Happy birthday Lata Mangeshkar: An exhaustive playlist of her 20 favourite tracks

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAfsana Ahmed
Sep 28, 2019 09:01 AM IST

To celebrate Lata Mangeshkar’s 90th birthday, here is a playlist of her 20 favourite songs from her own vast range of Bollywood songs.

Saturday marks the 90th birth anniversary of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. With more than 25,000 songs to her credit, Lata has sung songs around thirty-six regional Indian languages as per reports. She has three National Film Awards and six Filmfare awards. The government of India honoured Lata with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1989. She was also awarded with India’s highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna in 2001.

Lata Mangeshkar turns 90 on Saturday and we bring you a playlist of her own favourite songs.
Lata Mangeshkar turns 90 on Saturday and we bring you a playlist of her own favourite songs.

She is the recipient of three National Film Awards, 15 Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards, four Filmfare Best Female Playback Awards, two Filmfare Special Awards, Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award and many more. In 1974, she became the first Indian to perform in the Royal Albert Hall.

President Ram Nath Kovind meets Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar at her residence in Mumbai. (ANI)
President Ram Nath Kovind meets Bollywood singer Lata Mangeshkar at her residence in Mumbai. (ANI)

Also read: Lata Mangeshkar says she had temper issues as a child: ‘I would get angry very quickly. This changed as I grew older’

She talked about her one flaw in an interview recently. “My biggest personality flaw was my fierce temper. Even as a child I had a major temper issue. I would get angry very quickly. This changed as I grew older. Then there came a time when my temper vanished. Now I don’t get angry at all. I sometimes wonder what happened to my fierce temper,” she told IANS.

Lata has lent her voice to four generations of leading ladies in Bollywood: an unparalleled achievement for any singer anywhere at any point of human history! “I have very beautiful memories attached with almost all my songs,” says Mangeshkar, reclusive but still graceful at 84. “But there are a few which are personal favourites.”

To celebrate the Indian nightingale’s birthday, we bring you her favourite 20 songs from her own discography:

Of the many songs she lent her voice to, the legend picks her favourites

1. Tu jahan jahan chalega (Mera Saaya, 1966)
Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan


“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.”

2. Lag jaa gale (Woh Kaun Thi, 1964)
Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan


“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.”

3. Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati, 1958)
Music: Salil Chowdhury.
Lyrics: Shailendra


“This was my first super-hit and it scores on lyrics, tune and acting.”

4. Rahe na rahe hum (Mamta, 1966)
Music: Roshan
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri


“The music and lyrics make for a great composition.”

5. Ja re ud jaare panchi (Maya, 1961)
Music: Salil Chowdhury.
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri


“The entire package (music, lyrics and my rendition) has a heart-touching quality. I love the use of the saxophone.”

6. O sajna, barkha bahaar aayi (Parakh 1960).
Music: Salil Chowdhury.
Lyrics: Shailendra


“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.”

7. Aaega aanewala (Mahal, 1949).
Music: Khemchand Prakash.
Lyrics: Nakhshab Jaaravchi


“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.”

8. Pyaar kiya toh darna kya (Mughal-e-Azam, 1960).
Music: Naushad.
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni


“I love the song’s lyrics, music, choreography and the mood. Many rebellious emotions are conveyed through it.”

9. Allah tero naam (Hum Dono, 1961).
Music: Jaidev.
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi


“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.”

10. Zara si aahat hoti (Haqeeqat, 1964).
Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi


“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.”

11. Ae dil-e-nadaan (Razia Sultan, 1983).
Music: Khayyam.
Lyrics: Jan Nisar Akhtar


“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!”

12. Thaare rahiyo (Pakeezah, 1972).
Music: Gulam Mohammed.
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri


“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!”

13. Ajeeb dastan hai yeh (Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraya, 1960).
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan.
Lyrics: Shailendra


“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.”

14. Woh bhooli dastaan (Sanjog, 1961).
Music: Madan Mohan.
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan


“I love the song, especially since its lyrics are so beautiful.”

15. Tere bina zindagi (Aandhi, 1975).
Music: RD Burman.
Lyrics: Gulzar


“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.”

16. Dikhayee diyen (Bazaar, 1982).
Music: Khayyam.
Lyrics: Mir Taqi Mir


“This is one ghazal by Mir that is closest to my heart. Khayyam sahab’s music only makes it better.”

17. Bada natkhat hai (Amar Prem, 1972).
Music: RD Burman.
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi


“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.”

18. O beqarar dil (Kohra, 1964).
Music: Hemant Kumar.
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi


“There’s an easy sense of suppleness in this number. It’s penned by Kaifi saheb, and it’s just beautiful.”

19. Yeh kahaan aa gaye hum (Silsila, 1981).
Music: Hariprasad Chaurasia and Shivkumar Sharma.
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar


“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.”

20. Is duniya mei jina hai toh (Gumnaam, 1965).
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan.
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri


“I love this breezy carefree song picturised on Helen. I don’t usually sing cabaret numbers, so this was interesting to render.”

(This is an edited version of a copy that was originally published in 2013. )

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