Whenever Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle teamed together for duets, they always created magic! Kishore’s resonating vocals were matched by Asha’s ebullience and together they lent a special ‘X’-factor to their duets. It was not very important to know the actors on whom these duets were picturized as people could enjoy the emotions and feelings conveyed by just listening to these two greats who added life and character to the songs in their own inimitable way.
The seventies was still a part of the Golden era where melody reigned supreme. Even if the films did not do well, the songs attained popularity. Those were the days when radio was the most important source of keeping in touch with film songs. Film buffs either looked forward to the radio programs or waited for the weekly ‘Chaya Geet/Chitrahaar’ programs on Doordarshan channel to catch a glimpse of the songs, unlike today’s scenario where one gets to see them on television innumerable times. Hence many of the songs attained popularity through the merit of these singers and were not always dependent on the charisma of the actors lip-syncing to the songs.
Today is Kishore Kumar’s 88th birth anniversary. In this blog I have chosen twenty fabulous duets of Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle, not picturized on popular mainstream actors but the songs remain favourites even today! These films released between 1969 and 1979.
Actors: Naveen Nischol-Anupama
Directed by Dilip Bose Sansar was a typical family melodrama involving two brothers-Abhi Bhattachrya and Navin Nischol and a loving ‘Bhabi’ played by Nirupa Roy with newcomer Anupama playing Navin Nischol’s love interest.
Both the actors at the time of release of the film were comparatively new and yet to make a mark in the industry. Though Navin Nischol ‘s debut film Saawan Bhadon had become a hit Sansar was one of his early films and he was still to establish himself. This was the film Anupama signed first though two other films released before this. Sadly, many may not even recollect her name today as she acted in very few films and quit the industry to get married.
The film’s music by Chitragupt was a big hit and this song penned by the great Sahir Ludhianavi remains evergreen and is perhaps the only way we may remember the heroine’s face…
Actors: Kiran Kumar-Radha Saluja
A dull film with new talents and an average script dealing with murder, deceit, double-crossing and smuggling, the film hardly made even a whimper when it was released. The hero was Kiran Kumar, son of the famous villain Jeevan and heroine was Radha Saluja. Both did not have any acting talent to boast about but survived in the industry for a while.
The music director of the film was Ganesh, a name not heard of by many. He was one of Pyarelal’s brothers (of Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo) and used to assist LP in many of their films. This particular duet became very popular and remains so even today…
AANSOO BAN GAYE HAIN PHOOL (1969)
Actors: Deb Mukherje-Alka
Deb Mukherjee was a very average actor with highly questionable talent. But being the son of the famous producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, owner of Filmalaya Studios, he got the opportunity to act in a few films. In this film he teamed up with Alka, whose career never quite took off. She had a sweet face but always got B-grade films opposite dull heroes and she soon quit the industry.
This timeless Kishore-Asha duet composed by the maestros Laxmikant-Pyarelal became a super-hit at that time and continues to enthrall us even today…
Actors: Deb Mukherjee- Nazima
This family drama was headed by Ashok Kumar and also had Raj Mehra, Nanda and Pran in important roles. Here Deb Mukherjee is the hero who falls in love with Nazima but ends up marrying Nanda. Nazima was a talented actress but somehow remained the ‘proverbial sister’ in most of the films and was generally seen in supporting roles. Luckily she has had some very melodious songs picturized on her.
Once again a foot-tapping melodious composition from R D Burman and interestingly the lyricist here is a hardly heard name Ramesh Pant. Interestingly he was the dialogue writer of Rajesh Khanna’s classic film Amar Prem for which he won a Filmfare award.
Actors: Vinod Khanna-Kum Kum
This film directed by Dulal Guha is an interesting thriller where Vinod Khanna plays an inspector. He is in love with Kum Kum but her father is suspected to be a smuggler. The film also had writer-director Subhash Ghai as an actor along with Ramesh Deo and the two sisters Jayashree T and Meena T.
Music by Ganesh is average except for this one duet stands out for its melody…
HUM TUM AUR WOH (1973)
Actors: Vinod Khanna-Bharati
Bharati was essentially a Kannada actress who made her debut in Hindi films in 1967 and her handful of films include Purab Aur Paschim, Mastana and Sadhu Aur Shaitan. Both she and Vinod Khanna looked good together.
This film did not create any stir but two of the songs composed by music directors Kalyanji-Anandji became very popular- One was a Kishore Kumar solo-‘Priye Praaneshwari…’ and the second was his duet with Asha Bhonsle.
ABHI TO JEE LEIN (1977)
Actors: Danny Denzongpa-Jaya Bhaduri
Who would have imagined the ace villain Danny singing such a lovely song with ‘the-girl-next-door’ heroine Jaya Bhaduri? This film had a story revolving around students, college life and the ensuing campus politics.
Music directors Sapan Sengupta and Jagmohan Bakshi who started their careers as assistants to Salil Chowdhary later composed music for some films under the name of Sapan-Jagmohan. But they did not last long. In this song their music sounded similar to R D Burman’s and has a soft soothing quality that suited the picturesque scenery.
Actors: Anil Dhawan-Leena Chandavarkar
This film is a highly entertaining light-hearted musical with relatively new faces which released in 1973. The film stars Leena Chandavarkar, Anil Dhawan, Suresh Chatwal, Nazima and Utpal Dutt and had superb music by the very talented but underrated music director Usha Khanna.
There are two Kishore-Asha gems which have stood the test of time and remain favourites even today. The first is a duet sung by Leena and Anil Dhawan on their Honeymoon and the second song is picturized on unknown faces and sung inside a train. These songs speak volumes of the super talent of Usha Khanna and the magic of the Kishore and Asha!
MAIN SUNDAR HOON (1973)
Actors: Biswajit-Leena Chandavarkar
A remake of the Tamil film ‘Server Sundaram’ starring comedian Nagesh, the Hindi version is remembered for Mehmood’s outstanding performance and superb music by Shankar Jaikishen. Biswajit and Leena Chandavarkar also star in the film. Both the men fall for her but she loves only Biswajit.
Biswajit who is generally associated with Mohammed Rafi numbers was fortunate to have Kishore Kumar singing for him in the film. This lovely duet picturized on him and Leena is remembered to this day even though they made an unusual on-screen pair!
Actors: Kabir Bedi-Simi Garewal
The very mention of this film brings to our mind the haunting song in Mohammed Rafi’s voice ‘Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai…’ with a few lines hummed by singer Sharda. This song became so hugely popular that in spite of the film’s poor performance, the music is still remembered.
The film also had a fabulous Kishore-Asha duet which also became popular but somehow never got associated with the film. Further hardly anyone remembers that the unusual actors lip-syncing to this popular duet were Kabir Bedi and Simi Garewal ! All credit to Shankar-Jaikishen for the lilting songs…
Actors: Mahender Sandhu- Reena Roy
Mahendra Sandhu acted in very few films in the seventies the best known among them being Agent Vinod which was a box-office success. His other films are not really remembered and even his name is not remembered by many. He is the son-in law of yesteryear actor-singer Surendra.
This film was among actress Reena Roy’s early films when she was still struggling as a newcomer. She had to contend being paired opposite B-grade actors like Mahendra Sandhu before Kalicharan opposite Shatrughan Sinha catapulted her into the big league.
RAAKHI AUR HATHKADI (1974):
Actors: Vijay Arora-Asha Parekh
In her recently released autobiography Asha Parekh mentions this film as one of the biggest flops of her career. It is not surprising considering the fact that an ageing Asha not only played a college student but was also paired opposite a young Vijay Arora and the pair looked a complete misfit. Asha Parekh had a double role in the film and she gets to play both mother and daughter.
The film had a clichéd story of childless couple, adoption, prostitutes, etc., and perhaps might have been appreciated had it released a decade earlier. Music by R D Burman was good and this particular Kishore-Asha duet remains hugely popular even today…
Randhir Kapoor could not make his mark in films in spite of big breaks opposite top heroines as he had neither any special charm nor talent. However many of his films had superb music which helped him retain his recall-value, the biggest examples being Kal Aaj aur Kal and Jawani Deewani. This Prakash Mehra directed Khalifa which released in the same year alongside very hit films like Dus Numbri, Kabhie Kabhi, Chitchor, Mausam, Nagin, Fakira, Laila Majnu, Do Anjaane etc., could not really catch the public fancy even though the film featured him in an interesting double role and had Pran, Madan Puri and I S Johar to add value.
R D Burman whipped up some melodious songs of which the one chosen here is my favourite. The song is on the lines of ‘Nahi nahi, abhi nahi,…’ from Jawani Deewani, and Randhir is expressionless as usual and there is nor much chemistry with Rekha. How one wishes that the song sung with so much verve and feeling had been picturized on some romantic star…
Actors: Randhir Kapoor-Neetu Singh
This film was a remake of the successful Tamil film ‘Rickshawkaran’ starring MGR and the film won him the National Award for Best Actor. But the remake in Hindi was a big flop.
This film marked the debut of Neetu Singh as an adult actress and ironically opposite her future brother-in-law Randhir Kapoor. Their pairing did not become popular and later on she made a successful pair with her would-be-husband Rishi Kapoor. She had earlier been popular as a child artiste under the name of Baby Sonia. The film also starred Mala Sinha.
The chosen duet composed by R D Burman is really melodious…
Actors: Randhir Kapoor-Aruna Irani
This was a typical Bollywood ‘masala’ film starring Ashok Kumar, Kamini Kaushal, Randhir Kapoor, Parveen Babi and Aruna Irani in pivotal roles. Though predictable the movie is fairly entertaining with good songs.
The duet chosen here is the best song of the film and is picturized on Randhir and Aruna Irani who do make an odd pair with Parveen being the third angle of the triangle in this love story. Lyrics by Anand Bakshi aptly bring out the ensuing tension between the three and R D Burman once agi comes up with a foot-tapping number
ZAMEEN AASMAN (1972)
Actors: Sharad Kumar-Yogita Bali
This action thriller directed by Veerappan had Ashok Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Rekha and Yogita Bali. Indrani Mukherjee plays a double role as Ashok Kumar’s first as well as second wife. Yogita Bali is in love with Sharad and the two get to lip-sync to this interesting duet.
This film surprisingly had music by Kishore Kumar himself. The song is picturized on a relatively unknown face Sharad Kumar who acted in very few films in a supporting role. The other film I can recall with Sharad Kumar is Joru Ka Ghulam, where he pretends to be Nanda’s husband to fool her parents while the real husband Rajesh Khanna pretends to be the cook.
Actors: Girish Karnad-Hema Malini
This was a film with an off-beat story and a unique cast. Hema Malini for all her ‘DreamGirl’ tag has boldly attempted to come in various off-beat films from time to time. Here she teams up with the talented Girish Karnad who plays double role. The Girish Karnad in the song is a look-alike of the Girish Karnad who is dead. The look-alike lands up in the house feigning a memory-loss and is impersonating as Hema’s husband to get his hands on the estate money. While she is the innocent victim, his guilt can be seen in this song.
R D Burman comes up with this masterpiece of a duet sung superbly by Kishoreda ansd Ashaji.
BUDDHA MIL GAYA (1971)
Actors: Navin Nischol-Archana
Director Hrishikesh Mukherjee who is known for gems like Anand, Namak Haram and Chupke Chupke decides to spin an intriguing and thrilling tale of murder and suspense in Buddha Mil Gaya. The film starred Om Prakash in a major role apart from Navin Nischol, Deven Verma and newcomer Archana.
Archana was the daughter of director Hemen Gupta who had made films like Anand Math and Kabuliwala. She acted in just three or four films and was very fortunate to have two superb evergreen songs picturized on her- a Kishore Kumar solo ‘Raat kali ik khwab mein aayi…’ and the Kishore-Asha duet chosen here ‘Bhali bhali si ek soorat…’. R D Burman’s does a brilliant job with his compositions as well as the background music.
ANAND ASHRAM (1979)
Actors: Uttam Kumar- Sharmila Tagore
This Shakti Samantha directed film could not recreate the success of his previous film Amanush which had the same actors Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. The film also starred Ashok Kumar, Rakesh Roshan and Moushmi Chatterjee.
The film’s music was given by Shyamal Mitra and this particular soft romantic duet attained phenomenal success. The name of the film is remembered to this day only because of the magic of Kishore and Asha.