It's not just philosophy or human behaviour that intrigues me. Music and yes, Bollywood Hindi music only,h been my early year's passion. I was a good singer and Kishore Kumar was my favourite. Later as I grew old, I began liking even Rafi Saab, Jagjit and even Lata and Asha solos.
When I started out on my quest for good music, people in my generation had to go back a decade or little more as, we were being brought up in one of the most black periods of performing arts especially in mainstream Bollywood. Crappy movies and tasteless music. There was no soul in the songs and as a teenager too, I could not bear them. What started off as Kishore Kumar collection, soon turned out to be Pancham quest. In the following 15 years, I explored all songs of Pancham, studied his life, learnt the nuances and interesting trivia on his experiments. There was no dull moment ever with him. I think listening to his songs so carefully actually made me more focused and patient listener later in life.
Here's presenting some of Pancham's all time most favorite and long lasting songs. He has been called Boss for his peppy, youthful numbers but he had an equally balanced emotional side, a side I consider spiritual. Following songs are the under appreciated, under the radar of Geetmala charts of their times or simply lost in oblivion because the film bombed at box office.
I will try to club them era wise, for, the recordings and pairing will be matching. One thing I dislike is when we play an early 70s songs with an 80s number in the playlist. Pancham sound was distinct and clear recordings. He adopted latest recording technology at the first release, he was always with the times, for its virtues. So songs sound quality was affected due to technology and also texture of his singers (kishore, Lata and Asha). So let me club this playlist in following:
Late 60s till 75
Let's dive straight in:
Late 60s-71 - Vintage era
This was an era when Pancham had not quite found himself. His songs were close to Shankar Jaikishan style. And it was Hare Rama kare krishna that gave him his own style. Some of the songs that were lost are as follows:
1. Mar Dalega- Solo by Asha , movie Pati Patni
This song had the first Bossa Nova Rhythm ever used in Indian cinema. Asha had reported huge issues in settling with its beats as it was not in traditional meter. It's quintessential Sensual song by Asha. They went on to make many more sensual songs as their own romantic jet took off. Enjoy the song.
2. Kya Janoon Sajan- By Lata in Baharon ke Sapne
Aja piya tohe pyar doon and chunri sambhal were more popular songs in this first association with Naseer Hussain. I think he reserved his best songs with Naseer hussain banner. All till the last one in Manzil Manzil were musical hits. Kya Janoon Sajan is a haunting melody with sad notes. This song was the first ever song in the world which had twin soundtrack. Listen to the part in cross, the second line of Mukhda, you hear another voice in the background. Original HMV gave credits to Usha Mangeshkar for that voice over. But it was same Lata singing both parts. Today we have 56 tracks available to record many sounds together even if they were played in separate parts of the world. But back then, it was not the case.
Pancham recorded the song without the voice in the background first, then he called Lata again next day to just croon in set intervals. If you are from the generation that has used Tape recorders then know that it contained a Record button. As kids we had spoiled manu cassettes by putting our own voices in the middle of the song and spoilt the song. Tape recorder has 2 heads, one to erase and one to record. Pancham used a tape recorder and removed the erase head. This way the original recording and new voice over meshed together so beautifully that the entire recording section gave Pancham a standing ovation. Pancham later used it in many songs until Katra Katra in 1987 movie Ijjazat. Yes, the tech had not come in till computers came. Now you will enjoy the song even more.
3. Main na miloongi by Lata - Pyar ka mausam
Tum bin jaun kahan stole the limelight, because it started a comparison between Kishore and Rafi. Clear fan clubs were made after that song.
This album had another 3 solo songs of Lata, all brilliant. But Main Na miloongi stayed with me for a long time. Its distinct rhythm and Off beat pick up by Lata, made it unique. It needs a presence of mind to sing Pancham songs. There are always many twist , which is why his songs have not remained Monotonous. He hated monotony. He was rhythm champ. Rhythm by definition is same beats played in a loop these days, monotony. But his rhythm often changed from first line to second line of Mukhda and then Antra will be totally different.
4. Lehra ke aaya hai- Rafi and lata in Waris
First middle eastern rhythm you heard in Indian stage. This song has not been remixed as yet but I bet, it will be a great selection if reproduced. Of course , Kalyan ji Anand ji liked it too. So you can hear ' Arre deewano mujhe pehchano' in it.
5.Chaiyyan re Saiyyan- Asha solo - The Train
I know you must be wondering why so many female songs. Well, if you have to explore Pancham, you have to hear his Non-Kishore songs and movies with low budget and unknown producers. He experimented to the hilt there.
Anyways, this is very Folkish song with lot of Rhythm and percussion. It will need many hearings to appreciate. You can hear it's reproduction by European band, Kronos in their album with Asha -You've stolen my heart.
6. Haye re na maro - Asha solo in Garam Masala
It is like a scene being played in a song with dialogues. A rap version if you will. Although, Pancham made first even Rap song in the world with Kati Patang (Mera nam hai Shabnam). This is a Jazz treatment. This album had another pure Jazz number ever in Indian stage, Tum Jaison ko to Payal mein baandh loon. But due to its high and lows and pure creative madness, I chose Haye na Maro. You can feel a molestation and torture scene in the song. But go ahead and download India's first pure Jazz number. Though, I am not listing it here. Do check his other Jazz songs on Asha like Andhera Andhera in Rani mera Naam. Main ladki tu ladka in Dil Diwana, Lo mera Pyar le lo in Nafrat (only you tube)
7. Aao aao jane jahan- kishore lata in Gomti ke Kinare
This duet has that quality of staying with you. It's fast rhythm but slow and lilting notes sit well. It has a distinct sound but here is RD for you experimenting on a lesser known Producer.
8. Aap ke kamre mein - Kishore, Asha , RD, Yaadon ki baraat
Stage songs were a pattern with Naseer Hussain. This one starts off with Robindra sangeet influence and takes off into Dum Maro Dum. It's Antras can be hummed whenever you are alone.
9. Bahut door mujhe chale- Kishore lata in Heera Panna
This song has been played by many Radio channels now but it wasn't the case back then. This is all time no-shelf life duet romantic numbers. Again Bossa Nova. Now you can appreciate Bossa Nova and it's use even in a slow number. Used only for the Mukhda.
10. Tune Chheen liya- Lata solo- Bandhe Haath
Again I can hum it's Antra many times over. Even Mukhda is soft and romantic. You will probably skip this song and go to Kishore number but go back to this. Pancham has put his madness in many of his good numbers with his penchant for unique sounds and experimentation but in some pure melodies, he just let them be. Simple as simple can be.
You must also hear a boat song being used in a cabaret set up with sad message. O Majhi O Majhi by Asha is another song that deserves a mention here. It used to be my favorite over Lata number but in the long run, lata song stole my heart.
11. Kya Nazare Solo by Kishore - Jheel ke us Paar
Song has an abrupt ending to the mukhda. So it's not a song that you would select while singing an Antakshri, unless you continue and sing it's Antra. Open voice of Kishore in the Antra makes you go wow. Try to sing if you can, even your eyes will be looking up in the sky coz that's that the words also cued. Such understanding of words and modifying the notes to suit the word and it's meaning. And the mood. This is one of the reason, his songs lasted longer despite being simple melodies. They were complete.
Trivia: According to Pancham's team, his Antra were always his strengths. While assisting his father SD Burman, often, SD made the mukhda and then left the balance song to Pancham. This is the reason, you hear Pancham like sound in Guide, Jewel thief, Aradhna. Even later, when Pancham had to dish out 1 song a day due to work pressure, he took his inspiration from Hollywood numbers. All he wanted was a start and then he would make rest of the song in his own way. So his Mukhda may look like copy but Antras were purely his.
12. Dil mein jo baatein- kishore lata- Joshila
I think Pancham's sound system went for an upgrade with this only Yash chopra album. Clarity in recording is audible now. Somehow, all the recording produced by HMV Saregama were of very poor quality as opposed to Music India, later became Sony music. I remember Red color cassettes were my favorite for its sound production.
The use of Madal in this duet will take you to the tea plantation of Darjeeling instantly. Madal, a Nepalese tabla type, produces this Kancha sound. Pancham had first spotted it in Hare Rama Hare Krishna shooting in Nepal. Kanchi re Kanchi re. Post that he used Madal in almost 99 percent of his songs as his signature. In this song though, it is the Hero instrument. This whole album of Joshila is a must hear. From all time hits of Kiska rasta dekhe, sona rupa layo re, Kaanp rahi main, Kuchh bhi karlo. All gems.
13.Na koi Dil mein Samaya- Kishore -Aa Gale lag ja
It's a quintessential Blues. If you get a Saxophone player play it's notes , you will know what I mean. The crooning, yoodling effect in the Antra is the embellishment that has given the song it's shelf life. The eccentricity of doing something like this to a sad song is just did not go down well with that generation. But he cared a damn.
14. Ab ke saawan mein - Kishore Lata- Jaise ko Taisa
This amazing melody has notes that are almost haunting, such notes are usually taken to picturize a background of tension. Pancham used it to depict a dark and rainy sequence. Even the pace of rhythm is uniquely fitted into the scheme of things. Another number from this movie, Saajan kahan Jaungi main is a brilliant melody. It was later used in Basera, where Gulzar's lyrics and ageing voice of Lata did it's justice. We will list that song too later in this post.
15. Mere di se yeh Nain- Zehreela Insaan
This track got lost in O Hansini's shadow. Plus the movie was a flop too. Another soulful number, which will grow on you. Don't miss the Sitar. I wish Shailendra had not done too much nasal effect in this song. But still one of his best.
16. Chal saathi chal- by Kishore Ishq Ishq Ishq
This movie lasted only 3 shows even those days when they did not have many entertainment options. I find the entire soundtrack very innocent. It's a picnic movie it seems with school children always around in all songs. Of course, I have not seen the movie. But you can hum this song next time you are driving to the hills.
17. Rasta dekhe tera- Kishore in Hum shakl
Simply soulful. No more words. A must have in your kishore playlist, in case you have not heard it before.
18. Chori Chori Solah- Asha solo in Manoranjan
I actually quite loved the movie with a Police constable stuck with sex workers and all the fun. If you did not know the plot, this song will pass off as another Aaja piya tohe pyar doon, with modern touch. Glamour and sex appeal of Zeenat Aman with sheepish innocence by Asha. You can tell that Asha is feeling exactly like the heroine. Such blend.
19. Zindagi ke safar mein- kishore- Aap ki kasam
I had thought that I will out only lesser heard songs in this playlist but purely from shelf life perspective, pls do include this all time kishore sentimental song. Aadmi theek se dekh pata nahi, aur parde se manzar badal jata hai. Anand Bakshi wrote brilliantly here, comparing life to a theatre on stage. Which it is when you flashback. I wait for the Santoor play in the song interludes.
20. Kisi se dosti karlo- Kishore Asha- Dil Diwana
Coming after Jawani Diwani, Ramesh Behl and RD remained best of friends till the end. RD always gave music for Ramash Behl. It was always youthful coz most of Ramesh Behl music was targeted on college going youth. This Nok-Jhok song and teasing between young boy and his classmate is a must have in your list. Come on, feel young again.
21. Aa raat jati hai- Rafi Asha- Benaam
This party song seems like it was recorded atleast 3 years before 1974. Amitabh and Helen dancing on waltz and turning on heat. But the song does not come across as vulgar. Rafi career was not doing well around 1974 but he was still on top of his game. I love humming the song long after it has always ended playing. Hope u like it too.
22. Sapna mera toot gaya- RD Asha- Khel Khel mein
You have heard all songs of this mega hit. A cult perhaps. Sapna mera toot gaya is a cabaret number on Aruna Irani remembering Rakesh Roshan. Again using cabaret setting for a sad number. A unique distinct composition with orchestra and Asha's emotions are timeless gems here. But when Pancham enters in the Antra with Aaja meri bahon mein aa, pyar bhari rahon mein aa, just steals my heart everytime.
23. Maine tujhe manga- Lata Kishore- Deewar
Forget about kehdon tumhe, this duet will not leave you. It will be playing in your head if you sleep listening to it and will be still on in the morning when you wake up.
24. Do naino mein aansoo- Lata- Khushboo
Khushboo album is a classic. However, this sas number by Lata is soulful. Listen to the part, when RD pays tribute to his father. There is a part when 3 words come- Din Dhal jaye. RD so masterfully blends his father's famous notes from Guide and bring it back to his own composition with ease. Beautiful.
25. Jab tum chale jaoge- Lata in Bullet
Dev anand had started to give flops now. His own mid life crisis. But he had not lost his sense of selecting songs. Something like Tune Chheen liya listed above, I like this Lata.
26. Dil Machal raha hai- Kishore Asha- Khalifa
Consider these Nahin Nahi abhi nahi, Jane do na fro. saagar and Dil Machal raha hai. I used to put these 3 numbers always together, as the mood was same, erotic numbers. Most of you would not have heard this number. It's at par with the others. Except that male goes very bold in this song. :)
27. Paas aao na- Asha- Chala Murari hero banne
Yes, Asrani wanted to play lead role, so he produced his own movie. Asha and Simi Grewal have sounded so sensuous here. It's from the top draw.
28. Aati rahengi Baharen- kishire, Amit Kumar Kasme vaade
This song was made by modifying the notes of the most famous song in the world. HAPPY BDAY to you. It has simplest of the notes, RD worked on these notes to make this melody. Try it once, it will also become Anthem.
29. Aaj kal paon- Lata- Ghar
See I have not listed some of the most classic works of RD here such as this album with Gulzar. All the songs are a must hear. But this song lost out under Tere bina jiya and aap ki aankhon. I have a RD version of this song too, a studio version, perhaps you can find it on YouTube as well. He gave this song a new life again in Dil ne kaha chupke se in 1942 a love story.
30. Jhuk Gayi Aankhen- Kishore Lata- Bhola Bhala
Another one of those songs where Antra scored more points than mukhda. You will remember each word of this melody. This and Roz Roz aankhon tale, are same league duets in my view or to my ears. Simply beautiful.
31. Kisi pe wade pe- Asha- The Burning Train
It's set in a indian semi classical structure, some of the rare ghazals by Pancham.
32. Wo jinki nayee hai duniya: Kishore Asha- Dhan Daulat
Around this time RD lost most of his compositions in flop movies. Most of Kishore Asha Duets came in this era. This duet again like Roz Roz aankhon tale, is brilliant for its simplicity. Bossa Nova is back again.
33. Yeh saaye hain- Asha- Sitara
This is one of the weaker works of Gulzar as a movie. This Asha number will last you many years. You ca. Hear this song in repeat mode from home to Office anyday.
34. Hai re pardesi- Kishore Lata- Barsaat ki ek raat
Madal is back as the Hero coz Darjeeling is back as well. This is a superb pahadi song, Lata's voice is very crisp in this. You can hear Apne Pyar ke, a romantic duet of Kishore and Lata, which was more popular.
35. Kabhi Palkon ke aanso hain- Kishore- Harjayee
Entire album had gems. Another great work of Ramesh Behl and RD. Entire song was on guitar, hardly any persussion. It is one of the most soulful songs of 80s by Kishore solo.
36. Jahan pe basera and Tumhein chhod ke- Lata, Kishore Asha- Basera
I could not pick a winner among these two. Lata song as said earlier is a reproduction from Saajan kahan jaoongi main. Expert singing by Lata and heavenly notes.
Second duet of Kishore and Asha, is actually a Ghazal sung in western style. Crazy as it may sound. This song remained fresh 40 years late as well. Extremely modern.
37. Moti ho to Baandh- Daulat
Before Vinod Khanna went to join Osho movement, he gave us this gem of a song. Soulful kishore.
38. Raah pe rehte hain- Kishore- Namkeen
A reminder of Musafir hoon yaaro. Gulzar and RD came together again and created magic once again. Khush raho ahele watan , hum to safar karte hain. If you notice carefully, song goes thru change of Raga in third antra, since it is dusk time in the song from mid day shooting. It is picturized in a Truck as Sanjeev kumar was driving it.
39. Maine tujhe kabhi kuchh- Yeh wada raha
What do I do here? Entire album once again Ramesh Behl and RD, and once again a flop. Songs lost in oblivion. This duet is like Dravid among Sehwag , Ganguly and Sachin. It is rock solid. Simple soulful.
I would also rate Asha solo of Mil Gayee aaj do lehren, as another hidden gem. This song has a beautiful waltz beginning before becoming a theatrical song.
40. Yeh Zameen ga Rahi hai- Amit kumar- Teri Kasam
Arguably one of the top songs of Amit Kumar. Soulful. Magical.
41. Tujhse Naraaz nahi zindagi- Anup Ghoshal- Masoom
You could never go wrong on Masoom album on a Sunday. The 12 string guitar piece at the beginning by legendary Bhupendra ji, is like a solitaire piece of the ring. Anup Ghoshal may be the only one song wonder, but he went down as the best debut ever , if it was indeed his first song.amd just because 'Ek ansoo chhhupa ke Rakha tha' was left out of tune in this version as opposed to Lata version. This song has never gone bad, timeless.
42. Kahin na ja- Kishore lata- Bade Dil wala
This is again a Roz Roz Ankhon category song. Wait we have not yet gotten to 1984, so cant talk about Jeeva as yet. Kahin na ja, set in a party backdrop is just dipped in soul souce. It's not an instant blend, will grow on you.
43. Yeh zindagi kuchh bhi- RD burman- Romance
This could have been Amit Kumar's sad number, Kumar Gaurav was the obvious choice. But it won't be on my all time Longevity list if RD had not rendered his voice. He always possesed a great voice, imagine all the other duets and sad numbers were actually sung in his voice first. Enjoy this number for the rest of your lives.
44. Jane kya baat hai- Lata- Sunny
Pancham had a real bad run in 82-84, consecutively, he had 23 films flopping and burying his most precious work under dust. Sunny was the fist sunny spot in 1984, and this song left a special mark in everyone's heart.
45. Gali Gali Dhoondha Tujhe- Amit Kumar Lata- Jawani
Now this is a surprise selection, the pole position went to Tu Rutha to main ro dungi song. It was an instant hit. It's however, this unique rhythm pattern on this duet with a mesh up of Tabla and Drums, is something to marvel. If you like it, you will fall in love with it. Well, if you are a Happy person, you will love it.
46. Roz Roz aankhon Tale- Amit Kumar Asha, Jeeva
What a waste of great melody in this movie. 35 years later this song is loved by most romantic people. It's the finest silk money can buy. These songs are made in dreams and written first thing in the morning. They are a gift from universe.
47. Aisa Samaan na hota- Lata- Zameen Aasman
Pancham was having all kind of health issues around this time and he was getting blow after blow due to bad movie making. He still put in his heart into making his songs sound like out of ordinary. There was all sort of Disco crap flying around. If there was anything, Pancham did not want to make Disco music. He just did not see the virtue in it. Why do you need it if you can create songs like these. Arguably, best Lata song in 80s. There is so much clarity in this song. Each and every note of this song can be heard clear. There is so much freshness in this sing even today.
48. Mausam pyar ka- Kishore Asha- Sitamgar
You won't go wrong if you download the entire album. Every song is made with love. Kishore is ageing now. But this duet with Asha, is a timeless classic. Nowadays, I hear it on radio FM, but mostly it is a hidden gem. See, Pancham playing with scales in this sing midway, just lifts the entire mood of the song. Kishore is made to sing softly initially and from second antra, there is a scale change. You get lost in the melody everytime.
49. Jeene de yeh duniya- Manmohan Asha- Lava
This movie did well reasonably. This song grew on me. There is this lilting notes which is the uniqueness of this song. Try to sing it yourself, you will know what I mean. There is this lilting neck , which is dancing with notes. Manmohan was the crew member of Lava production , Pancham spotted him humming and decided that we could use his vocals. For one and last time. I think he did an exceptional job. I will always keep it on my repeat mode when this song comes.
50. Pyar ke mod pe- Suresh Wadekar Asha- Parinda
I have skipped all the songs of Ijazzat from this list, they are well discovered. I will bring your focus on this Ghazal, yes it is a Ghazal. Give it to Khayyam and he will treat it differently. Pancham always brought western influence on his Indian roots, and this song is another example. We discussed Tumhein Chhod ke from Basera, this one too is from top draw. Suresh Wadekar sounded so great in this. Another one, that grows on you.
I would like to end this playlist here and leave you to it. You hear, rehear, discover , explore these songs. Your own mood, frame of mind and what time of the day you hear one composition, makes a huge impact on your consciousness. 90s saw Pancham bouncing back with Gardish, he dished out great score in that movie but he wasn't even invited for the launch party. I think it was original 70s RD. Badal jo Barse, Yeh Mera Dil to pagal hai, Hum na samjhe the, Rang Rangeeli raat were Gems. And then he closed out his career and life with his Swansong in 1942 a love story. He invoked his father SD Burman and Rabindranath music to compose a period music, and single handedly revived melody again in 90s. I think the legacy was then carried forward by Jatin Lalit for another 8-9 years.
I hope you enjoy these songs, they are a part of my Life. And now I make you a part of my life too.
Love and Peace