Best of Bollywood Songs
By H.V.Guru Murthy
Which is your most favourite song in the history of Hindi film music during the past eighty years? If any body puts this question to me, I would rather not answer, as how can you choose just one song out of thousands of songs especially if you consider that versatile singers like Rafi Saab, Lataji, KK, Ashaji, Mannada, Mukeshji, Hemantda, Talatji, etc. etc. have sung so many wonderful wonderful songs.
But precisely a similar exercise was carried by the Magazine OUTLOOK in their 2006 June issue. Thirty prominent musicians of the Hindi Film Industry including Manandey, Mahendra Kapoor, Khayyam, Rajesh Roshan, Gulzar, Javid Akhtar, etc. were chosen to be in the Jury and were given the task to select the best songs.
The Jury came out with 20 songs sung by various Singers like Rafi, Lata, KK, Mannadey, Asha, etc. set to music by stalwarts like SDB, RDB, Roshan, Madan Mohan, Khayyam, Salil Chaudhury, Hemant Kumar, etc. Some of the songs in the list would be wholeheartedly agreed by majority of the music lovers but some reservation would be expressed regarding certain other songs from the list.
First let us go through the list. The no. 1 song considered was Man Re Tu Kahe Na Dheera Dhare (Chitralekha). This song was followed by other songs like Tere Mere Sapne and Din Dhal Jaye from GUIDE, Kuch To Log Kahenge (Amar Prem), Waqt Ne Kiya (Kagaz Ke Phool), Jo Wada Kiya (Taj Mahal) and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (Mughal E Azam). The journey continues with Ai Qateeb E Taqdeer (My Sister), Aayega Aayega (Mahal), Piya Tose (Guide), Main Ye Sochakar (Haqeeqat), O Sajana (Parakh), Kuch Dilne Kaha (Anupama), Zindagi Ke Safar Me (Aap Ki Kasam) and Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho (Hanste Zakhm). Other songs in the list are Dil Cheez Kya Hai (Umrao Jaan), Chura Liya Hai (Yaadon Ki Baraat), Tum Pukar Lo (Khamoshi), Har Ghadi Badal Rahi (Kal Ho Na Ho) and Poocho Na Kaise (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen).
The list contains five of SDB, three of RDB, two each of Roshan and Madan Mohan, and one each of Hemant, Khayyam, Naushad, Salil Chaudhury and Shankar Ehsan Loy. But there are no songs of SJ, LP, KA, OPN. Similarly Rafi and Lata lead in the Singers Category whereas Talat and Mukesh do not find a place, unfair one must say.
Few would have any reservation about the No.1 song – Man Re. A classic song with just two antaras sung by Rafi Saab, written by Sahir Ludhyanvi, music by Roshan and picturised on Pradeep Kumar. The song is more philosophical conveying the moral dilemma of a person caught between a Courtesan and a Bikshu. Whether you consider the music which is so melodious, the lyrics which is so meaningful or the singing, who else could have justified the song other than Rafi Saab, this song has good credentials to become the Number 1 song. But, still, I am sure some music fans would have opted for Baiju Bawra’s “Duniya Ke Rakhewale” which catapulted Rafi to the top slot as well as which was a much more difficult song sung at a very high pitch or Pyaasa’s “Yeh Mehlo Ye Takhto”, which was a sort of revolutionary song depicting the utter contempt of the Poet towards the Society.
The Chitralekha song can be enjoyed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAquckbRtZY
Among other songs, the two Guide Rafi solos make the mark due to sheer class so also the Haqeeqat number, which is a unique song without the conventional mukhda and antara as well as the Hanste Zakhm song, which is good to see that at least after thirty years this unique song is getting its due. Though the Taj Mahal duet is good, still one would wonder at the exclusion of duets from Maya, Ishq Par Zor Nahin, etc. In the same way, though Chura Liya Hai is good, perhaps Ye Dekhake Dil Zhooma and Abhi Na Jao Chodakar were better. How to fit in other Rafi greats like Suhani Raat, Hari Om and the innumerable number of gazals / geets like Kaise Kategi Zindagi and Jis Raat Ki Khab Aayi. What about the mother of all qawalis Na To Caravan Ki Talash Hai.
The three Lata numbers from Anupama, Parakh and Mahal are good selections, but the other two Lata songs from Guide and Mughal E Azam are surprise selections, as one can find umpteen number of other wonderful Lata numbers from movies like Mera Saya, Hanste Zakhm, Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraye, Maya, Dil Ek Mandir, etc. Perhaps the Guide and Mughal E Azam songs were selected due to their total appeal, picturisation significantly contributing to their selection with beautiful and innovative dances by Waheeda and Madhubala and restrained acting by Dilip Kumar.
Geeta Dutt’s Waqt Ne Kiya selects itself especially with that unique picturisation with the light shaft and memorable performance by Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehaman.
Kishore’s selection of the two songs are bit disappointing because Kishore has sung some very good songs in the early sixties especially for himself in movies like Door Gagan Ki Chaon Me. Similarly Saigal could have been represented by Soja or Ek Bangala or Jab Dil Hi. Hemant has been named for Tum Pukarlo, but Hemant was equally good in Na Ye Chand Hoga and Ye Raat Ye Chandni. Similarly Mannadey has been selected for Poocho Na Kaise Maine, but what about Laga Chunri Me Daag or Bhay Bhanjana? Similarly I would have preferred Asha’s Chain Se Hum Ko Kabhi or Poocho Na Hame Hum Unke Liye.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the song from Kal Ho Na Ho. Even the makers of this song would be embarrassed to be in the company of such illustrious songs. Perhaps the Jury wanted at least one song for this generation. If I were in their position, perhaps I would have selected Chitti Aayee Hai Watan Se, for the beautiful picturisation made memorable by Akash Khurana with his superlative acting.
Similarly the selections considered GUIDE as the most popular movie, SD Burman as the most popular Music Director, Shailendra as the most popular Lyricist and Rafi and Lata as the most popular Singers.
I am sure, every one would come out with his own list, but a fair selection will be to cumulatively list out all the songs from all music lovers for getting a fairly good representation rather than restricting to just twenty.
The article and the list of 20 songs can be accessed at, http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?231648