The boy must have been hardly seven years of age while his elder brother had enrolled him in classical music classes. The music teacher was stringent when it came to learning of music. One day this young boy made a mistake while taking classes from his music teacher. The teacher got wild and angry and this young boy got a beating in return from his teacher. The boy was very young but he was very bold and courageous. He stopped his music teacher from beating him and said upfront, “Mein Yahan Sangeet Sikhne Ke Liye Aya Hoon . . . Tumhara Maar Khane Ke Liye Nahin”. A post saying this he walked away and that was the last association he ever had with this music teacher. The boy who even at this young age had the audacity to say such a statement upfront to his music teacher was none other than the legendary music director and composer Omkar Prasad Nayyar –
The Rhythm King Late Shri O P Nayyar.
O P Nayyar Saab was the same boy who later went way ahead in life and with no formal training in music gave some hit numbers like, “Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar Laga Teere Nazar”, “Kajra Mohabbat Wala“, “Babu Ji Dheere Chalna”, “Yun Tho Humne Lakh Haseen Dekhe Hai Tumsa Nahin Dekha”, “Ek Pardesi Mera Dil Le Gaya, Jaate Jaate Meetha Meetha Gham De Gaya” and many more. Late Shri O P Nayyar Saab always lived the life on his own terms and conditions and never under anyone’s will or domination. Today, many of Nayyar Saab songs have been heard being played as remix and this by itself is a vindication that proves O P Nayyar Saab’s creativity than as an eminent music director.
The Early Days
Finally in the month of November (1947) O P Nayyar Saab left his birth town Lahore, Pakistan and relocated to Amritsar. Not many might be aware that Nayyar Saab had a very troubled childhood. He was always having some or the other health issues so be it blood dysentery, three consecutive typhoids or be it bitten by a mad dog. He had very strong parents who would not support or encourage him for the rewards and recognition he got while in school or college. It was then in his early days that O P Nayyar Saab decided that, “I will be somebody in my life someday”.
Today the world remembers this gentleman as The Rhythm King – Late Shri. O P Nayyar. Sometimes this will power and determination is required that takes an individual to exalted heights. If there has been any movie till date where the poster features not the hero neither the heroine but just picture of the movie’s music director then it had to be O P Nayyar Saab and the name of the movie was “Mujrim” (1958). Early days while Nayyar Saab was taking music classes he used to initially commute by cycle but later he started traveling by Horse (Ghoda Gadi) no doubt this early influence became his signature style (horse gallop) which became well known for his peppy numbers that went into his musical compositions. Early days Nayyar Saab did not get much respect within the industry but once he became the symbol of fame that’s when he gave it back. Tit for Tat is the fair attitude. For those who were arrogant to him, he gave it back to them with a tinge of arrogance only.
O P Nayyar Saab was well known for his aristocratic taste. When it was water it had to be “Bisleri”. He used to order the boxes of water at home much in advance. The silk lungi would be from Kalaniketan Stores located at Charni Road, Shoes would be made from the shop behind Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai. Attar would be always of high cost and quality and immaculately starched shirts. O P Nayyar Saab used to watch lots of English movies. Actors like Gary Cooper and Humphrey Bogart were his favorites. No doubt these two individuals influenced Nayyar Saab so much that wearing flat black hat became his signature style years ahead in his life.
The movie “Aasmaan” (1952) set the stage for Nayyar Saab as music director. This was later followed by two more movies namely “Chham Chhama Chham” (1952) and “Baaz” (1953) but success for him was still a distant dream. Now, whether to be a successful singer or a successful music director was the big question that was pondering in the mind of O P Nayyar Ji. Finally, one big success Guru Dutt’s movie “Aar Paar” (1954) that set the musical stage on fire and Nayyar Saab’s music became a rage amongst the music lovers who thronged to the theaters to full capacity to enjoy the toe-tapping numbers from the movie “Aar Paar”. So be it, “Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar”, “Sun Sun Sun Sun Zaalima”, “Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa”, “Babuji Dheere Chalna”, “Ye Lo Main Haari Piya” and many more. It was Late Shri O P Nayyar Saab who was amongst the first Hindi music director to receive Rupees One Lakh as his remuneration for his compositions for one movie. One lakh as compensation then in the 1950’s was indeed a very substantial sum of money to be given to any music director. Amongst the singers O P Nayyar Saab worked with many legends these includes Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt, Asha Ji, Rafi Saab, Kishore Da, Mahendra Kapoor and Mukesh to name a few. Amongst the lyricist, it had to be Sahir Ludhianvi and Majrooh Sultanpuri. O P Nayyar Saab never worked with Lata Didi. It was Mr. Sebastian D’Souza was the music arranger for O P Nayyar Saab. He was his dear friend right from his Lahore days. In one of the hotels in Lahore, Mr. Sebastian used to conduct bands out there. Nayyar Saab used to always tell him, “Dekh Sebi Ek Din Mein Conduct Karoonga Aur Tum Mere Assistant Honge”. These words of Nayyar Saab really turned true with the passage of time.
O P Nayyar Saab was well known within the industry as an individual who gives precision to details. One day there was a recording scheduled at “Bombay Labs” for the movie “Love and Murder” (1966). O P Nayyar Saab was all set along with his set of musicians to start the recording. The whole crew was just waiting for Rafi Saab to come and start the recording. Rafi Saab got late by an hour as he got delayed in his recording with Shankar Jaikishan Ji. When Nayyar Saab learned about this truth from Rafi Saab once he reached the recording venue he got wild. Nayyar Saab immediately paid the recording studio and other charges worth rupees twelve thousand and called for pack up. Due to some other music director, my work gets delayed was something not much appreciated by Nayyar Saab. If the date was decided many days ago and in advance then how come Rafi Saab could not stick to his commitment is what Nayyar Saab objected then. O P Nayyar Saab held the reputation for being upfront in his speech.
One day post dinner Nayyar Saab before washing his hands he kept his gold ring in his pocket the Kurta that he was wearing. The kurta went for washing but this ring was not to be found anywhere. The new servant was kept at home then. Nayyar Saab insisted on finding the where about of this new servant and where she stayed. The new servant was questioned but she admitted that she has nothing to do with this stolen ring. Finally, the ring was found inside the Kurta’s pocket while it was kept for drying. O P Nayyar was the first to apologize to this new servant. He said, “Mein Galat Socha”. He never ever used that ring in his life, on the contrary, he gifted this ring to that new servant. Such was the humility of O P Nayyar Saab.
Post calling halt from the film industry O P Nayyar Saab switched to being an authority in the field of homeopathy and was well versed as an astrologer reading charts and giving startling predictions. Might be this is something he might have read in his charts too that made him call a halt from the world of music.
Thank you, O P Nayyar Saab for giving some notable hits – Chal Akela Chal Akela, Jaiye Aap Kahan Jayenge, Ye Nazar Laut Ke Phir Aayegi, Bhaut Shukriya Badi Meherbaani and many more. Salute to this legend The Rhythm King Late Shri O P Nayyar Ji.
Main Image Courtesy- thequint.com
Niilesh A Raje is an independent writer who has contributed this piece. Niilesh firmly believes in making writing as one’s habit and expressing views as very important. With words as our tools of thought, Niilesh feels one should keep the channel of communication open by reaching the minds of our readers.
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