A tribute on his death anniversary on November 16
I have expressed great admiration for Roshan at several places in my blog. Among the greatest and most melodious songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Roshan compositions occupy a very high place. He did not achieve big commercial success as some of his peers, but for music lovers he was among the greatest, especially as regards his songs for the two titans Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. His compositions were unmistakably identifiable with incredibly beautiful use of the flute and sarangi.
As per Wikipedia he was born on July 14, 1917 in Gujrewala in Punjab (now in Pakistan). He had keen interest in music from early childhood. He had formal training at Morris College (Bhatkhande College of Music) under SN Ratanjankar, was hired as staff artist by All India Radio for playing dilruba, went to Bombay in 1948 and became assistant to Khursheed Anwar. He struggled until he met Kidar Sharma who gave him a break in Neki Aur Badi (1949). The film flopped, but Kidar Sharma must have been impressed by him enough to continue him for Bawre Nain next year, which became a musical landmark.
Interestingly his early films did not have Lata Mangeshkar, but from the very next year he composed songs for Lata Mangeshkar which have become immortal. In this sense Roshan – Lata association mirrors that of Madan Mohan with Lata. This was further consolidated when Amarnath Productions of Mehbooba (1954) sought to replace its music director Roshan midway with OP Nayyar who had become a roaring hit with Aar Paar. Lata Mangeshkar took cudgels on his behalf which led to her complete break with OP Nayyar, but a very enriching association with Roshan.
Lyricists Anand Baxi and Indivar had their first break with Roshan.
Roshan died at a young age of a sudden heart attack on November 16, 1967. The song Mehlon ka raja mila from Anokhi Raat, which was composed by him, was recorded posthumously. Here are my ten favourite Roshan-Lata songs as my tribute to him on his death anniversary.
1. Ae ri main to prem diwani from Naubahar (1952), lyrics Satyendra Athaiya
Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant were the lead actors in the movie. The first two lines are a traditional Meera bhajan, rest of the lyrics are different by the lyricist Satyendra Athiya. If Beena madhur madhur kachhu bol was not there, Ae ri main to prem diwani would have been the definitive Bhimpalasi. I regard this as the undisputed No. 1 Roshan-Lata song.
2. Garjat barsat bheejat ayee lo from Malhar (1951), lyrics Indeevar
Nirupa Roy and Trilok Kapur were the lead actors in this film. Roshan’s first major hit film Bawre Nain a year earlier had no Lata Mangeshkar song. Malhar marks his teaming up with Lata Mangeshkar, and what a partnership they started giving some of the most melodious music of the golden era. This was also debut of Indeevar and a very productive partnership with Roshan. Roshan also used the same tune in Barsaat Ki raat as a duet between Suman Kalyanpur and Kamal Barot (used elsewhere in this blog).
3. Bahe ankhiyon se dhaar from Humlog (1951), lyrics Udhav Kumar
This Nutan, Shyama, Balraj Sahni starrer had several outstanding songs. Another famous song is Chhum chum chum baje payal mori. I find Lata Mangeshkar of the early 1950s absolutely magical, and you have the brilliant Roshan with his signature melodious style.
4. 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.
5. Mujhe mil gaya bahana teri deed ka from Barsat Ki Raat (1960), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi
Barsaat Ki Raat was not only a major Roshan landmark, but also a musical landmark of the golden era. It established Roshan’s reputation as the master composer for qawwalis with Na to karwan ki talash hai merging into Ye ishq ishhq hai ishq ishq. This also had several Rafi gems as well as other singers’ all of which are extremely popular. Here is my one of the top Lata favourites.
6. Kabhi to milegi kahi to milegi from Aarti (1962), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri
Aarti was another Roshan musical masterpiece, with several iconic songs, all of which had beautiful picturisation. Kabhi to milegi kahi to milegi is not only a Roshan gem but one of the timeless Lata Mangeshkar songs.
7. Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein hum jaan se bhi pyaron ki tarah from Mamta (1966), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri
With Mamta you run out of superlatives. All its songs are all time great classics. I had a tough time choosing between this song and Rahe na rahe hum. I opted for Rahte the kabhi jinke dil mein as it has beautiful poetry depicting the pathos of a courtesan, sung so beautifully by Lata, and enacted with great empathy by Suchitra Sen.
8. Duniya kare sawal to from Bahu Begum (1967), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi
When Shankar Jaikishan had started sliding and Naushad too was past his best, Roshan created this masterpiece in the Muslim social, for which Roshan seemed to have a special expertise.
9. Raat ki mehfil sooni sooni from Norjehan (1967), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni
Roshan magic in a movie in Muslim milieu continued with several great songs including Suman Kalyanpur’s Sharabi sharabi ye sawan ka mausam.
10. Saari sari raaton teri yaad sataye from Aji Bas Shukriya (1958), lyrics Farooq Qaiser
This song is beautifully picturised on the vivacious Geeta Bali who is singing before an audience (Suresh was the hero in the film). This film also had an excellent mujra Nazarein mila ke kah de kya hai teri marzi picturised on Minoo mumtaz.