Category Archives: Bollywood 60’s Music

Listening to: Amrapali (1966)

AmrapaliI do like historical / mythological films! I don’t see many of them; I am too squeamish to see the likes of Troy or the Gladiator. So when I get to see a historical without too much blood and gore, I am mighty pleased! Anyway, a nicely tied dhoti and lots of man-bling is nicer to look at than short skirts on men, don’t you agree?

The story is based on records from both Buddhist and Jain literature. The makers have used cinematic license and the story as presented differs from recorded versions. The film is about  Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh around 500BC, who falls in love with Amrapali, the royal courtesan and dancer in Vaishali, an enemy state. Interestingly, its ending is anything but typical Bollywood. Perhaps that’s why the movie didn’t fare well?

Sunil Dutt as the blood-thirsty warmonger is reasonably good. Though he has the physique to pass off as a soldier, there is something intrinsically soft about his face which makes me question his suitability.  Vyjayanthilamala, on the other hand, is perfect as the courtesan. Not just the beauty and the dancing skills, but something lush about her makes her look just the part. There are some supporting characters who too aren’t very convincing.  On the whole, though, the movie is entertaining.

The music by Shankar-Jaikishen is memorable. There are only four songs, all sung by Lata but what lovely songs! Neele Gagan is penned by Hasrat Jaipuri, the rest by Shailendra.

  • Neele Gagan ke chaon mein – Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely song, Lata does it justice. I find it rather sombre as a dance number but Vyjayanthimala carries it off. She looks like a lovely temple sculpture in her period costume!  Once Sunil Dutt enters the screen, the dance becomes fast and cheerful with many traditional Bharatnatyam steps executed very well by Vyjayathi. An auditory & visual treat. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tumhe Yaad Karte Karte – Lata Mangeshkar– Another soulful number with a simple tune which Lata sings hauntingly. Haunting also are Vyjayanthi’s eyes. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki – Lata Mangeshkar– Moonlit night, a lake, a boat and Lata singing. It should have been perfect but something in the tune doesn’t appeal to me.  Thinking smile
  • Jao Re Jogi Tum Jao Re – Lata Mangeshkar – With what ease Lata sings this beautiful little song! I remember it vividly playing on the radio a lifetime ago. Unfortunately its not included in the edited version of the film on Youtube; I would have liked to see the picturisation. Open-mouthed smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

Neele Gagan has Vyjayanthi dancing so that’s my choice for the day :

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to: Professor (1962)

Wednesday evenings were special when I was growing up for it was Chitrahaar night on the telly. For half-an-hour I would happily watch the song-and-dance clips from Hindi films, both old and new. Over time I would see most of the songs from a given film and for films I hadn’t seen (i.e. most of them!) I would make up my own story to link the songs all together! Professor is one such film.

I remembered well Shammi Kapoor horsing about in an old man’s disguise in one song. Today at last I decided to find out why. I will leave reviewing to people better qualified to do so,  I just have a few messages to pass on to the cast & crew:

  • To the casting directors : Good choice, Shammi is a natural at comedy. No wonder he got a best actor nomination! You’ve done well with everyone else too.
  • To the  script writers : Good plot. BUT It is NOT funny to poke fun at the overweight, the short and middle-aged single woman who has soft feelings for a man. Have some taste for God’s sake!
  • To the script writers again: In a caper story, think carefully how to rescue your hero at the end. Muddled endings leave a bad taste. Going from comedy to melodrama leaves a worse taste.
  • To Shammi: blue eye-shadow? Really? And you let them do it to you?
  • To Shammi again: Looking a bit portly in some scenes, aren’t you? And you’re still quite young..Just a friendly warning: you are going to end up obese if you don’t do something now!
  • To Darjeeling: I want to see you too, you look a bit like where I live now but with an Indian touch !
  • To the music composers and lyricists : Shabaash!!! Bravo!!! You deserve your Filmfare award – lucky too, lots of good competition that year..

Shankar-Jaikishen, the composing duo have indeed done a wonderful job. The songs sound lovely even after the passing of nearly 50 years. You can hear the whole album here. These are the songs :

  • Hamare Gaon Koi Ayega – Asha Bhonsle & Lata Mangeshkar, Lovely lilting tune with the flavour of the hills of India. Beautiful scenery, pretty girls in colourful costumes dancing on the hillside…what else can one want? Smile
  • Yeh Umr Hai – Asha Bhonsle, Manna Dey, Usha Mangeshkar. Not bad. If you watch the clip, you can admire Shammi’s fantastic old-man-moves. I don't know smile
  • Main chali main chali – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. A happy little tune. Rafi at his best can melt one’s bones. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aye Gulbadan – Mohammed Rafi. If bones not already melted, this can absolutely finish the job! Admire Rafi’s vocal range. Good lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuli Palak Mein – Mohammed Rafi. Enjoyable. Smile
  • Awaaz deke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. Lovely song. Good lyrics too. Lata and Rafi at their best. But doesn’t suit the movie at all. The song has so much depth and emotion, doesn’t fit in this comic romp of a film.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

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Listening to: Waqt (1965)

Which Hindi film fan has not seen Achala Sachdev giggle at Balraj Sahni singing Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen? Over the years I have seen many hundreds of romantic songs but this song sung by a middle-aged husband to his middle-aged wife has always been the epitome of romance for me, even when I was a young girl. Romancing a young woman who is not yet yours, that is a game all men play. But romancing your wife of many years and the mother of your children? Ah, therein lies true romance. I was but a kid when I saw this song on TV but I have never forgotten, neither the song, nor my idea of romance.

Remembering the song but not the movie, I re-watched it recently. One of the pioneering ‘multi-starrers’, it has an enviable cast. Siblings-lost-in-childhood-who-find-each-other-again is a theme which is very popular in Indian cinema, and this movie is a good example of it.  I quite enjoyed myself, noting in passing that –

  • Raj Kumar indeed has a great style of dialogue delivery. He’s got some really nice lines like जिनके अपने घर शीशे के हों वह दूसरों पे पत्थर नहीं फेंका करते , all of which he delivers with panache.
  • He also has a cool manner of walking, a little lazy stroll almost. Attractive..
  • He should never smile, I would never trust a man who smiles like that! (Good God, does it mean I trust men based on their smiles???Oh!!!!)
  • Shashi Kapoor, whom I admired as a young woman, looks too ‘pretty’ to me now..but those canines are charming…
  • If you get separated from people, go back to where you saw them last!! Kids, are you listening?
  • Coincidences occur more often in Bollywood than anywhere else!

Coming to the music by Ravi and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianwi, I enjoyed my favourite songs as much as I did before and heard a couple I had never heard previously. I noted with interest that Asha has sung all the feminine tracks though a few seem very suitable for Lata. Is there a story there? Given the music is for a film by B.R.Chopra with music Ravi, it is not surprising to see Mahendra Kapoor sing quite a few tracks too. This team has produced some good songs. Here is the Waqt song list :

  • Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen – Manna Dey : Superb! Red heartOpen-mouthed smile
  • Waqt Se Din Aur Raat – Mohammad Rafi : Sad song, competently sung but not catchy. I don't know smile
  • Kaun Aya – Asha Bhonsle : I had not heard this song before. It has a lilting tune and reminds me vaguely of some other song I know well..can’t quite place it though. Smile
  • Din Hai Bahar Ke – Asha Bhonsle, Mahendra Kapoor: A beautiful melodious song, this reminds me strongly of Sarse Sarke Chunariyan from Silsila (1981). Open-mouthed smile
  • Hum Jab Simat Ke – Asha Bhonsle, Mahendra Kapoor : I don't know smile
  • Maine Ek Khwab Dekha Hai – Asha Bhonsle, Mahendra Kapoor : A slow and romantic duet. Smile
  • Chehre Pe Khushi Cha Jaati Hai – Asha Bhonsle : Very nice song, I would have chosen Lata for this.Smile
  • Aage Bhi Jaane Na tu – Asha Bhonsle : A masterpiece!! Asha has sung this to perfection! Congratulations to Ravi for the truly haunting music.

    जीने वाले सोच ले यही वक़्त है कर ले पूरी आरज़ू  Sometimes the lyrics and the music complement in each other very well – in this song the match is perfect.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart

As I can’t decide between my two favourite songs, I am presenting both for your inspection. Tell me which you like better. In case you want to listen to the whole album, you can find it here.

Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen–Manna Dey

You can find the lyrics to Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen here.

Aage Bhi Jaane Na tu– Asha Bhonsle

 

You can find the lyrics to Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu here. (I saw a few mistakes though, I am not sure of the quality)

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Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Manna Dey

A Song for Sharmila’s Dimple

imagesCADH611MI confess, I am a a dimplophile (if such a word doesn’t exist, it should!!). I was always fascinated by Sharmila’s awesome dip-in-cheek, so today’s post is in honour of the said dip.

Now, how can I do justice to her dimple? Let me trawl through memory for all the happy songs (we need a smile here) which have been picturised on her.  I’ll stick to the early and middle phases of her career when she looked her best.

Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), which was her launch in Mumbai, has fantastic music by O.P.Nayyar. The lilting Isharon Isharon mein showcases a very young Sharmila’s beauty.  Anupama (1965), a memorably poetic film, has her in a totally different avatar in the haunting Kuch Dil Ne Kaha, where one catches but fleeting flashes of the dimple.  It is more in evidence in Duniya mein aisa kahan in Dewar (1966). Sharmila and her dimple look super cute in a blue swimsuit saying Ja ja ja in Aasman se aaya farishta, An Evening in Paris (1966). But what in the world is Shammi doing wearing a striped dressing gown hanging from a helicopter? Hiding the middle-aged middle?

In Yakeen (1969), the dimple is flashed while Lata’s voice lulls us in Ghar Tum Bhula na Doge. But why why is Dharmendra holding a gun? I am intrigued…have to see this film!!. And as Rafi’s voice and Rajesh’s eyes make love with Yeh Raat hai Pyaasi Pyaasi in Choti Bahu (1971), the dimple responds with pleasure.  R.D.Burman’s music is  outstanding in Amar Prem (1972), there aren’t superlatives enough to praise it. Fleeting glimpses of the dimple are evident while Lata sings Raina Beeti Jai. Good lyrics by Anand Bakshi too:  तन मन प्यासा अखियों में पानी (mind and body parched, but the eyes are wet) – well written indeed!! I must mention Rajesh Khanna’s sparkling white Dhoti and Kurta which look great on him. Why have citified Indian men discarded this so elegant an attire?

Dimplophiles will have their money’s worth in Ab Chahe Maa Roothe Ya Baba from Daag (1973), where poor Sharmila prances about in a very unflattering costume. Kishore fans will also enjoy the song for he is in good voice indeed!! Bhupinder’s gravelly voice croons Dil Dhoonta Hai phir wahi in Mausam (1973), but its a bit difficult to catch the dimple at work.

I have chosen today’s song for a number of reasons; the dimple looks enchanting, Sharmila and Dharmendra make a glorious looking pair, just seeing the clip had me giggling in memory of the film which was SO much fun…in short, its a true homage to the dimple! Here is Ab Ke Sajan Saawan Mein from Chupke Chupke (1975), sung impressively by Lata Mangeshkar to S.D.Burman’s music. Enjoy! And if you haven’t seen the film..don’t wait!

Ab Ke Sajan Saawan Mein–Lata Mangeshkar

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Bollywood 70's Music, Lata Mangeshkar

Listening to: Padosan (1968)

How I loved this movie as a kid! I remember giggling helplessly each time it had a re-run on the telly. So when I spotted this old favourite in a DVD shop last time I was in India, I picked it up to see if it was still giggle-worthy. I was not disappointed.  Mehmood, Kishore Kumar, Om Prakash, Mukhri and Keshto Mukherjee provide enough laughs to keep one well amused. In fact, the comedy is so good that one quite forgets to watch the lead pair of Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu! A few irrelevant observations:

  • Directors liked putting leading ladies on cycles (remember Nutan in Anari?) while nowadays they prefer zippy sports cars. I must say that their elaborate coiffeur is possibly safer on the cycles..
  • Showing a leg – just knee-down – when stuck out of bubbles in a bathtub was considered racy!!
  • The lady prefers a man who cannot sing (she likes music), who repeatedly lies and cheats, has no work/earnings and who is a village bumpkin with no smarts to a man who can sing and is devoted to her! Just for a more pleasing face?? But she too is manipulative…oh well! The Filmi-Goddess-of-Superficiality should be well pleased.

The music still sounds great. Composer R.D.Burman does a great job and the lyrics by Rajendra Krishan are on the nose.

  • Main Chali Main Chali – Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar. Quite a light and happy little song; and it is nice to hear the two sisters together. Smile
  • Sanwariya – Manna Dey. Manna Dey is always competent but the song doesn’t leave an impression. I don't know smile
  • Bhai Batur – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata sounds young and fresh and lilting melody is pleasing. Smile
  • Mere Samne Wali Khidki Mein – Kishore Kumar. Generations of Roadside Romeos have benefited from this useful little ode to the Girl in the Window! What’s funny is that Sunil lip-syncs Kishore better than Kishore does himself! Open-mouthed smile
  • Mere Bhole Balam – Kishore Kumar. A very amusing song and a comic scenario. You can hear the influence of Bengali folk traditions. Kishore Kumar of course has great timing. Smile
  • Ek Chatur Naar – Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey. How talented are Manna and Kishore!! The vocal acrobatics they indulge in!! I believe quite a bit of this song was impromptu and that there was a bit of rivalry between Manna and Kishore. If so, its only adds to the quality of the song. And the picturisation with Mehmood and Kishore Kumar at their rollicking best – what can I say!! Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Sharm Aati Hai Magar – Lata Mangeshkar. An excellent song, a showcase for Lata’s talents. I only object to the आपके क़दमों  bit..for God’s sake Saira, Get A Life!! But I guess one has to forgive lyricists of yesteryears. They evidently didn’t know better. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  •  Kehana Hai – Kishore Kumar. Oh how wonderful Kishore sounds! And when he sings तुम ही तो लाई हो जीवन में मेरे प्यार प्यार प्यार I just melt!! Open-mouthed smileRed heart

There are three songs which I love but of course I have no choice but to present Ek Chatur Naar for the goofball act of Mehmood and Kishore ! For those who want to listen to the whole album, here is a link.

Ek Chatur Naar–Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey

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Music in Mythological Films

I admit it. Indian Mythological films are often made for the lowest common denominator. Their special effects aren’t in the least special. There is a fair bit of melodrama. I watched the excruciatingly slow-moving Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and though I looked askance at the amateurish way many things were represented, I never thought of giving up.  And recently, when I was sick in bed, I turned to a number of my childhood favourites in Tamil. I cannot be critical of them, even though in certain bits they deserved criticism. When I watch them, I am transported once more in childish delight. So what draws me (and others with the same affliction)? Is it the familiarity of stories learnt from childhood? Is it just our ‘Harry Potter’ – a world of magical powers? Is it a form of piety? No answers…

So to celebrate the power of Mythological films, I present the following song from one of the best in this genre, a beloved & iconic film for Tamil viewers:

Album : Thiruvilayadal (1965)

Music : K.V.Mahadevan

Lyrics : Kannadasan

Song : Pattum Nane Bhavamum Naane

Singer : T.M.Sounderarajan

 

 

Pattum Nane–T.M.Sounderarajan

 

Sivaji Ganesan’s performance in this song makes me understand exactly why he was so well admired.

Below is the equally beloved other song from the same film, sung superbly by Carnatic music stalwart Dr. Balamuralikrishna :

Oru Naal Poduma–Balamuralikrishna

 

If you want to watch this old Tamil favourite, you can do so here.

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Carnatic Music, M.Balamuralikrishna, T.M.Sounderarajan, Tamil Film Music

Thillana Mohanambal

Album : Thillana Mohanambal (1968)

Songs : Marainthirunthu Parkum and Nalamdana

Music : K.V.Mahadevan

Lyrics : Kannadasan

Singer : P.Susheela

Form: Tamil Film music

In my list of personally meaningful music, this album takes precedence over many others. As a very young girl, I had just started learning Bharatnatyam dancing when this film was released. Dancing was my passion at that time and the film based on a dancer connected immediately with me. How do we Indian film viewers separate the love of the music from its picturisation in a film? Possibly, I loved the dancing more than the music or the story, but no matter, I still loved these songs. I practised endlessly in front of mirrors each intricate step, each expression, each mudra (hand movement), lip synching the words, until I could do all the dances perfectly – or so I thought ! Thank God there was no home videography at that time; I do not wish to sully my memories with reality!

The song above in raga Shanmukhapriya is a classic, never to be forgotten. To know more about the raga, click here. The dance sequence displays Padmini’s mastery over bhava (expression). As a number of people arrive on my site in search of lyrics, I tried to find them online to provide a link.  On checking, I found they all had errors so I have scribed them myself.

மறைந்துருந்து பார்க்கும் மருமம் என்ன
மன்னன் மலை அழகா இந்த சிலை அழகா என்று

நவரசமும்
முகத்தில் நவரசமும்
மலர்ந்திருக்கும் முகத்தில் நவரசமும்
செக்கச் சிவந்திருக்கும் இதழில் கனி ரசமும் கண்டு

மறைந்துருந்து …

எங்கிருந்தாலும் உன்னை நானறிவேன்
உன்னை என்னையல்லால் வேறு யார் அறிவார்
பாவை என் பதம் காண நாணமா
உந்தன் பாட்டுக்கு நான் ஆட வேண்டாமா
மாலவா வேலவா மாயவா சண்முகா

மறைந்துருந்து …

நாதத்திலே தலைவன் குரல் கேட்டேன்
அந்த நாணத்திலே என்னை நான் மறந்தேன்
மோகத்திலே என்னை மூழ்க வைத்து
ஒரு ஓரத்திலே நின்று கள்வனை போல்
மாலவா வேலவா மாயவா சண்முகா

மறைந்துருந்து …

மான் ஆட மலர் ஆட மதி ஆட நதி ஆட
மங்கை இவள் நடனம் ஆட
நான் ஆட மண் ஆட கொடி ஆட இடை ஆட
மங்கை இவள் கைகள் ஆட
சுவையோடு நான் ஆட என்னை நாடி இந்த வேளை
விரைவேனில் துணையாட ஓடி வாரவாய்
தூயனே மாலவா மாயனே வேலவா என்னை ஆளும் சண்முகா

As an aside, I am thinking that the concept of Indian beauty has changed since those times but for me, Padmini (the actress, the dancer) still represents the classical Indian beauty. Her face !! Her eyes !!! She looks like a temple sculpture come to life !! My eyes, which have become accustomed to the sylphlike figures of the current generation and the western idea of ideal beauty, find Padmini to be refreshingly well-formed as a woman, more close to the idea of an Indian Beauty than any famous beauties of today.

Nalamdana–P.Susheela

Nalamdana is the other song from this film which I like very much. Based on Carnatic Raga Nilamani, it is so beautifully soulful!

நலம்தானா நலம்தானா
உடலும் உள்ளமும் நலம்தானா

நலம் பெற வேண்டும் நீ என்று
நாளும் என் நெஞ்சில் நினைவுண்டு
இலை மறை காய் போல் பொருள் கொண்டு
எவரும் அறியாத சொல் இன்று

(என்) கண் பட்டதால் உந்தன் மேனியிலே
புண் பட்டதோ அதை நான் அறியேன்
புண் பட்ட சேதியை கேட்டவுடன்
இந்த பெண் பட்ட பாடை யார் அறிவார்

நடந்ததெல்லாம் மறந்திருப்போம்
நடப்பதையே நினைத்திருப்போம்

This film and my Bharatnatyam dancing at that time was also instrumental in setting the foundations of my love for Carnatic Classical music (Bharatnatyam is set to this music). There is a beautiful version of ‘Nagumomu’ (Composer : Tyagaraja (1767 – 1847) , Raga : Abheri), played on the Nadaswaram by Madurai Sethuraman in this film. Unfortunately I cannot find an audio for you to listen to, you just have to see the movie! For those interested, there is a recent interview with the artist here.

Last year I watched the film again. There were parts of the film which I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed many years ago (the train scene for example), yet there were parts which felt dated for me. Thankfully, the music doesn’t age at all; it still feels beautiful and therefore today, I pay homage to this foundation stone in my love of Indian music.

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Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana

Album : Aradhana (1969)

Song : Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana (title song)

Music : S.D.Burman (1 October 1906 – 31 October 1975)

Lyrics : Anand Bakshi

Singer : S.D.Burman

Form : Hindi Film background score

S.D.BurmanAradhana came at the age of awareness for me. This film was the first step in my long love story with the Hindi film music industry.  Both the movie and the music were super hits. It was sung out at every street corner.  And I, still a little girl, fell in love with it and spent hours in front of the radio waiting for each song to be played so that I could laboriously copy out the lyrics! My Hindi being quite poor at that time, I wrote it all in English phonetically. I actually thought that ‘Roop tera mastana…..hum sena ho jaye’ meant in some odd way that Rajesh Khanna’s character was going to join the army (Sena 🙂 ). And not being blessed with a Voice, I must have tortured my poor mother as I tried to sing out loud these songs. Yes, I still remember the words 🙂

The album still has great appeal to me, time hasn’t dated the music at all. I have chosen to present the title song here, for I have always loved the gentle hope of the lyrics and the soulful rendering by S.D.Burman.  He won the National Film Award (1970) as a singer for this song.

Enjoy the song !

Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana–S.D.Burman

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Na to karavan ki talash hai

Album : Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)

Song : Na To Karavan Ki Talash Hai

Lyrics : Sahir Ludhianvi

Music : Roshan Lal

Singers : Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra, Shiv Dayal Batish

Form : Qawwali, Hindi Film

For this first post from Hindi films, I hesitated but a few minutes before choosing this song.  There are innumerable pieces of Hindi film music which have become part of my musical world. However, with my deep love of Qawwalis, the absolute mastery over music by Mohammed Rafi and Manna Dey, Roshan’s musical genius and the beautiful poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi’s words, this song belongs to the very pinnacle of Hindi Film music.  Just see what the poet says :

woh hanske agar mange toh ham jan bhi de de,
ha yeh jan toh kya chiz hai, iman bhi de de, kyonki

How much more easy to give up ‘jaan’ than ‘iman’ ! One a coward’s way out and the other, the most difficult of things…

and again,

nazo andaz se kehte hain ki jina hoga
zeher bhi dete hain toh kehte hain ki pina hoga
jab mai pita hu toh kehte  hai ki marta bhi nahi
jab mai marta hu toh kehte hain ki jina hoga

How beautifully put !  Hindi/Urdu is certainly the language of poets, don’t you think?

People seem to often come to my site looking for lyrics. As there are other sources on the net which provide exactly that, I shall just redirect you to one of those sites. For the lyrics to this song, look here.

For ten minutes of beautiful music experience, watch the clip below.

Na To Karavan Ki Talash Hai-Mohd Rafi, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle

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