Remembering OP Nayyar on his 91st birth anniversary.
Omkar Prasad Nayyar (16 January 1926–28 January 2007) was an Indian film music composer, singer-songwriter, music producer, and musician. He won the 1958 Filmfare Award for Best Music Director (for Naya Daur). Nayyar worked extensively with singers Geeta Dutt, Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi but not with leading Bollywood female singer Lata Mangeshkar. However, Mangeshkar’s song Ek To Balam Teri Yaad Satayein (from the 1958 film Aji Bas Shukriya) was used in the 1973 Hindi film Taxi Driver, for which Nayyar was music director. According to music and film expert Rajesh Subramanian, “Aap Ke Haseen Rukh” (from Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi) was planned with full orchestration but many of the musicians were late for the recording. After a disagreement with Mohammed Rafi, Nayyar began working with singer Mahendra Kapoor. Kapoor performed Nayyar’s songs “Badal Jaaye Agar Maali” and “Chaman Hotaa Nahi Khaali” in Bahaaren Phir Bhi Aayengi. Based on a Bengali language work by Rabindranath Tagore, Nayyar composed “Chal Akelaa, Chal Akelaa” (sung by Mukesh in 1969 film Sambandh).
Nayyar co-produced songs with Shamshad Begum (including “Kajra Mohabbatwala”), and after Madhubala’s 1969 death Vyjayanthimala, Mala Sinha, Padmini, Asha Parekh and Sharmila Tagore lip-synced several Nayyar-Bhosle songs. Nayyar and Bhosle parted ways in 1974, and he then worked with Dilraj Kaur, Alka Yagnik, Krishna Kale, Vani Jayaram and Kavita Krishanmurthy. Majrooh Sultanpuri and Sahir Ludhianvi wrote the lyrics for some of Nayyar’s earlier songs, including “Naya Daur”. Nayyar also worked with developing lyricists such as Jan Nisar Akhtar, Qamar Jalalabadi, S. H. Bihari and Ahmed Wasi. He began the tradition of assigning full, three-minute songs to comedians. Om Prakash sang Nayyar’s “Churi Bane Kanta Bane” in Jaali Note, and Johnny Walker sang “Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahaan” in CID, “Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Jee” in Mr. & Mrs. 55, “Main Bambaika Baaboo, Naam Meraa Anjaanaa” in Naya Daur and “Bajewala” in Basant.
In addition to songs for Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt’s, Thandi Thandi Hawaa, Nayyar wrote “Yeh Desh Hai Veer Jawaanonkaa” (featuring Dilip Kumar and Ajit) for Naya Daur (1957). The song earned him the 1958 Filmfare Best Music Director Award. The last Nayyar song performed by Bhosle was “Chain Se Humko Kabhi”. Intended for Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1973), disappeared in the film’s final cut but won Bhosle the 1975 Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer. Nayyar was more active during the 1960s than he was in the following decade, and did not compose music for younger actors such as Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. His films included Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Guru Dutt, Dharmendra, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Biswajit, Feroz Khan, Bharat Bhushan, Asha Parekh, Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore, Madhubala, Rajshree, Rekha, Ameeta and Shyama. In addition to Hindi films, Nayyar composed for Neerajanam in Telugu. He made a brief comeback during the 1990s with Mangni and Nishchay in 1992 and Zid in 1994.