THE RELEVANCE OF ANAND BAKSHI IN 2021

A special feature for the soon arriving new year, written on request of the family and fans of Anand Bakshi for his website. Thank you very much.

  1. Dil diya hai jaan bhi denge, Ae watan tere liye

SONGS OF BAKHSHI ARE NOTHING BUT A HEALTH-SPA TREATMENT, YESTERDAY AND EVEN TODAY.

By Vijay Akela (poet, lyricist, radio host)

Yun to sabne geet likhe

Sab hi me auqaat thi

Bakhshi me ek baat hai aur

Bakhshi me ek baat thi.

Bakhshi aaj bhi utne hi saamayik (contemporary) hain jitne bees saal pahle the. Jab wo hayaat the aur geet likh rahe the.

Woh apne geeton ko desi muhawaredaar boli ka pairahan dete the jinme na sirf us daur ke balki har daur ke aakhiri sach ki parakh hoti thi. Mushkil lafzon ko unhone adab (literature) ki gahri sazish samjha aur isiliye hamesha asaan lafzon ko pahchaan kar apne geeton ki qismat sanwaara kiye.

Bakhshi ko samajhna ho to zara Mumbai ki sarhad se baahar nikal jaiye. Aap ko lagega ki aaj Anand Bakhshi kal se bhi zyada lokpriy aur aadarneey hain!

Geeton me chhupe Bakhshi ke shandaar khayalon ko apna khayal kahne wale directors kahan gaye aaj? Jo scriptwriters kahte the “Agar hamare situations achchhe na hote toh Bakhshi itna achchha thode likhte?” Woh situations kahan ghark ho gaye aaj? Bakhshi ke jaate hi unke qile kyun dhwast ho gaye aaj?

Bakhshi ko samman dene se katrane wale hamare isi desh me aaj jab bhi koi aandolan hota hai, ‘Karma’ ka “Dil diya hai jaan bhi denge ae watan tere liye” hi bajaya jaata hai. Aaj bhi birthday par ‘Farz’ ka hi geet bajaya jaata hai – “Baar baar din ye aaye, baar baar dil yeh gaye.”

“Chitthi na koi sandes/jaane wo kaun sa des/jahan tum chale gaye” jo aaj bhi sabse zyada bajne wale geeton me ek hai, Jagjit Singh ka nahi, Anand Bakhshi ka likha geet hai.

Hindostan ki do sabse jyada chalne wali filmein ‘Sholay’ aur ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ (jo aaj bhi chal rahi hai) Bakhshi ke geeton se hi roshan hain na?

Bakhshi ek chiragh the jinki STYLE OF WRITING se na jaane kitne deeye jale. Maine swaym unse hi likhna seekha aur jab gahre utra to paya ki SONGS OF BAKHSHI & BAKHSHI STYLE OF WRITING kuchh aur nahi balki dil-o-dimagh ko sukoon pahunchane wali ek shifa hai.

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2) Mr. 2021: Anand Bakshi continues to be relevant!

By Dr Rajiv M. Vijayakar (journalist, author, film historian)

Anand Bakshi continues to be relevant: every year that quotient increases as we realize from his work output that he was no mere songwriter—he was a visionary and philosopher without peer, who lived very much in the present. His thoughts and his pen remained strongly contemporary with a healthy futuristic quality and timelessness, despite working in 5 decades with multiple generations of composers. And so the present as well as the future also, so to speak, will thrive in the work of Anand Bakshi.

Bakshi’s mastery, come Gaadi bula rahi hai, Chitthi aayi hai, Pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milana, Chingari koi bhadke, Dil kya kare jab kisiko, Ghar aaja pardesi or Roop tera mastana was not restricted to his interactions with the composers, director or singer and his work for an actor. “Story sunkar hi  mind chalta hai!” was his memorable quote to me, but, as composer Ismail Darbar said, “Baap re! Kya cheez hai Bakshi-saab!”

The reason was that Bakshi never gave just two or three antaras (inner verses) as per the needs of the song. He would offer—for each of the 6000 songs he wrote!—a minimum 8 to 10 from which he would tell his associated to choose. Look at the wealth we have all missed—we have heard only 20 percent of Bakshi’s actual output!

Needless to say, all the antaras he wrote would be relevant to the situation, and many even helped shape the song’s picturization, if not the film’s script! A perfect example was the title-song of the super-hit South potboiler Swarag Se Sunder in which he wrote the line “Apna ghar hai swarag se sunder” for the hero. The heroine retorts: “Swarag mein kahaan se aaye macchar?” and the hero replies, “Arey macchar bhi aashiq hain tere, kya karoon!”

Perceptive to the core, he once told me that in his last few years, the sad song had almost disappeared, with this simple truth as explanation for the way film music was going: “Because you can’t dance while singing a sad song!” He paused, and with a mischievous glint in his eye, had added, “Or maybe people are not sad anymore!”

One reason why Bakshi was never outdated was his firm belief that different eras see not only different talents but different trends. Having worked with composers who had faded out or exited from the late ‘50s (when he began) to the early millennium, he knew he had to score with generations far younger than him, and he never baulked at that, but enjoyed it.

In 2000 he had signed a film with Himesh Reshammiya, which never took off. His success stories with Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Shiv-Hari, Viju Shah, M.M. Kreem, A.R. Rahman, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Sajid-Wajid, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and even Neeraj-Uttank are well-known, and ditto his expertise with directors from Rajiv Rai and Aditya Chopra to Milan Luthria, Joy Augustine and others. And I dare say many of these names were even born after Bakshi began working in 1957!

Today, I can also dare say that the maximum re-creations (a deplorable trend that indicates creative poverty and yet highlights the perennial quality of the original songs) sees Bakshi up there. Led by Main jat yamla pagla deewana, we have his songs like Mehbooba o mehbooba, O meri mehbooba, Aa dekhen zara, Dum maro dum, Paisa yeh paisa, Tera beemar mera dil, Ek hasina thi, Taiyab Ali, Tu cheez badi hai mast mast, Aankh maare, Tip tip barsa pani and many more, showing the instant resonance his words have with GenY and GenZ.

The typical Anand Bakshi song thus finds an instant identification with even youngsters in the sentiments expressed even outside his re-creations. With the R.D. Burman promotion in overdrive till recently and the Laxmikant-Pyarelal melody that is having an edge now, Bakshi has been also instrumental in the maximum number of hit songs of both composers. And every hit or immortal song, as we all know, has a reason to become so. And that reason begins with the words…

The older folks have already experienced the magic of Bakshi’s words, including on-screen. And they now realize that even the seemingly lighter Bakshi song, which they merely enjoyed then, can have deep insights—into character, situation and life itself, like the Nastik song, “Aaj ka yeh din kal ban jayega kal / Peeche mudke na dekh pyaare aage chal.

And that’s what Bakshi’s songs teach us—to live in the present and in sync with the times, with happiness as a choice. Remember his classic Amrit gem, “Duniya mein kitna gham hai / Mera gham itna kam hai /Logon ka gham dekha to / Main apna gham bhool gaya.”

As long as Hindi film music lives on, Bakshi too will be relevant. And he will be among the main reasons why Hindi film music will survive for all time!

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3) Situational Imperative

By author and film historian Manek Premchand

It is strange how our minds work, isn’t it, often with leaps of associations. I live in Bombay which is a wonderful city on many counts, but it has a few downsides, one of them being the omnipresence of beggars at every street and traffic intersection. Whenever I see those beggars I think of a popular joke that has done the rounds and then with a quiet chuckle I think of prodigious songwriter Anand Bakshi. You have probably heard the joke before, but here it is anyway, followed by the reason why I think of Anand Bakshi.

A beggar has been asking for alms on a busy street. A passer-by asks him how much money he wants. The beggar says 20 Rupees would be nice. The man asks the beggar, “Why do you need the money? To do drugs or smoke?” “Saahab, I don’t do drugs or smoke”. “What then, booze?”. “I don’t do any of these things. I’m just trying to eat and survive. Main shareef aadmi hoon, ye sab naheen karta”. The man says, “Ok, I’ll tell you what. I won’t give you 20 Rupees. I’ll give you 100 instead. But for that you’ll have to come with me to my home, it’s nearby”. The beggar agrees. The householder rings the bell at his door, his wife opens it, and he tells her to look at this person, a shareef aadmi brought to beggary because he doesn’t drink or smoke, none of the things that she keeps advising him against. The man pays off the beggar, shuts the door and tells his wife, “This is what happens to people if they lead such a boring and clinical life” J

Joke done, my imagination enters the scene. Now that a high moral ground has been achieved, the householder pours himself a drink. Once under the influence, he starts singing the situational Shareefon ka zamaane mein aji bas haal wo dekha ke sharaafat chhod di maine, sung by Lata Mangeshkar for Laxmikant-Pyarelal in Sharafat (1970). This poem was written by Anand Bakshi.

That was on a lighter note. On a more serious note, do consider the magnificence of this gifted writer when he wrote songs so pertinent to the situations within films.

In Zindagi Zindagi (1972), we found Tu ne humen kya diya ri zindagi, rendered by Kishore Kumar for SD Burman. Here the writer personified life and bemoaned what all it had done to him. It was Deb Mukerji, a patient who sang this as he lay bedridden in the general ward of a hospital, even as the camera panned Farida Jalal, Waheeda Rehman, Sunil Dutt and a slew of patients, all of them clearly resonating with the lyrics as they battled with the gloom in their individual destinies.

In Sholay (1975), the director wanted to show the unbreakable bond between Dharmendra and Amitabh, two criminal buddies. So we found an energetic ode to friendship scripted by Bakshi: Ye dosti hum naheen todenge, rendered by Manna and Kishore for RD Burman. Earlier, this lyricist had taken a completely opposite route too. Nearly a decade before Sholay he had offered arguably the ultimate lines of curse for a friend-turned-enemy: Mere dushman tu meri dosti ko tarse, Mujhe gham dene waale, tu khushi ko tarse. This song deserves to be heard in its entirety for us to feel the sting expressed by Rafi for Laxmikant-Pyarelal in Aaye Din Bahaar Ke (1966). The situation was like this: Asha Parekh and Dharmendra are lovers who get separated for some reason, and then they lose touch completely. Finally the reluctant Dharmendra listens to his mother and agrees to marry Nazima, who has become acquainted with Asha Parekh’s recently. At the engagement party, Nazima also invites Asha who has no idea who her friend’s fiancé is. She is stunned to see that it’s none other than Dharmendra. When she composes herself, she picks up someone’s child to make it appear to Dharmendra that she is married now. Her idea is for the engagement to proceed seamlessly. But the unaware Dharmendra sees her wedded status as an act of disloyalty. Let’s not forget that this was a Hindi film. Bakshi saab rose to the demands of this situation with curses of the choicest kind.

Anand Bakshi will be remembered for some exceptional lyrics in a qawwali that pitted women vs men in Jabse Tumhen Dekha Hai (1963). Tumhen husn deke Khuda ne sitamgar banaaya banaaya went the men, led by Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. But this line became a terrible gambit, backfiring on the men. The women, led by Shyama and Kumkum, responded with a killer line: Chalo is bahaane tumhen bhi Khuda yaad aaya ji aaya. The singers were Rafi, Manna, Lata and Asha, in the studio for maestro Dattaram.

Anand Bakshi wrote scores of situationally relevant songs, like Humen kya jo harsoo ujaale hue hain (Rafi/GS Kohli/Namaste Ji, 1965), Saawan ka maheena pawan kare sor (Mukesh, Lata/L-P/Milan, 1967), Kaahe ko roye (SD Burman/SD Burman/Aradhana, 1969), Khilona jaan kar tum to (Rafi/L-P/Khilona, 1970), Muhabbat ke suhaane din (Rafi/K-A/Maryada, 1971), Maar diya jaaye ya chhod diya jaaye (Lata/L-P/Mera Gaon Mera Desh, 1971), and Mujhko hui na khabar (Asha/Uttam Singh/Dil To Pagal Hai, 1997).

But perhaps the ultimate words that came out of Anand Bakshi’s mind were the many songs he wrote in Amar Prem (1971), which had music by RD Burman. In the Kishore Kumar song Kuchh to log kahenge, Rajesh Khanna was pitching hard to console Sharmila Tagore, in the film playing a prostitute trapped in her destiny. Bakshi’s words in this poem have the escape velocity to go up into the heavens, because he states many facts here. He has drawn from universal truths and from the Ramayana to come up with words that are situationally valid not just for a character in a film, but for all of us, carrying our own cross, crying about our own condition and looking for our own inspiration to somehow plod on and survive positively.

Kuchh to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kena…

Kuchh reet jagat ki aisi hai har ek subah ki shaam hui

Tu kaun hai, tera naam hai kya, Sita bhi yahaan badnaam hui

Phir kyoon sansaar ki baaton se bheeg gaye tere naina?

Words to frame in gold.

Thank you Anand Bakshi ji, you have enriched our lives with such wonderful poetry!

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4) His lyrics will be taught in universities.

By lyricist Javed Akhtar

Aaj shayad koi maane ya na maane, lekin main apne khoon se yeh likh ke de sakta hoon ke ek din aayega jab log jaanenge, ki Anand Bakshi ka aaj ke geeton aur aaj ki shayari mein kitna bada contribution hai! Aur uss din, Anand Bakshi pe thesis likhi jayengi aur Phd ki jayegi universities mein.

Today whether some people agree with me or not, but I can ink my conviction with my own blood and claim a day will arrive when our society, people will realise the worth and literary value of film song Anand Bakshi, his immense contribution to Hindi cinema songs and to literature too through his songs. The day will arrive when upon this realisation thesis will be written on his lyrics and universities will offer PhD on his film-based lyrics.

Arriving soon... biography of Anand Bakshi by Rakesh Bakshi in English and in Hindi.. March 2021.Click here
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