I can never forget Lata Mangeshkar singing Mir Taqi Mir’s “Dikhai diye yun key bekhud kiya” picturised on Supriya Pathak from the movie ‘Bazaar’. It was the simplest form of picturising a ghazal; all sitting in a garden around a bonfire and listening to the song. The touching tragedy of ‘Bazaar’ also had a beautiful ghazal of Makhdoom Mohiuddin “Phir chiri raat baat phoolon ki” by Mangeshkar and Talat Aziz. I remember having being given a treat to Rajesh Khanna’s unreleased movie titled ‘Majnoon’ (1986) when at Khayyam’s residence. The song was a lovely breeze in the air. It was “Dheeme dheeme yeh ujaley” by Yesudas and Mangeshkar.
Lakshmikant Pyarelal (LP) & Mangeshkar: A timeless melody by Mangeshkar, “Chalo sajna jahan tak ghata chaley” from the movie ‘Mere Hamdam Mere Dost’ attracted my attention to the prowess of LP in the art of music compositions. It is not the basic melody but the orchestral treatment that spoke of the duo’s genius. Another of Lata’s gem is ‘Tum Jaao Kahin Tum Ko Ikhtiar, Hum Jaein Kahan Sajna, Hum Nei To Kiya Hei Pyaar’ pictured on Sharmila Tegore. In this movie Mumtaz plays side heroine and pictured a lovely dance on Lata’s melody ‘Allah Yei Ada Kaisi Hei In Haseenon Mein’, a song composed on Qawwali beat. LP’s repertoire got its first richness through their first song ‘Hansta Hua Noorani Chehra’; a dance sequence by Lata and Kamal Barot of their first movie ‘ParasMani’ made in 1963. Though it is a fact that I did not endorse the shrieking voices in this song but still it was popular because of the rhythmic treatment given to the song. From the duet ‘Woh Jab Yaad Aei Buhut Yaad Aaei’, a duet by Rafi and Lata onwards, and the latter’s relationship with the duo lasted very long producing almost six hundred songs together. 1964 movie ‘Dosti’ was basically a Muhammad Rafi movie but Lata contributed a lovely song ‘Guriya Humse Roothi Raho Gi’.
In ‘Melody Makers’ I have remembered the 1968-1972 period in the words, “When in UK, I loved watching four movies of LP’s music namely ‘Milan’ (1967) with hit song ‘Sawan Ka Mahina Pawen Karey Shore’ sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Ham Tum Yug Yug Se Yeh Geet Milan Kei Gaatei Rahein Gei’ is a nice duet by Lata and Mukesh from the movie ‘Milan’, ‘Shagird’ (1968) with hit song ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar Mein Kaya Janu Rei’ by Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Intiqaam’ (1969) ‘Kaise Rahu Chup Keh Mein Nei Pi Hi Kaya Hei’ by Lata Manageshkar and 1970’s ‘Do Raste’ with hit song ‘Bindiya Chamake Gi’ again by Lata Mangeshkar and a duet ‘Chup Gaye Saare Nazare Oei Kaya Baat Ho Gai/Tu Nei Kajal Lagaya Din Mein Raat Ho Gai’ by Rafi and Lata. Lyrics were written by Anand Bukhshi. Each of these movies had something particular to mention. Even in their earlier movies, one could remember a hit song or two like the one from the movie ‘Sant Gyaneshwar’s ‘Jyot Se Jyot Jagate Chalo’ and, ‘Khabar More Na Li Ni’” These were all Lata numbers.
Lata’s songs ‘Ruk Ja Aei Hawa’, ‘Kahna Aan Pari Mein Terey Duwaar’ (a Bhajan), ‘Ur Kei Pawen Kei Sang Chaloon Gi’ and ‘Dil Wil Pyar Vyar Mein Kaya Janoon Rei’ are beautiful melodies from the 1968 movie ‘Shagird’. The best melody I like is ‘Woh Hein Zara Khafa Khafa’, a duet by Rafi and Lata. The next year, LP gave lovely music for their movie ‘Intiqaam’ starring Sanjay Khan, Sadhana, Ashok Kumar, Helen, Iftikhar, Anju Mehindru, Leela Chitnis and Jeevan. This movie was directed by RK Nayyar. Although the best song of this movie was Muhammad Rafi’s ‘Jo Unki Tamana Hei Barbaad Ho Ja’ but Rafi-Lata’s duet ‘Hum Tumharey Liye Tum Hamarey Liye’ and finally Lata’s cabaret song ‘Aa Jaan-e-Jaan’ were catchy too. The lyrics were penned by Rajinder Krishen. This movie proved the versatility of LP. The duo was always in praise for Lata Mangeshkar and was quoted as saying that where Didi (Lata) was concerned, if the duo was to put in one-anna worth of effort, she always turned it into a sixteen-anna endeavor. It is funny that such was the composing duo’s dependence on the vocals of Lata Mangeshkar that metaphorically speaking, they imagined buying a machine whereby she could sing the female as well as male vocals! That machine did not exist at that time. Despite the use of latest computer technology in audio recordings, the soothing impact of natural voices mixed with orchestra by sonic appeal cannot be replaced.
Until 1970, LP used Mangeshkar’s voice in almost all their movies like ‘Sant Gyaneshwar’ (1964), ‘Sati Savitri’ (1964), ‘Aaye Din Bahar Ke’ (1966), ‘Sau Saal Baad’ (1966), ‘Anita’ (1967), ‘Farz’ (1967), ‘Raja Aur Runk’ (1969), ‘Jeene Ki Raah’ (1969), ‘Aan Milo Sajna’ (1970), ‘Abhinetri’ (1970), ‘Humjoli’ (1970) and ‘Khilona’ (1970).