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10 January 2017

My Favourites: 'Kaun Aaya?' Songs

Hindi films are full of rhetorical questions to which everyone, including the people asking those questions, know the answer, and I find them amusing. Sometime back, I wrote a post on what I called ‘Where are you?songs, in a bid to answer one such question. It struck me that there were a few other existential questions that need answers. One such question is ‘Kaun aaya?’ The answer is obvious, of course (and the characters on screen know who has stolen their heart, resided in their soul, made them laugh…), but they ask (sing) the questions anyway.  

Well, I thought it might make sense to explain these songs to my readers [patting my own halo] so I began my research, my quest for the rhetorical, the unanswerable, the inexplicable...

Dil Deke Dekho (1959)
Singers: Mohammed Rafi
Music: Usha Khanna 
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri 
Shammi, being rather self-aware, his 'kaun aaya' is more of a 'Look who's arrived' than asking – rhetorically, or otherwise who it is that has come. This song, inspired from Paul Anka's Diana, is a modern version of Pyar kiya toh darna kya, as Shammi's character Roop/Raja exhorts his beloved, Nita to defy society (aka her father [Raj Mehra], sponsor Jamuna [Sulochana], and fiancè [Rajendranath]) and fight for her love. Nita isn't too sure though Roop has no such qualms, even with Jamuna glowering at him. In fact, this song is deliberate defiance; Jamuna had, just before entering the club, asked him not to forget that Nita was his employer, and that her name shouldn't ever pass his lips. Shammi being Shammi, of course, he has to make a public declaration, stating openly that she is 'Dilruba, meri Nita...'
Pyar kiya toh phir nibhana
Aaj khulke yun aankh milana
Dekhta rahe munh ye zamaana
Jaise gire shama par parwaana
Tu bhi aaja kya karega zamaana
Jaise koyi toot-tha hai sitara
Jhoom ke aa thaam le haath hamara
What can the world do to them, after all? As the aforementioned 'society' glower at him, Nita (Asha Parekh) finds the courage to stand by her man. 

2. Kaun aaya mere man ke dwaare 
Dekh Kabira Roya (1957) 
Singer: Manna Dey
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishen 
Mohan, a wannabe singer, is in a spot because no one appreciates his singing; his neighbours won't even let him practice! So Ranjeet, his new-found friend, decides to give Mohan some moral support. 'Go on, sing,' he tells Mohan; 'let's see who will stop you.' So Mohan sings a song that, in hindsight, seems portentous: Kaun aaya mere man ke dwaare...
Aankh na jaane, dil pehchaane, sooratiya kuchh aisi
Yaad karoon toh, yaad na aaye mooratiya ye kaisi
Paagal manwa, soch mein dooba, sapnon ka sansaar liye...
Soon, there is someone at the door, someone who is enchanted by his voice, but Mohan is so terrified that he hides under the bed while the door is opened by Ranjeet. Who promptly falls in love with the young woman who imagines he is Mohan. While Mohan had previously been mistaken for an editor/writer by a young poet who has fallen in love with him. Confused? Well, this is just the beginning. It just gets more confusing from here on when the men realise just what's happening, and after trying (in vain) to get their lady loves to like their actual professions, then have to keep up the pretence so the fair ladies will not be miffed! 

3. Ye kaun aaya mere man mein bahaar aayi 
Baazi (1951)
Singer: Geeta Dutt
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
There should be a rule that pretty women should not be allowed to sing songs with ambiguous meaning when other men are around. While ostensibly a party song, Rajini (Kalpana Kartik) has already fallen in love with a sulky good-for-nothing Madan (Dev Anand), much to the disapproval of her stern but loving father (KN Singh). And while she knows Madan for what he is - someone who likes the easy money that comes from gambling (Madan, of course, would claim otherwise), she still loves him and accepts him for who and what he is. So when she sings
Dulhan banke jawani ki umangein gungunaati hain
Basa hai kaun aankhon mein ke aankhein muskuraati hain
Bikharke kiski baanhon pe ye meri zulf lehraayi...
...it is with the thoughts of Madan bringing a smile to her lips and a spring to her step. Unfortunately, no one seems to have apprised her childhood friend, Ramesh (Krishan Dhawan), of the fact, Rajini's father probably thinking 'least said soonest mended' or more probably, not having the imagination to realise his daughter could disobey him. So it isn't surprising in the least that Ramesh thinks (or hopes) she's singing about him.   

4. Ye kaun mere zindagi mein aa gaya 
Bombay Race Course (1965)
Singer: Asha Bhosle
Music: Madan Mohan
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
One of the last films of Nalini Jaywant where she was the lead heroine, opposite one of her frequent heroes, Ajit, Bombay Race Course had, as was usual with Madan Mohan, a lovely set of songs, of which, this one here, is a quiet, romantic melody. With very introspective lyrics by Rajinder Krishan that reflect a young woman's wistful amazement at having fallen in love with someone, Ye kaun meri zindagi mein aa gaya is a song that we can all relate to. Especially when Asha sings:
Ye kyun mujhe kisi pe pyaar hone laga
Hai kaun jiska intezaar hone laga
Kuch aise muskura gaya
Mujhe hansa hansa diya...     

5. Kaun aaya mehfil mein 
Bambai ka Chor (1962)
Singer: Asha
Music: Ravi
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishan
Another obscure film (even if it did star Kishore Kumar and Mala Sinha), with some very pleasant music, this song is picturised in a very unique way on ice. (Why would anyone want to do Bharatanatyam on ice anyway? Dressed as Thai dancers, at that?) It is an incredible performance, however, and there are a couple of solo interludes, which are absolutely breath-taking. While the song is obviously a solo, it is picturised mainly on two dancers (amongst the group), neither of whom are shown singing. (Nor is the solo artiste.) So it begs the question, who is? The 'kaun aaya' becomes a tad hypothetical here, even though Randhir (Kishore Kumar), the titular Bambai ka Chor, is sitting in the audience with Krishnakant (I think).   

6. Saamne ye kaun aaya
Jawani Diwani (1972)
Singer: Kishore Kumar
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
What happens when the most popular guy in college is told he cannot come anywhere near the new girl in town? What happens when the obnoxious rich guy in college is the new girl's family friend? Well, when the college popular dude is Vijay (Randhir Kapoor), apparently you manhandle the new girl in town. There's not much to choose between 'hero' and 'villain' actually - neither of them seem to take the girl into account. They treat her pretty much the same way they treat that doll. [Aside: Who comes to a college party with a doll in hand? Actually, who comes to college with a doll in hand? Such a creepy one at that.] But the girl in question, Neeta (Jaya Bhaduri), is alternately nervous at being approached by the big bad wolf (Vijay), and amused by his machinations, so who am I to complain? Vijay has been appropriately smitten by the demure newcomer to want to further his acquaintance with her. 
Aankhon hi aankhon mein
Baaton hi baaton mein
Kabhi jaan pehchaan hogi
Sun lo ye kahaani
Haseena ek anjaani
Kisi din meherbaan hogi

The man has confidence, I have to grant him that.  

7. Kaun hai jo sapno mein aaya 
Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan (1968)
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
Someone must tell Hindi film heroes that driving down crazy mountain paths requires their full attention. The steering wheel is meant to be held on to; that's what controls the car. It also helps to keep your eyes on the road. Throwing their hands around, singing songs, while driving along aforementioned mountain roads is a recipe for disaster. However, I get ahead of myself. Priya (Saira Banu) and Sanjay (Rajendra Kumar) have fallen in love (and uniquely enough for the Hindi films of the time, it's after they spend some time together) and Sanjay has just taken Priya to the airport a hair-raising ride to reach the airport on time. Now, relaxed, he's driving back, thinking dreamily of the girl he loves, and how amazing it is that she's in his life. It's very prescient, the lyrics, since his lack of attention leads him to a close encounter with a truck.
Jism ko maut aati hai lekin
Rooh ko maut aati nahin hai
Ishq roshan hai roshan rahega
Roshni iski jaati nahin hai,

Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya
Kaun hai jo dil mein samaaya  

Lo jhuk gaya aasmaan bhi
Ishq mera rang laaya

8. Ye kaun aaj aaya savere savere 
Nartaki (1940)
Singer: Pankaj Mallick
Music: Pankaj Mallick
Lyrics: Arzoo Lucknowi
Eavesdroppers do not always hear bad things about themselves. At least, this eavesdropper (Leela Desai), the titular nartaki, comes in to hear Kaviraj (Pankaj Mallick) singing a romantic ballad of a woman who's stolen his heart. There's hint of awe there, at her beauty, the sort of beauty that makes a man lose his courage.
Ye kaun aaj aaya savere-savere
Ke dil chaunk uttha savere-savere

Kaha roop ne chaand hai chaudhvin ka
Magar chaand kaisa savere-savere

What has come over him this morning?  

9. Ye kaun aaya re 
Ziddi (1948)
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar
Music: Khemchand Prakash
Lyrics: Prem Dhawan
Famously known to be the first ever Lata-Kishore duet, Ziddi featured a callow Dev Anand opposite a young Kamini Kaushal, in the former's first big film. Ziddi established him as a solo hero. Spotting his beloved in the garden, a playful Dev teases her about having dressed up for him, and she responds in kind. Interestingly enough, the song also defines the class differences between them, with Kamini's character expressing her doubts about her voice reaching him in the exalted circles in which he resides. 
Sone ki Ganga mein bahte ho tum
Sitaron ki duniya mein rahte ho tum
Wahan kaise pahunchegi meri pukar...  It's a song filled with promise, both implied and explicit, Dev reassuring his beloved that he's more than willing to sacrifice everything for her sake. 
Insaan Jaag Utha (1959)
Singers: Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt
Music: SD Burman
Lyrics: Shailendra 
Did I say the characters on screen were unaware? Well, not really; they just pretend to be. Here, there's no pretence at all: the girls are very, very aware – of each other's secrets: why one's bangles chime merrily, who visits the other in secret, why her earrings sway, or where the other's bindi has fallen off... they seem to have all the answers. For the sheer joy of being alive, and in love, this song wins hands down. 
Jaanu jaanu ri, kahe khanke hai tore kangna
Main bhi jaanu ri chhupke kaun aaya tore angnaa
There is happiness in every step the girls take, in their smiles, and their laughter, in the gentle teasing of each other, as they twirl around in gay abandon, not dancing, really, but just delighting in hugging their secrets to themselves, even as they promise not to betray each other's confidences.   

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