New Delhi: In a career lasting three decades, Shakeel Badayuni (1916-1970) championed just one cause — that of sensitivity and romance. He was able to hold his own among the progressive brigade — Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Sahir Ludhianvi — who were his fellow workers in commercial Hindi cinema, and were penning lyrics on the big isms of the time, nationalism and anti-fascism. Ahead of his 105th birth anniversary on 3 August, we look back on Badayuni’s remarkable career and his unabashedly romantic soul.
Badayuni described himself thus:
“Main Shakeel dil ka hoon tarjuman
Keh mohabbaton ka hoon raazdaan
Mujhe fakhr hai meri shayari
Meri zindagi se juda nahin”
(I, Shakeel, am the translator of the heart
I am the keeper of love’s secrets
I am proud that my poetry
Is not different from my life)
Fellow poet and ghazal writer, Jigar Moradabadi, described Badayuni as Shair-e-fitrat, an instinctive poet — poetry came organically to him and was an extension of his personality. While his contemporaries, Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi were writing rousing songs of revolution and nation-building, Badayuni remained immersed in romantic poetry and celebrated love and longing in all its shades.
Whether it was ‘Teri mehfil mein kismat aazmakar‘ from Mughal-E-Azam or ‘Piya aiso jiya mein‘ from Sahib, Bibi Aur Ghulam — his songs bring the best of Shringaar ras, the emotion of love, one of the nine emotions as enunciated by Bharat Muni in the Natya Shastra.
‘Chaudvin ka chaand, ‘Suhani raat dhal chuki’, ‘Pyar kiya to darna kya’, ‘‘Husnwale tera jawab nahin’, ‘Na jaao saiyan chhuda ke baiyan’ were not just some of the best of romantic songs of the ’50s and the ’60s, but were a huge reason for the popularity of the films they were featured in.
Badayuni’s potential as a poet was also reflected in the non-filmy ghazals he penned — ‘Mere hamnafas, mere hamnawa‘ and ‘Aye mohabbat tere anjam pe rona aaya’, which were immortalised by the masterful rendition of Begum Akhtar, the acknowledged queen of Hindustani classical music.
ThePrint showcases some of Badayuni’s best songs which reveal his brilliance and versatility as a poet and lyricist.
Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj (Baiju Bawra, 1952)
Shakeel Badayuni’s partnership with Naushad, hailed as one of the most iconic composer-lyricist collaborations in Hindi cinema, produced memorable and ‘hit numbers’. The added charm to their song was lent by Mohammad Rafi’s voice. One of these is a bhajan, ‘Man tarpat hari darshan’, a song composed in Raag Malkauns. Another song of the film ‘O Duniya ke Rakhwale’ was also composed in the same raag. It is a testimony to India’s secular values that a singer-writer-composer team of Muslims often collaborated to produce devotional bhajans and songs dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses.
Kahin deep jale kahin dil (Bees Saal Baad, 1962)
Composed by singer-producer Hemant Kumar, this is a hauntingly beautiful song matched by Shakeeel Badayuni’s masterful lyrics. Loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s crime novel, Hound of the Baskervilles, this is not just a song of suspense — a layer of melancholy adds to its appeal. Badayuni was awarded the Filmfare Award, 1963, for Best Lyricist and Lata Mangeshkar for Best Singer for this song.
Piya aiso jiya mein (Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam, 1962)
This is another successful collaboration between Badayuni and Naushad — Badayuni did the lyrics of all the songs in this film. Piya Aiso is picturised on Meena Kumari who plays the neglected wife of a zamindar, eagerly awaiting her husband on that one evening he has promised to spend with her. Geeta Dutt adds a touch of playfulness and a sense of wait to the song which takes it to another level. Badayuni could very easily shift gears — from chaste Urdu to Hindi or to Khadi Boli or Braj Bhasha — and this song is a good example of that.
“Piya aiso jiya mein, samay gayo re
Ki main tan man ki sudh buddha ganwa baithi,
Har aahat pe samjhi wo aay gayo re
Jhat ghoonghat mein mukhda chupa baithi”
(The beloved has got immersed in my heart in such a way
That I have forgotten my own sense of existence,
On every little inkling, I feel that he has arrived
And I quickly hide my face in the face cover)
Zindagi tu jhoom le zara (Kaise Kahoon, 1964)
This R.D. Burman melody celebrates life in all its imperfections. Badayuni’s words and Rafi’s magical voice combine to create this gem of a song. Its happy-go-lucky vibe is perfect for the club in which it is performed. Actor Biswajit Chatterjee who plays the protagonist is longing for a hopeful future — it is also a call to his beloved.
“Wo duniya wo manzil,
Kal jo thi khwabo mein,
Chupke se aaj wahi,
Aan basi aankhon mein,
Humne use dekh liye, saamna usi se ho gaya
(That world, that destination, which was in my dreams until yesterday,
Has now quietly arrived in front of my eyes, I have seen it, I am facing it now)”
Teri mehfil mein kismat aazmakar (Mughal-e-Azam, 1960)
The mention of Shakeel Badayuni’s lyrical brilliance is not complete without mentioning the K. Asif masterpiece, Mughal-e-Azam, whose success is also a reason why all the songs in the film still have a recall value. Badayuni proves he is a master of qawwali writing with this song. It beautifully sums up what the film stood for — the beauty and power of love and the sacrifices that come with it.
“Agar dil gam se khaali ho toh jeene ka maza kya hai,
Na ho khoon-e-jigar toh ashq peene ka maza kya hai
Mohaabat mein zara aansu bahakar hum bhi dekhengey
(There is no fun in living if the heart is not filled with sorrows,
there is no fun to drink tears if the heart is not bleeding
We’ll shed some tears in your love and see what happens)”
(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)