'O saathi re' sums up Prakash Mehra's philosophy of life: Anandji

By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, May 19 (IANS) He didn't have an immediate family and that was why Prakash Mehra's films often showed a craving for kin, says Anandji, the surviving half of the music composer duo Kalyanji-Anandji who worked with the late filmmaker Mehra on many songs, including legendary numbers like "Yaari hai imaan mera" for "Zanjeer".

He adds that the song "O saathi re tere bina" from Mehra's "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar" sums up his philosophy of life.

"First Feroz Khan with whom Kalyanjibhai and I were closely associated, and now Prakash Mehra too is gone both within a month. I met him last eight days ago in hospital. He had tubes in him and was watching a film. He couldn't talk. But he signalled to me saying he'd be out in a few days. Prakashji had become very lonely after his wife died. His favourite son Sumit had gone away to the US, then his wife," Anandji told IANS.

"He had a very good sense of story. We shared a great tuning. If you notice many of his heroes in 'Laawaaris', 'Muqaddar Ka Sikandar' etc were orphans. Prakashji himself was estranged from his parents from a very young age. His father had become a sadhu. He had a brother, but wasn't close to him. Since he had no immediate family, his films often showed that craving for a family? we never spoke to him much about his family because each time we did, he would cry," he added.

The prolific filmmaker died Sunday after a prolonged illness. He was 69.

"Prakash Mehra and us, my brother Kalyanji and I, worked closely together. Even before we did the music for his first directorial venture 'Haseena Maan Jayegi', we worked with him when he was assistant to filmmaker Mohan Segal. Tab se hum saath mein rahe (We were together since then). We had a good rapport.

"Prakash Mehra also wrote some songs for us in 'Purnima'. And when he turned producer with 'Zanjeer', we did the music. After that we did 'Haath Ki Safaai', 'Khoon Paseena', 'Hera Pheri', 'Laawaris' and of course the musical hit 'Muqaddar Ka Sikandar'... See the thing about Prakashji was, he was a sentimental family-oriented person. He was little rough in his speech and manner, but his heart was pure gold.

"For him, the films that he directed were not his creative property. He made everyone who worked in a film a part of the creative process. Kalyanjibhai and I were given a voice in every department of his films from the story, casting to the look and marketing."

Anandji says Mehra would create an item song in every film.

"Even in 'Haseena Maan Jayegi' he did a song with Shashi Kapoor. He had tremendous faith in our judgement which we never misused. We never wah-wah (applauded) his work if we didn't like it. We told him what we didn't like, and that's the way he liked it. We had a similar rapport with Sultan Ahmed and Feroz Khan. We worked as a family. Those days are gone.

"Prakash Mehra always wanted the world to show the true merits of Indian cinema. He was very happy when Kalyanjibhai, Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) and I went on the first world tour. His 'Mere angnein mein' from 'Lawaaris' was a big crowd-puller at the first world tour. Things have changed so much now. Prakashji was unable to make a film in current circumstances.

"Yes, we created many chartbusters in Prakash Mehra's films 'Bekhudi mein sanam' in 'Haseena Maan Jayegi', 'Wada kar le sajna' in 'Haath Ki Safai', 'Yaari hai imaan mera' in 'Zanjeer', 'Mere angnein mein' in 'Lawaaris', 'Salaam-e-ishq meri jaan' in 'Muqaddar Ka Sikandar'

"But the song by which I'd like to remember my brother's and my association with Prakash Mehra is 'O saathi re tere bina'. It says it all. It was the song that sums up Prakash Mehra's philosophy of life. What is life without love? Sadly all the filmmakers with whom we shared a fine tuning are fading away."

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