Hasrat Jaipuri is the quintessential Hindi film lyricist
Hasrat Jaipuri is the quintessential Hindi film lyricist, with over 350 films and 2000 songs to his credit. Like most of his peers, he has worked with almost all the top composers from various decades. Yet, he is known mainly for his partnership with one. He too has covered the entire range of human emotions and situations in his writings; yet he is known most for his work in one particular style.
He too reigned supreme in the 50s and gradually declined by the 70s and 80s. Yet he is not mentioned in the same breath as Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shakeel Badayuni and his lyrical partner Shailendra. And there is a reason for all of this.
Sahir and Majrooh forged a long partnership with S D Burman, but always separately, never together. Shakeel Badayuni almost had exclusive rights over Naushad’s score. Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra were both part of Shankar-Jaikishan-Raj Kapoor team. But it was Shailendra who gave shape to Raj Kapoor’s socialist tramp.
‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’, ‘Ramaiya Vastavaiya’, ‘Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala’ were all written by Shailendra. Hasrat Jaipuri was always known as the guy who wrote the other songs. Not that they lacked quality, but they just did not fetch him as much fame as Shailendra.
Kites director Anurag Basu says, “I do agree that he wasn’t as famous as Shailendra. But Shailendra won a lot of fame because he was part of the Shankar-Jaikishan-Shailendra trio. However, Jaipuriji wrote many songs with Shankar-Jaikishan and won several Filmfare awards.”
Born as Iqbal Hussein in Jaipur, the inculcation of Persian and Urdu poetry culture started at home with his grandfather Fida Hussein. At a very young age, Hasrat Jaipuri opted for a job as a bus conductor but his passion for poetry always dragged him to various mushairas.
At one such occasion, he was spotted by Prithvi Raj Kapoor who recommended him to his son. Hasrat Jaipuri’s first recorded song for Raj Kapoor was ‘Jiya Beqarar Hai Chhayi Bahar Hai’ and since then there was no shortage of spring for him. Basu adds, “Like Johnny Lever, I think he was destined to join Bollywood. How many bus conductors today join Bollywood? The very fact that I can remember his work means that he was brilliant.”
The year 1949 was a watershed year for the Hindi film industry and its music. Raj Kapoor’s second film Barsat was released to a rousing ovation. The music was celebrated like never before. Four newcomers stamped their authority with this film right away – the music duo of composers Shankar-Jaikishan, lyricist Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri.
Two singers, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, too became part of this team. The musical impact was so profound that Raj Kapoor repeated this team for another two and a half decades. Both the lyricists left their impact with Shailendra penning the title song ‘Barsat Mein’ and Hasrat Jaipuri the more serious one ‘Chhod Gaye Balam’.
Reminiscing about that time, Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj says: “We are yet to see those times again – those times of magical, truly outstanding lyrics. People like Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra were greats. Try finding shayars like them in today’s world…”
Hasrat Jaipuri, though known more for his lyrics for the RK banner, did some sterling work for other banners too. In fact, the two Filmfare awards that he received were for ‘Baharon Phool Barsao’ (Suraj) and ‘Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana’ (Andaz), both non RK films.
One of Lata’s many favourite songs ‘Mohabbat Aisi Dhadkan Hai Jo Samjhaii Nahin Jaati’ from Anarkali was by him. And so was ‘Nain Se Nain’ from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje and ‘Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par’ from Junglee. Jaipuri worked till his last days, either writing lyrics for composers from Naushad to Jatin-Lalit or publishing poetry in Urdu. Writing more than 2000 songs for films on various subjects and situations is a big achievement in itself.
An artist’s real test is always what his peers think of him. When Shailendra turned producer with Teesri Kasam, he asked Jaipuri to pen lyrics for one of the most important songs in the movie. He came up with one of his best lyrics for Indian cinema – ‘Duniya bananewale, kya tere mann mein samayi, kaahe ko duniya banayi….’