Lag Ja Gale – my own saxophone version


This is my Saxophone reinterpretation of the fabulous song, Lag Ja Gale, by Lata Mangeshkar, composed by the genius Madan Mohan, written by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, that inimitable lyricist, from Woh Kaun Thi. What a brilliant gem of a song! Every time you listen to it, you discover a new pleasure.  I sincerely hope you like this reinterpretation. It is just my own little way of thanking the great living Ma Saraswati, Lata ji! Love her, bless her always.

So here’s my reinterpretation of Lag Ja Gale. I haven’t played it on the saxophone, of course, but on my Korg keyboard.  It’s set to a punchy, uptempo beat, and dressed in a jazz-pop style, but I’ve tried to retain the amazing feeling of the lyrics and hopefully have also retained the Goddess’s singing style — at least in a tiny, little, microscopic, infinitesimally small way 🙂

There’s an interesting story about this song. Apparently, Raj Khosla cannot claim any credit for selecting this song in the film. In fact, he is said to have rejected it when he first heard the composition.  It was only when composer Madan Mohan insisted that it would be liked and appreciated that Khosla reluctantly retained the song. Thank God for Madan Mohan’s persistence!

But there’s an even more interesting story about another very popular song in this film, Naina Barse Rim Jhim.  No, two interesting stories. One, that Madan Mohan had composed the song way back in 1952, but could not get it accepted for any film, perhaps because there wasn’t a situation fit. Then, Khosla was making Woh Kaun Th (one of the scariest films of its time) and was seeking an ominous, scary tune, he thought it would be a good fit for the situation in the film, and so it proved to be.

The second story about this song is rather amusing. Word is that the unit, filming in Kashmir, was warned of a bad-weather spell that would last for days on end, so it scrambled to film the song immediately. Only problem was, Lata ji was out of the country at the time, and the song hadn’t been recorded.

The great Madan Mohan

So Madan Mohan decided to record a scratch for the shoot sync, and you can imagine how startled and disappointed the onlookers, who had gone in droves to watch the beautiful Sadhna in a song shoot, must have been to hear her lip sync to a song sung by a man! But they shot the song, and finally when Lata ji returned to India, the song was recorded in her lovely voice. Can you imagine how beautifully Madan Mohan would have sung the original song for the shoot? Remember Mai Ri, Main Kaase Kahoon? If anyone has a recording of the great man singing Lag Ja Gale, it would be the find for me! And remember, he would have copied every cadence, ever harqat and mood in the lyrics and composition, because it was for an exact lip sync for Sadhna and would have to be how Lata ji would sing later.

Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

Lag Ja Gale was written by the inimitable poet Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, one of the most accomplished lyricists who wrote some of the most popular songs. But he deserves an other post, and I’ll share some of his great songs and a bit about his life story too, soon. But let me finish this little post with this additional bit of interesting trivia: Way back, Lag Ja Gale was named among the top ten all-time favorite song in film history to be “retired” from Zee TV’s Antakshari. Just because it was so popular, everyone wanted to sing it at least once every week.

OK, you heard my little take on Lag Ja Gale. What did you think? Let me know, please. Leave me a comment. Thanks for stopping by and listening to my music 🙂


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