Old Hindi film music is timeless. There is a great contribution of some remarkable music directors and lyricists, such as
Music directors: S.D. Burman, Naushad, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji, O.P. Nayyar, Madan Mohan, Khayyam, Salil Chaudhry, Anil Biswas, Roshan, C.Ramchandra, Ravindra Jain, Usha Khanna, Bappi Lahiri, Annu Malik, A.R. Rahman and many more.
LYRICISTS: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi, Anand Bakshi, Shailendra, Rajendr Krishan, Indeevar, Anjaan, Neeraj Gopaldas, Verma Malik, Gulzar Sampuran Singh, Kaif Bhopali, Hasrat Jaipuri, Qamar Jalalabadi, Jan Nisar Akhtar, Javed Akhtar, Asad Bhopali, Nida Fazli, Rahat Indori, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Shakil Badayni, Kausar Munir and many more.
SINGERS: Some of the all times famous, great singers of Bollywood such as Lata Mangeshkar , Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Mahender Kapoor, Shelindera Singh, Hemant Kumar and many more.
Here’s a look at some really remarkable, piquant and unique facts on the music of the classic kind.
1. “Baiju Bawra” (1952): Most, if not all, of the songs in this film, were adapted by Naushad from folk compositions and classical bandish-es from Uttar Pradesh. The composer re-designed the originals to fashion hummable songs that are remembered almost seven decades later.
2. “Anarkali” (1953): Composer Roshan (Hrithik Roshan’s grandfather) was awakened in the middle of the night by C. Ramachandra (composer-singer of hits like “Bholi Soorat Dil Ke Khote”), a man who never made the tune before the words were fixed. He was stuck to make the ‘antaras’ (the verses that formed the body of the song) for the recording of a Rajendra Krishan-penned song the next day. The song was the classic, “Yeh zindagi ussiki hai.” Over glasses of whisky, Roshan sat with him and composed the ‘antaras’ in minutes!
3. “Devdas” (1955): It is said that Bimal Roy called Salil Chowdhury to compose a section of the background score, which was credited to S.D. Burman. But Dada Burman has gone on record to state that Chowdhury (in those days, composers were friends, not rivals) even had a hand in providing the frameworks of some tunes.
4. “Jab Jab Phool Khile” (1965): The cult classic, “Pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milana” was composed by Kalyanji-Anandji from the framework of a ‘thumri’ that Nirmala Devi, actor Govinda’s mother, would sing for ‘riyaaz’ (music practice) every morning. Director Suraj Prakash, Nirmala Devi’s neighbour, would hear it every day, and insisted on adapting the classical composition!
5. “Teesri Kasam” (1966): Hasrat Jaipuri’s only song in lyricist-producer Shailendra’s production saw him write new antaras written to Majrooh’s Sultanpuri’s conceptual ‘mukhda’(main words of the song) “Duniya Bananewale Kya Tere Man Mein Samaayi” (What made God think of making the world?). Raj Kapoor had offered backdoor help in the ‘50s to the self-respecting Majrooh when he was a political prisoner by visiting him in jail and asking him to work on this idea. He had paid him Rs. 5000 for it when lyricists never got more than Rs 1500!
6. “Anita” (1967): Except for one ghazal, all the songs of this musical milestone had been written by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. But after his death, Raj Khosla and Laxmikant-Pyarelal summoned Anand Bakshi, then yet to come into the big league, to write the remaining song, “Hai Nazar Ka Ishara.” Bakshi insisted that his remuneration be sent to Khan’s widow!
7. “Upkar” (1967): The cult classic “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” that won Gulshan Bawra an award was written when, in his struggling days, he would work as a railway goods clerk. He would marvel at the sacks and sacks of golden wheat that came in from Punjab and wrote the basic poem, combining elements from two existing songs that he had loved earlier after Manoj Kumar commissioned it!
8. “Mera Naam Joker” (1970): When Shailendra died after writing the ‘mukhda’ of “Jeena Yahaan Marna Yahaan,” Hasrat Jaipuri completed the song that was credited to Shailendra’s son Shaily Shailendra, an aspiring lyricist then.
9. “Maati Maangey Khoon” (1984): Ghulam Ali has gone on record that “Awargi” was his composition, though the song was recorded by and credited to the film’s music director R.D.Burman. Interestingly, Ali’s song in the film called “Awargee” (1990), he revealed, was composed by Anu Malik.
10. “Nache Mayuri” (1986): The songs were scored by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the background score by singer S.P. Balasubramaniam. The song “Pag Padam” was composed by the latter as a part of the BGM. But when it was adjudged the prestigious Sur-Singar Samsad’s Best Classical-based Film Song of the year, it was L-P who accepted the award as the film’s official music directors! SPB blames the film’s producer for this gaffe, but by convention in those days, the people credited as music directors took credit for all songs, even if one had been composed by someone else (See Ghulma Ali example above!).
11. “Aaj Ka Arjun” (1990): The Cibaca Geet Mala annual topper “Gori Hai Kalaiyan” was Bappi Lahiri’s smart rehash of a song by Shankar(-Jaikishan) for the small film “Gori” that had been stuck for a long while, when Bappi heard the composition on a studio tape! This film then released two years later, with the original Kavita Krishnamurthi-rendered song—it can still be heard on the ‘Net! That 1992 film is the last movie of Shankar-Jaikishan.
12. “Dil” (1990): The last song recorded for “Dil” (“Dum Duma Dum”), according to a trade magazine, was recorded and then dubbed with new lyrics to the same tune. But after the cassettes were released, T-Series decided to revert to the older version and released the next lot with the original lyrics!