It is the birthday of Pyarelal Sharma today. I don’t know how old he turns today. The music of Laxmikant-Pyarelal (LP) however refuses to turn old.
I can talk a lot about LP’s music but I’ll reserve that for some other time. One blogpost is not going to be enough for that. What I want to share today is my own memories of Pyarebhai.
My childhood was spent in Dadar. Many people would reckon that Dadar is where Mumbai ends. Anything after that is a suburban affair. So I lived in Dadar for a long time of my life. My apartment was near Kirti College. The peculiar fact of my place of residence was that exactly opposite Kirti College is a building called UMA. Next to UMA is a tenement that is called the AHMED MANSION. It is ironical that tenements in Mumbai are called mansions! Ahmed Mansion is round the curve and next to Ahmed Mansion is AMEYANAND – the apartment block where I lived. Now comes the peculiar twist that destiny loves to give! Snehal Bhatkar, the composer of the famous song by Mubarak Begum, ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yun Hamaari Yaad Aayegi’ lived in UMA. Pyarelalji spent the initial part of his life in AHMED MANSION. And I spent my childhood in AMEYANAND! Three music directors of three different eras living on the same street!
It is my good fortune that I met both the great music directors of the earlier eras. Snehal Bhatkarji I met soon after my college days when I interviewed him for a magazine.
It was my good friend, Ajay Talgeri, who introduced me to Pyarebhai. Even today, on a Sunday, once in a month or two months, all the musicians who played for R. D. Burman get together in the Bhargava music shop and have lunch together. Ajay Talgeri who is a member of this lunch party was kind enough to invite me for this August gathering on one Sunday afternoon. It was one of the memorable afternoons of my life. I was among legends like Pt. Ulhas Bapat, the great keyboardist & accordion player, Kersi Lord, the multitalented Bhupinder Singh! It was a dream!
After the lunch was over we went over to Kersiji’s place in Bandra where Ajay Talgeri persuaded me to play the Marathi Abhimaangeet for Kersiji. I played the song. It was after he heard Maajhya Marathicha Bol that he put his hand in the pocket and drew out a 500 rupee note and handed it to me as a prize. I was overjoyed to receive a prize from a legendary musician who had played the accordion in Roop Tera Mastana or arranged the string section of Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho! It was then decided to pay a visit to Pyarebhai’s Mount Mary residence. I was asked to come along.
You can imagine how my heart must have been beating. Pyarelal of the Laxmikant Pyarelal fame!! And to visit his house!!! I realised this was going to be one of the most memorable days of my life!
When we went to Pyarebhai’s house we were greeted warmly by him and his charming wife. Kersiji and Ajay introduced me to him and asked me to play the Marayhi Abhimaangeet for him. Pyarebhai, most graciously gave his consent and listened to the song with great concentration. After the song was over he patted my back and said – “गाना बड़ा करना तो ख़ैर अलग बात है, लेकिन कमाल की बात ये है कि आपने धुन बड़ी अच्छी बनाई!” “(It is one thing to make a big song, but what is amazing is that you have made a very good tune.”)
Those who know him well shall know what a compliment that is!
His wife very warmly spoke to me in Marathi and said that henceforth she would talk to me only in Marathi!
I told Pyarebhai about how I lived near Kirti College and he was very excited to learn that.
“I still visit my old neighbours there and next time I go there I’ll visit your parents too!” That was the simplicity of the man.
Three to four months later Pyarebhai had come to the sets of the Marathi SAREGAMAPA as a judge. I got a call from a producer friend saying that Rahul Saxena was singing one of my compositions in the episode in the presence of Pyarebhai and would I like to come over and witness the episode. I went gladly. I am giving the relevant clip below.
As I said in the episode of SAREGAMAPA Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music changed with the times but times also changed with LP’s music. From Hasta Hua Noorani Chehra to Choli Ke Peechhe Kya Hai LP’s music saw everything!
On his birthday, I wish Pyarebhai good health and great happiness – happiness multiplied by the happiness his millions of songs has given to billions of his fans!