indian cinema heritage foundation

H C Bali

Music Director
  • Real Name: Harishchandra Bali
  • Died: 24 June 1976
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

Music composer and former actor Harishchandra Bali or H C Bali, as he was credited, is known for films such as Her Highness (1946), Bhikharan (1935) and Sarala (1936). He is also credited with bringing K L Saigal to the limelight. Both he and Saigal hailed from Jalandhar. When Saigal was in Calcutta working as a typewriter salesman, Bali was living with New Theatres’ R C Boral. Bali told Boral about Saigal's singing, helping launch the latter’s successful career as a singing superstar.

H C Bali started his career as an actor in Naqsh-E-Sulemani (1933). A historical fantasy directed by Anand Prasad Kapoor, it starred Sardar Akhtar, Jani Babu, and Zebunissa. Other films he acted in include Raja Gopichand (1933) and Chhapan Chhuri (1934).

Trained in classical music, he shifted to composing music. His first film as a composer was Aurat Ka Dil (1933). Directed by H E Sonie, the film starred Alaknanda, Kamlabai Gokhale, and Paidi Jairaj

He went on to compose music for 26 films. These include Bhikharan (1935), a melodrama film directed by Premankur Atorthy. Produced by Kolhapur Cinetone, it starred Rattan Bai, Master Vinayak, Hafisji, Pramila, and Gundopant Walawalkar. The plot revolved around Madhavi (Rattan Bai) who is married to Kedar (Hafisji). The rich Chandra (Pramila) enters their life and since Kedar wants to marry her, he asks Madhavi to leave. Chandra is in love with the artist Kumar (Master Vinayak), but is forced into marriage with Kedar. Madhavi takes to begging on the streets by singing. She meets Kumar and models as his muse. Kumar and Madhavi fall in love but Chandra enters their life and Madhavi has to leave again. This time she becomes a famous singing star. After several dramatic situations, Kumar and Madhavi reunite and get married. Some of the songs composed for the film include Wo lage hain aaj is tadbir men, Tadapte laute hai naala-o-fariyaad karte hai, Chal sajan aise, and Deepak ka ujla prakash.

The following year, he composed the music for Sarala (936), a melodrama serving as a cautionary tale to women to be dutifully subordinated wives and not to be tempted by modernising trends towards individual emancipation. Directed by Premankur Atorthy and starring Rattan Bai, M Kumar, and I A Hafizji, the film revolved around the orphaned Sarala who is estranged from her loving husband Ramdas by the wiles of villain Avilash. She runs away and, following divine intervention in the form of an earthquake, escapes the villain's clutches. The film included the songs Apna hi tujhko vichar, Man mein udne ko kyun soche, Hato jao hame na satao, Prabhu tum aao daras dikhao, and Piya ke milne ki aas, among others. 

He went on to compose for the Mohan Sinha directorial Nirala Hindustan (1938) starring Shobhna Samarth, Prem Adib, and Wasti, as well as the action drama Her Highness (1946) directed by Balwant Bhatt and written by Nanabhai Bhatt, starring Sarla, Dilawar, and Meera.

He was also the music director of Saubhagya (1940) which was directed by Chimanlal Luhar, the family drama Mamaji (1942) directed by Narottam Vyas, and the Debaki Bose-directed Apna Ghar (1942).

H C Bali passed away on 24 June 1976.