Shyamalal Babu Rai, who used Indeevar as his nom-de-plume, was born in the Barua Sagar district of Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Bitten by the film bug, he moved to Bombay with the sole intention of becoming a lyricist. In a long spanning career, he worked with great composers like Roshan in the 40s to Viju Shah, Aadesh Shrivastava, Anand Raaj Anand and Jatin - Lalit in the 90s.
After his debut in “Double Face” (1946), he worked for many B and C grade films to sustain his career. He got a big break with the song “Bade Armanon Se Rakha Hai” (“Malhaar”,1951) composed by Roshan. Despite that break, he remained overshadowed by his peers, Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Shailendra, throughout the 1950s. It was after his association with Kalyanji - Anandji that Indeevar's career turned, most notably with “Parasmani” (1963). He wrote his best lyrics during the 60s and 70s for films like "Himalay Ki God Mein" (1965), "Anokhi Raat" (1968), "Saraswatichandra" (1968), "Johny Mera Naam" (1970), "Safar" (1970), "Amanush" (1975) - for which he won the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist and "Don" (1978).
In the 80s, Indeevar came to be associated with highly commercial music. Despite some crass lyrics, he continued to enjoy success with a series of southern film remakes with hit songs like ”Nainon Mein Sapna” (Himmatwala, 1983) and “Tohfa Tohfa Laya”, (Tohfa, 1984). He may have been past his prime but he remained very prolific with music directors like Bappi Lahiri and Rajesh Roshan.
Despite his advancing age, Indeevar refused to slow down and kept writing film lyrics till he passed away in 1999.