Lately I’ve had my iPod repeating a playlist that I put together of songs from 1960s films that are just bubbling over with western charm: guitars, trumpets, double basses, and the odd ukelele or two are used in what still remain quintessentially Hindi film songs. These are songs that have gotten stuck in my head time after time: I quite simply love them! It’s hard to pin down what makes them a collection, but picture doing the twist on a picnic with chums, or curled up with a martini on pleather space-age furniture in Daddy’s mansion. If I had to categorize them, I would probably settle on “Bollywood Lounge” although I’m not sure that quite covers it.
I’m breaking with my usual practice of listing them in order of preference. Instead I’m listing them in the order that they appear on my playlist because I think they follow each other nicely this way (yes, I am a wannabe DJ). There are sixteen of them, perfect CD length (does anyone use those anymore?).
1. “Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh” from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) (sung by Lata, music by Shankar Jaikishan). Nurse Meena Kumari sings a song at a party celebrating the wedding of her surgeon colleague Raaj Kumar to Nadira. Although she’s in love with him herself, and shocked at his sudden marriage, she pulls it together with the support of her fellow nurses (including Shammi, love her!) and entertains with this Hawaiian-flavored ditty.
2. “Rut Jawan Jawan” from Aakhri Khat (1966) (sung by Bhupinder, music by Khaiyyam). Although this song is set in a night club, it has a much more lounge-y feel to it than an energetic Helen-style cabaret. Picturized on Bhupinder himself (v.v. handsome!), who sings as Manvendra Chitnis talks to Naqi Jehan about her friend Rajesh Khanna’s need for her support as he searches frantically for his lost child. A perfect song in a near-perfect film.
3. “Halki Halki Sard Hawa” from Bombay Ka Chor (1962) (sung by Asha, music by Ravi). I can’t find any video for it, so am putting it here. Nor can I find my DVD of it (not at all surprising) so no screen shots either. Just enjoy the music! It’s a gem among many gems from this film’s soundtrack, one of Ravi’s very best (and that’s saying something!) in my opinion.
4. “Dilruba Dil Pe Tu” from Rajkumar (1964) (sung by Asha and Rafi, music by Shankar Jaikishan). You didn’t think I’d leave Shammi off a list like this, did you? It would never happen. Sadhana and Shammi’s somewhat…umm…combative relationship turns to love. The peacock instruments don’t hurt at all either!
5. “Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu” from Waqt (1965) (sung by Asha, music by Ravi). A lovely party gathering song, picturized on a gori by the name of Erica Lal (thanks bluelotus!). Raaj Kumar is hosting a party for visiting princess Shashikala, with plans to relieve her of her diamonds. It’s actually somewhat melancholy, but I love the melody and the instruments.
6. “Yeh Munh Aur Masoor Ki Daal” from Around The World (1967) (sung by Sharda and Mubarak Begum, music by Shankar Jaikishan). Rajshree and Ameeta (I think, although it’s hard to judge from the poor quality video and I haven’t seen the movie—want!) tease Raj Kapoor on a beach somewhere, surrounded by goras and goris and lots of sun and sand. Beach blanket bingo fun!
7. “Tune Jo Samjha” from Boxer (1965) (sung by Asha, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). My favorite band Ted Lyons & His Cubs help Mumtaz shimmy her way through this one, along with backup dancers in matching fringed pants, as Dara Singh looks on. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
8. “Zindagi Se Pyar Karna” from Phool Aur Patthar (1966) (sung by Asha, music by Ravi). Ravi figures a lot on this list I have noticed! This song is pictured on Shashikala and a host of background dancers doing the Indian Twist that I love so. She is decked out in a blonde wig and pink sequinned dress with opaque black tights—a total “Fashion Don’t” even then! and she has one of those groovy lounge-lizardy bands. I defy you to sit still while you listen!
9. “Sawar De Jo Pyar Se” from Adventures Of Robinhood (1965) (sung by Rafi, music by GS Kohli). In another historically confused adventure tale, Robin Hood collects some Merry Men, beginning with Friar Tuck (Bhagwan) and a minstrel who sings this lively tune as the three bumble along into these very modern looking damsels, causing them some distress.
10. “Kisne Pukara Mujhe Main Aa Gayi” from Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966) (sung by Lata and Mahendra Kapoor, music by Laxmikant Pyarelal). So seductive, this song! And who better as an object of seduction than Shashi Kapoor in a smoking jacket?
11. “Baar Baar Dekho” from Chinatown (1962) (sung by Rafi, music by Ravi). Shammi sang a lot of lovely western-inspired tunes, but this one melts my heart: all of his insouciant charm is on full display! Lucky Shakila!
12. “Awara Aye Mere Dil” from Raat Aur Din (1967) (sung by Lata, music by Shankar Jaikishan). Lovely Laxmi Chhaya in one of her finest, bounciest songs, accompanied again by Ted Lyons & His Cubs. Love this film, love this song.
13. “Mehfil Mein Dilawon” from Mohabbat Zindagi Hai (1966) (sung by Asha and Mahendra Kapoor, music by OP Nayyar). Review coming soon! Rajshree celebrates with her friends when she finally inherits her fortune, something she had to marry Dharmendra—a prisoner on death row—to accomplish. I am sad not to find it online, because it’s a quintessential picnic-with-the-Twist song and the subtitles are made of awesome, but here’s the audio anyway. You don’t want to miss a party of the enthusiasts!
14. “Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se” from Hamraaz (1967) (sung by Mahendra Kapoor, music by Ravi). We slow down a bit again with this lovely tune from Ravi. Sunil Dutt sings and plays the piano at a small gathering. I haven’t seen the film in a very very long time, and mostly only remember that all the songs are beautiful.
15. “Mehfil Mein Jo Aaye” from Vallah Kya Baat Hai (1962) (sung by Asha, music by Roshan). I’m not sure why every song from a lot of films are uploaded except the one I like! But it’s the case again with this one, so here it is for your listening pleasure. Couples swing-dance energetically as Shammi strolls through the crowd looking all cool with his turned up collar and his cig.
16. “Chik Chari” from Adventures of Robinhood (1965) (sung by Asha, music by GS Kohli). I know another song from this film is already here, but it’s a movie full of fun songs by a sadly underrated music director. And if anyone could tell me the name of this actress I will be so happy! I’ve seen her in several films, mostly standing around looking tall, slender and western! although I’m not sure if she is or not.
Have a cocktail (or a mocktail if that’s your poison) and enjoy!
If I were going to burn these to a CD, this would be the cover (yes, I have way too much time on my hands):