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O.P.Nayyar turns 80 years old – Part 1

Article by Mahesh Chakravorty.

Onkar Prasad Nayyar, the rhythm king, turned 80 on 16th Jan. He was one composer who stood out for his distinctive style and instinctive melody. The tiktok sound created by the hooves of horses galloping, introduction to the lifestyle of the poor with the folk music and the lilt of modernity in perfect sync expresses this legend’s distinct and identifiable individualtity. His method and the technique to this date have not been replicated. His art remains unparalleled.

OPN was born in Lahore in 1926. He moved to Patiala and started his journey as an assistant with the All India Radio in Jalandhar. His passion dropped him out of the college and shifted to Mumbai to compose music. He met the producer Krishan Kewal and offered him the scoring background music for Kaneez. HMV the same year released two of his compositions, Pritam Aan Milo and Kaun Nagar Tera Door Tikhana.

Dalsukh Pancholi gave him his first break in the film Aasmaan, as an independent composer. One success after another lead him to grab the legendary Naushad’s place. After successes came failure. But this didnt last long. Guru Dutt’s Aar Paar saved him and gave him a dominant position. Later they worked in Mr and Mrs 55. In the late 50s, his songs from films include Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Miss Coca Cola, Baap Re Baap, C.I.D, Aarpaar, Sone Ki Chidiya, Phagun, Howrah Bridge etc. created sensation with their strong western influence and yet original melodies. Can any one forget the music in Shammi Kapoor’s hit film, Kashmir Ki Kali? The songs Deewana Huva Badal, Ishaaron Ishaaron Mein, Balle Balle and many others are still evergreen numbers.

Nayyar saab ka naam ho, aur Rafi Sahab, Asha Bhonsle ka naam na ho, yeh ho hi nahin sakta. Rafi and Asha, both, as playback singers delivered their best. Rafi poured his heart out with pulsating energy in the songs with rare aplomb and charisma. Asha’s emotional attachment resulted in a strong professional bonding as well. Remember Aayiye Meherbaan and Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera.

Unfortunately Nayyar never worked with Lata Mangeshkar. Had they worked together we would have been introduced to much more of his creative works. Whatever be the reason, fans of both lost an opportunity forever of listening their musical union. By his own admission, he says Lata’s voice didnt suit his style.

more to come…

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