By Narendra Kusnur
Lata Mangeshkar has always been known for her film songs, right from Barsaat and Mahal in 1949. Though her non-film songs have been fewer in number, she has sung many gems in that segment.
On her 89th birthday (September 28), we choose 10 songs that weren’t shown on the big screen. There is a mix of Hindi, Marathi and Bengali, and also patriotic, devotional, ghazal and abhang.
1 Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo
Mangeshkar sang this first in New Delhi on Republic Day 1963 as a dedication to Indian soldiers after the Indo-China war. Written by Kavi Pradeep and composed by C Ramchandra, it even bought then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears.
2 Allah Jaanta Hai
This duet by Mangeshkar and Jagjit Singh was beautifully written by Akhtar Azad in the 1991 ghazal album Sajda.
3 Moghra Phulala
A beautiful and popular Marathi abhang composed by brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar and sung exquisitely.
4 Pa Ma Ga Re Sa
Music director Salil Chowdhury gets the best of Mangeshkar’s semi-classical side in this Bengali song.
5 Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Paayo
A melodious bhajan popularised by Mangeshkar and later sung extensively by Anup Jalota.
6 Chala Vahi Des
Hridaynath extracts the true spiritual side of the singer in this Meera bhajan.
7 Sukhkarta Dukhharta
A completely unique version of the popular Ganesha aarti where Mangeshkar uses a wonderful chorus.
8 O Saaj Sajao Re
A very rare non-film song composed by N.S. Nandi. No details are available on when it was released but from the style of orchestration and recording, seems pretty old.
9 Na Main Dharmi, Na Hi Adharmi
Mangeshkar is joined by Roopkumar Rathod on this piece written by Sant Kabir and composed by Hridaynath in the album Meera Soor Kabira.
10 Kya Khoya Kya Paaya
Penned by late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, this poem has been set to music by Mayuresh Pai.
Narendra Kusnur is one of India’s best known music journalists. Born with a musical spoon (okay, doesn’t fit, but you get the drift), Naren, NK, Kusnur, Narender, Kaansen, Jahanpanna… however else many call him, is a late bloomer in music criticism. He was (is!) an aficionado first, and then strayed into writing on music. But in the last two decades, he has made up for most of what he didn’t do earlier. If ever there is an Ustad given for music writing, NK, would be among the first to receive one. Narendra Kusnur writes weekly on Xyngr. Don’t ask us when.