The most celebrated song among the collaborations of Waheeda Rehman and Lata Mangeshkar is , hands down, Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai in Guide.
Recalls Waheedaji, “No one in the Guide team thought much about Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai. We were all like, ‘Theek hai,dekhte hai.’ Everyone was crazy about Rafi Saab’s Din dhal jaye and Tere mere sapne. But look at destiny! Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai is the song I am most closely identified with.”
There is much more to the mythic Waheeda Rehman’s onscreen image than the iconic song Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai in the film Guide.Every song that Lataji sang for Waheeda Rehman in Guide edified the character Rosy’s allure: Piya tosey naina lage re, Saiyyan beimaan, Gata rahe mera dil…
“I would say Lataji contributed tremendously to my career, not just in Guide but to my entire career, right up to Phagun after which I had to switch to character roles. In Rang De Basanti, Lataji sang a beautiful lullaby Lukka chuppi for me,” says Waheedaji who turns a year younger on 3 February.
After her initial hits in the 1950s—Shamshad Begum sang Kahi pe nigahen kahin pe nishana in Waheedaji’s Hindi debut CID and it was Geeta Dutt in Pyaasa—it was Lataji all the way for Waheeda Rehman . Their first superhit was Kahin deep jale kahin dil in 1961(a song that marked Lataji’s return, as she had nearly lost her voice prior to this) in Bees Saal Baad composed by the brilliant Hemant Kumar, followed by Raat bhi hai kuch bheegi bheegi and Tere bachpan ko jawaani ki dua in Mujhe Jeene Do in 1963 composed by the underrated Jaidev , followed by the ethereal O beqaraar dil in Kohra.
Two Waheeda Rehman starrers during this period Kohra and Khamoshi featured two of Lataji’s most enduring classics Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat and Humne dekhi hi unn aankhon ki mehekti khushboo. However these two songs were not filmed on Waheedaji.
The next few big chartbusters of Waheedaji sung by Lataji were Soya mera laal aanchal mein pehli baar(Meri Bhabhi), Rangeeela re(Prem Pujari), Chala bhi aa(Mann Ki Aankhen), Mujhe pyar karne ka haq nahin(Darpan), Ae mere aankhon ke pehle sapne(Man Mandir).
Sunil Dutt’s Reshma Aur Shera which got the fabulously talented composer Jaidev a National award, gave Waheedaji the opportunity to lip-sync two of Lataji’s best songs Tu chanda main chandni and Ek mithi si chubhan.
Lataji regarded these as among her own favourite songs.
“Waheedaji put them across so beautifully on screen. We had a special bonding,” Lata had once said to me.
But the piece de resistance of this cadenced collaboration was the epic number Tu mere saath rahega munne in Yash Chopra’s Trishul. As written by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Khayyam. Tu mere saath rahega munne is the one-stop destination to immortality for the incandescent Waheeda Rehman.