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Rakesh Bakshi On His Legendary Father Anand Bakshi

If  the great bade dinon ke bard  Anand Bakshi had lived, he would have been  91 on 21 July. 

Anand Bakshi ’s son Rakesh Bakshi  remembers his father as  a  man and a poet consumed by his art.

“He would often think  of the  words along with the tune,  which he would share with the  composer. Of course  he contributed to the tunes  . But he  never spoke about it. Nor did any one connected with the creative  process. So why should I? All I can tell you is that in those days  my father and  and the rest  of the music creators worked as a team. There  was  never any question of, Maine  kiyenahin maine kiye. Whatever suggestions my father had to make  for the tunes ,he   did it  unconditionally. The  music composers were free to take his suggestions, or leave them. No  question asked,” says Rakesh as he  remembers his Dad fondly.

The give-and-take  of  creative ideas was  both ways. “My father too was open to suggestions about his  lyrics. Anu Malik told about  a  song from Sohni Mahiwal. He  went to my Dad with the  lines  Sohni meri  sohni  aur nahin koi honi Rabb se zyada  tera naam leta hoon.  Anu  was very excited  by his  poetic flourish.  But my Dad reacted  very coldly .Anu  was  honest enough to tell me that  he felt my Dad was jealous of his brilliant  words.  But  it  wasn’t that. There was  a problem with  protocol:  how could  anyone mention  his beloved’s name  more than  God’s name?  Dad  found a   way  out. His line after Rabb se zyada  tera naam leta  hoon  was Rabb mujhe maaf kare mera insaaf kare.”

Rakesh remembers  his father  as a  strong personality  constantly creative  and  incessantly  enthused.  “He was always  active  creatively. The only time I saw  him helpless  was  when his health began  to fail him. I’ve seen  my father  cry only twice. Once when his daughter  got married and then  again when  he had  to be  taken to the  bathroom by his  son. It broke my heart  to see  him that way.”

It  was  only after  Bakshi Saab’s death that  Rakesh began to understand  the  greatness of his father. “Until then he was just my Dad at home. Only after his death when  I began  to meet people about his  work that  I began to realize his relevance. During his  lifetime  we had  our  normal  share  of  differences and quarrels. After his death I came to terms  with  my differences with him. After  I wrote  the biography Naghmein  Kisse Baatein  Yaadein I showed  it to my elder sister , who is the head  of the family, for  approval. She asked me to edit out one  or two family matters  which she thought  to too personal. Writing this  book helped  me understand  my father  and his greatness.”

Anand Bakshi Saab was a  pragmatic soul.  “If a  producer could afford  to pay him and  didn’t, my father would  stop working with  him.  But if  a producer  couldn’t pay him  and he didn’t, my father  continued  to  work with him  .When I’d ask him about  getting the due money ,my father would say, ‘How can I  go in my car to get  money from  a man who has been forced to sell his car?’ ”

The  interest in  the work  of  Anand Bakshi remains  relentless.

Says  Rakesh, “During the  lockdown I  found  the links to  3,300 of my father’s songs. They are  all on the website  devoted to my father.  Just the other day  a group of  students  from  Subhash Ghai’s school Whistling Woods asked for my help  to  make  a documentary  on my father. Of course I’ll help them. When my father started as  a lyricist in 1958  in the  film Bhala Aadmi –it is   a fallacious  myth that he came to Mumbai to be  a singer—it was Bhagwan Dada  who gave him a   break. It’s  my turn  to   give  back to  the film industry.”

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