This article is a tribute to Jatin-Lalit, two of the most successful Bollywood music directors, who composed some of the best romantic songs in the ‘90s. They have received acclaim for their work in ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’ (1991), ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ (1994), ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995), ‘Khamoshi’ (1996), ‘Yes Boss’, (1997), ‘Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai’ (1998), ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998), ‘Mohabbatein’ (2000), ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), ‘Hum Tum’ (2004) and ‘Fanaa’ (2006). The sheer weight of these movies shows that their library of work encompassed the leading stars of the day, the best banners in the industry, and the most sought after directors as well. However, this piece is not about these movies or songs.
This piece will focus on the lesser known/unknown movies, which had some amazing numbers and which went unnoticed because the movie sank without a trace. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the world of melody, the world of Jatin-Lalit.
Sporadic Success in 1999 – 2006
Post 1998, when Jatin-Lalit were among the Top 5 music directors in Bollywood, instead of moving in the fifth gear, their career started going downhill. In this phase, Jatin-Lalit’s career did see success with big banner films like ‘Mohabbatein’ (2000), ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), ‘Chalte Chalte’ (2003) and ‘Hum Tum’ (2004). They also experimented with their music in ‘Sarfarosh’ (1999) (probably their most versatile album), ‘Raju Chacha’ (2000) (instrumentals and live drums), and ‘Haasil’ (2003) (qawalli and classical). Moreover, they also moved away from their usual favorites; Kumar Sanu and Udit Narayan to collaborate with Sonu Nigam in ‘Sangharsh’ (1999) and ‘Vaastav’ (1999), and Shaan in ‘Hum Tum’ (2004) and ‘Fanaa’ (2006).
However, this phase saw a host of their movies with good music fail at the box office. Between 1999-2001 alone, 8 films flopped at the box office (‘Pyaar Koi Khel Nahin’ (1998), ‘Dillagi’ (1998), ‘Dil Kya Kare’ (1998), ‘Silsila Hai Pyar Ka’ (1999), ‘Sangharsh’ (1999), ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’ (2000), ‘Dhai Akshar Prem Ke’ (2000), ‘Albela’ (2001), while ‘Sarfarosh’ (1998) and ‘Vaastav’ (1999) were action films where music took a backseat. However, there were some memorable songs which got noticed too.
Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya (2002)
This Arvind Swamy-Manisha Koirala might remind you of their earlier work in ‘Bombay’ (1995). However, while this movie sank without a trace, the music did have some bright spots. With the collaboration of Javed Akhtar, they gave us two gems worth writing about.
“Aao Sune Laheron Se” is a soft romantic song, with background music which gives an echo effect. On the first listen, it can be easily considered as an A.R. Rahman number. The guitar is predominant in this composition, and for this song, instead of the usual Bollywood singers, Jatin-Lalit have used the voice of Sreenivas.
Abhijeet teams up to bring together “Dost Hamare Hain”. This ode on a friendship of a different kind, is an even paced number. Again, the music arrangement is different; yet delightful.
Collaboration with Sonu Nigam
Jatin-Lalit till 1999, were happy to collaborate with Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Abhijeet for their albums. ‘Sangharsh’ (1999) was probably the first such album where Sonu Nigam had more songs. Some of the best Jatin-Lalit songs came in these two movies. My personal favorites are “Meri Duniya Hai”, “Mujhe Raat Din” and “Pehli Pehli Baar Baliye” are quite famous worldwide. One more gem from this combo was “Hum Badi Door Chalein Aaye”.
“Hum Badi Door Chalein Aaye” was not picturised on the actors in the movie ‘Sangharsh’ (1999). A light ghazalish tune, with really good lyrics. “Hum Badi Door Chalein Aaye Hai Chalte Chalte…Aao Ab Laut Chalo Shaam ke Dhalte Dhalte” is a vintage Jatin-Lalit classic.
Raju Chacha (2000)
Ajay Devgn’s second film as a producer (the first being ‘Hindustan Ki Kasam’ (1999)) was a Bollywood tribute to the Sound of Music. Music was on top priority with Jatin-Lalit and Anand Bakshi, at their experimental best. However, the movie bombed, and so did the hopes of the music to sustain in the minds of the people.
Some of the songs were quite fresh, they had a different arrangement and the treatment of the ‘antaras’ and ‘mukhdas’ were experimented with too. “Yeh Vaada Hai” sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik is one such song. It starts as a usual romantic number, and picks up pace. The use of live drums, which recently Lalitji mentioned in a Twitter exchange, was quite the highlight of the entire album.
The other songs worth mentioning in the album are the Amit Kumar solo – “Dil Dil Ka Yeh Kaam Hai” and “Kahin Se Aayi Rani”. Amit Kumar has sparsely been used post R. D. Burman, and Jatin-Lalit have used his voice at regular intervals in their careers in ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’ (1994), ‘Dillagi’ (1998), ‘Raju Chacha’ (2000) and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001).
The music arrangements are the highlight in “Dil Dil ka To Kaam Hai”. An usual song, with no set piece ‘antara’ and ‘mukhda’ interspersed with ‘shayari’, drums and guitar make it quite an interesting song.
Amit Kumar, Kavita Krishnamurthy and a host of kids croon this delightful cute number. The ‘antara’ has a tempo build up – which is quite the highlight of the song.
Apart from the ones mentioned, there were some more gems, like in ‘Khoobsurat’ (1999) – when Jatin-Lalit teamed up for the first and last time with Gulzar saab. The effort did not live up to my expectation of revisiting the Gulzar-R. D. Burman collaboration, but one song had the magic somewhere – “Aana Zara Paas to Aaa” is worth listening to. Also in this year came an Ajay-Kajol movie “Dil Kya Kare”, which had good songs like “Do Dilon Ki”. The ‘antara’ here (“Jaage Hain Soye Hain”) reminds me of “Yeh Dosti” from Sholay (1975).
As I mentioned earlier, this phase of Jatin-Lalit’s music had success, but most of their films failed at the box office. The music scene in Bollywood was changing. Directors preferred an album with a multitude of music directors, which as a practice Jatin-Lalit were averse to. They had their share of frustration in such collaborations; ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), ‘Aankhen’ (2001), ‘Chalte Chalte’ (2003), to name a few.
Secondly, new age composers were making a mark; Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, and Vishal-Shekhar were coming up with a different kind of music – liked by audiences and upcoming directors too. Slowly, Jatin-Lalit started fading away, with less collaborations and then came the announcement of their final film – ‘Fanaa’ (2006) with Aamir Khan and Kajol. It was quite a sad moment to see their great work end abruptly, and many fans back then wanted the ‘jodi’ (team) to continue. However, in hindsight, it was a good move to end a successful association, with the audiences left wanting for more, rather than go the R. D. Burman route, where the great musician was left with composing movies for insipid movies in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
I hope this three-part articles helped to rediscover the magic of Jatin-Lalit through those rare finds, and not the usual expected ones.
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