Salil used Lata Mangeshkar in ‘Rajnigandha’ – 1974 with popular track “Rajnigandha phool tumhaare”. The movie ‘Us Nei Kaha Tha’ in 1960 had a wonderful duet by Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmud “Aha rim jhim kei yei pyare pyare geet” that completed my favourite trio with the other two from ‘Chaaya’ (1961) to sing for my friends.
I have written in my book Melody Makers, ‘Much of Salil Chaudhry’s early childhood was spent in the tea gardens of Assam, where his father was a medical doctor. Now I know why his music had the haunting effect of a jungle because of his early days spent in Asaam. Even today when I hear Lata’s song ‘Aa Ja Re Pardesi’ from Dilip Kumar – Vyjantimala’s 1958 movie ‘Madhumati’ or watch its video, the use of flutes in first/second mode enhance the jungle’s effect very effectively. Similarly the use of flutes and saxophone in again a Lata’s song from the movie ‘Maya’, ‘Ja Re Ja Re Ur Ja Re Panchi’ mesmerize me’. Talking of ‘Madhumati’, one must forget Lata’s meldoes such as ‘Ghari Ghari Mera Dil Dharke’ and ‘Dayya Re Dayya Re Charh Geyo Paapi Bichwa’ (a folk oriented song). The song ‘Julmi Sang Ankh Lari’ was a village dance sequence again with flutes mesmerizing the music lovers. A Lata-Mukesh duet ‘Dil Tarap Tarap Kei Keh Raha Hei’ needs mention.
My all time favourite song from ‘Maya’ remains Lata-Rafi duet ‘Tasveer Teri Dil Main Jis Din Sei Uttari Hei’ pictured with soft dancing steps by Dev Anand and Mala Sinha. Salil Chaudhry also gave background music for a 1968 movie ‘Anokhi Raat’ for which the songs had already been composed and recorded by late Roshan. I still remember a lovely song ‘Mehlon Ka Raja Mila’ by Lata pictured on pretty Zahida, Nargis’s niece.
SD and Lata: Whatever melody someone else may like of SD Burman and Lata combination, what I like would be somewhat different. Each one of us has a right of making one’s choice. I would quote my choice as ‘Tum Mujh Sei Door Chale Jana Na’ from 1970 movie ‘Ishq Pe Zor Nahin’ starring Dharmendar and Biswajeet. The song was pictured on Sadhna. Or I might mention the song ‘Jeevan Ki Bagia Mehke Gi’ (a duet with Kishore Kumar) from the 1971 movie ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ pictured on Mumtaz and Dev Anand. (It was a movie by Vijay Anand, the brother of Dev Anand). The movie stars Dev Anand, Mumtaz, Vijay Anand, Hema Malini and others. The Story is based on the novel ‘Citadel’ by AJ Cronin. Dr Anand Kumar (Dev Anand), an idealistic doctor with noble dreams, moved towards a small village to help the poor people. He finds a job at a community clinic of Dr Prasad (Mahesh Kaul), run by Paro, the wife of Dr Prasad, because last one is very sick. Anand earned the friendship of other doctors, especially with the dentist Dr Bhutani (Agha) and Dr Jagannath Kothari (Vijay Anand), a gynaecologist and a disillusioned alcoholic. In the village, Anand soon became popular, he offered free medical treatment to the poor people and wins the heart of the beautiful school teacher Nisha (Mumtaz), to whom he got married. One day Mrs. Prasad fires Anand, as they come into conflict with each other. He relocates with Nisha to Bombay, where he becomes the personal doctor of the leading actress Maltimala. Thereafter, Anand is more and more busy, neglecting his young wife, and unfortunately unaware of her pregnancy. Nisha decided to separate from him. Now alone, what will Anand doing? Will he divorces Nisha and marry Maltimala? My other choice could be ‘Megha Chaye Aadhi Raat Bairen Bun Gai Nindiya’ based in Raag Patdeep from the movie ‘Sharmeeli’. It was a hit of 1971 produced by Subodh Mukherjee and directed by Samir Ganguly. The film stars Shashi Kapoor, Raakhee, Narendra Nath, Naseer Hussain, Iftekhar, SN Banerjee, Anita Guha and Asit Sen. The soundtrack of Sharmeelee was an instant hit with music lovers.
Above was my initial reaction to the selection among SD’s compositions composed for Lata though the duo had created wonders in other films also. How can one forget the outstanding dance number ‘Honton Pe Aisi Baat Mein Daba Kei Chali Aai’ by Lata and danced by outstanding actress and dancer of her time Vyjantimala from the movie ‘Jewel Thief’ as well as the missing-the-beloved song ‘Rula Kei Gaya Sapna Mera’. The change of mood in the second line of the former song on the words ‘Hai Re Hai’ shows the command of the music director. One cannot miss the catchy duet ‘Dil Pukarey Aa Re Aa Re Aa Re’, a duet by Rafi and Lata. SD’s use of Sitar and flutes in this song is amazing with rhythms creating gypsy effect. Another colour of SD Burman is visible in film ‘Guide’’s song ‘Piya Tosey Naina Laage Re’, the music and rhythm changes are amazing as the progress in dancing of Waheeda Rehman takes place from a small village dancer to a successful commercial stage dancer.