Planet Bollywood
Barsaat (Old)
Producer: RK Films
Director: Raj Kapoor
Starring: Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Nimmi
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi
Audio On: HMV-Saregama    Number of Songs: 10
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 10.0 / 10
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Chances are if you ever picked up a remix album recently or even listened to a retro soundtrack you’ve heard a song from Raj Kapoor’s “Baarsaat”. In the years where three or four Barsaat titled films followed, the one and only original has not only excellent and superlative tunes, but tunes that can honestly suffice to say that it is probably the only Barsaat (film wise and music wise) anyone would truly remember.

Shankar Jaikishen in their maiden venture composed truly classical tunes but most of all solos for lead singer, Lata Mangeshkar. In doing so they were able to solidify themselves for years to come as truly excellent musicians in just their first effort. Furthermore they were able to utilize a young vocalist that would grow to heights beyond imagination. Setting a standard for Hindi musicals, the commanding soundtrack features ten tunes of which nine are sung by Lata, seven of which she is singing by herself!

The best and the most memorable (and probably most abused by remix artists today) is “Hawa Mein Udata Jaye”. As many “Dupatta” sings that hit the marquee year after year one wonders if any composer could actually make this one as it is, a romantic solo which is soft, breezy and eloquent. This ‘new’ style of music as it was back then was different in that its focus changed from doldrums and backdrop to the orchestrated pieces which placed the song together. The dholak was a compliment to the song rather than the definition. And Lata’s soft and sweeten vocals only drove the song to perfection further. This red scarf has truly been blowing through since the soundtrack premiered.

Lata Mangeshkar and the new found melody continued with the 1-2-3, “Jiya Bekaraar Hai”. Clearly female solos could never reach the heights that these tunes reached then, and certainly not now. Similarly so, in “Tujhe Kisise Pyaar Ho Gaya” a literally dense song, Lata Mangeshkar shows her prowess at work. Forget the lyrics; the irresistible part is her soft rendition of “hooo oooh…” This beautiful love song is picturized on a young Nargis singing to Raj Kapoor.

The title track “Barsaat Mile” is probably the most average song on the album while still being a good composition Lata’s lone appearance followed the threads of many female solos.

Patli Kamar Hai” is a playful song which is sweet and is enlightened by the Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar’s compliment vocals. Where Mukesh is distinctly empowering Lata displays the characters sincere innocence with immense conviction. The lyrics for this oft remembered Raj Kapoor song have been recycled and almost idolized after this tune many times thereafter but the syrupy tune which is back dropped by an irresistible dholak can obviously never be replicated.

Mohammad Rafi features in his own solo with typical lyrics of the young man with high aspirations. “Main Zindagi Main Hardam” is an average song for which Mukesh has song many akin to thereafter. Pleasant but quite obviously not meant to overshadow a soundtrack meant to highlight the female vocalist alone.

The flute and its essential role in Indian heritage come to life musically in “Meri Aankhon Mein Bas Gaye”. The flute and Lata Mangeshkar combine to create a gem of female distress. “Bichde Hue Pardesi” is another emotional female tune for Mangeshkar following the same theme as the former.

Lata Mangeshkar steps into bhajan form in “Ab Mera Kaun Sahara” a solemn song sung just as dark and musky by Lata Mangeshkar. Following the mood is “Chod Gaya Balam”, the only duet on the soundtrack featuring Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. The song has a tango feel to it keeping the solemn romantic mood alive, a lot of which Mukesh contributes to.

Barsaat is ideally one of Hindi cinema’s best soundtracks, a point of reference with the launching of the cinema’s best female vocalist ever and a golden gem of some of the industry’s priceless and popular tunes. Rain is often forgotten once it stops, and perhaps that is why the title, “Barsaat” has been so frequently used thereafter. But this monsoon shower has proven that golden droplets are always going to shine years, over fifty in fact, and counting and will probably always remain for the many ‘Barsaat’ titles that we may endure in the years to come.

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