He is the doyen of Bollywood romance.
She is the first lady of Hindi film music.
He lent character to Swiss Alps and chiffon sarees.
She taught a hundred leading ladies to emote.
Together they made romantic songs that transcended generations, rewrote Bollywood history. Today, every film produced under Yash Raj Films banner opens with her timeless voice.
The late showman Yash Chopra and Bollywood’s own nightingale Lata Mangeshkar weren’t just a successful duo, but a hallmark. Interestingly, the artist and his muse were born on adjacent dates – Yash Chopra on 27th September and Lata Mangeshkar on 28th September . Not bad for their fantastic status quo, we are sure.
Here’s a bunch of 25 Yash Chopra-Lata Mangeshkar love songs (ranked, if you would prefer that way):
25. Ek Duje Ke Vaaste (Dil To Pagal Hai)
Let it begin with the opening number from Yash Chopra’s 1997 blockbuster Dil To Pagal Hai. Featuring soothing vocals of Lata Mangeshkar and Hariharan, this lovely number had random couples romancing in their own characteristic ways. Wait, we also have Mr. Chopra appear with wife Pamela Chopra. Also making a rare appearance is Yash Chopra’s sister Hiroo and husband, renowned producer Yash Johar.
Today, Ek Duje Ke Waaste stands as a conservative precursor to Aditya Chopra’s daring ‘Labon Ka Karobaar‘ from upcoming Befikre. Neat!
24. Hum Chup Hai Ke Dil Sun Rahe Hai (Faasle)
The first comment on YouTube says, “Another song like this will be made in 1001 years.”. Before we deem it an exaggeration, let us be reminded that Yash Chopra, writer Shahryar and singer Kishore Kumar are no more. Composer duo Shiv-Hari split and Lata Mangeshkar has retired.
Shot in Chopra’s trademark Swiss meadows, the song is a visual delight too – featuring Farah and Rohan Kapoor in their teenage glory. A singer-performer himself, one wonders if Rohan Kapoor felt strange lip-syncing to Kishore Kumar.
23. Mujhe Tum Yaad Karna (Mashaal)
Hey, no Switzerland and costly chiffon. A rugged Anil Kapoor, elfin Rati Agnihotri, local trains, rain and sheer chemistry. An unusual commercial number from Hridayanath Mangeshkar‘s stable.
22. Kuch Bhi Karlo (Joshila)
The typical ched-chad number where the guy is trying his best to woo his ladylove. The highly westernized interludes made me quickly check whether it came from RD Burman’s music room and, boy, I was right! The usual Kishore-Lata camaraderie is dazzling as always. Not a big fan of the lyrics though.
21. Ab Chahe Maa Roothe (Daag)
This chartbusting youth festival, camp fire number had lyrics that were far cry from lovers appreciating each other’s physical beauty. Here they make a decision – together – caring for no one in this world. Sahir Ludhianvi, you were boss!
20. Dholna (Dil To Pagal Hai)
Did you know that Dil To Pagal Hai composed by Uttam Singh is the second highest selling film soundtrack in Indian film history? Released in 1997, the album was nothing short of a rage and the songs radiate freshness even today. The folksy ‘Dholna’ crooned by Lataji and the unmatchable Udit Narayan, is particularly noticeable for the peculiar flute strains and Anand Bakshi’s striking rhymes.
19. Yaad Nahi Bhool Gaya (Lamhe)
Pallloooooo….. Cootchie-cooed the unintentionally hilarious Deepak Malhotra and we laughed all the way home. This lovely Shiv-Hari track, however, has the model-actor in all his dreamboat splendour. Hariharan and Lataji take this supple romance to greater heights. Okay… let’s just sigh over Sridevi, once again!
18. Hum Aur Tum (Daag)
Switzerland again. Not that we are complaining. Laxmikant-Pyarelal spin a surreal composition that hits a melodic high as the singers go ‘Khush hai yun, aaj milke’.
The quintessential Yash Chopra number that it is, the ultra-glam Sharmila Tagore looks every bit of the idea called ‘a Yash Chopra heroine’.
17. Tum Paas Aa Rahe Ho (Veer-Zaara)
It is not an easy task ranking love songs from Veer-Zaara. Set to the late Madan Mohan’s evergreen tunes, the soundtrack had melody like very few film soundtracks. ‘Tum Pass Aa Rahe Ho’ doesn’t appear in the film, but is a fine, emotional track ditty with all Yash Chopra elements in place.
16. Tere Phoolon Jaisa Rang (Kabhi Kabhie)
Certainly not the regular romantic tune you would hear in a Yash Chopra film, ‘Tere Phoolon Jaisa Rang’ has a fast rhythm with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar catching us unaware. Not to forget Khayyam’s quirky composition and Sahir’s flawless lyrics that weren’t compromised despite the fast pace.
15. Are Re Are (Dil To Pagal Hai)
No one quite expected sexagenarian Yash Chopra to come up with an astonishingly yuppie Dil To Pagal Hai centred around a dance drama troupe. The director had his music sensibilities intact and didn’t rope in fresh names to go behind the mic. Lata Mangeshkar along with Udit Narayan hogged the inlay cards and this peppy song was a sensation. One of a kind solo debut that was, for composer Uttam Singh.
14. Tere Pyaar Ka Asra (Dhool Ka Phool)
One of the prettiest and unrewarded actors Bollywood has seen – Mala Sinha features in this track from one of Yash Chopra’s earlier hits. Lata Mangeshkar’s voice is perfect for this qawwali-esque stage number. Music by unsung veteran N. Dutta and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi complement each other beautifully.
13. Tu Mere Saamne (Darr)
With Darr, Yash Chopra told Hindi film watchers that stalking isn’t cool and if you dare, better die within Sunny Deol’s dhaai kilo ke haath. Meanwhile, Chopra didn’t deny us of a majestic soundtrack.
Swiss Alps, Shah Rukh Khan with his unbridled energy, Juhi Chawla in her chiffons, Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan behind the mic – you just have the crescendo of Bollywood romance. Tu Mere Saamne for that matter is one of Yash Chopra and Shiv-Hari duo’s biggest hits. Didn’t we catch Ranveer Singh reprise it in recent past? Such is the legacy.
12. Do Pal (Veer – Zaara)
There is Sonu Nigam. There’s the late Madan Mohan. There’s melancholy. Then there’s Lata Mangeshkar’s voice to add pathos to Javed Akhtar’s heart-wrenching lines. Result? A breakup anthem of our times.
11. Sar Se Sarke (Silsila)
A personal favourite out of all Yash Chopra love songs! Quite unlikely, isn’t it? Possibly the simplicity on screen worked for me. Jaya Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor share a silent, comfortable chemistry that didn’t quite break the screen but had a lot of feeling. Lata Mangeshkar shines in this versatile song with a fabulous chorus rendition.
10. Tere Mere Honthon Pe (Chandni)
“Akhiyon mein tu bas jaa… Ankhiyaan main bandh kar loon
Pehle in ankhiyon se… Baatein main chand kar loon”
The folk-based Tere Mere Honthon Pe is set in serene Switzerland with Sridevi giving elegance goals to Bollywood heroines. Besides Lata Mangeshkar’s honey-tinged rendition, it is Babla Mehta’s super-fresh vocals that calls for our immediate attention.
By the way, Cognac sharaab nahi hoti! 😉
9. Pyaar Kar (Dil To Pagal Hai)
Perhaps the most melodious number in the soundtrack, this grand romantic number shows the lovers (Shahrukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit) dancing away at different places, unaware of each other’s existence. A format Yash Chopra had already mastered; but manages to work every single time.
Uttam Singh clearly knew what he was doing when he adapted the song to his Malayalam soundtrack Prem Poojari. Guess what? He delivered quite a winner with the Yesudas-Chitra number ‘Aayiram Varnamayi’.
9. Kabhi Main Kahoon (Lamhe)
There’s something enigmatic about the way Lata Mangeshkar goes “Sapna mera sach ho gaya…” as the song lazily kickstarts. With rendition as powerful, we totally buy Pooja’s (Sridevi) elation on being invited for a date with the man he loves. Hariharan ably supports Lata in this classic ode to love. Needless to say, the actors elevate the impact further with their stellar chemistry.
8. Tere Chehre Se (Kabhi Kabhie)
One of the first Yash Chopra-Lata Mangeshkar classics I had ever come across, ‘Tere Chehre Se’ is indeed special, mostly thanks to Khayyam’s ethereal music. An all-out praise fest, lovers leave no stone unturned in showering the most priceless imagery for each other. Anyhow, we certainly enjoyed the gorgeous nazare of snow-capped mountains. Guilty as charged!
7. Yeh Hum Aa Gaye Hain Kahaan (Veer-Zaara)
A song that wasn’t included in Veer-Zaara’s final print, ‘Yeh Hum Aa Gaye Hain Kahan’ was rightfully added on Valentines Day 2005, roughly 3 months after the film’s initial release. After all, what is a Yash Chopra flick if not for a Switzerland trip in bright sarees?
Preity Zinta and Shahrukh Khan do justice to Lata Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan’s blazing chemistry and gifts us a melody that is supremely easy of ears. Madan Mohan, after all.
6. Dil To Pagal Hai (Dil To Pagal Hai)
A song that was on everyone’s lips. Classes, masses, kids and elders – there wasn’t a song that could well have the song of the season, of the year. No wonder, Uttam Singh comfortably wooed the award juries and bagged every trophy in a year that saw stiff competition from Anu Malik’s Border.
Must say, Akshay Kumar’s brief cameo had us in smiles!
5. Aap Ki Mehki Hui (Trishul)
Trishul’s opening song – ‘Aap Ki Mehki Hui’ has Sanjeev Kumar go all the way appreciating Waheeda Rehman and (thankfully) she is modest enough to chide him away.
“Ek hum hi nahi sab dekhnewale tumko
Sange marmar pe likhi shokh ghazal kehte hain…
Aisi baatein karo… aisi baatein na karo jinka yakeen mushkil
Aisi tareef ko niyat ka khalal kehte hain…”
And yes! God of music, thy name is Yesudas. Hear this celestial Khayyam melody yourself and don’t complain it ends so soon.
4. Dekha Ek Khwab (Silsila)
Yash Chopra gave Switzerland a break and hit The Netherlands’ Keukenhof and shot this dreamy song amidst famous blooming tulips.
Be Javed Akhtar’s poetry or Shiv-Hari’s eclectic composition, Dekha Ek Khwab had everything that didn’t let the location overpower the voices (Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar) and the actors on screen (Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha). If this ain’t classic, nothing else is.
3. Tere Liye (Veer-Zaara)
Truly… standing out like in times of popcorn music was something only the late Madan Mohan could have managed. ‘Tere Liye’ is one evocative number, placed thoughtfully in the film is elevated further by Javed Akhtar’s lyrics that speak about good-old values, memories, judgments and unrequited love. With Lata Mangeshkar and Roop Kumar Rathod’s voices, the song was a sure-shot chart topper and faith in contemporary listeners was restored. How we wish the composer-director duo had collaborated when the former was alive!
2. Kabhi Kabhie (Kabhi Kabhie)
In what could possibly be the greatest Bollywood love song of all times, the title song of Kabhi Kabhie misses the top slot only because it was Mukesh’s solo version that sent the nation on a bigger romantic trance. Nevertheless, this melancholic duet with Mukesh is not one bit inferior. So much so we wish there existed a solo version by Lataji. There’s love, pathos, an expressive Rakhee and tonnes of poignant emotions. Khayyam’s composition and Sahir Ludhianvi’s poetry do not need any more praise, do they?
1. Yeh Kahaan Aa Gaye Hum (Silsila)
Aaah! One that gets everything single thing right. A song that sets new standards for Bollywood love songs, every single time it is played. Rekha, Amitabh Bachchan and some shimmering poetry sets tone to this evergreen ballad. Switzerland and chiffon, in all honesty, is rendered insignificant by this legendary Shiv-Hari-Javed Akhtar composition.
Honorary mentions: Badal Pe Chalke Aa (Vijay), Mehbooba (Chandni), Baahon Mein Teri (Kaala Patthar) and Jaane Kyon (Veer-Zaara)