Anjaan: ‘Prolific’ and famous lyricist wrote 1500 songs in his career

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By Filmi Khan

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Noted lyricist of Hindi cinema Anjaan, whose original name was Lalji Pandey, but he adapted his pen name ‘Anjaan’ which means ‘unknown.’ He was a highly respected and prolific lyricist in the Hindi film industry. He penned around 1,500 songs for 300 films. He is remembered for tracks from his frequent collaborations with music directors Kalyanji–Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R. D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri. Famous Lyricist of 90’s Sameer is his son.

Anjaan with his son Sameer Anjan
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Anjaan was born on October 28, 1930, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He was named Lalji Pandey at birth. He completed his early education in Varanasi and displayed a deep passion for literature and poetry from a young age. His poetic talents were evident early on, and he started writing poetry in both Hindi and Urdu.

Anjaan’s entry into the film industry was marked by his move to Mumbai (then Bombay) in the 1950s. He initially worked as a journalist and writer, contributing articles to various publications. Anjaan had got his first break with the 1953 Premnath production film ‘Prisoner of Golconda’ where he wrote songs “Lehar Yeh Dole Koyal Bole” and “Shaheedon Amar Hai Tumhari Kahani”.

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After this he wrote several small budget films. His only popular song of that era was “Mat Poonch Mera Hai Mera Kaun Watan” (Lambe Haath) with music by G. S. Kohli, with whom he did films in his initial phase of career. He was first noticed for his work with the Raaj Kumar film Godaan, based on the Premchand classic, with music by Ravi Shankar. Composer Ravi recognized Anjaan’s poetic talents and encouraged him to try his hands in big production films.

Anjaan’s career as a lyricist in the film industry took off in the 1960s, and he went on to write lyrics for numerous hit songs in Hindi films. His ability to craft emotionally resonant and meaningful lyrics set him apart in the industry. During this time, he got an assignment with composer O.P. Nayyar (Aap Ke Haseen Rukh) in Guru dutt’s Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi and G.P. Sippy’s Bandhan song ‘Bina Badraa Ke Bijuriya Kaise Barse’ established him in the industry.

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This was followed by songs in Kalyanji – Anandji’s Kab? Kyon? Aur Kahan? Shankar – Jaikishan’s Umang, Rivaaj and Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari, Ravi’s Vandana (“Aap Ki Inaayat Aap Ke Karam”), R. D. Burman’s Hungama (‘Wah Ri Kismat’, ‘Suraj Se Jo Kiran Ka Naata’ which was the first ever song filmed on Zeenat Aman) and a few other films.

His collaboration with Amitabh Bachchan was at his best with Kalyanji Anandji, beginning with Do Anjaane (“Luk Chhip Luk Chhip Jao Na”) in 1976.

Followed by film Hera Pheri (“Barson Purana Yeh Yaarana”), Khoon Pasina (“Title Song” and “Bani Rahe Jodi Raja Rani Ki”), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (“Rote Hue Aate Hain Sab”, “O Saathi Re”, “Pyar Zindagi Hai”, “Dil To Hai Dil”), Don was biggest hit of his career “Khaike Paan Banaras Wala”, “Ee Hai Bambai Nagariya”, “Jiska Mujhe Tha Intezaar”, Lawaaris “Jiska Koi Nahin”, “Kab Ke Bichhde” and Jaadugar.

He also wrote hits for Bachchan with other music directors like Rajesh Roshan (Do Aur Do Paanch, Yaarana), Bappi Lahiri (Namak Halaal, Sharaabi) and R. D. Burman (Mahaan). His collaboration with Prakash Mehra also yielded hits like Zindagi Ek Juaa, Dalaal and other films like Jwalamukhi, Ghunghroo, Mohabbat Ke Dushman, Muqaddar Ka Faisla, Imaandaar, Chameli Ki Shaadi and Himalay Se Ooncha.

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During 1980s, he wrote for Mithun Chakravarty’s films like Disco Dancer and Dance Dance and struck a gold mine in the films of Bappi Lahiri, Shibu Mitra and B. Subhash. Among his hits with them were the songs of Aandhi Toofan, Ilzaam, Aag Hi Aag, Paap Ki Duniya and Tarzan.

His songs with other music directors like R. D. Burman’s “Yeh Faasle Yeh Duriyan” (Zameen Aasman), “Laagi Lag Jaaye Logon” (Poonam / Anu Malik), “Ganga Mein Dooba” (Apne Rang Hazaar), ‘Meri Saanson Ko Jo’, “Na Jaane Kaise” and “Woh Woh Na Rahe” (Badaltey Rishtey, “Hamrahi Mere Humrahi” (Do Dilon Ki Daastaan), ‘Yashoda Ka Nandlala (Sanjog), ‘Sadiyan Beet Gayi’ (Triveni) and the beautiful songs of film Eeshwar (all these films were with Laxmikant–Pyarelal showing a poetic vein). He worked with young composers like Anu Malik in film Ek Jaan Hain Hum.

Anjan with industry people Picture: Social Media

In early 1990s, he faced health issues but he keeps on writing songs for films, though he delivered hit songs for films, Zindagi Ek Juaa, Dalaal, Ghayal and the 1990s hit song ‘Gori Hain Kalaeyan’ (Aaj Ka Arjun) and his last superhit film was Shola Aur Shabnam (1992). His other films were: Vishnu Devaa, Police Aur Mujrim, Parakrami, Insaaniyat, Fisrt Love Letter, Phool Bane Angaarey, Aandhiyan and many more.

In the 1960s, Anjaan also wrote several non-films songs composed by Shyam Sagar and sung by Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Suman Kalyanpur. Rafi’s song ‘Main Kab Gaata’ was a big hit of that time. Anjaan also wrote for Bhojpuri films with the massive hit Balam Pardesia in the late 1970s. The song ‘Gourki Patarki Re’ became a massive popular and set the stage for many more films.

Notable Songs:

Anjaan’s poetic contributions can be found in a vast array of Hindi songs. Some of his most memorable and popular songs include:

“Pyaar kisi ka gaata hai” (singer: Kishore Kumar)

“Khaike Paan Banaras Waala” – Don (singer: Kishore Kumar)

“Dil To Hai Dil” – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar

“Rote Huye Aate Hain Sab” – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (singer: Kishore Kumar)

“O Saathee Re Tere Bina Bhi Kya Jina” – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (singer: Kishore Kumar)

“Pyaar Zindagi Hai” – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar

“Log Kehte Hain Maein Sharaabi Hoon” – Sharabhi (singer: Kishore Kumar)

“Chhookar Mere Man Ko Kiya Toone Kya Ishaara” – Yaarana (singer: Kishore Kumar)

Anjaan received several awards and honours for his contribution to the field of lyric writing. He was honoured with the prestigious Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist multiple times.

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Anjaan’s lyrics continue to be cherished by music enthusiasts, and his songs have retained their popularity over the years. He was considered a maestro in conveying complex emotions and thoughts through his lyrics. His work has left a lasting impact on the Indian music and film industry, and he is remembered as one of the most prolific and talented lyricists in the history of Indian cinema.

Anjaan’s profound lyrics remain a testament to his enduring legacy, and his contribution to the world of music and poetry continues to be celebrated by fans and artists alike. He passed away on September 3, 1997, but his poetic verses continue to resonate with generations of listeners.

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