Omkar Prasad Nayyar was born on 16th January 1926 in Lahore in an educated respectable family. He had developed a love for music unlike any other member in his family. His father was extremely against singing. At that time most of the educated families thought in Lahore that music is practiced only by ‘Mrasis and Bhands’. These were the people almost like jokers who would come and entertain on celebrations of events by well placed families. O. P. Nayyar as he was always known challenged his father and left home to come to Mumbai. He thought that he would try his luck to become a great music composer.
After struggle in Mumbai he got his first break in 1952. He was given the opportunity to direct music of film ‘Asmaan’. There after he did a couple of movies of little merit. However, he met noted director and actor Guru Dutt. He impressed Guru Dutt who gave him a number of movies- ‘Baaz’ (1953), ‘Aar Paar’ (1954), ‘Mr. & Mrs. 55’ (1955), and ‘CID’. The music of all these films was appreciated by the audience. With these films to his credit, O. P. Nayyar came into limelight.
Nasir Hussain who was another important producer engaged him for his film ‘Tumsa Nahi Dekha’ that was released in 1957. Then there was no looking back for O. P. Nayyar. He became very important music director of the Hindi films.
When he had left home he told his father and other members of the family that he would show his face only after earning fame. When he became famous he went to his father’s place in a new car. He flaunted his riches and fame in front of his family. He was well received though his father was still not very happy.
O. P. Nayyar never gave opportunity to the great singer Lata Mangeshkar. Instead female singers who sang for him were Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begam and later Asha Bhosale. It is said that when Asha Bhosale started singing for O. P. Nayyar, he stopped calling Gita Dutt. Once Gita Dutt who was suffering due to problem with unhappy relationship with Guru Dutt telephoned him for work. To that O. P. Nayyar answered that he had made contract with Asha Bhosale that he will not use any other female voice.
Life of O. P. Nayyar shows that he just followed his heart. He was less bothered about anyone including his family members and friends. In some ways O. P. Nayyar was like Steve Jobs. Both brilliant but both not worldly wise to maintain good relations with people around.
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