Celebrating the Uncelebrated: Ten of my favourite songs by lesser-known composers

This blog hosted a ‘Classic Bollywood Quiz’ a while back. In true film awards style (and we have pacifist to thank for this idea), everybody who submitted answers got a prize. The winner, Anoushka, got a tangible prize, and our runner-up, Anu Warrier, got the ‘dictate-a-list’ prize. For the others, I decided I’d dedicate one post each. This is the first of those posts; it’s dedicated to Karthik, who won the Just for the Heck of it Award (I assume full responsibility for that ghastly name; my creative juices had run dry by the time I got to naming this prize).

So, Karthik: this is for you, because though I’d thought vaguely that I’d do this list sometime, it was your suggestion (that comment on a long-ago post…) that spurred me on to get down to it. Enjoy!

Now, a few words about what this post entails. I’ve noticed that a lot of people, including those who do like old Hindi films and their music, tend to equate good music direction with the ‘greats’: Salil Choudhary, S D Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, Roshan, O P Nayyar, Naushad… and so on. I did, too, till not too long ago. But a spate of watching some rather obscure films over the past decade or so has made me more aware of music directors who may not have made it big, but who certainly did not lack talent. In some cases, a couple of their songs became runaway hits. In some cases, the songs may not have been huge hits but are nevertheless very melodious.

Here, therefore, is to the uncelebrated: ten of my favourite songs from classic Hindi cinema’s lesser-known composers, mostly from the 50s and 60s (I’m not even thinking of venturing earlier – except in one case – because I cannot claim to being familiar with many songs from before 1950). These are all from films I’ve seen, and, wherever possible, they are songs that you’re likely to have heard and appreciated without having ever even heard of the music director’s name.

My particular favourites are bunched at the top.

1. Mujhko tum jo mile yeh jahaan mil gaya (Detective, 1958; Composer: Mukul Roy): The brother of Geeta Dutt (née Roy), Mukul Roy composed the music for just a handful of films in Hindi and Bengali. This song is from a film for which Mukul Roy created a wonderful score (it also featured the melancholy Do chamakti aankhon mein, as well as the peppy Kal talak hum theek thha). This song, however, is my favourite (and, even otherwise, one of my favourite duets from the 50s). The music is soothing and melodious; and Hemant and Geeta Dutt’s very faintly nasal voices combine humming and words in a song that always makes me think of a waltz. Serene and perfectly coordinated and so beautiful.

2. Aayega aanewaala (Mahal, 1949; Composer: Khemchand Prakash): Okay, raise your hand, everybody who’s heard this song.
Now, raise your hand if you know who composed the music for it.
Khemchand Prakash was not an unknown; not by a long shot. But the bulk of his work was restricted to films from the 40s (including the K L Saigal classic, Tansen), and the last film for which he composed music was Tamasha (1952) – he died before he was 43.

But, Aayega aanewaala. I’ve praised this song very often on this blog, and I’m going to praise it all over again. It’s a spectacular composition, a song that always gives me gooseflesh. And, while Lata’s voice is a huge reason for the perfection of the song, you cannot help but appreciate Prakash’s music. That restrained piano and guitar, the violins, even the ‘bong’ of the clock’s pendulum at the beginning, giving away to interesting variations that reflect the story as it unfolds. The repetitive, hesitant, but gentle music as Ashok Kumar’s character moves slowly forward; the joyful, full-throated crescendo of the woman’s voice; the echo effect; the interludes; the fading away of her voice at the end… what a song.

3. Saranga teri yaad mein nain hue bechain (Saranga, 1960; Composer: Sardar Malik): Unfortunately, the few people who appear to know of Sardar Malik know of him as the father of Anu Malik. Sardar Malik composed the music for only seven films about thirteen films (according to Anu; see her comment below in the ‘comments’ section), of which I’ve seen two (Saranga and Abe-Hayat). Both had excellent scores.

I watched Saranga as a child, when the only TV channel we had was Doordarshan, and the Sunday 5:45 Hindi film was the week’s highlight. Saranga was a crashing bore. The leads (Sudesh Kumar and Jayshree Gadkar) weren’t great, and the film was well past the halfway mark when my parents decided they’d had enough. My sister and I sat on, simply because we knew this song was coming. And, when it eventually did appear, we agreed we’d been rewarded for our patience.

Listen to this song.
To its simple, uncluttered notes. To the sad, almost-wailing of the flute (? Is it?) in the interludes. The restrained sorrow in Mukesh’s voice, and the seamless way in which Sardar Malik’s music reflects the pain and the longing in the lyrics.
Note: Incidentally, there are two versions of Saranga teri yaad mein; the other is a shorter, more cheerful one – with a slightly different tune – sung by Mohammad Rafi.
Another of Saranga’s hit songs was Haan deewaana hoon main.

4. Dhalti jaaye raat, keh le dil ki baat (Razia Sultana, 1961; Composer: Lachhiram): Like Saranga, Razia Sultana isn’t a great film. It stars, in the title role, Nirupa Roy, opposite P Jairaj. Even the name of the composer (whom I’d never heard of before) didn’t tempt me to watch on just for the songs. But I persevered, and was rewarded with this surprise. Dhalti jaaye raat is a song I’d heard (and loved) for a long time, but I hadn’t known it was from Razia Sultana.

I love the serene beauty Lachhiram (who was he? Does anybody know? The only other film for which he’s credited on IMDB is Madhubala, 1950) brings to this song. The gentle, lilting tune magically evokes a cool, moonlit night in which two lovers try to fit in one last rendezvous before being separated, perhaps for ever. Lovely.

[Later note: See Anu’s note in the comments section, below. She lists several other films for which Lachhiram composed the music].

5. Aa tu aa zara dil mein aa (Phoolon ki Sej, 1964; Composer: Adi Narayan Rao P): Adi Narayan Rao P composed music for a number of Telugu films between the 1940s and the 1970s – in fact, right up to 1980. Phoolon ki Sej is one of the very few Hindi films for which he scored the music. And while it wasn’t chartbusting music, it was very good, nevertheless. This one, Aa tu aa zara dil mein aa, is my favourite from the film.

I just love the beat of this song: it’s peppy and infectious without being intrusive or in any way undermining the romance in the song. And the transition between the relatively fast-paced chorus and the slower, gentler stanzas is perfect. I’d think Adi Narayan Rao deserves to be better known in Hindi film music if only for this one song…

6. Dil thhaam chale hum aaj kidhar (Love in Simla, 1960; Composer: Iqbal Qureshi): Iqbal Qureshi wasn’t a couple-of-Hindi films-wonder like P Adi Narayan Rao; he composed the music for a clutch of 50s and 60s films (and, according to IMDB, even through the 80s and 90s). These included the Helen starrer Cha Cha Cha (remember Ik chameli ke mandve tale?), and the Sadhana-Joy Mukherjee launch pad, Love in Simla.

Love in Simla had quite a few very hummable songs: Gaal gulaabi kiske hain, Kiya hai dilruba pyaar bhi kabhi, and Love ka matlab hai pyaar, among others. But my favourite is Dil thhaam chale hum aaj kidhar, because Qureshi uses the sounds of a train so creatively in his music. Its chugging, its whistles, the click-clack of its wheels going over the tracks: delightful. Also note the interludes,  which move the action to a club, where lots of familiar faces (including Abe Cohen and Herman Benjamin) are dancing. Here the music’s more obviously ‘dance floor’ style, with a chorus taking up from where Rafi leaves off.

7. Ae watan ae watan humko teri kasam (Shaheed, 1965; Composer: Prem Dhawan): Prem Dhawan should probably be counted as among one of Hindi cinema’s most versatile talents. He’s known primarily as a lyricist (the achingly beautiful Ae mere pyaare watan and Seene mein sulagte hain armaan included); but he was also a choreographer. He choreographed some iconic songs for films like Dhool ka Phool, Do Bigha Zameen and Naya Daur (Udein jab-jab zulfein teri is Dhawan’s work).

More relevant to this post: Prem Dhawan was also a music director. He composed only for a handful of films, but some of the songs he did score – especially for Shaheed – are superb.
This one, for example. Ae watan ae watan is repeated at various points in the film, but at various tempos and in different moods. In this particular version, though, it shines through with its determined, somewhat ‘marching song’ feel: the drumbeats, the eventual rising of Rafi’s voice into a crescendo that screams defiance in every syllable. For a revolutionary nationalist like Bhagat Singh, this fits so perfectly…

8. Sambhal ae dil (Sadhana, 1958; Composer: N Dutta): Considering he was the music director for close to thirty films, N Dutta is (very unfairly, in my opinion) one of the lesser-known composers of Hindi cinema. This, despite being the genius behind lively, vivacious Western-inspired tunes like Laal-laal gaal and Beta dar mat dar mat, to the exquisite Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai.

To Sambhal ae dil (in fact, to the other songs of Sadhana as well) N Dutta gave a distinctly ‘Indian’ touch. There is a dominance of tablas here, and the tune is as lyrical as the words themselves. What I especially like is the fact that he keeps the musical instruments to a minimum – they’re there mostly in the brief interludes – and allows Asha and Rafi’s voices to take centrestage.

9. Saiyaan pyaara hai apna milan (Do Behnen, 1959; Composer: Vasant Desai): Like N Dutta, Vasant Desai wasn’t a one-film wonder, but a very talented composer with an impressive portfolio that included films such as Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Do Aankhen Baarah Haath, and Jhanak-jhanak Paayal Baaje: all films known as much for their music as for the films themselves. Unfortunately, though, too many people tend to ignore Desai’s work.

So here is an example: one of my favourite Vasant Desai songs, a relatively little-known one that appears in two versions in the film, a sad one and this, the happy one. I love this song – it’s so soothing, so gentle and shy, yet romantic and even seductive, all at the same time.

10. Mohabbat zinda rehti hai (Changez Khan, 1957; Composer: Hansraj Bahl): Much of Hansraj Bahl’s corpus of work extended over B-grade films (including several Dara Singh starrers like Sikandar-e-Azam and Rustom-e-Hind). But, simply because he was creating for a film that wasn’t big budget and crowded with stars, didn’t mean Bahl did a shoddy job. He has to his name some great songs: Le chala jidhar yeh dil nikal pade, Jahaan daal-daal par sone ki chidiyaan,and Mere pehloo mein aake baitho.

Mohabbat zinda rehti hai is probably one of Hansraj Bahl’s best-known songs. It appears at several points in the story, but the main version, the longest, is the one that stands out. It begins slow, soft, with almost no music, just Rafi’s voice. Then, as both hope and despair begin to mount, the music gradually speeds up and becomes louder. It still remains, however, subsidiary to Rafi’s voice, which is what really made this song such a hit. But where would it be without Bahl’s music, right?


189 thoughts on “Celebrating the Uncelebrated: Ten of my favourite songs by lesser-known composers

  1. The List to which I have been looking forward!
    Loved reading it, this time I just flew through it (have to work!).
    Lacchiram and Adi Narayan Rao P are, of whom I hadn’t heard anything about. The others are known but only faintly, thus it was a good journey of discovery.
    Was like meeting realtives, who you knew that they existed but never came face-to-face. And the meeting was very pleasant. In fact so pleasant, that I will come to listen to them more often. Now, of how many relatives can you say that about? Am looking forward to going through it with fursat!
    Thanks for this post, Madhu!


    • Lachhiram and Adi Narayan Rao P are also the ones I’d not heard of. The others… well, till a few years ago, I hadn’t heard of most of them either. There’s no-one on this list of whom I would be able to randomly (and without prompting) list five songs. And this, when I’ve watched films like Sadhana or Love in Simla more than once, and enjoyed the music… shameful, yes. But I’m trying to make amends!

      I like your analogy about these MDs seeming like relatives. :-)


      • Harvey, I loved the analogy about these people being known-but-not-met- relatives too. :) It’s very apt, I think. :)

        Madhu, I spent so much time listening to the songs you listed (and linked to) that I’m way behind on work :( (What a pleasant interruption, though I know I’m going to pay for it later.)


    • Oh, that is so lovely, Harvey! I’ve heard that song before, but never seen it, and have never really paid any attention to it anyway… but it’s wonderful. Thank you.

      Among the people I’ve put in this list, I’d probably put N Dutta as one of my all-round favourites. With many of the others, there are cases where I’ve heard too little of their music to be able to make a judgment (or they didn’t actually compose very much, even for songs in languages other than films). But N Dutta is one of those composers who created a lot of tunes that I really like. Here’s another, in a tone quite different from Main jab bhi akeli hoti hoon; this one’s Tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao:


      • You know I bought the VCd of Dharamputra especially for the song. The film is rather disappointing. Mala Sinha goes over the top at the drop of the hat!

        But soemthing tells me that this might also be the case with Didi!
        The song tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao is…….. *sigh*. No words to express my appreciation of the song.
        Isn’t that sweet, Sudha and Sahir together!


        • You know, after much heartache brought on by watching these bhai-behen-bhabhi-bhaiya films, I’ve come to the conclusion that one should steer clear of films that have titles that include family affiliations. Bhabhi, Chhoti Behen, Badi Behen, Bhai-Behen, Bhai-Bhai…: they’re all mostly pretty melodramatic and OTT when it comes to emotion. So I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Didi either!

          But with my track record – I’ll see it just for the song.


        • I do like a few songs of Dharamputra. In particular, I absolutely LOVE the lively qawwali number “mere dilbar mujhpar khafa na ho”.

          (Btw, there’s a song “ye jo halka halka suroor hai” from Souten Ki Beti (1989) which seems to have very much inspired by this song. No, I didn’t go looking for this, it came to me. Took a cab once in Jaipur and the cabdriver had a CD of late 1980s songs – oh, the torture! When this song played, I said “hey, I remember that tune” :-)).


        • Oh, was it? I had no idea! But, then: I guess that song still meets the criteria of this post – how many people know that Sudha Malhotra was a composer herself? I didn’t. Thanks for that, Shalini.


  2. Lovely list! Some songs are new for me and hadn’t heard of Lacchiram before. If I am not mistaken, didn’t Adi narayan Rao also compose ‘Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya’ or another such song?
    Iqbal qureshi is a favourite in my family, the songs of Cha cha cha, and Love in Simla are classics.
    A lot of these music directors may not have composed for many movies but were certainly talented and entire scores were memorable not just one song.
    I remember seeing Saranga on DD too and finding it extremely boring. At the time, I couldn’t care less about the music either, but,
    Saranga teri yaad mein has since grown on me.


    • Thank you, Anoushka – I’m glad you liked this list! And you’re right about Adi Narayan Rao having composed Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya:

      Suvarna Sundari, according to my (admittedly hurried) perusal of Rao’s filmography on IMDB, is listed as one of the few Hindi films he composed music for.

      Interestingly, my earliest recollection of Saranga teri yaad mein dates from when my father was stationed in Srinagar. I was about 10, and at one party, everybody coaxed one of my father’s colleagues into singing a song – he had a wonderful voice. The song he chose to sing was this one. I’d never heard it before, but I was totally mesmerised.


  3. Madhu, this was indeed worth waiting for. What songs! I must confess that having grown up with a father who loved Hindi films, songs et al I have more than a nodding aquaintance with the compositions of the music directors you listed.

    One small quibble with your post – Sardar Malik composed for a lot more than 7 films – his known compositions were for 13 films –
    Chor Baazar
    Chamak Chandni
    Taxi 555
    Maa Ke Aansoo
    Mera Ghar Mere Bachche
    Pick Pocket
    Gyaani Ji

    Lacchiram (full name: Lachhiram Tamar) composed (to my knowledge) for a handful of other films, apart from Razia Sultana and Madhubala – Badnaami, Ameer, Main Suhagan Hoon, Do Shehzaade, Kahan Gaye, Khushnaseeb, Aarsi, Hazaar Pariyan, Guru Ghantal, and Shaheed-a-Azam Bhagat Singh. He had some truly melodious compositions.

    The one music director that I had not heard of, though I have heard his compositions, is Adi Narayan Rao.

    (And now, I’m sorry I rambled on and on.)


    • Thank you, Anu. As I mentioned in the section on Lachhiram, my source was IMDB (and yes, I am not one of those who think IMDB is gospel truth!), so I’m glad to see that list of his films you’ve posted. The same goes for Sardar Malik. I’ve edited my post a little to direct people to your contributions in this comment!

      And no, I don’t mind you rambling on. ;-) I don’t mind anyone rambling on, as long as they have something relevant to say!


      • Thanks, Madhu. Glad to be of help. :) Harvey, I grew up with a father who loved films and film songs. I was the closest in affinity to him and we used to discuss films and songs a lot. Then, I got married, and my husband loves old Hindi film songs – if you want encyclopaedic knowledge, he is the person to go to. He generally recognises songs from the first few notes, knows the MDs, lyricists, even the arrangers… sigh.


      • Madhu ji,
        Sardar Malik gave music to,not 9,not 13,but to 24 films in all-
        Renuka-47,Raaj-49,Stage-51,Laila Majnu-53,Thokar-54,Abehayaat-55,Chor Bazar-54,Aulad-54,Chamak chandni-57,Taxi 555-58,Maa ke aansoo-59,Mera Ghar Mere Bachhe-60,Superman-60,Saranga-60,Madan Manjiri-61,Pick pocket-62,Naag jyoti-63,Bachpan-63,Naag Mohini-63,Jantar Mantar-64,Roop sundari-64,Maharani Padmini-64,Paanch Ratan-65 and Gyaniji-77.
        lachhiram tomar gave music to 15 films in all-Champa-45,Aarsi-47,mohini,47,Director-47,Birhan-48,Guru dakshina-50,madhubala-50,Ameer-54,Shaheed Bh.Singh-54,Maharani Jhansi-52,Guru ghantal-56,Hazar pariyan-59,Do shahzade(unreleased),Raziya sultan-61 and Main suhagan hoon-64.
        Adi narayanRao gave music to Suvarn Sundari-58,Phoolon ki sej-64,Gunfighter johnny-72,Jaadu nagari-72,Sati Anusuya-74 and inqilab Zindabad-75.
        -Arunkumar deshmukh


  4. I knew you were planning on a post with this subject and was really looking forward to it.
    I absolutely love the first song mujhko tum jo mile…and didn’t know the music director at all :-(
    I’m wondering who all will come up as surprises.

    An all time favourite song of mine set to classical music (which I adore) in raag bhupali is from Bhabhi Ki chudiyan. Meena Kumari looks beautiful and it’s sung by Lata. Her voice is fabulous.
    The music director is……..Sudhir Phadke!!! A marathi composer though he has composed for about 21 hindi films from 1940s to 80s.

    The other song from the same film and equally beautiful is lao lagati geet gaati.

    Both the songs are so soothing.


    • By the same composer for film Pehli Taarikh. Actually I thought this was the answer to the quiz question about various film personalities being mentioned.
      What a contrast to the above song.
      Khush hai zamana aaj pehli Taarikh hai.


        • Vasant Desai seems to have been one of the ‘regulars’ of V Shantaram’s. He also composed the music for both Dr Kotnis ki Amar Kahani and Dahej, besides, of course, the later Shantaram films that I’ve listed in the post. Here’s one song from Dahej that I particularly like:

          Choori dheere pehna chooriwaali:


    • Pacifist, I love Jyoti kalash chhalke! It’s such a gentle, soothing song; very beautiful. Thank you for telling me about Sudhir Phadke. That’s another name to add to my list!

      (By the way, I just saw the Wikipedia page for Sudhir Phadke, and one bit of trivia in it is that on All India Radio, Pehli taarikh is still played on the first of every month! I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it is certainly a fun song, isn’t it?)


          • Once upon a time, when I used to get up early, it used to be one of my favourite programs on radio and yes, my blog name is derived from it. I still listen to Vividh Bharati, though I dont always get up that early in the morning now :-)
            There’s a group of radiolisteners on facebook where this was discussed sometime back and Yunus Khan (one of the RJs of VB) had confirmed it.


            • Unfortunately, I’ve just stopped listening to radio now. :-( The only time I do end up listening is when I happen to be in my sister’s car and she puts on the radio – but it’s usually one of the many FM channels, so one doesn’t get to hear all those lovely old programmes one grew up with. But now and then we catch Puraani Jeans. :-)


              • Do listen to the good old Vividh Bharti on FM 100.10 now Very Clear Yes Bhule Bisre Geet is still on and the Pahli Tareeq song still is the first song on every 1st at 7am


    • Just goes to show how so many very popular songs were composed by people one rarely hears of nowadays! I remember watching Shikari years ago when it was aired on Doordarshan, and we thought it was pretty ‘missable’ – except for the songs! The film had some wonderful tunes. Another one (and how did you miss the opportunity to plug this one in, harvey?!) is Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko:


      • DO, if at all I know any of old Hindi film music, it is all due to my Didi, who used to be glued to the transistor-Man Chahe Geet, Manoranjan, Chitraphat Sangeet, Chayageet and Aapki Farmaish. I used to be hooked on to Sangeet Saritha and Bhule Bisre Geet.
        and the 2 songs she simply loves are “Chaman Ke Phool” and “Agar mein poochoon”.
        Hence, all credit goes to her that I am even discussing vintage music here.

        Man Chahe Geet used to have requests from Jhumri Talaiyya, Ujjaini se Vimla Madaan aur Kapil Madaan…:-), wow, such sweet memories. Does anyone remember any other popular song requestors on Vividh Bharti?

        If I am not wrong, GS Kohli was assistant to Madan Mohan.


        • Man Chahe Geet used to have requests from Jhumri Talaiyya,

          You know, that was how I came to know that there was a place called Jhumri Talaiyya! Some years later, when we were living in Srinagar, we’d travel all the way from Srinagar to Calcutta to spend Christmas with my mother’s parents… Srinagar-Jammu by car, then Jammu-Calcutta (two days) by train. When the train passed through Jhumri Talaiyya for the first time, my sister and I were so excited, my father had trouble making us sit still and not jump out onto the platform! :-)

          Sigh. Those request programmes were such fun. I used to think there were people out there who seemed to have nothing to do but send in requests.


  5. I have always wondered why the singer and music director of this song didn’t make it big, really big. Like Aayega aanewala, it is a song often heard, till one day I randomly searched for the credits and realised that (in my limited scope) I had heard a bit of the singer but nothing of the composer.

    Perhaps he did make it big though, for he has another favourite composition (and yes, the Dean Martin takeoff is evident, but what a performance from Hemant Kumar, and what lyrics).

    Songs to listen to on a November night in Dilli on a rooftop with a bot of rum, only the tinny transistors of old have been replaced with netbooks : )


    • These are two of my favorite songs, and can be listened to on any night, after the house has gone to sleep, with only the hum of the dishwasher to keep me company!


    • I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that I’ve watched an inordinately large number of films only because of a song or two… Hamaari Yaad Aayegi was one such. Such a tragic film, and such a dud hero (Ashok Kumar, though not the Ashok Kumar) – but what a lovely song. Enough to make me sit through all of it in the hope that another good song would turn up.

      Ah, and that Lehron pe lehar is another gem. Somehow Hemant’s voice is always enough to raise a song – even if it’s an ‘inspired’ composition – to a whole new plane for me.


  6. I don’t know for how many film A.R. Qureishi composed for, but I like this one. He is Fasal Qureishi’s father.

    A.R. Qureishi’s famour film is Bewafa
    with Nargis and Raj Kapoor.
    Nargis looks dazzling in this song:

    BTW, did you know that Chitragupta is Anand-Milind’s father?


  7. Another lesser known music director is Dilip Dholakia, whose song jaa jaa re chanda jaa re from Private Secretary (1962) was in my chaand list.

    His son also took to music and composed music for the Ketan Mehta film Mirch Masala


  8. I too am one of those whose knowledge (limited as it is) is mostly restricted to the heavyweights, so it was good to read about these lesser known ones. Some of these were known to me, and it was good to refresh memories, but a few were unknown (Lachhiram, Mukul Roy, Iqbal Qureshi).


    • Years ago, when Chitrahaar used to be aired on Doordarshan, before a song appeared, there’d be a still frame with the details – the name of the film and the song, the singer(s), lyricist and composer. That’s where I first heard of Mukul Roy. And because we taped Mujhko tum jo mile and watched it so often after that, it stuck with me.

      Incidentally, Mujhko tum jo mile is a fine example of a very Bengali influence on Hindi cinema – the singers (Geeta Dutt and Hemant) were Bengalis; the composer was of course Bengali; Pradeep Kumar was Bengali, and Mala Sinha, though Nepal-born, had been brought up in Calcutta. :-)


  9. Love this post, because you have listed songs I love! I had never heard of Lachhiram before this post, and I should have, because I follow Atul’s blog almost religiously! Adi Narayan Rao was the music director for Swarna Sundari with the famous song “Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliyaa …”. According to information on Atul’s site, this song was originally composed with four Carnatic ragas, then the Hindi version was composed with four Hindustani ragas, and they sound remarkably similar. However, there are people who swear by the South Indian one, sung by the legendary Ghantasala.

    Compare with the Tamil version:

    I am amazed at the talent of this music director!


    • Thank you, Lalitha!

      Yes, even Anoushka had pointed out that Adi Narayan Rao composed Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya. I’d listened to it when I inserted the link in my response to her comment, but this is the first time I’m listening to the original, Tamil version. They do sound very similar, but I think I tend to agree with those who say Rafi doesn’t quite manage to pull off the male part…


  10. I think this might be my favorite post yet by you, Madhu! The topic – unsung composers is one that’s close to my heart and your wonderful list gives them the due they richly deserve.

    You’ve listed a number of my favorites already, so let me mention a few other obscure masters:

    C. Arjun – Punar Milan and Jai Santoshi Maa are probably his most famous soundtracks, but I also love “main abhi gair hoon mujhe apna na kaho” from Main aur Mera Bhai. The Talat-Rafi duet from Sushila is anothe popular number by C. Arjun.

    Then there is Ramlal whose Sehra features one lovely song after another;

    Sapan-Jagmohan had a number of movies in the 60s-70s, but one of my favorites is this haunting number from “Teri Talash Mein”:

    I’m clogging your comments section, so I’ll just mention one more – the Lata masterpiece “guzra hua zamana” by S. Mohinder:


    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Shalini! ‘Unsung composers’ is such an ironic, yet appropriate, way of describing these music directors – people with immense talent, in fact people who’ve even composed highly popular songs, but songs that are better-known than their creators.

      Of the songs you’ve listed, Teri talaash mein is one I don’t recall having heard before, but am completely bowled over by! It’s lovely – so hauntingly good. And Guzra hua zamaana is an old favourite. If I did include in my post songs from films I hadn’t seen, I’d almost certainly have included this one.


    • I’m late to this party, but I was going to suggest S Mohinder…I love his songs from Reporter Raju and Naya Paisa.

      I’m also very fond of Ganesh and Sajjad Hussain and GS Kohli who has been mentioned above.

      And yes, Madhu—great post!


      • Thank you, Greta! :-)

        I remember you reviewing Reporter Raju, and I remember watching some of the songs and liking them a lot. I must get around to actually watching the film too – as soon as I’m through the pile I have at home. Maybe in a couple of decades’ time…


  11. Wow, this is eerie!!! Really eerie!!!
    Just a couple of days ago I was thinking “everybody talks only about the famous MDs like SD, SJ, Naushad, OP etc, nobody talks about the lesser-known guys. I wish somebody writes a post on them too”.

    Today I log in here – and here it is!!! Scarily (in a very happy sort of way, if one can be happily scary) eerie!

    I have gone through all your songs and all the comments to ensure I do not repeat what’s already put out there.

    Some comments:
    1) It is of course a subjective point on what qualifies as an “obscure composer” but I personally think Vasant Desai does not deserve to be on this list. He may not have been as prolific as the big names but I think that was because he had his own genre. Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje. Some mythologicals too possibly. He had a wonderful partnership with Bharat Vyas, who was known for “pure” Hindi lyrics. Anyway, since you do have Vasant Desai on this list, I just want to say that I LOVE his music – one of my favourites is the lovely and upbeat “akhiyan bhool gayi hain sona” from Goonj Uthi Shehnai. I have listened to this song a zillion times. Geeta Dutt & Lata – just lovely. And the entire setting – just SO sweet.

    2) I always knew Prem Dhawan was a lyricist and composer but a choreographer too? Wow! I just love the choreography of “udein jab jab zulfein teri” – one of my favs. Btw, he is related to our Ava, isn’t he?

    3) Happy to see Iqbal Qureishi’s name. My favourite composed by hi (which will probably rank in my all-time top-5 Mukesh songs) is “mujhe raat din ye khayal hai” from Oomar Qaid. The lyrics, the pathos in the voice, the music all blend beautifully together.

    Ok, I’ve got to rush now – will post more comments later. :-)

    But lovely post – thanks a lot!


    • Raja, you should be joining the Madhu-Anu club of ‘two minds but with a single thought’! ;-)

      I have heard Mujhe raat-din yeh khayaal hai, but hadn’t paid much attention to it before this. Yes, it is a great composition – and an excellent rendition by Mukesh.

      I didn’t mean to relegate Vasant Desai to the ranks of the obscure; just to bring him to the notice of people who tend to only think of great composers as the ones I listed right at the beginning of the post. I’ve come across too many people, even those who think they know a good deal about old Hindi film music, who look utterly blank when they’re faced with Vasant Desai’s name. As I did mention, he’s got a lot of top-rated films, with equally top-class music, to his name.

      Just trying to do my bit to make sure more people know of music directors other than the Burmans and the O P Nayyars…


      • That’s a good point, Madhu. By including these names, you’re giving them a moment in the sun, in a manner of speaking. So it’s good that Vasant Desai’s name is also included here.

        Btw, he was also the composer for Guddi (1971). The songs of this movie were also quite popular in its time.


  12. This is such a well-thought out post. Wonderfully compiled. I’ve heard Pyara hain apna milan and Sambhal aye dil. Now want to listen to the other songs tooo


    • Thank you, Sharmi!

      (By the way, thank you for reviewing and recommending Do Behnen on your blog – that was what spurred me on to watch the film. Saiyaan pyaara hai apna milan wouldn’t have been part of this list if I hadn’t seen it there!)


  13. Okay, so I’m going to add a few more. These had been in my long list, but eventually I decided I wanted to stick to songs that were relatively well-known, even though their composers may not have been the big names people are familiar with.
    Here are two more:

    Babul’s Zulfon ki ghata lekar saawan ki pari aayi, from Reshmi Rumaal, one of my favourite Shakila songs. It’s pretty well-known, but still:

    And this song from Dholak, Mausam aaya hai rangeen, composed by Shyam Sunder:

    I love the beat of this song, especially the Haule-haule-haule-haule aa. :-)


  14. There was SN Tripathi too, best-known for “aa laut ke aaja mere meet” from Rani Roopmati. I recently heard a lovely song from Nadir Shah – it is his composition.

    Then there was Ganesh who composed quite a few lovely tunes, including “hum tere bin jee na sakenge sanam” from Thakur Jarnail Singh (with Helen and Dara Singh.)


    • Hum tere bin jee na sakenge was a new one for me – I don’t recall having heard this one before.

      Aa lautke aaja mere meet is a lovely song. S N Tripathi’s filmography – which I’ve just been checking out on IMDB – is pretty impressive. The number of films for which he composed music must make him the all-time ruling MD of Hindi mythologicals and historicals! Lots of them there – including one that I’ve got in my to-watch pile. ;-)


  15. I should clearly be paying more attention to the composers and lyricists! They make all these lovely melodies possible, but tend to go unnoticed – a bit like directors, cinematographers, and dialogue writers do, compared to the “stars”. I’ve heard all the songs on your list, but it never even occurred to me to wonder who composed them! Ok, I have heard of all the music directors too (except Lachhiram), but mostly because I read about them, or because HMV came up with compilations of specific music directors’ songs. That’s how I heard of Vasant Desai a few years ago – and I’d already loved several of his compositions forever!

    I am still quite backward about matching composers to songs, but one obscure composer I did notice a few years ago – Daan Singh who composed the lovely Zikr hota hai jab qayamat ka for My Love. The film is peppered with lovely Asha Bhosle numbers too (youtube won’t cough up my favorite – Sunate hain sitaare raat bhar). I’d love to know more about him. Someone who could compose like this should’ve composed some more…


  16. First of all Madhu, many thanks for keeping an old promise, and it feels so nice to recognize the immortal works of the composers of the golden era Since this post is dedicated to me, I thought I should add a few additions to the existing ones already contributed by people and in a separate post, present few of my favorites of the composers already pointed out.

    Sajjad Hussain – an immortal composition-(Rajinder Krishen again, that man!)

    (Madan copied and pasted it later, and was rapped on his knuckles)


    Another gem of a composition from Parvarish. Most people mistake this for a song by Shankar Jaikishen

    Bulo C Rani

    And how anyone forget this? :-)

    Appa remembers how on Radio Pakistan this song was always on the top, and he used to wait for this to be played.

    Ghulam Mohammed

    Great songs in Mirza Ghalib. i am selecting this song ahead of the popular “Dil-E-Nadaan tujhe hua kya hai”


    • Karthik, the songs you’ve chosen are, in two instances, strange coincidences for me. I like all of them a lot (except possibly Humein toh loot liya – not because there’s anything wrong with it, but I used to own a cassette of Hindi film qawwalis and somehow the rest outshone this one).

      Coincidence #1: I’m going to visit my parents this Saturday, and my father’s promised to lend me his VCD of Sangdil, because I haven’t seen that film yet. And because I love Yeh hawa yeh raat yeh chaandni so much. :-) I remember, when I was about 13 or so, this was one of the many Chitrahaar songs we recorded on a VHS tape and watched again and again and again!

      Coincidence #2: Aah ko chaahiye ik umr. I was, just the other day, thinking of this film, because my sister (whose PhD was on Delhi’s cultural history) was saying that she wants to see Mirza Ghalib again – and this was the song that immediately came to mind. I prefer it to Dil-e-naadaan too. (Wasn’t it for this song that Nehru is supposed to have complimented Suraiya by saying that she “had brought Mirza Ghalib back to life” with her rendition?)


        • I know! That is another BIG reason I want to watch it. I’ve seen only one screen adaptation of the novel so far – the 1943 one starring Orson Welles as Rochester and Joan Fontaine as Jane Eyre, with an 11-year old Elizabeth Taylor playing Jane’s childhood friend Helen Burns.


    • Ghulam Mohammad? I’d never count him among the ‘obscure’! Not with Pakeezah under his belt. That one score is enough to confer absolute and utter immortality on him. :-)

      Aside: My father has a theory that Ghulam Mohammad was a big reason for the success of many of Naushad’s scores. True, Naushad was good – very good, says my pa, but see some of his top scores from the late 40s and early 50s: Anmol Ghadi, Aan, Andaz, Deedar, Mela… in all of which his assistant was Ghulam Mohammad.


      • Madhu, I agree with your father’s estimation of Ghulam Mohammed. He was as good as Naushad, only the tag of being the latter’s assistant never left him. Naushad became increasingly formulaic in the later part of his career; completely stopped composing music that challenged him, sticking instead to churnign out one hit after the other. I also think he took his tag as a ‘classical-based’ music director a tad bit too seriously. And this is NOT to take away from the man’s genuine talent.


  17. This is probably your best post so far, in my opinion, DO! I have been listening to the songs, one by one, and enjoying them over and over again! Thanks for taking the trouble to compile it. It helps that there are such knowledgeable readers in your following who are also contributing great songs. All in all, a feast for my ears!


  18. Iqbal Qureshi is one of my favorites, his songs in Chachacha are excellent.
    Listen to this song from Bindiya-no guessing the lyricist :-)

    Even though SN Tripathi composed some brilliant classical numbers, there are 2 songs which I love, which are

    (A rather subdued Mahendra Kapoor)

    If the still of the night had to be translated to music, I feel there couldnt be a better one-

    Sardar Malik-
    A rare song from Bachpan which I love

    this song by D.Dileep (this is what used to be announced on Vividh Bharti)

    Considering that Usha Khanna is a prolific composer, and whether she would qualify, anyway one very good song which i love for Rafi’s voice modulation


    • Some wonderful songs there, Karthik – including several that I’d never come across before.

      Badli-badli duniya must have been one of Mahender Kapoor’s earlier songs, I suppose? He sounds so much like Rafi there, that I might not have even recognised him…

      I loved that Bachpan song. New to me, but what a discovery! Fabulous. :-) I don’t know why, but it reminds me of some other song. Maybe a later song was copied from this tune. Any idea?

      I did toy with the idea of putting Usha Khanna into the list, but then dropped her name, because I thought she’s better-known than most of the others. (Is that possibly a result of the fact that she was one of the very few women composers in a male-dominated area?) But she created some great tunes in films like Dil Deke Dekho, Hum Hindustani and Ek Sapera Ek Lootera.


  19. Sonik Omi from dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya

    2 more beautiful songs by Snehal Bhatkar

    Suman’s voice is so melodious and sweet

    and this cute one from Nasihat


    (heard this very few times)


    • Nice quartet of songs – though like you, I’ve heard the last one only a very few times. The third song, Dekho dekh raha thha papeeha is very cute indeed! I remember watching it on Chitrahaar years ago, and both my sister and I were absolutely enchanted. And you can imagine the effect of that song: we heard it only that once, but even now, more than 25 years later, we still know the chorus. :-)

      P.S. That particular song – the one about the papeeha – is from Fariyaad, not from Nasihat, I think.


  20. What a delicious half hour or so I’ve spent listening to all these lovely songs most of which I had heard at some point or other.
    This post will be visited by me very often to listen to these melodious songs.

    Another unknown music director Sanmath Babu Upadhyay composed music for two films that I know of. I’m sure there are other songs that I know but am unaware that he’s the MD.

    Film Amar Singh Rathod 1957
    A very peppy song

    Film Hameer Hath 1964
    It was this song which I had heard earlier that led me to the discovery of Sanmath Babu


  21. Sajjad Hussain composed for those very typical songs of Rustom Sohrab 1963. It had lovely music.

    But he paired with Mohammad Shafi to give music for Hulchul (and maybe some more) 1951
    A typical sad song of that era (which actually sound good)

    MD: B.S.Kalla. He composed for quite a few films Mr Sampat, Bahut Din huye, Do dulhe, Sansar
    all in 50s.
    This clip from Sansar is very lively, but the song starts at about 3.50
    I vaguely remember hearing this song and the words lahar, lahar stuck in my head. :)


    • pacifist, you’ve posted one of my favourite songs there – I simply love Phir tumhaari yaad aayi ae sanam. The complexity of this song – the fact that there are so many wonderful variations in it – never ceases to amaze me. Thank you! I’m listening to it and enjoying it all over again. :-)

      That second song was a bit depressing, but musically good – and the Sansar song is fun, worth waiting all that time for. Somehow reminded me of some of Shyama’s songs, with her prancing about on her own in a home (I’m thinking songs like Kaare-kaare baadra!

      Talking of Shyama, here’s another one, this time composed by Babul for Bus Conductor, Man mein tere kya hai:


  22. I wrote a long post on how I’d spent more time than I have on this post, and it seems to have disappeared into ether. I am bookmarking this page, though – what with your list and all the songs that have been uploaded in the comments section – it’s pure bliss.

    Madhu, thank you for this post. And please do think seriously about doing a Part II.

    My contribution toward the list:

    One of my favourite Ghazals from Hamrahi 1945. MD: RC Boral


    • I wrote a long post on how I’d spent more time than I have on this post, and it seems to have disappeared into ether.”

      Oh, how sad! :-(

      Why don’t you do a part 2 of this post, Anu? I’d love to see what you list as your top ten other than the ones I listed.

      P.S. Am listening right now to that ghazal from Humraahi. Beautiful. I’ve heard about RC Boral, of course, but am not too familiar with his work.


  23. There really is an embarassm’ment of riches when it comes to Hindi Film music isn’t there. A few more from the pitara…

    Basant Prakash (Khemchand Parkash’s brother) – Rafta rafta from Hum Kahan Jaa Rahe Hain

    Suhrid Kaur – Kaanch Ki Gudiya

    Rono Mukherjee – Tu Hi Meri Zindagi


    • Thank you, Shalini! Rafta rafta woh hamaare dil ke armaan ho gaye was first introduced to me when I posted my Mahendra Kapoor list, and since then it’s become one of my favourites from his lesser-known songs. I’d not known it had been scored by Khemchand Prakash’s brother.

      I’ve heard Saath ho tum aur raat jawaan before, but Yeh kaun thakke so raha was a completely new one for me – but lovely.

      There really seems to be no end to the beautiful songs Indian composers have come up with, does there? So many wonderful songs… good for all of us!


  24. Basant Prakash, Rono Mukherjee, Suhrid Kaur, BS Kalla, Lala Sattar… wow, how much I’ve learnt in the past hour of catching up on the comments on this post!

    Anyway, here are two more. One from somebody already mentioned on this post, Prem Dhawan. This is one of my favourite songs from the very early 70s, Teri duniya se hoge majboor chala:

    And another relatively little-known composer, Vinod, who composed Lara lappa lara lappa in Ek Thi Ladki:


  25. An excellent list, both in the original post and in comments! I’d like to comment on a number of things mentioned here, but first I’d like to add one – because I don’t think I see Shivram Krishna anywhere… And he did such wonderful music for Teen Batti Char Rasta…

    Sadhna was actually my first favorite film soundtrack of the ’50s. And Mahal was number 1 in my “Filmi Favorites 1944-1964” list for the longest time. I have always thought that N. Dutta was a little obscure, but maybe because I got so into ’40s films, I kind of thought of Khemchand Prakash as being very major… Well, I think he was for his time, anyway. (And, btw, when you asked for raising of hands by those who knew the composer of #2 on the list…no problem here! :) )

    Eventually, I decided to knock Mahal down to #2 on my favorites list and replace it with a soundtrack from 1944 by a composer who’s been mentioned a couple of times in comments here, Sajjad Hussain. He’s the first one who popped into my mind also, and though I don’t think I’ll ever get to see this whole movie, I am very glad that I discovered its great songs. Of course, it helps that the star singer is my all-time favorite, too. The movie is Dost.

    I also like Iqbal Qureshi a lot… The first movie where I discovered his fine music was mentioned by Karthik in the comments; it’s Bindiya. From that movie I love this song, and I really love this scene:

    I think I’ll stop there, but I might be back. :) I could spend a long time commenting on this post!


    • Shivram Krishna was a new name for me (even though I’ve watched Teen Batti Chaar Raasta, years ago, and have heard that song a couple of times since).

      Khemchand Prakash was certainly very major in the 40s, but since I’m really not clued into too much music from the 40s, I decided it would be safer to steer clear of that decade. Mahal, as you can see, was the only exception I made, simply because Aayega aanewaala is such an iconic song, one that’s endured so long, that it’s hard to ignore. But I have to admit that while I can easily remember (or guess) who scored the music for other great ‘musicals’ – films like Madhumati, CID, Pyaasa, and countless others… Mahal is one whose MD I’d completely forgotten about.

      Thank you for the Dost song (I’d never heard that one before), and for Aane-tandaane – I enjoyed the latter more than the former, to be truthful. Sorry!

      Oh, and do come back with more. :-)


  26. 2 gems by Rafi
    An Iqbal Qureshi gem->

    and a Hansraj Behl gem->

    and this Lata gem by Vasant Desai-the reason why I presented this was, it shows what a talented composer can do with 1 minute 33 seconds-create an immortal song


  27. I have not gone through all the comments

    But I want to add my recommendations(I hope no one mentioned these):

    1)Black Cat(1959)N.dutta:Jaan nissar akthar:rafi,lata:Minu mumtaz,Balraj sahni:”Main tumhi se poochthi hoon, mujhe tumse pyaar kyon hai, kabhi tum dhaga na doge”(Rafi sings only for first lines)

    2)40 days(1959):Bipin Babul:Kaifi Azmi:premnath,nishi kohli, shakeela,shammi
    a)kaho aake bahaar kare mera singaar:Asha, mukesh
    b)main deewana mastaaana, mushkil bhed mera paa jaanaa:mukesh
    c)Baite hain rehguzar par, shaayad woh laut aaye:asha bhonsle
    d)naseeb hoga mera meherbaan kabhi na kabhi:asha bhonsle

    3)BIndiya:Iqbal qureshi:lata:vijaya chaudhary:Itna na sataa ke o deewaane, o deewaane

    4)Bhagwan parashuram(1970):asha bhonsle:jayshree gadkar, abhi bhattacharya: Mere man ke maan sarowar mein tum kamal samaan khile ho sajan:(music by Jai kumar or jai parthe)(for the video at youtube you have to type “Asha-mere man ke” or PRASURAM MERE MAN KE MAA SAROWAR MAI…ASHA.1970)

    5)Shyamal mitra of Amanush and anand ashram:(Uttam kumar,sharmila tgore)
    a)dil aisa kisine mera toda:kishore
    b)gam ki dawaa sharaab nahi:asha
    c)kal ke sapne:asha:sharmila
    d)na poocho ko hamein zehar:kishore

    anand ashram
    a)sara pyar tumhara:sharmila,uttam:asha,kishore
    b)tum itni sundar ho:yesudass,preethi sagar-moushumi chatterjee,rakesh roshan

    6)Reshmi roomal:Bipin babul:1961:manoj kumar, shakila
    manna dey, asha bhonsle
    Zulfon ki ghat lekar saawan ki paree aayee(raja mehdi ali khan)

    7)Picnic:1966:rafi,asha bhonsle:manoj kumar,shubha khote:S.Mohinder:mausam lehraa gaya, nasha sa chha gay..lalalaru.larularu

    8)Cha cha cha:Iqbal qureshi:neeraj:chandrashekhar,helen
    a)ek chameli ke manwe tale:asha,rafi
    b)tumse maano na mano tumse:asha,rafi
    c)subhaa na aaye:rafi
    d)woh hum na the:rafi


    • Some of those songs have already been mentioned by other commenters, but no matter. :-)

      The ones from Chaalees Din and Bhagwan Parashuram hadn’t been mentioned by anyone so far, so thanks for that! (Everybody else: here are the links; enjoy!):

      Kaho aake bahaar kare mera singaar:

      Main deewaana mastaana:

      Baithe hain rehguzar par:

      Naseeb hoga mera meherbaan:

      Mere mann ke maa sarovar:

      We didn’t discuss the songs of Amanush or Anand Ashram… because those are from well into the 70s, whereas this discussion and post is about pre-70s cinema.


  28. Oh sorry, for the repetitions

    But I didn`t found the “BLACK CAT” song-lata,rafi,N.dutta song:”Main tumhise poochthi hoon, mujhe tumse pyaar kyon hai” anywhere,

    And If you haven`t listened another lata song from
    “Swarna sundari”,Please listen that, I hope it will not disappoint you:”Mujhe na bulaa,mujhe na bhulaa, chhup chhup chhaliyaare mujhe na bula”(anjali devi, akkineni nageshwara rao)

    Other songs for your reference:
    1)Do Phool:1958:Vasant desai:Asha bhonsle & chorus:”Aayee pari, rang bhari,kisne pukaaraa,kisne kiya”:master romi, Baby naaz

    2)Sampoorna ramayan:1961:lata:baadlo barso nain ki ore se…:vasant desai:Anita guha/dutta

    3)Bara-dari:1955:Nashad(shaukat ali dehlvi):Kumar Barabankvi
    a)rafi,lata:geeta bali, ajit:Bhula nahin dena ji bhula nahin dena
    b)talat mahmood:chandrashekhar: Tasveer banaatha hoon, tasveer nahin banthi


    • Thanks, Prakashchandra. Right now, the speed of my net connection is so terrible, I’m not being able to access Youtube – so can’t search for the songs you’ve listed. But offhand, yes, I agree with what Karthik says about those two songs from Baradari. They’re wonderful.


        • That’s the first time I’ve heard that song. Lovely music, but I ended up enjoying it more only when I was listening to it, not watching it. That huge ‘Adil’ plastered across the top right corner was unforgivably intrusive!


  29. 1)Ye dil kisko doon:Iqbal qureshi:Qamar jalalabadi
    a)rafi:Kitni haseen ho tum,kitni haseen,kitni haseen:shashi kapoor, ragini
    b)rafi, usha khanna:Phir aane laga yaad wohi pyaar ka aalam(ragini,shashi kapoor)

    2)Jabse tumhein dekha hai(1963)Dattaram:shailendra:Geeta bali, pradeep kumar:Manna dey, suman kalyanpur
    “ye din din hai khushi ke, aajaare aajaa mere saathi zindagi ke


  30. The actor with Helen in Hameerhat song “NIgaahon se dil mein chale aayiyega” is MANHAR DESAI,
    I remember watching him in GEET GAATA CHAL enacting the role of Sarika`s father.I think he is a famous regional langauage hero of his times, most probably he is gujarathi movie hero.


  31. Boond Jo ban gayi moti(1967):Sathish Bhatia:Bharat Vyas
    a)Suman kalyanpur,Mukesh:Mumtaz,Jeetendra:”Haan maine bhi pyaar kiya, pyaar se kab inkaar kiya
    b)Mukesh:”Ye kaun chitrkaar hai, ye kaun chitrakaar hai”


  32. Had anyone mentioned Dhool ka phool songs:
    a)Kaase kahoon man ki baat:Sudha malhothra
    b)asha,mahendra kapoor:Dhadkne lagi dil ki taaron ki duniya
    c)lata, mahendra kapoor: Tere pyaar ka aasraa chahta hoon
    d)Rafi:Tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega
    e)Asha,Mahendra kapoor:Jhukti ghata gaathi hawaa sapne jagaaye
    f)rafi:daaman mein aag lagaa baite


    • A rare song, In my opinion, one of the best “Suhag Raat” songs , again a very subdued MahendraKapoor. N.Datta was an excellent composer with great ability. Sahir shines in this song, how romantic!


      • A long, long time since I heard this song! Thank, you, Karthik. Yes, that was so romantic.

        More and more, I’m beginning to think maybe I should try compiling a ‘ten of my favourites’ list for N Dutta. This man had so much talent.


        • PLEASE do so!! Ten of N.Datta may not be enough is my guess :-). He worked mostly with Sahir, but I would love to hear about his work with other composers too.

          I think soon we can have a series of interesting topics on composers-lyricists pair. It would make interesting analysis on how SJ composed without Shailendra and Hasrat or Naushad without Shakeel. Sure, there are real gems to be unearthed! :)


  33. If you are interested,

    1)G.S.Kohli`s 1963 SHIKARI got another unsung meldious song sung by asha bhonsle and picturised on Helen,ajit,madan puri,Habib:
    “Ye rangeen mehfil gulaabi gulaabi,mere dil ka aalam sharaabi sharabi”

    2)Sudhir Phadke`s “Bhabhi ki choodiyaan(1961)” got another good duet by asha bhonsle and mukesh(Shailesh kumar, Seema deo:Pandit Narendra sharma)
    “Kahaan ud chale hai man praan mere,kisse khojthe hain madhur gaan mere”

    3)And I want to mention almost forgotten another rare gem from Pandit Ravishankar`s ANURADHA(1960)(picturised on movie credit cards):(based on classical raga)
    “Saanwre saanwre,jaao saanwre,kaahe mose kare joraajori, baiyya na marodo mori doongi doongi gari hato jaao ji”:Lata mangeshkar

    4)Saara jahan hamaara(1961)(azra,Ajay kumar)
    “bhare hain aankh mein aansoo, khushi gam hoti jaathi hai:Asha Bhonsle, mukesh:anjum jaipuri(music by Babul)

    “Maine chaand aur sitaaron ki tamanna ki thi, mujhko raathon ki siyaahi ke siwa kuchch na milaa”(Bharat bhushan, Bina rai, Hira lal)(Sahir Ludhiaynvi)

    6)Bhai Bahen:Sudha malhothra:N.dutta:Sahir Ludhiyanvi:mere nadeem mere humsafar udaas na ho, katin sahi teri manzil magar udaas na ho”:Daisy irani,Baby naaz,Nishi kohli

    7)Pyar ki pyaas:1961:Vasant desai:Bharat Vyas
    a)lata,rafi,chorus:kya dharthi aur kya aakash,sabko pyaar ki pyaas
    b)Geeta dutt:Lorie song:chanda jale pankha jhale maiyya tumhari phoolon ke so ja meri raaj kumari:Nishi kohli,Honey irani


    • Thanks for all of those! Here are the links, everybody else:

      Yeh rangeen mehfil gulaabi gulaabi from Shikaari:

      Kahaan ud chalein hain praan mere from Bhabhi ki Chooriyaan: (I especially liked this one a lot; I’ve heard it before and love the music)

      Saanwre saanwre from Anuradha:

      Bhare hain aankh mein aansoo from Saara jahaan hamaara. Another of my favourites; I didn’t know this was Babul’s music:

      Okay, now I’ve run out of steam. Go and watch the others on Youtube! ;-)


      • Awesome post, Madhu! Could only read your post and the comments today. Will come back with my comments some other time.
        Till then, here’s one song composed by Vijay Singh (Bhagyashree’s father) for Road to Sikkim (1969) –

        I dont know how many movies he has composed music for, but I accidentally came across this song one day and kind of liked it.


        • Thanks, sunheriyaadein – both for the appreciation, and for that song. I’d never heard it before (I hadn’t even heard of the film), but it’s a nice song. Good music, also good lyrics. And of course, well sung by Mukesh.


    • Something wrong with that first link; but here is the song, uploaded by some other user on Youtube:

      Both lovely songs, pacifist! And that second one is such a sweet lullaby (and that remark, from someone who doesn’t usually care for loris, is quite something). :-D


  34. well,great post and a great way to pay tribute to unsung but brilliant composers.This might be your best post ever.Although i am much younger than most of the commentators here,i do possess a great deal knowledge about our hindi film music and thought about contributing a little to this wonderful post of yours.
    Most of us would know about the hugely popular children song-Nani teri morni ko mod le gaye.It was composed by a not so famous composer-Robin Bannerjee who also composed lovely HAMEN UN RAHON PAR CHALNA HAI in the same film Masoom[great film too]..Another such composer was Jamal Sen who composed Sapne ban Sajan aye from Shokhiyan

    Sorry,i could not give the links as I am horrible at that.


    • Thank you Raunak! So many people telling me that this may be my best post ever… wow. I’m flattered. With the mark almost touching 300 posts, I seem to have finally arrived! :-)

      I love Nani teri morni ko mor le gaye; it’s probably my favourite children’s song from Hindi cinema, because it’s been actually sung by a child, not by a woman pretending to be a child. I love that slightly breathless (at certain points) and the faintly off-tune style in which Ranu Mukherjee sings it. Absolutely adorable. Here it is:

      And here is Humein un raahon par chalna hai. Another wonderful song, which I’ve liked a lot since I was a kid. Thank you for reminding me of that, Raunak!


  35. Wow, so many moe songs have come arrived here in the last few days. It will take me ages to go through all of it, but I can always come back to this post!
    The following song doesn’t fall into your time-category but suits the theme here. Ambar ki ek paak surahi from Kadambari
    MD: Ustad Viayat Ali Khan. As far as I know this is the only Hindi film for which he scored music. But he surely was not uncelebrated, atleast not as a sitar maestro!


  36. Vijay singh composed music for
    1)Kabhi ajnabi the(Cricketer sandep patil starrer with debashree roy,poonam dhillon,Sayyed kirmani)(tile song,geet mere hoton ko de gaya koi,is daffa sung by lata and co)

    2)Hum tho chale pardesh(ravindra peepat director venture starring shashi kapoor, sharmila tagore, mandakini,rajeev kapoor, asha parekh-1988)


    • Yes, we could go on and on, but since I restrict this blog to films from before 1970 (Pakeezah and a couple of other similar films excluded), we can safely overlook music directors – famous or little-known – from after that period! ;-)


    • Hemant? Not obscure by my standards! He may not have been as much of a stalwart as some of his contemporaries, but the scores he composed (the ones you’ve mentioned, for instance) are sufficient to confer immortality on him.


    • Thanks, Karthik! I had toyed with putting Husnlal Bhagatram in, but then dropped the idea, because I’ve actually seen only two films (Afsana and Shama Parwana) for which they composed music, and there were other songs, by other composers, in my list that I liked more.

      But yes, they were a very good team, and Chup-chup khade ho was a BIG hit. Here’s one song from Shama Parwana that I like quite a bit; Shaam-e-bahaar aayi:


  37. The mention of A.R. Qureshi and Vilayat Khan brought a couple of other classical music exponents who have composed for Hindi films to mind.

    First is Ali Akbar Khan, who composed for a few movies including the 1952 “Aandhiyan” which has the lovely “hai kahin par shadmani.”

    Then there is S.D. Batish who has several films to his name. The Ashok Kumar, Motilal, Naseem Bano starrer, “Betaab” among them:

    I also love the songs of “Garam Coat” which had music by Pt. Amarnath.

    And let’s not forget that several playback singers have done music direction stints as well. Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar and Kishore Kumar’s output are relatively well known but there’s also this gem from “sardar” by old-time singer Jagmohan Sursagar:


    • Ah, you beat me to it, Shalini! :-) I had been thinking just last night that I’d forgotten to mention S D Batish in the comments of this post. Thank you for that (and thank you for the song you linked to – I hadn’t heard it before, but it’s a wonderful song).

      Love the other two songs too, by Pandit Amarnath and Jagmohan Sursagar. Both are so melodious and have been sung beautifully. The second one was new to me.


  38. I’d been struggling with trying to remember the name of a music director who composed for a film with half his name in it, and then I read the name Robin Bannerji.
    The film that was in my mind is Sakhi Robin (I think it’s about Robin Hood)

    It has this fabulous song.


  39. I know Dattaram’s name has come up. I just had to mention this melodious song of his to join this fabulous collection of fabulous songs.
    The film is Zindagi aur Khwab 1961


    • Oh, my goodness. I am feeling like such a fool. This one happens to be one of my all-time favourite duets – I listen to it every now and then and go all mushy and starry-eyed every time I do – but I never bothered to find out who composed it.

      Yay for N Dutta! He is so good. (That, because I’m feeling even more of a fool now – since pacifist’s query following this made me realise that I’d confused Dattaram with N Dutta. My only explanation is that I recalled that N Dutta also composed under another name. Some research has revealed that he was also billed as Datta Naik at times).


        • Sorry, sorry. I am the one who’d gotten confused. They’re two separate people – Dattaram is the one who also composed the music for Shriman Satyawadi and Qaidi No. 911. He’s not N Dutta. My mistake.

          To compensate for that mix-up: here’s another great song by Dattaram, Pyaar bhari yeh ghataayein:


          • Oh, I’ve heard this! Thank you for your mistake and compensating with this song :)
            So many songs which were somewhere hidden in our memories have come to light.
            I’m sure a lot of beautiful ones are still out there.


      • The song is really beautiful isn’t it? I’ve been listening to it again and again. The line ‘na jaane kahaan tum the….’ has a very melodious and touching tune to go with it.


    • I hope I made the correct deletion, Karthik! Am currently listening to Mujhe tumse mohabbat hai – so absolutely lovely. A beautiful composition, of course, but I must admit I’m also completely mesmerised by Rafi’s voice. His voice is music.

      Thank you for that! Loved it.


  40. Sawan:1959:Hansraj Behl
    (Ameeta,bharat bhushan,Helen:premdhawan,asad bhopali)
    1)rafi,shamshad begum: bheega bheega pyaar ka samaa bata de tujhe jana hai kahaa
    2)lata:kanhaa chhedo baansuri,kanhaiyya chedo baansuri
    3)lata,mahendra kapoor:murli teri paayal meri tu gaaye
    4)mukesh,lata:nain dwaar se man woh aake tan mein aag lagaaye…haaye rasiyaa
    5)rafi,shamshad begum:Meri gagri noo ghungroo lawaa de,teri meri…(Just listen shamshadji`voice matched by Helenji`s dance moviements)
    2 more solos by rafi and lata are there in this forgotten movie


  41. This is so late to comment on this post, but my husband just informed me that most of the songs of Detective were ‘inspired’ if not outright copies.

    Do chamakti aankhon mein lifted from Harry Belafonte’s ‘Jamaica Farewell’ (1956)
    Chhodiye gussa huzoor inspired by the 50s hit, Bimbo.(Jim Reeves’ version)


    Aankhon se bharosa mat kar is inspired from Manitas de Plata’s Galop de Camargue.


      • And I completely failed to find any similarity between Do chamakti aankhon mein and Jamaica Farewell. Maybe it needs to be pointed out to me, but I just can’t see it :-(


      • Pacifist, Mukul Roy slowed down the tempo *a lot* when he arranged (or his musicians) arranged the tune for Chodiye Gussa Huzoor>. As for Do chamakti aankhon mein, I’m surprised you didn’t catch the similarities – I’m tone deaf and even I shouted out ‘Jamiaca Farewell!’ when I heard the hindi version. I’m glad you put both versions here – so people can make up their own minds. Actually, put on Jamaica Farewell, and sing Do chamakti aankhon mein to it, and if you haven’t noticed it until then, you will now. :)

        (I did some digging after my husband told me this and I posted this comment yesterday – even the itwofs chappies have it on their website. The last one is not listed, though. )


        • It’s weird, but though I’m very familiar with Jamaica Farewell and with Do chamakti aankhon mein, I hadn’t noticed the similarity until you pointed it out, Anu. But yes, it’s a very direct lift.


  42. The most melodious song by Lacchi Ram is ” Gori tore Nain, nainwa, kajre bin Kate kare” composed in Dess Rag. Written by Sahir for film Main Suhagan Hun. Please find out more about personal and professional life of this genius. Asha Bhonsle sang this with Rafi Sab. She can probably help


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