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Uttam Singh fondly recalls his ‘anokha rishta’ with ‘late’ composer Laxman of duo ‘Raam-Laxman’

Music composer Uttam Singh speaks exclusively to CineBlitz



Laxman of composer duo Raam-Laxman (L) and composer Uttam Singh (R)

By Chaitanya  Padukone

Popular Bollywood music composer Vijay Patil (78 years) whose pseudonym was ‘Laxman’ (of iconic duo Raam-Laxman) passed away in the early hours of Saturday in Nagpur, following a massive heart attack.  According to his musician son Amar Patil, his father had  been inoculated with the second jab of Covid-19 vaccine a few days ago, following which he was feeling very weak due to fatigue, and a family doctor was treating him..As an entertainment and film-music journalist I recall having personally met modest sangeetkaar Vijay (Laxman) at least five times, on different occasions.

Laxman of Raam Laxman

As always, he would have only brief casual chats but avoid giving on-record- interviews. Media-shy Laxman would be seen in public, mostly clad in a westernized spiritual attire of a red velvet prayer-cap, a tie and with sindoor-tilak applied on his forehead. When I quizzed him, Laxman whispered to me that he was a devout-follower of spiritual gurus-healers Shri Jimmy Nagputhra (Yogiraj) and Sri Gururani Nargis Nagkanya (Yogini). “Whatever success I have achieved, I owe it to their blessings,” he shared with me. In a sarcastic yet jestful jibe, Vijay once told me using the title of his musical mega-hit movie.

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“As long as you are a rising-star, people in the movie-industry say ‘hum aapke hain’. But when your career starts to drop with a steady-decline, most people who stood by you earlier will snigger with a detached stance   ‘hum aapke hain—koun?’ Interestingly, this sobriquet name of ‘Raam Laxman’ was given to them by their godfather (actor-director) Dada Kondke to Vijay Patil and his musical-partner Surendra Hendre. The charismatic Dada Kondke who hired the duo composing music to his Marathi movies (like ‘Pandu Havaldar’) wanted that they should have a catchy brand-name with easy recall-value, that’s how he suggested ‘Raam Laxman’ and it proved to be a super-hit mascot.

Laxman of music composer duo Raam-Laxman

Both superstar Salman Khan and melody-queen Lata Mangeshkar have deeply mourned the demise of talented Laxman and expressed their condolences.  It is a known fact in the Bolly-music-industry that brilliant composer-arranger and violin maestro Uttam Singh used to be the ‘instrumental-backbone’  of  the evergreen music song-scores of   Raam-Laxman in dozens of musical milestone movies including ‘Maine Pyar Kiya, ‘Hum Aapke Hain Koun’ , ‘100 Days’ and ‘Patthar Ke Phool’.

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Composer Uttam Singh

Speaking exclusively to CineBlitz, the outspoken Uttam Singh says, “It’s a huge loss for Bollywood that Vijay-jee is no more and deserved much more glory-recognition during his life-time. Right from the beginning, It was Raam (Surendra) who initially inducted me into their team as an arranger. After Raam passed away, Laxman for unknown reasons decided to discontinue working with me. Later, during Diwali we had a family-get-together where he ‘patched-up’ with a shagun and I was back in their team and I started assisting during ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ and also playing solo-violin pieces (like during the song ‘Aate Jaate..’) and dozens of other hit films.

A brilliant composer Vijay-jee, also an expert accordion-player, knew the pulse of the audiences, and considered the legendary duo Shankar-Jaikishan as his inspiration-gurus and sometimes followed their style. After working for so many years, again for a second time, strangely, Laxman decided to discontinue including me in their team. This was just before ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.  It didn’t really affect me because I was very busy as the independent composer for Yash Chopra’s ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’ and even otherwise I had enough work.

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Despite these unfavourable happenings, that too twice, I must say overall Laxman (Vijay) was a good human being and I always shared a warm rapport. When he was down with a critical illness, I had gone across to personally meet him at his Mumbai residence, a couple of time, with few other colleagues. Definitely I will miss him and I shall treasure all the precious moments we shared while recording each of the chart-buster songs. In which I have blended my emotional-apnaapan, besides my gaana-sajaana musical talent,” signs off award-winning music luminary Uttam Singh.

(The writer Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent senior film-music journalist & author of memoirs book R D BurMania)

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