He was probably the most prolific lyricist of our time, with a 45-year career and more than 5000 songs. Few know that Anand Bakshi had started out as an army man, and that was where the superstar songwriter first learnt to wax lyrical in the language of the masses.
Born in 1920 at Rawalpindi in undivided India, Bakshi belonged to a working class family and joined the army at the age of 18. Educated only up to the eighth standard, he served in the army for almost three years before traveling, as they all do, to Bombay. There, for a comparable period of time, he struggled to make an impact as a writer - and returned to the army, depressed.
But he was back, this time married and with a daughter, and even more reason to work harder. His first break came when Bhagawandada paid him the princely sum of Rs. 150 for four songs in the movie Bhala Admi.
The break did not immediately carry him into the higher echelons until he met Raj Kapoor, who enlisted him to write the lyrics for his film Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath. Working with a stalwart like Kapoor ensured that people would talk about him, and the word soon spread.
The competition was not lax - he was in now in the same frame as Kaifi Azmi, Hasrat Jaipuri and Sahir Ludianvi and he had to work doubly hard to get any attention. Helped along by film makers like Shailendra, he was definitely on his way.
He was soon doing films like Jab Jab Phool Khile, Amar Prem, Seeta Aur Geeta, and Mera Gaon Mera Desh, all box-office biggies. Now working with Laxmikant-Pyarelal and R D Burman, he was in the big league.
Bakshi also sang in a few films. He sang the duet Rut bekarar aaye in Mome Ki Gudiya and a portion of Ke aaja teri yaad ayee in Charas in which he matched his vocal skills with ace playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.
Though there were hordes of huge hits peppered through his career, Bakshi rated the songs for Shakti Samanta`s Amar Prem specially Chingari koi bhadke among his best.
But he was also a composer. In fact, it`s a common secret in the music industry that Bakshi composed the tunes for many of the lyrics he wrote, though other big composers walked away with the credit.
His latest hits were Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Taal, Mohabbatein, Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, and Subhash Ghai`s memorable film Yaadein, where he weaves magic with Anu Malik.
Apart from being nominated innumerable amount of times for the Filmfare award Bakshi has also won the coveted trophy three times in his illustrious career. He won it for the first time in 1978 for the song Aadmi Musafir Hai from the film Apnapan. In 1981 he won it for the song Tere Mere Beech Mein from Ek Duje Ke Liye and after 14 years he won it for the third time in 95 for Tujhe Dekha To Ye from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge.
He has seen generations of filmmakers and music directors, and has worked with nearly every name in the industry. He was openly critical about present trends, and laments the lack of depth in storylines and lyrics. We would, indeed, agree with him.
Bakshi, who can easily be called the most prolific Hindi film lyricist and had a successful career spanning four decades, passed away on 30th March, 2002 at the age of 82. Bakshi is survived by his wife and four children.
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