Wishing Lata Mangeshkar a very happy 86th birth anniversary (b. 28 September 1929) with her songs for Naushad
A blog would start losing its appeal if it became too predictable. Today is one such day when everyone is going to exclaim, ‘’I knew it!’ However, there is no way I can avoid it. There are many who are as enamoured of Naushad as I am. As for Lata Mangeshkar, I doubt if there is anyone who does not regard her as The Female Playback Singer, as a class by herself, far above her rivals. The Great Mughal of film music and the Empress of playback singing make an unparalleled combination.
Having lived and breathed their songs, I had taken it for granted that I have already written on her best songs by Naushad, as I have done for several other composers namely, Chitragupta, C Ramchandra, Roshan, SD Burman and Anil Biswas. It took me five years, and fortuitously when I decided to celebrate the current year as the Year of Naushad, to realise that I am yet to write an exclusive post on Lata Mangeshkar’s best songs by him (though I have written on songs of Mughal-e-Azam, and about a particular song Tere sadke balam).
There is hardly anything new one can write about them which has not been written earlier many times elsewhere. Lata Mangeshkar had an inconspicuous debut as a playback singer in 1947 (Aap Ki Sewa Mein). Come 1948, and some aura starts building around her. As per the popular folklore, she was ‘noticed’/’discovered’ by Ghulam Haider, in a local train, and amazed by her talent, he took her to Filmistan’s S Mukherjee for Shaheed, who rejected her on the ground that her voice was too thin, whereupon the Masterji is said to have remarked, “a day would come when producers and music directors would line up before her, begging her to sing for them”. Come 1949, Lata Mangeshkar hits the music scene like a Tsunami, sweeping everyone aside. Naushad is one among many who ride the Lata-wave.
Naushad being the Great Mughal, his taking her as the lead singer in Andaaz, jettisoning his hitherto favourite singer, Shamshad Begum, must have added to the Lata aura. It is said that Raj Kapoor taking her in Barsaat was because of the Andaaz influence. In the first few years, Naushad seemed to alternate between her and Shamshad Begum, but it didn’t take him long to clearly settle for Lata Mangeshkar, composing about 160 songs for her. His overwhelming preference for her is clear from the fact that his once preferred female singer, Shamshad Begum, is far behind with about 60 songs, in second position. Their partnership continued strong till the very end of Naushad’s reign at the top, i.e. the late 60s.
In this interview on rediff.com Lata Mangeshkar makes an interesting suggestion that she sang the songs of Andaaz in Noorjehan-style at the behest of Naushad. It is not clear whether it was an innocuous statement, or her intent was to absolve herself of any responsibility. But in that interview itself she has high praise for him, “Naushad Saheb was a perfectionist who strived relentlessly to make each and every song a hit.” In another signed article she said, “Naushad’s music is unparalleled in polish. Even if the melody is not extraordinary, it is fashioned and orchestrated in such perfect arrangement as to thrill and inspire. Naushad has not only an extensive knowledge of music, but of allied subjects as well. He studies the story, the situation, the editing, the sound recording, the music recording, and the re-recording. He is an accomplished piano player and he is familiar with Western notations. He knows every instrument in his orchestra and what instrument is best for a certain piece of music. He was the first person to present combination of the flute and the clarinet, of the sitar and the mandolin. He also introduced the accordion, the been, the brass instruments, the daf and the vibraphone.” (Quoted in Naushadnama)
Naushad on his part rated Lata Mangeshkar as the best thing that would have happened to the playback singing. A thoroughly trained singer, she needed some polish and grooming. Different composers contributed in her development. Naushad was among her important mentors, who emphasised the importance of correct diction and pronouncing each word clearly to bring out its emotion.
Everyone would have one’s own favourite top composer for Lata Mageshkar: Anil Biswas, C Ramchandra, Madan Mohan, SD Burman, Roshan etc. At a very young age Naushad’s songs cast a spell on me, that memory is still fresh in my mind. Here is reliving my memory of those songs as a tribute to two of the greatest talents on Lata Mangeshkar’s 86th birth anniversary. These songs are not necessarily the “best”, but ones that are special to me.
1. Aaj mere man mein sakhi from Aan (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
This was the first song which left me completely entranced by Naushad magic. Lata Mangeshkar has mentioned Naushad’s unparalleled polish, and arrangement of orchestration which inspired and thrilled. This song is the best example of his talent in beautiful blending of vocal, orchestra and chorus.
2. Na milata gham to barbaadi ke afsaane kahaan jaate (Ho tamanna lut gayi..) from Amar (1954), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
When you think of Yaman you think of Roshan, goes the saying. Here is a Yaman to touch your heartstrings. Nimmi is heartbroken as she discovers there is Madhubala in Dilip Kumar’s life. Those were the days of some sublime poetry. Shakeel Badayuni comes up with something incredibly beautiful. It is known Naushad used to spend long hours with him going over each word of the song again and again. He must have spent further long hours in composing the song, and thereafter rehearing with Lata Mangeshkar many times to get this perfect sad song of heartbreak.
हो तमन्ना लुट गई फिर भी तेरे दम से मुहब्बत है
मुबारक गैर को खुशियाँ मुझे ग़म से मुहब्बत है
न मिलता ग़म तो बरबादी के अफसाने कहाँ जाते
अगर दुनिया चमन होती तो वीराने कहाँ जाते
चलो अच्छा हुआ अपनों में कोई गैर तो निकला
अगर होते सभी अपने तो बेगाने कहाँ जाते
दुआयें दो मोहब्बत हमने मिट कर तुमको सिखला दी
न जलती शम्मा महफिल मैं तो परवाने कहाँ जाते
तुम्हीं ने ग़म की दौलत दी बड़ा एहसान फ़रमाया
ज़माने भर के आगे हाथ फैलाने कहाँ जाते
I have been often charged by Mumbaikar8 with not giving due importance to lyricists. But once in a while I am enamoured of some songs when I pay my tribute to the lyrics and the lyricist by attempting its translation.
Ah I have been robbed of all my desires, but your every breath I love.
Let others be blessed with all the happiness, I am now in love with my sadness.
Had sorrow not befallen my fate, where would the tales of my destruction have gone?
If the world was a blooming garden, where would the desolate deserts have gone?
It is good that there was a betrayer among my close ones.
Had everyone been my own, where would the strangers have gone?
Bless me that by destroying myself I have taught you the value of love.
Had the flame not burnt itself where would the moths have gone?
I am so grateful to you for giving me the riches of sadness.
Where else would I have gone with begging arms?
3. Jaanewale se mulaqaat na hone paayi from Amar (1954)
Readers may recall I have written a full post on one song of this movie, Tere sadake balam. And I have to mention that there are some readers who regard Asha Bhosle’s two songs from the movie, Umangon ko sakhi and Radha ke pyaare Krishna Kanhaayi even better than Lata Mangeshkar’s songs. So you have each song of the movie a masterpiece. It was not for nothing that Naushad crafted each song with great deliberation. Here is another poignant Yaman from the same film, and among my top favourites. Now it is Madhubala’s turn to discover something about Dilip Kumar and Nimmi.
4. Khuda nigahbaaan ho tumhara (Wo aayi subah ke parde se….) from Mughal-e-Aazam (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
While at Yaman, I can’t help mentioning this song. Madhubala has been made by Mughal-e-Aazam to betray Dilip Kumar to save the honour of the Mughals. As she is taken by the guards to the cell from where she would be allowed to go beyond the borders through the secret tunnel as a part of the deal, she is thoroughly drained out and lifeless. Her inner cry of helplessness comes out in this plaintive song. You can now try to compare Naushad’s Yaman with other music directors’.
5. Marana teri gali mein jeena teri gali mein from Shabaab (1954), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
In every Raga Naushad composed songs that were out of this world. Here is one in Pahadi, a folk based Raga, which lends itself to both happy and pensive moods. It can’t get more heart-rending than Marana teri gali mein. He has a long list of absolutely beautiful Pahadis to his credit from Rumjhum barse baadarwa to Aawaz de kahan hai to Jawaan hai mohabbat to Mere bachpan ke saathi mujhe bhool na jana to Suhani raat dha chuki to Tasweer banata hun teri khoon-e-jigar se to O door ke musafir humko bhi saath le le. Pahadi being the most popular Raga for film music, accounting for about 23% of all the songs based on classical music, every major music director has composed a large number of songs in this Raga. However, the above list of all-time great songs shows Naushad added a unique stamp on whatever he touched. I consider Shabaab to be the best musical of Naushad. Here is a song you can hear tirelessly.
6. Jo main jaanati bisarat hain sainya (Man saajan ne har leena…) from Shabaab (1954), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
In his heydays, there were films in which Naushad would compose 10 songs or more, each a masterpiece. Shabaab is one such movie which had amazing 15 songs. He chooses Maand for this situation. A Rajasthani folk-based Raga, it has been used in later films where they have taken the traditional folk song, Kesariya baalma padharo mharo des. Shakeel Badayuni writes beautiful lyrics again, now folk style, and Naushad embellishes it with his characteristic class.
7. Tumhare sang main bhi chalungi piya jaise patang peechhe dor (Akele akele kahan ja rahe ho…) from Sohni Mahiwal (1958), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Here is a delightful Bhairvi composition from a small banner movie. Bhiravi is a favourite Raga of every composer. Naushad’s more celebrated Bhairavi Tu Ganga ki mauj main is well known to the readers.
8. Tere pyaar mein dildaar jo hai mera haal-e-zaar (Paas rahate hue bhi tujhse bahut door hain hum..) from Mere Mehboob (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
By now the readers must have noticed a unique speciality of Naushad-Shakeel Badayuni, creating a charming effect by preceding a song with a recital without tune. You remember Madhubala dares Shahenshah by a recital, Insaan kisi se duniya mein ek baar mohabbat karta hai/Is dard ko lekar jeeta hai is dard ko lekar marta hai, before she sings in his face Jab pyar kiya to darna kya. Naushad fans can instantly recall some more great recital preludes: Khushi ke saath duniya men hazaaron gham bhi hote hain….Mera jeevan saathi bichhad gaya; Akeli mat jaiyo Radhe Jamuna ke teer…Tu Ganga ki mauj main; Chale aaj tum jahan se… O door ke musafir; Sambhal kar khelna dariya…Na toofan se khelo; Asir-e-panja-e-ahad-e-shabab kar ke mujhe…Hue hum jinke liye barbaad; Laaga gori gujariya se…Nain lad jaihain; Aaj furkat ka khwab toot gaya…Tumse izahaar-e-haal kar baithe; Ye raat jaise ban gai chiraagon se…Aaj ki raat mere dil ki salaami le le etc. The grandest recital as prelude must be in Ayega aanewala (Khamosh hai zamana..). Did Naushad take it from his mentor Khemchand Prakash, and use it in song after song to add to its beauty? I courted strong rebuttal when I put Naushad as the best in LDDS (Long Distance Duets of Separation). I am again sticking my neck out, and dare make one more assertion – there is something very special about Naushad’s SWRP (Songs With Recital Preludes). I am sure readers would add many more of other MDs. CR, who is being discussed in tandem, also has some very beautiful SWRPs. Here is another delightful song which starts with a short recital.
9. Dil mein bajeen pyaar ki shenaiyan from Kohinoor (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
The Tragedy King and the Tragedienne change tack to star in this comedy film which had every song of outstanding quality, which you expect from Naushad at his top. A delightful song with Meena Kumari dancing in a happy mood, which is not very usual for her.
10. Ghunghat nahi kholungi sainya tore aage from Mother India (1957), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
In 17 years after Aurat (1940), Mehboob was still around to remake his classic, but his erstwhile friend and a titan of that era, Anil Biswas, has now been replaced by Naushad. The new Mughal creates one landmark song after another. This song is also an example of his creative auto-inspiration. He composed Lagan more man ki balam nahi jaane in 1950 for Babul, he tweaked it a little to create another classic Jogan ban jaaungi sainya tore kaaran (Shabaab, 1954), and three years down the line he gives it a completely new effect in this peppy dance song on Kumkum who is exultant at the prospect of her love for Rajendra Kumar coming to fruition.
11. Phir teri kahani yaad aayi from Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
All good things come to an end. Naushad had a very high percentage of superhit songs. I have not touched his major Lata vehicle Dulari, or Udankhatola as it has been discussed in detail in yearwise review for 1955, or even the path breaking Andaaz. Before I part, let me present this bonus song from a movie, based on Wuthering Heights, which was a resounding flop, but its songs were nevertheless of very high quality.