Monday, October 18, 2021

10 Evergreen Songs from Basu Chatterjee’s films

The ace filmmaker, who passed away today (June 4), ensured that songs were in sync with storylines, and had a slice-of-life element in them, writes Narendra Kusnur

Like the subjects of his films, Basu Chatterjee believed in simplicity and impact when it came to music. The filmmaker, who passed away on June 4, ensured that the songs went perfectly with the storylines, and had a slice-of-life element in them.

From his filmography, it’s obvious that his favourite composers were Rajesh Roshan and Salil Chowdhury, who did some memorable work with him. Among lyricists, a bulk went to Yogesh, who passed away on May 29.

Choosing 10 songs from Chatterjee films wasn’t easy, and one had to leave out Us Paar (specially Manna Dey’s ‘Piya Maine Kya Kiya’) and Shaukeen. Except Rajnigandha, where it was impossible to omit one of the two songs mentioned, we stuck to one song per film. The list is as per the year of the film’s release.

1. Yeh Jeevan Hai/ Piya Ka Ghar (1972) 

One of the most emotional Kishore Kumar songs, ‘Yeh Jeevan Hai’ was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and written by Anand Bakshi. It had wonderful lines like “Thode gham hai, thodi khushiyan, yehi hain chaaon dhoop” and was picturised on Anil Dhawan and Jaya Bhaduri.



2. Rajnigandha PhoolTumhare/ Rajnigandha (1974)

Picturised on the simple and beautiful Vidya Sinha, this Lata Mangeshkar gem was composed by Salil Chowdhury. Yogesh’s lyrics began, “Rajnigandha phool tumhari mehke yoon hi jeevan main, yoon hi mehke preet piya ki mere anuragi man mein”.



3. Kai Baar Yoon Hi/ Rajnigandha (1974)

Another beauty from Rajnigandha, this song was picturised on Sinha and Dinesh Thakur, sitting in a taxi. It was sung marvellously by Mukesh, with Salil Chowdhury’s music and Yogesh’s words, which begin, “Kai baar yoon hi dekha hai, yeh jo man ki seema rekha hai, man daudne lagta hai”.



4. Jab Deep Jale Aana/ Chitchor (1976)

One of the best examples of the use of raag Yaman in a film song, this song was boosted by Yesudas’s amazing voice, with Hemlata pitching in. Music and lyrics were by Ravindra Jain, and the song was filmed on Amol Palekar, Zarina Wahab and Master Raju The film also had the Yesudas hits ‘Gori Tera Gaaon’, ‘Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein’ and ‘Aaj Se Pehle’.



5. Jaaneman Jaaneman/ Chhoti Si Baat (1976)

The choice here was between Mangeshkar’s ‘Chhoti Si Baat’ and the Yesudas-Asha Bhosle duet ‘Jaaneman Jaaneman’. We chose the latter as it was peppy and easily sung along. Once again, Salil Chowdhury and Yogesh combined.



 6. Ka Karoon Sajni – Swami (1977)

Based on a thumri popularised by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, this version was sung by Yesudas. However, while the traditional tune was in raag Sindhubhairavi, this one was adapted in Kirwani. Rajesh Roshan provided the music and Amit Khanna wrote the improvised lyrics.



7. Koi Roko Na/ Priyatma (1977)

Sung by Kishore Kumar, the song was composed by Rajesh Roshan and written by Anjaan. Picturised mainly on Rakesh Roshan, it had shots of Jeetendra and Neetu Singh too. The words “Koi roko na deewane ko, man machal gaya kuch gaane ko” made it a singalong favourite.



8. Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai/ Khatta Meetha (1978)

The main lines, written by Gulzar, were easily to identify with. Music was by Rajesh Roshan and the song was sung by Kishore Kumar and Mangeshkar. Because of its simplicity, it’s hummed even today.



9. Rimjhim Gire Saawan/ Manzil (1979)

One of those unforgettable rain songs, this was in two versions, both featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee. Lyrics were by Yogesh and music was by R.D. Burman. While Kishore sang one version, Mangeshkar rendered the other.



10. Utthe Sab Ke Kadam/ Baaton Baaton Mein (1979)

A fun song composed by Rajesh Roshan and penned by Amit Khanna, this was picturised in a group that included Amol Palekar, Tina Munim and Pearl Padamsee, who also joined Mangeshkar and Amit Kumar on vocals.



Narendra Kusnur
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon, so to speak, Naren, who dubs himself Kaansen, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier.

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