The 50th death anniversary of the legendary Shiv Kumar Batalvi, an iconic Punjabi poet of love and longing and a heartthrob of teeming millions of young hearts, was observed recently on May 7. To commemorate the occasion, a prominent singer and composer from the city and a diehard fan of Batalvi’s poetry, R D Kailey, a former banker, thought of a distinct style to pay tribute to the inimitable poet, writer and playwright.
Famous Bollywood numbers ‘Ikk Kudi Jihda Naam Mohabbat Ghum Hai’, ‘Maiye Ni Maiye’ and ‘Ajj Din Chhadeya Tere Rang’ belong to Batalvi’s repertorie.
Kailey chose to pay his tribute to the legend, Shiv Kumar Batalvi by dedicating 50 songs, consciously handpicked from the treasure trove of the late poet’s immortal poems, doling out one each on every single day. Composing the music himself, Kailey started his tribute series on April 19, which concluded on June 8, marking the end to the 50-day long musical odyssey.
Kailey, who is an A-grade singer of Akashvani, Delhi, and All-India Radio artist, has uploaded the poet’s rich repertoire on his YouTube channel and presented them under the tag ‘RD Kailey’s 50 Song Tribute to Shiv Batalvi’. He cherry-picked from the poet’s infinite collection of poems, especially the lesser known poems and ‘ghazals’ penned by him.
The songs that Kailey composed and doled out as a part of tribute to the great poet of the bygone era, include ‘Assan Taan joban rutte marna…’, ‘ Mainu Vida Karo..’, ‘Mein adhoore geet di ikk sattar haan…’, ‘Mein ‘Maaye ni duss meriye maaye iss vidhva rutt da…’, ‘Uchiyan pahadiyan de olhe olhe…’, ‘Punneyan de Chann nu koi Masseya kikkan…’, ‘Tussin Kehri rutte aaye mere Ram jiyo…’, ‘Dheeyan de dokhdaadhe ve loka…’, ‘Larr lag kemein fauzi de saheliyo bann geyi mein subedarni…’Thabba ku zulfan waaleya mere sohniyan mere laareya…’, ’Eh kis di ajj yaad hai aayi…’, ‘Maahi mera sher japda jadon kar ke parade ghar aawe…
Kailey recalls as he shares the oomph moment with a tinge of nostalgia, “The poems composed by Batalvi had been an indispensable part of my life for many reasons than one. We have been organising commemorative musical soirees for decades now on the occasions to mark his birth and death anniversaries to keep him alive in our hearts”.
“This year, on the occasion of his 50th death anniversary, I thought of doing it in a different style, unlike the previous years. The idea of dedicating 50 songs to perpetuate the fond memory of Batalvi, the prominent poet, endearingly called the Keats of Punjab, came to mind. I thought there can be no better and befitting tribute to this iconic poet than crooning his verses,” he says while talking to CityWoofer.
Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s Intense Poetry, Couplets, Writings
Batalvi, who had winsomely woven his intense emotions of birha (pangs of separation) of his unrequited love in his own inimitable style high on romanticism heightened with the pangs of separation, which remains a conundrum for the nosey critics. Batalvi was the one who gave a seminal twist to the Punjabi poetry by adding newer dimensions to it, connecting it with soul and touching the heartstrings.
Batalvi’s contribution to Punjabi literature will remain unparalleled and unforgettable for generations to come. He has created a rich repertoire of poetry soaked in passion, pathos and the pangs of separation. His emotion-charged autobiographical poetry has no parallels, to say the least. His magnum opus Loona, an epic play based on the ancient legend of Puran Bhagat, bagged him the Sahitya Akademi award in 1967, making him the youngest recipient of this coveted award.
(The writer, Ramesh K Dhiman, is a former staffer of The Tribune and freelancer. He has written extensively for leading newspapers and magazines on art, culture, mythology, besides travelogues.)