Monday, 28 November, 2022
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Hasrat Jaipuri, the former bus conductor who wrote some of Raj Kapoor’s best songs

Along with fellow lyricist Shailendra, Jaipuri was part of Raj Kapoor's dream team for more than two decades and wrote songs that are loved to this day.

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Think of some of the most poetic songs of Hindi cinema, from Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana to Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par, and you have one person to thank — lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri.

One half of the duo that wrote the lyrics for some of Hindi cinema’s most enduring classics, including every Raj Kapoor song from 1949’s Barsaat to 1971 ‘s Kal Aaj Aur Kal and a few beyond that, Jaipuri is the classic example of how to make it in the film industry on nothing but talent.

Born Iqbal Hussain on 15 April 1922, and brought up in Jaipur, he grew up learning Urdu and Hindi. But it was his love for a girl named Radha that actually drove him to poetry. The love story didn’t work out, but decades later, a letter he wrote for her became a song in Raj Kapoor’s Sangam (1964) — Yeh Mera Prem Patra.

Barely 20 years old, Jaipuri made his way to Mumbai in 1940, much like many other young men, to make a name for himself. He worked as a bus conductor for next eight years, and would regularly take part in mushairas to keep his love for poetry alive. It was at one such mushaira that he was spotted by none other than Prithviraj Kapoor, a titan of Indian theatre and cinema.

Kapoor instantly took a liking to Jaipuri’s raw, natural talent and told his son, actor and filmmaker Raj Kapoor, to consider hiring him. One thing led to another, and Jaipuri found himself composing his first song, Jiya Beqaraar Hai, for the 1949 film, Barsaat, starring Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Prem Nath and Nimmi.

The film’s music was composed by Raj Kapoor’s staple musicians Shankar and Jaikishan, and had many lyricists on board, one of whom was Shailendra. It was during the making of this movie that Jaipuri met Shailendra, who went on to become his partner in poetry for most of their careers. The two became the Shankar-Jaikishan of the world of lyrics, and the four of them made up Kapoor’s dream team through the 1950s and ’60s.

Jaipuri delivered some of Bollywood’s best known songs for films like Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Shree 420, Andaz, Junglee, Love in Tokyo and more.

On his 21st death anniversary, a celebration of Hasrat Jaipuri through some of his best work:

Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana (Andaz, 1971)

Featuring Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini and Kishore Kumar’s famous yodel, this song was a major hit and won Jaipuri a Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics.

Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Hue (Prince, 1969)

Perhaps one of the most popular romantic and flirty songs to have ever come out of Bollywood, this Shammi Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala number owes its success equally to Mohd Rafi’s timbre and Jaipuri’s words. The story goes that Jaipuri was inspired to write this song when he saw a woman wearing a fully sequinned sari in Paris.

Sayonara Sayonara (Love in Tokyo, 1966)

Who can forget the beautiful Asha Parekh dancing and singing in scenic Tokyo, in a kimono, wooing a handsome Joy Mukherjee?

Ichak Dana Bichak Dana, (Shree 420, 1955)

This blockbuster hit film, which also happened to be the highest-grossing film of 1955, had a soundtrack that filmmakers would kill for. Jaipuri’s fun, slightly nonsensical, Ichak Dana has caught the imagination of people across generations, and it’s still an Antakshari favourite.

Sun Sahiba Sun (Ram Teri Ganga Maili, 1985)

One of his later works, after Shailendra’s death, this song remains fresh in most millennials’ minds as well, as a proclamation of love.

Also read: Shailendra — the Leftist poet and Dalit genius whose lyrics define beauty of simplicity


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  1. A poet-cum-lyricist like Hasrat Jaipuri deserves a far better recall than this, given that he was such an interesting person. The collection of songs in this story is also kind of underwhelming. Having listened to his songs for almost 35 years, I feel bad with this superficial story. He wrote many more impressive songs than those listed here.

  2. We call the era as the golden years because of the golden touch in the art of such lyricists , music directors, singers and actors and not the least the film knowledgeable film spectators then. Truely , unadulterated talents !

  3. I beg to differ.

    Hasrat Jaipuri at best, was a mediocre lyricist. He was lucky to get the opprtunity to write for RK Banner.

    Populariry? Yes.
    Poetry? Very occasionally.

    Only a very few songs come to my mind right now that have poetry in them:

    ‘teri zulfon se judaai to nahi maagi thi…’

    ‘din saara guzaara tore angana…’

    ‘badan pe sitaare…’

    ‘tumhaare rooth jaane se ye dil bechain rehta hai,
    jo tumne bewafaai ki, n jaane haal kya hoga…’

  4. Kannan Unni has really paid tributes those who created memorable songs which will be remembered for ages to come.

  5. Hasrat Jaipuri is undoubtedly is a Great Legendary poet whose songs are of more meaningful and entertaining ever ever.

  6. Yes
    It was an era of musical content and they came up with lyrics which could stir the soul and the body both , what a pleasure to have them then and to hear them now.

  7. Miyaa log jo bhi karen wo print me hameshaa jyaadaa badaa chadaake highlight hogaa wo achchaa hai toh lekin agar unkaa kaam desh virodh me hai toh 99% koyee bhi aisaa kaam ke baare me kuch bhi nahee likhenve ye log !ye hai aaj ke journalism!

  8. But one should not forget his beautiful songs for other composers as well —- Like the songs from Tere Ghar ke saamne composed by S D Burman…Masti bhara hai sama for Dattaram for film Parvarish….. ye kya kar dala toone for O P Nayyar in Howrah Bridge….the songs from Jhanak Jhanak Payal baje for Vasant Desai especialy the song Nain so nai nahi milaoo…… Song Sama hai suhana suhana fro kalyanji Anandji in Ghar Ghar ki kahani….. But there is no doubt his best works were under Shankar -Jaikishan…. Great that your magazine have thought and written about these great artists who made up the GOLDEN PERIOD of Hindi Film Music, which stands to this day….

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