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Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

by Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
Year: 1960
Film: Mughal-E-Azam
Composer: Naushad


It is the royal concert night in Emperor Akbar’s lavishly decorated mirror palace but strangely all courtiers are sitting tense with bated breaths. The emperor is on his throne – looking agitated; the crown prince Salim is sitting nearby – looking downcast. The court danseuse Anarkali is performing tonight and her agenda is special. Tonight she is proclaiming her undying love for Prince Salim in front of everyone. A commoner falling in love with a Royal and expressing her emotions with unflinching courage, despite knowing the ultimately fatal consequences of her love story.

This scene in the historical classic Mughal – E- Aazam featuring Prithviraj Kapoor as Akbar, Dilip Kumar as Salim and Madhubala as Anarkali, has become a landmark in Indian cinema and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kyathe song professing that ill fated love has become a milestone.

When film-maker K.Asif asked composer Naushad to compose a song for this situation, he wanted nothing but the best. Just a few years ago, C.Ramchandra- composed Lata- song Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai was picturised on Beena Rai in Anarkali - another film on the same subject and it had gone on to become a huge hit. Yet Naushad couldn’t even think of an alternative voice. He needed the best voice in business and Lata Mangeshkar it had to be!

To compose the song, Naushad locked himself up in a room with the lyricist Shakeel Badayuni. The time was six p.m. After struggling to find the correct opening, Naushad suddenly remembered a folk-song in Purabi dialect –Prem Kiya Kya Chori Kari.

Inspired by that, Shakeel came up with those immortal lines –

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
Jab Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya
Pyar Kiya Koi Chori Nahi Kii
Chhup Chhup Aahein Bharna Kya.

(If I have loved someone, why should I be afraid? I haven’t robbed anyone, then why should there be this secretive anxiety?)

It was just the perfect beginning for the song. When they finally completed the song, the next day was dawning.

Look what superb words Shakeel chooses to depict Anarkali’s daring declaration to the stunned Royal Court,

 Aaj Kahenge Dil Ka Fasana 
Jaan Bhi Le Le Chaahe Zamana 
Pardah Nahi Jab Koi Khuda Se 
Bandon Se Pardah Karna Kya 
Jab Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya.

 (Today I will tell my love story, even if the whole world tries to end my life. If there is nothing hidden from the Almighty, then why should I hide my feelings from you mere mortals? If I have loved someone, why should I be afraid?)

No other film song has brought out the reckless rebellious nature of love in such dignified, determined and defiant manner. K.Asif's superb taking, Naushad’s catchy tune, Shakeel’s exquisite lyrics and Lata’s magical virtuosity have made Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – an eternal anthem of love. 

About the author
Dr. Mandar V. Bichu

Lata Online’s editor-webmaster-curator Dr. Mandar V. Bichu is a pediatrician based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, who is also a prolific writer-journalist. His fascination for Lata Mangeshkar’s music has resulted in two books-Gaaye Lata Gaaye Lata and Lata-Voice of the golden era, and many published articles.