Some of my songs
01 Jan 1970 |

My Blog

One song, Two voices

I have often wondered, when I have heard Lata Mangeshkar sing an SD Burman song, how he must have “taught” her the song, and how she finally sang it. All of us have heard SD’s all time great songs like Sun mere bandhu re, or O re majhi. Now imagine, if you will, the same voice singing Rulake gaya sapna mera. How strange it must sound to hear that rustic voice singing that soft, emotional song, and then compare it to the Lata Mangeshkar original! And then, one begins to get an appreciation for how much Lataji herself must be putting her own touches to every song.

Asha Bhosale tells how when she was recording Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief, SD Burman was not satisfied with her approach, and tried to describe how he wanted her to sing it. Finally, he told her to imagine a naughty little boy whispering into his mother’s ears, and then shouting into her ear, when she gets very close. “Thats the effect I want”, said Sachin Da. And how seductively Asha Bhosale crooned that number is there for everyone to hear. These great ladies simply didnt take the song and sing it. They poured their immense talents into each and every creation, putting their own interpretation into the song, making that song as much theirs as it is the composers.

My all time favorite in this composer/singer comparison theme, is the song Mai ri from Dastak. Many of you might have heard this song in Madan Mohan’s voice first, followed by Lataji’s version of the song. Lataji’s version blends beautifully into the Madan Mohan version after the latter finishes. It is amazing to hear the subtle differences between the two styles of singing the EXACT same song. The nakshekari that Lataji puts into the song is outstanding and leaves me with goosebumps each time I hear it. The same is the case of Naina Barse from Woh Kaun Thi. Madan Mohan supposedly recorded the song for the shooting since Lataji was indisposed at that time, and the film was shot using Madan Mohan’s version. When Lataji recovered, they dubbed the song in her voice. Such was his high regard for Lataji, that he refused to have any other female singer sing that song, choosing to sing it himself as a stop gap for the shooting.

They say that one picks up only 70% of what one learns from a teacher. Each person gets a different 70% from the teacher and hence the individuality comes into the picture. There are a number of songs which are sung by a female voice and also by a male voice. Songs like Mere Mehboob tujhe meri muhobbat ki kasam, or O saathi re. Its amazing how the female voices always seem to have done more nakshekari than the male voices, although I must admit that I personally prefer Mohammed Rafi’s version of Mere Mehboob over Lata’s. In almost all these male/ female songs, the female versions were sung by one of the Mangeshkar sisters. Their rendition, compared to the male rendition, has been so subtly different. I have always enjoyed listening to these differences, and my respect for Lataji and Ashaji grows each time I hear their treatment of a particular song. The closest in rendition terms that a male/female voiced song has sounded, at least to me, was Dheere se aaja re akhiyan mein, sung separately in the movie Albela by Lataji and Ramchandra Narhar Chitalkar, the redoubtable C Ramchandra.

There are very few songs which have been rendered by two males. The obvious one, which most people seem to know, is the Kishore Kumar/ Mohammed Rafi rendered song from Pyaar Ka Mausam, Tum bin jaoon kahan, composed by R D Burman. Two great voices, but the rendition is so amazingly different. You can see that RD made the song for Kishore a little different, with the off beats more pronounced, and the yodeling. The Rafi version has more of a jhatka, to accommodate Shashi Kapoor’s movements, I suppose, but thats a rare opportunity to listen to a song as sung by two males, separately. The only other song that fits this bill (rendered by two males) is a song from Kudrat — Dukh Sukh ki Har ik maala kudrat hi piroti hai. That song was sung by Mohammed Rafi and a new fresh voice of Chandrashekhar Gadgil from Pune. Another RD composition. The Rafi version sounds very dull. The Gadgil version has a nice raw tone to it, which is strangely refreshing.

Arguably Rote hue aate hai sab from Muqaddar ka Sikandar falls in this category, but the treatment is so different, that it could well be two different songs. Kishore Kumar and Mohd Rafi again. The Rafi version is the slower tempo, filled with pathos, while Kishore’s is the upbeat version. Anyone know any more songs which are sung by TWO male voices? Same song, different voice?

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July 11th, 2016

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