Asha Bhosle with reluctant Naushad and C Ramchandra: Part 2 (duets)

September 18, 2015

Asha Bhosle with C Ramchandra and NaushadI could not have imagined until sometime back that I would be writing two posts back to back on Asha Bhosle. But I have since become conscious of a strong Asha Bhosle Fan Club on SoY. In my last post on her songs with Naushad and C Ramchandra, we saw that even though they might have gone to her reluctantly, they created some of the best songs of her career. That post was devoted to her solos. While looking for their songs I realised that her duets, too, composed by them are no less memorable. We can make a general statement that duets as a class, right since the earliest days from when film songs are available, have held a special charm. Therefore, to have a complete picture of the songs that Naushad and CR composed for Asha Bhosle, I am presenting her duets made by the two reluctant Masters.

Some readers might be wondering what makes a person a member of the Asha Bhosle Fan Club. I am not one, but after observing the staunch members for some time, I have devised a small Asha Bhosle test. Here are three simple Yes/No statements. If you agree, you check Yes, otherwise No. If your response is unequivocal Yes to all the three statements, you are a true-blue member of ABFC.

Asha Bhosle test
1.  Asha Bhosle’s Ai gham-e-dil kya karun is much better than Talat Mahmood’s (Thokar; 1953; Sardar Malik).                  Yes/No
2.  Asha Bhosle’s Dil laga kar hum ye samjhe zindagi kya cheez hai is much better than Mahendra Kapoor’s (Zindagi Aur Maut; 1965; C Ramchandra).                                                                            Yes/No
3.  Asha Bhosle’s Tera dil kahan hai sab kuchh yahan hai (Chandni Chowk; 1954; Roshan) is much better than Lata Mangeshkar’s Rahein na rahein hum (Mamta; 1966; Roshan).                                                        Yes/No

Continuing my Year of Naushad series, along with C Ramchandra, here are their superb duets for Asha Bhosle, which would delight even non-members of ABFC. I am leaving it to the readers to decide the winner of the duel.

1. Mere mehboob mein kya nahi (with Lata Mangeshkar), from Mere Mehboob (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

The two great sisters have some terrific duets. It is another matter that Asha Bhosle has to settle for Ameeta with Lata Mageshkar for Sadhana. Naushad’s orchestration and the uninhibited dance by the ladies in the zenana of this ‘Muslim social’, each thrilled by her mehboob, without realising they are both fascinated by the same man, makes this one of the best duets by the Mangeshkar sisters.

2. O chaand jahan wo jaayein (with Lata Mangeshkar) from Sharda (1957), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

You talk of the great sisters’ duets! C Ramchandra has already done it. Meena Kumari and Shyama, both in love with the same man, Raj Kapoor, who is seen on a flight, beseech the moon to follow him wherever he goes and bring the news of his welfare. You can take it for granted that Asha Bhosle has to settle for the second lead; also, she comes in after Lata Mangeshkar’s first stanza, but she creates a distinct identity by her khanak for the more ebullient Shyama, compared to the restrained Meena Kumari.

3. Daiya re daiya laaj mohe laage (with Rafi?) from Leader (1964), lyrics Shkeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Leader is not rated among great movies of Dilip Kumar. I am surprised about its unflattering rating, but I am very fond of this movie. It is an entertaining mix of comedy, politics, murder mystery, along with the teasing hero and angry irritated heroine, who finally falls to the hero’s charm. The movie has a proper Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet, and a very good one at that, Aajkal shauq-e-deedar hai, and you have this duet which is really a solo. HFGK identifies it as an Asha Bhosle solo, but Rafi’s Aa aa aa is unmistakable, lip-synched by Dilip Kumar, who enters dressed up for performance, where Vyjayanthimala has electrified the stage with her dance.

4. Dekh humein aawaz na dena (with Rafi) from Amar Deep (1958), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra

If you are looking for a proper Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet, you can’t do better than Dekh humein aawaz na dena. This has two versions, happy and sad. It is also a perfectly balanced duet in that Asha Bhosle does not merely follow Rafi, she often takes the lead with a slight change in tune, and leaves no less impact than Rafi.

5. Saawan aye ya na aaye (with Rafi) from Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

This film loosely based on the Wuthering Heights boasted some excellent songs, though the film crashed. This is a very pleasant romantic duet, based on Brindavani Sarang, as mentioned in a comment on YT.

6. Mere jeevan mein kiran ban ke (with Manna Dey) from Talaaq (1958), lyrics Pradeep, music C Ramchandra

Did someone say classical-based and romantic? C Ramchandra could do all that, and he also had more diversity than his rival. The lead pairs Rajendra Kumar and Kamini Kadam (?), on a date in the mountains and clouds, hear this beautiful melody coming out from some distance. Coming closer, they see a group of sheepherders, and a couple from the group is seen singing this beautiful romantic duet against the backdrop of some stunning landscape. There are many landmark songs picturised on unknown actors.  This should figure among the list of best such songs. Over to our indefatigable researcher Ashokji. The lead pair look at them fondly, wishing they could also express their love so freely.

7. Pyar ki raah bahaar ki manzil (with Rafi) from Saaz Aur Aawaz (1966), lyrics Khumar Barabanqvi, music Naushad

Naushad was not averse to take ‘inspiration’ from his rivals. This was the period when OP Nayyar had become a rage. He may not have a copyright on ghodagaadi beat, but his influence is unmistakable in this duet in a film Naushad probably took as a filler when the more ‘prestigious’ projects, Dil Diya Dard Liya and Palki, were getting interminably delayed.

8. Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi (with Mahendra Kapoor) from Navrang (1959), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music C Ramchandra

But C Ramchandra has put his heart and soul into music of this film. He had to make a point to someone estranged from him, and he does that with élan. While Naushad was very Rafi-centric, C Ramchandra used more diverse voices. The result is this outstanding romantic duet, which is always cited when songs based on Malkaus are discussed.

9. Baalam tere pyar ki thadhi aag mein jalte jalte (with Rafi) from Ram Aur Shyam (1967), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Now we come to the phase when Naushad is not the undisputed monarch. After a long drought, he was lucky to get this entertainer from South, which laid the foundation of twins separated at birth, one of them being brought up amidst some villainous relatives, scheming to keep him meek and terrorised, and the other fun loving, loud and aggressive. This was the precursor of lady Ram and Shyams, such as Seeta Aur Geeta and Chalbaaz, each becoming a big success. A generic part of the plot is the lookalikes landing up at each other’s places in a mix-up. The meek Ram has landed up at Shyam’s village, where the impish Mumtaz taking him to be the fun-loving Shyam sings this high energy love duet. Love makes Ram, too, quite confident.

10. Aap ka chehra masha Allah (with Rafi) from Rootha Na Karo (1970), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music C Ramchandra

C Ramchandra, too, at the sunset of his career, creates this romantic duet on the once popular pair, Shashi Kapoor and Nanda.  But, sadly, he seems to be groping what he wants to be.  There is no trace of CR as we know, the song appears to be probably 70% Shankar Jaikishan and 30% OP Nayyar.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dinesh K Jain September 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Congratulations, AK, for a most valiant effort. If it is not there, it is not there!

2 Arunkumar Deshmukh September 18, 2015 at 1:19 pm

AK ji,

This duet selection pleased me more than the solo songs of AB.
Anyway,my point is different here.
I took your ABFC test and came up with all 3 NO s. Did it mean that I consider AB a singer who is not good at all ? Of course NOT !
I think,AK Ji, your conclusion that those who spoke in favour of AB are all AB FC members is rather too hasty.
I feel that AB , being , if not more,but almost equally good singer as LM, was seen being looked down upon in comparison to LM and music lovers leapt to support her sheerly out of feelings of justice. She was seen,probably, as the underdog. Their assertion and support to Asha, atleast I will not conclude as their being AB Fans. I feel they all are fans of good music. Period.
We have seen in the past how diehard fans of Rafi and kishore consider each others as sworn enemies.Let us not fall a prey to that situation by stamping each others as LM or AB fans.
I am neither a LM,nor a AB fan- same way as I like both Kishore and Rafi. May be there is some percentage difference,but thats all
there is to it.
All the above is my personal opinion and my view of looking at these things.
I am sure once a composer gives a song to any singer,surely he wants that the song should become a hit. He does not choose weak songs for singers who are not his favourites,because even that song is HIS song, for the world. Not all songs become Hits. Then again , whose credit is it if a song becomes a Hit ? Singer’s,composer’s, Lyricist’s or the filming of the song? Is there an answer to this ?
A lot can be said on this subject.

3 gaddeswarup September 18, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Asha Bhosle song in Thokar 1953 is new to me. I like it. It may take some more getting used to it before comparing it to Talat’ song which I have known for a long time. Thanks.

4 Dinesh K Jain September 18, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Deshmukh ji, I would like to comment on your last point, for I have been giving this some thought.

In my opinion, a song’s success, popularity and reputation depend variously on several factors: the film’s success, the contextual situation in the film – but more than this the song’s picturisation, the actors who enact it and how, the music composition including its melody and orchestration, the lyrics quality, the singing, and also the names and reputation of the MD, lyricist and the singers. (There might also be some marketing manipulation that our stalwarts have been known to have occasionally, or even often, indulged in, such as through Binaca GeetMala). Obviously every popular song would not have all these attributes, but a ‘great’ song would have most or all of these. For those, credit should be given to all the contributors. Some songs become hits on account of only one or two of the cited factors, and in those cases the lion’s share of the credit must, obviously, go to them.

It is for this reason that I find much of the prolonged and parsing discussion lately somewhat pointless. If you like a song, that is all that matters at the end of the day.

Since the context here is Asha, let me also add my own thinking about that much-debated song “Ae mere vatan ke logon…”. If Lata and CR had already parted ways, and well knowing Lata’s temperament in such matters, it is inconceivable that CR would have had enough courage, and therefore even thought of, approaching Lata to sing the song. But given the grand national occasion that the song was slated for, when Lata got to know about it, she knew that only she had to sing it. Either by throwing her considerable weight, or by eating the humble pie with CR, or by manipulating through Pradeep and others, she managed to secure the song for herself, and even CR would have known well and all along that the magic that Lata could weave with the song would be a far cry for anyone else including Asha. And what magic she wove, surpassing all expectations, ensuring a legendary place for it in the annals of all our popular music!

5 AK September 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Ae mere watan ke logo – your summary of what must have happened was also my understanding of the situation. My point is that regardless of the background, including Lata Mangeshkar’s alleged dirty tricks, she took the song to a height one cannot imagine in any other voice. I have to disagree here with our friend Shalan Lal.

6 AK September 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Considering AB as a great singer and being a member of ABFC are two different things. Your answer to my 3-question test was straight No. It would be clearer if you answer my two further questions I have added to the test:

4. AB songs in Amar are better than LM’s in the same film – Yes/No
5. AB would have sung Ae mere watan ke logo much better than LM – Yes/No

I know your answer. What would you call a person who answers all the questions in ‘Yes’?

Finally, Arunji, my test is a friendly banter. I hope the die hard members of ABFC enjoy the leg pulling.

7 ksbhatia September 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

AK’ji ;

My Asha / Lata fan club would rather be based on their duets . Hearing them in a single song gives one an in depth qualities of the singers . It will be very difficult to give Yes / No answer to certain duet songs like…

1. Chhoone na doongi main haath re…..From Zindagi ……SJ

2. Kar gaya re kar gaya……from Basant bahar…….SJ

3. Mere mehboob mein kya nahin…..Mere Mehboob ….Naushad

and many more. I think those who likes Lata’s songs will also be liking Asha’s songs . I will go with Dinesh k Jain’s observations as lyrics , orchestration do matter irrespective of the singer. I don’t know how many AB club members would like to hear Asha’s song…..

Chheenk meri jaan chheenk…….

…….and how many LM fans would like to hear Lata’s song ….Aang se aang laga le ….or …..Aa jaane jan . For me Lata ji/ Asha ji are two faces of the same coin . It is a matter of taste and choice of the listener to cherish the melodies made by the great MDs of the golden era .

8 Arunkumar Deshmukh September 18, 2015 at 4:25 pm

AK ji,

You are right in guessing my answer,but I would not call or brand myself as a LM Fan.
I am a fan of Music.


9 AK September 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
I am finding myself in a minority of one.

10 SSW September 18, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Mr. Bhatia
I like Lata’s song “Aaa jaane jaan” from Intaqam. I think it is one of the great compositions in Hindi film song. It shows how versatile LP and Lata were. The arrangement is excellent, the minor chord usage reminds me of RD in fact if I had not known it was LP I would have thought it was an RD composition. I would be a member of all clubs but like Groucho Marx I would say, I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.

11 Anu Warrier September 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm

C Ramchandra could do all that, and he also had more diversity than his rival.

My, my! I never thought to hear such a confession from you, AK! 🙂

Regards being an AB fan vs. a LM fan – I didn’t realise I had to choose only one, or that if I like Rafi, that means that Kishore is ‘lesser’. Like Mr Deskhmukh, colour me a fan of good music.

The Ae mere watan ke logon controversy has gone on long enough. It was written for Lata to sing, even though CR was estranged from her at the time. Both Pradeep and he were very clear about that. Because CR wasn’t sure that Lata would agree, Asha was also asked to rehearse the song, which she did. Lata had originally refused, but Pradeep met her and spoke to her about the importance of the occasion. (There was an interview of Pradeep quite a few years back where he spoke about it; if I can find it online, I shall post the link here.) When she did, then CR didn’t need Asha to sing; by all reports, Asha was quite upset at that. (There was talk of making it a duet by the sisters, but I don’t know what came of that.)

12 mumbaikar8 September 18, 2015 at 10:57 pm
13 ksbhatia September 19, 2015 at 12:06 am

SSW ‘ji ;

It is always interesting to read your comments vis a vis detailing out the orchestration arrangements . Truly LP made a big effort with big orchestra to make Aa jaane ja a big cabaret number and they got good success with that. However it was difficult to digest Lata ji singing such song . May be she did because of her being close to LP as well as Sadhna -who produced the movie ; otherwise this song suited Asha ji as well. Look out to another cabaret number by Asha ji….. Mera naam hai shabnam…… from Kati Patang . How effectively RD made this composition as per demand of the story as also situation . I think this song is one of the best of cabaret song for both RD and Asha ji.

Like yourself I am a fan of all the MDs and singers who generate pleasure of listening in me. As Doris day sang… A guy is a guy where ever he may be….


Since I am also a fan of so many singers and music directors I also place myself in minorities .

14 ksbhatia September 19, 2015 at 12:30 am

Mumbaikar8 ;

The second song ….. Nacho jhoom jhoom jhoom ke…. from Sarhad is based ; rather copy of Spanish / Italian song of the 50s .
There is one more song by Asha ji from the same film which is also true copy of Italian song by Dean martin ……Volare .

15 SSW September 19, 2015 at 3:09 am

Mr.Bhatia, I don’t think fans should have any expectations of singers other than they sing well so I don’t have any issue with Lata singing the song from Intaqam. I agree completely that AB may have done as well as LM, but differently, had she sung “aa jaane jaan”. In the same way had LM chosen to sing AB songs she may have done as well differently. Each singer should bring his/her uniqueness to a song. If people demand a carbon copy of the original then that is just their problem. Music is supposed to live, not be stultified as bits of data on a disc or on grooves of vinyl.
There isn’t a lot of singing in “Mera naam hai Shabnam” but what is there in the beginning is excellent.
I think CR used Asha rather better than Naushad did, but as I’ve remarked earlier their work with her is relatively tepid compared to that of other MDs.

16 mumbaikar8 September 19, 2015 at 4:46 am

You wrote this:
“Dheere se gagari utaar re from Zindagi Aur Hum (1962), lyrics Shivkumar
This song picturised on Chand Usmani is a discovery in the internet era. I have shared this with several knowledgeable friends, and they were all mesmerized by it and surprised how this song remained hidden for so long.”
Zindagi Aur Hum has alteast three more songs as good as this one, not many of us were familiar with these songs. Do you think Lata has sung Mamta’s Rahein na rahein much better than these songs?
I reiterate I am not a member of ABFC
Most of us, if not all, like Lata but we do not idolize her as you do, we see the human side in her, when we discuss it we see yellow card flashing:)

I envy your knowledge of international music.

17 mumbaikar September 19, 2015 at 5:45 am

One more classical Asha Lata duet from Miss Mary, no awards for guessing , who gets to sing for Meena Kumari.

18 mumbaikar8 September 19, 2015 at 6:04 am

My blunder, Miss Mary is HemantbKumar and nor C Ramchandra. I always make that mistake.

19 AK September 19, 2015 at 7:06 am

KS Bhatiaji,
In duets, you are right, they are indistinguishable.

20 AK September 19, 2015 at 7:13 am

Rahein na rahein comparison could be with Tera dil kahan hai. It would be difficult to compare it with other Roshan-Lata songs.

The Sarhad duet is very energetic. Thanks for the song.

21 AK September 19, 2015 at 8:31 am

How do you see ‘confession’ in a matter-of-fact statement? Did I say, forgive me Lord because I had been wrong?

You don’t have to be a fan of one or the other. But those who answer my five Asha Bhosle test questions in ‘Yes’ are in a different class.

Ae mere watan ke logo – piecing together all the stories, we have a fair idea what might have happened. Where does all this lead to – how LM got the song or what she did to it? She may be a devil, but her singing was divine.

22 KB September 19, 2015 at 1:08 pm

As mentioned above the two duets from Sarhad (1960) one with Chitalkar Aa gaya mazaa and one with Rafi clearly indicate the versatility of CR s talent in an otherwise forgettable film.

23 SSW September 19, 2015 at 5:59 pm

Volare was not a Dean Martin original. It was a cover of Domenico Modugno’s “Nel blu dipinto di blu”. Here is the original with the prelude that most covers do not have.
I like this flamenco/rhumba tinged version by the French group The Gypsy Kings. I saw them perform this song live in Boston a couple of years ago. It was electric just 8 guitars one basss guitar and a percussionist.
They were much older when I saw them than in the video but the fire was still there.

24 KB September 19, 2015 at 7:12 pm

That song is Aajare aaja lagina mora jiya from Sarhad.However it is said to be better tthan original

25 Shalini September 19, 2015 at 8:42 pm

Another set of lovely songs of Asha with her reluctant MDs. 🙂 Here’s one from the CR-Asha combo that I haven’t seen mentioned but that I’m very fond of:
Gaa rahi hai zindagi har taraf (Aanchal)

As for the ongoing “fan” discussion, I’m not an Asha fan either…or a Lata one or anyone else’s. I enjoy and appreciate a variety of music and artists but lack the temperament to be a fan. I emphatically reject the blind allegiance to one’s idol that fandom seems to require and which sometimes is on display on this blog. 😀 A case in point being the whole hullabaloo over “aye mere watan ke logon.” I confess to being stunned that it’s being held up as an example of great *music* or *singing*. IMO, the patriotic anthem’s iconic status has nothing to do with it’s supposed *musical* qualities and everything to do with it’s appeal to patriotism and the time and place in which that appeal was made. I’ve never found Lata’s rendition of “aye mere watan ke logon” anything more than serviceable (note: I make no claims that someone else would have sung it better) and am fully convinced that the song would have been just as effective had someone else sung it. Heck, forget Asha, the song would have become iconic had *Sharda* sung it!

PS. My answers to your 5 Asha test questions are:
1)No, 2)Yes, 3)Yes, 4)No, 5)No (but see above)

26 SSW September 19, 2015 at 9:07 pm

I must say I completely agree with Shalini. “Ae mere watan ke logon” is musically quite pedantic and does not demand any great virtuosity from the singer. I quite resisted being the wet blanket but she did it first. 🙂
“Kar chale hum fida ..” moves me far more with it’s call to sacrifice “zinda rehne ki mausam bahut hai magar, jaan dene ki rut roz aaati nahi” and the jingoistic but still beautiful “tod do haath agar haath utne lage, choone paye na Sita ke daaman kabhi….”.
Aah, Kaifi Azmi.

27 Soumya Banerji September 19, 2015 at 9:44 pm

A nice selection of duets, AK. I have a sneaking suspicion that you deliberately bring up topics like ABFC to provoke readers into writing the comments they did above, knowing fully well that many music lovers like myself just like the song and the way it’s sung and don’t necessarily belong to some camp. I am not a big fan of Mukesh or Mahendra Kapoor but they have sung some glorious songs. I took your quiz and failed to swing either way.

28 Anu Warrier September 19, 2015 at 11:14 pm

@Shalini -*Chortle* You really have set the cat amongst the pigeons, no? I must confess to liking Ae mere watan ke logon. (And I do take umbrage at your saying that Sharda could have sung it and made it iconic as well. I mean, Sharda! *grin* Have some consideration for my auditory nerves!) But even I thought it went on for too long.

AK, your test – my answers would mirror Shalini’s, with a ‘Not Applicable – I like both Lata’s Rahe na rahe hum and Asha’s Tera dil kahan hai.

@Soumya, you are right. I think AK drops these provocative statements into his posts and comments only to sit back and enjoy the fun. Plus, the additional hits can do his blog no harm. 🙂

29 AK September 19, 2015 at 11:50 pm

Shalini, SSW
I am frankly surprised that anyone could have such a disparaging view of Ae mere watan ke logo. Some of us might be coming from Mars.

Thanks for bringing in Kar chale hum fida. It is among the greatest patriotic songs.

30 AK September 19, 2015 at 11:57 pm

Soumya, Anu,
No designs in bringing up topics like ABFC. If I come across people on SoY or elsewhere who answer ‘Yes’ to the five questions, it is too startling to be a matter of personal taste. They are the ABFC, the questions too are not mine, these have come from them.

31 SSW September 20, 2015 at 2:09 am

You mean Ares , Mars was relatively paternal 🙂 🙂
AK , national anthems too invoke strong emotions, it does not follow that they are musical masterpieces. Pleasant to hear , easy to sing and cultural conditioning makes them familiar and very dear.

32 gaddeswarup September 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

AK Ji at 29, Me too. I could never listen to that song for more than a minute. May be, if I understand the lyrics, it may make a difference.

33 Ashok M Vaishnav September 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

I would refuse to take the ABFC test as the questions are so designed as to “incriminate” anyone who answers it.
Barring a few songs, Naushad and CR have done their best to make AB duets standout to the competition in general. I would rather not go be the individual songs, but they have succeed in some , and not measured up in some.
Wherever they do not seem to have measured up it certainly was not because ‘reluctance’ . Some of the song belong to the period when Lata was not on singing terms with Lata, hence choosing Asha was more of a ‘default’ choice.
If the comparison has to be made, then SDB’s duets of AB duets, MF or FF ones, would really test Naushad or CR’s AB duets.
Well, the purpose of the post is not evaluate the performances but more to document the history w.r.t. some specific subject. And, the post does score full marks on that score.

34 AK September 21, 2015 at 4:40 pm

I appreciate your comments. SDB’s AB songs, whether solos or duets of any type, would be better than Naushad and CR’s. If, at all, the latter two can be compared among themselves. It is a good way to look at this as a part of our history.

On a lighter vein, you have a legal right not to answer. But I guess there will be some adverse inference in the mind of the judge if someone invokes the Fifth Amendment. Our friends in the US can throw more light on this.

35 Anu Warrier September 21, 2015 at 8:37 pm

I would refuse to take the ABFC test as the questions are so designed as to “incriminate” anyone who answers it.

@AK, not when the questions are slanted to get only ‘one’ correct answer, in which case the judge has the discretion to warn the prosecutor that he is in imminent danger of contempt of court. We are – technically – innocent until proven guilty. Unless we are black.

36 ksbhatia September 21, 2015 at 11:52 pm

SSW’ji ; @ 23

Thanks for loading the original Volare song . Yes , it is a pleasure to hear the melody in totality ; more so in the original vinyl form . The originals do get refreshed by many singers in era or decade in which they are popular and adored . Look at the Blue spanish eye ……by Engelbert . Hearing this song is a pleasure . The same song by Elvis may not be that appreciated even by their hard hit fans . I think Dean martin was quite up to the mark on Volare song . Since all these songs were of the 60’s , they were very popular in the various Music Clubs and up high restaurants of CP of new delhi where , in those days , live band ‘ singers, crooners were the attractions. These songs were frequently performed by I I T delhi’s music club in the mid 60’s .

Many thanks for loading Gypsy Kings version as well. With time how the melody get energetic with passing of time . This version really a pleasure to listen to .

Mumbaikar 8;

Well above points will explain my interest in western music of which I am as passionate as our own film music . Whatever a little I know of the western music I owe it to AIR ……Lunch time music , Forces request , A date with you ….etc. I think Sharad Dutt ji will be happy knowing this confession . I will request you to listen the above loaded songs and comment if any their on.

37 ksbhatia September 22, 2015 at 12:43 am

AK’ji ;

So much so on CRand Lata’ji’s ….Aye mere watan ke logo . I remember some more patriotic songs were made during china’s war , which were also promoted by Govt News Agency of that time . These songs were played before the News reel that supplemented the main feature film.

They are ,

1. Awaz do hum ek hain ……. By Rafi and chorus ……Khayyam

2.Watan ki aabroo khatre mein hai…….Rafi…….Naushad

These patriotic songs had so much repetitive values but could not contain or match the emotional tag of Lata’jis song . I think Pradeep’s lyrics scored better and CR’s composition was simple and had a great humming quality . Naushad ‘s big status could not strike big and remained like his any other song ; like Leader’s …. Apni azadi ko hum .

Just for currosity ; is Asha ,at that moment of time , was involved in any patriotic song .? As for me , Saare jahan se acchha hindustan hamara
is the best song rendered by Ashaji.

38 mumbaikar8 September 22, 2015 at 3:14 am

Be it black, brown or yellow, no one would have to resort to invoke Fifth Amendment for refusing to answer some absurd (or not so absurd) test:)
I would not go as far as Shalini but as Sahir had said “गर मेरा फन गुलुकर या मौसिकार की मोहताज हो जाये तो मैं पान की दूकान लगा दूंगा”, makes sense.

Both the patriotic songs, you have mentioned, were (if I am not mistaken) were composed for fund relief rally Hindi film industry had organized after 1965 war,
Most of the film stars were on trucks requesting donations and Rafi was singing live with the procession.
The songs were appreciated and later recorded.

39 Manoj September 22, 2015 at 6:14 am

I am not interested in comparing two sisters LM and AB. Both have given joy to my life.
But I was highly disappointed with LM in end of 1970s and 1980s when she continued “Besura” singing.

40 AK September 22, 2015 at 10:15 am

Welcome to SoY. I agree with you that LM overstayed her welcome. But her decline started around the late 80s.

41 Ravindra Kelkar September 22, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Nice selection of songs & you are right the duets are of better quality than solos for Asha by these tow musical giants. I completely agree with the sentiments expressed by Arunkumarji. I also enjoy any song which is good, irresepective of whether it’s sung by Lata or Asha or Geeta or Shamshad. I am glad that I am able to do that because I would have missed appreciating so many good songs if I had got stuck with any one singer. I get an impression from your various write-ups/comments, that you seem to be not able to appreciate/enjoy a good song if it’s not sung by Lata or Shamshad. I hope, I am wrong because otherwise you will miss so many good songs sung be others.
I know many people, who refuse to look any further than Lata & I think it’s their loss that miss so many great songs sung by other female singers.
About your test, my answer would be No, Yes, No, No & No. If any person answers as Yes to all the five questions, then he is a “fanatic” not “fan”….. Because, I consider myself an Asha fan as well as Lata fan as well as Geeta fan as well as Shamshad fan.

42 AK September 22, 2015 at 2:46 pm

I find that my AB test has raised the hackles of many. At the cost of repetition, may I reiterate that the questions were not ‘designed’, but came out of real-life observations on SoY and elsewhere. There was no slant in them, these were value neutral. The answers would range from all five Ayes to all five No’s to a mix of Y/N, as Ravindra Kelkar and some other readers have replied in such a matter-of-fact manner.

You have an insider knowledge of the American legal system. But I am surprised by your clarification. A judge may pull up the prosecutor for questions like:
1. After murdering the woman, did you drink beer or whiskey?
2. Is gun your favourite weapon for committing murders?
3. Why didn’t you seek psychiatric help for your violent streak?

But I doubt if he would have any problems with a question like, Who is your favourite, Harry Belafonte or Dean Martin?

I hope my above clarification satisfies you.

43 AK September 22, 2015 at 2:50 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
The patriotic songs, too, have to be musically superior for long-term popularity. Aawaz do hum ek hain mentioned by SSW is a great song. One perennial favourite for its musical quality is Vande Mataram. AR Rahman’s version has added another dimension to the song. That shows great music never fails.

Asha Bhosle’s De di humein azadi bina khadg bina bhaal – would you count this.

44 AK September 22, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks for your appreciation. I do have one bias which I do not hesitate to admit – I have something about Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt, and probably I do not rate them as highly, or to be more accurate, I do not like them as much as most people would do. But I must disabuse you of your doubts. I like great songs of every singer, and I have written on all of them.

On the AB test I am happy you have given a straightforward answer. But considering your last sentence, I am slightly embarrassed to own up to my answers. If you don’t condemn me, my answers would be all No.

45 Shalan Lal September 22, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Asha, Test or Tasteless?

I find it difficult to say yes or no on all the five test items. On the contrary I think each song of Asha should be seen and appreciated on its own, looking at the various skills she and her composers have put in it.

Further on her competitors should not have put in that situation as they too should be seen through their individual achievements of the skills to make the song seductive to listen.

Further on the Thokar song was not for the film but a private Najm for the poetry audience but as it was put in the music the success of the song equally depended on the lyric of the poem.

The delicacy of the sound of Talat as a male singer is as poignant as that of Asha’s as a female singer and the composer has both the voices exquisitely well balanced without succumbing to the dominance of either one.

And the above moderation should be seen as the evaluation rather than the Jugalbandi often came into Indian films post Baiju Bawara.

Jugalbandi is interesting only occasionally as the skills of comparable artists would eventually clash with each other and in the minds of entrepreneurs and at the artistic podium in general for a challenge to gather interest and ask for more fees. But it must not be a final judge of the artists or composers. This mars the creative force in the individual and put the audience on the wrong footed in the real appreciation of the creative art and the artists.

Sadly in India there are Juglabandis in many fields of life and success of one, damages the future of the other.

But I am against those readers who argue that AK should not put the above issue in his post. Provoking the audience who otherwise may be docile, unenthusiastic and blasé is one of the primary functions of the posts of any blogger. So praise goes for AK.

Here in a short time so many views and voices are presented and it is not the tower of babbles but a parliament of intelligentsia. I enjoy it very much. AK wins again.

From the first song from “Mere Mehboob” onward we see where Asha and Lata are used by the composers and perhaps the Film directors and producers have given sanction to the secondary significance to Asha and I think musicians should not have done that but then they were under the shadow of Lata Fatwa and the unfair market forces created by the producers. Here the two highly talented artists are performing for the public domain and one is made to look inferior in the Jugalbandi.

In life as well in the history of humanity all over the world a younger person has to wear the used clothes of the elder person. So forever a secondary person is secondary, unless the first person has no skills then the things becomes reverse. It looks the world is not fair and where a male and female come in the play in the family a female suffers more and made to feel and accept the inferior role. Recently British Parliament passed a law not to give in to the male successor in the monarchy if the female is elder in the family.
More over the females in sports and work are demanding equal status in pay and treatment.

However in the Mangeshkar family Hirdaynath seems to have accepted a secondary position. And in that family Lata has been wearing pants (American Word for the trousers while in England the word pants means knickers.) after the death of Dinanath, the father of Mangeshkar Children.

There are many other points I would like to raise which could be social, political and filmy as well. But for the time being this is enough breathtaking!

Shalan Lal

46 SSW September 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Mr. Bhatia the version of “Nel blu dipinto di blu” that I posted is a live performance not vinyl but I know what you mean.

The version by the Gypsy Kings is a completely different interpretation in a different musical style which is why I posted it. I dare say flamenco is one genre where usually extremely sad songs are sung with a very quick rhythm. Something to do with the treatment of gypsies across Europe I guess. The Dom share our genetic material, have immensely enriched European music and yet always been denied equality.

AK I did not mention “Awaz do hum ek hain”, Mr. Bhatia did.

47 SSW September 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm

So I went back to look at the questions that everybody is answering.

“much better”? The bar of sycophancy is set very high by this club of yours.

48 mumbaikar8 September 22, 2015 at 5:48 pm

You need not clarify your questions.
My concern is my liberty:) do I need to invoke Fifth Amendment, if I decide not to answer your set of questions?
The answers to your questions cannot be as closed ended as you want them to be.
I agree with Shalan Lal that being 2nd child Asha was conditioned to be second class. She has all the syndromes of the मँझली, so beautifully described by Gulzar in Namkeen( again if am not mistaken).

49 Ravindra Kelkar September 22, 2015 at 7:48 pm

All “No” as answers is fine, it will not be considered as “fanatic”, but all “Yes” will definitely mean “fanatic” as far as I am concerned. As somebody pointed out earlier, the questions are such that it is almost implied that all answers should be “No”. Only a true blue Lata fan would have posed these questions….so no surprises there.

About the Jugalbandi point raised by Shaliniji, I recall an amusing real incident. As probably you will know, there was a bitter rivalry between Pandit Ravi Shankar & Ustad Vilayat Khan- the two Sitar mastroes. A program was arranged, where Pandit Ravi Shankar was to perform first, followed by Ustad Vilayat Khan. Vilayat Khan told the organisers that he will charge one rupee more than whatever Ravi Shankar is paid. So after Ravi Shankar had given his performance, organisers went to him to make payment. Ravi Shankar told them that he is not going to charge any money, he has performed for free. After Vilayat Khan’s performance was over, the organisers paid him one rupee. Vilayat Khan was astonished…”Only one rupee?”, he asked. The organisers told him that Ravi Shankar has performed for free, so as per your demand, you get one rupee more than him…..

50 AK September 23, 2015 at 5:46 am

Ravindra Kelkar,
I went over your comment again. I had read it in a hurry, and now I see the point that only one extreme has a problem. Coming from you, it is a fair assessment of LM-AB.

Ravi Shankar- Vilayat Khan story is interesting, but it is apparently apocryphal. As an aside, I have heard them live a number of times. I have no knowledge of classical music, but as a listener I liked Ustad Vilayat Khan more, probably because his style of Gayaki Ang.

51 AK September 23, 2015 at 6:07 am

Shalan Lal,
You always raise the discussion to a higher level. Thanks a lot for your detailed comments and your appreciation.

I agree with you on the handicap of being the younger sibling (though in some cases it is the younger who grabs more). However, I have problems with two of your points.

‘Unfair market forces’: In arts, entertainment and sports, as Freakonomics authors show, the market forces are very asymmetric. The top performer gets rewarded in terms of fees and endorsements disprportionately higher, and a very close second might get a small fraction of that. That is the way the economic forces work across the board. The term ‘unfair’ suggests some impropriety.

I have stronger problem with ‘Lata fatwa’, or ‘Sister tax’ as Hans used earlier. That suggests that LM supremacy was because of her tyrannical control over the music scene. This minimises her superiority. Could everyone sucumb to a 25-35 year old person (when she really ruled), if she was like any of her peers or only slightly above them? A fair assessment is that she might have resorted to all that she was accused of, but she was miles ahead regardless.

52 Shalan Lal September 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

“Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo” Forever

Many including AK have commented on the immortal song sung in the honour of the immortal deads. It will come again and again as we are day by day nearing to the Gala Day of India’s seventieth anniversary of the Independence Day. Lata will be rehearsing her voice and praying again and again to her Goddess to restore her voice in the mint condition as the National Event at Delhi will not be complete without her presence.

Hence all the myths and legends, about the song, will be bubbled up to surface for days in the various media.

As this was brought up in this post again and my name was mentioned I would like to make a comment. From the comments I understand that most of the readers have the understanding that the song was going to be great before it was presented in 1963. And also some readers think that the lyric writer had a great clout in deciding who should be singing. This situation does not seem to be logical. And with the knowledge that being a veteran lyric writer, Pradeep still was not invited to the grand occasion and his prestigious state among the lyric writers and filmy world was ignored by the organisers of the programme and neither C.Ramchandra nor HK made any fuss about it, So it seems that he had a very little power at the time to decide who was going to sing the song.

There were many other songs sung in the same occasion but they did not become famous. This song became famous because C.Ramchadra saw it as the composer of the musical might in it and in the presentation of it. The sung song on the occasion was not a solo song of Lata. It had a chorus backing of more than hundred male and female singers behind a huge screen representing the voice of all India. Granted that, Lata did full justice to the melodic structure and also to the feelings in the song, but all was that of C.Ramchandra. He choreographed from beginning to the end. The presentation was a filmy technique and he was in the charge of it as no other filmy expert was helping him for his item.

The raised emotions of all India were at their height of poignancy because the unprepared soldiers fought and died and Ramchandra knew how to use it as a veteran music director of many successful filmy songs. So the way song was presented brought tears to most of the people who were present. There was no doubt that tears were brought in the eyes of Nehru also as it was his folly and incompetent foreign policy and the defence responsibility in the hands of Krishn Menon who spent Military efforts on producing coffee percolator instead of armaments. Those tears could be for both for the song that presented the sacrifices of the brave soldiers and his public apology for his grand failure and a shock of realization that all his 17 years were wasted foolishly. He died following year as a failed leader in the eyes of India and his neighbours as well as in America as there he was made fun on Ed Sullovan’s TV shows, Nehru being a friend of Communist countries who were always being unreliable in their behaviour. Nehru made appeal to America to give him up-to-date arms to defend India. All this contributed to the immense success of the song in the aftermath of the presentation.

With this above understanding I reinstate that the song could have been successful in anybody’s voice and Asha could have easily taken to the same height as Lata has done. But we cannot get away from the conditioning of ourselves that it is Lata only could do it and nobody else. It is our bondage and subjugation to the tradition.

Imagine an actor of Dilip Kumar’s standard who was very deep in delivering dialogues who could just speak out in prose of the lyric of “Aye Mere Watan ke Logo”. The effect would be dynamite as that of the singing of Lata. Sadly at present there is no one of that calibre in the Indian films or stage that I can count on.

Shalan Lal

53 Shalan Lal September 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm


I shall come back to your reference about the use of theword “unfair” in my comment.

I thank Anu W for her undesranding of the state of second or third or last child in thefamily.

Shalan Lal

54 Ravindra Kelkar September 23, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I assure you that the story about Pandit Ravi Shankar & Ustad Vilayat Khan is real & authentic. Personally I enjoy equally listening to both these artists. Sometimes I felt that Ustad Vilaya Khan played the ragas for too long duration, he routinely played one raga for one & half hours, which would become a bit too lengthy.

Shalan Lal,
Your “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo” write-up is superb. I am also, now inclined to believe that the effect produced by it could have been achieved by Asha singing that song also.

55 N Venkataraman September 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for the back-to back posts on Asha Bhosle’s songs with C Ramchandra and Naushad. The selection of duets was enjoyable. Song #6 was new to me; I do not remember hearing it before.

I too decline to take the ABFC test, although it did provoke some interesting discussion. I do believe that it was not intentional. But the comparison between the singing of the two sisters is not called for. I would prefer to sit back and enjoy their songs.
Looking forward to your post on Lata Mangeshkar birthday.

56 AK September 24, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Welcome back again! Thanks for your appreciation. With Manna Dey, I thought #6 would have been up your alley. ABFC test – you are not the only one to refuse to take the test on principled objection.

57 Shalan Lal September 26, 2015 at 4:49 pm

Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo in Sharada’s Voice

Shalini Comments at number 25

Yes why not?

Anu Warrier in 28 says “(And I do take umbrage at your saying that Sharda could have sung it and made it iconic as well. I mean, Sharda! *grin* Have some consideration for my auditory nerves!)

I have a great respect for AnuW for running her own blog and providing another podium for people to talk about the Songs and things. Elsewhere in Soy Blog she also regularly appear and present interesting comments as well and makes us feel that a small number of female voices are present here on their own and this is idyllic.

So when we have such freedom we must argue with each other without any hang-ups about
a singer’s voice. We must try to free ourselves as much as possible and should not carry our own preconceived notion of musicality. I think that is a way forward. See if you like my following elaboration:

Sharada was introduced by Shankar of Shankar Jaikishan brand in the Hindi film’s music world in 1966, with a song “Titli Udi” in Suraj (1966).

She had unique voice at first many filmgoers felt repulsive. But the song survived and became very popular so popular that it competed with the famous song of Rafi, “Baharo Phool Barasao” for the Filmfare award.

Some say her arrival by Shankar was because he had a problem with Lata and Lata fan orchestrated an hostility against Sharada.

Sharada Iyengar came to Hindi film world from Tamil Nadu. Hindi world is famous for mocking the South Indians in the films by creating caricatures in the music and characters.

I think we all should praise Sharda Rajan Iyengar for her bravery. She survived all the “slings and arrows” of Hindi filmwallahs and sang more than sixty songs that have been loved by the music lovers and provided a unique voice. She also became a composer and music director of many films and joined with Usha Khanna and created some good music and helped the Indian unity by joining two extreme opposite geographical and cultural points.

Now about her voice that sounds a bit broad at the receiving end when most of the listeners were conditioned with the moulds of Lata Asha and others. This shows that how narrow was the field of listening of Hindi music. She broke that mould and made the listeners accept her as she was and not allowed herself to confirm with the mould.

In the British pop-rock at the same time there appeared two different voices. Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler both belonged to the Gallic origins. Rod though was born in London of Anglo Scottish parents is a very strong Scottish Nationalist and is in the line of getting a Knighthood soon for his contribution. Bonnie belongs to Wales (Cym-ru) and she too is a strong Welsh patriotic. They both sing in husky voices at one time this kind was not seen as musical. Bonnie had throat operation in her beginning of the singings career. They both have a long list of the top of the pop songs. Both voices are musically rich and the songs they presented are extremely good. One can listen to them on the internet. “Rod Stewart’s song “I’m Sailing Home” is loved by all and some feel it should be a national Song of the UK.
I deliberately mentioned here “ Rod Stewart and Bonnie Tyler both belonged to the Gallic origins.” Because until one hundred years ago “Gallic” or Celtic” culture was deliberately humiliated by the English. They had to struggle hard to regain their identity. The Independent Scotland is part of that movement. Until thirty years the Indian migrants’ English was humiliated by the English on TV shows and otherwise. Then came the political correctness and now it is thought to be uncouth on the part of the English to humiliate Indian accent in the English spoken words.
Shalan Lal.

58 Anu Warrier September 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Ms. Shalan Lal,
Thank you for your kind words regarding my blog, and my appearances on SoY. With all due respect, however, I think I’ll stick to my freedom to not like Sharda’s singing.

My not liking her voice had nothing to do with being conditioned by listening to Lata and Asha. I grew up listening to them, yes, but I was also exposed to Geeta, Shamshad, Noor Jehan, Raj Kumari, and their ilk. And many singers in Malayalam and Tamil. It’s not close minded of me to say that I think Sharda is a not a good singer. It’s a subjective opinion, as is anything to do with music, or indeed, any of the arts.

For the record, I’m South Indian and have protested against the portrayal of South Indians in Hindu films. But if I want to talk of South Indians who made their mark in Hindu film music, I would talk of Vani Jayaram, Yesudas, Chitra, Sujata, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Usha Uthup, et al- any and all of whom are superior singers as compared to Sharda.

59 Shalan Lal September 27, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Anu W @38

Thanks for your comment and explanations of your liking and disliking of the music makers of both sides of the Indian divide.

You certainly have every right to choose your liking and disliking and nobody could take that away from you. But … no. I leave it here as it will be silly of me to go on further.

Shalan Lal

60 Shalan Lal September 27, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Ravindra Kelkar @54

Thank you for your comment. I also enjoy reading your other comments especially the one about Ravi Shamkar and Vilayat Khan. It is in the sytle of Badshaha and Birbal stories of wit and wisdom. Very enjoyable indeed.


61 Nitin December 13, 2015 at 7:36 am

Stumbled upon this site today. My take: I am biased towards AB: as an engineer her voice represents an undulating sinusoidal signal with frequency and phase variations while LM is pure DC. While AC is required to run fans, DC powers your cell phones. Meaning: the occasion demands the voice. No one can match AB’s kaali kaali andhiyari so fast and Tu chupi hai kahan from Navrang, or Dum maaro dum, just like LM’s Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh, or Dard se mera daman bhar de from Jagit Singh’s Sajda cannot be rivalled. To each his/ her opinion.

62 AK December 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Welcome to SoY. You are not alone in having fondness for AB over LM.

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