6th June 2020

Rajesh Roshan: “Basuda Said I Was His Shankar-Jaikishan”

The  late  Basu Chatterjee’s music sense  was to die  for.  It is no co-incidence that he  chose Rajesh Roshan to do the music and songs in  7 of his films SwamiPriyatama, Khatta Meetha,Dillagi , Baaton Baaton Mein, Man Pasand, Hamari Bahu Alka.

Recalling their indelible association the reclusive Rajesh Roshan  says  in a  rare  interview, “Yes Basuda was a  rarity. I’d call him a genius, a word often misused in  the entertainment industry. His cinema  had a rare life-like quality and  he had a  great music sense. We  met for the first time in 1977 for Swami. I was  introduced to Basuda by Hema Maliniji’s secretary Me Behl. Hemaji was the producer  of Swami. I was  new but already successful with my songs in Kunwara Baap and Julie.  But I remember  my pride at  bagging a  Basu Chatterjee film. It meant I  had arrived.”

The songs   of Swami were runaway hits.

Recalls Rajesh Roshan, “There was so much variety in the soundtrack, from Lataji’s Pal bhar mein yeh kya ho gaya to Yesudas’ Aaye ba baalam ka karun sajni to Kishore Kumar’s Yaadon mein woh. Basuda  gave me  a free hand  to compose  as and how I wanted. He never interered. Never said, ‘Take  Kishore Kumar for this song.’ So I could choose the singers that the songs demanded. In  Basuda’s Priyatama  I had Usha Mangeshkar  sing with Kishore Kumar in  Tu joh bole haan to haan.”

Rajesh Roshan reveals  a  unique aspect  of Basuda’s  musicianship. “He would record all the songs and them decide where to place them . His editing was  so good that the songs never seemed to have been added later.And yes the myth that  background songs don’t work  was busted  by the  success  of Basuda’s songs.”

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What bowls Rajesh  over is how fresh the  songs that he composed for Basuda sound even  today.  “If  you listen to the songs  of Basuda’s Baaton Baaton Mein  and Khatta Meetha they haven’t dated at all. I don’t know how this happened. But Basuda had  tremendous faith in me. He once  told me, ‘You are my Shankar-Jaikishan’. That  was his way of letting me   know how much he trusted me. To me  that trust was invaluable. I could  never work with  filmmakers breathing down my neck. I’d rather sit at home than to have producers  dictate to me.”

Interestingly  in Man Pasand, Rajesh Roshan ‘borrowed’ a song  from My Fair Lady. He is quick enough to  admit it. “Yes, Lataji’s Hothon pe geet jaage was inspired by  I could have danced all night  from  My Fair Lady. That  was neither my idea nor Basuda’s. It was  the producer  Amit Khanna’s idea and we all went along with it. But it wasn’t a straightforward  copy. In those days  Schin Dev Burman,  Rahul Dev Burman, all of us  would sometimes  get inspired  by  songs we  heard  from outside our country. But like I said   Hothon pe geet jaage  was  a  recreation of  the original.I still remember its recording.  Character actress  Leela Mishra also contributed to the song with Lataji.”

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Mehmood who  introduced Rajesh Roshan to   Hindi cinema in Kunwara Baap, also sang in Man Pasand. “That  was a big moment for me, ” says Rajesh.

Incidentally  the iconic filmmaker Manmohan Desai  loved Kunwara Baap. He watched it  repeatedly and cried each time.

 Says Rajesh Roshan, “I  was supposed to do a soundtrack for Manmohanji.We met for en evening session. He  loved my songs.  Then I  don’t know what happened.  With Badsuda I never had to look anxiously  over my shoulder  to see if someone else would take away  my project. If he wanted  Salil Chowdhary  or  R D Burman he  got them . If he wanted me, it was me only.I shared the same kind of  comfort level with him as I do with my  brother Rakesh Roshan.’

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Rajesh Roshan Selects Favourites From His Basu Chatterjee Repertoire

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  1. Pal bhar mein yeh kya ho gaya(Swami)
  2. Aaye na baalam(Swami)
  3. Koi roko na  deewane ko(Priyatama)
  4. Tere  bin kaise din (Priyatama)
  5. Thoda hai  thode ke zaroorat hai(Khatta Meetha)
  6. Badal toh aaye(Dillagi)
  7. Na bole tum na maine kuch kaha(Baaton Baaton Mein)
  8. Suniye  kahiye(Baaton Baaton Mein)
  9. Charu chand  his chanchal  chitwan(Man Pasand)
  10. Prem  ki hai kya sun pratibhasha(Hamari Bahu Alka)

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