Many people would talk of Rajesh Roshan for being the music director of Hrithik Roshan films like Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya and Krrish. However, he has been active since the mid 1970s, producing many early hits.
The son of music director Roshan, he is the brother of actor Rakesh Roshan. To mark Rajesh’s 66th birthday on May 24, we choose 10 songs from the early phase of his career, when he was arguably at his most consistent. We thus stick to the 1970s, though he had hits like ‘Chookar Mere Man Ko’ (Yaarana) and ‘Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain Ke’ (Khud-daar) in the early 1980s too. This list is chronological.
1 Aari Aaja – Kunwara Baap (1974)
Rajesh Roshan made his debut in the Mehmood film about a handicapped boy. This was a lullaby sung mainly by Kishore Kumar, and interestingly, Lata Mangeshkar sang the child’s part. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote, “Aari aaja nindiya tu le chal kahin, udan khatole mein door door, yahan se door”.
2 Dil Kya Kare – Julie (1975)
Julie was a huge musical hit, with the songs ‘Dil Kya Kare’, ‘Bhool Gaya Sab Kuch’, ‘My Heart Is Beating’ and ‘Yeh Raatein Nayi Purani’ This song was filmed on Vikram and Laxmi, and sung by Kishore and Lata. Anand Bakshi wrote, “Dil kya kare jab kisise kisiko pyaar hota hai; Jaane kahan kab kisiko kisise pyaar hota hai”.
3 Ka Karoon Sajni – Swami (1977).
A traditional semi-classical composition, this was adapted by lyricist Amit Khanna. Rajesh Roshan composed it in raag Kirwani, instead of the standard Sindhi Bhairavi used by classical maestros. It was filmed on Dheeraj Kumar and Shabana Azmi, with Yesudas singing “Ka karoon sajni aaye na baalam, khoj rahi hain piya pardesi akhiyan”.
4 Koi Roko Na – Priyatma (1977)
Starting off as a party number featuring Rakesh Roshan, it also has shots of Jeetendra and Neetu Singh as a pair. Another Kishore hit, it had Yogesh’s words, “Koi roko na deewane ko, man machal raha kuch gaane ko”. The song became a favourite at antakshari and talent hunt shows.
5 Thoda Hai Thode Ki – Khatha Meetha (1977)
Gulzar wrote these wonderful lines which talked of middle class values. The words were, “Thoda hai thode ki zaroorat hai, zindagi phir bhi yahan khubsoorat hai”. Sung by Kishore and Lata, the song had an ensemble cast featuring Rakesh Roshan, Bindiya Goswami, Ashok Kumar, Pearl Padamsee, Ranjit Chowdhury and others.
6 Chal Kahin Door – Doosra Aadmi (1977)
This was an ideal song to enjoy the weather, with Majrooh Sultanpuri writing, “Kya mausam hai, aye deewane dil, chal kahin door nikal jaaye”. Kishore, Lata and Mohammed Rafi sang the song, shot outdoors with Rishi Kapoor, Raakhee and Shashi Kapoor.
7 Aap Kahe Aur Hum Na Aaye – Des Pardes (1978)
The mukhda was rehashed from the Mehdi Hassan hit ‘Bhooli Bisri Chand Umeedein’. Beautifully sung by Lata, it was picturised on Tina Munim and Dev Anand in a concert scene. Rajesh Roshan acknowledged his source, whereas Amit Khanna wrote the lyrics.
8 Na Bole Tum – Baton Baton Mein (1979)
Amol Palekar and Tina Munim starred in this song where Yogesh wrote, “Na bole tum na maine kuch kaha kaha”. Asha Bhosle and Amit Kumar sang the tune which was a rehash of ‘Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye’ by the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. The film also had the hit ‘Uthey Sabke Kadam’.
9 Mere Paas Aao – Mr Natwarlal (1979)
The song’s main claim to fame was that it marked the playback singing debut of Amitabh Bachchan (he had earlier recited dualogues within songs). The tune was ordinary, more a semi-spoken recitation, but since it featured children, it went well with younger audiences. Bakshi wrote the lyrics.
10 Ik Rasta Hai Zindagi – Kaala Patthar (1979)
Rajesh Roshan teamed up with Kishore yet again on this song picturised on Shashi Kapoor riding a motorcycle. Sahir Ludhianvi wrote the words, “Ik rasta hai zindagi, jo tham gaye toh kuchh nahin: jo kadam kisi mukaam pe jo jam gaye toh kuchh nahin”. Lata sang a short stretch.
If one notices, Rajesh showed a lot of variety – he even did the item number ‘Mungda’ sung by Usha Mangeshkar in Inkaar. He also lifted a fair amount of foreign tunes, especially in the 1990s, with Greek composer Vangelis being a favourite source. With that in mind, his first decade seemed to be his most productive.