Dancing legend Sitara Devi emoted a few of Qamarji’s songs in the film Chand In 1944 and in this film she played a cameo role as the slim and svelte second leading lady alongwith the charming Begum Para and dashing hero Prem Adib. Chand was one of the earliest of Qamarji’s successful and memorable films.
As a lyricist he handled anything from the ridiculous to the sublime with equal deftness. On one hand he wrote mesmeric duets like “sun mere sajana dekhoji mujhko bhool na jana…” sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi (film: Aansoo 1953) and on the other hand he penned comic relief songs like “aaj pahli taarik hai” endured with full throttle gusto by Kishore Kumar (film: Pehli Tarikh-1954). This song turned into veritable anthem and was played on Radio Ceylon on the first of every month for decades, and it probably still is.
The film Howrah Bridge (1954) sky-rocketed his career as lyricist to unpredescented heights. Songs like “mera naam Chin Chin Chu” (Geeta Dutt) and “aaiye meherbaan, baithiye janejaan….” (Asha Bhonsle) are still as breathtaking as ever, and are remembered far and wide for their rollicking tunes by Maestro Music composer O.P Nayyar as well as for the succulent lyrics. It is a sad thought though that very few people know who the writer of these songs is.
In his personal life he was a highly principled personality who had his own unique rules and beliefs. He began each day with prayers that comprised of loud chanting of excerpts from The Bhagwad Geeta, The Holy Koran as well as The Bible. He was deeply into transcendental meditation, and was mostly embedded in his writing for most part of the day.
A true Karma yogi as well, who took care of his ailing parents as long as they lived, nurtured his brothers and sisters, even gave up a bungalow in Khar in his heydays to one of his married sisters to save her from a difficult marriage, and shifted to simpler accommodation in Juhu with family.
He was a benevolent and kind father and fought against all odds to provide for his seven children, and he managed to give us all a pretty decent life and put us all through college. His relationship with his wife was unique in the sense that my mother Smt. Leelawati was the traditional housewife, but also a friend and philosopher to my Father. They shared a rare bond of togetherness, he preferred to sit at home and chat with her over a cuppa, discussing every topic under the sun, instead of blowing his time in some mehfil with friends with a drink in hand.
He had several friends and hundreds of fans whom he lovingly called his “pankhe”. His fan mail came in various languages; Hindi, English, Urdu and many regional languages as well. I remember how meticulously he replied to all his fan mail and judiciously sent an autographed photo as well.
Some of his favorite people were poet Qateel Shifai, Ameen Sayani, Kalyanji and Anandji, the elusive O.P Nayyar (who visited him some time before Qamarji’s demise) Music Composer S.D Batish, C.L Kavish, D.D Kashyap and many more. From his past associations he remembered G.Damle of Prabhat Film Company, Dattaram Pai of Filmistan, Babubhai Mitra, Husnlal Bhagatram and S.Mukherji the most as they had been a part of his initial glorious days as a lyricist. It is impossible to equate a man’s lifetime in words.
In his long career span he worked for several Film Companies like; Prabhat Film Company, Pancholi Pictures, Filmistan Ltd., Famous Pictures, Minerva Movietone, Prakash Pictures, Wadia Films Ltd., Filmkar Ltd., Sippy Films, N.C Sippy Films, Shri Shakti Films, Mitra Productions and many more.He was one of the founder Members of prestigious organizations like FILM WRITERS ASSOCIATION & IPRS in Mumbai.
The music Composers he worked with were; Ghulaam Haider, G.Damle, Pt.Amarnath, Khemchand Prakash, Husnlal Bhagatram, S.D. Burman, Anil Biswas, Shyam Sunder, Sajjad Hussain, C.Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, Sudhir Phadke, S.D. Batish, Sardar Malik, Ravi, Avinash Vyas and in the latter phase of his career with O.P Nayyar, Kalyanji Anandji, Sonik Omi, Uttam Singh and Laxmikant Pyarelal as well. Most music lovers may not be aware that Qamarji was a polished and highly acclaimed Adabi Shayar as well, and had graced innumerable Mushairas related to Urdu Poetry all over India.
Tribute written by youngest daughter Subhashini Swar Events Producer Content Writer Poet & Budding Lyricist.