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27 August 2011

My Favourites: Main Nashe Mein Hoon

Where would Hindi films be without songs? And they are split into genres - qawwali, mujra, romantic songs, sad songs, songs of betrayal, party songs,patriotic songs... one such sub-genre was the 'drunk' song that was usually sad, but sometimes, played for laughs. It springs out of the hero or heroine imbibing alcohol (deliberately or mistakenly) with the expected results. 

It always interested me how their speech is slurred (as it would be), but how, the minute they start singing, they enunciate every word so clearly, sing in perfect pitch, and except for an occasional hiccup (to remind us, perhaps, that they are drunk), do not miss a beat... however, I am not complaining. The genre gave us some of the best songs from the golden period of the 50s and 60s.

1. Hum bekhudi mein tum ko pukaare chale gaye (Dev Anand / Mohammed Rafi / Kala Pani /1958)
Dev Anand and Nalni Jaywant. A kotha. The rhythmic sound of the ghungroos. Light and shadows setting off every expression on Dev’s face as he tries to entrap the tawaif – “sheeshe mein aap ko bhi utaare chale gaye” – who is a secret-keeper. Unlike most kotha songs, this one is very quiet, very gentle on the ears, the music just there, but not quite, depending mainly on Mohammed Rafi’s golden voice to provide the poignancy.

I am trying to stick to one hero per song, otherwise the other song that would absolutely have made this list is Hai hai hai yeh nigahein (Dev Anand / Kishore Kumar / Paying Guest / ). Devsaab seems to have had an inordinate number of ‘drunk’ or 'holding a glass of alcohol' songs.

2. Zindagi khwab hai (Motilal / Mukesh / Jagte Raho / 1956)
This is, bar none, my favourite nasha song of all time. In fact, it is one of my all-time favourites. I love it for music, picturisation and lyrics – the philosophy it espouses is hedonistic, much like Motilal’s character in the film (and much like him in real life, from all accounts). It is a philosophical song too, somewhat similar to Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya from Hum Dono. Only, this one celebrates its selfishness quite unapologetically.

I love the way the song starts off with Raj Kapoor’s character feeding a stray dog, when Motilal’s character stumbles unsteadily into view. Motilal walks on the pavement, weaving back and forth even while he tries to give the impression that he is not drunk, while Raj Kapoor looks on in wide-eyed astonishment.

3. Yeh duniya usi ki zamaana usi ka (Shammi Kapoor / Mohammed Rafi / Kashmir ki Kali /1964)
This is really drowning one’s sorrows in drink. The hero has just lost the love of his life; he has never imbibed before, but decides to pitch in to make up for lost time. I loved the little scene that comes before the song; Shammi Kapoor had once told this same man that he neither had the habit of drinking, nor felt the need to do so. So, when the man sees Shammi drinking, he nods in quiet understanding and says, “Zaroorat mehsoos hua? Ab aadat bhi ho jaayega.” (You have now felt the need to drink? It will soon become a habit.)

I loved this song. For Shammi Kapoor (of course!). For the music (OP Nayyar). For the emotion in Mohammed Rafi’s (who else!) voice. For the saxophone prelude, interlude and ending (Manohari Lal). For the picturisation, and the sync between actor and singer – watch Shammi take a deep breath just when Rafi saab does.  

4. Aao huzoor tumko (Babita / Asha Bhonsle / Kismat / 1968)
*Deep breath here* I first heard this song without knowing which film it was from, or who it was picturised on. And I felt so let down when I searched for the song on YouTube and found it was from Kismat (which I had seen ages ago – thank you Doordarshan) and had Babita and Biswajeet.  But that does not take away from Asha Bhonsle’s vocals, or the music, so I will not cut off my nose to spite my face.

Hindi film heroines do not drink. No, truly, they do not. Unless they are forced to, or they drink by mistake, or they pretend to be drunk so they can shove the poor hero off without telling him whatever it is they cannot tell him. I suspect from the picturisation that it is the last – Babita has to somehow persuade Biswajeet that she is a b-a-a-a-d girl. What better way than to pour yourself into a nice slinky gown and throw yourself into as many men’s arms as are willing to hold on to you? Biswajeet sulks at the bar. Why? I don’t know and I don’t care. (I have completely blanked this movie out, and cannot find the interest in seeing in again.)

Heed my advice: shut your eyes, and listen to the song.

5. Na jao Saiyyan (Meena Kumari / Geeta Dutt / Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam / 1962)
Did I say Hindi film heroines do not drink? Well, some of them do, but the provocation has to be grave. And when they do, they do with such grace. Well, Meena Kumari does, anyway. 

Meena’s eyes and her voice are intoxicating enough without any sharaab; add some alcohol into the mix as Chhoti Bahu desperately sinks to behaving like a whore to keep her husband at home; watch Rehman react to her – he is at once attracted and repelled. The double standard is alive and well – the tawaif he goes to can be all that and more, but his wife must be above such wantonness. 

Meena is awesome as the neglected wife, and this song encapsulates all her yearning, all her desire, all her love for a man who is not worth a tithe of what she has to offer.

6. Mohabat mein aise kadam dagmagaye (Bina Rai / Lata Mangeshkar / Anarkali /1953) 
Ah. Beautiful, beautiful Anarkali. So in love with Shehzaada Salim. Can’t really blame Bina Rai for drinking when Salim is Pradeep Kumar. Atleast Madhubala had Dilip to yearn for. But Pradeep Kumar could look regal and did. And Bina Rai was impossibly beautiful.

Lata Mangeshkar, in her conversations with Nasreen Munni Kabir narrates how the song came about its final form. C Ramachandra had composed the song but was not too happy with the initial recording; he felt there was something missing. When he was climbing up the stairs to his flat that evening, he had the worst case of hiccups. Eureka! The next day, he asked Lata Mangeshkar to incorporate a hiccup into the lines – and the song was recorded.

7. Hoon abhi main jawan ae dil (Shakila / Geeta Dutt / Aar Paar / 1954)
Watch a very young and very pretty Shakila sizzle in a movie in which (a very young and very pretty) Shyama was the heroine. Shakila is not drunk, or so she claims. She brings out the inner conflict of her character, a dancing girl (therefore, the vamp) who obviously cannot have the love of the hero. She is always doomed to love in vain.

8. Jungal mein mor naacha kisi ne na dekha hai (Johnny Walker / Mohammed Rafi / Madhumati / 1958)
This is different from all the ‘drunken’ songs in this list, in that this is a rollicking tune. And a comic scene. No one played the sharaabi quite like Johnny Walker. And Mohammed Rafi’s voice dipped and soared, slurred and hiccupped and gave us a song that was intoxicating to listen to. And just like for Shammi Kapoor, there was something different in the way that Rafisaab sang for Johnny Walker. When you heard a song, you knew at once that it had to be Johnny Walker on screen.

If you want to see Salilda’s versatility, then all you have to do is to listen to the score of Madhumati – from the playful Ghadi ghadi mora dil dhadke to the heartbreaking Toote hue khwabon ne to the haunting Aaja re to the anticipatory note in Suhana safar to the folk notes of Chhad gayo paapi bichua

9. Mujhko yaaron maaf karna (Raj Kapoor / Mukesh / Main Nashe Mein Hoon / 1959)
Raj Kapoor. Mukesh. Bela Bose. What’s not to like? There is a difference. For once, the hero is not a) pretending to be drunk b) claiming he is not drunk b) claiming he was forced to drink... he is apologising for being drunk. But Bela Bose obviously does not think so, since she is happily offering him another drink. But she is dancing fit to raise a storm, so all is forgiven.

10. Mujhe duniya wale sharabi na samjho (Dilip Kumar / Mohammed Rafi / Leader / 1964) 
What was it with Rafisaab and drunken songs? A man who didn’t touch a drop of alcohol in real life, still managed to sing some of the most evocative numbers sung in an alcoholic haze on-screen. And overlooking the perfect enunciation, Rafisaab really got into the mood of the song.

Here, he is singing for Dilip Kumar, who was obviously having fun, walking up a broad red-carpeted stairway blowing a trumpet, and sliding down the banisters, pouring wine on a server’s head and dancing beeyootifully with a firang – much to Vyjayanthimala’s distress. However, he soon asks her to dance, and she joins in, her distress giving way to beaming smiles. (Hey, shouldn’t she be condemning him as a ‘sharaabi’?) 

This definitely was a case of the soundtrack trumping the film itself - the latter is eminently forgettable, the former filled with such gems as Apni azaadi ko hum, Ek shahenshah ne banwa ke, Tere husn ki kya tarif karun amongst others.  

Well, I am off to get myself a drink... what is your choice? (Songs, I mean, not drinks, though that too...)


  1. Wonderful selection, Anu, as always. My choices would include Rangeela re from Prem Pujari, and Yeh meri zindagi from Ziddi. And yes, I will have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, please, or whatever you are having...

  2. Ruhi, one glass of chilled Red coming up :) I didn't like Prem Pujari one bit, and so, had blanked out everything from the move. Now that you mentioned it, I went off to take a look - Waheeda is mesmerising. (But then, she always was.)

    Another one of my favourites, though it is from a later period is Phir na kehna Michael daru pee ke

  3. And you didn't add Chal mere bhai from Naseeb. That's one of my favourites :( You are being very anti-Amitabh, Anu. I hereby request, no, demand that you do a post on him very soon. For the sake of all of us who are unabashed Amitabh fans. (Even if we are all Shammi Kapoor fans also...)

  4. Tina, Chal mere bhai doesn't even constitute a song! I mean, I like watching its picturisation, but really, song??? And I say this as an Amitabh fan myself. I will do a write-up on Amitabh Bachchan, I will, but I need to watch all his movies again :)

  5. Ah, great list as always, Anu! There are loads here that I like a lot (for the complete list of my favourite daaru songs, check this out):


    A few there that we share in common!

    P.S. As far as I remember, Babita's character actually is tipsy in Aao huzoor tumko - not intentionally, though. I think someone mixes something in her (otherwise innocuous) drink. I don't recall exactly how that happens, though.

  6. You have a list of daaru songs? I am off to check that out now. I should have checked before I posted my list, no? It doesn't surprise me one bit that we have some shared songs there. :)

    As for Kismat, I am afraid I have no recollection of what made Babita tipsy; in fact, I had even forgotten which film the song was from. Would you blame me for not going back to see why she was tipsy?

  7. Here are a few, some breaking your one song per hero /heroin, to add my own ‘likes’ to your infallible list:
    Sawan ke mahine mein – Mohammad Rafi - Sharabi - http://youtu.be/W_KuzEKYRt8
    Yaad Aayi Aadhi Raat Ko ....Mukesh .... Kanhaiya - http://youtu.be/HhqTIbza-jk
    Zindagi Aaj Mere Naam Se Sharmati Hai – Mohammad Rafi - Son of Inida 1962 - http://youtu.be/AdBiG7VLEto
    Main Kaun Hoon – Mohammad Rafi - Main Chup Rahungi - http://youtu.be/rrO1HFtCguA
    Kaise Rahe Chup - Lata - Intaquam [1969] - http://youtu.be/1HDJrKoOueU
    And the list would remain incomplete without:-
    Kahaan Hain, Kahaan Hain, Kahaan Hain - Mohammed Rafi - Pyaasa [1957] - http://youtu.be/g4qT0kF1pds
    mitwa mitwa - http://youtu.be/qF9wDM0rscc & kisko khabar thi - http://youtu.be/w2ya6RuvtKI - Talat Mahmood  - Devdas 1955

  8.  Thank you for adding to my list, Ashokji. I love Yaad aayi aadhi raat ko; another song from the same film that is also a nasheeli song is Ruk jaa o jaanewaali ruk jaa.  The song from Pyaasa absolutely! But is it truly a nasha song?

  9. Just listened to this song:
    Hum Hai Nashe Main _ Sehra – 1963- Asha Bhosle – Ram Lal - http://youtu.be/KcE8BtaXJeA

  10. Mohammad Rafi's Mujhe le chalo aaj us gali men from Sharabi will find a pride of place in my choice.

  11.  Naresh, I'd completely forgotten this song. Thank you for bringing it back to mind. You're right - this is one of Rafisaab's best. And lovely, lovely music by Madan Mohan.

  12. Well, from the same film: Kabhi na kabhi, kahin na kahin koi na koi to ayega - this may also fit in this category. And a very god song.

  13.  It is a very good song, but is it a sharaabi song? It looks more like a sad song to me.

  14. Two more Rafi gems: Savan ke mahine Mein from Sharabi (both versions), and Koi sagar Dil ko bahlata Nahin (DilDiya Dard Liya). On the other hand, there is this light weight number of Rafi singing Sahir's lyric to N. Dutta's tune: Maine pee sharab, tumne kya piya.

  15. I loved Sawan ke mahine mein, but decided against it because it would have turned into a Dev Anand post, then. :) I'm glad you posted it in the comments.

    Koi sagar dil ko behlata nahin is a beautiful but very depressing song. :(

    Like the last one. Thanks for bringing them back to memory. Off to listen to all of them again.


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