Ravindra Jain’s music reflected the innocence and simplicity of small-budget films released in the 1970s. Most often, he wrote lyrics for his own songs, making him a complete songwriter, writes Narendra Kusnur.
With his 77th birth anniversary coming up on February 28, we choose 10 songs that represent his style. He gave some fabulous songs to newer singers Hemlata and Yesudas, but also had hits with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
Jain never let his visual handicap come in his way and began singing bhajans in temples at an early age. This list is chronological, and is restricted to his film work, excluding the music he gave for tele serials like Ramayan.
1 Sajna Hai Mujhe/ Saudagar (1973)
Jain composed and wrote this song about a woman’s desire to look beautiful to impress her beloved. It featured the effervescent Padma Khanna, with Asha Bhosle singing, “Sajna hai mujhe sajna ke liye, zara uljhi latein sanwaar loon, har ang ka rang nikhaar loon, sajna hai mujhe.”
2 Ghungroo Ki Tarah/ Chor Machaye Shor (1974)
Picturised on Shashi Kapoor in a prison, this remained a huge hit for Kishore Kumar. Composed and written by Jain, it had the opening lines, “Ghungroo ki tarah bajta hi raha hoon main, kabhi is pag mein, kabhi us pag mein, bandhta hi raha hoon mein”. It was based on raag Jhinjhoti.
3 Geet Gaata Chal/ Geet Gaata Chal (1975)
An upbeat song, it had Jain’s lines, “Geet gaata chal o saathi gungunata chal, o bandhu re, haste hasaate beete har ghadi har pal”. It was sung by the upcoming Jaspal Singh, and had catchy choruses. It was filmed on Sachin playing a village lad, and was used in the film’s opening credits.
4 Dariya Cha Raja Deva/ Do Jasoos (1975)
This was a beautiful composition, beginning like a coastal folk tune and using a part inspired by Afro band Osibisa’s ‘Woyaya’. It was co-wriiten by Hasrat Jaipuri and sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh, who also appeared on screen with Bhawna Bhatt. Shots of the sea and boats gave it a unique look.
5 Do Panchchi Do Tinke/ Tapasya (1976)
Kishore got together with popular Bengali singer Arati Mukherjee on this wonderful song filmed on Parikshat Sahni and Raakhee. Written by MG Hashamat of ‘Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz’ fame, it had the lines, “Do panchchi do tinke kaho leke chale hain kahaan, yeh banayenge ek ashiyan”.
6 Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein/ Chitchor (1976)
The Amol Palekar-Zarina Wahab film had some great songs by Jain, and gave Yesudas some of his biggest Hindi hits. Besides ‘Gori Tera Gaaon’, ‘Aaj Se Pehle’ and ‘Jab Deep Jale Aana’, there was ‘Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein’ with Hemlata. The song was known for its expression of romance.
7 Fakira Chal Chala Chal/ Fakira (1976)
A motivational song, this had Jain’s lines “O sunke teri pukar, sang chalne ko tere koi ho na ho taiyaar, himmat na haar, chal chala chal, fakira chal chala chal”. It was sung by Mahendra Kapoor and filmed on Danny Denzongpa who played a wandering minstrel with Asrani. Hemlata sang the female version.
8 Sona Kare Jhilmil Jhilmil/ Paheli (1977)
A peppy love song filmed in the rain, this movie marked Suresh Wadkar’s entry into Hindi playback singing. Hemlata was the co-singer, and the song was filmed on Satyajeet Puri and Namita Chandra. Jain’s lines were, “Sona kare jhilmil jhilmil, rupa hase kaise khil khil, vrishti pade tapur tupur, tip tip tapur tupur”.
9 Akhiyon Ke Jharonkon Se/ Akhiyon Ke Jharonkon Se (1978)
A gem of a song sung by Hemlata, it has remained one of Jain’s most popular tunes. Filmed on Ranjeeta and Sachin, it had the opening lines, “Akhiyon ke jharonkon se, maine dekha jo sanware, tum door nazar aaye, badi door nazar aaye, band karke jharonkon ko, zara baithi jo sochne, man mein tum hi muskaye, man mein tum hi muskaye”.
10 Husn Pahadon Ka/ Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)
Picturised against a snowy backdrop, this was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Suresh Wadkar, and talked about the beauty of mountainous terrain. Rajiv Kapoor, who passed away on February 9, starred along with newcomer Mandakini. The film had other popular songs like the title track, ‘Sun Sahiba Sun’ and ‘Ek Radha Ek Meera’.
While Jain created some great work in the 1970s, he later shifted his focus to composing for television mythologicals and spiritual albums. His contribution to Hindi music was immense.