My ten favorite Helen songs

Carla left a comment here on MemsaabStory early on saying: “Helen is completely sui generis.” (I love learning new phrases, especially clever ones.) Paint It Pink puts Helen in proper perspective also in her blog’s mission statement. I have myself weighed in on the joys of Helen many times before, but I recently decided that I needed to devote some time to her again. I know there are one or two people out there who don’t care for her, but there are also one or two people out there who think Sarah Palin would make a fine VP (or P!). You know who you are, and you can go away from here (well, if it’s just a Helen thing you can stay :-) (sorry but the election is beginning to get on my last good nerve).

I am also pretty sure that I will hear from people about some Helen “classics” that aren’t here: “How could you forget…???!!!” I probably haven’t “forgotten” but have chosen not to include it. Many songs that people cite as her best aren’t my favorites (though there are very very few Helen songs that I just downright don’t like). These are the songs I would put on a “Helen’s Greatest Hits” CD if I only had room for ten, because I love the music. In my usual shallow way I also factored in Helen’s appearance, and general staging and ambience, just to help out when I was waffling. Finally, I know that there are none of her early songs here, but I tend to adore the OTT kitsch of her 60’s and 70’s oeuvre and I had to draw the line somewhere.

So let’s have at it, shall we? Starting from number ten:

10. “Khilta Hua Shabab” from Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar (1973), music by Shankar Jaikishan. Helen dressed as Carmen Miranda! Helen with a lampshade on her head! Helen in a harem outfit! Fab.

9. “Mere Jawani Pyar Ko” from Upaasna (1971), music by Kalyanji Anandji. Helen seduces a statue onstage, finally turning it into a real…well…man, I guess. She looks totally hot, and the audience of mostly white people is astounded and thrilled. I would be astounded and thrilled if I could find this film with subtitles.

8. “Yeh Pal Chanchal” from Kalicharan (1976), music by Kalyanji Anandji. She’s pushing 40 here, but Helen still rocks the room (and Shatrughan Sinha). A lovely flamenco-flavoured number. Plus, Santa Claus! With balloons!

7. “Jeena Kaisa Hai Pyar” from Kathputli (1971), music by Kalyanji Anandji. Alas, it’s not on YouTube that I can find, and I don’t have the film—although I have been looking for it forever. You can play it here but I’ve got no pictures :-( It would probably be higher on the list had I ever actually seen it picturized.

Edited to add: Now I have!

6. “Hello Everybody” from Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati (1969), music by Kalyanji Anandji. Ostrich feathers gracing her head, Helen dances around the club in a transparent nightie with four nattily dressed backup dancers in this happy, bubbly number, spreading joy.

5. “Haye Mere Paas” from Shikar (1968), music by Shankar Jaikishan. Helen flirts musically with Sanjeev Kumar to mislead him in the murder enquiry he is conducting, and in which she is a chief suspect. Fab movie, lovely song, beautiful Helen, even with a beehive on her head!

4. “Is Duniya Mein” from Gumnaam (1965), music by Shankar Jaikishan. Helen has three great songs in this film (which is FULL of great songs), but this is my favorite of those, mostly because of Pran. I love how casual and carefree he looks (he’s usually so buttoned-up) as he claps along and then drags her into the sea; and he is my favorite person opposite Helen (besides Shammi natch). Plus, Helen is breathtakingly gorgeous, even more than usual.

3. “O Haseena Zulfon Wale” from Teesri Manzil (1966), music by RD Burman. This is one “classic” I am on board with all the way. And not just because of Shammi (although he doesn’t hurt). I love the set: the giant eyeball, the giant table lamps, everything!

Well, maybe Shammi has a huge amount to do with it.

2. “Ae Naujawan” from Apradh (1972), music by Kalyanji Anandji. Apparently the entity which owns the rights to this song is very vigilant about removing it from places to view it online, which is just unbelievably stupid and short-sighted: it’s the best advertisement for buying the film that anyone could ever hope for!

The best things about this are the sublimely lounge-y music; the set (complete with goris in bikinis); Feroz Khan’s drunken determination to morph Helen into Mumtaz and back:

and the sombrero-wearing guitar player at the beginning.

1. “Jane Anjaane Yahan” from Jane Anjaane (1971), music by Shankar Jaikishan. Although this is a Shammi Kapoor film, he isn’t in the song until the very end; but the song is fantastically lively and upbeat, with young Vinod Khanna and KN Singh, and this guy (right, below) who is always in a ruffled shirt, and is my favorite anonymous backup dancer of all time (and if anyone could tell me his name I would be forever in your debt). I love this song!!!

In my next life, I want to BE Helen.

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110 Comments to “My ten favorite Helen songs”

  1. Oh, I want to be Helen, too! This is such a great list!!

    Alas, two of my favorites – Mera Kya Sanam.. from “Talash” and Aa Jaan-e-Jaan from “Inteqam” didn’t chart. I’ll save them for my own Helen list! :D

    She really has such amazing screen presence. You can’t help but watch her do…anything.

  2. Mera Kya Sanam *almost* made it :-) I like the picturization of Aa Jaan-e-jaan but it’s not a song I’d want to listen to over and over.

    You should make a Helen list. There are soooo many songs, it’s difficult to narrow them down…

  3. Add me to the list of people who want to be Helen!!! In fact, I gave it a good try in my bedroom but even my mirror was like “meh!” so I’ll wait for my next life, I guess.

    That is a great list, and includes some songs I’d either forgotten or wouldn’t have automatically thought of for the list. The song from Upaasna made me laugh: I don’t know if I’d want to go to all that trouble for HIM.

    I don’t know what it says about me, but some of my fave Helen songs come with completely racist videos: Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo and Aa jaane jaan. Oh and Mungda, of course. Helen is beginning to look her age in that but is still so incredibly awesome.

  4. Goodness, I’m feeling very ashamed of myself. There are loads of songs here that I either have never come across, or saw the film so long back that I’ve forgotten. Lots of catching up to do! Helen’s a gem – I can’t think of too many movies where she didn’t do at least an item number! I guess if I had to do a list, I’d probably put three of her B/W songs on it as well: Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo (Howrah Bridge), Rangeen Baharon Se Hai Gulzar (Chinatown) and Kya Ho Phir Jo Din Rangeela Ho (Nau Do Gyarah – with an equally seductive Shashikala).

  5. I’ve really gotten to favor black and white Helen myself lately. I just discovered one dance on YouTube that I liked so much, I had to post it on my blog:

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/unchi-ediwalo-ne/

    I still can’t get over her surprise appearance in the 1958 Tamil film Uthama Puthiran… And “Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo” is the best!

    But we can all have our different favorite Helens; Memsaab’s are fine also.

    Among those above… Oh, I have watched “Is Duniya Mein” a few times! (Also gave multiple viewings to “Mere Jawani Pyar Ko” – but probably because I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. :)

    Memsaab, we’ve talked about “Muqabala Hum Se Na Karo,” from Prince… Not one of your favorites? I thought it was. I have watched that scene so many times over – though admittedly not just for Helen. ;)

  6. I just HAVE to add one number. “Monica, oh my darling.”

  7. It’s “Mehbooba Mehbooba” in Sholay for me. And “Oh mere jaan maine kaha” in The Train–am partial to Helen dancing to RD’s crazy vocals. Different but great as usual is her solo seduction routine with Rajesh Khanna in Mere Jeevan Saathi’s ” Ao na gale lagao na” where he’s wearing orange and is blind, poor lamb!

  8. Amrita: LOL @ the mirror and “meh”—I know exactly what you mean :-) And of course the songs you mentioned are all fabulous…I love watching them but wouldn’t necessarily want to listen to them over and over*.

    Madhu: My OCD kicked in early with Helen. I made it a mission to collect as many of her songs and films as I could. My iTunes has almost 200 Helen songs and I’m not even close to catching all of them. Agree so completely re: the Nau Do Gyarah song, but it didn’t fit with these*. I just love Bollywood “lounge” music, and her really happy songs. I was out walking Gemma this morning and singing “Hello hello hello! He’s a jolly good fellow!” (luckily nobody else was out since it was pouring rain ;-)

    Richard S.: I do need to venture out and see if I can find other Indian films with Helen—she did quite a few south Indian films as well as Bengali, Bhojpuri etc. The one you posted from Bedard Zamane Kya Jane is FAB :-) I’ve added it to my collection (see comment to madhu above) :-) And yes, I love the song from Prince but it wouldn’t go on a CD (DVD maybe!*)

    Banno: I knew someone would have to add that one! I love the picturization of it, but wouldn’t listen to it over and over.*

    Suhan: One of the songs from “The Train” almost made it, but I ran out of room :-)

    *I think I could probably mine Helen for quite a few more posts: one on her black & white films, one on each genre she danced (flamenco, nautch girl, cabaret dancer), one on my favorite picturizations of Helen, one on my favorite Helen films where she has an actual role, and on and on. Someone (not me) should probably devote an entire blog to her! :-)

    And I welcome other people to post their favorites! either here or on their own blogs! There can never be TOO MUCH HELEN.

  9. “I think I could probably mine Helen for quite a few more posts”

    Yes, please!! Maybe alternating with your favourite Shammi songs (colour?), your favourite Asha Parekh songs, etc…

  10. Madhu: I’m still waiting for you to start a blog, oh knowledgeable one! ;-)

    Am thinking one post that really needs to be done is one on all her backup dancers and bands. She had some fab ones (see numbers 1 and 2 particularly above)…

  11. i think will add Don’s “yeh mera dil” to the list…

    nitin at chakpak.com

  12. WOW. I haven’t even heard of most of these – and am thrilled, because it means the lode of 70s awesomeness continues! I dread the day it gets tapped out, but given that you’re still looking for things assures me that I have a very long way to go.

    I’d love to see the backup dancer post. There should be a whole backup dancer blog – they don’t get nearly enough credit.

  13. I’ve found that a lot of my favorite music wasn’t huge in India, don’t know whether the films were too obscure, or bad, or what. Or maybe it’s just me. I dislike a lot of smash hit music (Karz, Disco Dancer), I mean its nice to me for the kitschy value but not must-listen. Yes, it’s probably just me.

    Many background characters don’t get enough credit. Oh, if only I had more time and more hands and more computers…

  14. Helen’s lampshade hat in item number #10 reminds me of Vyjayanthimala’s in ‘Buddha Mil Gaya’ (Sangam).

    Excluding item numbers which doesn’t include Helen lip-syncing and where Helen isn’t the only star (out goes ‘Mehbooba’), my list would include (in no particular order)…

    #drum roll#

    -‘Naach Aye Dil’ from Nadaan
    -‘Aa Jaane Jaan’ from Inteqaam
    -‘Pyaar To Ab To Ajaa’ from Caravaan
    -‘Bach Ke’ from Yakeen (I’m not too keen on the picturisation though)
    -‘Ae Naujawan’ from Apradh

    That’s all I could think of at the moment.

  15. ohhh goodness gorgeous helen! i love her so much, her eyeliner, her style, her shiny sparkly outfits, have all made it somewhere in my wardrobe !

  16. Thanks for introducing so many outrageous Helen songs: I don’t even vaguely recognize many of the films, and some of the songs as well…am surprised because I had two very long periods of illness in the 70s when I was banned from reading or even TV, and AIR was my only company, day & night; they cannot have played them very much.

    am going to shamelessly plug these 2 lovely lata nos. as sung almost “a pelo” (= a hair = the voice alone) by anwesha. I came across them and liked them very much.

  17. How graceful she was! She still has no comparison.

    I would have to add Aa Jaane Jaan from Intequaam. Absolutely delightful.

    And maybe Mungda due to the liveliness of the music and of course dear Helen herself.

    As a character artiste too she was good in the movie, with a much better sense of dressing than the heroine.

    I love some of her black and white ones. She looks so delicate and alabesterish LOL if you get what I mean!

  18. The dressing I’m talking about is for Intequaam, where she had a big and good enough role

  19. This may be the coolest post ever blogged anywhere.
    :-)

  20. FiLMiNDiA: “Naach Aye Dil” was another *almost* on the list. Def. it would have made it to the top 20! The famous Inteqam and Caravan numbers I love to watch—the picturizations are incredible—but the songs themselves aren’t ones I will just listen to over and over…

    Rum: Me too! Esp. for Halloween, ha ha ;-) The eyeliner I came to on my own since I never saw Helen until about five years ago. Helen would actually be a fabulous Party Theme!—Come as your favorite Helen avatar!

    bawa: I love these songs, they can play all day and I don’t get tired of them :-) Thanks for the YouTube links; I actually prefer Aishwarya Majumdar’s rendition of “Ae Watan…” here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmRGUp_nnvo. Lata’s “Allah Tero Naam” is one of the most spiritual beautiful hymns (or bhajans) EVER…

    gilga: I sadly can’t find Inteqam anywhere, am dying to watch it. “Mungda” is one of my favorite Helen picturizations, she’s is just awesome in it.

    PC: Coming from you, that is high praise indeed! *blushes*

  21. BTW: Sorry for the numerous posts, but I think the guy(s) in the background of your No: 1 (Jaane Anjaane) are the choreographers (OR dance directors) Vijay-Oscar. It seems they usually danced in cabaret scenes like “Oh Monica” etc.

  22. Oh gilga, with info like that you can post as many times as you want!!!! :-) Well, truthfully, you can even without info like this, but you have given me a real treat with this one! I have never even heard of Vijay-Oscar but that gives me a starting point! *Many many many thanks*

  23. Oh, my. Between this and Beth’s masala post, my DVD shopping list has grown exponentially over the past week. May I also humbly suggest “Haan Mujhe Maar Daalo” from Geeta Mera Naam?

  24. You may :-) but that song again falls into “Love the picturization! music alone, not so much” for me…

    ‘Tis good to have a full DVD shopping cart!

  25. Here is the CORRECT sex temptress of the silver screen… positively ADRIP with sexuality at all times!

  26. True, but straight girls and gay men like her too!!!! :-)

    And I’ve just realized that YOU, Carl, are the originator of Paint It Pink’s mission statement (I’m a little slow, yes):

    Helen is PRECISELY how to live at all! times!
    Do not ever let anyone catch you NOT! BEING! HELEN!

  27. Caravan has already been mentioned in a comment above… other than that the main one I’d have included is ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ from Anamika.
    PC x

  28. What a brilliant idea for a fav list! That woman could (and did) make a table lamp look like a hot accessory :D

    Your #4 is my #1 for precisely your reasons- she just really looks like she is having a blast! Though your #3 is a v v close #2 :)

  29. PC: Aaj Ki Raat is another great picturization (pink rain coat and hat!) but the song doesn’t come close to these for just listening to (for me). It’s a really good movie, though!

    Shweta: Yes, the song in Gumnaam is so great. PRAN looks like he’s having fun! That’s what I love so much about it. I love all her songs in that film (and the other ones besides). And, well, when she’s paired with Shammi it’s just magic.

  30. Eid Mubarak everybody!

  31. ‘Īd sa‘īd FiLMiNDiA!
    This is a fantastic post! Helen has pansex appeal!
    Helen for world president!
    This post will remain in my bookmarks until I’ve seen ALL of the films.

  32. Some more..

    Mehrban Mehboob Dilbar – Asha Bhosle – Aansoo Ban Gaye Phool (1969)
    Mr. John Babakhan O Lala – Asha Bhosle – Baarish (1957)
    Piya Too Ab To Aaja – Asha Bhosle & R. D. Burman – Caravan (1971)
    Subha Na Aaee – Mohammed Rafi – Cha Cha Cha (1964)
    Itni Badi Mehfil Hai – Asha Bhosle – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1959)
    Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Diwana – Asha Bhosle – Don (1977)
    Tora Man Bada Papi – Asha Bhosle – Ganga Jamuna (1961)
    Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo – Geeta Dutt – Howrah Bridge (1958)
    Raat Nikhri Hui – Mukesh – Hum Hindustani

  33. Wow! Wasnt even aware of most of these songs. She is good in everything! I love all her big-time hits like Piya tu ab to aaja (Caravan), Yeh mera dil (Don), O haseena zulfon waali and her lesser known ones like Meri jawaani kare ishaare (Deewangee) but my personal Helen favorites are her B/W ones. I grew up watching Helen shimmying in sequins, boas and rainbow clothes, and familiarity breeds, if nothing else, too much familiarity. Plus, I think she gets to showcase a wider range of her dancing skills in the older movies. The 60s and 70s had her doing pretty much the same dance moves in similar costumes though she somehow managed to imbue each of her songs with originality, inspite of that.

  34. Wowww…now thats what I call a post…Loved the list though all of us have couple of Helen songs to add to this charming list of urs…I think you can post a sequel to this Super Hit post of urs :)

  35. ok carla, you can be reborn as Helen as long as I can be reborn with a voice like A’s!
    I had heard Aish’s too, and I liked this one better, but I wouldn’t mind having a voice like either!

    There was a time where I had a chance to meet Helen, in fact my mum & dad did, ‘cos you know when stars are abroad, esp. in the 90s, they used to stay in this and that NRI’s house abroad. For some unknown reason Helen & Salim Khan came over a few times to my London guardian’s house (a cousin of dad’s). Don’t ask me why, they are quite ordinary people although v v star struck, and she was an excellent cook, so that could have been the attraction!!

    Mum & Dad spent what they described as a “tiring” evening with them: dad loves his old film music and films but has never been able to stand fawning I guess. I was in the area but escaped the invitation, and my parents in fact had their dinner and ran off upstairs to sleep ‘cos apparently “film people” didn’t start eating dinner until 2 in the morning.

    And thats all that they would say about it…

  36. Has anyone read the bio in wikipeadia? According to that, Helen must have been 11 during her first films, and 12 & 13 when she did her first solo dances.

    I would like to see those now..

  37. It says there and elsewhere that she was in Awara. I haven’t seen all of that movie, only clips. I wonder if anybody was able to spot her in that film.

    There’s also a clip on YouTube from another film that it says she was in, Shabistan, made the same year (1951). Cuckoo stars in this clip, and there is a chorus of dancing girls behind her. You can’t see those girls too well, could be Helen (at age 11 or 12) is one of them…

  38. I recently saw Awara all over again…but no, I don’t recall Helen in it. Cuckoo, yes – but no Helen. I’d have remembered! Unless she was in the chorus or something.

    Memsaab: That is so sweet of you! I’m not the knowledgable one at all; and if I ever do get around to blogging about my favourite Hindi films, it’ll be all thanks to you. Memsaabstory, may I add, is definitely sui generis!

  39. Hi all, love your comments and your lists! Helen would be pleased to see how much interest she still can generate, I’m sure!

    Bawa, what were you thinking not meeting her when you could! ;-)

    I actively looked for her while watching Awara and was unable to spot her. The camera was never on any of the chorus girls long enough to get a good look. I’ve always seen her birth year listed as 1938 or 1939 :-) And she has said herself that she started working at age 13 or so.

    Looks like we will need to do more Helen-themed posts here. I do love her older songs/dances too where I agree her dancing skills were given bigger scope (as bollyviewer points out).

  40. How wonderful to wake up and see so much HELEN! Thanks Memsaab!!

  41. You are welcome! Imagine what it’s like to be Salim Khan! :-)

  42. You know maybe meeting her would have spoilt it all…

    Dad once said they invited Sunil Dutt in his hey dey for some charity thing, and he arrived with a whole entourage of characters -of whose existence the hosts had not the slightest idea- and among them was an old batman from Dad’s AirForce days, who had the curious nickname of “dogsbody”. So he exclaimed, “dogsbody, what are doing here?” DB’s reply was that he worked for Mr. Dutt and basically it was to say wah! wah! everytime Mr Dutt made a remark (made sure everyone noticed it I guess), and other stuff along similiar lines.

    Dad said it ruined SD for him forever!

  43. Hah! You have a point there Bawa :-) I can still love Sunil Dutt since I didn’t meet poor dogsbody (who seems curiously appropriately named for his job!)…

  44. whoa, 40+ comments already!! This must be your most popular blogpost ever!!! :-D

    Hey Memsaab, I know everyone has been mentioning Helen-in-her-youth songs.. but I was watching SLB’s Khamoshi last night, and Helen has 2 very sweet songs picturised on her in that movie too! She plays a ray-of-sunshine grandmother; and “sings” two life-affirming songs, the first one especially being my favorite.

    The picturisations are fab too — no lamp-on-the-head accessory there, but they do feature dancing-around-a-piano-at-the-beach & swaying-to-noisy-nails-on-a-rooftop!!

  45. Helen is so worth every one of these 40+ comments! I finished watching “Anamika” last night and “Aaj ki Rath” has to go up there with the best picturizations! My question is why they always paired her up with these unattractive male dancers?! These guys are *not* worthy of her fabulousness.

    Only Helen could make me love a stylized-rape dance… ;P

  46. Ranya: when I saw Khamoshi I wasn’t really familiar with Helen yet, although I remember that I loved the grandmother character. I’ve been meaning to watch it again since I’ve become enamored of her but haven’t done it yet.

    Filmi Girl: amen to that! I do love the pink rain slicker and hat (think I said that already above)…The dancer I particularly love is actually pretty worthy of her. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and somehow you find yourself unable to take your eyes off of him too (at least I do)…

  47. Memsaab: I found your blog while looking for a picture from Brahmachari. I’ve been saying for quite a while that I don’t have time to read blogs, but as of today, and your magnificent Helen post, I have changed my mind. I look forward to returning often. Many thanks!

  48. Memsaab

    Another fab recent Helen movie which unfortunately flopped is Dil Ne Jisse Apna kaha – starring Salman Khan, Priety Zinta and Bhoomika Chawla. I think it was released a couple of yrs ago ie 2005 thereabouts

    She plays Bhoomika’s grandma and there is a lovely song picturised on her and Bhoomika which is a kind of celeberating life – zindagi hain dua rab ka nishan, kahe ke shukriya jeelo na

    Pls do watch the clip atleast ie if it is in Utube

  49. Laura: thank you :-) I need to spend some time at your site too, it looks v.v. interesting. Are you a Shammi fan too?

    Anonymous: I have seen that film, I think I rented it just for Helen as a matter of fact! I also love her stint in Mohabbatein where she dances with SRK to “O Haseena”–it’s so impromptu, and she can still shake her moneymaker! I think she’s acting in another film right now too.

  50. Ooh, go see Stella’s list here. It’s great and includes one from Shammi’s Pagla Kahin Ka that I’ve never seen before (sigh, melt melt)…

  51. Bawa’s hilarious anecdote reminded me of Mihir Bose’s atrociously edited “Bollywood: A History” which told me a little more than I wanted to know about Sunil Dutt.

    By the way, if anyone has read that thing, can someone please tell me why Raj Kapoor crawled up those steps when Dilip Kumar wanted to marry or whatever? That detail’s been driving me insane ever since I read it. Was it a precondition, or a mannat or what?

  52. Probably he was drunk :)

  53. To answer your question, yes, I’m a big Shammi fan. I love the way his extravagant behavior is always viewed (by the other characters in the movie) as romantic and manly, never simply comic. He is completely unique in world cinema. Other movie heroes may act silly, but are not considered appropriate objects of desire until they “settle down” and act “normal.” Shammi completely redefines what it means to be adorable.

  54. Laura I could not possibly agree more!!!!!!!! Like Helen, Shammi is completely sui generis :)

    And there’s LOTS of him on here!

  55. HI Great Post I really found it Interesting. Looking forward for similar posts from you

  56. Great post! Even when she’s being crazy, it’s fun to watch her do her thing.

    That backup guy on the right in your pic of Jane Anjaane is my favorite extra of all time :) I think I saw him play with Ted Lyons and his Cubs, and he was great in Vidhaata…I’d love to know what is name is.

  57. Aimee, he’s mine too. He’s just so charismatic somehow…I looked on the net for info re: Vijay-Oscar, but couldn’t find any pics and imdb only has information about their choreographing days, nothing about being backup dancers and neither of these films is listed for them.

    Sigh. So much to know, so little time.

  58. thats true the shes incredible

  59. Memsaab

    Some more truly good Helen songs sung by Asha Bhonsle :

    Aao Na Galey lagao no – from Mere Jeevan Saathi

    Koi aaya aane bhhi de koi gaya jaane bhi de – from Sona chandi

    Aa Raat Jaagi hi chupke se mil jayen dono – from Benaam

  60. Ooh I don’t know the one from Sona Chandi—do you mean Chandi Sona?

  61. Perhaps it is chandi sona rather than sona chandi but the song is from that movie – melodious song. It is picturised on Helen mainly but Parveen Babi is also there in the song.

  62. Two lovely songs, not of the cabaet variety where Helen is fabulous are, “oi ma oi ma yeh kya ho gaya’ (Parasmani) and ‘ tumko piya dil diya” (Shikari)… worth a watch

  63. THEY FORGOT THE SONGS AND DANCES IN THE FOLL…..NIGHT IS LOVELY DARK AND COOL-PYAR KA SAPNA…YE ANKEN-KAB KYON AUR KAHAN…CHEEK MERI JAAN CHEEK-TUM HASSEEN MAIN JAWAN…ONE TWO THREE-KISMAT…PYAR HI PYAR/MEHMOOD………CHECK THESE OUT FOLKS …GREAT STUFF….OMAR…….. ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE EXCELLENT SELECTIONS ALSO.

  64. I kept scrolling down to see that Teesri Manzil number. I find that number larger than life, like it is beyond Earth or something, you know what I mean.

    That whole movie was magical. I hope they never remake it because us die hard fans will probably be disappointed……

    I think it is so great that both Helen and Shammi share the same birthday.

    You should get photos of her accepting the Padmi Sri and post them on your site, if possible.

  65. Recently found your wonderful blog and must comment on this topic. All the songs listed are certainly worthy, but for me its impossible to name just 10. So, I’ll name only one. I would have to say my favorite Helen song of the moment is the magnificent “Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo.” Where Helen really shows for the first time what she can do. Great song, excellent direction and, of course, phenomenal dancing! Its as if Helen announces to the world “Here I am. Why haven’t you noticed me yet?”

  66. It is a great song. Pretty much all of her songs are great, as you said :) When I do a post on her black and white songs, Chin Chin Choo will probably be on it.

  67. hey ppl can u tell me helens songs,maine hoton se lagai toh hungama hogaya is from which movie.i’m dying 2 hear that song but dnt know which movie

  68. This I think is from the movie Anhonee(1973). I dont think it is a Helen song but I might be wrong. You can hear it on the following link:

    http://www.emusic.com/album/Asha-Bhosle-Chorus-Kishore-Kumar-Lata-Mangeshka-Anhonee-1973-MP3-Download/10836692.html

    It could be a Padma khanna song.

  69. I just found out that Helen acts in Dil Chuke Sanam or something to that effect as Salman Khan’s mother and I just got it from the library just to see her. When I saw Mohabattein I didn’t realize the school headmistress was Helen and she does do a dance routine and I didn’t recognize her. I will have to get it again just to see that.

  70. ok,i’ll find.thanks a lot

  71. I don’t do well with limits,:-0 so I won’t even attempt to compile my Top Ten Helen songs, but here are three songs that have been doing rounds in my head for the past few months.

    Aaja aaja sajan piya meri yeh raat bhi (Rakhi aur Hathkadi)

    Deewane tum deewane hum (Bezubaan)

    Ja re gokul ke natkhat chor (Lal Qila)

  72. It’s not easy to pick Helen favorites, there are so many and so much diversity in what she did that it’s difficult. But I decided to go with mostly her nightclub numbers since I really really really really really really love Indian cabaret :-)

  73. Thanks for this post memsaab. For whatever reason, Helen has always left me underwhelmed and largely unmoved. I don’t dislike her, it’s more a case of “meh”. I could watch Waheeda read the phone book for hours, similarly with Sharmila, Nutan and Madhubala, but Helen just doesn’t click fo me. Perhaps its because the mesaage of what it is she offers is presented too obliquely, with too much subtlety. :) Maybe some of these will change my mind. I’m definitely with you on Shammi, though. So sweet and cute, I still tear up just thinking of him in the sad version of mai.n gaauu.N tum so jaao from Brahmachari while taariif karuu.N kyaa usakii from Kashmir ki Kali perfectly illustrates his infectious charm. Sadly, Helen for me is like Sholay – I can see *why* they are esteemed, but they don’t do it for me.

    • Oh…I’m sorry for you ;-) Helen is so awesome. Very versatile too, and a good actress. And you don’t like Sholay? I love it….but hey, life would be dull if we all liked the same things.

  74. I love Helen. I haven’t seen her in too many films unfortunately, but I must point out that I love this cute number from Half Ticket with Kishore Kumar (and Pran!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRq96rHrL9Q

  75. i like this collection of the best of helen

  76. Interesting list. Helen does very little for me, and the selections above confirm that. I’ve probably only seen here in half-a-dozen or so films, and most of those have been “meh” at best, like Teesri Manzil. Just like Sholay and Guide, Helen and her films tend to leave me underwhelmed. She is indeed sui generis, for which fact I say “subhaan allah”.

  77. Okay now you have got me tracking the guy in the ruffled shirt who appears in a lot of dance numbers. Well here is some trivia for you from the movie Jaane Anjaane. The ruffled shirt guy (is he troubadour man?)

    Is in the fishing people song with Leena Chandravarker and Shammi Kapoor as one of the background dancers. You may not recognize him without his ruffled shirt but he is there :-)

    • I call him “Ruffled Shirt Guy”…I think you are thinking of Pompadour Man, not troubador? That is Oscar, I have since discovered, but am still not sure who RSG is (maybe Vijay, of the Vijay-Oscar choreography duo). I see him all over the place, but have never seen a name attached to him :(

  78. OK this is not probably in any top 10 but still one to add to the numbers.

  79. There are four other Helen numbers composed by Shanker Jaikishan that I would add to this list. ‘Bachke kahaan kaaoge’ from ‘Yakeen’, ‘Aye dil karoon main kya’ from ‘Bhai Bahen’, ‘Baat zara hai aapas ki’ from ‘Jahan Pyar Miley’ and ‘Hai isika naam zindagi’ from ‘Nadaan’ all of which were released during 1969-71. I personally feel Helen’s best numbers were composed by S-J and Pancham.

    Dada Burman’s ‘Baithe hain kya uske paas’ from ‘Jewel Thief’ can also be a close contender. As for ‘Aa jaane jaan’ no doubt, it is well sung by Lata and has a unique picturisation too but it suffers badly from bad orchestration. If you listen to the interlude pieces, they sound quite jarring and are not in sync with Lata’s soft vocals. Even the quality of recording is quite indifferent.

    From the B/W era, I would pick, ‘Mr. John ya Baba Khan’ from ‘Baarish’, and ‘Mera naam Chin Chin Choo’ from ‘Howrah Bridge’.

  80. Great list. Personally I couldn’t live without her dance in Naadan…

    In fact I’d go as far as to say that isn’t just my favourite Helen song /dance but my favourite Bollywood song / dance full stop…

    And this gem from RD Burman…

    One of the things I love about Helen is it never seems like she’s lip synching – I find it quite hard to believe that that’s not her singing!

    • They are both fabulous songs :) There are so many many many extremely wonderful Helen songs that I can’t even believe I tried to narrow it down to ten :D What was I thinking???!!!! And I agree completely re: her lip synching. She’s as good at looking like she’s actually singing as Shammi is :)

  81. Helen fans rejoice, here is number Mubarak Ho,do not think it is posted b4.Actually this was REQ by a member from YT so Just ripped to XVID and posted on YT, from Bada Kabutar 1973, MD Panchamda and Lyrics Yogesh Guad bhau. Sung by Asha tai.

    A entertainer philllum with none other than-

    Amitabh Bachchan … Guest appearance
    Helen … Dancer
    Pinchoo Kapoor … Dharamdas
    Ashok Kumar … Mama Rampuri… MAIN ROLE, super role Dad Moni
    Leela Mishra … Bhola’s mom… she was also just fantastic
    Keshto Mukherjee … Abdul
    Madan Puri … Ghaffoor
    Rehana Sultan … Rita
    Deven Verma … Bhola
    Subrato
    Paul Sharma

    The link

    enjoii

    Cheers

  82. Here is a song from Sikandar e Azam (1965). It has Helen as well as her clone Mahumati dancing together. In this song, they are dancing to entertain Alexander the great. I did not know that Alexander the great too was a fan of Helen’s dance. :D

    I am interested to know you opinion about this song.

    • Truthfully, although a Helen song is never a bad thing it’s not one of my favorites. These types of dances tend to all run together for me, I am too uninformed to appreciate the nuances :)

  83. Just happened to see one of her songs on TV, one which I had completely forgotten as ‘Helen songs’. This is Helen as romantically paired wit Manoj Kumar in Woh kaun thi.. love d romantic song.

  84. A GROUSE: You have not included my FAV – Kar le Pyar Kar Le from Talash – All those Ostrich feathers! I was totally floored by her two numbers in the film (and I was a kid then!). These favourites really defined Helen for me in her heydays. And in the later days it was that Don number – that tension and the sexiness to keep the Don pinned! I have seen no number to match it on the Hindi screen.
    A woman with great innate dignity – with all those skimpy outfits and situations, she could be sexy but not vulgar. There’s that core in her that no one could trespass.

    • Ha ha, well its MY list. Believe me it was hard to narrow it all down to ten, and since I wrote this I have discovered so many more Helen songs. They never end, thank goodness!

  85. Some of her Indian dance numbers too are great! Like “Ooi ma ooi ma, ye kya ho gaya” from Parasmani (I think) – she is just SO graceful!!

    And there is one more song in Shikar – “Mei albeli pyar jatakar” – I love that song too….

  86. Ooh, don’t know if these have already been suggested, but `Hum tere bin jeena sakenge sanam’ (Thakur something is the name of the movie) and `baharon ka hai mela’ and `Suno Zindagi gaati hai’ from your favourite Shammi movie.
    I’m thinking how Bombay Doordarshan played Big Brother and neatly lopped off her song in Benaam, like they did with the Mumtaz number in Humjoli, when those movies were the Sunday evening feature.

    • I still love that Mumu number from Humjoli and DD always left me fuming the way they cut it out from the Sunday evening feature. But really too sexy – however you see much worse now on TV. – some songs leave me fumbling with the remote as I try to distract my child saying I want to ‘check what’s playing on other channels’.

      What’s that song from Benaam?

      • BENAAM:1974:RAHUL DEV BURMAN:ASHA BHONSLE,MOHAMMED RAFI
        (picturised on HELENJI,AMITHAB, MOUSHUMI CHATTJEEE)
        “AA RAAJ JAATHI HAI, CHUPKE SE MIL JAAYEIN DONO, AAG MEIN JAL JAAYEN DONO

        At that time, I wanted to kill the doordarshan officials, who used to edit not only HELENji`s song, if they find shortage of time, they just edit the songs fully or partially,at their whims and fancies. They still indulge in such practices, as if it is their right to edit the beautiful songs and scenes of the hindi movies.

  87. @desi-at-large that wonderful number ‘Hum tere bin jeena sakenge sanam’ by Ashatai from Thakur Jarnail Singh, MD unfort not remembered today was GANESH and lyrics Asad Bhopali Saheb, anothe genius :) Cheers

    • DD and Vividh Bharati to date, have never shown sufficient regard for the artiste or the viewer and I’ve always felt sad about it. All India Radio Ki Urdu Service was the only show where a song was played in its entirety and the names of all the people requesting the song were read out. Though there were fewer songs played in the duration of the request show, in retrospect, it was a respectful, high quality listening experience.
      And looking at the body of work on parade these days, the Helen and Mumu numbers are practically blameless..
      Thanks, Ashwin Bahl, for the movie name and the other credits.
      I deeply appreciate the Artist Identification Project on this blog, an attempt to give respect and credit where it is due.

  88. Folks this may have been mentioned earlier but this dance number by Smashing Shashikala is also chip of the ol’ block-

    “ACHHA SANAM ,KER LE SITAM”BY ASHA BHOSLE,M:R.D BURMAN-“TEESRA KAUN-1965
    under

    Cheers :0

  89. Just see the song Neeli Neeli Ghata from 1960 film Hum Hindustani. Helen with Joy Mukherji in romantic paring. Helen in lovely yellow saree and Mumbai, Bombay then, looking so clean, open and breathtaking in rain.

  90. Hi Memsaab, came across this on youtube. Its funny in so many ways.

  91. Hi Memsaab,

    I was just browsing around and looking for blogs on Bollywood..Came across yours! It’s such a fantastic effort that my own humble blogs stands nowhere. Really, I must commend you on the excellent job you’ve done of writing so many nice articles..This piece on Helen is a surprisingly nicely written article!
    I would love if you could come over to my blog and read this piece I wrote recently..your feedback would be highly appreciated:

    http://www.bollykings.com/why-i-love-bollywood/

    Thanks a lot and keep those bollywoody articles comin!

  92. Hi Memsaab, I didn’t know helen did songs other than hindi, I came across this and had to share it with you since you love her so much. Its typical helen, she is the greatest. Hope you like it.

  93. My friend once told me that the moment she would come on screen the first thing you would see is a slender leg barely covered and a shining outfit maybe red or black. So I checked all her songs and my friend was so true.

    A slender leg is what you would see and she would mesmerize with her angelic eyes and sparkling red lips. And then she would sizzle and burn and leave you panting and asking for more.

    Oh yes yes yes …………! This is Helen I’m talking about. The enchantress, who came… saw… and conquered.

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