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Home / Music / RIP Khayyam: Umrao Jaan, Razia Sultan, Kabhi Kabhie would never be so loved but for him

RIP Khayyam: Umrao Jaan, Razia Sultan, Kabhi Kabhie would never be so loved but for him

Khayyam, the music composer who gave us compositions like Ae Dil-e-Nadaan (Razia Sultan) and popular songs from Umrao Jaan, Trishul, Bazaar, Thodisi Bewafaii and Noorie, is no more.

music Updated: Aug 20, 2019 13:12 IST
Nivedita Mishra
Nivedita Mishra
Hindustan Times
RIP Khayyam: The last of the greats from the annals of Indian film music.
RIP Khayyam: The last of the greats from the annals of Indian film music.(HT Photo)

Mohammad Zahur Khayyam, better known as Khayyam, passed away on Monday, aged 92. With his death, Indian film industry, particularly Bollywood, lost the last of its remaining popular music directors, who were steeped in classical music traditions.

Whatever age you are, chances are you must have heard the lilting melody of Umrao Jaan, songs sung by Asha Bhosle and, perhaps, actor Rekha’s best work. On your way back from office, a late night FM channel may have played Hazaar Rahen Jo Mud Ke Dekhin, sung feelingly by late Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar (Thodisi Bewafaii) and felt a lump in your throat. It is quite possible that listening to Aye Dil-e-Naadan from Razia Sultan (with Hema Malini playing the legendary queen of the Delhi Sultanate) that you felt it reflected your own conflicting emotions. Or perhaps, sitting by yourself on a lazy Sunday afternoon, listening to Jaaneman Tum Kamaal Karte Ho (Trishul), you too have smiled picturing the banter between lovers. You may have heard Mukesh’s soulful voice sing the title track from Kabhi Kabhi and recalled your college sweetheart. All these songs from 1970s and 1980s are a gift to us and have been composed by Khayyam.

Aye Dil-e-Nadaan (Razia Sultan) 

Dil Cheez Kya Hai (Umrao Jaan) 

In that era, when RD Burman (in combination with Anand Bakshi and Gulzar) ruled the roost, Khayyam formed a musical parallel. The talented music composer who debuted as part of a musical duo called Sharmaji Varmaji in 1948, is best remembered for his melodies in 70s and 80s. In this era, he composed some of the most haunting melodies for films like Kabhi Kabhie, Bazaar, Trishul, Thodisi Bewafaii, Razia Sultan, Noorie among others. Khayyam formed a formidable team with lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi.

Dikhayii Diye Yun Ke Bekhud Kii Yaad Hamein (Bazaar )

 Hazaar Rahein Mud Ke Dekhi (Thodisi Bewafaii)

Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi (Phir Subah Hogi) 

Khayyam composed many hit songs in the 1950s too but his output was best in the 70s. Generations from the ’50s and ’60s will fondly remember songs such as Woh Subah Kabhi Toh Aayegi, sung in hopeful pathos by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar. One of his lasting legacies will always be the fact that he gave great importance to poetry. No wonder these songs have survived the test of time. In his lifetime, he used the works of poets such as Mirza Ghalib, Daagh, Wali Saheb, Ali Sardar Jafri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sahir Ludhianvi, and the new ones such as Naqsh Lyallpuri, Nida Fazli, Jan Nisar Akhtar among others. His compositions will always be remembered for being soulful, melodious and emotional.

 Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai (Kabhi Kabhie)

 Jaaneman Tum Kamaal Karti Ho (Trishul)

 Aja Re (Noorie)

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Khayyam’s passing away will create a void in Hindi film music traditions that may never be filled. There will always be popular singers. There will always be great exponents of classical Hindustani/Carnatic music but there may never be ones like Khayyam who could blend the two into a seamless harmony. Such moments of creative ecstasy come only once in a while in the life of a nation.

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