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Anand Bakhshi where it all began...

By Shiraz Hassan 2014-08-24
ot many are aware that the iconic lyricist, Anand Bakhshi, was born and brought up in Rawalpindi. The man behind lyrics of some of the greatest melodies in Bollywood grew up in the city before migrating to India with his family at the age of 17.

It was October 2, 1947 when Bakhshi family left everything behind in Mohallah Qutubuddin of Rawalpindi and headed for Delhi.

According to the famous lyricist`s son, Rakesh Bakhshi, `Anand Bakhshi`s first employment was at the age of 14, with the Royal Navy, (Royal Indian Navy), with the rank `Boy 1`. He was registered as Anand Prakash, and served on board the ships H.M.LS.

Dilawar and H.M.LS. Bahadur, until 1946. He was dismissed from the Royal Indian Navy because of his participation in the revolt that took place at Karachi port against the British Empire`.

Post partition he continued serving in the military, and in 1950 left the job and established himself as a poet.

He is credited for writing super hit songs for films like Bobby, Amar Prem, Aradhana, Jeene Ki Raah, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Sholay, Dharam Veer, Nagina, Hum, Mohra, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Heer Raanjha, Dushman, Taal, Mohabbatein, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Yaadein.

Anand Bakhshi was born on July 21, 1930 at his ancestral house in the street next to Kailay Wali Mosque. The Mohan temple is also close to the house.

Only a portion of the old house remains today. The residence belongs to the Mujahid Shah family now, which migrated from India after partition.

Ironically, the family living there does not know much about Anand Bakhshi. The house located on the opposite side of Anand Bakhshi`s house also belonged to the Bakhshi family.

All the present residents know is that `some General Bakhshi lived here`. They are not sure whether the `general` was Anand Bakhshi as he had also served in the Royal Indian Army or whether they were referring to his father, who was the Superintendent Jails of Punjab.

Mohammad Naveed, a tenant, lives in the lower portion of the house. When asked about the lyricist, he replied: `I have no idea who Anand Bakhshi was.

However when he was told about the famous songs Bakhshi had written he felt amused, but still could not believe that this house once belonged to Anand Bakhshi.

Most residents of the area were also not aware of who Anand Bakhshi was. `Our elders have passed away; may be they knew about him,` they said.

It was Waseem Altaf, a writer from Rawalpindi, who managed to trace Anand Bakhshi`s house last year.

Waseem Altaf said there was an old resident of the area named Sabira who verified the location of Anand Bakhshi`s house. She personally knew him and his family. Sabira Begum, who passed away last year, was the last link with the Bakhshi family in the area.

Anand Bakhshi`s family is based in New Delhi now. Bakhshi`s son Rakesh is an avid filmmaker, scriptwriter and director. Lately, he wrote the additional dialogue in Hindi for an English language film, Million Dollar Arm, produced by Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray. The film is a Walt Disney Production and has been directed by Craig Gillespie and written by Thomas McCarthy.

Rakesh started his career in films in 1999 with Mukta Arts Limited. He assisted director Subhash Ghai in his movies Taal, Yaadein and Kisna.

He has also worked in various creative capacities, in association with his employer Subhash Ghai, on in-house productions featuring other directors including Anant Balani, Abbas Mustan, David Dhawan and Nagesh Kuknoor.

Rakesh wrote the story and screenplay for a Hindi film, Out Of Control in 2003. Additionally he did writing assignments meant for TV shows for Cineyug Entertainment in 2010-2011.

`I have never visited Rawalpindi but I would love to someday.

My father wanted to return to his house in Rawalpindi, however, he just could not. He had brought the earth from Rawalpindi in a tiny glass bottle and kept it with him throughout his life,` Rakesh Bakhshi told Dawn.

Rakesh Bakhshi is currently writing a biography of his father and plans to launch it next year.

`I plan to travel on a bicycle from Delhi to Wagha border and launch his biography on the border of our two brotherly nations.

It`s a legendary story that must be told,` he said.

Rakesh says his father had many tales to tell about Rawalpindi.

Anand Bakhshi even paid tributes to Rawalpindi in his ghazal.

Saneha ye meri zindagi seh gayi main yahan aa gaya woh wahan reh gayi Kuchh na main kar saka, dekhta reh gaya kuchh na wo kar saki, dekhti reh gayi Log kehtey hain tagseem sab ho gaya jo nahi batt saki cheez wo reh gayi Yaad Pindi ki aati hai ab kis lige meri mitti thi Jhelum mein wo beh gayi Inn zameeno ne kitna lahoo pi liya ye khabar aasmaano talak hai gayi Rastey mein khadi ho gagii`n sarhadein Sarhado`n pe khadi be-bassi reh gayi De gayi ghar; gali, shehr mera kissey kya pataa kis se Bakhshi wo kya keh gayi Rakesh Bakhshi says it is really a different experience to connect with people from his ancestral town through social media.

`Thank God for Google Earth, Facebook and Youtube,` he said.