Tributes to Hindi cinema’s ingenious wordsmith Anand Bakshi, on his 89th birth anniversary today.

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Tributes to Hindi cinema’s ingenious wordsmith Anand Bakshi, on his 89th birth anniversary today.

Anand Bakshi was a prolific lyricist of the Hindi film industry. In an exemplary career spanning over forty-five years, Bakshi penned over 4000 songs in over 650 movies, received 40 Filmfare Award nominations, and won four of them for top movies like Apnapan(1977), Ek Duje ke Liye (1981), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995) and Taal (1999).

Born in 1930 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Bakshi nursed a childhood dream of becoming a playback singer. In the face of his family’s opposition to his plans to move to Mumbai and join the film industry, he ran away from home and joined the Navy. Later, he joined the army and subsequently worked as a telephone operator and made several visits to Mumbai. During one such visit he met the actor Bhagwan who gave Bakshi his first opportunity to write four songs for Brij Mohan’s Bhala Admi (1958). But it wasn’t until Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath (1962), with music composed by Kalyanji-Anandji, that he began to get noticed. It was in the Mala Sinha-Raaj Kumar starrer, ‘Phool Bane Angare’ (1963) that Bakshi made his first real impact in the company of composers Kalyanji-Anandji with such instantly hummed numbers as “Chaand aahen bharega phool dil dhaam lege” (Mukesh) and “Watan pe jo fida hoga amar woh naujawaan hoga” (Mohammed Rafi). These two spot hits made fresher Anand Bakshi a household name. With Jab Phool Khile (1965) two years later that he was catapulted into the big league. The film and its music by composers Kalyanji-Anandji were grand successes.

Later he gave several hits with music composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal in films like Ek Duje Ke Liye (1981), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Bobby (1973), Do Raaste (1969), and Farz (1967). Bakshi also collaborated with celebrated music director R D Burman in films like Sholay (1975), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Amar Prem (1971), and Kati Patang (1970).

In the next few decades that followed, Bakshi wrote many memorable songs like ‘Dum Maro Dum’ from the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972), ‘Chingari koi bhadke’ from Amar Prem (1971), ‘Om Shanti Om’ from Karz (1982), amongst many others. The simplicity of Bakshi’s poetry made his songs very accessible to the masses and he made successful collaborations with veteran filmmakers like Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Rajiv Rai and Aditya Chopra.

Anand Bakshi wrote songs that at once captured the imagination of the listeners. Anand Bakshi the lyricist had no rival when it came to a perfect blend of quality and quantity for years together. With more than 4000 songs during his 45-year career, Anand Bakshi will remain one of the most popular lyricists of all times. Bakshi remained eternally young at heart even while mellowing graciously into the new millennium.

Where else will we find a lyricist who will write a song as inspiringly optimistic as “Gaadi bula rahi hai” (Dost), as heart-rending as “Chitthi aaye hai” (Naam) or as epitomisingly romantic as “Ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul” (Jab Jab Phool Khile)?

At the age of 72, Bakshi died on 30 March 2002 in Mumbai, following prolonged illness.

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