In my last post I had listed my favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs from the 1940s. Now I enter into the 50s. If in the last few years of the 40s Lata Mangeshkar gained foothold into the Hindi film music industry, it was the 50s that she really grew to dominate the industry. From the rawness that was evident in her voice, she quickly mastered the art of playback singing in the 50s under the tutelage of great music composers like Anil Biswas, Naushad, C. Ramchandra and others. There was a distinct change in her tallaffuz, especially when it came to emphasis on key words and clarity of pronunciation. And as the 50s progressed she perfected this art to emerge as the one and only reference point for perfect pronunciation in songs. Of course, she greatly benefited from a whole galaxy of master composers who composed gems after delightful gem for her to vocalize.
So you can imagine what a tough task it was for me to pick one song per year in the 50s. Have a peak at my attempt and see if I have been able to do justice to this onerous task. If you don't, what does it matter? They're personal favourites after all J
1950: Lata Mangeshkar sang 152 Hindi film songs this year. I have heard just 50% of these; and this list is quite dominated by songs composed by Anil Biswas (Arzoo, Lajawab, Beqasoor), C. Ramchandra (Sargam, Samadhi, Sangeeta, Nirala) and Husnalal Bhagatram (Aadhi Raat, Pyar Ki Manzil) While each of these soundtracks is a masterpiece in itself, there are a few songs I like more than the others: Jana Na Dil Se Door (Arzoo) for the delightful way in which Lata sings the word 'door' ; Matwale Nainon Wale Pe (Beqasoor) for its composition structure and effortless murkis; the lovely duet with Mukesh, Zamane Ka Dastoor (Lajawab); Mehfil Mein Jal Uthi Shama (Nirala); Naumeed Ho Kar Bhi and Jo Mujhe Bhula Ke Chale Gaye (Sangeeta); Tu Chhed Sakhi Sargam (Sargam) with the riveting violin piece at the end; the pathos of Koi Kisi Ka Deewana Na Bane ( Sargam); and of course Gore Gore (Samadhi). Then we have Dil Hi To Hai (Aadhi Raat) by Husnalal Bhagatram, about which I have written in an earlier post. This year also marked Lata Mangeshkar's debut with Sachin Dev Burman with Aankhon Se Door Door (Mashaal).
In 1950, Lata Mangeshkar gave voice to some really nice compositions by relatively lesser known music directors. The one's I think do deserve to come out of obscurity are: Kaga Re Ja Re by Vinod (Wafa), Chup Chaap Patange by Hafeez Khan (Meherbani), Preetam Se Ja Ke Keh De by Hemant Kedar (Hamari Kahani) and Aisa Kya Qusoor Kiya by Chic Chocolate (Nadaan).
Such great songs, but my favourite without a doubt is a haunting Sajjad Husain creation - Bhool Ja Aye Dil from Khel. Sajjad Husain's composition are unique and extremely difficult from a singing point of view because due to their low pitch and staccato notes. Sajjad Husain didn't do too many films, and recorded just around 14 songs with Lata. But each one of those is outstanding, which is probably why Lata Mageshkar holds Sajjad Husain in very high regard. Listen to this one:
Bhool Ja Aye Dil (1950 - Khel - Sajjad Husain - Shams Azimabadi)
1951: For any Lata fan this would be a special year. It is tough for any other year to match this one in terms of quantity as well as quality. With 208 songs, 1951 represents the biggest year for Lata Mangeshkar. Even in terms of quality, no other year comes even close to this one with great songs by most music directors. One the one hand we have one of Anil Biswas's best compositions in Tarana and Aaram, while C.Ramchandra continued to display his virtuosity with Albela, Khazana and Sagai. Madan Mohan made his debut with Lata in Ada and Madhosh, while Shankar Jaikishan dominated the charts with Awaara, Badal and Kali Ghata. Sachin Dev Burman produced three of his career best soundtracks in Buzdil, Sazaa and Naujawan, while Roshan showed signs of greatness in Hum Log and Malhar. Naushad had Deedar, and Husnalal Bhagatram had Afsana. Lata Mangeshkar made each of these great compositions even greater by her nearly flawless rendition.
Here is a random selection of songs from some the above films, each unique in its own special way. These are songs I never get tired of: Balamwa Nadan (Aaram), Wo Din Kahan Gaye Bata (Tarana), Dheere Se Aaja Ri (Albela), Mohabbat Mein Aise Zamane (Sagai), Saawri Surat Man Bhai (Ada), Jhan Jhan Jhan Payal Baje (Buzdil), Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan Mein (Sazaa), Thandi Hawayein (Naujawan), Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon (Afsana), Garjat Barsat (Malhar, a compostion in Raga Malhar that was repeated later in Barsaat Ki Raat)....actually almost 80% of the 135 songs I have heard from this year would fit in well with my definition of a great song.
As always, I have a special preference towards songs that have not got their due or have not registered themselves in the minds of the people simply because they haven't been heard much. So songs like Sapna Ban Sajan Aaye (Shokhiyan, Jamal Sen), Qismat Mein Khushi Ka, Tumhe Dil Diya and Hawa Mein Dil Dole (Saiyan, Sajjad Husain), and Bandh Preet Phool Dor (Malti Madhav, Sudhir Phadke) occupy a special place in my collection. Listen to these songs and judge for yourself!
But my favourite one is Anil Biswas's exquisite composition from Aaram - Man Mein Kisi Ki Preet Basa Le. The opening piano piece is one of the best I've heard in Hindi film music.
Man Mein Kisi Ki Preet (1951 - Aaram - Anil Biswas - Rajendra Krishan)
1952: Another difficult year for me as I have heard more than 70% of the songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar this year and like most of them. Classical musicians like table maestro Ustad Allarakkha better known as A. R. Qureishi made Lata sing Dil Matwala in Bewafa, while Ali Akbar Khan had a wonderfully sublime composition in Aandhiyan - Hai Kahin Par Shadmani. Basant Prakash composed Meri Beena Ke Sur Saat in Saloni which is in the same league as his own Sajan Tum Se Pyar in Badnam, Pt Gobindram's Kari Kari Andhiyari Raat (Jalpari) was no less than Vasant Desai's Kya Kya Na Log (Hyderabad Ki Nazneen). And obviously the soundtrack everyone still remembers, Naushad's magnum opus Baiju Bawra.
Hemant Kumar's Vande Matram (Anand Math) definitely counts among Lata's best, as do C. Ramchandra's Tum Kya Jano (Shin Shinaki Bubla Boo) and Madan Mohan's Mere Piya Se Koi (Ashiana). Roshan's Ae Ri Main To Prem Diwani (Naubahar) is probably the best version of this Meera bhajan. Roshan's Dil-e-Beqarar So Ja (Raag Rang) is at the same level as the S D Burman beauty from Jaal - Pighla Hai Sona. And how can one forget Sajjad Husain's Wo To Chale Gaye Ae Dil from Sangdil or Shakar Jaikishan's Aye Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal (Daag)?
Among all such wonderful songs, I have a special liking for C. Ramchandra's Parchhain, which I consider one of his best ever soundtracks (comparable to Anarkali and Yasmin). That includes my absolute favourite Katate Hain Dukh Mein Ye Din, which I consider - blasphemous as it might sound - a notch above Ye Zindagi Usiki Hai (Anarkali - 1953), which many count as her best for CR.
Katate Hain Dukh Mein Ye Din (1952 - Parchhain - C. Ramchandra - Noor Lucknawi)
1953: This year showed yet again that C. Ramachandra's was at the peak of his creativity. His association with Lata Mangeshkar grew stronger and it seemed that he composed only for her. Anarkali is ample proof of that unique tuning, what with amazing compositions like Ye Zindagi Usi Ki Hai, Mohabbat Aisi Dhadkan Hai and Aaja Ab To Aaja. He went on to produce a film together with Lata Mangeshkar - Jhanjhar, which had a gem like Ja Re Ja Nindiya, a duet with Madhubala Zaveri. Jhamela and Shagoofa were the other films where Lata sang for him. Shankar Jaikishan had been in the industry for just 4 years, but they had already established a strong presence in the industry. Their soundtracks were again completely Lata dominated as is evident with Aah, Patita, Aurat and Shikast.
Before I get to my pick from this year, I want to mention two songs that almost made it to the top of my list. The first one is Ritu Aaye Ritu Jaaye from Humdard. a raagmala composed by Anil Biswas. Then, there is a completely unheard of beauty by Shyam Sunder from the film Alif Laila - Bahar Aayi Khili Kaliyan. At first it sounds like just another sad song, but repeat hearings made me appreciate the intricacies of the tune.
Now for my pick: A song that I regard as the best lori ever composed for Hindi Films - Salil Chowdhury's Aa Ja Ri Aa Nindiya Tu Aa from his Hindi film debut Do Beegha Zameen.
Aa Ja Ri Aa Nindiya Tu Aa (1953 - Do Beegha Zameen - Salil Chowdhury - Shailendra)
1954: The nation swayed to the been tune of the been (played on the clairviola by Kalyanji), as Vyjanthimala in Nagin lip-synced to Lata's collaboration with Hemant Kumar. In what is probably the first and the biggest hit of Hemant Kumar as a music director we got instantly hummable and popular tunes like Man Dole Mera Tan Dole, Mera Dil Ye Pukare Aaja, and Jadugar Sainya. Hemant Kumar's Shart also had its share of nice songs, including the duet Dekho Wo Chand. For Naushad, Lata Mangeshkar lent her voice for Amar and Shabab, which had a treasure of songs like Na Milta Gham, Na Shikwa Hai Koi, Marna Teri Gali Mein and Jogan Ban Jaoongi. Sachin Dev Burman's Taxi Driver not only had Jayen To Jayen Kahan, but also what could be the first 'cabaret' by Lata - Dil Se Mila Ke Dil.
Again, my preference for relatively lesser known songs come to the fore here as i reveal my soft corner for songs like Mohabbat Ki Daastan (Mayur Pankh, Shankar Jaikishan), Allah Bhi Hai (Maan, Anil Biswas), Chanda Chamke (Bahut Din Hue, E. Shankar Shastry) and Aa Ki Ab Aata Nahin (Mehbooba, Roshan). My pick of the year? Mohammad Shafi's Bajooband Khul Khul Jaye from the film Bazooband. This is a standard bandish in Bhairavi, but clearly shows the Lata Mangeshkar was best at singing raga based songs.
Bajooband Khul Khul Jaye (1954 - Bazooband - Mohd. Shafi - Prem Dhawan)
1955: This was the year of Radha Na Bole (Azaad, C. Ramchandra), Phaili Huyi Hain (House No. 44, Sachin Dev Burman), Manmohana Bade Jhoote (Seema, Shankar Jaikishan), Jo Tum Todo Piya (Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, Vasant Desai), Sitaron Ki Mehfil (Uran Khatola, Naushad), Jise Tu Qubool Kar Le (Devdas, Sachin Dev Burman), and Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua (Shri 420, Shankar Jaikishan).
My favourite song from this year is from the Dev Anand - Nalini Jayawant starrer Munimji. This track had a number of good songs by Sachin Dev Durman, and I pick Ghayal Hiraniya. The picturization is this song is quite cheesy, but the composition and singing is top notch. Listen to the way Lata negotiates the opening alaap, and when she goes ga ga ga ga ghayal towards the end, it's absolutely wonderful.
Ghayal Hiraniya (1955 - Munimji - Sachin Dev Burman - Shailendra)
1956: I have not heard very many Lata songs from 1956. Of the 200 odd songs she sang this year, I have heard less than 70. Shankar Jaikishan dominated this year with Chori Chori, Basant Bahar, New Delhi and Halaku, while Madan Mohan saw his first major hit with Bhai Bhai. Some of my favourites from this year include Kaise Aaoon Jamuna Ke Teer (Devta, C. Ramchandra), Kahan Le Chale Ho (Durgesh Nandini, Hemant Kumar), Qadar Jane Na (Bhai Bhai, Madan Mohan), Jago Mohan Pyare (Jagte Raho, Salil Chowdhury), Ja Tose Nahin Boloon (Parivar, Salil Chowdhury), Ja Ja Re Ja Balama (Basant Bahar, Shankar Jaikishan), and Rasik Balma (Chori Chori, Shankar Jaikishan). But the place of honour is reserved for the haunting melody by S. M0hinder in Shirin Farhad - Guzra Hua Zamana Aata Nahin Dobara.
Guzra Hua Zamana (1956 - Shirin Farhad - S. Mohinder - Tanveer Naqvi)
1957: This would probably be remembered as the year when Lata Mangeshkar had a difference of opinion with two major music directors of those times. Some misunderstanding while recording the songs for Miss India, led to a situation where Lata Mangeshkar did not sing for Sachin Dev Burman for 6 years. She also had a minor issue with Shankar Jaikishan about the filmfare award for Rasik Balma, but that thankfully was shortlived. C. Ramchandra probably had his last 'great' year as a music director before his estrangement with his muse. Lata did return to sing a few songs with him later (including the immortal Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo) , but the days of their unmatched collaboration were coming to an end.
The Lata songs that I treasure from this year include Taaron Ki Zaban Par (Nausherwan-e-Adil, C. Ramchandra), Jab Raat Nahin Katati (Changhez Khan, Hansraj Bahl) Chhup Gaya Koi Re (Champakali, Hemant Kumar), Sakhi Ri Sun Bole Papeeha (Miss Mary, Hemant Kumar), Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye (Dekh Kabira Roya, Madan Mohan), Do Ghadi Wo Jo Paas (Gateway of India, Madan Mohan), Nagri Nagri Dware Dware (Mother India, Naushad), Aye Malik Tere Bande Hum (Do Aankhein Barah Haath, Vasant Desai), Phul Bagiya Mein (Rani Rupmati, S N Tripathi), Chand Phir Nikla (Paying Guest, Sachin Dev Burman), and Tabiyat Theek Thi (Mirza Sahibaan, Sardul Kwatra).
Blame it on my fascination for songs based on hindustani classical music - my pick for 1957 is a amazing raagmala composed in 4 ragas. The mukhda is in Raag Sohni whereas the antaras are in Bahar, Jaunpuri, and Yaman respectively. The song in question is the Lata-Rafi duet Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya composed by Adi Narayan Rao for the film Suvarna Sundari.
Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya (1957 - Suvarna Sundari - Adi Narayana Rao - Bharat Vyas)
1958: The year of Madhumati. Madhumati happens to be one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. I can listen to the songs of this film in endless loops. Salil Chowdhury demonstrated his versatility and virtuosity through a wide variety of Lata songs like Dil Tadap Tadap, Chadh Gayo Paapi Bichhua, Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadke, Julmi Sang Aankh Ladi and of course Aaja Re Pardesi. But no, I'm not going to pick any of these songs for this year. Let's look at some of the other songs: Mere Man Ka Bawra Panchhi (Amardeep, C. Ramchandra), Sari Sari Raat (Aji Bas Shukriya, Roshan), Mujhe Dekh Chaand Sharmaye (Samrat Chandragupt, Kalyani Veerji Shah), Tumhare Sang Main Bhi (Sohni Mahiwal, Naushad), Haye Jiya Roye (Milan, Hansraj Bahl) - all very nice songs. Due to my own personal bias towards the Lata Mangeshkar - Madan Mohan combo, I'm going to select one of their collaborative works from 1958. Yun Hasraton Ke Daagh and Unko Ye Shikayat Hai from Adalat are outstanding composition. Still, I select Hum Pyar Mein Jalne Walon Ko from Jailor.
Hum Pyar Mein Jalne Waalon Ko (1958 - Jailor - Madan Mohan - Rajender Krishan)
1959: I haven't had much exposure to the Lata songs released this year. In my view, Intezaar Aur Abhi (Char Dil Char Rahein, Anil Biswas), Main Tumhi Se Poochhti Hoon (Black Cat, N. Dutta), Dil Ka Khilona (Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Vasant Desai), Sajan Sang Kahe (Main Nashe Mein Hoon, Shankar Jaikishan), Tera Jana (Anari, Shankar Jaikishan), Kahe Jhoom Jhoom (Love Marriage, Shankar Jaikishan) are all nice songs, but the simplicity and sweetness in Lata Mangeshkar's rendition of Vasant Desai's Tera Khat Le Ke (Ardhangini) is unmatched.
Tera Khat Le Ke Sanam (1959 - Ardhangini - Vasant Desai - Majrooh Sulatnpuri)
To read about my favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs from the 1960s, read on.