Ever wondered why Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s resplendent musical Abhimaan (1973), the story of two singers who happened to be married to one another, has three voices singing for Amitabh Bachchan whereas only one voice ,Lataji, sings for Jaya Bhaduri?
Here is the inside story. Kishore Kumar recorded two songs for composer Sachin Dev Burman, Meet na mila re manka and Tere mere milan ki yeh raina. At this point Kishore K came to know that Abhimaan was based on his own troubled marriage with the supremely talented Uma Guha Thakurta who was not only a great singer but apparently throttled at the throat-level from having a galaa time by her husband.
This is the story of Abhimaan. When Kishore Kumar got to know about it ,he decided to stop recording for Abhimaan. Resultantly Sachin Dev had to record two duets in other voices Teri bindiya re in Mohammed Rafi’s voice and Loote koi mann ka nagar in Manhar Udhas’ voice.
Speaking to this writer many years ago on the music of Abhimaan, Hrishikesh Mukherjee said, “It is true that the film was based on the singer Uma Guha Thakurta’s marriage. It was Lata all the way for all the songs for Jaya . And what a magnificent job Lata did in Abhimaan—Piya bina piya bina, Abb toh hai tumse,Nadiya kinare, Loote koi maan ka dagar, Tere mere Milan ki yeh raina and Teri bindiya re.Each a everlasting gem. Do you know Lata never charged a single penny for singing in my songs. When I would insist she would protest, ‘Dada, aapse kya paisa lena?”
What about the variation in the male voice brought about by Kishore Kumar’s protest?
“It didn’t matter. Once I had Lata, everything fell into place,” said Hrishida.