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14 February 2016

My Favourites: 'Me Tarzan, You Jane' Songs

No, this post has no connection to the Lord of the Apes. Indeed, it's just my whimsy that titled the post so. It does have a connection, though, my last list of songs. There, I listed some songs of introduction, songs that told you a little more about the person singing the song than just their name, real or pretend. In the comments, fellow-blogger Dustedoff suggested that there were enough songs to do a post on the 'I am..., you are...' motif. That triggered off a search for those 'type' of songs, songs that sing of complementary pairings whose lives are intertwined. Indian poetry and literature are rife with such examples - the moon and a chakor, a bird from the partridge family that is supposed to pine away for the sight of the moon; a peacock and the clouds/rains; a cloud and the rains, a lamp and its wick, the sun and its rays, a flower and a honey bee, and so on... Poets use them as similes or metaphors for the love and passion that their heroes and heroines feel for each other.

When Dustedoff happily passed on the theme to me, the first song that came to my mind, almost immediately (and I wager, to hers as well), was Tu mera chand main teri chandni, the Shyam-Suraiyya duet from Dillagi. Then I remembered another song Main pyaasa tu saawan from Faraar... after which, my brain shut down and refused to think of any more songs.

It is remarkable how many such songs are there, however. So after a few hours of trawling YouTube, I came across songs that had me alternately expressing, 'Oh, how could I have not remembered this one?'  and 'How come I haven't heard this song before?'.  Here, thanks to the theme being handed over to me on a plate, are the results of such 'research'. Not all of them are my 'favourites', but they fit the theme. 

I didn't set out to publish this on Valentine's Day, but it seems apt, given that these comparisons supposedly show the depth of ever-lasting love. Please bear in mind that the descriptions are written - mostly - tongue in cheek, and are not meant to be taken seriously at all. (Especially considering that I don't seem to have said anything about the songs or the music.)

Dillagi (1949)
Singers: Suraiya, Shyam Kumar
Music: Naushad
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni
He (Shyam) is the moon, she (Suraiya) is the moonlight, she sings. Not to be outdone, he claims he is the raag ('colour'/'beauty'/'melody' in Sanskrit), she is the raagini ('attractive voice' - again, from Sanskrit. [side note: I didn't know that. I had assumed 'raagini' was just another word for 'raag'.]) Of course, when they continue to sing 'Saath hi jeena, saath hi marna, ulfat ki ye reet re', you know they are not going to be doing that. (It's the First Law of Hindi Filmdom.) But that is for later; right now, the lovers are engrossed in each other. 

Yes, the song is picturised on Suraiya and Shyam, but no, he's not singing for himself. Au contraire, the man giving the playback for 'hero' Shyam, is Shyam Kumar, who also appears as the villain in this film. (Which led to merry confusion with two people with the same name, one a hero, lip-synching to a song voiced by the villain giving playback to his namesake. There is also a Shyam Kumar-Geeta Dutt version in the film, picturised on Shyam, Suraiya and Shyama. According to geetadutt.com, this was Geeta Roy's first recorded song for Naushad.  

2. Tu husn hai main ishq hoon
Humraaz (1968)
Singers: Mahendra Kapoor, Asha Bhosle
Music: Ravi
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
She (Mumtaz) is beauty, he (Sunil Dutt) is love. A stage performance which dramatises the tales of three ill-fated lovers - Sohni and Mahiwal, Salim and Anarkali, Romeo and Juliet - this song proves to be a corollary to the law mentioned above - if you are not separated immediately after singing 'saath jeeyenge saath marenge', at least one, if not both of you, will die. (Second Law of Hindi Filmdom.) Fortunately, this song is picturised on Mumtaz, and not on the wholly wooden Vimmi. Unfortunately, the picturisation is a scream, not to mention the pronunciations of 'Romeo' and 'Juliet' always makes me lapse into giggles. (And yes, this is definitely not one of my favourite songs. If I'd to choose one from this film, it would be Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo, or even, Kisi patthar ki moorat se, which I always thought was Sahir's sly dig at Vimmi.)

Baiju Bawra (1952)
Singers: Mohammed Rafi
Music: Naushad
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni
She (Meena Kumari), his roothi-hui sweetheart, is the mauj ('wave' in Urdu) of the River Ganga, while he's (Baiju, the legendary 'mad' poet) the dhaara ('flow'/'current'/'stream' in Sanskrit) of the River Jamuna, or so he sings to his very embarrassed beloved, as she rows away from the banks in a bid to escape him. The union of the two great rivers, Ganga and Jamuna, at Prayag, Allahabad, is considered to be a metaphor for great love; and like that union of those two great rivers, they too are destined to meet one day. (For what actually happens, read the First Law of Hindi Filmdom.) 

It is said that Saraswati (flowing underground, and hence 'invisible') disappears after the confluence with Ganga and Yamuna at Triveni Sangam; folklore has it that she sacrifices herself so the two great rivers can finally unite. (Long considered a 'mythical' river, modern science and technology have succeeded in mapping the Saraswati's course.)  

4.  Main bhanwra tu hain phool
Mela (1948)
Singers: Mukesh, Shamshad Begum
Music: Naushad
Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni
'I'm the bee, you're the flower', he (Dilip Kumar) sings, 'you're the sun, I'm its radiance.' Well, I don't know about that, but this song is a short burst of radiance in a film that quite soon after this song, descended into a long-drawn out three-handkerchief tragedy. As always, when he sings of 'jeevan bhar ka mel', you know (even if they don't) what's going to happen next. (See First Law of Filmdom, if you haven't already.) He does seem to have some foreboding, however, since he asks her (Nargis) to remember this day, this moment, for youth will repine, but never return. But her heart, filled with his love, is singing his melody, and she can't, for the moment, think of anything else. She would have done better to heed him. But the gift of foresight is not given to everyone, and besides, where would we be, if it were?  

5. Tu shokh kali main mast pawan
Main Suhagan Hoon (1964)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle
Music: Lacchiram
Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi 
She (Mala Sinha) is a 'lively' bud (more likely, used here to mean 'comely' or 'attractive') while she insists she's also the fun loving breeze. He (Ajit) eulogises her as a sham-e-wafa (the faithful flame?) while he's the parwana, the besotted moth who succumbs to her. For a change, they are already happily married. Of course, by now, you know what happens next. (With a title like Main Suhagan Hoon, what do you expect?) Right now, however, neither of them have a care in the world, expect run around bushes and sing songs. It is a pleasant enough song, which also has a solo version, picturised on Kewal Kumar, Nasir Hussain, and Mala Sinha. This, of course, happens after the initial duo of Ajit and Mala are separated by circumstances  (forcing her to repeatedly mutter Main Suhagan Hoon - whether it is to convince her irritatingly determined suitor, or herself, one is never quite sure) and Mala has returned to her uncle's (a morose Nasir Hussain - was he ever any other kind?) house where she meets the aforementioned suitor, who is her father's student. 

6. Piya main hoon patang tu hai dor
Raagini (1958)
Singers: Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar
Music: OP Nayyar
Lyrics: Jaan Nissar Akhtar
For a change, it is the female half of the duo who's deciding that she (Jabeen Jaleel), is a patang (kite) while he's the dor (string). She wonders how to keep her youthful heart under control when the clouds gather. He (Kishore Kumar) seems to be rather more prosaic, addressing her as his gori rangeeli chor ('fair, colourful thief' doesn't somehow have the same ring in English as it does in its Hindi avatar, does it?)  

Jabeen plays the titular Ragini in a melodramatic film that meanders through several tragedies before ending in self-sacrifice and tears - lots of them - and a contrived 'happy' ending. It's probably more famous for the fact that Kishore Kumar lip-synched to a song sung by Mohammed Rafi. Apart from Rafi, another very famous classical singer sang for Kishore - Ustad Amir Khan. (He also sang the title song.) 

7. Tu hai chanda toh main hoon chakor
Aaghosh (1953)
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar
Music: Roshan
Lyrics: Indeewar
While this is a street performance, and not a 'real' love song, they are pretending to be lovers - though years of Hindi film viewing leads me to believe that this will be the sidekick couple, or the ones responsible for the comedy, and will definitely end up being paired together. Here, he is not stating - definitively - that she's the moon. If she's the moon, then he's the chakor (the afore-mentioned partridge) who's destined to languish for love of her. (I love these conditional clauses.) As always, there is the expressed hope that their relationship will not end, and that their troth will be plighted till the end of their lives. Interestingly, these promises, when made by the sidekicks, never portent ill fate - they are never separated, nor do they die at the end of the film. That's reserved for the main leads.  

8. Tu ladki main ladka
Do Ustad (1959)
Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle
Music: OP Nayyar
Lyrics: Qamar Jalalabadi
These two are quite prosaic by any standards - 'you're a girl, I'm a boy' is hardly the stuff of heady romance. Neither is referring to her as a bud as soft as cotton (kali ho jaise kapaas ki). But the girl is starstruck (love-struck?) enough to not object, so I guess that's alright, then. Especially when she then refers to him as a rose (phool ho tum gulaab ka). 

Raj Kapoor unites with the heroine of his debut film, Madhubala, in a delightful tale about separated brothers (though their paths cross regularly as in all good masala films), police and crooks, a jewellery heist, a runaway heiress, which has him playing a petty crook, Rajan, impersonating - Raj Kapoor. Madhu falls in love with him, thinking he is the Raj Kapoor, while he, happily hands her over to his brother (not knowing he's the brother) so they can claim the reward for her return. Do Ustad saw Raj Kapoor cut loose and have fun, and showed off his grace as a dancer, as he sings and dances his way through the movie, doing the bhangra, dancing to rock-and-roll, etc. Madhubala provides the perfect foil.  

9. Tu roop ki rani main choron ka raja
Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja (1961) 
Singers: Talat Mehmood, Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
She (Waheeda Rehman) is 'roop ki rani' (quite literally, 'the queen of beauty' - and honestly, who can blame him for saying so?), while he's (Dev Anand) the 'choron ka raja' (the king of thieves). Of course, he is a thief, king or not. While she is Roopa, a young girl who is bound for Shiv Sagar to perform her debut as a dancer before the famed idol of Shiva, before entering her foster mother's profession as a dancing girl, he is Chagan, a thief by trade, mingling with the pilgrims on the steamer, so he can make a stab at stealing a valuable diamond being carried by one of the pilgrims. That he and Roopa fall in love with each other is a given, but between comparing each other to a mischievous wave/a dancing shore, a star (on earth)/a vagabond, etc., they forget there's many a slip between the cup and the lip - Roopa is promised to another.  

10. Tu hai nau do gyarah, main hoon ek do teen
Daaku (1955)
Singer: Shamshad Begum
Music: Snehal Bhatkar
Lyrics: Kaif Irani    
This is an interesting song, since the tu-main comparisons are not at all romantic. Flirtatious? Definitely. Saucy? Yes! Teasing - very much so, and also very, very clever, if you look at the lyrics. 'Nau do gyarah' is used idiomatically to mean 'run away' while Section 123 (Ek do teen) of the Indian Penal Code deals with 'Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war.' Since she (Shashikala) is almost blatantly telling the head constable what her intention is, and that he (?) should run away, methinks it is a very dumb man indeed who thinks she's interested in him. Perhaps the fact that she tells him so, makes him overlook the hidden meaning of the lyrics, even though he warns her not to 'maska paalish' him, since he knows she's come to help the prisoner escape. Ah, well, a beautiful woman can always lead a man a merry dance, I guess, so what's the poor man to do?

So. These are my humble offerings to the altar of 'Tu-main' songs. What songs can you remember?

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