Lata’s Favourite Madhubala Song

IMAGE: Madhubala in Mahal.

Madhubala was born on Valentine’s Day.

Of course, when she was born in 1933, India did not celebrate this day of love. But everyone celebrated her beauty.

Dilip Kumar once told Subhash K Jha, “She was an exquisitely beautiful woman. And what talent! People overlooked her histrionics as they couldn’t get over her beauty.”

The song that announced the arrival of singing phenomenon Lata Mangeshkar was filmed on Madhubala.

Lataji remembered every detail of the song: “I’ve forgotten most of my recordings. Even the songs that I’ve sung are mostly forgotten. But Aayega Aanewala is still fresh in my mind. The haunting tune was composed by Khemchand Prakash.”

“I had a string of hit songs in 1949 but this song from Kamal Amrohi Saab’s Mahal was something else. Everywhere I went, I heard the song. A lot of the credit for the impact of Aayega Aanewala went to Madhubala.”

Recounted Lataji, “The film’s record did not have my name on it. The singer’s name was given as ‘Kamini’, the character who lip-synced the song on screen. Since the heroine Madhubala played a ghost, I literally the ghost-voice the song. It was the first of many songs that I sang for a ghost. I had to sing it at every live concert.”

IMAGE: Madhubala in Mughal-e-Azam.

Shedding light on her association with Madhubala, Lataji had said, “She stipulated in her contracts that she wanted only me to do her playback singing. This was after the success of Aayega Aanewala though I had sung for her earlier. During those days, we’d meet socially quite often.”

“After Mahal, I did notice a change in her. I was too busy recording to notice changes in myself (laughs). But yes, 1949 was a decisive year for me. Every film I sang for was a superhit. There was no looking back after that. Later Madhubala fell ill, but she continued to work.

“In fact, she performed to some of my best songs in Mughal-e-Azam while she was terribly ill.”

From her repertoire of immortal melodies for Madhubala, Lataji handpicked her favourites. “I know Aayega Aanewala and Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya are the favourites. But I prefer Beqas Pe Karam Kijiye and Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal in Mughal-e-Azam. I also had some beautiful songs in Madhubala’s Amar.”