Anthony Prabhu Gonsalves, born in the village of Majorda, was an Indian music composer and teacher. He was popularly known for fusing his Goan heritage with Hindustani melodies in the 1950s. He was India’s first ever “music arranger”. This legendary composer was a pioneer who has done over 1000 songs in his career.
He started his career as a violinist in the group of the composer Naushad in 1943. B.R. Chopra (Naya Duar, Waqt), Naushad (Dillagi) and Chetan Anand (Haqeeqat) are some of his leading works. He has taught R.D. Burman and Ramprasand Sharma. The Symphony orchestra of India was found in 1965 by Gonsalves featuring singers Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey. The quadrangle of St. Xavier’s College, Bombay was subjected to the works performed by them. He quit the industry in 1965 and went to the States. He soon became a member of the American Society of Composers, Publishers and Authors. In his later years, he returned to his home village Majorda to compose beautiful melodies, though he remained detached from the Bollywood. After arranging music for “Jyoti Kalash Zhalke”, “Hum Apapki aankho mein” in Pyaasa and “Ayega aane wala” in Mahal earned him nationwide appreciation.
The 1997 film Amar Akbar Anthony had a song “My name is Anthony Gonsalves” acted out by Amitabh Bachchan. The song was a tribute to the legend Anthony Gonsalves by Laxmikant Pyarelal, his pupil since Laxmikant was 14. Pyarelal accredits his violin skills to his guru Gonsalves. This cheerful song made Gonsalves a household name. Laxmikant was the reason why the character’s name had been changed to Anthony Gonsalves from Anthony Fernandez in the movie.