“I met Bakshi ji first time two or three years after his super hit film Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965). I met him sometime in 1966-67 maybe, he told me with folded hands that he is from an army background and writes lyrics and would like an opportunity to write lyrics in our films. He did not say he is the lyrics writer of the super hit and musical hit film, Jab Jab Phool Khile which was a very big hit and the music was very popular too. Such was his humility right from the start of his success. When he wrote the title song of our first film together, Taqdeer (1968), ‘kaise koi jaane bhala khwabon ki taabeer, aakaash pe, baitha huwa, likhta hai woh taqdeer.’ he surprised me by writing 6 verses, antras, for the song, and each verse was so wonderfully written that we were perplexed which ones to reject and which ones to keep. There were tears in my eyes reading all the verses, each was so emotional and so good. He replied to me, ‘I have written all these six for you, so it is up to you to keep the verses you like. Just give me a chance to write the songs for your film.’ His humility was such, and until today I remember those words of his, and I can say that only with much difficulty God gives us or we receive an opportunity to meet writers and people as talented and sincere and dedicated as Bakshi ji. We worked on three more films after Taqdeer, Jeevan Mrityu (1970), Uphaar (1971), Piya Ka Ghar (1972).
When he wrote the verse ‘Jhil Mil Sitaron Ka Angan Hoga, Rim Jhim Barasta Saawan hoga.’ For Jeevan Mrityu, I politely objected reasoning how can one see stars if it is raining, because the sky will be covered by rain clouds. Bakshi ji replied ‘ Do not go by the words literally, do not go so deep into what I have written. Think of what is being said like a poet, because the situation of this song is romance. Further, on close observation you will realize I have played with two letters ‘N’ and ‘M’. There is the letter ‘M’ in Jhil Mil, and ‘N’ in Aangan Hoga. There is a ‘M’ in Rim Jhim, and a ‘N’ in Saawan Hoga. It is the play of the sounds of ‘N’ and ‘M’ that I want you to hear which will make this song a pleasure to hear and sing, and thus this will make a popular song.” I can say he was right.
The simple words he used in his songs was a blessing because not only could anyone understand the song, but the kind of words he used helped the directors shoot the song. His words inspired visuals that we could find around us and we chose locations to shoot songs according to some words that he used in his songs. His lyrics itself would tell us how to direct the songs, how to make the characters behave and where to shoot them. That was the biggest goodness in his writing. He had knowledge far beyond the words he used, he used every day normal and regular conversational words, language, that was the most beautiful thing about his writing.
The last word in song writing is his lyrics from our film, Piya Ka Ghar, ‘Yeh Jeevan Hai Iss Jeevan Ka, Yahi Hai Yahi Hai, Yahi hai ran roop, thode ghum hain, thodi khusiyan, yahi hai, yahi hai yahi hai chaaon dhoop..” It was also the best song of that year.
He was so fast or prolific, he has written the songs for our films, and even the films like Milan, Jeene Ki Raah, in front of me within 20 or 30 minutes. He never found it a problem or difficult and would write there and then. He would write as soon as he heard the tune, and he would write words that caught every note he heard in the tunes, never missing a note he heard, so sharp and good he wrote. He would use words that the character could sing, and not use words to impress upon others his knowledge of urdu or hindi. He wrote for the characters according to their geographical location, circumstances, and status. Like in the film, Milan he uses the words ‘Purwaiya’, in his song ‘Saawan ka mahina pawan kare sor’, and did not use the word ‘Hawa’; because a boatman would use the word ‘Purwaiya’ and not ‘Hawa’for wind and breeze, so deep was his understanding of the milieu he wrote for. I was present for all the songs he wrote for us and many films of Prasad Productions. The writing was so good that even after 48 years I can remember the main verses of his songs. His verses had life.
In the song from Raja Aur Rank, ‘Oh phirki waali, tu kal phir aana, nahin phir jaana” he has used the word ‘Phir’ in three contexts. The first phir is on ‘phir-ki waali’ the second phir means ‘again’, and the third phir meaning ‘ to go back on a promise’. Such a play of words, with one word, three meanings. Such a talented writer!”
Feb 28 2013. Told to me – Rakesh Anand Bakshi