Chitragupta – Magic Maker with Lata Mangeshkar

August 13, 2010

When I try to compile the most melodious, the most beautiful songs of Lata Mangeshkar, the following songs invariably come to my mind:

Song Film
Kare kare badra ja re ja re badra Bhabhi (1957)
Na to dard gaya na dawa hi mili Kali Topi Lal Rumal (1960)
Sajna sajna kahe bhul gaye re pukar ke Chand Mere Aa Ja (1960)
Rang dil ki dhadkan bhi lati to hogi Patang (1960)
Main hun gori nagin banungi rasiya Nache Nagin Baje Been (1960)
Balma mane na Opera House (1961)
Kajra na dekhe gajra na dekhe Suhag Sindur (1961)
Aaj ki raat naya chand leke ayi hai Shadi (1962)
Dil ka diya jala ke gaya Akashdeep (1965)
Uthegi tumhari nazar dheere dheere Ek Raaz (1969)

All these songs are composed by Chitragupta and they should figure in any list of Lata’s best.

Yet you do not hear of the Lata-Chitragupta hyphenation in the same glowing terms as you hear of Lata-Madan Mohan special tuning or Lata-C Ramchandra special bonding (till it turned sour towards the end), or Ghulam Hyder’s role in discovering and introducing Lata, or Naushad grooming Lata’s voice in the 50’s out of Noorjehan’s mould or Khemchand Prakash’s singular contribution of Ayega Anewala (Mahal 1949), or Lata having the largest number of songs and the most hits with Laxmikant Pyarelal.

There are many more gems Chitragupta composed for Lata such as:

Song Film
Ja aur kahin ro shenai Shaadi (1962)
Phoolon pe nikhar hai Chand Mere Aa Ja (1960)
Chanda mama aare aao bare aao Bhauji (1965)
Tadpaoge tadpa lo Barkha
Dekho paniya bharan ke bahane Kangan (1959)
Muskurao ki ji nahin lagta Kangan (1959)
Daga daga vai vai Kali Topi Lal Rumal (1960)
Dil ko lakh sambhala ji Guest House (1959)
Thandi thandi chale re hawa Guest House (1959)
Tumhi ho mata tumhi pita ho Main Chup Rahungi (1962)
Hae re tere chanchal nainwa Oonche Log (1965)


The Chitragupta-Lata story would not be complete without mentioning Lata’s duets with various singers, composed by Chitragupta. These duets are again incredibly sweet and beautiful and would easily figure among the best of Lata with those singers:

Lata Mangeshkar with Mohammad Rafi

Chali chali re patang meri chali re Bhabhi
Lagi chute na ab to sanam Kali Topi Lala Rumal
Beet gayi hai adhi raat Nache Nagin Baje Been
Chale ho kahan sarkar humein beqarar kar ke Nache Nagin Baje Been
Teri ankhon mein pyar maine dekh liya Chand Mere Aa Ja
Adhi raat ko khanak gaya mera kangna Toofan Mein Pyar Kahan
Gori itna bata tera lagta hai kya(Correction thanks to Sharmaji: It is a Lata-Usha Mangeshkar duet) Toofan Mein Pyar Kahan
Teri duniya se door chale hoke majboor Zabak (1961)
Chand jane kahan kho gaya Main Chup Rahungi
Koi bata de dil hai kahan Main Chup Rahungi

Lata Mangeshkar with Mukesh

Dekho mausam kya bahar hai Opera House
Na milte hum to kaho tum kidhar gaye hote Opere House
Chadhe chanda to tum bhi chale aana Aplam Chaplam (1961)
Teri shokh nazar ka ishara Patang
Ek raat mein do do chand khile Barkha

Lata Mangeshkar with Talat Mahmood

Bagon mein khilte hain phool Suhag Sindoor
Mehlon mein rahnewali dil hai gareeb ka Tel Malish Boot Polish (1961)
Mausam ye pukare Burma Road (1962)

Lata with Kishore Kumar

Machalti hui hawa mein chamcham Ganga ki Lharein (1964)
Chedo na meri zulfein sab log kya kahenge Ganga ki Lahrein
Ajanabi se ban ke karo na kinara Ek Raaz

Lata Mangeshkar with Mahendra Kapur

Aa ja re mere pyar ke rahi Oonche Log
Tumne hansi hi hansi mein kyun dil churaya Ghar Basa ke Dekho

Lata Mangehskar with PV Srinivas

Chanda se hoga vo pyara phoolon se hoga vo Main Bhi Ladki Hun

Lata Mangeshkar with Usha Mangeshkar

Banke piya kaho haan dagabaaz ho Burma Road

Now let us look at some of Chitragupta’s other songs in which Lata Mangeshkar does not feature at all. Chal ud ja re panchi(Bhabhi) would be always counted among Rafi’s greatest. There are some more Rafi solos: Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na tha (Akashdeep), Jaag dile deewana (Oonche Log), Ankhiyan sang ankhiya laagi aaj (Bada Admi 1961). There is a seldom heard but a very pleasant Rafi solo in Barkha – Admi chirag hai, uski chalegi kya chalti hawa ke saamne. Can any list of Mukesh’s songs be complete without Muft hue badnam (Barat).

There is a world of Bhojpuri films where Chitragupta was the undisputed monarch. In fact he defined Bhojpuri film music in the early sixties. Those who lived in Bihar or Eastern UP those days are witness to their mass popularity. Their immense popularity, Chitragupta’s characteristic sweetness and the fact that they were sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Rafi, Talat and Usha Mangeshkar made these songs mainstream. The songs of Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chadaibe (1962) such as Hey ganga maiya tohe piyari chhadaibo(Lata, Usha), More karejwa mein peer (Lata, Usha), Sonawa ke pinjra mein band bhaile (Rafi), Luk chhip kajraa mein, Hum ta khelat rahli ammaji ke godiya and of Lagi Nahi Chute Ram (1963) such as Lal lal othawa se (Talat, Lata), Mori kalaiya sukumar ho (Lata), Ja ja re sugana ja re (Talat, Lata), Rakhiya bandhaa la bhaiya jiya tu lakh barees ho were popular much beyond Bhojpuri region without anyone caring for the distinction.

Then why did Chitragupta remain unheralded, under-rated and grossly unrewarded? He never won a Filmfare award (that the awards in some years were patently perverse is another story for some other time) or the state Padma awards.

The reason perhaps has to do with the sociology of Hindi film world of those days.

For someone who was born as Chitragupta Srivastava (1917) in Karmaini village of Gopalganj district of Bihar and left his job as a lecturer in a Patna college to make a career in music composing, the entry barriers to Bombay film world must have been daunting. He started working as assistant to SN Tripathi, which explains a slew of devotional/ mythological films Chitragupta did. Now most of these films had zero production and creative value. These were essentially meant for the kind of audience who offered flowers, incense and money at the screen when they saw a god making appearance in the film. Some of these films were Shivratri, Balyogi Upmanyu, Gayatri Mahima, Sati Madalasa and Pavanputra Hanuman.

The other kind of films which fell to Chitragupta’s lot was D-grade stunts. The name of some of the films such as Mala the Mighty, Fighting Hero, Stunt Queen, Tigress, Lady Robinhood, Toofan Queen says it all.

It was after struggling for several years that in the fifties he got introduced by SD Burman to a banner of some standing. That was the AVM Productions of South. SD Burman himself was too big for a banner like AVM, and he was familiar with Chitragupta’s work as SN Tripathi’s assistant. AVM and some other studios from South such as Gemini made what were known as clean family drama. These mahaan parivarik films were the ones which youngsters from decent middle class families were allowed to watch. But they remained stuck in-between. They did not have the lovable tramp of Raj Kapur or the tragedy King of Dilip Kumar or the carefree romantic of Dev Anand or the rebellious teaser of Shammi Kapur. They could have a middling Balraj Sahni or an occasional Ashok Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Sunil Dutt or a struggling Dharmendra. Aside from AVM’s Bhabhi, Main Bhi Ladki Hun, Main Chup Rahungi, Barkha for which Chitragupta composed music, his large number of other films had cast such as Sundar, Chandrashekhar, Ajit, Aga, Mahipal, David, Jagdeep, Kumkum etc.

What is amazing is the way Chitragupta’s music rose above his films. The fifties heralded the golden era of film music when hundred of flowers bloomed. The industry was dominated by the big three Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan and SD Burman who were the favourite composers of the three greats Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapur and Dev Anand. Standing alongside them were the two other superstars OP Nayar and C Ramchandra. After the big five the remaining space was occupied by other greats, Madan Mohan, Roshan, Hemant Kumar, Salil Choudhry and Kalyanji Anandji. You still have to reckon with Khayyam, Jaydev, Ravi and several more. That Chitragupta made a mark in this crowd with the kind of films he got and with the background he came from is a testimony to his talent.

Chitragupta now in heaven (died 1991) would be contented that his sons Anand Milind have made a mark for themselves, and at least in one respect done better than him – they have a Filmfare award for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, which eluded him. But what would he make of some of their famous songs such as Dhak dhak karne laga (Beta), Sarkai lo khatiya jada lage (Raja Babu), Tujhko mirchi lagi to main kya karun (Coolie No 1) etc. I would not charge them with denigrating their father’s legacy. It is only a sign that the times have changed, and so has the music. The music of the fifties and sixties are our precious gems which would have remained locked in vaults, but thanks to internet they are now accessible. Chitragupta is one of the greats of that era. If Madan Mohan was King of Ghazals, Naushad, King of classical and OP Nayar, King of rhythm, I have no hesitation in describing Chtragupta as King of Melody right up there along with Roshan, another of my great favourite.

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mani September 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I searched YouTube and listened to each one of the Lataji’s numbers quoted above, since I could not identify the tunes for some of them by name. I think my father quoted someone long long ago before internet and youtube once that Lata had reserved a special sweet voice for Chitragupta that was unique. I had long forgotten him and his songs but your website revived some memories…

But I should say your selection is somewhat biased 🙂 How can you exclude super sweet melodies like Julmi sang Aankh ladi just to mention one, from the all time super sweet list of Lataji’s songs? To me that is the number one in terms of tons of honey and sugar per stanza count…

2 Mani September 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm

I would agree with your comment on the sons. For that matter, most such second generation ones are horrible for the most part, and at best a pale, faded version of their illustrious fathers – RDB included.

3 AK September 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

@Mani: I am sure you would have liked the songs I have listed. As for my bias, Julmi sang aankh ladi is from the film Madhumati, music by Salil Chaudhry. My focus was on the Lata melodies of Chitragupta. If one were to list the top Lata melodies across the board, you would have to include at least 200 songs, which would have a large number from Roshan, Naushad, Madan Mohan and virtually all the known composers including Salil Chaudhry. It may interest you to know that Lata Mangeshkar had herself made a list in 1967 of her 10 best songs, this was topped by a Salil Chaudhry number, O sajna barkha bahar ayee from film Parakh (1960).
I could not agree with you more about the the second generation composers. Rajesh Roshan, though one of the top composers of today, is nowhere near Roshan. Sardar Malik had very small number of films, whereas his son was one of the big three in the 1990s. Yet you just hear Saranga teri yaad mein, Haan deewana hun main (both Mukesh), Piya kaise milun tumse (Rafi and Lata), Koi ghar ayega (Lata), Lagi tumse lagan sathi chhute na (Mukesh and Lata) from the film Saranga; Main gharibon ka dil by Hemant Kumar from Aab-e-Hayat and Ae ghame dil kya karun (Talat) from the film Thokar, and you can see even with a very small body of work he was a giant. It is pointless to even think of comparing Anu Malik with his father.

4 sanjiva September 19, 2010 at 10:56 am

I congratulate you for the extensive research and deep observations. Chitragupta incidentally was one composer who used “ghara” , dholak etc in his music especially Bhojpuri film songs.

May I request you to add a deep analysis of non-flmi songs of yester years, for example Nathli se toota moti re, Tum aao runjhun karti, Ji na sakegi preet kumwari and the rest that still echo in our heart. Most of the composers were Khayyam, Roshan and of course great poetry by Madhukar Rajasthani !!

5 AK September 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

@sanjiva: Thanks for your comments, and the interesting information that Chitragupta used earthen pitcher as one of accompaniments.

I am myself a big fan of the non-filmi songs of 1940s through 60s. The music of that era would not be complete without what was generically called ‘private’ songs – geets and ghazals of Madhukar Rajasthani, Narendra Sharma, Bharat Vyas, and the most famous of the genre Faiyaz Hashmi. Most top playback singers straddled both genres, some such as Talat earned fame before debuting in films with Tasweer teri dil mera bahla na sakegi. KL Saigal became a rage with his first gramophone private record in 1932 Jhulana jhulao ri. If I have to pick just one Pankaj Mallik song it would be Ye ratein ye mausam ye hansana hansaana. Hopefully I would do a detailed article some time. Who can forget timeless melodies of Jagmohan, Juthika Roy, Kamala Jharia, Malika Pukhraj etc.

6 Sanjay Prakash September 21, 2010 at 1:01 am

Very interesting reading.

Though Anand Milind could not live up to the image of their illustrious father, they did compose at least one superb Lata-SP Balasubramaniam duet, “Aake Teri Baahon Mein…Har Shaam Lage Sinduri” in Vansh (1992) which must have made the departed soul proud, as it is easily one of the most melodious duets of the post-80’s era. May give it a try if not heard so far.

7 Sanjay Prakash October 16, 2010 at 3:19 am

@AK: After the well-researched article on the Chitragupta-Lata combination, I am waiting for a piece from you on the Ravi-Asha Bhosle team or may be the OP Nayyar-Asha Bhosle team. Perhaps you may also like to enlighten us with your views on the legendary SJ-Mukesh combo or say, Ravi-Mahendra Kapoor?

8 AK October 18, 2010 at 11:15 am

@Sanjay Prakash:
OP Nayyar-Asha Bhosle, SJ-Mukesh collaboration are quite prolific and commonplace. Asha Bhosle was OP Nayyar’s muse, and post-Geeta Dutt/Shamshad Begum, she was his the female voice. OP Nayyar’s Rafi solo and Rafi-Asha Bhosle duets I do find fascinating. Mukesh as Raj Kapur’s voice and consequently becoming a part of RK-SJ-Hasrat Jaipuri-Shailendra team created a large number of well known super hits. Mukesh with Kalyanji Anandji as juxtaposed to Mukesh-SJ can be an interesting study. Ravi-Mahendra Kapur is interesting, I keep a note of it and would plan to write some time. Hemant-Kumar-Lata duets fascinated me a lot and very soon you may see my write-up on that.

9 Dharm October 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Your Article has elated me.
What a collection of songs!!!
Lata Didi sounds like a river of melting honey!
Such a pleasing arrangement of sounds,
so gratifying and pleasurable!!!

10 AK October 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Thanks a lot for your comments. Lata was beyond words. Chitragupta composed some of her best songs, and I always felt he was under-acclaimed. From the responses to my article, I find many music lovers feel the same way.

11 K R Vaishampayan May 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Hello AK,
Seems, I am too late in finding this website. Thanks a zillion for a highly informative article on CHITRAGUPT. I am too fond of his melodies and was searching his songs high and low. Happy to find them all here.
Honestly, I am too over-awed by your knowledge, taste, research and follow up of Hindi Film Music. Nice to read about Subir Sen [many of today’s generation may not even know his name] or Suman Kalyanpur.
Thanks again. With warm regards and season’s greetings – K R Vaishampayan [alias -KRV]

12 AK May 9, 2011 at 11:30 am

@KR Vaishampayan:
One is never too late. I am happy that you liked my blog. Chitragupta was indeed one of the sweetest and my special favourite. The ocean of Hindi film music is so full of incredible gems I am often overwhelmed how would I be ever able to write on everything that is inside me.

13 Binoy Shanker Prasad February 12, 2012 at 8:38 am

The writing on Chitragupta is very authentic and informative. You are right Chitragupta’s compositions took him way above the familiarity of the movies. One thing I found missing, however, in your essay is his use of Suman Kalyanpur along with other singers particularly for his Bhojpuri movies. First of all, Chitragupta’s compositions of Bhojpuri songs brought this genre to the mainstream — a unique contribution. It’s really very courageous of Chitragupta to have gone beyond Lata and Asha to pick Suman Kalyanpur for these stellar compositions and she did admirably well.
Chitragupta’s courage is worth emulating. It’s amazing he left a safe teaching position for the rough and tumble of an uncertain career in Bombay. He braved a heart attack and a paralytic stroke also and kept composing. People of Bihar have a special place in their heart for him. Unfortunately, no one has emerged as a composer of his stature from the province.

14 Dr Anjan Chatterjee April 10, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Undoubtedly, Chitragupta was an extremely talented music director and was much under rated.He gave his heart and soul plus his gifted talent to each composition- so mellifluous each song was! I am rediscovering Chitragupta through his music now nearly 20 years after he is gone.
Sadly, he was overshadowed by the many high profile music directors of his time but he stood apart. Music lovers know what a storehouse of talent he was.
Was just listening to a song by Lata evidently from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s- Chanda loriyan sunaja –mere lal ko”, that made me remember my bygone days with my own mother singing the lines to make me fall asleep.What a tune? Am not sure of the film?
The great composer however lived to see his able sons rise with the “Quaymat Se Quaymat Tak” fame.

15 Dr Anjan Chatterjee April 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm

The song “chanda loriyan sunaye” referred in my above post is from the film Naya Sansar with Rajinder Krishan’s lyrics. A must for listening by all ChitraGupta fans- this is how an ideal “lori” should be.

16 AK April 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Dr Anjan Chatterjee
Thanks for introducing us to the beautiful Chanda loriyan sunaye. This was new to me. It is amazing the wealth of gems that are hidden.

Chanda loriyan sunaye from Naya Sansar

17 yuvak June 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I am an ardent admirer of Chitragupta. It does not mean I do not enjoy music of other music directors. It is similar to asking a child as to which is his favorite brand of chocolates. In the same way I love Chitragupta but at the same time I love others too.

18 Dr Virendra Singh Godhara June 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

Highly talented Chitragupta was another victim of fate in filmdom. Article and comments thereupon werewell written. I approve of Lata numbers mentioned, nevertheless find the list incomplete without “Jeenewale jhoomke mastana hoke jee…” written by Sahir Ludhiyanvi and filmed on Helen in ‘Vasana’.

19 n.venkataraman September 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Your article and observations on Chitragupta – Lata Mangeshkar made a good reading. His compositions were melodious. I am hearing some of the songs after many years. The song “Muskurao ke ji nahi lagta’ was wonderful. Lata Mageshkar’s duet songs were equally good, especially the duets with Md. Rafi and Talat Mahmood. Rafi weaves his own magic in the song “Laagi chute na ab to sanam”.

20 AK October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

Thanks. Chitragupta is my favourite. Not only with Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, but also with many other singers he gave some everlasting songs. I thnik that the field was too crowded, and so many outstanding composers did not get their due recognition.

21 K R Vaishampayan October 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Hello AK ! You are spot on as usual. Chitragupta was a great composer. He gave hits with all singers. Take Kishore Kumar for that matter. He sang many a hit under Chitragupta. Thanks and regards – KRV

22 AK October 1, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Welcome back after a long gap. Hope you are going to be regular now. Thanks for your kind words.

23 Raj Sharma February 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

Chitragupt must be turning up in his grave on the success of his sons, for that matter we will have to appreciate Rajesh Roshan who has rather not played to the galleries.

24 Srikant June 15, 2013 at 2:06 am

Will be presenting soon a program on un sung heroes on radio zindagi 1550 AM – Bay Area . I will feature this artist ‘ChitraGupt’


My program archives are found here

25 AM July 6, 2013 at 7:27 am

Guest House (1959) was a musical bonanza. Apart from the two listed songs, another Lata solo from this film is worth-mentioning, viz. Tera jadoo na chalega o sapere. To add to this, there is this fabulous Geeta Dutt solo, which is sung in her usual style of unrestrained exuberance. This is a catchy, foot-tapping, East-West fusion tune – Humne seekha pyaar mein.

No Chitragupta list can be deemed complete without the inclusion of this masterpiece from an obscure movie called Rocket Girl (1962), Na jaane chaand kaisa hoga, a glorious Mukesh – Kamal Barot duet. The same singing duo has also given us Jab se hum tum bahaaron mein from Main Shaadi Karne Chala (1962), which is a twin song and has a Rafi-Suman version too.

From Barkha (1959), check out this lilting Rafi-Lata duet – Woh door jo nadiya behti hai & enjoy the melodious Pyaar kiya nahin jaata ho jaata hai meri jaan.

This one is specially for you AK (and all the Talat fans out there) – be delighted with this enchanting duet from Insaaf (1956) – Do dil dhadak rahe hain aur aawaaz ek hai.

Other notable songs that spring to mind:

Jaadoo bhari ye chaandni yeh pyaar ka sama Madam XYZ (1959)
Chhupaa kar meri ankhon ko Bhabhi (1957)
Har phool mein masti hai rangeen hai mausam Maya Bazaar (1958)
Itna to bata de ae dil tu aaj kahaan takraaya Zimbo Comes To Town (1960)
Mausam bada rangeela dil bhi to hai nasheela Zimbo Comes To Town (1960)
Paayal waali dekhna yahin pe kahin dil hai Ek Raaz (1963)
Bahut haseen hain tumhaari aankhen Aadhi Raat Ke Baad (1965)
Yeh parbaton ke daayre yeh shaam kaa dhuaan Vaasna (1968)
Itni naazuk naa bano haaye itni naazuk naa bano Vaasna (1968)
Machalti huyi hawa mein chham chham Ganga Ki Lahren (1964)
O teri aankhon mein pyaar maine dekh liya Chaand Mere Aaja (1960)
Qadam qadam pe bahaaren lutaata Madam XYZ (1959)
Jaa re jaadugar dekhi teri jaadugari Bhabhi (1957)
Dil lagaana tu kya jaane la hamaara dil Commander (1959)
O mast nazar waale hum hain tere matwaale Commander (1959)

Nearly all songs of Bhabhi (1957), Kali Topi Laal Rumaal (1959) & Main Chup Rahungi (1962) and most songs of Barkha (1959) and Guest House (1959) are fit to be included in a list of this kind.

26 AK July 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Long time! Several of the songs mentioned by you have figured in different themes and categories. For example Na jane chand kaisa hoga and Jabse hum tum baharon mein are included in my article on Kamal Barot; Wo door jo nadiya nahti hai is an absolutely beautiful duet, which I have included in my comment #32 in the post on Songs of River; Teri ankhon mein pyar maine dekh liya I have included in the Ten best duets of Rafi-Lata Mangeshkar. You have added several more Chitragupta gems, some of which I have to rediscover.

It is very gratifying to know that Chitragupta has so many admirers. I thought I was in a minority to hold him in such great esteem.

27 Virendra Singh Godhara August 13, 2013 at 1:20 am

Although I have commented earlier also on this article, after a long time I again feel need of mentioning one more of Lata song composed by Chitragupta, “Mera dil bahaaron ka woh phool hai, jise gulsitaan ki nazar lag gayi hai..” I am enclosing the link, please listen,

28 AK August 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

Thanks a lot for this important and interesting addition. The tune is very uncharacteristic of Chitragupta, I do not think he has created too many piano songs. We often talk of Suman Kalyanpur’s voice having resemblance to Lata Mangeshkar; I had a very funny feeling that in this song Lata Mangeshkar is sounding like Suman Kalyanpur! Another interesting thought that crossed my mind is that its tune gives you a feeling that it represents a genre used by several composers in several songs. I do not know whether I am imagining things. Would look forward to comments by knowledgeable people.

29 Hans August 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm


I agree with you that Lata is singing in this song in the voice of Suman Kalyanpur. That was her way of registering in the minds of MDs using Suman that Lata is Lata. I have listened quite a few songs where Lata sang in Suman’s voice. I will give a couple of samples.

‘Balma hansoge kaise nahin’ from Ramu Dada.

The same film has another gem of a duet, though her voice is not like Suman here.

‘Dal bhi de palkon ki chhaon’

Now listen to a song from another lesser known film Samson and you will think Mahendra Kapoor and Suman Kalyanpur are singing, though they are Chitragupta favourites Rafi and Lata. The song is ‘ik baat hai kehne ki’. This song follows the tune of his earlier creation ‘tumse kuchh kehna hai’ from Guest House. This song you have forgotten to include in the list of Lata-Mukesh duets in the main article.

There is also another great Lata-Mukesh duet which you have not included in your list. You will surely remember it when I name it, it is so well known. The film is Zabak, which is more known for ‘teri duniya se door’, so much so that they have become synonyms to each other. The song is ‘mehlon ne loot liya bachpan ka pyar mera’.

30 AK August 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Thanks a lot for the wonderful additions. That Rafi-Lata duet in the ‘voice’ of Mahendra Kapoor-Suman Kalyanpur is very interesting. I was very hesitant in mentioning Suman Kalyanpur similarity in Mera dil baharon ka wo phool hai, but it is clear I am not the only one, and there are several songs of the type. You have also given its ‘motive’. I would not go that far. It is just a curious phenomenon. And it must be flattering to Suman Kalyanpur.

Thanks for refreshing the memory of Mukesh-Lata duet Mahlon ne chheen liya bachpan ka pyar mera in Zabak. We tend to forget it before Teri duniya se door

31 Dnyaneshwar Bhagat December 21, 2013 at 10:05 am

Honourable Chitragupta a great MELODY Maker in Films is unforgettable to all who are real music lovers.Salute to such great Master of Music of 50-70.

32 Pradeep January 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for an article on Chitragupta.

Scanning through the responses, I came across a link to ‘Chanda Loriya Sunaye’. I had never heard this song before, but the tune of its mukhda is familiar. It is the same tune of the immensely popular Gujerati song “Tari aank Ni Afini” composed (and I believe also sung) by Chitragupta’s assistant, D. Dilip (Dilip Dholakia).

I am not sure which of these songs made its appearance first.

Please note it is not my intention to start debates on who ‘stole’ whose composition, or who was the ‘original’ composer of that mukhda tune. We are know such improvisations happen and personally I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

I have great respect for both the individuals involved– Chitragupta and D. Dilip (who produced sciltillating compositions as an independent MD for ‘Private Secretary’).

By the way, it will be useful if you could also include, in each such article, ancillary information on their arrangers, and their known contributions in shaping the music of these composers. Going beyond this, references to lead musicians who played for these composers would complete the picture.

For example, I am always curious who would have played tabla for Chitragupta’s wondrous mujra song ‘Main Sadke Jaaoon?’. Also quite some of his songs had mandolin interludes. Who played them?

33 AK February 1, 2014 at 9:17 am

You are welcome to the Songs of Yore.

You are right, Tara ankh na afini is sung by Dilip Dholakia, who had been assistant to Chitragupta. Since this was sung in the 1950 film Divadandi, Chanda loriya is inspired by it. I entirely agree with you, the inspired songs are sometimes great songs in their own right, but this one seems to be a direct copy, therefore, credit must be given to the Ajit Merchant original.

You might be aware, Ajit Merchant reused this tune in 1961 in another song:

Raat ne gesu bikharaye by Manna Dey and Suman Kalyanpur from Sapera

(The above has earlier come in for discussion in the series on Multiple Version Songs: Hindi-Gujarati.)

It would be really nice if we could acknowledge the accompanists, the arrangers, and discuss the instrumental music. The problem is that information is generally not available, except the very famous ones like Pannalal Ghosh’s flute in Main piya teri tu mane ya na mane, or Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai in Goonj Uthi Shehnai and so on. Songs of Yore would be very enriched if some knowledgeable person could write a guest series on this subject.

34 arvindersharma May 24, 2014 at 12:47 am

As far as my thinking goes, in her career, when she established herself as the no. one female singer of the Hindi filmdom, Lata, who now had a standing of her own, gave preferential treatment to two composers, namely Madan Mohan and Chitragupta.

One gave her a different dimension in singing through his unique ghazal style songs, and the other by an extra dose of melody in his compositions.

You are very right when you say that as far as melody is concerned, Roshan and Chitragupta have given HFM the best.
One song which should have belonged to your list above is,
Mere dil kabhi to koi aayega from ‘Main Chip Rahungi’.
Lata literally floats with the tune of the song.

Other songs worth mentioning are as under

Diwane tum, diwane hum from ‘Bezuban’
Chalo jhoomte sar pe bandhe kafan from ‘Kabuli Khan’
Dar dar Ki thokron from ‘Mera Qusoor Kya Hai’
Pyase hue nain, sulag gayi shaam from ‘Afsana’.

Some duets as under,

Gori odh ke malmal nikli with Rafi from ‘Kali Topi Lal Rumal’
Baat takat jab thak gaye naina (a classical gem) with Manna De from ‘Tel Maalish Boot Polish’
Bimar e Mohabbat ka itna sa fasana hai’ with Hemant from ‘Teesri Gali’
Suniye Jana, kya pyar me sharmana with Mahendra Kapoor from ‘Aakashdeep’ (my favourite) and
Jao rasiya hato jao rasiya with Usha Mangeshkar from ‘Kal Hamara Hai’.

Incidentally, in your list above, another duet with Usha, ‘Gori itna Bata’ has been erroneously listed in the duets with Rafi.

Now I’ll list some typical Chitragupta/Lata songs, not heard commonly, where this composer is easily identifiable by his melody.
Kuch meri nazar madhosh hai from ‘Madam XYZ’
Ho raja sainya, aati hun main bhi ruk Jana from ‘Nache Nagin Baje Been’
Sainya hai hai hai tere gaon me from ‘Opera House’
Kajra Na dekhe, gajra Na dekhe from ‘Suhag Sindoor’
Ab na chupo re chhaliya from ‘Kingkong’.

In the end, I can’t resist myself from mentioning a bhajan (?) composed by Chitragupta and sung in his own voice,
Bhagwan tujhe main khat likhta, par tera pata maloom nahi from ‘Manchala’.
(Did the film ‘Oh My God’ take some inspiration from this ‘Pradeep’ style bhajan ?)

35 Anil Kane May 26, 2014 at 1:28 am

AK ji,
I would like to add a few Lata solos and duets composed by Chitragupta.

Solo songs:
1. Poochoongi ek din pichhale pehar main – Barkha
2.Jaa re jadugar dekhi teri jadugari – Bhabhi
3. Jane kaisa chhane laga nasha – Zabak
4. Mile toh phir jhuke nahin nazar – Akashdeep

5. Kali ek tumse poochhoon baat – with Rafi-Sakshi Gopal
6. Woh chand chamka – with Mukesh – Son Of Sindbad
7.Zara sambhaliye adaayen aapki – with Mahendra Kapoor – Bada Aadmi
8. Naghma e dil ko chhedkar – with Kishor Kumar – Ek Raaz

36 Anil Kane May 26, 2014 at 1:46 am

AK ji,
A rare combination, that of Shamshad Begum and Rafi was used by Chitragupta in ‘ Sindbad The Sailor ‘ (1952) for two duets.

One of the two is an all-time classic: ‘ Ada se jhoomte huye, dilon ko choomte huye, yeh kaun muskura diya ‘

I thought of sharing this with you.

37 AK May 28, 2014 at 10:12 am

I am coming to your comments after some delay as I was travelling, and I wanted to listen to all the songs you have added carefully. When I started getting hooked to old film songs, melody and sweetness for me was synonymous with Chitragupta-Lata Mangeshkar. You have added some which were new to me, but they are equally gorgeous all the same. My pick from your list are the following two.

Jaao rasiya hato jaao rasiya by Lata Mangehskar and Usha Mangeshkar from Kal Hamara Hai (1959), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri

In the same genre of fast melodious dancing song is Kajra na dekhe gajra na dekhe, which I have included in my list in the first part of the article, with its hyperlink.

Ab na chhupo re chhaliya by Lata Mangeshkar from King Kong (1962), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri

Does it remind you of Kahaan se aaye badra from Chashme Baddoor? So Chitragupta made classical based compositions also very lilting and accessible. A site mentions that it is based on Raga Megh, but I am sure there are shades of some other Ragas, and we would have to wait for experts’ comments.

Till yesterday I would have bet my life that Gori itna bata tera lagta hai kya is a Rafi-Lata duet. I still can’t believe that it is not. It is surprising how some erroneous memories get deeply embedded. Fortunately, we have a small clip on the YT. Thanks for the correction.

38 AK May 28, 2014 at 10:27 am

Anil Kane,
Thanks a lot for adding those Chitragupta beauties. Besides quintessential Chitragupta, you have also added an atypical Chitragupta song which is absolutely melodious and all-time classic. It is clearly inspired from Husnlal-Bhagatram’s Abhi to main jawaan hun from Afsana, down to the couple’s dancing. But I quite welcome creative adaptations.

Ada se jhoomte hue dilon ko choomte huye by Rafi and Shamshad Begum from Sindbaad The Sailor (1962), lyrics Ajum Jaipuri

39 arvindersharma May 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm

AK Ji,
Thanks for your comments.
Surely, these days you seem to be more preoccupied as the number of posts is increasing day by day and SoY fraternity benefitting from it.
(Your preoccupation with your own work excluded).
I myself had this post with me since last one month, but my own fascination towards the new articles, and venturing into some hitherto unknown but very fascinating arenas of music (thanks to SoY) delayed it.
You are absolutely right about the similarity of the ‘mukhadas’ of the two songs, ‘Ab na chupo’ and ‘Kahan se aaye’.
Lastly, Anil Kane Ji,
thanks for the lovely song,
‘Ada se jhoomte huye’.
Heard it after a long time

40 arvindersharma June 20, 2014 at 4:38 pm

A K Ji,
A song which was in my mind, but eluded my collection for a long time,
Pihu pihu papihe na bol by lata from film ‘Holiday in Bombay’
and one evergreen sad song in two parts by Rafi, film ‘Barkha’ ‘Sur badle kaise kaise dekho, qismat ki shehnai’, are two songs, which I feel deserve a mention amongst memorable Chitragupta songs.

41 arvindersharma June 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Sur badle kaise kasie dekho (Muhammad Rafi):
Both the songs mentioned in the post above are here.

42 AK June 25, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Thanks a lo for these two songs.

43 Hans August 5, 2014 at 9:48 pm

This is with reference to Arvinder Sharma’s comment no. 34, where he says that Lata gave preferential treatment to Madan Mohan and Chitragupta.

I dont know how much that is true with reference to Chitragupta, but she did not sing for Chitragupta for nearly 10 years and Asha was doing the bulk of female singing for him. Chitragupta was always willing to use her which is evident from the amount of songs he gave to her after she started singing for her. But, after the stupendous success of Tulsidas in 1954, she put aside her resolve of not singing for him. Her first film with him was Shiv Bhakta (1955). After the success of Bhabhi she took exclusive rights and Asha, who was the queen of Chitragupta recording room, had to cool her heels as she did not get even a single song for 4 years from 1960 to 1963. Later when Chitragupta’s demand at the box-office dwindled in the later years, she started to be selective and Asha’s share increased.

Chitragupta was one of the two most hard-working MDs who tried to do justice to each of the songs irrespective of the banner for which they were working. The other being Ravi.

Here are some songs from the first film where Lata-Chitragupta partnership started. ‘Kahan jake ye naina lade’ ‘Dekhoji mere aur’ And for the classical minded ‘Kailashnath prabhu avinashi’

44 AK August 5, 2014 at 10:54 pm

You have linked three beautiful songs, the classical-based one is too good. Their very first partnership shows they were set to scale greater heights. I don’t know whether Lata Mangeshkar adequately acknowledged Chitragupta’s contribution, but to me, and I believe to many lovers of old film songs, Lata’s some of the sweetest songs are composed by him.

45 arvindersharma August 5, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Hans Ji,
My opinion about Lata’s preferential treatment was purely personal and I feel very strongly that it is reflected in the songs they have created together.
I respect your statistical as well as your deep knowledge of HFM and am open to be corrected when I err.
We all gain our knowledge in course of time and through experience, and times, we are bound to make observations on the basis of this.
I share AK ji’s views on the song ‘Kailashnath Prabhu avinashi’.
The first song, ‘Kahan jaake ye naina lade’ is very melodious and again in my view, is reflective of C Ramchandra style. ‘Shyamal shyamal badan’ immediately came to my mind.
Thanks for your knowledgeable inputs.

46 Hans August 6, 2014 at 1:48 am


I have seen you wrote somewhere that Lata sang for Chitragupta in extra sweet voice and I agree with that. They certainly made up for the late start. As the songs in this article and the comments suggest, they both created so many sweet solos and duets. Lata-Rafi and Lata-Mukesh duets by Chitragupta just mesmerize you.

47 Hans August 6, 2014 at 2:09 am


I do not write anything to show the errors of others. Most of the people genuinely believe what they write and that should be so. And actually, there are so many myths circulating regarding Hindi film industry, that people believe in them and have taken them as truths. Wherever I feel differently, I say so. But, I never underrate the others and I have seen you have a deep knowledge of music.

And believing does not mean it is your error. And in Chitragupta’s case it is more so because in his earlier years in HFM he was relatively lesser known despite his great music as there were a number of great MDs. He became famous with Tulsidas and Lata stepped in and after her coming there was such a flurry of melodies that people forgot that Chitragupta was composing from 1946. Do you believe that despite her late entry Chitagupta composed 238 songs for her out of which 149 were solos. That number would have been much more if Lata had not restricted her singing for him in the last 8-10 years. Very few MDs have composed more songs for her.

48 arvindersharma August 6, 2014 at 9:57 am

Hans Ji,
I have always believed in expressing my opinion, and especially if it is HFM, I do not hesitate anywhere. Since my childhood, I have this habit of bluntly correcting the mistakes of those dear to me as well as people, whom I find, will take the criticism in the right spirit, and the same principal, I apply on myself.
It was your expression of opinion based upon your knowledge of Chitragupta’s early years, of which I was not aware.
Believe me, I am rather happy with the addition to my knowledge.
Thanks once again for your comments.

49 mumbaikar8 August 6, 2014 at 5:46 pm

Chitragupta is one of the few MDs for whom Lata has sung for B grades movies.
Can you imagine these beautiful songs from a B grade movie like Madam X Y Z
The solo sheer delight and the Lata Rafi duet can be a contender for AK’s Lata Rafi best duets?

50 AK August 6, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I liked the first one Ye jaadugari enormously. I always held as one of the most melodious composers for Lata Mangeshkar. His Rafi songs are also in the top league. And the same holds for Rafi-Lata duets. Long back a did a post on ten best Rafi-Lata duets, and you can bet I included a Chitragupta composition, Teri ankhon mein yar maine dekh liya.

51 Hans August 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm


Thanks for the post. I am glad to find that you have views similar to me in the matter. You must have noticed that I give my views quite frankly, and believe me I never keep a grudge against anyone. AK also has a similar approach, that is why this site has attracted so many quality contributors. We all can mutually benefit by sharing whatever we know.

52 mumbaikar8 August 10, 2014 at 5:25 pm

For the first time I have come across a feature on the unsung heroes you are talking about, in comment # 33. It is certainly worth a watch, if you have not watched it.

53 Ravindra Kelkar May 1, 2015 at 2:22 pm

AK ji,
Just read this post. I agree with you that Chitragupta was a very talented MD & gave many wonderful tunes, as listed by you in your post & in various comments. I enjoyed them immensely
In your post you have equated Kalyanji-Ananadji with Madan Mohan, Roshan, Hemant Kumar & Salil Choudhary. Do you really believe KA to be equal to these 4 stalwarts? I personnaly rate KA as very ordinary compared to these four MDs. Also they were not very active in the period 1955 to 1965, please correct me if I am wrong.

54 AK May 1, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
They debuted in 1959 with Samrat Chandragupta (initially the elder brother came solo as Kalyanji Virji Shah, a couple of films later his brother Anandji joined to make the duo, but I am not distinguishing between them), and started giving outstanding scores right away. Their films like Bedard Zamana Kya Jaane, Post Box 999, Satta Baazar, Madaari, Chhalia etc belong to 1959-61, all with top quality music with different singers. Post-Himalay Ki Gode Mein their success is well-known.

As for the comparison with other composers you have mentioned, I am not a music expert, and I doubt if even experts would venture into this. For me, it suffices that during this period they gave a number of landmark songs. Their talent lies in completely adapting their music to the new trends in post-Aradhana phase, to emerge among the top three. From Chaand si mehbooba ho meri kab to Khaike paan Banaraswala is a journey their more famous contemporaries could not traverse.

55 Bhagyashri Deo January 30, 2016 at 2:53 pm

I am also an ardent fan of shri.Chitragupt ji.
I love the song “sazishe thi mere mitaneki ”
But unfortunately I don’t know the name of the film.Will you me to find the song?The only lyrics I remember from that song are”tha yahaa bhi to julfe ka Saya
Kya zaroori thi door janeki”
“Aapki berukhi ka kya kahena
Yaad ane ki na bhool jane ki”.
Please help me to find that song!

56 AK January 30, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Welcome to SoY. You are looking for this song:

Saazishein thi mere mitaane ki by Lata Mnageshkar from Mera Qasoor Kya hai (1964), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Chiragupt

57 Rakesh Srivastava January 31, 2016 at 9:21 am

AK Ji,Very nice post.Loved it. Would like to add few songs of my choice to the prized collection:
1-Ganga-Kanha Tori Bansi Ke-Lata-Shailendra-1965
2-Samson-Hum To Kharab Hue Sanam Teri Matwaali Ankhon Se-Lata & Usha-Majrooh-1964
3-Navratri-Baharen Aayengi-Asha & Rafi-G S Nepali-1955
4-Ghar Basa Ke Dekho-Aye Mere Pyar Bata-Lata & Mahendra Kapoor-Rajinder Krishan-Chitragupta-1963
Would like to be corrected if -Ja Aur Kahin Ro Shehnai was from 1962 film Shadi and not from Kali Topi Lal Rumal.

58 AK January 31, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Rakesh Srivastava,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I would have to listen to the songs you have mentioned again to refresh my memory. You are absolutely right, Ja aur kahin ro shehnai is from Shaadi. Thanks for the correction.

59 Binoy Shanker Prasad January 31, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Thanks to Deo-ji and AK for bringing “Saazishein thi mere..” to our notice. This tells us how many gems of Chitragupta and Rajendra Kishan are buried under the sand of time.

60 AK February 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Rakesh Srivastava,
I am coming back after listening to the songs you have added. Ae mere pyar bata was new to me. Was not too thrilled by the song. But Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet Bahaarein aayengi is magical. Thanks for refreshing its memory. Kanha tori bansi ke from Ganga was a kind of stock tune Chitragupta used in several songs in Bhojpuri films. A very melodious song in that style is Rakhiya bandha la bhaiya from Laagi Naahi Chhoote Ram.

61 Mohan Pujar August 17, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Yes. Indeed, it is a great collection of songs of Lataji with inimitable composer, Chitragupta. When I listened to “Hai re tere chanchal nainwa…”, I became ecstatic. What an unparalleled melody to evoke such ethereal feelings. As the author of this article said aptly, Chitragupta remained unheralded and unrewarded. But, yes, a whole lot of his fans keep him respectfully alive in their memories for his incomparable contribution!!!

62 AK August 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Mohan Pujar,
Welcome to SoY and thanks for sharing our admiration for Chitragupta.

63 Naresh Kariwala May 3, 2017 at 6:27 pm

After reading the entire article , & comments, just realised that we have forgotten an absolute gem from Toofan mein pyaar Kahaan . A Rafi solo – Itni badi duniya jahaan itna bada mela, Magar mein, (hhh hhh hhh) kitnaa akela, kitnaa akela. The best part about this song which i liked is the insertion of hhh hhh hhh by Rafi saab , signifying his helplessness.

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