Romantic Songs of the Magical Combo – Kalyanji-Anandji and Mukesh
Music director duos are a peculiar feature of Hindi film music. Starting with Husnlal – Bhagatram followed by Shankar – Jaikishan (SJ), Kalyanji – Anandji (KA) was the third music director duo to enter Hindi cinema. Kalyanji’s journey in Hindi cinema started as a musician working for other music directors in the early 1950s and he got his first break as an independent music director in Samrat Chandragupt (1958). After composing music for a few more films as Kalyanji Veerji Shah, he was joined by his younger brother Anandji from Satta Bazar (1959) and the arrival of another historic music director duo was announced.
Though they were heavily influenced by SJ’s musical style in the initial years, they soon proved with their own style of simple yet mood-lifting compositions that they were emulators and not just imitators of SJ; and their successful musical journey continued till the late 1980s. They transformed and reinvented themselves in the 1970s to suit themselves to the changing times, and as a result they were at the zenith of their career in that decade.
While they worked with all the prominent singers of the golden era of Hindi film music and they introduced and fostered many new singers, their music was marked by wonderful use of the voices of Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. The latter became a predominant singing entity in their music in the 1970s with the beginning of the Amitabh era and Rajesh Khanna’s superstardom. However, their association with Mukesh started with Bedard Zamana Kya Jaane (1959) – Kalyanji’s solo film and Madari (1959) – one of the duo’s initial films; and continued to till Mukesh breathed his last in 1976; though Mukesh predominantly featured in their music in the 1960s.
Think of Mukesh, and the name that immediately flashes in our minds is Raj Kapoor. While in his association with SJ, Mukesh by far remained Raj Kapoor’s ghost voice, KA did not restrict him to Raj Kapoor. They used his sonorous voice also for other actors – Manoj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Raj Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Dharmendra, Shashi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Dutt and Feroz Khan, to name a few.
Mukesh also remained the inimitable and unparalleled voice of melancholy for over 3 decades, as due to the inherent deep timbre and the nasal twang, he could paint several shades of pathos effectively. But this very texture of his voice made it suitable also for romantic numbers. KA were mindful of this capability and used Mukesh also for several romantic songs. Mukesh too rendered all these romantic songs immortal with his usual Midas touch.
In spite of more prolific output with Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar, the KA – Mukesh combo was a special alliance, as though they were made for each other and their best was reserved for each other. Mukesh sang about 100 songs for KA – which is very close to the number of songs that he sang under SJ’s baton, if not more. If SJ songs took Mukesh to the glorious heights, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he ruled there because of his alliance with KA.
The magic of the combo endures even today, and it would be appropriate that we remember them together on the occasion of Kalyanji’s 92nd birth anniversary, through some of the lilting romantic songs that Mukesh sang for KA.
1.Chaand Aahein Bharega (Phool Bane Angaare – 1963)
This is a background song picturised on the lead pair of the film, Raj Kumar and Mala Sinha. This is rather more of a Mala Sinha song, as she alone is seen in the song for most of the time as the beauty in Raj Kumar’s romantic fantasies.
Anand Bakshi’s wonderful poetry is an outstanding feature of this song. Starting with clichés like “chaand” and “phool”, he stupendously describes her beauty using unique imagery like “honth ganga ke saahil” and finally connects her beauty with angels and the Almighty. Use of Urdu words adds a grace to the lyrics and makes them different from Anand Bakshi’s usual Hindi-dominated simplistic style.
KA’s melodious composition decorated with mandolin dominated orchestration supported by dholak and intermittent use of violins, accordion and flute create a perfectly romantic atmosphere. And wooing one’s lady in Mukesh’s voice sounds too sincere and sensuous to be declined by any lady.
2. Chal Mere Dil, Lehra Ke Chal (Ishaara – 1964)
The song is picturised on the hero of the film, Joy Mukherjee, who is riding a bicycle on the streets of Delhi, passing by various landmarks in Delhi and is daydreaming about his love life.
KA have composed a sweet nimble tune with pleasant orchestration mainly comprising accordion, violins, mandolin and flute to suit his excitement and jovial mood. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics penned in his unique style appositely explain the feelings of a young lad yearning for love. And look at Mukesh’s cheerful rendition – he sounds so young, energetic and euphonious. After listening to this song, would one still say that Mukesh was made only for sad songs? His voice also nicely suits Joy Mukherjee, whom we are used to seeing lip-syncing mainly on Rafi’s voice.
3. Chaand Si Mehbooba Ho Meri (Himalay Ki God Mein – 1965)
“Himalay Ki God Mein”, alongside “Jab Jab Phool Khile” released in the same year, was a huge career breakthrough for KA as well as lyricist Anand Bakshi. KA were able to forge their identity as the front row music directors through these films.
The captioned song is a sweet romantic number, picturised on the lead pair of the film, Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha, through which, Manoj Kumar is praising the rustic and innocent beauty of the rural Mala Sinha.
The tune is composed by KA mainly in the lower and middle octave and still it sounds so pleasant and cheerful. The orchestration, mainly the use of santoor and flute, makes the composition befitting the scenic beauty of the mountains. Anand Bakshi’s simple lyrics perfectly describe the heroine’s beauty and innocence. Mukesh’s rendition is so sweet and adorable, that you fall in love with this song in no time. That is why the song tops the list of KA – Mukesh songs and is still fondly remembered as one of the best romantic songs of the golden era.
4. Chandan Sa Badan, Chanchal Chitwan (Saraswatichandra – 1968)
Saraswatichandra was one of KA’s major hits and all the mellifluous songs in the film are dotingly remembered to date by the music lovers. Mukesh’s captioned romantic solo fetched KA their only National Award for best music director and is the first among equals Mukesh sang for them in the decade. It is one of the quintessential songs of the combo and remains popular even after half a century. This song also has a twin rendered by Lata Mangeshkar, but the popularity and appeal of the Mukesh version overshadows its twin.
The song depicting eager but decent romance is picturised on the lead pair Manish and Nutan. Lyrics of the song penned by Indeevar largely in pure Hindi (with an Urdu word or two here and there) magnificently describe the heroine’s beauty. KA have composed a very dulcet tune, which is sensuously rendered by Mukesh. Use of sitar, flute, violins and tabla in the orchestration add an enamouring aura to the romance.
5. Meri Tamannaon Ki Taqdeer Tum Sanwaar Do (Holi Aaee Re – 1970)
The song is picturised on the lead pair wherein the hero (Prakash Thapa) is wooing the heroine Mala Sinha in the midst of scenic mountains.
Indeevar has penned the romantic feelings decently through the lyrics and Mukesh paints a vivid picture of the feelings that Indeevar seeks to convey. Though Mukesh’s voice in this song is somewhat thicker than the earlier songs, it nowhere falls short of the aesthetic appeal. The tune has a typical sweet KA melody. The orchestration consisting of santoor, double flute and violins adds to the sweetness of the song. The composition, the romance between an urban hero and a rural heroine and the visuals keep on reminding us of “Chaand si mehbooba ho meri”.
This song also has a lesser known twin (sad version) sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
6. Jo Tumko Ho Pansand Wahi Baat Karenge (Safar – 1970)
Safar was a celebrated film and KA’s another major hit. The soundtrack of the film has a poignant solo by Lata Mangeshkar, two soulful solos by Kishore Kumar, a philosophical solo by Manna Dey; and last but not the least, a romantic solo by Mukesh.
The captioned Mukesh solo, picturised on the heroine (Sharmila Tagore) and the second hero (Feroz Khan) in the beautiful hilly terrain of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra, is a honeymoon vow by the hero to always remain dedicated to the heroine. Indeevar has precisely brought out the overenthusiasm of the super-excited newly married hero in the lyrics. It is yet another sweet composition in the typical KA style with sitar, flute, violins and the sound of a car’s honk as the orchestration. Mukesh has rendered this evergreen song memorable in a sweet and joyous voice.
(This is a representative sample of songs chosen based on personal preference; and there is no intention to claim that these are the only best romantic songs of Mukesh or the KA-Mukesh combo.)