I was a musician with them right from 1966. Laxmikant-Pyarelal exposed everyone to how work in music should be done. L-P’s musical phrasing was crystal clear and nuanced – where should Lata ji sing a harkat and where the weight on a syllable should be put, were clear mandates.

While they were teaching Lata bai the song, they would tell her the minutiae at each point. Most other music directors would sing the song in totality and the singer would catch whatever he or she wanted and sing. But with L-P, it was strict detailing – “This is the dinner I want now, and at exactly 10 p.m., I want this sweet dish, and at 10:30, I want coffee!” That is why L-P’s songs were always different, distinctive and unique.

The mood had to be followed strictly in L-P’s music. And application, more than knowledge, was important. That is where Pyarelal went beyond being a mere arranger – he was like a mother to his songs, teaching the compositions manners, imbibing culture into them. See the orchestration that creates the atmosphere of midnight and the judicious gentle use of the period pipes in “Man Kyoon Behka” (Utsav). I have seen such detailing genius only in…

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