Years ago, my cousin Ramesh brought us a walkman on his return from US and that was the first time I experienced the thrill of listening to music while walking. This was in the early 90’s when there were no cell phones and MP3 players or IPods. My brother took it from me promising to return it but he returned back the walkman all damaged without even an apology.
It was only in 2006 June that I had the privilege of buying my first Nokia mobile phone. I discovered the pleasure of listening to music while walking. This paved the path for my going for regular morning and evening walks in the jogger’s park near our residence in Mumbai. I made a whole lot of friends there and during my stint in my earlier organization, I found solutions to problems in the projects I was working on while walking and profoundly thinking about them. But, frankly, I loved listening to Hindi movie songs all by myself. In this article, I would like to share with you some of my memories associated with some of the most memorable songs in Hindi films.
When my mother married at the age of 17 years and came to Mumbai, her only companion was the Vividh Bharati. She was all alone in the city with my father leaving for work in a MNC ( related to dental products – you can guess the name of the organization) at 7 am and returning by 11 pm in the night.The funniest part was that she did not know a word of Hindi then.She remembers that the very first songs that she was impressed with were the ever green melodies from "Humraaz".
"Neele Gagan Ke Tale" and "Tum Agar Sath Dene Ka" are as fresh today as they were in 1967. The song "Pal bhar ke liye koi" immediately revives of images of Hema Malini shutting the window glasses one by one to a pleading Dev Anand in the 1971 super hit –"Johny Mera Nam". As a young boy in 1972, I recall Vividh Bharati oft repeating "Badan Pe Sitare" (Prince), "Yeh Dil Aur Unki"(Prem Parbath), " Kan Mein Jhumka, Taal Mein Tumka" (Sawan Bhadon). Even today when I listen to these songs on my mobile or on a TV channel, it takes me to the past. Tell me friends, don’t you think that Hema Malini looked so beautiful in "Hai Na bolo bolo"(Andaz, 1971). Of course, the ageing Shammi Kapoor looked his best too…
"Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho" which featured Navin Nischol driving a black and white taxi and singing this to Priya Rajvansh (Hanste Zakhm) is a song that immediately invokes images of a Mumbai city experiencing a heavy down pour. The other songs that remind me of monsoons are – "Rim Jhim Ghirey Sawan" (Amitabh Bachchan – Moushmi Chatterjee, Manzil) walking on the streets of Mumbai , "O Ghata Sawari" (Hema Malini, Jahan Pyar Miley) and the evergreen "O Sajna, Barkha Bahar" (Sadhana, in the movie Parakh).
"In Baharon Mein" and "Rahen Na Rahen Hum" (Mamta, 1966) are perennial favorites. May be Suchitra Sen’s aura added to the beauty of the picturistaion of these songs, besides the soulful music from Madan Mohan. Recently I watched "Woh Kaun Thi" on my PC and was left wondering how the songs are so fresh despite the fact that the movie was released in 1964. Notable are – "Naina barse rimjihm" and "Shok Nazar Ki Bijliyan". The moment you think of Simla, you can’t help remembering Woh Kaun Thi. Similarly, the moment you say Udaipur , your mind takes you to Sunil Dutt and Sadhana in "Mera Saya".
When I visited the Rameshwar Shiva temple in Mulund West (near Yogi Hills), the temple fully constructed in marble reminded me of "Mera Saya" and the lilting melody "Nainon Mein badra chaye". Another lilting meoldy of the 60’s is from Gumnam (1965). Yes, I am referring to "Gham chodke Manao Rang raili" with Helen immortalizing the song with her pelvic movements. (just recall how Helen’s dances were never vulgar and so graceful).
The song – "Lekar Hum Deewana Dil" takes me back to 1973 and Hotel Sadguru on S V Road. "Yadon Ki Barat" was a craze then and till today, one remembers the final scene in which the hero (Dharmendra) identifies the public booth based on the sound of the adjoining train. Hotel Sadguru was very close to the Samrat theatre which ran "Yadon Ki Barat" and my father was skilled in slicing the vada for me while I was devouring a plate of vada sambar. For your kind information, the hotel still exists today and the vada sambar is still as delectable as it was in 1973.
Some of the other songs that are ever green melodies and that refuse to leave your memory are :
Do Dil Toothe (Heer Ranjha, 1970)
Yeh Dil Tum Bin Kahin Lagta Nahin (Izzat, 1968)
Chala Bhi Aa, Aja Rasiya (Man Ki Ankhen, 1970)
Tu Lali Hai Sawerewali (Abhi to Jee Lein, 1977)
Dil Dhoondtha hai, phir wahi (Mausam, 1976)
Beeti Na Bitayi Raina (Parichay, 1972)
Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz (Kora Kagaz, 1974)
Kajra Mohabbatwala & Lakhon Hai Yahan Dilwale (Kismat, 1968)
In Kismat, that featured Biswajeet and Babita, Manmohan Desai filmed the climax of the movie in the Vashi creek.
Jahan Teri Yeh Nazar (Kaalia, 1980)
See the latest bike ad featuring Virat Kohli and you know how the song is still so eminently mesmerizing.
Chanda Ki Kirnone Se (Intezar, 1975)
A simple movie made by Mohan Segal that starred Padmini Kapila and Baldev Kosa (now a Congress MP in the Andheri – Vile Parle belt), this song by Kishore Kumar is particularly notable.
K Balachander later remade this movie in Tamil (Nizhal Nijam akhirathu).
O, Mere shahe-khuba
This is the evergreen melody from the 1966 superhit – "Love in Tokyo".
O, My love,nazar na lag jaye
Mohamed Rafi at his best in this movie – Night in London (1969)
The 1975 blockbuster "Chambal Ki Kasam" was based on a popular Hindi Novel. Veteran actress Bindu Champaklal Zhaveri, was asked to read the novel and soon after she finished reading it, she immediately consented to act in the movie. "Simti Hui Yeh Ghadiyan" is a legendary song that can still warm the cockles of your heart.
All songs in "Tere Ghar Ke Samne" (1963) were super hits but "Sun Le Tu Dil Ki Saza" has a pathos that is incomparable. Dev Anand’s clarion call to eschew hatred and malice has never sounded so brilliant. "Dekho Roota Na Karo" was filmed in Delhi’s Qutub Minar.
The soothing lyrics in – "Kahin Bekhayal Hokar"( Teen Deviyan, 1966) are a great antidote to soothe your worries.
Finally, all those who are in their 40s and 50s today, will readily identify with – "Yeh Dil Aur Unki Nigahon Ke Saye" the song that must have played on Vividh Bharathi a zillion times. I heard that the print of this movie [Prem Parbath] was destroyed and is not available. How sad ! The movie was (if I remember correctly) about Rehana Sultan (who is in love with Satish Kaul) but has to marrying an ageing old man Nana Palshikar. I admit I know nothing more than this.
It would be inappropriate to conclude this article without penning my favorites from "Dastak" (1970) (the mellifluous music by Madan Mohan) ["Mahi Ree"] and "Madhbhari Yeh Hawayen" (Anokha Daan, 1972). The latter song was penned by Gulzar and the music was composed by Salil Chowdhury. If you are feeling stressed out, please listen to this beautiful rendition by Lata Mangeshkar and you will be transported to a beach in Mumbai where the song was shot (looks to be Juhu beach, for all practical purposes).
Bollywood music is such a treasure trove that it is virtually impossible to write about it in a few pages. Even an encyclopedia will not be sufficient. The musicians of today’s generation are also doing a fairly decent job, though loud music has replaced melody. In any case, "Tera Hone Laga Hoon" is too good. Agree ?