Filmmaker composer Vishal Bhardwaj and veteran lyricist Gulzar have announced that a song the duo had recorded with legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar more than two decades ago will be launched on Tuesday.

The track, “Theek Nahi Lagta”, was recorded for a film 26 years ago that eventually got shelved. The song will now be released in collaboration with Bhardwaj’s label VB Music and short video app platform Moj, on Mangeshkar’s 92nd birthday, Pankaj Joshi PJ and Divya Upadhyay featured in this song along with 10 other Moj creators.

Also an acclaimed filmmaker behind films like “Maqbool”, “Omkara” and “Kaminey”, Bhardwaj got his major Bollywood break as a music composer in 1996 with the Gulzar helmed political thriller “Maachis”.

The soundtrack of “Maachis” kickstarted his long association with the veteran lyricist who has collaborated on nine films also including “7 Khoon Maaf” and “Pataakha”. “Maachis” was also the first time he collaborated with Mangeshkar, who lent her voice to five songs including the memorably melancholic “Paani Paani Re”.

During a virtual press conference on Monday, Bhardwaj said he recorded the song “Theek Nahi Lagta” with Mangeshkar even before “Maachis”. It was for some other film that never saw the light of the day.

“During that time, we had recorded this song too. Unfortunately that film, for which we had made the song, got shelved. The song was lost with it too. For a long time, we thought the film would be revived but after 10 years, it was clear the film won’t be made,” the filmmaker told reporters.

Bhardwaj said the tape on which Mangeshkar’s song was recorded got misplaced and the recording studio also shut down.

But around two years ago, Bhardwaj got a call from another recording studio, where “somehow this tape landed” with his name on it.

“When we checked, it had this song. Lata Ji’s voice was on another track. So we retrieved it and re-orchestrated the song because it was sounding a bit dated… It was important for the song to be lost and then found,” the 56-year-old director said.

In an audio message, Mangeshkar lauded both Gulzar and Bhardwaj for their talent and determination to unearth this song.

“Vishal Bhardwaj was, back then, a new composer. But the songs he made were extraordinary. In ‘Maachis’, I recorded two songs, ‘Ae Hawa’ and ‘Pani Pani Re’. While the latter stayed, the former didn’t make the cut because there was no situation.

“Later, we collaborated again for this song, but the film never got made. After many years, they are releasing the song and I am hopeful that the listeners will love the song, its lyrics,” the melody queen said.

Calling Bhardwaj “Columbus who discovered the song”, Gulzar said the track remains relevant even after 30 years because it talks about the dynamics of a relationship.

“The relationship that the boy and the girl shared in the film was uncommitted. It’s often found in today’s generation, where you’re not very certain on how far to go. In that situation, you feel, ‘Sab theek toh hai, lekin, kuch theek nahi lagta (All is well, but something is not ok)’.

“The lines are all the more relevant. Somewhere Vishal’s observation of the society, environment, the people he lives with… He’s aware of everything that is happening socially, politically,” he added.

Bhardwaj has also directed the music video of the song, which has featured Moj creators Pankaj Joshi PJ (@pj_3132 ) and Divya Upadhyay (@divya_upadhyay13 ).