Mora Gora Ang Lai Le: 100-plus re-creations in the last few years are evidence that retro songs have magic that will never fade. GenY loves such versions for their melody and today’s sound, but we cannot forget the original golden oldies with their crystal-clear acoustic recordings and solid lyrics, compositions and vocals.
‘Mora gora ang lai le’
(Film: Bandini / 1963. Music: Sachin Dev (S.D.) Burman Lyrics: Gulzar Singer: Lata Mangeshkar)
This song has quite an interesting story behind it. Lyricist Shailendra helped filmmaker Bimal Roy’s daughter elope with her boyfriend and this angered Roy. He promptly asked his assistant Gulzar to step in to write the song being planned.
Dada (as composer S.D. Burman was addressed by his associates) never was fond of new lyricists (Gulzar had written just a few songs then for other composers in Shreemaan Satyawadi and Kabuliwala). Always prone to make a tune first, he asked Gulzar if he knew about this genre of song, and the Sikh writer obliged with the words, ‘Mora gora ang lai le /Mohe shaam rang dai de / Chhup jaaoongi raat hi mein / Mohe pi ka sang dai de (Take away my fair complexion and make me dark, so I can meet my sweetheart as the dark night hides me from the world).
However, a temperamental mismatch led to Dada insisting on Shailendra coming back for the rest of the all-hit score, and such was his clout that the giant filmmaker had to oblige. And Dada never recorded with Gulzar ever again.
But this stunner of a song with atmospheric effects from Dada’s genius at orchestration and the evocative tabla also was the end of a six-year dispute between Dada and Lata Mangeshkar, who, needless to say, gave her supreme best to it. Had the truce not happened, at Dada’s behest, both would have lost out so much—after all, Lata-dominated scores like Guide, Jewel Thief, Aradhana and Abhimaan (to name just four magical scores) all came later!