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10 classic songs of Bharat Vyas – Birth centenary special

The multi-talented lyricist, born 100 years ago today (18 December), has left behind a rich legacy in his evergreen songs. We look at some of his timeless numbers.

Sonal Pandya

Hailing from Rajasthan, Bharat Vyas studied in Kolkata before arriving in Mumbai to become a lyricist. He began writing songs in 1943 with Duhai and over the course of his career made successful pairings with music composers like Khemchand Prakash, SN Tripathi and Vasant Desai.

In 1949, he also directed a film, Rangila Rajasthan, but returned to lyric writing and churned out some of the biggest hits of the 1950s. Many a time his younger brother, the actor Brij Mohan Vyas, also had a key role in the film he was writing for.

Researcher and film historian Vijay Kumar Balakrishnan said Vyas was known for the pure Hindi in his lyrics. Here are 10 matchless songs from his musical career.

1. ‘Raat Mohe Meetha Meetha Sapna’ — Tamasha (1952)

A young Meena Kumari sings of sweet dreams in the Bharat Vyas-penned song ‘Raat Mohe Meetha Meetha Sapna’. Khemchand Prakash had started to compose the music for the film, but he died during its making and Manna Dey stepped in as composer. The hit film from the Bombay Talkies stable had an interesting cast of Dev Anand, Meena Kumari, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Kaushalya. It was the only time Dev Anand and his frequent playback singer, Kishore Kumar, acted together.

2. ‘Chali Radhe Rani’ — Parineeta (1953)

Bimal Roy’s classic adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s eponymous novel starred Ashok Kumar (who also produced the film) and Meena Kumari. The award-winning film was faithful to the original material and drew impressive performances from its cast. The film’s music was composed by Arun Kumar Mukherjee while Bharat Vyas wrote all the songs. As Lalita and Shekhar fight, a wandering minstrel sings ‘Chali Radhe Rani’ mirroring the situation between the two.

3. ‘Zara Saamne To Aao Chhaliye’ — Janam Janam Ke Fere (1957)

This popular number became the top song of 1957 on the popular radio countdown show Binaca Geetmala. Picturized on Nirupa Roy and Manhar Desai, ‘Zara Saamne To Aao Chhaliye’ became one of SN Tripathi's and Bharat Vyas’s best known songs. The duet was sung by Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. The film was made by a young director credited as Manoo Desai, who went on to become one of India’s most popular mainstream filmmakers. The movie had an interesting premise about two parents, and devotees of Indra, who are told that their only child will be an atheist. They do their best to ensure that doesn’t happen with his upbringing.

4. ‘Ae Malik Tere Bande Hum’ — Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957)

Another landmark V Shantaram film, Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957), saw the harmonious collaboration between composer Vasant Desai and Bharat Vyas. Once again, Bharat’s brother Brij Mohan (BM) Vyas played a key role in the film. The lyricist wrote a variety of songs for the film, but the song ‘Ae Malik Tere Bande Hum’ has transcended time. Sung by Lata Mangeshkar, the moving prayer was embraced by the nation and is played at schools and events till today.

5. ‘Mujhe Dekh Chand Sharmaye’ — Samrat Chandragupta (1958)

Bharat Vyas was one of four lyricists used in this film. His younger brother BM Vyas also played a role in the period film starring Nirupa Roy and Bharat Bhushan. The superhit music of Samrat Chandragupta (1958) gave composer Kalyanji Virji Shah his big breakthrough. His younger brother Anandji was his assistant as was Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar, one half of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo. Interestingly, Manmohan Desai assisted the film's director Babubhai Mistri.

6. ‘Tu Chhupi Hai Kahan’ — Navrang (1959)

V Shantaram’s dance classic Navrang had a dozen songs composed by C Ramchandra for its album. The doleful duet ‘Tu Chhupi Hai Kahan’ was sung by Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle. Mahipal played a man so enamoured by his muse, Mohini, that he forgets his wife Jamuna (Sandhya). The song featured the elaborated set sequences and framing that Shantaram was known for. Bharat Vyas also sang the song ‘Kaviraja Kavita Ke Mat Ab Kaan Marodo’ for the film.

7. ‘Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet’ — Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959)

Vasant Desai and Bharat Vyas teamed up yet again for Vijay Bhatt’s hit, Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959), which featured Rajendra Kumar, Ameeta and Anita Guha in a tragic love triangle. Rajendra Kumar played a talented shehnai player Kishan and the actor Ulhas, a classical singer and Kishan’s mentor. Desai used the vocals of Ustad Amir Khan while Ustad Bismillah Khan played the shehnai pieces for the film. All nine songs of film were well-regarded, but the romantic number ‘Tere Sur Aur Mere Geet’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar has remained a classic.

8. ‘Aa Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet’ — Rani Rupmati (1959)

Vyas wrote a heartrending song on the pain of separated lovers played in the film by Nirupa Roy and Bharat Bhushan. Mukesh’s sombre rendition of ‘Aa Laut Ke Aaja Mere Meet’ brought alive the character’s sadness. Lata Mangeshkar sang the female version. SN Tripathi had a dual role on this historical film as director and music composer. Tripathi brought authenticity to the production, both with his knowledge of classical music and by shooting Rani Rupmati (1959) at Mandavgarh, one of the actual locations mentioned in the film. The film and its soundtrack became a highlight of Tripathi’s career, aided obviously by Vyas’s lyrics.

9. 'Prem Ki Ganga Bahaate Chalo' — Sant Gyaneshwar (1964)

Another popular number (at number three) from Bharat Vyas on the Binaca Geetmala list was ‘Prem Ki Ganga Bahaate Chalo’ from Manibhai Vyas’s Sant Gyaneshwar (1964). There were two versions sung of this song, one by Mukesh and the other by Lata Mangeshkar. Surprisingly, this was the only time Bharat Vyas was nominated for a Filmfare award for his lyrics. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics on Dosti (1964) for the song ‘Chahunga Main Tujhe’ won the award in 1965.

10. ‘Yeh Kaun Chitrakar Hai’ — Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti (1967)

This may not have been the peak period for Bharat Vyas, but he continued to produce gems like ‘Yeh Kaun Chitrakar Hai’ for V Shantaram’s Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti (1967). A young Jeetendra and Mumtaz played the lead roles. Jeetendra’s character Satyaprakash is a teacher dedicated to his students when he is falsely accused of murder. In the song, sung by the peerless Mukesh, Satyaprakash inculcates in his students a love for nature.

Correction, 18 December 2018: The article has been updated with the correct date of birth of the lyricist.