Buried Treasure: Bollywood Songs with Hidden Stanzas

Bollywood record LP

My sweet Bollywood LP record collection.

You know how it is when you grow up listening to a song. Your mom played it on cassettes in the car, your Dad sang it while he worked, and eventually that gem from the 60s sneaks into your personal playlists when you buy an ipod. It’s all fine and dandy until years later, you’re browsing along youtube and BAM! A miracle occurs.

Turns out that song you knew and loved is only AN ABBREVIATED VERSION! The song as it’s played in the film is a whole stanza, a whole musical interlude and a half longer than you ever realized! There are few things on Earth that have the same feeling of win. It give you a rare, blissful tingle all over that can otherwise only be found by watching the wink sequence of a Rajesh Khanna film.

But why, you ask? It’s simple. Unlike now when the film soundtrack hits the iTunes store and you can download your songs one at a time, back in the good old days, marketing had to squeeze an entire soundtrack onto a single LP record (typically about 15-25 minutes per side). And if you planned on selling two hit film soundtracks on the same LP to increase sales, you could forget about musical fidelity. Something had to give.

Rajesh Khanna Farida Jalal Aradhana 3

Rajesh Khanna and Farida Jalal get sassy in the uncut version of “Baaghon Mei.N Bahaar Hai” from Aradhana (1969)

The result? Dozens of priceless compositions were slashed completely, and others had pieces ripped out from their insides to fit the needs of a hungry consumer market. Maybe I’m being melodramatic but I feel really strongly about this. Several hidden classical compositions from even the musical legend Pakeezah got shafted completely. Later as technology improved, recordings were taken from the LP versions and sold as cassettes, CDs, and mP3s. The originals can now often be found only in the films themselves or in the archives.

This is the face that got cut from “Baagho.N Mei.N Bahaar Hai.” Rajesh Khanna stars as an Indian Air Force pilot in Aradhana (1969). Are you sure it wasn’t the Navy though? Because I think I see a DREAM BOAT.

Here is a growing list of songs that over the years I’ve found are secretly much longer than I once thought:

  1. Kahin Dur Jab Din Dhal Jaaye (a whole beautiful poetic stanza is cut from the end)
  2. Piya Tose Naina (the ENTIRE magical 1965 Lata Mangeshkar opening is not in the soundtrack version–BIG travesty)
  3. In Bahaaro.N Mei.N Akelii (a whole stanza)
  4. Baaghon Mei.N Bahaar Hai (Rafi’s great comeback stanza)
  5. Aaj Kal Mei.N Dhal Gayaa (in the film, the male and female version are combined in a fabulous way)
  6. Jhumka Gira Re (a whole extra stanza and some sweet prelude music)
  7. Honton Pe Aisi (one minute of introductory dance music that is a huge game-changer)
  8. Aye Gulbadan (lost a final stanza)
  9. Thare Rahiyo (there’s a great musical a moment in the middle that gets totally cut)
  10. Dekhi Zamaane Ki Yaari (random parts are missing–granted the full thing is like 10 minutes, but it’s so worth it)
  11. Dil Ka Bhanwar Kare Pukar (an entire stanza!)
  12. Dum Maro Dum (maybe this doesn’t get cut per se, but there’s a whole reprise version that gets a huge shaft in the soundtrack!)
  13. Ghar Aayaa Mera Pardesi (all the epic dream sequence music at the end)
  14. Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil (missing a bunch of creepy-cool interlude music. Also anyone notice the violins play an octave lower in the film? Weird.)
  15. Khwab Ho Tum Ya (the final stanza)
  16. Koi Nazaraaane Lekar (another whole stanza)
  17. Sau Saal Pehle (a great stanza at the end!)
  18. Tujhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se (missing a culmination stanza)
  19. Tu Jahaa.N Jahaa.N Chalega (how could you cut out Lata in her prime?!)
  20. Tera Phoolo.N Jaise Rang (at least a minute worth of dance music from the end that really sets the mood!)
  21. Pal Bhar Ke Liye Koi (the sassy final stanza that puts everything into perspective!)
  22. Jhoom Jhoom Dhalti Raat (the clutch stanza that has the meaning of “Kohra” explained therefore making it the title song–but you’d never have known!)

Mess with my songs? You just watch yourself.

So you can see, it’s a mix of all-time classics and the more obscure gems. No one is safe. I beg of you to add any more you know of that are missing. Perhaps this compilation can help a fellow sufferer in need see the light!

-Mrs. 55