Having talked about my favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs from the 1940s and 1950s, it's time to move into the 1960s. I tend to agree with the general opinion that the "golden age" of Hindi Film Music started in the 50s and continued till the 60s. It was in the mid 1950s that Lata Mangeshkar the singer turned into Lata Mangeshkar the superstar, and as we step into the 1960s we find that the superstar achieved a super power status. Her domination of the Hindi Film Music industry was complete. Even though her output in the 1960s was lesser than the previous decades, there was no dearth of musical gems with almost every music director she worked with.
In the 1960s, we also saw a change of guards as far as music composers are concerned. The doyens of the 1950s like Anil Biswas and C. Ramchandra made way for the new generation to take charge as Laxmikant Pyarelal and Rahul Dev Burman made their debuts and set the stage for their domination in the next decade. Shankar Jaikishan were well established and consolidated their position in the early 60s. This period (starting from late 50s) also marked the immense popularity on O P Nayyar's Punjabi influenced, rhythm based music. He has the distinction of being the only composer of note who did not record a single song with Lata Mangeshkar. Naushad had enjoyed the peak of popularity in the 1950s, but continued to hold forth in the 1960s with some popular soundtracks, especially for films starring Dilip Kumar.
1960: Shankar Jaikishan with Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai and Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi and Naushad with Kohinoor and Mughal-e-Azam were the most popular music directors this year. It goes without saying that Lata Mangeshkar sang most of their compositions in these films. O Basanti Pawan Pagal (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Shankar Jaikishan), which was based on a tune SJ had used in the background score of Awaara, saw Lata Mangeshkar at her expressive best; while Ajeeb Dastan Hai Ye (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi, Shankar Jaikishan) had the lilt that gained it instant popularity. Naushad composed one of the loveliest Lata-Rafi duets in Kohinoor - Do Sitaron Ka Zameen Par Hai Milan. In what could be his first collaboration as an independent, solo composer with Lata Mangeshkar (along with the weirdly titled Bombay Ki Billi and the unreleased Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke), Khaiyyam produced a folksy Rang Rangila Saanwra in Barood.
The other noteworthy Lata Mangeshkar tracks in 1960 were Madan Mohan's Ja Re Badra Bairi Ja (Bahana) - a composition in Yaman Kalyan that has one of the most memorable use of sitar in Hindi film songs, Roshan's Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi from Barsaat Ki Raat, Ravi's Lage Na Mora Jiya (Ghunghat) and Salil Chowdhury's collaboration with Bimal Roy that produced melodious songs like O Sajna (Parakh), Mila Hai Kisika Jhumka (Parakh) and Machalti Aarzoo (Usne Kaha Tha). Sardar Malik (Anu Malik's father) created what could probably be his only successful soundtrack - Saranga, which included the quintessential sakhi song, Koi Ghar Aayega, as well as a sad ditty Piya Kaise Miloon. Then we had four exquisite Lata songs in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Anuradha, composed by Sitar Maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar - Haye Re Wo Din, Kaise Din Beete, Saanware Saanwre and Jane Kaise Sapnon Mein.
The biggest soundtrack of this year undoubtedly was Naushad's Mughal-e-Azam. The reason why my favourite Lata song of 1960 is from this film is not the popularity of the song, but the fact that this is one song which is rooted in my memory not as a purely aural experience, but also visually. Right from the time when I was a small kid, and probably saw this song for the first time, the shot of the divine Madhubala lifting her ghunghat and biting her lips remains firmly entrenched in my mind. Of course, I'm talking of Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal.
Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal (1960 - Mughal-e-Azam - Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni)
1961: This was the year when the song responsible for my obsession old Hindi film music was released - Madan Mohan's Wo Bhooli Dastaan from Sanjog. While this song remains special to me, it isn't what I would call the best Lata song from this year. This was also the year when Lata Mangeshkar was persuaded by V. Shantaram to record the songs of Stree with C. Ramchandra. While this soundtrack had some good songs like O Nirdayee Preetam, Aaj Madhuvatas Dole and Jhilmil Jhilmil, it was obvious that the special tuning that existed between CR and LM in the early fifties was gone. Chitragupta, who I think is one of the most under-rated music directors ever, adapted a western tune to create a nice Lata-Mukesh duet Dekho Mausam Kya Bahar Hai (Opera House). Salil Chowdhury continued with his innovations in Maya and Chhaya that included songs as diverse as Ja Re Ud Ja Re Panchhi (Maya), which was based on Indian classical music, to an inspired version of Mozart's 40th Symphony - Itna Na Mujh Se Tu Pyar Badha (Chhaya). Shankar Jaikishan continued to test Lata's vocal cords to the maximum by making her sings songs in an impossible scale. A case in point is Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par (Junglee), where Lata was asked to sing the song in the same scale as Rafi, and though she manages to do justice to the song, the strain on her voice is quite noticeable. Naushad's folk-inspired score in Ganga Jumna had Dhoondo Dhoondo Re Sajna, Do Hanson Ka Joda, Jhanan Ghoonghar Baje and Na Manoon Re Daghabaz.
While choosing my favourite song from this year, it's a tough choice between three songs. The first is Jyoti Kalash Chhalke composed by Sudhir Phadke for the film Bhabhi Ki Choodiyan. What I like the about this song are the lyrics in shudhh Hindi. Then there is another bhajan - Allah Tero Naam (Hum Dono, Jaidev). Infact, Jaidev gave two similar songs to Lata in this film, the other being Prabhu Tero Naam. But the one that I pick up as my favourite from this year is R D Burman's debut song from Chhote Nawab - Ghar Aaaja Ghir Aaye. This creation in Raga Malgunji is proof that even though RD would be known as a 'western composer' in the future, his musical genius was well rooted in Hindustani classical music.
Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye (1961 - Chhote Nawab - Rahul Dev Burman - Shailendra)
1962: This year marked the return of Lata Mangeshkar to Sachin Dev Burman, after an estrangement of 6 years. If film lore is to be believed, this happened because RD wanted Lata to sing for his debut film and SDB had to mend his differences with Lata. This resulted in a classical gem from Dr. Vidya - Pawan Diwani. Anil Biswas composed another classical beauty for Sautela Bhai - Ja Tose Nahin Boloon, while Roshan composed the evocative Tu Hum Ko Dekh for Zindagi Aur Hum and Kabhi To Milegi for Aarti. Salil Chowdhury, on the one hand made Lata sing like a soprano in Wo Ik Nigah Kya Mili (Half Ticket), while on the other gave her a simple sounding yet complex melody like Khush Ho Rahe The in Prem Patra. Hemant Kumar and Ravi produced haunting melodies like Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil (Bees Saal Baad) and Aye Mere Dil-e-Nadan (Tower House) respectively.
Madan Mohan's Anpadh is one of my favourite soundtracks of all time, so my pick for this year has to be from this film. But which one? Aapki Nazaron Ne Samjha or Hai Isi Mein Pyar Ki Aabroo, or Jiya Le Gayo? I select Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha simply because I prefer its arrangement over others.
Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha (1962 - Anpadh - Madan Mohan - Raja Mehdi Ali Khan)
1963: Laxmikant Pyarelal's debut with the B-grade fantasy flick Parasmani marked the start of an association with Lata Mangeshkar that would last many years. It would not be wrong to call LM as a mentor to LP. She was instrumental in them getting big films in the late 60s and early 70s. They also happen to be the music directors for whom Lata Mangeshkar sang the maximum number of songs (close to 700). Parasmani boasted of the immensely popular Hansta Hua Noorani Chehra and Ooima Ooima Ye Kya Ho Gaya, as well as the famous Lata-Rafi duet - Woh Jab Yaad Aaye.
Some of the songs I like from this year include Shankar Jaikishan's Man Re Tu Hi Bata Kya Gaoon (Humrahi) and Ruk Ja Raat (Dil Ek Mandir); Kalyanji Anandji's Bedardi Daghabaaz (Bluffmaster); Madan Mohan's Wo Jo Milte The Kabhi (Akeli Mat Jaiyo), Naushad's Mere Mehboob Tujhe (Mere Mehboob); Ravi's Wo Dil Kahan Se Laoon (Bharosa); Roshan's Ae Ri Jane Na Doongi and Sansar Se Bhaage Phirte Ho from Chitralekha, and Jurm-e-Ulfat Pe and Khuda-e-Bartar Teri Zameen Par from Taj Mahal; Sachin Dev Burman's Mora Gora Ang (Bandini); Jaidev's Raat Bhi Hai Kuchh Bheegi Bheegi (Mujhe Jeene Do) and Hemant Kumar's Zindagi Kitni Khubsoorat Hai (Bin Badal Barsaat)
The song that almost makes it to the top of my list for 1963 is Jaidev's Har Aas Ashkbaar Hai from Kinare Kinare. The top place, however, is reserved for Sajjad Husain's Aye Dilruba from Rustom Sohrab. This was Sajjad Husain's swan song that included other great songs like Phir Tumhari Yaad Aayi Aye Sanam by Mohd. Rafi and Ye Kaisi Ajab Daastan by Suraiya. Aye Dilruba had the unmistakeable Sajjad Husain stamp. The way he made Lata sing this song is amazing, with her voice sounding fresh and different. Lata Mangeshkar herself counts this song as one of her best.
Aye Dilruba (1963 - Rustom Sohrab - Sajjad Husain - Jaan Nisar Akhtar)
1964: After their debut in the previous year, Laxmikant Pyarelal came up with good compositions in films like Dosti, Mr. X in Bombay, Sati Savitri and Sant Gyaneshwar. Although they got a Filmfare award for Dosti, in my opinion their best soundtrack this year was Sati Savitri, which included gems like Jeevan Dor Tumhi Sang Baandhi, and Tum Gagan Ke Chandrama Ho. Naushad created an amazing love song about the monument of love in Leader - Ek Shahenshah Ne. Sachin Dev Burman had Haule Haule Jiya Dole (Kaise Kahoon) and one of his most-underrated works - Bimal Roy's Benazir that had the lovely Lata solo - Husn Ki Baharein Liye. Hemant Kumar's score for Kohraa comprised songs like O Beqarar Dil and Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat.
It wouldn't be wrong to say that this year belonged to Madan Mohan. No other composer could boast of such beautiful compositions in a single year like Naghma-o-sher Ki Saughaat (Ghazal), Agar Mujh Se Mohabbat Hai (Aap Ki Parchhaian), Khelo Na Mere Dil Se (Haqeeqat) Zara Si Aahat Hoti Hai (Haqeeqat), Wo Chup Rahen To (Jahan Ara), Haal-e-Dil Yun Unhe (Jahan Ara), Meri Aankhon Se Koi (Pooja Ke Phool), Ek Baat Poochhti Hoon (Suhagan Naina Barse (Woh Kaun Thi), and Lag Ja Gale (Woh Kaun Thi). My absolute favourite for this year is another gem from Woh Kaun Thi - Jo Humne Dastan Apni Sunayi.
Jo Humne Dastan Apni Sunayi (1964 - Woh Kaun Thi - Madan Mohan - Raja Mehdi Ali Khan)
1965: The year of Dil Ka Diya (Akashdeep, Chitragupta), Ye Sama (Jab Jab Phool Khile, Kalyanji Anandji), Mujhe Yaad Karne Wale (Rishte Naate, Madan Mohan), Tumhi Mere Mandir (Khandan, Ravi), Dil Jo Na Keh Saka (Bheegi Raat, Roshan), Humsafar Mere Humsafar (Purnima, Kalyanji Anandji), Teri Yaad Na Dil Se (Chand Aur Suraj, Salil Chowdhury), Tujh Bin Jiya Udaas Re (Poonam Ki Raat, Salil Chowdhury) Aji Rooth Kar Ab (Arzoo, Shankar Jaikishan), Bedardi Baalma (Arzoo, Shankar Jaikishan), and Gumnaam Hai Koi (Gumnaam, Shankar Jaikishan). Laximkant Pyarelal continued with B-grade flicks like the Dara Singh starrer Lootera, that had as many as 7 tracks by Lata Mangeshkar, including Kisi Ko Pata Na Chale.
The soundtrack of the year, undoubtedly, was Sachin Dev Burman's Guide. While Kaaton Se Kheench Ke and Piya Tose gained more popularity, I would select Mose Chhal Kiye Jaaye as my first choice.
Mose Chhal Kiye Jaaye (1965 - Guide - Sachin Dev Burman - Shailendra)
1966: Madan Mohan produced two outstanding soundtracks this year - Dulhan Ek Raat Ki and Mera Saaya. Nainon Mein Badra Chhaye and Tu Jahan Jahan Chalega from Mera Saaya definitely count among Lata Mangeshkar and Madan Mohan's best, while Sapnon Mein Agar Mere and Kaee Din Se Jee Hai Bekal from Dulhan Ek Raat Ki are also exquisite creations. I also like Kabhi Aye Haqeeqat-e-Muntazir from Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, where Madan Mohan put Allama Iqbal's ghazal to tune in the form of a qawwali. I am so fascinated by it, that I have myself written a ghazal on this tune.
Rahul Dev Burman resurfaced with Pati Patni that again had songs with hints of classical music. I particularly like Kajre Badarwa from this film. Phir Teri Kahani (Dil Diya Dard Liya, Naushad), Lo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad (Do Badan, Ravi), Aa Bhi Ja (Teesri Kasam, Shankar Jaikishan), Baharo Mera Jeevan Bhi Sanwaro (Aakhri Khat, Khaiyyam), Suno Sajna Papeehe Ne (Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Laxmikant Pyarelal) were great songs as well. Then we had two soundtracks where each song was a gem by itself. One was Shankar Jaikishan's Amrapali that had Tumhe Yaad Karte Karte, Jao Re Jogi, Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein and Tadap Ye Din Raat Ki . The other was Roshan's Mamta - Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Mein, Rehte The Kabhi, Rahe Na Rahein Hum and Chahe To Mera Jiya Le Le. Not many people know that the basic tune of Rahe Na Rahein Hum was reworked from an earlier tune by Roshan in Chandni Chowk, sung by Asha Bhosle - Tera Dil Kahan Hai.
It is Hemant Kumar's Anupama that I rate as Lata's best for 1966. It had two beautiful solos that I'm equally fond of. So I am picking two songs for this year: Dheere Dheere Machal and Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha.
Dheere Dheere Machal Aye Dil-e-Beqarar (1966 - Anupama - Hemant Kumar - Kaifi Azmi)
Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha (1966 - Anupama - Hemant Kumar - Kaifi Azmi)
1967: This must have been the year of heartbreak for Madan Mohan when Raj Khosla, for whom he had created such outstanding compositions in Woh Kaun Thi and Mera Saaya, shifted loyalties to the new kids on the block Laxmikant Pyarelal for his next film Anita. LP, however, did not disappoint as they came up with good melodies like Qareeb Aa Ye Nazar, Main Dekhoon Jis Or and Hai Nazar Ka Ishara, though this soundtrack was not a patch on what Madan Mohan had produced for Raj Khosla in the earlier films. This was a big year for LP, what with popular numbers like Dil Vil Pyar Vyar (Shagird), Sawan Ka Mahina (Milan), and Jab Jab Bahar Aayi (Taqdeer). Shankar Jaikishan's Raat Aur Din Diya Jale (Raat Aur Din) Jeevan Ke Dorahe Pe (Chhoti Si Mulaqat) had a high melody quotient, while Vasant Desai created a lovely classical composition in Ram Rajya - Dar Laage Garje Badariya. Naushad's Dil Ki Kashti Bhanwar Mein (Palki) was a pale shadow of his great compositions of the past, while SD Burman was in full form with Rula Ke Gaya Sapna Mera (Jewel Thief). RDB's Baharon Ke Sapne had two of his best compositions for Lata - Aaja Piya Tohe Pyar Doon and Kya Janoon Sajan.
My pick from this is an extremely rare gem from Roshan's Noor Jehan. Picturised on Meena Kumari, I strongly believe that Raat Ki Mehfil Sooni Sooni is probably the best Roshan composition ever for Lata. It was also the last song he recorded with her (Mehlon Ka Raja Mila from Anokhi Raat was recorded by Roshan's wife Ira after his death).
Raat Ki Mehfil Sooni Sooni (1967 - Noor Jehan - Roshan - Shakeel Badayuni)
1968: Lata Mangeshkar did not sing many songs in 1968. In fact, with just 80 songs, her output this year was the least since 1948. I have heard less than 50% of these songs, so the choice is extremely limited. Barring a few songs, the quality of the songs she sang this year wasn't too great. What can one say about songs like LP's Jaagi Badan Mein Jwala (Izzat) that is best remembered for Jayalalitha's sensuous gyrations? This film however had a passable Rafi-Lata duet - Ye Dil Tum Bin Kahin Lagta Nahin. Some of the good songs that were released this year were Chhod De Saari Duniya (Saraswati Chandra, Kalyanji Anandji), Mere Jeevan Saathi (Saathi, Naushad), Wadiyan Mera Daman (Abhilasha, Rahul Dev Burman), Sharm Aati Hai Magar (Padosan, Rahul Dev Burman), Ghairon Pe Karam (Aankhein, Ravi), Mehlon Ka Raja Mila (Anokhi Raat, Roshan), Unse Mili Nazar (Jhuk Gaya Aasman, Shankar Jaikishan), Ek Tha Bachpan (Aashirwad, Vasant Desai) and Jhir Jhir Barse (Aashirwad, Vasant Desai).
I would again go for a Madan Mohan song for this year - Na Tum Bewafa Ho from Ek Kali Muskayee.
Na Tum Bewafa Ho (1968 - Ek Kali Muskayee - Madan Mohan - Rajender Krishan)
1969: This year marked another change of guard in the Hindi film industry. The success of Shakti Samanta's Aradhana brought about two major changes in the industry. First, a superstar by the name of Rajesh Khanna came into limelight. Related to this was the emergence of Kishore Kumar as the most popular male playback singer, pushing the great (in my opinion, the greatest) Mohammad Rafi to the background. The third - not related to Aradhana at all - was the consolidation of Laxmikant Pyarelal's position as popular as well as versatile music directors. Shankar Jaikishan had had a dream run of almost 20 years since their debut in 1949, but they were well past their prime now.
While LP dominated the music scene this year, Lata Mangeshkar sang some nice songs for other music directors as well - Humne Dekhi Hai (Khamoshi, Hemant Kumar), Teri Aankhon Ke Siva (Chiragh, Madan Mohan), Na Ja O Mere Humdum (Pyar Ka Mausam, Rahul Dev Burman), Chanda Hai Tu (Aradhana, Sachin Dev Burman), Soch Ke Ye Gagan Jhoome (Jyoti, Sachin Dev Burman), Kitni Akeli (Talash, Sachin Dev Burman), Rangat Teri Surat Si (Tum Se Achchha Kaun Hai, Shankar Jaikishan), Gar Tum Bhula Na Doge (Yakeen, Shankar Jaikishan).
But, as I said, this year belonged to LP. Their output exemplified versatility in the from of heavily orchestrated, dholak-heavy songs like Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke (title song), Wo Kaun Hai (Anjana), Bindiya Chamkegi (Do Raaste) and Aa Mere Humjoli (Jeene Ki Raah) on one end, to soft melodies like Chalo Sajna (Mere Humdum Mere Dost), Ye Kaisa Gham Sajna (Pyasi Shaam), Abhi Kya Sunoge (Satyakam), and Do Din Ki Zindagii (Satyakam) at the other. Then we had the song that fetched Lata Mangeshkar a Filmfare award, even though I find it just about average - Aap Mujhe Achchhe Lagne Lage (Jeene Ki Raah).
If I'm ever asked to pick up my choice of best LP compositions of all time, there is one very rare song that I absolutely love - Saanjh Savere Adharon Pe Mere from a film called Madhavi. This song is usually not easily available in compilations and if you haven't heard it, I strongly recommend it to you. It is proof that LP were not always about 100-piece orchestras and chorus-backed numbers.
My pick for the year is an obvious one. Aa Jaan-e-Jaan from Inteqam. For those who think that Lata Mangeshkar was not suited for cabaret numbers, this song is a must-listen. I strongly believe that this is one of the best sung cabaret numbers of all time.
Aa Jaan-e-Jaan (1969 - Inteqam - Laxmikant Pyarelal - Rajender Krishan)