Last year on Lata Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday I started a series based on Lata’s association with forgotten and lesser known composers. It continued for a few months, I covered around 100 composers in a series of eight posts. I tried to cover till the late 1980s. Though I could have continued it in the 1990s, I didn’t feel enthusiastic about it, so I dropped the idea for the time being.
The year 2020 started with a series of bad news and soon the corona pandemic took over. It was and still is a very stressful scenario for all. While I was busy with my duties and the other posts on the blog, I completely forgot that it was Hemant Kumar’s birth centenary year. I missed the golden opportunity to have an entirely dedicated series. But better late than never. Though all of us are eagerly waiting for the year 2020 to get over soon, I decided to club Hemant Kumar’s 31st death anniversary (26th September 2020) with Lata Mangeshkar’s 91th birthday today.
The result is that I’ve come up with a post dedicated to the duets sung by the legendary singers.
Hemant Kumar was a combination of singer and composer. While some of his fans consider his one specialty superior over the other, I was never able to finalize whether he was a better composer or a singer. I think he was the best on both the fronts. Starting his career with Bengali songs in the 1940s, his Hindi film career as a composer started with the 1952 release, Anand Math. The songs were popular, but the next couple of films saw failure. A Disappointed Hemant Kumar was thinking of packing bags, when he was offered ‘Nagin’ by Filmistan. He challenged himself and composed all the superhit songs for the movie. The film was a musical superhit of the year 1954 and fetched him the Best composer Filmfare Award. The Been dhun became tremendously popular. The echoes of the tune were heard for a few years to come. After the success, he never looked back and went on as a composer and a singer. He also produced a few Hindi films under the banner of Geetanjali, and delivered excellent songs.
In the process, he was also composing for Bengali songs making frequent visits to Kolkata. The stress of overnight air travel, sleepless nights, diabetes, excessive smoking and a heart ailment all had a slow but deteriorating impact on his health.
He offered songs to almost all singers. Lata Mangeshkar was obviously his favourite, though he offered a fair share to Geeta Dutt in early years and to Asha Bhosle in the later part.
Now I think I should focus on the topic for today. Lata Mangeshkar sang with him and for him for the first time in 1952. The films, Jaal and Anand Math had their duets. But in both the films, the contribution of Hemant Kumar to the song was very small. For the song Vande Mataram, he just sang aalap, which was more of a leading chorus singer type of contribution under his own baton. It’s actually not counted among their duets. In Jaal, for S D Burman, again the duet, Yeh Raat Yeh Chandani Phir Kahan, had a similar situation. He had just a couple of lines, that of the mukhda, whereas the main portion of the song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar. But it’s taken as their first duet.
But afterwards they sang a number of songs together and the heavenly duets are counted among the best duets of all times from old Hindi cinema.
Lata Mangeshkar used to say that Hemant Kumar’s voice sounds like a sage’s voice. His voice was also complemented as being a voice of God himself. And I’m sure, if God speaks, his voice would be like Hemant Kumar’s! Sacred, soothing and sober.
When I started collecting information about the duets, the number was not huge, 48 songs for 42 films under different composers. I collected the information from Vishwas Nerurkar’s book on Lata Mangeshkar’s career, गंधार स्वरयात्रा. But I was unable to locate some of the duets, while a song or two were in another singer’s voice. For example, the song, ‘Jago Aur Jagao’ from Paayal is actually Lata’s duet with Manna Dey. Also the song ‘Bhola Bachpan Dukhi Jawani’ is Hemant Kumar’s solo. I could find only a couple of duets by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar from Ek Hi Rasta, though the book mentioned three duets. If anyone can throw light on the issue!
Hemant Kumar himself was the top most composer to have composed 18 duets. It’s worth noting that the maximum number of their duets are recorded during 1953 to 1959. It’s very surprising that none of the films from 1960, 1961 and 1964 have their duets. And there are just 5 duets in the 1960s, the last released being, Chhupa Lo Yoon Dil Mein from Mamta (1966). Thereafter there are no Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar duets in Hindi films.
|No of songs||Name of the composer|
|02||S D Burman|
For the ease of division I’ll present the duets by one composer together. I’ve avoided the songs where Hemant Kumar has sung only a few lines or he just hums throughout the song. So I dropped the beautiful duet from the movie, Inspector, and also the duet from Shirin Farhad. Let us start the journey, my favourite duets by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar, in no particular order.
1. Hemant Kumar –
It was difficult to choose a few from so many duets. But I decided to present the ones I like the most. The majority of the duets are romantic, and I’ve tried not to repeat a song if it has already appeared on the blog in another post.
Ari Chhod De Sanjaniya – Nagin (1954) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
It’s a simple but very sweet tune. I haven’t watched the film, so I was surprised to see it as a stage performance. To watch Pradeep Kumar dancing was a funny thing, though Vaijayanti Mala was good. So I skipped the video and I’ve posted only audio. At least the sound quality is good. Nagin had excellent songs, but only one duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. It’s very pleasant to listen to and its sweetness could be diabetogenic. But I can’t resist it.
Sanwale Salone Aaye Din – Ek Hi Rasta (1956) / Lyrics – Majrooh
Another of their sweet duets. Slim and beautiful Meena Kumari looks gorgeous. It’s such a delight to watch a happily smiling and singing Meena Kumari. The tandem bicycle looks so interesting. It used to feature comparatively more frequently in old films, now it’s rarely seen. The song metaphorically speaks about love and romance. It’s one of my favourites. Though Hemant Kumar’s voice has a sort of sombre touch to it, romantic songs do sound perfect in his voice.
Ae Meri Maut Theher – Paayal (1957) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
The songs from the movie, Paayal were comparatively lesser known, at least to me. I particularly selected the sad song as both the singers have rendered it perfectly and Hemant Kumar is good as a composer too in the song. It creates a gloomy aura, full of sorrow.
Nai Manzil Nai Raahen – Hill Station (1957) / Lyrics – S H Bihari
What a beautiful romantic song! It’s full of dreams and hopes of a bright future of the couple. Hemant Kumar has used humming in many of his songs, including this. It’s a very soothing and relaxing song.
Ek Baar Zara Phir Keh Do – Bin Baadal Barsaat (1963) / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
Another romantic song, full of blossoming love and cuteness. He’s head over heels in love with her and likes to be called crazy (दिवाना). He repeatedly requests her to call him दिवाना, but the lady cutely denies. Finally he makes her say दिवाना, and urges her to say it all the time. That is the cutest part of the song.
2. Ravi –
He was Hemant Kumar’s assistant and the latter asked him to start composing on his own, when he thought it to be a right time. Actually Hemant Kumar was very busy during the period and needed assistance, but he wasn’t selfish. He wanted Ravi to flourish as an independent composer. Ravi was always grateful to him. In the early years of his career he offered Hemant Kumar songs, and later continued to do so whenever he got an opportunity. In all he composed five duets for the duo. The ones from Albeli and Ek Saal were already there on my earlier lists, so I’m highlighting other songs.
Kal Ke Chand Aaj Ke Sapne – Nai Raahen (1959) / Lyrics – Shailendra
A very cute and touching song, a couple dreams and talks about their baby. Very apt and soft expressions in Hemant Kumar’s voice.
Bedard Zamana Tera Dushman Hai – Mehendi (1958) / Lyrics – S H Bihari
Though I was aware of Lata’s wonderful solos from the film, my attention never got diverted to the said duet. It’s a very good song. Hemant Kumar sings in the praise of God while Lata Mangeshkar sings for Jayashree and in opposition. Her sufferings have compelled her not to believe in God. But finally she appears to have changed her mind. Is the movie also based on Umrao Jaan’s life? Then it would be interesting to watch! The songs are very impressive of course, but I’m sure about Jayashree’s acting. I haven’t watched any of her films.
3. C Ramchandra –
There are four songs to consider and it’s difficult to choose. But a couple of songs have already appeared on the blog, so I’ll choose,
Jaag Dard e Ishq Jaag – Anarkali (1953) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Anarkali is one of the most popular films by Chitalkar. Hemant Kumar was Chitalkar’s choice for Pradeep Kumar even before the former became a lucky charm for the latter. After Nagin, their pairing was a popular and successful one. In the mentioned song however, he sings for Tansen, played by the actor, Ibrahim (whose photo I found on memsaabstory). The classical based song has been popular for years and the film version is a full one, with Hemant Kumar singing the first stanza that is usually absent from the record version.
4. Roshan –
Roshan offered him only three songs, but their last song from Mamta is a masterpiece. It’s incidentally also the last duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar for Hindi films.
Chhupa Lo Dil Mein Yoon Pyar – Mamta (1966) / Lyrics – Majrooh
It’s a heavenly melodious song. Hemant Kumar’s voice really sounds like a sage’s voice, and Lata’s equally expressive and beautiful voice takes it to another level. With just a subtle orchestration and the excellent interludes on flute, the song is memorable.
5. Kalyanji Anandji –
Kalyanji Veerji Shah was also Hemant Kumar’s assistant during the making of Nagin. In fact the Been Dhun was jointly played by Ravi on harmonium and Kalyanji on clay violin, which was an earlier version of a synthesizer. So the song from Nagin is one of the earliest songs to use electronic instruments. Kalyanji also started composing independently and offered his mentor, Hemant Kumar a duet with Lata Mangeshkar in Satta Bazar. Later he was joined by his younger brother, Anandji to form one of the popular composer duos of Hindi cinema. Later Kalyanji Anandji was inclined to Rafi but still in the film, Saheli (1965) a romantic song was recorded in Hemant Kumar’s voice with Lata Mangeshkar as co-singer. Let me present it.
Itna To Kehdo Hum Se – Saheli (1965) / Lyrics – Indeevar
It’s one of the few duets Hemant Kumar sang with Lata Mangeshkar in the 1960s. What a refreshingly romantic song! I think Hemant Kumar must have sung for Pradeep Kumar after a long time for the film. It’s surely one of my most favourite romantic duets.
6. Shankar Jaikishan –
Shankar Jaikishan called Hemant Kumar for the first time in Patita for Dev Anand. The song, Yaad Kiya Dil Ne, was on the charts. Later they offered Hemant Kumar songs only in one more film, Badshah. After 1954, Hemant Kumar was among the busy and popular composers of Hindi cinema. This could be the reason why SJ didn’t offer him songs later.
And for today’s post my choice is,
Aa Neele Gagan Tale – Badshah (1954) / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
A great melody, with equally great orchestration and excellent rendition by the singers. The song has a lingering tune and I guess it has harmonica for the counter melody. It’s soothing and relaxing, yet romantic. The film also has Pradeep Kumar in the main lead.
7. Salil Choudhary –
He recorded just a couple of duets by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. Both are romantic songs, and I’ll choose,
Jhirjhir Jhirjhir Badarwa Barase – Parivaar (1956) / Lyrics – Shailendra
A romantic rain song, but the couple is enjoying it indoors. I like the song very much. Hemant Kumar’s part starts after the first stanza and it’s relatively small. But that does add to the sweetness of the composition.
8. Vasant Desai –
There is only one duet by the duo for Vasant Desai.
Nain So Nain Nahi Milao – Jhanak Jhanak Paayal Baaje (1955) / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
A beautiful classical based song, rendered wonderfully by the singers. The on screen couple Sandhya and Gopi Krishna do a fantastic job. Picturised on the lawns of beautiful Vrindavan Garden, it’s a visual feast too.
9. Naushad –
Naushad also offered Hemant Kumar just a handful of songs and of the songs only one was a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. And the song appears as a solo as well in the film, and the duet version comes in the end.
Chandan Ka Palna Resham Ki Dori – Shabab (1954) / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
A melodious song. It’s a different type of lullaby, I mean it’s sung for an adult, a princess played by gorgeous Nutan. Dustedoff recommended this film. I am yet to watch it. Will do so soon, hopefully.
10. Madan Mohan –
I think Madan Mohan also has quite a few songs with Hemant Kumar and there’s a single duet.
Hum Pyar Karenge – Dhun (1953) / Lyrics – Bharat Vyas
I’m not very fond of the song, though it’s not bad at all. It’s perhaps the only song Hemant Kumar sang for Raj Kapoor. It’s a bit different from Madan Mohan’s other songs. It has a western influenced tune, but it’s melodious. But I must confess his voice doesn’t suit Raj Kapoor at all.
Bonus Song –
When Hridaynath Mangeshkar thought of making Marathi Koli Geet (songs of the fishermen) he was very apt to choose Hemant Kumar. The latter sang the song with correct accent and good pronunciation. The track is still very popular and finds place as a dance song in various dance competitions and college gatherings. It’s of course a duet. Let me present it as a bonus song. It has a typical tune and rhythm of a Koli Geet. My list would have been incomplete without it. The song was simultaneouly made in Bengali as well.
§§ मी डोलकर डोलकर दर्याचा राजा – कोळीगीत / संगीतकार – हृदयनाथ मंगेशकर, गीत – शांता शेळके §§
There are a few more songs I wanted to include, but to limit the number, I had to drop those songs. But let me mention, Peechhe Peechhe Aa Kar from House No 44 and Badli Mein Chhupe Chand Ne from Shatranj.
Before I conclude, let me wish Lata Didi a very happy birthday and healthy years ahead.
Please add your favourite Lata – Hemant Kumar duets to the list.
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 listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.