Happy Birthday Yash Chopra

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By: Omair Alavi

Yash Chopra’s name always appears in Bollywood’s category for Best Director, in Top 5 if not at the top. The maestro was one of the few people who tried every genre and excelled in all kinds of films be it social, romantic, next-gen, action and even suspense. However, it were the songs of his films that got worldwide attention, as he worked with all the big names and delivered hits after hits from the late 50s till his untimely death in 2012. Let’s take a look at 15 of his most memorable songs – one from each hit preferably except Silsila and Chandni that had superior soundtrack – on what would have been his 85th birthday.

Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen
Film: Waqt (1965)
Music: Composed by Afghani maestro Abdul Ghafoor Breshna
Singer: Manna Dey
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Possibly the first multi-starrer in Bollywood, Waqt was way ahead of its times in every way. It gave other producers hope that they can also make films with an ensemble cast whereas it also introduced the lost-and-found formula in Bollywood. This song was pivotal to the plot since it is soon after this song that an earthquake divides the entire family of parents and their 3 kids.

Mere Dil Main Aaj Kia Hai
Film: Daag (1973)
Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal
Singer: Kishore Kumar
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Daag was Yash Chopra’s first film under his own Yash Raj banner – people believe that they Raj in YRF was Rajesh Khanna who agreed to work in the film for no fee. This song has stood the test of times due to its melody, lyrics and of course, Rajesh Khanna.

Keh Doon Tumhein
Film: Deewar (1975)
Music: RD Burman
Singers: Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle
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Deewar is considered the film that elevated Amitabh Bachchan to the Angry Young Man status; however, it is the younger brother played by Shashi Kapoor here who sings his heart out with Neetu Singh in this wonderful number.

Kabhi Kabhie
Film: Kabhi Kabhie (1976)
Music: Khayyam
Singer: Mukesh
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And here it was Amitabh Bachchan playing a romantic poet in what can be termed as one of the most popular songs in Bollywood. The film went onto be a huge hit and helped Amitabh Bachchan achieve superstardom due to his diverse acting skills.

Ek Raasta Hai Zindagi
Film: Kaala Patthar (1979)
Music: Rakesh Roshan
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
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If someone asks you to point out a song, where the hero is riding a bike, which is the first song that comes to your mind? This one from Kaala Patthar where Shashi Kapoor is going to his office for the first time, not knowing what horror awaits him and his men who are working in coal mines that are ticking bombs.

Yeh Kahaan Aagaye Hum
Film: Silsila (1981)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singers: Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar
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Yash Chopra entered the 80s with a memorable track, thanks to the composition of Shiv – Hari who continued to be part of the YRF camp until the 90s. In this song, Amitabh narrates some lines while Rekha lip-syncs to Lata’s vocals; Javed Akhtar couldn’t have asked for a better debut as a lyricist as this number remains popular despite being nearly 4 decades old.

Dekha Ek Khwaab
Film: Silsila (1981)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
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This is the song that made Yash Chopra fall in love with mountains and meadows that went on to be known as the signature Yash Raj style; Amitabh and Rekha play the eternal lovers here who are divide by marriage with others. The locations, the flowers, and the surroundings are sure to make you fall in love!

Zindagi Aa Raha Hoon Main
Film: Mashaal (1984)
Music: Hridaynath Mangeshkar
Singer: Kishore Kumar
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This is where Dilip Kumar made his entry as in YRF camp along with a young Anil Kapoor; the film focused on social issues with both Anil Kapoor and Dilip Kumar giving one of their finest performances. This song has Anil Kapoor returning to his town after completing his education; he used to be a tapori before being convinced of his higher calling.

Mere Haathon Mein
Film: Chandni (1989)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
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Combine Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals, Sridevi’s dance steps and Shiv – Hari’s compositions and you get a classic shaadi song that no one has forgotten about in 30 years. This song also reminded one of Ladki Hai Ya Shola number where Rekha danced her heart out in front of Amitabh Bachchan and romance blossomed.

Lagi Aaj Saawan
Film: Chandni (1989)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singers: Suresh Wadekar, Anupama Deshpande
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Vinod Khanna was in reminiscence mode in this song where Suresh Wadekar assumed the leading position as male vocalist in Bollywood, especially after the death of Kishore Kumar a few years back. Both Juhi Chawla and Sridevi look lovely in saris as one past flame, the other future one.

Kabhi Main Kahoon
Film: Lamhe (1991)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Hariharan
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Anil Kapoor and Sridevi were at their best in this film where the leading man was first in love with an older woman and was later the older man in the life of the same woman’s daughter from another man. The soundtrack featured gems from Shiv – Hari that sound relevant even today.

Jaadoo Teri Nazar
Film: Darr (1993)
Music: Shiv – Hari
Singer: Udit Narayan
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Only Yash Chopra could have used a song as haunting and lovable at the same time in a film; Juhi Chawla looks ravishing here, as do Udit Narayan’s mesmerizing vocals. Shah Rukh Khan was not the hero of the film but he gained recognition and stardom from playing the guy who couldn’t say Kiran without stammering.

Dil Toh Pagal Hai
Film: Dil Toh Pagal Hai (1997)
Music: Uttam Singh
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan
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For some, this is perhaps the most melodious soundtrack Yash Chopra produced but I believe its good, not the best – Yash ji has done better. In the title track of the film, Lata and Udit croon for Madhuri – Akshay and Karisma – SRK making it a memorable track for all.

Main Yahan Hoon
Film: Veer – Zaara (2004)
Music: Madan Mohan
Singer: Udit Narayan
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Yash Chopra brought legendary music composer Madan Mohan’s unused melodies back to life after 20 years, in what was his last released film during his lifetime. In this song, Udit Narayan experiments with his vocals to give the effect of a lover who has lost the battle but not the war. Even after 13 years, the song looks fresher than any song from the current music chart.

Film: Veer – Zaara (2004)
Music: Madan Mohan
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Roop Kumar Rathod
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Veer – Zaara had many memorable numbers but this one is special since it unites the two lovers after many years; Roop Kumar Rathod brings excellence to the song that also featured Lata Mangeshkar. Yash Chopra filmed it in what was shown a Pakistani Court and keeps everything simple, yet elegant.

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Story first published: 27th September 2017

Originally Posted on SamaaNews

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