My fifteen favorite Mumtaz songs

Mumtaz simply cannot be contained in a list of ten songs only: she had the good fortune to work in an era—and in films—with such great music, that I just find it impossible. Not only that, but because she was often the heroine (first mostly in so-called B-movies of the sixties, then as an A-list star in the seventies) she usually had three or four songs per film, unlike women who were confined mostly to dances or small supporting roles.

Even expanding my list to fifteen, it’s a daunting prospect. So I made two rules (which I then shamelessly circumvented): first, if the song is already here on another favorites list I can’t repeat it (Mumu has been heavily represented on this blog already! Four are here: “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar”; “Prem Kahani Mein”; “Gore Rang Pe”; “Duniya Mein Logon Ko”; and “Tune Jo Samjha” is here). Second, I have to have seen the film (this is where I cheated, and you will see why and forgive me).

I don’t think I need to say much about Mumtaz herself: she is rightly celebrated as one of the best and brightest of her time, and is already much written about online. Starting at the age of 13 or 14 with her sister Malika (who later married frequent co-star Dara Singh’s brother Randhawa) she made the rounds of studio lots and found success working in “B-movies” as a heroine and in mainstream films as a secondary female character and Comic Side Plot Heroine.

With perseverence, talent and hard work she eventually became a bonafide box-office star, appearing opposite all the top heroes of the time.

Her bombshell figure and beautiful face sometimes obscured the fact that she could really act too, but she proved it time and again. And she could dance with the best of them, of course! She is that rare actress and heroine who could make any jodi appealing, and who excelled in whatever material she was given. She was the girl next door, a sexy seductress, a feisty tribal girl, a sophisticated lady.

So here we go, in chronological order because picking only fifteen favorites was hard enough without prioritizing too (plus it’s kind of fun to see the trajectory her roles and songs took). And remember—at the very leastDuniya Mein Logon Ko” and “Gore Rang Pe” would be here if they hadn’t already been taken!

1. “Aaj Koi Pyar Se” from Sawan Ki Ghata (1966) (sung by Asha; music by OP Nayyar, lyrics by Shamsul Huda Behari). I am cheating right off the bat! the shame! by including this because I haven’t seen this film, but it is simply too gorgeous not to include. I love Asha’s singing here, and many of you will appreciate the clinging wet saree aesthetic of it all (you know who you are).

2. “O Meri Maina” from Pyar Kiye Jaa (1966) (sung by Usha Mangeshkar and Manna Dey; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Rajender Krishan). Mumtaz has had some really fun songs with Mehmood in the CSP Heroine part of her career, and I think this is the best of them. Producer Mehmood (Wah! Wah! Productions) has found his muse! Mehmood hams it up as she channels Laxmi Chhaya and rocks her stirrup pants while a handsome young Shashi Kapoor and disguised Kishore Kumar bob along in time to the music.

3. “Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke” from Brahmachari (1968) (sung by Suman Kalyanpur and Rafi; music by Shankar Jaikishan, lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri). Mumtaz shimmies with her then off-screen love Shammi Kapoor in a sensational orange sari doing its level best to match Pran’s wig. There is just nothing bad about this, and in a movie filled with great songs it’s the tops!

4. “Zindagi Ittefaq Hai” from Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) (sung by Asha and Mahendra Kapoor; music by Ravi, lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi). This is probably one of her most famous songs (and that is saying something!). She sets out to seduce best friends Dharmendra and Feroz Khan (who can blame her?) and succeeds in seducing the entire audience, which includes my pal Ted Lyons (here’s a little known secret: The Monkees was Ted’s band too!).

Her presence here and also in Apradh‘s cracktastic “Hai Naujawan” makes her the official Queen of Rotating Bars.

5. “Bindiya Chamkegi” from Do Raaste (1969) (sung by Lata; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). I love the peekaboo nature of this, courtesy Raj Khosla and his penchant for windows and dividers of all kinds. The famous Mumtaz-Rajesh chemistry is obvious as well, even though it’s one of their first films together.

6. “Raat Suhani Jaag Rahi Hai” from Jigri Dost (1969) (sung by Suman Kalyanpur and Rafi; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). Jeetendra dreams about Mumtaz in this giant WTF of a song…and I really have nothing more to add to that! Someone had a very fertile imagination and a budget to match, and thank goodness for it.

7. “Aaj Raat Hai Jawan” from Bhai-Bhai (1970) (sung by Asha; music by Shankar Jaikishan, lyrics by Shamsul Huda Behari). Again I’m cheating by including this as I haven’t seen the movie. I am pretty sure the rest of it could never live up to this song (which is not to say I am not dying to see the whole thing). I love the saloon setting and Mumtaz rocks her feathers, plus it’s a great tune. And Pran! And Shetty! And Sunil Dutt and Jagdish Raj! And gora extras! So much to enjoy. It just has to be on this list.

8. “Duniya Mein Pyar Ke” from Sachaa Jhutha (1970) (sung by Asha; music by Kalyanji Anandji, lyrics by Gulshan Bawra). Policewoman Mumtaz entertains party guests (including her colleagues Kamal Kapoor and Jagdish Raj) alongside trumpet-wielding Rajesh Khanna, who is acting as an unsuspecting alibi for his lookalike: thief Rajesh Khanna. The song visuals and choreography are compelling enough, but we also see thief Rajesh—shot by Inspector Vinod Khanna—fleeing home in pain to his lair. It’s intense!

9. “Tumhen Apna Na Banaya To” from Upaasna (1971) (sung by Asha; music by Kalyanji Anandji, lyrics by Indeevar). Mumtaz looks so stylishly mod in this song (blue jeans! a jean jacket! bright red headband! “That Girl” hair!), filmed in one of those huge beautiful gardens that India seems littered with. She cajoles a sulky Sanjay Khan with her saucy moves, and if that can’t cheer him up then nothing will. This is quintessential Mumtaz.

10. “Ho Jai Jai Jal Raja” from Kathputli (1971) (sung by Asha and Mahendra Kapoor; music by Kalyanji Anandji, lyrics by Verma Malik). This is really one of my favorite song picturizations of all time: a plea to the Water Municipality gods to provide the chawl with a trickle of precious H2O from the temperamental community tap. Mumtaz leads her neighbors in their devotions. It’s heartfelt, yes, and hilarious too.

11. “O Maajhi Re O Maajhi” from Bandhe Haath (1972) (sung by Asha Bhosle; music by RD Burman, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri). Mumtaz (and Amitabh, and everyone else who participated) was wasted in this bad film, but this song is lovely and the picturization superb (and funny). A bright spot in a disappointing movie.

12. “Motiyon Ki Lari Hoon Main” from Loafer (1973) (sung by Asha; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). If I hadn’t already cheated enough, I might have combined this one and the next from the same film into one entry. But I have cheated enough, and I love both these songs equally—and the film too! In fact another all-time favorite song from it (“Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai”) is pictured on Mumtaz and Dharmendra, but it’s in my favorite Dharmendra list already and is really more of a Dharam song anyway.

As for this one: Mumtaz works her charm on Garam Dharam, who is disapproving but also can’t stop himself from peeping at her. He’s a goner—he just doesn’t know it yet. But we do! I love her go-go boots, her pleather skirt, the furnishings, his dhoti…well, I love everything about this.

13. “Koi Shehri Babu” from Loafer (1973) (sung by Asha; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). Sweet-faced Farida Jalal is getting married and her saheli Mumtaz entertains the assembled ladies with this completely fabulous song and dance.

14. “Keh Rahe Hai Ye Aansoo Baraste Huye” from Jheel Ke Us Paar (1973) (sung by Lata; music by RD Burman, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). This is another I remember vividly in the context of the film. Blind Mumtaz has been “helped” with her party makeup by a jealous Yogeeta Bali, who hopes that by humiliating Mumtaz she can regain Dharmendra’s attention for herself. Instead of fleeing at the ensuing laughter, Mumtaz chooses to remain and sing her song and does so with such dignity and grace that Dharmendra falls head over heels for her instead. The laughing dies quickly, and even Yogeeta feels a little ashamed of herself by the end. Love this scene, love this song.

15. “Phool Aahista Phenko” from Prem Kahani (1975) (sung by Lata and Mukesh; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). This song is an entire story in itself. Her beloved Rajesh Khanna has rejected Mumtaz (without telling her why) and in one of those filmi coincidences she marries his best friend Shashi Kapoor. They meet again when wounded independence fighter Rajesh seeks shelter with his friend and his new bride. When poor unwitting Shashi requests a song, he gets waaaay more than he bargained for as Rajesh and Mumtaz air their feelings and exchange recriminations. It’s lovely (and sad!), and a perfect example of how beautifully a song can move the movie plot along.

Thanks to my friend Tom for prodding me into this post. It was a challenge and a lot of fun—and I look forward to discovering more favorites from the rest of you. Feel the love, Mumtaz!

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150 Comments to “My fifteen favorite Mumtaz songs”

  1. ZOMG. I mean, can there possibly be any other reaction?

    Also, Sheheri Babu is my earworm and now I’ll be singing it all day and into my sleep!

  2. Great Job, for some reason i always feel that till i watch almost all or a good deal of an actor’s filmography i can never do a list of favourite songs. I love your selections though, and i’d easily drop ‘Koi shahiri babuji’ for motiyon. As far as Mumtaz is concerned with me a song that comes to mind when i think of her is ‘Agar dilbar ki’ from Khilona and if i ever do manage to see all her films that song will still be Number 1 for me as it made me a lifelong Mumtaz lover

    • Well I probably have watched a good deal of Mumtaz’s filmography…but it’s true that all my favorites lists should be titled “My favorite —- songs (so far)” :D

      I know I am inviting scorn and vilification but mujras are not my favorite dance form…they all sound and look basically the same to me. I can enjoy them, but that’s the reason they rarely make it to a favorites list. I’m a philistine!

  3. chuma chuma lele… thanks for the joy of songs reviving hots for Mumtaz that simply cannot be contained… ;)

  4. i meant to say i’d easily drop motiyon for koi shahiri babuji its one of my all time fave Asha numbers

    • It is, and Loafer is one of the first “older” films I saw which propelled me into watching more and more of them. You can maybe thank (or blame) Loafer for this blog! :)

  5. Lovely list, Greta.
    Not a long comment this time from me (will come back though!) but just want to add a few songs for your consideration.
    – Sun champa sun taara (Apna Desh) (I LOVE this song, very sweet. And it is a real feel-good song after Rajesh has won the local elections). Mumu dances really well to the beat. She was a natural.
    – Ye hai reshmi (Mere Sanam). To be honest, I don’t think she looks all that great in this song (too much puppy fat maybe and her hair style looks a bit odd) but even overall she is very good in this song. And the song itself is very good IMO.
    – Maine dekha, tune dekha (Dushman).

    More later. :-)

    • Apna Desh is just a treasure trove of great Mumtaz (and Rajesh) songs, all by itself! Aaja Mere Raja is great, the song she sings while selling her coconuts. Ye Hai Reshmi was on the short list, and so was a song from Dushman that I love—I think it’s called Dekho Dekho Bioscope or something, but she sings it as she sells peeps into her giant Viewmaster thingie to the village kids. There are just too too many fabulous Mumtaz songs! I’m lucky my head didn’t explode working on this post :D

      • Must remember to revisit Apna Desh

        This is one of my all time favorite melody* song sung by Asha Bhosle Ji with lilting music by O.P. Nayar 

        Yeh Hai Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera – Mere Sanam (1965)

        SPOILER Warning * I agree with Raja as I have ruined my musical mummu memories by now watching her in no-no stripes and checks body hugging baby doll suit! Thanks it’s not on our list!

        Sent from my iPhone

  6. Honourable mention.
    Ruby O Ruby (Chaahat).

  7. Great selection (as always), although I was half-expecting ‘Yun hi tum mujh se baat karti ho’ from ‘Sachcha Jhutha’.

  8. Glad to see those Loafer songs in this wonderful list, since I am told a small piece of this film was shot in my school. Apparently some “keep the culture pure” people were against allowing a film (any film), especially one with a name like Loafer from sullying the school’s image.
    That “Zindagi Ittefaq Hai” is really wonderful, would it be a first for Bollywood with a person wearing the “basic black dress” ?
    As additions, how about :-
    1) Radha Ne Mala Japi, from Tere Mere Sapne.
    2) O Re Ghunghroo Ka Bole, from Hare Rama Hare Krsihna
    Admittedly both songs are another shameless Dev plug, but my “shallow strategy” of always preferring Dev-or-Shammi-or-Rajesh-or-Dharam films for songs rarely fails to deliver.:)

    • Loafer is such a special film to me, really. Mumtaz and Dharmendra—I was new to Hindi cinema, but fell head over heels for both of them when I saw it.

      I need to watch it again and write a review, if I can get it to play in my computer which I believe was a problem last time I thought about doing that :)

      And Tere Mere Sapne is one of my favorite films (well I love Hare Rama…too for different reasons) :) Really Mumtaz has had a career she is hopefully very very proud of!

  9. You have not watched “Sharaarat”(1972) because you could not get a sub titled version, else you would have loved this fantastic song.

    Composed by my favourite music director Ganesh, I liked this song so much that I posted this as 2500th song of my blog. This had to be one of the very best songs picturised on her.

    • I have watched Shararat although I have no idea what the story is about (Manmohan Desai REQUIRES subtitles). And this song was def. on the short list too! I almost made it a top 20, but even at 15 the post gets a bit long and unwieldly…

  10. You need to do 100 best Mumtaz songs. Never mind, there can always be 15 best Mumtaz songs II, III, IV. If Rocky can do it, why can’t you?

    This list tells me I have missed a lot of Mumtaz! I haven’t seen Loafer, Upasana, Apna Desh and scores of others. I did see Bandhe Haath though, I thought Amitabh looked very cute it that film, and Mumtaz was awesome as ever.

    • Isn’t it amazing that one could easily do a 100 Mumtaz songs post, and there wouldn’t be a bad song on there (plus some good ones would still have to be left off) :D Well, I might have to do another one down the road—there is a lot of Mumtaz out there. You must see Loafer and Apna Desh—Upaasna I love because of the songs, but don’t know how the story is since it too is not available with subtitles :( Bandhe Haath is such a bad movie (it’s a remake of OP Ralhan’s Mujrim with Shammi, which is better)…but they all looked nice in it.

  11. Great work, keep it up.

    Now I complain that you have not included my favourites,(I think you haven`t watched following my mumtaz`s favorite numbers)

    1.Ai dushman-e-jaan, chal diya kahaan-“PATTHAR KE SANAM”(You will like it, by what I have learnt from your writings, he…hee…..heee.)

    2.Tik tik tik,mera dil dole,tune tune,tune-“HUMJOLI”(she appears only for one song alongwith jeetendra-its a cabret song)

    3.Chori chori chupke chupke,palkone-“AAP KI KASAM”(she looks very beautiful sharing the vibes from two heros and the lyrics of the song-that`s a total combination of music,lyrics,appearances)

    4.Kya meri prem kahaani, nadiya se bichda paani-“PREM KAHAANI”(again for the lyrics and the mumtaz`s beautiful appearance and the sheer magic mumtaz creates on screen, while singing the song and emoting so well the plight of a woman torn between love for her former lover and husband- I will go on going gaga over my favourite continuously-SORRY)

    5.there is a song from Mumtaz`s 1974 film “AAINA”, I can`t remember the lyrics (“phool hanse….sorry I forgot the lyrics)The memories of watching Mumtaz singing that song amidst of trees and greenery of village still haunts me( in that film she turns into a prostitute for fulfilling her traditional family)(I recommend that film because you may like that film which is a remake of famous tamil film)

    OOPS, enough for today, you will get bored by my bantering.
    lot`s of regards.

    • Ha ha–that’s why it’s a MY favorites list. Everyone should be required to make his or her own :D I like the songs you mention above too, very much—especially the Tik Tik Tik song, although I haven’t seen Humjoli yet (need to remedy that).

      I have seen Aaina, but don’t remember much about it.

  12. Fabulous list, Greta! I adore Mumtaz. :-) I love Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera too, though I agree the picturisation is duh and Mumtaz herself looks less than her usual perfect.

    Here’s another for the list: Yoon hi tum mujhse baat karti ho from Sachcha Jhootha:

  13. I love O Meri Maina from Pyaar Kiye Jaa. She was so young and very very graceful. She was seen in a bit role in Mujhe Jeene Do and as a child artiste in either the Nargis starrer Lajwanti or the Nutan starrer Seema. I cannot remember which of the two. Balraj Sahani was the male lead in both the films.

    • She is very cute in O Meri Maina. Reminds me of Laxmi Chhaya a lot in it—same cuteness and verve and grace :) Did your dad interact with her much? She was probably a bit young for him to hang out with. Ted (Lyons) has said to me that she was very friendly with everyone on the sets (he taught her some of her first ballroom dance steps) :)

      • My father and Mumtaz did not act together in any film. As for Mujhe Jeene Do she just had a scene or two –she was still more or less finding her feet in the industry,she was probably a teenager then —– and none of the scenes were with dad.

        • I always forget that just because people are in the same movie doesn’t mean they were on the sets at the same time! Too bad though, I would have loved to know what he’d thought of her if they had met :)

  14. Awesome, just awesome. This post has the spunk of Mumtaz herself :)

  15. U missed many gems of Mumtaz ….. and some of them which u included are pale in comparison to the following films
    1 Karvatae Badalte Rahe
    2 Suno Kaho both of Aap Ki kasam
    3 Tik Tik’ from Humjoli
    4 Radha Ne Mala from Tere Mere Sapne
    5 Gori Ke Haath Mein Jaise Ye Challa form mela
    6 Tum Mile Pyaar Se – Apradh
    7 Kajra Laga Ke Gazra – Apna Desh
    8 Chal Chalen Ae Di from Jheel Ke Us Paar
    9 Motiyon Ki Lari Hoon from Loafer(which u too included)
    10 kanchi re kanchi re from hare raam hare krishna
    11 Aao Tumhe Mein Pyar – Upaasna
    12 Are Jana Hai To Jao from bandhan
    13 aj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke from Brahmachari (which u too included)
    14Tumhen Apna Na Banaya To from Upaasna
    (which u too included)
    15 O Meri Maina from Pyar Kiye Jaa (which u too included)

    • I know you mean well Shrikant (at least I hope you do) but don’t you think it’s sort of insulting of you to tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about? I am not making any claims of these being in any way the “BEST” songs of Mumtaz, because I believe that is completely subjective anyway as is MY list of favorites. You don’t have to agree with my taste but it doesn’t make me wrong.

      • the point is mumtaz ooked better and the songs composed by the music directors were too nice….melodious and song choreography was mindblowing in the list i provided and mumtaz grew as an actress in the period 1969 ie after she did Do Raaste with Khanna till then she was not that great as an actress ..but only as a beautiful girl.

        so why dont u add up the song s i put and extending the list to say 20….

        memsaab now u hve become famous ..i mean if we type in google some of the nice films of devanand,rajesh khanna and mumtraz its ur blog tat comes as 3rd in google.

        so do justice to them while praising them otherwise some reader would think you are also insulting khanna or devanand….
        offcourse iam mean well for u , rajesh khanna,pran,sanjeev kumar,dharmendra,sivaji ganeshan,mgr,kamal hasan,devanand 8 of whom i rate over raj kapoor,amitabh folowed by jeetendra,shashi,rishi and other great stars…

      • @Srikanth – It’ll be good if you put up a list of 15 of YOUR favourite songs without “insulting” any of the above stars.

        From what I can see no one has felt that memsaab has done any kind of injustice or insulted a star just by picking her favourite 15 Mumtaz songs. Its an unwritten rule that any personal blog owner can choose to post his/her thoughts without having to explain the rationale.

    • I agree with Greta. The post says “My favorite Mumtaz songs”, so its the list of songs that SHE likes. Of course, I can have a list of 15 songs and not one of them could be in Greta’s list. so that doesn’t make me wrong. Its like choosing emeralds from a treasure trove of various jewels.

      • Do it! Make a list of your emeralds and share it with us! :)

        • Whenever I start writing posts on films, I want it to begin with my all time favourite Dharmendra. So maybe I will do a list of favourite songs of him and then others later. :-)

          BTW, the idea to write posts on films also came from your page, Greta.

        • Yes, do that one first (I myself could not resist putting one together) and then give us the link! Do you write a blog? I’d love to see it :)

          • Yes, I do write a blog, but its completely non-Bollywood. I know you will find it hard to believe, but that’s the fact.

            Yes I do plan to have my own Bollywood blog soon. I will email you the link to my current blog.

    • Well, Shrikant some like violets, some like roses, others like daisies!
      But that doesn’t mean violets are better than roses. :-)
      It is hard enough task to shorten the list to 15!
      Your list is nice and I like all songs in your list too!

    • The first lesson in appreciating any thing (and especially music) is that a lot of subjectivity is involved in it. Intolerance (my choice is better than others choice) means that one cannot enjoy lots and lots of great songs because one refuses to open one’s mind to songs one did not get properly exposed to.

      I can cite several songs that few people may have ever heard, but that does not mean these songs are not in the same league than the songs that became well known. There have been countless great songs lying there that few people know about. I discover such songs almost on a daily basis.

      Personally, I love any list of songs, because it often leads me to songs that I never heard before. And there are such songs in this list. Just because I never heard them, I will not say that they are not in the same league vis a vis the songs that I have heard before. If I take that stand, then I will stop discovering “new” songs which I do every day because I am open to “new” songs.

  16. I suppose we should have ALL done a my-best list, and then spent some time fighting over whose list was best. Reminds me of that sequence in Rush Hour where Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan get into the ‘my-daddy-best’ fight. It was hilarious.

  17. Hey, did anyone tell you look like the fabulous, Mumu?:-) (So does my Mom’s younger sister incidentally).

    Love the post and you’re absolutely right – she has so many great songs that we could list them all day and still not run out. You and others have already mentioned a number of my favorites, but here are links to a few more.:-)

    Aao aao jaan-e-jahan (1972, Gomti Ke Kinare)

    Baat karte ho baat karna nahi aata (1967, Chandan Ka Palana)

    O Nirdai Preetam (1961, Stree)
    This actually isn’t a Mumtaz song, but I believe it’s one of her earliest appearances in hindi films. See if you can spot her.:-)

    • Ha ha! That’s too funny that you would say that. Yes, others have noticed it (my sister, and Banno when I met her) and even I thought so when I first saw her. I did look a lot like her when I was younger—same snub nose, chipmunk cheeks, eyes. Many people used to remark that I looked like Natalie Wood too, and if you think about it Mumtaz and Natalie look alike too!

    • She’s right there, right off the bat in Stree!!! And it’s color! MUST SEE. I can’t find Chandan Ka Palna either (maybe haven’t looked hard enough), and I love that song from Gomti Ke Kinare—it too was on the “short list” :) Thanks for those links, FAB.

    • Mumtaz played Sakhi roles in Stree and Sehraa (watch the song: Pankh hoti to ud aati re) under V. Shantaram’s direction. Shantaram had cast his duaghter Rajshree in Boondh jo ban gayi Moti but she couldn’t bear her father’s discipline andin popped Mumtaz and got her first role as a leading lady with a leading director.

  18. Love Mumtaz for the way she rose from an ‘extra’ to an extremely popular heroine.
    We know of many who deserved to be heroines, but didn’t get to be, so its really an achievement.

    I love ‘o meri maina’ and ‘yeh hai reshami among the… oh so numerous to even count, I’d prefer looking for a needle in a haystack to naming them.
    I don’t know how you did this, memsaab. A difficult task. :-)

    But my top favourite (if possible) is Jai Jai Shiv Shjankar from Aap Ki Kasam, because it represents Mumtaz’s exuberant personality.

    It’s a popular song, even so, it can be enjoyed every time it’s at hand. :-)
    So here it is,

  19. I have a list of Mumtaz in orange. Absolutely love her in orange. So it is all those orange songs with RK like the Jai jai shiv shankar clip above, Yun hi is captivating and Bindiya chamkegi.
    Memsaab, surprised Yun hi is not in your top 15. It’s so fabulous.
    The only Dharam number I like her in is Zindagi Ittefaq hai (mostly because of him) ;).

  20. Memsaab — Word!

    Mumu, Kaka, Rain = :-D

    One of my favorites from the film that created, arguably, the “most loved jodi” ever –‘Chup gaye saare nazare’ indeed!

    • Was Do Raaste their first film? I know Bandhan came out the same year…but of course you will have encyclopedic knowledge on release dates etc. :)

      I love Gore Rang Pe the best of the Mumu+Kaka+Rain=:-D genre (and this is good too).

  21. Yes it is! Here’s something on Mumu (and Kaka).

    “……These days, a lot of emphasis is laid on the ‘chemistry’ of ‘jodis’ by fly-by-night judges, proliferating on reality shows that are aired dime a dozen on all channels. They just need to watch Khanna serenading a voluptuous Mumtaz in the film to know what chemistry is all about.

    The actress, who graduated from doing lead roles in C-grade stunt films to side roles in mainstream cinema to being the topmost female star of her times speaks volumes of her calibre as an actress and perseverance as a fighter.

    Whether clad in a sober salwar-kameez, eyes covered with dark sunglasses in “Yeh Reshmi Zulfein” (with an unshaven Khanna) or drenched in rain for “Chhup Gaye Saare Nazare” or clad in a bright orange sari for “Bindiya Chamkegi”, (a modern day Shakuntala, out to win the attention of Khanna, who is busy studying on his terrace) she manages to seduce the camera with her pout and underplayed sensuality. She was indeed the ultimate diva, who induced a million fantasies.Only Sridevi, in later years, managed to essay roles that Mumtaz did so effortlessly.”

  22. Not an enviable task at allt oreduce one’s favorite Mumtaz songs to 15. But I’m sure it was real fun to go through all these wonderful songs!
    Enjoyed each and every song here and could have added soem more to the list, but tha towuld be nitpicking.
    A sure fire eye-candy and melodious post.

    • You know it WAS fun. I really enjoyed watching the 25 or so which were “short-listed” over and over again :D

      There were so many that could be added to the list, but then it would be an entire blog by itself.

      Hey that’s an idea! Oh wait…Atul is already doing it :D

  23. Another great post, Great. I love the lists. Everyone has their favorites and of course we won’t agree on everything, but that’s what makes life interesting.

    I love the lists and all the comments because they clue me in to films I didn’t know about previously. Keep up the great work!

    • That is one of the reasons I make the lists—they clue me into films I had never heard about or had forgotten about too. And it’s fun to see what other people really love and how different people’s tastes are. Mine only represent me!

  24. I just remembered another one. Not a Mumtaz showcase in the style of Zindagi ittefaq hai (which is her song, all the way!) but still. This is a lovely song, beautiful lyrics and great music:

    • The only thing I don’t like about this song is Lata’s singing…it’s “old lady quavery” and is just WRONG for young beautiful Mumtaz. Maybe she should have been singing for Dev instead, LOL (*ducks to avoid all the stuff thrown at her*)…

      • “old lady quavery”

        It is funny how you don’t like Lata’s sound in the 70s. I grew up withthis songs and didn’t/don’t find anything amiss.

        @dustedoff: love this song a lot and also “Jaise radha ne mala japi”

        • I don’t dislike ALL Lata in the 70s, but her voice had definitely started to show its age then, and it should have been used more carefully (both by her and by music directors/directors). I probably notice it more precisely because I didn’t grow up with her constant presence on the radio so the degradation of quality isn’t gradual for me. When I compare her singing in the 50s to her singing in the 70s (beginning then) to her singing in the 90s…it’s night and day. I know she says she will sing until she dies, and good for her—it’s who she is, and what she loves. She should keep singing, but there is a point too where people need to retire from the public realm gracefully (it happens to almost everyone—I would hate to see her become the Brett Favre of Bollywood!)…she says that she can’t say no to music directors who approach her, but by and large she probably SHOULD, for her own sake.

          • I hear you, Greta! (I invariably end up typing your name as ‘Great’, and then going back and correcting it. Or am I really ‘correcting’ it?!) I think Lata was superb in the 50’s and 60’s, but I think she gets shrill and screechy by the late 70’s. I personally don’t think she’s ‘old lady quavery’ (LOL at that description!) here, but that’s probably because like harvey I’ve been listening to this song since I was a kid and have gotten used to it. But Lata, 80’s onwards? Not at all my cup of tea. She should have retired a long time back.

          • Thanks Madhu :) I feel a little fortified now by your support, LOL. It must be hard to be the absolute tops in your field and have to accept it when you start slipping for reason that you can’t control. I will say that I don’t mind her singing in “O Paalanhaare” from Lagaan at all, and even if she sounds on the older side it is still lovely and it’s okay in the context of the film/picturization. But how sad if the younger generation only remembers her as the voice of Preity Zinta in Veer Zaara—not a fitting legacy at all.

          • Like I said at Richard’s site some days back: both the sisters should retire gracefully rather than say they don’t sin gfor the movies, since the music is so bad nowadays.
            It is always better to be asked why aren’t you singing anymore rather than why are you still singing.

          • Very wise words, harvey!!! :D

      • Oh god, what have you said Memsaab….Is Lata’s sining like “old lady quavery” Boy ho boy…

        You need to ask the young menfolk of 1970s as to what Lata’s voice
        did to them…..:D

        For Aap Ki Kasam..Pancham da came up wih an echo effect for songs…
        The combination of Lata-Kishore-Mumtaz and of course Rajesh Khanna was
        spellbounding….You dont like any of the songs of this movie????
        Maybe you should see “Karveten Badalte rahe” once again… ;D

        • Yikes, I REALLY DON’T WANT to know!!!!! :D

          No, I like the songs from Aap Ki Kasam very much—Jai Jai Shiv Shankar would have been on here except as I said I’ve used it before. And “Chori Chori Chupke” and “Suno Kaho Kaha Sona” were both on the short list (I like them both better than Karveten Badalte).

  25. The song from Kathputli is now up, thanks to Tom! If you haven’t seen the film or the song, do have a look at it. I think it’s one of the cutest songs EVER in the history of the world. Really, I do.

    • I just LOVED this! And, of course, had never heard of it before so thank you so much and Tom too. What a wonderful take on life :-)

      • I had to rewind it and watch it again about five times before I could move on with the film itself. I just love it, and I’m so glad Tom has put it up (I couldn’t find it online elsewhere, and that’s just criminal)!

  26. Hi,
    Thank you for your list, all the songs are great. Whenever, I think of
    Mumtaz, these two songs come to mind. Her display of emotions in these two most famous songs seems like she is the one who is singing:-

    1. Movie: Do Raaste Song: Bindiya Chemkegi…..the way this song was picturized on Mumtaz & Rajesh created a craze and is one of the most popular song of her. It looked like she put her whole mind to it.

    2. Movie: Prem Kahani Song: Kuch Bhi Na Kaha…….again picturized on Mumtaz and Rajesh. It seems like time had stood still and songs lingers on your mind. Although they don’t say a word. This Noorjhean song creates a magic that you can’t shake off.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Anvar. It is amazing what Mumtaz could convey with those big eyes—she is so much more than just a pretty face :) I’d forgotten about that Noorjehan song…it was a wonderful scene, with the rain adding to the intensity of it all.

      • That ‘Kuch bhi na kaha’ sequence has got to be one of the most affecting in Hindi cinema IMO. The way Rajesh’s expressions in his eyes change as he follows the much more heavingly :-) demonstrative Mumu…..regret, resignation, sympathy….he’s awesome! And Noorjehan in the background to all this–sublime!

  27. This is the post that just keeps on giving! Check this one out, courtesy again of Tom (from Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti which I clearly need to see too):

  28. Ok, I did not hear Lata in Veer-Zaara; I only saw Preity “singing” the Hum Ko Bhai; because she did such a good job in the sequence, and actually Lata’s off-key singing (not intentional of course) suited the strong bubbly Zaara.

    But I agree that Lata should have stopped singing long before she decided to.

    Here is one of my favorite Mumtaz dance songs:

    Not the best audio or video quality, but this is the better of the two youtube uploads I have found for the song.


  29. Wah Wah – lajawaab memsaab!

  30. I am slightly in disagreement about the 70s Lata here. There are too many lovely songs in there to dismiss the whole decade: in any case, I think it was the music in general that was getting noisier.
    Her voice had developed and I personally like the deeper quality in songs of lets say Abhimaan, Mehboob ki Mehndi, Chupke Chupke, Amar Prem, etc.

    I would subscribe to your opinion 80s onwards, ….but then the songs itself were increasingly horrible by that time…

    • To be fair bawa, I didn’t say that all 70s Lata is bad, in fact I said the opposite. But for me her voice became noticeably “older” in tone and harder for her to control; I think she should have slowed down much more than she did. I think Asha’s voice actually had much more staying power, possibly because she hadn’t used it as much ;-)

      • Actually, Asha used her voice much more than Lata…her song count exceeds Lata’s by several thousands.

        As for Lata, I completely agree that her voice quality had deteriorated considerably by the early 70s. And while there are many songs of her that I love from that decade my liking for them is generally *despite* Lata’s singing.:-)

        • But did it exceed Lata’s output by the mid-70s? Or is that a current figure? It’s my impression that Asha kept going longer, but it took her longer to get started. But you would know better than I for sure :)

          • Memsaab, If I am not mistaken Asha was the female singer with the most songs every year, starting as early as 1954 right up till the 80s. Her output definitely exceeded Lata’s by the mid 70s.

          • Aditya, my math skills are not nearly good enough to keep track of either Mangeshkar sister’s output!!! :D It’s mind-blowing.

        • My two cents – I remember a Music director saying that Lata was like Sir Don Bradman who was a specialist only in batting, while Asha was like Sir Gary Sobers who was a complete cricketer. (Sorry, Greta not sure if you follow cricket closely).

          My take would be that Asha could possibly sing songs in every genre (if that’s the right word), whereas Lata could possibly bring out the best in songs of classical raaga(in italics) mould. I am not sure of the count of both the singers, so can’t say which one used their voice more.

          However, Asha started singing for lead actresses only as late as 1957 in Naya Daur whereas Lata started much earlier, possibly in the mid-40s.

          In the 70s, Lata may not have performed to her full potential possibly because of the reduction in the number of quality composers. However, she did have a lion’s share of her good songs with S. D. Burman, Madan Mohan, R. D. Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji and other notable music directors from the 60s. Moreover this was the decade of fast music, so possibly her voice could not have been suited the racy numbers. In the 80s, I remember only a handful of music directors who utilised Lata to the fullest. Ravindra Jain, Shiv-Hari and to an extend Laxmikant-Pyarelal. The others just made her sing and have not made her perform in any way.

  31. memsaab, I agree with you then! All singers scales go down as they gorw older (e.g. Placido Domigo, from Tenor to Baritone, to give an example).

    I just think when there was good music in the 70s, and there still was plenty, she had a different kind of depth to her singing and voice, not necesarrily worse, just different!

    As for the 80s, the music is so awful most of the time, I just shudder to call it singing sometimes.

    I will not go into the Lata vs Asha debate because I love both their singing and voices, and I think Lata has such wide range, much more than what is generally attributed to her, and Asha is so excellent at nearly everything, its an apples vs oranges debate for me.

    Difficult to know their actual song count, although Lata’s should be much higher because she sang for the leading lady (who always had more in any film), and then with both the sisters singin for all those regional films. Thats a research project lying in waiting for someone!

    • Bawa, the actual fact is that Asha’s number has always been higher than Lata’s since 1954. What you’re missing is the fact that Lata sang mostly for A or B list films (big producer, known names, etc… of course with a few exceptions), whereas Asha sang for every kind of film. It’s just that most of the songs that Asha sang in the 50s sank along with the films, thereby creating a perception that her sister (who had innumerable popular songs) sang many more songs.

  32. Lata was an expert in singing very high notes, and I think that’s the reason she may have kind of developed a break in her voice.
    Lata had the ability to go very high, then even out to make that note longer, or even go up and down in waves maintaining that pitch. That’s why she was so good at singing classical melodies.
    In this song from Guide at about 8.10/8.11 she does something of what I am trying to describe.

    I love Asha equally, because of her lighter melodies with a lot of rhythm and beat and popularly westernised melodies (not all of course, but many). I like her best with OP Nayyar.
    Does anyone know if Asha ever sang any song set to classical music?

    I agree the music and films of 80s were so atrocious I gave up watching them.

    • oops. Sorry. it’s a little later than 8.10. :-/
      But the song has very high notes in several places.

    • Most Hindi movie songs are based on classical raagas. That way, most of Asha Bhonsle’s songs (like those of other singers) are indeed based on classical music.

      Here is a very brief list of Asha Bhonsle’s songs based on classical raagas

      1. Chhotaa sa baalmaa (Raagini)

      2. Sooni sooni saans ke sitaar par ( Laal Patthar)

      3.Dil cheez kyaa hai aap meri jaan leejiye (Umrao Jaan)

      4. Dekhoji mera haal badal gayi chaal (Solva Saal)

      5. Jab ishq kahin ho jaata hai (Aarzoo)

      6. Raat bhar ka hai mehmaan andhere (Sone Ki chhidiyaa)

      7. Mujhe gale se lagaa lo (Aaj aur Kal)

      8. Meri baat rahi mere man mein (Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam)

      9. Ye kyaa jagah hai (Umrao Jaan)

      10. Yahi hai wo saanjh aur saweraa (Saanjh Aur Sawera)

      11. Reshmi salwaar kurta jaali kaa (Nayaa Daur)

      12. Ghareebon ki suno (Dus Laakh)

      13.Dekho bijli dole (Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon)

      14.Kisi nazar ko tera (Aitbaar)

      15.In aankhon ki masti (Umrao Jaan)

      16. Chain se hamko kabhi (Pran Jaaye par Vachan naa jaaye)

      17. Shokh nazar ki (Wo Kaun Thi)

      etc etc

      • When Pacifist said “Does anyone know…” I thought: I’ll bet ATUL DOES! Thanks Atul. This is an interesting list! If only I didn’t have a day job :(

      • Thanks for that list atul.
        I’ve heard all these songs and like them.
        As you say;
        >Most Hindi movie songs are based on classical raagas

        I agree, some more than others, and Lata’s were more deeply classical (the reason I recognised them with my untrained ears).

        Interesting to note (if I’m not mistaken) that none of the songs listed have very high notes which Lata took to a striking pitch and still maintained it with a range and variation at that point.

    • I’m not going to get into the Asha vs. Lata debate, but here are a couple of my favorite classical hindi film songs.

      Aayi pari rang bhari – Do Phool

      Man anand anand chhayo- Vijeta

      Jeevan jyot jale – Grihasthi

  33. Ha ha! I think most of us can agree that the 80s gave us very little “music” and a lot of “noise” (pew-pew! pew-pew!)…

  34. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! Mummu’s songs!! I love all these! And my favorites are ‘Oh meri maina’ (how zany!) and ‘Aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche’ :D Fanta orange is SO Mummu’s color! Such a sprite :)

  35. Most of you will know this but for the few that don’t, there’s a 2011 Bollywood vintage calendar (the old is gold era) and Mumtaz it’s advertised on Mumtaz. Oh Mumtaz, such a perky village belle.

  36. I am among the few who is unaware of this calender.

  37. My pal Mike over at the Pedro the Ape Bomb blog brought the calendar to my attention:

    It looks superb, superb! My birthday is coming up, ha ha!

  38. Good post mate, bookmarked the blog. Also do you mind if I was to post some sections for my blog? I will give full credits to yours and a link back? Thanks keep up the good work!

  39. Greta:

    where did you learn to write so exquisitely? i need my memsaab fix every morning!! please please write something about the following; i am dying to get your take on these:
    1. the song ‘duniya mein logon ko’ from apna desh starring mumtaz and rajesh khanna
    2. and the film jigri dost (mumtaz and jeetendra)
    3. you’ve never written anything about ‘tight-pant’ jeetendra. what i lke about him is his real-life fidelity to his wife shobha

    • You are very nice, Charu, I’m glad you enjoy my writing :) I’ve already done your first request, both in my post on Apna Desh here and on the song itself on Atul’s Song A Day blog. Jigri Dost I haven’t been able to get all the way through yet for some reason :( If I ever do get through it I will write it up (maybe)…as for Jeetendra’s fidelity…hmmm. My vintage filmi magazines tell a different story altogether! :D

  40. I really liked the clip with Jeetendra in Jigri Dost because I have a weakness for men in Indian clothes :-) It always seemed out of balance when men wear pants and women are wearing saris in loves scenes…

  41. Did anyone mention the following two songs, she is gorgeous in both :

    1. Khaandaan – 1965 – Aao Dance Karein

    2.Daadi Maa – Chale Aaye re hum to

  42. Hi:

    Could you please explain why all the Indian film actresses – Rekha, Mumtaz, Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Aruna Irani etc etc etc always claim that they were in their early teens when they started out as actresses when they all look well into their 20s? Mumtaz was gorgeous, but she certainly was not 14 or 15 as is being claimed? And then they have sycophants who are their to propagate these lies to get some crumbs thrown their way by kissing ass.

  43. Well, since Mumtaz was born on July 31, 1947, and since she was regularly acting by 1963, I think we can safely say she was in her mid-teens by then. However, she did have some roles before then, while in her early teens. She was in Stree in 1961. In Aao Dance Karen from Khandan in 1965, the embedded video linked just above, she was probably 18 or so.

    Hema Malini is a year younger than Mumtaz and didn’t really start acting until she was 20.

    Rekha was born in 1954 and first appeared in films while only 12. Her real career began in 1970 when she was 16. And so on. I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but it’s easy enough to check the birth dates against their filmographies. There’s no reason for these actresses to lie since the facts are so easily available to prove them wrong if they make false claims.

  44. Amazing selection, Memsaab. My personal Mumtaz favorite is “Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera” from Mere Sanam. Check it out.

  45. Hi Memsaab. I am wondering if you know is it possible to send contact to Mumtaz by letter or email. She has always been one of my favorite actresses and I know she suffered from breast cancer. I also am suffering from this now and she is being an inspiration to me with what she has gone through that I wanted to express this and my thanks to her personally. If you cannot help me that is ok and thank you anyway.

    • Oh I wish I did! I am so sorry that you are facing this :( I hope you have a lot of love and support to help you through, and you are definitely in my thoughts! ((Hugs))

  46. LOL! No song with Dev Anand (Tere mere sapne) and Dilip Kumar(Ram aur Shyam). 2 songs from Loafer were justified but Upaasana and Bhai Bhai are not worth.

  47. I was looking for an old song that I love. And found it is picturized on Mumtaz. Here it is. (Lagi na Chootegi)

  48. I was looking for an old song that I love. And found it is picturized on Mumtaz. Here it is. (Lagi na Chootegi)

    And then there is this Dara Singh Movie (Raka) with Mumtaz and Roopesh Kumar.

  49. Really a lovely connection…………… has to be a huge crazy to create and appreciate such larger than life music dance so that generations after people would wonder and cherish about it. Raat suhani is a real beauty as well as O majhi O majhi from Bande Hath, even in O majhi one could enjoy the creative visualization.

  50. I love all of Mumtaz’s songs, including all in the list. But, apart from Shehri Babu from Loafer, I am very much hooked to the song, “Main tere Ishq Mein Mar Na Jaaon Kahin, Tu Mujhe Aajmane Ki Koshish Na Kar”, which is also one of my favorite Lata-Laxmikant Pyarelal numbers

  51. All the ghagra-choli songs of lovely Mumu in film like Bandhan or Taangewala and many more are marvellous and most enjoyable but no commentor mentioned about thes films

  52. Mumtaz had a great chemistry with all her heroes, but with rajesh khanna, it was something extraordinary. Each of their songs together were gems. I specially like the “Jai Jai Shiv Shanker” song where they shed their inhibitions & freak out.

  53. Sachaa Jhutha is the fvrt song for me from asha bhosle

  54. Nice post
    Aap ki kasam has lovely songs too

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