Vijay Anand has been among my favourite directors and I’ve always enjoyed his films. What is amazing about him is that in spite of having dabbled in so many different genres, he’s managed to weave in good songs in all his scripts. And not just one or two good songs, but entire albums which were blockbusters. Guide is one such film. SD Burman provided music to some outstanding songs, from ‘piya tose naina laage re’, ‘saiyaan beiman’ to ‘tere mere sapne’. The album had Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi singing together at the peak of their careers, and these songs are among their finest, in spite of them having sung a large number of songs. ‘Allah megh de’, sung by SD Burman himself, was another great number.
Mera Saaya (1966)
Madan Mohan is one of my all time favourite music composers. I have grown up practicing to his songs; if you can sing a Madan Mohan song well, then you can sing well. Mera Saaya is one such Madan Mohan film which had amazing music. I was an absolute fan of Sadhana and she was great in the film. The songs varied from ‘naino main badra chhaye’ to ‘jhumka gir re’ — an amazing range for one film.
When I think of AR Rahman, I think of Mani Ratnam. Bombay, Roja, Dil Se — the two collaborated on all these gems and it would be impossible to pick one favourite among them. But if I had to, I would pick Bombay. I was very young when I listened to the songs for the first time and the film’s music was my introduction to Rahman. The Bombay theme is unforgettable, the haunting quality making it memorable. ‘Kehna hi kya’, ‘tu hi re’ and the other songs were great too. Dil Se was another Rahman album that blew my mind. The best song was Sukhwinder Singh’s ‘thayya thayya’ — a folksy version of ‘chayya chayya’ — which wasn’t there in the film.
Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)
‘Pehla nasha’, the song the world sings today, was recorded in my house. Jatin and Lalit, the composers of the song, are younger brothers of my father Mandheer Pandit. I was a school kid, who would return home to see these young composers working on the music of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. Lalit was very young at that time, and Udit Narayan too was a young singer waiting to make it big in the industry. When I think back now, these were young people who weren’t aware that their song would become popular for generations to come. The first ever recording I was allowed to witness was also for a Jatin-Lalit film — Dilwale
Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Ilayaraja is another of my favourite composers, with an unbeatable range in music. No one is as good at arranging music as he is. His music is the kind which touches your heart instantly, and stays with you for a long time after. Anjali is special to me because it was also my first film as a singer. I was four years old then and sang for the Hindi dubbed version (the film was originally in Tamil).
Shweta Pandit spoke to Aniruddha Guha