Lata Mangeshkar Speaks On The Genius Of Khayyam

 There  is much reason  for   the Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar  to mourn the  passing forth  of  the  peerless  composer  Khayyam.

“Among the many composing geniuses who created  beautiful tunes for me to sing, Khayyam Saab  was the last  to remain alive. Now even he’s gone. I hear  even his wife(singer  Jagjit Kaur)  was hospitalized at the same time as  Khayyam Saab. I  kept calling to inquire  about their health t.  Some female relative answered the  phone and I  knew the end  was near for Khayyam Saab,” says Lataji mournfully.

 The Nightingale  feels  Khayyam Saab never got his  due. “I feel Sajjad Hussain Saab and  Khayyam Saab,both among my favourite composers, never got the fame  and recognition  they deserved. Khayyam saab didn’t  do enough work. I wonder why!  Perhaps his selfrespect  did not allow him to  look for work.He  was  a man of great integrity ,  softspoken but  resolute and principled. Recording for  him was not easy. My  association  with him began rather late  in his career in  1962 when he asked me  to sing the duet Jeet  hi lenge baazi hum tum  in  the filmShola aur Shabnam. I remember being bowled over by the  tune. ‘Aapne yeh dhun socha kaise?’ I had asked him.”

Why did Khayyam Saab  who had started  composing  music for  film  in 1947,take so long to  ask Lataji to sing for him?

She too wonders  the same. “We started our careers at around the same  time. Initially he composed music under the pseudonym of ‘Sharmaji Vermaji’ and that caused  a lot of confusion. It was  only when people advised him  not to hide his  real name that he came into  his own.”

Lataji says  all  her  songs with Khayyam Saab were special. “But some were more  special than others. Dikhayeediye yun ke bekhud kiya in Baazaar  was  a song that  went  beyond expectations.  Khayyam Saab had a  great sense  of poetry. For this song he has dug out a 200-year old beautiful  poem by Mir Taqi Mir, and he  told me exactly how to  put forward  the words.Another very special song was  Apne aap raaton mein chilmanein sarakti hai. In  fact both this song and  Aap yun faasle se guzarte rahen  in the film Shankar Hussain were  very special.”

But Lataji feels  the  most special song she sang for Khayyam Saab was Ae dil-e-nadaan in the  film Razia  Sultan.“Every  note every incident related  to the song is embedded in  my  heart . The  director Kamaal Amrohi Saab  had  explained the situation to  Khayyam Saab and he in  turn explained it  to me. Hemaji was  supposed to be singing the song in a tent while the man she  loved (Dharmendra)  was playing the tune in  another tent. But then Hemaji was pregnant and  the whole situation  for  the  song was changed in  the film. This really saddened Khayyam Saab. But he nonetheless poured his heart and soul into  it. Ae dil-e-nadaan is  one  of  the best songs I’ve sung in my career. There is   a silence a stillness  at  the heart of  the  composition which I cherish. Incidentally  the  beautiful words  for Ae dil-e-nadaan  were written by Javed Akhtar Saab’s father Jan Nisar Akhtar Saab.”

Khayyam had a very peculiar habit during the recording of songs.

Recalls Lataji, “After recording he would praise  my singing . But then he’d invariably ask for one  more  take. But I remember once  he  did not do so. ‘You’ve sung it exactly the way I wanted,’ Khayyam  Saab complimented me. This time I  said it, ‘Khayyam Saab ek take aur ho jaye?’  He was a  perfectionist.The way I  sounded  in his songs, I don’t think I sounded  in any other composer’s songs.”

Lataji Picks Her Favourites Of Khayyam

1.     Jeet  hi lenge baazi hum tum(Shola Aur Shabnam)

2.     Baharon mera jeevan bhi sawaron(Aakhri Khat)

3.     Mere  chanda mere nanhe(Aakhri  Khat)

4.     Kabhi kabhie mere dil mein(Kabhi Kabhie)

5.     Aap yun faaslon se (Shankar Hussain)

6.     Apne  aap raton mein(Shankar Hussain)

7.     Tu mere saath rahega munne(Trishul)

8.     Dikhayee diye yun(Bazaar)

9.     Chanda re mere bhaiya se kehna(Chambal Ki Kasam)

10.  Na jaane  kya hua(Dard)

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