Then there was this movie ‘Aik Kali Muskurai’ in which Lata Mangeshkar and a superb melody “Na tum bewafa ho na hum bewafa hain”. Just listening to the pathos of this melody brings tears to the eyes. Madan Mohan said in an interview that to compose this song he had to imagine and go through the agony of parting of lover with the beloved for many days before this melody came into being. It was great difficulty that I located two outstanding melodies by Mangeshkar from Bina Rai-Prem Nath starrer 1957 movie ‘Samunder’ with serene sounding orchestra and soothing impact by Madan Mohan’s genius. These songs are “Aa ja kahin se aja” and “Chain nahi aae, kahan dil jaye”. The lyrics were penned by Rajinder Krishen. Many beautiful melodies get lost on the way when the films do not meet box office success.
Mangeshkar and SK: Lata remained busy with all the other leading music composers of 1950s. The story of her singing for Raj Kapoor’s ‘Barsaat’ is very interesting. Again I refer to my book ‘Melody Makers’ wherein on Shankar Jaikishen, I have written ‘The other day, I was reading a book on Lata Mangeshkar written by Harish Bhimani in which he revealed the story that music composer Naushad Ali had invited many stalwarts of Indian Film Industry for listening to recording of song by Lata Mangeshkar for the movie ‘Andaaz’, without letting Lata know anything about their presence in the recording room lest she became nervous. Lata was very young then and was struggling to enter in the domain of playback singing. The seventh take was finalized for this song. All the bigwigs appreciated this new entrant including Raj Kapoor who was present there. It was much later that a young fair complexioned music composer namely Shanker visited Lata’s flat informing that she had been picked up by Raj Kapoor to sing all songs for his next movie ‘Barsaat’. When I was a child and saw this movie many times released in Lahore Cinemas, I fell in love with its music. It was a story of a mountain girl Neela (Nimmi) falling in love with a Babu Gopal (Prem Naath) from the city. There were two parallel stories running in this movie; one between Nimmi and Prem Nath and the other between Pran (Raj Kapoor) and Reshman (Nargis), the former ending up in tragedy and the latter, not. Both Gopal and Pran are friends with opposite personalities; the former rich but sensitive and the latter a flirt, while Pran and Reshma’s love is true, Gopal disregards the faithful Neela (Nimmi) and condemns her to wait stanchly for his return at the next Barsaat (rainy season). Many characters in this story plot intrigues through which Pran and Reshma sail through facing parental opposition, accidents and an attempted forced marriage of Reshma to a crude fisherman, a role played by K. N. Singh. The couple is finally reunited. Gopal on the other hand finally becomes a reformed character and rushes to claim the ever faithful Neela who has been longing for him all the time. It is too late a realization for Gopal and when he returns to the mountains, he finds his true love dead. The film ends with Gopal lighting Neela’s funeral pyre as the rains finally fall with Lata’s song ‘Barsaat Mein Hum Sei Miley Tum’ in the background. From this climax song pictured on Nimmi, ‘Ab Mera Kaun Sahara’, to ‘Bicherey Hueye Pardesi’, ‘Jiya Beqarar Hei’ and ‘Mujhey Kisi Sei Pyar Ho Gaya’ (Nargis gets attracted to Raj Kapoor playing Baja (violin)), Mukesh/Lata’s ‘Patli Kamar Hei’ pictured on Prem Naath and Nimmi, ‘Hawa Mein Urta Jaeye’ on an unknown actress and a lovely sad duet to ‘Chore Geye Baalam’ on Nargis and Raj; all the songs of this movie were hit’.
It has been reported in the media that Lata Mangeshkar had stopped working with Shankar Jaikishen duo after the movie ‘Sangam’s episode due to her anger against both Raj Kapoor and Shankar in making her sing `Main Ka Karun Raam Mujhe Budhha Mil Gaya’ which she was not keen to sing, though it is history that this number became a great hit. Nevertheless, she continued singing for SJ even after the movie ‘Sangam’ till the end of the duo’s career. The other three movie released in 1951 were ‘Badal’, ‘Kaali Ghata’ and ‘Nageena’. I still remember Lata’s ‘Un Sei Pyar Ho Gaya’ pictured on lovely Madhubala. Lata’s ‘Tu Nei Haye Mere Zakhm-e-Jiger Ko Choo Liya’ was as haunting as ever. The musical hit ‘Dagh’ comprising Dilip Kumar and Nimmi was another hit the following year in which Dilip’s song sung by Talat Mahmud (happy version) and Lata’s song (sad version) ‘Aei Merey Dil Kahin Aur Chal’ in Raag Bhairvin. Continued
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