In my last post about Suman Kalyanpur, I talked about her solos. Today I’m planning to overview her duets and trios. Actually she has sung duets with all the male and female singers of the Golden Era. So her duets actually need special posts,such as her duets with Rafi,so is her duets with other male singers and female singers. But today I am attempting it all in a single post. It was the most difficult task, as she has sung many beautiful and melodious duets and to choose even fifteen was most challenging! It’s impossible to do justice to many of her duets, but it can’t be helped.
The major factors for a hit duet are coordination and balance of voices between the singers and how they complement each other. Suman’s voice had all these factors. As I mentioned in my last post, her first duet was with Talat for the movie Darwaza, in 1954 for Nashad.
Her popular pairing was with Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey. She also had a few duets with Hemant Kumar (Pyase Panchhi), Subir Sen (Anarbala), and with less known singers like, Shyamkumar (Tilismi Duniya). Some trios are also to her credit, the notable ones being, Manmohan Man Mein Ho (with Rafi & S D Batish / Kaise Kahoon – S D Burman), Woh Pari Kahan Se Laaoon (with Mukesh & Sharda / Pehchan – Shankar Jaikishan), Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (with Rafi & Mukesh / Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya – Sonik Omi).
Her duets with Rafi are really a treasure, and are remembered the most. Though Many of them are from the period 1964-1967, when Lata and Rafi were not singing together, some MDs continued the pairing even after that period and some memorable duets were created. There are a lot of duets even before 1964, though for low budget movies. One of their first hit duets was for Miss Bombay (Din Ho Ya Raat) for music director, Hansraj Behl. Their duets in late 50s and early 60s were for films like, Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (1960- Hansraj Behl), Ganesh Vivah (1955 and many other films -Chitragupt), Light House (1958- N Datta), Bhai Behen & Black Cat (1959- N Datta) etc. They continued to sing duets till early 1970s, and some of them were also hits.
I am fond of her duets with Mukesh. Though for B grade movies, the songs are A grade in quality. In 1960s, their duets for music directors, S N Tripathi, Sardar Malik, for mythological and other low budget films, were popular and are really melodious and worth listening. The same is the case with Manna Dey, she has sung the duets mainly for Dattaram. She sang a few popular songs in Bengali with him, some of them are Durga Pooja Bhajans.
As far as her female duets are concerned, she sang duets with many singers, from Lata Mangeshkar to Krishna Kalle, for various films and many of the songs are iconic. In her duets with Shamshad and Mubaraq Begum, the contrast between their voices adds a different charm to the song. Some of the examples being, Dil Gaya To Gaya (with Shamshad Begum – Shama / Ghulam Mohhamad), Nigahon Se Dil Ka ( with Mubaraq Begum – Cobra Girl / S N Tripathi).
She also has duets with Usha mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, though the songs are not popular. Her other co singers include, Sudha Malhotra ( Kaun Rang Mungawa – Heera Moti – Roshan), her own younger sister, Shyama Hemady-Chittar ( Jhankati Hai Meri Aankhon Se – Dooj Ka Chand / Roshan). Her duets with female singers were also equally popular and still are!
I also want to share some of her achievements,
* Miya Tansen Award in 1966 for ‘Manmohan Man Mein Ho‘ from Kaise Kahoon.
* Certificate from Soor Singaar Sansad in 1969 for the song ‘Akhiayan Tarsan Lagi‘ from Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti.
* Miya Tansen Award in 1970 for ‘Aayi Re Bhare Man Mein Umang‘ from Sati Sulochana.
* Best Female Playback Singer for Gujarati Films, from 1971 to 1974, consecutively and was nominated in 1975 as well.
* Maharashtra State Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer, in 1965 and 1966.
* Maharashtra State Lata Mangeshkar Award, in 2009.
Now, let’s move on to the songs. The songs are in no particular order.
1. Ek Dil Do Hai Talabgar – (with Talat) Darwaza (1954) / Nashad – Khumar Barabankavi
As I said already, this was her first duet. Their soft voices complement each other so beautifully. The sadness in the song is expressed effectively. He is looking for her, but can’t find her and he is wondering how to meet her! Her story is not different either, she is helpless, not knowing what she should do next? The word Talabgar means ‘Ambitious’ or ‘One who wants to achieve something’. I have no idea about the situation of the song in the movie, but it seems to have a love triangle as apparent from the lyrics, One Heart and Two Aspirants. I wasn’t aware of availability of a good video song with nice audio quality. The actors are unknown to me.
2. Aaj Ki Raat Ae Ji – (with Rafi) Roop Sundari (1964) / Sardar Malik – Bharat Vyas
A wonderful, soft romantic song from an obscure film. It’s just too romantic. She is requesting him to be silent and let their eyes talk! Sardar Malik has composed the song wonderfully and Suman has sung it with expressive voice.I recommend this song on a romantic date with your partner.
3. Thehriye Hosh Mein – (with Rafi) Mohobbat Isko Kehte Hai (1965) / Khayyam – Majrooh
A soft romantic duet again. On screen chemistry between Nanda & Shashi Kapoor is worth watching. One of their popular duets. The shyness required for the song is depicted well by both Suman & Nanda. Rafi says ‘Hay’ beautifully and heavenly. Suman has only a stanza to sing, but she impressively creates impact, and the way she says ‘An han’! Just adorably cute.
4. Nazar Ko Sambhalo – (with Mukesh) Cobra Girl / S N Tripathi – Prem Dhawan
Such a delightfully melodious, romantic song. I know the song for a decade and I’m completely in love with it ever since! Enjoy the song. It speaks about the magic of love. His heart is already getting impatient and the her ‘Nazar ‘is the only remedy for it, their love story will continue forever and they are least bothered about the world.
5. Kabhi Aaj Kabhi Kal – (with Lata Mangeshkar) Chand (1959) / Hemant Kumar – Rajendra Krishna
Her only duet with Lata. It’s a dance performance by Helen and one other dancer, whom I couldn’t identify. Their voices are so similar that I have never been able to identify which line is sung by whom! Unfortunately no M D ever gave them a chance again. This is a beautiful song with a catchy rhythm.
6. Tumhe Dil Se Chaha – (with Rafi) Chand Aur Suraj (1965) / Salil Choudhari – Shailendra
One of my favourites on the list. I like the song for a couple of things. Firstly it’s a very cheerful song and Suman sings openly with full throat. Second is Tanuja, who looks as beautiful as ever! Salil da hasn’t given her much chance, but this is a wonderful song to cherish their association. This song is perhaps her only song with Salil Da. Rafi wasn’t his favourite anyway and he opted for Rafi only for a few films.
7. Na Jane Kahan Tum The – (with Manna Dey) Zindagi Aur Khwab (1961) / Dattaram – Pradeep
A beautiful, romantic song, beyond words. Very nice lyrics by Pradeep, who otherwise is remembered for patriotic & devotional songs. Here is his romantic song, and what’s more, the film also has a Mujra song by Mubaraq Begum, penned by Pradeep. Dattaram had a successful association with her in 1960s and this is the highlight of it! Her duets with Manna Dey were always memorable, a couple of examples are the songs from Neeli Aankhen (Yeh Nashili Hawa ) and Jab Se Tumhe Dekha Hai (Ye Din Hai Khushi Ke). Another melodious song is ‘Tum Jo Aao To Pyar‘ from Sakhi Robin.
8. Baad Muddat Ke Yeh – (with Rafi) Jahan Ara (1964) / Madan mohan – Rajendra Krishna
This duet is from the period when Lata & Rafi were not singing together. Madanmohan gave her chance only when he couldn’t avoid Rafi. Their work together is only from that period. This is one of their popular duets and was very much appreciated that time. It’s a difficult composition but, she sings it with ease and confidence.
9. Garjat Barsat Sawan Aayo Re – (with Kamal Barot) Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) / Roshan – Sahir
One of her best known and popular duet. It’s a credits song (the one that plays while titles are shown) and still it’s as popular as any other song from the movie. In the beginning Shyama & Ratna are seen singing the song. The song is based on Raag ‘Malhar’ and both the singers do full justice to it. The tune was actually used by Roshan earlier for the film, Malhar, but it wasn’t popular that time.
10. Chand Hai Taare Bhi Hai – (with Rafi) Rooplekha (1962) / Nashad – Faruq Kaiser
A classical based song from an obscure film. Nashad creates a masterpiece!!, based on Raag ‘Shivranjani’. The song was popular and critically acclaimed for Suman’s flawless singing. A melodious song, again highlighting a good song from B grade movies.
11. Na Na Na Re Na Na – (with Minu Purushottam) Tajmahal (1963) / Roshan – Sahir
One of my favourite Helen songs as well. Helen and her look alike, Madhumati present a splendid dance in front of Shahjahan and his court. Minu Purushottam’s nasal voice is completely different from Suman’s and that creates a contrast and makes the song more appealing. In all, a treat for ears and eyes. Her other popular song with Minu is, Mero Saiyan Gulabiya Ko Phool, from Nai Umar Ki Nai Phasal by Roshan.
12. Jee Tumhi Keh Do Tumse Mujhko – (with Mahendra Kapoor) Pareeksha (1963) / S N Tripathi – S R Saaz
This melodious song by S N Tripathi, from a lesser known film is worth listening. He is pretending to be puzzled and asking her why is he so much in love with her and she is asking in turn why does she trust him so implicitly. Though ‘Woh Dekho Dekha, Dekh Raha Tha’ from Fariyad would be a choice of many for this pairing, the song is not my favourite for some unknown reasons.
13. Tujhe Pyar Karte Hai – (with Rafi) April Fool (1964) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
She has two duets in this movie. This one’s my favourite. Both of them are deeply in love and can’t even think of separation.She is afraid of losing him and he is trying to reassure her that he will always love her and be with her no matter what. He won’t ever be able to forget her, she will see him feel his presence in her heart and begging her to be always happy as a favour.
My other favourites of the trio are. ‘Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke’ from Brahmachari, ‘Tum Ne Pukara Aur’ from Rajkumar and title song of ‘Dil Ek Mandir’.
14. Suno Jee Tum Bade Woh Ho – (with Kishore Kumar) Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (1970) / R D Burman – Rajendra Krishna
Perhaps her only duet with KK. The movie is not well known, but the song is quite enjoyable, though not great. The characters are teasing each other and she calls him ‘woh’. It is not possible to explain the ‘woh’ in english, but not need to explain as well! A cute song.
15. Kya Tum Wohi Ho – (with Rafi) Man Ki Aankhen (1970) / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Sahir
A slow paced song, wonderfully written by Sahir and excellently sung by the duo. Some songs need quiet and calm voice (Theheraav) and in such songs she proves herself. This song is arranged with minimal musical instruments,and i think her voice shines through. It’s seems to be a romantic song to me, though it’s a very slow paced. Both are wondering whether they are what they always dreamt of,perfect for each other, they are so lucky to be together? You have to listen to it with patience to appreciate its beauty. I wish I had an idea about its situation in the movie.
Do you want to add a song?