"Lata Mangeshkar"


The Year – 1948. Three ladies are brought together by legendary C. Ramchandra to record the female version of a qawwali - a reigning superstar, a moderately successful singer and an upcoming singing sensation. The film – Khidki and the song – 'Khushiyan Manayen Kyun Na Hum'. This was the probably the first time that Shamshad Begum shared the microphone with Lata Mangeshkar. Given the stature of the three singers at that time, Shamshad Begum was the lead singer, and Lata Mangeshkar and Mohantara Talpade merely supporting singers. As the ladies, in their own way, belted out the catchy refrain of Da Da Da Da, the stage was set for two eras to collide.

I also discovered that there's a song in Ziddi (1948), which was a Lata solo on records, but was primarily a Shamshad song on film, with Lata's voice coming in when the hero (Dev Anand) imagined the heroine

Over the next couple of years Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar were brought together several times by composers such as C. Ramchandra, Husnlal Bhagatram, Chitragupta, Ghulam Mohammed and most importantly Naushad, to create some timeless melodies that still sound as fresh as they did when they were created.

In terms of numbers, Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar have not sung very many songs together. Out of the 28 songs for which they shared the microphone, perhaps the most well-known song is 'Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le' from Naushad’s Andaz (1949). Everyone knows that 1949 was the watershed year in the career of Lata Mangeshkar as she saw a meteoric rise to emerge as someone who would dominate the singing world for decades to come. This song from Andaz perhaps underscores what was to come. Those were the days it was considered a huge thing to sing for the lead actress of a film and was, in a curious way, a measure of success for a singer. In this song from Andaz, Lata Mangeshkar was the voice of the lead actress, Nargis, while Shamshad Begum sang for Cuckoo. Naushad, on his part, carefully divides the song almost equally between the two singers so that each singer gets adequate opportunity to interpret the song in her own distinctive style. The result – a timeless masterpiece.

In the very same year, the two singers shared the microphone once again for C. Ramchandra’s Patanga in the delightfully quirky  ‘Pyar Ke Jahaan Ki Niraali Sarkaar Hai’

There are a couple of Shamshad-Lata songs that were picturised on children. Given the nature and texture of their voices, Shamshad’s voice was used as playback for the male child while Lata’s for the female child. The way Shamshad Begum’s voice fits on the on-screen child, it is difficult to imagine any other singer’s voice in these songs. C. Ramchandra’s 'Kas Ke Kamar Ho Ja Taiyar' (Sangram, 1950) and Naushad’s 'Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena' (Deedar, 1951) are two such songs.

As the decade of 1950s started, C. Ramchandra had almost completely turned towards his new muse, Lata Mangeshkar, and started using Shamshad Begum’s voice only sparingly. He summoned the two singers just twice - once for 'O Ladke Ladke Ladke Dil Dhakdhak Dhakdhak Dhadke' in Shabistan (1951) and then again for 'Ye Tirchhi Nazar Aur Teekhi Ada' in Lehren (1953), a qawwali that was reused two years later in Duniya Gol Hai (1955).

Husnalal Bhagatram were other music directors who created some lovely duets for Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar. Unfortunately, these duets have become distant memories with the passage of time and have entered the category of rare, or difficult to find songs. Consider, for example the immensely catchy 'Hum Se Dil Ki Lagi Na Chhupana' (Pyar Ki Manzil, 1950), or the folksy 'Maza Mla Hai Jise … Dil Ki Qadar Nahin Jaani' (Sartaj, 1950), or even the routine qawwali-like 'Jab Teri Gali Mein' (Sartaj, 1950) and 'Kabhi Hanste Hain Do Dil' (Farmaish, 1953).

Among music directors who created duets or group songs for Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar just once are Roshan (the lovely saheli-song in Chandni Chowk with Asha Bhosle – 'Har Baat Poochhiye'), Nashad ('Chhodo Chhodo Ji Baiyan Mori' in Baradari) and S. Mohinder ('Dhadke Dhadke Reh Reh Ke', based on Punjabi folk with Mohd. Rafi and Balbir in Naata).

Ghulam Mohammed, who was Naushad’s assistant, and also a successful independent music director in his own right, used the strengths of both the singers to create a foot-tapper in Kundan (1955) – 'Matwale O Matwale'.

Perhaps one song that showcases the distinctive singing styles of Shamshad Begum and Lata Mangeshkar is 'Chhup Chhup Ke Na Dekho from Zindagi Ke Mele' (1956). It can be considered as two intertwined songs. Shamshad Begum the fast paced portion, while Lata Mangeshkar sings the plaintive portions set to the tune of Vaishna Jan Te. The appeal of this song lies in the fact that the song keeps shifting moods in a seamless fashion. Take out Shamshad Begum’s portion and all that will be left is an ordinary sad song. Similarly, take out Lata Mangeshkar portion and the appeal of the song will considerably diminish. It is the juxtaposition of two contrasting moods and two contrasting voices that makes this song what it is.

Finally, no article about the songs of these two legendary singers can be complete without mentioning what was their last song together. It was Naushad again who brought them together in Mughal-e-Azam (1960) for the wonderfully tunes and picturised – 'Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazma Kar Hum Bhi Dhekhenge'. Mughal-e-Azam also had a Lata-Shamshad-Mubarak song that never found its way into the film - 'Husn Ki Baraat Chali'.

Hearing the few gems that Shamshad Begum and Lata Mageshkar have sung together, one cannot but feel sad that the two singers did not come together more often. What a delight it would be, had composers like Sachin Dev Burman, Madan Mohan and Shankar Jaikishan composed songs for these two singers to sing in their own patented styles. Alas!


Videos of few  of the songs are  available for your enjoyment.



Here are the audios of most of their songs together to enjoy.



List of Shamshad-Lata Songs
Year Movie Track Name Composer Co-singers Lyricists
1948 Khidki Kyun Khushiyaan Manaayen Hum C Ramchandra Mohantara Talpade Pyarelal Santoshi
1948 Ziddi Rooth Gaye More Shyam (Film Version only) Khemchand Prakash - Prem Dhawan
1949 Andaaz Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le Naushad - Majrooh Sultanpuri
1949 Patanga Pyar Ke Jahan Ki Nirali Sarkaar C Ramchandra - Rajendra Krishan
1949 Roshni Mere Paas Aao C Ramchandra Mohd Rafi, Chitalkar Pyarelal Santoshi
1950 Babul Hum Majboor Hum ... Kisi Ke Dil Mein Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni
1950 Pyar Ki Manzil Hum Se Dil Ki Lagi Husnlal Bhagatram - Shezan Rizvi
1950 Sangram Kas Ke Kamar Ho Ja Taiyaar C Ramchandra - Brajendra Gour
1950 Sartaj Jab Teri Gali Mein Husnlal Bhagatram - Shezan Rizvi
1950 Sartaj Maza Mila Hai Jise Husnlal Bhagatram - Majrooh Sultanpuri
1951 Deedar Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni
1951 Shabistaan O Ladke Ladke Ladke Dil Dhakdhak Dhakdhak Dhadke C. Ramchandra Qamar Jalalabadi
1952 Aan Gao Tarane Man Ke Naushad Mohd Rafi Shakeel Badayuni
1952 Aan Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni
1952 Baiju Bawra Door Koi Gaye Naushad Mohd Rafi Shakeel Badayuni
1953 Farmaaish Kabhi Hanste Hain Do Dil Husnlal Bhagatram - Qamar Jalalabadi
1954 Chandni Chowk Har Baat Poochiye Roshan Asha Bhosle Majrooh Sultanpuri
1955 Baradari Chhodo Chhodo Ji Baiyan Nashad - Khumar Barabankvi
1955 Duniya Gol Hai Aankhon Mein ... Yeh Tirchhi Nazar C Ramchandra - Rajendra Krishan
1955 Hoor-e-Arab Naujawano Meherbanon Ghulam Mohd - Shakeel Badayuni
1955 Kundan Matwale O Matwale Ghulam Mohd - Shakeel Badayuni
1955 Naata Dhadke Dhadke Reh Reh Ke S Mohinder Mohd Rafi, Balbir Tanvir Naqvi
1956 Jaishree Kaahe Ko Pardesiya Chitragupta - G S Nepali
1956 Zindagi Ke Mele Chhup Chhup Ke Na Dekho Chitragupta - Tanvir Naqvi
1956 Zindagi Ke Mele Kar Le Solah Singaar Chitragupta - Tanvir Naqvi
1958 Raaj Sinhasan Chala Na Jaaye Dil Haathon Se Kahin Chitragupta - Anjum Jaipuri
1960 Mughal-e-Azam Husn Ki Baraat (Unreleased) Naushad Mubarak Begum Shakeel Badayuni
1960 Mughal-e-Azam Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat Aazma Kar Naushad - Shakeel Badayuni


We are missing the songs, Kar Le Solah Singaar from Zindagi Ke Mele and Chala Na Jaaye Dil Haathon Se Kahin from Raaj Sinhasan.

Music lovers having the two songs are requested to provide the same.


"Geeta Dutt"

Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum have sung 20 odd songs together. It was Shamshad Begum's mentor Ghulam Haider who first used their talents in a group song ‘Jab Chand Jawan Hoga’ along with singers Munnaver Sultana and Naseem for the movie ‘Bairam Khan’ in 1946. They got their first major duet in 1947 in the movie ‘Bhookh’. This lovely duet 'Yeh Haseenon Ke Mele Albele' was composed by the super-hit music director Anil Biswas, and bacame a hit.

They then appeared for two duets in the 1948 movie ‘Actress’, ‘Ho Gori tera Banka Chaila’ and ‘Aankhon Aankhon Mein’ which did very well. (Another Shamshad song from the same movie, ‘Hello gentleman’ was also a hit). Bulo C Rani used them first in the movie ‘Anjuman’ the same year in the song ‘Pyati tera mera mera tera pyar’. He repeated them again in his 1949 movie ‘Nazare’ for two trios with G. M. Durrani ‘Duniya Ki Andheri Raat Mein’ and ‘Bahaar Aayi Chaman Ke’.

Their first big hit came in the form of the song ‘Mera Dil Tadpa Ke Kahan Chala’ in the 1949 movie ‘Shabnam’. There were two versions of the song in the film. A solo by Geeta picturized on Kamini Kaushal, and then a duet by Geeta-Shamshad picturized on Kamini and Paro, when Dilip Kumar and Paro try to bring Kamini Kaushals' memory back. The song’s timeless melody, scored by S D Burman and the divine voices of the two singers became a rage. This song was the much needed hit that facilitated S D Burman’s climb to the very top of the music industry. He, like many other music directors, used Shamshad as the stepping stone to move on to the more successful Lata, and later Asha.

Gyan Dutt had them sing a trio with Sulochana Kadam, 'Umangon Ke Din' and a duet ‘Jiya Ka Diya Piya tim tim kare’ in 1949's ‘Sunhare Din’. Husnlal Bhagatram had them sing together in 1950s ‘Gauna’, 'Mujhse Yeh Keh Rahi' with Rafi as the third singer. 1950 saw them in some other songs among which Meherbani's song ‘Aayi Basant Ritu Odhe Chunariya’ (with Surinder Kaur) was special for was the only instance of the three nightingales crooning together.

Unfortunately after 1950, their duets became less and less frequent. Music directors who had some of the biggest hits of their career with Shamshad, including O.P. nayyar, Chitragupta, Madan Mohan, C.Ramchandra, Naushad, S.N. Tripathi and S.D. Burman now moved on the new singing sensation, Lata Mangeshkar. According to Raju Bharatan, in his biography on Lata, Shamshad has time and again reiterated the fact that she helped all up and coming music directors and supported them to acquire a secure place in film industry, who later left her for either Asha or Lata and started to gave her raw deals.

 They were used together only sparingly in the coming years. In 1952, they appeared in ‘Sapna’ in the song ‘Door Nagariya Tohri’ composed by a new music director Shyam Babu Pathak. Similarly, in 1954 in ‘Lakeeren’ they sang nimuba ‘Pe papiha bola’ for Hafiz khan. Both songs, though not super-hits, became fairly popular.

Roshan used them many years later in 1957's ‘Agra Road’ for his melodious trio ‘Gunahon Ke Chiraag’ with Rafi, but the song did not become as popular as some others from the movie. The duo gave their final bow in the excellent ‘Hum Kisi Se Na Kahenge’ (which appeared in two parts) in the movie ‘Yahudi Ki Ladki’ for Hemant Kumar in the year 1957.

Inspite of being immensely talented artists both had an excruciatingly small number of songs together.

The legendary OP Nayyar in an interview admitted; “I am to blame myself in the position I am today. My only regret in life is that I didn't stick to Geeta Dutt’s voice, and ignored her for Asha Bhosle. As I was involved very emotionally with Asha Bhosle at that time, and Asha Bhosle didn't want me to compose songs for any other female singer, this almost stopped me to use any other female voice. Asha Bhosle says that my compositions were very intricate and complex to sing, and I (Asha) and Mohd Rafi can only give 80% to OP Nayyar songs. I (Nayyar) think she is lying; Asha could only give 40% to my music. The only singers who can give 100% and did full justice to my songs were Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum.” It’s ironical then that he never cast his favourite singers together, not once!

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