Valentine’s Day is around the corner. More importantly, the weather outside is awesome enough that there is a need for good music to keep us snuggled in until Spring comes along. Over the next few weeks, I am hoping to put together a set of good songs that are romantic by definition, but really are a set of wonderfully composed and well sung pieces that are well worth revisiting. One really big caveat for all these posts-they are incredibly personal and my own view of things. Your set of best songs of this era might not match mine and that is definitely expected. Music is as subjective as any other art form. Its joy is in the ear of the listener. One other note before we kick things off, this set is what came to my head when I put this list together. I am sure I missed some of my own personal favorites. It happens all the time. With that out of the way, let us get to the music.
I am kicking off this series of posts with some classics from old Hindi movies. The list is in no particular order and if you have songs to add, please add them in the Comments section or in the social networks where this post is syndicated.
1. Aaja Sanam from Chori Chori
I have listened to this song a few hundred times and I never get tired of it. The music by Shankar-Jaikishan is outstanding. Lata and Manna Dey offer their vocals to lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri. Manna Dey’s voice comes through when he opens up with “Bheegi Bheegi raat mein.” Note the lyrics from Hasrat Saab, “Zindagi hai ik safar, kaun jaane kal kidhar…”
2. Chaudvin ka Chand from Chaudvin ka chand
Chances are, if you have ever listened to this song, you would share my take on its sheer brilliance. A gentle composition that is as paean to the woman in his heart (in this case, the gorgeous Waheeda Rahman in the mind of Guru Dutt), it boasts lyrics unlike most other. And the pace is languidly romantic. Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni weaves a tune for the ages, set to the tune by Ravi. And yes, the golden voice of Rafi saab makes it the piece that it is. Sample this- “Jaane bahaar tum kisi shayar ka khwab ho…”
Celebrating the immortal love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, Taj Mahal boasts fabulous songs composed by Roshan saab. None more romantic than this classic piece boasting the classic romantic vocal pairing of Rafi and Lata. The song is relatively short by 1963 standards but leaves a lasting impact, thanks to the wonderful lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi.
What a composition by C.Ramachandra. This gorgeous song from the movie Navrang directed by V.Shantaram features the nimble Sa
ndhya (his wife) dancing to the wonderful piece. Definitely stay on for the whole song. The last portion features some great dancing by Sandhya. As a big fan of Malkauns (Hindolam) , this song sung by Mahendra Kapoor and Asha Bhonsle has been a lifelong favorite of mine. The lyrics by Bharat Vyas are wonderfully romantic. Sample the start of the song, “Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi, rehna jaaye teri meri baat aadhi, mulaqaat aadhi”
A young and dashing Dev Anand romancing the gorgeous Sadhana is all one needs to get going with this song. Throw in the voices of Asha Bhonsle and Rafi singing a gentle and teasing piece by music director Jaidev with lyrics by the inimitable Sahir Ludhianvi saab, this song is pure gold. “Yehi kahoge tum sadaa, ke dil abhi bara nahin…” for sure.
Another personal favorite featuring an all star crew. A young and vibrant Guru Dutt romances Mala Sinha to a peppy romantic number set to tune by S.D.Burman saab. The lyrics by Ludhianvi saab sets a benchmark. This movie boasts a soundtrack that is as good as it gets. Rafi saab and Geeta Dutt do full justice and much more to the song in a way that just warrants multiple listens.
I was starting to worry that I had front loaded this collection with very many Rafi saab songs. Then I remembered this wonderful piece by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle from Dilli Ka Thug. Featuring Kishore Kumar romancing a young and beautiful Nutan, the song just tantalises. The composition by Ravi glows with the lyrics by Shailendra. Sample this- “Yeh kya baat hai aaj ki chandni mein, ke hum khogaye pyaar ki raagni mein”
Iconic imagery. Superstars. Epic music by Shankar Jaikishan. A song for the ages featuring the so-much-in-love Raj Kapoor and Nargis. The vocals of Manna Dey and Lata that make it special. A complete experience for the hopeless romantic in you. I want that rain and the tea that goes with it. Oh, the umbrella too.
I was definitely leaning towards an all black and white collection. That would seriously date me (IMHO, not in a bad way). So I figured a few hits from the 70s might be worth inclusion here. The first and foremost of that lot is the evergreen romantic piece from Julie. Rajesh Roshan scores music set to the lyrics of Harindranath Chattopadhyay. The song belongs to Kishore Kumar. He conveys all the romance and so much more.
10. Jaane Jaan from Jawaani Diwani
A classic composition by R.D.Burman for the movie Jawaani Diwani, this is just one heck of a number. R.D’s expertise in crafting a completely unique take on romance is fully evident here. Featuring a young Randhir Kapoor and a gorgeous Jaya Bhaduri, the romantic piece is sung with gusto by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. The pitch variations on this song are just epic.
What do I say about this song that hasnt been already said? An onscreen romantic song that reflected the offscreen romance of the leading couple – Amitabh and Jaya, this song is just so beautiful. Written to perfection by Majrooh Sultanpuri saab and set to a great tune by S.D.Burman, this song is the definition of love, as good a combination of lyrics, tune and vocals can deliver. The entire album features some fabulous music worth many listens. As a counterpoint to this young romantic piece, “Tere Mere Milan” offers a more mature take on the same romance. I had a hard time picking “Teri Bindiya Re” over “Tere milan”
As I was typing my text for the previous song from Abhimaan, my thoughts naturally drifted to this song from Silsila. There is so much history here in real and reel life that I will let you, the reader and listener debate that with your spouse 🙂
I will just wax eloquent about how wonderful a piece this one is- a composition by the Hindustani giants Shiv-Hari that boasts some fabulous visuals and actor eye candy in the form of Amitabh and Rekha. You throw in the lyrics, nay, poetry of Javed Akhtar and romance as seen by one of the greatest romanticists of our era, the late Yash Chopra, and you have romantic gold.
13. Kabhi Kabhi from Kabhi Kabhi
To finish the triumvirate of Amitabh Bachchan romantic movies that were box office and music gold from the era, here is another magical piece from Kabhi Kabhi. The real star in this song is the lyricist, Sahir Ludhianvi saab and the music director, Khayyam. Mukesh does the singing honors. An evergreen song that reverberates even today.
I debated long and hard between this song and “Roop Tera Mastana” It is hard to pick one over the other. Both are the epitome of romance with the former more playful while the latter is sensual. In the end, I went with the playful version of love.
S.D.Burman creates a fast paced tune set to the lyrics of Anand Bakshi and leave the rest to Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna. A smiling Rajesh Khanna woos Sharmila Tagore in a song that brings an instant smile to the viewer. The ultimate song to woo your woman!
And to wrap up this list that I never want to conclude, the romantic song of a complete generation of lovers. Is the magic because of Asha’s sultry rendition of the song or is it the way Mohd. Rafi jumps in mid way and just takes it to a whole another level or is it the composition by R.D.Burman or Majrooh saab’s lyrics? Is it the incredibly gorgeous Zeenat Aman who seals the deal? Or maybe, just maybe, everything came together in a package that will be remembered as a definitive love song for the ages.
I had a difficult time not including so many songs because I didn’t want this list to be never-ending. The point was to let you revel in romantic thoughts while listening to this small collection. There are so many more fabulous songs from the era that it deserves a new set every year.
Until then, have a great Valentine’s Day.
As always, the entire playlist (and many more songs) can be found here for your listening enjoyment.