Naam Gum Jayega, Part I - Jaidev

Naam gum jayega, chehra ye badal jayegaMeri awaz (Mere saaz) hi pehchaan hain, gar yad rahe…

I am not talking about the forgotten heroes who are only a part of our subconscious. Rather, this is an attempt to remember those whose names have been almost erased from the pages of history. Like a diligent archaeologist, I am on a path to dig deep through the layers of time and refresh our memories.

Who amongst us has not been enthralled by the soft crooning of Rafi and Asha in the song 'Abhi na jao chhodkar'? All the smokers still endorse 'Main zindagi ka sath nibhata chala gaya' as their anthem while the heartbroken lovesick teens find solace in 'Kabhi khud pe kabhi halaat pe rona aya'. These songs are only a glimpse into the musical realms of the immensely talented composer JAIDEV VERMA.

Trained under the tutelage of Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan, Jaidev composed songs for over 40 movies and won 3 national awards. Unfortunately, most of the movies failed at the box office which was a sufficient reason to forget the works of this genius. Jaidev's mastery is not just limited to these accredited creations. In fact, while assisting S D Burman, he is also known to ghost compose songs like kahin bekhayal hokar and aise to na dekho for the superhit Teen Deviyan (1965).

In an effort to celebrate this legend's birthday (August 3, which went completely unnoticed) let us take a walk down memory lane and immerse ourselves in the ocean of melody.

1. Abhi na jao chhod kar
What an album! I would like to include all six songs of this movie in this list but would refrain from doing so for the sake of variety. While Jaidev has had some success in the past, Hum Dono (1961) truly brought him into limelight. If I was forced to take only 10 songs to an island, this will certainly be the one. The first blossoms of spring find their true colors not by chance but through the playful smiles, twinkling eyes and dodging glances among the trees that spoke a thousand unspoken words with the language of the leaves. I believe this is where the magical tradition of the heroine coyly hiding behind the trees and dodging her lover's advances began. The minimalism of instruments and the epic rendering by Rafi and Asha, poetry by Sahir Ludhiyanvi, this song has the stuff that dreams are made of.

2. Tu chanda main chandni
Remember one of the first talent show 'Meri Awaz Suno' which made Sunidhi Chauhan a household name? Sunidhi spellbounded us and the original singer Lata bai herself with a wonderful rendition to bag the finals.
This song from Reshma aur Shera (1972), penned by Balkavi Bairagi is an absolute delight. No wonder why Jaidev is one of the favorite composers of Lata Bai along with Madan Mohan and Salil Chowdhury or why he earned a national award for this album. 

3.  Madhushala
 Mere shav par wah roye ho jiske aansoo mein haala
 Aah bhare wah jo ho surbhit madeera peekar matwaala
De mujhko wo kaandha jinke pad-mad dag-mag honte ho
Aur jaloon uss thaur jahan par kabhi rahee ho madhushaala

I am not going to say much about this. Just listen to the most illuminated work of Harivansh Rai Bachchan. We may not fully comprehend the difficulties of composing a 'shudh hindi' poetry into a song but Jaidev and Manna Dey converted this piece of poetry into a timeless classic.

4. Ye dil aur unki nigahon ke saye
The movie Prem Parbat (1973) is today remembered only for its immortal music. Penned by Jan Nisar Akhtar and sung by Lata, some people regard this song (based on Raag Pahadi) as his best composition.

5. Tumhe ho na ho
If for a minute you believed that Jaidev only composed classical music based song, he surprises you with the peppy poetry of Naqsh Lyallpuri (often mistaken to be written by Gulzar) rendered by the youthful innocence of Runa Laila. If you are based in Mumbai, I bet you will run to Chaupati grab some panipuri and nariyalpani after listening to this song. In the same movie, Gharonda (1977), you will also find a brilliant use of violin in perhaps the most depressing song 'Ek akela is shehar mein' which identifies  with the pathos of the loner Jaidev who never married.

6. Caravan
No. Not the formulaic movie of Jeetendra, the Indian James Bond or the groovy 'Piya tu ab to aaja'. 'Caravan guzra kiya' is a non-filmy ghazal by Fani Badayuni (who belongs to both Ghalib and Mir's tradition of poetry). And when you will listen to Asha blow life into this ghazal, you will stop reading this article until you have heard it at least 5 more times on repeat.

7. Seene mein jalan
Gaman (1978) brought another national award to Jaidev. The movie boasts of the combo of director Muzaffar Ali and the poet Shahryar who would later collaborate to create a magnum opus Umrao Jaan in 1981. Sung by the then newcomer Suresh Wadkar, 'Seene mein jalan' has almost become a byword amongst ghazal lovers. If there is any other song besides the iconic 'Aye dil hai mushkil' that truly captures the loneliness which engulfs you amidst the fast paced crowds of Bombay, this is it.

8. Thumak thumak pag
How many music directors of today can get a legendary vocalist like Pt Bhimsen Joshi sing to their tunes? The song is a traditional Krishna Bhajan from the movie Ankahee (1985) which brought Jaidev his third national award as well as a national award for the playback.

9. Raat bhi hai kuchh bheegi bheegi
Sunil Dutt produced Mujhe jeene do (1963) and changed his sweet persona into a menacing bandit. Watch Waheeda Rehman move like a nimble footed gazelle on the enchanting beats of Jaidev and the alliteration filled rhyming of Sahir. 
Noted journalist Mayank Chhaya considers this song amongst the top 20 hindi song compositions and he says: "I talked to Dutt about ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’ on another occasion. I knew him rather well. He said he vividly remembered the filming of this particular song which was not an easy one to shoot. He said he kept humming the song on the set because of Jaidev’s lilting composition."

10. Aayee ritu sawan ki
Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Alaap (1977) not only has an extremely unconventional theme of classical music, it also shows Amitabh Bachchan in a completely different light. Kumari Faiyyaz (another forgotten gem) and Bhupinder Singh give voice to the poetry of Dr Rahi Masoom Raza. The album also contains a popular Yesudas song 'Koi gata main so jata' for which the critics appreciated Jaidev's innovative style of composing a mukhda with only 5 words.

Stay tuned for more in this series. Phir Milenge!


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