From the late 1970s, singer Suresh Wadkar attracted audiences with his charming voice and simple style. For well over a decade, he had some great Hindi film songs.
Though the 1990s gave him fewer Bollywood hits, he did some great work in Marathi films, and other languages like Bhojpuri, Odia and Konkani. He’s also played a major role in teaching music.
To mark Suresh’s 66th birthday on August 7, we choose 10 of his marvellous Hindi film songs from the late 1970s to the earlier 1990s. The brilliant ‘Aur Is Dil Mein’ from Imaandaar has not been included as it was featured in the list of Sanjay Dutt songs two weeks ago. The order is chronological.
1 Seene Mein Jalan – Gaman (1978)
Lyricist Shahryar wrote about the feelings of Mumbai’s teeming populace in the lines, “Seene mein jalan, aankhon mein toofan sa kyon hai; Is sheher mein har shaks pareshan sa kyon hai”. Music was by Jaidev, and the song was picturised on Farooque Shaikh driving a cab across the city.
2 Megha Re, Megha Re – Pyaasa Sawan (1981)
Suresh teamed up with Lata on this duet shot outdoors with Jeetendra and Moushumi Chatterjee. Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the music, and lyricist Santosh Anand impressed on the lines, “Megha re, megha re, megha re, megha re, mat pardes ja re, aaj tu prem ka sandesh barsa re”.
3 Bhanvre Ne Khilaya Phool – Prem Rog (1982)
Rishi Kapoor took Padmini Kolhapure on a bicycle ride into flowery fields on this duet sung by Suresh and Lata. Music was by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Narendra Sharma wrote, “Bhanwre ne khilaya phool, phool ko le gaya rajkunwar, bhanwre tu kehna na bhool, phool tujhe lag jaaye meri umar”.
4 Huzoor Is kadar – Masoom (1983)
This was a wonderful duet by Suresh and Bhupinder for a tune composed by R.D. Burman in Yaman. Gulzar wrote, “Huzoor is kadar bhi na itra ke chaliye, khule aam aanchal na lehra ke chaliye”. The song was set in a cocktail party, and featured Naseeruddin Shah, Saeed Jaffrey and Shabana Azmi.
5 Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le – Sadma (1983)
Southern star composer Ilaiyaraaja dazzled with his trademark orchestration style on this motivational song penned by Gulzar. The opening lines were, “Ae zindagi gale laga le, ae zindagi gale laga le, humne bhi tere har ek gham ko gale se lagaya hai na”. Kamal Haasan and Sridevi appeared on screen.
6 Saanjh Dhale – Utsav (1984)
One of the best songs by Suresh, it was picturised on Shekhar Suman and Rekha. Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the tune in raag Vibhas, with Vasant Deo writing, “Saanjh dhale, gagan taley, hum kitne ekaki; Chhod chale, nayanon ko, kiranon ke paakhi”. This became popular at singing competitions.
7 Husn Pahadon Ka – Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985)
This song was shot in the snow-capped region of Uttarakhand, and filmed on Rajiv Kapoor and Mandakini. Suresh and Lata sang the duet composed and written by Ravindra Jain. The opening lines were, “Husn pahadon ka, o sahiba husn pahadon ka, kya kehna ke baarah mahine yahaan mausam jaadon ka”.
8 Lagi Aaj Saawan – Chandni (1989)
With music by Shiv-Hari, there was fantastic use of santoor and bansuri. Sung by Suresh with Anupama Deshpande on back-up fill-ins, it had Anand Bakshi’s lines, “Lagi aaj saawan ki phir woh jhadi hai, wohi aag seene mein phir jal padi hai”. Vinod Khanna and a rain-soaked Sridevi appeared on screen.
9 Tumse Milke – Parinda (1989)
R.D. Burman was inspired by Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’ for this number sung by Suresh and Asha Bhosle, and filmed on Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. Khurshid Hallauri wrote, “Tumse milke, aisa laga tumse milke, armaan hue poore dil ke, ae meri jaan-e-wafaa, teri meri meri teri ek jaan hai, saath tere rahenge sada, tumse na honge judaa”.
10 Surmai Shaam – Lekin (1991)
This extremely soulful song was composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar, with Suresh singing beautifully. Gulzar wrote the lines “Surmai shaam is tarah aaye, saans lete jis tarah saaye”. It was filmed on Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia.
After Prem Rog in 1982, Suresh got good opportunities with big banners like RK Films and Yash Raj Films. From the 1990s onwards, he worked regularly with Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj. His best work, of course, took place in the 1980s. For fans, some of those songs are favourites even today.