Lag Jaa Gale and Nayana Barse – the evergreen haunting melodies of 1964 mystery thriller – Woh Kaun Thi are still popular among Bollywood music fans. The songs composed by Madan Mohan based on Hindustani ragas were extremely popular, and still remembered as the best songs of Madan Mohan-Lata Mangeshkar duo. How is Woh Kaun Thi? and its memorable tunes related to former Tamil actress, Jayalalithaa who currently serves as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu? Any idea?
A Screenshot of Lag Jaa Gale from Woh Kaun Thi
The answer lies in the Tamil and Telugu remakes of Raj Khosle’s mystery thriller
Woh Kaun Thi originally made in Hindi in the year 1964 was remade to Tamil two years later by director Sathyam. The movie was titled Yaar Nee? which literally means – Who are you? Jaishankar and Jayalalitha reprised the roles of Manoj Kumar and Sadhana Shivdasani played in the original. Quite surprising, original music which was extremely popular then was lifted as such and reused for Tamil movies with almost nil alterations. Sad part is that Madan Mohan was not acknowledged anywhere. Vedha is credited for film’s music, and Vedha is a less-known music director it seems.
I personally feel that though it’s not a bad idea to reuse good tunes by any other composer, the original composer should be acknowledged and credits should be given to him. Three of its most popular songs (I have listened only three) sung by Lata Mangeshkar are reused as such and it’s a delight to watch onscreen Jayalalithaa humming to the tunes of Lag Jaa Gale and Nayana Barse, though for a different language.
After the big success of Yaar Nee?, the lead pair worked together for another thriller titled – Nee (You), released the same year.
Music of Tamil Version is indeed delightful
To be genuine, the songs are indeed wonderful in Tamil version and Susheela has sung all the three songs. In fact Susheela is the most popular female voice of south Indian cinema in the 1960s and she owns a similar position like that of Lata Mangeshkar in Bollywood. Susheela has given her magic touch to the songs, and when we listen to the haunting humming voice of Naane Varuven (Tamil version of Nayana Barse) it closely resembles Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. If you don’t believe, have a look. Orchestra is also not altered giving the same haunting feel to the song.
Same is the case of rest two songs also – Pon Meni Thazhuvaamale (Lag Jaa Gale) and En Vedhanaiyil (Aap Kyon Roye). Definitely Susheela has given full justice to Tamil version, originally tuned by Madan Mohan.
The Hindi version included one popular song by Asha Bhosle – Shokh Nazar Kee Bijailiyaan Dil Pe Mere Giraaye Jaa. Its Tamil version, Paarvai Ondre Pothume was sung by T. M. Soundararajan and L. R. Eswari – a duet version. To be honest L. R. Eswari’s voice resembled Asha Bhosle’s at its best, and she gave full justice to the song.
Jayalalithaa played its Telugu version too
Ponmeni Thazhuvamal from Yaar Nee (Tamil Version)
After the big success of Yaar Nee? (1966), the movie was remade to Telugu the same year where Jayalalithaa reprised her role in Telugu version also. The movie titled Aame Evaru? was directed by B. S. Narayana, and Kongara Jaggaiah played the male lead opposite her. All the songs of Hindi version were reused for Telugu remake also, and once again Susheela and L. R. Eswari’s voice were reused. No need to tell, the singers gave full justice to the Telugu version as well.
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