Love Anthems for debutant stars

Salman Khan and Bhagyashree in Maine Pyar Kiya, one of the iconic love stories of Hindi cinema. Photo: Publicity Photo 

It has been a tradition for decades now: when a new lead pair starts out together, they usually begin with a romantic film—and oftener than not a musical one. And there is at least one duet that becomes like an anthem.

Major new stars making a mark together was a phenomenon really seen for the first time in the 1946 moderate success Neel Kamal that saw the debuts of Raj Kapoor with Madhubala (then named Mumtaz!) and the 1940s siren and top name Begum Para. Then came Joy Mukerji and Sadhana debuting in the 1960 Love In Simla followed by the 1970 Navin Nischal-Rekha film Sawan Bhadon, which did good and excellent business respectively.

But the trend of great music associated with big stars began with Bobby in 1973 and went all the way to Heropanti in 2014. After this, there has been lull, despite some cases where new pairs were launched together but did not make any impact, forget having a memorable or chartbuster duet.

Here are 11 love duets that became anthems for major stars in their films.

Hum tum ek kamre mein band ho (Bobby /1973)

To say that this peppy love duet created a national sensation would be an understatement. Anand Bakshi’s naughty lines in the innocent early ‘70s were just bold enough to be on the right side of what was propriety then. The song had a Choli ke peeche kind of innocent twist in the words of the question-answer mukhda, 20 years before he wrote that song: if the two got locked up in a room, they would get lost in the maze of each other’s eyes! Shailendra Singh was instantly identified as the voice of Rishi Kapoor, and Lata Mangeshkar sounded as young as the teenage Dimple Kapadia.

The film had an all-hit Laxmikant-Pyarelal score that contributed hugely to its mammoth success, with two more duets filmed on the lead pair, Aksar koi ladki iss haal mein and Jhoot bole kauwa kaate (this, later, became an equal rage). These songs consolidated the Teenage Icon label on Rishi Kapoor, and would have done the same for Dimple, had she not quit then and married the then-icon of romance, Rajesh Khanna!

Yaad aa rahi hai (Love Story/1981)

Amit Kumar, who had once been considered for Raj Kapoor’s Bobby, got a major break when Raj’s friend Rajendra Kumar cast him as son Kumar Gaurav’s first voice. Here again, it was Lata Mangeshkar for the young heroine, Vijayta Pandit, and Bakshi was again there to pen the catchy lines. The R.D. Burman song also had a sad solo version, and there was another Lata-Amit popular track, Dekho maine dekha hai.

Tere mere beech mein (Ek Duuje Ke Liye/1981)

This was a humdinger that made Raag Shivranjani famous for over a decade in Hindi films, thanks to its distinct pitching. S.P. Balasubramaniam and Lata Mangeshkar (again) sang two other duets, including the title-song and Hum tum dono jab mil jayenge. The all-hit score was brilliant, but this song towered above them all. In the 1980s, whatever Laxmikant-Pyarelal did, other composers followed, and SPB was thus associated with Kamal Haasan in later films as well.

Jab hum jawan honge (Betaab/1983)

Dharmendra, in his own words, would have loved Mohammed Rafi to be the first voice for his son Sunny Deol. But Rafi was no longer around, and Shabbir Kumar was making waves, having recorded for Amitabh Bachchan in Coolie and Anil Kapoor in Woh 7 Din. And so, R.D. Burman, for once, went the Rafi way and with Anand Bakshi’s fab words, fashioned an all-hit Rafi-ian score. Lata Mangeshkar, became the voice of choice for Amrita Singh.

Tu mera jaanu hai (Hero/1983)

The Laxmikant-Pyarelal-Anand Bakshi score not only created the hype for the new hero Jackie Shroff and the one-flop-old Meenakshi Seshadri, but also made the film sail through the initial two weeks when it opened and remained dull at the b-o. Later, Hero was to emerge as 1983’s second biggest blockbuster, with the music giving a new lease of life to singer Manhar and consolidated big-time for Anuradha Paudwal. Manhar and Jackie became an enduring team for a decade and more, and his deeply sonorous and intense voice was the perfect match for the tough Greek god-like hunk.

Ae mere humsafar (Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak/1988)

The instant chartbuster may have been Papa kehte hain here, but there were three Udit Narayan-Alka Yagnik duets in the film, and among these, the placid Ae mere humsafar was the popular and enduring winner. Udit Narayan was established as the prime voice of Aamir Khan, and Alka Yagnik began rising swiftly to the top among the female voices of the post-Lata generation. This time, an even more senior lyricist called the young shots—Majrooh Sultanpuri—working with young composers Anand-Milind.

Dil deewana (Maine Pyar Kiya/1989)

S.P. Balasubramaniam finally made a mark as the voice of a Mumbai star in this Salman Khan-Bhagyashree launch. Lata Mangeshkar was the “vocal and very young” heroine’s singer, and another veteran lyricist, Asad Bhopali, wrote most of the peppy songs, with Dev Kohli coming in for two hits, including the solo title-track. Raamlaxman composed this all-hit epic score. And Salman Khan’s initially languorous lover-boy image probably had a lot to do with SPB’s mellifluous and placid voice that endured for at least six more films for him, including Love, Saajan, Patthar Ke Phool and Hum Aapke Hain Koun!… .

Jaan-e-jigar jaaneman (Aashiqui /1990)

This Nadeem-Shravan-Sameer creation led the other songs on the popularity charts initially in this all-hit-and-many-duets score, while Nazar ke saamne won the longevity race. It was no fault of the composers or lyricists that lead pair Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal did not make it, but this music created history and established Kumar Sanu as the supreme male singer for a long while. Anuradha Paudwal improved upon her ‘80s success. And for the record, Sanu remained the voice of Rahul Roy in some more movies, including the musical tele-film Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi.

Dheere dheere pyar ko (Phool Aur Kaante/1991)

Nadeem-Shravan and Sameer with their favorite pair of Sanu-Alka created a fluid duet for Ajay Devgn and Madhoo in their debut super-hit. The other songs did well too. Madhoo did not have a great career, and it was left to Sanu to remain Ajay Devgn’s prime voice for a long time. 

Kaho naa pyaar hai (Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai/2000)

Udit Narayan’s effervescence and Alka Yagnik’s ebullience seemed tailor-made for the vibrant and uninhibited newbie pair of Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel. A mood composition with perfect orchestration and lyrics by Ibrahim Ashq set to rollicking music from Hrithik’s uncle Rajesh Roshan helped his dream debut with this super-hit album. Though four voices were tried out for Hrithik in this film, it was Udit’s young tenor that helped established Hrithik’s persona as an iconic, youthful hero. The association has got a flip now with Super 30 (2019)!

Raat bhar jaaye na ghar (Heropanti /2014)

Though not an ‘anthem’ really, this Tiger Shroff-Kriti Sanon duet remains the latest of the hit duets of newcomers starting out together. Sajid-Wajid composed the love ditty sung by Arijit Singh and Shreya Ghoshal.









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