TV Serials/Films and documentaries of Salil Chowdhury

It is quite difficult to collect this information since there isn't any official/unofficial organization which one can refer to or write to. It's all from word of mouth, newpaper articles, letters from friends etc. Anyway, I would welcome comments, corrections and any other information from everybody. The documentaris and the short films are not available through normal channels but quite a few films of Films Division and the Childrens Film Society are available from their offices in Mumbai.

TV Serials/Films Comments
Shesh Prashna TV Serial directed by Krishna Raghav
Has two songs 'Megh ghane gaharaye' by
Manas Chakraborty and Antara and 'Panthi hun main' by Swapan Basu.
Vijaya Directed by Krishna Raghav. Has one beautiful song 'Ik ajeeb udasi haaye' by Sayontoni Mazumdar (daughter of Probir Mazumdar, a close associate of Salil from the IPTA days and an excellent MD in his own right.)
Mujrim Haazir The serial Mujrim Hazir was based on a Bengali novel by the legendary writer Bimal Mitra (Asami Hazir). It starred Nutan and the secondary theme "Gun Guna " (adapted from 'Palkir Gaan') was played whenever Nutan rode a Palki. The serial was aired in Doordarshan, and was hugely popular.
Gautam Buddha ('85) Yes ! I was told that Salil also composed music for another Gautam Buddha directed by Mahesh Bhatt. But I have been unable to check the validity of this.
Durga (1989) TV Film directed by Basu Chatterjee. Has one song by Antara 'Tiria janam naahi re'.
Darar TV Serial. Directed by Lekh Tandon. One excellent title song 'Rishto.n mein daraar ayii' by Jagjeet, Lyrics: Naqsh Lalpuri. First gazal composed by Salil!
Ghar Tele Serial was being made by Raj Tilak, son-in-law of B.R.Chopra but the project was abandoned.
Darpan (1985-86) TV Serial (1985) drected by Basu Chatterjee. Each episode told a strory of a different person. Story written by Salil and music by Salil. The Darpan title music is absolutely superb. Salil started experimenting with suspended 4th chords around that time and this piece of music composed in the 1-2-3/1-2 rhythm (paanch maatraa) uses some amazing chord progression. Based on this music Salil later composed a beautiful bengali song 'O bhola mon' sung by Antara in 1990. This serail was recently shown in Canada (1999) by Zee TV.
Kurukshetra TV Serial, Directed by Lekh Tandon and produced by Dinesh Bansal. The title song was 'Yug badal gaye magar' sung by Suresh Wadekar, Antara Chowdhury and Chorus. Lyrics is by Yogesh. This song is based on one of Salil's most well-known mass songs - 'Gowrisringa tulechhe shir' (MS3). There's also a wonderful Hindi Choir version of this song Salil did for Doordarshan. Salil was awarded the best serial music award for this serial. The first such award for a serial.
Alag (1989-90) TV Serial. Directed by Jagadish Banerjee. The title music in choir is based on a superb Malayalam song "nee maayum nilavo" (from "Madanolsavam") sung by Yesudas. Its Hindi version "ye maatam ki dhun"' (from "Dil ka saathi dil") is also sung by Yesudas. This song also has a Bengali non-film version sung by Lata - "Ei jibono kakhano magano".
Charitraheen TV Serial based on the well-known novel of Sarat Chandra, the great Bengali writer
Two songs:
1. Sheetal manjul komal - Saikat Mitra and Antara
2. Piya sang lage - Haimanti Shukla
Haimanti Shukla recorded the bengali version of these two songs in 1990. "Chanchal jhilmil pakhnaay" (HS7) and 'Mono bono paakhi' (HS8).
Ahankaar Sakti Samant's TV series. Can't confirm this
Agar aisa ho to TV Serial by Hrisikesh Mukherjee. Apparently there is one song by Kumar Sanu. Never released.
Chehere ('68 - '70)

Tele Serial. Several episodes directed by Jagadish Banerjee and Salil.
1. Tilottama - directed by Jagadish Banerjee
2. Whistle - Directed by Salil - excellent music by Salil
3. Khooni Bahu -Directed by Salil.

Vividha (1993) Guru Dutt's brother Atmaram directed this serial based on RabindraNath Thakur's stories. In one of them 'Rabindranath Tagore' Salil composed this amazing title music. It's the symphonic version of 'Akaash bhara surya taraa', the lead played in shehnai by a young Mumbai musician called Ali Hossain. It's really wonderful.
Films made for other organisations
Gandhiji aur Uttar Pradesh
This is a 25 minute documentary made by the UP Government (completed in
March 1970). The background music was by Salilda. Writer was Thakur Prasad Singh, Commentary by Balraj Sahni and the director was Suresh Nigam.
Delhi the city beautiful (1973) Directed by Jagadish Banerjee for which he received two national awards. One of them was the 21st National Film Award (Silver Medal).The film was funded by Delhi City Administration. Excellent background music by Salil.
Sawa ser Gehun (1989) A telefilm produced by the Dept Of Rural development, Govt of India and made by the well-known film maker from Kolkata Mr. Gulbahar Singh. Mr. Singh had been given several National Film Festival awards in India and has also won several awards in the International Film Festivals across the globe. "Sawa Ser Gehun" is based on Munshi Premchand's short story depicting the plight of bonded labour in undivided India. The main actors were Om Puri and Sreela Mazumdar. Music by Salil.
Rakter Sakkhor (1994)

This short educational bengali film set in the Sundarbans of West Bengal was made on behalf of the West Bengal Government on the National Literacy Day. The music is very folkish and Sail was assisted by the renowned folk singer Kankan Bhattyacharya of the current IPTA.

Films made for Films Division of India and Childrens Films Society
Gautama the Buddha (1957) A Film division documentary produced by Bimal Roy and directed by Harbans Khanna. No songs but wonderful background music.
Swami Vivekananda (1964) This documentary was produced by Bimal Roy and directed by Nirmal Dey.
A man called a Pharmacist
An informational documentary on the profession of the Pharmacist. It was produced by The Eclat and was directed by Jagadish Banerjee. Wonderful English commentary by Pratap Sharma with a very British accent. Part of the background music was recognisable - it was the title music of "Prem Patra" !
The Glimpses of India
(Part 1 - Eastern Region)
In several parts. Part - 1 has music by Salil

Kahani har Zamane ki (1973)
(Tales from the past)


A short animation film made for children by India's well-known animator and feature film maker Bhimsen Khurana on behalf of Childrens Film Society. Its a moralistic story based on one of the Panchatantra tales which goes on to prove that "a wise enemy is better than a foolish friend". Background music by Salil.
Harindranath Chattopaddhaay(1974) A wonderful documentary on the well-known poet, playwright,artist and a writer who was an important cultural icon from the '40s till the late '70s. A member of IPTA and a close friend of Salil. HC brought the modern theater into the Indian stage.
Unknown Freedom fighter(1978)

Made by Krishnaswamy productions for the Films Division and directed by Dr. Krishnaswamy (see below). It is a poignant reminder of all those freedom fighters who are being forgotten.

Deshratna Rajendra Prasad(1980) - 30min Life of Rajendra Prasad, beautifully made and is available from Films Division offices in India; Listen to the last few minutes of the background music here
Dr. Rajendra Prasad
A shorter version of the above documentary.
Raat Dhali(1980)
(The night has passed)
A documentary made by the J. Banerjee productions. It traces the history of the creation of the National Textile Corporation (NTC) to save the cotton industry after the disastrous closures of all the cotton mills in 1968.
Darpok ki Dosti (1981)
(Friendship of a Coward)
Another short animation film produced by Childrens Film Society based on a Panchatantra tale - "A coward seeking friendship is not always good for you".
Tribals of Andamans (1987) A documentary on the assimilation of the 4 original tribals of Andaman and Nicobar island and a commentary on the current situation. Produced and directed by Jagadish Banerjee. Pity that the music of Salil is a bit limited.
Netraheen Sakshi (1991)
(The Blind Witness)
A full feature songless film produced by the Childrens Film Society. Background music by Salil.
Laxmi (1995) A 16 mm film directed by Jagadish Banerjee and Uma Banerjee and produced by Film Division of India. The story is based on the Sundarban folks and the music directors are listed as Salil Chowdhury and Antara Chowdhury. There are three songs - aparently the very last three songs by Salil. He hummed the melody in a cassette for Yogesh before he died. Lyrics were eventually written by Yogesh.
Other Documentaries
An Invitation to Nature's Paradise (1962) The first documentary film released by Kerala Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC). Directed by Sivan.
The World that is India (1973)
A short (16 min) documentary film made by Dr. Krishnaswamy.
From Indus Valley to
Indira Gandhi (1977)

Produced by Dr. Krishnaswamy. A 4.5 hour much acclaimed film made in English in two parts. The phenomenal title music and the background music was composed by Salil. This is the first Indian film to be distributed under a Hollywood banner, Warner Bros. Elia Kazan, the Academy award winner director wrote "Your film awakened me to India. I was aquainted with many of the cold facts you touch on. But your film gave them the heat of life", while The Statesman commented "The director unearths layer after layer, the soul of India, the spirit that lies beneath the sediment ..... a moving, powerful and thorough piece of work.....An objective and painstaking odyssey...".
For those of you who are interested in getting this film you can visit . Listen to the haunting title music.
An abridged version of this epic - "Where Centuries Co-exist" was also made at the same time although its not available any more.