tv & movies

Raamlaxman (1942 – 2021): The composer behind some of Bollywood’s biggest hits

The music director was renowned for his work on blockbusters like ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’and ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’

Composer Raamlaxman, who died at the age of 78, following a cardiac arrest at Nagpur on Saturday, tuned some of the biggest hits in Hindi film music in the 1980s and 90s.

He wasn’t among the most prolific of composers, but the songs he composed for films like Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Koun were a rage when they were released and continue to be enjoyed. He had a knack to come up with catchy songs, several of them in a single film.

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There was melody in his music, which one could appreciate even more in these times, when Bollyood rarely comes up with original, melodious songs. He could also take you to the dance floor – especially at north Indian weddings – with his songs.

Though Raamlaxman had debuted in 1977 with Agent Vinod, it was 12 years later that he became a household name. The songs of Maine Pyar Kiya were instant hits and they helped Sooraj Barjatya’s directorial debut become one of Indian cinema’s biggest hits of 1989.

The romantic musical saw Salman Khan play the hero for the first time and a fresh-as-morning-dew looking Bhagyashree making her debut. More than three decades later, the film is remembered mostly for its songs. Songs like Dil deewana…, Aaja shaam hone aayee…, Kabootar ja ja ja… and Mere rang mein… haven’t lost their freshness.

 

Lata Mangeshkar and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam rendered most of the album’s songs. The film, in fact, helped SPB establish himself in Hindi cinema. Though he had made a sparkling debut with Ek Duuje Ke Liye, eight years earlier, it was after Maine Pyar Kiya that Bollywood truly warmed up to him, as he virtually became the singing voice of Salman.

As for Laxman, recognition had finally come to him. Born Vijay Patil at Nagpur, he had formed a composer-duo – it was very much the in-thing in film music at that time – with Surendra. They had debuted with the Marathi film Pandu Hawaldar in 1975, but the following year, before the release of their first film Agent Vinod (1977), Surendra died.

His collaborator, however, continued to compose with the screen name of Raamlaxman. Tarachand Barjatya was the producer of Agent Vinod and it was his Rajshri Productions that produced Maine Pyar Kiya as well as the other two big films of Laxman: Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Hum Saath Saath Hai.

The music of Hum Aapke Hain Koun, starring the gorgeous Madhuri Dixit at her peak and Salman, was splendid. Songs like Deeid tera dewar deewana.. its video has to be among the most popular of all time in Hindi cinema with Madhuri dancing gracefully in her iconic purple saree (even inspiring M.F. Hussain), Maye ni maye..., Pehla pehla pyar… and Wah wah Raamji… played certainly a part in making Sooraj Barjatya’s film one of India’s biggest of all time.

 

Laxman could not come up with as fine a score for his next film with Barjatya, Hum Saath-Saath Hai, but it still had the delectable Maiya Yashoda... and the hummable Yeh to sach hai ki…

 

Though he scored most of success with Rajshri Productions, there were fine songs from him for other banners as well, like Sapnon ka gharonda toota… (Hum Se Badkar Kaun) and Gustaakhi maaf ho… (Hum Se Hai Zamana).

 

With the demise of Raam Laxman, Indian cinema has lost another of its connections to its glorious tradition of music.

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