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When the brow is furrowed and the pangs of separation from one’s beloved have dethroned reason from its coveted seat, the mood turns a shade of deep blue.

Like all other strands of emotion captured by Bollywood, separation from the beloved has also not escaped the attention of our dream merchants. There are several songs which depict the intense feeling of desolation experienced by someone when the soul mate has gone missing. Whereas some herald the end of doom, so to say, few others are easier on the frayed nerves, laced as they happen to be with uplifting optimism and point to the possibility of a rosier future.

There is a beauty to sad songs which cannot be captured in words. These tug at one’s heart-strings and provide solace to a tormented soul. First off, let us relish a composition which celebrates the genre of sad songs.

The beauty of…

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Most of the songs in the movies being churned out by Bollywood happen to portray feelings of love. One often wonders as to how the heroine and the hero keep changing their outfits in each of the stanzas, keeping the wardrobe designers and producers laughing all the way to their respective banks. The high walls of manmade borders melt away, as they are seen wandering about on different continents of the world without any visa/immigration hassles, proving the age-old adage of Vasudhaiv Kutumbukam. Not to speak of the bevy of choreographers and a 100-piece orchestra which keeps following them scrupulously, without missing a single beat.

But once in a blue moon, we get treated to a love song which is more spontaneous in its depiction. The lyricist and the music director obviously work harder on creating such songs which appear as if these are getting composed by the couple in real time on the screen.

Consider the following songs which fall in this category. 

One of the very few love songs which has an office setting as a background.

Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji…

Movie: Mrs and Mr 55 (1955)

Singers: Mohd. Rafi, Geeta Dutt

Music Director: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

 Here is a flirtatious song from an otherwise serious movie. The back-and-forth chat between the heroine and the hero is a sheer delight.  

Hum aapki ankhon mein…

Movie: Pyasa (1957)

Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Sahir Ludianvi

What happens when a lovers’ tiff results into a lovelorn backchat between the pair?

Achha ji main haari chalo…

Movie: Kala Pani (1958)

Singers: Mohd. Rafi & Asha Bhosle

Music: S.D. Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

A mischievous heroine puts the poor hero through an ordeal and then has the cheek to teasingly ask as to how he is feeling!   

Haal kaisa hai janaab ka…

Movie: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: S.D.Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Claiming some dues from the party of the other part can happen even during a stage performance!

Paanch rupaiya barah anna…

Movie: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

How did you fall in love with me, asks the heroine coyly!

Sach bata tu mujh pe fida…

Movie: Sone ki chidiya (1958)

Singers: Asha Bhosle, Talat Mehmood

Music: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Yet another song where bickering between a couple takes place during a stage performance.  

Tere pyar ka aasra chahta hoon…

Movie: Dhool Ka Phool (1959)

Singers: Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: N. Datta

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

A romantic poem gets composed as the hero plays a muse to the heroine.

Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase…

Movie: Manzil (1960)

Singers: Geeta Dutt, Mohammed Rafi

Music Director: S. D. Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

The lovers list the precautions the party of the other part should take, lest any harm may come to the flora and fauna around.

Bikhra ke zulfien chaman mein na jaana…

Movie: Nazrana (1961)

Singers: Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Ravi

Lyricist: Rajendra Krishan

A delectable confluence of Carnatic and Hindustani music, this song captures the rivalry between two persons, both trying to woo the young lady.

Ek chatur naar…

Movie: Padosan (1968)

Singers: Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar

Music Director: R D Burman

Lyrics: Rajendra Krishan

Getting the beloved to accept that she loves the lover.

Baagon mein bahaar hai…

Movie: Aradhana (1969)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi

Music Director: S D Burman

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Even surreptitious meetings between a couple get overshadowed by the heroine’s wish to return home early!

Achha to hum chalte hain…

Movie: Aan Milo Sajna (1970)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Strictly speaking, only the first portion of this song happens to be dialogue-driven. Nevertheless, overall, it surely has a dash of spontaneity to it!  

Sa re ga ma pa…

Movie: Abhinetri (1970)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

The subtle art of dodging the police by showcasing a clandestine meet as a lovers’ date.

O mere raja, khafa na hona…

Movie: Johnny Mera Naam (1970)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Kalyanji Anandji

Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan

A budding romance soon gets transformed into a life-long commitment.

Aap yahaan aaye kisliye…

Movie: Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan

Lyricist: Neeraj

Social barriers and taboos keep the heroine on tenterhooks, whereas the hero is not worried about such mundane issues.

Gir gaya jhumka…

Movie: Jugnu (1973)

Music Director: S D Burman

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Two playful songs, depicting the sprouting of romantic feelings between two teenagers.  

Mujhe kuchh kehna hai…

Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon…

Movie: Bobby (1973)

Singers: Shailendra Singh, Lata Mangeshkar

Music Director: Laxmikant Pyarelal

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Couplets (dohas) of such Sufi poets as Rahim and Kabir have regaled generations with pristine wisdom, duly laced with an earthy common sense. Trust Rajshri Productions to string some of these together for our sake.   

Bade badaai na karen…

Movie: Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se (1978)

Singers: Hemalata, Jaspal Singh

Music Director: Ravindra Jain

Lyrics: Dohas of Rahim and Kabir

Keep the dialogue on and love will soon follow it its wake!

Suniye, kahiye…

Movie: Baton Baton Mein (1979)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music Director: Rajesh Roshan

Lyricist: Amit Khanna

The hero regales a bunch of kids with a juicy story about his encounter with a lion.

Mere paas aao mere doston…

Movie: Mr. Natwarlal (1979)

Singer: Amitabh Bachchan, Master Ravi

Music Director: Rajesh Roshan

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

The hero and the heroine are cooing to each other like turtle doves. They keep rhyming words and phrases and end up creating an impromptu song!

Kaise ho pagal…

Movie: Chashme Buddoor (1981)

Singers: Raj Kamal, Hemanti Shukla

Music Director: Raj Kamal

Lyricist: Indu Jain

When his six younger brothers fall hopelessly in love, the elder one guides them!

Pyaar tumhen kis mod pe le aaya…

Movie: Satte Pe Satta (1982)

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Bhupinder and others

Music Director: R D Burman

Lyricist: Gulshan Bawra

These are songs which, I believe, showcase a higher level of creativity on the part of our lyricists and music directors. To bring in a spontaneity of this kind is no mean task. Alas, these are very few and far between.

Can you think of any songs which could be added to this list? If so, please leave behind a comment below.  

{Note: Inputs from Ms Madhulika Liddle, Mr Sunil Jain and Ms Pooja Agrawal are gratefully acknowledged}.

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In one of her several tributes to Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, one of the God’s supreme gifts to our musical ears, had likened his voice to that of a monk singing a devotional song in a temple.

She could not have been much off the mark. His repertoire of songs covers a wide range of the spectrum of human emotions. If some bring out the unalloyed bliss of love, others highlight some philosophical truths of life. Some are like soothing lullabies whereas others are highly patriotic. Many others convey the acute pain of loneliness while few caress us with vibes of positivity arising out of the despondency one feels after facing the harsh slings and arrows of fate. In many cases, his haunting voice even teases the listener with a mystery of sorts.

Here are some of his songs I have relished from my childhood. Even today, these never fail to either soothe my frayed nerves or uplift my spirits. Dimming the lights around and simply listening to one of these songs envelopes me in a comforting ambience. The decaying cells of a bruised soul get regenerated and perk up, just like a recently watered flower would.

Non-film Songs

Bhala tha kitna apna bachpan…

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Music: Kamal Dasgupta

Lyricist: Faiyyaz Hashmi

Kal teri tasveer ko…

(1943)

Music: Kamal Dasgupta

Lyricist: Faiyyaz Hashmi

Anchal se kyon baandh liya…

Music: Kamal Dasgupta

Lyricist: Faiyyaz Hashmi

Film Songs

Yaad kiya dil ne…

Movie: Patita (1953)

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

Singers: Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri

Zindagi pyaar ki do chaar ghadi…

Movie: Anarkali (1953)       

Composer: C. Ramchandra

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Rajendra Krishan

Na ye chaand hoga…

Movie: Shart (1954)

Music/Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: S H Bihari

Tere dwaar khada ek jogi…

Movie: Nagin (1954)

Music/Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Rajinder Krishan

Chandan ka palna…

Movie: Shabaab (1954)

Music: Naushad

Singers: Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

Teri duniya mein jeene se…

Movie: House No. 44 (1955)

Music Director: S.D.Burman

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Jaane wo kaise log the…

Movie: Pyaasa (1957)

Music Director: S D Burman.

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Ganga aaye kahaan se…

Movie: Kabuliwala (1961)

Music: Salil Chowdhury

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Gulzar

Na tum humein jaano…

Movie: Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)

Music: S D Burman

Singers: Suman Kalyanpur, Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Bequaraar karke humein…

Movie: Bees Saal Baad (1962)

Music Director and Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

Jagat bhar ki Roshni ke liye…

Movie: Harishchand Taramati (1963)

Music: Laxmikant Pyarelal, Hridaynath Mangeshkar

Lyricist: Kavi Pradeep

Ya dil ki suno…

Movie: Anupama (1966)

Music Director and Singer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi

I am not mentioning four of his songs which I have already covered elsewhere. These include Ye raat ye chandni… (Jaal, 1952), Aa neele gagan tale… (Badshah, 1954), Nain so nain… (Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, 1955) and Tum pukaar lo… (Khamoshi 1970).

According to Wikipedia, Hemant Kumar (16 June 1920 – 26 September 1989) was a legendary Indian music composer and playback singer who primarily sang in Bengali and Hindi, as well as other Indian languages like Marathi, Gujarati, Odia, Assamese, Tamil, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Konkani, Sanskrit and Urdu. He was an artist of Bengali and Hindi film music, Rabindra Sangeet, and many other genres. He was the recipient of two National Awards for Best Male Playback Singer and was popularly known as the “voice of God”.

Hemant joined the Bengal Technical Institute at Jadavpur (now Jadavpur University) to pursue Engineering. However, he quit academics to pursue a career in music, despite objections from his father. He experimented with literature and published a short story in a Bengali magazine Desh. He focused on music by the late 1930’s.

The US government honoured Hemant Kumar by conferring upon him the citizenship of Baltimore, Maryland; the first-ever singer of India to get USA citizenship. He refused Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards but had won so many other awards and accolades for his work.

By the end of his life, he had become an institution, a beloved and revered personality who was a courteous and friendly gentleman. His philanthropic activities included running a homeopathic hospital in memory of his late father in their native village in Baharu, in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal.

Creative geniuses like him surely descend upon this planet from a higher plane of consciousness. They help us to wash off the dirt which gets accumulated on our souls while living our mundane lives, thereby enabling us to reconnect us with our inner beings and enjoy a state of unadulterated joy and bliss.

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Life is often full of contradictions. Our desire for companionship of someone special in our life co-exists with a gnawing realization that we need to accept the reality and be happy to live in a state of separation, if necessary, and not keep complaining about it. Women need the necessary space in a relationship to be able to pursue their own ambitions and career goals.

Tere bina…

Movie: Aandhi (1975)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

Composer: R D Burman

Lyricist: Gulzar

Songs with simple lyrics and a dash of classical music never fail to regale one!

Jab deep jale aana…

Movie: Chitchor (1976)

Singers: K J Yesudas, Hemlata

Composer/Lyricist: Ravindra Jain

The male version of this lovely song is a song of passionate romance, whereas the female one deeply resents a separation forced by circumstances. Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia regale us with this poignant composition.   

Neela asmaan so gaya…

Movie: Silsila (1981)

Singers: Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar

Composers: Shiv, Hari

Lyricist: Javed Akhtar

This one captures the agony of a lover who believes that the other one deserves a better soul mate in life.

Tumko dekha to ye khayal aaya…

Movie: Saath Saath (1982)

Singers: Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh

Composer: Kuldeep Singh

Lyricist: Javed Akhtar

When we turn a hypocrite and try to hide our tears with an artificial smile, a person who really cares for us is quick to spot it.

Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho…

Movie: Arth (1982)

Singer/Composer: Jagjit Singh

Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi

Some time back, I had listed out my favourite lullabies from Bollywood. Permit me to list here an outstanding one.

Surmayee akhiyon mein…

Movie: Sadma (1983)

Singer: K J Yesudas

Composer: Ilaiyaraaja

Lyricist: Gulzar

Here is an introspective song which makes us think of what the purpose of our life really is. Do we really know what we desire and yearn for? 

Aye dil-e-naadaan…

Movie: Razia Sultan (1983)

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

Composer: Khayyam

Lyricist: Jan Nisaar Akhtar

There are times when even a highly talented person like Gulzar outshines himself. This song is a ready example of the same and showcases the yearning of a beloved for closure in a relationship. 

Mera kuchh saamaan…

Movie: Ijaazat (1987)

Singer: Asha Bhosle

Composer: R D Burman

Lyricist: Gulzar

Lilting music, captivating visuals, and the sizzling chemistry between the lead couple – all these go on to make this song an enticing romantic offering!

Tere mere hothon pe…

Movie: Chandni (1989)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Babla Mehta

Composers: Shiv, Hari

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

Here is a lovely romantic song from the stable of Rajshri Productions.

Pehla pehla pyar hai…

Movie: Hum Aapke Hain Koun (1994)

Singer: S. P. Balasubrahmanyam

Composers: Raam Laxman

Lyrics: Dev Kohli

This song gives us hope that there is always someone out there in the universe who is destined to be our soulmate.

Ek dooje ke vaste…

Movie: Dil To Pagal Hai (1997)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Hariharan

Composer: Uttam Singh

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

This beautiful composition is surely dedicated to those who have suffered the pain of unrequited love; also, to those whose spouses have chosen to move on from this planet to the Brighter World.

Main bhool jaun tumhe…

Album: Silsilay (1998)

Singer/Composer: Jagjit Singh

Lyricist: Javed Akhtar

As mentioned elsewhere, here is a touching lullaby which would surely put a kid to sleep.

Door kahin ek aam ki bagiya…

Movie: Zubeida (2001)

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

Composer: A R Rehman

Lyricist: Javed Akhtar

The love between Radha and Krishna is the stuff of legend and folklore. Bollywood has never quite shied away from offering famous song-and-dance sequences to us based on the same. Songs like Hamen gop gwala kehte hain…(Navrang, 1955) and Mohe panghat pe…(Mughal-E-Azam, 1960) readily pop up in our minds. The latest version brings in the dancing skills of Madhuri Dixit, duly backed by Birju Maharaj’s choreography, music and lyrics.

Kaahe chhed chhed mohe…

Movie: Devdas (2002)

Singers: Birju Maharaj, Madhuri Dixit, Kavita Krishnamurthy

Composer/Lyricist: Birju Maharaj

This song effectively captures the innate desire of a female to bear a child, her vivid imagination of the physical form much before she brings him/her into this world.  

Kyun baar baar…

Movie: Filhaal (2002)

Singer: K S Chithra

Composer: Anu Malik

Lyricist: Gulzar

Some directors happen to have a keen ear for soulful music. Think of Raj Kapoor, Gulzar, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and, of course, Yash Chopra. Decades may have passed, but the embers of undying commitment between two star-crossed lovers and their affection for each other continue to glow unabated. 

Tere liye…

Movie: Veer Zaara (2004)

Singers: Suresh Wadkar, Lata Mangeshkar

Composers: Madan Mohan, Sanjiv Kohli

Lyricist: Javed Akhtar

A lovely romantic song which captures the growing affection between two lovers separated by the high walls of material wealth and other societal concerns.

Piyu bole…

Movie: Parineeta (2004)

Singers: Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal

Composer: Shantanu Moitra

Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire

Indian scriptures tell us that the unbound souls in the universe decide the kind of next life they need in view of their past karma and choose their parents accordingly. Children descend from the heavens above and bestow profound hope and joy upon their family seniors. They deserve all the love and respect they can get.      

Taare zameen par…

Movie: Taare Zameen Par (2007)

Singers: Shankar Mahadevan, Bugs Bhargava, Vivinenne Pocha

Composers: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Lyricist: Prasoon Joshi

All of us have role models in our lives. These are persons who are better gifted than us in so many ways. We go to great lengths to remain in their orbits. This song vividly captures the search of three class fellows for their long-lost role model.   

Kahaan gaya usey dhoondo…

Movie: 3 Idiots (2009)

Singer: Shaan

Composer: Shantanu Moitra

Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire

Our homes and hearths are not mere blocks of bricks and mortar. Small moments of shared happiness, an abiding love and harmony between those who populate a dwelling, and tantalizing dreams, bring in the real warmth. And that is how a house becomes a home.   

Itti si khushi…

Movie: Barfi! (2012)

Singers: Shreya Ghoshal, Nikhil Paul George

Composer: Pritam

Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire

Yet another love song which captivates our hearts.

Chaar kadam…

Movie: PK 2014

Singers: Shaan, Shreya Ghoshal

Composer: Shantanu Moitra

Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire

Bollywood has offered us a few songs where the virtues of a mother are showcased by a loving son. Here is a rare one where it is the daughter who is expressing her love and admiration for the mother.

Meri pyari ammi…

Movie: Secret Superstar (2017)

Singer: Meghna Mishra

Composer: Amit Trivedi

Lyricist: Kausar Munir

I am rather hesitant to take this subjective list any further for two reasons.

One, by no stretch of imagination can this list be considered an exhaustive one. There are so many good songs which are available to us. However, out of respect for your time and attention, I cannot simply go on adding many other songs. That would go on to make the listing a wee bit unwieldy. I confess that selecting the songs listed above has not been an easy task for me.

Two, even though there are many which are of recent origin and happen to be popular as of now, we need to allow them more time to mature and acquire an alluring flavour in our emotional casks. I think the shelf-life of these can only be assessed after the lapse of a few years. I allude to such songs as Yaadon ki almaari…(Helicopter Eela; 2018), Teri mitti…(Kesari; 2019), Kitthe chaliye…(Shershaah; 2021) and Meri jaan…(Gangubhai Kathiawadi; 2022).

The Evolution of Bollywood Music

Over the decades, our songs have evolved in more ways than one.

One kind of transformation which has taken place is in the character of the lyrics. In the past, elements of nature used to play an important role, especially when it came to effectively capturing the emotions being depicted on the screen. Think of Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum (Chori Chori; 1956) and O sajana, barkha bahaar aayi (Parakh; 1960). This is no longer true. Now, once in a while, we get treated to a song like Suraj hua maddham (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham; 2001).

Also, gradually, the orchestra and the sound have elbowed out the lyrics somewhat. Songs which appealed to the audience not only for their deep layered meaning but also for their soulful music have become part of a rare breed. Philosophical truths of life have got relegated to the background. Thus, we have become used to getting entertained by offerings which accord a higher priority to our ears than to our minds. 

Moreover, with the new-found zeal for quick cuts, adroit camera work and the razzle-dazzle of a heightened visual appeal, we have virtually stopped hearing songs and have willy-nilly become reconciled to seeing them. Cinematography rules. Locations keep changing in quick succession. Even before we have had the chance to savour one, the next one pops up. The camera has become obtrusive. Even if a patriotic song like Teri mitti…comes up, we are exposed to a visual world which is in the fast forward mode. Since our eyes are constantly being bombarded with visual information, the hapless ear often has no other option but to take the back seat.  

Whatever may be the direction of evolution of songs, music remains a nourishment for the soul. The genre does not really matter. Our choices and preferences may differ widely. But what matters is the way it touches our hearts and resonates with our inner being.

Music makes us experience a glowing harmony between our inner and outer selves. It helps us to dig beneath the veneer of several masks that we wear in our mundane life. It also acts as a catalyst in our quest for our true inner selves, thereby raising our level of consciousness. Indeed, like all other forms of fine art, it washes off the dirt of our mundane lives and nurtures our souls.

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Music forms an integral part of movies. If the background score keeps capturing human emotions of different hues in each of the scenes, songs heighten the sentiments in diverse situations faced by those on the screen. Lyricists play a crucial role by not only depicting the feelings of the characters involved, but also conveying deep philosophical truths of life at times.  

Some songs elevate our spirits and motivate us to get up after each tumble and restart chasing our dreams. Others bring us happiness, even if some of these might be intrinsically sad.

Some of you may remember a song which Talat Mehmood had rendered in his velvet-like soothing voice long time back:

Hein sabse madhur woh geet jinhen hum dard ke swar mein gaate hain…

Roughly translated, this says that the songs which are the sweetest are the ones which are set to the melody of sorrow! You may agree that Shailendra was not much off the mark when he wrote this for the 1953 movie Patita. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XagIs_0zgaY

Each song is a multi-layered offering. If the lyricist pens something heartful, the composer sets it to music which tugs at our heart strings. The characters finally breathe life into it, either by lip-syncing it or by going through the motions while the song itself plays in the background.

Here is a collection of some of the songs which are close to my heart. Songs appear here in a chronological order, ranging from the year 1939 and coming forward up to 2017.   

Whenever the chips are down and dark clouds cover your inner space, here is a song which can motivate you to move ahead in life with a steely resolve and a chin-up attitude.   

Karun kya aas niras bhayi…

Movie: Dushman,1939

Singer: K L Saigal,

Composer: Pankaj Mullick

Lyricist : Aarzoo Lucknowi

When a lover’s heart is pining away for the beloved, this song comes in handy.  

Suhaani raat dhal chuki…

Movie: Dulari (1949)

Singer: Mohammed Rafi

Composer: Naushad

Lyricist: Shakeel Badayuni

Here is a light-hearted and delightful experience in the art and craft of serenading, eventually prompting a reluctant heroine to overcome her hesitation and rush to meet the hero. Yet again, nature plays an important role in the proceedings.

Ye raat ye chandni phir kahaan…

Movie: Jaal (1952)

Singer: Hemant Kumar

Composer: S D Burman

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

This one is a romantic song which has soulful lyrics set to lilting music. The part that I find very touching is where the heroine imagines doing her make up while the hero quietly sits opposite her! Unfortunately, a YouTube search did not throw up the original movie footage.

Aa neele gagan tale pyar hum karein…

Movie: Badshah (1954)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar

Composer: Shankar Jaikishan

Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri

V. Shantaram had a penchant for offering us movies with a distinctive touch of classical music replete with songs which used different elements of nature to enhance a contemplative communion with it. Here, we find someone of the stature of Gopi Krishna showcasing his enchanting dancing skills opposite Sandhya. This movie had used santoor for the first time, played by the inimitable Pt. Shivkumar Sharma.   

Nain so nain nahi milao…

Movie: Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1955)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar

Composer: Vasant Desai

Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri

Here is a flirtatious song from an otherwise serious movie. The back-and-forth chat between the heroine and the hero is a sheer delight.   

Hum aapki ankhon mein…

Movie: Pyasa (1957)

Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt

Composer: S D Burman

Lyricist: Sahir Ludianvi

Amongst the many songs steeped in chivalry that Bollywood has brought to us over the years, this one takes the cake. 

Pyar par bas to nahin…

Movie: Sone ki Chidiya (1958)

Singers: Talat Mehmood, Asha Bhosle

Composer: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

What really defines true living? According to this song, there are three elements: having someone whose smiles you can fall for, borrowing and shouldering someone else’s pain, and having love for someone in your heart!

Kisi ki muskarahaton pe ho nisaar…

Movie: Anari (1959)

Singer: Mukesh

Composers: Shankar Jaikishan

Lyricist: Shailendra

How do we enthuse a soulmate to share his/her suffering with you? Here is a poignant appeal from a beloved, set to unobtrusive music by Jaidev.

Jahaan mein aisa kaun hai…

Movie: Hum Dono (1961)

Singer: Asha Bhosle

Composer: Jaidev

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

When a passionate wooer praises the one being wooed rather profusely, how does the latter respond? Towards the end of the song, the heroine starts wondering if the excessive praise being showered upon her could lead her to entertain feelings of unjustified pride. Here is a lesson in humility and equanimity.

Bahut shukriya badi meharbani…

Movie: Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena (1962)

Singers: Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi

Composer: O P Nayyar

Lyricist: Raja Mehdi Ali Khaan

Here, Sahir Ludianvi tells us that issues which cannot be resolved in life are best concluded with a loving twist!

Chalo ek baar phir se…

Movie: Gumraah (1963)

Singer: Mahendra Kapoor

Composer: Ravi

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

Each song sung by Manna Dey is unique. Interestingly, this one is open to two interpretations. At the mundane level, the lady is wondering how she can return to her home and hearth when a part of her attire is soiled. At a spiritual level, it expresses the yearning of a soul to be reunited with God. 

Laaga chunari mein daag…

Movie: Dil Hi To Hai (1963)

Singer: Manna Dey

Composers: Roshan and Omi Sonik

Lyricist: Sahir Ludhianvi

The pathos of a failed love which does not get reciprocated by the party of the other part, so very aptly rendered by Rafi here, leaves one speechless. Simple lyrics and soothing music make it the perfect song for those facing a similar situation in life. 

Mein ye soch kar…

Movie: Haqeeqat (1964)

Singer: Mohammed Rafi

Composer: Madan Mohan

Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi

Here is another song which tugs at one’s heartstrings by capturing the frustration of loneliness arising out of a misunderstanding in a relationship. 

Din dhal jaaye…

Movie: Guide (1965)

Singer: Mohammed Rafi

Composer: S D Burman

Lyricist: Shailendra

When lovers express their gratitude for the other person’s presence in their lives, unalloyed joy swirls around in their midst. Also, a dash of the Karma theory propounded by Bhagavad Gita raises the philosophical quotient of this song rather high.     

Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good…

Movie: The Sound of Music (1965)

Singers: Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer

Composer: Richard Rodgers

Lyricist: Oscar Hammerstein II

Those who hail from the tribe of the delicately nurtured and believe in female empowerment these days might scoff at this song. However, the fact remains that love based on a deep-rooted loyalty towards each other is truly a sentiment to be cherished.  

Chhupaa lo yuun dil mein pyaar mera…

Movie: Mamta (1966)

Singers: Hemant Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Composer: Roshan

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Many movies have captured the ambience of matrimonial bliss, with the couple exchanging meaningful and loving glances with each other. These are surely couples who have no use for the much-touted phrase ‘I love you’. Their body language says it all. Here is a song which never fails to touch my emotional chords.

Dheere dheere machal ae dil…

Movie: Anupama (1966)

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

Composer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Kaifi Azmi

Here is an uplifting offering which also fits rather well with the sustainability issues we just appear to be waking up to in our chaotic times when Mother Nature often sounds as if she is trying to punish homo sapiens for destroying its beauty and plundering its limited resources.  Human greed has taken over prudence, thereby increasing the entropy in the natural system.   

Ye kaun chitrakaar hai…

Movie: Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti (1967)

Singer: Mukesh

Composer: Satish Bhatia

Lyricist: Bharat Vyas

By now, most of us are aware of the ills of social media, where people often talk without listening, dumping what they wish to say and completely ignoring what others are wanting to say. In movies, we keep running into those who talk without speaking. Their eyes, facial expressions and body language say it all. This song touched upon this aspect of our lives many decades back!

The sound of silence…

Movie: The Graduate (1967)

Singers/Composers: Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel

Lyricist: Paul Simon

When lyrics get penned in chaste Hindi by someone of the stature of Neeraj, set to music by the inimitable S D Burman, rendered by a multi-talented Kishore Kumar and the song features the evergreen Dev Anand, something unique happens. Add the picturesque locales of Switzerland, and magic follows!   

Phoolon ke rang se…

Movie: Prem Pujari (1970)

Singer: Kishore Kumar

Composer: S D Burman

Lyricist: Neeraj

Here is another heart pining for the beloved; sung by Hemant Kumar in his eternally soothing voice.

Tum pukaar lo…

Movie: Khamoshi (1970)

Singer/Composer: Hemant Kumar

Lyricist: Gulzar

Over the years, Bollywood has offered us many songs centred around the heroine’s eyes. Here is just one such which strengthens one’s desire to live a full life.

Jeevan se bhari teri aankhen…

Movie: Safar (1970)

Singer: Kishore Kumar

Composers: Kalyanji, Anandji

Lyricist: Indeevar (Shyamalal Babu Rai)

When one is in love, one accepts the person of the other part with all his/her strengths and weaknesses.

Koi jab tumhara hriday tod de…

Movie: Purab aur Paschim (1970)

Singer: Mukesh

Composer: Kalyanji, Anandji

Lyricist: Indeevar (Shyamlal Babu Rai)

One of the enchanting melodies from the inimitable Geeta Dutt, capturing the tender emotions of love between a couple.

Meri jaan, mujhe jaan na kaho…

Movie: Anubhav (1971)

Singer: Geeta Dutt

Composer: Kanu Roy

Lyricist: Gulzar

Life often makes us suffer the harsh slings and arrow of Fate, separating us from those whom we love. However, our Guardian Angels offer us life-long relationships with perfect strangers. Mukesh makes us brood over this facet of our lives.

Kaheen door jab din dhal jaaye…

Movie: Anand (1971)

Singer: Mukesh

Composer: Salil Chowdhury

Lyricist: Yogesh

When those who hurt us are the ones we consider our own, the hurt is indeed very deep.

Chingaari koi bhadke…

Movie: Amar Prem (1972)

Singer: Kishore Kumar

Composer: R. D. Burman

Lyricist: Anand Bakshi

When relations between husband and wife turn sour, a tragedy proves to be a blessing in disguise, bringing them together, yet again. 

Tere mere milan ki ye raina…

Movie: Abhimaan (1973)

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

Composer: S D Burman

Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri

What happens when there is uncertainty and confusion in our relationships in life? Here is a soulful song which speaks of our yearning to seek a clarity in our thoughts by controlling the endless desires of our heart.

Kayi baar yoon bhi dekha hai…

Music: Rajnigandha (1974)

Singer: Mukesh

Composer: Salil Chowdhury

Lyrics: Yogesh

(Continued…)

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I have never—in all the years this blog has been in existence—compiled a list of my favourite Madan Mohan songs. An oversight, and one for which I have no explanation to offer: just reparation. Born Madan Mohan Kohli in Erbil (Iraqi Kurdistan) on June 25, 1924, the young Madan Mohan returned with his family to […]

Ten of my favourite Madan Mohan songs — Dustedoff

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We appear to live in times when lyrics in Bollywood are mostly lost in the loud music churned out by a metallic orchestra. Lyricists are barely acknowledged.

It is times such as these which persuade us to travel back in time and remember the kind of soulful poetry the lyricists of yore used to offer.

Here is a great post on Hasrat Jaipuri.

Enjoy!

Dustedoff

Today is the birth centenary of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest lyricists, the very prolific and versatile Hasrat Jaipuri. Born in Jaipur on April 15, 1922, ‘Hasrat’ was named Iqbal Hussain, and took to writing poetry fairly early in life. In 1940, not even 20 years old, Hasrat moved to Bombay, where, though he attended mushairas and wrote (and recited) a good deal of verse, he was also obliged to take up a job as bus conductor. This job helped him make ends meet for the next 8 years, when Hasrat had the good fortune to be noticed by none other than Prithviraj Kapoor at a mushaira. Kapoor was so impressed by the young poet, he recommended Hasrat to his son Raj, who was then in the midst of planning Barsaat (1949). Hasrat was taken on to write songs for the film, and that was the start of a…

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Dustedoff

I am leery of attaching ‘best’ and ‘most favourite’ appellations to anybody or anything, no matter how much I may be fond of the person/creation/whatever in question. I tend to say that so-and-so song or film, for instance, is among my favourites; the same goes for actors, singers, directors, and so on. There are some whom I especially like, there are some for whom I will watch a film just because they’re in it. There are none whom I idolize and place on a pedestal and see no wrong in.

Sahir Ludhianvi may be one of the exceptions. This is one man whose genius blows me away. If I were to list my favourite Hindi songs from the Golden Period, based purely on the sheer memorability of their lyrics, the one lyricist who would lead the pack would be Sahir Ludhianvi. His versatility; his hard-hitting, often brutal, honesty; his occasional…

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People who go away to the Brighter Worlds beyond often leave rich legacies behind. Ms Ira who was the creative person behind this unique blog site is no more with us. But her scintillating work remains. She continues to live amongst the hearts of Bollywood fans through her work. Savour this piece as a humble tribute to her genius.

Do please also pass by her earlier site too, http://bollyviewer-oldisgold.blogspot.com. You are bound to find many of her brilliant posts there as well.

Thanks are due to Madhulika Liddle, yet another Bollywood buff and an author to boot (https://madhulikaliddle.com), who recently brought this blog site to my attention.

Masala Punch

It is re-union time again! In masala-land, a re-union does not need a reason, but a rhyme (and music) is always welcome. When Madhu posted her Aankhen songs list, Anu also wanted to post about filmi eyes and I am always happy to join a song-n-dance party. So we planned our re-union party, with songs about eyes – Anu decided to bring Nigaahein songs to the party, Madhu opted for Nazar, and I settled on Naina songs.

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ashokbhatia

Music has great power. It touches the innermost recesses of our being. It invigorates. When we attend a concert and soak in music which is uplifting and rich, there are moments when we can hardly bear the sheer bliss. Mellifluous notes surround us. We float in an ocean of musical waves, enjoying its depth and grandeur. We just wish for the time to stop its relentless onward march. We wish to forever live in that frozen moment of inward happiness. We crave to be left alone in space and time.

We live in exciting times. We have geniuses who enthrall us with music of diverse genres. Scintillating dance performances, mesmerizing concerts and rapturous vocals keep us spellbound. Right from the snow-clad Swiss Alps to the lush green plains of India, one is fortunate to have heard and seen maestros who have perfected the art of touching our souls and made…

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