In an earlier interview with this writer, Asha Bhosle had said Hemant Kumar was her favourite male singer. “He had a very distinct voice, with a mix of depth and tenderness,” she had said.
Hemant Da also had so many Hindi film hits that no matter what one did to compile a list of 10, something always got left out. To mark his 101st birth anniversary on June 16, we thus decided to list five songs composed and sung by him, and five songs composed by S.D. Burman, with whom he released some memorable tunes.
Here, we begin with five of his own compositions, before moving forward.
1 Na Yeh Chand Hoga – Shart (1954)
The song was sung in two versions by Hemant Kumar and Geeta Dutt. Featuring Shyama and Deepak, Hemant Kumar’s composition was a huge hit in its time. Lyricist S.H. Bihari wrote, “Na yeh chand hoga, na taare rahenge, magar hum hamesha tumhare rahenge”.
2 Beqarar Karke – Bees Saal Baad (1962)
Hemant Kumar composed and sang this song, picturised on Biswajeet and Waheeda Rahman. Shakeel Badayuni wrote the lines, “Beqaraar karke hamein yun na jaaiye, aapko hamari kasam laut aaiye”. The film also had the Lata Mangeshkar hit ‘Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil’.
3 Yeh Nayan Dare Dare – Kohraa (1964)
Another gem filmed on Biswajeet and Waheeda, this was composed and sung by Hemant Kumar. Kaifi Azmi’s antara had a class of its own, as he wrote, “Raat haseen, yeh taare haseen, tu sabse haseen mere dilbar, aur tujhse haseen tera pyaar, tu jaane na”.
4 Ya Dil Ki Suno – Anupama (1966)
Kaifi Azmi wrote the wonderful lines, “Ya dil ki suno duniya waalo, ya mujhko abhi chup rehne do, main gham ko khushi kaise keh doon, jo kehte hain unko kehne do”. Hemant Kumar’s voice suited Dharmendra perfectly. The song also featured Sharmila Tagore and Shashikala.
5 Tum Pukar Lo – Khamoshi (1969)
The combination of music director Hemant Kumar and lyricist Gulzar worked very well on this song. The opening lines were “Tum pukaar lo, tumhara intezaar hai” with Hemant Kumar’s vocals stressing on ‘mmm’ in ‘tum’. Waheeda was the main star, and Rajesh Khanna’s back was to the camera.
Now, over to the S.D. Burman hits.
6 Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni – Jaal (1952)
A huge hit for music director S.D. Burman, the song had two versions – Hemant Kumar solo and Hemant-Lata duet. Sahir Ludhianvi wrote, “Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan, sunja dil ke dastaan”. It was filmed on Dev Anand and Geeta Bali.
7 Teri Duniya Mein – House No 44 (1955)
Once again, the combination of S.D. Burman, Sahir and Hemant Da sparkled. The opening lines were, “Teri duniya mein jeene se toh behtar hai ke mar jaayein, wohi aansoon, wohi aahein, wohi gham hai, jidhar jaayein”. This time Dev Anand was paired with Kalpana Kartik. The film also had the Hemant Kumar hit ‘Chup Hai Dharti’.
8 Jaane Woh Kaise – Pyaasa (1957)
An iconic song with Sahir writing, “Jaane woh kaise log the jinke pyaar ko pyaar mila, hum ne toh jab kaliyan maangi, kaanton ka haar mila”. S.D. Burman’s tune was minimalistic and the song was filmed on Guru Dutt. Interestingly, Mohammed Rafi sang the other male songs in the film.
9 Hai Apna Dil Toh Awara – Solva Saal (1958)
This time, S.D. Burman set Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics to tune, as Hemant Kumar sang, “Hai apna dil toh awara, na jaane kispe aayega”. A highlight was the mouth organ part. The song was shot in a train on Dev Anand and Waheeda.
10 Na Tum Hamein Jaano – Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)
An eternal classic sung by Hemant Kumar and Suman Kalyanpur, this again featured the combination of S.D. Burman and Majrooh. Filmed on Dev Anand and Waheeda, it began with the lines, “Na tum hamein jaano, na hum tumhein jaane, magar lagta hai kuch aisa, mera humdum mil gaya”.
Needless to say, Hemant Kumar had numerous other great songs. Three of this writer’s favourites, by other composers, would include C. Ramchandra’s ‘Jaag Dard-e-Ishq Jaag’ in Anarkali, Roshan’s ‘Chhupa Lo Dil Mein’ in Mamta and Kalyanji-Anandji’s ‘Tumhe Yaad Hoga’ in Satta Bazaar. That’s besides many other S.D. Burman classics.
Here, we only talked of his Hindi songs. His Bengali songs made for another story.