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When The Unknown Poet Anjaan Madly Fell In Love With Nanda ,The Mega Star Of The Sixties  

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Ali Peter John

Anjaan was the  eldest  son of  a  middle  class  family  living  in  Banaras on the banks  of  the  Ganga.He was  never  interested  in  doing a regular  job,but always  showed  a flair for writing  poetry  in hindi  .

It took  him very  little  time  to make a name for himself  ,but Laljee Pandey  which  was  his real name was  always  a very  shy young man  and that was  the only  reason  why  he  took Anjaan (Unknown)as his pen name. It was  with  this  name  that he grew  very  popular  at all the  major  kavi samellans   and mushairas all over  North India  .He however  touched  new heights  of  popularity when  he wrote  a parody  of Dr.Harivanshrai Bachchan’s”Madhushala”and called  it Madhubala  .It was  as popular  as “Madhushala”.

But ,Anjaan who was  married  now  realized  that poetry  was not  all that  was needed to  keep  the  kitchen  fires burning  and that  he  would  have  to  make  money for the  family  and  he  took the  first  train  to  the  city of  dreams  .

He had  other  friends  who were  already  in the  city  who told him that  it was  not going  to be  easy when  some  well-known  Urdu poets and Hindi kavis had already  established  themselves  in films  ,but Anjaan  had decided  not to give up.

He did not  get any work  for  the next  twenty two  years  and  lived as a paying  guest and by giving  tuitions  in Hindi  to  the  son’s  and daughter’s of the rich in  places  like  Marine  Drive .The money  was good for  some good  food and  for a quarter  or more  of the  aunty’s hooch  in the  evening’s  and seeing hindi films  sometimes  .

It was  while  Anjaan  was living  this kind  of a vagabondish life  that he  hopelessly  and madly fell in love  with  the  image of the  actress  ,Nanda who he had  seen in almost  all her films .He was  so enchanted  and  enamoured  by her that he  wrote  a  poem about  her ,the first two lines of  which  were “Jidhar dekhoo ,teri tasveer nazar aati hai,teri tasveer  mujhe meri takdeer nazar aati hai  “.He wrote  the  entire  poem and continued  with his  struggle ,but his love  for Nanda lived with  him.

His luck however  changed  with the  rise  of  Amitabh Bachchan and a time  came  when  he  was  writing  the  songs of  almost  all  the  big films of Amitabh and he was  now a big ,popular  and  rich song writer  and to add to  his good  luck,his son ,Sameer  ,who he had thrown out  because  he  did not  want  him to struggle  like he had ,had become  the most successful  song  writer  .

He was  writing  the  songs for” Mahaan “in which  Amitabh  had a triple  role  .The director  ,S.Raamanathan who  had played  a  very important  role  in  the grooming Amitabh’s carrier  ,wanted  to  have  a song picturised  on the  elderly  Amitabh  and  his  wife  in the  film  ,Waheeda Rahman.

Amitabh  had heard about the poem  Anjaan  had  written  for Nanda  and how  he did not  want  to  use it for commercial  purposes  .Amitabh  however  requested  Anjaan to give  him  the poem and do him  a favor  and  Anjaan  just  couldn’t  say no to  Amitabh  who he believed  had changed  the  course of  his life  .

Anjaan  was  thrilled  when  his  poem  was recorded  in the  voice  of  Amitabh  himself.

It was the premiere  of  “Mahaan “at the  Minerva theatre  in Bombay  and the entire  Industry  was present  .A very  tense Anjaan  was  sitting  in the  seat next to  mine .It was  time  for Amitabh  to sing the  song to Waheed on the  black landline  telephone  and  god alone  knows  what  happened ,before  Amitabh  could  start  with  “Jidhar dekhoo”,the entire  theatre  started  hooting  and  shouting  the song and Amitabh  down .And Anjaan  cried like a  child  on my shoulder  .That night  ,Anjaan  who never  used  to  get  drunk ,drank all through  the  night  and couldn’t  even  speak and he once  just said ,”Mere pyar ka ye anjaam hone wala tha ,agar mujhe  phele se malum hota ,mein kabhi pyar hi nahi karta”

I don’t  no why,but Anjaan  who  was now in hia early  seventies  was never  the  same  man again. He  fell  sick  of a an ear ailment  which  traveled  to  his brain and  he  went  into  a coma from  which  he never  recovered  .Sameer brought  out  a book of a  collection  of  private  poems titled “Ganga Kinare ka chhora”.And I  who was very  close  to  the man i loved  calling  Anjaanji and  having  my two pegs of brandy with  him in the  evenings will  always consider it as one of  my achievements  to be a  friend  of  a man who  loved being  unknown  (Anjaan)

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