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