Vishal Bhardwaj’s composition Theek nahin lagta which was recorded for a film in the 1990s that never got released, until January this year, triggered off a chain of memories of unreleased songs in the supreme songstress Lata Mangeshkar.
“Quite often songs didn’t make it into the films for reasons of length or because the artistes’ dates were not available.This has been the case with many of my songs. I am glad one of them has come out now,” says Lataji who rates Vishal’s Maachis soundtrack among her best work.
Recalling instances of songs that never got released Lataji says, “There was a beautiful composition by Khayyam titled Yeh haseen raat. It was a duet with me and Yesudas. That never made it beyond the recording. I think the director Kamal Amrohi had to shelve the film(Majnoon).”
Speaking of Kamal Amrohi, Lataji reveals that there is a whole album of her songs in Pakeezah that never made it into the film. “There is one album of Ghulam Mohamed’s compositions for Pakeezah that were featured in the film and another album of songs that didn’t feature in the film. The unused songs of Pakeezah were also very beautiful.But they didn’t become popular because they were not in the film.”
Lataji says that all her colleagues, Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar , Asha Bhosle , Mukesh and Manna Dey had a slew of unreleased songs lying somewhere .
Does Lataji regret that so many of her songs were not used?
She laughs and says softly. “There was never any time for regret.We went from one recording to another . I never listened to my songs once they were recorded.So I had no way of knowing what was used and what was not. In those days if a song didn’t make it into the film it didn’t get the recognition it deserved. I remember a beautiful Laxmikant-Pyarelal composition in the film Milan that was cut from the film(Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin). It is among my most favourite songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.”
In this context Lataji is happy that some of her unused songs composed by the great Madan Mohan were used by Yash Chopra. “It was Madan Bhaiya’s son Sanjeev Kohli,who is like a son to me, who suggested to Yashji that they use some of Madan Bhaiyya’s unused compositions in Veer-Zara. That’s how those lovely melodies like Tere liye and Tum paas aa rahe ho were revived. Otherwise they would have remained in oblivion.”