My tribute on his birthday December 11
I had no plans of doing this post as it is not even a week since I did my last one. I need about two weeks to organise my thoughts and squeeze bits of time to write a piece. Secondly, my focus is on songs, their themes, singers and music directors, and not so much actors. The only time I have titled a piece on an actor – Raj Kapoor – was about several playback singers, other than the known ones Mukesh and Manna Dey, who sang for him – some of whom were quite a surprise discovery.
Then I happened to watch on DD a special edition of Rangoli yesterday dedicated to Dilip Kumar on his 89th birthday. What was interesting to me was some songs on Dilip Kumar were by singers not associated with him. That set me thinking, since Dilip Kumar lasted much longer than Raj Kapoor did he have more singers give playback for him than Raj Kapoor? So this post is my birthday greetings (born December 11, 1922) to him trying to locate many voices of Dilip Kumar.
For Raj Kapoor the total tally discovered on my blog is nine voices:
2. Manna Dey
3. Talat Mahmood
4. Mohammad Rafi
5. Kishore Kumar
6. Shankar Dasgupta
7. Hemant Kumar
8. C Ramchandra
9. Raj Kapoor himself
Let us see how many we find for Dilip Kumar.
Dilip Kumar and Rafi: Aan (1952)
If Mukesh was the voice of Raj Kapoor, Rafi was the voice of Dilip Kumar. From a large number of eternal songs, I choose a less heard one which is one reason for its special attraction to me. The song had to be a Naushad composition. The haughty princess Nadira develops a strange love-hate feeling for the commoner but proud and righteous Dilip Kumar whose surrender she seeks. The flamboyant Dilip Kumar would have her at his own terms, which also lands him in prison. But this does not prevent him from singing this romantic song. His regular buddy Mukri is also at hand to relieve the gloom with his cute dancing. The song filters to the palace where in a quirky scene the princess is shown soaping her face helped by her maid, by now on to her secret feelings, swaying to the song. The princess is later writhing in agony in her bed when the maid gingerly walks in with a knowing smile. The video does not give the full song, so I also attach the audio version.
Mohabbat choome jinke haath from Aan (video), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
Mohabbat choome jinke haath from Aan (audio)
Mohabbat choome jinke haath from Aan (Hemant Kumar version)
You can trust YouTube to come up with unknown gems. It seems a Hemant Kumar version was also recorded which was obviously not used in the film.
Dilip Kumar and Talat Mahmood: Devdas (1955)
Come to think of it, Talat Mahmood should have been known as the voice of Dilip Kumar – pathos in Talat’s voice fitting the Tragedy King like a T. Naushad had great success with Talat Mahmood for Dilip Kumar in Babul. It is surprising he did not repeat him though several other composers, such as Anil Biswas (Aarzoo, Tarana), Sajjad Husain (Sangdil), Shankar Jaikishan (Daag, Shikast) and Khayyam (Footpath) used Talat Mahmood for him. Again from several gems it is difficult to choose one. Here is my special favourite from Devdas, which has become a metaphor of doomed love leading to destruction. Sahir Ludhiyanvi’s poetry, the stillness of surroundings, sadness on Suchitra’s face, Dilip Kumar’s expression, Talat’s voice and Bimal Roy’s direction, who had been himself a renowned cinematographer with the New Theatres, combine to create this masterpiece.
Mitwa nahi aye lagi ye kaisi anbujh aag re from Devdas, lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music SD Burman
Dilip Kumar and Mukesh: Andaaz (1949)
Several composers used Mukesh for Dilip Kumar such as Salil chaudhry (Madhumati) and Shankar Jaikishan (Yahudi). But the ultimate has to be Andaaz (1949), which has four Mukesh solos for Dilip Kumar, each of which is a legend (and a fifth unreleased one). In a strange irony this film had inconsequential Rafi songs for Raj Kapoor. I choose Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj, which must be one of the grandest party songs. Dilip Kumar now knows his love interest Nargis is engaged to be married to Raj Kapoor, which is reflected in the sadness of his face, though singing a party-dancing song. Nargis did not see any contradiction in being a faithful wife to Raj Kapoor and friends with Dilip Kumar, without realising her inexorable attraction towards Dilip Kumar would make her very ambivalent about her feelings, and would arouse violent jealousy in Raj Kapoor with tragic consequences. Raj Kapoor realises something is afoot. And since it is an occasion for celebration, Cuckoo, the party dancer par excellence dances with gay abandon. Beautiful!
Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj from Andaaz, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad
Dilip Kumar and Chitalkar: Azaad (1955)
SMS Naidu of Pakshiraj Studios of Madras having completed the Tamil version, wanted to utilise the same sets and produce a quickie Hindi version. The genius C Ramchandra was engaged as the music director, who had the reputation to create a score in a month which Naushad would do in a year. Dilip Kumar wanted Talat Mahmood to sing for him. He was very busy those days, so instead of delaying the project, C Ramchandra offered to sing like Talat and no one would know the difference. Dilip Kumar, of course, was mightily impressed with the result. As a matter of fact, for many years in my college days I thought this song was sung by Talat.
Kitna hassen hai mausam by Chitalkar with Lata Mangeshkar from Azaad, lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music C Ramchandra
Dilip Kumar for Dilip Kumar: Musafir (1957)
I come to know only recently about this song which was said to be the first and last song Dilip Kumar sang for himself. It seems, having started in the generation of actor-singers and having been professionally trained in music, he always had the desire to be a singer. But his desire was overtaken by the trend in the film industry which was now dominated by independent playback singers. He got his desire fulfilled in this film. There is a story that this also led to some rift with Lata Mangeshkar, because she did not give any allowance for the fact that Dilip Kumar was not a professional singer, and he carried the feeling that she wanted to rub it in that he was no match to her. I do not care because I find Dilip Kumar’s voice extremely melodious, and it is sad that he gave up any efforts to sing after this song.
Lagi nahi chute Ram chahe jiya jaye by Dilip Kumar with Lata Mangeshkar from Musafir (1957), music Salil Chaudhry
I so far knew that this was the only song Dilip Kumar sang for himself in films. Doordarshan mentioned as if Har karam apna karenge from Karma was also sung by him. I do not know if they meant only the prelude of the song which is more like prose or the full song.
Dilip Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor: Gopi (1970)
By now Naushad had faded. Kalyanji had emerged as one of the big three with RD Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal. His favourite around that time was Mahendra Kapoor with some huge successes for Manoj Kumar in Upkar and Purab Aur Pachhim. So even when Rafi was around, you have this odd combination of Mahendra Kapoor singing Dilip Kumar. Let me add I find this song quite pleasant.
Ramchandra kah gaye siya se by Mahendra Kapoor from Gopi (1970), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Kalyanji Anandji
Dilip Kumar and Kishore Kumar: Sagina (1974)
The baton has passed on to the new generation; Kishore Kumar was the new Rafi. Even though SD Burman was from old generation, he was always fond of Kishore Kumar, giving him equal importance with Rafi for Dev Anand. Now for Dilip Kumar for whom he had used Talat Mahmood in Devdas, he had no hesitation in using Kishore Kumar in this fun song
Sala main to sahib ban gaya by Kishore Kumar from Sagina, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music SD Burman
Dilip Kumar and Anwar: Vidhata (1982)
In this Subhash Ghai blockbuster two buddies Shammi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar have argument, one giving primacy to fate, the other arguing for the supremacy of one’s endeavour. Anwar, who came as a carbon copy of Rafi, gave playback for Dilip Kumar.
Hathon ki chand lakeeron ka by Anwar with Suresh Wadkar from Vidhata (1982), lyrics Anand Bakshi, music Kalyanji Anandji
Dilip Kumar and Talat Aziz: Saudagar (1991)
The two thespians Dilip Kumar and Raj Kumar came together for the first time in this Subhash Ghai multi-starrer. They led two clans, sworn enemies of each other. But their young offsprings fall in love forcing the titans to rediscover their fondness for each other through this song which they used to sing in their childhood. Talat Aziz sings for Dilip Kumar, while Sudesh Bhosle for Raj Kumar.
Imli ka boota beri ka ped by Talat Aziz with Sudesh Bhosle in Saudagar (1991), lyrics Anand Bakshi, music Laxmikant Pyarelal
Dilip Kumar and GM Durrani: Ghar Ki Izzat (1948)
GM Durrani was Rafi’s idol, and in one of the show-world’s typical ironies, Rafi’s ascendancy led to Durrani’s fall. But in the vintage era, he was a top singer, and you have him singing this romantic duet with Shamshad Begum picturiesed on Dilip Kumar and Mumtaz Shanti.
Taron ki toliyon mein kaisa hai ye nikhar by GM Durrani with Shamshad Begum from Ghar Ki Izzat (1948), lyrics Ishwar Chandra Kapur, music Pandit Govind Ram
So I have counted ten voices for Dilip Kumar:
1. Mohammad Rafi
2. Talat Mahmood
5. Dilip Kumar himself
6. Mahendra Kapoor
7. Kishore Kumar
9. Talat Aziz
10. GM Durrani
Now the score stands Dilip Kumar – 10, Raj Kapoor – 9. Amazing! But this would not be the final tally for sure. Knowledgeable persons like Arunkumar Deshmukhji may add some more. Dilip Kumar’s early films like his debut film Jwar Bhata (1944), Pratima (1945), Milan (1946) and Shaheed (1948) have several rare male playback singers such as Arun Kumar, Ram Kamlani, Shankar Dasgupta, Khan Mastana etc. But in the absence of their videos I am not able to confirm how many of their songs are for Dilip Kumar.
That sets me thinking, we lost two titans this year – Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand. I did not post any tributes about them because I felt many people would be writing much better on them. But I realise they also had a long stint and they had several singers give playback for them. It would be a good idea to compile a similar list for them. I may someday get myself to do it to make up for my omission.