If Yash Chopra were alive he would be ushering out his birthday on September 27 when his most favourite singer and sister Lata Mangeshkar would be bringing in her birthday on September 28. Free-spirited both, they were professionally inseparable. “As long as I am there you will sing in all my films,” he had promised Lata ji. Sure enough it broke his heart when his last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which was released posthumously, did not contain her voice.
Here’s celebrating the ten most amazing songs that Lata ji sang for her Yash bhaiyya.
JAB BHI JEE CHAAHE NAYI DUNIYA BASAA LETEY HAIN LOG (Daag): When Yash Chopra broke away from his brother’s banner to launch YashRaj films, he pencilled in the never-before and never-again composer-poet mixture of Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Sahir Ludhianvi. The duo had huge creative differences with the poet-extraordinaire. But some great music came out of the friction. This heart-piercing song about a broken and betrayed heart was actually inspired by a Pakistani Ghazal by Noorjehan. Lata ji of course gave it her own twist. Exquisite pain oozes out of every word. And Sharmila Tagore enacted the song with just the right blend of suffering and smirk.
JO BAAT ISHARON MEIN KAHI TU NA SAMJHEY (Joshila): A special solo, this was the only time RD Burman and Sahir Ludhianvi came together to create a song for Lata Mangeshkar.
KABHI KABHIE MERE DIL MEIN KHYAAL AATA HAI (Kabhi Kabhie): Khayyam and Sahir got together to create this song about lost love and a treasure of memories flooding the melody with life-giving potions. Though Mukesh too sang a version, Lata ji’s interpretation of the lyrics remains a jewel of the croon.
TU MERE SAATH RAHEGA MUNNE (Trishul): The theme song was so strong and persuasive it made Yash ji cry each time he heard it. Though Khayyam’s composition was ordinary, Lataji's rendering of the mother’s plea to her son to take revenge for all the wrongs done to her was so powerfully penned by Sahir Ludhianvi that the song became an exquisite expression of maternal expectations. "Main tumhein doodh na bakshoongi tumhein yaad rahe,” sang Lata ji. Yashji cried. We cried.
NEELA AASMAAN SO GAYA (Silsila): Javed Akhtar wrote lyrics for the first time for a movie. And the Nightingale’s voice took over the show. Rekha looked like a dream as she put a face to Lata ji’s voice. Classicists Shiv-Hari couldn’t have hoped for a better filmy beginning.
OM NAMAH SHIVAAY (Mashaal): What made this solo by Lata ji really special was the fact that it was composed by her brother the highly-regarded Hridaynath Mangeshkar. The Shiva bhajan exudes an aura of tranquility even in the most troubled moment. Try it. You will know why Yash ji considered Laaji to be Mata Saraswati reincarnated.
MERE HAATHON MEIN NAU NAU CHOODIYAAN HAIN (Chandni): Lataji was unwell when Shiv-Hari wanted to record this song. But Yash Chopra would have no other voice. ‘How can anyone else sing in my film?’ he reasoned. The song was a resounding hit.Well worth the wait, watt?
MORNI BAGAAN MEIN BOLEY (Lamhe): Sridevi dancing in the undulating deserts of Rajasthan as Saroj Khan’s choreography brought home the importance of the sheer melodic force of Lata Mamgeshkar’s throat... If there was heaven on earth, it was here as Sridevi kicked up a graceful desert storm.
TU SAAWAN MAIN PYAAS PIYA (Parampara): An utterly tasteless actress on the screen(Ramya) couldn’t take away from the power of this solo by Lataji where she sang of a woman’s sexual longing with such persuasiveness!! Tere bin main aadhi-adhoori, chhuke mujhe tu kar de poori. This is one of Lataji’s most erotic numbers.
TERE LIYE (VEER ZAARA): The composing genius Madan Mohan’s posthumous melody revamped restructured and brought to flickering life by his talented son Sanjeev Kohli, Lata ji together with Roop Kumar Rathod sang the title song as if there was no tomorrow.
Image source: Instagram/latamangeshkar