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Laxmikant Pyarelal : An Anthology
(Courtesy: Gramco Music Publishing Ltd., 1998)

Sunny, honey-toned molten gold creating jewels of timeless exquisiteness. That effectively sums up Laxmikant-Pyarelal's musical repertoire that contains timeless melodies like 'Hansta hua noorani chehra'.

Thirty five years ago Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma were a couple of struggling musicians in the Mumbai film industry. Laxmikant learnt to play the mandolin as a child. Later he became the disciple of Husnlal (of the famous Husnlal-Bhagatram duo) and went on to assist Kalyanji Anandji. The beginning to their joint musical career was made when Pyarelal joined Kalyanji Anandji.

Pyarelal learnt music from his Goan music teacher Anthony Gonsalves. He paid his guru a tribute in the song My name is Anthony Gonzalves in the film Amar Akbar Anthony. He assisted the composer-singer of the 40's, Bulo C. Rani. Both Laxmikant and Payarelal worked under Naushad, C.Ramachandra, Kalyanji-Anandji and R.D. Burman before getting their first independent assignment.

It was the film Parasmani that gave them their first brake in 1963. The Lata Mangeshkar-Kamal Barot duet 'Hansta hua noorani chehra' remained steadfast at the no.1 position of Binaca Geet Mala for weeks. It was the beginning of duo's long-lasting and extremely rewarding association with Lata Mangeshkar.

Laxmikant was once quoted as saying, "Where Didi (Lata Mangeshkar) is concerned I might say that we put in one-anna worth of effort and she turns it into a 16-anna effort". Such was the composing duo's dependence on the vocals of Lata Mangeshkar that they contemplated buying a machine whereby she could sing the female as well as male vocals!

The second turning point in Laxmi-Pyare's career was Dosti in 1964. It fetched the duo their first Filmfare award. The song 'Chahunga mein tujhe' for which singer Mohd. Rafi and lyricist Majrooh won Filmfare awards was to be scrapped from the soundtrack. It was Rafi Saab who insisted that Laxmi-Pyare retain the song and what a momentous decision that was from Dosti where there was no looking back. Scores of silver and golden jubilee musical blockbusters spilled out of recording rooms. From the late Sixties to the end of the Eighties the letters 'L' and 'P' came to stand for the 'long-playing' Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

It is doubtful that any other composer has given so many hit scores and so consistently. Filmmakers like Subodh Mukherjee, Raj Khosla, Manoj Kumar, R.K. Nayyar, J. Om Prakash, L.V. Prasad and Subhash Ghai swore by the music of L-P. The songs composed by the duo were an intrinsic part of director's creative output.

What would J. Om Prakash's Aaye Din Bahar Ke be without the sweetly melodic 'suno sajna'?. V.A. Subba Rao's 'Milan' would be incomplete without 'Sawan ka mahina' as would Raj Khosla's 'Do Raaste' without the coquettish 'Bindiya Chamkegi'. It is difficult to imagine R.K. Nayyar's 'Inteqam' without the sizzling 'Aa-jaan-e-jaa'.

Laxmikant-Pyarelal brought bahaar into so many hit films of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties that their music came to be considered an essential component for a successful film. L-P delivered truckloads of chartbusters often with one film, unlike today where only a couple of songs from a film go on to become hits.

Bobby had Chabi kho jaye, Jhooth bole kauva kaate, Pyar mein sauda nahin, Mujhe kuch kehna hai, Beshaq mandir masjid todo and Main shayar to nahin. Most L-P admirers felt that the duo had exhausted its creative fuel in Bobby. But six years later they were still the emperors of the charts with Sargam in 1979 and its hit song 'Dafli wale'.

No anthology can do full justice to the unconquered versatality and supreme staying power of Laxmikant-Pyarelal. It would only be in the fairness of things to crown Laxmi-Pyare as the most successful composers of Hindi cinema.

38 years have passed since Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey got together to sing 'Tum ganga ke chandrama ho'. Not a single crease has appeared on the shining smooth surface of the song.

Though Lataji gets to sing the creme de la creme like 'Ja re kare badra' and 'Jaane kyon log mohabbat', other singing legends too have had their finest moments. Mukesh's 'Tum bin jeevan kaise beeta', Kishore Kumar's 'Yeh jeevan hai', Mohd. Rafi's 'Aaj mausam bada beimaan hai' and Pankaj Udhas' 'Chithi aayee hai', are songs that music listeners shall hum forever.

As L-P admirers sing.. 'Hum tum yug yug se yeh geet milan ke gaate rahen hain gaate rahenge'...

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