Lata Mangeshkar: Ten Solos, Ten Composers – Part 4

Last year, when Lata Mangeshkar passed away, I did a series of posts featuring songs she’d sung for different composers. This post, the fourth and final one, had been lying waiting to be published for the past several months.

I began the first list as a tribute to Lata when she passed away, but that, I realized, was too little; there were too many very talented composers, too many wonderful songs, which had perforce been left out of that list. I therefore ended up making another list. And then another.

Here, I cover ten more composers, most of them unfortunately either forgotten now or never really given their due. But, as can be seen (or heard?) by this list, they were not short of talent. These ten solos are all, as always, from pre-1970s Hindi films that I’ve seen. Plus, these songs do not overlap with the very first Lata Mangeshkar post I had published on this blog, here.

In no particular order:

1. Jogi hum toh lut gaye (Shaheed, 1965): With Prem Dhawan. Prem Dhawan was one of that rare breed of Hindi film personalities that could almost be called a ‘Renaissance man’: known primarily as a lyricist, he was also an accomplished choreographer, an actor (interestingly, he appeared onscreen in Sitaaron Se Aage as a dance director in a theatre company), as well as a music director.

Composing for both Hindi as well as Punjabi films, Prem Dhawan also created the music for Manoj Kumar’s hit patriotic film Shaheed, where he managed to bring in an authentic flavour of Punjab. In Jogi hum toh lut gaye tere pyaar mein, he evokes folksy Punjab: with the dhol, the rhythmic beats of the song—and Lata succeeds in mirroring that same Punjabiyat well.

2. Mujhe na bula (Suvarna Sundari, 1957): With Adi Narayan Rao. Telugu composer Adi Narayan Rao was also a lyricist and a playwright, besides being a producer: he was co-founder of Anjali Pictures, the production house he established with his wife, the star Anjali Devi. Several Anjali Pictures films, initially made in Telugu and Tamil, were also remade in Hindi, which allowed Hindi film audiences to get to appreciate Adi Narayan Rao’s music. In Suvarna Sundari, for instance, Rao scored a big hit with what is easily one of the greatest classical raga-based duets in Hindi cinema, the stunning Kuhu-kuhu bole koyaliya.

That, being a duet, is of course outside the ambit of this list, but Suvarna Sundari had some good solos too, of which this one is worth a mention. Lata’s teasing, demure sweetness fits Anjali Devi’s character perfectly: the very picture of coquettishness as she dances in Indra’s court, entertaining the deity.

3. Aayi bairan bahaar kiye solah singaar (Baradari, 1955): With Nashad. It’s a pity that when Nashad is mentioned, most people tend to think it’s a misprint for Naushad. The fact that Nashad had relatively few films to his name as composer (and that he went away to Pakistan later) means that he is anyway not very well-known, despite having created some iconic tunes, such as Bhula nahin dena and Tasveer banaata hoon from Baradari, and some good songs in films like Zindagi ya Toofan and Bada Bhai.

From Baradari is this lovely saheli song, for which Lata sings with a chorus: a song summoning a beloved, because spring is here. Sweet, ebullient, a joyful song of the celebration of spring.

4. Aaja re pyaar pukaare (Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, 1966): With Sonik-Omi. Manohar Lal Sonik and his nephew Om Prakash Sonik formed the composer duo of Sonik-Omi, working in cinema (Om Prakash as a singer, Manohar Lal as a musical assistant) until they teamed up to start composing their own tunes. Although they debuted in 1966 with the score for Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Sonik-Omi did most of their work in the 70s and 80s.

Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya was not a film I enjoyed; it was just too regressive and silly for my liking. But it did have some nice-ish songs, of which this, sung by Lata Mangeskar, is one. The beginning, especially, with her voice traversing the scale, moving so fluidly from one note to the next, is impressive.  

5. Ghir-ghirke aayi badariya (Ek Thi Ladki, 1949): With Vinod. In Ek Thi Ladki, Vinod (born Eric Roberts), lyricist Aziz Kashmiri and Lata Mangeshkar between them managed to create a song so iconic that it labelled Meera Shorey ‘the Lara Lappa girl’ forevermore. It didn’t please some fans who wanted Lata to sing only ‘elevated’, ‘serious’ songs and criticized her for what they construed a ‘frivolous song’.

I would have loved to post Lara lappa lara lappa laayi rakh da, but it’s a duet (or more: it’s not very clear; with GM Durrani, Bharati, and even Mohammad Rafi listed among the singers, though Rafi seems absent, and some authorities believe Vinod is one of the singers too). Therefore, a Lata solo with Vinod: Ghir-ghirke aayi badariya, a soulful song about missing an absent love. I really like the way Lata modulates her voice here to sound very believably like Meena Shorey.

6. Baaje ghungroo chhan-chhan (Shikari, 1963): With GS Kohli. Gurcharan Singh Kohli was music assistant to fellow Punjabi OP Nayyar for many years, assisting OPN in landmark films like CID, Naya Daur, Howrah Bridge, Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, Kashmir ki Kali and Mere Sanam, continuing to assist the more famous director even after he, Kohli, had launched his career as an independent composer. Like OPN, Kohli seems to have favoured Asha Bhonsle, though—unlike OPN—he didn’t completely avoid Lata. In Shikari, for instance, Lata was the main female singer, singing playback in three of the most famous duets of the film, Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko gulaab kehte hain and Agar main poochhoon jawaab doge (with Rafi) and Tumko piya dil diya (with Usha Mangeshkar). This song, while not as well-known, is pleasant enough, and Lata does a good job of the singing (when does she not, at this stage in her career?)

7. Guzra hua zamaana aata nahin dobaara (Shireen Farhad, 1956): With S Mohinder. Bakshi Mohinder Singh Sarna is another of those many composers who are sadly underrated, at least by the general populace. I add that qualifier because S Mohinder was by no means unknown to those in the know; he even won the National Film Award for his score for the hit Punjabi film, Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai.  In Hindi cinema, S Mohinder ended up mostly composing for B- and C-grade films, which often sank without a trace (or, if remembered, are today known only for their music). But even those who don’t know of S Mohinder will probably have heard this song, perhaps his most famous Hindi one. Lata Mangeshkar sings for a lovelorn Madhubala as Shireen, being taken far away from her beloved Farhad. Lata starts off really high, bordering on the shrill; but her voice then settles into a sweetly melodious paean to past love, sad but not melodramatic.

8. Sapna ban saajan aaye (Shokhiyaan, 1951): With Jamal Sen. Rajasthan-born Jamal Sen came from a family with substantial musical talent: one of his ancestors, Kesar Sen, was a disciple of none other than the legendary Tansen. Jamal Sen, who was also a player of the tabla, pakhawaj, and dholak (besides being a trained kathak dancer) came to Bombay in search of work in the cinema industry. There, with a handful of tunes he had already composed, he went to the film-maker Kidar Sharma, to whom he played these tunes—and who was so impressed he signed Jamal Sen on for what was to become Sen’s debut film, the Premnath-Suraiya starrer patriotic film, Shokhiyaan.

While Suraiya, as leading lady, got the bulk of the songs in Shokhiyaan, Lata got to sing this sublime song, picturized on an actress I haven’t been able to identify (Kamlesh Kumari, kindly identified by Anu Warrier). The beginning, slow and steady, reminds me somewhat of Aayega aanewaala; but then, as the song continues, it moves in a different direction. Very, very beautiful; and Lata’s voice sounds somewhat less high, more alto than soprano. Which I like very much.

9. Ae dil machal-machalke yoon (Main Suhagan Hoon, 1964): With Lachhiram Tamar. Sadly underestimated and now largely unknown by most (other than the diehard music buffs), Lachhiram Tamar composed Hindi film music from the 1940s well into the 60s. Most of the films he composed for were fairly B-grade ones, but among his creations were several songs that have definitely been more well-known than Lachhiram himself: the melodious Dhalti jaaye raat sun jaa dil ki baat from Razia Sultana, for instance; or, from Main Suhagan Hoon, Tu shokh kali main mast pawan, as well as the very beautiful classical jugalbandi, Gori tore nainwa.

Both these duets were sung by Asha Bhonsle and Mohammad Rafi; but for one solo in the same film, Lachhiram chose Lata. Ae dil machal-machalke yoon is sad, but restrained, and Lata manages to imbue the song with emotion without letting it run riot.

10. O pardesi chhora chhaila gora-gora (Savera, 1958): With Shailesh Mukherjee. I have to admit that I had not heard of Shailesh Mukherjee until, while doing my Sheila Vaz tribute, I had a closer look at who had composed O pardesi chhora chhaila gora-gora. A little more searching, and I came across this informative post by AK. Mukherjee, it appears, dabbled in a lot of film-related work, not just composing. Would he, perhaps, have fared better as a composer if he’d concentrated just on music? Who knows; he had the talent for it at any rate, as can be seen by songs like Chhupa-chhupi aagad-baagad jaayi re (also from Savera) and this one.

For those who think Lata is best singing soulful, slow songs, this one will probably come as a revelation: she is fantastic here, in a fast-paced, peppy number, a woman singing about the man she loves. Thoroughly addictive, this song, and Lata plays a big part in making it so.

There are many other composers, such as Sudhir Phadke, Iqbal Qureshi, and Snehal Bhatkar, whose work with Lata I have still not focussed on; but that will be for another day, another post.


30 thoughts on “Lata Mangeshkar: Ten Solos, Ten Composers – Part 4

  1. Here’s a post whose every word speaks out of the deep research gone into its creation. Quite naturally, songs no. 1 and 7 of the list are well known and are a part of my song collection but the other songs are yet to be attentively listened to by me. I have seen Ek Thi Larki more than once, still I am not able to recollect the song no. 5 of the list. Yours is an extraordinary effort. Take a bow. And yes, as asserted in the ending lines, at least one more post can come in the same series. I will eagerly (but patiently) await that another day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your very encouraging words of appreciation, Jitendraji. You are very kind. I am glad you enjoyed this. And yes, I will certainly work on another instalment of these lists – there are plenty of great songs that haven’t featured here yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Madhu, lovely list. And several of my favourite songs here as well. The Shokhiyaan song is picturised on Kamlesh Kumari (not to be mistaken for the Bengali actress of the same name). This film was her debut, if I remember right.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Madhu,
    These music directors gave some everlasting songs for Lata Mageshkar. Most songs are representative songs of those MDs. From ‘Baradari’, however, I would select any of her remaining songs: ‘Dard bhara dil bhar bhar aye’, ‘Kho diya maine paakar kisi ko’, ‘Ab ke baras bada zulm hua’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All in good time! :-) P Susheela and Vani Jayaram probably not – since Vani Jayaram I am not very familiar with (also, I believe her career really began in the 70s, beyond the scope of this blog) and P Susheela I have only heard of, not really heard much. But Asha I have already done a post on and intend to do more, and Suman Kalyanpur is definitely on the cards.


      • I have been meaning to request you this but resisted till now. I think now that your blog is a decade old you can add seventies into the ambit. 79 is still 43 years old so should qualify by now as vintage!
        I know it is your blog and your rules and I should be happy to read what you post (more so as you are very accommodating in accepting readers requests from time to time) I am sure other regulars here would agree to the extended time line but “what say you” ?
        Except a couple of songs other are all unknown territory. Will listen to them ( as such Lata isn’t my favourite …I know I am skating on thin ice here).
        On a completely different note I couldn’t find your books in the Chennai book fair so I had to order your book online. I am into the seventh story read for sorts the day I got it and am slowly reading the others.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Madhu ji,

    As you have mentioned at the end of your Post, there are many other Composers to cover. I would request that you please do not overlook the likes of V BALSARA, AR QURESHI, JAGANMOY MITRA, RAI CHAND BORAL, PANDIT SHIVRAM KRISHNA, SUDHIR PHADKE, VASANT PRABHU and a few others.

    With all best wishes for your future endeavors,


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nice selection of both music directors and songs, Madhu. It really is a pity, most of these lesser-known MDs didn’t get more opportunities to showcase their talent.

    I’m aware of at least one more movie that had music by Shailesh Mukherjee with some wonderful Lata songs, including this delightful number:
    Aansuon ki chhaon mein bhi hans le – Parichay/Sailesh Mukherjee

    I also love this Lata solo from Namaste ji composed by G.S. Kohli.

    Mere do naina matware kiske liye – Namaste Ji/G.S. Kohli/Anjaan

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Another nice list of Lata’s songs.
    I wanted to mention some more lesser-known composers but shall wait for your next list.

    Specially glad to see the Shokhiyan song. I am quite fond of it.
    I am adding a song sung by Lata for Shambhu Sen, son of Jamal Sen, who would not feature here as their only association together is a post-70s film.
    Sun man ke meet more prem geet – Mrig Trishna 1975

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Really melodious songs, I never knew existed!! Lataji was pure magic. Thank you for the lovely list and unknown music directors. The last song of ‘Savera’ , totally amazing!! Ashok Kumar as pardeshi gora/chora!!!
    Great compilation as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Madhu Ji,

    Loved your selection of songs by Lata Mangeshkar.
    Thanks for all the research you put into this…I learned a lot through these 3 posts.

    One quick comment on the famous Lara Lappa song from Ek Thi Ladki.
    You mentioned that Mohammed Rafi is listed in the credits but you could not detect his voice among the chorus.

    I believe M. Rafi interjects only 3 phrases into the song in between the lines sung by G.M. Durrani.
    His words are “beemariyan”, “taiyarian”, and then “kaam kuch karti nahin”/

    If you listen to this version of the song on You Tube:

    beemariyan is at minute 4:42, taiyarian” is at 4:52 and kaam kuch is around 5:00.

    I couldn’t tell you the name of the on-screen actor lip syncing to M.Rafi – perhaps he is an extra.

    Given that this is 1949, M. Rafi’s voice has a different quality typical to his early days.
    Secondly, he is singing second fiddle to G.M. Durrani, who was M. Rafi’s mentor and in his early days, Rafi Saheb emulated Durrani Ji’s voice and style of singing.
    That is why Rafi Saheb’s voice is not easily distinguishable in this song.

    Once again – great selection of songs (as usual).



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.