It was at one of the concerts at Radio Club, Colaba, where Lata Mangeshkar was singing. During this concert, she spotted a talented boy playing mandolin. This young boy of 10 had impressed Lata Mangeshkar with his skills as a mandolin player. The boy was none other than Laxmikant of the famous Laxmikant Pyarelal duo. He was named Laxmikant, after the Goddess Laxmi, since he was born on the day of Laxmi pujan. He started getting music lessons in mandolin, as a beginner. Thereafter, he began his film career as a child artist doing some Gujrati films and Bhakt Pundalik (1949) and Aankhen (1950) in Hindi, where the latter was given music by Madan Mohan. While still taking lessons in music, Laxmikant met his future partner Pyarelal at Sureel Kala Kendra, which was run by the Mangeshkar family. Music and sports made this bond of Laxmi-Pyare even more stronger. Laxmikant excelled in mandolin while Pyarelal was proficient with violin. Together they began working in the field of music sometimes as the assistants or the other times as the arrangers.
Their dedication towards music fetched them their first film together in 1963. Babubhai Mistry’s costume drama Parasmani became their first film together as independent music directors. They struck gold on the silver screen with trendsetting music for this film bringing them at par with the then top music directors. Music of Parasmani was like elixir to the music lovers of Hindi Cinema. This duo did not look back after that. Churning out music for film after film, working with top of the range singers, the duo soon became a brand name in their field. Theirs was always a balanced rapport when it came to music. While Pyarelal administered the orchestration, Laxmikant supervised the tune or the vocals. They bellwethered their musical graph to the top spot and maintained their place. Though the duo mostly gave music which belonged to semi classical or folk genre, they also experimented with some western tunes during the later half of 70s and the first half of the 80s. With Lata Mangeshkar being the lead female singer in almost all their numbers, they also utilised the voices of other female singers often. Apart from the usual male-female duets they accomplished well with female duets too. The trend that they followed from their first film which has the most famous female duet song – Hansta hua noorani chehra.
Here are some of the female duets by Laxmikant – Pyarelal, some of which are superlatives in this category till date.
1. Parasmani – Rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Kamal Barot, lyrics by Asad Bhopali, still tops the charts when it comes to female duets.
2. Aaye Din Bahar Ke – The film mostly known for its brilliant Lata solo – Suno sajna papihe ne, has a playful female duet rendered by the sisters – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.
3. Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki – Amir Khusro’s lyrics brought alive on silver screen by the voices of 2 sisters again. Lyrics modified by Anand Bakshi.
4. Imtihan – Based on the college students life, this movie was known for its music. This particular duet is rendered by Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar.
5. Parvarish – A typical Manmohan Desai film, had Lata Mangeshkar singing with her younger sister Usha Mangeshkar, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.
6. Dharam Veer – Another Manmohan Desai masala film which released in the same year as Parvarish. Lyrics by Vitthalbhai Patel, rendered by Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.
7. Utsav – The film which should be defined as the best of the duo’s works, Utsav, became famous for its music. This particular female duet by Lata – Asha remains unbeatable.
8. Khalnayak – Though surrounded by controversies, this female duet topped the charts during the release of the film. Rendered by Alka Yagnik and Ila Arun, lyrics by Anand Bakshi.