In our Hrishikesh Mukherjee special last week, we talked of how the director had worked with so many composers, by listing 10 songs created by 10 music directors. This time, we choose an actor represented by 10 playback singers.
The late Vinod Khanna, whose birthday is on October 6, had a personality which went with any voice, with each suiting him perfectly. While Kishore Kumar had the initial hits, his career featured the use of many other singers. As such, one could call him a man with many voices.
This list is chronological, and since we are choosing only one song per singer, everyone’s favourite ‘Ruk Jaana Nahin’ from Imtihan had to be excluded. Nevertheless, this was a challenging task.
1 Koi Hota Jisko Apna – Mere Apne (1971)
Kishore Kumar sang this gem written by Gulzar. The lines were, “Koi hota jisko apna hum apna keh lete yaaron, paas nahin toh door hi hota, lekin koi mera apna”. Salil Chowdhury used the same tune as a background line he had created for Anand. Kishore also sang the hit ‘Ruk Jaana Nahin’, filmed on Vinod in Imtihan.
2 Sun Mere Bandhu Re – Achanak (1973)
The song was originally used in the 1959 film Sujata. In Achanak, the composer S.D. Burman used a snippet which he sang himself with Lily Chakraborty, and filmed on a bare-chested Vinod. Lyrics were by Majrooh Sultanpuri, who wrote, “Sun mere bandhu re, sun mere mitwa, sun mere saathi re”.
3 Vaada Karle Saajna – Haath Ki Safai (1973)
Mohammed Rafi was joined by Lata Mangeshkar on this duet that became a huge radio hit in its time. Vinod was paired with Simi Garewal in this outdoor number. Kalyanji-Anandji composed the tune, and Gulshan Bawra wrote, “Vaada karle saajna, tere bin main na rahoon, mere bin tu na rahe hoke juda, yeh vaada raha, na honge juda, yeh waada raha”.
4 Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar – Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Though Vinod and his co-star Shabana Azmi had a small role in this song, the interesting thing was that Mukesh sang for him, in the part that began “Tere sang jeevan ki dor bandhi hai”. Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the music, with words penned by Anand Bakshi. The other singers were Kishore, Rafi and Lata.
5 Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost – Aap Ki Khatir (1977)
One could never imagine Bappi Lahiri singing for Vinod, but he seemed to be perfect for this fun song filmed on a roadside group. Bappi composed the song too, and Shaili Shailendra wrote, “Bambai se aaya mera dost, dost ko salaam karo, raat ko khao piyo, din ko araam karo”. The song became a standard welcome for any Mumbaiwaala landing in another city.
6 Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain – Qurbani (1980)
This time, Manhar Udhas lent his voice to Vinod, in this seaside scene with Zeenat Aman. Kalyanji-Anandji provided the tune, and Indeevar wrote, “Hum tumhe chahte hai aise, marne waala koi, zindagi chahta ho jaise”. The song began with a chorus by a fishery couple.
7 Aaj Phir Tum Pe – Dayavan (1988)
Manhar’s brother Pankaj Udhas also sang for Vinod in this duet with Anuradha Paudwal, also featuring Madhuri Dixit in the early stage of her career. Music was by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, with Aziz Qaisi writing, “Aaj phir tumpe pyaar aaya hai, behad aur behisaab aaya hai”.
8 Surmayee Shaam – Lekin (1990)
Suresh Wadkar had sung the hit ‘Lagi Aaj Saawan’ for Vinod in the 1989 film Chandni. The two combined together again on ‘Surmayee Shaam’ in Lekin. The song also featured Dimple Kapadia, and Hridaynath Mangeshkar composed the tune. Gulzar wrote, “Surmayee shaam is tarah aaye, saans lete hain jis tarah saaye”.
9 Jab Koi Baat – Jurm (1990)
Kumar Sanu was relatively new when he recorded this song, and though it was a copy of the 1960s folk song ‘500 Miles’, it became reasonably successful in India. Sadhna Sargam sang for Meenakshi Seshadri and Rajesh Roshan composed the music. Lyrics were by Indeevar and the song showed couples dancing at a party.
10 Jaag Ke Kaati – Leela (2002)
In this beauty, Jagjit Singh’s voice seemed perfect for Vinod, shown singing at a private gathering with Dimple in the audience. Music was by Jagjit himself, and Gulzar shone on the lines, “Jaag ke kaati saari raina, nainon mein kal os giri thi”. It was a nazm with imaginatively used jazz guitar flourishes.
All these songs were popular in their own right, with Vinod proving to be one example of someone who didn’t need a specific timbre to be identified with. After all, there’s a vast difference between the textures of Kishore, Bappi and Jagjit, and yet they all seemed to suit Vinod.