Happy Birthday Lata Mangeshkar: 20 songs from her personal playlist

  • Shreya Sethuraman, Afsana Ahmed and Tavishi Paitandy Rastogi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 28, 2015 11:23 IST
Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar turns 86 on Monday. (PTI)

The legendary singer, who ruled the golden period of Indian cinema music for almost seven decades turns 86 on Monday. Lata Mangeshkar, whose voice has been equated to the Voice of God, has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung in over 36 regional and foreign languages.

Of the many songs the Bharat Ratna awardee lent her voice to, the legend picked her favourites for Brunch in 2014.

1. Tu jahan jahan chalega (Mera Saaya, 1966)
“It’s a beautiful composition by Madan bhaiya about yearning for a loved one that you have lost. Exceptionally touching and close to my heart.”

Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

2. Lag jaa gale (Woh Kaun Thi, 1964)
“Sometimes a song is either lyrically heavy or melodically strong. At times, it’s both but tends to lose impact when picturised. It also happens that a song is badly written and scored but is visually so stunning that it leaves an impression on our heart and mind. This song has all those three elements.”

Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

3. Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati, 1958)
“This was my first super-hit and it scores on lyrics, tune and acting.”

Music: Salil Chowdhury. Lyrics: Shailendra

4. Rahe na rahe hum (Mamta, 1966)
“The music and lyrics make for a great composition.”

Music: Roshan Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

5. Ja re ud jaare panchi (Maya, 1961)
“The entire package (music, lyrics and my rendition) has a heart-touching quality. I love the use of the saxophone.”

Music: Salil Chowdhury. Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

6. O sajna, barkha bahaar aayi (Parakh 1960)
“I’m in love with this song. Salilda composed it beautifully and blended it with the lyrics by Shailendraji, while Bimal Roy’s camera-work (pictured on Sadhana), with close-ups of the rain, were outstanding. This melody is also unforgettable because of the contributions of people like Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan, who provided the accompanying instrumentation with the sitar beautifully.”

Music: Salil Chowdhury. Lyrics: Shailendra

7. Aaega aanewala (Mahal, 1949)
“It was one of my first major hits. The lip-syncing on screen by Madhubala added a special allure to the song and set the ball rolling for other hits.”

Music: Khemchand Prakash. Lyrics: Nakhshab Jaaravchi

8. Pyaar kiya toh darna kya (Mughal-e-Azam, 1960)
“I love the song’s lyrics, music, choreography and the mood. Many rebellious emotions are conveyed through it.”

Music: Naushad. Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

9. Allah tero naam (Hum Dono, 1961)
“Perhaps the most melodious and all-encompassing prayer for humanity. Gandhiji philosophy: ‘sabko sanmati de bhagwan,’ appeals to me. The lyrics touch your heart and the enchanting music fills my heart with hope.”

Music: Jaidev. Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

10. Zara si aahat hoti (Haqeeqat, 1964)
“Kaifi saheb’s lyrics are haunting. Madan bhaiya created some fine nuances even though the tune was simple. The melody stays with you long after you have heard the song.”

Music: Madan Mohan. Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi

11. Ae dil-e-nadaan (Razia Sultan, 1983)
“Sometimes, the director’s vision of a song adds great value to the composition. I loved the way it was explained to me by Kamal Amrohi. I just closed my eyes, rendered it and conveyed the emotions. One of my favourite Urdu ghazals!”

Music: Khayyam. Lyrics: Jan Nisar Akhtar

12. Thaare rahiyo (Pakeezah, 1972)
“The Rajasthani folk tune attached to the song adds a special charm to it. The way Meena Kumari has enacted it is also memorable. I love this song!”

Music: Gulam Mohammed. Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

13. Ajeeb dastan hai yeh (Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraya, 1960)
“One of the most beautiful compositions by Shankar-Jaikishan and penned by Shailendra. I love the sound of the saxophone in this song as well.”

Music: Shankar-Jaikishan. Lyrics: Shailendra

14. Woh bhooli dastaan (Sanjog, 1961)
“I love the song, especially since its lyrics are so beautiful.”

Music: Madan Mohan. Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan

15. Tere bina zindagi (Aandhi, 1975)
“Stunning picturisation and such appealing lyrics! RD Burman’s music and Sanjeev Kumar’s dialogues add a wonderful dimension to the song. And of course, Kishoreda and I also rendered it with our heart and soul.”

Music: RD Burman. Lyrics: Gulzar

16. Dikhayee diyen (Bazaar, 1982)
“This is one ghazal by Mir that is closest to my heart. Khayyam sahab’s music only makes it better.”

Music: Khayyam. Lyrics: Mir Taqi Mir

17. Bada natkhat hai (Amar Prem, 1972)
“People say this is one of my most touching songs. I agree. The way it has been picturised brings out a mother’s love for her son. And my voice suits Sharmila very well. Not to forget the music by RD Burman, my favourite.”

Music: RD Burman. Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

18. O beqarar dil (Kohra, 1964)
“There’s an easy sense of suppleness in this number. It’s penned by Kaifi saheb, and it’s just beautiful.”

Music: Hemant Kumar. Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi

19. Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum (Silsila, 1981)
“The lyrics are beautiful! I sang this song with Bachchan saab and it was a challenge to blend my voice with his. I read somewhere that Javed saheb, who wrote the lyrics, felt the line, ‘Huyi aur bhi mulayam, meri shyam dhalte dhalte,’ couldn’t be sung more meaningfully by any singer in the world but me. It’s a huge compliment, because the song was very challenging for me to sing.”

Music: Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma. Lyrics: Javed Akhtar

20. Is duniya mei jina hai toh (Gumnaam, 1965)
“I love this breezy carefree song picturised on Helen. I don’t usually sing cabaret numbers, so this was interesting to render.”

Music: Shankar-Jaikishan. Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

(The story first appeared in Brunch on September 1, 2014)

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