|Born||December 12, 1907|
|Died||August 10, 1950(aged 42)|
|Genres||Hindustani classical music, Indian film music|
|Occupation(s)||composer, music director|
Khemchand Prakash (खेमचन्द प्रकाश; 12 December 1907 - 10 August 1950) was a music composer in Hindi film industry. He had few peers in 1940s, the best decade for Indian film music which started with Saigal very active on the scene and ended with Lata Mangeshkar firmly established as the brightest star in the industry. Lata had fruitful association with him (in films Asha, Ziddi, Mahal) when she started making a name for herself. Many years after Khemchand Prakash's death, the ace composer Kamal Dasgupta rated him the best composer. Such opinions are always subjective but Kamal-da's generous tribute was: खेमचन्दजी हम सब को मात दे गये|
Khemchand's brother, Basant Prakash, was also a film composer.
Born in Sujangarh, Rajasthan he got his first training of music and dance from his father who was a dhrupad singer and a Kathak dancer in the royal court. In his teens, he joined Bikaner Royal court as a singer performer and later moved to the royal court of Nepal. But the destiny landed him in Kolkata and he joined the legendary New Theaters. He was assistant to composer Timir Baran in Devdas (1935 film), and he sang a comedy song 'lo kha lo madam khaanaa' (लो खा लो मॅडम खाना) in Street Singer (1938). He then moved to Mumbai and made his debut as music director in 1939 with Supreme Pictures' films Meri Aankhein and Gazi Salauddin, and was soon signed up by Ranjit Movietone Film Studio.
His initial years with Ranjit Movietone produced significant films like Diwali, Holi, Pardesi, Fariyaad, etc. Khursheed was his leading singer and both of them gave many hits of early 40s. His biggest hit with Ranjit Studio was the film Tansen in 1943. Songs like "Diya jalaao jagmag jagmag", "Rumjhum rumjhum chal tihari", "More balpan ke saathi", "Sapt suran teen gram", "Hath sine pe jo rakh do to karara aa jaaye" were big hits.
1948 marked yet another significant film of his career, Bombay Talkies’s Ziddi. He gave first major break to Kishore Kumar as a singer for the song “Marne ki duaaen kyun maangu”. Ziddi featured a beautiful song of Lata Mangeshkar "Chanda re ja re ja re".
But what followed Ziddi was another hit film Mahal (1949 film). Mahal made Lata Mangeshkar a popular name. Prior to Mahal, the records used to feature only the character name on the record. Hence the first lot of records had “Aayega aane wala” credited to Kamini. The first time when the song was played on All India Radio many calls were received by AIR to know the singers name. AIR had to in turn ask the record company and announce Lata Mangeshkar's name on air.
Khemchand Prakash died at an early age of 42 on 10 August 1950.
According to author and musicologist Rajesh Subramanian Kamal Amrohi wrote the opening lines 'Khaamosh hai zamaana..' while Naqshab completed the rest. The first tune that composer Khemchand Prakash played on the harmonium was approved by Kamal Amrohi. Sadly Khemchandji died at the Harikisondas Hospital on August 10, 1950 two months before Mahal released. His creation 'Aayega Aanewala' not only became a sensation but also was voted the best song of the millennium. Javed Akhtar quoted Khemchand Prakash's name in his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha on May 17, 2012 by mentioning that Khemchand Prakash's wife had to beg to be able to survive in her last days.