Melodious Mavericks - Jatin Lalit
Jatin-Lalit , along with AR Rahman, must be credited for reviving the fortunes of Hindi film music in the 1990s – the brothers composed numbers in some of the greatest musical successes of that decade and even later
The decade of 1990s truly belonged to music director duos. They dominated film music and were responsible for bringing back melody to Bollywood. They were Anand Miland, Nadeem Shravan and Jatin Lalit.
Jatin Lalit were the fourth music duo after Husanlal Bhagat Ram, Kalyanji Anandji and Anand Miland – and like them, they were real brothers.
Anand Miland were the sons of film composer Chitragupt. Nadeem Shravan had no connection in the industry while Jatin Lalit belonged to a famous music Gharana. They were born to Pandit Tej Narayan of Mewati Gharana in the village Pili Mandori in Hisar, Haryana. The doyen of Mewati Gharana is legendary Pt. Jasraj – he is the brother of Tej Narayan and uncle of Jatin Lalit.
Pandit Tej Narayan had a large family of four sons and three daughters. He would train his children, except his youngest son Lalit. He wanted him to study and do something else, rather than making a career in singing. Lalit's elder brothers Mandhir and Jatin were trained by their father as were his two daughters Sulakshna and Vijeta Pandit, who became actor-singers and acted in several Jubilee films. Vijeta Pandit was the poster girl of 1980s along with Kumar Gaurav (son of Rajendra 'Jubilee' Kumar). Vijeta Pandit later got married to music composer Adesh Srivastava, who gave several hit numbers like Haathon mein aa gaya jo kal rummal apka (Kumar Sanu) in the film Aao Pyaar Karen (1994), Kya ada kya jalwa tere paro (Udit Narayan) in Shastra (1996), the eponymous title song of Salma Pe Dil Aa Gaya (Asha Bhonsle, Amit Kumar and Udit Narayan, 1997) to mention a few. Sadly, his career ended with his sudden demise after a cardiac attack.
Lalit Pandit had finished his board exams from Panchgani and came back to Bombay. After seeing the successful career of his brothers and sisters, Lalit decided to opt for music. He learned music from Pyaralal of Laxmikant Pyarelal fame. Jatin had already given music in some films with his elder brother Mandhir. When he saw his brother's growing interest in music they formed a team and started working as Jatin Lalit.
Jatin Lalit made their debut with film Yaara Dildara in 1991, starring Aasif Seikh and Ruchika Pandey. It was a low budget film with one dulcet number Bin tere sanam (Udit Narayan/Kavita Krishnamurthy). With their debut film, the duo went on to become melody composers with Anand Miland and Nadeem Shravan. Jatin Lalit were greatly inspired by composer R D Burman and started attending all rehearsals and recordings of Panchamda. They were so enamoured by Panchamda that often, they would go attend the shooting where Pancham songs were being picturised.
They got to face the camera in Yaadon ki Baaraat of producer-director Nasir Hussain. They were seen with Aamir Khan as child artist in the song sequence of Yaadon ki Baaraat nikli hai aaj (Lata Mangeshkar/Padmini Kolhapure/Sushma Shrestha) in 1973. The duo was also seen in Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander in the song sequence Hum se hai sara jahan (Sadhna Sargam/Jatin Pandit) in 1992. In the scene, Jatin was seen singing a song with a girl while Lalit was playing the bass guitar!
Jatin Lalit came on the scene with film Khiladi in 1992 starring Akshay Kumar, Deepak Tijori and Ayesha Julkha. The hit numbers of Khiladi were Wada raha sanam (Abhijeet/ Alka Yagnik).
Mansoor Khan of Qamayat Se Qamayat fame was fascinated by the background score so much that he signed Jatin Lalit for his next film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander in (1992) starring Aamir Khan and Ayesha Julkha. The music was immensely liked by younger generations and its most iconic number was Pehla nasha (Udit Narayan/ Sadhna Sargam). With this song, Jatin Lalit started getting offers from big banners. In the same year, they scored music for Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. The film was produced by G P Sippy and Vivek Waswani (co-producer) and directed by Aziz Mirza. The film was a romantic comedy starring Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Nana Patekar and Amrita Singh. It earned great commercial success in the box office. The numbers which became popular were title track Raju ban gaya gentleman (Kumar Sanu, Jolly Mukherjee, Sudesh Bhonsle and Sadhna Sargam), Kya hua….dekho isko laveria hua (Kumar Sanu, Jolly Mukharjee and Alka Yagnik) and Tu mere saath saath (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). The film was released in Japan in 1997 giving a great boost to the Hindi film industry. After hits like Khiladi, Jo Jeeta Wahi Shikandar and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Jatn Lalit never looked back. Witnessing the popularity of this duo, Yash Raj Banner invited them to score music for their film Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1996) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It was the debut film of Yash Chopra's elder son Aditya Chopra as director. The film broke all records and ran for six years in a single theatre in Bombay.
Yash Chopra also gave a break to music duo Shiv Hari (Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, the santoor maestro and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, the greatest flutist in our time). Shiv Hari made best use of the pahari style of music in Yash Raj's films. Jatin Lalit gave another twist to the Pahari style in numbers like Tujhe dekha to ye jana sanam (Kumar Sanu, Lata), Ho gaya hai tujhko to pyaar sajna (Lata, Udit Narayan) which became the most iconic romantic numbers of the film. Zara sa jhoom lun main (Asha, Abhijeet) and Mere khwabon mein jo aayein had the rhythmic pattern of their role model R D Burman. Jatin Lalit also composed hit wedding songs in Mehndi laga ke rakhna (Lata, Udit Narayan) and Ghar aa jaa pardesi (Pamela Chopra, Manjeet Kaur and Chorus).
Melodious numbers of Jatin Lalit were most popular in that decade. They never compromised with the quality of music. In the 1990s they became the most sought after composers for melodies. They gave music in nearly 70 films with some celebrating jubilees with their unforgettable melodies. Some of these were Fareb (1996) starring Faraaz Khan, Suman Rangnathan and Milind Gunagi and its number Ye teri aankhen jhuki jhuki (Abhijeet), Aankhon se dil mein utarke and Pyaar ka pehla pehla (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). There was also Khamoshi: The Musical (1996) starring Salman Khan, Nana Patekar and Manisha Koirala which had iconic numbers, Bahon ke darmiyan (Alka, Hariharan) and Aaj mein uper asman neeche (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Kumar Sanu). Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya (1998) starring Salman Khan, Arbaaz Khan and Kajol was another hit, particularly its song O o jane jana (Kamaal Khan) and Deewana mein chala (Udit Narayan).
Their next musical Ghulam (1998) starring Aamir Khan and Rani Mukherjee had the carefree peppy number Aati kya khandala (Aamir Khan, Alka Yagnik), Aankhon se tune ye kya keh diya (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik). Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) Karan Johar's debut film as director starring Kajol, Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee is remembered as an icon. Its songs Kuch kuch hota hai (Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik), Koi mil gaya (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnuk, Udit Narayan), Sajanji ghar aaye (Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu) and Ladki badi anjani hai(Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik) became very popular but sadly they couldn't create the same magic touch.
Their next hit was Sarfarosh (1999) starring Aamir Khan and Sonali Bendre. It had a qawwali style number Zindagi maut na ban jaye (Roop Kumar Rathore, Sonu Nigam) and the heartfelt ghazal, Hoshwalon ko khabar kya (Jagjit Singh); it also had Is deewane ladke ko (Alka Yagnik, Aamir Khan) and Jo haal dil ka (Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik).
Jatin Lalit went on giving musical hits in the new millennium also. Their hits were Yash Chopra's Mohabbatein (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Hum Tum (2004) and Fanaa (2006). Mohabbatein starring Amitabh Bachahan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had haunting melodies Humko humise se chura lo and Zinda rahti hai unki mohabbatein (Lata Mangeshkar, Udit Narayan).
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was a multistarrer directed by Karan Johar. Its star cast included Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Jaya Bachchan. They gave number of hits such as title track Kabhi khushi kabhie gham (Lata Mangeshkar), Bole chudiyan (Kavita Karishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Amit Kumar) and Ye ladka hai allah (Alka, Udit Narayan).
Hum Tum starring Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee witnessed a new style of singing in Ladki kyun… (Shaan, Alka Yagnik) composed by this maverick duo but its soft notes number Sanson ko sanson me (Babul Supriyo, Alka Yagnik) became extremely popular. Fanaa had seven numbers composed by Jatin Lalit but the songs Chand Sifarish (Shaan/Kailash Kher) and Mere haath mein (Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sulaiman Merchant, Kajol, Aamir Khan) were the most popular. Fanaa was the last film which carried the credits of Jatin Lalit. Their partnership came apart after this movie and they decided to work separately.
Jatin Lalit were nominated 11 times for the Filmfare. Although their films got several awards in various categories they were unlucky to never win a single trophy for their music. Lalit Pandit was asked by Arbaaz Khan to compose an item number for his film Dabangg starring Salman Khan and Sonakshi Sinha. This iconic song Munni badnaam hui was sung by Mamta Sharma and Aishwarya, both of who were discovered by Lalit Pandit. This number became a smashing hit in 2010. The song was also written by Lalit himself and won him several awards as a lyricist-composer.