With her demise on the 7th of April 2022, the world of Hindi Cinema and Sahitya has lost one of its most resplendent creative energies that will continue to stoke the fire of creativity in the coming times. Maya Govind, is truly a force of nature.
Her amazing oeuvre sweeping across genres underlines her tremendous versatility. Seen through her Kavya Sangrah, Film songs, Nritya Natikas, Dancing and Acting abilities Mayaji remains one of the stellar personalities that traversed the expansive sojourn from the popular film song to the evolved corridors of literature and Dance.
Braving tremendous odds after the passing of her father when she was all of five, Maya Ji, single-handedly carved her niche as a restless creative soul. Her endeavours made her an accomplished Kathak Dancer, Actor and Poet par-excellence- all this as she whole-heartedly fulfilled her responsibilities towards her family that included two younger sisters and mother.
Being the multifaceted artist she was Maya ji, was equally at ease with almost all art forms including Natya Shastra. Deservedly so, she was soon playing the lead in a play where she also found her ideal soul-mate and future husband in Ram Govind, an artistically inclined dialogue and screenwriter who went on to become the wind beneath her wings, helping her attain her abundant artistic potential.
The gifted poet that she was Mayaji ‘could compose a memorable verse’ right on stage in friendly banter with the fellow poet- showcasing spontaneity of a rare kind. Her versatility, truly, is the stuff of legends. One of her crowning glories is her magnificent tribute in the form of the dance-ballet “Meera” which brought forth her devotion towards Radha and Krishna. The dance-ballet, starring renowned actor-danseuse Hema Malini, has gone on to become one of the most sublime works in its category drawing unprecedented crowds to this day.
Maya Govind’s success as a Film lyricist begin with the airwaves favourite romantic duet “Naino Mein Darpan Hain” from the film Aarop, though, Ramanand Sagars film “Jalte Badan” was her first opportunity as a lyricist . The film, though a dud at the box office, had Maya Ji making her mark with a Rafi-Lata duet “Wada Bhool Na Jana”. Mayaji eventually went on to engrave her name over 750 film songs. Notable among these are super hit numbers like “Teri Meri Prem Kahani”, “Main Khiladi Tu Anari”, and the breezy “Gale Mein Laal Taai.”
“Maine Payal Hai Chhankai”, the mushy allusion to love she penned for Falguni Pathak, remains one of the most popular non film chartbusters of recent years.
Maya Govind’s collaboration with master composers like Jaidev, Khayyam, Kalyanji-Anandji, Anu Malik, Bappi Lahiri irrefutably magnifies her ability to adapt to generations of music composers and their representative styles, giving cinema some of its most enduring works
As a classical poet of Hindi literature Maya Ji carved her own niche with her ornamental play of words. Fellow poets rave about her magnanimity toward her fraternity. One particular incident that comes to mind is when in a prestigious Kavi Sammelan, that faced a scarcity of time Mayaji salvaged the situation when she told the organizers that she wouldn’t mind not being given a chance to present her poetry if it could help resolve matters, saving them from acute embarrassment- this when she was most sought after and at the peak of her popularity. One wonders if there are other instances of such endearing grace by a poet on a public platform. But this was Maya Govind an exemplary artist with a heart to match. Her social service toward empowering women also adds to her enduring legacy.
Amongst her other achievements was the best actress award by the Sangeet Natak Academy in 1970 for her brilliant portrayal of a Venare Bai in Vijay Tendulkar’s “Khamosh! Adalat Jari Hai.”
Mayaji is the intensity and the sagacity behind the lines “Zindagi Ne Mujhe to bahut Kuchh Diya, Dhang Jeene Ka Aaya Magar der se” – a mind truly unique, a mind uniquely Maya Govind.