The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time

The best music albums from classic Bollywood have been chosen. Which songs made the list of Bollywood’s top 30 greatest?

Raj Kapoor Nargis Iconic BarsaatIntroduction

Welcome to the greatest music of classic Bollywood! We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 – Classic Bollywood Revisited! have compiled our ultimate list of the top 30 best classic Bollywood film soundtracks of all-time. Music is the very soul of classic Bollywood, a legacy of beauty and style that once lit the world. These soundtracks showcase the best music of Bollywood and are as diverse and transformative as the films to which they lent their magic. Long after the cinema lights fade, this music remains in the air, haunting us with desire, sustaining us through tragedy, and enchanting our daily experiences in the world.

Soundtracks of all Hindi films released between the years of 1945 to 1985 were considered and ranked based on the merit of lyrics, musical composition and complexity, historical and cultural value, vocal performance, and accomplishments of the soundtrack elements as an ensemble. Topping our list are composers Sachin Dev Burman, Rahul Dev Burman, Naushad, and the duo Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal (often credited as Shankar-Jaikishen) whose works both defined and reinvented Bollywood. Like our enormously popular list of the Top 30 Greatest Classic Bollywood Films of All Time, these soundtracks embrace the unexpected.

The advent of music in Bollywood binds the stormy history of a shackled India emerging from depression and war with the golden age of Hollywood musical film. Many believe that films with de rigeur musical numbers is a unique hallmark of Hindi cinema. However, the early “talkie” pictures of India such as Alam Ara (1931) were heavily influenced by the popular western films like The Jazz Singer (1927) and Showboat (1929) in which the new sound technology instantly propelled musical film as the most profitable genre. Hollywood directors like Busby Berkeley whose signature spectacle was the mass ornament and nimble-footed singer-dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers helped contribute to the hundreds and hundreds of musical films cherished by the western world during the 1930s-1950s.

In India, the then universal convention of five to seven musical numbers peppering a film was easily embraced and adapted by Hindi movie directors who introduced Hindustani musical traditions to their work. Playback singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Asha Bhonsle were as celebrated as the actors for whom they lent their voices. Often before a film was released, a Bollywood movie’s soundtrack was played repeatedly on the radio, reaching the hearts of millions across the country who may not have afforded the luxury to see the actual film in theatres.

While Hollywood eventually diverged from the musical film genre by the late 1960s, India was awakening to its own golden era of film in which music dominated the sensory milieu. Perhaps it was the escapism of music with its perfect harmonies and piercing poetry that touched the newly freed country still finding its identity. From solemn hymns of the countryside to feverish cabarets of city nightlife, from extravagant orchestras to solitary sitar solos, and from singers whose voices seem to descend from heaven, these soundtracks unleashed new eras of possibility and romance. The music of classic Bollywood will change you forever. For a few fleeting minutes, the ideals you dreamed of are made real.

Take this journey with us through the best music albums of yesteryear Hindi cinema. This music the way is was meant to be. This is classic Bollywood.

The Top 30 Best Classic Bollywood Soundtracks of All Time:

1. Pakeezah

Pakeezah Meena Kumari Chalte Chalte

Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad, 1971

2. Guide

Guide

S.D. Burman, 1965

3. Mughal-e-Azam

Mughal-e-Azam

Naushad, 1960

4. Nagin

Nagin

Hemant Kumar, 1954

5. Aradhana

Aradhana

S.D. Burman, 1969

6. Teesri Manzil

Teesri Manzil

R.D. Burman, 1966

  • Aaja Aaja – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Deewana Mujhsa Nahin – Mohammed Rafi
  • O Haseena Zulfonwali – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • O Mere Sona Re – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tumne Mujhe Dekha – Mohammed Rafi

7. Barsaat

Barsaat

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1949

  • Hawa Mein Udta Jaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chhod Gaye Balam – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Jiya Beqarar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhe Kisise Pyar – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Patli Kamar Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh

8. Anarkali

Anarkali

C. Ramachandra, 1953

  • Yeh Zindagi Usiki Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Zindagi Ke Denewale – Hemant Kumar
  • O Aasmanwale – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jaag Dard-e-Ishq – Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar
  • Mohabbat Aisi Dhadhkan Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Mujhse Mat Pooch – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Ab To Aaja – Lata Mangeshkar

9. Kati Patang

Kati Patang

R.D. Burman, 1970

  • Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh
  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar
  • Pyaar Diwanaa Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar
  • Aaj Na Chhodenge – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar

10. Chori Chori

Chori Chori

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Panchi Banoon Udti – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aaja Sanam – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Jahan Main Jaati Hoon – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey
  • Rasik Balma – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Man Bhavan Ke Ghar – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle

11. Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Roshan, 1963

12. Hum Dono

Hum Dono Abhi Na Jao Dev Anand Sadhana

Jaidev, 1961

13. Jewel Thief

Jewel Thief

S.D. Burman, 1967

  • Honton Pe Aisi Baat – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Aasman Ke Neeche – Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar
  • Dil Pukare – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Rulake Gaya Sapna – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Yeh Dil Na Hota – Kishore Kumar
  • Title Music

14. Caravan

Caravan

R.D. Burman, 1971

  • Piya Tu Ab To – Asha Bhonsle
  • Chadti Jawani – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kitna Pyara Wada – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Goriya Kahan – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Ab Jo Mile Hai – Asha Bhonsle

15. Bobby

Bobby Main Shayar To Nahin

Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, 1973

  • Main Shayar To Nahin – Shailendra Singh
  • Bahar Se Koi Andhar – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kate – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar and Shailendra Singh
  • Na Mangoon Sona Chandi – Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh

16. Pyaasa

Pyaasa

S.D. Burman, 1957

  • Jaane Woh Kaise – Hemant Kumar
  • Aaj Sajan Mohe – Geeta Dutt
  • Hum Aap Ki Ankhon Mein – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Jane Kya Tune Kahi – Asha Bhonsle
  • Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye – Mohammed Rafi

17. Abhiman

Abhiman

S.D. Burman, 1973

18. Anand

Anand

Salil Choudhury, 1971

19. Kabhi Kabhi

Kabhi Kabhi

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1976

20. Baiju Bawra

Baiju bawra

Naushad, 1952

  • O Duniya Ke Rakhwale – Mohammed Rafi
  • Man Tarpat Hari Dar – Mohammed Rafi
  • Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jhoole Mein Pawan Ke – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi
  • Tu Ganga Ki Mauj – Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi

21. Mother India

Mother India

Naushad, 1957

22. Madhumati

Madhumati

Salil Choudhury, 1958

  • Aaja Re Pardesi – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Dil Tadap Tadap – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh
  • Suhana Safar – Mukesh
  • Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Chadh Gayo Papi Bichua – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

23. Basant Bahar

Basant Bahar

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1956

  • Duniya Na Bhaye Mohammed Rafi
  • Bhaye Bhanjana – Manna Dey
  • Ja Ja Re Ja – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Main Piya Teri – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Nain Mile Chain Kahan – Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey

24. Aar Paar

Aar Paar

O.P. Nayyar, 1954

  • Babuji Dheere Chalna – Geeta Dutt
  • Sun Sun Sun Zalima – Geeta Dutt and Mohammed Rafi
  • Kabhi Aar Kabhi Par – Shamshad Begum
  • Yeh Lo Main Haari Piya – Geeta Dutt
  • Hoon Abhi Main Jawan – Geeta Dutt

25. Kashmir Ki Kali

Kashmir Ki Kali

O.P. Nayyar, 1964

26. Bandini

Bandini

S.D. Burman, 1963

  • Ab Ke Baras Bhej – Asha Bhonsle
  • O Re Mahji – S.D. Burman
  • Mora Gora Ang Laile – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Jogi Jab Se Tu Aaya – Lata Mangeshkar
  • O Janewale Ho Sake – Mukesh

27. Sangam

Sangam

Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, 1964

28. Yaadon Ki Baraat

Yaadon Ki Baraat

R.D. Burman, 1973

  • Chura Liya Hai – Asha Bhonsle and Mohammed Rafi
  • Aapke Kamre Mein – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Lekar Hum Deewana Dil – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Meri Soni Meri Tamana – Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar
  • Yaadon Ki Baraat – Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

29. Amar Prem

Rajesh Khanna Amar Prem

R.D. Burman, 1972

  • Chingari Koi Bhadke – Kishore Kumar
  • Raina Beeti Jaaye – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Kuch To Log Kahenge – Kishore Kumar
  • Yeh Kya Hua – Kishore Kumar
  • Bada Natkhat Hai Yeh – Lata Mangeshkar

30. Umrao Jaan

Rekha2_UmraoJaan

Mohammed Zayur Khayyam, 1981

Find out more about these and other classic Bollywood soundtracks on our song pages! Which soundtracks do you consider among classic Bollywood’s all-time best and why? Leave us a comment and let us know!

– Mrs. 55

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Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955)
The epitome of modernity, feisty Madhubala croons poolside in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Today we present the lyrics and English translation of “Thandi Hawa Kali Gata” from our very own namesake Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955). The film follows an unlikely young couple, Madhubala and Guru Dutt, who are forced together by circumstance and end up challenging their own social mores, maturing, and finding love to essentially become an ideal match—a figurative “couple of the year.”

People tend to have strong feelings one way or another for this film. The music is hands-down fantastic, but the plot tends to be divisive, depending on how you view Guru Dutt’s stance on female emancipation in the 1950s. I tend to argue that the film is empowering—his narrative is social criticism of the flaws in patriarchal society, as well as an exploration of non-traditional female roles. While Madhubala’s character does indeed discover many virtues of a conventional Indian housewife, her realization that she would prefer marriage to divorce comes with a refreshing sense of maturity and self-discovery that in no way shackles her independence. Unlike many great heroines of the era, in Mr. and Mrs. ’55, Madhubala is feisty and does exactly what she wants, when she wants! I like that about a woman.

Madhubala in Mr. and Mrs. 55 Thandi Hawa
In the coming-of-age classic “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata,” Madhubala blushes in Mr. and Mrs. 55.

Now let’s take this moment to talk about the ridiculous ribbons and pigtails flying around the set in this song. Don’t be shy, you know precisely what I’m talking about. Mr. and Mrs. 55‘ was not the first film (and certainly not the last) to idealize fully-grown women who did their hair like 5-year old girls. Every actress of Bollywood’s yesteryear from class-act Meena Kumari to joke-a-minute Asha Parekh has played the romantic lead with a hairdo that awkwardly imitates the elementary school kids. Yes, chew on that for a moment. There’s an entire slightly uncomfortable social theory behind the craze. Contrast this lunchbox look to Madhubala’s long flowing locks in the sweet duet “Udhar Tum Haseen Ho” toward the end of the film as she begins to accept her marriage to Guru Dutt. Symbolic, no?

But enough about my beef with pigtails. Sung by Guru Dutt’s own wife Geeta Dutt, there’s plenty to love in this uplifting jingle! Follow along with the video here and enjoy our English translation and lyrics to “Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata” below!

Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata Lyrics and Translation:

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

baiThii thii chhup-chhaap yuu.N hii, dil kii kalii chhum ke mai.N
I was sitting quietly, caressing the flower of my heart
dil ne yeh kyaa baat kahii, rah na sakii sun ke mai.N
What my heart said, I could not stay there to listen
mai.N jo chalii dil ne kahaa aur zaraa jhoom ke
As I left, my heart spoke with even more exuberance
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Aaj to mai.N apnii chhabii dekh ke sharam aa gayii
Today I became shy upon seeing my own reflection
Jaane yeh kyaa soch rahii thii ki ha.Nsii aa gayii
I do not know what I was thinking, but I suddenly laughed
LauT gayii zulf mere honTh meraa chhuum ke
My hair flew back and touched my lips
Pyaar liiye, Dole ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

dil kaa haar iktaar hilaa, chhiDne lagii raginii
The necklace of my heart struck a chord on the iktaar, and it began teasing out a melody
kajraa bhare nain liye, ban ke chaluu.N kaaminii
With kajra-lined eyes, I became a beautiful woman and set out
Keh do koii aaj ghaTaa barse zaraa dhoom se
Someone tell the clouds to rain thunderously today
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

ThanDii hawaa, kaalii ghaTaa, aa hii gayii jhoom ke
A cold wind and black clouds have come with ebullience
Pyaar liiye, Dole, ha.Nsii, naache jiiyaa ghoom ke
Carrying love, laughter swayed, and my heart danced in swirls

Glossary:

ThanDii: cold, hawaa: wind; kaalii: dark; ghaTaa: cloud; jhoom: ebullience, exuberance; Dolna: to sway; ha.Nsii: laughter; naachnaa: to dance; jiiyaa: soul, heart; laughter; ghoomnaa: to swirl; chhup-chhaap: absolutely quietly; chhabii: reflection, image; sharam aanaa: to become embarrassed, to become shy; zulf: hair; honTh: lips; haar: necklace; iktaar: a traditional Hindustani one-stringed instrument, raginii: a small song, kajraa: traditional Indian  eyeliner; nain; eyes; kaaminii: a beautiful, desirable woman; koii: someone; barasnaa: to rain; dhoom se: with noise

Madhubala and friends in Mr. and Mrs. 55 (1955).
Madhubala and her girlfriends join hands in a chorus of pigtails and parasols in Mr. and Mrs. ’55 (1955).

Don’t you love how this film is just bursting with the tension of modernization? Like many typical “coming-of-age” songs, lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri employs nature-based allegories to describe a girl’s maturation to womanhood and the development of romantic inclinations. However, the song is unexpectedly filmed at the uber urban hangout of Mahatma Gandhi swimming pool in Bombay’s Shivaji Park! Gotta love those modern girls. Producer-director Nasreen Munni Kabir describes Guru Dutt’s cinematographic decision-making process while filming this song in her must-see documentary “In Search of Guru Dutt“!

This brilliant Geeta Dutt hit was requested by loyal fan Sonia! We know we’ve been taking longer than usual to get around to requests, but with Mr. 55 getting swamped in medical school and me getting down to the wire for wedding planning, we’re doing our best! Stay tuned–we love hearing from our fans!

– Mrs. 55

 

Chain Se Humko Kabhi Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Asha Bhonsle and O.P. Nayyar share a joyful moment together. Photo Credit: indianexpress.com

Today, we present the lyrics and English translation to a soul-stirring melody composed by O.P. Nayyar and sung by Asha Bhonsle that has stood the test of time: chain se ham ko kabhiiAlthough this song was supposed to be included in Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1974) directed by S. Ali Raza, it never made the final cut! In spite of its prominent absence from a movie, this memorable composition has been treasured by Hindi film music lovers for years ever since it was released. While the profound beauty of this rare song never fails to earn universal appreciation, many fans may be surprised to learn about the behind-the-scenes drama surrounding the the making and release of chain se ham ko kabhii.

When Asha Bhonsle was 16 years old, she eloped with her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar’s 31-year-old personal secretary Ganpatrao Bhonsle against the wishes of her family. Over the course of an unhappy marriage, the allegedly abusive Ganpatrao grew suspicious of Asha’s faithfulness to their marriage and eventually cast her out of their home in 1960 . Pregnant with her third child, Asha left the Bhonsle household permanently in order to secure a better future for her children. A few years later, Asha and music director O.P. Nayyar began a nine-year romantic relationship in 1963 that quickly became the talk of the tabloids.  Although both Asha and O.P. were married legally to their spouses, they lived together for many years in O.P.’s penthouse flat at the Miramar building in Mumbai. During this period, the duo churned out a series of memorable musical hits that fans of Hindi film music still hold dear to their hearts: diivaanaa huaa baadal from Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), yeh hai reshmii zulfo.n kaa andheraa from Mere Sanam (1965), zaraa haule haule chalo more saajnaa from Sawan Ki Ghata (1966), yehii woh jagah hai from Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966), and aao huzuur tum ko from Kismat (1968), among many other gems.

Sadly, this musical power couple encountered a rough patch in their relationship around 1972. One account of this story claims that Asha decided to leave O.P. when she saw him raising a hand and slapping her grown daughter Varsha. Whatever the reason may have been for their break-up, the couple had one last piece of unfinished business to deal with as they separated: the songs they had made together for the film Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye. Recorded before the couple had decided to part ways, records of these songs had been released several months in advance of the film’s premiere in 1974. Following the tragic break-up, Asha used her clout in the industry to have chain se ham ko kabhii deleted from the movie before it was released in theaters. However, the song had gained such widespread acclaim on its own that it won Asha her sixth Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer in 1975. Since Asha refused to go to the ceremony to receive this award, O.P. Nayyar accepted the trophy on her behalf. It is said that O.P. then tossed the trophy out the window on his car ride home, ending their relationship on a truly sour note.

To this day, Asha refuses to acknowledge O.P. Nayyar publically and does not credit him for her early successes in the playback singing industry. Interestingly, in his old age, O.P. Nayyar overcame the bitterness of the duo’s break-up and admitted that Asha was “the best person I’ve ever met.

Chain Se Humko Kabhi: Lyrics and Translation

chain se ham ko kabhii aap ne jiine na diyaa
You have never let me live in peace.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

chand ke rath me.n raat kii  dulhan jab jab aayegii
When the Night arrives as a bride on the Moon’s chariot,
yaad hamaarii aap ke dil ko taDpaa jaayegii
memories of me will continue to cause you heartache.
pyaar ke jalte zakhmo.n se jo dil me.n ujaalaa hai
The light in your heart emanating from our love’s burning wounds
ab to bicchaD ke aur bhii zyaadaa baDhnevaalaa hai
will continue to shine more brightly now that we are apart.
aap ne jo hai diyaa, vah to kisii ne na diyaa
What you have given to me, no one else has been able to replicate.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

aap kaa gham jo is dil me.n din-raat agar hogaa
To bear your sorrow in my heart all day and night,
soch ke yah dam ghuTataa hai, phir kaise guzar hogaa?
the very thought of this is suffocating. How can I endure it?
kaash na aatii apnii judaayiimaut hii aa jaatii
If only death had come to me instead of this separation,
koii bahaane chain hamaari ruuh to paa jaati
then, under this pretext, my soul could finally rest at peace.
ek pal ha.nsnaa kabhii dil kii lagii ne na diyaa
My heart’s emotions have never let me smile for a moment.
zahar bhii chaahaa agar, piinaa to piine na diyaa
Yet, even if I asked to die by poison, you would not let me drink it.

chain se ham ko kabhii aap ne jiine na diyaa
You have never let me live in peace.

Glossary

chain: peace; zahar: poison; rath: chariot; dulhan: bride; ujaalaa: light; sulagnaa: to smolder; dam ghuTnaa: to suffocate; guzar honaa: to endure, subsist; kaash: if only; judaayii: separation; maut: death; bahaanaa: pretext; ruuh: soul; lagii: emotion, feeling.

In the context of this tumultuous backstory, the lyrics of chain se ham ko kabhii (penned by S.H. Bihari) are aptly fitting as Asha’s final swan song under O.P. Nayyar’s baton. Thank you to our reader Tanushree for requesting a post on this beautiful song and its interesting history–keep those requests coming! Until next time…

-Mr. 55
Pran
A young Rekha stars in Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye (1964). Since the song was deleted from the released film, details surrounding the picturization of chain se ham ko kabhii remain a mystery to this day.

Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Neele Gagan Ke Tale 2
Rajkumar gets romantic with his co-star Vimi in “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967)

Next we showcase the lovely lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” from Humraaz (1967). Set against a peaceful blue sky, Rajkumar and Vimi express their young love for each other as the voice of Mahendra Kapoor floats above. Because of this, the song carries a timeless quality marked by omniscience, as if everything we see is approved by Heaven. Whether a gentle horseback ride or riverside rendez-vous, “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” focuses just as much attention on the protagonists as it does on the wonder of nature. With an opening number as famously idyllic as this, Humraaz effectively lulls the viewer into a false sense of security. A highly underrated mystery thriller, the film shifts gears radically, filled with exciting turns and unexpected cameos until the shocking, but artistically very satisfying end. But that Elysian paradise of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” where lovers dream and Earth is in bloom will continue to live on forever.

Rajkumar Vimi Neele Gagan ke Tale Humraaz 1967
Mahendra Kapoor’s  “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” is appropriately filmed against a beautiful deep blue sky.

Humraaz is also a rare showcase of Mahendra Kapoor’s talent as a singer. Music director Ravi is often credited as making Kapoor’s career with opportunities and expressiveness that other music directors famously denied him. A devoted Mohammed Rafi disciple, Mahendra Kapoor was often brushed aside by music directors like O.P. Nayyar, who unfairly referred to Kapoor as “besuraa” or “tuneless” in comparison! Ravi, however, believed in Kapoor’s unique talent and freely demonstrated his ability with Sahir Ludhianvi lyrics from the tragic “Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se” to the romantic “Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se” also from Humraaz. The evergreen hit “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” won Kapoor the filmfare award for Best Playback Singer in 1967! And indeed, one listen of Kapoor’s resonant, tender vocals in this sweet ballad will quickly quell any dissent (which, coming from myself, a fight-to-the-death Rafi groupie, says a lot)! Paired with the blissfully romantic landscapes of India’s beloved tea estates in Darjeeling, the song is truly one of the most gorgeous classic Bollywood has to offer.

Rajkumar Vimi darjeeling Humraaz
Rajkumar and Vimi enjoy the peaceful Darjeeling landscapes in Humraaz (1967).

We hope you enjoy the full lyrics and English translation of “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” below. Follow along with the video and let us know how much you love the escapist fantasy of it all in the comments!

Neele Gagan Ke Tale Lyrics and Translation:

Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ka pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms
Aise hii jag mei.N aate hai.N subahe.N
In this place the morning arrives
Aise hii shaam Dhale
In this place the evening falls
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Shabnam kii motii phoolo.N pe bhikre
The pearls of morning dew spread upon the flowers
Dono.N kii aas phale
And both of their desires flourish
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Bhalkaatii bele.N mastii mei.N khele
The sprawling branches play joyfully
PeDo.N se milke gale
And meet the embrace of the trees
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Nadiyaa kaa paanii dariyaa se milke
The water of the stream meets the river
Saagar kii or chale
And travels toward the ocean
Hey neele gagan ke tale
Beneath the blue sky
Dhartii ke pyaar phale
The love of earth blossoms

Glossary:

neelaa: blue; gagan: sky; tale: below; dhartii: earth; pyaar: love; phalna: to blossom; jag: place; subaah: morning; shaam: evening; Dhalnaa: to set, to diminish; shabnam: dew; motii: pearl; aas: desire; bhalkaatii: sprawling, winding; bel: branch; mastii: intoxication, joy; peD: tree; gale: embrace; nadiyaa: stream: paanii: river; dariyaa: river; saagar: ocean; or: toward, direction

Rajkumar Vimi Humraaz Neele gagan ke tale
Rajkumar is one heck of a handsome soldier as he bids a tender farewell to Vimi in Humraaz (1967).

Fun fact: “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” also makes our list of favorite “horse songs” found in Bollywood films because of its opening trot!

-Mrs. 55

Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Shamshad Begum Bollywood playback singer
Bollywood playback legend Shamshad Begum (1919-2013)

Last Wednesday, Bollywood lost another of its finest treasures: legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum. The veteran singer was 94 years old. She was well-known for breaking the norms–a maverick with a Brenda Lee-esque penchant for the Western and an irresistible je ne sais quoi that drew hoards of admirers from across the sub-continent. While Lata Mangeshkar and her clones sought to define femininity by delicate, high-pitch vocals Shamshad Begum proved over and over again that a sexy, strong timber could still carry innocence and that women in India could not all be categorized by a single stereotyped voice. Yes, the world needed Shamshad Begum, a woman who never succumbed to expectations and whose daring voice lent itself to some of the greatest works of Bollywood’s Golden Age. We salute you, Shamshad, and the invaluable service you did to the nascent Hindi film industry.

Who can forget her performance with Nigar Sultana as the sultry Bahar in Mughal-e-Azam‘s “Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat“? Few women dared sing a duet with Lata Mangeshkar for fear of inferiority–but that was precisely where the great talents of Shamshad shined their brightest. With a voice unlike anything in Bollywood history, Shamshad dazzled audiences with a deep, edgy flair for which she was famous. There was simply no competition because the voices were incomparable. Shamshad’s other famous duets such as “Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar” with Mohammed Rafi from CID (1956), “Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon” with Chitalkar Ramchandra in Patanga (1949) or “Kajra Mohabbatwala” with Asha Bhonsle in Qismat (1968) to name a few, showcase her unique robust twist on the norm and continue to be remade and popularized today.

Shamshad Begum receiving the Padma Bhushan for a lifetime of achievements in 200.9
Shamshad Begum receiving the Padma Bhushan for a lifetime of achievements in 2009.

Music director O.P. Nayyar confessed in an interview that when he entered the music industry, he begged Shamshad Begum to sing for his compositions. Her first collaboration with him became absolutely legendary: “Kabhi Aar, Kabhi Paar” from the film Aar Paar (1954). Here at Mr. and Mrs. 55, our favorite of her solo hits is the extraordinarily catchy S.D. Burman composition, “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” from Bahar (1951) in which classical dancer Vijayantimala made her Bollywood debut.

You can tell from themyriad of hand gestures reminiscent of a classical mudra to accompany the emotion of each line (coupled with her impeccable posture), that teenager Vijayantimala was well-trained in Bharatnatyam arts. This theatrical dance form meshes interestingly with the medium of film, at times carrying the over-expression of a silent movie and the spectacle of a living room classical dance performance. Perhaps the best part of this adorably innocent love song (besides, of course, Shamshad’s vocals!) is the clever and hilariously unnecessary drama accompanying the actresses 4 costumes changes in the song!

Vijayantimala in Bahar 1951 Saiyan Dil Mein Ana Re
Young Vijantimala makes her Bollywood film debut singing Shamshad Begum’s “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” in Bahar (1951).

Please enjoy the full lyrics and English translation to this Shamshad Begum hit “Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re” below and let us know YOUR favorite Shamshad Begum song in the comments!

Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re Lyrics and Translation:

Saiyaa.N dil mei.N aanaa re
Beloved, come into my heart
Aake phir na jaanaa re
And once you come, never leave
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Raja ban ke aanaa re
Like a king, come to me
Mohe leke jaanaa re
And take me with you when you go
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Chaandnii raat hogii, taaro.N kii baaraat hogii
It will be a moonlit night, the stars will form a wedding procession
Pehle pehle pyaar kii pehlii pehlii baat hogii
The first words of my first love will be spoken
Khushii khushii gaaye.Nge ham geet suhaanaa re
We will joyfully sing a beautiful song

ThoDii thoDii sahal hogii, thoDaa thoDaa pyaar hogaa
Little by little, our love will become easy
Kabhii iqraar hoga, kabhii inkaar hogaa
Sometimes you will agree with me, sometimes you will refuse me
Teraa manaanaa meraa rooTh jaanaa re
But you appease me, my anger will disappear

Tum mere paas hoge, gham baDii duur hogaa
You will be beside me, and all sadness will be far away
Kehtaa hai jiyaa meraa hogaa zuroor hogaa
My heart tells me this will certainly be so
Laanaa re laanaa tashriif laana re
Come, believe in me

Saiyaa.N dil mei.N aanaa re
Beloved, come into my heart
Aake phir na jaanaa re
And once you come, never leave
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Raja ban ke aanaa re
Like a king, come to me
Mohe leke jaanaa re
And take me with you when you go
Chham chhamaa chham chham

Glossary:

saiyaaN: beloved; raajaa: king; chaandnii: moonlight; baaraat: wedding procession; khushii: happiness, joy; geet: song; suhaanaa: beautiful; thoDaa: a little; sahal: easy; iqraar: agreement, acceptance; inkaar: refusal; manaanaa: to appease someone; rooTh: sulk, anger; gham: sadness; duur: far; jiyaa: soul, heart; zuroor: certainly; tashriif laanaa: a respectful way of asking someone to come or to enter (and in doing so, trust their honor with you)

So now you’re asking yourself, why is there no translation given for arguably the best line of the song: “Chham chhamaa chham chham“? There are a few ways to analyze this line–whether she’s referencing the glittering of stars, doing some free-styling by adding an extemporaneous beat to the melody, or getting carried away by the excitement of her own life–I think any real attempt to translate that exceedingly interpretive line formally would be an injustice to the song’s joie de vivre. Let us know your favorite Shamshad Begum moment in the comments!

– Mrs. 55