In spite of his 45-year long career as a lyricist, in which he wrote more than 4000 film songs, Anand Bakshi never really attained the aura of greatness like Sahir, Majrooh or Shailendra. His commercial success was often held against the literary value of his songs and by bowing to box-office demands and churning out some inane words with quite regularity, he himself did not help his case. Yet there were many a hidden and unappreciated gem in the vast repertoire of this songwriter, and as the world goes by- a year after his death (April 30, 2002), I remember one such gem of a song penned by him.
Singer Mukesh's Guzara Zamana Bachpan Ka is a song that never fails to tug at your heart-strings. As a song lamenting the loss of childhood and innocence, it profoundly stirs emotions and brings back all those countless childhood memories flooding back.
Roshan- today better known as father of Rakesh and Rajesh Roshan and grandfather of Hrithik Roshan- was a composer whose musical genius seldom got the box-office nod, yet he composed some of the greatest songs ever, like Jo Vaada Kiya To Nibhana Padega and Mann Re Tu Kaahe Na Dheer Dhare. His composition for Guzara Zamana shows his talent to bring out the deepest of emotions without going for gimmicky theatrics. Making beautiful use of the sitar, santoor, flute and dafali, he adorns the song with just the perfect orchestration. His tune creates that bitter-sweet atmosphere of nostalgia and then, that pain in Mukesh's inimitable voice when he says Haaye re akele chhod ke jaana aur na aana bachpan ka- it is almost a spiritual experience.
Woh khel, woh saathi, woh jhoole
Woh daud ke kahena aa chhoo le
Hum aaj talak bhi naa bhoole
Woh khwaab suhana bachpan ka.
With such simple words, Anand Bakshi creates such unforgettable, dreamy images of childhood- those dear friends, those childish games and those crazy pranks.
As the tempo changes, he goes on to say that not everyone appreciates the true worth of those small, sweet memories and then ends on a deeply moving note by saying,
Milkar roye, fariyaad kare, unn beete dinon ki yaad kare,
Aye kaash kahin mil jaaye koi woh meet puraana bachpan ka
(Come, let's mourn and shed a tear for those days gone by. May be, just may be it might happen that we could come across a lost childhood friend somewhere).
Its film- music at it's emotional best. A triumph of some exceptional talents. As the television channels keep beaming horrific images of countless childhoods cruelly snatched away, I long for my own childhood days- when the world seemed such a simple and nice place to live in.