SD Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri
TODAY, October 1, is the birth anniversary of two of Hindi film music’s most creative and consistent artistes. While music director SD Burman, born in 1906, continued to weave reams of melodic magic till his death in 1975, the 1919-born lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri remained active for over five decades, till he passed away in 2000. And the best thing about both these geniuses who shared birthdays was that they combined to create many outstanding songs together.
In Hindi cinema, a few combinations of music director and lyricist have reigned supreme. Naushad and Shakeel Badayuni, and Shankar-Jaikishen and Shailendra were the earlier successes. Before his best work with Majrooh, SD and Sahir Ludhianvi were a fantastic team, till they parted ways after the magnificent ‘Pyaasa’. Later, Sahir was to do some phenomenal work with Ravi. For his part, Madan Mohan’s work with Raja Mehdi Ali Khan was exceptional. In the 1970s, RD Burman paired very well with Anand Bakshi and Gulzar, and also with Majrooh in the Nasir Hussain productions. In more recent times, AR Rahman/ Mehboob Kotwal and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy/ Javed Akhtar are two examples of combinations that have clicked.
In their day, the SD-Majrooh collaboration was special in its own way, one of their last being in the Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Bhaduri film ‘Abhimaan’. Over the years, of course, a large chunk of their films featured Dev Anand, examples being ‘Paying Guest’, ‘Nau Do Gyarah’, ‘Kala Pani’, Manzil’, ‘Solva Saal’, ‘Bombai Ka Baboo’, ‘Baat Ek Raat Ki’, ‘Jewel Thief’ and ‘Teen Deviyan’.
A highlight of most Dev Anand films was the high quality of music, and these were no exception. ‘Paying Guest’ (1957) had gems like Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘Chand phir nikla’, Kishore Kumar’s ‘Maana janaab ne pukara nahin’ and the Kishore-Asha Bhosle hit ‘Chhod do anchal’. ‘Nau Do Gyarah’, from the same year, had Kishore’s ‘Hum hain raahi pyaar ke’, th Kishore-Asha duet ‘Aankhon mein kya jee’ and the Mohd Rafi-Asha charmer ‘Aaja panchi akela hai’.
The following year, 1958, saw the two combine in ‘Solva Saal’ and ‘Kala Pani’. While the former had Hemant Kumar’s ‘Hai apna dil toh awara’, and the latter had Rafi’s ‘Hum bekhudi mein’ and Asha’s ‘Nazar laagi raja’. In 1960, the Dev Anand film ‘Manzil’ had the Rafi-Geeta Dutt beauty ‘Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase’, Manna Dey’s ‘Humdum se gaye’ and Hemant Kumar’s ethereal ‘Yaad aa gayee who nasheeli nigahen’. In ‘Bombai ka Baboo’, Mukesh sang the unforgettable ‘Chal ri sajni’.In the 1962 movie ‘Baat Ek Raat Ki’, Hemant Kumar sang the marvellous ‘Na tum hamein jaano’, with Suman Kalyanpur doing a version too.
The SD-Majrooh-Dev Anand combine had two more masterpieces. In the 1965 film ‘Teen Deviyan’ we heard Kishore singing ‘Khwab ho tum’, the Kishore-Asha song ‘Arrey yaar meri’ and the Kishore-Lata tune ‘Likha hai teri aankhon mein’. In 1967, Shailendra was to do ‘Jewel Thief’. He fell ill, and contributed only ‘Rula ke gaya sapna mera’. Majrooh took over and chipped in with Kishore’s ‘Yeh dil na hota bechara’, the Kishore-Lata gem ‘Aasman ke neeche’ and Asha’s ‘Raat akeli hai’.
Besides the Dev Anand films, SD and Majrooh combined on such classics as ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi’ (which had Kishore’s ‘Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi’, the Kishore-Manna Dey song ‘Babu samjho ishaare’ and the Kishore-Asha superhit ‘Haal kaisa hai janaab ka’) and ‘Sujata’ (which had Talat Mahmood’s unforgettable ‘Jalte hain jiske liye’, Geeta Dutt’s ‘Nanhi kali sone chali’, Asha and Geeta’s ‘Bachpan ke din’ and SD’s own rendition of ‘Sun mere bandhu’). The Lata song ‘Pawan deewani’ from ‘Dr Vidya’ was a major hit too.
The two of them also worked in films like ‘Lajwanti’, ‘Sitaron Se Aage’, ‘Talaash’, ‘Phagun’ and ‘Sagina’ (remember ‘Saala mein to saahab ban gaya’?) But their biggest hit arguably was in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1973 film ‘Abhimaan’, which had ‘Tere mere milan yeh raina’ (Lata-Kishore), ‘Teri bindiya’ (Lata-Rafi), ‘Lutey koi man’ (Lata-Manhar Udhas), Kishore’s ‘Meet na mila’ and three Lata solos ‘Nadiya kinarey’, ‘Ab toh hai tumse’ and ‘Piya bina’.
Forty years after its release, ‘Abhimaan’ is still considered to be among that all-time great soundtracks. Appropriately, it was the result of the creative combination of two geniuses who had the same birthday. As a team, SD Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri made a contribution that was timeless.