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Sunday, April 24, 2016

OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE - The Legendary Raja Mehdi Ali Khan


The poet, writer and lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan was born in Karmabad in undivided India. This township got its name from his zamindar grandfather. Raja Mehdi’s early tutoring was under his mother Hebay Saheba soon after he had lost his father at the age of 4. Later on, their family friend, the famous poet Dr. Allama Iqbal became his mentor/tutor. Dr. Iqbal has acknowledged Hebay Saheba as a leading Urdu poet. Probably his association with Dr. Iqbal had initiated the poetic creativity in Raja Mehdi. In the early forties while working at All India Radio, Delhi, Raja Mehdi got a call from his friend Sadat Hasan Monto, the noted Urdu writer, who had joined Hindi films. Raja started as a dialogue writer and did a role in Ashok Kumar’s 8 Day’s but writing dialogues and acting was not for him. Raja Mehdi Ali Khan was a close friend of great Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto. He wrote a character sketch of him namely “Main, Manto, Kaali Shalwar Aur Dhuwan”. He also wrote a poem in his memory “Jannat Se Manto Ka Ek Khat”.

 S. Mukherji of Filmistan Studio gave Raja Mehdi the poet a chance to write lyrics in his film ‘Do Bhai’ (1946). Songs like ‘Mera Sunder Sapna Beet Gaya’ and ‘Yaad Karoge Ek Din Humko Yaad Karoge’ from this film, composed by S D Burman, became instant hits. In 1947, in spite of communal riots, Raja Mehdi and his wife Tahira took the decision of staying in India rather than migrating to the newly formed Pakistan. In 1948, he wrote songs for 4 movies – “Actress”, “Shaheed”, “Vidya” and “Ziddi”. His patriotism manifested in his songs ‘Watan Ki Raah Mein’ and ‘Todi Todi Bachay’ from the Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal starrer ‘Shaheed’. Songs from “Ziddi” were also liked by the people. Raja Mehdi’s association with Madan Mohan started with ‘Aankhen’ (1950). After this, he formed an immortal team with Madan Mohan. “Ada”, “Madhosh”, “Jagir”, ‘Anpadh’, “Aap Ki Parchayiyaan”, ‘Mera Saaya’, ‘Who Kaun Thi’, Neela Akash’, “Dulhan Ek Raat Ki’, “Jab Yaad Kisi Ki Aati Hai” and ‘Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah’ were some outstanding films where this duo worked together. Raja Mehdi Ali Khan was probably the first lyricist to introduce ‘Aap‘ in film songs. ‘Aap Ki Nazron Ne’ (Anpadh), ‘Aap Kyon Roye’ (Woh Kaun Thi?), ‘Aap Ne Apna Banaya’ (Dulhan Ek Raat Ki) are some examples. Incidentally, his song ‘Lag Ja Gale’ from the film ‘Woh Kaun Thi?’ is in the list of Lata Mangeshkar’s Top 10 favourite songs and was one amongst the top ten all time favorites in film history to be ‘retired’ from Antakshri on Zee TV. Raja Mehdi had also been associated with music composers like Khemchand Prakash, Bulo C Rani (Baghdad), S N Tripathi (Hatimtai, Paristaan), Shyam Sunder, Gulam Hyder, S D Burman, Ravi, Roshan, etc to name some. He has given some wonderful songs with C. Ramchandra (Mere piya gaye Rangoon), O.P. Nayyar (Main Pyar Ka Rahi Hoon) and Laxmikant Pyarelal (for Anita and Jaal).

Raja Mehdi also worked with some lesser known composers like Basant Prakash (Nishan Danka), Iqbal Qureshi, Babul, S. Mohinder (Bekhabar, Paapi), Chic Chocolate (Rangoli), Rono Deb Mukerjhi (Tu Hi Meri Zindagi), Jimmy (Shrimatiji), N Datta (Bhai Bahen), Nissar Bazmi (Khoj), Dhoomi Khan (Naqabposh), S Haridarshan (Shahi Bazaar), Robin Bannerjee (Masoom), etc. Raja Mehdi Ali Khan had a great sense of humour, which is clearly reflected in his comic songs like, ‘Hum Se Nain Milana BA Pass Kar Ke, Hum Se Preet Lagana BA Pass Kar Ke, BA Nahin Hoon Lekin Mein Hun Ishk Mein MA Pass” From ‘Aankhen’ (1950) was a hilarious duet sung by Mukesh and Shamshad Begum. Another comic song that he wrote for ‘Anpadh’ (1962), ‘Sikandar Ne Porus Se Ki Thi Ladayee, Jo Ki Thi Ladayee, To Mein Kya Karoon’ was rib-tickling. Of course, that naughtily romantic and comically teasing song ‘Jhumka Gira Re Bareli Ke Bazaar Mein’ in ‘Mera Saaya’ is an all time favourite of film music buffs. This was as far as Raja Mehdi’s career was destined. He breathed his last on July 29 1966 leaving behind a treasure of songs that are still cherished by all lovers of poetry in film songs.His surviving peers remember him for his great poetry, his criticism and love for food. In a TV interview, the late actor Mehmood recalled how he worked as Raja Mehdi’s chauffeur during his youth. Raja Mehdi’s poems and short stories regularly appear in Urdu magazines like ‘Beesween Sadi’, ‘Shama Bano’ and ‘Khilona’. He is survived by a wealth of songs and Urdu ‘Diwans’ like ‘Andaaz-E-Bayaan Aur’ and ‘Mizraab’. He lived like the Raja of good poetry till the end. He brought good poetry to Hindi songs when they were facing times when they were just considered as a pastime. He refused to compromise when it came to poetry. He could have been known as one of the greatest lyricist of Hindi films but preferred to live as a Raja of his own world, his own kingdom which no ‘enemy’ could even try to plunder or take away from him. A Raja like this Raja rules once in many decades and his rule is remembered for all time.

Credit and Source :- https://satyajitrajurkar.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/the-legendary-raja-mehdi-ali-khan-my-tribute-to-unsung-heroes-of-indian-cinema-part-1/

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