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3 Songs Where The Melody Queen Let Her Hair Down




It’s been  two months  on this  day  ,April 6, when Lataji left us. Not a day goes by when we  don’t think of her whenever  her songs play in our hearts  and  on I-pods. An entire new generation of Latabhakts has burgeoned  almost  overnight since she was gone.  Subhash K Jha  lists  3  songs of the Melody Queen that find her at her sensual  best.

Aa jaan-e-jaan(Inteqaam): This Laxmikant-Pyarelal  composition is regarded  by many Latabhakts  as  the most sensuous song she  ever sang. Surely the drumbeats,the trumpets,  the  cannibalistic chorus slithering towards  danseuse  Helen as  she cavorts and slithers  in enticing  moves, all add to an experience that  qualifies Lataji’s versatility. Speaking  about the song Lataji once  told me, “Laxmikant-Pyarelal who were very close to me, were always experimenting with my voice. When  they suggested a cabaret song for me , my first reaction was, “No!! Asha(Bhosle) my sister sings  cabaret songs so  brilliantly. Why should I attempt something that is  not  my forte? But they insisted and the result was this  number.” Helen who danced to this  Inteqaam classic once  said that  though most of her cabaret songs were  sung by Asha Bhosle , her  favourite was Aa jaan-e-jaan.



Mujhe  Buddha   mil gaya (Sangam):  When Lataji heard   the words and the situation  for this  song , her response was  to refuse  outright. She  told   the Sangam maker Raj Kapoor to get someone else for this song. But Raj Kapoor was adamant.  “If you are singing the whole album why should some other singer  do this  song?” And what was so prohibitive  about the number? It has the heroine Vyjayanthimala  seducing her  husband Raj Kapoor to stay in the hotel  during their honeymoon rather than go to a striptease  club.Ab upbeat Parisian version of  Geeta Dutt’s Na jao saiyyan  chhuda ke baiyyan in  Sahib Bibi  Aur Ghulam. Lataji finally agreed.  “And  thank God for that!” laughs Vyjayanthimala. “She made the  situation seem so  decent and aesthetic. Once I  knew Lataji was singing  Buddha mil gaya  I was completely  relaxed.”


Pichware Buddha  khansta(Anita):   In director Raj Khosla’s Mera Saya, Asha Bhosle sang the  super-blockbuster  folk song  Jhumka gira re for composer  Madan Mohan.One year later when  Khosla  directed Anita with the same starcast(Sadhana, Manoj Kumar) he switched  from  Madan Mohan  to  Laxmikant-Pyarelal. His brief  to  L-P:  “Compose a song  for Lata on Sadhana  that is  as folksy and sensuous  as Asha  Bhosle’s Jhumka  gira re for  Sadhana  in Mera Saaya.”  Laxmi-Pyare came up with Pichware Buddha khansta. Lataji described it as a “no holds barred” fun song.It retains its  rumbustious flavor to this day.


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