12 comments on “Seven Songs from Lata Mangeshkar That Have Really Stood Out for Me (from 1949 to 1983)

  1. I never make a ‘Best of’ list because I think that is such a subjective choice and impossible to do justice to, unless the singer has only sung, say, 25 songs in their entire career. So your list is so satisfying – every song is a gem, and yet, like you said, it could easily be replaced by another seven that sound just as great. I really liked your descriptions of each song as well.

  2. Richard,
    That’s such a beautiful post. An excellent tribute to Lata Mangeshkar. And I’m so glad you included, Nadir Dim Tana Der Na and Inhi logon ne on your list. I really like these ones a lot.
    Of course the other songs are great too.
    And it’s absolutely impossible for me to select a song from a decade, that’s to choose one song from at least hundred songs. So hats off to you.

    BTW, my Zohrabai Ambalewali song post would be published next week on 21st February.

    Anup
    :-)

  3. Anu, I appreciate that you agree about the difficulties in trying to put together a “best of” list, and I am very happy to see that you are so fond of the ones that I picked. And thank you very much for the good words about my descriptions!

    Actually, I slightly copy edited a description after you posted your comment – specifically, the one for song no. 5. I thought it would help to cut a few words out and rearrange things a little – but the content is the same. (Is it cheating in our blogging world to tweak a post after it’s gone up? I often do… I usually get most of my tweaking done before anyone sends a comment, but you sent your nice comment so soon! :) )

  4. Anup, I also really appreciate your nice words about my list. I am glad to see that you particularly liked “Inhi Logon Ne” and “Na Dir Dim…” – yes, these are great songs and great dances, too.

    And thanks, too, for the hats off about my selecting one song from a decade! Though I am not sure which task was more challenging – just picking one for each of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, or leaving it at just three from the 1950s. :)

    I’m looking forward to your Zohrabai list. By the way, I just looked at your Suraiya list (a couple of weeks late) and I sent short comment. I love Suraiya! (There was such a great variety of female singers in the ’40s. Too bad Lata pushed most of them out of the scene. :) )

  5. This was worth waiting for, Richard! Thank you – a great list of songs (and I am especially happy to see Na dir dim – that was on my shortlist) and I like what you’ve said about each of them too. I must admit the only song from Razia Sultan that came to my mind was Ae dil-e-naadaan:

    … and it took me a quick listen to Jalta hai badan to recall that one. Yes, of course; also a very good song.

  6. Thank you, Madhu. It’s good to know that this post was worth waiting for (and that it didn’t disappoint after I built up everyone’s expectations with a preview post :) ).

    Thanks also for that other song from Razia Sultan. It’s a nice one too, though, curiously, I remembered “Jalta Hai Badan” much more. (I like the whole soundtrack from Razia Sultan and I liked the film too – though not as much as the director’s two better-known classics, Mahal and Pakeezah. Hmm, I guess that Kamal Amrohi ended up with a pretty big presence on this list, though I wasn’t really thinking about that.)

    It is also great to see that you really like “Na Dir Dim,” too, and it was even on your short list. (I suppose I had a short list for this post, too, though I don’t refer to it that way. There were a couple of other songs that I had a tough time deciding to drop – like “Man Dole Mera Tan Dole.” :) )

  7. This selection made for interesting viewing/listening. I think I’ve only seen three out of the seven films (although, as of last week, I have promised a friend I’ll get around to”Amrapali” in the near future!). “Na Dir Dim” was revelatory.

    I can help with your question re: “Hamaare Dil Se Na Jaana.” The song can be analyzed in (Western) triple meter, the same as a waltz. With the exception of introductory/concluding passages that are not actually danced to, waltzes typically fall into even phrases of four bars each. That is, if you listen to four sets of three pulses together, they feel like a complete, cogent musical unit. The “rolling” motion (“waltzen”) for which the dance is named typically takes two bars for the dancers to complete. Therefore, it feels unnatural to dance a standard waltz to music with three- or five-bar phrases. Some of the antaras in “Hamaare Dil Se Na Jaana” have even four-bar phrases. Others have a mixture of four-bar phrases with five- and six-bar ones. As a whole, then, the song has an appropriate meter for a waltz but the phrase rhythms are only sporadically appropriate for waltzing.

    I hope I’ve explained this in a sensible way! I don’t know how much Western music theory terminology you may know.

  8. Shelomit, many thanks for your answer about whether “Hamaare Dil Se Na Jaana” is a waltz. I am peripherally kind of grasping this, although I may want to look into these terms, etc., a little further. Anyway, I am gleaning that it was not far-off for me to say that this song is like a waltz although it doesn’t fully qualify.

    I admit, I don’t really have that much knowledge of the technical terms in Western music theory. I should have learned more about this kind of thing a long time ago. I did write a lot of reviews for a few moderately distributed music magazines a couple of decades ago, but I was a pop and rock music critic, and that kind of critic doesn’t have to know anything about music theory. :)

    In the past year or two, I have done a lot of reading about the details of rhythms used in kathak, getting to know all of that terminology (bols, tora, taal, padhant, etc.) and have been looking at a bunch of sort-of mathematical charts of the beats and rhythms too. This has caused me to be more curious about theoretical explanations for all different kinds of music, especially when it comes to the subject of rhythm.

    Meanwhile, I have always heard that there is a specific kind of time used in a waltz that is distinct from the kind used in most other music. Your explanation is a little more involved, but I am finding this very interesting. Now I am very eager to learn more about this sort of thing!

    P.S. I should add that I was very pleased by your term “revelatory” to describe “Na Dir Dim.” This song is more of a hit that I realized! :) I first got drawn to this scene for the dance from being a big Padmini fan, but I’ve realized that the music is quite beautiful by itself and it’s apparent that a lot of people agree.

  9. Dear Richard ji,

    Pandit Shivram (aka Shivram Krishna) composed some memorable tunes in his early career, beginning with Teen Batti…. Later, somehow, he got typecast into Mythological and Regional (he hailed from Rajasthan) Films and went off the radar. His songs in SURANG (1953) and OONCHI HAVELI (1955) are worth a listen.

    Here is one by Lata ji from “SURANG”

    With warm regards

    PARTHA CHANDA

    PS : And surely, you would have heard this iconic number by Rafi from “Oonchi Haveli”?

  10. Hello, Partha ji. Thank you for the information about Shivram Krishna and those very good song clips. The Lata song is really nice and I like the picturization a lot – it makes me want to see this film. The Rafi song seems familiar, but I cannot say that I would have recognized the song – or would have known where it came from – if someone played it out of any context. So I am glad that you brought the song into comments here, with a clip that gives us yet more helpful information about Shivram Krishna at the end. (Those clips from the Mastkalndr channel can be very good in that way – please feel free to send more of them any time. :) )

  11. Love this selection of songs and your descriptions (The only one not to my taste is Apni ada pe main hoon fida. But I haven’t heard it since seeing the film, which must have been 40 years ago).

    Re “I have shared the soundtrack for Mahal with people who have next to no knowledge of Indian films, and every one was blown away by it. ”

    I can well believe that! I also believe that people would be blown away by the film Mahal. Unfortunately, few people have seen it. It’s just known as the Ayega Aanewala film.

  12. Roshini, very nice to see your comment that you love this selection and I am particularly pleased to see that you like my descriptions. :)

    I must admit, though, that I am puzzled you would name “Apni Ada Par Main Hoon Fida” as the one song not to your tastes. Maybe you should give it another listen after 40 years? :)

    I do agree with you that people would – or should – be blown away by the film Mahal (in addition to the music). It’s blown me away each time I’ve seen it, and I’ve seen it a few times. (And I’m not someone who usually even watches films multiple times.) I don’t understand why Mahal isn’t regarded more widely as one of the greatest classics.

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