A couple of years back on Lata Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday I started a series of posts based on her association with lesser known composers. The series went on for a few months, covering 110+ composers divided in eight parts. I preferred to end it in the 80s. The series was well appreciated by the readers and the fellow bloggers.
Last year when I was thinking about the post for Lata’s birthday, blog reader, Dr Ravindra Shrikhande suggested the Non Film Songs (NFS) by Lata Mangeshkar. He not only suggested, but was also kind enough to send me a few of the links for the post. Last year however I couldn’t do it. So this year I’m starting the series on Lata Mangeshkar’s Hindi non film songs on the occasion of her 92nd birthday today. Before I start, I want to thank Dr Shrikhande for his unconditional support.
NFS was not very common in the 50s, though all the singers of the golden era had sung Hindi NFS in their careers. It would be interesting to find reasons behind that decision during their busy career as a playback singer.
One reason could be the need for change from somewhat monotonous Hindi film songs. The singers as well as the composers and I guess the lyricists too need an outlet to express their own feelings. The freedom and flexibility from the ‘situational Hindi film songs’. They have to stick to the situation in the movie, and to the cultural background and emotional state of the character. Whereas for a NFS the lyricist can express his/her own thinking, own topics, own beliefs and values without an obstacle. Similarly the composer can compose on his/ her own terms and conditions, can offer it to his favourite singer, as opposed to what a producer of a film wants. Even if the composer hasn’t been popular in films, can still create a mark of his own in the field of NFS.
So I feel it’s like crossing the boundaries and limitations of the Hindi films for the composers and singers.
I don’t know if I would be able to obtain information about all the Hindi NFS by Lata Mangeshkar, but I’ll try to get maximum songs. She has a lot of devotional songs, bhajans, ghazals, patriotic songs and so on, all distributed in her long career spreading over six to seven decades.
Right from Vasant Prabhu and Chitragupt to her younger brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar, all composed NFS for her. In fact, Hridaynath composed NFS for her when he was still in late teens. I was in a great dilemma as to the division of the songs. Listening to the songs of a particular genre, in a single post could be tiresome, so I thought of dividing the series into multiple parts covering a few composers together or one particular composer in a post. But the idea didn’t hold water for me.
So after thinking about it for a couple of days, I finally decided to go for a chronological segregation of the songs. By this I would be able to present a mixed bag of songs in a single post.
The earliest Hindi NFs of Lata Mangeshkar that I could find was from the year 1954, and I thought of presenting songs from 1954 to 1965 in this post.
[Updated on 27/01/2022 – Please go through the comments by Dr Ravindra Shrikhande. A few of the earlier non film songs by Lata Mangeshkar (1947-49) were mentioned to him by Mr Vibhendu Tewari and Mr Snehasis Chatterjee. The songs belonged to a ballet and six songs by Lata Mangeshkar were recoreded. I thank all the contributors for adding the valuable information]
I’ve tried to be correct with the year of release of the song, though at times, different video uploaders have mentioned different years. There was a difference of, say a couple of years, in different videos of the same song. Of course this was true for just a few songs on today’s list.
So here we go… in chronological order.
Vasant Prabhu was a well known and talented composer of film and non film songs in Marathi. He has a number of popular film and non film songs (भावगीत) in Marathi to his credit. In addition he also composed for a few Hindi films. His compositions are typically sweet and bear his signature interludes. I was happy to find it in these songs as well. The first couple of songs in my list are composed by him.
1. Main Nahin Makhan Khayo (1954) / Vasant Prabhu – Surdas
Though I had the song on one of my earlier lists, the sheer innocence of the rendition made me add it once again. The song has been sung by many singers, but this one’s definitely my favorite. I’m glad I could open today’s list and the series with such a cute song.
2. Dil Dharwe So Ek Nyara Hai (1954) Vasant Prabhu – Sant Kabir
After a bhajan by Surdas, the same year Vasant Prabhu composed a bhajan by Kabir. I think the bhajans were released at the same time on either side of a L P record.
But I was unable to understand the exact meaning of the bhajan. Perhaps I’m not the ‘सयाना’ described in the last verse.
Lata Mangeshkar’s younger brother, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, started composing songs when he was 18. In 1957, at the age of 20, he composed non-film songs for his elder sister. And it’s incredible the way he composed these songs. Such maturity!
3. Barase Boondiyan Sawan Ki (1957) / Hridaynath Mangeshkar – Meerabai
A very sweetly composed Meerabai bhajan. I like all the Meerabai bhajans sung by Lata Mangeshkar. And this one’s one of my favourites.
4. Nis Din Barsat Nain Hamare (1957) / Hridaynath Mangeshkar – Surdas
I was amazed with this bhajan. It has so much depth, and sensitivity. To compose in such a mature way at the age of 20 is not easy. His compositions are always difficult, right from this one! Mainly the line, ‘जब से श्याम सिधारे’ gives me goosebumps.
I must confess that I wasn’t aware of the couple of songs I’ve listed at this position. The songs were released in 1961. But the most interesting aspect was the composer. The photo of the 78 rpm record was there on one of the YouTube videos. There the name of the composer was written as Fayyaz-Shoukat. And it was also mentioned that it was a composer duo of Fayyaz Hashmi and Shoukat Dehlavi. The former is a poet, whereas the latter is better known by the name Nashad. Otherwise, I couldn’t get any information about them. If anyone knows more about Fayyaz-Shaukat, please add the information. After struggling for the details of the composer, I finally concluded that now only Lata Mangeshkar herself can reveal the identity of Fayyaz-Shaukat. *(Please refer to the comment by Dr Ravindra Shrikhande regarding this mystery – updated on 07/01/2022)*
5. Har Ek Baat Pe (1961) / Fayyaz-Shaukat – Mirza Ghalib
Perhaps one of the first ghazals of Ghalib that Lata sang. It’s composed in a typical ghazal style with enchanting Sarangi pieces in the interludes.
It is said that the ghazal was written on the spot by Ghalib at a mushaira. The scenario when Mirza Ghalib wrote this Ghazal is well depicted in this scene from the TV serial, Mirza Ghalib. Interested readers can watch it.
6. Daher Mein Naqsh E Wafa (1961) / Fayyaz-Shaukat – Mirza Ghalib
Couldn’t decipher the song completely due to heavy urdu words. But a serious type of song talking about fidelity (वफ़ा). Very impressively composed and sung.
The next song on the list was first performed on 26th January 1963 in Delhi. Hence I included it in today’s part. Otherwise the record was released in 1969. There are multiple stories attached to the song. It was firstly thought to be a solo by Asha Bhosle as Lata Mangeshkar had differences with Chitalkar and was no longer a singer in his team. But after knowing about the song, Lata Mangeshkar expressed her wish to sing it to Kavi Pradeep. It was then supposed to be a duet, but ultimately sung as a solo by Lata Mangeshkar. Lyricist Pradeep wasn’t invited for the occasion in Delhi. There are stories about Asha Bhosle withdrawing from the project at the eleventh hour and cancelling her flight ticket to Delhi. There is of course nothing to prove or disprove the stories. I think all of it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
7. Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo (1963) / C Ramchandra – Kavi Pradeep
The song always brings tears to my eyes. It is respected all over the country and it surely deserves it.
The next couple of songs in line are composed by one of my most favourite composers of the golden era. He is none other than Chitragupt. He was really very busy throughout the 1960s, and still he did manage to release a couple of NFS with Lata Mangeshkar. And I never knew anything about Lalita Shastri, wife of the former Prime Minister of India, Mr Lal Bahadur Shastri. She has penned both the songs, which are very beautifully set to tune by Chitragupt.
8. Bata De Koi Mohe (1964) / Chitragupt – Lalita Shastri
I love the song! There is an innocence in the lyrics and the rendition. Lalitaji has woven her name in the last verse.
9. Bhola Bhola Ratate Ratate (1964) / Chitragupt – Lalita Shastri
I guess this one’s more popular than the previous one. This bhajan is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The listener gets completely mesmerised by the song.
Let’s listen to the last song on today’s list. Lata Mangeshkar sang a number of Meerabai bhajans, and this one is from the 60s. Some videos mention the year of release as 1963, some as 1965. I took the year 1965 from an image sent by Dr Ravindra Shrikhande. It’s an image of the inside cover of an old cassette featuring Lata Mangeshkar’s NFS. In fact the image served the purpose of confirming the release years of the songs on today’s list. And I want to express my gratitude to him for supporting and helping me shape this series.
10. Mat Ja Jogi (1965) / Hridaynath Mangeshkar – Meerabai
I won’t be able to say anything about the divine song. You should feel it yourself. An experience indeed!
Here I end today’s list.
You will notice that the post updated twice, in the month of January 2022, to add information which was missing during the initial release of the post in Sept 2021.
If I have missed any song from the said period, please add it.
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.
33 Replies to “(Part 1) Lata – Non Film Songs”
Nice way to pay tribute to Lata Mangeshkar on her birthday with her NFS. We often lose sight of her NFS, as she dominated the playback singing for about 50 years.
My favourite among the above is ‘Barse boondiya Saawan ki.’About the iconic ‘Ae mere watan ke logo’, it was a public performance so most of the basic story must be correct. I have read on the same lines as you suggest. One detail mentioned at one source is that at one stage the song was planned as Lata Mangeshkar-Asha Bhosle duet. Thus, the song had some political back-story before it came to us in the present shape.
Thanks a lot AKji for your appreciation.
I’m going to have it in a series of posts. I hope readers would find it interesting.
HMV had released a 78 rpm disc of “Ai mere watan ke logon” in 1963 which was played regularly on our record-changer. Lata Mangeshkar’s pathos-filled rendition of Kavi Pradeep’s stirring lyrics, set to a soulful melody by C Ramchandra, held, not only me, but the entire nation in thrall.
Even though it has been 53 years since Lata sang it on January 27, 1963 at the National Stadium, New Delhi, in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, the ditty remains the mother of all Indian patriotic songs. Yet, the song may not have had the above stanza.
In fact, except for the opening stanza, the remaining stanzas that appeared in the song may not have been there at all if C Ramchandra had not chosen them from a hundred (yes, a hundred) stanzas penned by Pradeep. The song may have had different stanzas.
The song may have been sung by Asha Bhosle instead of Lata.
Or it could have been a duet of Lata and Asha. The origin of this song – a national institution – is controversial and there exist many versions. In the wake of the Chinese back-stabbing in 1962, and the gloom and despondency that had descended on the country, film producer Mehboob Khan organised a fund-raiser at the National Stadium, New Delhi to augment the National Defence Fund.
The audience included then President S Radhakrishnan, prime minister Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Cabinet ministers, and virtually the entire film industry comprising stalwarts like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, and others.
The programme had songs from Naushad (“Apni azadi ko hum”, from Leader), Shankar Jaikishan (“Hothon pe sachhai”, from Jis Desh Main Ganga Behti Hai), Madan Mohan (“Kar chale hum fida”, from Haqeeqat) and C Ramchandra, in that order.
According to Ramchandra, even though he had been selected, he had no song with him. All others were presenting their own film songs. He went to Pradeep and requested him to write a song. Pradeep jokingly responded, “Phokat ka kaam ho toh aate ho.” But he did write 100 stanzas of which Ramchandra selected five-six.
In fact, the opening stanza struck Pradeep when he was walking on the Mahim beach in Mumbai. He borrowed a pen from a fellow walker, ripped out the foil from his cigarette packet and penned it down.
They had decided to keep the lyrics a secret. All the earlier songs were fast-paced, forceful and about valour and bravery. Only Pradeep’s song spoke about the sacrifices jawans made and how much they suffered. If this concept was revealed, there would have been no element of surprise.
Also a sad, patriotic song may not have been acceptable to many. The song which was given for the souvenir was deliberately a differently worded song. Hridaynath Chattopadhyay translated the song in English and put his own name, without mentioning Pradeep’s.
Asha was chosen by Ramchandra to sing the song, not Lata because he was not on speaking terms with Lata owing to a rift between the two. Asha had also started rehearsals.
Six days before the programme, Pradeep called up Ramchandra saying that Lata was ready to sing the song. Ramchandra told him that Asha would be singing. When Pradeep insisted, he relented on the condition that both would sing it as a duet. Pradeep informed Lata and she agreed.
Two days later, he called up Asha and Lata, gave them the song and was about to begin rehearsals when Asha informed Ramchandra that she was not well and would not be able to go to Delhi. In spite of his entreaties, Asha refused to relent and walked out of the project.
Raju Bharatan, the eminent music historian, has a different take on the matter. Lata, who was not on good terms with Ramchandra agreed to give her voice only on one condition that it would be recorded as a solo. Ramchandra had actually tuned the song into a duet.
Lata, out of the blue, called Pradeep around six one morning to express her keenness to sing the song provided she could do it as a solo.
Asha had even rehearsed with the composer but was dropped when Lata insisted to record it solo. Pradeep found Ramchandra, too, to be jumping at this chance to have his very own Lata back to render such a hallmark number. Forgotten in a trice were Ramchandra’s long-spread rehearsals for the number with Asha.
The truth according to Lata is, however, different. She stated in an interview that she had initially refused to be a part of the project. It was Pradeep who had approached her to sing the song. She declined because there was no time to rehearse. At that time she was working round-the-clock and to give special attention to one song seemed impossible. But Pradeep insisted.
Lata revealed that she wanted to sing it with sister Asha, but that didn’t happen.
Pradeep wanted it to be a solo. Asha too opted out. Lata tried to convince her to change her mind arguing that her name had even been printed in the newspapers as one of the singers. But Asha did not agree. The singer revealed that she couldn’t even rehearse the song properly before performing it in front of the distinguished gathering.
Ramchandra had to be in Delhi at least four days ahead of the performance so he was unable to rehearse the song with Lata. Instead, he gave her a tape of the song. Lata picked up the tune from the tape and flew to Delhi on January 26, 1963, one day before the function.
During the programme, Mohammad Rafi’s “Apni Azaadi ko” from Dilip Kumar’s Leader took the people by storm. It looked as if the show had been stolen by Rafi.
Ramchandra finally took center stage, with lively rhythmic beats of drums playing in the background. As the sound of the drumbeats faded, the prelude started with Basu Manohari’s flute. Then Lata began.
At the end when the chorus sang ”Jai Hind… Jai Hind Ki Sena” people started looking for the source of the sound, but Ramchandra had hidden the chorus behind the curtain for echo effect and to create an effect of the entire country singing together. The effect was electrifying! Till the song climaxed there was pin drop silence all around. When the song ended, the stadium vibrated with the thunderous sound of claps, whistles and applause.
According to Lata, she was very nervous before the performance and said she was much relieved to get it over with. After she finished, she went backstage to relax with a cup of coffee. Mehboob Khan then came looking for her saying “Chalo, Panditji ne bulaya hai.” Lata stated that Nehru liked the song very much. The song had touched a chord not only with him but the entire nation traumatised by the Himalayan debacle. Pradeep was not invited to the function. When Nehru visited Mumbai two months later, he sang it especially for him at a function at RM High School and also presented the original handwritten poem to him.
Incidentally, Lata sang nine years later in 1972, again at a public function – this time at the Ram Lila Maidan in Delhi. Except this time, it was against the backdrop of the nation’s resounding victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan when the mood of the nation was upbeat.
Thank you for sharing this information.
Ae mere watan ke.. was released in 1963 as 78 rpm Part 1 and 2.
That means my inclusion of the song in the first part is chronologically correct.
All of the artists and technicians involved with the song including singers, musicians, music director, lyricist, recording studio, sound recordist pledged the royalties from the song in perpetuity to the War Widows Fund.As per Pradeep’s last wishes, royalties for sale of records of the song were to be donated to war widows. In 2005, the Bombay High Court asked the music company HMV to indicate a lump sum Rs.1 million as arrears payable to the Army Welfare Fund for the disabled and war widows from the song’s royalty proceeds.
As information in my comments is copy paste from web search.
I remember Lata had told in an interview at the time of 50 th anniversary of the song that Pradeepji had habit of writing lyrics with his own tune. The same tune was retained by music composer !
Asha ,Pradeep and C.Ramchandraji tried to create same magic after 1965 Indo-Pak war. But it proved a flop sequel.
I didn’t know this.
I have read about Pradeep’s habit of setting the songs to tune by himself. The case was same with D n madhok.
An enlightening post, Anupji! Not much is usually said about Lata’s Non-film songs as there is so much to explore on the film front.
Thank you Anitaji.
Lata Mangeshkar’s contribution to Hindi cinema is so huge, her NFS are not much talked about.
And you can well see the less number of comments.
Anupji, while I was researching for some other theme, I came across this non-film song originally sung by Pankaj Mullick, and later sung as a tribute to him by Lata. It is really beautiful. Yeh raatein Yeh Mausam Yeh Hasna Hasaana
The album, Shraadhanjali was released in 1992. I’ll talk about it in later parts. This post was till 1965.
But I like the song, thank you for sharing.
This is an excellent tribute to the nightingale on her 92nd birthday.
I would say, for me at least, its not easy to recall her Hindi NFS songs the way I can recall her Marathi NFS.
Though I have heard her Meera bhajans and ghazals, Ae mere watan ke logon is the first one that comes to the mind.
We, Maharashtrians, have grown up listening to her marathi bhavgeets, bhakti geets, aartis etc. and they have become an inseparable part of our lives.
I hope there will be a separate post on her Marathi non-film songs.
Thank you for appreciation.
I agree, we Maharashtrians, remember her Marathi NFS more than Hindi.
Dr Shrikhande also asked for Marathi NFS, though I’ve no plans at present.
But It would definitely be an interesting idea.
Music composer Anil Biswas had joined All India Radio in March 1963. He had composed one Nonfilm song penned by Pandit Narendra Sharma and sung by Lata Mangeshkar .
Yug ki sandhya krushak vadhusi,kiska panth nihar rahi hai.
In Anil da’s biography Ritu aaye,ritu jaye it is mentioned as the disc of Yug ki sandhya got damaged/destroyed after first telecast. What we missed is beyond imagination.
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Loss is entirely our’s.
Thank you for sharing this. I had forgotten all about it.
A minute ago I had telephonic call from Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar as a reply to my letter. I had asked him about music composer of two Ghalib gazals in this post. He said Ustad Fayyaz Ahmed Khan and Ustad Niyaz Ahmed Khan these two brothers composed these two Ghalib gazals sung by Lata didi. They were nephews of Late Ustad Abdul Karim Khan saheb.
I feel we should follow this information as most authentic.
Thanks again in involving me in this search process.
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We got it finally. I’ll soon update the post, mentioning the details and the contributors.
Bhagwan Buddha- Ballet 1947
Lyrics – Acharya Sitaram Chaturvedi
Music composer- Harendranath Nandy
Not much information about the music composer is available. He was relative of Geeta Roy and she had initial music lessons from him.
I came to know about this gem song today. I am grateful to VIBHENDU TEWARI who informed me about this song,perhaps first Nonfilm hindi song of Lata.
Thank you Vibhendu Tewari ji for introducing the song via Dr Ravindra Shrikhande. It’s a beautiful song. And if it is during the late 40s, it could really be Lata Mangeshkar’s first NFS. Till now the earliest songs were from the year 1954.
I thank both of you for joining the journey.
Thank you so much
Few more songs from the ballet Bhagwan Buddha. Year mentioned in links is 1949.
Thanks to Snehasis Chatterjee for providing valuable information. Snehasis Chatterjee is enclopedia on Lata Mangeshkar.
I heard all the songs. I especially liked the songs,
Man ki baat
Main tumhare hi swaron mein, Saaz sajao ri.
I thank Mr Snehasis Chatterjee for the valuable additions to the list. Even if the year is 1949, the songs would at least be Lata’s earlier NFS.
Also thank you Dr Shrikhande for adding the links in the comments. I’m going to update the post soon, mentioning the contribution by Mr Tewari, Mr Chatterjee and Dr Ravindra Shrikhande.
Thank you so much for adding the valuable information. And I’m so happy destiny chose my blog (through all the contributors) for unveiling the gems.
Yesterday I found this beautiful poem by Sumitranandan Pant sung by Lata Mangeshkar for All India Radio in 1958.
Unfortunately there is no mention of music composer in this link or in AIR bulletin.
We have to search.
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Thank you so much Ravindra ji for sharing this beautiful song. I hadn’t heard it before. Let’s see if anyone comes up with the details of the song.
Another gem Nonfilm song by Lata Mangeshkar broadcasted on AIR in 1958
Lyrics- Vidyavati ‘Kokil’
Singer – Lata Mangeshkar
Music composer- Ali Akbar Khan
* I thank Balaji Murthy from Portland, Atul Verma from Bhopal and Snehasis Chatterjee from Kolkata in wonderful search of above two songs.
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“I thank Balaji Murthy from Portland, Atul Verma from Bhopal and Snehasis Chatterjee from Kolkata”
I want to thank them all too. Such a nice songs!
And Ravindraji, I must thank you for uploading the song on YouTube. Great!
The song has Sarod pieces. And if I’m correct the earlier song, Bandh diye kyun Pran also has Sarod. Perhaps it was also composed by Ali Akber Khan.
Today I had communication with Lajo Gupta, daughter of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, who confirmed that composer of बांध दिए प्राण..was her father. She also shared link mentioned in her message below-
This is the Hindi version of the Bengali “Dhonyo Hobo Je Morone Ami” sung by Sandhya Mukherjee. Will send you the link to it shortly. Composers in both cases are Baba Ali Akbar Khan and the poet – I’m guessing – could be someone I called Shanta Ma.
Her message is copied above
I must congratulate you for getting to the roots of the song.
Thank you for sharing the info on the blog.