Lata Mangeshkar - The Queen : Part 2 - Start of partnerships
In the last episode, we had a look at the milieu of the 1940s Hindi film music and got an idea of who were the major singers of those times. We also got a good idea of the singing style of the 40s. In this part, we look at some of Lata's songs in the 1940s and the partnerships she started building with music directors.
In the last part, we saw that Lata got her major breakthrough in Hindi film music in the film 'Majboor'. Ghulam Haider was the music director. This film was released in 1948. Other music directors also started showing interest in her singing that same year. In 1948 and 1949, Lata managed to sing some memorable songs and started a partnership with some legendary music directors.
We saw that Kemchand Prakash's 'ayega ayega' from 'Mahal' was Lata's breakthrough song. The song that launched her stardom. This is in the year 1949. In the year, 1948 itself, Kemchand Prakash made Lata sing for the movie 'Ziddi'. This movie is more famous as the debut movie of Kishore Kumar. Here is Lata singing, 'chanda re ja re ja re' from 'Ziddi.'
This is a playful song and Lata's voice suits it quite well. As can be expected you can make out that this is being sung by a teenager. The style is in keeping with the 1940s, a direct approach most of the time though there is some attempt at voice modulation.
Here is the song from 'Ziddi', where Lata and Kishore sing together for the first time. This partnership would continue over decades. 'yeh kaun aaya re'
Kishore was under the influence of K L Saigal in those days. (As was Kishore.) He sounds quite different from the Kishore we know of the later years. Here he is singing in the style of the 1940s. I plan to talk more about the Lata-Kishore in a separate post.
Anil Biswas, loving referred to as Anilda, was a hit composer of those times. He probably the potential in Lata and used her in the 1948 film, Anokha Pyar. The movie had more than a dozen songs. Though Lata was quite young at that time, she had the majority of the songs in this movie. Here she is singing, 'yad rakhna chand taron'
Here too you can hear the voice of the teenager. As a comparison, here is Meena Kapoor's version of this same song. Meena Kapoor and Lata Mangeshkar were born around the same time.
We will have a lot more to say about Lata and Anilda's combination later.
One of the influential music directors of those times was Naushad. He made Lata sing in the movie 'Andaz' (1949). Andaz was a hit album, though the most famous songs were Mukesh solos. It was for this movie that Naushad asked Lata to imitate Noorjahan. Here is a bubbly song from that movie, 'koi mere dil mein.'
The way she sings for Naushad is different from how she sings for Anil Biswas and Kemchand Prakash. Here the modulation is lesser than in the songs of Anil Biswas and Kemchand Prakash.
One of the enduring collaborations was Lata - Mukesh - Raj Kapoor - Shankar Jaikishen. Lata's collaboration with Raj Kapoor and Shankar Jaikishen started with the movie 'Barsaat' (1949) Lata sang in every RK banner film till 'Mera Naam Joker'. After 'Mera Naam Joker' flopped (it had no Lata songs) Raj Kapoor went back to Lata for his subsequent films. 'Barsaat' soundtrack was dominated by Lata and it had many hits. The biggest among them being 'hawa mein udtha jayen'
In this song, Lata's ability to reach the higher notes easily is taken advantage of. The voice is again that of a teenager.
Lata's initial journey will not be complete without the mention of C.Ramachandra. Ramachandra was a trendsetter of his times. He brought a lot of western rock n roll into Hindi films. Those kinds of songs became big hits. Ramachandra was also a master tunesmith and gave some amazing melodic numbers of Lata. Here is one song from the 1949 movie, 'Patanga.' 'dile se bula do tum hamein'
The hit song from this movie was 'mera piya gaye rangoon.' Once again you can see that Lata's rendition style is affected a lot by the music director. Here her singing is more modulated than the earlier Naushad number. Ramachandra uses the full range of Lata's voice.
This was just a sample of the various associations that formed in the late 40s. Going forward we will look at each combination individually, starting from the next part.