Anand Bakshi Birth Anniversary: Revisiting most melodious songs by music maestro

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Bollywood veteran Anand Bakshi is a famous poet and lyricist, who gave penned many memorable and beautiful songs. He stepped into the industry to become a popular name in writing and singing but fate led him to be one of the most renowned lyricists of the industry. Not many know that Bakshi is the only lyricist who has worked both in the navy and the army. In 1956, Bakshi left his job and decided to make writing his full-time career.

Bakshi got his first break in Brij Mohan’s film Bhalaa Aadmi in which he penned four songs. He rose to fame with Mehendi Lagi Mere Haath. In his long career, Bakshi was widely associated with renowned music composers such as Laxmikant–Pyarelal, R D Burman, Kalyanji Anandji, SD Burman, Anu Malik, Rajesh Roshan and Anand-Milind among others.

His songs have been sung by the top singers such as Shamshad Begum, Ila Arun, Khursheed Bawra, Amirbai Karnataki, Sudha Malhotra and more. He is known to have worked with more than one generation of music composers. His last composition was in 2002 film Mehbooba (released after his death). He breathed his last on 30 March 2002 at 71.

He wrote the first recorded songs of many first-time male and female leads who went on to become stars, and also of singers such as Shailendra Singh, Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy and many more.

Bakshi’s songs were not heavy on heads. He never chose difficult words or heavy Urdu erudition but he picked words from the dictionary of the common man. He had the talent of connecting well with the audiences. Even though Bakshi was a man behind the camera his popularity rose with every song. On his birth anniversary, here are the most melodious songs by music maestro:

Subhash Ghai On Anand Bakshi

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Anand Bakshi who wrote more than 4500 lyrics during his long career of 40 years, out of which at least 3000 songs were superhit. Bakshi Saab wrote the lyrics of 16 film produced and-or directed by Subhash Ghai.

Ghai has been researching for a documentary on Bollywood’s most prolific bard for a decade.

In an interview with me Ghai had said ,”I am in the process of putting together the pieces of Bakshi Saab’s life. But yes, I don’t want to make a dry boring staccato documentary that no one would watch. This was a man who wrote some of the most entertaining songs for our films. I want the documentary on Bakshi Saab to be seen by generations that have not grown up with Bakshi’s Saab’s words in the mouth, as we have.”

Ghai wanted to humanize Bakshi in the documentary. “I’ve put together a team of like-minded Bakshi fans. We’re not going to only praise him with boring monotony in the documentary. We will bring out his human side even if it means opening up some uncomfortable questions about creative property.”

It is believed that some of Bakshi’s most popular numbers attributed to renowned composers, were actually Bakshi’s tunes.

Ghai in the same interview with me Ghai had spoken of Anand Bakshi’s deep-rooted and far-reaching impact on Hindi film music. “He had a storehouse of Punjabi numbers from his childhood. Many of the superhit Punjabi-styled songs he wrote were secretly composed by him, for example ‘Bindiya Chamkegi’ (the 1970 chartbuster sung by Lata Mangeshkar for the film Do Raaste which has officially been credited to Laxmikant-Pyarelal). He had a vast knowledge of music and songs. In fact he was keen to become a singer and had sung a duet ‘Baghon Mein Bahaar Ayee’ for the film Mome Ki Gudiya with Lataji.”

Bakshi spent hours discussing his poetry and his life with Ghai.

Recalls Ghai emotionally, “Bakshi Saab began writing all my lyrics from my third onwards Gautam Govinda. We began as professionals. Then we became a team. Then he was my friend and finally my brother. I know exactly how his mind and heart worked.”

Apparently, Bakshi was unhappy for his lyrics not being acknowledged for their poetic quality.

Says Ghai, “You must understand Bakshi Saab was a lyricist first, then a poet. He understood the requirement of film lyrics better than any other lyricist. The songs had to be integrated into the script. I’d narrate all my screenplays to Bakshi Saab and he would immediately start writing out the songs into my screenplay. That’s how close we were. While other great lyricists like Sahir Ludhianvi, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar came into lyric-writing as poets, Anand Bakshi was a lyricist first then a poet. And what poetry he wrote! People didn’t seem to realize that his simple words conveyed the most profound truth about existence. Take Bakshi Saab’s ‘Sari Duniya Ka Bojh Hum Uthatay Hai Log Aate Hain Log Jaate Hain Hum Wohi Pe Khade Reh Jaaate Hain’ in Manmohan Desai’s Coolie. This was not just a song about a porter. It expressed a profound truth about life.”

To Ghai it was remarkable how much Bakshi understood the film song. “Bakshi Saab was a proud film lyricist. So much so that when he used the poetry by poets as a starting point to his lyric, he would acknowledge the source within the song, for example ‘Beshaq Mandir Masjid Todo, Bulleshah Yeh Kehta, Par Pyar Bhara Dil Kabhi No Todo Iss Dil Mein Dilbar Rehta’. In this song for Raj Kapoor’s Bobby, Bakshi acknowledged the contribution of Bulleshah.”

Ghai has a startling anecdote to tell about the song ‘Ek Rut Aaye Ek Rut Jaaye Mausam Badle Na Badle Naseeb’ that Bakshi wrote for Ghai’s Gautam Govinda.”

Recalls Ghai, “The song was filmed on Shashi Kapoor. When Raj Kapoor Saab (Shashi’s brother) saw it, he sought out my phone number and called to congratulate me for the way it was shot. I told Raj Saab I did nothing…it was the way the song was written. If I had messed it up, I’d have never forgiven myself.”

Also Read: Lata Mangeshkar On Anand Bakshi

When Anand Bakshi’s dream of becoming a singer was broken due to ‘Sholay,’ left army job for Bollywood

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Born in Rawalpindi on July 21, 2021, Anand Bakshi, the lyricist whose songs made the flop hero of the Kapoor family ‘Shashi Kapoor’ everyone wants. Whose songs made an outsider who won the talent competition the first superstar of the film industry ‘Rajesh Khanna.’ Anand Bakshi’s father, who wrote more than 4000 songs, was a bank manager in Rawalpindi. In his youth, Anand joined the army as a telephone operator. But Bombay and cinema were still like a dream, but there was a desire. An attempt to enter the film industry was with the film ‘Badla,’ but without success. Anand Bakshi then joined the Navy.

When the country was divided, the Bakshi family came to India as refugees. When nothing happened in Mumbai, Anand Bakshi rejoined the army and continued to serve there till the fifties. He quit his army job in 1956 and came to work as a lyricist in films. Anand got his first break from Lord Dada’s film ‘Bhala Aadmi.’ But he was recognized in ‘Jab Phool Khile,’ with the song ‘Pardeshiyon Se Na Ankhiyan Milana.’ ‘Sholay’ is one of lyricist Anand Bakshi’s most famous films. But very few people know that the film was also going to be a claim to fame film by singer Anand Bakshi.

In fact, the original script of ‘Sholay’ also included a qawwali. Writer Javed Akhtar had decided that the qawwali would be filmed in Bhopal’s ‘Char Bhand’ style, with four groups of qawwals competing with each other. It was part of the Surma Bhopali track in the film Qawwali. The lyrics of the song were somewhat Yun,

‘‘Chaand sa koee chehara na pahlu mein ho,

to chaandanee ka maza nahin aata,

jaam peekar sharaabee na gir jae to,

maikashee ka maza nahin aata’’

And among the four singers who were selected to sing this qawwali were Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Bhupinder, and Anand Bakshi himself. According to the plan, qawwals singing ‘Char Bhand’ were called from Bhopal. RD Burman composed the tune and recorded qawwali. But the shoot could never take place. Because the film was already longer than the scheduled three hours. Due to which the scissors went on on the song. The most saddened was Anand Bakshi himself, ‘If that song had been in Sholay, would I know as a singing career would have gone on.’

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