As the wedding season unfolds in India, the familiar strains of the iconic wedding anthem “Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai” resonate through the air, bringing back memories of the 1977 film Aadmi Sadak Ka. Amid the celebratory ambiance, it’s worthwhile to delve into the life and legacy of the prolific 70s and 80s songwriter behind this anthem and many other timeless classics.
Born Barkatrai Malik on April 13, 1925, in Ferozepur (now in Pakistan), Verma Malik emerged not only as a renowned lyricist but also as an active freedom fighter during the British Raj. His patriotic songs and Bhajans, composed and recited during the independence movement, showcased his early dedication to both music and his country.
Post-partition, he transitioned to writing songs for Punjabi films, eventually changing his name to Verma Malik on the advice of music director Hansraj Behl, who played a pivotal role in launching his Hindi cinema career.
Verma Malik’s lyrical prowess graced films such as Chakori (1949), Jaggi (1952), Shree Nagad Narayan (1955), Mirza Sahiban (1957), and CID 909 (1957). His contributions expanded across a vast array of iconic songs, including “Yashoda Ka Nandlala” from Sanjog (1985), “Ek Taara Bole” from Yaadgar (1970), “Do Bechaare” from Victoria No 203 (1972), and “Tere Sang Pyaar Mein” from Nagin (1976). Renowned for his ability to seamlessly blend shayari and folk songs, Verma Malik’s creations were a delight for audiences, earning him credits for over 500 films.
After a hiatus from the film industry post-1961, Verma Malik made a triumphant return with songs for Dil Aur Mohabbat in 1967. The songs of Roti Kapda Makaan became some of the biggest hits in his illustrious career. His excellence was recognized with two Filmfare Awards for Best Lyricist, awarded for Pehchan (1970) and Be-Imaan (1972).
However, after the death of his wife, Verma Malik retreated from public life, confining himself to his residence. In 2009, at the age of 84, this maestro of words and melodies bid farewell to the world. Reflecting on his passing, friend and music director Pyarelal of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo noted, “Varmaji ki khasiyat yeh thi, ki he could blend shayari and folk songs very well. We have worked together in a few films, and he came across as a calm person, happy and proud of the work he was doing.”
Verma Malik’s legacy transcends the wedding anthem that echoes through the seasons, as his timeless melodies continue to captivate hearts and stand as a testament to his enduring impact on the world of Hindi cinema.