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25 April 2011

My Favourites: Dev Anand songs

Think of Dev Anand's movies, especially the earlier Navketan ones from the black and white era and you immediately think of the songs. Both Chetan Anand and Vijay Anand, his brothers, who directed quite a few movies for Navketan had the 'eye' for song picturisations. So did Guru Dutt, his friend, who made some of his best movies for the Navketan banner. A well-recorded anecdote from those days notes that Guru Dutt and Dev Anand were both strugglers who had a pact that the one who made it would give the other a break. And when Dev Anand started Navketan, he asked Guru Dutt to make a movie for his banner. Thus was Baazi (1951) born. (Navketan's first offering Afsar, adapted from a play by Gogol, by Chetan Anand, starring Dev Anand and Suraiya flopped.)

Devsaab had a ear for music, and SD Burman was almost an in-house music director; most Navketan's movies' music was scored by Burman da. And while Dev Anand transitioned to Kishore Kumar as his 'voice', I personally think that both Mohammed Rafi and Talat Mahmood were better suited. It is interesting to note that Mukesh never sang for him; the one song that Mukesh did sing sang very few songs for him; a couple of those were picturised in the background.  

As with all lists, it is difficult to pin a selection down to just ten favourites out of the many. My only reference point was that I do not duplicate movies; so here, in no particular order, are my favourite Dev Anand numbers. 

Hum Dono (1961)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music: Jaidev
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi  
 
Love, love, love Sahir's lyrics. Especially Jo mil gaya usi ko muqaddar samajh liya, jo kho gaya usi ko bhulata chala gaya... It is interesting that a song that, on the face of it, seems so don't care-ish, is actually quite a realistic take on life and living. Would that one only followed it! For a more hedonistic take on similar sentiments ....
Jaal (1952)
Singer: Hemant Kumar
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
This is picturised on one of my most favourite actresses. Ever. Geeta Bali. And it is interesting that even though the song is sung by Dev Anand, what the camera lingers on, is Geeta's reactions to the lyrics. One can actually see her being unwillingly drawn to a man she knows  is bad news. With the hero and the heroine in two separate buildings, it still manages to be one of the most sensual picturisations I have ever seen.

Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

Worth watching just for the sheer exuberance and joie de vivre that Devsaab displays, and Nutan's million-watt smile. It is difficult to pick just one song from this movie - this was Burman da at his talented best. It is also interesting that Dev Anand was in his forties (he looked much younger), and Nutan was not only married but also a mother by the time this movie was made. Vijay Anand's song picturisations were brilliant. 

4. Hum bekhudi mein tumko
Kala Pani (1952)
Singer: Mohammed Rahi 
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Watch this just for the magic of Rafi's voice. It is amazing how voice, tune and melody are so completely in sync that you almost, but not quite, miss the accompanying instruments. It is almost as if Sachin da reserved his best compositions for Navketan.

5. Hum hain rahi pyar ke
Nau Do Gyarah (1957)
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
 
Finally, one song by the man whom Dev Anand considered his 'voice' much as Raj Kapoor considered Mukesh his soul. An old broken-down truck, Devsaab at his rakishly insouciant, and a call to every free spirit in the world. Watch the play of light and shadow. Both Vijay Anand  and Guru Dutt were masters at the art of capturing the light, though I think Vijay Anand had an edge when it came to picturising songs.

Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
While Jiya ho, jiya kuch bol do from the same movie, is a far more popular song, this one is my personal favourite. Because Rafi saab is at his playful best here. It is amazing how he could modulate his voice for each actor. And it makes me wonder why Dev Anand switched to Kishore Kumar instead.

7. Tujhe jeevan ki dor se baandh liya hai
Asli Naqli (1962)
Singers: Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
Again I ask, why, oh why, did Kishore take over as Dev Anand's voice? An absolutely stunning Sadhana without her trademark fringe, Dev Anand in top form, Hrishikesh Mukhejee's quiet direction of a slice-of-life script, what's not to like?  Shankar-Jaikishen's music was just the icing on the cake.

Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)
Singer: Hemant Kumar
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
This is another movie where a Rafi song is eclipsed by that of another male singer. The other example is from Bambai ka Babu where Mukesh's single contribution overtook every other song from the film, including this one on the popularity charts, even though it only played in the background during the climax.
The story of a lawyer who sets out to prove a client innocent, even though she believes she committed the crime, and who falls in love with her in the interim, the movie worked on many different levels, climaxing in a court scene that was quite underplayed for the time.

9. O nigahen mastana
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri 
Okay, I will confess that someone said my eyes reminded them of this song. :) But that is not the only reason for its inclusion in this list. For one, the movie was a rather decent one, and I have always liked the Dev Anand - Nutan pairing, and this was one of the earliest movies in which they paired. It is Kishore at his playful best, without the yodelling that became his trademark in many later 'fun' songs. And Asha Bhonsle is the perfect foil for the mischief that is brewing in Nutan's expressive eyes.

10. Saanjh dhali dil ki lagi
Kala Bazar (1960)
Singers: Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Shailendra  
This was probably one of the last movies in which Geeta Dutt 'sang' for Waheeda Rehman. All the other songs in Kala Bazar, including this one, were sung by Asha Bhonsle. In fact, early in her career, music directors had Asha imitate Geeta Dutt's singing style. This was one of the songs where I wished they had Mohammed Rafi singing instead of Manna Dey -  the song needed Rafi's special touch to bring out its playfulness.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. The movies mentioned above had a musical score where it is difficult to pick just *one* favourite. And I have restricted myself to his black and white movies. And because I did so, I missed out on Guide and Hare Krishna Hare Ram. And there are some from his 'rangeen' avatar where I love the songs, but really cannot bear to see them!

Feel free to mail me your favourites.

12 comments:

  1. That is quite a task you set yourself, Anu! In two and a half years of blogging (and doing lots of 'top ten favoourite' lists), I've never been able to summon up the courage to attempt a Dev Anand list, simply because there would be too many songs for me to do a top ten! I love all the songs you've selected, but my special favourite would be Hum bekhudi mein tum ko pukaare - that always gives me gooseflesh. Other favourites of mine include Hain sabse madhur woh geet jinhe from Patita, Hai apna dil toh aawaara from Solva Saal, Teri duniya mein jeene se from House No. 44 and Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat from Teen Deviyaan (come to think of it, I also like Arre yaar meri tum bhi ho gazab very much).

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  2. As I said, *you* inspired me. So, blame or credit goes to you! :) You are right about the many hundreds of songs I missed - I didn't touch any of his colour incarnations, for instance. Come to think of it, I haven't even come close to doing justice to the B&W movies - the movies I mentioned had so many gems that I overlooked to choose 'the one' and I completely missed CID, Patita, Teen Deviyan, House No:44 , Baazi, Munimji - oh so many!

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  3. I have been reading a few of your posts (Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari, Balraj Sahni, Piano Songs, Helen) and I like them a lot. You have a lot of interesting material in these pieces.
    Since Dev Anand is my favorite BWood hero, I will begin by commenting here. Like most people I know, I like him in his BW days.
    I also like some color movies (Guide, HRHK, JMN, JT, TMS), and as a kid used to look forward to watching his other 70's movies. Now I just ROFL at most of his 70's movies, and really do not know what to do about his later ones.
    In any case, all the songs you have listed are amongst my favorites and I (and many other people) could certainly list more. However, as Dustedoff pointed out, it is quite a challenge to a Top Ten DA list.
    One possible way is to only use one song per singer; Dev Anand & 12 was an answer to a quiz qn in the early 80's --- "Which BWood hero has had the highest # of playback singers & how many ?". I have been able to find 8+1, 8 true playback (Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh, Talat, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, C Ramchandra, Dwijen Mukherjee) & SD Burman as background.
    Incidentally, Mukesh did sing for DA "Bahen Na Kabhi Nain Se Neer" from "Vidya"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxd3KUIcFHw

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  4. Samir, thanks for dropping in. And thanks even more for the song from Vidya. I do not remember this song though I have seen Vidya.

    I do my best not to see Dev Anand's later movies too. :) And I agree about making a Top Ten - I think we could safely make ten Top Ten lists.

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  5. Dev delivered most classics in 50-60s (B&W) films. His romantic deliveries as well as sad ones like' hum bekhudi mein, (kp) saathi na koi manzil...(bkb) are superb ! Attired in black outfits singing with nutan, madhubala, waheeda, malasinha, sadhna,...Dev keeps you spellbound with his charismatic smile and mannerism. He was most handsome actor of that era, and this was reflected in songs picturized on him.

    H.Bhardwaj

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  6. Harish, thanks for dropping by.
    'Most handsone' is subjective. There are a few of us here who think Shammi Kapoor is that. :) But I agree that he made the best pairing with Waheeda and Nutan - I still think Madhubala-Dilip were best suited to each other - they seared the screen when they appeared together.

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  7. Aah, Dev Saab! My favourite. Shammi Kapoor is better looking? I agree with Harish. Dev Anand had a certain elan and sophistication that Shammi didn't possess. And I really liked Shammi too - his films were so entertaining. But Dev, in his black&white avatar was not only good looking, he definitely had better scripts.

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  8. Look, we can like both, okay? :) I agree that Dev's films definitely had better scripts, and often, better directors. However, they were operating in different spheres. And don't forget that some of Shammi's biggest hits were written with Devsaab in mind.

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  9. chal re sajni ab kya soche, from bombay ka babo. this song is one of the most classical rendition that the mighty mukesh has produced to SD (though he was his critic) and Dev anand. but there some other numbers which have been picturized on Dev like (Vidya 1948, shair 1949. but you have mentioned a very good point that why he preferred kishore to be his voice, while the singer Like Mohd Rafi and Mukesh are rare gems. i never watch Dev Movies because of Kishore's songs. i am not critic to kishore musical-wise. but i am sorry to say that his voice has never been heart touching, and comparing to Mukesh and Mohd Rafi kishore was nothing. you are right that why he preferred kishore over Mohd Rafi? again you are right.

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  10. Thanks for stopping by, and leaving a comment. I'm glad you liked the songs. I don't think it is right to compare the golden three - they all had their own place in the history of Hindi film music. My preference for Mohammed Rafi (or even Talat Mehmood) as Devsaab's voice is simply a personal preference - I thought their voices better suited him. Kishoreda's voice was deeper.

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  11. Dear Anuradha,

    Ah, lovely. Simply lovely. I'm surprised, very pleasantly surprised, at your choice of songs, and the very interesting information you add to each song. I can spend hours listening to these songs, and I have seen your selection of Old Hindi Songs - so many more to listen and to watch.

    Thank you.

    Ramnathan. K.S

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  12. Thank you, Mr Ramnathan. I'm glad you like them.

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