composing film music until 1961. She died in the year 1980.      

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Updated: January 16, 2014

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