20 OP Nayyar classics that never made it to big screen

Music lovers and filmgoers loved maestro OP Nayyar’s unique trailblazing, flowing style. With a high ratio of popular songs on the charts, he commanded the highest fees for much of his career from the 1950s up to the early ‘70s. His spectacular success is evident in the scores of movies remembered not for their cast or directors, but for his songs, which younger vocalists enjoy performing on stage even today.

With that as a backdrop, imagine that at no less than twenty of his songs were dropped from various films. Some were recorded and pictured but not used on screen. Others were recorded but never pictured at all. Some were barred by the Censor Board and are not available on movie DVDs.

Although never seen, these ghost songs still shine bright, testifying to a musical genius who was born in Lahore on Jan 16, 1926, and passed away in Mumbai on Jan 28, 2007.

And yet many of these “invisible” songs, despite never being screened in cinema halls, are partly, sometimes even mostly, responsible for a film’s commercial success.

Here they are in chronological order, along with the reasons they were dropped from a film.

  1. Koi jab dard ka mara (1955)


Shammi Kapoor first met Geeta Bali during the filming of Miss Coca Cola. A year older than Shammi Kapoor and already an established star, Geeta Bali disliked Shamshad Begum’s voice pictured on her and had the song removed at the eleventh hour.

  1. Zara si baat ka huzoor ne (1955) 

A nice peppy song sung by Asha Bhosle came under the scissors when the movie Musafirkhana was deemed too long.

  1. Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman: Axed song, still from C.I.D. 1956

    Jata kahan hai deewane (1956)  

This Geeta Dutt nugget, considered by many as one of OPN’s best, is from the noir thriller C.I.D. This song was removed in the final version of the film because of the Censor Board’s objection. It was also banned from All India Radio, for reasons that puzzle people even today.

Decades later, the song finally made its screen debut in the film Bombay Velvet in 2015, re-recorded as old wine in a new bottle.

  1. Bhool ja ae dil pyar ke din  (1956) 

One of OPN’s most mesmerizing compositions and also one of his own favorites. The script of the flop movie Hum Sub Chor Hein was revised and the song never pictured.

  1. Ik deewana aate jaate (1956) 


This song was penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and recorded for the hit movie Naya Daur. Although dropped at the editing stage, it remains a classic.

  1. Chhota sa baalma (1958) 


One of OPN’s few raga-based compositions, perhaps one of Asha Bhosle’s best renditions. Penned by Qamar Jalalabadi, it was picturised but removed from the movie Raagini. Still, it remains one the film’s most remembered songs.

  1. Pyara pyara hai sama (1960)


Film Kalpana. Singers: Asha Bhosle and M. Rafi. Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

  1. Idhar dekh mera dil  (1960)

Film: Jaali Note. Singers: Asha Bhosle and Shamshad Begum. Lyrics: Anjaan

  1. Duniya pakki 420 (1960)
  2. Kitni badal gayee hai (1960) 
  1. Idhar mein khubsoorat hoon (1960)

No less than 14 songs were recorded for Basant and if that itself wasn’t a record, the ten Bhosle-Rafi duets certainly were. By the same token, the high number of dropped songs must also be some sort of a dubious record. Something went seriously wrong here, but we don’t know what.

  1. Poochho na hamein (1960)  


Again, one wonders why the best song of the film Mitti Mein Sona would be dropped from the screening. Over 60 years later, this melancholic song embellished with elegant piano interludes, remains fresh even today.

  1. Yeh duniya rahe na rahe kia pata (1960) 

OPN’s alliance with the brilliant lyricist SH Bihari took off right here. Bihari got only one song to write out of seven, and even that was eventually not pictured. This did not prevent the establishment of the rock-like foundation that developed between the two. Their musical partnership yielded 94 hit songs and 25 films over the next 16 years. Asha Bhosle’s delivery is superlative.

  1. Mein pyar ka rahi hoon (1962)


One of the most popular duets of the year, OP Nayyar remembered it often as one of his most rehearsed songs, because it wasn’t easy to sing. Just one word ‘ghabraoon’  (worried) just wouldn’t sound the way OPN wanted. When it finally did, it turned out to be a musical gem. Yet, among 10 great songs of the film Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, it  was this one that was dropped.

  1. Zulf ki chhaon mein (1963)

Many reportedly re-watched the film Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon because they thought that they had missed this song in their first viewing. The highly romantic duet by Bhosle and Rafi, which many other composers tried to copy with variations but without success, did not make it to the screen.

  1. Balma khuli hawa mein (1964) 


  1. Phir thes lagi dil ko (1964)


These lovely and lively Asha Bhosle solos were produced for Sharmila Tagore’s debut film Kashmir ki Kali. Tagore was unable to do justice to the first song, particularly the word “behekna”. However, lyricist SH Bihari made his mark with other songs in the film. The second song got dropped due to changes in the script.

  1. Humne to dil ko aap ke (1965)   


A lovely lilting duet from Mere Sanam, which only Rafi and Bhosle could do justice to.

  1. Honton pe hansi (1966)


Considered by many of OPN’s faithful fans as one of the maestro’s best duets. The producer of the film Sawan ki Ghata reportedly wanted to use this song in his next film, but the reality remains a mystery.

  1. Chein se humko kabhi (1973)

This classic sung by Asha Bhosle and penned by SH Bihari for the film Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye was recorded sometime in 1972. By then it was apparent that the magical Bhosle-Nayyar combo was nearing its end, both professionally and personally. It turned out to be their swan song, bringing to a sad end one of the most brilliant partnerships ever in Hindustani cinema history – a musical romance that lasted 14 years, ending in August 1972.

Still, it serves as a reminder of what incredible heights Asha Bhosle and OP Nayyar achieved together.

No one has been able to come even close.

(This is a Sapan News Network syndicated feature.)

Images courtesy of (Image: Wikipedia), (Image: HT), (Image: Provided) and (Image: Deezer)

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