Monday, July 19, 2010

Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum - Melodious Partnership

This article was originally written for the newly launched website on Shamshad Begum. It is available at this link.
The Year – 1948. Three ladies are brought together by legendary C. Ramchandra to record the female version of a qawwali - a reigning superstar, a moderately successful singer and an upcoming singing sensation. The film – Khidki and the song – Khushiyan Manayen Kyun Na Hum. This was the probably the first time that Shamshad Begum shared the microphone with Lata Mangeshkar. Given the stature of the three singers at that time, Shamshad Begum was the lead singer, and Lata Mangeshkar and Mohantara Talpade merely supporting singers. As the ladies, in their own way, belted out the catchy refrain of Da Da Da Da, the stage was set for two eras to collide.

Khushiyan Manayen Kyun Na Hum - Khidki (1948) - C. Ramchandra - Pyare Lal Santoshi

Over the next couple of years Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar were brought together several times by composers such as C. Ramchandra, Husnlal Bhagatram, Chitragupta, Ghulam Mohammed and most importantly Naushad, to create some timeless melodies that still sound as fresh as they did when they were created.

In terms of numbers, Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar have not sung very many songs together. Out of the 27 songs for which they shared the microphone, perhaps the most well-known song is Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le from Naushad’s Andaz (1949).

Everyone knows that 1949s was the watershed year in the career of Lata Mangeshkar as she saw a meteoric rise to emerge as someone who would dominate the singing world for decades to come. This song from Andaz perhaps underscores what was to come. Those were the days it was considered a huge thing to sing for the lead actress of a film and was, in a curious way, a measure of success for a singer. In this song from Andaz, Lata Mangeshkar was the voice of the lead actress, Nargis, while Shamshad Begum sang for Cuckoo. Naushad, on his part, carefully divides the song almost equally between the two singers so that each singer gets adequate opportunity to interpret the song in her own distinctive style. The result – a timeless masterpiece.

Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le - Andaz (1949) - Naushad - Majrooh Sultanpuri

In the very same year, the two singers shared the microphone once again for C. Ramchandra’s Patanga in the delightfully quirky Pyar Ke Jahaan Ki Niraali Sarkaar Hai.

Pyar Ke Jahaan Ki Nirali Sarkar - Patanga (1949) - C. Ramchandra - Rajinder Krishan

There are a couple of Shamshad-Lata songs that were picturised on children. Given the nature and texture of their voices, Shamshad’s voice was used as playback for the male child while Lata’s for the female child. The way Shamshad Begum’s voice fits on the on-screen child, it is difficult to imagine any other singer’s voice in these songs. C. Ramchandra’s Kas Ke Kamar Ho Ja Taiyar (Sangram, 1951) and Naushad’s Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena (Deedar, 1951) are two such songs.

Kas Ke Kamar Ho Ja Tayyar - Sangram (1951) - C. Ramchandra - Brijendra Gaur

Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena - Deedar (1951) - Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni

As the decade of 1950s started, C. Ramchandra had almost completely turned towards his new muse, Lata Mangeshkar, and started using Shamshad Begum’s voice only sparingly. He summoned the two singers just twice - once for O Ladke Ladke Ladke Dil Dhakdhak Dhakdhak Dhadke in Shabistan (1951) and then again for Ye Tirchhi Nazar Aur Teekhi Ada in Lehren (1953), a qawwali that was reused two years later in Duniya Gol Hai (1955).

O Ladke Ladke Ladke - Shabistan (1951) - C. Ramchandra - Qamar Jalalabadi

Ye Tirchhi Nazar - Lehren (1953) / Duniya Gol Hai (1955) - C. Ramchandra - Rajinder Krishan

Husnalal Bhagatram were other music directors who created some lovely duets for Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar. Unfortunately, these duets have become distant memories with the passage of time and have entered the category of rare, or difficult to find songs. Consider, for example the immensely catchy Hum Se Dil Ki Lagi Na Chhupana (Pyar Ki Manzil, 1950), or the folksy Maza Mla Hai Jise … Dil Ki Qadar Nahin Jaani (Sartaj, 1950), or even the routine qawwali-like Jab Teri Gali Mein (Sartaj, 1950) and Kabhi Hanste Hain Do Dil (Farmaish, 1953).

Hum Se Dil Ki Lagi Na Chhupana - Pyar Ki Manzil (1950) - Husnalal Bhagatram - Shevan Rizvi

Dil Ki Qadar Nahin Jaani - Sartaj (1950) - Husnalal Bhagatram - Majrooh Sultanpuri

Jab Teri Gali Mein - Sartaj (1950) - Husnalal Bhagatram - Shevan Rizvi
Kabhi Hanste Hain Do Dil - Farmaish (1953) - Husnalal Bhagatram - Qamar Jalalabadi

Among music directors who created duets or group songs for Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar just once are Roshan (the lovely saheli-song in Chandni Chowk with Asha Bhosle – Har Baat Poochhiye), Nashad (Chhodo Chhodo Ji Baiyan Mori in Baradari) and S. Mohinder (Dhadke Dhadke Reh Reh Ke, based on Punjabi folk with Mohd. Rafi and Balbir in Naata).

Har Baat Poochhiye - Chandni Chowk (1954) - Roshan - Majrooh Sultanpuri
Chhodo Chhodo Ji Baiyan Mori - Baradari (1955) - Nashad - Khumar Barabankvi
Dhadke Dhadke Reh Reh Ke … Maujon Ka Ishara Hai - Naata (1955) - S. Mohinder - Tanvir Naqvi

Ghulam Mohammed, who was Naushad’s assistant, and also a successful independent music director in his own right, used the strengths of both the singers to create a foot-tapper in Kundan (1955) – Matwale O Matwale.

Matwale O Matwale - Kundan (1955) - Ghulam Mohammed - Shakeel Badayuni

Perhaps one song that showcases the distinctive singing styles of Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar is Chhup Chhup Ke Na Dekho from Zindagi Ke Mele (1956). It can be considered as two intertwined songs. Shamshad Begum the fast paced portion, while Lata Mangeshkar sings the plaintive portions set to the tune of Vaishna Jan Te. The appeal of this song lies in the fact that the song keeps shifting moods in a seamless fashion. Take out Shamshad Begum’s portion and all that will be left is an ordinary sad song. Similarly, take out Lata Mangeshkar portion and the appeal of the song will considerably diminish. It is the juxtaposition of two contrasting moods and two contrasting voices that makes this song what it is.

Chhup Chhup Ke Na Dekho - Zindagi Ke Mele (1956) - Chitragupta - Tanveer Naqvi

Finally, no article about the songs of these two legendary singers can be complete without mentioning what was their last song together. It was Naushad again who brought them together in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) for the wonderfully tunes and picturised – Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazma Kar Hum Bhi Dhekhenge. Mughal-e-Azam also had a Lata-Shamshad-Mubarak song that never found its way into the film - Husn Ki Baraat Chali.

Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat - Mughal-e-Azam (1960) - Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni
Husn Ki Baraat Chali (Unreleased) - Mughal-e-Azam (1960) - Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni

Hearing the few gems that Shamshad Begum and Lata Mageshkar have sung together, one cannot but feel sad that the two singers did not come together more often. What a delight it would be, had composers like Sachin Dev Burman, Madan Mohan and Shankar Jaikishan composed songs for these two singers to sing in their own patented styles. Alas!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lata Mangeshkar sings for Kalyanji Anandji - Part 2

Continuing with my earlier post on the songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar for Kalyanji Anandji, I would talk about some of the songs from the late 60s till the 80s.

In 1968, Kalyanji Anandji came up with a soundtrack that surely ranks among their very best. Saraswati Chandra, based on an eponymous Gujarati novel, had some great songs, sung mostly by Lata and Mukesh. Lata’s Chhod De Saari Duniya is a deeply philosophical song penned brilliantly by Indeevar. Indeevar went on to form a very strong partnership with KA in the following years.

Chhod De Saari Duniya - Saraswati Chandra (1968) - Indeevar

One of my favorite Lata-KA songs (if not the favorite) was released the following year in 1969. The melody in this song from Vishwas is so strong that once I start listening to this song, I just can’t stop.

Aaj Ki Raat Sajan Man Chaahe - Vishwas (1969) - Gulshan Bawra

In terms of popularity, 70s was the peak period for Kalyanji Anandji. Together with R D Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal they formed a triumvirate that dominated the Hindi filmdom during the decade. Personally, I don’t care much for most of Kalyanji Anandji’s output during this period, especially post 1975.

In 1970, Lata Mangeshkar sang for Kalyanji Anandji in as many as 13 films, the highest among all music directors (except Laxmikant Pyarelal for whom Lata sang for 13 films as well). Their collaboration during this year resulted in many good songs.

Tere Naina Kyon Bhar Aaye: The excellent flute and sitar prelude sets the perfect tone for this sad song, rendered with great feeling by Lata.

Tere Naina Kyun Bhar Aaye - Geet (1970) - Anand Bakshi

Meri Tamannaon Ki Taqdeer – Holi Aayi Re: Another song picturized on Mala Sinha, this songs had the typical Kalyanji Anandji stamp all over.

Meri Tamannaon Ki - Holi Aayi Re (1970) - Indeevar

Tum Hum Se Milo – Mere Humsafar: What a lovely piano prelude!

Tum Hum Se Milo - Mere Humsafar (1970) - Anand Bakshi

Hum The Jinke Sahare – Safar: This was another great soundtrack by Kalyanji Anandji. The piece de resistance of this soundtrack were two Kishore Kumar solos, but this Lata solo also comes quite close.

Hum The Jinke Sahare - Safat (1970) - Indeevar

Jis Path Pe Chala – Yaadgar

Jis Path Pe Chala - Yaadgar (1970) - Indeevar

Hearing the above songs, you must be thinking that sad songs was all the Lata sang for KA. That is, of course, not true. In 1972, Kalyanji Anandji got Lata to sing a naughty, seductive number in Victoria No. 203. It is nice to hear Lata having fun with this song.

Thoda Sa Thehro - Victoria No. 203 (1972) - Indeevar

Lata also sang two light numbers for Kalyanji Anandji was in Kora Kaagaz. For one of the songs – Roothe Roothe Piya – she even got the National Award. Honestly, I can’t see what’s so great about the singing in this song that could fetch her a National Award! It’s the kind of song she could sing in her sleep.

Roothe Roothe Piya - Kora Kagaz (1974) - M. G Hashmat

It certainly isn’t intentional, but all the songs that I am going to list now are picturized on Rakhee Gulzar. She really got to lip-sync to some of the best Lata – KA songs in the 70s.

The first one is from Banarasi Babu (1973). By this time, Lata’s voice had started showing some signs of strain. But the tune is such a beauty, one cannot but like this song.

Koi Koi Raat Aisi Hoti Hai - Banarasi Babu (1973) - Anjaan

Blackmail was a very good soundtrack as a whole. Among the two Lata solos in the film, Naina Mere Rang Bhare is more famous, but my personal favorite is Asha O Asha. It is a great composition – see the picturization and you’ll know why. Notice the difference in the notes used in the portions sung by the “two” Rakhees.

Asha O Asha - Blackmail (1973) - Rajinder Krishan

In 1978, Kalyanji Anandji created two very similar solos for Lata Mangeshkar in two different films – Muqaddar Ka Sikandar and Trishna. I prefer the song from Trishna, probably because it is not heard so often.

Dil To Hai Dil - Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978) - Anjaan

Din Ba Din Wo - Trishna (1978) - Anjaan

With the start of the 80s, Kalyanji Anandji had started promoting upcoming female singers like Alka Yagnik and Sadhana Sargam; and Lata sang for them only once in a while. In fact, between 1980 and 1989, Lata sang less than 20 songs for Kalyanji Anandji. None of these songs are worth listening twice, with the exception of this one from Pighalta Aasman, which is at best an average song.

Mujhe Aisa Mila Moti - Pighalta Aasman (1985) - Indeevar

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lata Mangeshkar sings for Kalyanji Anandji - Part 1

It’s been more than 6 months since I wrote anything. I wouldn’t get into the reasons for that, but I found this to be an opportune moment to resume my series on songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar for various music director. After writing about Lata Mangeshkar’s collaboration with Laxmikant Pyarelal, Shankar Jaikishan and R D Burman, the next post was to be on Kalyanji Anandji. What better time to write that post than on the occasion of Kalyanji Virji Shah’s birth anniversary.

Whenever I think of Lata Mangeshkar’s tuning with the various music directors, Kalyanji Anandji is certainly not the name that comes easily. But the fact that she has sung almost 300 songs for the duo cannot be ignored. If one carefully sifts through their joint output, there are definitely some gems that come up. Just that most of them do not stand tall against the masterpieces Lata Mangeshkar’s collaboration with some of the other music directors has produced.

Although the Shah brothers have worked together right from the beginning, in some of the earlier films, only the elder brother – Kalyanji Virji Shah – got the main credit. It was from their fourth or fifth together that the Kalyanji Anandji duo was ‘officially’ credited as music director.

One such film where Kalyanji Virji Shah was the official music director was Post Box 999 (1958). In that film there was song of a type that is usually not associated with Lata Mangeshkar, at least not at that time – a ‘tipsy’ song. This songs is one of my favourite songs of this genre. It is very easy to go overboard with the tipsiness in such songs, but the subtlety in Lata’s rendition is to die for. Judge for yourself:

Ara Rara Rara Main To Giri Re - Post Box 999 (1958) - Pyarelal Santoshi

Contrast with with a sad song in Delhi Junction (1960). A diametrically opposite genre, but the composition and the singing are top notch.

Zaalim Zamane Ne - Delhi Junction (1960) - Gulshan Bawra

In their early films, Kalyanji Anandji seemed heavily influenced by Shankar Jaikishan. The compositions, the arrangements, everything seemed to be in the SJ template. Not to say that these compositions were not good – they definitely were – but it was difficult to distinguish a distinctive KA style. Consider the following songs – lovely melodies with Lata’s voice dripping the same sweetness she reserved for Shankar Jaikishan.

TUmhare Pyar Ka Nasha - Madari (1959) - Farooq Qaiser


Aankhon Mein Tujh Ko - Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960) - K. L Pardesi

Around the same time, Kalyanji Anandji also looked for inspiration elsewhere and came up with this song that was quite a straight pick from Ron Goodwin’s Music For an Arabian Night, a 1959 album that inspired several other Hindi film songs. I must admit that when I first saw this video, I was disappointed as I had always visualized this song as some sort of a group dance.

Baaje Payal Chhun Chhun - Chhalia (1960) - Qamar Jalalabadi

It was in the early 60s that Kalyanji Anandji made their presence felt in the world of Hindi film music. Lata being the most sought after female singer at that time, they invariably turned to her.

In 1963, Kalyanji Anandji demonstrated that they too could compose a delightful classical based song for Lata to vocalize. This song, based on Raag Bageshri, is one of the finest they have composed for Lata.

Bedardi Daghabaz - Bluff Master (1963) - Rajinder Krishan

In the same year, Kalyanji Anandji composed another song with a classical influence for the film Sunehri Nagin – a B-grade fantasy film with A-grade music. It’s also lovely to watch Helen perform with all her dignified charm.

Tu Hi Tu Hai - Sunehri Nagin (1963) - Anand Bakshi

In my mind, KA are synonymous with Mukesh. If you exclude the songs SJ created for Raj Kapoor films, some of the best songs of Mukesh have come from the KA stable. And the songs they composed for Mukesh have a certain uniqueness, something I am not able to put in words. I get the same feeling when I hear this song sung by Lata in Phool Bane Angare. I just can’t shake off the feeling that this was created for Mukesh. Nevertheless, that takes nothing away from the flawless rendition by Lata.

Sambhal To Le Dil Deewana - Phool Bane Angaare (1963) - Anand Bakshi

In the 60s, it was almost mandatory to have “piano song” picturized at a party, so much so that it can almost be called as a genre while talking about Hindi film music. Sample these two songs:

Badli Hai Zamane Ki Nazar - Majboor (1964) - Anand Bakshi
Khushi Bhi Aayi To - Saheli (1965) - K. L Pardesi

I round-off this post with a very well-known song by Lata and Kalyanji Anandji. The very brief humming at the start of the song is absolutely divine.

Ye Sama Sama Hai Ye Pyar Ka - Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) - Anand Bakshi

In the second-part of this post I shall post some more well-known as well as relatively lesser heard songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar for Kalyanji Anandji.