In 1929, Desai joined the Prabhat Film Company as an actor and he starred in some of V. Shantaram's early films, including Ayodhya Ka Raja and Dhannatma. Desai has also been assisting Prabhat's leading music directors, like Keshavrao, Govindrao Tembe and Master Krishnarao.
Kumarsen Samarth's Shaque was Desai's first film as an independent music director. He achieved his first hit with Rajkamal Kalamandir's period drama, Shakuntala. V. Shantarani depended on Desai for most of his landmark films, including the musical Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Jhanak Jhanak payel Baaje and Dr Kotnis Ki Amar Kahani.
Desai's unforgettable melodies include Ten- Mir aur mm geet (Goonj Uthi Shehnai), Nain so nain naahin milao (Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje) and Humko mann ki shakti dena (Guddi). In spite of his successes, Desai did not actually get his worth and was hardly named the top-ranking music directors of the day. His style, deeply rooted in the classical tradition, was regarded as suitable only for the historical and mythological films. His bias for Marathi folk traditions also did not find its proper place in the industry.
Desai continued to work until the mid-1970s and composed music for directors like Vijay Bhatt, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar. He died in an elevator accident in 1975.
Filmography of Vasant Desai
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