Music

A record of L-P’s journey

Music directors Laxmikant (left) and Pyarelal (middle) with singer Mohammed Rafi   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

It’s very difficult to review a book that takes so many pages to say so little. And that too about musicians who created music that still swirls around in our memories like the aroma of mulled wine.

The book is titled Music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal (Rupa Oublications), so one expects some new insight, a heightened understanding of what inspired their unending fount of melodies, in film after film, decade after decade. L-P, as they are popularly known, outdid every other composer of Hindi film music in the sheer number of hits they produced.

But the book mainly spends itself on a litany of their songs. Every chapter has a lineup of movie titles and songs, the hurdles, the breakthroughs, then the period when the musicians came into their own.

Sure, there are some nuggets. For instance, we learn that the boys, Pyarelal (son of Pt. Ramprasad Sharma) and Laxmikant, avid student of the violin, were friends, who played at lunch time when working for the then popular composer C. Ramachandra. We get glimpses of the boys eating vada pav together in the studio canteen... then, nothing. These maddening dropoffs continue.

Blockbuster hits

After their initial struggle, the duo delivered two blockbuster hits. First was Parasmani, whose refreshing music was more successful than the film, followed by Dosti. The music-makers had arrived. But there is no subsequent analysis of their career.

There is a mention of how Lata Mangeshkar recognised the young Lakshmikant’s talent and recommended him to music directors. There is also actor Jeetendra talking about the huge contribution L-P made to his career.

There is reason to believe that author Rajiv Vijaykar was on more than nodding terms with the composers; he mentions interviews and meetings; but we gain nothing from that fact. Instead, he leans heavily on presenting the names of every film the hit duo made music for.

Pyarelal, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Anand Bakshi and Laxmikant.

Pyarelal, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Anand Bakshi and Laxmikant.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu Archives

The one advantage is that as the text drags on, these memorable numbers play in the minds of the readers. It’s great to revisit compositions such as ‘Bade miya deewane’ from Shagrid, ‘Ek pyar ka nagma hai’ from Shor, and ‘Ram Kare’ from Milan. We are also reminded of how some of songs like ‘Mast baharon ka main aashiq’, ‘Tumse aye haseena’ and ‘Baar baar yeh din aaye’ became a rage. The duo’s music for Rishi Kapoor’s debut Bobby helped revive R.K. Films. Each reader will have his or her own L-P favourites. The sheer variety of the output and its consistent high quality cannot be denied, but the book, even as it mines these musical gems, fails to explore what made these songs so successful.

Vijaykar touches on L-P’s individual style of working, and why unlike other duos it’s difficult to make out who would have created which number. This underlines the perfect synchrony of thought and energy they enjoyed. So it comes as a surprise to learn that there was a brief period when they fell out, but again, the details are absent. An important chapter on the enduring relationship between lyricist Anand Bakshi and L-P doesn’t delve into the collaboration. Sadly, the book is a case of information overload with little style or substance.

Vijaykar’s text ends half way through the book. The rest is a compilation of interviews with those who have worked with L-P or have known them. There are some stories here, but even they have to be mined out. And one wishes there were more.

The Mumbai-based writer

is former editor of Femina and consulting editor, Penguin.


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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 9:42:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/a-record-of-l-ps-journey/article37805275.ece

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