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

Isko bhi apnaata chal usko bhi apnaata chal

Posted on: July 20, 2018

This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in If this article appears in sites like and etc then it is piracy of the copyright content of and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day : 3654 Post No. : 14511

ruke nahin koi yahaan naami ho ki anaam
koi jaaye subah ko koi jaaye shaam

— Gopal Das Saxena ‘Neeraj’

With the passing away of Gopal Das Saxena ‘Neeraj’ in the evening of July 19, 2018, the country has lost the last doyen of the progressive school of Hindi poetry. And with this, we have lost another ‘Sahir Ludhianvi’ of Hindi film songs. His association with Hindi film industry especially during 1970-75 had taken the Hindi film music to a new height. I would say that Neeraj has elongated the golden period of Hindi film music.

At a time when Hindi poetry were majorly influenced by ‘Chhaayawadi’ (Romanticism) poets like Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Niraala’ and Mahadevi Verma, it was first Harivansh Rai Bachchan followed by Neeraj who departed from the genre of Chhaayawad poetry and started writing in a language understandable to the common man encompassing all the facades of human life. Neeraj was always a people’s poet.

I first became aware of Neeraj as a poet when I was in 9th standard. Our Hindi teacher spoke about him in the context of one of his poems in our syllabus. I do not remember now as to which was the poem. But I distinctly remember to have heard our teacher saying that he was one of the emerging Hindi poets of post-chhaayawad period. After having moulded with the poems of chaayawadi poets during our early high school days, I personally found Neeraj’s poems at that time a bit ordinary as compared with poems of chhaayawadi poets.

In my early college days (first year and intermediate), I came to know more about Neeraj thanks to our Hindi lecturer who was an admirer of his poems. Although I had heard on radio the popular songs from ‘Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal’ (1965), it was from our Hindi lecturer I came to know that these popular songs were written by none other than Neeraj. At that time, I was not deep into the lyrics of the Hindi film songs. My reaction to this news was one of the surprises – how a Hindi poet could downgrade himself as a lyricist!

It took me another 5 years to appreciate the work of Neeraj as a lyricist by which time I was majorly engrossed in Hindi film music. His popular songs like kaarwaan guzar gaya gubaar dekhte rahe, dekhti hi raho aaj darpan na tum, wo ham na thhe wo tum na thhe made me to go through the lyrics afresh. All these songs looked more poetic than the lyrics which we were used to listen. Yet they were simple to understand.

By now, I had become an ardent admirer of Neeraj. There was a time in the early 70s, when I used to watch films which had Neeraj as lyricist.I recall a few films like ‘Prem Pujari’ (1970), ‘Pehchaan’ (1970), ‘Sharmilee’ (1971), ‘Gambler’ (1971), ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1971) etc which I saw in the theatres. I realised that here was a poet who used imageries and metaphors in a novel way to add freshness to the songs. Examples: Shokhiyon mein gholaa jaye phoolon ka shabaab, phoolon ke rang se dil ki kalam se, bas yahi apraadh main har baar karta hoon, khilte hain gul yahaan khil ke bikharne ko, megha chhaaye aadhi raat, jeewan ki bagiya mahkegi, dil aaj shaayar hai gham aaj naghma hai.

After my retirement in 2006, I started reading Neeraj’s non-filmy poetic works and appreciating his poetry. He was really a people’s poet. I can now say that just as popularity of ‘Madhushala’ written by Harivash Rai Bachchan had put his other higher literary works in the background, the popularity of ‘kharwaan guzar gaya gubaar dekhte rahen’ and other hindi film songs of Neeraj have relegated into background. With his more than 5 decades of poetic work, the article would become too long. So I will confine myself mostly to Neeraj’s filmy career in this article.

Gopaldas Neeraj was born on January 4, 1925 in the Purwali village of Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. At the age of 6, his father passed away. He was sent to his aunt’s house in Etawah for schooling. However, due to the precarious financial condition, Neeraj had to discontinue his studies after 10th standard did some odd jobs at Etawah and later in Delhi in the 1940s to earn for the family. While working, he completed his graduation and in 1953, he passed MA in Hindi literature with first class. He was associated with Dharma Samaj College, Aligarh as Lecturer and retired as a Professor of Hindi literature from the same college.

Neeraj’s inspiration for writing Hindi poems came from a collection of poems titled ‘Nisha Nimantran’ (Invitation to Night) written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan which he had read when he was in 9th class. Thereafter, he started writing poems and attended Kavi Sammelan in which among others, Harivansh Rai Bachchan was the main attractions. By 1960, Neeraj had become one of the most sought after poets for Kavi Sammelan held all over India.

Sometime in 1960, Neeraj visited Bombay (Mumbai) to recite his poems in a Kavi Sammelan. Music director Roshan was one of those from the film industry who was impressed by his poems. Roshan offered him to write lyrics for the film ‘Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal’ (1965) which Neeraj politely declined stating that he could not leave his job. He however suggested to Roshan that if found suitable, he could select a few of his published poems for the films. So, most of the songs from the film was based on Neeraj’s published poems.

Chandrashekhar, who was producing and directing his maiden film ‘Cha Cha Cha’ (1964) wanted Neeraj to write lyrics for the film. Neeraj obliged him by writing two songs for the film – ‘wo hum na thhe wo tum na thhe’ and ‘subha na aayi shaam na aayi’ which became very popular. He also wrote songs for films like ‘Sati Naari’ (1965), ‘Tu Hi Meri Zindagi’ (1965), Majli Didi’ (1967), Kanyadaan’ (1968) etc. But uptil now, Neeraj had done the song writing as a part time work without leaving his full time job as Lecturer in Dharma Samaj College, Aligarh.

Sometime in early 1960s, Dev Anand had met Neeraj at a mushiara in Mumbai. At that time, Dev Anand had told him that he liked the language in his poems and hope to work with him some day.

One day, Neeraj saw an advertisement of the announcement of the film ‘Prem Pujari’ (1971) in which he saw the name of Dev Anand as director and S D Burman as music director. However, there was no name of song writer. So Neeraj wrote to Dev Anand recalling his conversation at the mushiara in Mumbai and offered to write songs for the film. Within a week, Neeraj got a hand written reply from Dev Anand requesting him to come to Mumbai and meet S D Burman, the music director. In an interview which appeared in May 21, 2015 issue of ‘The Hindu’, Neeraj revealed:

He put me in luxurious hotel in Santa Cruz and paid me Rs.1000 even before signing me. Next day, he took me to S.D. Burman, who showed apprehensions about a poet’s ability to write to tunes and a given situation. Dev Anand said that he should not worry. He should give the tune and if Neeraj failed, he would remain his guest for six days and enjoy Bombay. Burman Da gave me a tune and said the song should start with ‘Rangeela Re’ and it is about a girl who sees her beloved coming to a party with another girl. It should have elements of frustration in love, jealousy and satire. I worked the whole night and came up with ‘rangeela re tere rang mein youn ranga hai mera mann’.

Next day, he went to Dev Anand’s office and showed what he had written. After reading it, he embraced Neeraj and exclaimed how he could do it in one night. He immediately took me to Burman Da’s home and proudly presented me to him and said: See, I told you, Neeraj has done it. When Burman Da listened to it, he said ‘Dev you go now. We will sit together. After Dev Anand left, Burman Da admitted that he gave me this complex situation to make me give up. After that, we three began to bond. …… I wrote my best songs for him and the biggest royalty I get is from the songs that I wrote for Dev Anand, adding that he never signed a contract with him.

After the success of his songs in ‘Prem Pujaari’ (1970), Neeraj left his job at Dharma Samaj College, Aligarh and shifted his base to Mumbai to become a full time lyricist in Mumbai film industry. The success of his songs in films like ‘Pehchan’ (1970), ‘Sharmilee’ (1971), ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1971), ‘Gambler’ (1971) etc gave further boost to his career.

During his active career (1970-75) in Hindi film industry, Neeraj mainly worked with S D Burman and Shankar-Jaikishan with whom he had developed good rapport. With the death of Jai Kishan in 1971 and S D Burman in 1975 Neeraj, on record, considered himself as an unlucky poet in Hindi film industry. Sometime after the death of S D Burman, Neeraj bid adieu to Hindi film industry and rejoined as Professor of Hindi literature in Dharma Samaj College, Aligarh. My own gut feeling says that being a sensitive poet, Neeraj may have felt uncomfortable to work with new music directors with whom he might have creative differences.

Neeraj did occasionally write lyrics for some films by sitting at Aligarh in post-1975 period. The last film for which he wrote songs was ‘Chargesheet’ (2011) which happened to be the last film produced and directed by Dev Anand.

As our homage to Neeraj, I have selected a lesser known song from the film ‘Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal’ (1965) which seems to have become a ‘back-bencher’by his other popular songs from the film. The song is ‘isko bhi apnaata chal’ sung by Mohmmed Rafi and composed by Roshan. The scene in the film is that of Kavi Sammelan where poets are reciting their poems. But the hero Rajeev recites his poem by singing.

The song is of nearly 6 minutes’ duration in the audio clip. However, in the film, it is reduced to about 3 minutes duration by skipping two antaras of the song.

Video Clip:

Audio Clip:

Song-Isko bhi apnaata chal usko bhi apnaata chal(Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal)(1965) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Neeraj, MD-Roshan

Lyrics(Based on audio)

hmm hmm hmm
hmm hmm
isko bhi apnaata chal
usko bhi apnaata chal
raahi hain sab ek dagar ke
sab par pyaar lutaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal

idhar kafan tak nahin laash par
udhar numaayish resham ki
yahaan swayamvar kare chaandni
wahaan na raat kate gham ki
dharti kankad patthar maare
ambar ugle angaare
koi poochhe baat na is bagiya mein dukhiyaa shabnam ki
sukh ki umr badhaata chal
dukh ko kafan odhaata chal
miley jahaan bhi mahal usey
kutiya ke paas bulaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal

bikaa biki sab oar machi hai
aane au do aanon par
asmat bikey doraahon par to
pyaar bikey dukaanon par
dagar dagar par mandir masjid
qadam qadam par gurudwaare
bhagwaanon ki basti mein hai
zulm bahut insaanon par
khidki har khulwaata chal
saankal har katwaata chal
is par bhi raushni na ho to
dil kaa diyaa jalaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal
usko bhi apnaata chal
raahi hain sab ek dagar ke
sab par pyaar lutaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal

hriday hriday ke beech khaaiyaan
lahu bichhaa maidaanon mein
ghoom rahe hain yuddh sadak par
shaanti chhipi shamshaanon mein
zanjeeren kat gayin magar
aazaad nahin insaan abhi
duniya bhar ki khushi qaid hai
chaandi jade makaanon mein
tat tat raas rachaataa chal
panghat panghat gaataa chal
pyaasaa hai har praan nayan kaa
gangaa-jal chhalkaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal

nayan nayan tarsen sapnon ko
aanchal tarsen phoolon ko
aangan tarsen tyohaaron ko
galiyaan tarsen jhoolon ko
kisi honth par baje na bansi
kisi haath mein been nahin
umar samadar ki de daali
kis ne chand baboolon ko
soyi kiran jagaata chal
roothi subahen manaata chal
pyaar naqaabon mein na band ho
har ghoonghat khulwaata chal
isko bhi apnaata chal
usko bhi apnaata chal


3 Responses to "Isko bhi apnaata chal usko bhi apnaata chal"

” raahi hain sab ek dagar ke
sab par pyaar lutaata chal…

– Our respects and tributes to Late Shri. Neeraj ji …!!!

Yesterday when i got to know this through whatsapp messages it was very sad to know about Neeraj ji’s sad demise. ( But I think he was hospitalized and undergoing treatment since months now.)
I had his books of poetry in my collection and I liked his poetry very much, other than the known songs written by him for Hindi movies.

Thanks for this heartfelt post and tribute Sir.
Thanks again for this song and this detailed write up.

Excellent song, and excellent post, Sadanandji.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Neeraj ji’s lyrics and poetry.
Am very happy to see this heartfelt tribute to him.

what a wonderful article on NEERAJ. Salute Sadanandji.

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