Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the Nightingale Again

It was the 81st birthday of Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India, yesterday the 28th September, 2010. As some TV Channels were highlighting the event by showing her memorable songs, I went through my collection of gramophone records to listen to some of those immortal songs of Lata.

Of the records I listened to, there were two outstanding albums , one, a collection of Bhajans and the other an album of a few of her great m
elodies from Hindi films.

The album of Bhaja
ns is titled,'Ram Ratan Dhan Payo- Lata Mangeshkar' released by Music India Ltd. in 1983.The side one contained three bhajans of Tulsidas,viz., 'Jai Ram Rama-Ramanam Shamanam', 'Thumak Chalat Ramachandra' and ' Ramachandra Kripalu Bhaj Man'. The title song. 'Payoji maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo' , a Meerabhai bhajan is also there. On side two There is again another Tulsidas bhajan on side two, viz., 'Ramacharitmanas' along with the revered 'Vaishnava Jan to Tene kahiye' and the immortal aarti song,'Jai Jagdeesh hare'.These are all time favourite bhajans and as the blurb goes,'the exquisite voice of Lataji enriches each bhajan and creates a devotional treasure' . A truly great album from India's most celebrated voice.
The album by Music India Ltd., has a few interesting features. First is the beautiful pictures of Lata on the front and back cover. The jacket has a centre spread and the entire area is occupied by a huge photo of Lata, a rare feature. Again, on the centre circle of the LP record there is a sketch of a singing Lata, again a rare instance of the a singer's picture on the record. Above all, the quality of the recording (Stereo) is excellent bringing out clearly every nuance of Lata's sweet voice. A 'must possess' record for bhajan lovers and Lata fans.

The other record I listened to is HMV's 'Haunting Melodies of Lata Mangeshkar'. Lovers of old Hindi movies will remember a large number of films dealing in supernatu
ral, eerie, mysterious and horror filled subjects. One of the earliest of such films is 'Mahal' followed by films like Madhumati, Bees Saal Baat, Kohra,Bhoot Bangla, Bhoot, Woh Kaun Thi, Poonam ki Raat, Mera Saays, Gumrah,Tower House, Phir Wohi raat, etc. etc. One striking but common feature of such films is the haunting , melodious, fear invoking songs, always in female voice, of ghosts (female ) at large during misty nights,, in white sarees and with flowing ruffled hair and singing the theme songs with an intent to create fear!!The "Aajare pardesi' song of Madhumati, the 'Aayega Aanewala' song of Mahal, 'Naina bharse rim jim rim jim' song of Woh Kaun Thi, Kahin Deep Chale song of Bees Saal Baad, Mera Saaya song of film Mera Saaya, Gumnaam hai koi song from Gumnam etc are a few wxamples. The unique feature of this LP album is that HMV has included 12 songs of this genre including the ones mentioned here in one record as a thematic collection . All the songs are sung by Lata. These melodies are haunting in the literary sense also. The LP was realeased by HMV in 1967 to mark the silver jubilee of Lata's career in film music. Now, more than four decades thereafter, the voice still haunts and thrills us.!!

P.S. Vennira Aadai(Tamil), Lisa, Manichithra Thazhu, Rest House, Yakshi, Bhargavi Nilayam etc., are some of the similar films from the South. Bhargavi Nilayam stands tall among all of them.