No account of Bollywood’s musical greats can be complete without mention of the legendary composers, Kalyanji-Anandji.
Kalyanji-Anandji, the grocers turned music composers, started their musical journey in the late 50s with the film, Samrat Chandragupt. Initially, the elder of the two brothers, Kalyanji, started composing for Hindi films and later Anandji joined forces with Kalyanji and formed the famous duo.
Over the years, through the 60s, 70s and well into the 80s, the duo composed music for several films – many of which turned out to be box-office blockbusters. Quite a few of these films were musicals, which went down in Bollywood history as classics; for both the storyline and the beautiful songs, all of which were treats for music lovers. During the 1960s (considered as the golden years of Hindi film music with all the music directors at their inspirational best), Kalyanji-Anandji held their own against stalwarts like Shankar-Jaikishan, S D Burman, Naushad, Madan Mohan and O P Nayyar. Several of their compositions turned out to be hits, many featuring in the top 20 in popularity ratings each week.
One of the key features of their music was the orchestration – with emphasis on string instruments, pace, timing and rhythm.
A little known fact about the duo is their preference and affinity with Mukesh. While Mukesh had several hits with Shankar- Jaikishan (mostly for Raj Kapoor films), Kalyanji-Anandji also composed several songs for Mukesh that are memorable even to this day. Here is a list of 12 songs, which are, in my opinion, the best songs that Mukesh sang for Kalyanji-Anandji. In fact, Anandji said that they would ask lyric writers to emphasize the ‘N’ and ‘M’ sounds in the lyric to accentuate the lovely nasal resonance of Mukesh!
Enjoy 8 of the best of Mukesh songs in the playlist below.
If you are in the USA or Canada, you can also listen to some of the songs on another player below. Songs are automatically shuffled by the player. Click the play arrow below to enjoy the beauty of Mukesh’s voice!
( A tip to enhance your listening pleasure: When listening to the songs in any of the players, if you want to browse further on this site or another one, open a new window for further browsing. The player will continue to play Mukesh songs in the current window while you are browsing)
Chandi ki deewar na todi (Vishwas) – An immensely popular song when the movie was released, it is a beautiful rendition of the pangs of a poor lover. Highlights of the song include a lovely, fast paced introduction on the piano. Gulshan Bawra’s simple lyrics were accentuated and touchingly rendered by Mukesh.
Deewanon se ye mat poocho (Upkar) – Another heartfelt song- picturised on ‘Bharat’ Manoj Kumar- with a beautiful accordion and piano accompaniment. The usually ‘straight’ singer, Mukesh, was able to render the melody, with its multiple variations, with effortless ease
Koi jab tumhara hruday (Purab aur Paschim) – Another song picturised on Manoj Kumar. Unlike the first two songs, this is a slow paced one. Mukesh, with his crystal clear diction, lends beautiful expression to Indivar’s timeless lyrics. This song can easily be considered one of the best songs of Mukesh’s. Apparently, Manoj Kumar wanted very little orchestration since the hero is ‘alone’ in the movie when singing this song. Apart from Rebab like string instrument and a flute, there is nothing else by way of orchestration. Kalyanji Anandji recorded this song multiple times, because of the limited orchestra to ensure that the sound was right!
Chandan Sa Badan (Saraswati Chandra) – This film proved to be the turning point for Kalyanji-Anandji’s music.With this film, the duo showed that they could compose music with a strong classical base. This song, based on the Yaman Kalyan Raag, is a memorable one even today with its pure classical touches enhanced by Indivar’s lyrics. The silky sitar notes blend into the words effortlessly, creating musical manna for the discerning ear.
Jo Tumko Ho Pasand (Safar) – Another Kalyanji-Anandji innovation, the sound of the ‘car horn’ and the sweet tones of the flute are repeated throughout the song, with haunting effect.
Mere Toote Hue Dil Se (Chalia) –Filmed on Raj Kapoor, This gem is a sad song, set to a fast paced rhythm. The string instruments are once again the highlight of this song
Dum Dum Diga Diga (Chalia) – Even today, this song makes people dance! Composed in the Shankar- Jaikishan style, it is marked by fantastic rhythm and flawless timing
Main to Ek Khwab Hoon (Himalay ki god mein) – Another example of a sad song with haunting music! In this one, Mukesh touches high notes effortlessly.
Hum Chod Chale Hain mehfil ko (Ji Chahta hai) – A sad song, this is yet another stellar example of the pace and rhythm that characterised Kalyanji-Anandji’s music. Their pace turns even a sad song into an attractive and easily hummable tune
Jis dil mein basa tha pyar tera (Saheli) – This song was sung by both Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. However, the version sung by Mukesh became more popular and topped the Binaca Geet Mala charts for the year
Chand aahen barega (Phool bane angaarey) – Another timeless Mukesh gem! Anand Bakshi’s lyrics, celebrating the heroine’s beauty, were set to a wonderful rhythm by Kalyanji-Anandji.
Khush raho har khushi (Suhaag Raat) – A slow, sad song, which is characterized by a simple melody, that emphasizes the lovely lyrics