Gulshan Kumar Mehta aka Gulshan Bawra may not have written as many songs as his contemporaries but he was definitely one of the most versatile lyricists of the 1960s and 1970s. The fact that he won awards for a patriotic song and a friendship song speaks for his range. This is besides many love songs that he wrote.
To mark his 85th birth anniversary on April 12, we choose 10 of his outstanding songs. Interestingly, the first nine feature different male singers, and the last one is a male group song. Bawra passed away in 2009, but his songs make it to radio shows even today. The list is chronological
1. Tumhe Yaad Hoga – Satta Bazaar (1959)
Gulshan Bawra’s first hit was noted for its immaculate singing by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. The song was composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and picturised on Suresh and Vijaya Chaudhury. It began, “Tumhe yaad hoga kabhi hum mile the, mohabbat ki raah mein milke chale the; Bhula do mohabbat mein hum tum mile the, sapna hi samjho ke milke chale the”.
2 Lori Suna Suna Ke – Purnima (1965)
Though the song isn’t very well known, it showed Bawra’s ability to write a lullaby. The song’s theme was that even men could sing ‘loris’, normally considered to be a woman’s forte. Mehmood sang the song and appeared on screen. Kalyanji-Anandji composed the music.
3 Mere Desh Ki Dharti – Upkar (1967)
One of the most popular patriotic songs, it was a huge hit for singer Mahendra Kapoor. Music was by Kalyanji-Anandji and the song was filmed on Manoj Kumar in a farm field. The song had a memorable opening chorus. The opening lines were, “Mere desh ki dharti sona ugley, ugley heere moti, mere desh ki dharti”. Bawra received the Filmfare Award for lyrics.
4 Chandi Ki Deewaar Na Todi – Vishwas (1969)
A classic sung by Mukesh, it began with Bawra’s opening lines, “Chandi ki deewaar na todi, pyaar bhara dil tod diya, ek dhanwan ki beti ne nirdhan ka daaman chhod diya”. Music was by Kalyanji-Anandji, and the song began with a grand piano. Jeetendra and Aparna Sen formed the lead pair.
5 Yaari Hai Imaan Mera – Zanjeer (1973)
One of the ultimate friendship songs, it was sung by Manna Dey and filmed on Pran and Amitabh Bachchan. Music was by Kalyanji-Anandji. The main lines were, “Yaari hai imaan mera yaar meri zindagi, pyaar ho bando se yeh sabse badi hai bandagi”. Bawra got his second Filmfare award for this song.
6 Vaada Karle Saajna – Haath Ki Safai (1974)
In one of the iconic love songs of the 1970s, Bawra wrote, “Vaada karle saajna, tere bin main na rahoon, mere bin tu na rahe, hoke judaa, yeh vaada raha, na honge judaa, yeh vaada raha”. Sung by Mohammed Rafi and Lata, it was composed by Kalyanji-Anandji. Vinod Khanna and Simi Grewal shot it in a backdrop of greenery.
7 Tumko Mere Dil Ne – Rafoo Chakkar (1975)
Shailendra Singh and Kanchan sang for Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh on this love song composed by Kalyanji-Anandji. Bawra wrote, “Tumko mere dil ne pukara bade naaz se, apni awaaz mila do, meri awaaz se”. In complete contrast, the lyricist wrote the fun song ‘Chuk Chuk Chak Chak Bombay Se Baroda Tak’ in the film.
8 Sapna Mera Toot Gaya – Khel Khel Mein (1975)
The film ‘Khel Khel Mein’ had some great songs but this was a very brilliant coordination between lyrics and the situation on screen. Filmed on Aruna Irani and Rakesh Roshan, it was sung by Asha Bhosle and R.D. Burman, who also composed the song. The main lines were, “Sapna mera toot gaya, tu na raha, kuchh na raha”. Burman had earlier sung this in Bengali.
9 Kasme Vaade Nibhayenge Hum – Kasme Vaade (1978)
Another R.D. Burman composition, it was sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata. The song was shot in Pahalgam, Kashmir, with Amitabh and Raakhee in the lead. Bawra wrote, “Kasme vaade nibhayenge hum, milte rahenge janam janam”. The film also had the hit song ‘Aati Rahengi Baharein’.
10 Pyaar Humein Kis Mod Pe – Satte Pe Satta (1982)
A situational but wacky song, it was sung by Kishore, Bhupinder, Sapan Chakraborty, R.D. Burman and Bawra himself, with music by Burman. The cast included Amitabh, Sachin, Shakti Kapoor and Paintal. The main lines were, “Pyaar hamein kis mod pe le aaya, ke dil kare haaye, koi toh bataye kya hoga”.
This list has seven songs by Kalyanji-Anandji and three by R.D. Burman. With the latter, he also had ‘Jeevan Ke Har Mod Par’ from Jhootha Kahin Ka, besides the songs of Agar Tum Na Hote and Sanam Teri Kasam. The collaborations with these music directors yielded glorious results.