1. Yahan Main Ajnabi Hoon
The magic of writing lies in its power to connect. Bakshi Sahab had mastered the art of connecting to the listeners very subtly, on a very subconscious level. That’s what turned many of his songs into idioms and proverbs. One such song is ‘Yahan Main Ajnabi Hoon’. No matter how socially active or accepted we are, at some point in time we feel as if we are living in an alien world. In my case, this is a very regular phenomenon. Every now and then I go through this ‘Bairag’, the strong desire to escape from everything good and bad around me as I just don’t relate to any of it. When it happens, the only song I take recluse in is ‘Yahan Main Ajnabi Hoon’.
This haunting of being in a strange world became all the more agonizing when I moved to Mumbai from my small town- Gaurigunj in U.P. I could not get accustomed to a city which has no breaks in its system, only accelerators. Nobody has time for anyone. Back in Gaurigunj, everyone knew everyone, in Mumbai, people living in the same building are clueless about each other. I remember playing the following verses in the loop while staying in an Andheri hutment. “Kahan Shamo-Sahar Ye, Kahan Din-Raat Mere… Bahut Ruswa Hue Hain Yahan Jazbaat Mere.. Nayi Tahzeeb Hai Ye, Naya Hai Ye Zamana… Magar Main Aadmi Hoon, Wahi Sadiyon Purana”.
2. Kuchh To Log Kahenge
In a society like India, where we have 5000 years of imposed moral values and so-called ‘Sanskars’ to carry on our shoulders, Bakshi Sahab had the creative-courage to rebel against all of it. In 1 plain simple line, he burst the bubble of pretentious social dynamics… “Kuchh To Log Kahenge Logon Ka Kaam Hai Kahna”. If I am asked to pick the top 10 all-time greatest songs of India, this one may just find its place on the topmost spot. “Kuchh Reet Jagat Ki Aisi Hai, Har Ek Subah Ki Shaam Hui… Tu Kaun Hai Tera Naam Hai Kya, Seeta Bhi Yahan Badnaam Hui”. Anyone who has heard and mulled over this song even once will stop caring for the world with immediate effect.
Also, this song is a brilliant example of cinematic writing. 50 scenes in the film ‘Amar Prem’ would not be as effective to describe Rajesh Khanna’s character, as a few words of this song did. Another example of Bakshi Sahab being the best screen lyricist of all times is the film ‘Dar’. Shahrukh’s character was very complex and layered for the time film released in. I can bet the audience would never understand the plot of the film and adjust to the anti-hero philosophy of Yash Chopra Ji, in the absence of the song. ‘Tu Hai Meri Kiran’. Look at these 9 simple words which magically encapsulated the 150 pages of the script, ‘Tu Haan Kar Ya Na Kar, Tu Hai Meri Kiran’.
I remember writing songs for ‘Badshaho’, which was being directed by Milan Luthria. Every time we sat to make a song, he would miss Bakshi Sahab with a sigh. In fact, it was one of the most challenging films of my career, as I was writing for a director whose tastebuds were used to legendary Bakshi Sahab’s words.
India is a land of poets and writers, many more will come but Bakshi Sahab would always be missed with the same sigh, forever.