He was the master of macho musical romanticism. She was the undisputed queen of golden melody. No wonder, voices of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar complemented each other so well. Just listen to heady romance of Shokhiyon Mein Ghola Jaaye; feel the emotional warmth ofJeevan Ki Bagiya Mahkegi ; enjoy the fun and frolic of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar or experience the searing pain of Tere Bina Zindagi Se Shikwa To Nahi and you will realize that theirs was a special chemistry.
Their first meeting couldn’t have been any more dramatic. It was way back in 1949 when Lata mistook Kishore as a ruffian on her trail and complained to composer Khemchand Prakash about a weirdo following her right from the railway-station into the recording studio. Was she surprised to learn that the same ‘weirdo’ was going to be her co-singer! That historic duet- Yeh Kaun Aaya was recorded for the Dev Anand - starrer Ziddi. Lata fondly reminisces how years later Kishore would pull her leg for forgetting that duet and how she finally managed to get hold of that ‘lost’ song.
Till mid-sixties, when Kishore was primarily considered just a comic singer, he got to sing only a limited number of duets with Lata- who was already ruling the roost. Still even today those old gems like Aa Mohabbat Ki Basti (Fareb), Lahron Se Poochh Lo (Kafila) and Chham Se Tera Aana Ho (Shinshinaki Bubalaboo) shine brightly as ever. And then there are those typical comic numbers like Bach Gaye (Chacha Zindabad), Mera Naam Abdul Rehman (Bhai Bhai) and O Ladke Ladke (Karodpati), which still make you smile with their joie-de-vivre.
When S.D.Burman gave this pair the immortal Guide-duet Gaata Rahe Mera Dil in 1965, it proved to be the beginning of a new and musically modern era for Lata – Kishore duets. If Sachinda’s own fabulous creations like Uff Kitni Thandi Hai Yeh Rut, Aasman Ke Neeche and Kora Kaagaz Tha presented this duo at the peak of their prowess, then his son R.D. aka Pancham showed that there was much more to be extracted out of their matchless talents. Pancham’s Kaali Palak Teri Gori, Karvate Badlate Rahein and Is Mod Se Jaate Hain serve as perfect examples of several winning tunes he composed for this pair.
Sampling a multitude of Lata- Kishore classics from various composers like Rajesh Roshan (Aankhon Mein Kaajal Hai), Khayyam (Aankhon Mein Humne Aapke), Laxmikant- Pyarelal (Pukaro Mujhe Phir Pukaro), Kalyanji- Anandji (Mile Mile Do Badan), Bhupen Hazarika (Naino Mein Darpan Hai), Bhappi Lahiri (Rahein Na Rahein Chaahe Hum Aur Tum) and Basu Manohari (Aa Humsafar), one soon realizes that almost every composer reserved some special compositions for this special duo.
Lata recalls how Kishore used to make her laugh with his antics at the time of rehearsals and how she used to beg him to stop joking and concentrate on the song instead! The way most their duets have shaped up finally, it is sure that he ultimately paid heed to her advice!