Yesudas celebrates his 81st birthday on January 10. We choose 10 of his still-hummed songs…
One of the most respected names in the south, K J Yesudas had some memorable songs in Hindi films from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Most were in medium-budget but popular films with simple storylines.
The ace singer was often tapped by music directors like Ravindra Jain, Usha Khanna and Rajkamal. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much work in Hindi cinema after the mid-1980s.
Yesudas celebrates his 81st birthday on January 10. We choose 10 of his still-hummed songs, in chronological order.
1 Jaaneman Jaaneman – Chhoti Si Baat (1976)
Yesudas teamed up with Asha Bhosle on this frothy hit filmed on Amol Palekar and Vidya Sinha. Music was by Salil Chowdhury, with the brilliant Yogesh writing, “Jaaneman jaaneman tere do nayan, chori chori leke gayi dekho mera man, jaaneman jaaneman”.
2 Jab Deep Jale Aana – Chitchor (1976)
The Amol Palekar-Zarina Wahab film Chitchor was a major boost for Yesudas’s Hindi playback career, with hits like ‘Gori Tera Gaon Bada Pyaara’, ‘Aaj Se Pehle’ and ‘Tu Jo Mere Sur Mein’. And of course there was ‘Jab Deep Jale Aana’, the masterpiece in raag Yaman. It also featured singer Hemlata, who was at her peak. Music and lyrics were by Ravindra Jain.
3 Chand Akela – Alaap (1977)
Filmed on a kurta-clad Amitabh Bachchan, this was a wonderful track with Yesudas at his melodious best. Music was by Jaidev, and Dr Rahi Masoom Raza wrote the lines ‘Chand akela jaaye sakhi ri, kaahe akela jaaye sakhi ri”. The film also had the song ‘Koi Gaata Main So Jaata’, written by Harivanshrai Bachchan.
4 Ka Karoon Sajni – Swami (1977)
Based on a thumri popularised by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan in raag Sindh Bhairavi, this was rearranged in raag Kirwani and showed Yesudas at his classical best. The song was filmed on Dheeraj Kumar and Shabana Azmi, with Rajesh Roshan setting the music. Though the main lines were traditional, lyricist Amit Khanna adapted it for the film version.
5 Madhuban Khushboo Deta Hai – Saajan Bina Suhagan (1978)
The old-time pair of Rajendra Kumar and Nutan appeared in this song which also featured a young Padmini Kolhapure. Usha Khanna gave the music and Indeevar wrote, “Madhuban khushboo deta hai, saagar saawan deta hai, jeena uska jeevan hai, jo auron ko jeevan deta hai”. It was one of Yesudas’s most romantic songs.
6 Sunayana – Sunayana (1979)
Composer Ravindra Jain also wrote the lyrics, “Sunayana, aaj in nazaaron ko tum dekho, aur main tumhe dekhte hue dekhoon, main bas tumhe dekhte hue dekhoon”. A Yesudas favourite, it was filmed on Naseeruddin Shah and Rameshwari.
7 Chand Jaise Mukhde Pe – Sawan Ko Aane Do (1979)
Filmed on Arun Govil and Zarina Wahab, this was one of the hits of its time. Rajkamal provided the music, and Indeevar wrote, “Chand jaise mukhde pe bindiya sitara, nahin bhoolega meri jaan, yeh sitara woh sitara, maana teri nazron mein main hoon ek awaara, ho awaara”.
8 Dil Ke Tukde Tukde Karke – Dada (1979)
Another hit by Usha Khanna, with Ravindra Jain writing, “Dil ke tukde tukde karke muskurake chal diye, jaate jaate yeh to bata ja, hum jeeyenge kiske liye.” The song was shot in a garden with Vinod Mehra and Bindiya Goswami in the lead.
9 Kahan Se Aaye Badra – Chashme Buddoor (1981)
Rajkamal set this song in raag Megh, with Indu Jain writing, “Kahan se aaye badra, ghulta jaaye kajra”. Yesudas is joined by Haimanti Shukla, and the song is picturised on Deepti Naval, who is seen learning music from Vinod Nagpal.
10 Surmayi Akhiyon Mein – Sadma (1983)
The genius music director Ilaiyaraaja worked with Yesudas on this song written by Gulzar. The lines went, “Surmayi akhiyon mein nanha munna ek sapna de ja re, nindiya ke udte paakhi re, akhiyon mein aaja saathi re”. The song was in happy and sad versions, and starred Kamal Haasan and Sridevi.