Ravi’s earlier films like Vachan, Ek Saal, Dilli ka thug, Chirag Kahan Roshni kahan and so on also had several beautiful songs in them. Film Dilli ka thug had a few popular songs by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle like ‘ Yeh ratein yeh mausam nadi ka kinare’ (Kishore -Asha), Yeh bahar yeh shama(Asha) and the hilarious, ‘C.A.T., CAT Cat mane billie’ (Kishore). In Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan there is this children’s song ‘Tim tim karke tare...’. In Ek Saal there is this immortal ghazal of Talat Mahmood, ‘ Sub kuch luta ke hosh mein aaye to kya hua’. But it was Ckaudvin ka Chaand which gave Ravi the well deserved recognition as a top music director of Hindi films. The song scene of the title song Chaudvin ka chaand showed how best even black and white photography (Cinematography- V.K.Murthy) can exploit the light and shade to glorify a scene.The film has a few other wonderful songs like Rafi’s ‘Yeh Lucknow ki sar zameen’ and the Asha Bhosle – Shamshad Begum qawwali, ‘Sharma ke kyun pardanashin’ (two parts). The song ‘Husnewale tera jawwaab nahin’ from film Gharana still remains as one of the top romantic songs of Rafi.There was no looking back thereafter for Ravi in the 60s and early 70s when he came out with musical hits for films after films like Khandan, Bharosa, Kajal, Gahra Daag, Pyar ka Saagar, China town,Do Badan, Ankhen, Waqt, Neeel Kamal, Tower House, Yeh raaste hai pyar ki, Aaj aur Kal and many more.
The music of film Khandan (Sunil Dutt- Nutan)brought for Ravi the Filmfare award for best music director in 1965; the song ‘Tuhmi meri mandir’, one of the noted bhajans of Lata, brought her the Filmfare award for best female playback singer and the best lyricist award for Rajinder Kishen. The Guru Dutt – Asha Parekh starrer Bharosa had a beautiful song by Rafi, ‘Is bhare duniya mein’ and a duet, ‘Aap ki mulakat bas itni’ by Lata and the then new singer Mahendra Kapoor.For Ravi, Asha remained his favourite female voice with songs like the bhajan, ‘Tora man darpan’ and the semiclassical number, ‘Chhun chhun gungharu bole’ both from film Kaajal( Dharmendra-Hema Malini),the ‘Jab chali tandi hawa’number from film Do Baaden (Asha Parekh- Manoj Kumar), the songs ‘ Chehre pe khushi chha jaati hai’ and ‘the haunting ‘Aage bhi jane na tu’ from the star studded film Waqt (Raj Kumar, Sadhana,Sashi Kapur, Sharmila Tagore, SunilDutt, Rahman and Balraj Sahni) and many more from other films.But it is also a fact that some of the best songs of Ravi in female voice were also by Lata like, e.g., the melodious ‘Lo aagayi unki yaad’ from Do Baadan,’Lagi na mora jiya’ from film Gunghat,’ Ai mere dil-e-naadan’ from Tower House, ‘Milti hai zindagi’ from Ankhen and so on. In Yeh raaste hai payarki’, a film based on a real life story and in which Ashoj Kumar gave a memorable performance as the defence lawyer, there is the title song, ‘yeh raaste hai pyar ki’ by Asha and a duet of Asha with Rafi,’ Yeh kahmoshiyan yeh Tanhaniyan’ boh very popular and frequently heard on the radio those days but sadly missing nowadays. This applies to the rare songs of Mukesh for Ravi in film Pyar ka Saagar, e.g. ‘the duets with Asha,‘Vafaa jin se ke bewafa ho gaye’and the grief filled ‘Pyar ka saagar dekha hai’. That reminds me of the songs of Mukesh for Raj kapur in film Nazrana, especially the beautiful inter active duet with Lata,‘Bikhrake zulfein chaman mein' and the sad Mukesh solo,‘Ek woh bhi Diwali thi.
Film Gumrah( Sunil Dutt-Mala Sinha) marks the beginning of a long and fruitful association of Ravi with singer Mahendra Kapoor . In fact it was Ravi who lifted the singer, reeling under the shadow of a Rafi at his peak, to the centre stage with this film. In fact there was no song for Rafi in this film and the three solos rendered by Mahendra Kap oor, viz., ‘Aap aayen’, ‘Aa bhi ja’ and Chalo ek bar’ earned for him an identity of his own and listeners could connect to his voice and style separate from that of Rafi. The songs were super hits on the radio and Mahendra kapoor won the Filmfare Award for the best male playback singer for the song ‘Chalo ek baar’. The duet, ‘aaja aaja re’ with Asha also was hugely popular. Film Gumraah was followed by Waqt in which Mahendra Kapoor had three duets with Asha the top being ,’Maine ek khwab sa dekha hai’ and, ’Din hain bahar ke ‘ a close second. Of course the most popular song of the film is by Rafi,viz., ‘Waqt se din aur raat’ followed closely by the evergreen Manna Dey hit, ‘Ae mere Zohra Jabeen’.
The success of the team of Ravi-Sahir Ludianvi(lyrics) and Mahendra Kapoor in film Gumraah and Waqt was repeated in the super hit film Hamraaz(Sunil Dutt-Vimi- Raaj Kumar). In fact it was Mahendra Kapoor all the way in this film with four super hit solos including , ‘ Yeh neele gagan ke tale’ which won him the Filmfare Award for the best male playback singer for 1967. The song ‘Na moonh chupake jiyo’ and ‘Tum agar saath dene ka wada karo’ were also super hits along with the high pitched, melodious ‘Kisi pather ke murat se’. These songs were a fitting reply to the critics, many of them perhaps motivated, who sidelined Mahendra Kapoor as a singer who adopted Rafi’s style. The singer’s own style was, of course, obvious to the discerning listeners.
There are two films the music of which showed Ravi’s talent and range in different types of music. One is film China Town, (1962-Shammi Kapoor-Shakila) in which all the songs were by Rafi and Asha. The film offered ample scope for dance songs, Rock-n-roll and club dance songs etc. and Ravi showed that he could do justice to the need. Though the film was not a huge hit the songs were very popular , the ‘Bar bar dekho ‘ in particular, with Rafi sizzling. The songs ‘Yumma yumma yumma’ and the title song ‘China town’ shows Asha in her elements . The duets of Rafi and Asha, ‘Bada quatil hai’ and ‘Humse na poochho’, were also pleasing. Ravi with these vibrant foot tapping songs showed that he can give even O.P. Nayyar a run for his money as far rhythm is concerned.
The other film which tested Ravi’s talent is the 1982 film Nikaah with Raj Babbar, Deepak Parashar and Salma Agha in the lead. All the songs of the film were Ghazal based ones as demanded by the theme and all of them were rendered by Mahendra kapoor and the leading lady Salma Agha herself.The ghazals were appreciated by the discerning listeners and it was Salma Agha who got the Filmfare award for the best playback singer of the year for her song ‘Dil ke armaan ansuon mein bah gaye’, the special nasal timbre of her voice helping her to do justice to the composition. This is true in the case of ‘Fiza bhi hai jawab bhi (in two parts) also. Mahendra kapoor shows his range in the ghazal, ‘Bete hue lamhon ki kasak saath to hogi’ and also in the duet with Salma, ‘Dil ki yeh arzoo thi’ with clear, emphatic delivery of words. The qawwali,’ Chehra chhupa liya hai kisi ne nagar mein’ by Kapoor, Asha and Salma is an added attraction. The LP album of the film also contains Ghulam Ali’s famous composition ‘Chupke chupke raat din’ making it a collectors’ item.
Music director Ravi who was very busy in Hindi film music till the early years of the 70s was seen less and less thereafter and during the 80s and 90s became very busy in Malayalam films especially in association with director Hariharan and poet/lyricist O.N.V. Kurup and came out with award winning music in films like Panchagni, Nakhashatangal, Sargam ,Vaisali, Parinayam, Srukretam, Ghazal and so on. He won National award for best music Director for films Parinayam and Sukrutam and Kerala State Award for Nakhakshatangal and Sargam. Singer K.S.Chitra won her third National Award for the song ‘Indupushpam choodi’ from film Vaisali.
Though Ravi came back into Hindi film music strongly with Nikaah in 1982, he was unable to weave his former magic as by then the trend had changed with the ascendancy of Kishore Kumar, Lakshmikant Pyarelal and so on and had to remain content with working in Malayalam films with Mayookham(2005) being his last Malayalam film. Music Director Ravi, Known as Bombay Ravi in Malayalam film world continues to be remembered and respected in Kerala as a king of melodies.
Tail piece:-There was a successful Palmolive ad featuring Kapil Dev and the jingle ‘ Pamolive da jawab nahin’ seemed to have been inspired by the Gharana song,’Husnewale tera jawab nahin’.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ9uo-7_aeE