Mumbai: It was a casual question by Asha Bhosle. The music composer duo of Jatin-Lalit had gone to the house of Asha Bhosle to pay their condolences following the death of her husband RD Burman. The casual question led Jatin-Lalit landing the contract of their dreams – Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ).
It was 1994. People had started leaving her Santa Cruz residence at the end of the day. Then Asha asked if the composer brothers had worked with Yash Chopra. They said ‘no’, and she immediately picked up the phone to speak to Chopra, recalled Lalit Pandit.
“She recommended us right there. Yash ji was interested in meeting us. He had heard about our work in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar among others,” Pandit said.
Aditya Chopra was working on his debut film as director. He was present at the meeting. The composers clinched the deal thanks to a song they had already prepared.
“I presented a song to them. It went, ‘Mehendi laga ke chalna, payal baja ke chalna’. It worked wonders for them,” Pandit said.
The song, as it appeared in the movie, was ‘Mehendi laga ke rakha…’ was filmed on Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. It was one of the seven tracks in the movie, among the most successful in Indian film history. The album with all seven songs became chartbusters and is popular even today.
With melodious tunes, rich vocals and lyrics on young love and old roots, the songs swept the nation when the film released. Twenty five years later, Pandit said he remembers creating every beat like it was yesterday.
The film scripted history as people woke up to the romance of Raj and Simran and so did its music. Jatin-Lalit and lyricist Anand Bakshi hit music gold with hits such as ‘Mere Khwabon Mein’, ‘Tujhe Dekha Toh’ and ‘Ho Gaya Hai Tujhko’.
Pandit described DDLJ’s glorious run as ‘historical’. “It’s a record that won’t break easily for years to come. This won’t happen to any of us associated with the film again. It was beyond our imagination when we started work on the music that this would become historical,” Pandit pointed out.
Remembering that first meeting, Pandit said he and his brother presented the melody of ‘Mere Khwabon Mein’ without lyrics. Both Yash and Aditya Chopra loved it.
‘Mere Khwabon Mein’ was sung by Lata Mangeshkar in the film. It was the first song to be recorded and its energy was inspired by Saira Banu’s performance in the ‘Bhai Batoor’ song from Padosan, stated Pandit.
“Aditya Chopra wanted to show the exuberance of youth. He wanted an energetic song because it had Shah Rukh’s entry. If you listen to it, ‘Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye’ plays on a medium pace. However, it picks up suddenly with the interlude,” said Pandit.
Mangeshkar became the voice of Kajol for the film, singing four tracks, except for ‘Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Mein’. The last named song was sung by Asha.
“We got the film because of her. We thought it’d be shameful if she doesn’t have any song! The fun of the track could only be mirrored by Asha ji. Even Yash ji was on-board,” informed Pandit.
Pandit’s personal favourite is ‘Na Jaane Mere’, sung by Mangeshkar and Udit Narayan. Shot across Switzerland, the song captures the beginning of the romantic journey of Raj and Simran.
“Aditya Chopra wanted to combine two choruses and make one song. It’s like two songs rolled into one. Both had different tempos and I was quite sceptical but when we composed it. However, the song became my favourite. Even the way it’s shot with Kajol and Shah Rukh… everything is iconic,” Pandit stated.
“The song ‘Ruk Ja O Dil Deewane’ was sung by Udit Narayan. Aditya wanted a song that captured the energy of the song ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’. So we did accordingly,” Pandit signed off.