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.