We present here, the english translation of the hindi interview of O.P. Nayyar sahab with his fan and aquaintance, Journalist Shishir Krishna Sharma done on the occasion of his 80th birthday.We are thankful to Shishir ji for providing the same to us.
O.P. Nayyar with Shishir Krishna Sharma
Question 1: How did you come in the field of music?
OPN: I guess, this was my fate because in my family of lawyers and doctors, no one had any connection with the field of music. When I was eleven years old, i had started participating in children's programs in All India Radio at Lahore. When I was twelve years old,Pandit Gobind Ram ji had made me sing in the chorus for a song in the Punjabi movie Dulha Bhaati. I already loved listening to music and this strengthened my bond with music.
Question 2: You started your career with a singing assignment, then how did you become a composer?
OPN: I'd like to give credit for this also to Lahore Radio only which gave me the opportunity to compose tunes for the writings of many noted poets and shayars of that time at the young age of fifteen. During my work there I got aquainted with HMV who released a record of Kabir Vaani composed by me. But it was the song Preetam Aan Milo in the voice of C.H. Atma which broke all records of sales at that time. It was this song which later got me the first film of my career.
Question 3: Who was your Guru in the field of music?
OPN: Along with artists of New Theatres, Calcutta including Pankaj Mullick, R.C. Boral and Timir Baran I count Kamala Dasgupta, Shyam Sunder ji, Anil Biswas and Ghulam Haider sahab as my Gurus. But it is also a fact. that whatever I have learnt from them is solely by listening to them like an Eklavya. I have not received any formal training in music.
Question 4: How did you come into films?
OPN: My first assignment in films was composing the background music for Kaneez (1949) whose music composers were Ghulam Haider and Hansraj Behl. After my work in Kaneez I had gone back to Amritsar. Famous producer, Dalsukh Pancholi, who had migrated from Lahore to Mumbai after partition, loved Preetam Aan Milo so much that he called C.H. Atma from Calcutta and me from Amritsar specially for the music of Aasmaan(1952). My first three movies Aasmaan, Chham Chhama Chham and Baaz were not very successful commercially but the fourth film Aar Paar was so successful that I never had to look back after that.
Question 5: Who helped in furthering your career in the Hindi Film Industry?
OPN: There are many names but I would specially like to mention the names of Geeta Dutt, Guru Dutt, Shashdhar Mukherjee and Mohammad Rafi. Just as they were fabulous artists, they were wonderful persons also. I always found them standing beside me in my hard times.
Question 6: What would you like to say about Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar?
OPN: Both are wonderful singers. The flexibility and murkiyaan of Asha's voice, the control on her breathing, laughter and sighs, the romanticism in her voice is indeed nature's gift. These specialities of her voice have embellished and made memorable even some of the relatively weaker compositions of mine. Lata's voice is very melodious and sweet but due to its thinness it was not suitable for my music. My personal opinion is that if a voice like Lata is born once every hundred years, a voice like Asha's is born once in every thousand years.
Question 7: Do you agree that your rift with Asha Bhosle proved lethal for your music career?
OPN: It is my firm belief that everyone enters this world with every moment of his life already accounted for. When the time is right, one's wrong steps also prove to be correct. Meeting and separation are mere alibis.
Question 8: You have been inactive for a long time now ...?
OPN: As I just mentioned, it is time which decides the fate of every individual. Perhaps my time has passed.
Question 9: The remixes of many of your songs have been extremely successful in the market. What are your feelings on this?
OPN: I am extremely thankful to artists of the current generation who are repackaging my music with a new freshness. However, the smell of old basmati is something else altogether.
Question 10: What would you like to say about the music of today?
OPN: When generations change their tastes also change. Today's composers are producing what is preferred by today's generation. It has been happening from time immemorial and shall continue to happen in the future also.
Question 11: Last question, How do you spend your time these days?
OPN: I have always been interested in Homeopathy and astrology. Without my realising, my time simply flies in their study and promotion.