Sharda: The ‘Titli’s Top Ten

Singer Sharda was the first to make a mark in the long Lata-Asha reign. Photo: Publicity Photo 

Sharda Rajan Iyengar, popularly known as Sharda, passed away on June 14 in Mumbai of cancer. She was 89.

The Raj Kapoor discovery (at a party in Teheran in Iran!) was introduced by him in Mumbai to Shankar-Jaikishan and got her first break in what ironically turned out to be her most popular song, Titli udi from Suraj (1966). Though she sang rarely for other music directors (Usha Khanna, Ravi, Gujarati big name Avinash Vyas), all her (many) hit songs were composed by Shankar-Jaikishan. She lent her voice for actresses from Vyjayanthimala, Nanda, Sharmila Tagore, Saira Banu and Helen to Mumtaz, Hema Malini, Rekha, Rati Agnihotri and Smita Patil.

However, she also composed music for six films (including Maila aanchal, Mandir Masjid and Garibi Hatao) and scored music for non-film albums of diverse genres like pop (Sizzlers) and ghazal (Andaz-e-Bayan Aur). She also wrote lyrics for two films composed by Shankar after Jaikishan’s death—Garam Khoon and Chorni, using the name ‘Singhar’.

Here are her Top Ten songs.

Accha hi hua dil toot gaya / Mohammed Rafi / Maa Bahen Aur Biwi 1974

This is a song composed by Sharda. Sharda’s singers, in her brief tenure as film composer ranged from giants—Mukesh, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor and Suman Kalyanpur also to later ace voices like Anuradha Paudwal, Yesudas, Suresh Wadkar and Shabbir Kumar. Rafi sang for most of her films, but this song remains among his underrated classics in the 1970s when he was supposed to be “down”! It was filmed without lip-sync on Kabir Bedi.

Chale jaana zaraa thehero / With Mukesh / Around the World 1967

India’s first 70 mm film had this classic that was chronologically in her first film starring mentor Raj Kapoor. And while Mukesh was his voice, Sharda sang all the songs in the movie for his heroine Rajshree.

Dekho mera dil machal gaya / Suraj 1966

While Titli udi stole the show, this song, compositionally, was arguably superior. What’s more, the tune was classier and the Vyjayanthimala-enacted song very popular.

Duniya issi ka naam hai / With Mukesh / Duniya 1969

This time, both Mukesh and Sharda sang for junior artistes who were mendicants in a train. But this title-song was an exquisitely smooth creation that was penned by S.H. Bihari as a masterpiece in philosophy.

Duniya ki sair kar lo / Around the World 

This was the title-song of this opus that sadly flopped at the box-office. It used the hook “Around the world in eight dollars” as this sum of money (or its equivalent) was the maximum amount of currency Indians were allowed to carry abroad during the time. Those were the times when only a few were privileged enough to even have that sum!

Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai / With Mohammed Rafi / Seema  1971

Largely filmed in the background (again) on the now-global star Kabir Bedi as well as Simi Garewal (for whom Sharda did part lip-synch), this song has stood the test of time.

Kisi ke dil ko sanam / Kal Aaj Aur Kal 1971

Sharda’s only song as it turned out, for mentor Raj Kapoor’s production after her recorded song for Mera Naam Joker was axed. This twinkle-toed melody was filmed on leading lady Babita.

Le jaa le jaa le jaa mera dil / An Evening in Paris 1968

Sharmila Tagore, in a dual role, enacted this song for the gray character she played among the twin sisters. The dance was shot lavishly, showing a club in Paris, on an ornate set, and the music was lavishly orchestrated to fit the “international” club song.

Titli udi / Suraj

The song that marked her smash entry into cinema. Sadly, none of her many hits to come could match the sheer love this song got—and continues to get over five decades after the film’s release!

Tum pyar se dekho / With Mukesh / Sapnon Ka Saudagar  1969

This sober duet was filmed on Raj Kapoor and Hema Malini, making her debut. Sharda was the future Dream Girl’s first playback voice along with Lata Mangeshkar.





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