In the centenary year Hasrat Jaipuri's (1922-1999) lyrics still being sung: Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…

This year is the centenary year of Hasrat Jaipuri, the lyricist born in Jaipur. But his fans are disappointed that even the city of his birth has done little to keep his memory alive

In the centenary year Hasrat Jaipuri's (1922-1999) lyrics still being sung: Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…
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Prakash Bhandari

This year is the centenary year of Hasrat Jaipuri, the lyricist born in Jaipur who passed away in 1999. But his fans are disappointed that even the city of his birth has done little to keep his memory alive. True, Ghoda Nikas, the place where he was born, has been named Hasrat Jaipur Marg but there is no signage anywhere. The state government did confer a posthumous Rajasthan Ratna award but surely it can do a lot more.

Named Iqbal Hussain and born to a well-known singer of her time Firdausi Begum, they lived in a white-stoned, 3-storeyed mansion called Firdaus Manzil in the walled city. There is a legend that the lyricist in his youth was smitten by a girl living in a Haveli opposite theirs. Her name was apparently Radha and she turned out to be his muse.

The two songs he penned for Raj Kapoor’s film Sangam, namely ‘Bol Radha bol sangam hoga ke nahin…’ and ‘Yeh mera prem patra padh kar…’ were said to have been inspired by his teenage flame. The heroine in the film played by Vyjanthimala was also named Radha.

Like the Tamil super star Rajinikanth, Hasrat Jaipuri also started off as a conductor in a BEST bus. An incorrigible romatic, lores claim that he would not ask for the fare from beautiful women. He worked as a bus conductor for eight long years and recited his poems at local mushairas. It was at one such mushaira that Prithviraj Kapoor heard him recite and introduced him to his eldest son Raj Kapoor. The rest is history.

Raj Kapoor promptly signed him for Barsaat and thereafter there was no looking back. Music director duo Shankar-Jaikishan also made their debut in the same film and the foursome went on to weave their magic for the next 30 years. Two songs he wrote for Barsaat -- ‘Jia beqarar hai...’ and ‘Chhod gaye balam...’ went on to become major hits.

Lyricist Shailendra and singers Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh also teamed up with Raj Kapoor around the same time in 1949. The impact was so profound that Raj Kapoor stuck with this musical team for the next two and a half decades. The first jolt came when Jaikishan passed away. Then Mera Naam Joker and Kal Aaj Aur Kal bombed at the box office. The team broke up. But Hasrat Jaipuri continued to write lyrics for Raj Kapoor from time to time. One of the last songs he wrote for Kapoor was ‘Sun baba sun, pyar ki dhun…’ for Ram Teri Ganga Maili. He was also contracted to write lyrics for Henna (1991) but Raj Kapoor passed away and Randhir Kapoor changed the film and the team.

Hasrat Jaipuri was forever grateful to his friends who had collected money for him to make the journey to Bombay and try his luck there. He narrated in Jaipur that when he wrote the song ‘Ehsan mere dil pe tumhara hai doston/Yeh dil tumhare pyar ka maara hai doston…’ for Gaban in 1966 starring Sunil Dutt and Sadhna, he was acknowledging his debt to his friends back in Jaipur.

One of his friends was music director Sardar Malik, who hailed from Kapurthala and directed music in over 600 films. Hasrat’s sister married him and their three sons, Anu Malik, Daboo Malik and Abu Malik are all accomplished musicians and music directors.

Hasrat Jaipuri also wrote quite a few ghazals and published a few collections (Majmua) of ghazals. He built a house in Bombay’s Khar that he named Ghazal.

Among various awards he cherished the two Filmfare Awards he received for ‘Baharon phool barsao...’ from Suraj and ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’ from Andaz. Music critic Narendra Kusnur picked 10 memorable lyrics written by Hasrat sahab, significantly all of them composed by Shankar Jaikishen.


They are:

‘Jiya beqarar hai...’ (Barsaat, 1949), ‘Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par…’ (Junglee, 1961), ‘Teri pyaari pyaari surat ko…’ (Sasural, 1961), ‘Tujhe jeevan ki dor se…’ (Asli Naqli, 1962), ‘Yeh mera prem patra padh kar…’ (Sangam, 1964), ‘Aji rooth kar ab kahan jaiyega…’ (Arzoo, 1965), ‘Baharon phool barsao…’ (Suraj, 1966), ‘Duniya banane wale…’ (Teesri Kasam, 1966), ‘Jaane kahaan gaye woh din…’ (Mera Naam Joker, 1970) and ‘Zindagi ek safar…’ (Andaz, 1971).

The poet continues to live in these songs which have lost none of their magic even after half a century and more.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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