When I started this blog I had not thought I would be ever writing about Kamal Barot. She was not one of the biggies like Lata Mangeshkar or Asha Bhosle. She was not one of the smallies who gave at least a couple of immortal songs which you instantly recall – in this category I can think of Mubarak Begum’s Kabhi tanhaaiyon mein yun hamari yaad ayegi from Hamari Yaad Ayegi (1961) or Jagjit Kaur’s Tum apna ranj-o-gham apni pareshaani mujhe de do and Gori sasural chali from Shagun (1964). She did figure though in a large number of hit songs as one of the voices in a duet or a treblet or a multiplet (purists will pardon my freewheeling coining of new words), but none that you could solely associate with Kamal Barot.
I recently stumbled upon an incredibly beautiful Mukesh-Kamal Barot duet Na jane chaand kaisa hoga from Rocket Girl (1961), composed not surprisingly by Chitragupta, the master who gave A- class melodies even if the movie was B-class. With its typical B-class name and Sudesh Kumar and Naaz as actors this was a quintessential B-class movie. But the lyrics of Prem Dhavan create a magical world where the lovers dream of living. With Mukesh’s sonorous voice, Kamal Barot matching phrase by phrase in a classical jugalbandi style and Chitrgupta’s beautiful composition you can not get a more melodious song:
(F) ना जाने चांद कैसा होगा
(M) तुम सा हसीं तो नहीं
(F) होंगें रंगीन ये सितारे
(M) तुम से रंगीं तो नहीं
(F) ना जाने चांद कैसा होगा…
(F) आते हैं नीले आसमां पे जाने किधर से सितारे
(M) जलता है सारा ही ज़माना तेरी नज़र के सहारे
(F) दिल चाहे आसमां को छूं लूं
(M) ले चल हमें भी वहीं
(F) ना जाने चांद कैसा होगा….
(M) छायें हैं काले काले बादल क्या तुमने ज़ुल्फें बखेरीं
(F) खो जाऊं जाके बादलों में कब से तमन्ना है मेरी
(M) जाने दो ख्वाब की ये बातें
(F) हमको है इन पे यकीं, ना जाने चांद कैसा होगा..
(F) सारे ज़माने से निराली हम कोई दुनिया बसायें
(M) दिल के रंगीले सपनों से महफिल रंगीली सजायें
(F) ऐसा जहान है कहां पे
(M) होगा कहीं ना कहीं
(F) ना जाने चंद कैसा होगा..
(F) I wonder what the moon looks like
(M) It can’t be as pretty as you
(F) These stars must be full of colour
(M) But not more colourful than you
(F) I wonder what the moon looks like..
(F) I wonder wherefrom the stars come to the blue sky
(M) The whole world is lighted by your gleaming eyes
(F) I wish I could touch the sky
(M) Please also take me there
(F) I wonder what the moon looks like….
(M) The sky is cast with dark clouds, or have you loosened your hair?
(F) That I wander and get lost in the clouds has been my eternal wish
(M) Leave these fanciful musings
(F) But I do believe them to be real; I wonder what the moon looks like…
(F) I wish we make our abode which is unique from the entire world
(M) Let us adorn our world with our colourful dreams
(F) I wonder where such world would be
(M) It must be there somewhere beyond
(F) I wonder what the moon looks like…
1. Na jane chand kaisa hoga by Mukesh and Kamal Barot from Rocket Girl composed by Chitragupta
Stumbling upon this hidden gem made me go over my Kamal Barot favourites. There is a more well known Mukesh-Kamal Barot gem Jab se hum tum baharon mein from another B-grade movie Main Shaadi Karne Chalaa (1962). And the beautiful melody of this duet too is unmistakably Chitragupta. Chitragupta created a Rafi-Suman Kalyanpur version too of this song in the film, but Mukesh-Kamal Barot is my favourite by miles.
2. Jab se hum tum bahaaron mein from Main Shaadi Karne chalaa both versions
Mukesh and Kamal Barot seemed to share something special; whenever they came together the effect was soothing and pleasant. Listen to this gem from another perfect B-grade film.
3. Hum bhi kho gaye hain dil bhi kho gaya hai, kahte hain pyar jisko shayad wo ho gaya hai by Mukesh and Kamal Barot from film Madm Zorro composed by Bulo C Rani
Now a faster Mukesh and Kamal Barot with Lata Mangeshkar Zara sambhaalna meri jaan apni nigahein ki tera mera naya naya pyar hua hai from Aya Toofan (1964). You first see a pair of dancing girls, one of whom is Helen who was the lead actress in the movie. So she gets to lip sync Lata Mangeshkar(!). The other girl, whom I do not recognise sings in Kamal Barot’s voice. The male dancer-singer in Mukesh voice adds to the charm of the song and dance fare. The scene could be of a festival before the village sardar Dara Singh, sitting regally bare bodied – today’s A-grade six-packers Salman Khan etc would pale in comparison. The music by Laxmikant Pyarelal is superb though its orchestration has traces of lifting from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai’s Hum bhi hain tum bhi ho. Coming after their superb score in their first film Parasmani a year earlier, LP proved themselves again with a superb score in a B-grade movie – obviously they had not yet broken the glass ceiling of the superstar music directors, which they would soon occupy in few years time replacing Shankar Jaikishan from the pedestal.
4. Zara sambhaalna meri jaan apni nigahein ki tera mera naya naya pyar hua hai from Aya Toofan (1964) by LP, Mukesh, Lata and Kamal Barot
Incidentally Parasmani (1963) had a strong Kamal Barot connection. One of the best known songs of the film is Hansta hua noorani chehraa by Lata Mangeshkar and Kamal Barot.
5. Hansta hua noorani chehra by Kamal Barot and Lata Mangeshkar from Parasmani (1963) music by Laxmikant Pyarelal
In all these songs you would notice Kamal Barot brings a very distinct tangy flavour, which makes her voice a special attraction for fast paced dancing duet songs. Listen to this wonderful song from early Kalyanji Anandji.
6. Akeli mohe chhod na jana by Lata Mangeshkar and Kamal Barot in Madari (1959) by KA
Kalyanji Anandji repeat similar magic in the same genre, accentuating the effect by having three singers now – Lata Mangeshkar, Mubarak begum and Kamal Barot in B-grade Sunehri Nagin (1963):
7-8. Main to ho gayi re badnaam and Yun na akadiye yun na bigadiye naakya jane kab ho jaye kisi se by Mubarak Begum, Kamal Barot and Lata Mangeshkar from Sunehri Nagin (1963) composed by Kalyanji Anandji
It would have been surprising if Kamal Barot had not sung with Rafi. Here is this humourous song Mera bandar chala hai sasuraal by Rafi and Kamal Barot in Zindagi Aur Khwab (1961) music Dattaram. Dattaram gives a quirky touch by having Kamal Barot sing a line from the famous Surendranath and Jyouti song Uth sajni khol kiwade from Aurat (1940) ) composed by Anil Biswas. I must say there was no limit to their coming up with zany parodies or mimicries.
9. Mera Bandar chala hai sasural by Rafi and Kamal Barot in Zndagi Aur Khwab (1961) music by Dattaram
Here is another of her duet with Rafi:
10. O tera chhup chuup ke chale aana by Rafi and Kamal Barot in Sangram music Lala Asar Sattar
Kamal Barot had a rather sombre bhajan duet in classical style with Mahendra Kapur Hey natraaj in the film Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) composed by SN Tripathi, lyric Shailendra.
11. Hey Natraj by Mahendra Kapur and Kamal Barot in sangeet Samrat Tansen
SN Tripathi, the master of mythological genre composed a beautiful Suman Kalyanpur-Kamal Barot duet Abhi aye nahin dil dhadakane lagaa in Naag Deavata (1961)
But with Kamal Barot you expect fast paced spicy dance number. In OP Nayyar’s declining years you have this quintessential Kamal Barot combinig with Mahendra Kapur and Asha Bhosle in CID 909.
12. Dhadka to hoga dil huzoor by Kamal Barot, Asha Bhosle, Mahendra Kapur from CID 909 (1967) by OP Nayyar
You do not come across too many Kamal Barot’s solos which left much impact. Here is a pleasant solo from B-grade Ramu Dada (1961). The significant part about this song is that the bridegroom in the scene is Salim, father of Salman Khan – what a coincidence that both the father and the son get mentioned in a post on Kamal Barot!
13. Suna hai jabse mausam hai pyar ke kabil by Kamal Barot from film Ramu Dada (1961) composed by Chitragupta, lyric Majrooh Sultanpuri
But which is the most famous Kamal Barot song? No such list would be complete without the super hit Daadi amma daadi amma maan jao from Gharana (1961) composed by Ravi. This was the film which fetched Ravi his first Filmfare award. Lalita Pawar as the good hearted Daadi, who is sullen due to some reason and lets herself to be cajoled and humoured by the grandchildren is a typical AVM family drama.
14. Daadi amma daadi amma maan jao by Kamal Barot and Asha Bhosle from Gharana (1961) music by Ravi
For me the song which holds a very special place is Garjat barsat saawan aayo ri by Suman Kalyanpur and Kamal Barot in Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) composed by Roshan. Suman Kalyanpur had to remain in the shadows of Lata Mangeshkar because of similarity of her voice to the great legend. Kamal Barot, though with a distinct voice, was perhaps not seen suitable for a mainstream heroine. But the great composer proved that he could recreate the magic in these voices which he had earlier done with Lata Mangeshkar solo in Malhar (1951) Garjat barsat bheejat aailo.
15. Garjat barsat sawan aayo re by Suman Kalyanpur and Kamal Barot in Barsaat Ki Raat
If I look back on these songs of Kamal Barot, I am compelled to take a more generous view of her contribution – no doubt she made the music of the golden richer by her very unique voice and style.