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25 years of Lata 

This quiz features the film and non-film songs of Lata Mangeshkar between 1977 and 2001. Arun Iyengar tests your knowledge of some of her better songs 

RJGK 63: Lata Mangeshkar: - "merii aavaaz hii pahachaan hai"

Conducted by Arun Iyengar

Quiz Date: June 6th 2002
Quiz Deadline: July 7th 2002

You can also access the quiz at

Introduction to RJGK:

RJGK stands for "R(m)im-Jhim Geeton Ki". It is the oldest of the numerous
ongoing events on the RMIM newsgroup. RJGK is a quiz in which the questions
are in the form of lyrics usually taken from the antara of a Hindi song.
Based on this clue, you have to identify the song from which the lines are
taken. Usually the lines are also accompanied by some sub-clues that are
meant to point you in the right direction. The sub-clue may be stats about
the song such as picturization, music director, lyricist, movie, co-singer
etc and/or a cryptic indication that points to the song or movie title in an
indirect way. The following is an example of the sort of question you will
encounter in this quiz:

vaqt ke sitam, kam hasii.n nahii.n
aaj hai.n yahaa.N, kal kahii.n nahii.n
vaqt se pare agar, mil gaye kahii.n

This late 70s duet is elegantly composed by R.D. Burman with soulful lyrics
by Gulzar. Another early 70s duet by the same team fetched Lata a national
award. The male singer is a well known ghazal singer and has released
several ghazal albums along with his wife.

All you have to do is type the first few words of the mukhda of the song
which in the above case is "naam gum jaayegaa, cheharaa ye badal jaayegaa,
merii aavaaz hii pahachaan hai, gar yaad rahe". Of course you can send in
more stats like the movie is kinaara, the male singer is Bhupinder Singh,
his wife is Mithaali Singh, the other song referred to is "biitii na
bitaa_ii rainaa", the song is picturized on Hema Malini etc. Also make sure
you send in your comments which is what makes the whole thing interesting
for the participants, readers and the quizmaster too.

Participation needn't be competitive. If you don't have the time or
inclination to track down the songs, it's OK. Just solve as many as you can,
send in your comments and designate your entry as non-competitive. In that
case, your final score won't be revealed.

Introduction to RJGK 63:

This quiz features film songs and non-film songs of Lata Mangeshkar in the
last 25 years, i.e. 1977-2001. The objective is to track her journey through
the last quarter century and hopefully talk about some of her better songs
of this period. Traditionally most RJGK quizzes have featured songs from the
"Golden Era" (late 40s, thru early 60s) while some of them do have a
sprinkling of post 80s songs. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a RJGK quiz
that exclusively talks about post 70s songs. To many old timers, music stops
at 1969! About Lata's singing, depending on whom you speak to, the opinion
varies as to when her decline began. While some say that she started
declining in the mid 50s, others peg it at late 50s, early 60s, late 60s,
early 70s, late 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000 and there are some who claim that she
still rules! Lata's recent songs have often been strongly criticized on RMIM
by many veterans while she continues to get accolades from others in the
film industry. One RMIMer who is also a Lata Bhakt describes Lata's post
80s' output as "rotten". Recently, Manna De and Yesudas have publicly stated
that Lata should retire from film music. She continues on nevertheless.

My take on this issue is as follows. Lata truly started declining in the
late 70s. Though there were noticeable degradations in her voice since the
mid 60s when her voice started sounding shriller and more strained at high
pitches, she did sing many songs throughout the 60s and up to the mid 70s
with near perfection. She couldn't have done a better job at some of these
songs if she were to have sung it in the early 50s.

We pick up Lata's career around 1977. She has had some great songs and some
popular ones in the mid 70s in films like Aap ki kasam, Rajnigandha, Aandhi,
Chupke chupke, Khusboo, Julie, Kabhi kabhi, Mausam, Mehbooba, Nagin, Laila
Majnu,etc. Mukesh and Madan Mohan both of whom are referred to as brothers
by Lata have passed away. Few MDs from golden era are left who actively
compose music. In the late 70s and early 80s, Laxmikant-Pyarelal (LP) are
still ruling the roost, with R.D.Burman (RDB) and Bappi Lahiri pitching in
with hits as well. Khaiyyam IMO is one of the very few still composing
listenable tunes. Lata, Asha and Kishore are continuing their roll while
Rafi is on a steep decline though some characterize him as making a comeback
in the late 70s. Newer singers like Anuradha Paudwal, Suresh Wadkar, Shabbir
Kumar, Mohd. Aziz, Anwar, Hemlata etc are emerging.

Rules of RJGK 63:

Golden Rule of RJGK:


Send them via email at <>. (Please remember to
remove 999 from the email address)

Deadline for entries: Sunday July 07, 2002

This quiz has three sections each with 10 songs for a total of 30 songs. The
maximum number of points you can score is 100.

Section one is a warm up section. I expect most participants to identify all
the 10 songs here. This section is there more to track Lata's journey
through the last 25 years than to challenge your wits. Most clues are long
and has lots of trivia about the song/movie which is more than most people
need to identify the songs. Each question in section one carries 2 points
for a total of 20 points.

Section two is the fans' section. Clues are shorter and tougher but most
songs are well known and popular. If you claim to be a fan of Lata, you
better get most of the songs in this section. Each question here carries 3
points for a total of 30 points.

Section three is the fanatics' section. Clues are the toughest here. Some of
the songs are not popular though none of them are rare songs. In addition to
solving the clue, you are also required to identify one bit of trivia
related to the song. Each question carries 5 points for a total of 50
points. You get 4 points for each solved question and 1 point for answering
the trivia question.


I would like to thank Neha for being patient with me and correcting my
ITRANS errors.

I would like to thank Ashok Dhareshwar for offering to put up the quiz on
The Music Magazine. I would also like to thank him for valuable
suggestions on the quiz.

I would like to thank Abhay Phadnis and Surajit Bose from whose quizzes I
have adapted some of the introductory material above.
I would like to thank U.V. Ravindra for numerous ITRANS corrections.

RJGK 63: Lata Mangeshkar - "merii aavaaz hii pahachaan hai"

Warm-up Section

Lata's journey through the last 25 years.

bolii muskaatii maiyaa sun mere pyaare \-2
gorii gorii raadhikaa ke nain kajaraare
kaale naino.n vaalii ne ho o o o o
kaale naino.n vaalii ne aisaa jaaduu Daalaa
isii li_e kaalaa

The year is 1978. Despite her declining vocals, Lata's songs from this movie
are immensely popular and so are her songs from other movies of the late 70s
like Main tulsi teri aangan ki, Ghar, Sargam, Mr. Natwarlal, Muqaddar ka
sikandar, Trishul, Noorie etc. But there is an occasional big dip in her
vocals in movies like Golmaal.

Though this Raj Kapoor directed movie didn't do well in the box office, it's
music was a big success. Ever since the fifties, Raj Kapoor is supposed to
have nurtured a dream of directing a movie of an ugly girl blessed with a
divine voice whose soul cries out for recognition by an indifferent world.
He is supposed to have narrated the story to Lata and made a daring proposal
to her saying that he would make this film if she not only sang but also
starred in the film. Lata apparently did not respond to the idea kindly. It
is said that Madan Mohan and Hridayanath Mangeshkar were contenders for the
music direction of this movie before it fell into the laps of
Laxmikant-Pyarelal, who went on to win the filmfare award for the movie. The
last recorded song by Mukesh before his fateful US trip was also from this

This song has tandem versions picturized on the heroine when she was a child
and as a grown up. The child artiste happens to be Lata's paternal aunt's
grand daughter in real life. Manna De sings the first two lines of the
child's version. It is rumored that Raj Kapoor himself suggested the tune
for this song.

tuu badan hai mai.n huu.N chhaayaa, tuu na ho to mai.n kahaa.N huu.N
mujhe pyaar karane vaale, tuu jahaa.N hai mai.n vahaa.N huu.N
hame.n milanaa hii thaa, hamadam, kisii raah bhii nikalate \-2

As we enter the 80s, Rafi passes away. Kishore is the only male singer left
from the golden era still actively singing. Lata continues to produce
chartbusters in movies like the one above, Ek duje ke liye, Aasha, Love
story, Kaamchor, Bazaar, Betaab, Hero, Prem rog, Agar tum na hote, Souten
etc. While these movies did have some decent numbers from Lata, she did fare
below par on some others.

About the movie, it is one of the many triangle love stories by Yash Chopra.
It generated enough heat in the gossip columns with the main protagonists
seemingly playing their real life roles in reel life. The film bombed in the
box office nevertheless.

The song in question has dialogues by the deep sonorous voice of one of the
superstars of Indian Cinema. When the song was recorded, he was not present
and Lata recorded her lines solo and his dialogues were added later.

kyaa qayaamat hai, kyaa musiibat hai,
kah nahii.n sakate, kisakaa aramaa.N hai
zindagii jaise, kho_ii kho_ii hai, hairaa.N hairaa.N hai
ye zamii.n chup hai, aasamaa.N chup hai
phir ye dha.Dakan sii, chaar suu kyaa hai

What a mesmerizing masterpiece! Undoubtedly one of the best songs of the
80s, Khaiyyam spins his magic over you in what is IMO one of his best
compositions. The sheer beauty of the lilting music matches with the
evocative lyrics combined with Lata's soulful rendition all make this song
an oasis in the 80s' desert.

IMO Khaiyyam was one of two music directors (Hridayanath being the other
one) who used Lata's voice well during her declining years. She consistently
sounds better in his songs than her other songs from the same era.

kishor: jaage nazaare, jaagii.n havaa_e.N \-2
jab pyaar jaagaa, jaagii.n fizaa_e.N
lataa: ho pal bhar ko dil kii duniyaa so_ii nahii.n hai

We are in the mid 80s now and Lata continues to churn hits with Pyar jhukta
nahin, Ram teri Ganga maili, Alag alag, Sanjog, Nagina etc. But her decline
is more pronounced now in movies like Nache Mayuri, pyar kiya hain pyar
karenge, Aapke saath, Sindoor etc.

R.D. Burman performs a decent job in this triangle love story. This mid 80s
movie heralded the comeback of Dimple Kapadia and has a few hummable songs.

This song has a sad solo tandem by Lata. The similarity of the tune of this
song with two other Lata solos "rahe.n naa rahe.n ham" and "ThaNDii
havaae.n" has been often discussed on RMIM.

lataa: a.Nkhiyo.n me.n tuu bas jaa a.Nkhiyaa.N mai.n ba.nd kar luu.N (2)
gaayak: pahale in a.Nkhiyo.n se baate.n mai.n cha.nd kar luu.N

Lata went into semi-retirement in the mid 80s. Fortunately or unfortunately
she made a comeback in 1989 with two big musical hits; Maine pyar kiya and
this one. The song dil diivaana from Maine pyar kiya was No.1 on most hit
parades for many weeks. It also features in her all-time top ten list of
songs. Though purists might wonder what criteria Lata uses to select her
best songs, it sure was one of the biggest hits of Lata's career. But her
litany of poor performances continued with Clerk, Ganga Jamuna Saraswati,
Police public, Waaris, Awaargi, Kab tak chup rahoongi, Hatya and many more.
In the meanwhile, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan as well as the Dada
Saheb Phalke awards.

This duet with the singer who is best known for being a Mukesh clone has a
pleasant tune though Lata is clearly not at her best. The song is shot in
picturesque Switzerland.

chaa.Ndanii hai raat ab to aajaa piyaa

In what is arguably Lata's last hurrah, she triumphs with some magnificent
numbers. She got her last national award for her singing in this movie which
she also produced. Though music by Hridayanath did well, the movie was a

This song was recorded many years earlier (you can clearly make out from her
voice) for a movie that never got made. There is a solo tandem version of
this song also sung by her that was recorded later "BUT" is less pleasing.

(man puuchh rahaa hai ab mujh se
naino.n ne kahaa hai kyaa tujh se) \-2
jab nain mile naino.n ne kahaa \-2
ab nain base the naino.n me.n

An album was released in 1992 to commemorate 50 years of Lata's singing in
the film industry. She paid rich tributes to various singers some of whom
were her co-singers for decades. Lata does a decent job on some of the
songs. The album became immensely popular which prompted a sequel two years
later in which she paid tribute to more singers.

This song has two legends (singer and MD) coming together in the 40s to
create a "magical" composition.

jis tan ko chhu_aa tuune us tan ko chhupaa_uu.N
jis man ko lage nainaa, vo kisako dikhaa_uu.N
o more chandramaa, terii chaa.Ndanii jalaae
terii uu.Nchii aTaarii, mai.nne pa.Nkh li_e kaTavaae

By early 90s, Lata was sliding down fast and good renditions were hard to
find. But hits still followed her in Pathhar ke phool, 1942 A Love Story,
Lamhe, Darr, 100 days, Sanam Bewafa, Chand ka tukda etc. Meanwhile,
Maharashtra government constituted an award in her name following the lead
of the Madhya Pradesh government which had earlier announced a similar award
in her name in the mid 80s.

This movie had some nice songs but all the 8 of them were solos. While Lata
and Asha sang the female solos, the male solos were rendered by an Assamese
Dada Saheb Phalke winner who is also the MD for the movie. This is the only
movie that I am aware of which has three solo tandem versions of a song.

The above song is not only a gem but also scaled the popularity charts to
the number one position; a rare occurrence of public opinion matching with
that of the critics'. It also has a male tandem version.

paanii paanii in pahaa.Do.n kii Dhalaano.n se utar jaanaa
dhuaa.N dhuaa.N kuchh vaadiyaa.N bhii aaye.ngii guzar jaanaa
ik gaa.Nv aayegaa meraa ghar aayegaa
jaa mere ghar jaa

By the mid to late 90s Lata's hits just seem to explode. She had songs scale
to the number one positions at amazing regularity from movies like Hum aapke
hai kaun, Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge, Dil to paagal hai, Yeh dillagi, Dil
Se, Kachhe Daage, Hu tu tu and this one. Many of the eminently forgettable
songs and some atrocious singing by Lata somehow seemed to catch the public
imagination and were chartbusters for reasons hard to explain. Awards also
continued to pour in; filmfare lifetime achievement award, MTV viewer's
choice award, Lux Zee cine award etc.

But this movie did have some nice songs by Lata and some refreshing music by
a budding young music director.

lataa: ham se na dekhaa jaaye barabaadiyo.n kaa samaa.N
uja.Dii huii bastii me.n ye ta.Dap rahe i.nsaa.N
koras: ham se na dekhaa jaaye barabaadiyo.n kaa samaa.N
uja.Dii huii bastii me.n ye ta.Dap rahe i.nsaa.N
lataa: nanhe jismo.n ke Tuka.De liye kha.Dii ek maa
baaruud ke dhue.N me.n tuu hii bol jaaye kahaa.N

As we enter the new millennium, there is no sign of retirement yet for Lata
and she continues to sing though a little less frequently these days. Her
songs from Mohobatein, Kabhi Khushi kabhi gham, Lagaan, One two ka four etc
are popular. She was awarded the Bharat Ratna.

This song was originally composed in 1996 for the "Aid Bosnia Concert" in
Malaysia. It is a simple composition by a music director who charted a new
course in Indian film music with his unique orchestration. In the movie,
this song is picturized on Lata herself after a gap of about half a century.
Lata carries this song reasonably well.

* * * *

More questions

Published on 23  June 2002

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