Tribute to Sardar Malik on his 13th death anniversary.
Anu Malik on his late father, Sardar Malik
“My father was one of the most underrated composers in the industry. He was hugely talented but could never market himself. He was a trained dancer — he learnt dance at Uday Shankar’s academy where Guru Dutt was his roommate. Initially, he sang in his career. Mukeshji saab was his favourite.
Those days, Mukeshji was accused of going out of tune by his detractors. But when dad composed the title song Saaranga, he told Mukeshji that this would be counted as one of his perfect renditions. Mukeshji is note perfect in the song, which was filmed on an unknown actor — Sudesh Kumar. Had it been filmed on Raj Kapoor — dad would have become a superstar composer too. You needed stars like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand… to be the face of your song. That’s why I strove to compose for the Khans.
Dad was generous to a fault and had helped an upcoming lyricist. During dad’s lean phase, my mother suggested that he seek this lyricist friend out as he had become a big shot. He took me along for the meeting but just when he was about to ring the door bell, dad’s hands started shaking — he couldn’t bring himself to ask
That was my growing up moment. I realised you have to market yourself; you have to be besharam and ask for work. My father may have gone through many trials but always kept up a jovial front. So like him, I don’t let bitterness rule my life… that’s the legacy I’ve carried forward.”