On May 29 2000, Hindi film music lost a gem with the demise of lyricist Yogesh Gaur. In the 1970s, he had some huge hits with music directors Salil Chowdhury, S.D. Burman, Rajesh Roshan and R.D. Burman, though he was never as prolific as his contemporaries.
To mark Yogesh’s second death anniversary, we choose 10 of his most renowned numbers. Some films had two or more great songs, and it was difficult to pinpoint one. The list is chronological.
1 Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye – Anand (1971)
The image of Rajesh Khanna in this song remains etched in one’s memory five decades later. Sung by Mukesh and composed by Salil Da, the opening lines were, “Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye, saanjh ki dulhan badan churaaye, chupke se aaye; Mere khayalon ke aangan mein, koi sapnon ke deep jalaaye, deep jalaaye”. Yogesh also wrote the Manna Dey hit ‘Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli Haaye’.
2 Raaton Ke Saaye Ghane – Annadata (1972)
This masterpiece was sung brilliantly by Lata Mangeshkar and composed by Salil Da. It was filmed on Jaya Bhaduri and Om Prakash. Yogesh wrote the lines, “Raaton ke saaye ghane, jab bojh dil par bane, na toh jale baati, na ho koi saathi, phir bhi na dar agar bujhe diye, sahar toh hai tere liye”. The film also starred Anil Dhawan.
3 Piya Maine Kya Kiya – Us Paar (1974)
Manna Dey’s singing was filled with pathos on this song filmed on Vinod Mehra and Moushumi Chatterjee. Music was by S.D. Burman. Yogesh’s opening lines were, “Mitwa, mitwa, mitwa, piya maine kya kiya, mujhe chhodke jaiyo na”. The film also had Lata’s ‘Tumne Piya Diya Sab Kuch Mujhko’, picturised on a boat.
4 Kai Baar Yun Bhi Dekha Hai – Rajnigandha (1974)
Two Salil Da songs from Rajnigandha stood out. One was the title track, sung by Lata and filmed on Vidya Sinha. The other was ‘Kai Baar Yun Bhi’, picturised in a taxi on Vidya and Dinesh Thakur. Sung by Mukesh, the latter had the lines, “Kai baar yun bhi dekha hai, yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai, man daudne lagta hai; anjaani pyaas ke peeche, anjaani aas ke peeche, man daudne lagta hai”.
5 Badi Sooni Sooni Hai – Mili (1975)
This was another unforgettable moment, with Amitabh Bachchan lip-synching Kishore Kumar’s voice on the lines, “Badi sooni sooni hai, zindagi yeh zindagi; Main khud se hoon yahaan, ajnabee ajnabee”. This was the last track composed by S.D. Burman. The film also had the songs ‘Aaye Tum Yaad Mujhe’ by Kishore and ‘Maine Kaha Phoolon Se’ by Lata.
6 Na Jaane Kyon – Chhoti Si Baat (1976)
The classic lines by Yogesh were, “Na jaane kyon hota hai yeh zindagi ke saath, achanak yeh man, kisike jaane ke baad, kare phir uski yaad, chhoti, chhoti si baat”. Music was by Salil Da and the vocalist was Lata. It was mainly filmed on Vidya Sinha, with Ashok Kumar and Amol Palekar in the side scenes. Yogesh also wrote the hit ‘Jaaneman Jaaneman Tere Do Nayan’.
7 Koi Roko Na – Priyatama (1977)
Rajesh Roshan composed this party favourite sung by Kishore. Yogesh began with the lines, “Koi roko na deewane ko, man machal raha, kuchh gaane ko”. In the film, Rakesh Roshan was shown singing the song with a guitar, and Jeetendra and Neetu Singh played a couple.
8 Na Bole Tum – Baton Baton Mein (1979)
The film Baton Baton Mein had two lyricists in Amit Khanna and Yogesh. The latter wrote ‘Na Bole Tum’, a breezy party number composed by Rajesh Roshan and sung by Asha Bhosle and Amit Kumar. The lines were, “Na bole tum na maine kuch kaha, kaha, magar na jaane aisa kyon laga, laga, ki dhoop mein khila hai chand, din mein raat ho gayee, yeh pyaar ki bina kahe sune hi baat ho gayee”. Amol Palekar and Tina Munim played the lead pair.
9 Rimjhim Gire Saawan – Manzil (1979)
The song had two versions, by Lata and Kishore. While the first showed Amitabh and Moushumi in the Mumbai rains, the second was shot at a function indoors. R.D. Burman composed the music in raag Kirwani. The lyrics were, “Rimjhim gire saawan, sulagh sulagh jaaye man, bheege aaj is mausam mein, lagi kaisi yeh agan”. It remains a regular on rain song playlists.
10 Jab Bhi Koi Kangana Bole – Shaukeen (1981)
The song was used in the opening credits of the film Shaukeen and also in a sequence featuring Ashok Kumar. Sung by Kishore and composed by R.D. Burman, it had the lyrics, “Jab bhi koi kangana bole, paayal chanak jaaye, soyi soyi dil ki dhadkan, sulagh sulagh jaaye, karoon jatan laakh magar, man machal machal jaaye, machal machal jaaye”.
After Shaukeen, Yogesh chose very few films, as he wasn’t happy with the subjects. The releases were sporadic till the early 2000s, though he made a comeback after 15 years with Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain in 2018. His earlier hits are, of course, hummed even today.