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.
When They Hit Peak Form (1994-1998)
This period was arguably the best phase of Jatin-Lalit. With ‘DDLJ’ (1995), they established themselves as serious contenders to the then ruling duo of Nadeem-Shravan and enhanced their music range with ‘Khamoshi’ (1996), which in my opinion, is their best work till date. They went on to work with Aziz Mirza/Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) in ‘Yes Boss’ (1997), another lovely album, and hit peak form in 1998 – with hits in ‘Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya’ and ‘Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai’ with Salman Khan, ‘Ghulam’ with Aamir Khan, ‘Pyar to Hona Hi Tha’ with Ajay Devgn and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ with SRK – all in one year. It took A.R. Rahman’s ‘Dil Se’ (1998), which was equally a fantastic album, to pique them from winning their first Filmfare award (since the other nominations were all Jatin-Lalit). However, coming back to the unknowns – this phase had quite a few of them too.
Debutant Vikram Bhatt came up with an unusual cast for his directorial debut– Milind Gunaji and Suman Ranganathan. However, with the bankable music of Jatin-Lalit, this movie actually turned out to a surprise hit that year. The Abhijeet solo, “Yeh Teri Aankhen Jhuki Jhuki” was a chartbuster and so was the romantic Kumar Sanu-Alka Yagnik duet “Ankhon Se Dil Main Utar Kar”. However, there were three songs, which were equally good, if not better than them.
“Oh Humsafar Dil Ke Nagar” was in two versions – a duet by Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik and also later an Alka solo, which is probably one of the best monsoon songs in my collection. The saxophone, piano, guitar and drums blend so well, the lyrics romantically woven by this tune – probably in the same space as “Pehla Nasha”. In the female version – there is an experimental start to the song – rarely seen in Jatin-Lalit tunes too.
“Pyar Ka Pehla Pehla Saawan” sung by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik, is one of songs which fall in the ‘Tribute to Pancham’ genre. Jatin-Lalit having been part of R.D Burman’s children singer groups in the ‘70s, and later their disciples during their growing up years, have carried the R.D Burman influence in their music and this song is an example. Check out the ‘antara’ at 1m57s which starts like ‘Tere Pairon Main Jab’, will definitely remind you of R.D Burman’s “Ek Din Bik Jayega” from ‘Dharam Karam’ (1975). The ‘antara’ starts like this, ‘Anhoni Pag Main Kaate’. Coming back to ‘Fareb’, this simple song has simple orchestration and is easy to the ears.
The third song is a male duet song, “Yaar Ka Milna” in which both Udit Narayan and Abhijeet have shown a nice camaraderie in this zingy tune, which is a fast paced, foot tapping number.
Tum Jiyo Hazaaro Saal (2002)
This Raageshwari starrer was shot in 1995 and had a delayed release in 2002. But the album had 8-9 songs, of which a couple are worth mentioning. Jatin-Lalit are never known for giving a classical touch to their songs. However, in this ghazal–classical genre, using Kavita Krishnamurthy in one version, and Jatin himself in the other version, a very un-Jatin Lalit song was created. It takes time to grow on you.
Another hidden gem from this album is “Mera Ek Sapna Tha”. You may notice from the similarity in the lyrics – yes, this tune was later used as a happy version in ‘Khoobsurat’ (1999) (“Mera Ek Sapna Hai”).
Mr. Aashiq/Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan (1996/2000)
Jatin-Lalit collaborated for the first time with Mahesh Bhatt, in a Saif Ai Khan-Twinkle Khanna starrer. However, like most Mahesh Bhatt movies of that time, this one also ran into trouble, and shooting got delayed, and while the music was released in 1996, the film was released directly on television three years later in 1999. It was probably in the year 2000, that the makers finally released the movie rechristened ‘Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’. While the movie bombed, the songs which were actually quite good, did hit the target then. “Mera Chand Mujhe Aaya Hai Nazar” is probably one of Kumar Sanu’s best songs of his career. The other songs in the album were competent.
Bada Din (1998)
This has to be one of the most underrated albums of Jatin-Lalit. This was, perhaps, the first film by India’s oldest record label HMV (now known as Sa Re Ga Ma). The Anjan Dutt directed ‘Bada Din’ starred Shabana Azmi, Tara Deshpande and introduced model Marc Robinson. Based out of Kolkata, this album has a range of songs – from the romantic ballad in “Suno Zara”, to zingy-fast paced tunes in “Meri Aankon Main Tum Ho” and “Na Koi Tera Yaha Hai”, a rock and roll take in “Betaab Hum Awaara Hum”, an ‘R.D Burman’isque pahadi song in “Oonche Neeche Parbaton” and the beautifully composed sad song “Kehta Hai Yeh Safar”.
While all songs are worth listening, my favorite is the Kumar Sanu solo, “Kehta Hai Yeh Safar”. In times of sorrow, this song does soothe.
Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge (1998)
Satish Shah produced an absolute dud in this Amar Upadhyay‘s (best remembered for his role as Mihir Virani from ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’) debut film. The movie had the support of a strong cast in Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri and Jaaved Jaffrey, with the dependable music of Jatin-Lalit. This movie has at least two really nice songs, one which came to my notice only recently. “Na Tum Bolo” is a lovely ballad sung by Kumar Sanu and is a romantic number which grows on you. Listen to the antara of this song, and you might see an uncanny similarity with “Ikk Kudi” – from the movie ‘Udta Punjab’.
There is the Alka Yagnik Solo, “Bolu Kisise”, which is also a favorite from this album. Post “Mere Khwabon Mein” (‘DDLJ’), the scene with the female lead, jumping on her bed and singing and dancing became quite a regular setting in movies. This number, has shades of their ‘Yes Boss’ hit, “Main Koi Aisa Geet”, and the tune at 2m45s will remind you of ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’ (2000).
Jatin-Lalit, surprisingly have also given music to a couple of Mithun Chakraborty starrers in the ‘90s starting with ‘Cheetah’ (1994). ‘Saazish’ was probably the last of them. The movie was a dud, so was the music in general, except for this song. It has a nice guitar piece, which carries itself throughout the movie.
Even in their hit albums of this period, some great songs went unnoticed. “Saagar Kinare Bhi Do Dil Hain Pyaase” and “Mausam Ke Sargam Ko Sun” (‘Khamoshi’) are as good as “Baahon Ke Darmiyan”, and while ‘Yes Boss’ is all about “Main Koi Aisa Geet” and “Chand Taare”, “Jaata Hai Tu Kahan” is one of the best experiments.
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