Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Maine socha thha agar maut se pehle pehle

Posted on: March 24, 2013

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog.

If I were to ask the question ‘what was the common between Shailendra, Jaan Nisar Akhtar and Nyay Sharma’, the obvious answer is that they were lyricists for Hindi film songs during the golden era of Hindi film music. There is one more commonality between them. All of them tried their hands in producing a Hindi film in the 1960s which resulted in great financial strains on them from which they did not fully recover. In fact, after the release of their films, their careers as lyricist was on the downhill and in case of Shailendra, it ended with his untimely death.

Shailendra produced the film ‘Teesri Kasam’ (1966). Though the film won the National Award, its box office failure put a lot of financial strain and stress on him which ultimately resulted in his untimely death. Jaan Nisar Akhtar produced ‘Bahu Begum’ (1967) which failed at the box office. Though he continued to write lyrics for a few Hindi films, he devoted much of his time in undertaking collations of Urdu poetry during the last 300 years – a work given to him by Government of India.

In both the cases discussed above, the financial strains they faced were mainly on account of the failure of the films at the box office. In the case of Nyay Sharma, it was a bizarre incidence while making of the film ‘Kinaare Kinaare’ (1963) that ultimately resulted in film getting delayed by more than 6 years. During the making of this film, the main cameraman of his film died in mysterious circumstances resulting in a police case. The film’s shooting was stopped indefinitely, losing the dates of the films main actors. This resulted in heavy financial losses to Nyay Sharma. At one point of time, he was thinking of shelving the film. However, Dev Anand, the main actor in the film arranged the finance for the film and shooting commenced. That it took nearly 6 years to complete the film ( Story about the film’s delay, courtesy Arunkumar Deshmukh’s comments here ). During this period, there was a sea change in the Hindi film industry. Colour films replaced the black and white films. Younger heroines joined the film industry. The genre of film songs changed with the entry of new music directors. In this milieu ‘Kinaare Kinnare’ (1963) did not fit into the tastes of most cinegoers. The film failed miserably at the box office. With this, the filmy career of Nyay Sharma as a producer, story writer and lyricist virtually ended.

Nyay Sharma was associated with 5 Hindi films. He started his filmy career as a lyricist in the film ‘Mandir’ (1948). His next film was ‘Anajali’ (1957) for which he wrote the story apart from writing lyrics. This was followed by ‘Kinaare Kinaare’ (1963), ‘Sunhere Kadam’ (1966) and ‘Hamaare Gham Se Mat Khelo’ (1967). His poetry in all these films was of high calibre. Most of his lyrics in these films reflected pathos and sadness. A fine example of his high class poetry in this genre can be found in almost all songs from his film ‘Kinaare Kinaare’ (1963).

Nyay Sharma also wrote some non-filmy ghazals and nazms which were mostly composed by Jaidev. Recently, I came across one of his non-filmy nazms which has been written in an unconventional style – more like a poetry for recital than the lyrics for a song. The nazm is ‘maine sochaa thha agar maut se pehle pehle’ (C.1960) sung by Mohammed Rafi. In a couple of uploads on YT, Khaiyyam has been credited for the composition of this song while in some other uploads, Babul has been credited with it. Mohammed Rafi’s excel sheet on the website mentions the name of the composer as Babul. For the time being, I take Babul as the composer of this song. I guess, this NFS was recorded between the late 50s and early 60s.

After listening it for the first time, I got goose bumps. It was only after listening to the nazm many times that I could rationally think of as to what could have driven Nyay Sharma to write this intense poignant nazm – a poem more of despairs and less of hopes. Perhaps the background to the creation of this nazm could be the worst experiences of his life he faced while making the film ‘Kinaare Kinaare’ (1963). In this nazm, there is no repeat of refrain from the mukhda and other lines of the song except the last one ‘phir bhi ummeedon ko pal bhar ke liye jeene do’ ( let there be a few moments of hopes).

But this high class poetry would not have created so much of an impact if one had only read it as a poem. Mohammed Rafi effectively brought out the pathos in the poem by his slow and restrained rendition.

Song-Maine socha thha agar maut se pehle pehle (Rafi NFS)(1960) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Nyay Sharma, MD-Babul


maine sochaa thhaa agar maut se pehle pehle
maine sochaa thhaa agar duniyaa ke veeraanon mein
maine sochaa thhaa agar hasti ki shamshaanon mein
kisi insaan ko bas ek bhi insaan ki gar
sachchi belaag mohabbat kahin ho jaaye naseeb
wahi saahil jo bahut door nazar aataa hai
khud ba-khud khinchtaa chalaa aataa hai kashti ke qareeb
maine sochaa thhaa yoon hi dil ke kanwal khiltey hain
maine sochaa thhaa yoon hi sabr-o-sukoon miltey hain
maine sochaa thhaa yoon hi zakhm-e-jigar silte hain

sochne hi se muraaden to nahin mil jaatin
aisaa hotaa to har ek dil ki tamannaa khilti
koshishen laakh sahi baat nahin banti hai
aisaa hotaa to har ek raahi ko manzil milti
maine sochaa thaa ke insaan ki qismat aksar
phoot jaati hai bikharti hai sambhal jaati hai
apsaraa chaand ki badli se nikal jaati hai
par mere waqt ki gardish kaa to kuchh ant nahin
khushk dharti bhi to manjhdhaar bani jaati hai
kyaa muqaddar se shikaayat kyaa zamaane se gilaa
khud meri saans hi talwaar bani jaati hai

phir bhi sochtaa hoon
raat ki syaahi mein taaron ke diye jalten hain
khoon jab rotaa hai dil geet tabhi dhalten hain
jinko jeenaa hai wo marne se nahin darten hain
iss liye
meraa pyaalaa hai jo khaali to ye khaali hi sahi
mujhko honthon se lagaane do yoon hi peene do
zindagi meri har ek mod pe naakaam sahi
phir bhi ummeedon ko pal bhar ke liye jeene do
phir bhi ummeedon ko pal bhar ke liye jeene do

5 Responses to "Maine socha thha agar maut se pehle pehle"

Babul with Bipin gave us so many gems. The duo happen to be my fav duo.


This NFS has nice words,rafi’s magic,but I remember one E.P.record which was released by hmv.similar type of singing by BABUL and TABASUM,with shero shaayree in between two’s title was MERE MEHBOOB,i m not sure.BABUL’S voice was very heavy with bass.Anybody can guess ?


Not sure if it was Nyaya Sharma or Narendra Sharma for Mandir (48).


You may be right. As per and, Pandit Narendra Sharma was associated with Mandir (1948) as a lyricist.


He also may have written for an unreleased movie, Peele Parbat Kaale Chor, so he would be still associated with 5 movies.


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