Among combinations of music directors and singers, the one between Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar produced many hits. Some films like Adalat, Woh Kaun Thi?, Mera Saaya and Dastak actually had more than one classic.
To mark Madan Mohan’s 97th birth anniversary on June 25, we choose 10 solo masterpieces sung by Lata. After some great songs were penned by Rajendra Krishan, many of them were written by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, who sadly died prematurely in 1966, just when the three of them had done a string of outstanding songs.
We rounded off this list in 1970, though Madan Mohan and Lata had some great songs later too. The order is chronological.
1 Yun Hasraton Ke Daag – Adalat (1958)
This was a priceless tune picturised on Nargis. The ghazal featured exquisite sarangi and tabla. One highlight of Rajendra Krishan’s lyrics was when Lata sang in the antara, “Ghar se chale the hum toh khushi ki talaash mein, gham raah mein khade the wohi saath ho liye”. The film also had the Lata hit ‘Unko Yeh Shikayat Hai’.
2 Hum Pyar Mein Jalne Waalon Ko – Jailor (1958)
Madan Mohan, Lata and Rajendra Krishan combined once again on this classic which began, “Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko chain kahaan, haaye aaram kahaan”. Beginning with a piano, it was filmed on Geeta Bali. Lata sang it often in her shows.
3 Woh Bhooli Dastaan – Sanjog (1961)
Here, Rajendra Krishan wrote, “Woh bhooli dastaan lo phir yaad aa gayee, nazar ke saamne ghata si chaa gayee”. The nostalgic number was picturised on Anita Guha, with Pradeep Kumar appearing in some shots. Lata’s expression was simply marvelous.
4 Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha – Anpadh (1962)
Over many songs, the team of Madan Mohan, Lata and lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan worked wonders. Picturised on Mala Sinha and Dharmendra, ‘Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha’ was a classic love song. The line “Aapki manzil hoon main, meri manzil aap hai, kyon main toofan se daroon, mera saahil aap hai” was a gem.
5 Agar Mujhse Mohabbat Hai – Aap Ki Parchhaiyan (1964)
Dharmendra appeared in this song too, this time with Supriya Choudhury. Raja Mehdi Ali Khan wrote the lines, “Agar mujhse mohabbat hai, mujhe sab apne gham de do; In ankhon ka har ik aansoon, mujhe meri kasam de do”. This was another memorable love song.
6 Zara Si Aahat – Haqeeqat (1964)
This brilliant song was penned by Kaifi Azmi, who began, “Zara si aahat hoti hai toh dil sochta hai, kahin yeh woh toh nahin”. Madan Mohan composed it in raag Yaman. The song was filmed on Priya Rajvansh. The war movie also had the group number ‘Hoke Majboor’.
7 Lag Ja Gale – Woh Kaun Thi (1964)
A beautiful love song picturised on Sadhna and Manoj Kumar, it was again penned by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. The opening lines were, “Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho; shayad phir is janam mein mulaqat ho na ho”. It was based in raag Pahadi. The film also had Lata’s hit ‘Naina Barse’.
8 Tu Jahaan Jahaan Chalega – Mera Saaya (1966)
Raja Mehdi Ali Khan wrote, “Tu jahaan jahaan chalega, mera saaya saath hoga”. Composed in raag Nand, this song had two versions by Lata, and the longer one had four antaras. It was filmed on Sadhna and Sunil Dutt. The hit ‘Naino Mein Badra Chaaye’ was also in this film.
9 Teri Aankhon Ke Siva – Chirag (1969)
A beautiful song penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri, Lata sang, “Teri ankhon ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai, yeh uthe subah chale, yeh jhuke shaam dhale, mera jeena, mera marna inhi palkon ke taley”. The song also had a Mohammed Rafi version, and featured Sunil Dutt and Asha Parekh.
10 Baiyyan Na Dharo – Dastak (1970)
Madan Mohan composed this song in raag Charukeshi, and Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the lines, “Baiyyan na dharo o balma, na karo mose raar”. Lata excelled on the classical nuances. Rehana Sultan and Sanjeev Kumar appeared on screen. Lata also sang the unforgettable ‘Hum Hai Mata-e-Koocha-o-Bazaar’ and ‘Mayee Ri’.
The year 1970 also saw the release of Heer Ranjha, where Madan Mohan and Lata combined on ‘Milo Na Tum Toh’ and ‘Do Dil Toote’. They also had hits in Hanste Zakhm, Laila Majnu and Mausam. Needless to say, these songs are popular in radio shows and talent contests even today.