Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is a megastar today. However, he is also known as the son of one of the most popular poets of India, Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Born on November 27, 1907, in Babupatti, UP (then United Provinces of Agra and Oudh), Harivansh Rai is widely remembered for his work Madhushala, often recited by son Amitabh at various occasions.
He married social activist Teji Bachchan, and the duo become parents to two sons: Amitabh and Ajitabh Bachchan. Born as Shrivastava, Harivansh Rai took the pen name “Bachchan” after he started writing Hindi poetry. He went on to become famous in coming years, earning Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi literature in 1976.
Over time, some of his poems have also been used as songs and couplets in a lot of Bollywood movies. Here is a list of popular poems by Harivansh Rai what you can hear as songs:
Rang Barse Bheege Chunar Wali: One of the life-turning movies of Amitabh, starring his wife Jaya Bachchan and Rekha, Silsila included a famous Holi song written by Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Rang Barse stays the quintessential Holi number, even after decades of its release.
Agneepath: Harivansh Rai’s poem Agneepath is about those tough paths of one’s life that can’t be avoided. A few couplets from the poem were used throughout 1990 movie Agneepath, which starred Amitabh.
Koi Gaata Mai So Jata: Another song picturized on Amitabh, from the 1977 release Alaap, Koi Gaata Mai So Jata won many hearts in the voice of K. J. Yesudas. The lyrics expresses the desire to have a peaceful sleep with no worries at all.
Saanjh Khile Bhor Jharey: From the 1971 movie Phir Bhi, this poem was brought to life as a song in the voice of Hemant Kumar and his daughter Ranu Mukherji. The song shows glimpses of a happy family, as a girl miss the old memories.
Madhushala: Though it has not been filmed as a Bollywood song, Harivansh Rai’s Madhushala has been sung by various artists, including Manna Dey. The poem talks about a man’s journey from his home to a bar. Suprisingly, Harivash Rai was not an alcoholic himself, yet his description has beautifully narrated the incidences.