Suman Kalyanpur – Top 20 Bollywood Songs
Suman Kalyanpur is a very familiar name to movie buffs and music fans who love Bollywood classic 1960s. More than about her songs and professional life, discussions have been mostly focussed on her matching voice quality and singing style of Lata Mangeshkar, who was the top female playback voice of her era, during 1950s-1960s. Many of Bollywood classics which we believe to be Lata’s are actually Suman’s, and through this column by listing 20 of her best songs, I am just proving it.
It’s indeed unfortunate that though she could match with her contemporary Lata Mangeshkar in every aspect of playback singing, she never remained a hot favourite of leading composers of the era. Yet she was benefited by those producers who couldn’t afford the high remuneration of Lata Mangeshkar back in the 1960s. Read her biography here.
When Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi stopped singing together in the 1960s (it was a time of live orchestra and recording, where all the artists used to be present together), most of the composers used Suman’s voice as a substitute of Lata for recording duets with Rafi. Though she owns many hit solos as well as duets with Mukesh, her duets with Rafi were appreciated most. Here is the list of top 10 duets of Rafi and Kalyanpur.
1. Na Tum Hamen Jano from Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962) – (Music Director: S. D. Burman, Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri)
This particular song had two solo versions – one in Hemand da’s voice filmed on Dev Anand and second one in Kalyanpur’s voice filmed on Waheeda Rehman, and both were appreciated. Started her career in the mid-1950s, she got her first major break through Baat Ek Raat Ki.
2. Raat Suhani Jaag Rahi Hai from Jigri Dost (1969) – (Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Lyricist: Anand Bakshi)
The extremely popular duet was filmed on Jeetendra and Mumtaz as a dream sequence. The film with Jeetendra in a double role was a hit, and the movie also introduced actress Poonam Sinha to silver screen, who was credited as Komal in her early releases. She also had two songs in the movie, though not sung by Suman Kalyanpur.
3. Aajkal Tere Mere from Brahmachari (1968) – (Music Director: Shankar Jaikishen, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
The duet with Mohammed Rafi played an important role in establishing her career, and many still believe it to be Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. A rejected tune once, Aajkal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche later became the youth anthem in the late 1960s. The dance sequence was filmed on Shammi Kapoor, Pran and also Mumtaz, who sizzled on screen in an orange sari. The iconic costume for Mumtaz for this song sequence was designed by Academic and National award winning costume designer, Bhanu Athaiya.
4. Rahen Na Rahen from Mamta (1966) – (Music Director: Roshan, Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri)
The song had a memorable solo sung by Lata Mangeshkar, for which the movie is still remembered. Yet the duet version sung by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur filmed on Suchitra Sen, Dharmendra and Ashok Kumar is equally memorable.
5. Na Na Karte Pyar Tumhin Se Kar from Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) – (Music Director: Kalyanji Anandji, Lyricist: Anand Bakshi)
The movie was the biggest blockbuster for Shashi Kapoor – Nanda pair, who frequently worked in the 1960s. All the songs were instant chartbusters including Pardesiyon Se Na, Yeh Sama and Ek Tha Gul Aur Ek Thi Bulbul. Famous composers laxmikant-Pyarelal worked as assistants for this project.
6. Tumse O Haseena from Farz (1967) – (Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Lyricist: Anand Bakshi)
The film, its music and unique dance steps became a rag across the nation, when it got released. This dance sequence featuring Babita and Jeetendra was one of the top songs of the album. The movie played a magnificent role in establishing the career of Jeetendra, as well as Babita.
7. Itna Hai Tumse Pyaar Mujhe from Suraj (1966) – (Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
It was a time when there were tensions between Rafi and Lata, who vowed never to sing together. At that time, duets with Mohammed Rafi were mostly recorded with Suman Kalyapur, and Itna Hai Tumse Pyaar Mujhe is one such memorable track recorded during the time. Songs were indeed popular with iconic songs like ‘Baharon Phool Barsao’ which gave Filmfare award to composers as well as lyricists. This particular track was filmed on Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayanthimala.
8. Title track from Dil Ek Mandir (1963) – (Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
This sad version filmed at climax was a duet by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur, filmed on Raaj Kumar and Meena Kumari. The song begins with showing the death of Rajendra Kumar, who plays a surgeon in this movie.
9. Ye Kisne Geet Chheda from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen (1963) – (Music Director: S. D. Burman, Lyricist: Shailendra )
Asha Parekh is mostly linked with the likes of Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar (Read more), and ‘Ye Kisne Geet Chheda’ is one of the rarest songs of Asha Parekh – Suman Kalyanpur combination. Pradeep Kumar also features in the song. The movie is best known for some of the raga based songs composed by S. D. Burman and filmed on Ashok Kumar.
10. Parbaton Ke Pedon Par Shaam from Shagoon (1964) – (Music Director: Khayyam Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi)
Waheeda Rehman played the lead role alongside her real-life husband Kamaljeet, a less-known actor of Hindi cinema. Though this movie has been forgotten long back, not this popular duet of Rafi and Suman.
11. Mera Pyar Bhi Tu Hai from Saathi (1968) – (Music Director: Naushad, Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri)
The song featured the hit ‘Sangam’ pair, Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, and this duet was sung by Mukesh and Suman, who owns a few hit duets with this legendary singer after Rafi. The movie was a remake of Sivaji Ganesan starrer Tamil hit, Paalum Pazhavum released 7 years back then.
12. Chura Le Na Tumko Ye Mausam Suhana from Dil Hi To Hai (1963) – (Music Director: Roshan, Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi)
This duet of Mukesh and Suman Kalyanpur was filmed on Nutan and Raj Kapoor. The movie also included some of the popular songs like Laaga Chunri Mein Daag and Nigahen Milane Ko Jee Chahta Hai, apart from Suman Kalyanpur’s solo, “Yun Hi Dil Ne Chaha Tha“.
13. Mere Mehboob Na Ja from Noor Mahal (1965) – (Music Director: Jaani Babu Qawwal, Lyricist: Saba Afghani)
This haunting melody is a solo of Suman Kalyanpur, and one of her career best songs. The movie is forgotten long back, but not this beautiful song filmed on less-known actress Chitra and Jagdeep who played lead roles. Jagdeep played serious roles in the early 1960s before he switched to comedy in the late 1960s, and Noor Mahal is one of his rarest movies in a lead role. In the song, Chitra is seen carrying a candle in a haunting bunglow, while Jagdeep follows her.
14. Tumne Pukara Aur from Rajkumar (1964) (Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
SJ’s songs filmed on Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana were instant hits. Tumne Pukara Aur is one of the popular duets of the album. The movie had three Rafi duets, and Suman’s single duet became more popular than the rest two with Asha Bhosle. Many people were mistaken it to be a Lata Mangeshkar song, because their talents and voices were quite matching for this song.
15. Hai Na Bolo Bolo from Andaz (1971) – (Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
The movie is best remembered as the last box office hit of Shammi Kapoor in a lead hero role, and the songs too are memorable. This particular song features Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini and two kids. Suman’s voice was used for Hema Malini, Rafi’s voice for Shammi Kapoor while voices of child singers – Sushma Shrestha and Pratibha were also used. It was Sushma’s debut song as a playback singer.
16. Tumhi Mere Meet Ho from Pyaase Panchhi (1961) – (Music Director: Kalyanji Anandji, Lyricist: Qamar Jalalabadi)
The duet with Hemant Kumar was filmed on Ameeta and Mehmood who played lead pair in the film. Ameeta had an impressive debut in Hindi cinema in the mid-1950s. However luck didn’t favour her, and she was forced to take character roles and often paired with comic actors. The movie also included a comic duet, Kab Tak Kheloon Pyar Ka Khel recorded in the voices of Rafi and Suman.
17. Behana Ne Bhai Ke Kalai Se Pyar Bandha Hai from Resham Ki Dori (1974) – (Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyricist: Indeevar)
Suman Kalyanpur recorded maximum number of hit songs with S-J pair, and this ‘Raksha Bandhan/Rakhi’ song was one among her last hit songs. The song featuring Dharmendra is one of the best Bollywood songs which told about bonding of siblings. Suman Kalyanpur earned Filmfare nomination for best female playback singer for this song. Can anyone tell me who is the actress featured in this beautiful song?
18. Tujhe Pyar Karte Hain from April Fool (1964) – (Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan, Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri)
The popular duet was filmed on Biswajeet and Saira Banu, whose looks cute on screen together. The song was recorded in a sentimental and sad mood. The movie also included the fun song of Rafi, April Fool Banaya and top romantic song, Aa Gale Lag Jaa.
19. Thehriye Hosh Mein Aa Loon from Mohabbat Isko Kahete Hain (1965) – (Music Director: Khayyam, Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri)
Shashi Kapoor and Nanda were frequently paired in a series of movies in the 1960s which had some wonderful songs, and this black and white song featuring both is very beautiful. But the movie was not successful. The duo were paired in Jab Jab Phool Khile the same year, which became one of the highest grossers of the year. Suman’s voice has been frequently used for Nanda, and two hit songs from 1965 releases are its best instances.
20. Ke Jaan Chali Jaaye from Anjaana (1969) – (Music Director: Laxmikant Pyarelal, Lyricist: Anand Bakshi)
Let us wind up this list with the memorable duet of Rafi and Suman, her most popular co-singer with whom she recorded a total of 140 Hindi duets in the late 1960s when Lata Mangeshkar seized worked with him. With the early 1970s, the careers of many romantic heroes and heroines started to fade, 1960s’ heroines turned older while a few retired and with many great composers gone, Suman Kalyanpur’s career too virtually came to a halt. Anjaana had many hit songs composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal, and this particular duet was filmed on Rajendra Kumar and Babita.
Conclusion: Every time when I get surprised with the voice quality and rendition of Suman Kalyanpur, and of course, her voice perfectly matches with her contemporary singer Lata Mangeshkar, I feel the same, she could have been given more songs by music composers of yesterdays. Yes, she deserved a lot, but film industry failed to give her. Aaya Na Humko Pyar Jatana from Pehchan, Ajhoon Na Aaye Baalma from Saanjh Aur Savera, Yeh Mausam Rangeen Sama from Modern Girl, Tujhe Dekha Tujhe Chaha from Choti Se Mulaqat and Haan Meine Bhi Pyar Kiya from Boond Jo Ban Gaye Moti are a few more hit songs of Suman Kalyanpur.
Please go through Suman Kalyanpur gallery to read a couple of posts