O.P. Nayyar was one of the most popular music directors of Indian Hindi cinema. He had given mesmerizing music from early 50s to 70s. Nayyar is best known for his peppy songs. He was also responsible for bringing up the career of legendary singer Asha Bhosle.
Omkar Prasad Nayyar popularly known as O.P. Nayyar was born on January 16, 1926 in Lahore, Punjab, British India (its now part of Lahore, Pakistan). OP left his education in between to pursue career in music composing. In his early career, Nayyar worked at All Indian Radio, Jullundur. Soon after the recording company HMV released his composed album containing songs like 'Kaun Nagar Tera Dur Thikaana' and 'Pritam Aan Milon'. After the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, Nayyar's family moved from Lahore to Amritsar. However he moved to Bombay (Mumbai) in 1949 to try his hand in Hindi film industry.
Nayyar got break in film industry as a background score for Krishan Kewal's film Kaneez in 1949. However he got his first break as composer with the film Aasmaan. Followed by it he did films like P.L.Santoshi's Cham Chama Cham and Guru Dutt's Baaz. None of these films worked well at box office. Guru Dutt's and Nayyar's association started with film Baaz. They later worked together in films like Aar Paar, Mr. and Mrs. 55, and CID.
Nayyar get his first major hit with Guru Dutt's film Aar Paar. With this film he gave hit numbers like 'Babuji Dheere Chalna', 'Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar', 'Ye Lo Main Haari Piya' and 'Mohabbat Kar Lo Jee Bharlo'. His later well known movies in 50s include Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) and Howrah Bridge (1958). In Howrah Bridge, he gave the hit songs like 'Aayiye Meherban Baithiye Jaan-E-Jaan' sung by Asha Bhosle and 'Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo' sung by Geeta Dutt.
Throughout his career, Nayyar used Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt as his premier singers. He never used other big singers like Lata Mangeshkar. Nayyar said that Lataji's voice doesn't suits his composition style. However he recited many of his compositions from Lataji's sister Asha Bhosle. Nayyar, Ashaji together have record kind of thing that they worked on nine films in 1957-1958. They worked together on about 70 films including films like Naya Daur, Howrah Bridge, Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Phagun, Ragini and Sone Ki Chidiya. Their hit numbers together includes 'Aaiye Meherban Baithiye Jaane Jaan', 'Maang Ke Saath Tumhara', 'Zara Haulle-Haulle Chalo More Saajana', 'Ude Jab Jab Zulfen Teri', 'Ek Pardesi Mera Dil Le Gaya' to name few. However with Geeta Dutt he gave hit numbers like 'Baabuji Dheere Chalna', 'Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu' and many more.
In 60's Nayyar was bit relaxed, working on one movie per year. In 1961, he had no release. However he made a hit in 1962 with S Mukherji's Ek Musafir Ek Haseena. His later films include Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Mere Sanam (1965), Guru Dutt's Baharein Phir Bhi Aayegi (1966), and Joy Mukherji's Humsaaya (1968). Nayyar changed Shammi Kapoor's yahoo image in film Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). He gave the hit compositions like 'Yeh Chaand Sa Roshan Chehra' and 'Deewaana Hua Badal'.
Mohammad Rafi was his favorite singer, However Nayyar didn't work with Rafi in late 60s. Apart from Rafi, he also worked with singers like Kishore Kumar, Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor. Nayyar's compositions always had the influence of Punjabi folk music like Bhangra. Also he used instruments like sarangi and piano beautifully in his compositions. Nayyar is much popular for his peppy songs.
However, Nayyar made a surprise comeback with the film Nishchay in 1992. Nayyar also appeared as guest on musical shows on TV channels. The veteran, talented composer died on January 28, 2007 in Thane near Mumbai.