Torrential rains may be submerging the major metros of India as water-logging hogs the media headlines yet again with expected regularity this time of the year. But when it comes to Hindi film music you can safely leave all waterlogging woes aside and enjoy the rains for what they stand for in cinema – romance, music, fun and friendship.
Antara and Peeyush (in maroon) relive at some evergreen rain songs of Hindi films that never cease to evoke a smile, a memory or simply uplift the heart, especially when you hear the raindrops starting to fall.
Yaad aaye kisi se vo pehali mulaaqaat
This song in Kala Bazar (1960) is picturised on Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman with the song playing only in the background. Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi sing with their heart and soul a beautiful tune composed by SD Burman to lyrics by Shailendra.
The song became the most iconic rain song and is spontaneously remembered with the pitter-patter of rain. It catches the mood perfectly, the rhythm of falling rain drops and the romance. The moments the clouds gather and the first drops fall this song starts playing at the back of the mind of many a music lover.
bheege tan man pade ras ki puhaar
pyaar ka sandesa laayi barkha bahaar
mai na bolu aankhein kare ankhiyo se baat
The usage of the song in the background is beautifully brought forth in the lyrics by Shailendra.
For me, this is the quintessential rain song. The most supreme rain song ever created, composed, sung and appeared on Hindi screen. I can never have enough of it and love listening to it, it just gives me that ehsaas of rain whenever I listen to it, like no other song does.
“Vijay Anand is widely attributed as one of the finest in the industry in terms of positioning a song in a movie and its picturisation. He can be safely credited with some of the finest Navketan releases since the late 1950-s. Vijay Anand has gone on record in an interview that SD Burman was very perceptive about the power and impact of the medium of films and took a keen interest in understanding the situation of a song and its context in the landscape of the entire movie.
In the same interview he has mentioned about a particular incident where it was SD Burman who had suggested that the song ‘Rimjhim ke taraane le-ke aayi barsaat’ in Kala Bazar (1960) be picturised on the hero and the heroine with the song playing only in the background. Vijay Anand immediately liked the idea and thus was the lovely Rafi-Geeta duet created.” (Source: Archisman Mozumdar – as narrated to Moti Lalwani in November 2012)
Rimjhim ke taraane leke (Kala Bazar, 1960) SD Burman / Shailendra / Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi. The song is interspersed in a scene.
Ras ki puhaar laayi
Ankhiyon mein pyar laayi
A beautiful music score by Salil Chowdhury set to lyrics by Shailendra, O sajana is an everlasting number picturised on Sadhna who was truly fortunate to have one of the genius directors, Bimal Roy sign her for Parakh (1960) in the very first year of her career in the film industry. She came about as a simple and convincing small town girl, a post master’s daughter, opposite Vasant Choudhury, the handsome Bengal actor, who never could make it in Hindi films.
aisi rimmjhimm me o saajan,
pyaase pyaase mere nayan,
tere hi, khwaabo mein, kho gaye
Notice the majestic use of the sanchari by Salil Chowdhury in these lines, a piece of different tune interspersed between two antaras, typically used by music directors from Bengal. Sanchari technically means the third movement in a composition encompassing all the regions of the octave, in other words, wandering. The tune was composed on a song which had already been written. As Salil Chowdhury had revealed in an interview to Peeyush Sharma, “For O Sajna, barkha bahar aai, Shailendra had written the lyrics before I composed the tune.”
The beauty of Sadhana got established in these simpleton roles that were given to her by Bimal Roy (Parakh, Prem Patra) and Hrishikesh (Asli Naqli) and of course, Dev and Vijay Anand (in Hum Dono). That she got to lip some excellently melodious numbers at the same time was her good luck. This one was her crowning glory, a superbly crafted tune by Salil and really well rendered by Lata. What a song it is!
O sajana, barkha bahaar aayi (Parakh, 1960) Salil Chowdhury / Shailendra / Lata Mangeshkar
Sulag sulag jaaye man
Bheege aaj is mausam mein
Lagi kaisi yeh agan
An excellent tandem by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, this song from the repertoire of RD Burman catches the rain mood perfectly. To capitalize on the beautiful lyrics by Yogesh and evocative music score by RD, director Basu Chatterji used the song twice in Manzil.
mehfil me kaise keh den kisi se,
dil bandh rahaa hai ik ajnabi se
haaye karen ab kya jatan,
sulag sulag jaaye man
Kishore Kumar’s voice enthralls as Amitabh Bachchan sings to an enchanted audience in a homely gathering, looking every bit a passionate singer with a kurta and Jawahar-coat and a harmonium and leaving Moushumi Chatterjee quite mesmerized.
Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil, 1979) RD Burman / Yogesh / Kishore Kumar
Pahale bhi yun to barse thhe baadal
pahale bhi yun to bheega thha aanchal
ab ke baras kyun sajan,
sulag sulag jaye man
Here you have Lata Mangeshkar catching the rain mood in a background number when a soaked to the skin Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterji decide to enjoy the Mumbai downpour with a stroll on the Marine Drive and the waves crash over them playfully. The pace of the song is faster as Moushumi literally jogs to keep pace with Amitabh’s long strides! And you almost feel the waves reaching you in all their masti!
I listen to the Kishore version when I need to enjoy the song but I watch the Lata version when I wish to enjoy the picturized beauty of the rain and those splashing sea waves. Both, Amitabh and Moushumi are so very natural in this scene, adding to the visual quality.
Rimjhim gire saawan (Manzil, 1979) RD Burman / Yogesh / Lata Mangeshkar
Tumse mile hum
The movie itself is named Barsat so no prizes for guessing that rain figures almost as a character here. Now this song is neither a solo nor a duet but rather a celebration about rains and memories with the chorus chipping in with a tak dhina dhin and a bunch of ‘daflees’. There is no rain here in live action but the song relives every moment of a rain sojourn.
preet ne singar kiya main bani dulhan, main bani dulhan
sapno ki rim jhim mein naach utha mann, mera nach utha man
aaj mai tumhari huyi tum mere sanam
Nimmi looks the love-lorn village belle with flowers in her hair, singing about her unforgettable first meeting with her beloved Premnath who does not seem interested and a rather perplexed Raj Kapoor. This song along with other songs in Barsat was a runaway success and had catapulted Lata Mangeshkar right into the front league of singers.
Nimmi had ‘arrived’ with this song, just as Lata Mangeshkar, Shanker-Jaikishen, Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra and Raj Kapoor, all did with Barsat.
Barsaat mein (Barsat, 1949) Shankar Jaikishan / Hasrat Jaipuri / Lata Mangeshkar
Ek anjaan hasina se mulaqaat ki raat
If you think of expressing how a lover can describe a rain-drenched night when he first met his beloved – this ghazal takes the cake. Sahir Ludhianvi creates a masterpiece in imagery with words, painting the rendezvous of two strangers with minute details of how the simplest of actions can set many a heart afire and turn a chance meeting into a relationship.
Haaye wo reshmi zulfon se barasta pani
Phool se gaalon pe rukne ko tarasta paani
Dil mein toofan uthaate huye jazbaat ki raat
Roshan excels in the music score that perfectly captures the reminiscences of a lover who is also a poet. Sahir’s lyrics unfold the scene with such finesse that you can actually visualize it although the scene has nothing of rain in it.
Surkh aanchal ko dabaa kar jo nichoda usne
Dil pe jalta hua ik teer sa chhoda usne
Aag paani mein lagaate huye haalat ki raat
Bharat Bhushan sings to a microphone and although it is a radio broadcast meant for a larger audience, it actually is an ode to Madhubala who rushes to the radio, turns up the volume and starts floating in an ecstatic dream world of her own!
There is no comparison in the tandem, Rafi is far superior. So is the scene, though it is the poetic Bharat Bhushan singing on radio, but cut in flashback shots of Madhubala are moments to relish. The Venus of Indian screen strikes like the kahkashan from the sky.
Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi (Barsat Ki Raat, 1960) Roshan / Sahir Ludhianvi / Mohd Rafi
Pyar se phir kyun darta hai dil
Even today when you think of Raj Kapoor-Nargis, one of the first songs that come to your mind is this evergreen number that spoke of love blossoming in the hearts of two ordinary city dwellers who find a hope and purpose in a new life together as they share an umbrella in the pouring rain.
There have been popular screen couples, there have been bigger box-office hits, but the magic that these two created on screen reached a level where it continues to fascinate generations of cine lovers, although technology, concepts, themes, scripting, music and for that matter the very style of movie-making has undergone a sea change in Bollywood.
Perhaps these lines were written by Shailendra just for them…
Raatein dason dishaaon se, kahengi apni kahaniyaan
Geet hamaare pyaar ke, dohraayegi jawaaniyaan
Main na rahoongi, tum na rahoge
Phir bhi rahengi nishaaniyaan…
Pyar hua ikraar hua hai (Shri 420, 1960) Shankar Jaikishen / Shailendra / Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
Soti raaton mein jaagi si
Mili ek ajnabi se koi aage na peechhe
Tum hi kaho yeh koi baat hai
A car breakdown forces a distressed Madhubala to wake up a snoozing garage mechanic Kishore Kumar in the middle of the night. Since it is impossible to repair the car engine in the middle of pouring rain, Kishore Kumar gets the fuming Madhubala to help him push the car into the workshop. And then gets to work on it thoroughly enjoying the impatience and pique of an infuriated Madhubala who is so used to having her way usually that she simply cannot handle the irrepresible Kishore Kumar.
The car repair tools serve as musical instruments, the bonnet as the percussion. With a cup of tea poured from the flask to keep himself warm, Kishore Kumar ignores the flaring temper of a soaked Madhubala and puts the entire experience into a song.
Tan bheegaa hai sar geelaa hai
Us kaa koi pench bhi dheelaa hai
Tanti jhukti, chalti rukti
Nikli andheri raat mein
Mili ik ajanabi se
Koi aage na peechhe
Tum hi kaho yeh koi baat hai…hmmmm
How can you not smile at such a description of one of the most beautiful women to have graced the Indian screen? Oh yes, Kishore Kumar has no qualms in saying the lady has lost it, because after all as a garage mechanic he can only think in terms of “uska koi pench bhi dheela hai” while twisting a nut with a spanner in the hand! A car horn serves as the trumpet as Madhubala slowly starts enjoying the antics of the friendly mechanic.
Everything here is a class apart. The composition, the lyrics, master full rendering by Kishore and outstandingly enacted by Kishore. Add to all that the Madhubala visual effect. Such moments, such songs don’t get made in decades.
Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1959) SD Burman / Majrooh Sultanpuri / Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
aayi raat suhaani dekho preet liye
meet mere suno zara hawa kahe kya, aa
suno toh zara, jhingar bole jhikimiki jhikimiki
There is no one around, just two innocuous souls in love, a rainy night, a jhoola and the fields and it is beautiful world! This song speaks joy and togetherness in every note. The sweet twosome – the happy-go-lucky boy-next-door Sunil Dutt and a picture of innocence Nanda sing merrily the song of the rain “rimjhim ke yeh pyaare pyaare geet”, roping in Nature’s elements as their chorus – “suno zara hawa kahe kya” or “jhingar bole jhikimiki”.
A truly popular number that outlived the movie that did not fare well at box office. A song that is pure Salil magic!
Meethi meethi baton mein
Aisi barsaaton mein
Kaisa lagta hai
Aisa lagta hai tum banke baadal
Mere badan ko bheego ke mujhe
Chhed rahe ho
The second rain song to figure in top 10 songs of Kishore Kumar, this RD Burman composition has Zeenat Aman and Rajesh Khanna enjoying getting soaked in the downpour. The song flows almost as a question and answer conversation loaded with mischief, romance and oomph.
Zeenat in her heydays looked very charming and alluring, Rajesh was still in form and watchable, then like rain from sky poured the blessings from RDB through Kishore and Lata. A beautiful song, truly enjoyable.
Bheegi bheegi raaton mein (Ajnabee, 1974) RD Burman / Anand Bakshi / Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
Bheegi bheegi raaton mein
An archetypal barn song, where you have the hero and the heroine left to themselves in the middle of ladders and stacks of hay as the rain pours on outside – a situation quite common in Hindi films. Rajendra Kumar has a bandaged head with a blob of red although he looks very much in a romantic mood, his shirt buttoned till the collar as was his typical style. Babita bats her eyelids and turns on her charm full on. Ab gaana to banta hai na! A sweet composition from Laxmikant Pyarelal, leisurely and moody.
Rimjhim ke geet sawan gaaye (Ajaana, 1969) Laxmikant-Pyarelal / Anand Bakshi / Mohd. Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
Meri jaan, meri jaan
How many times can you play with one word, and each time make it stand out with a meaning, in an identity of its own, creating an impact that leaves you stunned. The black and white photography, the pitter patter of the rain and the raindrops soaking the window pane, all add to the lingering aura of love, romance, longing and togetherness in the words, the melody and the voice.
Jaan na kaho anjaan mujhe / Jaan kahan rahti hai sada
Anjaane, kya jaane / Jaan se jaaye kaun bhala
The transitory nature of life and so simply expressed… a quiet plea not to equate love with life that is not going to stay forever… life may be temporary, but love? It is eternal.
Sookhe saavan baras gaye / Kitni bar in aankhon se
Do boondein na barseeen / In bheegi palkon se
Gulzar Saab’s mastery with imagery comes through again in this vivid visual…sookhe saawan baras gaye…. how do dry monsoons shed as rain? Gulzar Saab uses a beautiful oxymoron to express the dried tears of loneliness and anguish that shed quietly but no one could see them. And the rain pours on, outside.
The wistful lyrics find just the right kind of expressions in the dulcet voice of Geeta Dutt and her outpouring of feeling that is uniquely hers with minimal use of instruments in an evocative tune composed by Kanu Roy. The song ends with a sparkling, tingling laughter by Geeta Dutt, sealing the uplifting mood of love and joy.
The visual effect by Tanuja has remained as a pleasant memory of the song, though Geeta Dutt is the winner all the way. These were early days of Gulzar and the music lovers were getting intrigued by his play of words and imagery that later on became part of our beloved musical treasury. A well handled scene by director, Basu Bhattacharya that leaves behind a lovely lyrical memory.
Mujhe jaan na kaho (Anubhav, 1971) Kanu Roy / Gulzar / Geeta Dutt
Saari waadi bhar gayi
Na jaane kyun dil bhar gaya
Na jane kyun aankh bhar gayi
When the rain drenches the surroundings, the hills, the fields, the houses and the horizon, it also drenches your heart. Used as a background song as the credits roll in, this Asha Bhosle number from Ijaazat beautifully captures all that is enriching and refreshing about the rain.
Does the rain drench one’s heart and wets one’s eyes too? Gulzar at his creative best equals human emotion to the showers and the rush of rain to emotions. Masterfully composed and orchestrated by RD, any number of repeat listening remains a pleasure.
Chhoti si kahaani se (Ijaazat, 1988) RD Burman / Gulzar / Asha Bhosle
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