Today the blog completes five years and I’m on cloud nine. For the last couple of years, with the pandemic roaring around, it was difficult to celebrate. But now our lives are getting back to normal by and large, the tourist places and cinema halls are overflowing with visitors, I think now I am in a position to use the word celebrate. So today let’s celebrate blog’s fifth birthday!
This year we lost the nightingale of Hindi cinema, Lata Mangeshkar. I was planning an yearly review of Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and I opened the series on 6th February. I was also planning a post on her classical based songs. She has sung a lot of semi classical songs in various films under the baton of different music directors. These songs are particularly remembered for her perfect singing, accurate pronunciation and perfect diction.
I thought it to be a perfect song list to celebrate the fifth birthday of the blog. Of course, there are a number of raag based songs in the Hindi films. But all of those songs don’t fall in the semi classical category. So I’ve chosen songs accordingly. Here I must add that I’m not a classical music expert, and all the raag related information is obtained from the internet searches.
Before we start the celebration, I would take the opportunity to thank my family and well wishers. Their support and encouragement is my great driving force. Without their comments and wishes my posts are incomplete. What’s a blog without the readers!
Let’s come to the topic for today. Here I am with
‘Semi Classical songs by Lata Mangeshkar’
I have chosen my favourite one befitting song with a particular composer. I’ve tried to cover the majority of popular composers of the golden era. But of course I had to limit the number of songs as well.
Let’s start the journey. I guarantee it will be one of the most enjoyable, memorable and melodious journeys so far. The songs are in No particular order.
1. Manmohana Bade Jhoothe – Seema (1955) / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
The song is based on raag Jaijaiwanti (जयजयवंती). Shankar Jaikishan composed a lot of raag based songs for various movies. But this was the first song that came to my mind when I thought of a befitting song for the list. Sung wonderfully by Lata Mangeshkar, it is enacted excellently on screen by Nutan. Nutan was trained in Indian classical music and hence she could lip sync so well for the song. It’s as if she is really singing it, mainly the aalaaps are done wonderfully well.
2. Sanware Sanware – Anuradha (1960) / Pandit Ravi Shankar – Shailendra
The film opens with the song being played on the radio. The song is based on raag Bhairavi (भैरवी). Pandit Ravi Shankar employed four raagas while composing the four solos by Lata Mangeshkar. While all the solos are excellent and popular, I chose the one that showcased Lata’s talent in classical music the most.
3. Pawan Deewani Na Mane – Dr Vidya (1962) / S D Burman – Majrooh
This wonderful dance performance by Vyjayanti Mala is based on raag Bageshree. The song composed by S D Burman is a bit complicated classical based composition. It was Lata’s first released film after she cleared her differences with Burman da.
4. Ja Main Tose Nahin Bolun – Sautela Bhai (1962) / Anil Biswas – Shailendra
We can easily appreciate Lata Mangeshkar’s command over Indian classical music. Anil Biswas has used raag Adana as per the information available on the internet. It’s one of the most enchanting and captivating semi classical Hindi film songs. It’s picturised on Jeevankala and Rani. And it’s one of the few songs where a single playback singer lends voice for two actresses in a single song. Certainly one of Lata’s best with Anil Biswas.
I guess, the रागमालिका song, Ritu Aaye Ritu Jaye, from Humdard would be a better or at least equally good option for this spot. But I was looking for solos wherever possible.
5. Bedardi Dagabaaz Ja – Bluff Master (1963) / Kalyanji Anandji – Rajendra Krishan
I guess the beautiful song is overshadowed by the other songs in the movie. But that’s a very good semi classical song, based on raag Bageshree. Perhaps Kalyanji Anandji hasn’t composed many semi classical songs, but this one’s a masterpiece.
6. Balma Mane Na – Opera House (1961) / Chitragupt – Majrooh
Chitragupt has composed a good number of semi classical songs for Lata Mangeshkar and the majority of those are popular. This Malkauns (मालकंस) based song is a good representative, or so I think. It’s picturised on B Saroja Devi. I’ve no idea if she was a trained dancer or not, but she has managed to pull it off well.
7. Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya – Suwarna Sundari (1956) with Rafi / Adi Narayan Rao – Bharat Vyas
It was just too obvious to include the song on such a list. And it surely deserves to be. Composer has beautifully amalgamated multiple raagas in the song. He started with the raag Sohni, to travel through Bahar, Darbari and Jaunpuri, to end on Raag Yaman. Bharat Vyas has penned beautiful lyrics using शुद्ध हिंदी. I take the song as the most popular Raag mala song from Hindi films. Composer Adi Narayan Rao also directed the movie. It’s picturised on Anjali and Akkineni Nageswara Rao.
8. Suno Sajna Papihe Ne – Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966) / Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi
The song, based on Yaman, was one of the first popular solos of Lata Mangeshkar. It not only popularized the film, but also helped Laxmikant Pyarelal cross the boundaries of B grade films. Aaye Din Bahar Ke was their first film with big stars. Till date they had composed for more than 10 films, but the majority of those films were mythological, religious, stunt – action films etc. All of the songs in the film were hugely popular and this song is still very popular. It’s sung extremely well by Lata Mangeshkar.
9. Balma Anadi Man Bhaye – Bahu Rani (1963) / C Ramchandra – Sahir
The song was inspired by the popular thumri by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Based on Raag Hemant, the song immediately captures the listener’s attention. The film Sargam (1950) also had a number of semi classical songs by Lata Mangeshkar, but I chose this one. The sitar backed song is very soothing to listen to, making it a must have for today’s list. It was the period when Lata Mangeshkar was singing for C Ramchandra on the condition that he won’t be there for the final recording. It could be a rumour. The songs of Stree and Bahurani brought back C Ramchandra’s magic.
10. Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye – Chhote Nawab (1961) / R D Burman – Shailendra
The beautiful song is a mujra song, based on raag Malgunji (मालगुंजी) and has enchanting sarangi pieces throughout. R D Burman opened his career with this film and impressed everyone with this song. It was the period when Lata Mangeshkar had differences with Burman da and wasn’t singing for him. R D Burman however wanted Lata and only Lata Mangeshkar to sing his very first song. He requested her accordingly and she agreed to it. It’s also said that the song catalyzed the reunion between Lata Mangeshkar and S D Burman.
11. Ae Ri Jane Na Doongi – Chitralekha (1964) with Chorus / Roshan – Sahir
Roshan composed beautiful semi classical solos for Lata Mangeshkar in this movie. This one is a raag Kamod based composition and is a delight to listen to. As I’m not knowledgeable in Indian classical music, I won’t be able to elaborate on the subject. But it’s easy on the ears and extremely soothing to the senses.
The other songs that I had thought of were from Raag Rang, Ae Ri Aali Piya Bina and the raag mala from Mamata.
12. Baiyan Na Dharo O Balma – Dastak (1970) / Madan Mohan – Majrooh
Madan Mohan composed a lot of raag based songs for Lata Mangeshkar. But this semi classical number stands out as a gem. The song is based on Raag Charukeshi (चारुकेशी). What a beautiful song!
13. Thare Rahiyo O Banke Yaar – Pakeezah (1972) / Ghulam Mohammad – Majrooh
What can I say about this Raag Maand based composition! Ghulam Mohammad poured his heart and soul into the songs of Pakeezah. The raag is said to be very difficult to render and surely we can make it out after listening to it. Ghulam Mohammad had composed the songs in the mid 60s itself, but the film took a very long time in the making, and when it was released in 1972, Ghulam Mohammad wasn’t alive to experience its success. The film has five of Lata’s solos and this one’s my particular favourite. Meena Kumari looks gorgeous in the songs and lip syncs easily to the taans and aalaps.
14. Chham Chham Naachat Aayi Bahar – Chhaya (1961) / Salil Chowdhury – Rajendra Krishan
Salil Chowdhury had a long association with Lata Mangeshkar right from his first film. Over the years, he composed a few semi classical songs for her. This song based on Raag Bahar is an excellent dance performance by Asha Parekh. The stage performance is rendered so beautifully by Lata Mangeshkar. Salil Chowdhury has composed the song wonderfully. The other song that came to my mind was Jhanan Jhanan Baaje from Chand Aur Suraj.
15. Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal – Mughal e Azam (1960) / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
The song is based on raag Gara and it is picturised on Madhubala, who presents a dance performance in the Royal court of Akbar during the Krishna Janmashtami celebrations. The song is very beautifully sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Madhubala despite her heart problem managed to pull off the dance well.
The song is actually believed to be a traditional Thumri and it has been sung by other notable singers of the early decades of the 1900s. The version by Lata Mangeshkar is nevertheless the most popular and widely known.
16. Sakhi Ri Sun bole – Miss Mary (1957) with Asha Bhosle / Hemant Kumar – Rajendra Krishan
And to end today’s celebrations, let me present a beautiful duet by the Mangeshkar sisters. Tuned in Raag Khamaj, the song is picturised on a very beautiful looking Meena Kumari and a girl who plays her student. It’s said that the Mangeshkar sisters were not on talking terms with each other, but professionally they used to co operate with the composers. Meena Kumari lip syncs perfectly to Lata’s voice, so does the other girl too. What a delight to watch and listen to.
I could have gone on and on….
But I am not going to add any more songs. Please add Lata’s semi classical songs by any other composer or of course you can repeat the composers already covered. I’m sure there are plenty of songs to add and the list of composers is also endless.
Please go ahead. Be a part of the celebration!
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.