My ten favorite picnic songs

When I was a kid I dreaded the words “Let’s have a picnic!”. Picnics were nothing but an ordeal to get through: weather (the Beiges never let a little cold rain stop us), poison ivy, bugs, indifferent food. My father did not know or care to know how to barbecue so it was always sandwiches, which I could have just as easily eaten indoors where ants weren’t crawling on them.

Little did I dream in those days that halfway across the world beautiful people were picnicking in STYLE—even at night!

How much more happily I would have put up with dining outdoors had I been able to twist the time away with a band or the scenery of Kashmir as a backdrop; with Shammi or Rajesh serenading me as I pretended to be annoyed or bashful; dressed in a jewel-colored churidar kameez or pom-pommed hat and mittens and plentiful Spare Hair to toss about with sparkling chandelier earrings catching the sun.

The picnic tradition in Hindi movies is so much fun. It serves to initiate or further romance, as an excuse to play pranks or for some comedy—sometimes all of these things in one. It is always a great reason to insert a song, usually a fun one but sometimes a heart-achingly romantic one too.

It is my firm determination to picnic in India one of these days, preferably with sahelis in tow.

Which songs will I be humming when I do, you ask? With such a long and rich history to draw from, I made some rules to help myself out: there must be picnic accoutrements (at the very least a thermos or two), or the word “picnic” in the song, or the context of a picnic around the song within the film itself. People running around in gardens or through trees without one of those three things involved does not count. I’m also by and large omitting the ones which lack lyrics and so are harder to find video for (Cha Cha Cha’s beach picnic, for example) and have tried to include a variety of picnic situations.

Here we go, not in any particular order except it’s a sequence I like.

10. “Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar” from Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963) (sung by Mohammed Rafi; music by SD Burman; lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri). The romance between Dev Anand and Nutan begins with this song, when he accompanies his new clients (her family which includes his father’s mortal enemy—her father) on a picnic at the Qutub Minar (incidentally one of my favorite places in Delhi). They climb up the tower for a breathtaking view of the city, leaving her parents lazing on the grass, and love blossoms.

9. “Chup Chup” from Do Behnen (1959) (sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor; music by Vasant Desai; lyrics by Pradeep). I love, love, love this song: the melody is so nice and if the lyrics are written by Pradeep they must be good too! And Chand Usmani looks so beautiful as she multitasks with her friends on the lake, singing and paddling at the same time (and not unsurprisingly ending up in the water, as I most likely would too).

8. “Majhi Chal O Majhi Chal” from Aaya Sawan Jhoom Ke (1969) (sung by Rafi; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). Dharmendra comforts his beloved Asha Parekh and her siblings after their father dies in an accident caused by…well, Dharmendra, although nobody knows it yet. The setting in the backwaters of Kerala are as soothing as Rafi’s voice, which is also proof that a good picnic song need not be energetic. Such a lovely bittersweet song, because we viewers know that a whole lot of Trauma-Drama-O-Rama is right around the corner!

7. “Kal Ki Na Karo Baat” from Jangal Mein Mangal (1972) (sung by Kishore Kumar; music by Shankar Jaikishan; lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri, Neeraj). A night-time picnic with two Prans (one an elderly professor, the other a long-haired hippie, Gulshan Bawra dancing blissfully with his trumpet, and other Memsaab favorites Kiran Kumar, Jayshree T, Narendranath and a young Reena Roy. So very MOD! Plus a nun and a ghost!

6. “Ae Jaaneman Le Gaya Dil Ko” from Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyaan (1967) (sung by Rafi; music by Shankar Jaikishan; lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri). Now this is what I’m talking about. This is a picnic! And may I add that Rajendranath in a daishiki should be a prerequisite in these situations as well. A picnic can always use a funnyman.

5. “Sama Hai Suhana Suhana” from Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani (1970) (sung by Kishore; music by Kalyanji Anandji; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). I can never figure out how some people become heroes (Rakesh Roshan) and others don’t (Jalal Agha). But I do know that moonlit picnics must be conducive to romance, and I would be happy to watch Jalal play and sing and pretend it was all for me while Rakesh chased someone else.

4. “Yeh Shaam Mastani” from Kati Patang (1970) (sung by Kishore; music by RD Burman; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). Rajesh Khanna at the height of his considerable charms and über-picnicker Asha Parekh make eyes at each other as their friends look on (probably enviously) and skip rope. It’s a far cry from a children’s playground and mud pies!

3. “Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai” from Jaanwar (1964) (sung by Rafi; music by Shankar Jaikishan; lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri). There could not be a picnic list without Shammi (there were several other Shammi ones in contention, from Dil Deke Dekho and An Evening in Paris among others) but this one for me takes the cake. Shammi wrapped in a blanket, belting out the song in a cold river—having crashed her outing with friends to further his wooing of the reluctant Rajshree—is so quintessentially him. That first glimpse of him wriggling madly in his cocoon makes me giggle helplessly.

2. “Dekha Hai Teri Aankhon Mein” from Pyar Hi Pyar (1969) (sung by Rafi; music by Shankar Jaikishan; lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri). Dharmendra serenades a bashful Vyjayanthimala as her friends cheer him on with this sublimely beautiful song. I would happily go on a picnic even to a place where I knew vicious killer spiders lurked if Dharam was going to drive me there in his jeep.

1. “O Manchali Kahan Chali” from Manchali (1973) (sung by Kishore; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). I adore this film, and when I think “Hindi movie picnic” this one springs to mind first—especially Leena Chandavarkar in her fur-trimmed picnic outfit. Sanjeev Kumar looks so mischievous as he chases her around the park. They are surrounded by very stylish friends, and as long as I pretend that there are giant bottles of Kingfisher in those baskets, they have pretty much everything you could ever wish for at a picnic.

So, my friends in India, are we on? I will bring my Scotch whiskey decanter containing a music box with two walzing figures (oh yes it’s ON ITS WAY) if you supply the blankets and bicycles! And what will you be singing on that happy day?

78 Comments to “My ten favorite picnic songs”

  1. I like the one from Dil dheke dheko, it is awesome.

  2. O dear greta!
    Filmi picnics do look all fun, but I can remember my school picnics. All awful!
    Fellow-Classmates stealing my food, pushing me around, getting dirty and getting scold back home for making my clothes dirty. Awful!
    Sorry to be a wet blanket! But that is how it is in real life at least in the school times.

    In college times, there were better ones, with lots of Antakshari and all singing out of tune (which sound like the beginning of ) and indecent huge amount of foods from channas to bhel puri andpotato wafers to khaman dhokla.

    You have listed nearly all of my fav picnic songs like sama hai suhana, kal ki na karo baat, yeh shaam mastani and tumse accha kaun hai.

    jaan-e-jaan dhoondta phir raha hoon from Jawani Diwani also has a picnic as a prelude.

    A nice 19th century picnic awaits one in Junoon

    Picnic Yash Chopra style

    Not my favourite but it is a picnic title song

  3. Bollywood Picnic’s seems to be mainly a grown-ups happening?? :/

    Lata Mangeshkar “Aaj Main Nachu Re”
    Music: Vasant Desai
    Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

    Movie: Do Phool (1958)
    Director: AR Kardar
    Cast: Kumari Naaz, Master Romi, Vijaya Choudhury, Bipin Gupta, Ulhas, Jeevan, Pratima Devi, Rajan Haksar

  4. Great, great post dear one :-) Loved picnics – had scads of them when dad took us exploring when we were home for the winter hols. Have very fond memories. I’m definitely in for one with you in India but it MUST be in the Himalayas. MUST. Next March perhaps? :-)

    4 out of your 10 would’ve been in my list too! How I love ‘happy’ Nutan and the Dev Anand-Nutan pair just sparkles and ‘Tere Ghar ke Samne’ is a favorite and this song is a gem as is Goldie Anand and it also has one of the best sharab songs ever, etc, etc. ‘Manchali’ is lovely, I’ve got to see it. And my beloved Rajesh is certainly working it there in ‘Kati Patang’ whereas poor Rakesh Roshan is most definitely not in a lovely number. Now that I think about it, I don’t know of too many picnic songs that stick in the head. I seem to recall that there may have been one in ‘Waqt’ with the Shash and La Tagore in a boat but was it good?

    • The one from Waqt was also on the short list…but I just liked these ten better :) Let’s do a Manchali watchalong, it is such a fun film! And okay—the Himalayas it is if not Darjeeling?

      • Manchali watchalong – Say when. Picnicking in any part of the Himalayas – Let’s discuss!

        By the way, that first picture of the ‘Beige’ children (or is the term reserved just for the parents?) is adorable. Going by the rocks, Ndebele country? If so, it can certainly give any place in the world a run for its money for picnicking beauty :-)

  5. Lovely list. This sort of a picnic happened only in films. Like Harvey, my school picnics were fun, and maybe a bit of romance happened between a couple or two. It was sort of permissive, a lot of girls and boys out of doors with just a chaperone or two. We sang songs, and ran around, and ate. People didn’t have cameras handy in those days, alas. I do cherish a bad picture I have of a picnic I went on in college. I do remember, that we returned home on camel carts. A girl sang ‘Mera naam chin chin chu’ very well standing up on the cart. No mean feat. Of course, we were segregated on the return, with one cart full of girls and another full of boys… sigh.

    Back to your list, what is Rakesh Roshan wearing? A sort of a tunic? haha. We have to forgive him because he did beget Hritik. Maybe his fa-in-law, J Om Prakash, had something to do with his success. I agree with you about Jalal Agha. He looks so handsome.

    You know I love Jangal mein Mangal, everything about it, even the crappy ghost is so cute.

    There are so many picnic songs, one can fill a dvd… a hint for Tom?

    • I don’t think Harvey found his school picnics fun, ha ha! Sounds like he’s on my side of the picnic blanket. We didn’t do picnics at school, it was only my family and I don’t think anyone was that enthusiastic about doing it up right.

      There are so many picnic songs—even just off the top of my head I came up with something like 30 of them, and I know there are many many many other ones out there.

  6. Nice list, memsaab. :) College picnics were FUN!

    My choice? One lovely one is the song from Waqt – yacht (which college does picnics on yachts?), beach, lovely Sharmila, lovelier Shashi. :)

    Anupama – Sharmila again:

    though it’s Shashikala lip-syncing.

  7. I love picnics even now! School picnics were fun so were college ones. So i will join gladly join ur picnics memsaab! Manchali was a fab movie and had lots of good songs. The picnic one was fun indeed.

    I don’t have the utube clip but the AB/Rakhee/Vinod Mehra had a song in a picnic setting – Ae re pawan doonde kisse tera man – all the actors go on a picnic with Hangal. Rakhee is requested to sing. Awesome picturisation in Kashmir. Will send again when i recollect some more picnic songs

  8. Picnics in my mind are inextricably linked with three things – Kashmir, great food and water fights! :-) And what did we sing on our picnics? Why this song of course:

  9. I wish I could go to a picnic tomorrow, with Shammi Kapoor or Rajesh Khanna! The picnics we go to these days have tons of food, lots of children running around, dads gathered around one table, playing cards and moms congregating around the food, setting it out, or going for walks in groups – nobody ever sings songs and dances, even if we have music playing on a radio!
    Even going to cricket matches was like going to a picnic, because we used to carry food with us and lots of coffee in huge thermoses and picnic baskets. I remember lots and lots of food being packed by my mother, especially sandwiches which had potato-onion fillings, or cucumber and tomato wedges with green chutney, and samosas, as well as idlis with hot chutney powder – yummm!
    Does this song count? Mala sinha is carrying a huge thermos, and the girls have gone to a cricket match, where Dev Anand is playing:

    The girls are having fun teasing Mala Sinha, and Dev Anand and his friends are making fun of her!

  10. one song sung by s.janaki from Hrishikesh mukherjee directed JHOOTI(rekha,rajbabbar,amolpalekar,rasikdave,supriya pathak-music bappi lahiri)was there
    “Aaya jab se tu dil mein aayaa,sajnaa,sajnaa…”captures picnic spirit very effectively

    I think following songs may fit into this category also:
    Shashi kapoor,asha parekh duet from Pyar ka mausam”Nisultaanaa re”
    asha parekh,joy mukherjee song:”aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein”(Phir wohi dil laayaa hoon)
    asha`s sad solo from Do badan”Jab chali tandi hawaa,jab uti kaali ghata”

  11. This is for artiste identification project:
    In jungle mein mangal song Jayshree.t.`s sister MEENA.T(T for talpade)also there(girl with big rings in her ears and wearing yellowish salwar)
    & In Ghar Ghar ki Kahaani song,rakesh roshan sings for heroine BHARTHI(she acted in many hindi movies like purab aur paschhim,sadhu aur shaitaan,aankh michouli and vinod khanna starrer what`s the name “hum tum aur woh”,in which vinod sings priye praaneshwari to bharthi)

  12. Greta ji

    That`s outstanding screencap of elderly couple(the great harindranath chattopadhyaya and prathima devi is superb.You made my day by posting that particular screencap.
    Whether that screencap is from “Tere ghar ke saamne”??????
    GGGGG….reat selection of screencaps.

  13. One song from Rajshree productions HONEYMOON(music by usha khanna)(movie released in early seventies)
    picturised in a train may fit into this category
    “Jeevan hai ek sapnaaa madhur suhanaa sapnaa….”(asha,kishore-picturised on anildhawan, anand balraj,leena chandavarkar and others)

  14. Delightful theme for a list, Greta – and what a great list! I always adored picnics as a child, not because we ever danced and sang, but because picnics were wonderful family-and-friends affairs where we got to eat a lot, play, run about and basically be as wild as we liked. :-)

    I love the Manchali song too, and Dil ka bhanwar kare pukaar – plus another from your shortlist, Bade hain dil ke kaale. Here’s another one I like (even though I find Yogita Bali too bovine for words):

    • Another one from the short list! I like the song a lot, although the picturization not as much ;-) I was really torn over the Dil Deke Dekho song, it would probably be #11!

  15. Favourite filmi picnic spots from Kanyakumari to Kashmir: Chennai: Golden Beach, Mahabalipuram. Kerala: Anywhere (backwaters or not). Bangalore: Cubbon Park, Lal Bagh. Otty: Lake, Botanical Gardens and outskirts. Hyderabad: Hussain Sagar Lake. Mumbai: Khandala, Matheran, Delhi: Qutub Minar. UP: Ranikhet, Nainital Lake and areas around. Kashmir: Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh, Sonmarg and areas around Srinagar and Leh Himachal: Simla and Kufri. Besides, there are hundreds others, which can be recognised in the songs and some that cannot be.

    • Maybe we should create a picnic tour!!!!! You can guide us :)

      • Absolutely, there are not many picnic spots that I have not visited in India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Okha to Agartala. Many of these have been hot places for shooting in the 60’s and 70s, before they moved to Switzerland, which I cannot afford with my family in tow.

    • Qutub Minar no longer, in Delhi… it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so you aren’t allowed to take in picnic baskets. But Lodhi Gardens, certainly.

  16. Lovely :-)
    Loved them in my school and college days. One of them proved adventerous. We were picnicing on the banks of the river Ganga in Kanpur and a couple of boys (who didn’t know swimming) were trying to show off in front of us girls when one of them slipped and fell in pulling the other along. There were two boatmen a distance away doing things to their boats. When they realised that they couldn’t swim they came and rescued them. What a pair of sheepish boys after that.

    Love the idea of a picnic. Would readily join :-D

    Having Johny Walker at our picnics would have been great fun. He must have been fun.

    This song from Ghar Sansar is good proof of it.

  17. I can understand cold rain being a wet blanket during a picnic :D. Out here winter time is picnic time – because in most places its pleasantly cool – and it’s is holiday time. I loved the big groups and scampering around, posing for photographs, playing badminton, boat rides… As you enjoy your peg, you would not be without company …..but if only you had been a male…. as I generally found drinking men sat separate from womenfolk (of course cannot speak of current gen ;-))

  18. As usual a thoroughly enjoyable post from you, Greta. :-)
    I must say I have fond memories of my picnics during my schooldays and also of later. Most of my picnics were at waterfalls or beaches or hills or other such pleasant,, picturesque locations. We’d sing songs (usually playing antakshari) on our way to the picnic, from the picnic and at the picnic. And play lots of games (card games, housie and stuff). And play music and dance to the music.The food wasn’t that great – but again, it wasn’t the most important aspect of the picnic anyway.

    We had day-long picnics – and we had picnics in the moonlight! Oh, they were so much fun. And yes, the moonlit ones probably had an element of romance too. :-)

    All this in Orissa (now called Odisha). Later, I went for a couple of picnics when I was in Mumbai (the picnic spots were obviously outside Mumbai) and in Bangalore but somehow they were not the same. They were way too crowded – everybody was going to the same spots to escape the city.

    Will talk more about specific songs (got to go now) but this post has brought back a lot of memories of my picnic days. Thank you! :-)

  19. As far as picnics are concerned, the one thing that has been common to me right from childhood to adoloscence to adulthood are the songs of Shammi Kapoor playbacked by Rafi Sahaab. So much so that during my Law College days when all of us were tired and there was uncanny silence while waiting for the boat from the Elephanta Island, I started belting out Shammi’s number starting with SAVERE WAALEE GAA.DEE SE CHALE JAAYENGE… BADAN PE SITAARE, etc., my friends began asking me whether I was performing Shammi Kapoor Nite! It was very painful for me when the Rebel Star switched over to character roles. But his influence will always remain with me.

  20. @Memsaab – That’s a nice collection of picnic songs. Picnics seem to have been a staple of Hindi films in the 60s. These brought back many many memories of picnics during my schooldays that took me to hills, waterfalls, caves and even nearby farms which reverberated with the sounds of our antaksharis or group songs. Many of those picnics were not well organized affairs, adding to the thrill and allowing us to improvise whenever we were short of something. I even remember hitching rides with truck drivers when we missed our transport on the way back home.

  21. Well, we are definitely going picnicking when you come here. We’ll try and round up some colourful outfits, some music, some guitars, and some funny men too. Just for you.

  22. Winter is approaching very soon and as days get shorter and the temperature drops, it’s time to think of those picnic days to get rid of winter blues and this song will brighten things up!
    Movie: – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi

    Song: – Shisha-E-Dil Itna Na Uchhalo by Lata
    Meena Kumari, `having a ball’, a rare sight.

    • Lovely song, and I think I spot Bela Bose in there as well?

      • Good eyes; It’s definitely Bela Bose. And Edwina’s also in there, together with Teresa and Pamela. It’s Edwina’s only appearance ever in a film while wearing a swim suit. You can see her at the 17 second mark receiving the beach ball just as the scene cuts away. Then there’s a closeup of her at 2:57 where she’s the left one of the two girls twirling umbrellas.

      • And I spotted Edwina (I think it’s Edwina)..she’s wearing a swimming costume, holding the open umbrella, , and then turns around.

        • Oh dear. I hadn’t read Tom’s comment before writing mine :-/

          • I didn’t see Edwina, must have been distracted when she appeared with the umbrella (my old eyes never would have recognized anybody tossing the beach ball). Saw Teresa and Pamela, esp. Pamela. I need to watch this film again, I remember really liking it.

  23. A rare happy Meena Kumari in that lovely song! One actress I associate with picnics is Asha Parekh. She brings so much vivacity to what could be a boring outing. And picnics without Shammi are another bore.

    The song “Husn chala kuch aisi chaal” from Shammi’s Bluffmaster is another picnic song and Pran does some interesting dance moves.

  24. I seem to remember this also as a picnic song. “Jawan tum ho jawan hum hain” from Duniya (1968).

  25. I was thinking of great picnics I had in India around this time of the year, while shoveling snow yesterday. The beach picnics are the best. The ocean water is always warm enough to get wet. The clean and sandy beaches to run around bare feet.

    I love the Shammi song from Jaanwar, followed by this one.

  26. What amazing songs! Love all of these. I have a couple more to add –

    I was thrilled to see Kiran Kumar’s Jangal Mein Mangal on here. A fun song from another Kiran Kumar movie is ‘Happy birthday to Pinky’ from Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar (this also makes my list of top birthday songs).

    Another favorite is Ek Din Sapne Me Dekha Sapna from Golmaal. The 70s picnic.

    • I like the Pinky one too :) And I’d forgotten about the Golmaal one—I don’t love the song, but the picturization is FAB. That umbrella! The celebrity cameos!

  27. Tujhe Kya Sunaon Main Dilruba – Mohammed Rafi – Aakhri Dao (1958) – Madan Mohan – Rajinder Krishan

    Shekar singing to Nutan. Music was stolen from Sajjad Hussain.

  28. Good collection. I am sure “Sare ke sare gama ko lekar” from Parichay(1972) will be in your top 50 if not top 20.

  29. I don’t think this one has been mentioned – Kissi se dosti karlo from Dil Deewana featuring a nightime picnic on the beach. Though I don’t see any food, just drinks and inhalants. :-)

    Isn’t Poonam Sinha super cute?

  30. Ni Sultana re from “Pyar Ka Mausam” – Shashi & Asha… Love that one…

    The situation in Pyar ka mausam is almost a copy of the Dil Deke Dekho picnic… Dil deke Dekho song too is lovely…

    And then there are so many songs where heroine is going on a picnic with her friends – they sing on their way to the picnic – mostly on bicycles… – Mei chali mei chali from Paqdosan, then Banke Panchi from Anadi… Love both these a lot

  31. I found a wonderful lovely song. They are singing abouit their lovely picnic and dancing.

  32. I think Simti si sharmayee si from parwana needs to be on thsi list as well. navin nischol and Yogita bali in this one…

  33. I miss Shammiji a lot.I like the one from Professor too! He looks so cool and dashing in that red cap. Yes the dil dheko that song and dance Neeli Ankhein is something that I can keep watching forever.
    Thank You gor this post and Kati Patang song is so endearing and so romantic.

  34. Toooooooooo late 2 post a comment.
    Better late than never !!!!!

    What a collection of picnic songs !
    watch them nd feel fresh as if hav njoyed that picnic.

    Here is one from !961 movie ” Mem Didi ” picturised on Tanuja.

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