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The 25 Moods of Lata Mangeshkar

September 19, 2019 21:00 IST

As the iconic Lata Mangeshkar turns 90 on September 28, we start the celebrations early. We present beautiful features on the songstress published on Rediff.com through the years.

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

For more than half a century, the beautiful quality of Lata Mangeshkar's singing has regaled 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 long and flourishing career as India's most treasured songstress, she's voiced a myriad of emotions.

Sukanya Verma celebrates the legend's 25 distinctly different moods.

Pyar kiya toh darna kya, Mughal-E-Azam
Mood: Defiant
Music: Naushad 

K Asif's epic achieves its 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 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 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 

O 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 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 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 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 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.

This special was first published in September 2017.

SUKANYA VERMA
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