By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: “I first heard Reshma seeing at Raj Kapoor Saab’s party in 1982. I immediately fell in love with that voice.What power, what passion! I met her at Hotel Searock and offered her a song in a film I was writing called Hero. She said she was a gypsy at heart and couldn’t sing in a studio.I assured her she had nothing to worry about and that her singing style would not be cramped in any way by the studio atmosphere. She said, ‘Arrey bhai main khule aasmaan ke neeche gaati hoon. Mujhe toh radio par gaane mein ghabraahat hoti hai.’ She reluctantly agreed. And that’s how the song Lambi judaai in the film Hero was born. How were we to know at that time that it would acquire such an immortal life?
“Anand Bakshi Saab was given the job of writing the lyrics and Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed the song. The recording was at Mehboob Studios. Instead of the 100-150 member orchestra that Laxmikant generally favoured, he had just 12 musicians in the studio. When I asked the reason for this, Laxmikant said the less the embellishment the more her powerful voice-quality would show up in the song. When we recorded the song we just made the musicians follow Reshmaji’s voice, rather than the other way around. We instructed the musicians to let her sing the way she wanted and to just play along with her voice. We didn’t know the result would be so staggering, so ever-lasting. Lambi judaai became the soul of Hero.
“Reshmaji didn’t sing for money or fame. She sang because there were songs to sing. The spontaneity and innocence were part of her nature. She never discussed money. True artistes never do. She sang with a child’s enthusiasm and innocence. Her voice was driven by the three ‘p’s: power, passion and purity. She never cared to save up for illness and old age. That’s why she had no money when she fell ill. We artistes don’t really care about anything except doing what our heart tells. Today the rights of Lambi judaai are not with me. It is with Saregama. When such classic songs were composed we just signed pieces of paper with the music company. How were we to know that we were signing away pieces of our heart never to get them back again?”