We would probably not have known about the death of poet-lyricist Yogesh Gaur had the Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar not tweeted about it. Among the most articulate lyricists of Hindi cinema, Yogesh was the quietest. Though he formed an immensely productive partnership with composer Salil Chowdhary, and this togetherness yielded one of Hindi cinema’s best songs Kahin door jab din dhal jaye in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand, Yogesh never got his dues in the Mumbai industry.
His most enduring and endearing partnership was with director Basu Chatterjee. Yogesh wrote lyrics for Basu Chatterjee’s Rajnigandha, Chotisi Baat, Manzil, Pasand Apni Apni, Baaton Baaton Mein, Priyatam, Uss Paar ,Laakhon Mein Ek, Apne Paraye, Shaukeen and Jeena Yahan.
Lataji remembers Yogesh’s poetry with great fondness. “Some of my most cherished songs were written by Yogeshji. He was such a quiet genius. His words were taken from the normal conversation and yet so poetic. My songs Rajnigandha phool tumhare and Na jaane kyon hota hai yun zindagi ke saath from the films Rajnigandha and Chotisi Baat are popular to this day. But there are other lesser-known songs that Yogeshji wrote for me that were equally beautiful, like Raaton ke saaye ghane in Annadata, Madhbhari yeh hawayen in Anokha Daan,Tumne diya piya sab kuch mujhko pani preet dayake in Uss Paar . These are among my most beautifully written songs. But my favourite lyric by Yogeshji is Kahin door jab din dhal jaye(sung by Mukesh in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand).”
The late Hrishikesh Mukhrejee in whose Mili Yogesh wrote two of his finest songs Badi sooni sooni hai zindagi and Aaye tum yaad mujhe gaane lagi har dhadkan once told me he thought the poet was shortchanged. “Yogesh and I did Anand and Mili together and he wrote so beautifully in both the films. In fact do you know, Zindagi kaisi hai paheli was to be played in the background for the opening credits in Anand? It was Rajesh Khanna who insisted on singing it on screen. He felt we were wasting a beautiful song in the background. And he was right! I wish I had worked more with Yogesh. But you know how it is in this industry. One forms comfortable partnerships and misses the opportunity to work with some great talent in the process. Madan Mohan is such a great composer. But I worked only once(in Bawarchi) with him,” said Hrishida regretfully.