He is the man who made the tonga beat memorable. If you listen to any old Hindi number and hear tonga beats in the background, it’s highly likely the song’s music composer is Omkar Prasad Nayyar, popularly known as O. P. Nayyar.
Hindi film industry noticed OP da with Aar Paar. The sensuous Babuji Dheere Chalna is still very much live in the music lovers’ circle and keeps reappearing in different remixed versions. This was followed by musical hits like Mr.& Mrs. 55, CID, which announced the arrival of a new star in the Hindi film music field. He won his first Filmfare Award in 1957 for the movie Naya Daur.
OPda and Geeta Dutt duo has given us numerous gems like Yeh Lo Mein Haari Piya, Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein, Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya ji and many more. OP da’s peppy numbers brought out the bubbliness in Geeta Dutt’s voice and they gave her voice a new sparkle. If one lists down Geetaji’s hit numbers, many of OPda’s compositions will figure in that list.
OPda is credited with giving Asha Bhosle the recognition she deserves. He is quoted to have said that in her initial days, Ashaji mimicked Geetaji’s singing style and OPda groomed Ashaji to carve her own niche. Ashaji has had many beautiful songs with OPda. Be it the sensuous Aao Huzoor Tumko or the peppy Haule Haule Chalo More Sajna or the soulful Woh Hanske Mile Humse, Ashaji’s voice does justice to each and every song.
Another big name in the music industry, Mohammed Rafi, owes a lot to OPda. The melodious Aanchal Mein Saja Lena, Deewana Hua Baadal, Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, and the foot tapping Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri marked Rafi as a successful singer. It is said that OP’s relationship with Rafi turned sour and OPda started using Mahendra Kapoor in Rafi’s place. OPda expresses his opinion about Mahendra Kapoor in this interview.
“I used him [Mahendra Kapoor] as replacement for Rafi. I used to call him Çharan Das for he used to touch feet of practically any Tom, Dick and Harry. I found this extra- humility phony. He might have sung quite a few good songs for me but just listen to Do Ustaad title track to know how off-key he could be! Purposely I kept that Besuraa singing so that one day, I could show him how bad he could be!”
OPda never minced his words. He has openly criticized producers, directors and singers who he did not agree with. Lataji never sang for OPda.
“I needed a powerful, full throated, sensuous voice and she [Lata] had this thin, thread-like voice, which was not at all suitable for my music. Another thing is about my inspiration coming from beauty. Lata with her plain, ordinary looks never could inspire me as a composer!”
He has left behind many memorable songs, and the best song which I personally like is Chain Se Hum Ko Kabhi. This song also happens to be the last song Ashaji sang for O P Nayyar, which won her Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award.
This talented music composer left us on January 28th 2007, but will always be remembered for his melodious and soulful music. What better way to end this article than quote a few lines from his compositions:
Chaand ke rath mein, raat ki dulhan jab jab aayegi
Yaad humari, aap ke dil ko, tadapaa jaayegi
Aap ne jo hain diyaa, wo to kisi ne naa diyaa
Ye dillagi ye shokhiyaan salaam ki
Yahin to baat ho rahi hai kaam ki
Koi to mud ke dekh legaa is taraf
Koi nazar to hogi mere naam ki
Pukaarataa chalaa hun main
Sources and other links: