Today (April 15) marks the 100th birth anniversary of poet and lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri. He was known for penning iconic songs like Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana, Jiya Beqaraar Hai and many others.
Hasrat Jaipuri, who left us 23 years ago, was one of the most underrated poet-lyricist of Hindi cinema. Many of the songs of the most iconic films that were penned by him are not known to the public as his handiwork. For this Hasrat Jaipuri (named after the city of his origin) is partially to blame.
“He didn’t know how to market his great talent. Not too many people know that Hasrat Saab was a great favorite of Raj Kapoor Saab. He wrote some of the biggest hits of RK Films which I was lucky enough to sing,” Lataji said to me once.
She was right. We all love Mohammad Rafi’s Badan pe sitare lapete huey from the film Prince and Teri pyari pyari soorat ko kisiski nazar na lage from Sasural. They are among Rafi Saab’s most cherished numbers. But how many music lovers know that both these immutable songs were penned by Hasrat Jaipuri?
Hasrat Jaipuri, who was recommended to Raj Kapoor by his father Prithviraj Kapoor, became a constant poetry provider in Raj Kapoor’s films. Jaipuri and Shailendra wrote most of the lyrics for RK Films. There was no competitiveness or rivalry between the two bards. In fact, when Shailendra turned producer with the ill-fated Teesri Kasam he invited his RK team-mate Hasrat to write two lyrics.
Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the timeless Mukesh number Duniya banaanewale kya tere mann mein samyee kahe ko duniya banyee and Lata Mageshkar’s Mary gaye gulfam for Teesri Kasam.
The Nightingale’s imperishable collaboration with Hasrat Jaipuri includes the iconic Yeh mera prem patra padh kar. So okay. We all know that the great Mohd Rafi sang this eternal love song filmed in Raj Kapoor’s Sangam on Rajendra Kumar. But what most music lovers don’t know is that Latji also sang Yeh mera prem patra. Her portion comes at the end of the song. It is in the film, but not in the audio recordings.
Apparently, Hasrat Jaipuri (HJ) insisted on Lataji accompanying Rafi for his single-most popular lyric. This prem patra was written by HJ for a girl named Radha whom the poet fell in love with in his hometown when he was young. He never sent the letter to her. But it surfaced in Sangam. It was no coincidence that Vyjanthimala’s name was Radha in Sangam.
HJ started his career as a lyricist in Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat in 1949 where Lataji sang HJ’s Jiya beqaraar hai chhayee bahaar hai. It was a turning point in Lataji’s initial career.
“Yeh gaana itni chali ki log pagal ho gaye(this song was a craze). Meri kamyaabi mein iss gaane aur Hasrat Saab ka bahot sahyog raha hai(this song and Hasrat Jaipuri have been a big help in my career),” said Lataji.
Hasrat’s hallmark was simplicity of expression. Although an Urdu poet, he didn’t use ornate Urdu words in his lyrics. His words were direct lucid and accessible: Sun sahiba sun, pyar ki dhun. Maine tujhe chun liya tu bhi mujhe chun…
This blockbuster song from Raj Kapoor’s Ram Teri Ganga Maili has a history. Its is credited in the film to Ravindra Jain but was apparently composed by Hasrat Jaipuri who also wrote the charming composition words.
Lataji remembered her collaboration with HJ with much fondness. “Some of my most favorite songs were penned by Hasrat Saab. Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar in Junglee is very close to my heart. Aji rooth kar abb kahan jaiyega in Arzo is among my most popular numbers. Tum mujhe yun bhula na paoge from Pagla Kahin Ka is another favourite. All these three immortal songs were sung by both Rafi Saab and me in separate versions. It is to Hasrat Saab’s credit that he could write about love from both the male and female point of view with equal grace and eloquence.”
In 1971 Hasrat Jaipuri wrote what came to be the signature tune of his life and career. The film was Ramesh Sippy’s Andaz. The director needed a song about the ephemerality of life and the certainty of death to be sung by the reigning superstar of that era Rajesh Khanna. The song that Hasrat Jaipuri came up with was Zindagi ek safar hai suhana yahan kal kya ho kisne jana.
It is the defining song of Rajesh Khanna’s career. The song won Hasrat Jaipuri the Filmfare award for best lyricist. A rare instance of a popular award given to a lyricist who wrote some of the most popular songs of Hindi cinema.