Millennium Post

Jaidev: A Matchless Classicist Composer

It is often said that Jaidev was a composer of low budget films, yet this creator rendered high-quality music with thirty-seven films to his credit, writes Sharad Dutt.

If anything unites the entire nation, it is film music. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Gujarat to Guwahati, it is these melodious renditions that ignite the imagination of a music aficionado. Though the connoisseurs consider the 1950s to be the golden era of film music, some melodies of a classicist composer became the cult songs in 1960s, too. He created numbers like 'Allah tero naam,' 'Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya,' 'Kabhi khud pe kabhi halaat pe rona aaya,' and the evergreen ultimate romantic number, 'Abhi naa jao chhod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahin.' All these tracks were from the iconic Dev Anand-Sadhna starrer 'Hum Dono'. The lyrics were penned by Sahir Ludhanvi and the composer was Jaidev.

Born on August 3, 1918, in Nairobi (Kenya), where his father had business interests, Jaidev lost his mother at an early age, and was brought up by his paternal aunt and uncle in Ludhiana. His life took a dramatic turn when he saw a movie, Ali Baba Chalis Chor, at the age of 14. One song of the film, 'Ye bijali dukh ki giri hai' in superstar Jahanara K Ajjan's voice left such tremendous impact on his young mind that it clinched his resolve to join the film world as a singer-actor. In pursuit of this career, he took to singing under the tutelage of Ustad Barkat Ali Khan. Soon enough, he absconded to Bombay and did wee bit roles in Wadia brothers' Waman Avatar, Veer Bharat, Hunterwali, Miss Frontier and Kala Gulab. He also lent his voice for songs in Veer Bharat.
Jaidev returned to Ludhiana due to the sad demise of his uncle but went back to Bombay after a year, where he took formal training in singing from Krishna Rao Chonkar. Thereafter, he had to return to Ludhiana again, since his father had migrated from Nairobi and lost his vision. Jaidev supported his family in this hour of need and resumed his real pursuit after the demise of his father in 1943. Now he joined Uday Shankar's centre in Almora, came into contact with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and became his disciple. He also spent a few years in Jodhpur where his guru was a court musician. Subsequently, when Ali Akbar moved to Bombay he took Jaidev along, who assisted him in Navketan productions, Aandhian and Hum Safar. After Ali Akbar Khan left Bombay Jaidev became assistant to SD Burman for several films of Navketan, and proved a great asset, as he was fluent in Hindi and Urdu.
Jaidev got his first independent break with Joru ka Bhai (1955), which was directed by Chetan Anand, who had left Navketan given his differences with brother Dev Anand. Vijay Anand made his debut as an actor in this movie and Jaidev excelled in composing these songs: 'Subah ka intzar kaun karey,' 'Tu sach bata mujhey jogi,' 'Teri zulfon se pyaar kaun karey.' Next year he gave music in Samundari Daku (1956), and its song, 'Dil jawan hai arzoo jawan, ek nazar idhar bhi meharbaan,' became a chartbuster. Jaidev did wonders with the accordion orchestra in this duet.
Even after achieving the status of becoming an independent music director, he continued to assist SD Burman in Navketan's Funtoosh, House Number 44, Nau Do Gyarah, Kala Pani, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi and Kala Bazaar. At the same time, Chetan Anand took Jaidev for his film Anjali. The film was set in the Buddhist period with Lata's number, 'Kis kis ko deepak pyaar karey,' in Raga Ahir Bhairav; 'Raat ke pichhley pahron mein,' 'Deepak se Deepak jal gaye;' and 'Buddham sharnam gachhami. Jaidev also composed a song in which all the Mangeshkar sisters sang, 'Lo chori pakdi gayi' with Sudha Malhotra. His music was highly appreciated, especially his use of sarod. Unfortunately, the film didn't do well at box office. Raat ke Raahi was the only film for which Jaidev shared the credit with composer Bipin Babul.
When Sahir Ludhianvi and SD Burman parted ways after the film Pyaasa, Dev Anand was keen to have Sahir for Hum Dono (1961) to pen lyrics and also asked Jaidev to take up its music. The duo of Sahir and Jaidev created musical magic. All the songs were golden nuggets. Two bhajans, 'Prabhu tero naam' in Raga Dhani and Allah tero naam' in Raga Gaud Sarang are Lata's personal favourites.
In two long interviews with Jaidev, he shared with me, "Lata was reluctant to sing these bhajans, as she had stopped singing for Burman Da. I was seriously considering MS Subbulakshmi to sing them. Dada was always very kind to me, encouraged me a great deal and gave a free hand to compose some songs independently – to mention a few – 'Janoo janoo re' in Insan Jaag Utha; 'Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukarey chaley gaye' in Kala Pani and 'Naa main dhan chahun' in Kala Bazar."
Sunil Dutt liked the music of 'Hum Dono' immensely, and approached Jaidev to compose for Mujhe Jeene Do, his maiden production under his own banner, Ajanta Arts. Expectedly, the music of this film was super hit. Sahir wrote such brilliant lyrics. Notwithstanding the box office success, Sahir left Jaidev just as he had parted ways with SD Burman and OP Nayyar. Since Jaidev was with Navketan at that time, his credits appeared as music by Jaidev courtesy Navketan. Later, Sunil Dutt signed Jaidev for his offbeat film, Reshma Aur Shera, too. And Jaidev scored music based on Rajasthani maand. Lata was at her best with numbers like 'Tu chanda main chandani,' 'Ek meethi si chubhan' and catchy number of Asha, 'Jab se nazar lagayi.' The same year he did another film on Rajasthani backdrop, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas's Do Boond Paani. Its songs also became very popular. Asha's captivating numbers, 'Ja re pavaniya;' marriage song 'Banni teri bindiya', and unforgettable duet, 'Peetal ki mori gagari' (Praveen Sultana-Minu Purshottam).
Lyricist turned producer Nyay Sharma produced Kinare Kinare starring Dev Anand and Meena Kumari, and directed by Chetan Anand. Jaidev was his first choice. The film was launched in 1958 and took five years to be released in 1963. Jaidev, once again, gave memorable compositions. Lata sang her favourite numbers, 'Har aas ashq baar hai,' 'Sulag uthi dil ki lagi' and 'Aaj achanak toot gaye kyun,' and three other numbers, 'Jab gham-e-ishq satata hai', 'Dekh li teri khudai', and title track, 'Chaley ja rahein hai mohabbat ke maarey kinare kinare'. In 1960, Jaidev gave music in B grade films, but his Nepali film, Mahiti Ghar, needs a special mention here. Jaidev wanted to use two compositions of Royal King of Nepal Mahendra Bir Bikram for this film and he gladly accepted the composer's offer.
BR Ishara's film Maan Jaiye had a classical number, 'Badra chhaye re kaare kajrare,' and a lilting duet, 'Ley chalo ley chalo', which were much appreciated. Yet the number that stood out was 'Ye wahi geet hai'. Jaidev was once again back in Prem Parbat directed by Ved Rahi, composing lyrics by Jaan Nissar Akhtar, and 'Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye' became a super hit. In three films, Alingan, Parinay and Faslah, Jaidev gave some soulful numbers. He introduced bhajan singers Sharma Bandhu in Parinay, 'Jaise suraj ki garmi se jaltey huey,' and in Faslah he created enticing melodies, 'Nigahein churao na' and 'Is dil ne tadap tadap kar' became a rage.
In 1976, Madan Mohan passed away, and Jaidev finished the film Laila Majnu by composing five remaining songs for the film. His other film was Alaap starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha. Jaidev had ample opportunity to use his classical background in this film. He used the composition of late great master Pt Vishnu Digambar, Mata Saraswati Sharda in Lata-Yesudas-Dilraj Kaur-Madhu Rani's voices. The best song of the film was Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poem, 'Koi gaata main so jaata'.
Another significant film of Jaidev was Bhim Sen's silver jubilee Gharonda. Its songs were written by Gulzar, 'Do deewane shaher mein' (Bhupendra-Runa Laila). It was quite ironic that at this point in time many composers had reservations about Runa Laila as a playback singer. But Jaidev dared to compose a special number, 'Tumhein ho na ho mujh ko to itna yakeen hain,' for Runa Laila. Another touching number was 'Ek akela is shaher mein' in Bhupendra's voice. So was this Lata's immortal number, 'Tumhe dekhti hoon to lagta hai,' composed by Jaidev for Basu Chatterji's film Tumahre Liye. Bhim Sen and Jaidev were once again together in Dooriyan starring Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. The film had a classy number written by Sudarshan Faakir, 'Zindagi merey ghar aana', and 'Zindagi mein'. Jaidev made brilliant use of sarod in the interludes of these songs of Doooriyan.
Gaman was Muzaffar Ali's debut film and Jaidev used voices of Suresh Wadekar in 'Seeney mein jalan,' Hari Haran's in 'Ajeeb saneha mujh par' (both written by poet Shahryar); Chhaya Ganguli in 'Aapki yaad aati rahi raat bhar,' and Heera Devi Mishra's voice for two traditional compositions in Raga Bhairvi, 'Aaja sanwariya' and 'Banna badi dhoom gajar se aayo.' Jaidev also came up with a new style of ghazal-singing in Gaman.
Actor-producer-director Amol Palekar's Ankahee had a classical-based music. And Jaidev even made the classicist doyen Pt Bhimsen Joshi sing two numbers, 'Thumak thumak' and 'Raghuvar tumko meri laaj.' And Asha sang her classic gem, 'Mujhko bhi Radha bana lo.' This film also had Kabir's 'Kauno thugwa nagariya lootal ho.' Jaidev was a loner and had few friends in the industry. He essentially enjoyed the company of his fellow composer Madan Mohan over a drink. But after Madan's demise and medical advice he gave up liquor. He remained a bachelor and lived in a small room in Lily Court at Church Gate as a paying guest. Apart from Khayyam Saab, it was Jaidev who composed the private albums that included the Chhayavadi poets, Jaishankar Prasad and Mahadevi Verma, and also brought out an album of Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Madhushala in Manna Dey's voice. He also recorded the works of Meera Bai, Surdas, Mirza Ghalib, Jigar Moradabadi and Faani Badauni. His last album was ghazals of Firaq Gorakhpuri. Jaidev also introduced several new voices like Chhaya Ganguly, Rajendra Mehta, Neelam Sahni and many more.
It is often said that Jaidev was a composer of low budget films, yet this creator rendered high-quality music with thirty-seven films to his credit. Winner of National Film Awards for best music in Reshma Aur Shera, Gaman and Ankahi, he was also conferred the Lata Mangeshkar Award of Madhya Pradesh Government, Sur Singar Samsad Award among many other prestigious laurels.
Soon after receiving the Lata Mangeskar Award he was compelled to leave his Lily Court accommodation and shift to a hotel. Jaidev was a chronic asthma patient. He was admitted to Beach Candy Hospital where the composer breathed his last on January 6 of 1987, leaving behind the treasure of his golden melodies for the passionate music lovers. His life can, indeed, be summed up in his own composition, where he had put his heart and soul: 'Kabhi khud pe kabhi halaat pe rona aaya.'

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