Shakeel Badayuni, Hindi cinema’s uncrowned king of romance

Born on August 3, 1916, in Badayun in Uttar Pradesh in a literary family, Shakeel was taught Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Hindi, which gave him mastery over expression.

Main Shakeel, dil Ka hun tarjuman,
Ke Mohabbaton ka hun raazdaan
Mujhe faqr hai, meri shayari
Meri zindagi se juda nahin

Hailed as the Uncrowned King of Romance of the Hindi Cinema, Shakeel Badayuni has hardly any parallel in his genre. A contemporary of such great Left-Wing Poets, like Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Kaifi Azmi, Shakeel Badayuni, remained true his own style and romantic to the core. He chose to stay away from social and political issues that were largely reflected in the writings of the Left Poets. What is more, Shakeel compelled the likes of Sahir, Majrooh and Kaifi to try their hand at composing romantic songs.

Despite personal and emotional upheavals, Shakeel stuck to writing romantic songs, which made an indelible imprint on the hearts of his audiences.

MS Education Academy

Choosing to be flagbearer of love, instead of being a supporter of rebellion, Shakeel spread all around the fragrance of romance.

Shakeel was representative of the Composite Indian Culture. His song in Mughal-e-Azam is a testimony to this, Zindabad, zindabad aie mohobat zindabad… Mandir mein, Masjid mein tu, aur tu hi hai Imaanon mein, Murli ki taanon mein tu aur tu hi hai Aazon mein, Tere  dum se Din-Dharam ki duniya hai aabaad.

Sohni Mahiwal, made in 1958, which gave a break to Mahendra Kapoor, is among the all-time hits of Shakeel, Chaand chhupa aur taare doobey, raat ghazab ki aayee, husn chala hai ishq se milne, zulm ki badli chhaayee.

Immortal Songs

Shakeel Badayuni will be remembered for his undying, eternal, immortal songs like Pyaar kiya to darna kya. It stands apart for its daring and defiance of the might of Mughal Emperor Akbar in Mughal-e-Azam. The song, which was set out in the film, Mughal-e-Azam, made in 1960, it created a sensation and continues to make waves till this day. Chaudhvin ka Chaand ho, ya aaftaab ho, jo bhi ho tum khuda ki qasam laajawaab ho, in Chaudhvin ka Chaand, also released in 1960 went on win the Filmfare Award for the Best Song.

The title-song of Chaudhvin ka Chaand, Yeh Luckhnow ki sar-zameen, is an Ode to the City of Lucknow. Yeh rang-roop ka chaman, yeh husn-o-ishq ka watan, yahi to woh maqaam hai, jahaan Awadh ki shaam hai, jawaan, jawaan haseen, haseen, yeh Luckhnow ki sar-zameen.

Sahir, Shakeel Face-Off

Sahir Ludhianvi wrote a poem early in his life, but it was used as a song in Ghazal, released in 1964. Sahir sought to rubbish romance, by dismissing Taj as an iconic monument, symbolizing love. The Poet says, Taj tere liye ek mazhar-e-ulfat hi sahi, tujh ko is vaadi-e-rangeen se aqueedat hi sahi, Meri mehboob kahin aur mila kar mujhe… Anginat logon ne duniya mein mohobat ki hai, kaun kehta hai ke saadiq na the jazbe unke, unke liya tashir ka saamaan na tha, kyon woh log bhi apni hi tarha muflis the.

An inveterate romantic, Shakeel Badayuni came up with an effective counter to this viewpoint of Sahir. Shakeel wrote, Ek Shahenshah ne banwa ke haseen Taj Mahal, saari duniya ko mohobat ki nishaani di hai in Leader, also made in 1964.

Responding to Sahir, Shakeel Badayuni wrote, Taj woh shamma hai ulfat ke sanam-khaane ki, jis ke parwaanon mein muflis bhi hain, zardar bhi hain, sangh-e-mar-mar mein samaaye huve khaabon ki qasam, marhale pyaar ke aasaan bhi hai, dushwaar  bhi jain, dil ko ek josh, iraadon ko jawaani di hai.

Shakeel gave memorable songs in Door ki Aawaaz, made in 1964, like, Husn se chaand bhi sharmaya hai, teri surat ne ghazab Dhaka hai and Muqaddar aazmana chaahta hun, tumhe apna banana chaahta hun.

Another unforgettable song is, Jaan-e-bahaar husn tera bemisaal hai, Wallah kamaal  hai, arre Wallah kamaal hai in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, made in 1963. Equally unforgettable is his song in Do Badan in 1966, Lo aagayee unki yaad, woh nahi aaye… Dil unko dhoondh ta hai gham ka singaar kar ke, aankhen bhi thakh gayeen hain, ab intezaar kar ke, ek saans reh gayee hai, woh bhi na toot jaayen.

Yet another film, which immortalizes Shakeel Badayuni is Mere Mehboob, made in 1963. Aie husn zara jaag tujhe ishq jagaye, badle meri taqdeer jo tu hosh mein aaye; Yaad mein teri jaag-jaag ke hum, raat bhar karvaten badalte rahe; Mere Mehboob mein kya nahi, bholi surat ada nazani; and Tere pyaar mein dildaar, jo hai mera haal-e-zaar, koyee dekhe ya na dekhe, Allah dekh raha hai are among the songs that contribute to the abiding fame of Shakeel Badayuni.

Memorable Songs

Shakeel gave memorable songs in Door ki Aawaaz, made in 1964, like, Husn se chaand bhi sharmaya hai, teri surat ne ghazab dhaayaa hai and Muqaddar aazmana chaahta hun, tumhe apna banana chaahta hun.

Another unforgettable song is, Jaan-e-bahaar husn tera bemisaal hai, Wallah kamaal  hai, arre Wallah kamaal hai in Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, made in 1963. Equally unforgettable is his song in Do Badan in 1966, Lo aagayee unki yaad, woh nahi aaye… Dil unko dhoondh ta hai gham ka singaar kar ke, aankhen bhi thakh gayeen hain, ab intezaar kar ke, ek saans reh gayee hai, woh bhi na toot jaayen.

Yet another film, which immortalizes Shakeel Badayuni is Mere Mehboob, made in 1963. Aie husn zara jaag tujhe ishq jagaye, badle meri taqdeer jo tu hosh mein aaye; Yaad mein teri jaag-jaag ke hum, raat bhar karvaten badalte rahe; Mere Mehboob mein kya nahi, bholi surat ada nazani; and Tere pyaar mein dildaar, jo hai mera haal-e-zaar, koyee dekhe ya na dekhe, Allah dekh raha hai are among the songs that contribute to the abiding fame of Shakeel Badayuni.

Poet-Turned-Lyricist

The trend during the Golden Era of Hindi Cinema was that renowned Poets turned into Lyricists. Thus, they invested their songs with an abiding and everlasting literary value, making these songs immortal.

Born on August 3, 1916, in Badayun in Uttar Pradesh in a literary family, Shakeel was taught Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Hindi, which gave him mastery over expression. He put it to use in writing poetry. Later, he went to Aligarh Muslim University, where he participated in Mushairas, winning accolades. In 1946, Shakeel moved to Mumbai, where, too, he became a regular at the Mushairas.

Renowned music director Naushad heard him in one such as Mushaira. Impressed, he advised Shakeel to write lyrics for Hindi films. Naushad introduced Shakeel Badayuni to famous filmmaker A R Kardar. At that time, Kardar was making a film, titled, Dard. Shakeel was asked to compose a song on orphans. He recited the mukhda, Hum dard ka afsana duniya ko suna denge, Har dil mein mohabat ki ek aag laga denge. Kardar was impressed and asked Shakeel to write all the songs and he was appointed on a monthly salary of Rs 300 in 1946. Dard was released in 1947. Another hit song of Shakeel for Dard, which continues to haunt till this day, is the one sung by Uma Devi, or Tun Tun of Hindi films, Afsana likh rahi hun, dil-e-beqaraar ka, aankhon mein rang bhar ke tere intezaar ka.

No Looking Back

In 1948 came Mela, which had the song, Yeh zindgi ke mela, duniya mein kam na honge, afsos hum na honge. In Babul in 1950, he gave the evergreen duet of Shamshad Begum and Talat Mahmood, which was picturized on Munawar Sultana and Dilip Kumar, Milte hi aankhen dil huva deewana kisi ka, afsaana mera ban gaya afsaana kisi ka.

After that, there was no looking back for Shakeel Badayuni. He came up with a string of super-hit songs in Deedar in 1951; Baiju Bawra in 1952; Amar in 1954; Mother India in 1957;  Mughal-e-Azam, Chaudhvin ka Chand and Kohinoor in 1960; Gunga-Jumna and Gharana in 1961; Bees Saal Baad and Saheb, Bibi Aur Ghulam in 1962; Mere Mehboob and Ghunghat in 1963; Leader and Door ki Aawaaz in 1964; Zindgi Aur Maut in 1965; Do Badan and Dil Diya Dard Liya in 1966; Ram Aur Shyam in 1967; and, Aadmi and Sunghursh in 1968.

Shakeel Badayuni passed away on April 20, 1970, at the young age of 53 years.

In Saheb, Bibi Aur Ghulam and Bees Saal Baad, Shakeel wrote songs for music director Hemant Kumar. Meri baat rahi mere man mein, kuch keh na saki uljhan mein in Saheb, Bibi Aur Ghulam was marked for its poignancy. In Bees Saal Baad, his Kahin deep jale kahin dil earned him Filmfare Award. The best song, however, was Aie mohobat, meri duniya mein tera kaam na tha… De ne waale mujhe tune kyon mohobat de di, kya gham-e-ishq se pehle mujhe aaraam na tha.

With music director Ravi, Shakeel worked in giving musical hits like Gharana, Ghunghat, Door ki Aawaaz and Do Badan. In Gharana, his Husn waale tera jawwab nahi earned him Filmfare Best Lyricist Award. In Ghunghat, he gave magical songs, including, Mori chham chham baaje paayaliya.

His Do Badan songs broke new ground in bringing out the pathos of romance. Bhari duniya mein aakhir dil ko samjhaane kahaan jaayen and Lo aagayee unki yaad, woh nahi aaye, stand apart.

Strengths of Shakeel

The apogee of Secularism is that three renowned Muslims, Shakeel Badayuni the songwriter, Naushad the music composer and Mohammed Rafi the singer, all came together to produce a Bhajan, like Man tarpat Hari Darshan ko aaj in Baiju Bawra.

Shakeel could come up with a Naath, like Beqas pe karam keejiye, Sarkar-e-Madina in Mughal-e-Azam. At the same time, he could compose a song on Lord Krishna, Mohe panghat pe Nand Lal chhed gayo re and a Qawwali, on the other hand, like, Teri mehfil mein qismat aazmaakar  hum bhi dekhenge. All in Mughal-e-Azam.

Shakeel could draw from the folk music to write songs like Do hanson ka joda bichhad gayo re, ghajab bhayo Rama julm bhayo re and Dhoondo-dhoondo re saajna more kaan ka Bala in Gunga-Jumna. Mat jaiyyo naukaria chhod ke tore paiyyaan padun balma in Do Badan shows his felicity in switching dialects, given his fluency in languages.

In Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, he gave a Ghazal, Jaan-e-bahaar husn tera bemisaal hai, Wallah kamaal hai arre Wallah kamaal hai. 

Shakeel Badayuni’s masterpiece is his song in Amar, made in 1954, Na shikwa hai koyee, no koyee gila hai, salaamat rahe tu, yeh meri dua hai … Ajab teri mehfil mein dekha tamasha, kahin roshni hai, kahin hai andhera, muqaddar charaaghon ke badle huve hain, koyee bujh raha hai, koyee jal raha hai.

Only Lata Mangeshkar could bring out the pathos and disillusionment of Madhubala in the film, who gets to know the shady side of the protagonist, played by Dilip Kumar, in her voice.

In Mere Mehboob, Shakeel Badayuni penned a song,Tum se izhaar-e-haal kar baithe, bekhudi mein kamaal kar baithe. This seems inspired by an earlier poem of Shakeel Badayuni:

Hungama-e-dard se tang aakar
Izhaar-e-massarat kar baithe
Mashoor thi apni zinda-dili
Daanish ka sharaarat kar baithe

Koshish to bahut ki hum ne, magar
Paayaa na gham-e-hasti se mafar
Veeraan yeh dil jab had se badhi
Ghabhraake mohobat kar baithe

Har cheez nahi hai ek markaz par
Ek roz idhar, ek roz udhar
Nafrat se na dekho dushman ko
Shayad yeh mohobat kar baithe

Allah to sab ki suntaa hai
Jurrat aisi Shakeel to apni apni
Haali ne zubban se ufh bhi na ki
Iqbal shikaayat kar baithe

Last two line are significant. Haali ne zubban se ufh bhi na ki, Iqbal shikaayat kar baithe. Reference is unlike Haali, Allama Iqbal wrote Shikwa and Jawaab-e-Shikwa.

Shakeel, who studied in Aligarh Muslim University and was himself a popular poet, could recreate its ambience in the title-song in Mere Mehboob, Mere Mehboob tujhe meri mohobat ki qasam, phir mujhe nargisi aankhon ka sahara de de, mera khoya huva rangeen nazaara de de.

His non-film song, Aie mohobat tere anjaam pe rona aayaa was popularized by Begum Akhtar.

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