Home » Interviews » “Getting to work with Yogesh ji and knowing him as a human being was a blessing” – composer Nikhil Kamath (Nikhil-Vinay) on his collaboration with the legendary lyricist

On May 29, lyricist Yogesh Gaur left for heavenly abode. Yogesh started his career in the early 60s and had a career spanning across several decades. Some of his most popular songs are “Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye” (‘Anand’), “Rimjhim Gire Sawan” (‘Manzil’), “Na Jaane Kyun” (‘Chhoti Si Baat’) and “Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha” (‘Baton Baton Mein’). In the 90s, the lyricist collaborated with composer duo Nikhil-Vinay on several films like ‘Pyar Bhara Dil’, ‘Chor Aur Chand’ and ‘English Babu Desi Mem’, among others. We got in touch with Nikhil Kamath, who formed one half of the duo, to speak about his experience of working with the legendary lyricist.

Vinay Tiwari and you started your career as composers with a legendary lyricist like Yogesh. Mostly new composers approach new lyricists to work with them. What made you reach out to a senior writer like him?

Vinay and I were asked to create some songs by T-Series. It was a huge break for us. When we were creating those tunes, we did not have a lyricist. We approached a few lyricists but they did not agree to work with us as we were just starting out. One day, I told Vinay that I am a big fan of Yogesh ji. As soon as Vinay heard that, he told me he knows Yogesh ji and we must approach him to write for us. Actually, before we became a composer duo, Vinay was struggling to get a break as a singer. He had worked a bit with Usha Khanna ji during that phase. Usha ji was working with Yogesh ji and because of her, he also got in touch with him. Vinay had a vague idea of where he lived. He knew Yogesh ji lived somewhere near Filmistaan Studio in Goregaon. One evening, we went to the area and started enquiring about him. Finally, we landed up at a building called Madhuban which he resided in. It was past 12 o’clock in the night when we finally met him. He spoke to us very politely and was very kind to us. He immediately recognised Vinay as they worked together for Usha Khanna. We recorded some songs on a Walkman that very night.

Did some of those songs made their way into way into ‘Pyaar Bhara Dil’ which was not just your debut film but also the film you had worked with him on?

No, ‘Pyaar Bhara Dil’ had some of our other compositions which we made later. Some songs which we recorded that night were incorporated in films, while some went to our music bank. One of the songs we made that night was ‘Tere Bin Jiyara Na Lage’. The was a part of the ‘Chor Aur Chand’ album but was not filmed and thus, did not make it to the film.

Yogesh ji was somebody who adapted to the changing times. One of the songs he wrote for you, “Love Me Honey Honey” from ‘English Babu Desi Mem’ had English lyrics.

Yes, he was well aware of the trends and kept himself updated. At the same time, he was a very original writer and stuck to his own style.  He mostly used simple Hindi words in most of his songs. He did not use Urdu much. The producers and directors who approached him had tremendous respect for him and wanted him to write in a style he was comfortable in. They believed what he gave them, no other lyricist could.

Out of all the songs, he wrote for you, which one is your favourite?

It is difficult to pick one song. As I stated earlier, I have always been a big fan of his music. When I was in school, I used to love performing to his song “Kahan Tak Yeh Man Ko Andhere” from ‘Baton Baton Mein’. Getting to work with Yogesh ji and knowing him as a human being was a blessing. The music of ‘Chor Aur Chand’ was very fresh. ‘Deewana Main Tera Deewana’ from ‘English Babu Desi Mem’ was one of the most popular songs we did together. We also worked with him on the title track of many popular TV serials like ‘Teacher’ and ‘Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai’. From his older songs, I like “Rajnigandha Phool Tumhare”, “Na Jaane Kyun”. I have around 8-10 songs unreleased songs which were written by him. He wrote the title track of a TV serial called ‘Saga Sautela’ which I composed. I might release it soon as  standalone song. A couple of years back, I did an album called ‘Tori A Love Story’ which had one song called ‘Teri Yaad’ written by Yogesh ji.

When was the last time you spoke to him?

I had called him around a month ago. We spoke for almost an hour. I was constantly in touch with him.

Despite so many memorable songs, a lot of people believe he was not celebrated as much as he should have. Why, do you think, that happened?

The industry is all about PR and how you project yourself. Yogesh ji was a very simple man. He was a very happy soul and was content with whatever he had.

Not much is known about his family. Was he married?

Yes, he was married. His wife lives in Punjab. He has two daughters and a son. In Mumbai, he was living on his own but was not lonely. He had many friends and they always stood by him.