Shakeel Badayuni ke do kalaam

Shakeel Ahmad Shakeel Badayuni will be familiar to all those who have heard Hindi film songs of the late 1940s and the 1950s and 1960s. He made a successful troika with composer Naushad Ali (who was from Lucknow, I may point out) and Mohd Rafi to create a string of unforgettable melodies which range from ‘Suhani Raat Dhal chuki hain’  (Dulari, 1949) to ‘O Duniye ke rakhwaale’ and many many more. Shakeel wove golden lyrics for other composers too – the ethereal ‘Chaudvin Ka Chand Ho’ (Ravi) and  so on. His forte was not only Urdu, but Braj also (‘Tu ganga ki mauj’) and Awadhi -Bhojpuri – ‘Mohe panghat pe’ and the rollicking ‘Nain Ladh Jaihen’ .

As a glance of his work shows, unlike his contemporary Abdul Hai Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel’s focus was on human emotions and he mostly avoided larger social or political themes. However, in his way, he made his point too. Who can forget that cry of resistance in that song ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’ in Mughal-e-Azam, which was even considered “bold” on the cusp of the liberated 60’s. While the title has become a byword for the sheer, brazen effrontery needed in this endeavour, some of the lines were equally powerful. Misaal ke taur par, yeh dekhiye… Of course, I must hasten to add – to show my heart is in the right place – that the effect of these stirring lines alo owe a lot to the expressions and mien of the stunning Madhubala who carried it off perfectly.

“Aaj kahenge dil ka fasaana jaan bhi lele chaahe zamana
Maut wohi jo duniya dekhe
Maut wohi jo duniya dekhe ghut ghut kar yun marna kya”

and this….. Not has a single line created such a furore, since Iqbal in his incomparable ‘Shikwa’, way back in 1909, buut that is a separate story. Returning to Madhu… I mean Shakeel,

“Chhup na sakega ishq hamara chaaron taraf hai unka nazaara
Parda nahin jab koi Khuda se
Parda nahin jab koi Khuda se bandon se parda karna kya”

However, let us return to his craft. This is one of Shakeel’s oldest efforts in the 1949 film ‘Mela’. Treating life as a fair is also a common motif across cultures – take the ‘Carnival is Over’ by The Seekers. Anyway, about this song…. In a commemorative Rafi album more then half a century later, veteran Naushad lamented the absence of the two others associated with the song – its writer and its singer.

“Ye zindagi ke mele, duniya men kam na honge
Afsos ham na honge.

Ik din padega jaana, kya waqt, kya zamaana
Koi na saath dega, sab kuch yahin rahega
Jayenge ham akele, ye zindagi ke mele….

Duniya hai mauj-e-darya, qatre ki zindagi kya
Paani mein mil ke paani, anjaam ye ke paani
Dam bhar ko saans le le, ye zindagi ke mele …

Hongi yahi bahaaren, ulfat ki yaadgaaren
Bigdegi aur chalegi, duniya yehi rahegi
Honge yahi jhamele, ye zindagi ke mele …”

Shakeel was much more then a mere lyricist for Bollywood. He was also a shair of repute. Take this ghazal, made famous by Begum Akhtar….. one which I heard many years ago and still strikes a chord when I hear it again.

Ae mohabbat tere anjaam pe rona aaya
Jaane kyon aaj tere naam pe rona aaya

Yun to har shaam umeedon mein guzar jaati thi
Aaj kuch baat hai jo shaam pe rona aaya

Kabhi taqdeer ka maatam kabhi duniya ka gila
Manzil-e-ishq mein har gaam pe rona aaya

Jab hua zikr zamaane mein mohabbat kaa ‘Shakeel’
Mujh ko apne dil-e-naakaam pe rona aaya


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