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Lata Mangeshkar On Her 7 Most Romantic Songs

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Chalo sajna jahan  tak ghata chale, lagakar mujhe  gale

Javed  Akhtar  told me about  an incident that Pandit Jasraj narrated  to him .In the 1950s Pandit Jasraj  was in  Amritsar  when he went to meet the classical genius Ustad Bade Ghulam  Ali  Khan  who  was his God.

When Pandit Jasraj got chatting Bade Ghulam Ali Saab  suddenly told  the young man to keep quiet. He heard  the sound of  the young Lata Mangeshkar singing the  supremely romantic  Yeh zindagi usski ki hai from Anarkali. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan  was enraptured.  He finally said,‘Kambhakt, kabhi besuri hoti hi nahin.’  .But which of her songs does Lataji choose  as her  most romantic?

  1.  Chalo sajna jahan  tak ghata chale, lagakar mujhe  gale (Mere  Humdum Mere Dost):  “I recall  every detail  of the recording. This is  one of  my most favourite love  songs composed by  one my  most  favourite duos Laxmikant-Pyarelal. I sang hundreds  of songs with them. This one stands out for Majrooh Saab(Sultanpuri)’s  lyrics  and  the  composition was  just too good. I remember Pyarelal  showing me how to negotiate  some  of the more unusual dips  and  curves in  the tune.” Lataji also  praises Sharmila Tagore  for lip-syncing the song so well. “She’s singing the lyrics to Dharmendra who is one of  the handsomest heroes . It all looks very natural and romantic on screen.”
  2. Lag ja gale se(WohKaun Thi): “This is  one of  my most requested love songs. Anywhere I  go for concerts, this  song is  a must. Madan Mohan who composed this beautiful melody was  like  a  brother to me. I remember rehearsing for this composition for hours.Madan Bhaiyya was  a good singer. He would sing the  lines for me.”  Lataji cannot explain the popularity of this  song. “We would  give the same  amount of  time and  love to  all  compositions. There was no way of knowing Lag ja gale se would be loved to this day.”
  3.    Na jiya lage na(Anand): “With Salilda (Chowdhary) I sang some of my  most intricate long songs including the evergreen Aaja re pardesi in  Madhumati. My favourite love song by Salilda is  Na  jiya lage na. It is  a  lovely tune  and Gulzar Saab’s  lyrics convey so much in so little time. I sang a Bengali version  of the same  tune for Salilda and that too  was much appreciated.”
  4.  Yeh raat bhi jaa rahi hai(Sau Saal Baad): “This is  a little-known song  , but  an absolute favourite of mine. It was composed  by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and written by Anand Bakshi Saab  for a  long-forgotten film. But  the words and the tune  still ring in my ears. The line  Mere humdam tu nahin aaya…was the  refrain that gave the song a sense of  limitless longing.For those who like romance  in their  music, I  suggest  they search  for this song.”
  5.  Ehsaan tera  hoga mujhpar dil chahta  hai woh kehne  do(Junglee): “This exquisite  love song   had impossibly high notes  for a female singer. Rafi Saab also sang the same song.For a male singer it was easier. I remember my face  had gone red trying to negotiate those  high notes. I often  used to ask Shankar-Jaikishan why they gave me such high notes  to sing. They said it  was  a pleasure  to hear me scale those notes. But it wasn’t  a pleasure for me to  be singing those  notes. But  all said and done, it was  finally worth it.The song is  a beautiful  expression of  love. Credit goes to  the composers Shankar-Jaikishan and  lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri.”
  6. Baahon mein chale aao(Anamika) : Lataji said this was everybody’s favourite romantic  song. “So who am I to question its supremacy?” she  would  joke. Not that she wanted to question this sleepless  song’s sonorous  supremacy.Said Lataji,  “I love everything about Bahon mein chale jao. Majrooh Sultanpuri Saab’s lyrics. R D Burman’s  composition, Jaya Bachchanji’s performance in the song. I was told that the  song  occurs when everyone is  fast asleep, so it must be  sung in  a hushed tone.I did what was told. The magic that  you speak about happened on  its own.I  just did my job to  the  best of my abilities.”
  7.    Yeh haseen raat(Majnoon):  A  titanic   track  of almost ten minutes  recorded  by the great Khayyam in the  voice of  the  Goddess and Yesudas, the stunning melody composed by the great Khayyam and written by Jan Nissar Akhtar is sung to eternal glory for a film titled Majnoon.The film launched in 1979 to be directed by Kamal Amrohi of Pakeezah fame was shelved after a lavish Mahurat. It was to star Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee Gulzar.What happened to the film and its immortal music? Kamal Amrohi’s son Tajdar Amrohi tells me, “Dimple Kapadia (Mrs Rajesh Khanna) wanted to play a particular role. The disputes kept mounting and then regrettably Majnoon had to be shelved. If only it had been made as my father dreamt of it! Aap soch nahin sakte ke duniya ne kya khoya diya (you have no idea what the world lost). I was witness to the fights that aborted Majnoon. My father was a great artiste and a wonderful human being. He didn’t get the fame that he deserved. He is better off in the other world . This world was not meant for my father. He was maligned and his reputation was tarnished when in fact he was an angel. But I am confident one day the truth about him will come out.”Tajdar Amrohi tells me there is one other song in the voice of Lataji that was recorded for Majnoon by Khayyam. That song is nowhere to be found.