Category Archives: Bollywood 60’s Music

Nigahen Milane Ko Ji Chahta Hai

Nigahen MilaneHow I have been neglecting my blog! Summer is always a busy time for me; this summer has been no different. I’ve been busy first with family visitors and then with my own travels. And it’s not finished. My September is fully booked up with more travelling and more visitors, so I am taking advantage of this brief lull for this post.

My travels took me to India this time. It was a hectic schedule which included four cities in two weeks! This India trip was a font of inspiration for me; you’ll no doubt hear of them in future posts. My song choice of today is also triggered by this trip…but I will come to that by and by..

The first part of the trip was a get-together with a select group of alumni from my husband’s alma mater. They have been organising meets every two years for a while now. There is invariably plenty of reminiscing and reconnecting, eating and drinking, jokes and laughs and some tourism if the mood takes us. It’s nice to see the guys relax and be ‘boys’ again. When they are fooling around, its difficult to reconcile that one of them has been decorated with a Padma Shri, a number of them are Heads, Deans or senior academic members of some of the greatest academic institutions in India and outside, one is a policy advisor to a Head of State, another is an entrepreneur whose company is now worth more millions than I can count, one is a COO of an outstanding global tech company from India, another is an enterprise architect of a multi billion dollar company and yet another is a CTO of a large bank in India ….a high achieving bunch indeed!

One of the most entertaining parts of these get-togethers has been a themed photo-and-music presentation by my husband’s pal each year. As he is a veritable encyclopaedia of filmi music from the old-is-gold period, these presentations are always very enjoyable. This year there was a quiz based on the musical choices by the alumni members. It was fun to see how well they all knew each other as they invariably named the person by the song choice almost immediately!

That set me wondering, can I name one song by which people who know me will be able to identify me? After pondering a while it was evident that it was quite an impossible task to choose that one special song which has a strong connection with me. There is so much music out there, how can I name just one? Could you? However, I could short list a number of songs which have a great appeal in each genre that I listen to. My song choice of today falls into that short list for filmi music. The combination of Roshan’s admirable music, Sahir Ludhianvi’s beautiful words, Asha’s flawless rendition, Nutan’s lovely expressive face and the Qawwali style makes this quite irresistible to me. The song is so well known that I am sure you have heard it many times before. Still, join me now in listening to this song….

राज़ की बात है मेहफ़िल में कहें या न कहें
बस गया है कोई इस दिल में कहें या न कहें

rAz kI bAt hai mehfil mE.n kahE.n yA na kahE.n
bas gayA hai kOI is dil mE.n kahE.n yA na kahE.n

It’s a secret (rAz) matter (bAt), shall I say (kahE.n) it in (mE.n) this gathering (mehfil) or (yA) not (nA kahE.n)? Someone (kOI) has taken root (bas gayA hai) in (mE.n) this (is) heart (dil), whether I say it (kahE.n) or (yA) not (nA kahE.n).

The first couplet sets the mood of the song : a girl, newly in love, wonders if she shall talk openly about it. Qawwalis always include hand clapping to enhance percussion. It is lovely in this passage to hear the clang of the ghungroo (dancers’ belled  anklets) in addition to the claps.

निगाहें मिलाने को जी चाहता है
दिल-ओ-जाँ लुटाने को जी चाहता है

nigAhE.n milAnE kO jI chAhtA hai
dil-O-jA.n luTAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

My (implied) heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to share glances (nigAhE.n milAnE kO) (implied : with my loved one). My(implied) heart (jI) longs to (chAhtA hai) to lose (luTAnE kO) itself  heart and soul (literally dil=heart, jA.n=life).

Who can resist the glances of Nutan when she drags her arms across her face and peeps smilingly?  The theme of the song is the repeated phrase ‘jI chAhtA hai’ – what the heart longs for, yearns for. On an aside, isn’t it interesting that both in English and Hindi/Urdu, to ‘lose one’s heart’ works well to describe falling in love? And how different it is ‘to lose one’s heart’ vs. ‘to lose heart’!

वो तोहमत जिसे इश्क़ कहती है दुनिया
वो तोहमत उठाने को जी चाहता है

wO tOhmat jisE ishk kehtI hai duniyA
wO tOhmat uTHAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

That (wO) aspersion (tOhmat) that (jisE) the world (duniyA) calls (kehtI hai) love (ishk) – my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to take on (uTHAnE kO) that aspersion (tOhmat)

Isn’t tohmat a lovely sounding word? The poet implies that the world views being in love as a crime, and to say someone is in love is slander, an aspersion, an allegation. And yet, the heart longs to be in love. Musically, this is composed very cleverly to bring attention to the lyrics. The phrasing of the first line goes as ‘wO tOhmat..duniyA’, ‘kehtI hai duniyA’, ‘wO tOhmat’, ‘jisE ishk’, ‘kehtI hai duniyA’ thus emphasising each part beautifully. The second line of the couplet becomes a chorus, the repetition adding weight to the words. And Asha is simply superb with the phrasing and connection between phrases, isn’t she? Listen to how easy she makes it look at 2:33! I bow my head in respect!!

किसी के मनाने में लज़्ज़त वो पायी
कि फिर रूठ जाने को जी चाहता है
kisI kE manAnE mE.n lazzat vO pAyI
ki phir rUTH jAnE kO jI chahtA hai
I (implied) found such pleasure (lazzat) in being coaxed (manAnE mE.n) by someone (kiSi kE) that (ki) my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to sulk (rUTH jAnE kO)

How prettily the lyrics talk of the pleasure of making up after a tiff!! And isn’t Nutan amazing in her moment of ‘rUTHnA’ at 3:14? She makes me smile! The musical phrasing of this couplet follows the previous pattern.

वो जलवा जो ओझल भी है सामने भी
वो जलवा चुराने को जी चाहता है

wO jalvA jO Ojhal bhI hai sAmnE bhI
wO jalvA churAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

That lustre (jalvA) which is (hai) both (implied by bhI=also) hidden (Ojhal) and apparant (sAmnE, literally ‘in front’). My heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to steal (churAnE kO) that lustre (jalvA) (implied- for myself).

People in love do have a certain lustre about them, don’t they? Its as if the glowing of the soul is so much that it cannot be contained within one’s self and seeps out of your skin!

जिस घड़ी मेरी निगाहों को तेरी दीद हुई
वो घड़ी मेरे लिये ऐश की तमहीद हुई
जब कभी मैंने तेरा चाँद सा चेहरा देखा
ईद हो या कि न हो मेरे लिये ईद हुई

jis ghaDI mErI nigAhO.n kO tErI dId huI
wO ghaDI mErE liyE aish kI tamhId huI
jab kabhI mainE tErA chA.nd sA chehrA dEkhA
Id hO yA ki na hO mErE liyE Id huI

At the moment (ghaDI) when (jis) my (mErI) glances (nigAhO.n) caught sight (dId huI) of you (tErI), that (wO) moment (ghaDI) became (huI) a prelude (tamhId) to a life of pleasure (aish) for me (mErE liyE). Whenever (jab kabhI) I (mainE) saw (dEkhA) your (tErA) moon like (chA.nd sA) face (chehrA), whether (implied) it was Eid (Id hO) or (yA) not (nA hO), for me (mErE liyE) it became (huI) Eid.

At this point, there is a melody change and a change to a masculine persona both in the lyrics and it’s portrayal by Nutan. The poet points to that first glimpse as a prelude to a life of happiness and says that her moon-like face (a traditional simile for the beauty of a woman) makes everyday a day of festivity. For those unaware of the tradition, it is a moon-sighting which declares the start of the festival of Eid. What a romantic verse! I wonder, is it what a man would say or is it what a woman would wish her man would say? Again, the music director has cleverly made this section stand out before returning to the refrain of the previous couplet, thus returning to the feminine persona. Asha does an expert job of the swaras/sargam/solfeggio which follow.

मुलाक़ात का कोई पैग़ाम दीजिये कि
छुप छुपके आने को जी चाहता है और
आके न जाने को जी चाहता है

mulAkAt kA kOI pai.gAm dIjiyE ki
CHup CHupkE AnE kO jI chAhtA hai aur
AkE na jAnE kO jI chAhtA hai

Do send (dIjiyE) me (implied) a message (pai.gAm) of (kA) a meeting (mulAkAt), for  my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to come (AnE kO) meet you (implied) secretly (CHup CHup kE) – and (aur) having come (AkE), my heart (jI) longs (chAhtA hai) to not go back again (na jAnE kO).

With another melody change, the music comes to the concluding verse. The final longing is that for her to be with her loved one forever. There is a melancholic air to the melody of this last phrase, for this is a dream which may or may not come true. The first two lines have a staccato feel; I am not sure I like the phrasing with  ‘ki’ and ‘aur’ dumped at the end of the previous phrases instead of the start of the phrase in which they belong.

I hope you enjoyed this walk-through of one of my favourite songs from Hindi films. I would love to hear from you about the one song above all (if possible) that you would choose as yours.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Bollywood Music, Qawwali

Ab Ke Baras Bhej

Ab Ke Baras BhejDo we live in a society where isolation and alienation is rife? This in spite of the innumerable ways that one is ‘connected’ ?  I look at the world busily and constantly ‘communicating’ around me and wonder if it really does make people feel connected! Perhaps it is just me, but all this communication rushes over me like water over a duck’s back. I remain untouched. Isolated. At times even alienated.

My thoughts are triggered by a recent message I received from a batch mate from school. He invited me to join a whatsapp chat group that he is forming. I promptly declined. You see, a few years ago I had joined an email group of school mates,  foolishly expecting a meeting of minds. Instead, most of the mails were just re-distribution of junk mail. The communication on most social media sites follows the same pattern. People call themselves ‘friends’ but seem content to remain the most superficial of acquaintances. Is it only me who clings to the old fashioned meaning of a ‘friend’?

What happened to conversations where one talked of everything with mates, from the very personal to the very public? What happened to sharing of real feelings and emotions? What happened to ‘adda’ sessions when one talked of nothing but felt so connected nonetheless? I honestly don’t remember when I last had a conversation which left me intellectually or emotionally stimulated. What happened to me? Why cannot I not connect with anyone anymore?

In comparison, my husband has a much more nourishing circle of friends. His mates from university are not only in touch on a daily basis via various media, but they talk on the phone and even get together every couple of years. This is not as easy a matter as you may think as his friends are spread around the globe. From what I have observed, they have somehow managed to hold on to a connection which goes beyond the superficial. I am envious! So today’s post is in honour of his friends, especially his ‘Pal’ who I hold in great esteem, and who says he misses my features on Hindi film music.

My song choice of today is a perfect little gem from the Hindi film Bandini (1963). Composed by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Shailendra, it is sung by Asha Bhosle. It is a song from another time when women married and left home, sometimes without being able to go back for years. But even in today’s time of facetime calls and whatsapp chats, it strikes a chord. The song talks of the longing for family, of the sadness for innocence lost, of the grief for a time that will come no more, of the need for re-connection. But under it all, it is a song of alienation. It is a song for all who struggle with the changing roles that life throws on them.

Asha is perfection in this song. Listen to the oh so gently done vibrato over the word ‘talE’, the almost abrupt enunciation of ‘chalkE’ in contrast to the wringing of the word ‘kaskE’, the lovely transition to the next phrase in the word ‘churAyI’…what singing! And while you are about it, look at Nutan’s swan neck and perfect profile..a timeless beauty!

(28/4/2015 : Sorry, the video has been removed for copyright seasons; I found an audio only version below)


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Hindi

अब के बरस भेज भैया को बाबुल सावन में लीजो बुलाय रे
लौटेंगी जब मेरे बचपन की सखियाँ दीजो संदेशा भिजाय रे  ||

अम्बुआ तले फिर से झूले पड़ेंगी रिम-झिम पड़ेंगी फुहारें
लौटेंगी फिर तेरे आंगन में बाबुल सावन की ठंडी बहारें
छलके नयन मोरा कसके रे जियरा बचपन की जब याद आये रे ||

बैरन जवानी ने छीने खिलोने और मेरी गुड़िया चुराई
बाबुल थी मैं तेरे नाजों की पाली फिर क्यों हुई मैं पराई
बीते रे जुग कोई चिट्ठिया ना पाती ना कोई नैहर से आये रे ||

Transliteration

ab kE baras bhEj bhaiyA kO bAbul sAvan mE.n lIjO bulAy rE
lauTE.ngI jab mErE bachpan kI sakhiyA.n dIjO sandEshA bhijAy rE

ambuA talE phir sE jhUlE paDE.ngI rim jhim paDE.ngI phuhArE.n
lauTE.ngI phir tErE A.ngan mE.n bAbul sAvan kI THanDI bahArE.n
chalkE nayan mOrA kaskE rE jiyarA bachpan kI jab yAd AyE rE

bairan javAnI nE chInE khilOnE aur mErI guDiyA churAyI
bAbul thI mai.n tErE nAjO.n kI pAlI phir kyO.n huI mai.n parAyI
bItE rE jug kOI chiTTHiyA nA pAtI nA kOI naihar sE AyE rE

Translation

O Father (bAbul), do send (bhEj) my brother (bhaiyA) to fetch me (lIjO bulAy) this year (ab kE baras) during monsoon (sAvan mE.n) . When (jab) my childhood (bachpan) friends (sakhiyA.n) return (lautE.ngI), do send (dIjO bhijAy) news (sandEshA).

Swings (jhUlE) will be set up under (talE paDE.ngI) the mango trees (ambuA) while light showers (phuhAr) will fall (rim jhim paDE.ngI). The cool (THanDI) breeze (bahArE.n) of monsoon (sAvan) will return (lauTE.ngI) again (phir sE) to your (tErE) courtyard (A.ngan), father (bAbul). My eyes (nayan) spill over (chalkE) by the squeeze (kaskE) of my heart (jiyarA) when (jab) I remember (yAd AyE) my childhood (bachpan).

Youth (javAnI), my enemy (bairan), snatched away (chInE) my toys (khilOnE) and (aur) stole (churAyI) my dolls (guDiyA). Father (bAbul), I was brought up tenderly (nAjO kI pAlI) by you (tErE), why then (phir kyO.n) have I become (huI mai.n) an outsider (parAyI)? Ages (jug) have passed (bItE) without my receiving any letter (chiTTHiyA nA pAtI), nor has anyone (nA kOI) come (AyE) from my natal home (naihar sE).

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music

Listening to: Talash (1969)

Talash 1969Help! Something is seriously wrong with me! My brain has been gobbled up by aliens! I watched Talash last week and although the movie stars Rajendra Kumar for whom I cannot find one complimentary adjective, although the comedy track, which is not in the least comic, seems to have more screen time than the main story, although the story stretched my credulity to its limits, I was riveted by it! I need Help (capital intended)!

Demand On Credulity(DOC) 1: So there is this young man Raju, just out of college, played by Rajendra Kumar who is all of 40 years old in real life! DOC2: His bosom pal and class mate is played by O.P.Ralhan, who is only a few years older at 45! Raju’s stated ambition in life is not just to be rich, but super rich. He takes up a clerical job in Ranjit Rai’s (Balraj Sahni) business and after some hiccups, impresses his boss.

DOC3: On a holiday in…now where was this? I’ve lost my notes..let’s call it a hill station, he is mistaken for a prince. And from where does he get his princely garments pray? This prince thread is quite superfluous to the story, just an add-on to enhance sex-appeal of a star with very little sex-appeal. He meets a village girl Gauri (Sharmila Tagore, who is a nubile young this and an age appropriate 23 years old in real life) with whom he falls in love and thankfully for us, sings some nice songs with. He promises to come back on a particular festival day and marry her. She says if he doesn’t come she will kill herself.  Any sensible person would have been put off  by this statement, googling ‘self destructive psychosis’ to find out what’s wrong with her and how fast he can run away from her, but not our hero. Sounds risky then to leave it until the last day then, wouldn’t you think? And yet, DOC4: we will see that the hero will make no allowances  for transport issues, bad weather, villains and such but leave it all until the very last moment!!

Back at work, he gets invited to a party at his Boss’s home to celebrate the return of his only daughter, Madhu, from abroad. Sharmila and her dimple look delightful in spite of weird hairdos. DOC5: Though she is a dead ringer for Gauri, Raju though confused does not recognize her! But of course, she is none but Gauri. To test his love, she sends out lures (tut-tut!) and is upset when he succumbs finally. Surely this is entrapment? DOC6: Worse still, she gets her father to offer unbelievable amounts of money to lure him to marry Madhu and poor Balraj Sahni has to use his not-to-be-sniffed-at histrionic skills for a most inappropriate action. The ending is obvious enough. DOC7: When Raju realises what Gauri/Madhu has been about, he laughs aloud instead of strangling her!!

O.P.Ralhan, who is both the writer and director of the film, gives himself a most undeserved, meaty role as the sidekick. This secondary plot has more drama than even the main one! Helen has a nice role and the supporting cast do a decent enough job.

Now that I have revealed all, you would think that I sat through it with a supercilious air, sniffing my nose at the odd goings on. Not so. I was riveted to the screen and at times even abandoned my ironing so I could pay better attention to the dialogue!! I have no explanation. It must be the brain-slurping aliens. That’s what it is. And the music by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. You will notice that I have given a big smile to all songs except one! Here are the tracks:

  • Meri Duniya Hai Ma – S.D.Burman. I have a great liking for songs sung by S.D. and this is no exception. He has an ethnic and plaintive note to his voice which I love. But honestly, this absurd ‘ma’ devotion! I am a mum and I love my mum too and we are a super-species, absolutely. But this level of dripping sentimentality? Yikes!  And surely its a bit too much for a 40 year-old Rajendra Kumar pretending to be 20 something to say ‘My life is in your aanchal’ to his mum, played by Sulochana who is – hold your breath – only 1 year older to him in real life! But what a song!  Open-mouthed smile
  • Kar Le Pyar – Asha Bhonsle. This is Asha singing for Helen’s cabaret number and the combination is fantastic! Who but Asha can flutter down the scale saying ‘haseen’ just so? Asha and Helen at their best. Nice 60’s club-style instrumentals. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Palkon Ke Peeche – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. Very unique composition, with rather a staccato feel to it, unusual for Indian music.  Nice sitar & flute interludes. Very well sung. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aaj Ko Junli Raat – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. A memorable duet. I felt though that the sound was a bit sad, not suitable for the celebratory feel that the occasion warranted. It also struck me on seeing poor Rajendra Kumar make his moves that its not often that yesteryear heroes had to actually dance, not just strike poses and look admiringly at the wriggling heroines. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tere Naina Talash – Manna Dey. Excellent song. Manna Dey is the king of this genre. S.D. has outdone himself with this song based on Raag Chayanat. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khai Hai Re Hamne Kasam – Lata Mangeshkar. S.D. has incorporated some nice folk-sensibilities into this slow and gentle song. Lata’s voice is velveteen. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kitni Akeli – Lata Mangeshkar. Another very melodious solo by Lata. The very simplicity of the song is its strong appeal. Open-mouthed smile
  • Mera Kya Sanam – Asha Bhonsle, Mahendra Kapoor. Even an album as good as this one needs a black-spot, kahin nazar na lag jaye. This is my least favourite and yet its not too bad. I don't know smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My choice for the day is the title song by Manna Dey.

And to admire Asha’s expertise in this genre and Helen’s shaking of her tail feathers, here is Kar Le Pyar by Asha Bhonsle.

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music

Listening to: Mere Mehboob (1963)

Mere MehboobFor those of my regular readers who are wondering where I had disappeared to, I was blogged-out (new adverb: to be blogged-out, to be exhausted from blogging too much) after a marathon effort in organising my photos and writing up my recent trip to Spain. If you enjoy travelling and would like to read my photo-journal, click here.

In need of old, familiar and well-loved music, I picked up Mere Mehboob to watch for my post today. No self-respecting blog on Indian Film Music can ever ignore such an iconic album. Fifty years have passed but the charm of this music has not faded. How Naushad has waved his magic wand!

Muslim socials are a genre which were quite popular in the sixties. The settings talk of another place and time – women in purdah, the lives of nawabs, the splendour of their homes and most of all the beauty of Urdu.

Anwar is a young man at university, a poet. He falls in love with a glimpse of a fellow student behind her burqa. This is love at first sight at its minimalist best! As I watch the lead pair in their throes of love, I say to myself ‘Ah yes, a glimpse of pretty eyes, a touch of a hand are enough to decide who your mate is for life, the father/mother of your children. HA! Fools!!’ and then scold myself for getting old and losing the romance in my soul. Husna at least knows more of her man; she not only sees him but also has read his poetry. His poetry being that of Shakeel Badayuni, I can sympathise with her for falling in love, for who can resist such words? When they go back to their respective homes from university, they are resigned to not meeting each other again.

Chance or fate brings them into each other’s lives again. Anwar is asked by Husna’s brother, the Nawab, to help her with her poetry. The pair finally get to know each other and their love is strengthened.

But there are secrets and undercurrents which will bring disaster upon their lives. Anwar’s sister Najma had had to take up a life of public singing and dancing to support her brother; as a Muslim woman she is forever disgraced in decent company. The Nawab  happens to love her but can never marry her because she is a fallen woman.  And as to the Nawab’s respectability, even that may come crashing down for he has inherited huge debts which, if called, will break him. Naseemara, Husna’s friend, is also in love with Anwar – another love at first sight! The evil Munne Raja, catches a glimpse of Najma and wants to immediately marry her – and is prepared to use any means to achieve it. It all comes to a head about 2 hrs into the film and with some drama and some melodrama, our loving pair come together.

On the whole a simple enough story from more innocent times when the height of romance was holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes and the height of villainy was when an evil man wants to wed the heroine. These stories of those gentler times suit me much better than the cynicism and blatant sexuality of today’s films.

The mark of a good film is that all actors, small and big, do their parts well and add to the strength of the film. I am not a fan of Sadhna or Rajendra Kumar but both of them are very convincing in the lead; in fact, I am wondering if I have been unfairly biased so far. Ashok Kumar as the Nawab is impeccable, and Pran as Munne Raja is nicely slimy. Nimmi as Najma I found quite annoying but then Nimmi always annoys me! Ameeta as Naseemara is fine at the start but rather artificial in a crucial scene in the climax. She gets to say some really good lines – फिर तो अपने मोहब्बत को अरमानों के कफ़न में लपेट कर यहीं दफ़न कर दो | and towards the end मोहब्बत इबादत है | इबादत की जाती है, न बेची जाती है न खरीदी जाती है | Johnny Walker as Binda Din Ghayal has a lot of screen time in the first half of the film; sometimes the comedy is too farcical but it is not too bad.

The music is the true winner in this film. This is a gem of an album from the genius of Naushad with Shakeel Badayuni weaving incredibly beautiful words to match.

  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe – Mohammad Rafi. An unforgettable song. The lyrics are the epitome of romantic poetry (see footnote), the melody has the grace typical of Naushad’s music and it is performed by Rafi with an effortlessness that comes with mastery. Very rarely do we hear music of this calibre. To be savoured forever.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tere Pyar Mein Dildar – Lata Mangeshkar.  A lovely solo, with an innocent love expressed in beautiful poetry.  तेरा मेरा साथ हो कुछ दिल से दिल की बात हो जी भर से मुलाकात हो | ‘That we should be together, that we should talk heart-to-heart, that we should meet to heart’s content’. What more could be simpler? What could be more romantic? Open-mouthed smileRed heart 
  • Allah Bachaye – Lata Mangeshkar. Brings a smile to one’s lips. Smile
  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe– Lata Mangeshkar. I do like Rafi’s version better but it doesn’t take away the credit from Lata’s beautiful singing. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Husn Zara Jaag – Mohammad Rafi. I do object to actors pretending to play the piano without making the slightest effort to get it right! The song however is quite lovely, slow and seductive. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tum Se izhare-haal Kar Baithe – Mohammad Rafi. Aaah. Romance melted and infused into a song!! There is such happiness in this song, a joy from a romance fulfilled. And how clever are the lyrics! सोचे समझे बगैर कातिल से ज़िन्दगी का सवाल कर बैठे says the poet beautifully expressing the conundrum of love, where you give your heart in the safekeeping of the one against whom you are most vulnerable.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. A lovely duet by the Mangeshkar sisters, both in fine form. The teasingly competitive lyrics and exceptional music by Naushad, this is a true gem. Sadhna and Ameeta are pretty dancing. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Jane Man Ik Nazar Dekh Le  – Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle. A lovely little marriage song. Smile
  • Yaad Mein Teri Jaag Jaag Ke Hum – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. This fantastic sad-duet suffers from bad placement in the movie; it is too near to the climax and feels abrupt. Otherwise the song is exceptionally beautiful and very well sung.  Open-mouthed smile 

This album is an all-time great; click here to listen.

I have no choice but to present the timeless title song for nothing can match the beauty of the poetry. 50 years old and still the song has the power to melt hearts.

And for the glorious singing by the Mangeshkar sisters, the exuberance of the melody, the exaggeration of the lyrics and the qawwali like clapping rhythms, listen to Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin. 

 


Lyrics :

mere mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki kasam
phir mujhe nargisee aankhon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

aye mere khwaab ki taabeer meri jaan-e-ghazal
zindagi meri tujhe yaad kiye jaati hai
raat din mujhko sataata hai tassawwur tera
dil ki dhadkan tujhe awaaz diye jaati hai
aa mujhe apni sadaaon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

bhool sakti nahin aankhen woh suhaana manzar
jab tera husn mere ishq se takraaya thha
aur phir raah mein bikhre thhey hazaaron naghme
main woh naghme teri aawaaz ko de aaya thha
saaz e dil ko unhee geeton ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

yaad hai mujh ko meri umr ki pehli woh ghadi
teri aankhon se koi jaam piya thha maine
meri rag rag mein koi barq si lehraayee thhi
jab tere marmari haathon ko chhuaa thha maine
aa mujhe phir unhi haathon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

maine ik baar teri ek jhalak dekhi hai
meri hasrat hai ke main phir tera deedaar karoon
tere saaye ko samajhkar main haseen taj mahal
chaandni raat mein nazron se tujhe pyaar karoon
apni mehki huyi zulphon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

dhoondhta hoon tujhe har raah mein har mehfil mein
thhak gaye hain meri majboor tamanna ke kadam
aaj ka din meri ummeed ka hai aakhri din
kal na jaane main kahaan aur kahaan tu ho sanam
do ghadi apni nigaahon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

saamne aake zara parda uthha de rukh se
ek yahi mera ilaaj e gham e tanhaayee hai
teri furkat ne pareshaan kiya hai mujh ko
ab to mil ja ke meri jaan pe ban aayee hai
dil ko bhooli hui yaadon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Phir Wohi Dil Laya HoonI admit I am amazed! This film was a super hit? Whatever were audiences thinking of? Granted, the music is excellent. But if an insipid film like this with a lacklustre script, unlikeable characters and pedestrian performances became a hit, I can only shake my head in disbelief!

Like all masala films of the ‘60s, this Nasir Hussain film gives low importance to the very predictable script. But normally there are at least some characters one likes in masala films but not in this one. Here are the players – would you like them?

The Mother (Veena): After a marital separation, Mohan’s mother  abducts her son (!) and brings him up on her own in Kashmir. Even when the opportunity arises when he is a grown boy, she denies him the right (!) to make himself known to his father.

The Father (Krishan Dhawan): After losing his wife and son, he brings up the orphaned daughter of a friend. He arranges her marriage sight-unseen (!)  with an idiotic young man and is not deterred even on seeing his antics !! And this is the daughter he loves! He is also arrogant. When he is fooled into thinking that he has found his long lost son, he manipulates / emotionally blackmails (!) his daughter into agreeing to marry him – even though the said son is unstable and suicidal! All for what? ‘Mera Khoon’ which, let’s admit, is not looking that good now!

The Hero (Joy Mukherjee) : On discovering his father’s foster daughter’s engagement, he sets to breaking it up (with no facts other than a newspaper article) by romancing the heroine with lies (!). Joy Mukherjee has the acting ability and the personality of a well-kneeded lump of dough – actually the dough may come out looking better! When found out, he still doesn’t come clean with the lady, resorting to stalking (!) (a BAD thing, you young men out there). And she still falls for him!!

The Heroine (Asha Parekh) : When she is forced into an engagement with an idiotic young man, she joins her friend in playing very unkind pranks on him. Other than that, she is quite spineless (!), has questionable taste (she falls for Joy!) and gives in to dumping him for her foster father’s pretend-imbecilic son. She is much too often seen in pants, which doesn’t suit her one bit. She looks quite lovely in a plain white Salwar Kameez in a dance practice scene.

The Comedy Track (Rajendranath) : The comedy track is much too long and very very unkind. Not to my taste.

The Villain (Pran) : Normally an excellent actor, he disappoints in this film. His portrayal of a depressive and suicidal young man is accompanied by constant nail-biting and shifty eyes – makes him look like an imbecile!

When you hear the music though, you’ll know why this film was a hit. A wonderful album by O.P.Nayyar with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, it has a number of lovely songs.

  • Dekho Bijli Dole Bin Badal – Asha Bhonsle, Usha Mangeshkar. Lovely song, set to the beautiful raga Basant Mukhari. On screen, there is a good dance sequence – a competition between Asha and another dancer. They both perform very well. Open-mouthed smile
  • Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein – Mohammad Rafi. A quintessentially Rafi number, he is in very good voice.  A well loved song which linger’s in the memory of fans all these years. Its a pleasure also to see the pre-terrorism innocence of Kashmir. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Aji Kibla Mohatarma – Mohammad Rafi. A so-so melody but was a popular enough song in its time. I don't know smile
  • Aanchal Mein Saja Lena – Mohammad Rafi. Rafi is in fine form again in this lovely song. The lyrics are worth paying attention to.
    रस्ता जो मिले अंजान कोई, आ जाए अगर तूफ़ान कोई
    अपने को अकेला जान के तुम,  आँखों में न आंसू भर लेना
    ऐसे ही कभी जब शाम ढले,  तब याद हमें भी कर लेना Open-mouthed smile
  • Aankhon Se Jo Utri – Asha Bhonsle. A beautiful solo by Asha; O.P has given a sensational melody. Asha scales the octaves with amazing ease. Lyrics are pleasing as well. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hamdam Mere – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle. The different parts of the song such as the refrain, the verse, the clapping-interlude etc though pleasing on their own, did not gel together well. It seemed as if they all belonged to different songs! Sad smile
  • Banda Parwar Tham Lo Jigar – Mohammad Rafi. This cheerful title song is very well sung by Rafi. I always have a weakness for ghoda-gadi songs with the nice clip-clop of hooves!! The lyrics are very good, especially the second stanza :
    मेरी निगाह-ए-शौक़ से यार कहाँ जाओगे
    पाँव जहाँ रख दोगे अदा से दिल को वहीं पाओगे
    रहूँ जुदा ये मजाल कहाँ, जाऊँ कहीं ये ख़याल कहाँ
    बन्दा दिलदार का, नज़राना प्यार का, फिर वही दिल लाया हूँ  SmileRed heart
  • Mujhe Pyar Mein – Asha Bhonsle. A sad song sung reasonably well but did not catch my attention, perhaps because I was out of patience with the characters! Sad smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My choice for today is Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein to listen to Rafi at his peak.

I also present Ankhon Se Jo Utri to enjoy Asha’s beautiful singing to O.P.Nayyar’s lovely little melody.

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Aadmi (1968)

AadmiRemembering the glorious music of this film, I picked this from my long list of to-watch films. On reading the synopsis, I didn’t have much expectation but no matter. For me, the story is just the space between songs!

The theme of the film is reflected by the protagonist saying at the end of the film ‘मैंने भी इक भूल की थी | और अनगिनत आंसू बहा के यह जाना कि ग़लती करने वाला आदमी होता है और पछताने वाला इंसान |’  The first half was quite enjoyable. The unbelievable plot twists and melodrama of the second half bored and frustrated me but still, it wasn’t too bad on the whole.

The story is about Rajesh (Raja Saheb), a wealthy young (introduced as Naujawan)  man  played by a 46 year old Dilip Kumar!! By his own words, he needs to win at everything and has a greed for all that his mind wants.  In a childhood incident he kills his friend over a doll (a doll? young boys? !!!). This haunts him and leaves him mentally instable yet there is much that is honourable about him.  Dilip Kumar is very good at portraying deeply conflicted characters such as this one, but I appreciated his effortless and natural style more in the simple scenes, like the one in which his friend Shekhar talks to him of his lost love.

Shekhar is a young doctor played by a 31 year old Manoj Kumar. He is a friend but his obligation to Rajesh seems to take precedence over friendship. I am not much of a Manoj Kumar fan but he was decent enough. His struggles in emotional scenes is a bit pitiable to watch. His misfortune is to be up against the smooth strength of Dilip Kumar’s acting.

The triangle is completed by Meena played by a 32 year old Waheeda Rehman. I have always admired this beautiful actress and she delivers a quiet and dignified performance.  A class act.

Shekhar and Meena love each other secretly but circumstances lead to Meena being engaged to Rajesh.  An accident leaves him disabled. When Rajesh’s suspicions rear-up, the negative side of his personality takes hold. How will everything be resolved? Who will get the girl?

Able support is provided by an excellent Pran as Mayadas, who is conniving to ‘catch’ Raja Saheb for his daughter Aarti, an elegant but very bland Simi. Sulochana does well as the normal filmi weeping mother. Padma Chavan as Meena’s sister and Agha as Prem, her love interest, provide a small side story and a bit of comedy.

It is the music by Naushad which is the real strength of this film. It is quite glorious! Shakeel Badayuni pens the words which are equally good.

  • Kari Badariya – Lata Mangeshkar. How lovely Lata sounds! A lilting song with immediate appeal, Lata does it full justice. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Kal Ke Sapne – Lata Mangeshkar. A song which enjoyed a lot of popularity, it is very appealing. Open-mouthed smile
  • Kaisi Haseen Aaj – Mohammad Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor/Talat Mahmood. Simply Fabulous!! A rare combination of a wonderful melody matched by lovely poetry (see footnote for lyrics) sung to perfection. The song was recorded first with Talat Mahmood but Manoj Kumar requested a change so it was recorded again with Mahendra Kapoor. The film features this latter recording but the album features the Talat version.  Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Main Tooti Hui Ik Naiyya – Mohammad Rafi. A sad song, not bad. I don't know smile
  • Na Aadmi Ka Koi Bharosa – Mohammad Rafi. The title song is a beautiful, heartbreaking song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aaj Purani Rahon Se – Mohammad Rafi. A gem. Naushad ably demonstrates his genius yet again. And Rafi conducts a masterclass in singing. I am in awe of his voice which scales the octaves so effortlessly and with such beauty! Shakeel Badayuni’s poetry has a ring of truth and quite beautiful. (see footnote). Open-mouthed smileRed heart

To listen to the whole album, click here.  An album to be treasured; one can seldom find music like this nowadays!

My selection from the film is Kaisi Haseen Aaj. Listen first to the Mohammad Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor version from the film. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiZRLZX59nM?rel=0]

Now listen to the Talat version. Which do you like better?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvQf_NaqBM4?rel=0]

Given the beauty of my other selections from the film, I include them in this post as well.

Kari Badariya – Lata Mangeshkar

Aaj Purani Rahon Se – Mohammad Rafi


Footnote (Lyrics) :

कैसी हसीन आज बहारों की रात है |
इक चाँद आसमां पे है इक मेरे साथ है ||

ओ देने वाले तू ने तो कोई कमी न की |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||

छाया है हुस्न-ओ-इश्क़ पे इक रंग-ए-बेख़ुदी |
आते हैं ज़िंदगी में ये आलम कभी कभी ||
हर ग़म को भूल जाओ खुशी की बारात है |
इक चाँद आसमां पे है इक मेरे साथ है ||

आई है वो बहार के नग़मे उबल पड़े |
ऐसी  खुशी मिली है कि आँसू निकल पड़े ||
होंठों पे हैं दुआएं मगर दिल पे हाथ है |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||

मस्ती सिमट के प्यार के गुलशन में आ  गई  |
मेरी  खुशी  भी आप के दामन में आ गई ||
भँवरा कली से दूर नहीं साथ साथ है |
अब किस को क्या मिला ये मुक़द्दर की बात है ||


आज पुरानी राहों से कोई मुझे आवाज़ न दे |
दर्द में डूबे गीत न दे ग़म का सिसकता साज़ न दे ||

बीते दिनों की याद थी जिनमें मैं वो तराने भूल चुका |
आज नई मंज़िल है मेरी कल के ठिकाने भूल चुका ||
न वो दिल न सनम न वो दीन-धरम |
अब दूर हूँ सारे गुनाहों से ||

जीवन बदला दुनिया बदली मन को अनोखा ज्ञान मिला |
आज मुझे अपने ही दिल में एक नया इंसान मिला ||
पहुँचा हूँ वहाँ नहीं दूर जहाँ |
भगवान भी मेरी निगाहों से ||

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Mahendra Kapoor, Mohammad Rafi

Listening to: Mughal-E-Azam (1960)

Mughal E AzamA prince, the heir apparent of a vast empire, falls in love with a slave, a dancing girl, and wants to make her his future Empress. The Emperor, his father, puts a stop to it. This legend  about Salim (later known as Jehangir), the son of Akbar, and Anarkali has caught the imagination of generations of Indians. I have a post on Anarkali, another film made on the same story. Mughal-E-Azam is a much better version with better production, better actors and better music.

But before I say more – this is not an unbiased review. Some films have such an epic status that they cannot be viewed in an unbiased manner. Can one ever criticize Ben Hur, the Ten Commandments or Gone with the Wind? Mughal-E-Azam has the same status and I can only view it with awe.

Madhubala as Anarkali glows and dances her way into our hearts. Dilip Kumar is dark and intense as only he can be and delivers some wonderful lines.  It is indeed poignant that Madhubala and Dilip were in fact doomed lovers in real life as well; with life echoing the film, Madhubala’s father was opposed to the match. Prithviraj Kapoor is majestic as Akbar and Durga Khote gives great support as Jodha Bhai as does Nigar Sultana as Bahaar.

There are some clever touches throughout the film. The sculptor as the voice of truth, the observer, is nicely integrated. A glimpse of Salim as a spoilt little boy makes us wonder if by fighting a war with his father for his slave girl, is he just being a spoilt little man? It also made me think of Edward VIII who abdicated the British throne for an equally unsuitable woman. Anarkali first comes into the court with anklets tinkling; this is nicely contrasted when she comes later in the movie with chains clanging. In the beginning, the story revolves around her but in the later half, she seems to become no more than a pawn in the ego-game between father and son. The father-son fight for supremacy was not so extraordinary in those times; in real life, Salim will go on to blind his own son in a political move.

Dialogues are impressive and kept me on my toes, given that my Urdu is not so good. The subtitles were indeed useful. Often, I forgot about the story and just enjoyed the words, like for example when Salim faces Akbar with या परवर दिगारे आलम से आप ने मुझे इसी लिए माँगा था कि ज़िन्दगी मुझे मिले और उसके मालिक आप ? साँसें मेरी हों और दिल के धडकनों पे आप का कब्ज़ा रहे ? दीन-ए-इलाही क्या मेरी ज़िन्दगी आप की दुआओं का कर्जा है जो मुझे आंसुओं से अदा करना पड़ेगा ?

The music by Naushad is extraordinarily beautiful and  Shakeel Badayuni has written beautiful poetry in the form of lyrics. But it is Lata who makes this album a triumph with her absolutely impeccable singing.

  • More Panghat Pe Nandalal – Lata Mangeshkar. A slow and incredibly sweet song with nice lyrics to which the stunning Madhubala dances enticingly. It is unusual to have a slow song which sounds so happy. Lata does great justice to  Raga Gara. The lyrics are simple but really nice!
    मोहे पनघट पे नंदलाल छेड़ गयो रे
    मोरी नाज़ुक कलैय्या मरोड़ गयो रे
    कंकरी मोहे मारी गगरिया फोड़ डाली
    मोरी साडी अनाड़ी भिगो गयो रे
    नयनों से जादू किया जियरा मोह लिया
    मोरा घुंघटा नज़रिया से खोल गयो रे
    Dilip Kumar emotes falling in love so well with just his eyes that my heart gave a little flip!   Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Shubh Din Ayo – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Only part of the song seems to have been used in the film. It did not catch my attention.I don't know smile
  • Teri Mehfil – Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum. A qawwali with female voices, the lyrics are excellent and beautifully illustrate the feelings of both ladies. Bahar says
    ‘मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
    तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें भरना घुट के मर जाना
    किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’The story of those who love is to suffer quietly, sigh deeply and die silently. One day I too will watch this act out with a smile’.
    and she goes on to try and destroy the grand romance. Anarkali likewise says
    ‘मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
    ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे दुनिया याद करती है
    किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे’
    ’I agree that love destroys life. But isn’t it enough that once you die the world will remember you? I too will like to see how it is to lose my life in the name of love’. See footnote for lyrics. An important song in the narrative and truly memorable.Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Hamen Kash Tumse – Lata Mangeshkar. Slow song. A little confusing because though there is no need to be sad, it sounds very sad. I don't know smile
  • Prem Jogan Banke – Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. This classical song was sung by the illustrious Maestro in raag Sohni. Very touching, deep. Love it without reservations. There is an interesting story connected with this song, click here to read. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Ae Ishq Yeh Sab Duniya Wale – Lata Mangeshkar. I don’t remember this song from previous viewings – and I know why! Not included in the colour version. Disappointed smile
  • Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya – Lata Mangeshkar. The combination of memorable lyrics, great melody, Lata’s voice, Madhubala’s dance and a great set makes this THE iconic song of this film. The defiant परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से बंदों से परदा करना क्या (When there is no hiding from God, why hide before men?) is a defining moment. See footnote for lyrics. Open-mouthed smileRed heartRed heart
  • Mohabbat Ki Jhooti – Lata Mangeshkar. How effortlessly and sweetly Lata’s voice traverses the octave! Lovely sad song.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye – Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely little prayer song. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Mohabbat Zindabad – Mohammad Rafi. This is the message song and has a rousing, political style with a chorus, it is said, of a hundred voices. I am not sure I like it much.  I don't know smile
  • Jab Rat Ho Aisi Matwali – Lata Mangeshkar. Beautiful poetry, Kudos to Shakeel Badayuni for writing these lovely words.
    नगमों से बरसती है मस्ती छलके हैं खुशी के पैमानेआज ऐसी बहारें आयीं है कल दिन में बनेंगे अफसाने
    अब इस से ज़्यादा और हसीन ये प्यार का मौसम क्या होगा
    जब रात है ऐसी मतवाली फिर सुबह का आलम क्या होगा  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuda Nigehban Ho – Lata Mangeshkar. The farewell song, sad. But not gripping.Smile

This album would probably feature among the All-Time-Best-Top-10 from Bollywood. To listen to the whole album, click here.

For my selection of the day, I cannot but present the iconic song of the film first :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

Teri Mehfil : Because I like Qawwalis and because the lyrics are outstanding,

If you’ve caught the Mughal-E-Azam bug and want to listen to two more outstanding songs :

More Panghat Pe Nandalal : For Madhubala’s dance and Dilip Kumar’s expression.

Prem Jogan Ban Ke : For the pleasure of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s singing and for the simmering and sultry chemistry between Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.

 


 

Footnote (Lyrics) :

Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya

इन्सान किसी से दुनिया में इक बार मुहब्बत करता है
इस दर्द को लेकर जीता है, इस दर्द को लेकर मरता है

प्यार किया तो डरना क्या जब प्यार किया तो डरना क्या
प्यार किया कोई चोरी नहीं की छुप छुप आहें भरना क्या

आज कहेंगे दिल का फ़साना जान भी लेले चाहे ज़माना
मौत वही जो दुनिया देखे घुट घुट कर यूँ मरना क्या

उनकी तमन्ना दिल में रहेगी, शम्मा इसी महफ़िल में रहेगी
इश्क़ में जीना इश्क़ में मरना और हमें अब करना क्या

छुप न सकेगा इश्क़ हमारा चारों तरफ़ है उनका नज़ारा
परदा नहीं जब कोई खुदा से  बंदों से परदा करना क्या


Teri Mehfil :

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
घड़ी भर को तेरे नज़दीक आकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

तेरी महफ़िल मे किस्मत आज़मा कर हम भी देखेंगे
तेरे कदमों पे सर अपना झुका कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

बहारें आज पैगाम-ए-मोहब्बत लेके आयीं हैं
बड़ी मुद्दत मे उम्मीदों की कलियाँ मुस्कुराईं हैं
गम-ए-दिल से ज़रा दामन बचाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

अगर दिल गम से खालि हो तो जीने का मज़ा क्या है
ना हो खून-ए-जिगर तो अश्क पीने का मज़ा क्या है
मोहब्बत मे ज़रा आंसू  बहाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत करने वालों का है बस इतना ही अफ़साना
तड़पना चुपके चुपके आहें  भरना घुट के मर जाना
किसी दिन ये तमाशा मुस्कुरा कर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

मोहब्बत हमने माना ज़िंदगी बरबाद करती है
ये क्या कम है के मर जाने पे  दुनिया याद करती है
किसी के इश्क़ मे दुनिया लुटाकर हम भी देखेंगे
अजी हाँ हम भी देखेंगे

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum