Tribute to a Legend: In Conversation With Anand Bakshi in 1993
Catch the inimitable wordsmith Anand Bakshi in a rare and candid interview.
Movie: Kala Samundar
Song: Meri Tasveer Lekar Kya Karoge
Anand Bakshi finally had his first hit song. It has been 15 years after his death in 2002, but we continue to sing along to Tasveer and thousands of other songs that the Logon ka Geetkar created. I’m revisiting my interview with him on the occasion of his birth anniversary, though one does not need any special occasion to remember him since we continue to listen to his songs every single day.
It was November 1993, I was very curious to meet Anand Bakshi, who was so popular among the masses. While he was never on par with Sahir Ludhiyanvi, or Majrooh Sultanpuri, or Shailendra, or Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, or Kaifi Azmi, yet through the 70s, 80s and 90s, Anand Bakshi was more popular than any other lyricist.
From Achcha toh hum chalte hai... to Raina Beeti Jaaye... to films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge to Pardes his range was amazing.
So I began my tryst to bring this versatile poet on camera. My only common contact was Pancham Da (RD Burman), who had done many films with Anand Bakshi. He gave me Anandji’s number and said, “Now you follow up. If he does not agree then call me.”
I called Anand Bakshi and asked for an appointment. He was very reluctant but finally agreed when I told him that Pancham Da had given me his number and that I had interviewed him a few weeks back.
We met at his house, with him in his typical Punjabi lungi and kurta. Anandji ushered us into his drawing room and I could not believe my eyes. It was full of his silver and golden jubilee trophies. Jab Jab Phool Khile, Himalaya Ki God Mein, Aaradhana, Kati Patang, Milan, Khilona, Maryada, Hare Rama Hare Krishna, Do Raaste, Aan Milo Sajna, Raja aur Rank, Farz, Do Raaste, Hum - all his songs started playing in my mind. I thought to myself, I have only an hour, how will I cover all his achievements?
Anand Bakshi: Interview Hindi mein hi hai na kyonki meri angrezi tang hai. (This interview is in Hindi, right? Because my English is a little weak.)
Q: Ji sir, Hindi mein hai (Yes, sir).
Anand Bakshi: Chalo... poocho.
Q: I have read about your stints with the army. You came to Bombay twice to try your luck and finally got lucky the third time. Tell us more about it.
Anand Bakshi: Do baar toh main wapis chala gaya tha kyonki koi kaam nahin mila...teesri baar maine socha kyon na Sunil Dutt se miloon. Usko janta tha, Sunil ne mujhe Bhagwan Dada ke paas bheja. Bhagwan star thhe, unki Albela maine kai baar dekhi thi. Bhagwan Dada ke office pahuncha toh koi milne na de. Finally, main unke kamre mein ghus gaya aur bola mujhe Sunil Dutt ne bheja hai. Bhagwan Dada ne poocha karte kya ho ? Maine kaha geet likhata hoon. Unhone kaha chalo gaane likho hamara writer beemar pada hai. So I was told to sit with the assistant aur usne mujhe poori film ki kahani aur situation batayee. Maine char gaane likhe, film ka naam tha Bhala Admi usmein do gaane gaaye, lekin na film chali aur na main.
Q: If you knew Sunil Dutt, why didn’t you try to meet him earlier? And there were many more actors, singers and music composers who had come to Bombay after partition.
Anand Bakshi: Main kisi ka ehsaan nahin lena chahta tha aur Sunil bhi struggle kar raha tha. Iss Industry mein do tarah ke log survive kar sakte hain... ya toh aap filmwaalon ko jaante ho ya phir woh aapko jante hain... aur main in dono mein nahin tha, lekin maine himmat nahin haari, roz 7-8 film waalon ke daftar ke chakkar lagata tha. Iss movie industry mein ya toh aapke paas kuch kaam nahi hai ya phir bahut kaam hai.
Q. How and when did you get a break?
Anand Bakshi:1962 mein Hiren Khera ki film Mehendi Lagi Mere Haath... us film ke gaane maine likhe...uske baad Hiren Khera ki doosri film Himalay Ki God Mein... KalyanJi Anandji the music director, uss film ke 3-4 gaane maine likhe... aur phir mili Jab Jab Phool Khile jiske saare gaane maine likhe thhe. Ye toh golden jubilee thi...saare gaane hit the. Laxmikant aur Pyarelal inke assistants thhe... dono ne jab apna alag shuru kiya... woh film thi Milan...uske saare gaane maine likhe aur kya film chali...uske saare gaane khoob chale thhe.
Q: I remember Shor Nahi Baba Sor Sor..Sawan Ka Mahina Pawan Kare Shor...Sor
Anand Bakshi: Ye idea Laxmi Pyare ka tha... Sunil Dutt ek gaon ka ladka hai aur heroine Nutan padhi likhi ladki hai...ab north India mein kai jagah ‘Sh’ ko ‘s’ bolte hain...bas gaane mein daal diya.
Q: Aap sahi keh rahein hain. Bihar mein toh zyada log ‘Sh’ ko ‘S’ pronounce karte hain.
Anand Bakshi: Uske baad toh saare darwaze khulte gaye... Ek din Shakti Samant ne mujhe Sachin Dev Burman se milwaya... Shakti Aradhana (1969) bana rahe thhe aur Dada (SD Burman) music director thhe. Dada ne bola newcomers ki film hai...tum bhi newcomer ho..toh film ko hit karana hai... unke bete Pancham (RD Burman) ko janta thha...toh Dada ne saari situation batai. Romantic situations bhi the, ek lori bhi thi... teen din ke andar maine saare gaane likh liye... dada ko dikhaya... dada khush... bole itna badhiya lori kaise likha... ‘Chanda ha tu mera sooraj hai tu’... Maine Dada ko bataya Dada jab main bahut chota tha, meri ma guzar gayee thi... unki tasveer aaj bhi hai... jab bhi dekhta hoon, emotional ho jata hoon..iss gane ko likhte samay mujhe meri ma yaad aa gayee... Dada was very impressed. Dada ne kaha ek gaana aur likhana hai...gaana poori film ka theme hai... background mein mother ko encourage karta hai...usko kehta hai ki uska sapna poora hoga... mere dimag mein aaya ‘Safal hogi Teri aradhana’..gaana mil gaya thha..Dada ne khud gaya... Aradhana ne kai logon ki aaradhana safal kara di... Rajesh Khanna superstar, Kishore ka comeback.
Q: Aur aap ki bhi Aradhana safal ho gayi...
Anand Bakshi: Bilkul...ek baat aur hai... jab Aradhana ban rahi thi Shakti da ne ek aur film shuru ki Kati Patang (1970)... Same hero Rajesh Khanna, Asha Parekh aur music director Pancham. Pancham was thrilled. Mujhe bola apan saath kaam karte hain..aur dekhiye saare gaane kya hit rahe... film silver jubilee chali. Ek gaana tha... ‘Jis Gali Mein Tera Ghar Na Ho Balma...’ Mukesh ne gaya tha... recording par Rajesh bhi tha..emotional ho gaya tha.
Q: Anand Bakshi, RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna were a great combo and meant nothing less than a silver jubilee, right?
Anand Bakshi: Ab Rajesh Khanna ka craze tha... mere gaane, Kishore ki awaaz... lagta tha Rajesh ke dil se gaana nikal raha hai.
Q: So you and Pancham, you and Laxmi Pyare, you and Kalyanji AnandJi, you and Dada Burman were quite a hit combination. The 70s and 80s were ruled by these combinations.
Anand Bakshi: Tauba tauba Dada toh sabke guru the... Hindi Urdu theek se nahi aati thi lekin ek ek lafz par kya pakad thi... kis shabd ko kaise gaana hai. Film Amar Prem ka ek gana tha jo background mein tha... ‘Doli Mein Bithaye Ke Kahar...’ Dada ne simple words ko kaise gaya tha.
Q: Amar Prem is one of my favourite films, like the song ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge...’ superb... great words, the great Kishore Kumar and great music by Pancham Da...
Anand Bakshi: Aapne Amar Prem ki baat chedi hai toh ek baat batata hoon... Dada har gaane ki recording par aate the aur chup chap ek kone mein baith kar sunte thhe. Ek gaana tha Sharmila par picturise hona tha, Lata gaa rahi thi.. ‘Bada Natkhat Hai...’ bhajan ke style mein...recording ke baad unhone Pancham, Shakti Samanta aur mujhe bulaya... ye kya hai..kya koi prostitute aise bhajan gayegi toh public accept karegi ? Dada ne kaha bhajan nahin... issme ma ki mamta chahiye... she is not an ordinary prostitute... Dada chale gaye... main Pancham aur Shakti sochne lage..phir Pancham ne harmonium par ek dhun nikali... aur mera gaana bilkul fit baitha... next day Dada ne suna bahut khush hua... he was a legend.
Q: How do you write your songs? Do you write on the tunes given to you by music directors?
Anand Bakshi: No, no...yeh toh koi bhi kar dega lekin gana mein soul/rooh nahin hogi...baaki log aisa karte hain, main nahi. Main, Pancham ho, Laxmi Pyare ho, Kalyanji AnandJi ho... situation discuss karta hoon... film ka director bhi aata hai wahan... woh bhi batata hai sequence kya hai... kitna emotional scene hai... romantic hai... kaun hero kaun actress hai..playback singer kaun hai... aur phir main aur music director baitthe hain... share karte hai. Ek gaana tha... ‘Achcha Toh Hum Chalte Hain...’ film Aan Milo Sajna... ab ek situation par phans gaye thhe..subah teen baje Laxmi ne kaha Achcha Toh Hum Chalte Hain..maine poocha ...phir kab miloge...usne kaha parson..kal kuch kaam hai..woh toh chala gaya..lekin gaana ban gaya tha. Do lovers ke beech datings par baat ho rahi hai... next day Laxmi ko phone kiya gaana taiyar hai..ab usme dekho maine parson ke saath narson istemal kiya..hamare udhar bolchal mein bolte hain.
Q: Very intresting, one thing I noticed, you always use the name of the film in your song... be it Aaradhana, Kati Patang, Aap Ki Kasam.
Anand Bakshi: Aise koi rule nahin hai...haan jab zaroorat hoti hai tabhi karta hoon... lekin uska matlab hona chahiye. Main zyaada padha likha nahin hoon... heavy words nahin aate... hindi aur urdu ke simple alfaz hain jinko istemal karata hoon jo anpadh ke samajh mein aa jaye..woh usko ga sake... otherwise kaun aap ka gaana sunega... aap ko bhi koi gaana achcha lagta hai kyonki aap usko samjhte hain, gaate hai. Chalo bhai kitna time hogaya?
Q: No, no. I have more questions...
Anand Bakshi: Ab ho gaya...
Q: Sir, we don’t get a chance to meet legends like you everyday. And you were kind enough to give us time. Please, a few more questions.
Anand Bakshi: Ok ..thodi der ke liye AC chala de.
(So the interview was warming up. I was told not to ask him about the ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ lyrics controversy but I was thinking about how to come to that point.)
Q: You were talking about Aap Ki Kasam... there was a song ‘Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hain Jo Mukam...’ Pancham Da says that it’s one of your greatest songs.
Anand Bakshi: Mushkil situation thhi... Rajesh ko shaq hota hai apni biwi par aur dost par..aur woh ghar se chala jata hai deta hai..ab 4-5 minute ke song mein woh jawan se old ho jaata hai... samay guzarta jaata hai..now, is par gaana likhna thha... iss ki tune gaane ke baad bani thi... kai dafe likha aur phad diya... lekin phir aa gaya.
Q. There was another song... Aaj Mohabbat Bandh Hai, a romantic one...
Anand Bakshi: Rajesh superstar thha aur Mumtaz ke saath jodi hit tfhi... producers, distributors ki demand hoti thfi ki unke romantic songs dalo. Uss gaane ka situation ye thha... ladies ka apna period time hota hai... ab imtihan ye tha ki gaana vulgar naa ho... aur achcha bhi lage... toh phir isharon isharon mein gaana bana diya..baat bhi keh di.
Q: Since you are talking about vulgarity, you are now being accused of using double meanings in Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai in Khalnayak.
Anand Bakshi: Iss mein vulgar kya hai... it’s a Rajasthani folk song... shasdiyon mein bajata hai... dil toh choli ke peeche hi hota hai... aap ne shirt pehni hai toh aap ka dil toh shirt ya kurte ke peeche hoga. Aap Punjab ke traditional gaane suniye... agar Hindi mein tarjuma karein toh vulgar lagega..lekin koi vulgarity nahin hai.
Q: The song from Hum... Jumma Chumma De De...
Anand Bakshi: Aap ko dekhna chahiye ki gaane ki background kya hai... ek factory ka worker hai, ek bar ki dancer hai.. unka language toh aisa hi hoga.. Dev Anand ki film thhi Hare Rama Hare Krishna... uska gaana tha ‘Dum Maro Dum Mit Jayen Gham...’ ab ek charsi hippy character toh yahi gayega... usi film ka ek aur gaana tha ‘Phoolon ka Taaron Ka Sabka Kehna Hai...’ difference hai ki nahi ? Bobby ke gaane..Narendra Chanchal ka gana tha, ‘Beshak Mandir Masjid Todo...’ aur woh ‘Na Maangu Sona Chandi...’ har song ke peeche ek background hota hai..kaun gaa raha hai, kyun ga raha hai...ye likhne wale ko pata hota hai tabhi gana popular hota hai.
Q: Bobby se yaad aaya. How did you reach to RK films? RK ke saath toh kaam milna asaan nahin tha?
Anand Bakshi: Laxmi Pyare ko Raj Kapoor ne sign kiya thha... phir hum teeno ko bulakar story aur situation batayi... teenage love story thi... apne bete Rishi ko launch kar rahe thhe... unhone kaha 15-16 saal ke ladke ladkiyon wale chahiye. Naya singer thha Shailendra Singh...Raj Kapoor ko mere gaane pasand aaye.
Q: You also did try to sing...Mome Ki Gudiya.
Anand Bakshi: Yes...woh toh shaukiya tha..main koi trained singer nahin hoon..geet likhata hoon to gaata bhi hoon. Mere jaise toh sab gaate hain..all music composers, lyricists gaate hain..lekin trained singers nahin hain.
Q: Who is your favourite lyricist?
Anand Bakshi: Saare hain... I like Shailendra... hindi par pakad thi..Sahir Ludhiyanvi..kya shayar thhe..main unse impressed tha..unko janta bhi tha..unhone meri bahut madad ki thi..main sabhi seniors ki izzat karta hoon..Majrooh Sultanpuri...sabhi hain.
Q: Aapne shuru kiya tha 60s mein..90s mein bhi you are very busy. How do you get the pulse of changing audience?
Anand Bakshi: Maine aap ko bola tha ki main zyada padha likha nahin hoon.. logon ki zubaan samajhta hoon. 60s ka alag trend tha..aaj ka trend kuch aur hai. Pehle log radio par gaane sunte thhe... radio par announcer film ka naam, composer ka naam, singer ka naam aur gaane likhne wale ka naam batata thha. Jab main sunta thha aur sochta thha ki ek din mera naam bhi radio par koi bolega..masses ke liye likhta hoon isi liye geet popular hote hain. Film ki theme bahut important hoti hai. Ek gana thha film Apnapan ka.. ‘Aadmi Musafir Hai’ .. Kudrat ka song ‘Hamein Tum Se Pyaar Kitna...’ abhi likha ek film Baazigar... uske gaane chal rahe hain. Mere paas kaam ki kami nahi hai..khuda ka, bhagwan ka..aur listeners ka bahut pyar hai..aaj bhi likh rahan hoon..Subhash ghai ke liye, Yash Chopra ke liye..saare bade banners hain..kal jinke saath kaam kiya, aaj unke bachchon ke saath kam kar raha hoon..
Q: Which is your favourite song, jo aapne khud likha hai ?
Anand Bakshi: Ye kya sawaal hai? Jitne gaane likhe hain woh sab mujhe pasand hain. Saare singers mujhe achche lagate hain..haan Rafi saheb Mukesh, Kishore ki kami mehsoos hoti hai..Lata aur Asha ne kya gaaye hain.
Q: Aaj bhi har din aapke 5-10 gaane toh bajate hi honge radio par.. agar mausam suhana ho toh Lofar ka ‘Aaj Mausam Bada Beiman...’ Ek aap ka aaj kal chal raha hai - ‘Ilu Iilu Kya Hai...’ from Saudagar.
Anand Bakshi: Ilu toh naye generation ka trend hai..jo aap dekhte hain sunte hain ..main unhe apne gaanon mein daal deta hoon...chalo ab ho gaya.
Q: Achcha toh hum chalte hain...thank you very much.
With this thank you note, we finished the interview. Very recently I got to know Anand Bakshi’s son, Rakesh Anand Bakshi on Twitter. I spoke to him and he sent me a poem written by Anand Bakshi. He is writing a book on his father titled Mujhe Bhi Kuch Kehna Hai .
Here is the poem written by Anand Bakshi :
Sanha ye meri zindagi seh gayi main yahan aa gaya woh wahan reh gayi
Kuchh na main kar saka, dekhta reh gaya kuchh na wo kar saki, dekhti reh gayi
Log kehtey hain taqseem sab ho gaya jo nahi bat saki cheez wo reh gayi
Yaad Pindi ki aati hai ab kis liye meri mitti thi Jehlum mein wo beh gayi
Inn zameeno ne kitna lahoo pi liya ye khabar aasmaano talak ho gayi
Rastey mein khadi ho gayi sarhadein, sarhadon pe khadi bebassi reh gayi
De gayi ghar, gali, shehr mera kissey kya pataa kisss se Bakhshi wo kya keh gayi
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