Kavi Pradeep (6 February 1915–11 December 1998), born Ramchandra Narayanji Dwivedi, was an Indian poet and songwriter who is best known for his patriotic song Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo written as a tribute to the soldiers who had died defending the country during the Sino-Indian War.
His first recognition came for his patriotic lyrics for the film Bandhan (1940). His status as a nationalistic writer got immortalised for writing a daringly patriotic song Door Hato Ae Duniya Walo (Move Away O Outsiders) in India’s first golden jubilee hit Kismet (1943) because he was forced to go underground to avoid arrest immediately after the film’s release that invited the ire of British government.
In a career span of five decades, Kavi Pradeep wrote about 1,700 songs and nationalistic poems including the lyrics for some 72 films, including hits like Chal Chal Re Naujawan in film Bandhan (1940) and Aao Bachcho Tumhein Dikhayen and De Dee Hame Azaadi Bina Khadag Bina Dhaal in film Jagriti (1954) In 1958, HMV, released an album of 13 songs with his lyrics. He was made the Rashtrakavi, (Poet Laureate), and came to be known as, Kavi Pradeep
In 1997, he was honoured by India’s highest award in Cinema, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Pradeep was invited to a Kavi Sammelan in Bombay where he was offered his first film Kangan (1939), by Himanshu Rai of Bombay Talkies. The film starred Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar. Pradeep shifted to Bombay and wrote four songs for the film, all of which became very popular, and sung three of the songs himself.
He next film was Bandhan (1940) produced by S. Mukherjee and directed by Gyan Mukherjee. The music director was Saraswati Devi. This time he wrote all the songs which became huge hits. The most notable is “Chal Chal Re Naujawan”, which made waves since the Indian freedom movement was at a crucial juncture.
He worked on five more movies for Bombay Talkies which included Punar Milan (1940), Jhoola (1941), Naya Sansar (1941), Anjan (1943) and Kismet (1943). Kismet is known for its patriotic song “Aaj Himalay Ki Choti Se Phir Hum Ne Lalkara Hai, Door Hato Ae Duniyawalon Hindustan Hamara Hai” (From the peak of the Himalayas we are warning other countries to stay away from India as it is our country).
Mashaal (1950) was his next film and it features the extremely popular song “Upar Gagan Vishal” sung by Manna Dey. Kavi Pradeep was at his creative zenith when he wrote for the films Nastik (1954) and Jagriti (1954). He even lent his voice for the evergreen song “Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Halat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwaan, Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan” (Look at your world, O God. How the man has changed!) from the film Nastik (1954). Jagriti is considered to be among his best work for one movie as it includes hit songs such as Aao Bachcho Tumhein Dikhayen Jhanki Hindustan Ki, Is Mitti Se Tilak Karo, Yeh Dharti Hai Balidan Ki” (sung by himself), “Hum Laye Hain Toofan Se Kishti Nikal Ke, Is Desh Ko Rakhna Mere Bachcho Sambhal Ke” and “De Dee Humein Azadi Bina Khadag Bina Dhal, Sabarmati Ke Sant Tu Ne Kar Diya Kamaal”.
His songs were so popular that fans would see his movies repeatedly just to listen to his soulful songs. Kavi Pradeep always believed in writing songs in simple words portraying a meaning fitting into the situation. The popularity of his songs was due to his down-to-earth lyrics and simple language that was well understood by everyone.