Navrasa By Nightingale – Lata Mangeshkar and Essence of Emotions

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Lata’s Navarasa – Essence of Emotions, Musically!
The world celebrated the grand 90th birthday of the doyen of hindi cinema music and along the same time, the biggest festival of womanhood is ushered by almost all the communities of India in different forms. While the Bengal and surrounding states celebrate with Durga Pooja and enjoy pandal hoping and dhanuchi dances, west of India celebrates grand dandiya nights with vibrant colours and vigorous music and south India has its own way of celebrating Navratri with Golu – the playful decoration of symbolic idols. 9 days of cultural amalgamation of celebration also brings another element in mind, the Navarasa of emotions which is also closely connected with natural expressive nature of womanhood.
Nava in sanskrit means nine and Rasa means essence, juice or flavor, but Rasa is commonly used to denote the sense of an “emotional state.” Rasa is in everything, or should we say, everything “has” Rasa. Rasa remains the invisible substance that gives life its meaning. Giving a musical context, when we hear a particular song, it leaves a certain emotion with us. While in classical terms, raags are structured to invoke these specific emotions, but beyond the raag patterns as well, emotions connect. For e.g. Raag Bhupali is associated with bhakti or shaant rasa, but if you listen to Sayonara from Love in Tokyo, it leaves a happy and chirpy feeling (which emotes shringaar rasa). Hence it would not be wrong to say that the emotions attached with each rasa is not restricted to raag pattern alone. So let’s take a quick look at each of navarasa, especially from the songs treasure of Lata ji which have touched our hearts over the years.

1. Shringaar Rasa (Romance / Love)
Piya Tose Naina Lage Re. This melody needs no introduction. Its loved and adored by all generations alike. The song perfectly depicts the happiness and playfulness of a romantic heart, cascading through various occasions and expressing the romance of a yearning heart. SD Burman spells his magic with Lata ji’s voice.

2. Hasya Rasa (Humour / Comedy)
When Vaijanthimala woos Raj Kapoor, her on-screen husband, in Sangam, she teases him with all sorts of analogies and eventually making him smile. There is an effortless humour used in one of the most melodious ways one can think of.

3. Veebhatsa Rasa (Disgust)
When the heart is betrayed and hurt beyond words, a sense of disgust naturally seeps in. Bringing this emotion through song is not an easy job, but when a singer as accomplished as Lata ji takes on the mic, she ensures feelings are well transpired. That’s exactly the case with this duet from Aakhir Kyo? The pain mixed with angst of the protagonist can be felt with each line.

4. Veer Rasa (Heroic)
The song which can leave even the Prime Minister of our country teary eyed and even after half a century later makes every Indian feel pumped up to get up and do something for the country, it is the ultimate example of Veer Rasa.

5. Karun Rasa (Compassion)
Love is definitely an important part of life, but it is just a part of life! When Nutan explains this to her on-screen male lead (who couldn’t be her partner) there is a sense of compassion mixed with grief. It is not possible for anyone to leave the whole world and all responsibilities for the sake of one’s love. One has to be considerate of his duties towards people who have sacrificed for him and the society he lives in. Pathos laden woe couldn’t have been explained better than this song from Saraswatichandra

6. Adbhut Rasa (Surprise / Shock)
One listens to this beautiful number from Anamika, which starts slowly giving a feel of shringaar rasa, but escalates softly, not just surprises the on-screen hero but even the listeners naturally do Shhhhh Shhh Shh Sh… That’s the element of perfect surprise brought in with voice modulation.

7. Raudra Rasa (Anger)
Unlike today’s songs where anger is spelt heavily with loud bass and percussion, golden era had a softer way to expressing anger in songs as well. Listen to this gem from Chori Chori, where Lata ji expresses the frustration with the longing Haaayyyyy after Rasik Balma. Its melodiously angry indeed.

8. Bhayanak Rasa (Horror / Haunting)
Kahin Deep Jale Kahi Dil… HO Ho ho… HO Ho ho… the haunting aalap leaves goosebumps when someone listens to this melody which aptly aims to scare the listeners. And for its unique singing, Lata ji received the well-deserved Filmfare Award as well.

9. Shaant Rasa (Bhakti / Peace)
Lata ji’s voice is a gifted voice for divine melodies. When she sings Jyoti Kalash Chhalke, dawn arrives or when she sang Tumhi Ho Mata, it naturally became the most loved prayer in any school, even today. When her voice echoes in Satyam Shivam Sundaram, the gods feel the arrival of a beautiful morning. Inspite of having the super glamorous Zeenat Aman on screen, the song exudes pure bhakti rasa.

Let’s continue the celebration of the legendary singer with the 9 days of celebration of woman power and do share your favourite number from each rasa.


  1. Manek Premchand

    September 30, 2019 at 8:28 am

    I’m feeling a mixture of rasas now, delight rasa, envy rasa, and congratulations rasa😊😊😊 Well written Kalpana 😊

  2. Sarika narle

    September 30, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Wowwwwww kalpana superbly write-up about lata tai 😘

  3. Purnima

    September 30, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Wonderful tribute to music doyenne Lataji on her 90th, and timed perfectly for the auspicious navratras. A treat to listen to the songs…

  4. Dinesh Shah

    September 30, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Absolutely stunned, incredible job !
    I am really at a loss for words dear .Kalpana your name itself has proved in this *NAVRASA* amazing choice of songs .Hit to the nail. Supeb
    *Many Congratulations* GBU. 🙏🎹📝🎶🌹👍

  5. Kam Sesh

    September 30, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Good presentation.Songs at 1, 6, 7 1nd 8 are favourites. For 9, the best for me is Ai Malik tere bandhe hum (Vasant desai for Do AAnkhen barah haath) followed by Alla tero naam (Hum DOno). Karun rasa – Munimji- Jeevan ke safar mein rahi milte hai bichad jaane ko. Veer Rasa – Vande Mataram – Anand Math For 2 humour I will go with C Ramchandra’s composition for Nutan and Devsaab from Baarish – Ye muh aur daal masur ki. For 3 – Disgust, I would go with Kaise rahun Chup ki maine pee hi kya hai – Intaqam.

  6. Pallavi

    September 30, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Good one Kalpana. Quite an exotic piece of information on music.
    Frankly speaking, never paid no much attention to songs but after reading your content felt all those emotions in those songs

  7. sudarshan pandey

    October 1, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    Wonderful feature….innovative…..thanks

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