Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Favourite Lata Mangeshkar Songs - 1980s

The 80s in my opinion represent the worst decade for Hindi film music. In fact, the worst decade for Hindi films per se. Add to that Lata Mangeshkar's rapidly deteriorating voice quality. Her voice had shown signs of deterioration in the 70s as well, but a few composers like Jaidev, Khaiyyam and Salil Chowdhury composed some outstanding songs for her. 80s were dominated by Laxmikant Pyarelal, whose output ranged from really good to sheer noise (especially in the second half of the decade), R D Burman, who thankfully continued to compose melodious tunes for Lata, and Bappi Lahiri who, in the words of Baradwaj Rangan, "was doing to Hindi film music what the villain usually did to the hero’s younger sister". For some strange reason even in the 80s, most composers continued to make Lata sing at a very high pitch, which was once her forte, but now ended up making her sound shrill. She would have effortlessly sung these compositions a decade or two back, but now seemed to struggle once too often.

Ironically, my obsession with Lata Mangeshkar's voice started in my growing up years in the 80s, when my exposure was mostly to atrocities like Jaate Ho To Jao (Desh Premee, Laxmikant Pyarelal), Mara Thumka (Kranti, Laxmikant Pyarelal), Chal Chameli Baagh Mein (Krodhi, Laxmikant Pyarelal), Humka Le Chal Yaara (Painter Babu, Uttam Jagdish), Chal Bhag Chalein (Kalyug Aur Ramayan, Kalyanji Anandji), Disco 82 (Khuddar, Rajesh Roshan), etc. It is only now that I call them "atrocities". At that time, however, I found these very songs interesting (!!!) and was fascinated by the 'sweetness' of Lata's voice even though she was well past her prime.

If one were to look at Lata Mangeshkar's output in the 80s, it is evident that from 1980-85 the quality of her songs was much superior to those from the 1985-89 period. And I'm not talking only about how she sounded. The compositions themselves were quite ear-unfriendly in the post 1985 period. Of course, there were a few exceptions, but the songs in the post 1985 period were in general quite unbearable.

1980: Irrespective of the quality of their compositions, Laxmikant Pyarelal were the kings when it came to churning out hits. In 1980, they had Lata croon two of their biggest hits of the year – Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho (Asha) and Tu Kitne Baras Ka (Karz). Kitna Aasan Hai (Dostana) was also popular but that song leaves me pretty cold.

Bappi Lahiri was yet to launch a full fledged assault on the ears of the listeners with his bizarre compositions for Jitendra-Sridevi-Jaya Prada films from the south and the noisy disco-influenced songs, and composed some really good songs for Lata like Dooriyan Sab Mita Do (Saboot), Baithe Baithe Aaj Aayi (Patita), and of course the lovely Jaane Kyun Mujhe (Agreement).

Rahul Dev Burman continued to use Lata for melodious compositions like Bhor Bhaye Panchhi (Aanchal), Aaja Sar-e-Bazaar (Alibaba Aur Chalis Chor), Bindiya Tarase (Phir Wohi Raat), and the delightful duet where Lata gave perfect expression to Gulzar's lyrics – Thodi Si Zameen (Sitara).

Rajesh Roshan's collaboration with Dev Anand in Lootmaar and Manpasand resulted in songs like Paas Ho Tum Magar Qareeb Nahin and Sumansudha Rajni Chandha respectively. But what I consider his best song for Lata in 1980 is a duet with Rafi – Mujhe Chhoo Rahi Hain (Swayamwar). Madan Mohan's compositions for Chaalbaaz were released 5 years after his death and included two Lata gems – Raat Ujiyari Din Andhera Hai and Jaiye Hum Se Khafa Ho Jaiye.

In my opinion, it was Khaiyyam who composed the two best Lata songs in 1980, both duets. The first one is a duet with Kishore Kumar – Hazaar Rahein Mud Ke Dekhi (Thodi Si Bewafai). The other, which is my pick for 1980, is Simti Huyi Ye Ghadiyan from Chambal Ki Kasam. The reason why I pick this song is neither the beautiful words penned by Sahir nor the melodious tune by Khaiyyam. I have a very deep sense of nostalgia associated with this song. It was shot at the place where I spent my childhood, and I remember how excited we kids were when we learnt that a film crew had come to shoot there.

Simti Huyi Ye Ghadiyan (1980 – Chambal Ki Kasam - Khaiyyam – Sahir Ludhiyanvi)

1981: I am not sure if 1981 was the year when Lata was the most prolific in the 80s, but this is the year from which I have the maximum number of songs. And the list of songs I like also runs quite long. Hridayanath Mangeshkar had Kale Kale Gehre Saye (Chakra), which was unmistakably Hridaynath; Ye Ankhen Dekh Kar (Dhanwan), which had a slight Khaiyyam touch; and Kuchh Log Mohabbat Ko (Dhanwan), which lay in the L-P territory in terms of orchestration.

Khaiyyam's Dard had two Lata numbers – Na Jane Kya Hua and the moving Ahl-e-dil Yun Bhi, while Nakhuda had an above average Lata-Nitin Mukesh duet – Tumhari Palkon Ki Chilmanon Mein.

Some of the Laxmikant Pyarelal songs which were popular and I like from this year include Hum Ko Bhi Gham Ne Mara (Aas Paas), Aap Ka Khat Mila (Sharda), Mere Naseeb Mein (Naseeb), Megha Re Megha Re (Pyasa Sawan), Zindagi Ki Na Toote Ladi (Kranti), and Solah Baras Ki Bali Umar (Ek Duje Ke Liye).

Rahul Dev Burman's output included regular love songs like Kya Yahi Pyar Hai (Rocky), Dekho Maine Dekha Hai (Love Story), Apne Pyar Ke (Barsaat Ki Ek Raat) and Tune O Rangeele (Kudrat). However, the songs I absolutely love are Jahan Pe Savera Ho (Basera), which is a wonderful composition despite signs of Lata not being completely at ease with the impossibly high scale in places, and the lovely Tere Liye Palkon Ki (Harjaee).

In 1981 there were a few other composers who created decent Lata songs. These include Usha Khanna with Chand Apna Safar (Shama) and Raamlaxman with Har Ek Jeevan (Bezubaan). And then there is Bappi Lahiri's Thoda Resham Lagta Hai (Jyoti). I don't care much about this song and don't even recall having heard it till the Truth Hurts controversy and the subsequent remix version.

The soundtrack of the year was Shiv-Hari's Silsila. This was a typical Yash Chopra score, with a wedding song, a holi song, love ballad, et al., but was steeped in melody. Dekha Ek Khwab is definitely more popular, but I prefer Neela Aasman So Gaya, Jo Tum Todo Piya and the best of the lot, Ye Kahan Aa Gaye Hum.

Now comes my pick of the year. I have always had a soft corner for Salil Chowdhury's compositions for Lata. So I must pick what was among their last collaborations. Aaj Koi Nahin Apna from Agni Pariksha. This is a song which, if composed in the 50s, would have had a lot of scale variations Salil Chowdhury specialized in. In the 80s, however, was wise enough to mould his composition to the degraded vocal capacity of his singer. This becomes very evident in the antara where you suddenly expect the tune to take much sharper jumps across octaves. Yet this doesn't take much away from the beauty of this tune.

Aaj Koi Nahin Apna (1981 – Agni Pariksha - Salil Chowdhury – Yogesh)

1982: Some of the songs I like from this year include Dard Ki Ragini (Pyaas, Bappi Lahiri), Ab Chiraghon Ka Koi Kaam Nahin (Baawri, Khaiyyam),Chandni Raat Mein (Dil-e-Nadaan, Khaiyyam), Tum Se Hi To Shuru Hai (Adhura Aadmi, Rahul Dev Burman), Ae Ri Pawan (Bemisal, Rahul Dev Burman), Jaane Kaise Kab Kahan (Shakti, Rahul Dev Burman), Kabhi Kabhi Bezubaan (Johnny I Love You, Rajesh Roshan). Laxmikant-Pyarelal's Prem Rog was popular, but none of the songs hold much appeal for me, except for Ye Galiyan Ye Chaubara. Ditto for Rajesh Roshan's Kaamchor, which had Tujh Sang Preet Lagayi (Kaamchor, Rajesh Roshan).

Talking of L-P, they produced one of the best soundtracks of the year, which unfortunately belonged to one of the biggest flops of Indian cinema – Deedar-e-Yaar. With songs like Sarakti Jaye Hai, Tumko Dekha To, and the exquisitely composed and orchestrated dance number – Aaye Wo Phoolon Ke Rath Pe. I would have surely picked Aaye Wo Phoolon Ke Rath Pe as my favourite song from this year, had Khaiyyam's Bazaar not released in the same year. How could I ignore a gem like Dikhayi Diye Yun Ki Bekhud Kiya?

Dikhayi Diye Yun Ki Bekhud Kiya (1982 – Bazaar - Khaiyyam – Mir Taqi Mir)

1983: In the 80s, it was almost a norm that if a star-son was to be launched, Rahul Dev Burman would score the music and Lata would be the lead female singer. After Love Story and Rocky in 1981, it was Betaab in 1983, where Jab Hum Jawan Honge became instantly popular. RD also composed some other romance flicks like Lovers and Romance which had Lata duets like Aa Mulaqaton Ka Mausam and Dil Ke Aasman Pe. The best RD compositions for Lata this year were Humein Aur Jeene Ki (Agar Tum Na Hote), Tujhse Naraaz Nahin (Masoom), Kahin Na Ja (Bade Dil Wala) and Jeevan Ke Din (Bade Dil Wala), which was probably Udi Narayan's first break as he got to sing a brief line at the start of the song. RD's assistants, Basu-Manohari, got a break as independent composers in Chatpatee where they composed a hummable Lata-Kishore duet – Aa Humsafar, which seemed like a curious mix of RD's and Rajesh Roshan's styles.

The LP hit machine churned out Likhnewale Ne Likh Dale (Arpan), which was once extremely popular on Chitrahar on DD; Din Maheene Saal from Avtaar, which revived Rajesh Khanna's career after an endless series of flops; Pyar Karnewale (Hero), which I personally find quite unbearable; and Nindiya Se Jagi Bahar (Hero), a nice tune that would have sounded nicer if Lata had sung it maybe a decade earlier. The thickening of her voice was becoming quite evident now. Usha Khanna's Shayad Meri Shaadi K Khayal (Souten) was probably the biggest hit of her career. Zindagi Pyar Ka Geet Hai from the same film was popular as well, but I remember getting so badly put off by the film that it was difficult for me to develop any liking whatsoever for the songs. Usha Khanna's Sweekar Kiya Maine had a couple good Lata songs, but for some unexplained reason there was a huge Khaiyyam influence in those songs. On first hearing, it's easy for anyone to mistake Ajnabi Kaun Ho Tum and Chaand Ke Paas for Khaiyyam's creations.

One of the best songs from this year is Hridaynath Mangeshkar's Tum Aasha Vishwas Hamare from Subah, but when we have Khaiyyam's Razia Sultan, where is the possibility of any other song to outshine Aye Dil-e-Nadaan. Ostensibly a solo, I consider this song to be a duet - the santoor passages almost follow Lata's vocals note to note, thus imparting a unique character to the song. And when all the music stops except for a deep thump on the tabla, it's very goosebumpy. Razia Sultan had other good Lata numbers like Jalta Hai Badan and Choom Kar Raat, but they fall short of the excellence of Aye Dil-e-Nadaan.

Aye Dil-e-Nadaan (1983 – Razia Sultan - Khaiyyam – Jaan Nisar Akhtar)

1984: There are just a handful of good Lata songs from this year. I have heard a lot about her song in Tarang, composed by Vanraj Bhatia, but I haven't heard that song. The songs that I like from this year are: Mujhe Tum Yaad Karna (Mashaal, Hridaynath Mangeshkar); Rahul Dev Burman's Gehre Halke (Duniya), Kaisi Lag Rahi Hoon Main (Jhoota Sach), Jaane Kya Baat Hai (Sunny) and Aisa Sama Na Hota (Zameen Aasmaan); and Khayyam's songs from LorieBhar Lein Tumhe Bahon Mein and Aaja Nindiya Aaja.

My pick from 1984 is from Laxmikant Pyarelal's Utsav. No, not the well known Man Kyun Behka, but Neelam Ke Nabh Chhayi (the same tune as Saanjh Dhale sung by Suresh Wadkar). I like this song for two reasons – one, Vasant Dev's poetic lyrics (neelam ke nabh chhayi pukhraji often do you get to hear such words in Hindi films?) and secondly, the expression Lata lends to this song, especially when in the antara she covers the sapt swars in just one word.

Neelam Ke Nabh Chhayi (1984 – Utsav - Laxmikant Pyarelal – Vasant Dev)

1985: After 1981, this the year with the maximum number of Lata songs in my collection. By now Laxmikant Pyarelal were clearly getting stale. Noise became the hallmark of their music and it was fairly evident that little effort was being expended in creating the basic tunes. What else can one say about cringe-worthy songs like O Dilbar Janiye (Pyar Jhukta Nahin). Some of the not-so-bad songs from this year were Tum Se Mil Kar (Pyar Jhukta Nahin), Zu Zu Zu (Sanjog), Zindagi Har Qadam (Meri Jung), and Baith Mere Paas (Yaadon Ki Kasam), which was not an original tune anyway. There were two films, however, where Laxmikant Pyarelal composed relatively better songs. One was Ghulami, which had Zeehale Miskin and a multi-part Mere Pee Ko Pawan. Then there was Sur Sangam, a film based on classical music. Though the songs from this film (sung mostly by Rajan & Sajan Mishra) would rank nowhere in the list of best classical songs from films, but given the era when it was created, it was quite a brave effort and fairly decent at that. This film had two Lata numbers - Maika Piya Bulave and Jaoon Tore Charan Kamal Par Vaari, both of which I like. Interestingly, the situation of Maika Piya Bulave demanded that Lata went besur towards the end but my untrained ear finds her going off-key right in the first line.

R.D Burman's downfall had also started by this time. Somehow, the innovative nature of his compositions disappeared somewhere. Most of his songs from 1985 are easy on the ears, but they don't have a stand-out quality in them. A few of his Lata songs from this year: Tum Dilwalon Ke Aage (Sitamgar), Ek Baat Dil Mein Aayi Hai (Rahi Badal Gaye), Hum Tum Dono (Lava), Is Jeevan Ki (Alag Alag), Machal Machal Jata Hai (Ram Tere Kitne Naam), Bhuri Bhuri Aankhon Wala (Arjun), and of course Sagar Kinare (Sagar).

Rajesh Roshan had already lost his uniqueness by this time and his songs started sounding more like LP's. Dushman Na Kare (Aakhir Kyun?) is one such example. Debutante music director Vijay Singh produced, directed and composed for cricketer Sandeep Patil's (and Kirmani's) film debut in Kabhi Ajnabi The. While the film sank without a trace, it had a few good songs like Geet Mere Hoton Ko, Kabhi Ajnabi The, and Is Dafa.

Shiv-Hari's second collaboration with Yash Chopra in Faasle resulted in some melodious tunes like Hum Chup Hain and Janam Janam. Though the best songs from this film were sung by Asha Bhosle, my favourite Lata number from this film is In Aankhon Ke Zeenon Se, a composition that's sparse in orchestration, high on melody and excellent in terms of lyrics (Shahryar). This film also had the popular Sun Le Ye Sara Zamana.

I know a lot of people feel otherwise, but my favourite soundtrack of 1985 is Ram Teri Ganga Maili. After LP's sonorous compositions in Prem Rog, Raj Kapoor switched to Ravindra Jain, who brought in a certain Pahadi-influenced freshness to this score. Although Ravindra Jain's tunes were mostly high-pitched, I still love them. I remember the craze Sun Sahiba Sun became in those days, but I prefer Ek Dukhiyari, Husn Pahadon Ka and Ek Radha Ek Meera. And, of course, my favourite song from this year - Tujhe Bulayen Ye Meri Baahen. I like the structure of the mukhda that changes pace after the first line.

Tujhe Bulayen Ye Meri Baahen/ Suno To Ganga (1985 - Ram Teri Ganga Maili - Ravindra Jain - Ravindra Jain)

1986: It is tough to pick any good song from this year. Most of Lata's song from this year were with Laxmikant Pyarelal, and I don't find anyone of them worth a second listen. They follow almost the same template - over-orchestrated, high-pitched sub-standard tunes that had Lata at her shriekiest best (or should it be worst?). Let me list down these songs and you will know what I mean - Jind Le Gaya (Aap Ke Saath), Vairiya Ve (Naam), Aaj Subah Jab Main Jagi (Aag Aur Shola), pretty much everything from Naache Mayuri, which includes Sadhna Aradhna, Paijaniya Bol, Main Tose Boloon Na, and Jhoom Jhoom Naach Mayuri, and probably the biggest hit of this year Main Teri Dushman (Nagina)

The only songs from 1986 that are somewhat bearable are Mora Roop Rang (Qatl, Laxmikant Pyarelal) and Ae Sagar Ki Lehron (Samundar). Since I have started this exercise of listing down one favourite song per year, I would do so, knowing very well that the song I pick up for 1986 would not figure even in my list of 1000 or 2000 best Lata songs of all time. The song I pick up is Rahul Dev Burman's Din Pyar Ke Aayenge from Savere Wali Gaadi.

Din Pyar Ke Aayenge (1986 - Savere Wali Gaadi - Rahul Dev Burman - Majrooh Sultanpuri)

1987: Another lousy year. Lata songs released this year include Rajesh Roshan's Tu Vaada Na Tod (Dil Tujhko Diya); LP's Jhan Jhanan Jhan Payal (Nazrana), Tujhe Itna Pyar Karein (Kudrat Ka Kanoon), and Naam Saare Mujhe (Sindoor); and Anu Malik's Tere Pyar Pe Bharosa (Hawalat). Among the relatively better ones were Rahul Dev Burman's Wo Teri Duniya Nahin (Dacait), and my selection from this year - Patjhad Sawan Basant Bahar (Sindoor).

Patjhad Sawan Basant Bahar (1987 - Sindoor - Laxmikant Pyarelal - Anand Bakshi)

1988: For a change let me first list down the worst Lata songs from this year. The top runners for this would be Nachegi Saraswati (Ganga Jamuna Saraswati, Anu Malik), Hoga Thanedar Tu (Shahenshah, Amar-Utpal). In the bad category would be Sajan Mera Us Paar Hai (Ganga Januma Sarawati), Pati Parmeshwar (Ganga Jamuna Saraswati) Jaane Do Mujhe (Shahehnshah), and Ungli Mein Angoothi (Ram Avtaar, Laxmikant Pyarelal). In the OK category would fall Mere Pyar Ki Umar (Waaris, Uttam Jagdish) and Badal Pe Chalke Aa (Vijay, Shiv-Hari). The only song that I find good among the releases from 1988 is Kiran Kiran Mein Shokhiyan (Ek Naya Rishta, Khaiyyam).

My choice from this year will have to be from a film that never got released. I'm putting it under 1988 only it was meant to be released that year, although the soundtrack was actually released 6 years later, and the film, never (I consider myself to be lucky for having watched this film at a film festival in 1991-92). I'm referring to Libaas, which saw the Gulzar-Pancham combination come up with yet another classic. All the songs from this film were sung by Lata - Kya Bhala Hai Kya Bura with Pancham, Khamosh Sa Afsana with Suresh Wadkar, and two solos Phir Kisi Shakh Ne & my pick for this year - Seeli Hawa Chhoo Gayi.

Seeli Hawa Chhoo Gayi (1988 - Libaas - Rahul Dev Burman - Gulzar)

1989: Naushad returned from a virtual retirement with an above average score in Teri Payal Mere Geet. It was difficult for both Naushad and Lata to recreate the magic they had created together more than 3 decades back, yet songs like Mohabbat Ka Ek Devta, Duniya Ke Mele and Kya Kahein Aaj Kya were better than the noise we were being subjected to in those days. Bappi Lahiri's Jaiyyo Na (Guru), Usha Khanna's Hum Bhool Gaye Re (Souten Ki Beti) and Laxmikant Pyarelal's Ye Isak Dank Bichhua Ka (Batwara) were some of the other Lata songs released this year. However, the three biggest hits of this year were Maine Pyar Kiya, Ram Lakhan and Chandni. The success of these soundtracks had a huge role to play in reviving HMV's fortunes and also led to a lot more producers clamouring to get Lata sing at least one song for their films.

Raamlaxman's music in Maine Pyar Kiya became a nation-wide craze, but I never really developed much of a affinity towards it. I found songs like Dil Deewana, Kabootar Ja, and others strictly OK. Blame it on my Sridevi fascination, but I really took to Shiv-Hari's Chandni soundtrack in those days, literally wearing off the cassette by playing it in endless loops. Mere Haathon Mein, Aa Meri Jaan and Shehron Mein Se Shehr don't hold the same appeal for me now as they did in those days, but the simple melody of Tere Mere Hoton Pe is something I still like.

My pick for this year might seem like an unusual choice. Laxmikant Pyarelal's O Ramji Tere Lakhan Ne from Ram Lakhan. I personally feel that this was LP's best composition for Lata since Aaye Wo Phoolon Ke Rath Par in 1982. The orchestration got rid of the noise factor and the chorus really added to the song, unlike in other LP songs from the 80s where the chorus played the role of making the song even more unbearable.

O Ramji Tere Lakhan Ne (1989 - Ram Lakhan - Laxmikant Pyarelal - Anand Bakshi)

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Favourite Lata Mangeshkar Songs - 1970s

When I thought about listing down my favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs over the years, I didn't realize it would be such a huge exercise. Although I'm done with the most difficult decades i.e. 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, there are still a lot of good Lata Mangeshkar songs to come. Some people have commented that there's no point is talking about anything beyond the 1960s. Actually, if you really look it, was there any point even in listing the songs till the 60s? Any listing exercise is inherently pointless for the simple reason that every person would have his/her own list that will depend largely on the memories associated with the songs they have heard. If I like one song over the other, it is definitely not a comment on the musical quality of that song. A person with more technical knowledge about music might come up with an entirely different list. My basic intention behind putting together this list was to revisit Lata Mangeshkar's huge repertoire of songs and in the process try to identify songs I like more than the others.

1970s is a relatively easier decade to talk about because it clearly fell behind the preceding decades both in terms of quality and quantity. The music became more orchestral, which is not a bad thing, but the kind of films that were being made (especially in the second half of the decade) did not have much scope for music. Yet, there were a few standout Lata Mangeshkar songs in each of the years. The Hindi film music scene came to be dominated by the trimurti of Laxmikant Pyarelal - R D Burman - Kalyanji Anandji. But the real Lata gems came from under the baton of other music composers like Madan Mohan, Jaidev and Salil Chowdhury. Rajesh Roshan made a promising debut with a unique and distinctive style that came like a breath of fresh air. It is unfortunate that that unique style is nowhere to be seen in his current oeuvre. Bappi Lahiri also came up with some nice songs before he took the onus of launching a full fledged assault on the listener's ears in the mid 80s.

1970: Among the songs that I have heard from this year, Lata duets outnumber the solos. In fact that's true for most of this decade. Laxmikant Pyarelal continued to churn out hits after hits. Aan Milo Sajna with Achchha To Hum Chalte Hain, Tere Kaaran, and Rang Rang Ke Phool Khile was another musical hit for the new born superstar - Rajesh Khanna. Then we had Haye Re Haye from Humjoli. Other LP songs from 1970 include: Ek Gagan Ka Raja (Darpan), Jhilmil Sitaron Ka (Jeevan Mritu), Sanam Tu Bewafa (Khilona), and Rut Beqarar Hai (Maa Aur Mamta). Hema Malini was on her way to became the most popular heroine of the decade, with LP giving her two Lata dominated soundtracks in Abhinetri and Sharafat. In Abhinetri, I like Sajna O Sajna and O Ghata Saanwri for the sweetness of Lata's voice, while Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Khinche Humse Saanwre were nice tunes as well. Sharafat was full of mujra numbers like Sharafat Chhod Di Maine and Duniya Ne Sun Li Hai, but the best number in my opinion was a bhajan Jeevan Daata Jagat Pita whose tune was very similar to Saanjh Savere (Madhvi, 1969). Then LP had a Talat-Lata duet Mohabbat Ki Kahaniyan (Wo Din Yaad Karo), whose claim to fame would be that it was probably the last film song that Talat Mahmood recorded.

I've never been a big fan of Kalyanji Anandji's music, but they had a few above average Lata songs this year - Tere Naina Kyun Bhar Aaye (Geet), Babul Pyare (Johnny Mera Naam), Kisi Raah Mein (Mere Humsafar), and Hum The Jinke Sahare (Safar). Rahul Dev Burman produced two lovely Lata solos - Na Koi Umang Hai (Kati Patang) and Kis Liye Maine Pyar Kiya (The Train). His father had Ishq Par Zor Nahin that had, among other Lata songs, O Mere Bairagi Bhanwra and Tum Mujhse Door, which were full of pathos, and the Rafi-Lata duet Ye Dil Deewana Hai. He also had Lata singing Rangeela Re in Prem Pujari. Salil Chowdhury's Na Jiya Lage Na (Anand) was another of Lata's melodious songs. Shankar Jaikishan's were on the last legs of creativity when they composed the soundtrack of Dharti, which, horror of horrors, sounded like LP on a bad day! It, however, had a popular Lata-Rafi duet Ye Mausam Bheega Bheega Hai.

My bias towards Madan Mohan's comes to the fore once again as I pick Dastak and Heer Ranjha as the soundtracks with the best Lata numbers in 1970. Madan Mohan also had Tumse Bichhad Kar from a film called Maharaja. Heer Ranjha had a wide variety of songs from the sensuous Lata-Rafi duet - Meri Duniya Mein Tum Aaye - to the frothy Milo Na Tum, to a sad Do Dil Toote to a traiditional heer - Doli Chadhte Heer Ne. Dastak got Madan Mohan the well-deserved National award. It had gems like Maai Ri Main Ka Se Kahoon (two solo versions by Madan Mohan and Lata), Hum Hain Mata-e-Kooch-o-Bazaar Ki Tarah (ghazal written by Majrooh), and my pick for this year - the classical based Baiyan Na Dharo, which had Lata exploring the lower notes.

Baiyan Na Dharo (1970 - Dastak - Madan Mohan - Majrooh Sultanpuri)

1971: Another year dominated by LP and RDB. LP's output included Mujhe Teri Mohabbat Ka (Aap Aaye Bahar Aayi), Sun Ja Aye Thandi Hawa (Haathi Mere Saathi), Jaadugar Tere Naina (Man Mandir), Jaane Kyun Log (Mehboob Ki Mehndi), Haye Sharmaoon (Mera Gaon Mera Desh), Sooni Re Nagariya (Uphaar), and Man Ki Baat Mere Man Se Na Nikli (Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli). RDB, on the other hand, had Raina Beeti Jaye (Amar Prem), Jiya Na Lage Mora (Buddha Mil Gaya), Dilbar Dil Se Pyare (Caravan), Kanchi Re (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), Rut Hai Milan Ki (Mela), Chanda O Chanda (Laakhon Mein Ek), and Tera Mera Juda Hona (Paraya Dhan).

Sachin Dev Burman's composition continued to be high on melody, as in Megha Chhaye Aadhi Raat (Sharmilee), Kitne Din Aansoo (Naya Zamana) and Mera Antar Ek Mandir (Tere Mere Sapne), yet included populist numbers like Rama Rama Ghazab (Naya Zamana), Aaj Madhosh Hua Jaye Re (Sharmilee), Jeevan Ki Bagiya (Tere Mere Sapne) and Hey Maine Qasam Li (Tere Mere Sapne). Salil Chowdhury continued with his consistency of producing one great Lata number every year with Roj Akeli Jaye (Mere Apne), which incidentally was not used in the film.

The best Lata Mangeshkar songs of the year were composed by SDB's erstwhile assistant Jaidev. His compositions in Reshma Aur Shera included two amazing Lata solos. Ek Meethi Si Chubhan is probably the 'sweetest' Lata song in the whole of 70s. The way she says 'meethi' in the beginning completely bowls me over. The other is Tu Chanda Main Chandni, a composition in Maand. It is difficult for me to pick one of these beauties over the other, so I select both as my favourite Lata Mangeshkar songs of 1971

Ek Meethi Si Chubhan (1971 - Reshma Aur Shera - Jaidev - Udhav Kumar )

Tu Chanda Main Chandni (1971 - Reshma Aur Shera - Jaidev - Balkavi Bairagi )

1972: Pakeezah was the soundtrack of the year. Since many of the songs were recorded as far back as 1955-1956, the Lata of Pakeezah sounded very different than she did in her other songs this year (See this rare clipping of Inhi Logon Ne shot in back and white in 1956). Songs like Chalte Chalte, Inhi Logon Ne, Chalo Dildar Chalo, Thade Rahiyo, Mausam Hai Ashiqana, and Aaj Hum Apni are still remembered to this date.

Lata Mangeshkar had by now started experimenting with more genres and getting into Asha Bhosle's territory of sensuous, come-hither variety of songs. Thoda Se Thehro (Victoria No. 203, Kalyanji Anandji) and Dekh Lo Wo Ghata (Roop Tera Mastana, Laxmikant Pyarelal) were two such songs. Laxmikant Pyarelal were largely responsible for giving her a really wide variety of songs to sing. For example, Dheere Dheere Bol (Gora Aur Kala), Kitna Maza Aa Raha Hai (Raja Jani), Dil Ki Baatein (Roop Tera Mastana) and Zara Sa Usko Chhua To (Shor) were targeted at mass popularity, while Ek Pyar Na Naghma (Shor), Mere Piya Ka Ghar (Piya Ka Ghar), and Patta Patta Boota Boota (Ek Nazar) were richer melody-wise.

R D Burman's Beeti Na Bitaye Raina (Parichay) would certainly figure among Lata's best. He also had some good Lata-Kishore duets like Tum Meri Zindagi Mein (Bombay to Goa), Chahe Raho Door (Do Chor), Deewana Karke Chhodoge (Mere Jeevan Saathi), Gum Hai Kisike Pyar Mein (Rampur Ka Laxman) and Jeena Ke Din (Gomti Ke Kinare). Madan Mohan only had Bawarchi this year which had two Lata solos - Mast Pawan Dole and More Naina Bahayen Neer, while Sachin Dev Burman's Anuraag had Neend Churaye and Sun Ri Pawan among other songs.

Although I consider Pakeezah as the best soundtrack of 1972, I regard two of Salil Chowdhury's compositions for Lata as her best for this year. One of them was from a completely forgotten movie called Anokha Daan - Madbhari Ye Hawayein. The other, which is my pick for this year, was an inspiring song from Annadata - Raaton Ke Saaye Ghane.

Raaton Ke Saaye Ghane (1972 - Annadata - Salil Chowdhury - Yogesh)

1973: The best soundtrack from this year was Sachin Dev Burman's Abhimaan, which had songs like Ab To Hai Tumse, Loote Koi Man Ka Nagar, Nadiya KinarePiya Bina Piya BinaTere Mere Milan Ki Ye Raina, and Teri Bindiya Re. Then there was Laxmikant's Pyarelal Bobby (it is said that Lata Mangeshkar helped them get this big break with RK films), where a 44 year old Lata Mangeshkar gave voice to a 15 year old Dimple. Jhooth Bole Kauva Kate and Hum Tum Ek Kamre Mein became extremely popular, although I prefer the recycled Pakistani tune Ankhiyon Ko Rehne De.

Some of the other Lata songs from this year include: Kalyanji Anandji's Naina Mere Rang Bhare (Blackmail), Samjhauta Ghamon Se Kar Lo (Samjhauta), and Bana Ke Kyun Bigada Re (Zanjeer); Laxmikant Pyarelal's Jab Bhi Jee Chahe (Daag), Mere Bachpan Tu Ja (Kachche Dhaage), and Main Tere Ishq Mein (Loafer); Rahul Dev Burman's Baahon Mein Chale Aao (Anamika), Bahut Door Mujhe (Heera Panna), Chal Chalein Aye Dil (Jheel Ke Us Paar), Phir Aankh Se Annsoo Barse (Raja Rani); and Ravindra Jain's Tera Mera Saath Rahe (Saudagar).

Madan Mohan's collaboration with Lata continued to result in melodious composition like Rasm-e-Ulfat Ko Nibhayen (Dil Ki Rahen), Aaj Socha To Aansoo (Hanste Zakhm), Betaab Dil Ki Tamanna (Hanste Zakhm), Duniya Banane Wale (Hindustan Ki Kasam), and Hai Tere Saath Meri Wafa (Hindustan Ki Kasam).

My top two Lata Mangeshkar songs from 1973 are by a veteran composer and his erstwhile assistant. Sachin Dev Burman's Sandhya Jo Aaye from Phagun is a song I can never get tired of. In some ways it was reminiscent of SDB's compositions in Jewel Thief, Sharmilee and Abhimaan, but that doesn't take away anything from the beauty of this song. The best song of this year, however, was composed by SDB's assistant Jaidev. Ever since Jaidev started composing independently, he produced some great songs but most of them were in films that somehow failed commercially, thus limiting the commercial success of the songs. Anyone who hears Lata humming followed by an evocative passage on flute and santoor at the start of Ye Dil Aur Unki Nigahon Ke Saaye (Prem Parbat), cannot but be hooked to this song. This film had another Lata gem, Ye Neer Kahan Se Barse.

Ye Dil Aur Unki (1973 - Prem Parbat - Jaidev - Jaan Nisar Akhtar)

1974: I haven't heard many Lata Mangeshkar songs from this year, so the choice is rather limited. Kalyanji Anandji's Vaada Karle Sajna (Haath Ki Safai), Roothe Roothe Piya (Kora Kaagaz) and Rangmanch Ye Duniya (Kasauti) are decent songs but don't have much repeat value. The same can be said about Laxmikant Pyarelal's songs in Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, which had the popular Haye Haye Ye Majboori. R D Burman fared better with some nice duets like Karvatein Badalte Rahe (Aap Ki Kasam), Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein (Ajnabi) and Kahin Karti Hogi (Phir Kab Milogi); and solos like Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (Aap Ki Kasam) and Tan Man Tere Rang Rangoongi (Archana).

For my favourite Lata song from this year, the choice is between 4 songs. The first one is a rare song from an almost unheard of film called Call Girl. Composed by Sapan Jagmohan, this song - Ulfat Mein Zamane Ki - sounds very much like a Madan Mohan creation, but is still extremely good. Then there are Sachin Dev Burman's Ye Kaisa Sur Mandir Hai (Prem Nagar) and Rahul Dev Burman's Din Ja Rahe Hai (Doosri Sita). Finally, we have Salil Chowdhury's Rajnigandha Phool Tumhare, which is my selection from this year.

Rajnigandha Phool Tumhare (1974 - Rajnigandha - Salil Chowdhury - Yogesh)

1975: Some of the songs that I like from this year were Uth Neend Se (Pratigya, Laxmikant Pyarelal), Aao Tumhe Chaand Pe (Zakhmee, Bappi Lahiri), Kya Meri Prem Kahani (Prem Kahani, Laxmikant Pyarelal), Do Nainon Mein (Khushboo, Rahul Dev Burman), Ye Raatein (Julie, Rajesh Roshan), Ab Ke Sajan Sawan Mein (Chupke Chupke, Sachin Dev Burman), Na Jaane Kyun (Chhoti Si Baat, Salil Chowdhury), Dil Mein Kisi Ke Pyar Ka (Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka, Ravi), and two songs from Madan Mohan's Mausam - Dil Dhoondhta Hai, and Ruke Ruke Se Qadam.

There is also a rare song that I fell in love with the first time I heard it around 16-17 years back. I have been unable to find a complete version of this song anywhere. All I have is a portion of this song that I had hastily recorded in the blank space towards the end of a pre-recorded cassette. The song I'm talking about is Sun Man Ke Meet from Mrig Trishna. This film was probably the only one for Shambhu Sen, and it also had a Mohd. Rafi gem - Navkalpana Nav Roop Se. The songs of this film were also penned by Shambhu Sen.    

My favourite soundtrack from 1975 is Aandhi. Each of the three Lata-Kishore duets is a perfect mix of lyrics, music and singing. Tere Bina Zindagi Se, Tum Aa Gaye Ho and Is Mod Se Jaate Hain would easily rank among the best songs from the 1970s. Among them, I prefer Is Mod Se Jaate Hain more than the others, if only marginally.

Is Mod Se Jaate Hain (1975 - Aandhi - Rahul Dev Burman - Gulzar)

1976: The quality of music continued to decline as we progressed through the 70s. I haven't heard more than 35-40 Lata Mangeshkar songs from 1976, and the ones I remember are just a few: Bappi Lahiri's Door Door Tum Rahe (Chalte Chalte), Laxmikant Pyarelal's Aayegi Aayegi (Jaaneman) and Tere Sang Jeena (Naach Uthe Sansar), and Rahul Dev Burman's Mere Naina Sawan Bhado (Mehbooba). Madan Mohan's Laila Majnu was released after his death. Although the tunes were good, the arrangement and orchestration didn't do justice to the tunes. Still, Is Reshmi Paazeb and Husn Haazir Hai were better than most of the songs released in this year.

Khaiyyam's career got a fresh lease of life with Yash Chopra's Kabhi Kabhie. It had some good songs like Mere Ghar Aayi and Surkh Jode Ki Jagmagahat (which was more like recitation in tarannum), as well as more mass friendly numbers like Tera Phoolon Jaisa Rang and Tere Chehre Se. My favourite song from this year is the title song - Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein, more for Sahir's lyrics than anything else.

Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein (1976 - Kabhi Kabhie - Khaiyyam - Sahir Ludhiyanvi)

1977: Another year with very few good songs. Hridaynath Mangeshkar composed the music for an eminently forgettable film from the Shantaram stable - Chaani. The film had a nice song - Tumhi Ho Mere Apne - whose basic tune was reworked and embellished to produce the extraordinary Yara Seeli Seeli in Lekin around 15 years later. Laxmikant Pyarelal worked on a number of films with Manmohan Desai, none of which had a memorable Lata song, except perhaps for Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar (Amar Akbar Anthony), which is memorable only because this was probably the only time Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd, Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar sang a song together. LP's Aadmi Musafir Hai (Apnapan) was among their better songs for Lata in 1976. Madan Mohan had another posthumous release in Sahib Bahadur, which had a gem like Mushkil Hai Jeena (I have always felt that Madan Mohan's most heart wrenching numbers have been completely spoilt on screen by a piece of wood called Priya Rajvansh).

Rahul Dev Burman's Kinara had some very good tracks like Meethe Bol Bole, Naam Gum Jayega and Ab Ke Na Sawan Barse, while his Manzil had Rimjhim Gire Sawan. Some of the other stand-out Lata numbers from 1977 are Kahe Manwa Nache (Alaap, Jaidev), Chal Kahin Door (Doosra Aadmi, Rajesh Roshan) and Aap Yun Faaslon Se (Shankar Hussain, Khaiyyam). However, it was Rajesh Roshan's Swami that had the best Lata song of this year - Pal Bhar Mein Ye Kya Ho Gaya.

Pal Bhar Mein Ye Kya Ho Gaya (1977 - Swami - Rajesh Roshan - Amit Khanna)

1978: After two lacklustre years, 1978 was musically richer. Many of the songs from this year have some sort of nostalgia associated for me: Every time I hear Tumhe Dekhti Hoon (Tumhare Liye, Jaidev) it takes me back to my childhood days in Rajasthan. I remember watching Meri Sanson Ko (Badalte Rishte, Laxmikant Pyarelal) and wondering why the Ichchhadhari naag naagin (Jeetendra and Reena Roy) were not gyrating to the tune of a been. I recollect watching Salaam-e-Ishq (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Kalyanji Anandji) and wondering if Rekha was a mujre-wali in real life (she seemed to have mastered that role to perfection), only to be disappointed with Ghar where she played the role of a housewife who sang melodious gharelu songs like Aaj Kal Paon and Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na.

1978 had other good songs like Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai (Khatta Meetha, Rajesh Roshan), Aap Kahen Aur Hum Na Aayen (Des Pardes, Rajesh Roshan), Aaina Wohi Rehta Hai (Shalimar, Rahul Dev Burman), Aapki Mehki Huyi and Mohabbat Bade Kaam Ki Cheez Hai (Trishul, Khaiyyam), Gulmohur Gar Tumhara Naam (Devta, Rahul Dev Burman), Kasme Vaade Nibhayenge Hum (Kasme Vaade, Rahul Dev Burman), Dil To Hai Dil (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Kalyanji Anandji), and Main Tulsi Tere Angan Ki & Chhaap Tilak (Main Tulsi Tere Angan Ki, Laxmikant Pyarelal)

Laxmikant Pyarelal's Satyam Shivam Sundaram was the most complete soundtrack of this year. Sainya Nikas Gaye and Bhor Bhayee are personal favourites. This film also had a song that was is not easily found in any cassette or CD. This song - Suni Jo Unke Aane Ki Aahat - has a tune that is very common with poets who recite ghazals in tarannum. The earliest use of this tune was probably Wo Hum Se Chup Hain by C Ramchandra in Sargam, and the most recent being Salaam Karne Ki Aarzoo by Anu Malik in Umrao Jaan. It is the title song of this film that remains one of my all time favourite Lata songs. The moment she starts with Ishwar Satya Hai, I feel as close to divinity as I can possibly be.

Ishwar Satya Hai (1978 - Satyam Shivam Sundaram - Laxmikant Pyarelal - Pandit Narendra Sharma)

1979: Laxmikant Payrelal's Sargam had the nation dancing to the beat of dafli. Dafli Wale Dafli Baja was the most popular song of the year, but other songs like Koyal Boli and Parbat Ke Us Paar were popular as well. Doori Na Rahe Koi (Kartavya) is another LP creation that I like. Bappi Lahiri rounded off the 70s with an outstanding number in Lahu Ke Do Rang - Zid Na Karo. Naushad resurfaced with an exquisite creation for a B-grade film Chambal Ki Rani - Ye Bekasi Ke Andhere had shades of Naushad of the 1960s. Rajesh Roshan had another successful stint with Baahon Mein Teri (Kala Patthar, one of the last few films for which Sahir wrote the lyrics), Uthe Sab Ke Qadam (Baaton Baaton Mein), and Pardesiya (Mr. Natwarlal). Khaiyyam produced Chori Chori Koi Aaye (Noorie) and Ye Mulaqat Ek Bahana Hai (Khandan)

The best songs this year were composed by Rahul Dev Burman, be it the classical based Ae Sakhi Radhike (Jurmana), or the light Ek Baat Kahoon from Golmal (which, incidentally, had Lata in really bad form), or the lori from Nauker - Chandni Re Jhoom. His best songs for Lata were from Jurmana - Chhoti Si Ek Kali, Ae Sakhi Radhike, and my pick for this year Sawan Ke Jhoole Pade.

Sawan Ke Jhoole Pade (1979 - Jurmana - Rahul Dev Burman - Anand Bakshi)|

Sunday, April 06, 2008

My Favourite Lata Mangeshkar Songs - 1960s

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)