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)