If you grew up in the 50’s-90’s era, think Hindi Film ‘melody’ and one name popped in your head – Lata Mangeshkar! ‘Rasik Balma’, ‘Chand Phir Nikla’, ‘O Sajna Barka Bahaar’, ‘Suno Sajna Papeehe Ne’ .. so many melodies came to mind. When you mention the word ‘fun’, the world shifted in Lata's generation, to her sister Asha Bhosle, who was termed the cabaret queen. Talk Lata and cabaret, and 99 out of 100 mention just one song, 'Aa Jaan-E-Jaan', composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for Inteqam (1969)!!
So has the Melody Queen been in a fun mood on a regular basis? Of course! Completely overshadowed by her better-known mellifluous numbers, there are several masterpieces where Lata has let her hair down and had fun behind the mic. 'Aankhon Mein Aankhen Na Daalo’ in Tumse Accha Kaun Hai, 'Aaja Re Piya Khilne Lage' (Baharon Ki Manzil), and the song that now ranks among Helen's most frothy and exotic numbers – 'Aur Mera Naam Hai Jameela' (Night In London), in which Lata sings the word 'Jameela' differently every time! Add to it ‘Tere Kaaran Mere Saajan’ (Aan Milo Sajna), ‘Ai Phansaa’ (Bobby), ‘Tik Tik Tik Mera Dil Bole’ (Humjoli) and you have winner after winner on your hands!
Aptly used by Laxmikant-Pyarelal for most of her fun numbers, she experimented on this front with several other composers too. Kalyanji-Anandji, who believed in creating atmosphere within a song, delivered the Jab Jab Phool Khile-Nanda-enacted houseboat humdinger, 'Yeh Samaa, Samaa Hai Yeh Pyar Ka', a lovely seduction number. Set to a fast beat was Hema Malini's 'Tu Kya Jaane Bewafaa' in Haath Ki Safai. A sizzling Zeenat Aman swayed to the beat-heavy 'Arey Kya Karoon Kya Karoon' from Bombay 405 Miles. R.D. Burman too contributed his bit with the naughty and seductive 'Baahon Mein Chale Aao' (Anamika) and Bhai Battoor (Padosan). The younger composers who came in during the '70s also did their bit, with Bappi Lahiri's sterling combo of 'Shama Jale Ya Na Jale' and 'Pyar Hai Gunaah Suno' (both from Paapi). With Kishore, she also sang Roshan's lovelorn 'Dilruba Aa Meri Baahon Mein Aa' (Yehi Hai Zindagi), and she remained the composer's choice for his desi adaptation of My Fair Lady's 'I could have danced all night' in 'Honthon Pe Geet Jaage' in that film's adaptation, Manpasand. Lata dance numbers, Helen's 'Jeenewale Jhoom Ke Mastana Hoke Jee' (Vaasna), 'Yeh Dil Jigar Jafaa Wafaa' (Saaz Aur Sanam) and Mumtaz's 'Lagi Na Chhutegi Pyar Mein Zaalima' (Pardesi) still rank up there with Asha’s cabaret numbers in their frothiness. The Melody Queen even has a few 'disco' songs to her credit … 'Mere Naseeb Mein Tu Hai Ke Nahin' in 1981 blockbuster Naseeb, ‘Disco 82’ from Khuddar.
Not to forget the soft seductive numbers like ‘Darde Dil Badhta Jaye’ (Buniyaad), ‘Tanhai Mein Dil Ghabraye’ (Jawaab), ‘Doori Na Rahe Koi’ (Kartavya) .. all rendered with the utmost feelings. So what made the numbers seductive? Was it the picturization or the lyrics? Known for her strict rules around proper choice of words, she did create the fun/seductive environment through her songs without getting into the vulgar zone, just by infusing pure melody into the songs with her versatile voice…
Readers, are there any other fun numbers of Lata that come to mind? Please share your views with us….