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The greatest songster of all times
The living Legend
Lataji's Personal Favourites

Lata Pendentants-A Collecter's item for Lata fans 1. Aayega Aanewala [MAHAL]
2. Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya [MUGHAL-E-AZAM]
3. Aaja Re Pardesi [MADHUMATI]
4. Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil [BEES SAAL BAAD]
5. Allah Tero Naam [HUM DONO]
6. Naina Barse Rim Jhim [WOH KAUN THI]
7. Aa jaane ja [INTEQUAM]
8. Bindiya Chamkegi [DO RAASTE]
9. Dil Deewana [MAINE PYAR KIYA]
10. Jiya Jale [DIL SE]

What does Lata have to say about these songs??

Lataji has lost count of the number of songs she has sung. Some of the more popular numbers don't find favour with her. But there are innumberable songs in her awesome repertoire which cannot be denied either on merit or success. Songs that contributed to shaping one of the greatest success stories of the 20th Century. Here's looking Lataji's Top 10 chart-toppers. And why she likes them so immensely.

1. Aayega aanewala (Mahal, 1949; music by Khemchand Prakash) - This was the song that defined the beginning of the Mangeshkarian magic and transformed Madhubala into an instant living legend. Ironically, Madhubala didn't lip-sync it on screen at all ! It was played in the background. But what an impact it made ! With one song Lataji wiped away all the careers of existing female singers. Ashok Kumar who played the lead in Mahal still recalls how everyone in the room reacted when the then- unknown Lata was asked to sing. Even today mention of Aaayega aanewala lights up Lataji's eyes. "It's hundred percent my favourite. I had done a number of rehearsals for the song. Actually the composer Khemchand Prakash heard me singing for Anil Biswas. A number of tunes were readied for Aayega aanewala. I was given strict instructions about the importance of the song. The producer Ashok Kumar and the director Kamal Amrohi told me I had to sing as though the heroine was approaching from a distance. Since the studio was very large, I was placed in one corner of the room and told to gradually approach the microphone in the middle of the room while singing. There were no dubbing and editing devices in those days. We had to do it all in one go. I still remember we recorded the entire day."

2. Pyar kiya to darna kya (Mughal-e-Azam, 1960; music by Naushad) - The image of Madhubala dancing in a thousand images reflected on the walls of the sheesh mahal set is as alive today as it was in the 60s. The lyric by Shakeel Badayuni has acquired the hue of an emblem accentuating rebellious love. It was composed by Naushad who suggested the key line Pyar kiya koi chori nahi ki to Badayuni. The line became the highlight of the song. Naushad feels Lataji gave her best to Mughal-e-Azam. Listen to Lataji sing Pyar kiya to darna kya and you'll know why the composing genius Sajjad Hussain once exclaimed, "Lata sings, the others weep before the microphone."

3. Aaja re pardesi (Madhumati, 1957; music by Salil Chowdhury) Salil Chowdhury is one of her absolute favourite composers. "I love all the songs of Madhumati," the Nightingale confesses excitedly, and blushingly remembers how happy everyone was on the day Aaja re pardesi was recorded. "Lyricist Shailendra gave me flowers. The director Bimal Roy came forward to congratulate me. The song was beautiful and it was such a big hit too." The song won Lataji her first Filmfare award.

4. Kahin deep jale kahin dil (Bees Saal Baad, 1962; music by Hemant Kumar) - Prior to this song, Lataji had fallen seriously ill. Doctors had predicted that she'd never be able to sing again. Being a born fighter, the Nightingale swore to bounce back. Her first recording after her illness was this high-pitched number of haunting Dimensions. Lataji was nervous and apprehensive. "Fortunately the recording went off very well. Hemant Kumar was of a very quiet temperament. He knew exactly what to compose for me." Interestingly Hemant Kumar recorded Lataji's voice during the rehearsal and okayed it as the final take, the Nightingale says she's glad she made a comeback after her illness with an intricate song like Kahin deep jale. She had a point to prove to her detractors who were waiting for her downfalls and she proved it. The song won her another Filmfare award.

5. Allah tero naam (Hum Dono,1961; music by Jaidev) -When Dev Anand's Navketan banner decided to give this prestigious assignment to S.D. Burman's assistant Jaidev. It was on condition that Lataji sing for the film.The softie that she is Lataji immediately set aside her differences with Jaidev to sing one of the tallest devotional numbers ever. Classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj remembers waking up from sleep with tears streaming down his streaming down his cheeks after hearing the bhajan in Hum Dono. "Allah tero naam her very first song that we recorded for the film," Lataji recalls. "Like Shankar - Jaikishan, Jaidev's tunes were steeply scaled." Though she has sung at unbelievably high-pitch all her life Lataji detests singing at what's traditionally the male scale.

6. Naina Barse Rimjhim (Woh Kaun Thi,1963; music by Madan Mohan) - Every song in Woh Kaun Thi is precious to Lataji's heart. But Naina barse was the all-time hit." There's an interesting story attached to Naina barse since I was indisposed Madan bhaiyya recorded the song in his own voice for the shooting. Onlookers at the shooting in Shimla were aghast when 'ghost' Sadhana sang in a male voice.When Madan Mohan missed getting the Filmfare award for his score in Woh Kaun Thi. Lataji was truly heart broken. "He never got any popular award," she laments "People realised his greatness only after his death."

7. Aa jaan-e-jaan (Inteqaam, 1969; music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal) - Cabaret songs used to be sister Asha Bhosle's domain. Until Aa-jaane-e-jaan. Tuned and styled specially to suit Lataji, Aa-jaan-e-jaan is today regarded as the best cabaret song in Hindi films Tell her this, and Lataji laughs. "I remember telling Laxmikant not to give me any cabaret songs to sing. He assured me I could swing it without a hitch. Aa jaan-e-jaan was tailored to suit my taste and style." The song cracked open the charts it's a favourite with Helen who danced to the opulently orchestrated numbers.

8. Bindiya Chamkegi (Do Raaste, 1969; music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal) - Filmmaker Raj Khosla was a man of many talents, Music to him was life, A born singer he could hum tunes for hours-together. Bindiya chamkegi was a Punjabi folk tune that Khosla had board his mother singing. He wanted it in his film. Not a hot favourite with the singer herself. Bindiya chamkegi brings the roof down at every live concert of Lataji. When spectators break into a jig in the aisles the decorous Nightingale baulks. But what to do. Its just one of those unavoidable things . Interestingly Lataji sang this Punjabi-folk hit long before it became fashionable to have such items in Hindi films.

9. Dil deewana (Maine Pyar Kiya, 1989; music by Raam Laxman) - Who would believe that Lataji was ready to call it a day when she agreed to a sing this song for the little -known Raam Laxman? And who would believes that Raam Laxman had originally prepared the tune for a nondescript film called Agent Vinod for the Rajshris? Prior to the recording of Dil deewane Lataji's health had deteriorated. But I still recorded five songs in one day for Maine Pyar kiya. "Dil deewana is no doubt a lovely song," she concedes softly. It boosted the career of Raam Laxman who had been struggling for more than a decade. It also turned around the slumping fortunes of the HMV music company which according to rumours was on the verge of closure. Finally Dil deewana helped Lataji to change her mind about quitting playback singing. There was hope for film music.

10. Jiya jale jaan jale (Dil Se, 1998; music by A.R.Rahman) - This is by far Lataji's most favourite number of the 90s. Mention Rahman and the experience of working with him in Chennai and she expresses the joy of a flower that has newly learnt to bloom. "A.R. Rahman's style is amazing," she enthuses. "No doubt his style is Indian. But there's heavy Arabic influence I don't think that man thinks of anything except his music." During recording she kept humming an alaap at the end to a herself. Rahman overheard her. "Keep doing it, I'll just continue to records," he urged the Nightingale. "At first I didn't think all that much of the tune," Lataji confesses. "But when I heard the recorded song I was floored. I got to sing an outstanding number after quite a while," she sighs

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