Lata Mangeshkar sang only one song for Guru Dutt’s entire repertoire. Here’s why

Written By: Subhash K Jha
New Delhi Updated: Feb 06, 2022, 10:57 AM(IST)

Lata Mangeshkar Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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In Guru Dutt’s cinema, it was always his wife Geeta Dutt doing all the main vocals.

Every filmmaker worth anything valuable swore by the voice of Lata Mangeshkar. No wonder the great and indefatigable Dev Anand once told me, “Until there is  Lata in the soundtrack the film doesn’t seem complete. Can you imagine what 'Hum Dono' or 'Guide' would have been without her voice?”

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However, there was one filmmaker who could not/did not work with the Nightingale through most of his cinema, and that was Guru Dutt. In none of his magnum opuses from 'Pyasa' to  'Kagaz Ke Phool' to 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam' and 'Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi' will you find the life-giving vocals of Lata Mangeshkar.

In Guru Dutt’s cinema, it was always his wife Geeta Dutt doing all the main vocals.

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This was a bone of contention for legendary composer Sachin Dev Burman who had once said, ‘As long as I have Lata  I’ve nothing to worry about.’

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In Guru Dutt’s 'Pyasa' and 'Kagaz Ke Phool' Burman Dada had to work without Lataji. In 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam' composer, Hemant  Kumar too faced the same situation, though he used Asha Bhosle’s voice for  Waheeda Rehman while Geeta Dutt sang all those haunting memorabilia for Meena  Kumari since Geeta wouldn’t sing for Waheeda(who was rumoured to be in a relationship with the filmmaker.

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Only in 'Chaudhvin Ka Chand' did Lataji get to sing her one and only song in Guru Dutt’s cinema. The song  'Badle badle mere sarkaar nazar aate hain' was composed by Ravi Sharma who insisted on Lataji singing the number, as he felt only she could justice to it.

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