“Give me a harmonium and my ‘Lota’, and I will give you an outstanding composition,” S D Burman had once famously declared.
True to his word, almost every song they came together for was a smash hit: Kaaton se kheench ke yeh aanchal(Guide), Khai hai re humne kasam(Talash), Kora kagaz ttha yeh mann mera(Aradhana),Yeh tanhai (Tere Ghar Ke Samne), Jeevan ki baghiya mehkegi(Tere Mere Sapne) were some of their popular songs. What about the ones that never got the attention they deserved? S D Burman
- Hum pyar ki baazi hare(Sazaa, 1951): One of their earliest songs together in the film Sazaa which is primarily recalled for Lataji’s haunting Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye. Try this one for its throbbing pain of separation.Almost like a precursor to SD-LM’s Piya bina piya bina in Abhimaan., S D Burman best song ever
- Pighla hai sona(Jaal,1952): It was indeed rare to hear Lataji in a Guru Dutt film. For reasons best known to Guru Dutt she did not feel comfortable about singing in his films. But Sachinda insisted. And in this espionage thriller we got Lataji’s molten gold rendition of Pighla hai sona .
- Khaak hua dil jalte jalte(Shahenshah, 1953): By the time this pictureshow emerged, Bumran Dada was dithering between Geeta Dutt and Lataji as his preferred voice. Geeta had some solid songs in this film. But the clear winner, this timeless elegiac plea of broken heart, was the centerpiece.
- So ja re so ja(Jeewan Jyoti(1953): Master manipulator of melodic excellence that he was, Sachinda in the lullaby So ja re so ja got both Lata ji and Geeta Dutt to do separate renditions of the same composition.The clear winner here was apparent to the ear.
- Dil jale to jale(Taxi Driver; 1954): In this Navketan film later remade as Jaan-e-Mann, there was no Geeta Dutt even to do this zingy smoky seductive number filmed on the lovely Sheila Ramani. There is more to Taxi Driver than Jayen to jayen kahan.
- Aa khilte hain gul(Sitaron Se Aage, 1958): This was the last song, a wispy whimsical semi-dreamy ballad, Lataji sang for Burman Dada before their infamous 3-year cold war. Makes you wonder how they could tear themselves from one another’s artistry.
- Baharon ki mehfil suhani rahegi(Benazir;1964): Benazir is one of SD’s most underrated scores underscore by such ageless beauties as Husn ki baharen liye and Alvida jaan-e-wafa. But my pick of the hot lot is this plaintive mujra composed like a surreal dirge and rendered with such profound grief and nostalgia by Lataji … ooof!
- Suno suno suno meri dukh bhari dastaan(Chupa Rustom,1973): This Vijay Anand-directed Dev Anand-Hema Malini starrer flopped(probably because it had more of Vijay Anand-Bindu than Dev-Hema). But the music by Burman dada lingers in memory especially this heartbreaking song of a damsel in distress. The situation was lifted from Vijay Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam.But Burman Dada on Hema was every bit as inviting as Kalyanji-Anandji’s Babul pyare in Johnny Mera Naam.
- Sham bhaye bin shyam(Chaitali, 1973): One of the most beautiful songs from Lataji and Burman’s Dada’s resplendent repertoire , it is a Krishna birha bhajan to rival Sachin’s son’s Raina beeti jaye from Amar Prem. Remarkably this Hindi song was composed for a Bengali film. S D Burman was a legend