Ravindra Jain’s Luminous Collaboration With Lataji

Ravindra Jain was a rare composer who wrote his own lyrics. So he knew exactly what he wanted the tune to sing to the words

Ravindra Jain’s Luminous Collaboration With Lataji

Subhash K Jha

Ravindra Jain was a rare  composer who wrote his  own lyrics. So he knew exactly what he wanted the tune to  sing to the words. That explains  the  precise compositional vocabulary of  Tu  jo mere sur mein sur milade(Chit Chor), Jab deep jale  aana(Chit Chor), Ankhiyon ke jharonkon se(title song), Fakira chal chala chal(Fakira), Ley to aaye ho humein sapnon ki gaon mein(Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye),  Megha  oh ri megha(Sunayana), Sajan mere main sajan ki(title song),Kya likhun kaise likhun(Maan Abhimaan).

All these were sung by RJ’s muse Hemlata, a self-confessed Latabhakt with  serious  vocal limitations. Think of what these monumental compositions  would have sounded like if the Goddess  Of Melodious Things  had sung them!The ‘Hem’ factor came in the way of  RJ’s compostions , and this factor  stopped them  short  of  achieving the  glory they were meant for.

But whenever  the  dulcet  composer  collaborated with Lataji there was magic in  the ‘ear’. At the  beginning  of his career RJ composed one of  his  finest  melodies : Tera mera saath  rahe for  Lataji,filmed on the great Nutan.  Saudagar  also  featured  Lataji’s Phool bano which  did  not get the attention  it deserved.

In  Chor Machaye  Shor,  RJ’s next  big  project after Saudagar,  Lataji sang the hit    Ek daal par tota bole with  Mohd Rafi; this  duet was  eclipsed  by Kishore-Asha Bhosle’s Le jayenge dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge. The  mukhda later served as  the  title of Aditya  Chopra’s film.

RJ’s next  major collaboration with Lataji was in Fakira in 1975 where again Jain did a tota-maina  duet with Lataji(Tota main ki kahani) because it had  worked in the same producer’s Chor Machaye Shor. But the stand-out track in Fakira was Lataji’s Dil mein  tujhe bithake kar lungi main bandd aankhen. The  love ballad  which was  sung by Shabana Azmi to Shashi Kapoor went on to become a popular  evergreen Bhajan!

In 1978’s  flop Mithun-Rameshwari starrer  Mera Rakshak Jain got Lataji to sing two duets Tere hothon  ke pyale and sabko chutti mili  with his favourite male  voice Yesudas. She  also  sang  a  sweet solo Behti hui dhara for this  film produced by South’s leading  producers Devar Films  who considered Lataji their  lucky mascot.

Thereafter for almost a decade RJ  did not team up with the Nightingale, preferring  his Lata prefixed with ‘Hem’ rather than the original. In 1985 Raj Kapoor  finally reunited RJ and Lataji for a  full album . And what  soundtrack  it was! Every song  in Ram Teri Ganga Maili  was  a  chartbuster. Lataji’s  Ek dukhiyaree  kahe  baat  yeh rote rote, Sun sahiba sun and  Ek radha ek meera went a  long way  into making the film a  blockbuster.

So pleased was Raj Saab with the  music in Ram Teri… that for Henna in  1991  he  again called RJ  . This time the results,in my opinion were even  better. Lataji sang Main  hoon khush rang henna,Der na ho jaye  and  Anaar dana with a vigour challenging her age.She was  62 when she sang one of the most monumental melodies of her career Chitthiye truly the crooning glory of RJ’s career, in Henna.

Such was the overpowering  impact of Lataji’s  Heena’s songs that  the two spirited  solos  Jind  meriye  and Chali jayegi pardes that she  sang for RJ in Sunil Dutt’s anti-dowry film Yeh Aag Kab Bujhegi during the same year , were eclipsed.

My favourite composition by Ravindra  Jain for Lataji is  a song from an unreleased  film: Jo dard diya tumne geeton mein piro lenge/Aankhen  bhi na chalkengi jee bhar ke bhi ro lenge. It  was the  first song that Jain recorded with the Nightingale, and  according to me , the best song of his career. Lataji  counted  it among her own favourites.

  Jain collaborated with the Nightingale for the  last time in Sawan Kumar’s  Prem Daan  in  1992 where she  sang two  lovely solos   Piya Main to  khil gayi re tose milke and Panchiyon ke shor se. Listening to these  two rarities now as  I write this, I wonder how far the RJ-LM collaboration  would have gone  had it been  given a  chance  to grow unhampered.

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