B-town has seen many examples of talent come and go. The history of music industry shows us many faces who sang to entertain us and entertain they do, even today. Some of them are alive, while some have crossed the line between life and death. However, the music they left behind reaches us rarely even today, filling us with the joy that it did even back then. Be it from the 60s, 70s, 80s, or even the 90s, they live on forever, through their songs.
Khayyam for his composition “Tum Apna Ranj O Gham” (Shagoon) once said to Jagjit Kaur (his wife too) that even though she sings no song after this, this particular number is going to immortalize her. And she did it!! She is from the camp of those who had just few scores in films but revered as greatest voices of the era – reason – her poignant and sonorous vocal performance. Fast forward in the movies like “Heer Ranjha” “Bazaar” & “Umrao Jaan”, she lends her voice to yet another immensely popular numbers like “Nache Ang Ve”, “Dekh Lo Aaj Humko Jee Bhar Ke” & “Chale Aao Saiyan” & “Kahe Ko Byaahe Bides”..
While singing “Tum Mujhe Bhool Bhi Jao”, little did she know that the song will ironically materialize for the audiences who’d forget eminent singer like her by time. She began to sing at the tender age of 11 for films and turned out to be a promising female playback singer. Vocally inclined to Classical style, she had great versatility in her voice which iterated her acceptability factor by many index. “Tum Mujhe Bhool Bhi Jao” was an outcome of emergency where N. Dutta fell ill and Sudha had to compose it on his behalf. “Dekh Kabira Roya”, “Gauhar”, “Kaala Paani”, “Barsaat Ki Raat”, “Ab Dilli Door Nahin” and many others are the movies where one can hear her singing. She latter silenced critiques to mute by her songs like “Ye Ishq Ishq Hai” & “Na Mein Dhan Chahoon”.
The lady with the bubbly voice – Kamal had many chances to prove herself as a lead female playback singer through duets with leading male singers. Kamal with Mukesh shared an unusual chemistry in singing, for which they came up with couple of songs which turned out to be a great amalgamation of the voices which were literally opposite to each other. Her duets with Mukesh like “Na Jaane Chand Kaisa Hoga”, “Jab Se Hum Tum Baharon Mein” & “Hum Bhi Kho Gaye Hain” are the classic example of interplay of phrases between male-female voices. She was also paired up with Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle & Suman Kalyanpur with the popular scores like “Hasta Hua Noorani Chehra”, “Dadi Amma Dadi Amma” & “Garjat Barsat Sawan Aayo Re”.
Yet another extremely talented playback singer hailing from the land of Punjab. Introduced with the grace of Sahir Ludhiyanvi & Roshan, she debuted with her song in the movie “Tajmahal”. With the patronage of veteran like Madan Mohan, she also picked up Ghazals and made the most out of it later in her lifetime. But one could hardly recall any solo by her. She mostly did in female-female duets over male-female on some occasions. “Na Na Na Re Na Na”, “Huzur-E-Wala”, “Unse Nazrein Mili Aur Hijaab Aa Gaya” & “Mero Saiyan Gulabia Ke Phool” are the chartbusters of golden era that comes out from Minoo’s duet.
“Titli Udi” is the one which is the most memorable track by her. Raj Kapoor, who was a pioneer for fresh and new souls in b-town introduced her to the same. “Chale Jaana Jara Thehro”, “Dekho Mera Dil Machal Raha”, “Wo Pari Kahan Se Laon”, & “Kaisee Padi Maar” earned her the due fame. She also has a distinction to be the first female singer to have released her private album called Sizzlers.
“Shyam Teri Bansi” has mesmerized the audiences since it was first released way back in 7os (1975 to be more precise). Basically a Bengali playback singer, Aarti collected laurels from Hindi cinema too. Being a trained classical singer since childhood, she has fair number of melodious tracks to her credit. “Sara Mora Kajra”, “Do Panchi Do Tinke”, “Kabhi Kuch Pal Jeevan Ke” & “Main Wahi Darpan Wahi” speaks volumes of her for both duet & solo performances. She also bagged Filmfare Awards as Best Female Playback Singer in “Masoom” for “Do Naina Aur Ik Kahaani”.
She comes all the way from a family of musically inclined talents. P N Pandit & Pt Jasraj happens to be her father and uncle respectievely, Jatin-Lalit are her brothers & Vijeta Pandit, her sister. Sulakshana, who debuted as a child singer also got a privilege to do with singing giants like Md Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Yesudas, Shailendra & several others. “Mana Teri Nazar”, “Mausam Mausam Lovely Mausam”, “Sapnon Ka Raja Koi” & “Suno Na Bhabhi” are some memorable deliveries by her.
Though he played minor inning, but all with cracking shots & deliveries ! He shone with few striking scores like “Main Rangeela Pyar Ka Raahi”, “Pyaar Mein Milna Sanam Hota Hai Taqdeer Se”, “Gar Tum Bura Na Maano”, “Dil Mera Ek Aas Ka Panchi”, “Humein Un Rahon Par Chalna Hai” & “Dil Leke Jaate Ho Kahan”. It was perhaps his limitation to sing wide range of numbers with quintessential tonal modulation that stood against his musical odyssey with Bollywood.
“Sawan Ko Aane Do”, “Shyam Teri Bansi”, “Jogi Waah”, “Sanchi Kahe Tore”, “Kaun Disha Mein”, “Mangal Bhavan” & “Geet Gaata Chal” are the examples by which he proved his mettle of niche singing. Jaspal Singh is also best remembered as a voice of Sachin (the Actor) as majority of songs were exclusively done for him.
On a concluding note, there may be some misses here which were rather because of the fact that few singers have had occasional flights in Hindi Cinema just for couple of songs, or maybe on an exclusive invitation basis. For example, one can’t say Parveen Sultana didn’t make it big in Bollywood. But these rare gems have dwindled from human memory and we feel it is only right to restore their once lost glory.