Talat Mahmood’s songs by SD Burman

March 6, 2014

Talat Mahmood and SD BurmanMy last post on Talat Mahmood’s songs by Anil Biswas reminded me that last year when I had ‘closed’ my series on SD Burman, Venkatarmanji and some other readers mentioned some more singers who gave memorable songs with Dada. Talat Mahmood was one of the names mentioned. They fit in very nicely. SD Burman was unarguably the greatest musical talent from Bengal after Anil Biswas to enrich the Hindi film music. Talat Mahmood had a good deal of Bengal in him, having worked under the name of Tapan Kumar in Calcutta for a number of years before he shifted to Bombay and created a sensation with his very first song with Anil Biswas, Ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal. It was natural SD Burman would also take him in. However, with Dada’s natural fondness for Kishore Kumar, and the versatile Rafi, Talat Mahmood’s had only about 15 songs with him, a fraction of the other two singers. In any case Talat Mahmood was a niche singer; his total number of songs – about 450 Hindi film songs – would be a fraction of what the other mainstream singers sang. But his impact was way beyond his numbers, and SD Burman created several immortal songs with him, as he did with Mukesh with about the same number of songs.

Talat Mahmood has a special place because his Jayen to jayen kahan was the song that fetched SD Burman his first Filmfare Award. One of the important elements that make Bimal Roy’s Devdas (1955) the ‘definitive’ version is Talat Mahmood’s songs picturised on Dilip Kumar. And on a personal level, Jalte hain jiske liye is the song by which I identify Talat Mahmood the most.

So let me revive the SD Burman series on public demand with his best songs for Talat Mahmood as my tribute to the two great artistes.

1.  Luta de apni khushi….ye aansoo khushi ke aansoo hain from Ek Nazar (1951), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

Luta de apni khushi khushi se – what beautiful lyrics! The song starts with this recital, with musical prelude in Raga Des (experts to confirm). Des has natural pathos, and Talat Mahmood in the beginning of his career was at his vocal best. I am hearing it for the first time. I start with this beautiful song which should be his first with SD Burman.


2.  Dar laagey duniya se balma ho with Lata mangeshkar from Buzdil (1951), lyrics Kaifi Azmi

An incredibly sweet romantic duet with Lata Mangeshkar, who was at her best in the early 50s. Kaifi Azmi’s debut.


3.  Aa ja aa ja tera intezar hai with Lata Mangeshkar from Sazaa (1951), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

The best Talat-SDB song in 1951, according to me, is this sad duet from Sazaa which also had Lata Mangeshkar’s immortal Tum na jaane kis jahan mein kho gaye. You can make out from the picturisation that the lovers have been separated by the circumstances. Of course, after some weepy scenes, where Nimmi is unbeatable, they would come together in the end.


4.  Bharam teri wafaaon ka mita dete to kya hota from Armaan (1953), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

We have seen while discussing the songs of 1953 that SD Burman was generally inconspicuous even though he had a good number of films in the year. But you can’t say that about his Talat songs. This one has his famed velvet voice and equally worthy poetry by Sahir.


5.  Chaahe kitna mujhe tum bulaao ji … bol na bola e jaanewale with Asha Bhosle from Armaan

But even better is this well known duet with Asha Bhosle, which also had her solo version. Some readers have earlier mentioned its two parallel tunes of the female and male parts. One of the best Talat-Asha Bhosle duets.


6.  Jag mein aaye koi koi jaye re from Babla (1953), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

This song is a further evidence that Talat was always above a certain benchmark. Sahir’s deeply philosophical poetry has been tuned by SD Burman mainly as a recital in the antaraa. Talat is the right man for such songs.


7.  Naazon ke pale kaanton pe chale from Sahenshah (1953), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

The same Talat-SD Burman-Sahir combination, but now they create a fast rhythmic song. Another proof that Talat never disappoints. I heard it for the first time.


8.  Tere sath chal rahe hain with Lata Mangeshkar from Angarey (1954), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

Angaarey also had a Talat solo, Doob gaye akash ke taarey, but I like this duet with Lata Mangeshkar more.


9.  Mitwa laagi re ye kaisi anbujh aag from Devdas (1955), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi

Now we come to a great landmark in cinema. While Saigal had two songs (plus Abdul Karim Khan’s thumri Piya bin nahi awat chain, sung by Saigal), SD Burman takes up the challenge and creates two incredible Talat songs on Dilip Kumar. (If you remember Sanjay Leela Bhansali/ Ismail Darbar wisely refrained from creating any song for Shahrukh Khan). We have discussed these songs (the other song being Kisko khabar thi kisko yakeen tha aise bhi din ayenege) a good deal while reviewing the best songs of 1955. Devdas-Paro relationship has reached a point of no return because of Devdas’s wavering at critical moments. So how do you express it? Not by a conventional song, but by Sahir’s poetry, recited by the plaintive Talat for Dilip Kumar, who is equally powerful with his back to the camera as he is when facing the camera, with tragedy, guilt, hopelessness writ large on his face.


10. Jalte hain jiske liye from Sujata (1959), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri

I started with Talat’s first song with SD Burman. I end with what should be their last song, which is sad because Talat Mahmood had at least five more years of active career. But their swan song created an immortal classic, which for many is the defining Talat Mahmood song. That is SD Burman for you; whether he does ten songs or a hundred songs with a singer, he would create something everlasting.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rakesh Srivastava March 6, 2014 at 10:56 am

Although it is very much difficult to select ‘best’ songs in any category, still your selection of same in Talat and Burmanda duo is simply superb! May I request you to add one more flower in this Guldasta-‘Zindagi Ke Rahi…’ from film Bahar (1951) with beautiful lyrics by Rajinder Krishan.

2 AK March 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Ae zindagi ke rahi is a beautiful song. Here it is:

Ae zindagi ke rahi from Bahaar (1951)

3 Mahesh March 6, 2014 at 5:11 pm

AK ji,

This blog will be a very nice place to have the details of various well known combos with all the details and analysis.

Talat’s Jayen to jayen kahan fetched SD Burman his first Filmfare Award.

Well, Jalte hain jiske liye almost won Talat his first filmfare award, but then Mukesh succeeded in his first of four for Anari in 1959.

4 zishaan bhati March 6, 2014 at 5:31 pm

old song always gud

5 mumbaikar8 March 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Revived SDB to pull a surprise?
SDB like Anilda worked wonders with most of his singers and Talat was no exception.
Like all the songs except (in my view please ) Nazon ke palen , I think his limitations were exposed in that song.
His duets are all out of this world.
Thanks for the surprise!

6 AK March 6, 2014 at 8:00 pm

I have already done a good deal of combos, which have been my great favourites: Lata Mangeshkar by Chitragupa, Roshan, C Ramchandra, SD Burman; Rafi by Roshan, Naushad, SD Burman; Hemant Kumar-Lata duets; Talat Mahmood’s happy duets; Talat-Asha Bhosle duets; Mukesh’s happy duets, and so on. This is a continuing affair, and there are innumerable ways in which you can make combinations. I hope you are getting what you are looking for.

Zishaan Bhati
Thanks a lot.

You are welcome, Mumbaikar8. SD Burman got revived because the readers made pointed mention of some singers. But, isn’t he the most diverse composer of the Golden Era? You think of any combination, and you have some of the greatest songs in that.

7 N Venkataraman March 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Out of the 14/15 songs Talat sang for S D Burman 9 were S D Burman-Sahir-Talat combinations. Talat Mahmood songs with S D Burman may be few, but quality-wise majority of them were excellent. It is really disappointing that Talat Mahmood did not get to sing more songs for S D Burman, in spite of the fact that Talat rendered a few gems, which brought accolades to both of them. In the year 1954, S D Burman did not receive much praise for his scores in the films Chalis Baba ek chor and Radhakrishna, it was the song Jaayen to Jayeen Kahan,rendered by Talat Mahmood that brought him glory. To quote S D Burman,

“In this film,, I made Talat Mahmood sing a favourite song of mine. Rafi, Mukesh and Hemanta were then eager to sing for me. But I had a feeling that this particular song would sound best in Talat’s voice because the tune had a series of small and light tremours. Talat’s voice had a special tremulous quality to it and a refined Lucknowi style. Talat sang the most popular song of the film.”
(Sargamer Nikhad) – S D Burman The world of his music by Khagen Dev Burman

Talat did not fail S D Burman and exceeded his expectation! Well that is all History now.

Tere sath chal rahe hain is indeed a excellent duet, but the Talat solo (another SDB-TM-SL combo) in this film was also superb.

Thank you AKji, this was indeed a surprise package.

8 AK March 8, 2014 at 7:45 am

Doob gaye aakash ke taarey from Angaarey is a very nice song. Heard for the first time. Thanks for giving its link.

It is interesting how music directors tend be heavily loaded in favour of one for two singers. SD Burman was one composer who was more diverse than others, and could give a large number of outstanding songs with any singer. Therefore, it is surprising that he could find so few opportunities for Talat, Mukesh and Hemant Kumar.

The credit for this surprise also goes to you.

9 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 8, 2014 at 3:17 pm

It must be quirk of fate that during Talat Mahamood’s peak SDB does not seem to have peaked up. Else, we may have had few more Talat gems for SDB’s stable too, before of course, Rafi stormed Talat Mahmood’s fort.
SDB “was more diverse than others” , but he certainly could sense the commercial winds and use the singer that would do best justice to the creation – both in terms of music as well as in terms of popularity.
(This is one subject that has been debated at great lengths, even on this forum, so I may clarify that I have no intention to revive the debate.)
Well, it makes waiting for such great combos form SoY such a great pleasure ………

10 AK March 8, 2014 at 8:11 pm

SDB did give Baazi, Jaal when Talat Mahmood was at his peak. So the reason has to be his fondness for Kishore Kumar, followed by Rafi. And as you have said, he sensed commercial winds – we can’t fault him on this.

11 Subodh Agrawal March 9, 2014 at 6:58 pm

This post has practically exhausted all songs of Talat/SDB combo. The list is fantastic – and that’s when Jayen to jayen kahan is only mentioned and not included.

The crowning glory is ‘Jalte hain jiske liye’. As I had said in one of my posts – it is my number one choice of male solo love song. It is a very gentle, sweet song but exceedingly hard to sing. I don’t think any other singer can do it justice.

12 AK March 10, 2014 at 8:26 am

I didn’t realize that I had forgotten to include Jayen to jayen kahan. But that made room for an unknown song. I am happy that I included your number 1 song. Thanks for your appreciation.

13 Anu Warrier March 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

It’s taken me a week to make the trip to your blog to read this entire article in peace. 🙂 What a lovely collection of songs, AK. Like Subodh, I missed Jayen to jaaye kahan and I concur with him about Jalte hain jiske liye. 🙂 Having come so late into the discussion, there is nothing much for me to do but enjoy the songs and comments. 🙂

Thank you once again.

14 AK March 11, 2014 at 10:38 am

SD Burman-Talat Mahmood list cannot be complete without Jayen to jayen kahan. It was a surprising oversight on my part. Once I mentioned it in the write-up, somehow I must have felt it is included. So let us complete this combo with this all-time great song, with beautiful lyrics by Sahir Ludhiyanvi:

15 PareshDutt Dwary(Singer),Jharkhand-Ratna. March 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm

सुमधुर आवाज के धनी ,लय पकड़ कर गाने वाले सुरीले गायक.
आज के दौर में कमी बहुत ही खलती है.काश!!

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