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Lata Mangeshkar, The Melody Queen: Top Ten Gems (Sad Songs, 1950-1970)


Lata Mangeshkar is one of the well known playback singer of Indian Cinema. Her voice is very sweet and hundreds of stories are circulating among her audience about the secrets of her voice. One of the story makes her voice a subject of research. During my childhood, I heard that a group of international researchers has sought her permission to inspect her vocal chord to determine the basis of excellence of her voice. Although belief in such stories has shaken a bit with maturity of thoughts. Anyway, age has failed to affect the quality of her voice and this particular quality has made her more popular among the people. In fact, her voice has become more sweet with passage of time.

You may think that a particular song is best but you will be compelled to change your own perception when you hear other songs sung by her because you will realize that you were mistaken to declare that particular song as the best song. I tried to categorize different songs from the old Hindi movies that were given voice by different singers. Since I had a taste for sad songs and that too for the old Bollywood songs, I tried to select saddest songs for a twenty years period between 1950-1970. During the process, I found it difficult to include songs of other singers as my list was topped by Lata's songs. I changed my decision and decided to select only songs of Lata Mangeshkar.

Top ten saddest songs of Lata Mangeshkar from Hindi movies released during twenty years period of fifties and sixties are listed below.

Song 1. Top song of my choice from "Aah" movie, released in 1953, is given below. Shailendra's lyrics were tuned by the music director 'Shankar Jaikishan'. Nargis expressed her feelings of loneliness and sorrow through lyrics listed below when Raj Kapoor moved away from her .

Yeh shaam ki tanhaiyan,

aise main tera gham.
patte kahin khadke hawa,

aayi to chaunke ham.............

(ये शाम की तन्हाइयां , ऐसे में तेरा गम ,

पत्ते कहीं खडके , हवा आई तो चोंके हम)

(Summary: Song was shot on 'Nargis' who finds it difficult to fight loneliness of evening and this loneliness brings the memories of old days. She comes out of her thought with sounds of dry leaves shaken by winds.She observes that imprints of her lover have begun to disappear after several seasons have gone meeting him. Nature is also on the verge of weeping looking at her sorrow ). Sadness behind the wordings shakes completely the soul of any sensitive person.

Song 2. Two songs from the movie "Amrapali" occupy the second and third slots of songs of my liking.Lyrics were given for both by the same lyricist "Shailendra " and music by same duo music director "Shankar Jaikishan". Vyjyanti Mala acted beautifully on these songs and justified the themes of the song.

Tumhein Yaad Karte Karte,

Jaayegi Rain Saari.
Tum Le Gaye Ho Apne,

Sang Neend Bhi Humari...

(तुम्हें याद करते करते , जायेगी रेन सारी ,

तुम ले गये हो अपने , संग नींद भी हमारी )

(Summary:Song has been filmed on actress 'Vjyanthimaala' who is relentlessly waiting for her lover 'Sunil Dutt' . She says that she will be awakened whole night in his thoughts. Her soul has left her body in his search and wandering in unknown city. She pleads him to take her out of this situation).

Song 3. As mentioned above, song 3 is also from the movie "Amrapali' and entire team of music composers and lyricist is same who has worked for the song 2. Lyrics of third song of my choice are given below/

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tadap yeh din raat ki,

kasak yeh bin baat ki.
bhala yeh rog hai kaisa,

sajan abb toh bata de............

(तडप ये दिन रात की,

कसक ये बिन बात की.

भला ये रोग है कैसा,

सजन अब तो बता दे)

(Summary:Song is from the same movie and centered around same cast.Female character in this sequel of the song fails to understand her state of mind and body. She fails to understand why she has a disease like condition and asks her boy friend to explain the reasons if he has answers for the same ).

Song 4.

Movie 'Jab Jab Phool Khile' was released in the year 1965. Song's lyrics shown below were written by Anand Bakshi and background music was given by Kalyanji Anandji. Star cast of the track was Nanda. Song's theme 'love a stranger or not' was a suggestion to keep away from strangers since they can not be relied upon due to their unknown credentials.Lata's voice deepens the pain & sufferings hidden behind the wordings.

pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milana,

pardesiyon ko hai ek roj jaana......

(परदेसियों से ना अंखिया मिलाना ,

परदेसियों को है एक रोज जाना..)

5. In the year 1968, movie 'Aankhen' was released with star casts of Maala Sinha and Dharmendra. A song titled " Aapnon pe karam..." created waves and became very popular. However, it described the typical situation in which female character of the film finds herself. Music Director of the song was Ravi and it was penned by famous lyricist 'Sahir Ludhianvi'.

Gairon pe karam apanon pe sitam,

ai jaan-e-vafaa ye zulm na kar.
rahane de abhii thodaa saa bharam,

ai jaan-e-vafaa ye zulm na kar.....

(गैरों पे करम , अपनों पे सितम,

ऐ जाने वफा ये जुलम ना कर,

रहने दे अभी थोड़ा सा भरम ,

ऐ जाने वफा ये ज़ुल्म ना कर )

(Summary: Female cast of the song 'Maala Sinha' makes request to 'Dharmendra', her ex. friend, not to humiliate her in presence of his present girl friend. She reminds him of time when he loved her relentlessly.)

6.Song filmed in the year 1966 still appears as live as it was in the 1966. Ravi provided tunes to the lyrics of Shakeel Badauini. Voice was given by same Lata to produce one more Jewell. Song was filmed on Asha Parekh in movie 'Do badan'.

Lo aa gayee unkee yaad, wo naheen aaye,

dil unko dhoondhataa hai, gam kaa singaar kar ke,

aankhe bhee thak gayee hai,

ab intazaar kar ke, ek aas rah gayee hai,

wo bhee naa toot jaaye....

(लो आ गई उनकी याद, वो नहीं आये ,

दिल उनको ढूढता है , गम का श्रृंगार करके ,

आँखें भी थक गई है , अब इंतज़ार करके ,

एक आस रह गई है वो भी ना टूट जाए )

(Summary: Indefinite wait did not yield any result and now life has come on the verge of end. Helplessness has reached to such an extent that only hope lies in the next life/birth.)

7.This song of my choice of sad songs sung by great 'Lata' is drawn from movie 'Safar' which was released in the year 1970. Yesteryear's super star Rajesh khanna and evergreen actress 'Sharmila Tagore' were the lead casts in the film. Lyrics by Indeever were wrapped in music by Kalyanji Anandji.

hum the jinake sahaare,

wo huye naa humaare,

doobee jab dil kee naiyyaa,

saamane the kinaare
kyaa mohabbat ke waade,

kyaa wafaa ke iraade,

ret kee hain diwaare,

jo bhee chaahe giraa de....................

(हम थे जिनके सहारे वो हुए ना हमारे,

डूबी जब दिल की नैया सामने थे किनारे,

क्या मुहब्बत के वादे , क्या वफा के इरादे ,

रेत की हैं दीवारें जो भी चाहे गिरा दे )

(Summary: Actress 'Sharmila Tagore' in the situational song feels that everything is available in this world, though not for all, just to few. Even closest person leave true friend helpless).

8. Human beings are the puppet in the hands of circumstances. There are occasions when people find themselves helpless and can not do what needs to be done. This is the theme of this song that has been filmed on 'Nirupma Roy' in the movie 'Ek Kali Muskai' released in 1968. Lata gave her voice to beautifully coined words of 'Rajendra Kishan' decorated with fine tunes by 'Madan Mohan'. .

na tum bevafa ho,

na ham bevafa hain
magar kya karen,

apani raahen juda hain
na tum bevafa..........

(ना तुम बेवफा हो ना हम बेवफा हैं ,

मगर क्या करें अपनी राहें जुदा हैं )

9. Two Songs finding 9th & 10th rankings in this article are such that sometimes I feel that these two songs deserve upgradation to do justice with them but then there are fears of unjustice to other songs up in the sequence. Since I treat all songs on par with each other and all qualify for top ten slot, this ranking does not have much meaning. 9th song has been chosen from film 'Arzoo' a big hit released in 1965. Lyricist 'Hasrat Jaipuri'
gave wordings to this song and 'Shankar Jaikishan' made musical tunes to match the voice of Lata. Song was filmed on 'Sadhna'.

bedardi balma tujhko mera mann yad karta hai,

barasta hai jo aankho se woh sawan yad karta hai

kabhi ham sath gujare jin sajili rehgujaro se,

fiza ke bhes me girte hain abb patte chanaro se

yeh rahe yad karti hain, yeh gulshan yad karta hai..........

(बेदर्दी बालमा तुझको मेरा मन याद करता है ,

बरसता है जो आँखों से वो सावन याद करता है.

कभी हम साथ गुजरे जिन सजीली रह्गुजारों से ,

फिजां के भेस में गिरते हैं आब पत्ते चनारो से )

10. Film 'Chori Chori' was released in the year 1956 that was liked by movie lovers for its sweet songs and a song (shown below) was liked by music lovers during 50s and it has not lost a bit of its charm even after 4-5 decades. Same team of singer, lyricist and music director composed and filmed this song. It was filmed on the popular pair of film stars 'Raj Kapoor & Nargis'.

Rasik Balma Haaye,

Dil kyun lagayaa tose,

dil kyun lagaya
jaise rog lagayaa,

jaise rog lagaaya
Rasik Balma Haaye................

(रसिक बलमा हाये , दिल क्यों लगाया तोसे ,

जैसे रोग लगाया , रसिक बलमा हाय...)

Viewers of this page are requested to suggest in the comment box any song by Lata if they think must find place among the songs listed here.It will be appended in the list as 'suggested by public opinion. thanks

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Crusader


maqbool Siraj on January 03, 2020:

Wonderful selection of Lata's melancholic songs. There is no match to her when it comes to singing songs featuring loneliness, separation, wait, pining et al.

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