Tandem Tunes

Remember Mere Mehboob Tujhe, Meri Mohabbat Ki Qasam

(Mere Mehboob) dipped in sheer melody and sung beautifully by Mohd Rafi? Do you also remember the exact same song in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice? This is an example of Tandem Tune where the same song is sung by two different singers – usually one version of the song is sung by the male lead and another one by the female.

Tandem Tunes have existed in our Hindi Films for decades now and take multiple flavors depending on the demand of the situation. As I described above, one flavor is simply to have a male and female version of the same song. Typically, the mukhda (first few lines of the same) remain the same and the stanzas change to suit the situation and/or the gender of the singer. Another classic example of this is “Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paoge” (Pagla Kahin Ka) sung by Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, separately.

The beauty of such songs lies in the lyrics, usually in the stanza, as they are tweaked to suit the situation … while Rafi croons “Woh Baharein Woh Chandni Raatein,

Humne Ki Theen Jo Pyar Ki Baatein” – Lata responds with “Beeti Baaton Ka Kuchh Khayaal Karo, Kuchh To Bolo Kuchh Humse Baat Karo”… a near similar situation expressed by different lyrics.

Another flavor is to have a happy and sad version – typically the sad version becomes the same song but slower, more toned down (if possible at all). The reason I say this is because “Jiya Ho Kuchh Bol Do .. Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai” has two versions, one by Rafi, one by Lata – both are equally fast paced, but in the movie the male version is more of a chhed-chhad version, while the female version is the “sad” version, albeit at the same pace. Another example of a slower paced Tandem Tune to depict the sad version is the tuneful “Tum Aye to Aya Mujhe Yaad.. Gali Mein Aaj Chand Nikla” (Zakhm) where Alka Yagnik sings both versions, one fast paced and the other much slower paced.

My personal favorite flavor of the Tandem Tunes version is the one where the words of the mukhda (main part of the song) are changed completely to suit the tune… typically one ends up being the sad version.  Here is an example from “Dil Hi To Hai” – the Roshan tuned Suman Kalyanpur-Mukesh Duet  “Chura Le Na Tumko Ye Mausam Suhana,

 Khuli Waadiyon Mein Akele Na Jaana” becomes the much slower and sadder solo by Suman with the words changing to “Yunhi Dil Ne Chaha Tha Rona Rulana, Teri Yaad To Ban Gayee Ik Bahana”. Notice how the “rhyming” of the words remains the same but the essence becomes completely different! Another example along the same lines is from Mr & Mrs 55 – while Geeta Dutt & Rafi happily jump around and sing “Sun Sun Sun Sun Zaalima, Pyar Humko Tum Se Ho Gaya”…. Geeta Dutt is left alone to render the slower mellower version of “Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa, Kaisa Pyar Kaisi Preet Re”.

If you look back at the all the tandem tunes that have existed in our HFM, you may notice a pattern – the male versions have typically done better in terms of popularity than the female versions. Does it just mean that the male singers performed better than their female counterparts or is there something else at play here? In one of her interviews Lata said that some of her tandem tunes like “Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par” (Junglee) and “O Mere Shahe-Khubaan” (Love in Tokyo) were added as an afterthought after Rafi’s version had turned out quite well. However, she admitted to it being “beyond” her scale since the music was pre-recorded (imagine something being beyond Lata’s vocal prowess!) and the strain in her voice for some of these tandem tunes certainly shows!! Maybe that’s the reason the male versions turned out to more popular since they just sounded better in the male voice at that pitch?

This phenomenon of Tandem Tunes has existed not only from the Lata-Rafi days but is has gained even more popularity in the current times. Pritam leads the pack in this regard – almost every movie of his has at least 3-4 versions of a tune that is his favorite from the lot, be it “Mere Khwaabon Mein Rehti Hai” from Billu Barber in 3 versions or the ultra-melodious “Raabta” (Agent Vinod) in a male version, 2 female versions and a duet version. I want to close the blog with pointing you readers to another beautiful tandem tune from “Aashiqui 2” – the male version sung (and composed) in a rock form by Ankit Tiwari and the much mellower, softer version of the same song “Sunn Raha Hai Na” sung by Shreya Ghosal – the point in the movie being that the female was a better singer than the male singer – a la Abhiman! … when you hear the song, you will realize why they added more nuances to the female version to make that point.

Readers, can you think of more tandem tunes, especially the ones where the words have been changed? Don’t forget to send us your comments.

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