Sheer Melody

A mole's eye-view of the Cosmos

A few personal favorites

Choosing a meager twenty songs as your favorites out of the vast treasure trove of Hindi Film Music (HFM) is a humongous task. But since I have nothing much to do today, I thought – why not do this?

Raaton ke saayein (Annadata): A pretty amazing composition from Salil Chowdhury , from an utterly forgettable movie. The movie being forgettable has a lot to do with the popularity of the number, which still is one of the most haunting songs I have heard in my life, with a complex chord progression and a very beautiful melodic line.
Chhoti Si Asha (Roja): Somehow I always feel that Rahman , with his enormous repertoire in Hindi and Tamil film music, can ever recreate the magic, the innocence, and the sheer beauty of the music which he created in Roja . One of the most beautifully picturised songs in HFM, this is sheer magic.
Aiye Meherbaan: I can’t seem to recollect the name of the movie where this song occurs, but it’s definitely one of the best compositions by O.P.Nayyar , capturing the mood of the cabaret and seduction at the same time.
Mera kuchh samaan lauta do: This song requires no introduction and is probably one of R. D. Burman’s most formidable compositions. It is said that Burman reacted with “Next time, you can ask me to compose music for the news in the TOI” or words to that effect, when Gulzar gave the lyrics to Pancham. A lovely song, filled with pain and anguish, almost tragic in its beauty.
Na Jaane Kyon (Chhoti si Baat): An absolute gem of a song from a quirky comedy, with rather nice lyrics and beautiful instances of experimentation in a jazz from a composer who was trying out new things in his music every other day. Especially beautiful is the choral soprano which runs through the length of the song accentuating Lata’s beautiful rendition.
Pyar hamein kis mod pe (Satte Pe Satta): Again, a song which requires no introduction at all. From an immensely popular movie, with a host of other hit songs, this is the song closest to my heart, for reasons which are manifold. I admire this number, for its transitions, for the energy, and its mind-bending complexity in spite of sounding deceptively simple.
Jaane woh kaise log the (Pyaasa): Wonderful composition by S D Burman , and rendered with finesse and a extremely personal touch by Hemant Kumar . One of the under-rated all time beautiful songs of HFM.
Is Mod pe jaate hain (Aandhi): R D Burman is one of those composers who could give you a rollicking number in a film, and follow it up with a song which simply astounds you with its meditative and contemplative nature. This is one of those meditative romantic songs sung with impeccable grace by Kishore and Lata.
Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh (Dil apna aur preet parayi): A lilting tune based on a soft gentle rocking country-style rhythm by Shankar Jaikishen , with Lata sounding exceptionally sweet and vulnerable all through. A gem of a song.
Na tum hamein jaano (Baat ek raat ki): Another Hemant-da song with the traditional Hemant Kumar characteristics – soft, gentle, laid-back and inherently sentimental.
Dil ki Girah khol do (Raat aur din): Normally, I am not the biggest fan of Shankar Jaikishen’s music over the years, but this is one song which showcased their talents in the best possible way. Manna Dey’s voice has never sounded so beautiful, and rarely has a waltz been adapted so adroitly to suit a Hindi film song.
Lag ja gale se (Woh kaun thi): A haunting melody by one of the under-rated music directors, Madan Mohan , whose association with Lata is legendary. Just one more song from the immense collection of gems which this man has given the world.
Kal nahin tha vo aaj hai (Vishwa Vidhata): Another Rahman song, which lacks the populist touch to it, and has a gentle orchestral background with a lovely vocal rendition, which enhances the beauty of the song. This song is conspicuous by the absence of the ornate beats which normally characterized Rahman’s music during this period, and is one of my personal favorites.
Zindagi Kaisi hai paheli (Anand): An awesome song from an equally awesome movie, this song captures pain, longing and desperation in more ways than one. Many a time, I have closed my eyes, watched Rajesh Khanna on the beach, walking without a care in the world, and have felt amazed at the strength of human resilience.
Ye raat bheegi bheegi si (Chori Chori): Another beautiful and lilting melody from Shankar Jaikishen , I love this song for the way Lata and Manna seem to complement and encourage each other, and of course, the lush orchestral background.
Ye Haseen Wadiyaan (Roja): The other song from Roja which had fascinated and stunned me with its complex arrangements and deceptive simplicity. Warm and sensuous at the same time, this definitely ranks as one of Rahman’s best compositions.
Pehla Nasha: One of the best things to come out of Jatin Lalit’s stables, Udit Narayan has never sounded better than this ( and I am not a big fan of his singing ). But I guess, it’s got all what the love-sick child wants, written all over it, sweetness, innocence and the warmth of first love.
Dil se Dil ki dor baandhe (Chhaya): This is one pretty unknown number from a rather nondescript film. Originally composed in Bengali by Salil-da for Hemant Kumar, this is the Hindi version, and is one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Mukesh and Lata justify the trust placed in them, and each of the interludes are so beautiful that they could be songs if played in isolation.
Tu Hi Re (Bombay): The only film after Roja in which, I felt Rahman lived up to his own expectations was this one, with some really awesome compositions, starting from the orchestral theme to the tragic flute theme. But this song is an achievement in itself, words cannot describe the beauty of this composition.
Dil tadap tadap ke (Madhumati): Vyjanthimala never looked more beautiful than this, and Bimal Roy couldn’t have chosen a better time to picturize this song. Everything is perfect, the rustic setting, the sweet minimalist background music, and Lata’s angelic voice. Masterful and simple at the same time, I guess this was the best song to end my review with.

I am sure I have missed a lot of very popular and universally loved songs in the process of writing this review, and I guess it’s just that twenty is a restriction. Given a chance, I could write reams and reams, but well, that’s just not the objective of this website.

6 Responses to “A few personal favorites”

  1. # Blogger majorseventh

    Great list of songs. Like you I am also fascinated by "Raato.n ke saaye" with its beautiful Dm7 opening. Since you seem to appreciate chord progrssions in Salilda's compositions,I am a bit surprised that you didn't comment on the beautiful progression in "Nishidin nishidin" and "Guzar jaaye din", also in "Annadata".  

  2. # Blogger Malancha

    The song Aiye meherban is from the movie Howrah Bridge... Madhubala was the actress in the movie.... Actually its she who sings this song in the movie....  

  3. # Blogger Sheer melody

    @majorseventh: Of course, Guzar Jaye and Nisidin are both amazing songs. I just was in a sort of a quandary as to which song from Annadaata should figure and I ended up with Raaton ke Saayein.

    @Malancha: Thanks, Now I remember.  

  4. # Blogger NightWatchmen

    Knowing you, I was wondering how you missed "Har fikr ko dhuen mai udata chala gaya" from Hum Dono, absolutely fabulous song.  

  5. # Blogger upen

    It is verily impossible to name twenty songs from the abundance of heart-rendering, heart-wrenching and light songs that the Hindi Filmdom has given us. The likes of Salilda, Madan Mohan, SJ, Sachinda, Panchamji, LP, Kalyanji-Anandji, Anil Biswas, Khayyam, OP (forgive me for those I forgetfully leave out) will never again BE. They did not make music.......they created it, from their hearts. Why, even 'Aja Sanam' makes your hair stand on end even today, when you hear todays compositions (if I may call it that)!! Khayyams 'Thereye Hoshme alu', another wonderful song, cannot be re-created today. What then do we say about the thousands of other songs ? A song like 'Shouk Nazar Ki Bijliyan' make me cry and ask 'Where, Oh God...where have those composers gone !!  

  6. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!  

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