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Ravi and Asha Bhosle: A class combination

Tags: song asha lata

Wishing Asha Bhosle a very happy 86th birth anniversary (b. 8 September 1933) with a guest article by Hans Jakhar

(Asha Bhosle, despite being the most recorded artiste by miles, remained the ‘other’ singer for most music directors of the Golden Era. All the accolades and the most melodious songs went to her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar. Ravi is among the rare major music directors whose ‘first’ female playback singer by choice was Asha Bhosle. In the ongoing series on Ravi it was natural that her primacy would be highlighted, and no one is better suited than Hans Jakhar to pay a tribute to her on her 86th birth anniversary with her songs for Ravi. Hans is puzzled that some of us are hesitant to count Ravi among the ‘greats’. He is not only a fan of Asha Bhosle, but he also has a deep empathy for her for having suffered the ‘Sister Tax’ in her career.

With this article Hans debuts as a guest author. I am sure the readers would not be surprised by it, the surprise is why it has taken him so long. His comments on the blog posts are full of facts, analysis and insights. Hopefully we would see more from his pen.

Hans is a B. Com and LLB, which reflects in the way he presents his arguments. After working for over 20 years in the central secretariat service in various ministries, he took voluntary retirement and now straddles between two worlds: the rural Haryana, which is his home state, and the urban metropolis of Delhi. The series on Ravi inspired him to write on his songs for Asha Bhosle, for which I am sure the readers of SoY would be grateful to him. Thanks a lot Hans – AK)

Ravi and Asha BhosleSome time back Dr Shetty made a comment to the effect that Asha Bhosle could sing all the songs Lata Mangeshkar could, and in addition she could sing many which Lata could not, so why should Asha be not called the best singer. This thought of his has stuck with me, because, I have come across many who held the same view. There were some who rated Suman Kalyanpur  the better singer. My elder sister who is four years older than me held the same view. In fact, in those days of the late 60s and early 70s, there were a number of magazines in circulation which gave stories about Lata’s manoeuvres. My sister made very angry remarks against her on that count, Suman Kalyanpur was her favourite by far. Though I was younger, I tried to cool her down. At that time I did not have much knowledge about these things and was also a bit hesitant in arguing, especially with elders, so I gave just one argument, that Lata must have special talent and because of that the composers were giving her more songs.

I never wholly agreed with the view but I was always on the lookout for material to test their various strengths. Asha Bhosle supporters – in Haryana there are a lot of them – always spoke in her favour, while Lata Mangeshkar fans vehemently opposed any such thing. Slowly though the propaganda in the magazines petered out and only Lata propaganda remained. Her opponents neither had the resources to match her nor time because most of them were busy with their homes and children. In the radio days, it was the only source for listening to songs, and since Lata had good connections, a number of her songs were played, while Asha got the space only for her extremely popular songs. Later, the record player and cassettes materialised which gave me the choice to listen to the songs I liked and then the internet revolution happened. Now my stand is that Lata is the undisputed number one. The argument that if Asha had got great songs which Lata got does not hold much water. Asha has with her behaviour after she got the number one status proved that she did not have that single-minded dedication and focus which Lata had and which sustained her music. Asha is careless to some extent.

But nobody can dispute her special talent. Lata Mangeshkar could never give the same degree of emotions in songs filled with pathos, which Asha Bhosle did effortlessly. Asha’s rendition of songs like ‘Raaton ko chori chori bole mora kangana‘, ‘Yaad tori aayi main to chham chham royi re‘, ‘Thandi thandi sawan ki phuhaar‘ etc is out of this world and Lata cannot match her. Lata rendition in classical based songs was far superior. Asha could easily modulate her voice to suit even a child’s voice. Lata’s children songs always looked like Lata songs. Asha was the master of qawwalis and she had a unmatched flair in songs with josh, due to which her Punjabi songs are quite outstanding. This  also helped her in duets where she has a clear lead over Lata, who shot herself in the foot by singing less duets with Rafi. Rafi was the best male singer, and especially suited for duets, because duets are mostly composed in romantic genre which is Rafi’s home ground. Lata has just about half of duets which Asha has with Rafi. Lata could not fill up this void with other Golden Era singers like Hemant Kumar, Mukesh and Manna Dey, who had very limited number of songs in Hindi film music. Talat Mahmood I have not included because he had a good rapport with Asha Bhosle in duets and his number with Asha was almost equal to Lata. Besides this, Asha had many memorable duets with Mahendra Kapoor, who was the favourite of pro-Asha composers like OPN, Ravi and N Datta. With Kishore Kumar also, though Lata had some of the great duets, yet Asha’s volume and rapport with him is so much better that Lata cannot come near her in the matter of duets. So overall impact wise Asha comes quite close to Lata. But, in Hindi film music the respect granted to solos is much more.

If we discuss a singer-composer relationship, it is a natural question to ask, what was the role of the composer in the singer’s career and vice versa. The Asha-Lata equation has always been the centre point in such discussions. In his biography on Asha Bhosle, Raju Bharatan declared in the beginning that he would discuss her combination with OP Nayyar, SD Burman and RD Burman only, because no other composer believed in Asha Bhosle and they called her when Lata was not available, or not affordable. While admitting that even SDB and RD did not believe in Asha, he still went on to discuss their combo with Asha. I think he was paid to give a high stature to RD in the book, he could not ignore SDB because he was RD’s father and Asha’s father-in-law and RD was also long-time assistant to SDB. He could not ignore OPN because he was the only composer in the industry who went without Lata and gave special indulgence to Asha as singer. To prove his point he referred to the interviews of Ravi and Khayyam, where they admitted Lata was their first choice. There cannot be a lie as blatant as this. I have not analysed Khayyam’s career in detail, but Ravi was the one whose first choice was always Asha, though he used Lata too in instances where producers or directors insisted on her and also for some songs independently, because he had a high regard for her as a singer. I will give here a quote from that book which will make it clear that Raju Bharatan always compromised the truth to make his point.

As Lata raised her fee to Rs 500 per song by 1953 – in an effort to catch up with ghazal king Talat Mahmood’s special rate – Chitragupta said to her: ‘Now you are beyond my reach Lataji. My producer still can afford only your 1950 fee of Rs 100 for a song’. Whereupon Lata showed her mettle by stating: ‘Just ring and tell me when you think that you have the tune for me. Any such tune by you I will still do for Rs 100.’

Now this quote means only one thing that Lata Mangeshkar was singing for Chitragupta – at least from 1950 – for Rs 100 and though she had raised her price for others to Rs 500 in 1953, she offered to Chitragupta to continue singing for Rs 100. Now most people who do not know facts would believe that because this has been the narrative spread by gossip-mongers like Bharatan. But the hard fact is that Lata did not sing a single song for Chitragupta till 1955 and he was in the business since 1946. Only after the runaway success of Tulsidas in 1954 with Rafi and Asha as his singers, Lata started singing for him in Shiv Bhakta (1955). Till then Asha Bhosle had sung more than 70 songs for Chitragupta, but he, after the success of Bhabhi (1957) with Lata,  unceremoniously put Asha out of his recoding room for four straight years. So moral of the story is don’t believe Raju Bharatan when he says that so and so person said so to me. He simply puts words in the mouth of others to suit his narrative. In fact my view is that most of his stories which he tells to be true are only based on his fertile imagination.

This analogy of Raju Bharatan is wrong also on principle. If we use this analogy for Rafi can we say that Rafi was the first choice for composers and Mukesh, Talat Mahmood or Manna Dey were used when Rafi was not available or affordable. This would not only be an insult of the singers, but also of the composers who gave us such gems by working with a variety of singers. And it would be also against truth that the producers who could hire the top composers could not hire Lata Mangeshkar. He himself gave in that book figures that SJ, LP and KA gave Asha Bhosle around 1000 songs. Was Lata refusing to sing for them, or did their paymasters not have money for her? Yet it is true that because of her special standing, she managed to get songs which were to her liking. Asha had admitted in an interview that some greatly popular songs which she had rehearsed went to Lata after Asha made a mention of the songs before her. She said she later realised that and stopped telling on her own but Lata had other means also. The story of ‘Ae mere watan ke logo‘ is well known. In addition to this Lata passed on the songs of particular type for which Asha became typed and also put narratives which labelled Asha with them. Asha could not oppose this, being a younger sister. This dilemma of Asha I call the ‘Elder Sister Tax’.

If we look at the composers, Naushad never really believed in Asha Bhosle and in the later stages he used her reluctantly, but still he being a class composer gave her some very fine songs. Asha had not much scope with Anil Biswas who had two singers Lata Mangeshkar and Meena Kapoor to cope with. Of the old-timers Asha sang in their 50s films which did not cut much ice. Only C Ramchandra, after his break up with Lata, functioned with Asha and had many great songs with her. Hemant Kumar, though having great rapport with Lata, gave Asha many great songs. N Datta was the one like OPN and Ravi who from the start preferred Asha, but he after the initial success, worked in flop movies. Yet he had some great numbers with Asha. Chitragupta started off with her, but after Lata obliged him, he was a total Lata man. SDB was the one who in the period of tiff with Lata gave Asha great numbers, solos as well as duets, and also with his special style and songs which were not influenced by the OPN mode. But after his make up with Lata, she told him which songs he would give to Asha. RD also like his father gave his best songs to Lata, but still gave great numbers to Asha too. SJ were initially all Lata but later, when they stepped out of her net, used Asha quite a lot. LP were a Lata duo from start to finish, but in their time Asha had grown to a stature of her own, so they also used her a lot. KA had always variety on their agenda, so after their initial success they did not stick with either Lata or Rafi and tried to use a variety of singers. They were the ones who used new singers too. I would not cover later composers, because I don’t know much about their music. So now we are left with OPN and Ravi, the two most important composers, in my view, in Asha’s career.

Now before comparing OPN and Ravi, I give here Asha Bhosle’s statistics for both. OPN used her vocals in 59 of the 65 films he did until 1973, when she broke off with him. In these 59 films he gave 165 solos and 149 duets, making a total of 314 songs. In all he composed 511 songs in 65 films up to 1973. Asha average per film is 5.3 and for solos it is 2.8. In all he gave her 61 percent of songs composed by him. Now for Ravi. Ravi gave a total of 342 songs to Asha, out of which 193 were solos and 149 duets, in 89 out of the 92 films in which he was the composer. In Ravi’s case, I have taken figures up to 1980 because details are available with me up to that period. The three films in which Ravi did not give Asha a song were Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959), Ghatna (1974) and Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka (1975). Ghatna has only three solos out of which two were for females and EMHSK had one female solo and one male-female duet. So in these two films there was hardly any scope for Ravi to accommodate Asha. CKRK was a Goel Cinecorp film, who always used Asha from the first Ravi film Vachan. In this film Lata sang four solos, Suman Kalyanpur two and Rafi one. I don’t know what the reason was, because Suman was never the favourite of Ravi, as he gave her only one solo and three duets, besides these two solos. Since Rafi-Asha duets will be important for the discussion, it is must to give their number. OPN composed 96 Asha-Rafi duets and Ravi composed 76 duets for them. Ravi gave Rafi 134 solos while OPN gave him only 55.

For getting the representative average for Asha Bhosle with Ravi we have to calculate it for the films where Lata Mangeshkar was not singing. Lata sang for Ravi in 25 films and in those Asha had 53 songs (26 solos). So in the remaining 67 films she had 289 songs and 167 solos and her average for all songs comes to about 4.3, of which solos were about 2.5 per film. So in the average songs OPN is clear leader, and for solos he has a slightly better average.

My view is that despite OPN having better numbers, Ravi has the edge over OPN. The reason is clear. For a female singer in Hindi films, it was a must to sing a variety of songs in variety of situations whether the song was on the heroine or vamp or any other. For Asha Bhosle to come near Lata Mangeshkar she had to sing in the Lata idiom. But the problem with OPN was that he hated Lata and along with her, the Lata idiom. So he set Asha in a voice and style which was the opposite of Lata. This he made to happen slowly and without Asha knowing it. If you look at the earlier Asha songs for OPN like ‘Raat rangeeli chamke tare‘ they were sweet and normal. But, in the end her style for OPN became prominently vampish and many times he set even songs for the heroine in that style. Since this was a new style and became popular, lesser composers copied that and Asha would have become typed but for Ravi. On the other hand Ravi not only gave a variety of songs to Asha, but also presented her voice in different degrees of modulation and he took care that OPN effect did not penetrate too much in his songs. Ravi, SDB and Madan Mohan were the three MDs whose songs with Asha sound very different. There can be exceptions and aberrations, but these three mostly followed the rule.

Another need for a singer to be successful is the share in success of films. Lata Mangeshkar’s initial fame was built around films like Barsaat, Anarkali and Nagin in which she was the dominant singer. Despite there being a few flop films in which she was the main or only singer, the success of these films stayed in the public mind and the failures were forgotten. Other successful films also had prominent contribution from her. If we test OPN-Asha combo on this theory then we find that contribution of Asha’s solo songs was less prominent in OPN’s films as compared to Ravi.

This we can show through examples. OPN’s early runaway successes were in the films where Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum were his main female singers. The first two films where Asha Bhosle was the main female singer were Naya Daur (1957) and Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957). In these films her contribution was in the form of duets with Rafi and solos went to Rafi. So Asha’s share was less. In next year’s hits, Howrah Bridge and Phagun, Asha had a good presence, but OPN gave a series of films in which he seemed to have an obsession with duets. The five films Phagun (1958), Do Ustad (1959), Basant (1960), Jaali Note (1960) and Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962) had 31 Asha-Rafi duets. And suddenly from 1962 he limited his number of films like Naushad. For four years running from 1962 to 1965, he gave a hit each year with Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964) and Mere Sanam (1965). In all these fims Asha’s solo contribution was very low and it was Rafi all around. These 4 films had 15 Rafi solos, 13 Asha-Rafi duets and only 8 Asha solos out of which just 5 were kept in the films. Most of these solos were in the OPN idiom. Although there is a story that there was an OPN-Rafi fight, but on the basis of facts I have an opinion that due to Asha’s fate in these films, she started some sort of satyagraha to oust Rafi. It must be remembered that this was the time when Lata had stopped singing duets with Rafi.

In 1966 in 6 films Rafi had just 9 solos and only 10 Asha-Rafi duets. And Mahendra Kapoor had made his entry with 4 solos and one duet. In the next 2 years in 6 films, OPN gave just one solo and one duet to Rafi in one film, Humsaya (1968). After that he discarded Rafi. But Asha had made up her mind to quit him and as soon as she announced this OPN went back to Rafi, but the magic had gone and the times had changed.

As against this, have a look at Ravi’s statistics. Asha Bhosle had an important role in each of his hits barring Bharosa (1963) and Door Ki Aawaj (1964). If he gave two great solos to Rafi, ‘Itni haseen itni jawan raat‘ and ‘Ye wadiyan ye fizayen‘ in Aaj Aur Kal (1963), Asha got ‘Mujhe gale se laga lo‘ and ‘Maut kitni bhi sangdil ho’. In Gehra Daag (1963) he gave her 3 solos for 2 by Rafi. If Rafi got 2 ghazals in Kaajal (1965), Asha got ‘Tora man darpan‘ and ‘Mere bhaiyya mere anmol ratan‘. In 1966, in the two hit films, Do Badan and Phool Aur Patthar Rafi got five and Asha six solos. Besides this Asha had her big share in Gumrah and Waqt, where Rafi got only one solo. So it is clear that Ravi not only presented Asha in the Lata idiom, but he also gave her an important share in all his films. Asha had many hit songs even in those Ravi films which did not do good business, which are remembered even now. So in my opinion, Ravi was the most important composer whose share was the most in giving that status which she has now. This will be clearer after watching my song selection and also after readers post this combo’s songs. But, I would say that OPN being the duet king, he has an edge in the matter of Asha duets even over Ravi.

Now I present my selection of songs. I have selected the best and most popular songs instead of the rare, because these will present the true picture of this combo. A number of great solos have been left cooling their heels by me. But, I am sure friends in SOY will post most of them.

1. Chanda mama door ke from Vachan (1955), lyrics Prem Dhawan

This was their first hit, and coming on the heels of her ‘De di hame azadi’ (where she modulated for the male child voice so effortlessly) in the past year with Hemant Kumar, where Ravi was assisting, must have given Asha Bhosle a lot of confidence. It must be remembered that by this time Asha-OPN had done nothing of note though OPN’s intent on using her was shown clearly in Chham Chhama Chham and Baap Re Baap (155). This song has stood the time test as a top lullaby despite so much hype about Lata’s ‘Dheere se aa ja‘. It is significant that Ravi came from Lata Mangeshkar environment under his guru Hemant Kumar, close on the heels of the success of Nagin, but still used only Asha in his maiden film.

2. Bedardi more sainya from Chaudahvin Ka Chand (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

If I jump straight to a 1960 film from his 1955 debut, this should not mean that Ravi-Asha combine did not do well in between. His success with Asha-Kishore in Dilli Ka Thug (1958) is well known and he had some other songs with her which were hits. But the main problem for Ravi in his initial years as an independent composer was that he was low on confidence and was always dilly-dallying whether he should be independent or keep assisting Hemant Kumar. This dilemma made him tentative. Chaudahvin Ka Chand broke this spell. Each song of this film was a hit. Rafi had a larger share with 5 solos. Asha had 2 solos and a duet with Shamshad Begum, all very important for the story. Ravi also gave a solo to Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Badle badle mere sarkar‘. Normally, Ravi would call Lata when some higher up insisted on her, but here Guru Dutt gave him a free hand and did not even insist on Geeta Dutt. Ravi here used Lata because a different effect for the heroine was needed. Later, on the same ground he used Lata for one song in Do Badan. This mujra song I have included to show that Ravi gave a different treatment to mujra songs than other contemporary composers.

3. Gham dene wale dene ko gham beshumar de from Ghar Ki Laaj (1960), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

I have selected this song for two reasons. First is that this and ‘Ujad gaya panchhi ab tera basera‘ are odd sad songs in the otherwise fun-filled songs of the film, like ‘Lelo chudiyan‘, ‘Aisi taisi sunday ki‘, ‘Laila ki ungliyan‘Tera jhatka laga‘ and ‘Char batti ka nishan’. The second reason are the lyrics. Rajendra Krishna has woven magic here.

ग़म देने वाले देने को ग़म बेशुमार दे
सहने को साथ साथ मगर दिल हज़ार दे

कतरे को कह रहा है समंदर को पी के देख
हर रोज़ दिल पे तीर भी खा और जी के देख
हर रोज़ की ये मौत न दे एक बार दे

कुछ हादसे थे जिनको दिया ज़िंदगी का नाम
जो दिन दिया वो रात सा जो सुबह दी वो शाम
किसने कहा था तुझसे ये उजड़ी बहार दे

खुशियों को हुक्म है के न दिल में समायें वो
अश्कों पे है ये कैद न आँखों में आएं वो
हंसना नहीं तो रोने का ही इख़्तियार दे

4. Haal dil ka sunayen to kaise from Pyar Ka Sagar (1961), lyrics Prem Dhawan

This song is picturised on Meena Kumari who is married to Madan Puri, who is the elder brother of Rajendra Kumar who was lover of Meena Kumari, and is now blind. The lyrics of Dhawan are great and Asha Bhosle has brought out the dilemma of Meena Kumari perfectly. Asha had another equally great solo ‘Raat raat bhar jaag jaag kar intezar karte hain‘, and a superb duet with Rafi, ‘Mujhe pyar ki zindagi dene wale’. Although Rafi was the favourite of Ravi, Rajendra Kumar and Devendra Goel, the two solos, ‘Wafa jinse ki bewafa ho gaye‘ and ‘Sada khush rahe tu zafa karne wale‘, were given to Mukesh, and are easily among his best songs.

5. Maut kitni bhi sangdil ho magar zindagi se to meherban hogi from Aaj Aur Kal (1963), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi

मौत से और कुछ मिले न मिले ज़िन्दगी से तो जान छूटेगी
मुस्कुराहट नसीब हो के न हो आंसुओं की लड़ी तो टूटेगी
हम न होंगे तो ग़म किसे होगा ख़तम हर ग़म की दास्ताँ होगी

This is the second antara, the first is equally impressive. Ever since I have known this song, it has come to mind whenever we lost some near and dear ones. Sahir’s lyrics, Ravi’s tune and Asha Bhosle’s singing have all combined to create this classic. We had a female dog who had cancer and we got her operated twice to save her, but she died at night after bravely bearing the pain and all. Waiting for the morning to bury her, we listened to this song a number of times. The lyrics were a perfect fit. Zindagi was sangdil and maut meherban to her.

6. Kaise kahoon main baat jiya ki sanwariya from Gehra Daag (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

From lullaby, mujra and sad songs we move to this soft whispering song akin to Rafi’s ‘Tumse kahun ik baat paron se halki‘. This song confirms that there is nothing Asha Bhosle could not do as a singer. There may be a dispute whether OP Ralhan was helping out his ‘saale sahab‘ or Rajendra Kumar did the honours because our Jubilee Kumar was in those days having the Midas touch, but there is no doubt that the music in the film was superb and Asha lent equal hand with Rafi in the score. Rafi with two solos and one duet and Asha with three solos and one duet were the only singers used for the six songs which all were hits. (The YT video quality is poor, therefore I am giving its audio. – AK)

7. Aaj duniya badi suhani hai from Nartaki (1963), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

This song is picturised on Preeti Bala, who also appeared in films with the other name of Zeb Rehman. She is the part of the triangle in the story. Sunil Dutt is after Nanda who is the nartaki, but Preeti Bala is after Sunil Dutt. The occasion is her birthday. This is one of the rare piano songs when the person never leaves the piano even for a second. I have seen this film long back. Though it is now not available on the YouTube, I have a downloaded copy. About the song you can say only one thing: SWEET. Whenever this song comes to mind, I have to listen this.

8. Raat chup hai chandani madhosh hai from Ustadon Ke Ustad (1963), lyrics Asad Bhopali

A soft romantic song on the occasion of the lovers meeting in a tense situation, with the hero absconding from a false accusation of being accomplice in a dacoity. Shakila soothes Pradeep Kumar’s emotions with a song filled to the brim with sympathetic love. This was another of Ravi’s 1963 dozen of films with a horde of hit songs. Though in the film Ravi sings a couplet before the start of the Asha song, I am taking it as a solo as the song was issued as such in the records.

9. Aaj ye meri zindagi, dekho nashe men jhumti from Ye Raste Hain Pyar Ke (1963), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

Asha Bhosle’s title song, ‘Ye raaste hain pyar ke‘, in my view is every way better than this song. I have included this because this is in a different genre (sharabi/masti) and also it brings out the essence of the story of seduction and bewafai in a better way. One thing which must be noted that Ravi gave a totally different treatment to this genre than what OPN did, and this was the time when Asha had gone quite far into the OPN song domain.

10. Is tarah toda mera dil, kya mera dil dil na tha from Shehnai (1964), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

I think the sad songs by Asha Bhosle are the best in comparison to other singers, as she fills the right amount of emotions in such a song. Suraiya was the nearest in the matter of sad songs, but Asha takes the emotions to a different plane. This song is one of the absolute favourites of my wife, but don’t deduce from it that I have ever broken her heart. Actually I give a lot of credence to the judgement of persons like her, because they never care who is singing or who has written or who has composed the song. They just care about the song. In North India and particularly in rural parts a substantial number of people fall in this category. It is because of these people that Ravi’s songs became hits. His songs touched the hearts. Many stalwarts at SOY, despite being well informed, have admitted ignorance about many of the famous songs composed by Ravi. The lyrics of the song are marvellous and Asha had done full justice to the emotions. I would request friends to take note of her expression when she sings एक ठोकर ही लगाते ये तो कुछ मुश्किल न था.

11. Mere bhaiyya mere chanda mere anmol ratan from Kaajal (1965), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi

This song is easily among the best in this genre. The other famous songs Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘Bhaiya mere rakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana‘ and Rafi’s ‘Rakhi dhagon ka tyohar‘ are also the top notch songs of this genre. But they focus on the tyohar and mutual relationship. But, lyrics of this song focus only on the bhaiyya and with a purpose too, because Meena Kumari was to lose her bhaiyya soon. This song and the scene following the death of Shailesh present a heart-rending effect.

12. Aage bhi jane na tu, peechhe bhi jane na tu from Waqt (1965), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi

I am going by the chronological order of Ravi’s films, but this song should have been either at the top or the bottom which is the place for the best. This was a very challenging song for the lyricist, composer and singer. The lyricist was asked to write only on one theme and one thread that was this पल. Sahir remained focussed on the पल. He was to write a long song so that the sequence of events, leading to the impending murder, which was to take the story to its climax, were all accommodated during the song. Ravi composed a song for seven and a half minutes. And what did Asha Bhosle do? Ravi had asked her to present a unique voice for the song, which she did so successfully that it became a song for the ages. Events are happening in between the antaras and at the end of the last antara it culminates with the fight between Raj Kumar and Madan Puri. The lyrics are so important that I am giving them here.

आगे भी जाने न तू , पीछे भी जाने न तू
जो भी है बस यही इक पल है

अनजाने सायों का राहों में डेरा है
अनदेखी बाँहों ने हम सबको घेरा है
ये पल उजाला है बाकी अँधेरा है
ये पल गंवाना न ये पल ही तेरा है
जीने वाले सोच ले यही वक़्त है कर ले पूरी आरज़ू

इस पल के जलवों ने महफ़िल सँवारी है
इस पल की गर्मी ने धड़कन उभारी है
इस पल के होने से दुनिया हमारी है
ये पल जो देखो तो सदियों पे भारी है
जीने वाले …….

इस पल के साये में अपना ठिकाना है
इस पल के आगे की हर शै फ़साना है
कल किसने देखा है कल किसने जाना है
इस पल से पायेगा जो तुझको पाना है

13. Jab chali thandi hawa jab uthi kali ghata from Do Badan (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

The song is one of the best to convey feelings of longing for the beloved. This film was among the topmost grossers of 1966 with each song a super hit. Three Rafi solos, two Asha Bhosle solos (the other was Mat jaiyo naukaria chhod ke) and the Lata solo ‘Lo aa gayi unki yaad’. This was an era when films with tragic ending rarely succeeded, but this was an exception.

14. Zindagi men pyar karna seekh le from Phool Aur Patthar (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

This film had four Asha Bhosle and two Rafi solos and all were again hits. It goes without saying that the film was a super hit, leading to जितने मुँह उतनी बातें type of gossips about Dharmendra and Meena Kumari. This is a night club song and you can see that Asha despite being firmly settled in the OPN type of songs mould, was used by Ravi in a very different way. He made sure that there was no trace of OPN.

15. Oye oye oye main kya se ho gayi kya from Anmol Moti (1969), lyrics Rajendra Krishna

I won’t describe this song. Ravi perhaps utilized her talents honed at OPN coaching centre for once for this extremely seductive song. But even here the different Ravi touch is evident. Rajendra Krishna also wrote matching lyrics for the occasion.

16. Uljhan suljhe na, rasta soojhe na jaaun kahan from Dhund (1973), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi

This film is from 1973, but I have kept the song because it shows the continuing bonding of Ravi-Asha Bhosle, and the song and the lyrics are superb. I am not good at praising a song, and the song is the last on the list, therefore enjoy it.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:

The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of the music lovers. This blog claims no copyright over these, which rests with the respective owners such as Saregama India Limited and other respective owners.

This post first appeared on Songs Of Yore - Old Hindi Film Songs, please read the originial post: here

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Ravi and Asha Bhosle: A class combination


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