Hemant Kumar & Lata Mangeshkar: Watching soft melodies “Kuch dil ne kaha” and “Dheere dheere machal ae dil-e-beqarar” (picturised on Sharmila Tegore with Dharmendra following her) from a lovely 1966 B&W film ‘Anupama’ makes one feels on the top of the world of serenity, especially when Mangeshkar brings the musical note down with a soft jump at the word “kaha” in the former melody. Such was the prowess of music composer Hemant Kumar whom we know more as a singer from Bengal. Same impact is produced when we listen to “Zindigi kitni khubsoorat hai” (Asha Parekh singing for Biswajeet seemingly in a drunken state of mind) from ‘Bin Badal Barsaat’. I used to confuse the song with that of Roshan’s style of composition as the soft rhythmic pattern seemed close to his style. Another song picturised on Parekh “Khushi bhi milli hum ko” with Nishi’s dance on the interludes is from this film. Then Rajshree running around like a deer on “Piyasi hirni ban ban gaaye” with Biswajeet running after her from ‘Do Dil’ creates a mesmerising impact. Another song “Aik baar zara phir” can be quoted from this film. Another dance song “Mun mora nache” creates a wonderful impact on Raj Shree’s dance. Sweetness came with Hemant Kumar from where he belonged; Bengal. He kicked off with his career in Bengali films and later stepped into Bollywood. After earning a good name in solo playback singing, he started his duet singing with Mangeshkar. Together, they have given Bollywood several hit songs.
The years 1950s and 1960s were golden decades for Hemant Kumar. Shyama mimes the female lead of Mangeshkar-Hemant Kumar duet “Daikho woh chand chup ke” from the 1954 film ‘Shart’. ‘Bees Saal Baad’ a 1962 film had hit songs like “Kahin deep jale kahin dil”, a haunting melody penned by Shakeel Bidayuni. Another song by Mangeshkar picturised in the mysterious jungles but in a happy mood for Biswajeet is “Sapne suhane larakpan ke”. Mangeshkar also sang “Aei muhabbat meri duniya main”, a sad ghazal in Dadra (six matra) beat with rich violin supporting the basic melody. The song sounded like a Naushad Ali style composition. The commercially successful film was supported by perfect ensemble including Sajjan, Asit Sen, Manmohan Krishen and Madan Puri while Biren Naug directed the film. Another mystery film ‘Kohra’ was directed by the same director. In this 1964 film Rajeshwari (Waheeda Rehman) is an orphan whose bereaved life changes when she marries a rich man named Amit Kumar Singh (Biswajeet). Amit brings Rajeshwari to his home, a huge palatial mansion located in a quiet and secluded locality. Soon Rajeshwari learns from the servants about Amit’s first wife Poonam who died mysteriously about a year ago. The housekeeper Dai Maa (Lalita Pawar) who was also the caretaker of Poonam is visibly disturbed by this and is cold towards Rajeshwari. She encounters supernatural presence in the mansion and is haunted by the memories and spirit of Poonam after Amit leaves on a business trip for few weeks. She feels her existence especially in her bedroom, where she finds the rocking chair move by itself, the bed is warm as though somebody had slept in it, the windows open up on there own, and she hears a strange voice singing. A shocked Rajeshwari decides to probe the matter but things take a fateful turn when the Police finds Poonam’s skeletal remains in a car at the bottom of a muddied lake. Mangeshkar’s song “Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat” is picturised on drunken Poonam at the beginning of the film. During the investigation phase, Rajeshawari, encounters a shadow singing this song again. Mangehskar also contributes a song “O! beqarar dil” picturised on Waheeda Rehman.
One of the 1954 hit films was ‘Nagin’ with a “been sapera” theme whose song “Man dole mera tun dole” became a street euphoria. The other hit songs were “Teri yaad main jal kar”, “Jadugar saiyyan chorro meri baiyaan”, “Sun rasiya mun basiya”, “Sun ri sakhi more sajna bulaye”, “Oonchi oonchi duniya”, “Mera dil yei pukare aaja”, “Mera badli main chup gaya chand re”. Those were the days of musicals. The film ‘Khamoshi’ in 1969 was directed by Asit Sen, written by Gulzar, starring Rajesh Khanna, Waheeda Rehman, Dharmendra, Nazir Hussain, Iftekhar, Lalita Pawar, Deven Verma and Anwar Hussain. This movie had lyrics by Gulzar and compositions of Hemant Kumar like “Humne daikhee hai un aankhon ki mehekti khushboo” by Mangeshkar.
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