» Movies » Birthday Special: The 25 Moods of Lata Mangeshkar

Birthday Special: The 25 Moods of Lata Mangeshkar

By Sukanya Verma
Last updated on: September 28, 2017 12:18 IST
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Happy birthday, Lataji!

Every time she breathes, she makes music and the applause follows.

For more than half a century, the beautiful, lilting, hearty quality of Lata Mangeshkar's singing has regaled changing generations of listeners.

The fact that it's not merely tough but impossible for anybody to name just one favourite song of hers says a lot about her stature.

In her incredibly long and flourishing career as India's most treasured songstress, she's voiced a myriad of emotions.

On her 86th birthday today, we celebrate the legend's 25 distinctly different moods.

Pyar kiya toh darna kya, Mughal-E-Azam

Mood: Defiant

Music: Naushad

K Asif's grand epic achieves its most memorable high in Madhubala's spellbinding performance around the glittery Sheesh Mahal-inspired sets and Latatai's rebellious assertions that would go on to resonate powerfully among aspiring romantics.

Aaj kal paon, Ghar

Mood: Dreamy

Music: Rahul Dev Burman

Would Rekha's starry-eyed state have the same impact in the absence of Lata Mangeshkar's measured, mellifluous rendition of Gulzar's fond words? Negative.

Piya bina, Abhimaan

Mood: Heartbroken

Music: Sachin Dev Burman

She's sung a lot of despondent ditties but her deep understanding of Jaya Bachchan's character -- of a wife hurting over hubby's disgruntled behaviour while keeping her emotions in check as a professional playback singer in Abhimaan -- contributes significantly to Piya bina's simplicity and sorrow.

Naam ghum jayega, Kinara

Mood: Philosophical

Music: R D Burman

Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hai...perfect lines, perfect melody, perfect Lata Mangeshkar.

Aa jaane jaan, Inteqam

Mood: Seductive

Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Proving sexy songs aren't just younger sister Asha Bhosle's forte, Lata Mangeshkar turns the heat on and how for the smouldering Helen cabaret.

Allah tero naam, Hum Dono

Mood: Devotional

Music: Jaidev

The songbird offers the ultimate prayer for humanity with characteristic grace and sensitivity for this Hum Dono gem.

Mose chhal kiye jaaye, Guide

Mood: Angry

Music: S D Burman

While a luminous Waheeda Rehman expresses disgust for her beau on screen, Lata Mangeshkar injects soul to her injury off it in the refined melodies of Guide.

Vande Mataram, Anand Math

Mood: Patriotic

Music: Hemant Kumar

Her passionate chants of Vande Mataram continue to evoke instant nationalist fervour even after six decades.

Mere haathon mein nau nau, Chandni

Mood: Festive

Music: Shiv-Hari

What's not to enjoy about the singer's playful and celebratory interjections to boost Sridevi's sangeet-time frolic in Yash Chopra's signature romance?

Mohabbat mein aise kadam dagmagaye, Anarkali

Mood: Drunk

Music: C Ramchandra

The singer is a picture of restraint. And so it's particularly droll to hear her loosen up as the much sloshed, hiccup-popping Anarkali in C Ramchandra's composition.

Aye dil-e-nadaan, Razia Sultan

Mood: Melancholic

Music: Khayyam

If songs were made of silk, they'd be something like Lata Mangeshkar's delivery of Aye dil-e-nadaan -- smooth, soothing and seamless.

Main ka karoon ram mujhe budha mil gaya, Sangam

Mood: Wacky

Music: Shankar-Jaikishan

Oy hoy -- the nightingale has a ball highlighting Vyajayanthimala's glamorous goof dolling up in one crazy costume after another to tease the sobriety-struck significant other in Sangam's zany chartbuster.

Suniyo ji araj mhariyo, Lekin..

Mood: Classical

Music: Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Just when people thought they've heard her best, she raised her own bar with the brilliance of Gulzar's Lekin.. soaked in classical goodness.

Naina barse rimjhim, Woh Kaun Thi

Mood: Spooky

Music: Madan Mohan

The combination of Lata Mangeshkar's haunting blues and Sadhana's bewitching smile create the best kind of eerie in Woh Kaun Thi.

Inhi logon ne, Pakeezah

Mood: Coquettish

Music: Ghulam Muhammad

Playing the imp and demure darling at once, Lata Mangeshkar is pitch-perfect as Meena Kumar's mellifluous soul around this dazzling Pakeezah number.

Dikhai diye yun ke bekhud kiya, Bazaar

Mood: Poetic

Music: Khayyam

Khayyam laps up 18th century poet Mir Taqi Mir's sublime ode to enchantment in Lata Mangeshkar's enrapturing vocals.

Killer stuff, this.

Aaja re pardesi, Madhumati

Mood: Anticipative

Music: Salil Chowdhary

Lata Mangeshkar plays the waiting game to slip into the jittery, yearning-filled skin of Madhumati's eponymous heroine.

Chanda hai tu, Aradhana

Mood: Maternal

Music: S D Burman

She's sung a lot many songs for Sharmila Tagore's sweetheart avatars but she's equally credible oozing mommy love for the dimpled star in Aradhana's adorable lullaby.

Suno choti si gudiya, Seema

Mood: Poignant

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

Lata Mangeshkar movingly conveys the ups and downs of Nutan's destitute existence in the bittersweet narrative of Suno choti si gudiya ki lambi kahani.

Sayonara Sayonara, Love in Tokyo

Mood: Charming

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

Her singsong approach to endorse Asha Parekh's kimono-clad Japanese maiden is not only conscious of the gimmick's overall phoniness but has fun with it too adding to Sayonara's cheerful appeal.

Hothon pe aisi baat, Jewel Thief

Mood: Mysterious

Music: S D Burman

Mangeshkar's stunning, shifting notes, the inscrutable insinuations in Majrooh Sultanpuri's words and Vyajayanthimala's thrilling jig has us collectively crying 'Ooooo Shalu' in admiration.

Bada dukh dina, Ram Lakhan

Mood: Peevish

Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal

Trust Lata Mangeshkar to turn a sulking Madhuri Dixit's grievance regarding a certain AWOL Lakhan into a class act.

Ramji agrees.

Ichak daana bichak daana, Shree 420

Mood: Academic

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

No one would skip a day of school if they'd get Lata Mangeshkar and her super creative manner of getting kids to solve tricky riddles.

Ajeeb dastan hai yeh, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai

Mood: Lovelorn

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

'Mubaarakein tumhe ke tum kisi ke noor ho gaye. Kissi ke itne paas ho ke sab se door ho gaye.'

Subtle in her sadness and sarcasm, the sting of unrequited romance is conspicuous in Lata M's mellow congratulations.

Woh hain zara khafa khafa, Shagird

Mood: Appeasing

Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

It would be foolish to stay 'khafa' in face of Lata Mangeshkar's sensual and elegant appealing when picturised on the elfin Saira Banu.

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Sukanya Verma