Saraswati Devi was the second Hindi female music composer in Hindi film industry who got a chance during the 1930s and 1940s. Saraswati Devi was one of the few female music composers who worked with Bombay Talkies. The Bombay Talkies was established by
. 'Achhut Kanya ' was a film which was rolled out by Bombay Talkies and music in the film was composed by Saraswati Devi and lyrics were by J.S. Kashyap.
Remember the song sung by
from film 'Jhumroo' solo 'Koee humdum na raha.’ Reports suggest that the original lyrics of the song by Jamuna Swarup Casshyap, were by Saraswati Devi. For the hit movie 'Jeevan Naiya', a film that made Devika Rani and
the famous pair of Hindi cinema.
It is reported that Saraswati Devi (Khorshed Minocher-Homji in real life), sang the song ‘Koee Humdum' after announcing it as Ashok Kumar's solo. Also, the singer Kishore Kumar heard the song when he was just seven years old and kept it in his sub-conscious mind. He created the song in his style in 'Raga Zinjhori.’ It is among Kishore Kumar's ten best songs. That was the magic of Saraswati Devi’s music!
Saraswati Devi and her sister Manek were known as Homji Sisters, and they used to perform on All India Radio, Mumbai, in the late 1920’s and then Devika Rani heard their voice and was impressed by her talent of singing. Devika Rani invited Saraswati Devi to her studio and requested her to handle the music department of the studio. Saraswati Devi got her first break in Bombay Talkies, and the first film had Devika Rani in the lead role.
The first film was 'Jawani Ki Hawa' in 1935, for which Saraswati Devi found it difficult to make Devika Rani sing the songs. As in those days, no singers were available, and actors had to do playback singing. Saraswati Devi had to simplify the tune so that Devika had no difficulty in singing.
The second film was ‘Achhut Kanya’ which had Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in lead roles. For this movie, Saraswati Devi found it tough to make Ashok Kumar do the playback singing.
Her another movie was released during Independence movement, the film was 'Janmabhoomi' which had a unique song ' Jai Jai Janani Janmabhoomi,' and BBC then kept the song permanently for its 'Indian News service'. The lyrics of the song were written by J. S. Kashyap.
As she was getting famous, the Parsi community led protests and wanted Saraswati Devi to keep out of her profession as women were not allowed in movies. But Devika Rani’s husband Himanshu Rai came forward to support Saraswati Devi. And the Parsi community had to give up their protests.
The composer was busy composing music for the Hindi film industry till 1966. Her last project was a Rajasthani movie in 1961. She was in demand in the industry till 1947. After which, her assignments dropped down. She had composed music for 33 films in her career. Notable among them include movies like 'Azad', 'Jhoola,’ 'Durga,' 'Bhabi,' 'Izzat,’ 'Prem Kahani,' and '
Saraswati Devi loved music since her childhood. Seeing her passion for music, her father trained her in Hindustani classical music under Pandit Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande who specialized in Dhamar and Dhrupad singing styles.