Anand Bakshi: The Versatile Lyricist of Bollywood

Anand Bakshi was one of the greatest, popular and versatile lyricists of his time. He enjoyed a long and illustrious career in Bollywood lyrics writing. Like Sultanpuri, Bakshi wrote simple poetry that could be understood by all, and he was in wide demand by all filmmakers.
Anand Bakshi is one of the lyricists who had survived severe competition and the test of times. After writing for almost 40 years and after penning more than 5000 songs he could still instill freshness in any song. He was one of those few poets who had expressed love in a multitude of ways.
Anand Bakshi was born in Rawalpindi in undivided India now Pakistan. He was an avid movie buff right from childhood and he had always dreamt of coming to Bombay and become a big shot. However he lacked the courage to tell his wish to others fearing that he might be ridiculed. At that point of time, though, his dream was limited to becoming a successful playback singer.
Before he established himself as a lyrics writer for Hindi film songs, he served for 2 years in the Royal Indian Navy, (Karachi) and after partition he served 6 years in the Indian Army, based at Jabalpur, with The Corps of Signals, and later with the E.M.E., Infantry.
So passionate was Bakshi about joining the film industry that he ran away from home and joined the navy with the hope of reaching the city of his dreams. However fate had something else in store for him. The naval mutiny in Karachi ended his career in the navy. After the partition of the Indian subcontinent, into India and Pakistan, Bakshi returned to his family in Lucknow. Although he couldn’t continue with his education his dreams were very much alive. He soon realized that he was meant for something else and he moved to Bombay.
His first published poem appeared in an Army publication; “Sainik Samachar”, 1950’s and this fact boosted his morale and gave him confidence to try in Hindi films. While in the army he would write songs of the films he had seen just to get a feel of if he were the lyrics writer of that film what would he write. He would perform as a singer and actor in the theater plays, Bara Khambas, held on campus and earned the appreciation of his seniors too. All this fueled his dream to leave the Army once again for traveling to Bombay and join films. (Later on, in the late 90’s, he even wrote a special song for the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dhun. He even wrote a song for the Corps of Signals, on their invitation. After his death, the Corps of Signals established a “Bakshi Corner” in their Corps Museum.)
Oct 1956 – He arrived again in Bombay, (to again try and find work in films), for the 2nd time, armed with about 60 lyrics/songs, but did not find work, so he would sit in the waiting room of Dadar Station, or the platform bench at Marine Lines Station, and continue write his dreams- songs.
Although he had arrived in the city with a bagful of dreams nobody really acknowledged his presence. Dejected and disillusioned Bakshi went back to Delhi and worked as a motor mechanic. But he was unable to rid himself of his desire to be a part of the glamour world and so he returned to the city of dreams. A few senior lyricists even ridiculed him but Bakshi persisted and his persistence paid off. Anand Bakshi came to Hindi films to make a name for himself in writing and singing but ended up becoming more successful in writing lyrics. He got his break writing songs in a Brij Mohan’s film titled, “Bhala Aadmi”, 1958, acted by Bhagwan Dada. He wrote 4 songs in this film. His first song in this film was “Dharti Ke Laal Na Kar Itna Malaal” which was recorded on 9 Nov 1956.
A few years later Jab Jab Phool Khile released and the song ‘Pardesiyon Se Na Ankhiya Milana’ proved to be a big hit and that song made everyone notice Bakshi.
However life wasn’t exactly milk and honey for Bakshi as the struggle for survival continued even after Jab Jab Phool Khile. That was the result of groupism that existed during the late sixties and early fifties. Every music director had his or her own favorite lyricist. Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri were Shankar Jaikishan’s favorites and Shakeel Badayauni was patronized by Naushad. Even the great SD Burman refused to consider him seriously as a lyricist because he thought Bakshi was another one of those aspiring playback singers. Life was extremely difficult for the lyricist whose career had only just begun. To get into the elite group of poets was indeed a difficult exercise. His hard work and persistence finally paid off when the songs of Hariyali Aur Raasta proved to be blockbusters. The film had many timeless numbers and one of them was ‘Bol Meri Taqdeer Mein Kya Hai’.
It was Milan (1967) however that finally took Bakshi to the top. Songs like Sawan ka Mahina, Bol Gori Bol, Ram Kare Aisa Ho Jaye, Main to Diwaanaa and of course Hum Tum Yug Yug Geet Milan ke were hummed in every corner of the country. Anand Bakshi had arrived. And from then onwards he never looked back.
Followed a golden period for Bakshi whose association with Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and R.D. Burman led to such musical milestones like Farz (1967), Do Raaste (1969), Bobby (1973), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Ek Duje ke Liye(1981) with the former and Kati Patang (1970), Amar Prem (1971) and Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), just to name a few, with the latter. Of these his work in Amar Prem particularly stands out and was among his favourites. Shakti Samanta heard Bakshi recite Chingari Koi Bhadke at a ‘kavi samelan’ and incorporated it especially into the film. Other masterpieces in this film include Bada Natkhat Hai, Kuch to Log Kahenge, Yeh Kya Hua and Raina Beeti Jaaye.
He wrote the first recorded songs of singers like Shailendra Singh, Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy, etc., and he established himself as a versatile lyricist with the song “Dum Maro Dum” in the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972).
Mention must also be made of his association with filmmakers like Raj Kapoor, Shubash Ghai and Yash Chopra.
Apart from being nominated innumerable amount of times for the Filmfare award Bakshi has also won the coveted trophy three times in his illustrious career. He won it for the first time in 1978 for the song ‘Aadmi Musafir Hai’ from the film Apnapan. In 1981 he won it for the song ‘Tere Mere Beech Mein’ from Ek Duje Ke Liye and after 14 years he won it for the third time in 95 for ‘Tujhe Dekha To Ye’ from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
Award        Movie
Filmfare – 1977   Best Lyrics for Apnapan
Filmfare – 1981   Best Lyrics for Ek Duje Ke Liye
Filmfare – 1995   Best Lyrics for Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Filmfare – 1999   Best Lyrics for Taal
Zee Cine – 1999  Best Lyrics for Taal
Screen – 1998     Best Lyrics for Zakhm
Screen – 1999     Best Lyrics for Taal
Screen – 2000     Best Lyrics for Mohabbatein
Late in his life, he suffered from heart and lung disease as a consequence of life-long smoking. In 2001, he caught a bacterial infection at Nanavati hospital, during a minor heart surgery. He finally died of multiple organ failure on 30 March 2002, at Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital, at the age of 82. The last released movie with lyrics by Anand Bakshi was Mehbooba (2008).
Shashikant Nishant Sharma
(शशिकांत निशांत शर्मा साहिल’)

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