'Chand taaron se chalna hai aage...': The musical journey of Hasrat Jaipuri

'Chand taaron se chalna hai aage...': The musical journey of Hasrat Jaipuri


Vikas Datta

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Few people can boast of the distinction of having a love poem they penned in adolescence becoming a hit Hindi film song, but this purveyor and versifier of beauty, whose craft was derived from his observation, was one prominent example.

"Yeh mera prem patra padh kar, ki tum naraaz na hona.." was a paean of love that the smitten teenaged Iqbal Husain wrote to a girl living near him in Jaipur, though it is not clear whether he delivered it or not. It was decades later that he, now celebrated Hindi film lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri, could declare it to the world in Raj Kapoor's 'Sangam' (1964), via Mohammad Rafi's melodious voice. Coincidentally, the heroine was named Radha, like his childhood love.

A poet at heart as well as by profession, he later admitted that his first sher was also dedicated to the same girl, on seeing her come to her haveli's balcony: "Tu jharoke se jo jhankhe, to main itna poonchon/Mere meboob, main tujhe pyar karun ya na karun".

However, Hasrat Jaipuri, who was born on April 15, 1922, and passed away in 1999, had a long, arduous route to becoming a Hindi film lyricist. Though maternal grandson of poet, Fida Husain 'Fida', he had no cushioned life and had to earn his living. He came to Bombay around 1940 and managed to get a job as a conductor on the city's BEST bus service and worked for eight years.

Unlike another fellow bus conductor, whose antics would catch the attention of actor Balraj Sahni, who would pave the way for Badruddin Qazi aka Johnny Walker's entry into films, Hasrat had to slog with his only solace being beautiful faces that he encountered on his daily rounds - and much later, impishly revealed that he never even issued them tickets.

However, he continued to participate in mushairas and it was one of these where he caught the attention of Prithviraj Kapoor, who told his son and fledgeling filmmaker Raj Kapoor about him. Raj Kapoor, who had just made one film 'Aag' (1948) and was working on his second 'Barsaat', was a little annoyed with established music composers and songwriters and seeking to build his own team. He had roped in Shankar-Jaikishan for music, and Hasrat and Shailendra - who was also spotted by the elder Kapoor at a mushaira - would be the songwriters.

Hasrat, summoned by Raj Kapoor and presented the offer on the terms that his words could have to suit the tune and the situation, agreed. While he presented his childhood poem, Raj Kapoor was enthusiastic but said it would have to wait for a later film and now, he wanted something to portray the longing and wait of love. Hasrat asked for a day and came back with the immortal 'Jiya beqarar hai', which impressed the director.

Raj Kapoor's music team was now set. Though it was Shailendra, termed the first proper film songwriter rather than a poet who wrote for films, predominated with most iconic songs - 'Awara Hoon', 'Mera joota hai Japani'. etc., to his credit, Hasrat was not far behind.

'Main zindagi mein hardam rota hi raha' and 'Chhorh gaye balam' ('Barsaat'), 'Hum tujhse mohabbat kar ke sanam' and 'Jab se balam ghar aaye' ('Awaara', 1951), 'Jaane na nazar' and 'Raat andheri door savera' ('Aah', 1953), 'Ichak dana beechak dana' ('Shree 420'), 'Aa ab laut chalen' ('Jis desh mein Ganga behti hai', 1960), 'Yeh mera prem patra..' and the racy 'Main kya karun Ram mujhe buddha mil gaya' ('Sangam', 1964), and above all, 'Jaane kahan gaye woh din' ('Mera Naam Joker', 1970) are all from his pen.

Then, 'Aa jaa sanam madhur chandni mein ham', 'Yeh raat bheegi-bheegi' from rare non-RK Films Raj Kapoor and Nargis-starrer 'Chori Chori' (1956) were also his creations.

However, Hasrat, did not remain confined to Shankar-Jaikishan or Raj Kapoor, and also worked with music directors like Naushad, C. Ramchandra, S.D. Burman, R.D. Burman, and others to fashion some iconic songs for other top actors.

Take 'Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum' ('Patita', 1953) for a dapper Dev Anand, 'Jhumta mausam mast mahina' - an early instance of a jiving Shammi Kapoor ('Ujala', 1959) and also for Shammi, 'Mere yaar shab-bakhair' and 'Ehsan tera hoga mujh par' ('Junglee', 1961), and 'Badan pe sitaare lapete huye' ('Prince', 1969) - inspired by women dancers he saw at a show in London's Lido nightclub), and many more.

However, the most immortal is 'Zindagi ek safar hai suhana' ('Andaaz', 1971) - which earned him his second Filmfare Award.

The untimely deaths of Shailendra and Jaikishan and Raj Kapoor's choice of a new music team hit him, but Hasrat continued working till the last, though openly contemptuous of modern music which he called cheap and shameless.

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