There are few first-rate singers who sang beautiful song(s) just in one or two movies and then vanished. (Note: We’re only talking about Hindi movies here.) I don’t know the reasons for their disappearance, but I wish they had sung more songs because these singers (details below) had quite unique (and unconventional) voices.
The first song is from the movie Kudrat (Music by R D Burman). This movie had a very famous, loved-by-all song sung by Kishor Kumar: “Humen Tumse Pyar Kitna”. But the song (one of my personal favorites) I am referring to was sung by Praveen Sultana, who got a national award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1981 for this song. I don’t think we heard from her again after this one wonderfully-sung-written-and-composed song. (The lines “Tumhe Koi Aur Dekhe, To Jalta Hai Dil” from Kishor’s version is nicely replaced here with “Koi Jo Daare Tumpe Nayanva, Dekha Na Jaaye Mose Balamwa, Jale Mora Manwa, Jale Mora Manwa.”) Hers was not the most suitable voice for a mainstream actress, but I wish she had been given some more classical songs.
Gaman (1979) had a couple of beautiful ghazals composed by Jaidev – who was quite underutilized in my opinion. This song in particular was sung by Chhaya Ganguli: “Aapki Yaad Aati Rahi”. (She also got a national award for Best Female Playback Singer for this song.)
With a simplistic structure, haunting tune and minimal instrumental arrangement, the pang of separation that it tries to convey is very effectual. Chaaya Ganguli’s melancholic voice takes it to a level that very few other songs can attain. A timeless classic!
Koi Deewana Galiyon Me Phirta Raha, Koi Aawaz Aati Rahee…
Next song “Aaye Zanjeer Ki Jhankar” is sung by another rarely heard singer Kaaban Mirza. Khayyam (one of the greatest music composers of yesteryears) composed music for this movie – Razia Sultan.
Khoon Dil Ka Na Chaalak Jaaye Meri Aankhon Se, Ho Na Jaaye Kaheen Izhaar Khuda Khair Kare…
Talking about Khayyam, very few people know that her wife – Jagjit Kaur – also sang few songs in Hindi movies. The following song is from Baazar called “Dekh Lo”. (Two more popular songs from this movie are: “Karoge Yaad To” and “Seene Mein Jalan”.)
Another song by the ace music composer Jaidev from the movie Gharonda, “Tumhe Ho Na Ho” was sung by a Bangladeshi singer Runa Laila. Although very popular in her native country, she never made it big in India. I just love the unconventional tune/structure of this song and even more unconventional lyrics (I mean, you can find at least, I would say, five songs for any given situation. But how many songs can you recall in which the girl is telling her boy-friend that whatever his feelings for her are, she’s pretty sure that she herself is not in love with him?) Other popular songs in this movie (“Ek Akela Is Shehar Mein”, “Do Deewane”) were written by Gulzar, but “Tuhme Ho Na Ho”, however Gulzar-ish it might sound, was actually written by Naqsh Lyalpuri.
Sudha Malhotra, who sounds much like Asha in the following duet from Prem Rog, is not as rare as other singers mentioned above. She sang some more ghalzals (“Ishq Ishq Hai”), and being a “typed singer” some children songs too, but was never given much opportunity. Lyrics of “Ye Pyar Tha” were written by Santosh Anand.
The following Punjabi song, with quite rhetorical lyrics (It’s okay to break a temple of mosque, but breaking a heart? No way.), is from Bobby: “Beshak Mandir Masjid Todo”. Chanchal sang this song, bagged a National Award for Best Playback Male Singer (1973), and then disappeared from the music scene. (Again, because of his unconventional voice which was probably considered unsuitable for lead actors.) Music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics by Inderjeet Singh. (All other songs of Bobby were written by Anand Bakhi.)
Hemlata is another singer that remained almost a one-time-wonder. After all these years “Akhiyon Ke Zarokhon Se” hasn’t lost an iota of its freshness. With the innocence of Hemlata’s voice, and the unparalleled honeydew sweetness of this melody composed by Ravindra Jain, this songs remains to be one of the best female romantic solo. (Although, every time I hear this song, I can’t help but notice how Hemlata mispronounces Jharokhon as Jharokon!)
Let me end this post with a poignant lullaby written by Gulzar: “Do Naina Aur Ek Kahani” from Masoom – composed by R D Burman and sung by Aarti Mukharjee.