Tum bhi chalo hum bhi chalen – Zameer (1975)

To offer an antidote in the present situation, here is an inspirational, philosophical and an extremely hummable number with a great vibe! Sahir Ludhianvi’s words urge you to keep moving on while Sapan Chakraborty’s tune rides seamlessly on them. Vibrato-laced vocals from Kishore Kumar bring out the depth and the feel of the number further. As a bonus, here is my karaoke cover version of the track – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SseZBGz86wg. Hope you like it!

Tum bhi chalo hum bhi chalen
Chalti rahe zindagi
Na zameen manzil na aasmaan
Zindagi hai zindagi

Peechhe dekhen na kabhi mudke raahon mein ho
Jhoome mera dil tumhe leke baahon mein ho
Dhadkon ki jubaan nit kahe daastan
Pyaar ki jhilmil chhaon mein
Palti rahe zindagi…

Behten chale hum masti ke dhaaron mein ho
Goonje yehi dhun sadaa dil ke taaron mein ho
Ab ruke na kahin pyar ka karwaan
Nit nayi rut ke rang mein
Dhalti rahe zindagi…

The much lesser known but multi-faceted Bengali singer-cum-composer, Sapan Chakraborty, was an assistant to the legendary RD Burman (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapan_Chakraborty). He composed this number on raag Kirwani which is essentially supposed to be sung at mid-night! On first listen, it seems like an easy song to sing but has some minor intricacies which one needs to get right to make it sound soulful. The range in the antara takes one to the higher octave and with the multiple notes on the ‘ho’ in the second line it comes down to the lower octave before settling into the middle (and the more comfortable) octave! Instrumentally speaking, the long-ish guitar riff beautifully opens the number with Kishore’s effective/bassy humming added; then continues hand-in-hand with the vocals with the keyboard joining in and with a simplistic percussion pattern throughout. The talented and much-celebrated ‘Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon’-fame word-smith, Sahir Ludhianvi (real name Abdul Hayee; source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahir_Ludhianvi), leaves a lasting impression with his philosophical words. This popular retro song had another version in the film – a happy and relatively racy duet where Kishore did the honours with Asha Bhosle. This is the sad version and the more philosophical one! Another Zameer song that became quite popular was the Kishore Kumar sung Zindagi hansne gaane ke liye hai pal do pal. In Sahir’s words from this song, I would like to end by saying Pyaar ki jhilmil chhaon mein palti rahe zindagi…cheers to that!!

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Main shaayar to nahi – Bobby (1973)

Feel a void with Rishi Kapoor’s loss? Lend an ear to a romantic, hummable and instantly appealing Laxmikant-Pyarelal composition. Adorned by simple words by Anand Bakshi and sung by my namesake, Shailendra Singh, you will keep coming back to this protagonist-centered solo.

Main shaayar to nahin
Magar ae haseen
Jabse dekha maine tujhko mujhko shayari aa gayi
Main shaayar to nahin, main aashiq to nahin
Magar ae haseen
Jabse dekha maine tujhko mujhko aashiqi aa gayi

Pyaar ka naam maine suna tha magar
Pyaar kya hai yeh mujhko nahin thi khabar
Main to uljha raha, uljhano ki tarah
Doston mein raha, dushmano ki tarah
Main dushman to nahin, main dushman to nahin
Magar ae haseen
Jabse dekha maine tujhko mujhko dosti aa gayi
Main shaayar to nahin…

The evergreen number beautifully strings together low and high notes extremely well and moves to a different octave within the first 3-4 notes. Interestingly, it also meanders around the conventional poetry metre in the mukhda. To start with, LP use the guitar chords, piano riffs and violin ensembles and the congo-style percussion throughout the number. This lays emphasis and complements the singer’s vocals intricately well (though Shailendra Singh sounds off in a few places). Lyrically, this number may have inspired writers like Sameer to write some numbers in the same vein i.e. using various similes …examples being Saanson ki zaroorat hai jaise (1990; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCuhzjK11iA) Tu shaayar hai, main teri shaayari (1991; Saajan; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HvgZ8XViHA). Nonetheless, we do get an endearing and unforgettable number that people remember even today! Interestingly, this song was re-used (and interestingly re-sung by Shailendra Singh with Shaan) on Rishi Kapoor in the film Hum Tum (2004; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zceq5DQaD3s; https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1s4ot8). With Laxmikant-Pyarelal at the helm instead of the Raj Kapoor favourites, Shankar-Jaikishan and a new pair on-screen, Shailendra Singh became Rishi Kapoor’s voice in his adult debut though Rishi appeared in cameos in Shree 420 and Mera Naam Joker as a kid and a teenager, respectively. Their association continued for a few subsequent Rishi Kapoor songs and films like Khel Khel Mein (1975; Humne tumko dekha tumne humko dekha; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odozcUbvHsc), Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981; Hoga tumse pyaara kaun humko to tumse hai; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMvrdPzucuY), Saagar (1985; Jaane do na; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVutugMWTIY) and Gurudev (1993; Jaipur se nikli gaadi; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obh2HvyzJac). However, Shailendra Singh didn’t stay Rishi’s voice for too long and lost out to the legendary Kishore Kumar as composers favoured the latter much more over SS. Some successful combination examples of actor-singer duos brings to notice Shammi Kapoor-Mohammed Rafi, Rajesh Khanna-Kishore Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan-Kishore Kumar and in 1980/90s, Madhuri Dixit-Alka Yagnik, Aamir Khan-Udit Narayan and Salman Khan-SP Balasubramanyam and more recently Ranbir Kapoor-Mohit Chauhan. More on that later…I also really like the other unforgettable number from this film viz. the extremely popular Hum tum ik kamre mein band hon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBJj-3sgcd0&gl=SG), the naughty, Jhoot bole kauwa kaate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfTC5cJpmwA), the Goan folkish Naa maangoon sona chaandi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmwWGrDoZhM), the romantic Mujhe kuchh kehna hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwRFne44aT0) and the pensive Akhiyon ke rehne de (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ihr134PEGk) Meanwhile, reminisce the ‘chocolate-boy’ Rishi Kapoor and his first official playback voice, Shailendra Singh. Enjoy this superbly evergreen and hummable number!!

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Corona singles – Go Corona Go (Ameya); Pyar Karona (Salman Khan; Sajid-Wajid); Corona – The viral song (Euphoria); Hoga na Corona (Dhinchak Pooja) – April 2020

It is about Coronavirus! Amongst so many YouTube singles, presenting an enviable selection of 4 new satirical singles with credits ranging from the talented Ameya, starry Salman Khan with Sajid-Wajid, the popular Euphoria and last but not the least, Dhinchak Pooja! Listen/Read on…

Go Corona Go (Ameya):
A true satire on the present situation, Go Corona Go starts off beautifully with the some oft-heard advice fading off, then focuses on everyone’s day-to-day plight and is preachy and funny at the same time! The punchy, ‘hinglish’, superbly simple and rhyming lyrics has interesting use of Punjabi words like bhaande! Abhishek Sharma’s vocals are on point and the use of harmonies is at the right points and enhance the value, raciness and folkish feel of the composition. Go Corona Go guitar strum (0.17s onwards) and opening vocals sound similar to Pyaar zindagi pyaar har khushi pyaar jisne paaya hai from AR Rahman’s Kay Sera Sera (Pukar; 2000; 1.22s onwards; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh6WtwfMPdQ). Have said that, the leitmotif is extremely catchy and one tends to get hooked on to it. Ameya’s composition is extremely catchy and hummable. Most importantly, it speaks our language and gives us hope! Go Ameya Go!! 🙂


Pyar Karona (Salman Khan; Sajid-Wajid):
Salman’s protégé music director duo Sajid-Wajid create a simplistic but hummable composition for him. Lyrics-wise (Salman and Hussain Dalal), there’s interesting word play urging karo na and asking to refrain with karo na while the rap part is preachy but true. The number ends with Sare jahaan se achha hindustan hamaara and the piano riffs sound serene! Sajid-Wajid use minimal but heart-warming instrumentation that bring out and make Salman’s vocals shine. A great line among many others is apne ko na hoga is galafehmi mein mat raho na which happens to be absolutely true. Overall, there are some really good messages and Salman makes it a point they get conveyed in a quiet but stern and a ‘fatherly’ fashion! Please suno na and adhere to all this!


Corona – The viral song (Euphoria):
Euphoria is back! Written (with Prem Nikaju) and composed by the band lead, Palash Sen, this is a funny take on the disease and the existing situation! With a folkish background, some may find it downright funny but some may also find it ridiculously cheap in parts! Unfortunately, the same can be said for the lyrics too. The cacophony has pieces of Chinese and Bengali undertones (in bad taste methinks) and even has the voice and clips of someone like Jackie Shroff appearing twice briefly. It may not have the capability to be a ‘viral song’ so you will be better off not getting this virus! This one seems like a forced one and quite unbecoming of someone of the stature of Euphoria and Palash Sen. The number may just have short-term entertainment value and that’s where it ends and should end. Suggest skipping this one!


Hoga na Corona (Dhinchak Pooja):
This one is the shortest of them all. A weird but Dhinchak Pooja-ish start takes you into the heavy and bassy percussion, off-beat vocals and partly bits-and-pieces and force-fitted rhyming and partly preachy lyrics. Unless you want to keep yourself entertained and have a lot of time at hand, you are better off giving this a pass. Hoga na sunna…sorry!

Pick of the lot: Go Corona Go (Ameya)

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Yeh raat bheegi bheegi – Chori Chori (1956)

Love nature and its peace and calm these days? Lyricist Shailendra, my namesake, brings it to life in raag kirwani based romantic duet put to an extremely hummable tune by Shankar-Jaikishan. 2 other strong reasons to give it a listen is that it’s adorned by singing stalwarts Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar.

Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, yeh mast fizaayein
Utha dheere dheere, woh chaand pyaara pyaara
Kyoon aag si lagaake, gumsum hai chaandni
Sone bhi nahin deta, mausam ka yeh ishaara

Ithlaati hawa, neelam sa gagan
Kaliyon pe yeh, behoshi ki nami
Aise mein bhi kyun, bechain hai dil
Jeevan mein na jaane, kya hai kami
Kyoon aag si lagaake gumsum hai chaandni
Sone bhi nahin deta mausam ka yeh ishaara

Jo din ke ujaale mein na mila
Dil dhoonde aise sapne ko
Is raat ki jagmag mein doobi
Main dhoond rahi hoon apne ko

The beautiful opening guitar riffs slowly take you to Manna Dey’s mellifluous vocals while Lata Mangeshkar alaaps in parallel! Shailendra’s words strike an instant chord and effortlessly compares and juxtaposes the beauty of nature with yearning for the loved one’s attention. The guitar and sarangi interludes add another dimension of beauty to the already superb and extremely hummable composition. Starting at a high-pitch similar to the mukhda, the antara magnificently complements it and Shailendra’s words take wings! On close and repeated listening (which I think is tough to avoid!), you will notice the sarangi, Cello or violin accompanies and mirrors the vocalists throughout the composition. The master singers make it sound very easy but really enhance the beauty of the composition through their intricate murkis throughout the composition. In Gulzar’s words, “Shailendra was the best lyricist produced by the Hindi film industry” [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shailendra_(lyricist)]. Chori Chori gave Shankar-Jaikishan their first Filmfare award in 1957. They went on to win 8 more across their illustrious career that spanned 2 decades. Interestingly, Shankar continued to work under the SJ banner after Jaikishan’s untimely and early death in 1971 (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shankar%E2%80%93Jaikishan). I bet you will keep humming this beautifully romantic number that captures the essence of beauty of nature as much as it does the romantic undertones associated with it! Enjoy the lovely weather while it lasts and listen to such timeless melodies alongside forgetting when this ordeal (read Coronavirus) will get over!

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O Sanam – Sunoh (1996)

Presenting a cultish non-film track from Lucky Ali sung and composed mega-hit album Sunoh.  Beautifully weaved around Syed Aslam Noor’s words, the extremely catchy and hummable number also owes its success to some heart-warming instrumentation and accompanying vocals.

Shaam Sawere teri yaadein aati hain
Aa ke dil ko mere yoon tadpaati hain
O sanam mohabbat ki kasam

Mil ke bichhadna to dastoor ho gaya
Yadoon mein teri majboor ho gaya
O Sanam teri yadoon ki kasam

Samjhe zamaana ke dil hai khilona
Jaana hai ab kya hai dil ka lagana
Nazroon se ab na humko giraana
Mar bhi gaye toh bhool na jaana.

Aankhon mein basi ho
Par door ho kahin
Dil ke kareeb ho
Yeh mujhko hai yakeen
O sanam tere pyar ki kasam

Maqsood Mehmood Ali urf Lucky Ali happens to be legendary film comedian Mehmood’s 2nd of 8 sons! He started his career with jumping into the popular and much Indipop bandwagon in the 90s …and how! Sunoh tasted blockbuster success in 1996 and shot Lucky into fame overnight. The album won many of the top awards in Indian music, including the Best Pop Male Vocalist at the Screen Awards and the Channel V Viewer’s Choice Award in 1997. It stayed on the MTV Asia Charts in the top three for 60 weeks (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Ali). Next up, he came up with other popular non-film albums like Sifar (1998), Aks (2001) and Kabhi Aisa Lagta Hai (2004) among others (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_Ali_discography). Lucky Ali has had a somewhat muted playback singing career willingly I guess but it has been ‘superb-in-parts’. He started off with the song Walking All Alone from the film Ek Baap Chhe Bete in 1978 and then sang Anu Malik composed Nasha Nasha from the film Dushman Duniya Ka (1996; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cys2hgLm5Z4). His moment of reckoning as a playback singer came in 1999 when he sang for Hrithik Roshan in Rajesh Roshan composed and very popular Na Tum Jaano Na Hum and Ik Pal Ka Jeena (both Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai; 2000). The other noteworthy numbers of his career are MM Kreem composed Aa Bhi Ja Aa Bhi Ja (Sur – The Melody Of Life; 2002; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNfN2KfDORw), AR Rahman-composed Khuda Hafiz (Yuva; 2004; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2qZfzHRwJQ) and Safarnama (Tamasha; 2015; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mTDBsdfw88), Vishal Shekhar created Aahista Aahista (Bachna Ae Haseeno; 2008; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj9P6mmfCL4) and Hairat (Anjaana Anjaani; 2010; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqTQNs9sO6M). Lucky is known for his unique voice and ballad-style singing and is known to work on his terms. Sunoh and O Sanam did not find any takers to start with but BMG Crescendo agreed on the condition that Lucky shoot the video on his own. That’s when he used his other childhood friendship (the first one being the lyricist Syed Aslam Noor) – ad filmmaker Mahesh Mathai – who shot the popular video for the song! (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunoh). O Sanam has brilliant use of the guitar, percussion and some haunting backing vocals (female). Of the 3 antaras, the middle one (Samjhe zamaana ke dil hai khilona) has a different tune. You will find yourself humming the superbly catchy and lovely starting alaaps. I also like a couple of other tracks from the album like Sunoh (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpidJ9uAXfg), Tum se hi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH16dwxKGtg) and Pyaar ka musaafir (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4hijKFzMzw). However, O Sanam is such a cult and unforgettable number that you will keep coming back to it. It’s a timeless beauty and you find yourself humming it again and again! Keep listening and humming in these unprecedented times. With best wishes, love and Luck(y) to you all!! 🙂

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Aap ki nazaron ne samjha – Anpadh (1962)

Homebound? Listen to an extremely hummable, endearing and ever popular number put together by the genius and ‘prince of ghazals’ Madan Mohan. Primarily raag darbari based, the lilting composition would have been a tough one to sing even for the legendary Lata Mangeshkar.

Aap ki nazaron ne samjha pyaar ke kaabil mujhe
Dil ki ae dhadkan theher ja mil gayee manzil mujhe
Aap ki nazron ne samjha

Ji hamein manzoor hai aapka ye faisla
Keh rahi hai har nazar banda paravar shukriya
Hans ke apni zindagi mein kar liya shaamil mujhe
Aap ki nazron ne samjha

Aapki manzil hoon main meri manzil aap hain
Kyon main toofaan se daroon mera saahil aap hain
Koi toofanon se kah de, mil gaya saahil mujhe
Aap ki nazron ne samjha

Some compositions are beyond sweet and melodious! This composition is definitely one of them. An evergreen melody and raag-based composition, the lovely number stands out and needs no major accompaniments. The evergreen maestro – Madan Mohan – who preferred raag-based sad songs had many such endearing melodies to his name in the 1950s, 60s and the 70s. He was even brought ‘alive’ by his son, Sanjeev Kohli, in the 2004 musical Veer Zaara by using some of his beautiful unused tunes (read: http://shailendra19.com/2018/02/09/tere-liye-hum-hain-jiye-veer-zaara-2004/). The number also has some lovely wordsmithing by the one and only Raja Mehdi Ali Khan who happened to work with Madan Mohan for many successful film scores including Madhosh, Mera Saaya (with unforgettable songs like Tu jahaan jahaan chalega, Jhumka gira re, Aap ke pehlu mein aakar, Nainon mein badra chhaaye), Woh Kaun Thi (Lag jaa gale, Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim). There is an interesting piece worth reading on the multi-faceted composer (who was an Army man, a great cook and a fanatic sports enthusiast all rolled into one!) Madan Mohan and highlights his greatness as a composer and a human being (read: https://web.archive.org/web/20140715011401/http://www.indiainfoline.com/Lifestyle/Smart-Gadgets/An-Eternal-Composition-called-Madan-Mohan/3981824). If interested further, you can go to his website, http://www.madanmohan.in/, that his son Sanjeev Kohli has put together. I also really like another popular raag-based number from this film – Jiya Le Gayo Ji Mora Sanwariya also sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Aap ki nazron is an evergreen number has superb mass appeal and is loved by music-lovers across generations. You may find your grandparents hum it along with their new-age grandchildren! Extremely beautiful, hummable and an epitome of how romantic film compositions should sound like. Love you for this, Madan Mohan and Lata Mangeshkar!

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So gaya yeh jahaan so gaya aasmaan – Tezaab (1988)

Without caring what’s happening around, do lend an ear to a soothing original Laxmikant-Pyarelal classic! Drive down in your head as the opening guitar riffs, mellifluous male chorus and the whistle, violin, saxophone and flute pieces with no fixed mukhda-antara pattern coupled with situational and conditional lyrics will make it beautiful for you.

So gaya yeh jahaan so gaya aasmaan
So gaya yeh jahaan so gaya aasmaan
So gayi hain saari manzilen
O saari manzilen so gaya hai rasta

Raat aayi toh woh jinke ghar the
Woh ghar ko gaye so gaye
Raat aayi to ham jaise aawaara
Phir nikale raaho mein aur kho gaye
Is gali uss gali is nagar us nagar
Jaayen bhi tho kahaan jaana chaahen agar

Kuchh meri suno kuchh apni kaho
Ho paas toh aise chup naa raho
Hum paas bhi hai aur dur bhi hain
Aazaad bhi hai majboor bhi hain

Musical scores for action films like this one, especially in the 80s, typically had a cacophonic concoction of item numbers interspersed with sparks of romantic duets. This number though, stood out in terms of its theme, melody and most importantly the situation! Deep into the night, awaara group of friends going for long drives humming along with 2 other friends in love with each other. So gaya captures the essence like no one else. The 2 legendary stalwarts – Laxmikant-Pyarelal – keep the number primarily melody-based with superb accompaniments in the form of haunting male chorus that plays a key part across the number. The finger snaps then come in quietly leading into Nitin Mukesh crooning the low-pitched mukhda beginning going into a higher octave and coming back to the lower scale. Methinks this is the most noteworthy song of his career. Coming back to the number, the whistle solo then follows allowing one to believe its way past ‘prime time’. The saxophone play reverbs to provide a late-night solo feel. Javed Akhtar uses simple words to convey heart-touching emotions especially on the pieces sung by a seemingly hurt and tired Alka Yagnik (whose career turbo-charged with this album) and Shabbir Kumar (3rd of the Rafi clones who surfaced after his untimely death; other 2 being Mohammed Aziz and Anwar). To me, this is the best long-drive song for a lonely night so much so one can play it on loop in such a situation! I also love the other 2 numbers from this film – the ever popular and Alka Yagnik sung Ek do teen and the immensely romantic Amit Kumar and Anuradha Paudwal crooned Keh do ke tum ho meri warna. So gaya also covers what I and many of you may be feeling right now – Hum paas bhi hain aur door bhi hain, azaad bhi hain majboor bhi hain; Kyun pyaar ka mausam beet gaya, kyun humse zamaana jeet gaya! Nevertheless, chin up, be positive, listen to the number and I also suggest you sleep off too if tired or play this number when going for a long drive (post the lockdown!). Immensely immensely hummable and hats off to LP! 🙂

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Waada raha sanam honge juda na hum – Khiladi (1992)

Worried about COVID-19? Take a break and listen to this amazingly catchy Jatin-Lalit duet with an RD-esqe old world charm. Soulfully sung by Abhijeet Bhattacharya and Alka Yagnik and written by a lesser known Anwar Sagar, the romantic composition meanders across some superbly lilting surs and rhythm patterns.

Waada raha sanam honge juda na hum chaahe na chaahe zamaana
Hamari chaahaton ka mit na sakega fasaana
Hamari chaahaton ka mit na sakega fasaana

In waadiyon mein yun hi milte rahenge
Dil mein wafa ke diye jalte rahenge
Ye maanga hai duaon mein kami na ho wafaaon mein
Rahe teri nigaahon mein dekho na in fizaaon mein oh jaane jaan
Hamari chaahaton ka mit na sakega fasaana

The era of melody may have disappeared noticeably from hindi movies in the 1980s but the 90s got with them some new crop of musical talent and some lovely songs across movies of different genre. Jatin-Lalit entered as RD Burman-inspired brother duo and immediately got noticed with some catchy and top-selling scores like Yaara Dildara (1991; remember Bin tere sanam?), Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander (Pehla Nasha!!), Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (Loveria hua!) and Khiladi (all 1992). This duet shows clearly how they drew their inspiration from RD Burman …try listening closely to the typical RD beat in Hamaari chaahaton ka mit na sakega fasaana. Like their guru, JL use a lovely combination of alaaps from Alka, saxophone, keyboard, santoor and a lilting use of the tabla in the antara. Anwar Sagar’s words are easy on the lips and are weaved in beautifully to express unparalleled love. The album for full of endearing and catchy numbers that made music lovers sit up and notice the new kid(s) on the block. Abhijeet Bhattacharya, one of the Kishore Kumar clones to emerge in the 90s (the other 2 being Kumar Sanu and Vinod Rathod) and Alka Yagnik express themselves romantically and meander the intricacies (red vibratos) very well. Each number of this film is firmly etched in my memory …such nostalgia and when I listen to any of them!! Waada raha folks…we will all live together, beat COVID-19 and love with all our heart as enthusiastically as Jatin-Lalit composed this number! Cheers to that!! J

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Jwalamukhi Bezubaan – 99 Songs (2020)

It ain’t about Coronavirus…promise! *Jwalamukhi bezubaan* has a similar connotation though. The *AR Rahman* composition worded by *Navneet Virk* is rendered passionately by *Poorvi Koutish*, an Indian Idol 6 contestant, ably supported by *Shashwat Singh*. Also has a male version sung by *Arijit Singh*.

Pyaar waalo ka ye intehaan
Hai inaam-E-Ishq meri jaan
Jaaya haseen hai tere bin
Bebasi mein jal rahi

Jwalamukhi bezubaan
Jwalamukhi meharbaan
Jwalamukhi bezubaan
Jwalamukhi meharbaan

Jaanu main na jaanu main
Teri kami pahchaanun main
Kyun bahte ujaale hairaan hoon main
Kyun failey andhere hai baahon mein

Tu jaan le, hoon jaan le
Tu jaan le nasheele hain dard judaaiyon ke

Jwalamukhi bezubaan
Jwalamukhi meharbaan
Jwalamukhi bezubaan
Jwalamukhi meharbaan

It’s exciting to have AR Rahman come up with his first-ever home production, 99 Songs, and specifically with this number. The stereo-effect laden techno beats melt into Poorvi Koutish’s powerful and passionate vocals. She just takes over this Jwalamukhi like taking a bull by its horns! As you go through the number, you are just going to be in awe of her superb vocals even when it is a bit sensuous and not as full of energy. Shashwat Singh  gets to croon (not featured in this Youtube link) in an excitingly high pitch to start with and then meanders all over the place making the most of the opportunity! ARR uses his trademark chorus style, harmonies and chord change to great effect. You will notice some hangover from ARR’s own Chandralekha from the Tamil movie Thiruda Thiruda (1993; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj_18hXo5G0). At some point (1:46 – 1:56s), some notes may sound similar to Anu Malik’s Hindustan Hindustan from Border (1997; 1:43-1:52s; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db85sHLPNhg). Moreover, Jwalamukhi isn’t completely new esp. to those who have heard multiple ARR compositions. Having said that, there is a super rush of energy in the superbly-packaged number! Go get the volcanic eruption and oodles of energy from Poorvi Koutish …you need this after so much of Coronavirus (news) all around L! Don’t forget to welcome and congratulate Poorvi Koutish who is the real star and takes the number to a different level altogether!!

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Waada karo nahi chhodogi tum – Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973)

Presenting a gem starring the inimitable RD Burman laced with impishness and superb word-play by Sahir Ludhianvi like jahaan tum ho wahaan main bhi hoon; jawaan tum ho jawaan main bhi hoon! Master vocalists Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar duet their cases playfully.

O thehro meri jaan

Wada karo nahi chhodogi tum mera sath
Jahan tum ho, wahan main bhi hoon
Chhuo nahi dekho zara peeche rakho hath
Jawaan tum ho, jawaan main bhi hoon

Suno meri jaan hanske mujhe yeh keh do
Bheege labon ki narmi mere liye hai
Ho jawan nazar ki masti mere liye hai
Haseen adaa ki shokhi mere liye hai
Mere liye leke aayi ho yeh saughat
Jahan tum ho, wahan main bhi hoon

Mere hi peeche aakhir pade ho tum kyun
Ek main jawan nahi hoon aur bhi to hain
O mujhe hi ghere aakhir khade ho tum kyun
Main hi yahan nahi hoon aur bhi to hain
Jao jaake le lo jo bhi dede tumhein hath
Jahan sab hai, wahan main bhi hoon

This racy duet is extremely catchy and melodious at the same time! RD Burman uses the guitar riffs and a beautiful combination of synthesizer and the saxophone to reach the crescendo before the dialogue-style vocals from the maestros and evergreen legends Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar take over. Kishore’s vibrato while opening the number and in his lines at the end of the mukhdas makes for wonderful listening while Lata’s alaap in the 2nd antara and at the end of the number adds a beautiful feel to the overall package. Sahir Ludhianvi uses simple but wooing words for the male and defensive one for the female! Sample this – Kishore pleads ‘Jahaan tum ho, wahaan main bhi hoon’ to which Lata cautiously responds via ‘Jawaan tum ho, jawaan main bhi hoon’. A careful and repeat listen to the song will have one notice RD using a very different and endearing rhythm in the antaras. The other very popular number from the movie was Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IF9o2crV84). Waada karo is an experience …of wooing, teasing, resistance, playfulness and anticipated togetherness! 🙂

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Nok Jhok – Chhapaak (January 2020)

Chhapaak se appears an acoustic ballad that seems to be in familiar territory! Siddharth Mahadevan tries his best to lift up the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composition comprising Gulzar’s lyrics.

Baat baat pe keh dete hain nok jhok
Bas nok jhok, bas nok jhok

Baat baat pe sheh dete hain nok jhok
Bas nok jhok, bas nok jhok

Hmm… pal pal chonche maarte rehna
Chubhti hai par hanste rehna
Taago mein koi girah nahi
Par baaton mein phanste rehna

Nok jhok, bas nok jhok
Bas nok jhok, Bas nok jhok
Bas nok jhok, bas nok jhok
Bas nok jhok, bas nok jhok

Sensitive subjects need acoustic ballads like this one! The intention seems great but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy lose the plot somewhat and end up with sort of a mash-up. The refrain (Nok jhok bas nok jhok) sounds like Yeh laal ishq, yeh malaal ishq from Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela on steroids (2013; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD1gepaUZms; 0.36 to 0.44). It will also remind you of the Delhii Heights (2007) Rabbi Shergill-composed and Sonu Nigam and Rabbi Shergill sung number Kitni der tak kitni der tak aaj sham ya saver tak (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJeivmpY6vU). However, Nok Jhok neither seems to have the soul of Yeh laal ishq nor the racy punch of Kitni der tak. The big question is – will it grow on you? Time will only tell. Siddharth Mahadevan, Shankar Mahadevan’s son, plays his part well and tries to lift up the composition. Gulzar’s words are appealing but I would have expected more! Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy get the guitar riffs perfectly right and are superb accompaniment to the words enhancing the feel of the number. In my mind though, there’s Nok jhok if I like it and if this is the first good number of 2020!

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Hum hain raahi pyaar ke – Nau Do Gyarah (1957)

Hand-picked an inspirational ode to flexibility, peace and acceptance where Majrooh Sultanpuri is a guru! Set to tune by the timeless legend and stalwart – SD Burman – who makes Kishore Kumar and us ‘ride the tide’ quite literally. I can just say, ‘Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye’.

Hum hain raahi pyaar ke, humse kuchh naa boliye
Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye

Dard bhi hume qubool, chain bhi hume qubool
Humne har tarah ke phool, haar me piro liye
Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye
Hum usi ke ho liye, Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye

Dhoop thi naseeb mein, to dhup mein liya hain dum
Chandani mili toh hum, Chandani mein so liye
Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye
Hum usi ke ho liye, Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye

Dil pe aasaraa kiye, hum to bas yun hi jiye
Ik kadam pe hans liye, ik kadam pe ro liye
Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye
Hum usi ke ho liye, Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye

Raah mein pade hain hum, kab se aap ki kasam
Dekhiye to kam se kam, boliye na boliye
Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye
Hum usi ke ho liye, Hum hain raahi pyaar ke, humse kuchh na boliye

This heart-warming and inspiring number based on raag bhairavi opens with a high-pitched whistle accompanied by guitar-based rhythm that continues throughout the number. After a long-ish but super-soothing prelude, SD Burman makes Kishore Kumar sing the same opening lines (Hum hain raahi pyaar ke) in a different and higher-octave tune as well to impart the much-needed impact on the mukhda. Do note the leitmotif ‘hum usi ke ho liye’ being sung twice every other time with the next line starting with it. The happy-go-lucky Kishore seamlessly moves from one (middle) octave to the other …especially the higher one in the antara. For me though, Majrooh Sultanpuri is the real star here with couplets like Dard bhi hume qubool, chain bhi hume qubool, Humne har tarah ke phool, haar me piro liye, Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye. Such numbers inspire so much that they tend to re-appear in different avatars …like with Aamir Khan and Pooja Bhatt starrer Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi (1991; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8dnwrVczmc). Inspires, teaches and makes one learn to be happy irrespective of the situation and conditions. Dhoop thi naseeb mein, to dhup mein liya hain dum; Chandani mili toh hum, Chandani mein so liye; Jo bhi pyaar se mila, hum usi ke ho liye…

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Baazigar O Baazigar – Baazigar (1993)

Before any more re-mixers get to it, wanted to get to you this immensely hummable and superbly-packaged *Kumar Sanu* and *Alka Yagnik* sung number from a score that sent *Anu Malik’s* career into a different orbit.

 Hoooo… Mera dil tha akela, tune khel aisa khela
Teri yaad mein jaagun raat bhar
Baazigar O Baazigar
Tu hai bada jaadugar
Baazigar O Baazigar
Tu hai bada jaadugar

Hooo…dil leke dil diya hai
Sauda pyaar ka kiya hai
Dil ki baazi jeeta dil haar kar
Baazigar main Baazigar

Chupke se aankhon ke raste, tu mere dil mein samaaya
Chaahat ka jaadu jagaake, mujhko dewaana banaaya

Pehli nazar mein bani hai tu mere sapnon ki raani
Yaad rakhegi yeh duniya apni wafaa ki kahaani

This song has all the Anu Malik idiosyncrasies one can think of – a grand opening orchestration, a lone violin riff, use of female chorus, percussion (especially tabla and dholak), use of multiple guitars and oodles of romance! What isn’t missing also is the ‘inspiration’ he got from Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya (Jhuk Gaya Aasman; Shankar-Jaikishan; 1968). Hum Baazigar O baazigar and Kaun hai jo…together and you will understand. Interestingly, both these opening pieces – Kaun hai jo…in particular – seem to be inspired by Elvis Presley’s Marguerita (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApjA9OfAUk4; 1963; Source: IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106333/trivia?ref_=tt_ql_2). Another piece of trivia (Source: IMDb again) – Nadeem-Shravan walked out of Baazigar leaving Jaadugar O Jaadugar behind and their loss was Anu’s gain! Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu sing their hearts out for newcomers Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan. Nawab Arzoo’s words are simple yet effective. Malik’s planning, enthusiasm, instrumentation and super-packaging makes this number much endearing and soothing to listen. Worth the gamble listening to it and humming along!

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Aap yahaan aaye kisliye – Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971)

Presenting a super-fun song in question-answer, dialogue-laced pattern gleefully sung by *Asha Bhosle* and *Kishore Kumar* set to a lilting tune by the legendary *Shankar-Jaikishan*.

Aap yahaan aaye, Kisliye?
Aapne bulaayaa, Isliye
Aaye hain to kaam bhi bataayiye, Haa haa
Pahle zaraa aap muskuraayiye…

Tere binaa haay, Haan?
Neend nahin aati hai, Really!
Yaad teri aakar, Aahaa
Roz tadpaati hai, Sach much?
Apnaa banaa lo, haath zaraa thaam lo
Waah waah waah
Baar baar poochho naa, Kyaa?
Dil se bhi kaam lo, Kaam to bataao
Kaam seedhaa saadhaa hai, Bolo bolo
Aji lenaa ek waadaa hai, Kyaa?
Aajaa aajaa, Shaadi kaa iraadaa hai, Kyaa, Kyaa
Shaadi kaa iraadaa hai, Shaadi kaa iraadaa hai,

Shaadi? Aur tumse?
Shaadi kaa iraadaa hai, No no no…

The opening mandolin riffs beautifully introduce the voices with a soul-style rhythm and the question-answer style dialogues take over! Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar add their cute somethings as we move to the antara that has some lovely expressions and exclamations from the seasoned singers. As soon the shaadi question breaks, the female protagonist disappears and the number almost ends mid-way! Shankar-Jaikishan then demonstrate their orchestration prowess to re-start the dialogue the other way. The sweet number with the female protagonist putting conditions and making the male protagonist agree on the responsibilities and eventually ends up agreeing to the shaadi! Such a cute number and so much fun!! 🙂

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Luka chhuppi bahut hui – Rang de Basanti (2006)

Immerse yourself in a free-flowing composition expressing mother-son separation magnificently put together by Prasoon Joshi and laced with superlative voices of Lata Mangeshkar and AR Rahman in a semi-classical mould.

Luka chhuppi bahut hui
Saamne aa ja na..
Kahaan kahaan dhoondha tujhe
Thak gai hai ab teri maa
Aaja saanjh hui mujhe teri fikar
Dhundhla gai dekh meri nazar aa ja na…

Teri raah take aankhiyan
Jaane kaisa kaisa hoye jiya…

The acoustic guitar-based rhythm meanders and flows into one of the tabla-laced antaras adding a new dimension! Lata Mangeshkar poignantly expresses the motherly emotion for her lost son. AR Rahman effectively reaches the high notes signifying the son’s heavenly presence. Somewhat better Hindi diction from ARR could have made it even more endearing. I couldn’t resist noting a minor similarity of the antara here (2:57 – 3:00) with Kunal Ganjawala’s Indipop 90s version of Channa ve ghar aaja re (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRsLGUK2FsM; 1:16 – 1:19). The sur-istic crescendo adds a new dimension to the composition. ARR shows his crooning prowess with the flute accompanying him note-by-note with the lovely tabla taal alongside. Prasoon Joshi strings the mother-son love and emotion in some lovely words. Has the ability to make eyes wet! Yahaan sab kuchh hai maa phir bhi lage bin tere mujhko akelaTeri raah take akhiyaan jaane kaisa kaisa hoye jiya…

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Mere naam tu – Zero (December 2018)

Enjoy a breezy song from the upcoming Shah Rukh Khan magnum opus Zero that is definitely worth much more than the movie title suggests! Newcomer Abhay Jodhpurkar with Ajay-Atul and Irshad Kamil do the honours.

Jab tak jahaan mein subah sham hai
Tab tak mere naam tu
Jab tak jahaan mein mera naam hai
Tab tak mere naam tu

The stage is grand …and so is the set-up! With such grandeur surrounding things, the tunesmith duo Ajay-Atul try to make it grand too with their meticulous orchestration! Their romantic and hummable tune though has the old world charm and somewhat ‘hungover’ from their earlier compositions especially Dhadak (July 2018; also read: https://shailendra19.com/2018/06/28/dhadak-title-track-dhadak-july-2018/). Like most popular Ajay-Atul numbers, this one too loses pace but not steam as it meanders through the antaras! Newcomer Abhay Jodhpurkar sounds Arijit-ish but perfect and conveys feel elegantly. As always, Irshad Kamil’s words shine and are easy on the lips. The opening flute riffs accompanied with the piano initiate the number beautifully…as good as closing chorus-laden crescendo! Does not draw a blank for sure…and is not Zero!

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Rangeela Re tere rang mein – Prem Pujari (1970)

An evergreen classic from Prem Pujari (1970) sung beautifully by Lata Mangeshkar, pieced together meticulously by SD Burman and nicely written by Neeraj.

SD Burman, being his usual self, creates a super catchy and extremely hummable tune and adorns the mukhda, antara with magical preludes and interludes and heart-warming instrumentation using the guitars, the violin and percussion. Lata Mangeshkar brings the pain out with some really heart-stealing couplets from Neeraj be it ‘Maine to seenchi re teri hi raahen, baahon mein teri kyon auron ki baahen,’ ‘Palkon ke jhhoole se, sapnon ki dori pyaar ne baandhi jo tune woh todi’ or ‘dukh mera dulha hai, birha hain doli aansu ki saadi hai, aahon ki choli, aag main piyoon re jaise ho pani na re diwani hoon, peeda ki rani’. Simply mesmerizing to say the least! There needs to be a special mention for some of the instrumental pieces like 4:26 through 4:56 beautifully played by the guitarists and violinists. The latter deserve a special mention for the solo piece between 4:44 to 4:53. This racy but sad masterpiece has the ability to colour you in its own colour.

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Chaav Laaga – Sui Dhaaga: Made in India (September 2018)

This soothing number is from the upcoming Yash Raj film Sui Dhaaga: Made in India nicely rendered by Papon and newcomer Ronkini Gupta composed by Anu Malik and simplistically penned by Varun Grover

Kabhi sheet laaga, kabhi taap laaga
Tere saath ka hai, jo shaap laaga,
Manwaa ….bauraaya…
Tera chaav laaga jaise koi ghaav laaga!

There are bound to be comparisons with the hugely successful and popular Moh Moh ke Dhaage (Dum Laga ke Haisha; 2015) as Anu Malik composes once again for the same filmmakers! There are similarities like Papon, the flute riffs, the rhythm pattern and most importantly the soothing melody-focused feel. Nevertheless, this one’s also extremely hummable and Papon and Ronkini take it up one level. Anu meanders into the Vishal Bhardwaj territory with similarities especially from 0:20 – 0:25s with O saathi re (Omkara; 2006; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xthAVytCTPI; 0:24 – 0:29s). To top it up, Ronkini’s voice also sounds somewhat similar to Rekha Bhardwaj’s. The ace composer also starts the antara (1:34 – 1:38s) revisiting his own Aisa lagta hai (Refugee; 2000; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai8ycTID1bs; 1:13 – 1:18s). Varun Grover will make you fall in love with simple words, earthiness and cute expressions. The less you compare this one with Moh Moh the better even if you can’t ignore the similarities. Enjoy this one, sing along, hum it and you are bound to say ‘tera chaav laaga’!

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Ae dil-e-nadaan – Raziya Sultan (1983)

A mellifluous, soothing and haunting number from Raziya Sultan (1983) rendered soulfully by Lata Mangeshkar, excellently composed by Khayyam and beautifully written by Jan Nisar Akhtar

This swan song from Jan Nisar Akhtar released only in 1983 but the Urdu writer had died back in August 1976. That tells you about how long it took for Kamal Amrohi to complete this movie! Khayyam trumped Laxmikant-Pyarelal to compose this great score with such a hummable number due to latter’s high-headedness and Kamal Amrohi’s liking for the former. The beauty of this number lies in the fact that it has an excellent use of percussion via the tabla and the santoor. If you ever wanted to know how big a spell a santoor could cast on a song, this number is the answer. As the song progresses, you will find a long uncomfortable pause followed by (and signifying) ‘yeh zameen chup hai, aasmaan chup hai’ and then starting-off again with a thumping heartbeat. As we reach closer to the end of the track, I feel like the rhythm gathers some pace …but maybe that’s just me! The crescendo has a beautiful jugalbandi of the santoor and the sarangi. Jan Nisar Akhtar’s words go deep into the heart when he says ‘Aisi raahon mein kitne kaante hain, aarzooon ne har kisi dil ko dard baaten hain; kitne ghaayal hain, kitne bismil hain, is khudaai mein ek tu kya hai, ek tu kya hai ae dil-e-nadaan’. Khayyam magic ensures the santoor strings will keep ringing in your ears long after you have heard this number. No wonder Lata Mangeshkar herself considers this one as one of top compositions she has sung. Extremely soothing, haunting and appealing!

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Jo meri manzilon ko jaati hai (Dhadak title track) – Dhadak (July 2018)

A romantic track from the upcoming Karan Johar film Dhadak soulfully sung by Ajay Gogavale and Shreya Ghoshal composed by tunesmith duo Ajay-Atul and beautifully written by Amitabh Bhattacharya

Jo meri manzilon ko jaati hai
Tere naam ki koi sadak hai na
Jo mere dil ko dil banaati hai
Tere naam ki koi dhadak hai na!

Music-director brother duo, Ajay-Atul, have been in the news and the music-lover radars for the past many years. For me, the number Abhi mujh mein kahin (Agneepath; 2012) earned them their place in the sun! With scores like Dhadak up their sleeve, they are poised to take a flight and this number will be a big contributing factor methinks. Although not innovative, this one is a soulful melody with some soothing vocals with Ajay Gogavale, the younger of the Ajay-Atul duo and the ‘sweet-as-honey’ Shreya Ghoshal! The track isn’t very breezy and immediately catchy but tends to grow on you. The composer pair use traditional instruments, piano riffs and chorus trying to keep focus on Amitabh Bhattacharya’s words that has some earthy lines like Pyaar se thaamna dor baareek hai, saat janmon ki yeh pehli tareeq hai. A discerning ear may be able to notice a slight similarity of the mukhada at 0:48 – 0:52 with one of the interludes of Ladki badi anjaani hai (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; 1998; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlWlGlvN4L4; 1:23 – 1:38s). Experience it, fall in love and let this one grow on you!

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Hoton se chhoo lo tum – Prem Geet (1981)

An instantly appealing and serene track from Prem Geet (1981) sung and composed by the legendary Jagjit Singh and beautifully written by Indeevar

With the onset of the ghazal era in the late 1970s and early 80s, Jagjit Singh emerged as the front-runner with years of struggle and a few super-hit non-film albums – with wife and co-singer Chitra Singh – like The Unforgettables (1976), A Milestone and Main Aur Meri Tanhai (both 1980) under his belt. Many filmmakers started using ghazals in their films in the early 80s with some very good results. This album had music honours done by the ghazal maestro himself. Indeevar’s words will stay with you long after you have heard this number – my favourite is Jag ne chheena mujhse mujhe jo bhi lagaa pyaara, sab jeeta kiye mujhse main har dam hi haara, tum haar ke dil apna meri jeet amar kar do, hoton se chhoo lo tum mera geet amar kar do. Jagjit Singh imparts his bass-laden soothing vocals with near-perfect expression to bring the easy-on-the-lips couplets to life. Extremely hummable and endearing number that touches the heart! Re-play and fall in love with it…

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Yeh jeevan hai – Piya ka Ghar (1972)

Film: Piya ka Ghar (1972)
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singer: Kishore Kumar

Of the many ways to lead a life, accepting things as they are is one of the best! Anand Bakshi demonstrates that here in an inspiring way so much so that one line in this number sums up life for me – Yeh na socho is mein apni haar hai ke jeet hai, use apna lo jo bhi jeevan ki reet hai. Laxmikant-Pyarelal use light guitar strums, the whistle and soft beats accompanied by Kishore Kumar’s unusually soft vocals and emphasize the leitmotif yehi hai multiple times. Very soothing, inspiring and hummable!

Lyricists are typically unsung heroes and Anand Bakshi was no different. Across his illustrious career spanning almost 40 years and 4,000+ songs, Bakshi kept is simple with easy-on-the-lips words that were a ‘gift’ to a generation! Right from Ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul (Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965) to Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge, 1995), he demonstrated his versatility across a wide range of emotions, situation and films.

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Awaaraapan Banjaaraapan – Jism (2003)

Film: Jism (2003)
Music: MM Kreem
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri
Singer: KK

MM Kreem compositions over the years have had the ability to steal your heart silently and this number is no different! KK, one of the better but most under-rated mainstream singers, takes it to a different level with a husky hue and makes you feel the pain. The single instrument pieces that are nicely weaved in one after the other enhance the beauty so much that you’ll feel like listening to this one all alone in a quiet, moonlit night. Sayeed Quadri’s words are ultra-expressive and will make you feel like a mere mortal with lines like Kahaan kisi ke liye hai mumkin sabke liye ik sa honaa, thoda sa dil mera bura hai thoda bhala hai seene mein!

 The versatile but modest KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath) started his career by singing ad jingles (did 3,500 of them!) and hit the bull’s eye with his non-film, solo album Pal (1999) that made him very popular with the youth at that time. Then came Tadap tadap ke is dil se (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam; 1999 again) and he had ‘arrived’. With other unforgettable hits like Tu Aashiqui hai (Jhankaar Beats; 2003), Maine dil se kaha (Rog; 2005), Tu hi meri shab hai (Gangster; 2006), O meri jaan (Life In A Metro; 2007), Ajab si (Om Shanti Om; 2007), Khuda jaane (Bachna Ae Haseeno; 2008) and Tune maari entriyaan (Gunday; 2014), he continues to rule people’s hearts!

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Chaand churaa ke laaya hoon – Devata (1978)

Film: Devata (1978)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

A relatively unknown but immensely melodious number comes from once again from the stellar RD BurmanGulzar stable. Gulzar oh Gulzar, what do I say? He pens a beautiful but simplistic combination of innocence and romance in Chaand churaa ke laaya hoon, chal baithen church ke peechhe; na koi dekhe na pehchaane baithen ped ke neeche. RD strings them on a simple but a very hummable tune, uses church bells in the interlude and ends the antaras via a sweet conversation. Extremely hummable and cute!

The innocence of this number makes it extremely adorable. RD has not tried to use too many instruments but has prominently used church bells given the lyrics. It is tough to imagine a cute and innocent number like to get composed today. I also like another relatively unknown, low profile but brilliant duet – Gulmohar gar tumhaara naam hota (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Muu4qI6bs) also sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

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Theher Ja – October (April 2018)

A pop-ish ballad from October sung by Armaan Malik, composed by Abhishek Arora and written by Abhiruchi Chand

Upon first hearing, this one’s bound to take you back to the Michael Jackson era of the 80s and for some of you may bring back memories of the so-called Indipop scene in 90s. The instrumentation has a distinct western feel to it but that’s exactly what sounds lilting to the ears alongside Armaan Malik’s skillful and soft vocals who ends the track with falsetto. The backing vocals (by Neuman Pinto), electric guitars, bass and percussion add a beautiful new dimension to it. As a result, we get a full package from Abhishek Arora that grows on you. For the uninitiated, he did play a part in scores like Bluffmaster (2005), Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006), Vicky Donor (2012) and Dil Juunglee (2018) to name a few. Playing this one on loop! Go listen…

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Sandese Aate Hain – Border (1997)

Film: Border (1997)
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Sonu Nigam, Roopkumar Rathod

Back in the day, critics termed this album ‘God-sent’ and this number the ‘national anthem’ of the year! It isn’t a patriotic one but it makes you feel a homesick soldier’s emotion. Anu Malik’s catchy tune fits Javed Akhtar’s simple but nostalgic words perfectly. Anu primarily uses male chorus and percussion to ensure Sonu Nigam and Roop Kumar Rathod’s nostalgia-laden voices and expression touch the heart. There is no routine mukhda-antara pattern but each antara is brilliantly catchy, heartwarming and can make one cry with its crescendo in Ae guzarne waali hawaa bataa. One of my all-time favourites and I get goosebumps every time I listen!

Critics also said that everyone – right from a vegetable seller on the street to the soldier on the border – were smitten by and humming this one back in the day. Anu Malik reached unforeseen heights after setting the words to tune and not the other way round. He uses mandolin and flute in the interludes but brings out nostalgia and homecoming like no one else! The beginning male chorus resembles Dil use do jo jaan de de (Andaz; 1971; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKdUnqGcO-Y). Anu claims and has mentioned in his interviews that he got a call from Lata Mangeshkar appreciating the number that time. He and Javed Akhtar etched out each number in this score beautifully – I also like Hamein jab se mohabbat ho gayi hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGyX5V2LBO0), To chalun (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhBspLOpryI) and even the patriotic Hindustan Hindustan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db85sHLPNhg). Methinks this album missed the filmfare trophy by a whisker to Dil To Pagal Hai given the latter’s youthfulness and popularity.

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Pukaarta chalaa hoon main – Mere Sanam (1965)

Film: Mere Sanam (1965)
Music: OP Nayyar
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singer: Mohammed Rafi

This magnificently hummable number is from the so-called ‘golden era’ of Hindi film music. The magician here is the temperamental but immensely gifted tunesmith – OP Nayyar – with his signature style, beats and a raag kirwani-based composition. Mohammed Rafi’s smooth vocals meander in a way that he slips into your heart via his seemingly effortless and masti-filled rendition. With a sweet tune and soft instrumentation like this, you feel like a cool breeze – comprising sprinkles of water – just kissed your face on a hot afternoon!

Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words have an old world charm and a delicate touch (read nazaaqat) to them. OP Nayyar was not classically trained but had a knack of creating unforgettable melodies with beat-styles that were absolutely unique to him. Here he uses a combination of the guitar, the mandolin and the santoor to great effect. Close to the end, at 3:10, the accompanying claps make it end even more beautifully than it started! I also love the 2 other popular numbers from this movie – Jaaiye Aap Kahaan Jaayenge (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AajHv7NIp9g) and Ye Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIwJt7XG3zM)


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Mainu Ishq Tera Lae Dooba – Aiyaary (February 2018)

A soulful, acoustic romantic melody from Aiyaary sung by Sunidhi Chauhan, composed by Rochak Kohli and penned by Manoj Muntashir

‘Good things come in small packages’ they say. This lovely ballad proves that they can come in short lengths too! Beautifully sung by none other than Sunidhi Chauhan, this one’s composed by Paani da rang-fame Rochak Kohli. The guitar riffs and strums support Sunidhi’s out-of-the-world vocals just like Ayushmann’s in Paani da rang. Within the antara, a discerning ear would notice a slight similarity at 1:15s with Aashiqui 2’s Chaahun main ya naa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6MH8K8K_SE; 2:03 onwards). That aside, I am so much in love with it that I have been re-playing this incessantly and have dedicated this weekend to this beautiful hummable track!

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Mujhe Rang De – Thakshak (1999)

Film: Thakshak (1999)
Music: AR Rahman
Lyrics: Sukhwinder Singh
Singers: Asha Bhosle, AR Rahman

It is AR Rahman time! Means that a complicated percussion pattern takes centre-stage and that is exactly why this one’s foot tapping. The first high-pitched antara is different compared to the next two lower-octave ones. The latter have a magnificent layering of the vocals juxtaposed with a beautiful combination of male and female chorus and decorated with an echo to help it reach a crescendo! This one exuberates energy, has excellent use of the bass and the racy leitmotif Rang de keeps haunting every now and then. Asha Bhosle displays a wide vocal range especially within the antara …starting 6:14, you have to listen to her alaap prowess and experience something special

Not many people know that the popular vocalist, Sukhwinder Singh, has penned this song. This number was also used in a 2008 Hollywood movie, The Accidental Husband. Thakshak was a low-key album from AR Rahman especially as it released just after Taal (also 1999). I really liked 2 other numbers in the album – the romantic and soothing Roop Kumar Rathod sung Khaamosh raat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qs7Imo4xkKA) and the Sujata Trivedi crooned sensuous Boondon se baatein (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGZIYhR5-VQ)

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Pehla nasha – Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)

Film: Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singers: Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam

Chaahe tum kuchh na kaho maine sun liya, ke saathi pyaar ka mujhe chun liya reinforces the proverbial phrase ‘if speech is silver, silence is golden’. A few things in life are as soothing as a cool breeze and as calm as a summer sea…this track is one of them. It will remind you of your first love, make you fly, smile, cry and be nostalgic …and for some may be all at the same time! Majrooh Sultanpuri weaves a dream with Pehla nasha pehla khumaar, naya pyaar hai naya intezaar, kar loon main kya apna haal, ae dil-e-beqaraar tu hi bata. He also beautifully captures the love-smitten carefree aspiration with Udta hi phiroon in hawaon mein kahin, ya main jhool jaaoon in ghataaon mein kahin, ik kar doon aasmaan aur zameen. Jatin-Lalit tune this beautifully and pace it stunningly well along with some heart-warming instrumentation via the piano and the saxophone but minimal tabla-laced percussion. Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam emote it magnificently and I think this one defines, expresses and emotes romance like not many have done before. Feel blessed to have heard this in my lifetime! What a number!!!

This one is arguably the best composition of Jatin-Lalit’s career and definitely one of the best of the 1990s! The young music composer duo got a special place in people’s hearts after this album particularly via this track. This was also one of the very few songs to be shot completely in slow motion – the instrumentation, its pace and the mood was perfect to do that! This youthful and very successful album had the nation hooked on to it. The album had the Pinball Wizard-inspired Yahaan ke hum Sikandar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw6l6CgrzNw), the rags-to-riches Arre yaaron mere pyaaron (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBmPHIW6B68), the breezy Humse hai saara jahaan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKIajN–hV0), the catchy Naam hai mera Fonseca (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48sx4U31S1E), the sad Rooth ke humse kabhi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mrZVGTOimI) and the dance-worthy Shehar ki pariyon ke peechhe (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W40XHUbShz4)

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Roz roz aankhon tale – Jeeva (1986)

Film: Jeeva (1986)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: Amit Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Countless forgettable movies in the 1980s had some breathtakingly heartwarming numbers like this one. GulzarRD Burman combination has always presented awesome and appealing compositions through the years…but this one for some reason sounds extra-special! The opening has instant appeal with Asha Bhosle doing what she is best at – singing with a lot of feel. The young Amit Kumar, the illustrious Kishore Kumar’s son, matches Asha in a Kishore-esque manner. Gulzar isn’t far behind with an unbelievable poetic expression in Jab se tumhaare naam ki misri honth lagaayi hai, meetha sa gham hai aur meethi si tanhaayi hai! RD Burman garnishes the tune brilliantly but does not forget to keep the innocence and romance alive! I can only look up searching for him and say, “What a composition sir!” Such a masterpiece…

This song wasn’t too popular when it released. However, like any top-quality composition, it picked-up slowly and music lovers started to take notice! This number is considered as one of RD Burman’s finest compositions ever. Quite surprising that it came in the 1980s that was not considered a good phase for Burman. Although there have been many views on my blog across posts but I am proud to mention that the ‘original chord and lyrics’ post for this number has garnered the maximum number of hits till date! You can find the link here: https://shailendra19.com/2016/04/27/guitar-chords-and-lyrics-for-roz-roz-aankhon-tale-movie-jeeva/

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Ik raasta hai zindagi – Kaala Patthar (1979)

Film: Kaala Patthar (1979)
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

The popular but temperamental Sahir Ludhianvi writes – Ik raasta hai zindagi jo tham gaye to kuchh nahi, yeh kadam kisi muqaam pe jo jam gaye to kuchh nahi. Another line goes – Jaate hue kadmon se aate hue kadmon se bhari rahegi raahguzar jo hum gaye to kuchh nahi. Inspirational lines! Ironically, we have the late Shashi Kapoor lip-synching this one. Kishore Kumar emotes this racy number inimitably to ensure Rajesh Roshan’s breezy composition gets the accolades it deserves. The mukhda has an appealing 2-octave play and Roshan uses his oft-used instrument, the flute, to great effect. Also uses Lata Mangeshkar’s vocals interspersed with some nice female chorus. Very catchy, hummable and inspiring I say.

Abdul Hayee, better known by his pen name Sahir Ludhianvi, had an illustrious career with multiple filmfare awards and a Padma Shri to his name. In March 2013, the ninety-second anniversary of Sahir’s birth, a commemorative stamp was issued in his honour. Some of his memorable work is reflected in numbers and words like Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon pal do pal meri kahaani hai (Kabhie Kabhie, 1976), Tu hindu banegaa na musalmaan banegaa, insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banegaa (Dhool Ka Phool, 1959), Chalo ik baar phir se ajnabi ban jaayen hum dono (Gumrah, 1963), Ae meri zohra jabeen tujhe maaloom nahi (Waqt, 1965), Abhi naa jaao chhod kar ke dil abhi bharaa nahi (Hum Dono, 1961). What a writer!!

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Tere liye hum hain jiye – Veer Zaara (2004)

Film: Veer Zaara (2004)
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singers: Roopkumar Rathod, Lata Mangeshkar

Don’t be surprised with this one here…it is more retro than you think! When Yash Chopra’s search for a new tunesmith did not yield the desired result, he turned to Sanjeev Kohli – none other than late Madan Mohan’s son – to use the maestro’s unused tunes and re-orchestrate, perform and string together beautiful ballads like this one. This track stood out with haunting opening piano riffs with a goosebumps-inducing soulful melody that goes deep inside the heart interwoven with some beautiful romantic poetry from Javed Akhtar. One cannot ignore the YRF-branded, trademark alaaps from none other than Lata Mangeshkar in tandem with Roopkumar Rathod’s silken vocals. It begins with a minor chord play in the mukhda meandering slowly into major-chord antara and then back to the soulful mukhda. A peculiar fact is that this is one of the very few numbers where the major and minor versions of same chord are used in the mukhda

Not many know that the unused Madan Mohan tune used for this number was originally composed for Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi (Mausam; 1975; also read: https://shailendra19.com/2018/01/26/dil-dhoondta-hai-phir-wahi-mausam-1975/). Like all great albums, very tough to pick a number from this one too with gems like Main yahaan hoon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Y8xEfyXTs), Yeh hum aa gaye hain kahaan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA0k1ks5BIo), Do pal ruka (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOK3egx58CE), Kyun hawa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw8Q7n_dWL4) and Hum to bhai jaise hain (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_L5nSf91zs). I love this album so much that if I had to choose just one for the last 2 decades, it will be this one!

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Dikhaayee diye yun ke bekhud kiya – Bazaar (1982)

Film: Bazaar (1982)
Music: Khayyam
Lyrics: Mir Taqi Mir
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar

Late 1970s and early 1980s saw a rush of ghazals in film and non-film albums. Presenting one of them here…and this gem will take to a different world altogether! Words are courtesy the 18th century Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir, who is himself remembered as pioneers of Urdu and is called the ‘God of poetry’. This one has Urdu couplets like Parastish kiya tak ke aye but tujhe, nazar mein sabon ki khuda kar chale literally meaning I worshipped you to the extent I made you God in everyone’s eyes. Another one goes Bahut arzoo thi gali ki teri, so yaas-e-lahoo mein naha kar chale literally meaning I desired a lot for the way to your home so I leave from here bathed in blood! Khayyam weaves these into a beautiful, raag-based soothing melody with Lata Mangeshkar giving us every reason to visit the replay button

Unsung hero for some, Mohammed Zahur Khayyam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Zahur_Khayyam), popularly known by his last name gave some unforgettable melodies starting early 1950s. However, he got his place under the sun in late 1970s early 80s with albums like Trishul, Thodi Si Bewafaai, Bazaar, Noorie and Umrao Jaan. His ghazal-esqe compositions had some meaningful poetry as he preferred working with lyricists with a strong poetic background.


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Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi – Mausam (1975)

Film: Mausam (1975)
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singers: Bhupinder Singh, Lata Mangeshkar

Numbers like this one simply take you down the nostalgic lane even if you may not have been around then. Christened as the ‘prince of ghazals’ by none other than Lata Mangeshkar, Madan Mohan, spearheads and melodizes this composition decorating Gulzar’s words like pearls into a string! What one can do is just sit back, listen, relax and admire such masterpieces. Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh effortlessly meander through the tune providing just the right expressions for words depicting nature’s beauty and human emotion during different seasons. All I can say is Dil dhoondta hai phir wahi…!

There is also a solo ghazal-ish version of this number with the same lyrics but with a different tune also sung by Bhupinder Singh (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4TzZJ8V0JU). Unfortunately, Madan Mohan passed away before the release of this movie on 14 July 1975 due to liver cirrhosis. This film was eventually dedicated to him. Not many know but Madan Mohan’s unused tunes – including the one he composed for this number – was eventually used for Tere liye hum hain jeeye in Veer-Zaara in 2004. Going by the critical acclaim and the commercial success Veer-Zaara got, one can just be in awe of the maestro called Madan Mohan! If you are interested in knowing the original chords for this number, you can find them here: https://shailendra19.com/2016/10/05/original-chords-for-dil-dhoondtaa-hai-phir-wahi-fursat-ke-raat-din-mausam/

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Aur is dil mein kya rakha hai – Imaandaar (1987)

Film: Imaandaar (1987)
Music: Kalyanji-Anandji
Lyrics: Prakash Mehra
Singers: Suresh Wadkar, Asha Bhosle

This racy, catchy, dance-worthy but sad number has the filmmaker Prakash Mehra doing the lyrical honours and is set to a very hummable tune by Kalyanji-Anandji with some poignant expressions by Suresh Wadkar and Asha Bhosle. The former keeps it simple with his inimitable voice and effortless singing, crystal-clear diction accompanied by an equally effective saxophone play while the latter appears shortly to end this accompanied with sobbing. Some of the lines hit hard with samples like Cheer ke dekhe dil mera to, tera hi naam likha rakha hai and Dil ne yaar ki pooja ki hai, pyaar ka naam khuda rakha hai. The beauty here is enhanced by the fast-paced high-octave notes and primarily major-chord play. Haunting number I say!

The golden-voiced and the unassuming Suresh Wadkar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suresh_Wadkar) methinks did not get the success he deserved. He started in late-70s, gained popularity in the 80s and was decently active in the 90s too. However, there wasn’t a decade he could call his own but there were ‘gems’ sprinkled all over this period – there was Main hoon prem rogi (Prem Rog; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mfz7i2gea14), Ae zindagi gale lagaa le (Sadma; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BXqAnZWqdQ; also read: http://shailendra19.com/2017/12/01/ae-zindagi-gale-lagaa-le-sadma-1983/), Lagi aaj saawan ki (Chandni; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrNbG2W6IRE) and Megha re megha re (Pyaasa Sawan; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdVykZC0IGs) to name a few!


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Ruk jaana nahi tu kahin haar ke – Imtihan (1974)

Film: Imtihan (1974)
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singer: Kishore Kumar

If you’re looking for some inspiration, this one will provide you quite a bit of it! This Laxmikant-Pyarelal track has haunting use of the male and female chorus, minimalistic instrumentation and accompaniments to ensure Kishore Kumar’s soulful vocals reach and touch your heart. This track has the capability to lift the mood for anyone in distress with the evergreen lyrical genius Majrooh Sultanpuri penning couplets like Ruk jaana nahin tu kahin haar ke, kaanton pe chal ke milenge saaye bahaar ke; Sooraj dekh ruk gaya hai, tere aage jhuk gaya hai and Saathi na kaarwaan hai, yeh tera imtihan hai! The high-pitched O raahi o raahi urges one to show perseverance and to keep going whatever the situation…

Despite being an immensely talented writer, Majrooh Sultanpuri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majrooh_Sultanpuri) only won the solitary filmfare award for another LP song Chahunga main tujhe saanjh sawere from Dosti (1964). He also was the winner of the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1993. In this number, his moving words give everyone the inspiration to keep moving on even when you face multiple adversities along the way. Another noteworthy number from his album is the Lata Mangeshkar sung Roz sham aati thi magar aisi na thi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rhPlLYCcg8)

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Bin tere sanam – Yaara Dildara (1991)

Film: Yaara Dildara (1991)
Music: Jatin-Lalit
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singers: Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy

The RD Burman-inspired music director brothers with roots in the Mewati gharana, Jatin-Lalit, started their career with this successful album that had this extremely catchy and hummable number that people remember even today. This immensely appealing track has a lovely tune and is stringed together in a magnificent combination of modern and traditional instruments. Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurthy fit the bill perfectly to croon Majrooh Sultanpuri’s words. Right from the beautiful opening alaap meandering through to the slow but romantic antaras via a pacy and percussion-laced mukhda, I bet you cannot take your ears off this one!

Jatin-Lalit started-off their film career with this album and continued until Fanaa (2006) which was their last album together. They parted ways citing personal reasons and leaving millions of film-music lovers disappointed. During this tenure, they endeared their fans with unforgettable albums like Khiladi and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (both 1992), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995), Fareb and Khamoshi: The Musical (both 1996), Yes Boss (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Sarfarosh (1999) and Chalte-Chalte (2003) to name a few! Interestingly, Jatin-Lalit hold the record for most filmfare nominations without winning it even once…yes, not even for extremely popular Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, the romantic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the biggie Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. In case, you would like to find out the harmonium chords for this number and hear me sing-along, you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3fl1_o1Df4

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Boom Boom – Star (1982)

Film: Star (1982)
Music: Biddu
Lyrics: Indeevar
Singer: Nazia Hassan

This foot-tapping, disco, catchy and hummable track has the Pakistan-born, London-bred pop sensation, Nazia Hassan, and India-born, England-based pioneer of disco and Indi-pop, Biddu, team together to create magic! This was after the big success of their path-breaking single, Aap Jaisa Koi (Qurbani, 1980) and the record-breaking pop album, Disco Deewane (1981). Quintessentially a dance number, the orchestration here is much ahead of its time via use of western instruments and has some magnificent layering of parallel instrument pieces with Nazia’s diva-esque vocals providing the much-needed match. Now dance away on this one to welcome 2018!

Sadly, Nazia Hassan’s rise professionally was as meteoric as her fall personally. After a troubled married life, she succumbed to lung cancer and passed away at a young age of 35! Nazia shot to fame when she was just 15 with Aap Jaisa Koi (Qurbani, 1980) and continued to climb popularity charts with brother Zoheb Hassan with hugely successful albums like Disco Deewane (1981), Young Tarang (1984), Hotline (1987) ending with the not-as-successful Camera Camera (1992). She won the filmfare trophy for Aap Jaisa Koi at the age of 15 and became the first Pakistani to win the award …she remains the youngest recipient of the award to date. Not many people know that Biddu offered the very popular Indipop number Made in India (1995) to Nazia Hassan before she refused (being a Pakistani) and the number fell in Alisha Chinai’s lap!

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Rangeela re – Rangeela (1995)

Film: Rangeela (1995)
Music: AR Rahman
Lyrics: Mehboob
Singer: Asha Bhosle, Aditya Narayan

Fasten your seat belts as you are going to get a bunch of energy and with an awesome build-up! Not for the faint-hearted or the melody-lovers, this track bears a clear AR Rahman stamp in his first-ever original Hindi film score. Asha Bhosle uses magnificent nuances and there is a nice layering/staggering of her vocals. Aditya Narayan, Udit Narayan’s son, who debuts here at a tender age of 8, also sounds cute. The use of bass and percussion here is out of this world. Each antara has a different but catchy tune. Even in a number like this, Mehboob’s words tell you something worth pondering over – Laanat hai ji us par, duniya mein hi reh kar, duniya mein jo jeene ke andaaz ko na jaane, Maathe ya haathon pe, chand ya taaron mein kismat ko dhoonde par khud mein kya hai yeh na jaane. Very colourful and inspirational!

Contrary to what most folks think, Roja (1992) wasn’t AR Rahman’s first Hindi score as it was a Tamil movie dubbed into Hindi. Rangeela was a path-breaking album and extremely innovative in terms of sounds. It had some very hummable and memorable tracks. There was the popular Tanha tanha yahan pe jeena (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL8kz8t7pmg), the sensuous Hai rama yeh kya hua (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxqB1xUX36s), the playful Yaaron sun lo zaraa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXhAPa9W1EE), the maverick Mangta hai kya (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GreZxRXz6o) and the mellifluous Pyaar yeh jaane kaisa hai (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pondO46x2xs) and last but not the least, the energetic Spirit of Rangeela (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taV77liidfs). No wonder ARR won the RD Burman award for new music talent and the coveted Filmfare trophy for the score

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Gulabi aankhen jo teri dekhin – The Train (1970)

Film: The Train (1970)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singer: Mohammad Rafi

This racy, catchy and foot-tapping track is as energetic as the name of the movie! This one has the magician, Mohammad Rafi, at his best and leaves a big impression in a short burst of time. He makes you believe that his dil has really become sharaabi and you need to sambhaalo him. RD Burman keeps it simple with fast-paced percussion but also embellishes it with the saxophone that follows the vocals and the accompanying bass throughout but lets Rafi do the rest. One of my all-time favourites!

The immensely talented Rafi could magically take a composition to a different level altogether. He started his film singing career in the mid-40s but his popularity began to fade in the early 1970s when Kishore Kumar took over after the big success of Aradhana (1969) especially Roop tera mastana. Rafi’s untimely/early death at 55 in 1980 left a big void in film music. Maybe one of the reasons many people consider 1980s to be one of the worst decades as far as film music is concerned.

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Tere dar par sanam chale aaye – Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi (1993)

Film: Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi (1993)
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Qateel Shifai
Singer: Sadhna Sargam

As soon as haunting opening merges silently into the piano riff and the violin starts ‘singing,’ you know there’s something special coming your way! Sadhana Sargam induces a lot of feel into the ‘chale aaye’ so much so that you feel the beloved’s homecoming. Anu Malik sprinkles some real magic here with the tabla accompanying the soothing vocals within the mukhada, single/primary instrument pieces with others as support, the guitar and the saxophone in the appealing interludes. All these lead to a beautiful antara that has Qateel Shifai’s expression via my favourite lines – ‘Dil ko dhadkaa lagaa tha pal pal ka, shor sun le na koi paayal ka, phir bhi teri qasam chale aaye’. This one touches (and can pierce!) the heart, is extremely hummable and I get goosebumps every time I listen

This Mahesh Bhatt telefilm had the nation humming Anu Malik’s beautiful melodies like there was no tomorrow. With real melody apparently going away in the 80s and some part of 90s, some crude/double-meaning and downright dirty words in a few popular numbers making way into the movies, this album was God-sent. I had friends who had the 2 versions of Tere dar par sanam recorded at the end of one side and the beginning of the other …so they could listen to both the Sadhana Sargam and Kumar Sanu versions one after the other! It was very very tough to choose a number from this one that also had the Kumar Sanu/male version of Tere dar par sanam (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dWbn_qER3s), the romantic Dil mein sanam ki soorat (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOIgVf8A3KE), the hummable Baadalon mein chhup raha hai chaand kyon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzN4PKgPg-4), the appealing Aane waala kal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD5bugWnUWs) and the philosophical Shaairaana si hai zindagi (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wypwaWYS2p8)


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Ae zindagi gale lagaa le – Sadma (1983)

Film: Sadma (1983)
Music: Ilaiyaraaja
Lyrics: Gulzar
Singer: Suresh Wadkar

Sampooran Singh Kalra, better known by his pen-name Gulzar, turned from a car painter to a lyricist/filmmaker way back in 1963. His heart-touching words have been set to an appealing composition by Ilaiyaraaja in this re-make of a Tamil film. With lines like ‘Humnein bhi tere har ik gham to gale se lagaaya hai’ and ‘Chhota sa saaya tha, aankhon mein aaya tha, humnein do boondon se mann bhar liya’, this number is a treat to hear every time. The mukhda has some excellent bass and the use of sitar, flute, santoor and tabla in the interludes and the antara brings the song even more alive. To top it all up, classically trained Suresh Wadkar highlights pathos beautifully with his soulful rendition

Interestingly, a couple of Tamil songs from the original film were preserved for the Hindi version except this number that was re-tuned for this movie. I also like the KJ Yesudas sung Surmayee akhiyon mein (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5qMS-K8eYY). If you are looking for original chords for this number, you can find them here: https://shailendra19.com/2016/05/04/original-guitar-chords-and-lyrics-for-aye-zindagi-gale-laga-le-sadma/

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Ae mere humsafar – Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)

Film: Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988)
Music: Anand-Milind
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singer: Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik

RD Burman’s loss was Anand-Milind’s gain as the young Mansoor Khan opted for change after taking over the reins from his illustrious father, Nasir Hussain, primarily because it had to be a new-age love story comprising new faces. The new music-director duo exceeded expectations and had the nation humming their songs back then. This number, along with others, also propelled the career of Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla’s voices in the film – Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik. This melodious and extremely hummable track has a couple of different beats and has excellent use of percussion especially the tabla and the dholak

Anand-Milind are sons of yesteryear composer, Chitragupt, who was popular in the 1950s and 60s (Laagi chhoote na fame). They won the filmfare trophy for this score and did shine for a bit after QSQT with scores like Baaghi, Dil, Beta among many others. The opening riff of this number, just before the vocals start, has an eerie similarity to Salil Chowdhury’s Rajnigandha phool tumhaare (1974; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_j5dRsWevdM, also read: https://shailendra19.com/2017/09/15/rajnigandha-phool-tumhaare-rajnigandha-1974/)

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Tu Tu hai wahi dil ne jise – Yeh Vaada Raha (1982)

Film: Yeh Vaada Raha (1982)
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulshan Bawra
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

This is what I call the ultimate duet of togetherness! One of my all-time favourites with the inimitable RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle sprinkling their magic interspersed with the whistle, claps, ‘la las’, the flute riffs and the chorus at the end of each antara – I rate this as one of best romantic numbers that I have ever heard!

It is tough to believe that this number is from a score that came at the time of ‘beginning of the end’ of RD Burman (or so he thought!) and melody in Hindi film music (or so the listeners thought). With the advent of a different genre of films highlighting the ‘angry young man’, violence, revenge and disco dance, Bappi Lahiri took over the baton big time from RD in the early 1980s. For the uninitiated, Poonam Dhillon does ‘turn into’ Tina Munim (now Ambani) in the last 2 antaras of this number after a facial/plastic surgery post her accident in the movie.


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Humko sirf tumse pyaar hai – Barsaat (1995)

Film: Barsaat (1995)
Music: Nadeem-Shravan
Lyrics: Sameer
Singer: Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik

Nadeem-Shravan sprang a surprise with this album and this track stood out given its focus on melody, the standalone violin/guitar pieces, the whistle, the beat, the lyrics and the vocals – all these are to die for! The purity, serenity and romance in Sameer’s words and NS’ composition are effectively conveyed by Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.

With its features, methinks they somewhat entered the Anu-Malik-melody-lane of the 90s. Throughout their illustrious career, Nadeem-Shravan were not known for ‘softness in romance’ via the use of so-called ‘modern’ instruments and focus on melody! This was therefore a bolt from the blue for the listeners…perhaps due to the fact that it was Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna’s debut at stake in a Rajkumar Santoshi directed love story. I also very much like the other romantic number from this movie – Teri adaaon pe marta hoon; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdwrAl8zsYQ – so much so that I used to play both of these one after the other repeatedly!

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Ho nahi sakta – Diljale (1996)

Film: Diljale (1996)
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Singer: Udit Narayan

Be patient with this one (read: listen twice/thrice), it will grow on you! Simplicity is the key here – in words, expression and tune from a very good but under-rated score in Diljale (1996). Udit Narayan’s vocals, the opening sarangi, the flute riffs, a 2-octave play and effective use of female chorus orchestrate to make this track very catchy and hummable.

Some old world charm with instrumentation makes this number even more endearing. Javed Akhtar’s simple words fit perfectly in Anu Malik’s catchy tune. Diljale had some really hummable other numbers also – Shaam hai dhuaan dhuaan; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSVA4HqY24U. Mera mulk mera desh; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmvtM0plFUo. Jiske aane se rangon mein; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp1tvWVNI-s – and caused quite a flutter back in the day!

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Mere pyaar ki umar ho itni sanam – Waaris (1988)


Film: Waaris (1988)

Music: Jagdish-Uttam

Lyrics: Verma Malik

Singers: Manmohan Singh, Lata Mangeshkar

This traditional-sounding and instantly-appealing duet from Waaris (1988) has magical wordsmithing and has been set to tune by the little known music director duo Jagdish-Uttam. Very hummable number …so much so that the tune will remain with you hours after you’ve heard it. Lata’s voice adds a different dimension to this romantic number! The discerning listeners will notice a slightly different tune for the 3rd antara (Ek chhota sa ghar ho) compared to the others

After Jagdish passed away in 1992, Uttam (Singh) was (re)discovered by Yash Chopra primarily to compose music for very successful and filmfare-award winning score Dil to Pagal Hai (1997) followed by the notable Dushman (1998) and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) before fading into oblivion again. Uttam Singh, in his own words, is a reluctant film composer. It took a lot of convincing from Yash Chopra to have the violinist-turned-music-arranger-turned-music-composer do the honours in Dil to Pagal Hai and create lovely melodies that listeners remember and hum even today!

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Raah mein unse mulaqaat ho gayi – Vijaypath (1994)


Film: Vijaypath (1994)

Music: Anu Malik

Lyrics: Indeevar

Singers: Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik

A ballad that has very nice use of the tabla and does not follow the typical mukhda-antara pattern. Each antara is very soothing, has a different tune and enters the mukhda seamlessly. My favourite is the Alka Yagnik’s ‘tere bin kuchh nahi bhata hai mujhe har taraf tu nazar aata hai mujhe’ …loved Alka’s expression there. A beautiful romantic number 🎼🎹

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Chaaha to bahut na chaahein tujhe – Imtihaan (1994)


Film: Imtihaan (1994)

Music: Anu Malik

Lyrics: Faaiz Anwar

Singers: Kumar Sanu, Bela Sulakhe

An appealing and romantic number that has some really simple but soulful wordsmithing, very effective use of instruments like mandolin, guitar, dholak, flute, santoor, violins and saxophone in the prelude/interludes and has nice packaging overall! The antara starts off in the traditional hindi film song territory given the instrumentation but transitions effectively to support the mukhda. Kumar Sanu and Bela Sulakhe’s vocals fit perfectly and ooze out emotions beautifully. Very hummable…and most importantly tugs at the heartstrings 🎼🎹


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Phero na najar se najariya – Qala (2022)

I am back!! And some old-world charm blends into the modern Netflix world with the ghazal-esqe Phero na najar se najariya. Some quaint words penned by Kausar Munir decorated with raag bhairavi-based Amit Trivedi composition with some magnificently soulful singing from Sireesha Bhagavatula [Indian Idol fame].

Taaron ko tore na chhedoongi ab se
Taaron ko tore na chhedoongi ab se

Badal na tore udhedoongi ab se
Kholoongi na tori kiwadiya

Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya

Ib dopehri ke peechhe na bhagoongi dham dham
Ab ki baarish main bairi na bheegoongi chham chham
Apni choti main jungoo main kas lungi cham cham

Tori atariya tori atariya laakhoongi na me tori atariya
Tori atariya tori atariya

Mangoongi na tori chhayiya

Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya
Phero na najar se najariya

The Qala soundtrack showcases Amit Trivedi in a different light …and the bygone era! Phero na najar se najariya is a classical connoisseur’s delight. The opening sitar riffs, the accompanying saarangi and the harmonium coupled with the endearing tabla beats will take you to a different world. With Sireesha Bhagavatula’s amazing vocals, you are bound to reach the replay button. The appealing ballad slowly builds-up to a beautiful crescendo. While listening to the mukhda, I got reminded of Nikhil-Vinay’s Deewana main tera deewana from the movie English Babu Desi Mem (1996; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjGiu3HRCkI; listen from 0.18-0.22s) and I went ahead and re-heard (also downloaded) that number! 😊. A discerning ear is bound to notice the similarity albeit for a few notes only!! And what do I say about Sireesha Bhagavatula (more here: https://www.sireeshabhagavatula.com/)- this top 11 contestant from Indian Idol season 12 hits the right notes and her original-sounding soothing vocals make this number grow on you. Go listen, get engrossed into this beautiful number and enjoy the 1940s black-and-white era in the Netflix set-up of 2022!

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