SONG IN HER HEART
Between lofty words and platitudes, everything there is to say about Lata Mangeshkar's vocal prowess has already been said ad nauseum. Truth be told, she lost my 'favourite singer' mantle to younger sister Asha Bhosle sometime in the early '80s (and later dropped to third place below the far less prolific but intense Geeta Dutt), when time was tied to the hands of the faithful radio set, and Laxmikant Pyarelal were challenging the limits of her chords with compositions like "Solah baras ki baali umar ko salaam" (Ek Duuje Ke Liye, 1981). It must be clarified that this is merely a matter of preference and not a critical assessment of her oeuvre.
But Hindi cinema is replete with Lata classics that warm the cockles––she is, after all, our most prolific singer and blessed with timbre dipped in divinity––from the time before shrillness of pitch drowned the sweetness of voice, most evident in several of Madan Mohan's best compositions.
In a purely personal selection, here are 10 of her best songs of all time in no particular order:
SONG: Chand phir nikla, FILM: Paying Guest (1957), LYRICS: Majrooh Sultanpuri, MUSIC: S.D.Burman
SONG: Rasik balma, FILM: Chori Chori (1956), LYRICS: Hasrat Jaipuri, MUSIC: Shankar-Jaikishan
SONG: Aapki nazron ne samjha, FILM: Anpadh (1962), LYRICS: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, MUSIC: Madan Mohan
SONG: Lag jaa gale, FILM: Woh Kaun Thi? (1964), LYRICS: Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, MUSIC: Madan Mohan
SONG: Betaab dil ki, FILM: Hanste Zakhm (1973), LYRICS: Kaifi Azmi, MUSIC: Madan Mohan
SONG: Kanton se kheench ke FILM: Guide (1965), LYRICS: Shailendra, MUSIC: S.D. Burman
SONG: Dhoondho dhoondo re FILM: Gunga Jumna (1961), LYRICS: Shakeel Badayuni, MUSIC: Naushad
SONG: Jaago mohan pyare FILM: Jaagte Raho (1956), LYRICS: Shailendra, MUSIC: Salil Choudhury
SONG: Is mod se jaate hain FILM: Aandhi (1975), LYRICS: Gulzar, MUSIC: R.D. Burman