My ten favorite anipal songs

This post is dedicated to my dear friend and song blogger extraordinaire Atul, who tells hilarious and sweet stories about his own menagerie.

Most of you are familiar with the Memdogs (little scamps) and beloved Gemma before them; and many of you have animals in your own lives who are as precious to you as anyone. One of my very favorite things about Hindi movies is how so many of them contain anipals, as Todd puts it. Filmi animals are usually more intelligent and capable than the people around them (eg Khoon Bhari Maang‘s Raja the horse and Jumbo the dog, Dharam-Veer‘s Sheroo the Wonder Bird, etc.), but they generally speaking don’t have nearly their fair share of song time. I mean, have you ever seen a dacoit serenading his smart and loyal horse? (If you have, TELL ME.)

Happily, there are occasions where this egregious wrong is righted, and these are ten such delightful songs. I have not necessarily seen the films represented here (or it would have been a top five post instead) but I love each and every one of them alongside the animals participating therein.

Let’s start with a very early one to celebrate the longevity of our companionship with the other fauna on our planet.

10. “Yeh Pyari Pyari Pati” from Janmabhoomi (1936) (sung by Devika Rani; music by Saraswati Devi). Devika Rani has just received a letter (from her beloved?) and shares her joy with her gorgeous dog. As with most songs of this era, I’m not so much crazy about the tune and the singing—but I do love seeing a pet dog from 1936. And it’s all just so pretty pretty pretty—the only thing sadly missing is Ashok Kumar.

9. “Ja Re Ja Mera Dil Na Jala” from Jawani Ki Hawa (1959) (sung by Rafi; music by Ravi; lyrics by Rajendra Krishen). For every person who loves dogs in Hindi films, there are at least three who are afraid of them; and at least two of those people are comedians. Here is Johnny Walker running scared from Shammi’s dog (they are likely the CSP pair) and singing a song to placate him (or so it seems to me).

8. “Woh To Bana Apna” from Appu Raja (1990) (sung by SP Balasubramaniam and Asha; music by Ilaiyaraja; lyrics by Prem Dhawan). Clearly this is a film I NEED TO SEE, with its little people (and Kamal Hassan pretending to be a little person) and plethora of circus animals, all of whom seem to be having fun (I hope). It is faintly redolent of “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys, but very catchy in its own way too.

7. “Chal Chal Mere Saathi” from Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) (sung by Kishore; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). I loved watching this movie with my Gemma; she was up and barking at the screen through most of it, tail wagging furiously. She’d bark and then look around at me as if to say—“Do you SEE those giant dogs, do you SEE them?” Or maybe she knew they were elephants, I don’t know. But she enjoyed every minute of screen time that they had. In fact, I am overdue for a rewatch of this one although the Memdogs don’t watch with me like she did. *sad face*

Anyway, Rajesh Khanna’s elephant buddies get Tanuja out of an automotive fix, which of course doesn’t help them at all later when she turns on them. But that’s a story for another day!

6. “Aaye Ho To Dekh Le” from Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959) (sung by Suman Kalyanpur; music by Ravi). I feel just a wee bit sorry for Minoo Mumtaz’s cat as she is flung around somewhat in this, which probably didn’t make her happy. However, the song is sung during the cat’s birthday party so on some level she is a spoiled rotten pet and that’s all good. I have to say too, it gives me a little frisson of joy to have a photograph of the woman dancing at the beginning holding my own little dog some fifty-odd years later.

5. “O Zaalimaan Chala Kahan” from Zimbo (1958) (sung by Rafi; music by Chitragupta; lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri). Pedro the Ape Bomb is justafiably famous to those of us who have seen this Wadia brothers classic (even Baburao Patel liked it!). He is so very awesome, in fact, that he has his own song with the CSP guy (anybody know the actor?) and it is hilarious.

And does anybody know how I can get hold of the Bombino VCD which retains the original Gevacolor (well, what’s left of it)!?

4. “Mard Tangewale” from Mard (1985) (sung by Mohd Aziz; music by Anu Malik; lyrics by Prayag Raj). In a film chock-full of loony bin characters and bizarre plot developments, Amitabh’s horse Badal and dog Moti rule the roost (no pun intended). They are celebrated with this song as Badal pulls along the tonga and Raja does tricks in the back for Nirupa Roy. Amitabh and Nirupa are blissfully unaware as yet that they are mother and son, but I would put money on the fact that Badal and Moti have already figured it out.

3. “Meow Meow Meri Sakhi” from Pooja Ke Phool (1964) (sung by Lata; music by Madan Mohan). Poor blind Nimmi is the victim once again of other people’s noble sacrificing. But before she pays for it all, she has stray moments of happiness where she thinks everything will be okay, including this lovely little ditty with a stray cat that she cares for. I love this song—so sweet yaar! Poor Nimmi. (PS the beloved she sings of looks like Dharmendra, because he is.)

2. “Aaj Main Jawan Ho Gayi Hoon” from Main Sunder Hoon (1971) (sung by Lata; music by Shankar Jaikishan; lyrics by Anand Bakshi). I kind of think of Anand Bakshi as the King of Anipal Lyricists, and this song is a jewel in his crown. Stylish Leena Chandavarkar in a very stylish home sings a paean to her little green parrot. This is a song that gets stuck in my head for days on end, but I don’t mind a bit. It even makes me want to get a parrot of my own but hopefully I won’t.

1. “Beta Wah Wah Wah” from Mem-Didi (1961) (sung by Lata; music by Salil Choudhury; lyrics by Shailendra). I honestly don’t know who is cuter, Tanuja or dog Moti, and of course it doesn’t matter because we don’t have to choose.

For sheer drama, I do have to give this song an Honorable Mention (actually, the whole movie deserves an Honorable Mention for starring a dog—Brownie Moti—when the hero and heroine are bumped off before the halfway point) but I just can’t bring myself to say it’s a favorite. Still and all, here you go.

61 Comments to “My ten favorite anipal songs”

  1. Adorable! The kitty in the “meow meow” song is about the cutest thing ever. And your #1 choice reminds me once again that I need more Tanuja in my life.

    I am trying to think of any animal songs at all and I am drawing a blank. I can only think of the dog in *Hum aapke hain kaun* who must have made an appearance in a song or two. I’m sure I have seen more, I just can’t think of any.

    carla (filmigeek)

  2. What a wonderful post! I wish I could sit and listen to the songs one by one, but today is not the appropriate time to do so. I have a friend whose dog is one of my favorite friends – I go to her house and talk to Mia when I need some comforting, and sometimes I wonder if Mia senses that need in me. I have a feeling I will be visiting Mia soon. Really, it is amazing how much unconditional love is given by these pets. Who knows, maybe I will also get myself a pet one of these days, though the only reason I am not doing so is the fact that hubby doesn’t want a pet in the house. Maybe he will change his mind, and maybe the sun will rise in the west.

  3. Somehow watching animal-centric movies were never to my liking. “Haathi mere Saathi” was an exeption though.

    Some songs from movies of this genre are quite good. “Raju chal Raju” from “Azaad” (1978) springs to my mind.

  4. Not really a horse song (though it is addressed nominally to the ‘Pawan vaig se udne waale ghode‘ (‘the horse tha flies as fast as the wind’). But still. Here goes, from the film Jai Chittod:

    It’s based on the story of Chetak, the horse of Rana Pratap:

    … and the song is all about how Chetak bears on his shoulders the onus of Mewar’s honour.

  5. My favorit eis Main Pyar Ka Deewana from Ayee Milan Ki Bela, where Rajendra Kumar’s dog Raja almost seems to take the place of the heroine in a “romp through the countryside” song. DELIGHTFUL. And in this link at around 2:55 the dog hops on his hind legs across the frame. It’s ADORABLE.

    • Oh that is ADORABLE (except the part at the beginning where he almost breaks the poor dog’s legs) :D I love the part where Rajendra makes a circle with his arms and the dog jumps through it! Had forgotten all about this one.

  6. Really, no mention of ‘Kabutar Ja Ja’ from Maine Pyaar Kiya? That song is like, totally and completely addressed to the Kabutar (Pigeon), to whom a task is assigned, and who duly accomplishes the task, and after its job is done, it respectfully excuses itself to give Salman and Bhagyashree some quality time together. In fact, that Kabutar is the real hero of the film, as he/she is the one who has the fatal final peck at the villain:

    By the way, loved the Tanuja song from Mem Didi – if I remember right, this song is followed by the cutest sequence ever where Tanuja’s foster uncles unwittingly shoo off her new friend. When she demands that they find the dog and bring it back to her, the duo go about rounding up every dog in the street… Young Tanuja is surprised a few hours later to find a dozen canines and two exhausted uncles sitting at her doorsteps :)

    • It was on the list and almost made it—but in the end I could only pick ten :) And you are right about the very cute subsequent scene from Mem-Didi. Hilarious :) I love that movie.

  7. Whether the actor in the song from movie Zimbo (1958) is the same guy(one of guys, there are many guys in song sequence) who lip syncs the famous qawwali song “Hamein tho loot liyaa milke husnwaalon ne “from Al-Hilaal(1958)

  8. Great post, Memsaab! I have actually been going to your pet songs list on YouTube for a couple of months, so I’ve seen most of these before, but there are a few here I hadn’t seen yet.

    I think my favorite is the one with Nimmi as the blind girl chasing the cat (which I first saw at Harvey’s blog, and which he also sent to my blog in comments).

    You probably know that I did a post that would have some overlap, “A Girl and Her Bird(s).” I included “Aaj Main Jawan Ho Gayi Hoon” and then Ava added another copy of that in the comments.

    I’d like to send just one song from that list over here, because I love this scene from Lal Haveli (1944). I don’t know if the bird is mentioned in the lyrics or the bird has anything to do with the plot (I tried watching this film without subtitles and I was completely lost), but I love the interaction at the end between the bird and Madam Noor Jehan:

    • How fun to see Yakub hamming it up too, and Noor Jehan looks lovely. I do remember your bird post; I’ve been collecting “pigeon/kabutar” songs for a while (there are so many of them!).

  9. LOVE this list, just as I love reading Atul’s stories about his dogs and his cat. As I was going through the list I was wondering whether you’d missed out on Mem-Didi but of course you hadn’t! :-)

    The only other song that comes to my mind right now is but I’ll see if I can come up with a few others. :-)

  10. Oh what a pleasant surprise ! This article is to me what sweets are to my daughter or what boiled chicken paws are to my pets- utterly delicious. I know a few of these songs. but there are a few that I was not aware of. I am sure readers with add a few more songs in their comments. The song mentioned by Raja is also perhaps my most favourite dog song. Most anipal songs are dog songs (a few from pet owner’s perspective, and a few from the perspective of comedians afraid of that dog), followed by perhaps songs dedicated to horses, with birds like parrots etc coming a distant third. Cats have two songs dedicated to them, as far as I can tell.

    Movies that make excellent use of anipals are always my favourite, and “Haathi Mere Saathi” was the most loved Hindi movie as far as kids of my generation were concerned.

    I could have done with more anipal songs, but seeing that keeping pets is not very hingh in the list of priorities for most Indians, I will take whatever I can come across. and I must say that I have come across quite a few songs in this article that I can use.

    • Boiled chicken paws, lol! (Chickens don’t have paws, Atul) :D It is very difficult to find cat songs, for sure. Maybe we will find another. Nigar Sultana loved her cat in Magroor, but doesn’t seem to have sung any songs with or to it, sadly.

      You did inspire this post with one of yours a while back talking about the dearth of pet songs :)

      • My wife colloquially calls it “panja” and the pets understand it too. It is chicken legs(the part with claws) which is not eaten by humans in Indian, though I find from wikipedia that ckicken legs are regarded as delicacies even among humans in some parts.

        • I like “paws” :) Actually I think my mother used to throw in every bit of the chicken (including the legs/feet) when she used to make stock from the ones we raised in our back yard. I always cried when I had to eat one of them, so my mother began to lie and tell me that they came from the supermarket even when they didn’t :)

  11. Oh lovely! Love favourite lists :)
    There are some films where there is an animal friend but no song. In Kohinoor Dilip Kumar had a pet mongoose who only comes at the end of ‘Madhuban mein radhika’ also in insaniyat.

    I will post as soon as I remember a song with a pet.

    That picture of Edwina with Callie is so sweet. Callie looks comfortable.

    • There are lots of films with anipals but no song for them :( Zippy didn’t have a song that I remember from Insaniyat, a dreadful waste of the best thing about the movie! And that’s Gilda with Edwina (Callie is red and white, Gilda is all red). She spent a great deal of time growling at Edu, who just laughed at her and called her a “right nutter” (totally accurately) :D

  12. How could you forget this song? AND the last song /…of kishore for khanna in 1989

    • The first one seems to be more about Hema than about the horse—he’s just riding the horse (and maybe I’m missing something because I don’t understand the lyrics). Just riding a horse while singing doesn’t make it an anipal song :) Same with driving a tonga, although again I don’t know what the lyrics are…haven’t seen either of these films yet. Really need to get to Rajput though!

  13. A film called Heera Moti is all about two bullocks Heera and Moti.(adaptation from the hindi classic writer munshi premchand)
    Naaz has a cruel stepmother and her only solace/friends are heera and Moti to whom she runs to in times of happiness (rarely) and sorrow.
    This clip is so dark, but with patience one can see her communicating with them.

  14. It seems women always employed their pet dogs to keep Johny Walker away. :D
    A similar song to the one in Jawani Ki Hawa with Johny Walker and Shammi’s dog.

  15. I don’t know if this song qualifies, but the song is being sung to a woman who holds a cat right through.
    Now the song may not be for the cat, but she joins in the singing with her meow at the right time. She’s
    definitely the woman’s beloved pet/pal, and qualifies as anipal :D

  16. Love this post, LOVE it! And the ‘chicken paws’ :-D

    Does this qualify? His Gulfa’s ‘mundi’(head) has been stolen, the occasion therefore for a drunken ditty about his anipal as well as life in general. But ‘bhagwan’ does give the ‘mundi’ back when he begs for it :-) It’s from ‘Aanchal’ (1980).

  17. I like to terrorise people with this for their birthdays. Jeetendra and lots of animals and people dressed as animals – some don’t look too stressed but I have my concerns.

  18. Would this qualify? IIRC the elephant is Asha’s pet who turns traitor and sides with Joy Mukherji.

  19. I am not sure this will go through, but Annadata, 1972 with Jaya Bhaduri and Omprakash, had a prominent role played by faithful dog Moti.

  20. Memsaab,
    No I do not think he did, but I could not resist mentioning Moti. He was central to the story because of his faithfulness and love, contrasting with the other characters who were really only interested in Om Prakashhi’s money. He is seen wagging his tale at the end too. Sorry.

    • I don’t blame you; there are some great films with animals as central characters but really they were short-changed when it came to the music :)

  21. This song was addressed to goat,by Minoo, who is expecting a kid brother and tells the goat(with love)that you are black, but I am expecting my brother to be very white.And Minoo also tell her goat about her dreams about still to be born kid brother.I hope you will like the song
    Music:Salil Chaudhary
    Singer:Antra Chaudhary(Salil chaudhary`s daughter)
    Picturised on Baby Moon moon

  22. From the movie Shakuntala (1943)…. :-)

    • LOL! these make me want to get my own parrot/mynah bird. But I won’t. I need to watch this, Chandramohan is in it but no subs :(

      • Yes, Chandramohan is in this movie…a remarkable looking man..just a few movies of him I have seen.
        Humayun (1945) I can think of now…
        No subs on my VCD..thats too bad, otherwise I would had uploaded it for you. :)
        So its not just animal songs..but Anipal songs…hmm..thinking of Danno. :D

  23. My enthusiasm for anipals have cooled over the years – not because of the animals (bless them!) but because of us humans who often are so cruel and simply negligent with them. Simply put – we treat them like ‘animals’. I have seen people too often winning their trust and then abusing it. Has only made me more of a cynic and misanthrope :-/.

    But nice collection of songs. At least half of them are ‘new’ to me :). And the commentators have happily added more to the list.

    • I know what you mean. I used to love to watch horse racing, but can’t any more—horses are being bred for speed and not stability/health and I can’t watch another being put down at the end of race. We really suck at managing the planet :(

  24. you mean ‘My ten favorite ‘Animal’ songs!!! :)

    I love watching animal related songs in movies, although I’m not a huge fan of having them as pets.

    • Nope I mean aniPal :) Todd at Die Danger Die Die Kill coined the phrase and it’s brilliant. They are much more than just animals—they are loyal and true pals!

  25. Main Bander Hoon Shaher ka – Mohammed Rafi – Insaniyat (1955) – C. Ramchandra – Rajinder Krishan
    Raja Beta Bada Hoke – Mohmmed Rafi – Insaniyat (1955) – C. Ramchandra – Rajinder Krishan

  26. Badi Door Se .. Aai Gaai Wali – Asha Bhosle – Kisaan aur Bhagwan (1974) – Prem Dhawan – Predeep

    references cow named laxmi.

  27. Dheere Se Jana Khatiyan Mein – Chhupa Rustom (1974) – S. D. Burman – Neeraj

    Dev Anand is telling Bed Bug go slowly not bite Rajkumari dreaming (Hema Malini)

  28. The Leena Chandavarkar song has an original in Tamil:

    The actress is K. R. Vijaya, the one who is in the old Oonche Log, albeit invisibly. Although, she had a fair market for a new star, the movie “Server Sundaram” made her a star.

    Though I don’t generally go in for “cute songs”, I enjoyed the selections.

  29. O Mere Yaar Tommy Deta Hoon Salami Raasta Na Roke Mera Jaane De – Mohammed Rafi – Night in London (1967) – Laxmikant Pyarelal – Anand Bakshi – Johnny Walker

    Song starts in the end of the clip.

  30. Greta, i know im eons late again, but i went thru this post only now.
    Im a crazy animal lover, but i must confess i like animal lovers even more!!!
    Animals on screen make me v v uncomfortable, i really doubt if they are treated with kindness & care.
    So i generally steer clear of such movies.
    Im thrilled to read the comments of your readers, all of them bursting with love & kindness.
    I would love to read mr atul’s posts too, him being a kind animal lover .
    BTW, callie looks super 😍

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