You know what I’m talking about. Guy and girl are falling in love. The setting: indistinct country road. A trotting horse (hay load optional) comes into view. Guy holds the reigns, a gentle clip-clop sets the beat like a metronome, and at last someone can’t resist and bursts into love song. Yes, nothing evokes the pastoral innocence of Bollywood’s rural ideal like a good horse and buggy sequence.
I’ve come up with a list of my top 5 horse and buggy songs. No matter how terrible you’re your day was, these’ll always put you in the mood. Sure, the economy is a mess, and yes, studying/work/dieting is rough. But isn’t it comforting to know that at least there will always be an appropriate forum to burst into song freely with a built-in beat? Just find a horse, grab a partner, and say hello to some fresh village air.
1. Mang Ke Saath Tumhaara (Naya Daur, 1957)
-The epitome of the horse and buggy genre. If this song doesn’t just make you want to join your nearest agrarian values movement, then you are made of steel. Dilip Kumar and Vijayantimala’s dynamic is so cute in this song, you overcome your gag reflex and find yourself basking in the bliss of better, bygone days. This film was recently recoloured following the latest trend, and the whole soundtrack is magic.
2. Haule Haule Chalo More Sajna (Saawan Ki Ghata, 1966)
-I absolutely love this song. It gets my spirits up every time. I think part of it is my love of Sharmila Tagore’s teasing persistence, while Manoj Kumar only pretends he isn’t loving it. This is also a beautiful example of one of the few melodious Asha Bhonsle songs that I honestly think no one else could have sung better (as in, Lata). Her voice is just a joy to listen to as she completely hits the mood of this playful winner.
3. Yun To Hamne Laakh Haseen Dekhe Hain (Tumsa Nahin Dekha, 1957)
-Oh Mohammed Rafi, can you do no wrong? The lyrics are adorable and this time, it’s the heroine playing hard to get. But don’t lie to yourself, girl–these are the days before Shammi Kapoor discovered jalebi, and he’s looking pretty fly with that Elvis ‘do. Asha comes back around later in the film for a brief female version of this song, but it’s a classic case of the ladies getting the shaft and having to sing too high because of the standard set by the male version (more on this issue to come). Until then, enjoy a slim Shammi treat to soothe all your pains.
4. Piya Piya Piya Mora Jiya Pukare (Baap Re Baap, 1955)
-Another incredibly cute duet/cheese-fest—this time brought to you by Chand Usmani and Kishore Kumar (who also acts!) The film itself is completely forgettable, but this Asha-Kishore duet is a fun benchmark for the genre. Please don’t miss their fellow travelers on car, who clearly all wish this had been a chorus song.
5. Aye Neele Gagan Ke Tale (Humraaz, 1967)
-Ok, I admit, this song doesn’t fit the classic definition of horse and buggy song. But hey, watching Raajkumar ride up on a horse like the prince of anyone’s dreams (and the subsequent quasi-dream sequence in the Darjeeling countryside) certainly deserves mention somewhere. And that rich voice of Mahendra Kapoor that gives a perfect song a little something-something? Yes, please.
An extremely honorable mention goes to “Aye Nargis-e Mastana” from Arzoo (1965) starring Sadhana and Rajendra Kumar. She’s definitely riding a horse the entire song, but Rajendra Kumar’s awkwardness brings the cute factor back down to Earth.