Lata sings for Ravi

In the first part of the series, I took overview of Ravi’s career as a lyricist. Today on his 7th Death Anniversary, let’s consider his musical journey as a composer.
He was born as Ravi Shankar Sharma, on 3rd March 1926 in Gurgaon, near Delhi. He was fond of music since childhood. He used to perform at Bhajan recitals and got acclaimed there as a bhajan singer while he was still at school. His father, Kanhaiyalal Sharma, also encouraged him and bought a harmonium, which Ravi became fluent at in due course. After studies (it’s mentioned that he wasn’t good at studies and couldn’t succeed at matriculation) he joined a company in Delhi as an electrician. He also worked in a post office for some time. He used to sing as an amateur artist on radio as well. Meanwhile he got married and soon became father of a baby girl. His zeal for music remained throughout his job.
He finally decided to follow his heart and went to Mumbai (then Bombay) alone for an opportunity as a playback singer. His wife and child were still in Delhi. He used to stay in lodges and spend his time searching for an opportunity. Finally in 1950-51, he sang in chorus for a song from Naujawan under S D Burman’s baton. (Ref: – Rahe Na Rahe Hum by Shantaram Mankikar)
Meanwhile he got acquainted with composer, Jimmie who used to visit producers and Ravi used to accompany him, as harmonium player. One day, the duo visited Filmistan studios. There he met Hemant Kumar, who was composing for ‘Anand Math’ and he selected Ravi in his crew. Soon he spotted Ravi’s talent and encouraged him. He was promoted as chief Assistant to Hemant Kumar himself and also used to assist the arrangers. Sometimes he sang in the chorus as well. Later he worked with Hemant Kumar in Shart, Nagin, Jagruti, Durgesh Nandini, Ek Hi Raasta etc, as an assistant. It’s now well accepted that Ravi was the main player on harmonium for the famous ‘Sapera dhun’ from Nagin.

He had to move to a place in Kandivali, when his wife and daughter joined him. He had a bad time there, as there was no electricity and water supply. But he was now slowly gaining popularity and achieving success. He was a good electrician himself, and soon installed electricals at home. In due course, he even had two cars of his own, but no decent place to stay. He purchased a plot at Santacruz and soon moved there in early 1960s. He himself did the electric work there as well, and decorated his own music room. The room was to see various playback singers’ rehearsals and tunes getting finalized as he moved into the new place. He never looked back and delivered hits continuously in 60s.

His first film was, Vachan (1955) which was produced by Devendra Goel. (The credits of the film, Vachan mention a second composer, Chandra as well. But I could not get any information about him, except that he composed the song, Yunhi Chupke Chupke Bahane, which was a duet sung by Ravi himself and Asha Bhosle) The songs were hits and later he worked with Goel Films, for a number of films, the notable ones being, Albeli, Ek Saal, Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan, Pyar Ka Sagar, Dus Lakh, Ek Phool Do Mali etc.
He had a successful musical association with Gemini Films as well with hits like, Ghunghat, Gharana, Grihasthi etc.
And I must mention the B R Films, with whom Ravi created his all time hit masterpieces. Gumraah, Waqt, Humrazz, Aadmi Aur Insaan, Dhoond, Nikah etc. Of course for me, Ravi’s heydays lasted till 1970.
His other hits include, Choudhvi Ka Chand, Dilli Ka Thug, Nazrana, Tower House, China Town, Do Badan, Nartaki, Bharosa, Shehnai, Kajal, Neelkamal…….. the list is endless.

As we always tend to associate one composer with his favourite singer, Ravi is linked with Asha Bhosle very often. And while doing so, we tend to overlook his association with Lata Mangeshkar. If we carefully see his earlier films, he worked with Lata Mangeshkar in his early days. She wasn’t a part of his first film, Vachan. But, his songs from films of late 1950s, are mainly sung by Lata Mangeshkar, so maybe she was his first choice too! And when it comes to choosing a singer, the composer is the final authority to decide about the playback singer, so we should not go into details like why it was so?

Lata Mangeshkar sang all types of songs for Ravi, from lullabies to romantic songs, and from Mujra to soulful songs. Ravi had been very choosy for Lata Mangeshkar. In some of the films, he would call her just for a song or two, and that would be the main highlight of the film. Tumhi Mere Mandir from is a perfect example! Lata achieved Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer award for the song. In the film Aankhen as well, she was offered songs that would otherwise be sung by Asha Bhosle. In the film,Vandana (1975) she sang a seashore song, picturised on Jayashree T. It’s full of energy and peppiness, I wonder how she got ready to sing it. But of course she sang it perfectly!

Ravi has said once. that he used to feel tensed because of the aura associated with Lata and the recordings would take place in a serious atmosphere. He also added that Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar were not always available to him, for the low budget films. His producers were financially more comfortable with Asha Bhosle & Mahendra Kapoor.
Still if we see his career, till his last films of 1970s, Lata Mangeshkar was associated with him. We miss her name in some of his major hits like Waqt, Humraaz, Gumraah, Kajal, Pyar Ka Sagar though the films belonged to big banners. So I think, after a certain period, he chose his comfort zone and worked with his favourites.
I have found around 80 songs, sung by Lata Mangeshkar for him. There could be more, and the number is not big, I agree. And this includes, solos and duets. But this may not be the exact number, and statistical analysis is not the purpose of the post. After his comeback in 80s as well, one of his films (Khamosh Nigahen) had Lata’s song.
In general, her duets under Ravi’s baton are few, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Rafi are the main male co singers. A handful of songs with each, and a duet or two with Kishore Kumar. And a few female duets mainly with her sisters.

Lata-RaviToday, let’s hear some of my favourites (and some that I heard for the first time) by the combo, Lata Mangeshkar & Ravi. The songs are in no particular order.

1. Muskurati Hui Chandani – Albeli (1955) with Hemant Kumar / Lyrics – Ravi
The song is so melodious and romantic, as if it floats lightly in the air. The tune lingers in our mind for long. Sung in high pitched voice in stanzas, still it never irritates you. The expressions are superb! Majority of the songs from Albeli were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, indicating that Ravi was perhaps inclined to her in the beginning of his career, which I think was obvious enough and understandable.

2. Chal Mere Ghode Tik Tik Tik – Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959) / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
A cute story telling with active participation of the kid as well. Meena Kumari and Honey Irani also say a few dialogues in between. The story of King and his faithful horse, how they overcome the trouble.
Just look at Meena Kumari enacting various characters, The King, wicked magician, The Queen. So lovely! And what should I say about innocent Honey Irani. A cutie!

3. Apne Kiye Pe Koi – Mehendi (1958) / Lyrics – Khumar Barabankvi
Mehendi was a Muslim social film, featuring Ajit and Jayashree. The film wasn’t a success, but there were four solos by Lata Mangeshkar that were really worth listening to. It is said that Guru Dutt was impressed by his tunes and decided to give him a chance, for his Muslim social, Chaudhvin Ka Chand. So in a way, this film proved a turning point in Ravi’s career.
Ravi was of course spot on, to choose Lata for the songs. Even if the songs are not so popular, they are good lyrically and tune wise too! Touching and soulful songs.

4. Kal Ke Chand Aaj Ke Sapne – Nai Raahen (1959) with Hemant Kumar / Lyrics – Shailendra
A couple dreaming about their child. A very cute dream, the eagerness of a would be mother, in dreamy voice of Lata with Hemant Kumar supporting greatly. Nothing more to say.

It has a sad version in Lata’s voice, but the verses are the same.

5. Badle Badle Mere Sarkar Nazar Aate Hai – Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
I think this is the only song, Lata got to sing for Guru Dutt films.
Geeta Dutt refused to sing for Waheeda, or so I’ve heard.
Lata sang it with usual dedication and devotion. The despair of a wife, who couldn’t understand her husband’s changed behaviour. She fears the worst! A broken home.

6. Mori Chham Chham Baje Re Payaliya – Ghunghat (1960) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
In contrast to the earlier song, here’s a happy wife, who expresses her extreme happiness through tinkling anklets. Lata sings for Bina Rai in the film.
Bina Rai was never my favourite, but her superb expressions steal the show. Too apt! Lata’s magical voice gels well with her.

7. Main Khushnaseeb Hoon – Tower House (1962) with Mukesh / Lyrics – Asad Bhopali
This is a song that I always liked more, than the famous, ‘A Mere Dil e Nadan’. The western styled composition with excellent use of piano lingers in mind for long. Handsome Ajit singing in Mukesh’s voice and charming Shakila responding in Lata’s voice, makes a perfect combination. And Lata’s stanza ‘मेरे चमन का हर एक फूल’ is my special favourite, there is something very touchy in her voice. I adore it.

8. Tumhi Mere Mandir – Khandan (1965) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
Lata Mangeshkar and Rajendra Krishna both were awarded the prestigious Filmfare Award for the song. It was her only song in the movie. Ravi always chose his singers carefully, and obviously his choice never failed. The expressions of devotion (though sound today too orthodox) are sung supremely. We can hear a motherly expression when she sings the lullaby humming.

9. Bikhra Ke Zulfen Chaman Mein Na Jana – Nazrana (1961) with Mukesh / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
A full on romantic song, from a typical Madrasi melodrama. Lata sings for both, Vaijayanti Mala and Usha Kiran. Asha is called only for a peppy number with Mukesh.
(I’ve always thought of this song for anti dandruff shampoo ad.
He sings, “बिखरा के जुल्फे चमन में ना जाना”.
She shyly asks “क्यूँ “?
He again says, “इसलिए! के सारे चमन में डँड्रफ फैल ना जाए”
And the embarrassed lady then goes for the anti dandruff shampoo and both of them live happily ever after.)

10. Woh Dil Kahan Se – Bharosa (1963) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
A soulful song. The helplessness is expressed so brilliantly, in the second line of Mukhda. She’s completely heartbroken, very emotionally unstable. She asks, was it her fault to love him? And if it was, why such hard penance?
Each and every word is full of agony and despair. It touches your soul.

11. Khile Hai Sakhi Aaj – Grihasthi (1963) with Asha Bhosle & Usha Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
This is one of my all time favourite songs. So I repeatedly add it whenever I get opportunity. I like Shubha Khote’s expressions the most, her eyes also pour cheerfulness with a cute smile on face.

12. Lo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad – Do Badan (1966) / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
Her only song from the movie. The song had a tough fight with ‘Jab Chali Thandi Hawa’, which is an iconic song and an identity of the movie.
She’s desperate for him and has been waiting for long, but in vain! The loneliness and the emptiness of her mind is conveyed very effectively.

13. Bachche Man Ke Sachche – Do Kaliyan (1968) / Lyrics – Sahir
This film again had majority of Lata’s songs. She was the voice of Mala Sinha and Baby Sonia (Neetu Singh). Lata maintained the innocence in her voice so well that even after 20 years of career, her voice suited a child artist. The song takes me to my school days, when the song used to feature quite frequently in Chitrahar. And I remember watching the movie too on Doordarshan on a Sunday evening. Oh! Good old days!

14. Milti Hai Zindagi Mein – Aankhen (1968) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Sahir
I should have thought of this song, for my ‘Heroine teasing hero’ post, that was published a few months back. Handsome Dharmendra is eye candy to Mala Sinha, who looks equally gorgeous. She falls for him and follows him in the gardens and on the streets of Japan. She makes him aware of her love and that very few people get genuine love. Her kimono and the typical Japanese umbrella look very attractive.

15. Main Gunahgar Hoon – Nai Roshni (1967) with Mahendra Kapoor / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishna
Mala Sinha again, with Vishwajit in a dream sequence. He confesses her about entering into her dreams and disturbing her and wants penance. She cheerfully offers him her love forever as a penalty. A cute and typically Rajendra Krishna concept. When I heard the song, I thought it must be Rajendra Krishna’s concept. And it is!

16. Taaron Ki Chhaon Mein – Samaj Ko Badal Dalo (1970) with Rafi / Lyrics – Sahir
A couple singing lullaby to their little one. A cute song, but very unlike Sahir, who never used clichés in his songs. Sung suitably by both the singers.
Coming to other aspects of the song, Shammi looks horrible with that awful wig. The couple sleeps inside the home, while the baby sleeps with Shammi, outside! How cruel! The song takes a leap and now the couple has three children, the youngest one, of a few months old. But the couple has changed subtly.

17. Main Nadiya Ki Dhara – Naag Panchami (1972) with Kishore Kumar / Lyrics – Indeevar
Many composers ended up with mythological or b grade films in the later part of their career. Ravi was perhaps an exception! I think he started with socials and was always associated with socials. Still I came across this b grade movie, with Lata Mangeshkar as main singer. I think it had one of the few duets she sang with Kishore Kumar under Ravi’s baton. Here’s it, a good melodious song.

18. O Jag Ke Palan Hare – Vandana (1975) with Chorus / Lyrics – Asad Bhopali
The song has two parts, one sung by Sadhna in a Jail. She is victimized by an opportunist and she’s in Jail as she has nothing to prove her innocence. Still she is not complaining about her destiny. She has full faith in the God, and accepts whatever comes her way, agony or happiness. Lata is always best in such devotional songs.
The second part is sung by Baby Sarika on screen.

And the second part


Would you add your favourite?

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners.

23 Replies to “Lata sings for Ravi”

  1. Ravi was great. Underutilized music director like his first mentor Hemant Kumar. In my own opinion, they produced limited but quality songs unlike Chitragupt or SD Burman who produced too many ordinary songs.


    1. Yes, he was great!
      But there is no need to criticize other composers to highlight his greatness! So for me, such type of comparison is unnecessary.
      Besides, the ordinariness of a song is subjective!


  2. Ravi is far too underrated by so many people! This is an excellent showcase of some of his songs. Thanks (I think the only one in your list that I really don’t like is Tumhi mere mandir, but that is probably more because of the lyrics, which really put me off).


    1. Thanks Madhuji for the appreciation. Ravi was surely too underrated.
      And Yes, Tumhi Mere Mandir is irritating in a way! Too much devotion on female’s part! Ready to do anything to see her man happy types.
      And the lyricist was awarded ‘Best lyricist’ award for the song. I am a huge fan of Rajendra Krishna, but still!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hehe! Yes, I was amazed to discover that Rajendra Krishna won the Filmfare Award for it. There are several other songs of his which deserve an award, but not this one – it is so servile, rather like Aapki nazron ne samjha (which has beautiful music, but really regressive lyrics).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yes!
          I haven’t thought of Aap ki Nazaron Ne, as regressive. But it sounds so.
          He thought of her pyar ke qabil is like obliging her. But yes, it’s a lovely composition.
          I remember reading you and Anuji conversation on a blog, perhaps conversation on chai, on a similar subject.
          But if we consider the situation in Khandan, Radha, (who’s now an orphan) played by Nutan, is supported by Govind’s family, who thinks of them as her God. So Rajendra krishna might have written those lyrics, that may sound a little over dramatic! but conveys her feelings perfectly.
          Could it be so?


  3. Ravi’s music was too simple and all people could sing those songs quite comfortably.
    I think one of the classic songs you have missed is from Ek saal.
    Sub kuch lutake hosh me aye to kya Kiya sung by both Lata and Talat separately.
    It is one of his best.


    1. Easily humble songs was his forte!
      And for the song from Ek Saal, it’s a good song. But I like Talat’s version more, So for me it wasn’t her best with Ravi.
      So I left it out. Nice to see it here.


  4. Among the last songs of this combination Lata solo Dil mein kisi ki pyar ka jalta hua diya and the duet with Rafi, the title song are pretty good and were well received.


    1. Yes, I had thought of the song. It’s a melodious song, definitely. But the tune is similar to ‘Woh Dil Kahan Se’ from Bharosa. As this song was already on my list, I skipped the ‘Ek Mahal..’ song. But nice to see it back here.
      Let me add the link too.

      But the duet isn’t my favourite, so I didn’t think of it.


  5. Anup,
    I have read both your posts on Ravi that came in quick succession. You have been very through as usual and done a great selection of songs. As Lata Mangeshkar is seemingly not very significant in Ravi’s music, it was a good idea to cover this combination. They did give some very memorable songs. Congratulations on two very good posts.


  6. Servile as well as regressive is the Lata song from GHATNA,1974.
    Lyrics and music by Ravi.
    Main tumhari Dasi hoon
    Tumhari rahi hoon
    Tumhari rahoongi…..
    Feels odd to even mention on International Women’s Day!


  7. Anup ji ,
    So kind -hearted U r for having done 2 posts in a row on Ravi , the most ignored underrated music director .

    Nd his combination with Lata , a very interesting theme .
    As usual , I liked the write – up nd songs .
    I also agree with what U hav stated about the subjectivity of songs , in the very first comment .

    Yes , I will take the opportunity to post a song from Sadhana starrer movie ” वंदना ”
    ‘ आपकी इनायतें , आपके करम ,
    आप ही बतायें कैसे भूलेंगे हम ‘

    Btw , I too hav the same feeling for U nd Ur blog , as mentioned in the lines above .


    1. Welcome back Pramodji.
      Thanks for your kind words and the praise. Thanks for making me feel special!
      And thanks for adding, the wonderful piano song from Vandana. I wasn’t aware of the film, till I found it while researching for the post. And I used the songs in both of my posts on Ravi.
      And waiting for your comments on previous posts.


  8. Bit late for comment?
    I think you have missed
    गैरोंपे करम अपमनोपे सितम
    From आंखे
    Or did I missed ?


    1. There is no time limit for commenting!
      When I was yet to start my own blog, I used to visit other blogs and comment on even three-four years old posts. So it does not matter, what time you comment on a post!
      None of us have missed the song. I have another song from the same movie, so I didn’t include it.
      But of course, it’s an excellent song.
      Nice to see you commenting on older posts.



  9. Today I saw a comment on a youtube song about lLataji singing rarely for Raviji but whatever she sang was beautiful. The song was Ae mere Dil e nadan from tower house.
    And then came across this Article.
    Just loved it. Thank you for your work.
    Will read other articles soon.


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