Whenever I think of Sahir, I remember his poignant social songs about women exploitation, corruption, hypocrisy and sufferings in the society, especially, the songs close to a woman’s heart (I instantly remember, Tere Bachpan Ko Jawani Ki Dua). Many of his songs were actually from his book, Talkhiyan. Those were taken up as a film songs by various composers, when a song suited certain situation in the film. Though he has written all sorts of songs for Hindi cinema, right from comedy to qawwalis, from bhajans to lullabies, we tend to forget his soft and romantic side. I don’t think such songs are rare, they simply get overshadowed by his other songs.
Let us take a look at his career. He worked with nearly all music directors (except Naushad & Shankar Jaikishan) but his alliance with S D Burman, N Datta, Roshan, Ravi turned out to be eternal.
His had a long association with Burman da, as they complemented each others styles perfectly. There started working together with ‘Thandi Hawaein Leherate Aaye‘ from Naujawan in 1951. The song was one of most popular songs of that year. The film Sazaa, in the same year, had only one song by Sahir, ‘Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan Mein‘. But that proved to be the most popular song from the movie, which is still remembered for that song. That was the magic of his words.
They worked together for films, Baazi ( Tadbeer Se Bigadi Hui & Suno Gajar Kya Gaye), Jaal (Yeh Raat Yeh Chandani & Chori Chori Meri Gali), Taxi Driver (Jaye To Jaye Kahan & Dil Se Milake Dil), House No 44 (Phaili Hui Hai & Teri Duniya Mein Jine Se), Devdas (all songs), Munimaji (Jeevan Ke Safar Mein Rahi & Ghayal Hirania Main), Funtoosh (Dukhi Man Mere & Woh Dekhe To). The songs from these films were big hits and are still popular.
After the grand success of ‘Pyaasa‘ the pair separated. It is said that Sahir claimed all the credit of the success of the songs of ‘Pyaasa‘ and the contribution by Burman da was considered insignificant. Burman da decided never to work with him again.
His tuning with O P Nayyar remained just for a few films. Their first film, together was Naya Daur (1957) and it was a huge success, and their future collaboration was anticipated. But the film, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, in the same year had only one song (Yun To Hum Ne Lakh Haseen) by Sahir. They worked together for a few films afterwards, but only ‘Sone Ki Chidiya(1958) was a musical success. Both of them were said to be highly egoist and they separated before a friendly relation could form.
His association with Roshan lasted long, where majority of Roshan’s hits in 60s were by Sahir. They first worked together for Babar in 1960, which was an average hit. But it was the magical supreme hit ‘Barsaat Ki Raat‘ that started their wonderful and successful association. The magic continued in films like Dil Hi To Hai, Tajmahal, Dooj Ka Chand, Chitralekha, Bahu Begum. Each & every song from all these movies was a hit and still their popularity hasn’t declined. Roshan sudden demise left Sahir alone again. After S D Burman, Roshan was the compatible composer for him. Sahir had written a song about Tajmahal ‘Ek Shehenshah Ne Banwake Ke Haseen Taj Mahal, Hum Garibon Ki Mohhobat Ka Udaya Hai Mazaak’, but he had to write romantic songs for the movie Taj Mahal and he did a wonderful job, of course.
N Datta was his friend and Sahir was with him right from his first film ‘Milap‘ in 1955. They worked together creating master pieces for B R Films, in films like, Sadhna (Aurat Ne Janam Diya & Sambhal Ae Dil), Dhool Ka Phool (Tu Mere Pyar Ka Phool Hai & Tere Pyar Ka Aasra), and Dharamputra ( Main Jab Bhi Akeli & Bhool Sakta Hai Kaun).
Other films representing their magnificent association were, Marine Drive (Ab Woh Karam Karen), Chandrakanta (Maine Chand Aur Sitaron Ki), Light House (Tang Aa Chuke Hai), Didi, Naach Ghar (Ae Dil Juban Na Khol), Chandi Ki Deewar (Ashkon Mein Jo Paya Hai), etc.
Sahir also had a successful alliance with Ravi for films like, Gumraah (In Hawaon Mein & Chalo EK Baar Phirse), Waqt (all songs) and Humraz ( Neele Gagan Ke Tale) etc, which were by B R Films. Sahir had such a strong bonding with Chopras that even if they changed music directors, Sahir was never replaced. Yash Chopra also engaged Sahir for his forthcoming projects under Yash-Raj Films, after separating from B R Chopra.
Ravi and Sahir worked together for other musical hits like, Aaj Aur Kal (Yeh Wadiya Yeh Fizayen), Aankhen (Milti Hai Zindagi Mein), Do Kaliyan (Tumhari Nazar Kyon Khafa),
Kajal (Tora Man Darpan Kahlaye) etc. In these songs Sahir’s powerful words stand out more than Ravi’s tune.
He worked as a lyricist for other composers also,
Jaidev – Joru Ka Bhai, Hum Dono, Mujhe Jeene Do,
C Ramchandra – Bahu Rani,
Khayyam – Phir Subah Hogi, Shagoon, Kabhi Kabhie,
Chitragupt – Vasna,
Anil Biswas – Char Dil Char Rahen,
Madanmohan – Railway platform & Ghazal,
Laxmkinat Pyarelal – Ijjat, Man Ki aankhen, Daag
Sahir’s childhood experiences have said to influence his songs as well. He and his mother suffered domestic violence and developed bitter memories that lasted with him forever. His mother left home took him with her. His father tried to trace them and it is said that he even tried to kill Sahir. That made his childhood unsafe and unpleasant, his mother was always scared for his life and they both were vulnerable and suffered a lot. In his youth, he loved a girl. But their love story wasn’t successful and again left him resentful than ever! All these experiences in childhood and early youth could be the reason for the bitterness and at times overly extreme statements in some of his film songs and shayaris.
His relationship with Amrita Pritam was also talked about in those days and she was deeply in love with him. But he couldn’t continue this relationship. After his mother’s death, he was alone. His egoistic, bizarre behaviour and drinking affected quality of work. He died on 25th november 1980 in Mumbai (then Bombay).
Though I completely agree with the versatility of Sahir as a shayar & lyricist, I can understand why his social songs were very powerful.
I am presenting today list of my favourite romantic songs by Sahir, to celebrate his soft romantic side on his 96th birthday. All the songs are from the pre70s films. I have chosen songs by various music directors here, so songs from his less popular associations are also there on my list. The songs are in no particular order.
( And I found myself choosing only duets, for no obvious reasons. Readers can contribute solos as well.)
1. Hum Aap Ki Aankhon Mein – Pyaasa (1957) Rafi & Geeta Dutt / S D Burman
A romantic waltz by Guru Dutt (Vijay) & Mala Sinha (Meena). Both are deeply in love. This is a dream sequence where the lovers dream about their eternal love. The song has balloons, misty clouds, curtains, all creating a perfect dreamland. They want to be each others’ forever.
He wants his heart to inhabit her eyes, whereas she mischievously says, she would close eyes and allow it to fall off. This is of course a romantic metaphor.This teasing and answering goes on happily till she ascends the steps and disappears in the mist. Sahir uses very simple but cute and romantic words for the song. Her naughty answers each time make us smile, but he keeps on proposing his romantic ideas without being defeated.
Pyaasa was a milestone in many ways. Sahir and S D Burman’s musical journey was at its peak, but unfortunately that proved to be their last film together.
2. Phir Na Kije Meri – Phir Subah Hogi (1958) Asha Bhosle & Mukesh / Khayyam
Both of them are looking affectionately at each other and are catching each other red handed! They are committed to each other and are deeply in love. Her eyes inspire him for some mischievous adventure, and he asks her not to be angry if he obliges. She beckons him to be always there for her, as he is the only hope for her.
Written with slightly heavy Urdu words, it’s little difficult to understand.
The only romantic song from the otherwise serious and sarcastic songs in the album.
Click here for the video song
3. Paaon Choo Lene Do – Taj Mahal (1963) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Roshan
What an amazingly romantic this song is! He has spread a floral carpet for her and wishes her to walk on it. He says flowers would also get disappointed along with him if she doesn’t. She is afraid if this would amount to insulting his love,but she doesn’t want to step on them.Instead she picks up a flower holds it to her heart. He beckons her to be with him and asks her not to be so reserved with him. She is totally amazed by her dilemma of being attracted towards him and feeling intensely shy to be near him, she is overwhelmed by her feelings. What a sublime way to portray the feelings of a couple in romance. Is he the same Sahir who wrote, ‘Aurat Ne Janam Diya’?
What a concept! I haven’t come across any song where walking on the flowers laid by a lover, was considered his insult. Here’s the video.
4. Maang Ke Saath Tumhara – Naya Daur (1957) Asha Bhosle & Rafi / O P Nayyar
A typical O P Nayyar ‘Ghoda Gadi’ song with that charming and lovable rhythm. The lyrics are romantic, so is the picturisation. Both of them are cheerful, enjoying each other’s company, not a care in the world. He is trying to catch her glimpse at her every now and then, and she is feeling more shy. Her hair, floating in the air and she is trying to manage them. So romantic! Enjoy this beautiful song in colour.
5. Umra Hui Tumse Mile – Bahurani (1962) Lata Mangeshkar & Hemant Kumar / C Ramchandra
My most favourite song from this movie. They are together for a long time, but they are feeling as if they never realised they had romantic feelings for each other. (To know why it is so, read the crisp review on Dusted off). She feels the romance in the air and acts like a newly wed bride, eager for honey moon. He is a bit sentimental, as she has transformed him into a well mannered & groomed person. He feels like he is in a altogether new world with her.Guru Dutt & Mala Sinha are singing the song in their home, so she is a little shy.
I think this is the only film where Sahir worked for C Ramchandra.
6. Kashti Ka Khamosh Safar Hai – Girl Friend (1960) Kishore Kumar & Sudha Malhotra / Hemant Kumar
Such a cute song it is! He is with her on a boat, there is no one with them, but a beautiful sunset and the sea waves making a sweet background music. And on such a romantic journey, he wants to say something to her. But instead he is making many excuses like she is shy and that is making him nervous about saying anything, and he is too excited himself to pull himself together to confess his love. Both of them have feeling for each other, but he is afraid of rejection.She is shy but finally says, come out with it.
“Keh Bhi Chuko Jo Kena Hai” and what wonderfully Sudha sings this line. I get goose bumps. Finally he says, no need to say it, when we both know what the matter is!
No video is available of the song, but the last line would have brought disappointment on her face, may be with anger.
7. Yeh Parbaton Ke Daire – Vasna (1968) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Chitragupt
The song describes a romantic date on a misty evening. The couple is getting closer to each other and enjoying each others’ company.
The picturisation has failed to portray the romance, so has the pair on screen. The only appeal is playback singers’ voices and Sahir with Chitragupt.
A sensuous song to listen to, with very fitting orchestration. Sahir’s only film with Chitragupt, one of the last popular films of the latter. It has some wonderful
songs, the above one being the most popular of all.
8. Chand Bhi Koi Deewana – Pyas (1968) Asha Bhosle & Mahendra Kapoor / N Datta
A song picturised on a romantic full moon night. A soft romantic song that appears as if it is merely whispered than sung. They talk about the moon, the twilight and their beautiful future life.
Listen to this song rather than me saying anything about it. The video has a poor audio quality, I’m posting a good quality audio as well.
click here for the video song
9. Kya Raat Suhani Hai – Alif Laila (1953) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Shyamsunder
The song describes a romantic night. She has a dream to sail away with him somewhere far. He also has a fantasy to be with her, her head resting on his shoulder and her hair crumbling. They appear to meet after a long period of separation and finally their dream to be together has come true and and all they want is never to be apart and the romantic night should never end. Shyamsunder’s last movie, his only with Sahir.
10. In Hawaon Mein – Gumraah (1963) Asha Bhosle & Mahendra Kapoor / Ravi
The couple is deeply in love, as we can see. The intensity of the love is very effectively depicted in the song, his love attracts her like a magnet and she has to rush to him. They are each other’s strength and want to be with each other forever. They do not care for the world, let there be any obstacles in their path, they are determined not to separate.
A refreshingly cheerful composition, full of energy and vibrancy, even if it’s a typical Ravi tune.
Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar – Hum Dono (1962) Asha Bhosle & Rafi / Jaidev
The couple is on a date and as usual he has lost his sense of time, and now she is hurrying back home. But he wants her to be with him a little longer. He begs her to stay till the end of the evening.She says, it’s already dark and stars are twinkling in the sky, the street lights are shining, so it’s too late for her,but he will never be satisfied. This song is like a conversation between the two, and is filled with romance. Sadhna looks gorgeous as ever! Innocence, they both create is quite adorable.
Sahir’s romantic songs are so melodious and meaningful.
What a perfect song to end the list! I wish the list is never ending but all good things must come to an end!!
I once again wish a Very Happy Birthday to Sahir!
Do you want add a song?