10 of my favourite romantic duets sung by Mohammed Rafi in Shankar-Jaikishen tunes
1960s Bollywood music is best remembered for countless hit songs given by Mohammed Rafi and Shankar-Jaikishen. When majority of those Rafi tracks are solos, filmed on Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra etc, he also owns a few hit duets in combination with Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Suman Kalyanpur, Sharda etc.
As Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi didn’t work together for many years in the mid-1960s, we are deprived of some of their best combination songs. While Shankar-Jaikishen never substituted Rafi’s voice for their recordings, they definitely compromised with the female voices, and gave opportunity to Suman Kalyanpur, often regarded as a clone to Lata Mangeshkar. Songs like Aaj Kal Tere Mere Charche and Tumne Pukara Aur were born this way. Let me list 10 of my favourite romantic duets sung by Mohammed Rafi in Shankar-Jaikishen tunes.
1. Masoom Chehra Ye Qatil Adayen from Dil Tera Diwana (1962) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
Let me begin the list with this lovely duet of Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, which I never heard before. I heard this song for the first time yesterday when I was preparing the list of best Rafi songs in SJ’s music, and instantly fell in love with it. While songs like Dil Tera Deewana, Nazar Bachake, Mujhe Itna Pyar etc filmed on the lead pair – Shammi Kapoor and Mala Sinha became such a huge hits, why this soulful melody went unnoticed? Or am I the only person who has not listened to this song yet?
2. Dil Tera Diwana from Dil Tera Diwana (1962) (Lyricist: Shailendra)
This rain song filmed on Mala Sinha and Shammi Kapoor was immensely popular when got released, and now also remains the same. Dil Tera Diwana is one of the top albums of Shankar Jaikishen for Shammi Kapoor. The movie included 4 duets of Rafi and Lata, of which the title track and Nazar Bachake became extremely popular. The movie included two soft duets of the duo. But they were not as popular as fast ones – Masoom Chehra Ye Qatil Adayen and Jane Wafa Jane Jahan.
3. Main Chali Main Chali from Professor (1962) (Lyricist: Shailendra)
The Rafi-Lata duet was filmed on Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana, who marked her screen debut with Professor. Please don’t get confused with ‘Padosan’ song – ‘Main Chali Main Chali’ (also sung by Lata). Kalpana tricks Shammi to sing a romantic song and she also plays along with him, so that she can snatch a dress packet which she wants. She wins at the song climax and Shammi’s gentle smile smites us within a flash of second. Shankar Jaikishen bagged Filmfare award for best music for Professor. The comic role played by Shammi Kapoor bagged him a nomination for best actor. The movie included Lata-Rafi duet, Awaaz Deke Hamein Tum and two chartbuster solos of Rafi – Aye Gulbadan and Khuli Palak Mein Jhoota Gussa, both filmed on the lead pair, but not as duets.
4. Din Sara Guzara from Junglee (1961) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
It’s the only duet in the album consisting of 8 songs. In Rafi and Lata’s voices, Shammi Kapoor and Saira Bhanu gave full justification to this song. The song come in lines with the iconic parting song ‘Abhi Na Jao Chodkar’ filmed on Dev Anand and Sadhana, released the same year. The movie established the career of Shammi Kapoor in Bollywood, and also started a new generation of music in association with SJ.
5. Muskurati Hui Ek Husn Ki Tasveer from Daman Aur Aag (1973) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
The song filmed on Saira Banu and Sanjay Khan was one of my most favourite songs when I was a child and Doordarshan was my best companion. Listening this song definitely gives some nostalgic moments. Now also the song is among my favourites. Definitely it’s one of the best duets of Rafi and Asha in Shankar Jaikishen music, and one of the best compositions of SJ in the 1970s. The song was released after the death of Jaikishen.
6. Dekho Abto Kisiko Nahin Hai Khabar from Janwar (1965) (Lyricist: Shailendra)
The dance number was filmed on Shammi Kapoor and Rajshree. Sad to say, it’s not an original tune, and was a direct copy/cover version of The Beatles’ I Want to Hold your Hand, in a little twist as Indian version. The hairstyle and costumes of Shammi Kapoor and 4 men playing the guitar were also copied from ‘The Beatles’. It seems the filmmakers just wanted to create a Hindi version of this iconic song. Needless to say, the tune is really amazing, and Rafi and Asha have also given full justification to its Hindi rendition. I just loved it. When four guitarists lip sync to Rafi’s voice and dance along with the tune with smile on their faces, at the beginning of the song, it’s beautiful to watch. Such a picturization looks unique on screen.
7. Tujhe Pyar Karte Hain from April Fool (1964) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
The popular duet was filmed on Biswajeet and Saira Banu, and the Jodi looks cute on screen. The movie also included yet another popular duet of the duo, Kehdo Kehdo Jahan Se Kehdo and a Rafi solo, Aa gale Lag Jaa, for which Saira dons a swim suit for the first time. The female voice is Suman Kalyanpur. Surprised?
8. Aajkal Tere Mere from Brahmachari (1968) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
Every music fan would love to see this dancing number in this list, and yes it is. Why not? Because it’s the biggest chartbuster song of Suman Kalyanpur’s career, and filmed on Shammi Kapoor and Mumtaz, the actress who was only a B-grade actress then. The song benefitted a lot in the careers of both Mumtaz and Suman Kalyanpuri, and both got numerous offers from Bollywood later. Many people assume it to be the voice of Lata Mangeshkar, but not it is. In fact Suman Kalyanpuri is best recognized with this party number. Aajkal Tere Mere is the single duet in the entire album. The tune was initially rejected, which was later approved by Shammi Kapoor, and it became the USP of the entire album.
9. Sau Saal Pehle from Jab Pyar Kise Se Hota Hai (1961) (Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
This romantic track was filmed on Dev Anand and Asha Parekh, and was sung by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. This duet is highly regarded as one of the best duets of 1960s. The movie also included ‘Jiya O Jiya’ – yet another popular duet of Rafi and Lata.
10. Raat Ke Hamsafar from An Evening In Paris (1967) (Lyricist: Shailendra)
Let me conclude the list with this ‘night companion’ song. SJ mostly used Lata, Sharda or Suman Kalyanpur’s voices to record duets with Rafi during their peak years of 1950s and 1960s. Yet he recorded some good songs of Asha in An Evening In Paris, particularly this duet with Rafi, which is highly regarded as one of her greatest songs ever. I assume Lata Mangeshkar was not working with the composers at the time of recording, following her indifferences over ‘Sangam’ song, though for a short time. The song filmed at night in Paris city starred Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore. Through An Evening In Paris, Tagore reinvented herself as a glamorous actress and she succeeded as well.
Read a few more posts related to Rafi and his songs recorded with different artists and composers. Here is the page link. Click on the images to read.