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06 March 2015

Talat Mahmood - Lata Mangeshkar Duets

Photo credit: Indianexpress.com
There has been an inordinate delay between my last post on Talat Mahmood, and this one. Partly, it is because the laptop I usually use decided to shut down on me, and an old one I dragged out to use has something wrong with its speakers. Partly, it is because researching Talat's duets with other singers proved to be an inordinately difficult task. Most of his duets that I liked were those that he sang with Lata Mangeshkar. And partly it's because I've been snowed under, both literally and figuratively, and couldn't work up the will or the enthusiasm to write anything. Well, mostly, it's been the last part.

So, while I was muddling around, muttering about not being able to write my next post 'because...'. my husband suggested I write one on the songs that I did love. So while this post's usual 'Part 2' is still awaiting its turn in the wings, I decided to shrug off my inertia and sneak in a post on my favourite Talat-Lata duets. Here they are, in no particular order.

Chhaya (1961)
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
As I said, the Talat Mahmood - Lata Mangeshkar combination sounds divine to my ears. Add Salil Choudhary as music director, and I'm even more delighted. Salilda was one composer who utilised Talat Mahmood's voice a lot. (Which explains why this list has four Salilda compositions.) This is probably the 'go-to' song for the collaboration between the three artistes. Itna na mujhse tu pyar badha is reprised in the film as a sad solo (also by Talat). This is the duet, the 'happy' version - but even here, the hero, much though he loves her, is trying his best to persuade her not to go further along the path of romance, for he has little or no prospects. 
Mujhe ek jagah aaraam nahin
Ruk jaana mera kaam nahin
Mera saath kahaan tak dogi tum
Main desh videsh ka banjara
Her response is both defiant and confident:  
O neel gagan ke deewaane
Tu pyaar na mera pehchaane
Main tab tak saath chaloon tere
Jab tak na kahe tu main haara
Usne Kaha Tha (1961)
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Shailendra
Along with Talat and Lata, Sunil Dutt is the common factor with the first song. While Itna tu mujhse na pyaar badha from Chhaya (1961) is probably the more well-known Talat-Lata-Salilda collaboration, I like this one just as well. In a film that begins lightly enough but turns serious in the second half,  Aha rhimjhim ke ye pyaare pyaare geet mile was refreshing - as refreshing as the rain-drenched surroundings, with a sweet-faced Nanda who falls in love with the local bad-boy-turned-upright-citizen Sunil Dutt. Salilda's melody complements the playful, romantic mood of the song, as Talat and Lata give voice to the lovers' dreams and hopes. (Just listen to Lata warble the chorus, especially at the end of the song - she sounds like a song bird.) 
Haathon mein mere tera haath rahe
Dil se jo nikli hai wo baat rahe
Mera tumhaara saari zindagi ka saath rahe...

(Of course, once they sing this, you know what will happen next!) 

Anhonee (1952)
Music: Roshan
Lyrics: Shailendra
Even after Mukesh became associated with Raj Kapoor as his 'voice', other singers continued to sing for Raj Kapoor in movies outside the RK banner. Some of Raj Kapoor's best songs among these were sung by Talat Mahmood. In Anhonee, directed by KA Abbas and with music by Roshan, Talat got to sing both the solo (Main dil hoon ik armaan bhara) and two duets, all picturised on Raj Kapoor. I like this one, both for its playful tone of voice, and for the picturisation, both of which captured the conflicting emotions of love - the pleasure it gives you, and the slight shyness when you meet or talk to your lover. Besides, this is not the song that Talat is known for; he is usually solemn and soulful and full of emotions. Here, it's as if he's let his emotions free for a few moments. Mere dil ke dhadkan kya bole is full of mischief and a love that cannot be hidden - romance should be like this!

Tarana (1951)
Music: Anil Biswas
Lyrics: Prem Dhawan

If the chemistry between Raj Kapoor and Nargis burnt up the telephone wires in the previous song, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar set fire to the screen in Tarana. It is said that this is where their romance began. Certainly, the intensity they brought to their role as lovers was unmatched and so realistic it made you believe in their love story, and root for them to meet in the end. I'd initially thought of Nain mile nain hue baawre that spoke of the happiness of falling in love, but decided to pick this instead. Seene mein sulagte hai armaan has such repressed anguish and sings of so many unfulfilled desires.... it touches me in ways that happier songs do not. Perhaps Shelley had the right of it when he wrote, 'Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.'
Ek aisi aag lagi man mein
Jeene bhi na de marne bhi na de
Chup hoon to kalejaa jalta hai
Boloon to teri ruswaayi hai...

5. Ye mere andhere ujaale na hote 
Prem Patra (1962)
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
Bimal Roy's films are a study in how to let silences work. A sweet romance that is derailed by others' machinations and much misunderstanding, finally comes to fruition through numerous letters and a case of mistaken identity. Or should I say 'assumed' identity. In love with a man, Arun (Shashi Kapoor), who hates the 'real' her, but loves the woman she's pretending to be - Tara, his fiancee, Sadhana's Kavita expresses much of her conflict through her beautiful eyes. As in all of Roy's films, there are no outright villains; his characters are never that black & white, and the various shades of grey are complemented by a wonderful score from Salilda. It's a shame that this film and its music never got the appreciation that it richly deserves. This song, particularly, is a masterpiece in setting the mood of the movie. When he sings,
Ye mere andhere ujaale na hote
Agar tum na aate meri zindagi mein...  it shows just how much he has come to love her. Blind as he is, she is the literal and figurative light of his life.But she is the one who is responsible for ruining his life. She knows, and fears, that that love will not survive the harsh light of the truth...   
Na jaane mera dil ye kyun keh raha hai
Tumhein kho na baithoon kahin roshni mein

The lyrics are so rich in meaning that when she describes her fears thus, he does not suspect her truth, only that she is scared of something. And so he chides her for singing of sorrow when there is hope on the horizon:
Abhi to ummeedon ki duniya jawaan hai
Na chhedo ye maayoosiyon ke taraane

What is the poor girl to do but request him to forgive her her trespasses?
Tumhen bhi qasam hai ki dil mein na rakhna 
Khata ho gayi ho agar bekhudi mein

6. Dil mein sama gaye sajan 
Sangdil (1952)
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
Charlotte Brontë's Gothic romance, Jane Eyre, was brought to life by Dilip Kumar as the grim Rochester and Madhubala as Jane. Talat Mahmood joins Lata Mangeshkar in the film's only male-female duet; it remains one of my favourite Sajjad compositions and one of my favourite Talat-Lata duets. (The Talat solo Ye hawa ye raat ye chandni similarly is one of my favourite Talat solos, and one of my favourite songs of all time.) This was the first time Sajjad used Talat, and he did so with great effect. Dil mein sama gaye sajan lightens the gloom of the movie for a few precious moments. During the filming of this film, composer Sajjad Hussain ran afoul of the leading man, Dilip Kumar, and swore never to work together again. (How much of this is true, I do not know, because much later, Sajjad was signed to compose the score for another Dilip Kumar starrer, which was unfortunately shelved.)

7. Ye nayi nayi preet hai  
Pocketmaar (1956)
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
When you hear Madan Mohan and Talat Mahmood, your  mind automatically goes to ghazals. But though they were both considered masters of that genre, they were neither of them restrained to that genre and only that genre. This is a lighter romantic song, and showcases the rapport that the unassuming Talat shared with Lata Mangeshkar. It expresses the emotions of two youngsters in the throes of their first love... their hearts are full of emotion, and they hope to find a place where they can be alone, with only the earth and sky and the seas witnessing their love. There is shyness, there is playfulness (he pulls her hair, she tugs his tie to pull him to her), there is commitment, there is a quiet wonder at this new emotion, and there is happiness. 
Nigaahon hi nigaahon mein kaho kya kar diya
Mere daaman ko phoolon se ye kisne bhar diya
Chalo chal den wahaan zameen aur aasmaan
Gale milte jahaan bana le wahin aashiyaan
School Master (1959)
Music: Vasant Desai
Lyrics: Pradeep
And if you thought Talat sang only solemn songs, and that Pradeep wrote only patriotic numbers, here's a song that belies the stereotype - an extremely peppy, light-hearted number picturised on Raja Gosavi and Saroja Devi. I do not know whether he is the titular schoolmaster, since Karan Dewan is also listed in the credits. Gosavi was a well-known Marathi actor, playing both lead roles and comic characters in Marathi films. Saroja Devi was another round-eyed, twinkle-toed southern import, and was a very well-known, and well-liked actress in southern cinema. She had a very successful run as heroine in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and even Hindi films, where she starred opposite Dilip Kumar (her first Hindi film was Paigham), Rajendra Kumar, Ashok Kumar,  Shammi Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, and Ajit, among others. O dildaar bolo ek baar is a song that always makes me smile when I hear it; it truly is surprising to hear Talat in this mood.  

9. Dil deewana dil mastana 
Awaaz (1956)
Music: Salil Choudhary
Lyrics: Shailendra
It's been said that Salil Choudhary gave Talat some of his best songs. Certainly, I've not come across a Talat song for Salilda that I do not like. Here, again, is an atypical Talat number, sweet and frothily romantic, Talat's voice light as air. Awaaz is one of those films that IPTA members felt compelled to make - deep and dark and a reflection of society's woes (the director is Zia Sarhadi, who also directed the grim Footpath). Don't get me wrong - Awaaz came at a time when films were more than 'entertainment, entertainment, entertainment'. Filmmakers believed they had a social responsibility to fulfil, and the stories and themes they drew on, underscored that responsibility. And Awaaz  is definitely a decent film with good performances from a cast that included Rajendra Kumar, Usha Kiron, and Nalni Jaywant. 

You may not recognise the actor in this song - his name is Zul Velani and he acted in a few films here and there. He was also a very well-known and well-regarded theatre actor, producer and director. But if you were of a certain vintage, you would definitely recognise his voice. He was the voice behind dozens of Films Division documentaries, and his voice and style of speaking were emulated by many who came after him. Zul Velani was known to be Indira Gandhi's favourite commentator. He even provided the commentary for her funeral, she having stated that wish. 

10. Dil ae dil bahaaron se mil 
Ek Phool Chaar Kaante (1960)
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra
Like Dilip Kumar, Sunil Dutt was another hero who had the good fortune to lip-sync to many of Talat's songs, both solo and duets. True love's path is usually littered with obstacles, but here, the hero has to deal with four of them - the heroine's bachelor uncles, all of whom, for love of her, decide that they will choose the best suitor for their beloved niece. Which is all very well, but they each have varied interests, and each is adamant that the man he chooses to marry his niece must be one who follows his hobby/passion. But their niece throws a spanner into the works when she chooses her own suitor. And unfortunately for our hero, he has to please his beloved's uncles before he can attain her hand. But those dark clouds are yet far away. Though this is another incredibly happy duet from Talat and  Lata, I must confess that the first time I saw the picturisation of this song, with Waheeda and Sunil Dutt frolicking (there's no other word for it!) on the beach, it was romance of a different kind that came to mind. (I thought of Edward Lear's The Owl and The Pussycat - especially the lines, "And hand in hand, by the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon.') Jokes apart, Waheeda and Sunil Dutt make a cute pair, and there is that inexplicable 'chemistry' between them that makes us root for their love to triumph.

Sagaai (1951)
Music: C Ramchandra
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
Ha! Enough of fun and frolic and soulful romantic numbers. Here is Talat back again to doing what he does best - expressing the plight of a trapped lover, who doesn't know what his future might hold, ably complemented by Lata who playbacks for the heroine. In a tale of a runaway heiress, two adventurers, an intrepid ship's captain, and a revengeful princess, this song comes at the point where two loving hearts are sundered by the jealousy of a third. Prem (Premnath) is in jail, and it is up to his beloved, Chandni (Rehana), and her two accomplices, to think of a way to free him without raising the princess' ire, and jeopardising their own lives. Of course, while he is still in jail, it helps to pass time by singing. I love these duets, the ones where hero and heroine sing in tandem, with the same tune and same lyrics in the chorus, when they are in different places. How do they know the words? And the tune?

Muhabbat mein aise zamaane bhi aaye is actually more resigned than anguished:
Banaaya thh ik aashiyaan do dilon ne
Zamaane ki aandhi ne tinke udaaye
Muhabbat mein aise zamaane bhi aaye
Kabhi ro diye hum kabhi muskuraaye

12. Bhool jaa sapne suhane bhool ja
Rajdhani (1956)
Music: Hansraj Behl
Like the previous song, the hero is imprisoned; what's more, he's chained as well. With Talat lending his voice to a very young (and very, very handsome) Sunil Dutt, while Lata does the needful for Nimmi, who has ample opportunity to make one of her pained expressions, this is a beautiful Hansraj Behl composition from a relatively obscure film. 

Here, he's the fatalist, asking her to forget her dreams. He has no fear of death; his sorrow spills over because he has to be separated from her. She's made of finer steel - she's coming to him, and he has to fight fate - for her, for him, for them... how's she to forget him? Those are fighting words. And this is a beautifully sung song, so plaintive in its melody.
Aayi lehron ka seena sanam cheer ke
Jeetna hai tujhe aaj taqdeer se
Aaj taqdeer se o sanam
Kaise tujhko bhulaaoon saajna

These are but a dozen of the duets from these two  incredibly talented singers' oeuvre. What would you choose? 

p.s. If anyone is interested in simply listening, here's the playlist.


  1. Nice post, Anu, though a couple of the songs - the ones from Rajdhani and Schoolmaster - were new to me. And, though I've seen both Anhonee and Sagaai, I'd forgotten these particular songs from both films. :-( My memory's not what it used to be - and it was always pretty abysmal. From your list, the songs I especially love are Yeh mere andhere ujaale na hote (and I love Prem Patra - one of my absolute favourite Hindi romantic films), Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha, and Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare... all lovely.

    Another one I like a lot is Ae meri zindagi tujhe dhoondoon kahaan from Aadil-e-Jahangir:


    (I have to admit this one always reminds me of something I've heard elsewhere: something Western classical? I don't recall, but it's familiar).

    I also like Mahalon mein rehnewaali dil hai gareeb ka, though I prefer the audio to the visual, Kumkum notwithstanding:


  2. You can post any Lata-Talat song you like and it will be liked. Talat belongs to the golden era of film music and songs rarely went wrong then. Here is my contribution to the list.


  3. Ashraf Lakhani7 March 2015 at 17:53


    I can understand your plight last couple of weeks I was trying hard to get back my laptop form the virus, I love to host, on my computer. Luckily I saved my precious files.

    Back to business, Talat Lata duets beautiful songs, can you go wrong with this combo?

    dil me sama gaye sajan is out of this world.

    Like this Shikast song Jab jab phoo khile and the other song from Prem Patra sawan ki raaton me



  4. This is another delightful collection of songs. So happy to see the Ye mere andhere... from Prem Patra :) I might add Naam hoton pe tera... from Zindagi, Teri chamakti aankhon ke from Chote Babu, Mere sang piya from Ek gaon ki kahani. Another favourite is Jeevan ki gadi chalti hai from Do dulhe.

    You are right, some of my biggest favourites among Talat duets are those with Lata, but I simply love his duets (all of them that I have heard so far) with Geeta and Madhubala Zhaveri. I think Hansraj Behl has scored the music for quite a few of the former and most of the latter songs. His duets with Asha are also great. Looking forward to his duets with other female singers in one of your future posts :)

  5. This is a very nice Chitragupta composition


  6. The song from Aadil-e-Jahangir is nice; can't say it reminds me of anything else. So if you remember, please let me know?

    I agree with you about listening to Mahalon mein rehnewali... I can watch Kumkum, but I can't say the same about Chandrasekhar. But he did have some nice songs picturised on him.

  7. I must say there are quite a few songs from the golden period that I don't much care for, evenTalat-Lata duets. :)

    This one, though, I quite like. I haven't heard it for such a long time! (And had never seen the picturisation before.) Thank you for the link.

  8. Thank you, Ashraf. I had Jab jab phool khile on my shortlist, but it was such a sad song. I also like Sawan ki raaton mein - I didn't put it in because it had Talat reciting rather than singing, but I'm so glad you posted it in the comments.

  9. I haven't watched Burmah Road so the scene was quite hilarious when the next scene is this song. But the song is beautiful!

  10. Anu,
    Your song write-ups and research are very impressive.
    Songs #4, 6, 7, 8, 11 are among my top favourites. I would include the following in my list of top Talat-Lata duets:
    1. Yaad aanewale phir yaad aa rahe hain - Anmol Ratan by the forgotten composer Vinod. He gave another great duet Shikwa tera main gaaun in the film.
    2. Roshan's Mat chhed zindagi ke khamosh taar le ja - Raag Rang.
    3. From Prem Patra my favourite is the other duet - Saawan ki raaton mein.
    4. SJ's happy duet: My top favourite is Chaahe nain churao chaahe daaman bachao pyar ho ke rahega from Aas

  11. I'm not sure how I missed this comment, Bhaskar, so my apologies for the delay in replying. I'm very glad that you liked the article and that it brought back some lovely memories. Thank you for your blessings.

  12. Thanks, AK. Your comment is much appreciated. :)

    Thanks for the additions - let me link them.

  13. As usual, I am late, Anu :-( And as usual a lovely post. :)

    Among the songs you list here, my favourites are the Prem Patra song, Yeh mere andhere Ujale na hote; Seene mein sulagte hain armaan. Dil aye dil sitaron se mil, and Dil mein sama gaye sajan. A couple of songs were new to me though - the ones from Awaaz and Rajdhani ( saw it now - and my my Sunil Dutt looks so handsome... sigh!)... There was another song I liked from Subah Ka Tara, picturised on Pradeep Kumar (if I remember right), Gaya Andhera Hua Ujala (?) - that was a lovely Talat-Lata duet too.

  14. Lovely post, with some of my favorite songs! I did not know the others! However, my computer time has been severely restricted by hubby, thanks to my cataract surgery last week, so I have not been able to read, or listen to much for the last week and am experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms! I will come back next week and post a few and listen to all of them, especially to Dil mein sama gaye sajan ...

  15. Daer aaye durust aaye, Harini. :) I'm glad you read the post, belatedly though it was. I do like Gaya andhera hua ujaala, only I like some songs better than others - and at different times. If I were to make this list now, this may change to include some other songs.

  16. Hai-la! And I didn't know you had surgery. I hope you are recovering well. Yup, no computer for you. But you could always ask your husband to put on the playlists so you can soak in the songs. :)

  17. I cannot thank you enough.Believe it or not for last few days I was thinking about Van Shipley,Hazarasingh and Kersi Mistry and trio group.I just googled the name Van Shipley and lo tons of information came out for this great musician.I did not know that this legendary musician had studied classical music under the great Allaudin Khan and Ali Akbarkhan.He was friends with Ravi Shanker and Guru Dutt and Dev Anand. I grew-up in Gujarat/Mumbai in late 1950 and 1960.Radio Ceylon and later Vividh Bharati were the only source of music and news.Thanks a lot for very good information about Van Shipley.My only regret is I did not know about his death 7 years ago.My elder brother himself was highly accomplished DILRUBA player.He had collection of records (78rpm) of Van Shipley's guitar and many more from other artists.I grew-up listening this marvellous music. I am writing this from Toronto as I have settled here for last 32 years.The days have gone and only sweet memory is lingering. TEY HI NA DIVSO GATA.Please convey my regards to his family and let them know I love Van Shipley's guitar and violin playing.

  18. Thank you for reading, Kumar; I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I did set up a website for uncle, with permission from his daughter, Ingrid. I wonder if you would like to take a look.


    (I have to repair the links to his songs there. I just haven't had the time.)

  19. Thank you for kind reply.A late comer,but i find this a nice place to be.By now it seems to have grown up to an overwhelming scale! When it comes to Talat-Lata duets,since they are few ,I would lîke to mention "Ai sanam aaj ye kasam khayen".from Jahan Ara (1965).Interesting even though one may have reservations about the longish prelude music etc.It is notable for Talat's later short revival period.

  20. Hi again, Bankim,

    So pleased to see you delving into my older posts. :) Yes, I do love this song very much. Thanks for reminding me about it. (And I have no problem with the musical preludes and interludes.)

    Here is the link:

  21. That's wonderful!

  22. shankar bhandarkar6 July 2015 at 00:25

    Van Shipley & Enoch Daniels were my Fantasy in my childhood, Now when i see something written about them My mind gets immence satisfaction... Oh they were really there and its not my imagination.... Thanks God I stayed in there ERA

  23. Than you for reading, and commenting, Mr Bhandarkar. Yes, it is indeed a great satisfaction to have grown up hearing these talented musicians play.

  24. Ravindra Sharma8 July 2015 at 08:33

    A lot of effort indeed as a couple of duets included haven't been heard by me earlier. There is a Talat Lata duet from Laila Majnu (starring Shammi Kapoor, Nutan) "Aasman wale teri duniya se jee ghabra gaya, Dab gaya dil soze gam se jab koi yaad aa gaya". It is one of my personal favorites. You seem to have excluded it as it is a sad number.
    I'm a huge fan of Talat, for his seemingly effortless singing, his voice and above all, choice of lyrics


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