The popular song ‘Lara Lappa Lara Lappa Laayi Rakhda’ from the film “Ek Thi Ladki” (1949) may have done wonders to the then little-known actor Meena Shorey but many fans called it a “frivolous” song, just not up to Lata Mangeshkar’s standard. Mangeshkar, 92, died on Sunday in Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital. The singer, in the book ‘Lata Mangeshkar in Her Own Voice”, recalled the anger that followed the release of the song.
“The hook line of the song ‘Lara lappa lara lappa laii rakhda’ is, in fact, Punjabi. The filmic situation was explained to me in great detail: this will happen and that will happen. I recorded the song and went home. Some people heard it and were angry and upset with me. ‘Why did you sing this frivolous song? You shouldn’t sing a song like that.” Mangeshkar had said in the book.
The anger against Mangeshkar for singing the song, as per her free-wheeling conversation with the London-based author Nasreen Munni Kabir, continued even after the film was released and the song became the most popular song of ‘Ek Thi Ladki’ starring Shorey and Motilal.
The peppy song, penned by Aziz Kashmiri and composed by Vinod, with its Punjabi overtones was the trendsetter for several popular songs of later years. According to Mangeshkar, she faced a similar reaction from music directors for her song ‘Gore gore, o baanke chhore’ — another of the late singer’s massive hit from “Samadhi” (1950).
“You will be amazed to hear when I sang it at a function, many music directors came up to me and said: ‘What has happened to the standard of your songs? You’re singing ‘Gore gore o baanke chhore’ on stage?’ Those songs had the reputation of being ‘bad’ songs. Now they are far worse,” she said.
But these instances of people being angry or upset over Mangeshkar’s choice of song selection were rather too rare as many were her fans, including the much-revered Hindustani classical vocalist Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
As shared in the book by Mangeshkar herself, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan once while hearing her song, remarked: “Kambakht, kabhi besuri hee nahin hoti” (The blessed girl never sings out of tune).
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“Yes. I once read an interview of Pandit Jasraj’s — in which he said he was with Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib in the 1950s and one day from some distance, my song ‘Ye zindagi usi ki hai jo kisi ka ho gaya’ could be heard. Khan Sahib told everyone to be quiet so he could listen to it. Then he said with affection: ‘Kambakht, kabhi besuri hee nahin hoti’ (The blessed girl never sings out of tune),” she recalled in the book.