In the first part of this post, I had talked about the collaboration between Lata Mangeshkar and Laxmikant Pyarelal in the 60s. The 60s had accounted for less than a quarter of all songs Lata sang for the composer duo. A major chunk of their collaboration (about 350 songs) came in the 70s. In this post I will talk about the Lata-LP collaboration from 1970 till 1996, when she sang her last song for LP in RK’s Prem Granth. I must add a disclaimer here. Given the sheer volume of work they did together, one post is not sufficient to list down all their good songs. My intention is just to mention some of my favourite Lata-LP songs, which will hopefully also give an idea about the range of work they did together. Also, I am focusing only on Lata solos.
Although their successful spree had started towards the end of the 60s, the decade of the 70s truly belonged to LP (along with Kalyanji Anandji and Rahul Dev Burman). Churning out hits after hits with consistent regularity, they clearly seemed to have a good handle on the commercial aspects of music making. Personally I think that quantity took the better of quality in their output in the 70s. There was limited innovation and more monotony in their compositions, especially as we move into the 80s where neither Lata’s vocal prowess nor LP’s composing abilities were at their best. Yet, it would be unfair if one were to ignore some good work they did during this period.
It was in 1970 that two Lata dominated soundtracks were released – Abhinetri and Sharafat. All the songs in these films were sung by Lata Mangeshkar. I am particularly fond of O Ghata Saanwari, where Lata used her characteristic subtle expressions to great effect by avoiding in your face sensuousness, a trap one can easily fall in this kind of a song. Listen to the way she emphasizes the words in the mukhda.
O Ghata Saanwari - Abhinetri (1970)
Mujhe Pyar Karne Ka Haq Nahin - Darpan (1970) is another song that I like from 1970.
As the decade progressed, LP made inroads into several big banners and had clearly taken over the position Shankar Jaikishan had occupied till the 60s. Their biggest ‘win’ was their entry into the RK camp with Bobby. Lata Mangehskar definitely had a major role to play in LP bagging some of the best assignments. In the period 1977-1980, LP created a record of sorts by bagging 4 Filmfare awards in a row.
Here is a sampling of a few of my favorite Lata-LP songs from the 70s.
Jaane Kyun Log Mohabbat - Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971) – A quintessential LP song in terms of orchestration and arrangement.
Hamin Karen Koi Soorat - Ek Nazar (1972) – One of the best mujra numbers Lata sang for LP, better heard than seen (Jaya Bhaduri seems terribly misfit as a nautch girl)
Bandhan Toote Na - Mom Ki Gudiya (1972) - A lovely composition, loosely based on Raag Puriya Dhanashree
Hum Kashmakash-e-Gham - Free Love (1974) – a proof that LP came up with delectable melodies even in ‘small’ films.
Roz Shaam Aathi Thi - Imtehan (1974) – An unusual melody and what voice modulation by Lata!
Sargam Ke Phoolon Se - Chaitali (1975) – Hrishikesh Mukherji’s re-union with LP after Satyakam resulted in some lovely Lata songs in an otherwise flop film.
Ghunghta Gira Hai - Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein (1977) - Although LP are notorious for using the same dholak beats in song after song, they never stopped experimenting. This song set in an unusual Khemta Taal, and rendered with remarkable ease by Lata.
Ishwar Satya Hai - Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978) – Another RK film where LP delivered the goods. The title song, especially the start, is one of my all-time favorites.
In the early 80s, LP and Lata continued to deliver hits in films like Aasha, Naseeb, Ek Duje Ke Liye, Kranti, Arpan, and many others. However, there are very few songs from this decade that I return to often. LP’s compositions had now started sounding a bit monotonous – predictable arrangements, insipid tunes and Lata sounding shrill. Yes, there were a few notable exceptions like Deedar-e-Yaar, Sur Sangam, Utsav, etc., but on the whole there was hardly anything exceptional about the Lata-LP output in this decade. That, however, is true for almost all composers during the 80s, which I consider the worst period of Hindi film music.
Aaye Wo Phoolon Ke Rath Par - Deedar-e-Yaar (1982) – Although this film goes down in the annals of history as one of the biggest flops of all time, it had some great songs. I particularly like the arrangement of this song, where extensive usage of multiple instruments did not result in noise as had become the hallmark of LP’s compositions in the later years.
Neelam Ke Nabh Chhayi - Utsav (1984) - Based on Raag Vibhaas, I like this song for Lata’s ‘sweet’ rendition and the lyrics in chaste Hindi.
Mere Pee Ko Pavan - Ghulami (1985) - One of rare Gulzar-LP collaborations
Lata and LP did very little work together in the 90s. It was rumoured that there was a rift between Laxmikant and Pyarelal on the issue of continuing with Lata as their main female voice. I don’t like any of their songs from the 90s much, but I would like to mention their swan song in Prem Granth. Although a very average song, Main Kamzor Aurat at least was a composition that suited Lata’s age and degraded vocal capacity, unlike other composers like Raamlaxman who continued to make her sing weird, inane lyrics for nubile nymphets.
Main Kamzor Aurat - Prem Granth (1996)