Category Archives: Bollywood 50’s Music

Listening to: Kala Pani (1958)

Kala PaniMy today’s movie selection is in honour of Dev Anand, who passed away this week. Though I was never fond of his films, I respect anybody who has lasted so long in the cut-throat business that Bollywood is.

The last time I saw Dev on the big screen was in 1978, when I went to see Des Pardes. I was a teenager and I found the thought of a the 55 year old thespian romancing the young Tina Munim very objectionable. I walked out after 30 mins of the film.  Subsequently, I have never been able to see his films without a rather bad taste in my mouth. And also, I absolutely disliked his mannerisms.

Kala Pani was therefore a wonderful surprise! He is young (35) and handsome and thankfully makes minimal use of the mannerisms which annoy me.  The movie starts with Dev discovering that the father he thought was dead was in fact serving a life-sentence for murder. He meets is father, is convinced that he is innocent and decides to find the true killer and clear his father’s name. The beautiful Madhubala is the owner of the guest house where he stays and the gentle take-off of the romance is very convincing -there is neither stalking, nor over-ardent behaviour! Nalini Jayawant is a tawaif, a dancing-girl, who has proof of the real killer. The two ladies look beautiful and add a feminine touch to this semi-dark crime story. In spite of some loose bits (for example, confrontation with the lawyer at gunpoint, the speech making in the court), the script is good, the editing brisk, the black-and-white cinematography is quite beautiful, music is melodious and performances are very good indeed, especially by Dev Anand and Nalini Jayawant. A very stylistic film; a recommended watch. 

The music by S.D.Burman is very melodious and Majrooh Sultanpuri provides some memorable lines. I must bring your attention to the background score as well; it is especially beautiful. Listen to the music when Dev is in the newspaper office, quite lovely.

  • Najar Lagi Raja – Asha Bhonsle. A very good Mujra song, Nalini Jayawant adds to the allure of the song with her own beauty. I love the sound of Ghungroo integrated into the music. Open-mouthed smile
  • Hum Bekhudi Mein – Mohammad Rafi. SD has produced a masterpiece. Rafi displays a mastery which leaves me in awe! What an interesting mood the song creates! Its not sad, but rather reflective and accepting of lost loves and lost chances.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Dil Lagake Kadar Gayee – Asha Bhonsle. Another Mujra song but this didn’t please me as much. Disappointed smile
  • Jab Naam E Mohabbat – Asha Bhonsle. SD has tried a new concept, mixing traditional poetry delivery style of singing with ‘modern’ bits interspersed.  I liked the traditional part which reminded me strongly of the later (1963) song ‘Ham Tere Pyar Mein Sara Alam’ with music by Shankar Jaikishen. But the mix of the two styles, I found very jarring. Disappointed smile
  • Acchaji Mein Hari Chalo – Asha Bhonsle, Mohammad Rafi. When it comes to expressing emotions with her voice, Asha is just incredible. Listen to her say मान जाओ ना – the modulations in her voice!! Oh!! Add to it Madhubala’s superbly expressive face and you have a winner. The heart is for Asha’s voice.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Dilwale Ab Teri Gali – Asha Bhonsle, Mohammad Rafi. A banjara song, quite good. Smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My pick for today is Rafi’s Hum Bekhudi Mein, a most well-known and well-loved of songs. Enjoy!


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Set to Raga Chhayanat

हम बेखुदी में तुमको पुकारे चले गये
साग़र में ज़िन्दगी को उतारे चले गये (हम)

देखा किये तुम्हें, हम बनके दीवाना
उतरा जो नशा तो, हमने ये जाना
सारे वो ज़िन्दगी के सहारे चले गये (हम)

तुम तो ना कहो हम, खुद ही से खेले
डूबे नहीं हम ही यूँ, नशे में अकेले
शीशे में आपको भी उतारे चले गये (हम)


Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Paying Guest (1957)

Paying GuestMy feelings after seeing this film is ranging between frustration and anger. The music was the draw when I sat down to see it, but surely I had the right to expect some entertainment from the story as well?

In the earlier part of the film there is a debate between Nutan and Shubha Khote, ‘Is love or money  more important in a relationship/marriage?’ I thought then that perhaps that was the theme of the film. Unfortunately the movie did not settle down to any sane theme.

We have Dev who is a lawyer but with no income who comes to live as a paying guest in Nutan’s home. I disliked the character immediately. A ‘hero’ in films of yesteryears got away with a multitude of sins – in this case, criminal fraud (he misrepresents himself, doesn’t pay his dues), molestation (he grabs Nutan’s hand, stalks her on the road), breaking and entering (he enters Nutan’s room without permission), cheating (he pretends to be grievously hurt to win Nutan’s hand), tackiness (his reaction to a cat fight), questionable judgement (goes out to clubs and gets drunk with a married woman) – just to name a few. Tell me again, why is he a ‘hero’ ? I do not like Dev Anand and this film didn’t make me change my mind. 

Nutan on the other hand is quietly brilliant. I am more and more in sympathy with fellow-blogger and Nutan worshipper Yves from Let’s Talk About Bollywood. The industry has more than its share of beauties but Nutan quietly outshines them all. I much prefer her style of warm beauty than the perfect but cold touch-me-not look of some beauty queens. When Nutan smiles, her eyes, her face, why even her hair light up! And what an actress! She makes even ridiculous lines seem good and in an effortless and natural manner. She lip-synchs better than any actress I have seen and carries herself with grace. And truly, she radiates a goodness of heart which permeates all the roles she plays. Even in this poor film, she delivers her part with élan.

The first part of the movie is about Dev ensnaring Nutan. They enjoy a bit of a romance. Maybe it was just the chase for him? For he soon gets distracted by Shubha Khote who, after having found a rich husband she wanted, is now realising that she wants romance after all. There is Nutan’s evil brother-in-law who gets mixed up in this business. Shobha’s rich husband is killed and then the evil brother-in-law for whose death Nutan goes to court. It is upto our hero, who we have so far thought to be a good-for-nothing lawyer suddenly develops brilliant court room tactics and rescues the damsel in distress. PSHAW!!

The music by S.D.Burman is  brilliant and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics are excellent.

  • Mana Janab Ne Pukara Nahin – Kishore Kumar. Lovely ‘stalking’ song. Thank you S.D for a lovely melody – especially like the बंदगी तो दीजिये जनाब  part of the verse. Kishore sounds very good. Open-mouthed smile
  • Chod Do Aanchal – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. This is a superb example of the fun-conversational-duets that Hindi film music fans have enjoyed over the years. There is an inherent rhythm in the words which is very attractive. Kishore and Asha are outstanding! Asha emotes especially well and her voice is liquid gold…Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • O Nigahen Mastana – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. Nice song but not very original. It reminds me of many other similar ones. Smile
  • Chupke Chupke – Lata Mangeshkar. Not very appealing.Disappointed smile
  • Hai Hai Yeh Nigahen – Kishore Kumar. The ubiquitous club song, for a change in a male voice. Kishore does a good enough version but I am not charmed. I don't know smile
  • Chand Phir Niklaa  – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata shows why she ruled the Hindi film music world for so long. Wonderful melody, lovely mood, great instrumentals and good lyrics.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

You can listen to the whole album here.

As I cannot decide between my two favourites, one a happy song and another a sad one, I present you both.

Chod do Aanchal

Chand Phir Niklaa

Lyrics : Chod Do Anchal

छोड़ दो आँचल ज़माना क्या कहेगा
इन अदाओं का ज़माना भी है दीवाना
दीवाना क्या कहेगा

मैं चली अब खूब छेड़ो प्यार के अफ़साने
कुछ मौसम है दीवाना कुछ तुम भी हो दीवाने
ज़रा सुनना जान-ए-तमन्ना
इतना तो सोचिये मौसम सुहाना क्या कहेगा

यूँ  न देखो जाग जाए प्यार की अंगडाई
ये रस्ता ये तन्हाई लो दिल ने ठोकर खाई
यहीं दिन हैं मस्ती के सिन  हैं
किसको ये होश है अपना बेगाना क्या कहेगा 

ये बहारें ये फुवारें ये बरसता सावन
थर थर काँपे हैं तन मन मेरी बैंयां धर लो साजन
अजी आना दिल में समाना
इक दिल इक जान हैं हम तुम ज़माना क्या कहेगा 

Lyrics: Chand Phir Niklaa (Raga Shuddha Kalyan)

चाँद फिर निकला मगर तुम न आये
जला फिर मेरा दिल करूँ क्या मैं हाय

ये रात कहती है कि वोह दिन गए तेरे
यह जानता है दिल कि तुम नहीं मेरे
खड़ी हूँ मैं फिर भी निगाहें बिछाये
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये

सुलगते सीने से धुंआ सा उठता है
लो अब चले आओ कि दम घुटता है
जला गए तन को बहारों के साए
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये


Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to: Dilli Ka Thug (1958)

Dilli Ka Thug

A recently torn knee ligament and many hours spent on the recliner in front of the telly  has left me with plenty of scribbled notes which I have yet to transcribe. This is the first of them.

It was with great excitement that I sat to watch this film with my husband last weekend. If Kishore’s talent and goofiness wasn’t enough, there was Nutan’s acting prowess & astounding beauty to look forward to. And some fabulous music of course!

We lasted 30 mins. Surely no script-writer can be so illogical? And no editor so inept? Surely the producer should have noticed something? We watched with incredulity as they took perfectly good actors and put them in scene after disconnected scene leading nowhere. Then we gave up and just watched the songs. I read an online review which was all praise for the film. And also that it was a hit! Did we watch the same film? !!!

The music by Ravi is a mixed bag, but a couple of fantastic songs makes it a must-listen album. 

  • Kisi Ka Dil Lena Ho – Asha Bhonsle. This is the first time I heard this song. It struck me as similar to some ‘club’ numbers from that era. There is a bit of Been sound and a bit of Arabic sounds thrown in – a strange mixture but I quite enjoyed it. Smile
  • O Babu O Lala – Geeta Dutt. I love Geeta Dutt’s voice but this song didn’t appeal at all. Sad smile
  • Yeh Bahar Yeh Sama – Asha Bhonsle.  A lilting number by a young Asha, it has a fresh and happy tune which I like. Smile
  • Seekh Le Babu – Asha Bhonsle. Filmed on a stunningly beautiful Nutan in an atrociously bad dress, this song left me quite cold. Thinking smile
  • Hum Tho Mohabbat Karega – Kishore Kumar. Just the song to showcase Kishore’s eccentric talent! It is not without reason that this song is so famous! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Cat Mane Billi – Asha Bhonsle & Kishore Kumar. To watch emotions flit across Nutan’s flawless face is such a treat! Kishore shows off his dancing skills too! Asha does a commendable job. Very enjoyable ! If I was scoring only on watchability, this song takes the prize!  Open-mouthed smile
  • Yeh Ratein Yeh Mausam – Asha Bhonsle & Kishore Kumar.  What can I say about this fantastic song except its a ‘classic’? I love Asha’s voice quality here, Kishore woos me as always and Shailendra’s lyrics are very romantic. A melt-your-heart kind of song. ps. A reader points out that there is much to say about this piece of music. There is, and there isn’t. There is a whole generation of Indians who have grown up with this song, thinking of it as THE romantic song. Classic and peerless. And in that sense, it defies description. It is one of the most well-loved songs of Indian cinema, and deservedly so!  Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart

You can listen to the whole album here.

I have no choice but to play Yeh Ratein for you, I’ve loved it for too long !

Post script: Click here for lyrics, translation and analysis of this song by Yves, a fellow blogger and worshipper of Nutan’s extraordinary beauty and talent.


Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar

Listening to : Aan (1952)

Aan 1952

Naive village belle, this I understand. Proud princess, this too I understand. Why don’t the script writers or directors? Don’t they know the difference between naive and stupid? And between pride and arrogance? Both Nimmi and Nadira had such unappealing characters that I found the movie hard to watch.  Dilip Kumar’s character wasn’t much better. But his smile is so charming that I forgive him!  The supporting characters come across in a more sympathetic light; Mukhri and the queen’s attendant in particular. It can be seen as a kind of ‘taming of the shrew’ I guess. 

Consequently, I really don’t understand why it was such a hit at that time. Was it just because it was the first Indian technicolour film? Or am I missing something? Was this important, this breaking of the pride of the whip-swinging jodhpur-clad princess to the newly independent India? Did this reflect the real mood of those times against the rule of the princely states and of the British lords? So many questions, so few answers.

I must note that I simply loved the dungeon entrance through the perfectly fitted teeth of a monster!! And then there is the den door with red teeth! And real live lions for the heroine to escape from!! And the princess in the pool has a gigantic lotus to cover her modesty! So I did find things to amuse me after all..

As to the songs, I was in a rather strange place compared to the normal songs I write about becaause I knew only a couple of them. Knowing the composer to be Naushad (1919-2006) whom I admire tremendously, I went in expecting a real treat. It wasn’t quite that but very enjoyable all the same. The lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni (1916-1970) are poetic in the old fashioned way, which I enjoy.

  • Aaj Mere Man Mein Sakhi – Lata Mangeshkar. It sounds as if Lata was trying to be Shamshad! This sounds like a ‘formula’ type of song used for village girls..I don't know smile
  • Main Rani Hoon Raja Ki – Shamshad Begum. I have always thought Shamshad to be very talented and here she proves her talent yet again. Very well sung. Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Muhabbat Choome Jinke Haath – Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A young Rafi with very few instruments to back him up  sounds wonderfully clear and crisp. Smile
  • Aag Lagi Tanman Mein – Shamshad Begum. One of the songs which I remembered from my childhood. I like it except for the ‘oh’ , ‘hmm’ and other ‘enhancements’. Nice phrasing like तन का सिंगार मेरे मन को न भाए देखो नैना भर आये   Smile
  • Khelo Rang Hamare Sang – Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely holi song which I enjoyed very much, especially the contrast between Lata and Shamshad’s voice.  Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Dil Mein Chupa Ke – Mohammad Rafi. A familiar beat for old Bollywood-music lovers to the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. A song I remember well, it still has a nice appeal. Rafi’s voice is lovely. Open-mouthed smile
  • Takra Gaya Tumse – Mohammad Rafi. A sad and contemplative song which I would have liked much better if I didn’t know the scenario. Rafi does this kind of song very well indeed. Smile
  • Man Mera Ehsaan – Mohammad Rafi. Was this the most famous of songs from this film? This is the one I remember best.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Tujhe kho diya – Lata Mangeshkar. A song of loneliness, it reminds me of other songs of the same genre from the fifties. Doesn’t stand out. Disappointed smile
  • Gao Tarane Man Ke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A very bice catchy song, especially the ‘cham cham’ bit! I also enjoyed hearing Rafi, Lata and Shamshad sing together. Open-mouthed smile

I present you this song, not just because its lovely and lively, but also because there is a lot of on-screen colour and drama ! Enjoy! If you want to hear the whole album, click here.

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum

Listening to Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

What a hoot this film from 1958  is!! During my last trip to India, I picked up a DVD  for a princely sum of $2 – an official copy too! A very well spent $2, if I may say so. I really enjoyed revisiting it with my husband a couple of weeks back.

I’ll recommend however that you pack up your left brain and leave it safely in cold storage while you watch this film, that will make your experience ever more pleasurable. You will then not wonder why Ashok Kumar’s ex can so easily escape to call for help at the end of the movie but couldn’t for, what was it, 10 years? Or why Madhubala doesn’t just tell her dad that this fellow whom he introduces to her is not quite the thing?

But let us pass all that because the film is truly rib tickling!  I haven’t yet seen the follow-on film called Badthi Ka Naam Daadi (the title is intriguingly hairy, to say the least!). The character development for each of the three brothers has been done very well, creating three distinct and interesting personas. I am a Madhubala fan and she is winsome as ever; charming even in men’s clothes when she goes a-adventuring with Kishore! What a charmer! कभी कुछ कहती है,  कभी कुछ कहती है, ज़रा नज़र को संभालना  How apt for a girl whose eyes, her whole face speaks volumes! On that topic, Kishore Kumar has done a fantastic job and his face is equally expressive. I am not sure why he was not more respected as an actor.  I am happy to strongly recommend this film to anyone who wants to cheer themselves up!

The music is pure fun and has a can’t-get-it-off-my-mind quality which helped make it a hit. But more than that, it shows off Kishore’s genius for comic singing, if there is a category such as that. Who can forget him yodelling his demand for पांच रुपैया बारा आना ? Or him strutting to हम थे वोह थीं और समाँ रंगीन समझ गये ना .  S.D.Burman’s music is fantastic. The lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri are very good too. I can never forget Anoop Kumar going ओ मन्नू तेरा हुआ अब मेरा क्या होगा  –  that will get a smile out of anyone!

Check out these great songs :

  • Babu Samjho Ishare – Kishore Kumar.  Title song, catchy as it should be.Smile
  • Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si – Kishore Kumar. Excellent is the only word for it.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Haal Kaisa Hai Janaab Ka – Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle. Kishore is out of the world. Asha purrs like a satisfied kitten. Superb. Unforgettable.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hum the woh thi – Kishore Kumar.  Interesting, very different composition by SD Burman, with Kishore jumping from scale to scale in effortless ease. A showcase for Kishore’s talent. And he is not a bad dancer either! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Main Sitaron Ka Tarana – Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar. Very good, will get a smile out of you for sure! Smile
  • In haathon se sab ki gaadi – Kishore Kumar. Didn’t make an impression.Thinking smile
  • Hum tumhare hain – Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra. A lovely song for the talented Helen and Cuckoo to do their dance number. Smile
  • Ruk jaao na ji – Asha Bhonsle. Ordinary. But Madhubala is great.  Disappointed smile

You can find the whole album here. I am going to indulge myself and present two songs to you. The first for the superb singing by Kishore and Asha and the visual delight of the supreme Madhubala. I can’t take my eyes off her face!!! Just listen to Asha’s teasing voice at 3:35, what a singer!

And the song below to showcase Kishore’s mad genius.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar

Listening to: Anarkali (1953)

Anarkali holds a special place for me as all during my childhood I had heard my mum humming these songs to herself. She must have been eighteen or nineteen when this film came out; she learnt the songs then and remembered them for a lifetime. And left me with this beautiful inheritance.

Remembering the songs but not the movie, I sat to watch it recently. Oh, I wish I hadn’t! Bina Rai looks beautiful in the scenes where she smiles. Unfortunately there are only two such smiles hidden within 2 hrs and 28 mins of on-screen misery for her. And Pradeep Kumar, was there ever a more unlikeable or un-admirable protagonist?  Our prince Salim is cowardly at the start, mean when he rescues our heroine from a slave market and then tortures her by pretending to be someone else, unkind when he – at last – is firm with nautch girl Gulnar, petulant when he declares his love and starts a rebellion, and spineless almost all of the time! Now if it were Dharmendra looking like a Greek God in his heydays, I could have sympathised with Anarkali…… As it stands, I would advice Anarkali to wash her hands off this prince and take up a job as a playback singer, she could have gone places!!

Joking aside, the music by C.Ramachandra is indeed beautiful, my mother chose well.  The music is like a showcase for Lata’s talents. What a wonderful find she was to the Hindi movie industry!!

  • Yeh Zindagi Usi ki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar. This was the iconic song of Anarkali, very touchingly sung by Lata  Open-mouthed smile
  • Aa jane wafa – Lata Mangeshkar.  I don't know smile
  • Aaja ab to aa ja – Lata Mangeshkar. Good picturisation, when the heroine is being sold off on the slave market. Beautifully rendered by Lata. Open-mouthed smile
  • Mujh se mat pooch – Lata Mangeshkar I don't know smile
  • Dua kar ghame dil – Lata  Mangeshkar.  I love the Arabic touch to this music!!  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Jag darde ishq jag – Hemand Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar. Hemant Kumar is not a personal favourite  and I dislike his pronunciation in this song but the music is good enough to earn a smile  Open-mouthed smile
  • Mohabbat aisi dhadhkan hai – Lata  Ah….so beautiful! The lyrics by Shailendra please me especially.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Zindagi pyar ki do char ghadi – Hemant Kumar I don't know smile
  • Zamana yeh samjha ki hum pee ke aye –  Lata Manageshkar Sad smile
  • O Aasman wale – Lata Manageshkar Sad smile

For those who want to listen to the whole album, here is a link. I could not make up my mind as to which of my two favourites I should show you, so I present for your viewing pleasure both songs below. Happy viewing!

Dua Kar Ghame Dil–Lata Mangeskhar
Mohabbat Aisi Dhadkan–Lata Mangeshkar

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to : Baiju Bawra (1952)

Since I started this blog, I keep drifting again and again towards the music my mother loved. I feel her presence in this music, as I do in so many other areas of my life; the music feels even more dear now that she is gone.

As with much of the music from old films, I was familiar with the music in my childhood before I saw the film. My memory from a viewing on television during my teenage years is unclear; but as an aid to writing this, I saw the film again a few days back. It seems to me that the cast has done an excellent job though the film could have been better edited. But the music, oh the music!! I was awash with tears with the beauty of the music.

The story is that of a classical musician from Chanderi, Baijnath Prasad or Baijnath Mishra (1542-1613) called Baiju Bawra (the crazy). However the film bears only vague resemblance to the account of his life as published in Chanderi’s website. Like Tansen, he was the disciple of Swami Haridas (1512-1607). There is no mention in this film of his connection with the court of Gwalior, which seems to be an important one in real life.

The music of this film about a musician needed to be brilliant, and there it delivers, absolutely. Naushad (1919-2006) won his only (!!!! how’s that possible?) Filmfare award for his music. But he did win the well deserved Padma Bhushan in 1992 many years later. The Filmfare awards being newly instituted, there seems to have been no awards for singers. If there had been awards, Mohammed Rafi would no doubt have swept them all. Shakeel Badayuni, the lyricist, does a memorable job as well.

I list the tracks with my reactions to them :

  1. Jhoole mein Pawan ke (Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi) Smile  A very nice duet, light and romantic. 
  2. Tu Ganga Ki Mauj  (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Brilliant. Brilliant!!!  The picturisation is very good too. For once, when the hero sings, people actually stop to watch and the girl is embarrassed, as she would be in real life.
  3. Door Koi Gaaye  (Shamshad Begum, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar)Open-mouthed smile  I love the sound of Shamshad Begum’s rustic sound set against Lata’s more polished voice.
  4. Insan Bano (Mohd Rafi) Thinking smile This didn’t appeal, especially in the company of such fantastic songs in the album. 
  5. Bachpan ki Mohabbat (Lata Mangeshkar)   Smile Slow and sweet.
  6. Man tadpat hari darshan ko (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Perfection!!! Everything fits beautifully – Rafi’s voice, the beautiful lyrics, the melody which touches the heart. I do not like the last 1 min 10 secs, which I skip normally.
  7. Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya (Lata Mangeshkar) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Oh what pathos !! The words are written by a man scorned; surely they come from the heart – प्रीत है झूठी प्रीतम झूठा, झूठ है सारी नगरिया  (love is false, my lover is false, the whole world is false) laments Lata. This is her genre, her music. Nobody comes close to her in this kind of song.
  8. O Duniya Ke Rakhwale (Mohd. Rafi) Open-mouthed smileRed heart Again, impossibly perfect !! Whom should we praise? The composer, the lyricist and the singer have all come together to form a perfect whole. A showcase for Rafi’s vocal range.
  9. Aaj Gawat Man Mero (Ustad Amir Khan, Pundit Paluskar) Thinking smile A classical number which is not as good as it should be – surely a competition between Tansen and Baiju should have been earth shattering!
  10. Tori Jai Jai (Ustad Amir Khan) Smile Another classical piece, adequate.

With four brilliant songs, I am in a quandary. Presenting just one is impossible, so I shall  feature one of Rafi’s and one of Lata’s. For those who want to listen to all the songs, here’s a link to Musicindiaonine.


Tu Ganga ki Mauj–Mohammad Rafi


Mohe bhool gaye–Lata Mangeshkar

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to : Anari (1959)


Music : Shankar – Jaikishen

Lyrics : Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri




What a nice album! I am not surprised that it won the Filmfare awards for Music, Lyrics and Best Playback Singer (Male) in the year it was released.  The music feels fresh and lovely even now. I am listing the songs in order of the tracks in Music India Online but they are again not in the order of appearance in the film. I must say that disturbs me, as the songs have their own narrative which is lost by this strange order.

  • Sab Kuch Seekha Maine (Mukesh) The song suits Raj Kapoor to a T. a very popular title song. Smile
  • Dil Ki Nazar Se (Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar) is the second duet in the film by order of appearance. A joyous song, sung to perfection.Open-mouthed smile
  • Tera Jana (Lata Mangeshkar) A sad song, it is interesting in that its beat is not that slow. A genre in which Lata excels. Smile
  • Woh Chand Khila (Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh) is  the only track with lyrics by Hasrat  Jaipuri. Beautifully composed and sung, it is enhanced by Nutan’s luminous screen presence. Has there been any actress as beautiful as Nutan looks in this song? Its almost unearthly !Open-mouthed smile
  • Kisi ki Muskuharat (Mukesh) This song introduces Raj Kapoor’s character in the film. An upbeat song with a catchy tune, it has a staccato feel to it. Cleverly composed and well sung.Smile
  • Nineteen Fixty Six (Lata and Manna Dey) Totally fails to capture my interest. A Helen dance number, it isn’t up to the standard of the rest of the album.Sad smile

To admire Nutan’s beauty and this brilliant song, listen to the clip below :

Woh Chand Khila – Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh


I must say though that I don’t see the appeal of the persona that Raj Kapoor so often adopted in his films. I am perhaps in the minority, as his films were very successful. He has a dialogue about social conscience in this film, near the end, which explains what he was trying to say however he seems to associate honesty, integrity and humanity only with poverty and with naivety touching upon ignorance. The line differentiating the unworldly, the  unsophisticated with the ignorant and the foolish is a blurry line indeed. As much as I admire the stellar qualities I listed above, I would only truly admire it when it is a result of a mind as sharp as sabre, a mind which arrives on these qualities by intellectually assessing their superiority and mindfully selecting them, not arriving upon them by mischance or naiveté. But we are talking about the music in this blog, and the music of Anari is stellar indeed.


Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh

Listening to: Aar Paar (1954)



Music : O.P.Nayyar

Lyrics : Majrooh Sultanpuri

It seems to me that the music of Aar Paar was written to showcase Geeta Dutt’s sultry voice. There are three duets but no male solos at all. I offer my two bits on the songs as listed on Music India Online . The order does not follow the one in the film.

  • Shamshad Begum sings Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar, the title song, a light hearted and melodious track. Listen to the lyrics, they are very well written. The song is delightful, both playful and wistful at the same time.Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hoon Abhi Jawan, by Geeta Dutt, has great instrumentals at the start with an Arabic sound. But the rest of the song doesn’t make an impression on me.  Disappointed smile
  • Sun Sun Sun Zalima is a hummable duet by Geeta and Mohammad Rafi. Geeta’s voice is perfect for the ada needed and Rafi sounds very good. Ok song.  I don't know smile
  • Ja Ja Ja Ja Bewafa is a slow, sad and melodious song  by Geeta.  It has a gentle appeal but does it have longevity in our memories? I think not.  I don't know smile
  • Geeta croons Babuji Dheere Chalna, a  smoky and sensuous number. The action is set in a nightclub, and the song is perfect for that, as it is for Geeta’s voice.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Ye Lo Main Hari Piya is another great song, the melody of which sticks easily in one’s mind. Geeta Dutt performs beautifully as usual. Open-mouthed smile
  • The duet Mohabbat Kar Lo Ji Bhar lo by Mohammad Rafi and Geeta Dutt does not appeal to me. Very pedestrian, in my opinion.Sad smile
  • Na Na Na Na Tauba, a duet by Geeta Dutt and Rafi is picturised on Johnny Walker; it’s a comical number. Rafi is excellent in mimicking Johnny’s style but I still don’t like this song. Sad smile

Do you already have a favourite track? Vote below :

With three good tracks and a couple of ok ones, this album is worth a listen (or re-listen). I present my favourite song here. Check out the talented kids !

Kabhi Aar Kabhie Paar–Shamshad Begum


Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum

Singing a Salute

Album : Anand Math (1952)

Song : Vande Mataram

Music : Hemant Kumar

Lyrics : Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (27 June 1838 – 8 April 1894)

Singers : Lata Mangeshkar


On this day, a National day in both my birth and adoptive countries, I choose this beautiful song as a salutation to both nations. The Hindi film industry has presented us with a number of memorable patriotic songs, many of which I would love to name in this blog one day.  But in my quest to present personally meaningful songs, this is a standout. I woke up to one version of this song everyday of my childhood as it played at 6am in the radio. At school, I sang another version of this song daily for 7 odd years.  I was an impressionable teenager when I sang this with the school choir at an event attended by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Shaking hands with her, I had been mesmerized by her aura of power and her personal magnetism. ‘This is how a woman ought to be’, I had thought. A self-defining moment for a growing girl.

So today, I present this song to you, as an ode to Mother Earth, Mother India, and Goddess Shakti (the Goddess of Power).


Vande Mataram–Lata Mangeshkar

vande mātaram, sujalāṃ suphalāṃ malayajaśītalām
śasya śyāmalāṃ, mātaram, vande mātaram
śubhra jyotsnā, pulakita yāminīm
phulla kusumita, drumadalaśobhinīm
suhāsinīṃ, sumadhura bhāṣiṇīm
sukhadāṃ varadāṃ, mātaram
vande mātaram

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
the Mother!
Her nights rejoicing
in the glory of the moonlight,
her lands clothed beautifully
with her trees in flowering bloom,
sweet of laughter, sweet of speech,
The Mother, giver of boons, giver of bliss!


Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Patriotic Music