Article Hindi

Lalit Pandit: Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai songs were recorded on DDLJ’s scale – 20th anniversary special

Lalit Pandit, one half of the successful composer duo Jatin-Lalit, remembers the making of the soundtrack of the Salman Khan-Twinkle Khanna film, which was released on 22 May 1998.

Suparna Thombare

The year 1998 was when Jatin-Lalit were at their peak, delivering five hit soundtracks in one year. Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, Ghulam and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai all went on to become best-selling albums that year, with almost every song a hit. The dream run put the duo at the top of the charts that year.

"All the films released in 1998 were films we had worked on in 1996 and 1997," Lalit Pandit told "This was at a critical time... it was after Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995).”

DDLJ, as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is popularly known, remains Jatin-Lalit’s most popular soundtrack to date, and following up on the superhit album was undoubtedly a tough task. But for Jatin and Lalit, the pressure was at its highest when it came to composing for Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai.

Following DDLJ's success, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai producer Ramesh Taurani, the Tips boss, told the Pandit brothers that he was expecting a hit soundtrack, with every song being loved.

“When we were to start working on JPKHH, DDLJ had been released and the industry was very impressed. Ramesh Taurani has been a good friend and we have done several films with him. He said he wanted something as big and grand as DDLJ. In fact, after DDLJ, it is only this film in which Lataji [Mangeshkar] sang so many songs,” recalled Lalit Pandit.

Mangeshkar sang four of the eight songs — 'Iss Dil Mein Kya Hai' (with Udit Narayan), 'Madhosh Dil Ki Dhadkan' (with Kumar Sanu), 'O Jaana Na Jaana' with Kumar Sanu and the 'O Jaana Na Jaana' solo version. And her presence, Pandit believes, is what created the magic.

“Lataji's presence was most important," he said. "So we requested her to sing for us. She also had confidence in us after DDLJ that these boys are doing good work. So she said she will definitely sing for us.

"I must say she contributed a lot to the music. When Lataji sings a song, the world listens. The reach of the song increases tremendously. With that comes the responsibility of delivering a song which will add to the bigness of the music. So after a lot of thought we created this soundtrack.”

Mangeshkar’s 'Madhosh Dil Ki Dhadkan' is Pandit’s personal favourite. “And I know she enjoyed singing it,” he said.

He also remembered fondly the time he and Jatin spent in the studio with the legendary singer. “Lataji used to come for the recordings but never go straight for the microphone. She didn’t want to have too many people around like, you know, assistants. Only a chosen few. No actors came to the recording either. We used to have a lot of fun with her. She used to come and sit around and we would chat for a couple of hours. Then she would say ‘Chalo, kuch kaam karna hai ya nahin [Come on now, shall we get some work done]?’

"Her system is so good. She memorizes all the lyrics beforehand and is prepared. Until she is sure she is prepared, she does not begin recording.

"So the bonding with her was amazing. She would tell so many stories, her memory is so good that she remembers everything. We used to have a lot of fun. We used to joke, talk about cricket, music directors and her experiences.”

Three of the songs on the film's album were sung by the duo's other favourite, Alka Yagnik, who has sung most songs for Jatin-Lalit in her career. They were 'Dil Mein Basake' (with Kumar Sanu), 'Ek Dil Tha Paas Mere' (with Kumar Sanu) and 'Chal Pyar Karegi' (with Sonu Nigam). Interestingly, 'Dil Mein Basake' never made it to the film's final cut. 

“Alka Yagnik has sung the maximum songs with us," said Pandit. "She has been a favourite of mine and Jatin’s. After Lataji and Ashaji if there is anyone it is Alka. Her voice quality is so good. She is also very hardworking. She used to contribute a lot to our songs. And we used to always feel that when she sang our songs, she gave her best. Some of them were not that easy to sing.”

What also made every song tick was that the light-hearted, melodious compositions had an old-world charm about them. “We wanted to blend two styles," said Pandit. "They should be timeless songs mixed with youthful orchestration. We tried to get Lataji to sing slightly differently. Old world melody, charm, modern orchestration and Lataji singing Anand Bakshi’s lyrics!”

Bakshi’s lyrics weren't full of heavy poetry. He wrote simple lines steeped in classical romance. Perhaps this contributed to how easily people took to the songs — their simple, sweet, romantic lyrics.

Pandit agreed. "Bakshi was the best. His word selection was very simple and his ideas were unique. We have done several films with him. His speciality was he used to work with popular words with good meaning which were easy to understand.”

The only criticism the composers have received for the film’s music over the years came for the hit 'Pehli Pehli Baar', sung by Kumar Sanu, which drew its opening beats from 'Born To Be Alive' by Patrick Hernandez, though Jatin-Lalit did manage to make it their own. Asked about this criticism, Lalit Pandit said he would prefer not to react. "The only thing you can do is answer through your work," he said. "The only answer to criticism is to keep doing work that is so good that people will wonder if there is any need to criticize."

Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai was also a rare instance when the music composers accompanied the unit to the shoot, thanks mainly to lead star Salman Khan. The songs were picturized in exotic locations in Europe at a time when people weren’t travelling as much as they do today or seeing these locations on the internet.

"This is the only film whose shooting Jatin and I went for," recalled Pandit. "At that time we were working on Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, which was Salman Khan’s home production. So we decided to go along so we could compose the music and make Salman listen to it there itself. So Rameshji had taken the whole family to Switzerland and Austria. We had a lot of fun. We even used to sit behind [cinematographer] Manmohan Singhji and watch the shooting.

"We all went around town with our families. Rameshji’s wife Varsha was there. Twinkle, Salman used to be in a great mood... all of us got to see some really beautiful places. And we used to sit at night and compose the music for Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, sharing our ideas with Salman.”

Taurani, of course, was happy with the outcome of the soundtrack, which played a major role in the film's success. “It was an expensive album," said Pandit. "The recording was done on the scale of DDLJ. He didn’t hold anything back.”

Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai turned out to be a complete album, with a dance number, a couple of romantic songs, a peppy number and a wedding song to round things up, and Pandit is proud of the place it holds in the duo’s successful film career. "This is one of the most melodious albums of Jatin-Lalit," he said. "Very well recorded and orchestrated. All the singers sang really well. And when Lataji comes in, it's a whole different experience.”