Rafi fever continues on my blog. Three years ago I published a twin post covering Suman Kalyanpur’s career in Hindi films. I actually wanted to have a separate post for her duets with Rafi. But it wasn’t possible then.
Today on the occasion of Suman Kalyanpur’s 84th birthday, I will fulfill my long awaited wish.
The conflict between Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar on the royalty issue resulted in long feud. Lata Mangeshkar refused to sing with Rafi and for four years she didn’t. This gave more opportunities to Suman Kalyanpur. But it’s worth noting that she had sung a lot of duets even before the conflict, and she continued to do so in the late 60s and 70s as well. So in my opinion the scenario acted as a catalyst.
I won’t repeat Suman Kalyanpur’s biography, I’ve covered it earlier. Suman Kalyanpur neé Hemady debuted with the film, Mangu in 1954 with a magnificent lullaby under the baton of composer, Mohd. Shafi. Later he left the project and was taken over by O P Nayyar, who opted for his regular singers. But the lullaby was retained in the movie. And her journey continued in Hindi films.
She sang duets with almost all the playback singers of the golden era. Among male playback singers, her duets with Rafi are popular and remembered the most.
When I started searching for their duets, the first one I could find was from the film, Shri Krishna Bhakti (1955). The song is of course not popular at all. Chitragupt was the composer of their first duet. Later S N Tripathi offered her duets with Rafi in Hatimtai and Panna, both in 1956. The song from Hatimtai, Jane Wale Khuda Ki Rehmaton Ka is good.
Suman Hemady was slowly getting offers, but it was peak for the legendary singers, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. So initially she had to go for B grade films. But she gained popularity over the period of time. It was in 1957 that their duet became a hit for the first time. For the film, Miss Bombay she sang three songs under composer Hansraj Behl. She had a solo and a couple of duets. Let’s listen to one of the songs.
Din Ho Ya Raat Hum Rahe Tere Saath – Miss Bombay (1957) / Hansraj Behl – Prem Dhawan
The song is said to be her first popular duet with Rafi. It’s very energetic and enthusiastic. Has a catchy tune. The singers continuously sing at higher notes and though it sounds straightforward, it could be difficult to sing. Suman Hemady was the main singer for the movie, singing for the gorgeous Nalini Jaywant.
She got married to Mr Ramanand Kalyanpur on 27th April 1958 and took a break for several months. After resuming her career, she sang for Kalyanji Anandji for Satta Bazaar. It is said that they waited for her as they were particular for her voice. She recorded a couple of duets with Rafi for the movie. Let’s listen to one of the songs.
Zara Thehro Ji Abdul Gafaar – Satta Bazaar (1959) / Kalyanji Anandji – Hasrat Jaipuri
The song appears to have been based on a modified Garba rhythm. It’s picturised on Johnny Walker and Savita Chatterjee as a dance perhaps at villain’s den, to distract his team. Though Suman Kalyanpur was not considered a perfect choice for such songs, she excels in her part. Light hearted, peppy carefree voice. Rafi is always a first choice for Johnny Walker and sings with perfect expressions.
During the years 1958-60 she sang for a number of films. Various composers called her for songs including the first rung and other composers.
Let’s have a look at a few of the songs from the era.
Nashe Mein Hum Nashe Mein Tum – Black Cat (1959) / N Datta – Jan Nisaar Akhtar
It’s a club dance performance by Lillian and Johnny Walker. It’s quite clear that Suman Kalyanpur was a choice for the other characters in films. So she got to sing songs of various genres. Look at this one! Her expressions are so perfect.
Haseeno Ki Sawari Hai – Love in Simla (1960) / Iqbal Qureshi – Rajendra Krishan
This one can be taken as one of her early songs for a prestigious social film. She has sung it for the gorgeous debutante Sadhana. We can clearly say that her voice though somewhat resembles that of Lata’s, it’s just by chance. She doesn’t appear to do so deliberately . She has her own identity.
Auraton Ke Dabbe Mein Mard Aa Gaya – Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (1960) / Hansraj Behl – Prem Dhawan
The song is not so popular, but it’s definitely fun to watch or even listen to. Bharat Bhushan in a different avatar and Anita Guha in stylish wear are delight to watch. Rafi has poured out his comic side and has sung with apt expressions. Alas! Bharat Bhushan fails to do justice to it, mainly in the second verse.
Kaise Bheege Bheege Pyare Ye Nazare – Apna Ghar (1960) / Ravi – Prem Dhawan
The song is picturised on Moti Sagar and Nanda who play the second lead in the movie. A good melody.
In the 1960s she was at the peak of her career. She continued her journey mainly with the B grade films till the early years.
O Maine Kaha Suno Zara – Gypsi Girl (1961) / Sardul Kwatra – Anjum Jaipuri
Sardul Kwatra never became a popular first rung composer in Hindi films. This song is influenced by O P Nayyar’s style. It’s certainly a very enjoyable and pleasant song, if not great.
Tera Muskurana Bana Ek – Pyar Ki Dastan (1961) / Nashad – Sarver
The song is quite popular, though the film is not well known. The song is picturised on Ameeta and Sudesh Kumar. Shaukat Dehalvi aka Nashad composed a few very good songs, yet his name never became popular.
Chand Hai Taare Bhi Hai – Ruplekha (1962) / Nashad – Faruq Kaiser
A wonderful semi classical song, picturised on Mahipal and Vijaya Choudhary. It’s a difficult song and Suman Kalyanpur was appreciated for her performance by experts. We should note that though the films were so called B grade, the songs used to be melodious and of good musical quality. But unfortunately the stamp of a B grade movie always creates problems for these wonderful songs.
She sang for Shankar Jaikishan for the first time in Dil Ek Mandir, where she had a solo and a duet. The duet was a background song, still it was immensely popular and still continues to be. Her association with Shankar Jaikishan continued and she was offered songs from time to time.
There are many songs to consider, I’ll add my favourite songs. You may miss a few popular songs.
Dil Ek Mandir Hai – Dil Ek Mandir (1963) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Such a dedicated performance. It’s so soulful and heart touching. No wonder she became a part of S J team forever. Majority of the later films had a song or two in her voice.
Keh Do Keh Do Jahan Se – April Fool (1964) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
The film had a couple of her duets. The other duet was a part of my earlier post, so this time I added.
Ajhun Na Aaye Balma – Sanjh Aur Savera (1964) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
A very popular semi classical song. Picturised on the popular pair of Mehmood and Shubha Khote, it certainly deserves a place on today’s list. The aalaps and the high notes are a bit difficult, but Suman Kalyanpur managed it efficiently. The song exhibits excellent use of sarangi. And it’s really fun to watch.
Tujhe Dekha Tujhe Chaha – Chhoti Si Mulaqaat (1967) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Another popular duet. Uttam Kumar and Vaijayanti Mala singing on snowy slopes. Very well sung and composed, I’m very much fond of the interlude music of the song. It’s very interesting that Vaijayanti Mala received playback of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Suman Kalyanpur.
Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke – Brahmachari (1968) / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
Another interesting situation where the leading lady of the movie has no songs to lip sync to. Mumtaz playing the supporting role gets the most popular song of the movie. It’s the only song of the movie with a female voice. A composition influenced by western style. The late 60s had a typical style of hairdo and wearing sarees (beehive and figure hugging sarees), which is most evident in the song.
Mere Yaar Ki Yaari Dekhkar – Insaniyat (1974) / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
After Jaikishan’s untimely sad demise, Shankar continued composing for films. But the magic was missing. This song however reminds us of the good old days. I am fond of the song, though I know it’s quite a plain routine song.
And of course, her duets with Rafi under the baton of other first rung composers during the same period. While most of the composers chose her due to the similarity of voice with Lata Mangeshkar, a few composers opted for the pair, Lata Mangeshkar and Mahendra Kapoor instead. It would be a good idea to cover the later pair of singers someday!
Let’s have a look at some of the duets by Rafi and SUman Kalyanpur with, first, second rung and other composers.
Chand Takta Hai Idhar – Dooj Ka Chand (1964) / Roshan – Sahir
Roshan was one of the few composers who offered quite a good number of solos and duets to Suman Kalyanpur. This one is also a popular duet. A typical romantic song, with typical chhed chhad.
Baad Muddat Ke Ye Ghadi – Jahan Aara (1964) / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
While the movie is remembered only for its songs, along with the solos of Talat Mahmood and Rafi, the lovely duet is equally appreciated. What a beautiful and soft melody. Yet another semi classical song. What a perfect rendition by the singers.
Na Na Karte Pyar Tumhi Se – Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) / Kalyanji Anandji – Anand Bakshi
A very playful, cheerful and energetic song. The couple teases each other. There really are so many popular duets. Oh boy! The list would be endless. This duet is equally popular along with the other solos of the movie.
Tumhe Dil Se Chaha – Chand Aur Suraj (1965) / Salil Chowdhury – Shailendra
This is perhaps the only song Suman Kalyanpur sang for Salil Chowdhury. The film also has the same interesting trivia, three female playback singers sang for Tanuja.
A very energetic and dynamic song. Fast paced and catchy. I like it a lot. Let’s enjoy it.
Aapne Huzoor Mujhe Kya Se Kya – Fariyaad (1964) / Snehal Bhatkar – Kedar Sharma
I wasn’t much impressed with the song. But I repeatedly listened to it when I was planning my post on Snehal Bhatkar’s songs. I was really mesmerized and realised the beauty. Really a beautiful composition. It starts at a slow pace and takes unexpected turns when Rafi enters.
Parbaton Ke Pedon Par – Shagun (1964) / Khayyam – Sahir
A song of a romantic evening date. What a picturesque description of a beautiful evening. And equally perfect expressions by the singers. Another of their amazing duets by Khayyam is from Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hai.
Kisne Mujhe Sada Di – Saaz Aur Aawaz (1966) / Naushad – Khumar Barabankavi
Naushad offered her just a handful of songs only in a couple of films. It sounds like a haunting song. She had a couple of duets and a solo in the movie. Unfortunately Naushad didn’t offer her many opportunities.
Tumse O Haseena Kabhi – Farz (1967) Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi
If you think she was only comfortable with romantic songs think again, here’s a jazz song. It is more of a fusion actually, mixed jazz, rock N roll and Indian. Hence Babita’s attire, I guess! Again her only song for the movie. It was so unfortunate that she was thought of just as a replacement.
Na Mano To Koi Shikayat Nahi – Ustad 420 (1969) / N Datta – Aziz Kashmiri
I think not many have heard of the movie, But listen to the song, if you haven’t already.Even though it’s Sudhir and Zeb Rehman on the screen, the composer and the singers do their job sincerely. What an era it was! I know the song is not very popular, but I like it.
Dekhiye Aap Hamen Is Tarha Na – Rajkumar Suraj (1970s?) / Iqbal – Saba Fazli
I’ll end the list with this wonderful melody from an obscure film, which was perhaps never released. Very good lyrics, good tune (that very much resembles the song, Dil e Betab Ko from Palki) and excellent expressions by the singers. I’ll add again how many of such wonderful melodies went unnoticed or neglected just because of the film’s so-called B grade status. And a number of talented artists could never make it to the first rung status.
I think it’s about time I end this list. It has 25 songs already. I know I’ve left out a number of popular songs. It’s now your turn to add your favourites. Please add the songs and share your opinions about the songs.
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