Khayyam had come close to composing Malayalam songs

Mohammed Zahur ‘Khayyam’ Hashmi, better known as Khayyam, the last of the composers from the golden age of Bollywood music who died in Mumbai on Monday night, once came close to composing songs for a Malayalam film.

Big fan

Director Hariharan, who grew up listening to Khayyam’s enchanting melodies from films like Footpath, Kabhi Kabhie and Umrao Jaan, had wanted him to score the music for his 1999 film Prem Poojari.

“I was a huge fan of Khayyam’s music,” Hariharan told The Hindu. “I fell in love with songs like Aaja re o mere dilbar...(Noorie) and In aankhon ki masti... (Umrao Jaan). So I wanted to work with him for one of my films.”

Hariharan had already worked with another great Bollywood composer and Khayyam’s contemporary – Ravi, who became Bombay Ravi for Malayalis.

Ravi’s music for Hariharan’s films Nakhakshathangal and Panchagni had in fact brought a fresh lease of life to Malayalam music and had revitalised the audio cassette industry in the 1980s.

So some two decades ago, Hariharan went to Mumbai and met Khayyam. “He was very cordial and evinced interest in working with me,” Hariharan recalled. “But, he had committed to work on a television serial for a year and wasn’t free at that time.”

It was not possible for Hariharan to wait that long.

“I knew that Khayyam was never keen on working on more than one project at a time,” he recalled. “So I had to abandon that wish of mine.”

Hariharan instead signed another Bollywood composer Uttam Singh, who had scored a huge hit with Dil To Pagal Hai.

Though Uttam gave a couple of chart-toppers for Prem Poojari, like Devaragame... and Panineeru peyyum nilaavil..., he didn’t do another Malayalam film. “Yes, it was disappointing that Khayyam could not oblige me,” Hariharan said. “I had wanted to introduce his music to Malayalam cinema.”

In ‘Mayamayooram’

One of Khayyam’s biggest hits was reproduced in a Malayalam film, though.

The song Kabhi kabhi..., originally sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar for the film Kabhi Kabhie, was rendered by Chithra for Mayamayooram, the Mohanlal-starrer directed by Sibi Malayil.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 1:22:16 PM |

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