Regional Scoop

When The Nightingale Set Her Own Tunes

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Against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian war, in 1963, she sang the patriotic song, “Aye Mere Watan ke Logo” composed by C. Ramchandra and written by Kavi Pradeep in the presence of Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The latter could not retain his tears on hearing this tribute to the Indian soldiers. She has the capacity of taking her listeners to realms well beyond the mundane world. A voice that has charmed & enchanted millions of listeners. A voice of passion, commitment & sincerity. Hindi film music’s most persistent love story with Lata Mangeshkar is ever fascinating.

As a singer, her main work comprises of film songs. She recorded her first song at age 13 for Vasant Joglekar’s Marathi film Kiti Hasaal, though her song did not make the final edit. She struggled to support her family and to establish herself as a playback singer in the Hindi film industry of the 1940s. The Lata era began in 1949. From that point on she voiced the musical parts for every major leading lady, representing every generation of Hindi cinema. By 1950s, her voice was all over the Hindi music, spreading like a banyan tree. The list of her works is exhaustive. But in 50s, she started giving music for Marathi films. Juggling between her singing career and that of music direction for the regional audience, she appeared a winner there too.

A glance at some Marathi songs which were given music by Lata Mangeshkar.

Ram Ram Pahuna (1950) – At the age of around 20-21, Lata Mangeshkar gave music to this Marathi film which was made by Dinkar Patil, a creative filmmaker. The film’s music was as successful as the film itself. It was a trendsetter in bringing forth the tamasha/lavni music before the audience. Lata Mangeshkar gave music to this film under her own name. In Hindi films we have seen Lata singing for C.Ramchandra, hear this song where C.Ramchandra sings for her doing a reverse role. Lata Mangeshkar joining him in singing.

In 1960s, along came the blockbuster by Bhalji Pendharkar, Maratha Tituka Melvava (1963). Lata showed her creativity in this film under the pseudonym Anandghan (the cloud of joy). And it rained some beautiful music. The unbeatable Marathi lavni Reshmachya reghani sung by none other than her younger sister Asha Bhonsle, is still a craze. Just hear the dholki in the beginning, it is sure set your feet tapping with rhythm.

Set against the backdrop of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquering his first fort Torana at the age of 14, the film was a winner all the way with story and music. Igniting the flame of freedom and love for motherland in every man’s heart, Anandghan created a sort of Marathi anthem, which became a rage. Hridaynath Mangeshkar giving playback for this song along with Hemant Kumar (uncredited), Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Khadikar.

From the same film comes another beauty. Akhercha Haa Tula Dandavat has been done in an aesthetic sense. Picturised on a dance troupe leaving the motherland and the actress is saying her final goodbye to the motherland as she doesn’t know when she’ll get the opportunity to visit again. Though the main song has been rendered by Lata herself, the echo effect, the repetition of words is sung by Usha Mangeshkar and Meena Khadikar. You must hear the song to see its beauty!!!

In 1965, Anandghan gave music to another Bhalji Pendharkar film Saadhi Maanase. The most popular song from the film being Airanichya deva tula sung by Lata herself is another example of her talent. The film won the President’s Silver Award for the Best Marathi Film at the National awards and the Maharashtra State Awards for Best Film, Best Music for Anandghan and Best Playback Singer for Lata Mangeshkar. It is also said that the flute in the song is played by Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia!!!

Mohityanchi Manjula (1965) another Bhalji Pendharkar film, made once again on the historical events from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s life. Jayshree Gadkar plays the protagonist. Music by Anandghan needs a mention here, since the songs are still popular.

With songs like these, with rendition like that I wish Anandghan had added some more films and songs to her repertoire!!

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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