Sunday, June 12, 2011


In the early 60s, FILMFARE had published a series of articles by famous singers of the period about their own colleagues, co-singers etc. and about their songs. One of the earliest of such articles was by Lata Mangeshkar in which she gave her assessment of other singers and listed their songs which, in her opinion, was their best. Gramophone Company of India Ltd. had, in the year 1965, released a LP.Album containing eleven songs listed by Lata in the article. The album is titled MY FAVOURITE FILM SONGS-LATA MANGESHKAR. Obviously, the songs belonged to an earlier period and better songs of these singers might have come later. But the LP record is significant in that it is seldom that a singer wrote about the songs of contemporary singers and indicating his/her favourite songs among them. It is rare too that an album was released on that !

The LP album came in a beautiful jacket with the picture of Lata in front of a Radiogram with records spread on the carpet.

Side I of the record has five songs beginning with the song,'Yeh rangeen mehfil' of Asha Bhosle composed by the talented, but not celebrated, music director G.S.Kohli who had given notable music for films like Foulad, Namesteji etc. This is followed by the ever-green semi-classical song of Manna Dey from the Pradeep Kumar- Asha Parekh film, 'Meri Surat Teri Ankhen',viz.,'Poochho na kaise maine'composed by S.D.Burman.One of her favourite songs of Rafi on Side I is ,'Tumse Izhar-I-hal' from film Mere Mehboob(Naushad). It is notable that she selected this song of Rafi as her favourite eventhough there are two other more popular songs in the same film,viz., 'Mere mehboob tujhe' and 'Aye husn zara jag'.Of the two songs of Mukesh one is from Sangam, 'Dost dost na raha'. The second Asha Bhosle song is the one from "Dil hi to hai',viz., 'Nighahen Milane ko' composed by Roshan.

The lone Talat Mahmood song is the melodious and soulful, 'Phir wohi sham' a Madan Mohan classic from film 'Jahan Ara'. The typical Manna Dey son
g, 'Pyar ki aag men' from film Ziddi(S.D.Burman) is also there.Of the four songs of Mukesh in the album, the one,'Ansoo bhari hai', from the Raj Kapur-Mala Sinha starrer, Parvarish,' is one of the best ever of Mukesh. By selecting this song Lata has done justice to that great composer, Duttaram, a long time associate of Shankar-Jaikishan, who could not make it big as an independent music director in spite of such wonderful songs like 'Mujhe milgayi hai muhabat ki manzil'(Mukesh-First Love) and 'Meethi meethi baton se bhajna zara'(Lata-Quaidi No.911).Two more songs of Mukesh and one by Rafi are also there in the LP record.

The very fact that the songs were selected by Lata herself made this album a much sought after one for music lovers.

That reminds me of another Lata Mangeshkar album, SHRADDHANJALI-MY TRIBUTE TO THE IMMORTALS'', released in the year 1992 by HMV, of course, as an audio cassette. Later, CDs of the album were also released. The special feat
ure of the album is that here Lata is offering her tributes to six immortal singers of our time by rendering a few of their songs in her own voice. There are three songs of K.L.Saigal and two songs each of Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Punkaj Mallick and Kishor Kumar. Saigal's songs include the immortal,'Soja Raajkumari' and 'Main kya janoon kya jadoo hai', both from film 'Zindagi'( Music: Punkaj Mullick).Ardent fans of Saigal and a few critics of the period had tried to pick holes in Lata's singing of the songs. But the fact remains that it was a pleasant experience to listen to these songs, especially 'Soja Rajkumari', in female voice that too of Lata Mangeshkar! Similar was the experience of listening to Punkaj Mallick's,'Piya milan ko jana' from film 'Kapalkundala'.(Music and lyrics by Punkaj Mullick). Two songs of Rafi are, 'Kabhi khud pe' from film Hum Dono (Music Jaidev)and,' Man re too kahe na dheer dhare', the great song composed by Roshan for film 'Chitralekha'.

Two songs selected by Lata to sing for Mukesh are,'Jaoon kahan bata yeh dil' from Chhoti Bahen(Music Shankar-Jaikishan)and 'Kahin door jab din' from film Aanand(Music:Salil Choudhury). For Hemant Kumar Lata has selected two of his very popular songs.viz., 'Tun Pukar lo' from film Khamoshi and 'Yeh nayan dare dare' from film Kohra, both original compositions of Hemant Kumar. For Kishor Kumar Lata took the R.D.Burman's composition,'O mere dil ki chain' from film Mere Jeevan Sathi and 'Yeh jeevan hai' from film Piya ka Ghar.(Lakshmikant Pyarelal).

Lata has done justice to all the songs and deserves kudos for expressing her regard for fellow singers though fans of the singers may say, 'original is original'. The greatness of Lata is that she did sing these songs and not how she sang them. A rare gesture from a great singer, especially when viewed in the present context of cut and paste music.

Ps. Please click on photos to zoom them.

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