BR Chopra wanted his film, "Nikaah", to showcase his singer-turned-actress,
Salma Agha. The film had to show off her singing abilities as well as her acting. Surprisingly, Ravi┬┤s favourite, Asha Bhosle, only has one song here and it shows Ravi┬┤s loyalty to, and trust in, BR Chopra. However, Ravi did not forget one of his other favorite artists- Mahendra Kapoor. The magic of Ravi-Mahendra Kapoor-BR Chopra had become legendary since Mahendra gave many of his best songs under this banner.
Salma Agha and Mahendra Kapoor join forces in their only duet in the album, "Dil Ki Yeh Arzoo Thi Koi Dilruba Mile". The soft voices of the singers meld together in the track that has a mellow mood to it. It is mellow because the man believes he has met his true love and is anxious to not let go. A chance at happiness seems to be drifting away because of the girl┬┤s reluctance to trust again after a recent heartbreak.
Hassan Kamaal acutely sums up her thoughts in one line, "Ab tak jo bhi dost mile, bewafa mile!". Mahendra triumphantly emotes the complex feelings of love and insecurity through his soft whispering voice, a voice that conveys a longing and desire.
What always touches my heart is the way the song, "Dil Ke Armaan", opens up. Salma murmurs, "Dil ke armaan ansuon main beh gaye...". Such a murmur breaks a wall of silence. Even though it is quiet, the way she renders that line is still earth shattering. A voice is being given to an emotion that has been building up inside and is now flowing away in tears. The whole song is very moving and Salma is just excellent.
Salma Agha┬┤s sole line is probably the only highlight in the wedding song "Chehra Chupa Liya Hai Kisi Ne Hijaab Main" despite the fact that the main singers are Asha Bhosle and Mahendra Kapoor. Asha does her best yet one can┬┤t help but notice how Ravi made Salma sing one line at the climax of the song. Therefore Salma┬┤s voice leaves a more memorable stamp with her line,
"Yeh jhooth hai ke tumne hamein pyar kiya hai, Humne tumhein zulfon main giraftaar kiya hai". Asha repeats the same line afterwards but it does not have any impact as it seems like she is shouting along with the loud orchestration (no music is played during Salma┬┤s brief presence). Overall, this is an inconsistent track with some moments of brilliance.
Ravi┬┤s mastery over music is best demonstrated in "Fiza Bhi Hai Jawan Jawan, Hawa Bhi Hai Rawan Rawan". The lyrics are about seasons changing and telling a story. "Suna raha hai yeh sama sooni sooni si dastaan," hums Salma. The instruments used impersonate the atmosphere of the changing seasons. Listening to it, you almost feel as if you are standing in the doorway of a train carriage, with the wind blowing in your face. And you are being taken somewhere but there is apprehensiveness about the change in your life. Once again, Salma does not let you down with her vivid voice that expresses the poignant emotions.
Mahendra Kapoor gets the opportunity to tell his side of the story in his solo, "Beete Hue Lamhon Ki Kasak Saath To Hogi". His idol┬┤s influence (Mohammad Rafi) can be found in the way he sings here but still Mahendra is excellent. While he is sometimes inspired by Rafi, his strength has always been the fact that he has developed his own style and trait. The final song is by Ghulam Ali, "Chupke Chupke Raat Din Ansoon Bahaana Yaad Hai". This number is a nice change from the rest of the album; it is something a little different. Ghulam Ali has a soothing and calm voice that befits the title of the song. It is a sterling track that rounds off the album nicely.
Even though it is quite obvious that Ravi had let Salma dominate the album of "Nikaah", there was still a controversy that he was quite annoyed with BR Chopra┬┤s insistence on using this singer. He may not have been impressed with her but the public definitely was as her songs went on to be big hits. Mahendra Kapoor and Ghulam Ali also scored huge in the album. Only Asha Bhosle lost out and that may have irked Ravi slightly. Nevertheless, "Nikaah" is a superlative album with evergreen numbers.