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How Laxmikant inspired the lyrics of ‘Kate Nahi Katate’ from Mr India

For the music composer’s 19th death anniversary, we share an entertaining story of how the famous song ‘Kate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat’ was created by him and lyricist Javed Akhtar.

Sonal Pandya

When the cast and crew of Mr India (1987) came together for a reunion on the 17th Mumbai Film Festival in October 2015, they divulged many interesting and amusing anecdotes. One of them was the creation of the iconic song, ‘Kate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat’ sung by Kishore Kumar and Alisha Chinai. The hit soundtrack was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics were penned by scriptwriter Javed Akhtar (with his then writing partner Salim Khan).

Akhtar shared with the rapt audience gathered for the event that, “More often than not, the tune is made first and then the words come. At the time, the two leading music directors were Laxmikant-Pyarelal and RD Burman. Laxmiji used to eat paan. When he used to make us listen to a tune, there used to be paan in his mouth. When he used to sing, you could make out the veins in his throat.”

Laxmiji played the tune of ‘Kate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat’ on the harmonium, punctuating the notes quite aggressively. “The notes were strong if I had added soft words, it wouldn’t have looked right. For instance, tumhi toh ho jo mere dil mein hain (sung in the tune of ‘Kate Nahi Katate Ye Din Ye Raat’)... maaza nahin aayega [It won’t be any fun]. The sounds need to be strong. That’s why I wrote [the words] kate nahi katate ye din ye raat. The sound of the ‘T’ are quite strong to match the notes,” Akhtar revealed.

Unfortunately, there were no Filmfare Awards handed out in 1987 due to security reasons. Otherwise the composer duo would have been a shoo-in for Mr India – all five songs went to become hits.