Tribute to Pandit Narendra Sharma, the legendary poet, Hindi film lyricist and the founder of Vividh Bharati on his 104th birth anniversary today.

Pandit Narendra Sharma was an illustrious poet and lyricist, writer and intellectual as well as a journalist who has penned unforgettable poems, literature and lyrics in films. A Hindi Urdu scholar, he combined the tradition of Kabir and Meera with the lyricism of ghazals and Urdu poetry to provide Indian cinema with the Hindi language that was rich in the literature of Allahabad and Ganga. He was the man who evolved the face of All India Radio during its drowning stage by establishing popular Radio channel Vividh Bharati and generated listeners that went upto an amount of almost 35 crores.

He wrote some memorable songs for hindi films like “Jyoti Kalash Chhalke” (Bhabhi Ki Chudiyan — 1961) ,“Yashomati maiya se bole nandlala” (Satyam Shivam Sundaram — 1979) and the title song “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” (Satyam Shivam Sundaram — 1979).
On his birth anniversary, melody queen Lata Mangeshkar pays tribute to Pandit Narendra Sharma, who was a father-figure to her:
“I used to call him ‘Papa’. The first time, I met Papa (Pandit Narendra Sharma) it was at Master Vinayak’s residence. He was accompanied by the eminent litterateur Amritlal Nagar. He asked me to sing for for him. During those days, I didn’t need a second invitation to sing. I’d burst into a song whenever I was asked. He was a learned man. I’d spend hours listening to him. In 1968, when I recorded the Bhagavat Gita, Papa came home to congratulate me. I was anxious about my Sanskrit pronunciation. Papa assured me I had done a good job. Papa stayed in Khar. I’d visit his home. My ties with him and his family were very strong. His 3 daughters were my age. I’d carry extra clothes to his home and stay overnight. His daughters and I would do dhamaal all night. His wife though Gujarati, adopted the Uttar Pradesh culture after marriage, because Papa was from UP. I never heard him saying a bad word about anyone. I met Harivanshrai Bachchan Saab at Papa’s place. They called each other ‘Bandhu’. I don’t think I was so close to anyone outside the family. I discussed all my problems with Papa. He called me daughter but always addressed me as ‘Lataji’. I objected to that. But he persisted. When he died of a heart attack, I was heartbroken. No one could take his place.”

Courtesy- Imprints and Images of Indian Film Music