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One Movie, Many Lyricists

Posted by Trivia – The Spice of Life on 28/08/2021

Some time ago, fellow blogger Anupji had written a post – Triad of Singers. The concept was very novel. It was an attempt to enlist songs (of the same movie) where three different voices sing for the same actor/actress. Taking a leaf out of his book, I felt the same exercise could perhaps be done with lyricists. Usually, one lyricist pens all the songs for a film. Sometimes, there could be two. However, the quest was for movies where there were four or even more than four lyricists. The data required for this kind of post had to be gleaned. It was not readily available. Further, while voices of playback singers subconsciously get associated with the actors when you watch the song, the same is not true in the case of lyricists. Just by hearing a song, it is not possible (at least for me!!) to say who the lyricist is.

Moreover, based on the way Hindi film music was created in the golden era, we know that several music directors had close associations with certain lyricists. The Naushad-Shakeel Badayuni combination is what strikes one instantly. The others were Shankar & Jaikishan with Shailendra/ Hasrat Jaipuri and Kalyanji & Anandji with Indeevar. These music directors by and large stuck to one lyricist. Based on the data available, one can safely conclude that even those who did not use the services of only one lyricist throughout their career, still preferred to use only one lyricist in a movie. S.D.Burman, Madan Mohan and Salil Chowdhury immediately come to mind.

Having said this, there were many music directors who worked with several lyricists while composing music for one movie. Whether this was the decision of the music director or the director/producer of the film is not something that I have an answer for. I can only make an intelligent guess based on what I found, while examining the work of various music directors, for this post. This post therefore is more statistical in nature. I have tried to get screen shots of the names of the lyricists from the opening credits of the respective movies. It is a pity that in the opening credits, the lyricists are mentioned but one never gets to know which song was penned by which lyricist. While the same is true for playback singers, like I said earlier, the voices of the playback singers are quite distinct and a practiced ear can recognize the voice/s with ease.

I shall now list ten movies where there are four or more lyricists penning songs, with the same being corroborated by the opening credits of the films. The movies that I have zeroed in are from the early fifties to the late seventies. I have tried to ensure that the entire gamut of music directors – which used multiple lyricists – finds a mention. The movies are arranged chronologically. I am not enlisting the songs of each movie as that will make this post very bulky. Further, there are contradictions about which song was written by which lyricist in some cases – especially when a name is missing form the opening credits of the movie.

1) Anhonee (1952) Music director – Roshan. This movie was written, produced and directed by K.A.Abbas. There were five lyricists in this movie – Shailendra, Sardar Jafri, Satyendra, Nakshab and P.L.Santoshi. Here is the screen grab from the opening credits of the movie. My personal favourite is Main Dil Hun Ek Armaan Bhara penned by Satyendra – a lyricist who was not very well known.

2) Anarkali (1953) Music DirectorC.Ramchandra. There was quite a bit of controversy about the music direction of the movie. It is said that C.Ramchandra wanted Lata Mangeshkar alone to sing all the songs which required a female voice whereas the option being considered by Filmistaan was Geeta Dutt. As a result, it appears that the title credits do not mention the playback singers. I saw at least two versions on YouTube and both do not mention the the playback singer/s. Further, the name of the other music director Basant Prakash, who composed one song – Aa Jaane Wafa – that was penned by Jan Nisar Akhtar and sung by Geeta Dutt does not find mention in the credits, though it is very much a part of the film. The four lyricists mentioned in the opening credits are – Rajinder Krishan, Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri and Sardar Jafri. I am not sure about which song/s Sardar Jafri wrote.

3) Aab-e- hayat (1955) Music Director – Sardar Malik. Sardar Malik was a music director who was very talented but did not work very prolifically. The music of this movie however establishes his mastery over the notes. Many of the songs are fast and foot tapping. As the opening credits show, there were four lyricists writing songs for this movie – Hasrat Jaipuri, Qamar Jalalabadi, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Kaif Irfani. Hasrat Jaipuri got the lion’s share of the songs. Interestingly, Lata did not sing any songs in this movie.

4) Hum Hindustani (1960) Music Director – Usha Khanna. The film had nine songs and only one of them was written by Sahir Ludhianvi!! A lesser known lyricist – K. Manohar wrote four songs for this movie. Again some websites attribute one of the songs to a fifth lyricist – Bharat Vyas – whose name however does not figure in the opening credits.

5) Modern Girl (1961) Music Director – Ravi. This was another movie where the music was memorable. Lata was not one of the playback singers. The singers in the movie were Rafi, Mukesh, Asha Bhosle and Suman Kalyanpur. There were four lyricists – Rajinder Krishan, Qamar Jalalabadi, S.H.Bihari and Gulshan Bawra. Rajinder Krishan wrote the lyrics of four songs and the rest wrote a song each. The screen shots of the opening credits are interesting as they mention Rajinder Krishan first without the opening words of the songs he wrote and then the other three are mentioned along with the mukhda of the song they penned. I found this to be such a welcome change! This also perhaps indicates the unstated hierarchy that there was among lyricists.

6) Sunehre Kadam (1966) Music Directors- S.Mohinder / Bulo.C.Rani. It beats me why there were two music directors for this film. Also interesting is the fact that there were eight playback singers. There were eight songs in all. There were four lyricists – Nyaya Sharma, Mahendra Pran, G.S.Nepali and Anand Bakshi. It is heartening to listen to one of the duets – Na To Inkaar Kiya – written by G.S.Nepali and sung by G.M.Durrani and Sudha Malhotra. It sounds almost like a Rafi-Asha duet. Anand Bakshi seems to have worked with S.Mohinder and the other three lyricists with Bulo.C.Rani.

7) Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966) Music Director – O.P.Nayyar. This movie is better remembered as Guru Dutt’s last offering, which was completed after his demise. The opening credits mention four lyricists – Aziz Kashmiri, Kaifi Azmi, Anjaan and S.H.Bihari. with Anjaan writing two songs and the rest writing one each. The movie had six songs in all. Websites mention a fifth lyricist – Shewan Rizvi – as having written one of the songs – Dil to Pehle Se Hi Madhosh Hain. This movie has unforgettable songs. Shewan Rizvi was not a very prolific lyricist but his songs were very wonderfully penned. He worked quite closely with O.P.Nayyar.

I would like to mention here that based on all the data that I saw, I believe that it was O.P.Nayyar who used the maximum number of lyricists for his songs. He did not team up with one for all his assignments. One should therefore not be surprised to find more than one lyricist in almost all the movies in which he directed the music.

8) Upkar (1967) Music DirectorsKalyanji Anandji. This blockbuster movie highlighting the importance of our farmers and soldiers had songs which continue to be loved and cherished. Manoj Kumar essayed the role of the patriotic son of the soil (Bharat). As the title credits show – there were four lyricists in the movie – Qamar Jalalabadi, Prem Dhawan, Indeevar and Gulshan Bawra.

Screen Grab from

9) Pakeezah (1972) Music Directors – Ghulam Mohammad & Naushad. If Mahal was Kamal Amrohi’s debut film as director, Pakeezah was his magnum opus and his wife Meena Kumari’s final performance before the arc lights. The music of this movie is evergreen. Kamal Amrohi donned various hats; he was a lyricist too, though he did not write too many songs. He wrote songs for Pukar (1939), Main Hari (1940) and Shankar Hussain (1977) apart from Pakeezah. It is also said that he penned the opening lines – Khaamosh Hain Zamaana, Chupchaap Hain Nazaare of Aayega Aanewala (Mahal, 1949). Pakeezah thus had four lyricists – Kaif Bhopali, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi and Kamal Amrohi.

10) Saawan Ko Aane Do (1979) Music Director – Raj Kamal. You may call it saving the best for the last. Here it seems to be a case of more the merrier. The number of lyricists seems to suggest that Raj Kamal believed in giving new comers a chance to prove their mettle. There were eight lyricists writing songs for this movie – one of them being – Maya Govind – a female lyricist. There aren’t too many out there. Saawan Ko Aane Do is the story of a talented simpleton from the village making it big in the world of music. Thus, the story revolved round music. The songs of this movie – many of which were rendered by Yesudas – are memorable. Raj Kamal was a music director who did not direct music for too many films.

This brings me to the end of my post. I had quite a bit of research to do for this post. I learnt a lot while writing this. It appears that that it was largely the music director’s choice as to which lyricist to select for penning the songs of a movie. I would request the comments of the experts on this. I realized that the opening credits of the movie do not sometimes tell the whole story. There is a lot happening behind the curtains as well. In some cases, not all lyricists/music directors who worked for movie are mentioned. I must also mention here that there was another movie which perhaps had seven lyricistsThokar (1953) (music director – Sardar Malik). However, the video of this movie is not available online.

Since the benchmark was set high – that is four or more lyricists in a movie – my list is manageable. There are several movies where more than one lyricist have been drafted by some music directors. Based on all that I researched, I feel O.P.Nayyar was the music director who used more than one lyricist in several of his movies (e.g. Dil Aur Mohabbat, Hong Kong, Kalpana). The list is quite long.

I also feel that the way the lyricists are listed in the credits of Modern Girl (above) was novel and perhaps the best way of doing justice to them. The confusion about who wrote which song is completely done away with.

I would request all lovers of golden era music to add their films where there are four or more lyricists – especially with those music directors that I have not listed.

Disclaimer, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from Daily Motion, YouTube and other platforms only to make the post audiovisual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

9 thoughts on “One Movie, Many Lyricists

  1. Thank you for mentioning my post Anitaji.
    In the your comments on my post, you showed your inclination for today’s post. It must have been a difficult journey collecting information for this post.

    The first film I thought of was anhonee, because I had reviewed it a couple of years back (yes! I used to write film reviews once upon a time!). And then Pakeezah striked me. I was happy to find both the movies on your list.
    And, I can add,
    Barsaat 1949
    With four lyicists, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra, Ramesh Shastry and Jalal malihabadi.
    I particularly mentioned this movie as later SJ had only Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri to their team and it is generally taken for granted that the scenario would be the same for Barsaat as well.
    Ramesh Shastry wrote the popular song, hawa mein udta jaye, while Jalal malihabadi wrote mujhe kisi se pyar ho gaya.
    If I remember more prominent films, I’ll be back.



    1. Anupji, you set the ball rolling with your post. You are right when you say that collecting information must have taken a lot of effort. Statistical posts like these where factual correctness is equally important are time consuming. Thanks for adding Barsaat. I made the same presumption that you mention. Wonder why Shankar Jaikishan did not continue to use the two lyricists after Barsaat! While I could not find any footprints of Ramesh Shastry after Barsaat, Jalal Malihabadi seems to have written songs for a few more movies.


  2. An interesting post, and one that brought a smile to my face, because I actually have a sort of database that would help with this. 🙂

    For the past 20 years or so, I’ve been documenting the details of every pre-1970 Hindi film I’ve watched: main cast, synopsis, songs, MD, lyricists, director, and so on. It’s all part of an Excel spreadsheet, which now contains 525 films – and being added to, every time I watch another film.

    From that, here the other films I know of that had four or more lyricists: Adhikaar (Avinash Vyas); Bada Bhai ( Nashad); Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi (OP Nayyar); Bandish (Hemant); Bank Manager (Madan Mohan); Baraati ( Roshan); Bhai-Bahen (Shankar Jaikishan); CID 909 (OP Nayyar); Delhi Junction (Kalyanji-Anandji); Dharti ke Laal (Ravi Shankar); Dil aur Mohabbat (OP Nayyar); Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (Kalyanji Anandji); Dulha Dulhan (Kalyanji Anandji); Haseena Maan Jaayegi (Kalyanji Anandji); Hatim Tai (SN Tripathi); Humayun (Ghulam Haider); Humsaaya (OP Nayyar); Kalpana (OP Nayyar); Mai Baap (OP Nayyar); Raaz (Kalyanji Anandji); Reporter Raju (Mohinder Singh); Shola aur Shabnam (Khayyam); and Vidya (SD Burman).

    Kalyanji Anandji and OP Nayyar seem to be among the foremost MDs when it comes to having multiple lyricists write for them.


    1. Thanks for reading and sharing your data, Madhuji! It shows all the hard work you have put in. Documentation is as important as watching a movie for bloggers like us. I did not look at movies before 1950. I was sure about O.P.Nayyar. Kalyanji Anandji is a revelation. Did you collect data on the basis of the opening credits of the movie? Different websites tend to attribute songs to different lyricists. That leaves one confused.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. My data is on the basis of the credits in the movie, so this can be trusted. But yes, since no movie gives credits per song to lyricists, that is always a problem!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Anitaji,

    An interesting post.

    2-3 lyricists per movie is fairly common. Finding movies with 4 or more lyricists is a nice exercise.
    The first movie that came to my mind is Mera Naam Joker (1970), simply because I had seen it again a couple of months back.
    SJ used 5 lyricists – Shailendra, Hasrat, Neeraj, Prem Dhawan and Shaily Shailendra. All the 5 are mentioned in the credits. Shaily Shailendra completed the Jeena Yahan song after his father’s demise.

    In the 70s, Shankar Jaikishan (or rather Shankar after Jaikishan’s demise) used multiple lyricists in numerous movies.
    Naming a few of SJ movies, with 4 lyricists mentioned in the credits – Pehchan, Umang, Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari, Do Jhuth, Dhoop Chhaon, Duniyadari, Paapi Pet Ka Sawaal hai etc.
    The most successful one Sanyasi had 6 lyricists, all named in the credits.

    Some others with 4 lyricists in 70s- Khayyam for Shankar Hussain, Madan Mohan for Maharaja, Vanraj Bhatia for Junoon.

    In the 70s and 80s, KA and Bappi Lahiri often used multiple lyricists in a movie.

    The trend increased in the 90s and now we have multiple composers and lyricists for the same movie but we hardly recollect the songs.


    1. Thanks a lot for those insights, Dr.Deshpande! Since you mention Shankar Hussain, I must say here that I had read an article which said that Rafi had himself changed the grammar of one of his most beautiful nazms – Kahin Ek Masoom Naazuk Si Ladki. The link is here in case you want to read the article.


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