Khayyam makes a comeback with Yatra
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Khayyam makes a comeback with Yatra

He is 80 now but still has the energy to compete with the young and fresh in his own style. The legendary Khayyam, music director of the original Umrao Jaan speaks to Diganta Guha about his forthcoming film, Yatra.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2006 18:25 IST

He is 80 now but still has the energy to compete with the young and fresh in his own style. We are talking about veteran music director Khayyam who makes a comeback with Goutam Ghose’s forthcoming Yatra (starring Rekha and Nana Patekar in the lead). In fact, Ghose is the co-music director in the film, whose music was released on October 30.

And what a co-incidence — Khayyam is back at a time when the remake of Umrao Jaan is set to release on November 3. It was he who scored the music for the original Umrao Jaan (1981) directed by Muzaffar Ali and his compositions, especially "Dil cheez kya hai" and "In aankhon ki masti"are still a rage.

What does he think about Anu Malik’s compositions for the new Umrao Jaan? “Mere liye comment karna thik nahinhoga (It will not be right on my part to comment). It is left to the audience to judge,” is what he says. In fact he hasn’t quite heard the songs — “I have just seen the promos of the film,” says Khayyam, whose last film was Ek Naya Rishta was released in 1988.

Rekha in a still from the 80s classic Umrao Jaan. 



also stars Rekha in the role of a courtesan. “It was on Rekha


’s request that I was approached by the director and producer and full credit goes to her. She realised that the subject suited my style of music,” says the veteran music director, adding that only Rekha could have done justice to the role.

Umrao Jaan

also gave Asha Bhosle a new identity. “I gave Asha


’s voice a new direction. Prior to

Umrao Jaan

, her voice was more suited to Western songs. In

Umrao Jaan

, people noticed the change in her style.”

Khayyam may not want to comment on Anu Malik’s music, but he subtly makes it clear that the original score is unique because of “the team work involving Muzaffar Ali, Rekha, Asha Bhosle and myself.” He also gives the credit of the success of

Umrao Jaan’s

soundtrack “that exuded national integration with an


featuring both Om and Allah” to the rich tradition of Indian classical music.

“The music tells the story. If it isn’t up to the mark, the whole film can be affected,” says Khayyam who is also scoring music for Ajay Mehra’s

Banaras — 1918,

a love story based on Munshi Premchand’s novel


and Krishnakant Pandya’s

Main Phir Aaonga

based on a true story.

The music of


, Khayyam says, is another feather in his cap. The Asha-Rekha-Khayyam combination returns with numbers like "Jaam-e-mohabbat" and "Madhur madhur". The lyrics by Ahmed Wasi are very refreshing, says the music director, who also enjoyed working with contemporary singers like Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik.

“One step ahead,” is how he describes his music for the three comeback films. We look forward to it.

First Published: Oct 30, 2006 17:43 IST