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15 April 2018

The Masters: Hasrat Jaipuri

15.04.1922 17.09.1999
Back when I was used to having Hindi film songs play in the background all the time, names like Sahir Ludhianvi, Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri were well-known to me. Besides, with my father’s fondness for all things Raj Kapoor, it would have been impossible not to know his lyricist’s name. But while I appreciated the lyrics of songs even back then, even writing down specific lyrics in a notebook, I didn’t really pay much attention to the wordsmiths behind the words that captivated me. Back then, I recognised songs by the singers and the films in which they belonged. Music directors were seldom thought of, and lyricists were just names that were read out before the song was played on the radio. However, as I grew older and I really began to understand the craft of writing words set to a particular metre, and wondered at the ability to distill and emotion with such lyricism, I began to appreciate the lyricists more. 

I began the ‘Masters’ series as an attempt to throw a light on the artistes behind the screen. Among them were lyricists as well – Sahir Ludhianvi and Qamar Jalalabadi. Here, on what would have been his 96th birth anniversary is a worthy inductee to this category – lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri.

Born Iqbal Hussain in 1922 in Jaipur, Rajasthan, ‘Hasrat Jaipuri’ was his ‘takhallus’ or nom-de-plume as a poet. Young Iqbal got his grounding in Urdu and Persian from his paternal grandfather, Fida Hussain. Coming to Bombay, he first began work as a bus conductor. Creative leanings aside, one had to live. During his 8-year-long career as a bus conductor, it was local mushairas that offered him an outlet for his poetry. Impressed with the poetry (titled Mazdoor ki laash) that he’d heard at one such mushaira, Prithviraj Kapoor introduced the young poet to his eldest son, who promptly signed him as the lyricist for Barsaat. Hasrat’s introduction to Raj Kapoor was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and a long-lasting professional relationship.  
Courtesy: Rishi Kapoor on Twitter
Meanwhile, another poet had come to Raj Kapoor to offer his services as lyricist – Shailendra, whom Raj Kapoor had met earlier, also at a mushaira. Impressed with his poem, Jalta hai Punjab, RK had offered to buy the poem so he could use it in Aag. Shailendra had refused then, saying his poetry was not for sale, but circumstances forced him to approach RK for work when Barsaat was being filmed. Now there were two debutant lyricists on board as well as a debutant music director duo who began their career with the same film – Shankar-Jaikishan. Thus was Raj Kapoor’s dream team formed. Together, the foursome would go on to create magic.  
Raj Kapoor and his musical Dream Team*
Hasrat Jaipuri’s very first lyrics were written for Jiya beqarar hai, scored by Shankar. (The melody, incidentally, that caused the falling out between Raj Kapoor and Ram Ganguly.) Then, he wrote ‘Chhod gaye baalam’ for Jaikishan, for the same film. Interestingly, from now on, Shailendra would mostly write for Shankar while Hasrat worked with Jaikishan, though of course, this was not an exclusive arrangement.

Hasrat soon became known for his romantic songs; he unabashedly admitted that he was a romantic at heart, having penned ‘Ye mera prem patr padhkar’ to a neighbor in Jaipur because he was too shy to express his feelings verbally. That song would eventually be sung to another Radha – Vyjayanthimala in Sangam. In an interview with Lehren TV, he confessed that as a bus conductor, he allowed beautiful girls to travel free on his route, because their beauty inspired him to write poems.

Yet there was more to Hasrat Jaipuri than airy romantic melodies. While he’s not as famous as Sahir is, for instance, for his ghazals, Hasrat Jaipuri wrote quite a few ghazals himself, and in fact, published a few books on ghazals.

Here I present a selection of some of my favourite Hasrat Jaipuri songs. Because the bulk of his work was for Shankar-Jaikishan, I have divided the list into two parts – the first set being exclusively SJ compositions, while the second part consists of his work for different music directors.

Amrapali (1966) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: Shankar Jaikishan
Amrapali had four songs (and one chorus) – all sung by Lata Mangeshkar, and each one a gem. Out of these, Hasrat Jaipuri penned only one of them – Neel gagan ke chhaon mein. In the film, this song is the debut of Amrapali as the newly appointed Rajnartaki. Lost in thoughts of the wounded soldier she had met the other night, and wondering why he hadn’t come as promised, she stands distraught, much to the discomfiture of her guru and the irritation of the king. Hasrat Jaipuri captured the mood with these lines:
Kehta hai samay ka ujiyaara
Ik chandr bhi aanewala hai
In jyot ki pyaasi akhiyon ko
Akhiyon se pilaanewala hai
Jab paat hawa se bajte hain
Hum chaunk ke rain takte hai
Ik panchhi ban ud jaati hain
Hum khoye khoye rehte hain 

2. Ye raat bheegi bheegi
Chori Chori (1956) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey / Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
 To me, this is the quintessential romantic number with a hint of suppressed passion. Two strangers thrown together by circumstance, who discover an affinity to each other despite the great gulf between them (a runaway heiress and a down-on-his-luck reporter). And they question their own feelings, why they feel the way they do. Hasrat’s lines evoke that feeling of confusion… 
Jo din ke ujaale mein na mila
Dil doondhe aise sapne ko
Is raat ki jagmag mein doobi
Main doondh rahi hoon apne ko    

…and wistfulness: 
Aise mein kahin kya koyi nahin
Bhoole so jo humko yaad kare
Ik halki si muskaan se jo
Sapnon ka jahaan abaad kare 

3. Is rang badalti duniya mein
 
Rajkumar (1964) / Singer: Mohammed Rafi / Music: Shankar-Jaikishan 
This is a song that had it all – the cadence of Mohammed Rafi’s voice, Hasrat Jaipuri’s lovely verses, SJ’s beautiful melody, the gorgeousness of Shammi Kapoor on screen – it was sheer magic. With the lyrics emphasising how in world that’s rapidly changing, men’s intentions can frequently go wrong, it then proceeds to admit, honestly, that his honour can be compromised because of her proximity – Nikla na karo tum saj-dhaj kar, Imaan ki neeyat theek nahin… 

It’s a gentle warning, but as he continues he asks his beloved how he can bid her goodbye; he doesn’t trust anyone, he says, and begs her to hide because the sight of her is enough to lead God astray. 
Kaise khuda hafiz kah doon
Mujhko toh kisi ka yakeen nahin
Chhup jaao hamari aankhon mein
Bhagwan ki neeyat theek nahin 

4. Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum
Patita (1953) / Singer: Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar / Music: Shankar-Jaikishan 
This is probably one of the finest Hemant-Lata duets in Hindi films – there’s an ephemeral feeling to both lyrics and picturisation. It’s a song of second chances – she has a past, he’s accepting of it. Their love has seen many trials and tribulations, but their present happiness is so much more important for the sadness that went before. That quiet acceptance, that mature outlook is reflected in the lyrics as well - he’s thinking of her and wondering where she is. And she responds, she is right here, wherever, whenever he calls for her. 
O raat dhal chuki hai subah ho gayi
Main tumhaari yaad leke kho gayi
Ab toh meri dastan ho tum
Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum
Pyar se pukar lo jahan ho tum 

5. Meri aankhon mein bas gaya koi re
Barsaat (1949) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: Shankar-Jaikishan 
Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the lyrics for six of the ten songs in his debut film. While Jiya beqaraar hai and Hawa mein udta jaaye (penned by Ramesh Shastri) may be more well-known, this one holds a special place in my heart. The initial part of the song is an expression of love, of her nascent feelings towards this stranger who has made a place for himself in her heart. 
Muskaaye jab raat ki bindiya
Ud jaaye aankhon ki nindiya
Thandi thandi main aahein bharoon
Haay main kya karoon? 

While the second (that appears much later in the film) is a tragic expression of separation: 
Baat karein jab chaand sitaare
Jal barsaaye nain hamaare
Teri yaad mein ro ro maroon
Haay main kya karoon? 

Hasrat’s expressive words brought out both emotions beautifully. 

6. Jaaon kahan bata ae dil 
Chhoti Bahen (1959) / Singer: Mukesh / Music: Shankar-Jaikishan 
A song of conflict of dreams that have soared and crashed, of relationships that have been sundered, of regrets for past sings, of the dilemma of how to move forward… Hasrat Jaipuri’s pathos-laden verses captured every single one of these feelings. His words evoke a feeling of sympathy in the listener – how can one not forgive somebody who so eloquently voices his regret? 
Banke toote yahaan aarzoo ke mahal
Ye zameen aasmaan bhigaye hain badal
Kehti hai zindagi is jahaan se nikal
Jaaoon kahan bata ae dil
Duniya badi sangdil
Chandni aaye ghar jalaane
Soojhi na koi manzil… 

Indeed, where does one go from here? 

7. Duniya bananewale
Teesri Kasam (1966) / Singer: Mukesh / Music: Shankar Jaikishan 
This film was Shailendra’s dream-in-the-making, and some say, the cause of his death. (Its commercial failure hit him hard.) As always, the ‘dream team’ took on the music, with Shailendra himself writing the bulk of the lyrics. Yet, Hasrat had three songs, and like all the others in the film, this one, too, was a fabulously written song. Interestingly, in an interview, Majrooh Sultanpuri revealed that it was he who had written the mukhda of this song, ostensibly for Aag. [You can listen to him here.] In the film, this song is quite unique in that the verses are interspersed with the story of Mahua, a village girl, who comes to an unfortunate end. And listening to the tale, and the song, is another woman, who seems to find parallels between the story of that young unfortunate girl, while the verses seem to speak to her unique situation:
Preet banaake tu-ne jeena sikhaaya
Hasna sikhaaya rona sikhaaya
Jeevan ke path par meet milaaye
Meet milaake tu-ne sapne jagaaye
Sapne jagaake tu-ne kaahe ko de di judaaii?
Kahe ko duniya banaayi tu-ne
Kahe ko duniya banaayi 

This might be something that Hirabai might ask God, herself.

Suhagan (1964) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey / Music: Madan Mohan 
This is one of the few instances when Madan Mohan moved from his usual lyricists Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Rajinder Krishan. Hasrat proved that Madan Mohan hadn’t made a mistake with his romantic, sensual lines for this song which, in context, is also incredibly poignant. The song, sung by a newly-wedded couple, is being overheard by another husband and wife – a husband who wonders why his wife is so distant, and a wife who is unable to tell him the reason. 
Zulfon ka ye andhera
Mukhde ka ye savera
Tere hi vaaste hai baahon ka narm ghera
Mera armaan tu hai
Dil ka toofan tu hai
Mere sanam… 
While the singers express their love and passion in verse, the other couple – watching separately – are torn, both by the love and desire evoked in them by the song, and by his sense of rejection and her turmoil in keeping a dangerous secret. 

9. Raat ka sama jhoome chandrama
Ziddi (1964) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: SD Burman 
In yet another version of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, the hero (Joy Mukherjee) saves the heroine’s (Asha Parekh) life (she’s ridden off on an untamed horse, and he manages to grab her before she breaks her neck) and then, acting upon orders received, deposits her in her room and locks her in. He then proceeds to a village fete to enjoy a night of dancing. What he doesn’t know is that our intrepid heroine has a pet elephant, and she manages to escape by the simple expedient of jumping on to its back from her balcony. So it’s a bit of a surprise to see her dancing on stage. Surprise turns into shock when she literally challenges him to outwit her. In verse. 
Dheere dheere dheere jeet meri huyi
Haule haule haule haar teri huyi
Teri tarah ja re ja bahut dekhe
Mujhsa koyi kahaan…    

10. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar
 
Tere Ghar ke Samne (1963) / Singer: Mohammed Rafi / Music: SD Burman 
A man in love has to think of many ways to extricate his beloved from the company of other people. And if it is her parents who are chaperoning her, then it’s even more necessary. Sulekh (Nutan) wants to climb to the top of the Qutb Minar and, since her parents are too old to climb all those flights of stairs, Rakesh (Dev) gallantly offers to be her guide. On the way up, he attempts to tell her of his feelings, but she refuses to listen. “Listen to the sounds of silence,” she tells him, and is abashed. On the way down, however, he insists that she listen to the buzz of his beating heart. Obviously, she’s not immune to his charms, but by the end of the song, she’s not even making a token resistance. 
Aapka ye aanchal
Pyaar ka ye baadal
Phir humein zameen pe le chala
Ab toh haath thaam lo
Ik nazar ka jaam do
Is naye safar ka vaasta
Tum mere saakiya re
Pyaar ka raag suno re 

11. O aasmanwaale
Anarkali (1953) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: C Ramchandra 
From the ebullience of life and love to the tragedy of love and death… Hasrat’s pen drips with the poignancy of a woman whose fate has been sealed because she dared to love above her station. Incarcerated for the crime of loving the prince, Anarkali (Bina Rai) questions God: 
Tu dekhta rahe aur
Duniya humein sazaa de
Kya jurm hai muhobbat
Itna humein bata de
Manzil pe kyun luta hai
Har kaarwaan khushi ka
O aasmaanwaale
Shikwa hai zindagi ka
Sun dastaan gham ki
Afsaana bebasi ka… 
And she sings of her helplessness, and His obliviousness to her plight.

In the same film, Hasrat wrote also about the wonder that is love in Muhobbat aisi dhadkan hai; I had a hard time choosing between the two. 

12. Khayalon mein tum ho
Saiyyan (1951) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: Sajjad Hussain 
Another woman, another love song about the flush of new love.
Hasrat Jaipuri was one of three lyricists on this film (the others were DH Madhok and Rajinder Kishan), and he wrote the lyrics for just one song – Khayalon mein tum ho. Here too, the lyrics speak of the difficulty of being in love but to this woman, in this context, her conflict is beautiful. 
Na kehne mein dil
Na bas mein jawaani
Magar dil ki mushkil
Badi hai suhaani 

13. Ye kya kar dala tune
Howrah Bridge (1958) / Singers: Asha Bhosle / Music: OP Nayyar 
When Prem Kumar arrives in Calcutta to search for his brother’s killers and to recover a family heirloom, he runs into Edna (Madhubala), the singer at Joe’s Hotel, and Joe’s niece. In a bid to discover the truth, Prem pretends to romance Edna. He’s unaware that, to Edna, this is serious, and real. OP Nayyar’s characteristic tonga beat adds its cachet to a playful, teasing melody. And Hasrat Jaipuri channels the mood so effectively with 
Woh khel dikhaya tune
Madhosh banaya tune
O jaadugar matwale
Bechain banaya tune
Sun re piya kaisa diya
Nazron ka paimana  

14.  O mere pyaar aaja
 
Bhoot Bungla  (1965) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar / Music: RD Burman 
RD Burman had made his debut as an independent music director with Mehmood’s Chhote Nawab (1962). Three years later, he would not only score the music for yet another Mehmood venture, but also act in it. This song, picturised as a cultural competition, has a very young and very pretty Tanuja on stage. (You may notice another famous personality in the frame – a very young radio host Ameen Sayani of Binaca Geetmala fame. He even sounds like Pyarelal from Chupke Chupke .)Here is another song that expresses the conflicting feelings when one is in love. 
Dil mein ye kaisi uljhan
Na janoo na janoo
Mere sanam teri kasam
Ye kya ho gaya haaye
O mere pyaar aaja
Banke bahaar aa jaa
Dil mein hain teer tera
Paaoon na chhain haaye 
I love the simplicity of the lyrics as well the sweetness with which Lata sings this song. 

15. Nain so nain
Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje (1955) / Singer: Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar / Music: Vasant Desai 
While the assumption was that it was Shailendra who wrote in shudh Hindustani, and Hasrat Jaipuri typically wrote in Urdu, the latter could write in simple Hindi as well as any other lyricist. Here’s an example of how simple rustic lyrics in a dialect work just as well as any other poetic flights of fancy. This is once again a love song, with the woman expressing her shyness at her beloved’s gaze. 
Nain so nain naahi milaao
Dekhat soorat aawat laaj, saiyyan…    
The lyrics of the song are no less captivating for their simplicity.   

Hasrat Jaipuri passed away in September 1999, at the age of 77. Yet, his legacy will remain as long as there are fans of Hindi film music. In his own words: 
Tum mujhe yun bhula na paaoge
Jab kabhi bhi sunoge geet mere
Sang sang tum bhi gungunaaoge…

* I haven't been able to find the original source for this photograph. If anyone knows, and can let me know, I'll make sure to add the credit.

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