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5 underrated Lata Mangeshkar songs from 1950s to 1990

Today is the playback legend’s 93rd birth anniversary

Saikat Chakraborty Calcutta Published 28.09.22, 05:37 PM
(L-R) Lata Mangeshkar with her sister.

(L-R) Lata Mangeshkar with her sister. Instagram/ @asha.bhosle

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter. So are some Lata Mangeshkar classics that have been overshadowed by their more popular contemporaries on the other side of the record or from the same movie!

On Lata Mangeshkar’s 93rd birth anniversary, we pick 5 Bollywood classics by the legend which, despite their timeless appeal, are often passed over in favour of other, more popular songs rendered by the ‘Nightingale of India’.


Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan (1951)

Composed by SD Burman, this song is from Fali Mistry’s 1951 film Sazaa starring Dev Anand, Nimmi and Shyama. Thoughtfully penned by Rajendra Krishan, the family drama is filled with melancholic tunes by the senior Burman. It seems SD had borrowed the melody from one of the hit Bengali modern songs by composer Himangshu Dutta, his former neighbour in Comilla of undivided Bengal. This beautiful song became a victim of the instant popularity of other tracks from the album upon its release.

Prabhu Tero Naam (1961)

Based on Raag Dhaani, this bhajan from Hum Dono, starring Dev Anand, Sadhana, Nanda and Leela Chitnis, does not always get its due recognition despite its eloquent and flawless rendition by Lata. Written by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Jaidev, this beautiful rendition of the devotional song has been overshadowed by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle’s timeless classic Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar and Lata’s Allah Tero Naam Ishwar Tero Naam.

Hum Tere Pyar Me Sara Aalam (1963)

This emotional track from C.V. Sridhar’s 1963 romantic film Dil Ek Mandir is picturised on Meena Kumari and Raaj Kumar. Composed by Shankar-Jaikishan and penned by Hasrat Jaipuri, the song represents the plight of a woman whose love is not being reciprocated. Based on Desh raga, the heartfelt melody becomes a lament that slowly engulfs us. Although brilliant in its composition and vocalisation, the song was ultimately put to shade by other songs from the film.

Yaad Na Aaye Koi (1996)

Gulzar’s period political drama Maachis is one of the most iconic soundtracks in the 1990s. Composed by newcomer Vishal Bhardwaj and penned by the director himself, the tracks in the film chronicle the emergence of the Sikh insurgency in Punjab in the mid-1980s. The song is picturised on Tabu’s Veeran as she reminisces about the fate of her fiance Kripal (played by Chandrachur Singh). This song somehow gets drowned in the waves created by Lata’s Pani Pani Re and KK-Hariharan-Suresh Wadkar’s Chhod Aaye Hum tracks from the same film.

Geela Geela Pani (1998)

Ram Gopal Varma’s 1998 gangster drama Satya is characterised by its gritty visuals as much as by Vishal Bhardwaj’s eloquent soundscape aided by Gulzar’s poetry. This romantic song by Lata was filmed on the leading pair Urmila Matondkar and J. D. Chakravarthy as they enjoy the might of the Mumbai monsoon. Amid all the violence and ambience-specific soundscape, this beautiful song has unfortunately eluded even the most die-hard of Lata fans.

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