Sardar Malik was not counted among the top five composers, which place was occupied by Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, C Ramchandra, OP Nayyar and SD Burman. He would not be counted among the top dozen, some people might have difficulty in including his name even in the top twenty music directors of the Golden Era. Google search of his name intriguingly takes you to the Wikipedia page of his son Anu Malik, who we all know, has been the most dominant composer of the 1990’s. He has been winner of several Filmfare awards (Sardar Malik won none), judge at reality music shows and quite a prominent figure in the show-biz. I am not sure how many of Anu Malik’s songs would survive a few years from now, but I am sure Saranga teri yaad mein, Ae gham-e-dil kya karun and several more of Sardar Malik’s compositions would remain immortal.
Bits of information collected from here and there indicate he was born in 1925. He learnt music from Ustad Allauddin Khan and was trained as a dancer under the famed Uday Shankar at his residential school at Almora. He was a gifted singer and started getting both singing and composing assignments. Seeing the rise of independent playback singers such as Rafi and Mukesh, he realised he could not match them, and confined himself to music direction, and came over to Bombay. He was married to the sister of Hasrat Jaipuri. His early films Renuka (1947), Raaz (1949) and Stage (1951) did not leave much impact. His first noteworthy film was Laila Majnu (1953), in which he gave music along with Ghulam Mohammad. Talat’s Ae Gham-e-dil kya karun in Thokar (1954) created a sensation, though the film may not have been a great success. Main gharibon ka dil hun watan ki zuban by Hemant Kumar in Aab-e-Hayat (1955) is one of his most memorable songs. Sarangaa (1960) is of course a musical masterpiece, containing several all-time great songs. In spite of his obvious talents he remained consigned to B-grade films. He passed away in 2006; though suffering neglect himself, he must have been a satisfied man at his son’s ‘enormous’ success.
Here are some of Sardar Malik’s unforgettable melodies.
1. Saranga teri yaad mein by Mukesh in Sarangaa (1960), lyrics Bharat Vyas
I have not seen any compilation of the best Mukesh songs without this song near the top. It is picturised on a perfect B-grade actor Sudesh Kumar. But it does not matter if the melody is so exquisite complementing equally elegant lyrics of Bharat Vyas and the beautiful scenery of the woods and a misty night.
2. Haan diwana hun main by Mukesh in Sarangaa
Creating one Mukesh masterpiece in the face of giants like Anil Biswas, Naushad and Shankar Jaikishan is a tough task, but Sardar Malik creates another Mukesh immortal in the same film.
3. Piya kaise milun tumse by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar from Saranga (1960)
Sarangaa had a great Mukesh-Lata Mangeshkar duet Laagi tumse lagan sathi chute na, which I have used in another post. This Rafi-Lata duet also is no less beautiful.
4. Baharon ki duniya pukare tu aa ja by Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle from Laila Majnu (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Laila Majnu had two composers, the other one being Ghulam Mohammad. But it seems, unlike normal duos they composed separate songs in the film. Baharon ki duniya pukare tu aa ja is credited to Sardar Malik. A beautiful Talat-Asha duet.
5. Tere dar pe aya hun fariyd lekar by Talat Mahmood from Laila Majnu
Laila Majnu also had this silky solo by Talat Mahmood credited to Sardar Malik. This was the phase when Shammi Kapoor was not the Shammi Kpoor we know, and we have a number of Talat Mahmood songs picturised on him.
6. Ae gham-e-dil kya karun by Talat Mahmood for Thokar (1953), lyrics Majaz
Majaz was a great but deeply troubled Urdu poet. His anguished ghazal has been made immortal by Talat Mahmood and in equal measure by the composition of Sardar Malik, picturised on a pre-yahoo Shammi Kapoor.
7. Main gharibon ka dil hun watan ki zuban by Hemant Kumar in Aab-e-Hayaat (1955), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
As Premnath straddles through the street of this magical city singing Main jo gata chalun sath mehfil chale, the horde of beautiful damsels cannot help pouring out in the street and balconies, and dancing and singing in chorus. One of my top Hemant Kumar favourites, with one of the best song picturisations.
8. Hui ye humse nadani ki hum teri mehfil me aa baithe by Lata Mangeshkar from Chor Bazar (1954), lyrics Shakel Badayuni
A less known Lata Mangeshkar song, but should compare with the best of Lata during the period. The song has traces of C Ramchandra style.
9. Baharon se poochho mere pyar ko tum by Mukesh and Suman Kalynpur from Mera Ghar Mere Bachche (1960), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
A very pleasant Mukesh-Suman Kalyanpur duet in another B-grade movie.
10. Chanda ke des mein rahti ek rani by Mukesh from Mera Ghar Mere Bachche
Sardar Malik seems to have some special talent for Mukesh. Lullabies are generally sung by mothers. Here he comes up with one of the best lullabies sung by and picturised on a male (Sudesh Kumar).
11. Sun more rasiya sun man basiya by Mukesh and Suman Kalyanpur from Madan Manjari (1961), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
It does not get any sweeter than this. I cannot think of many duets more beautiful than Sun more rasiya sun man basiya, again a from a perfect B-grade film starring unknown actors like Nalini Chonkar and Manhar Desai.
12. Mujhe tumse mohabbat hai magar main kah nahi sakta by Rafi from Bachpan (1963), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
Sardar Malik does a competent job with Rafi as well.
13. Sun chand meri ye dastan by Mukesh from Nag Jyoti (1963), lyrics Bharat Vyas
But with Mukesh, Sardar Malik is in his elements. Another beautiful lyric by Bharat Vyas, composed beautifully by Sardar Malik.
14. Yun na hume dekhiye hum baar baar kahte hain by Rafi and Suman Kalynpur from Jantar Mantar (1964), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
I like this song picturised on Mahipal and Vijaya Chaudhry for it shows how the talented, but sidelined composers bestowed great care even in a B-grade film.
15. Aaj ki raat aji hothon ko chup rahne do by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur from Roop Sundari (1964), lyrics Bharat Vyas
Again a B-grade film starring Mahipal and Anita Guha. Any talented person would get frustrated at the unfair film world, so I do not blame Sardar Malik for showing traces of Roshan in this song. But a melodious song nevertheless.