Ten of my favourite Hindi film ghazals

This is another of my ‘prize posts’, dedicated to one of the people who participated in the Classic Bollywood Quiz I hosted on this blog last year. One of the quiz questions was a toughie that no-one was able to answer: Which was Sahir Ludhianvi’s first ghazal to be recorded in Hindi cinema? I did provide one clue: the operative word is ‘ghazal’.

This post therefore is dedicated to Ravi Kumar, the only person who guessed which song I was referring to, though since his guess came in the wake of his submission, it didn’t count. The song was Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le, from Baazi (1951) – a song which is, in my opinion, a good example of what a ghazal is and isn’t. No, it’s not defined by its music – so, it needn’t be slow and soulful; it can be fast-paced and peppy. What does define a ghazal are its lyrics: rather, its structure and its rhyme scheme.

I won’t pretend to know more than the very basics, but to learn more about exactly what a ghazal is (and isn’t) have a look at this interesting page.

To get back to this post: ten of my favourite ghazals (in no particular order) from pre-70s Hindi cinema. All are from films I’ve seen, and no two ghazals are from the same film. Here goes:

1. Aah ko chaahiye ek umr asar hone tak (Mirza Ghalib, 1954): Mirza Ghalib was the reason I had to put in that condition about not including more than one song from a film. This film – which showcased the brilliant shaayari of the legendary Asad’ullah Khan ‘Ghalib’ – had a series of simply awesome ghazals, including Nuktacheen hai gham-e-dil and Yeh na thhi hamaari kismet.
Aah ko chaahiye is probably my favourite, though, simply because everything – Ghulam Mohammad’s music, Suraiya’s superb rendition, and Ghalib’s poetry – fits together perfectly. Even just the very first line – Aah ko chaahiye ek umr asar hone tak (“A sigh needs a lifetime to take effect”) – is so rich in meaning.

2. Rehte thhe kabhi jinke dil mein (Mamta, 1966): Some of the best ghazals, sadly, are sad. This one, written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, is a classic example of an outcry against betrayal. That “Barson ke sulagte tan-man par ashqon ke toh chheente de na sake, tapte hue dil ke zakhmon par barse bhi toh angaaron ki tarah” (“Those who could not splash their tears on the years of woe that have set my mind and body aflame; all they could do was rain like embers on my wounds”)… what resoundingly bitter words against one who proved faithless.

3. Yoon hasraton ke daag mohabbat mein dho liye (Adalat, 1958): Like Rehte thhe kabhi, this song too is a sad one, sung by a woman who’s been forced into becoming a tawaif. The loneliness and deep sorrow in the words (by Rajinder Krishan) always moves me to tears – especially the “Ghar se chale thhe hum toh khushi ki talaash mein; gham raah mein khade thhe, wohi saath ho liye” (“I left home in search of happiness; but sorrows were standing along the way, and they became my companions”).

4. Humse aaya na gaya, tumse bulaaya na gaya (Dekh Kabira Roya, 1957): A ghazal (again, by Rajinder Krishan) that starts off in a light-hearted, happy vein – a song of love given and love reciprocated – and then disintegrates into a song of that same love lost. The last sher (“Daag jo tune diya, dil se mitaaya na gaya” – “the mark that you left cannot be erased from my heart”) suggests that life will go on, but with a constantly nagging memory of the beloved.

5. Jurm-e-ulfat pe humein (Taj Mahal, 1963): I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gushed over this song on this blog. This is Sahir Ludhianvi again (one of my favourite lyricists), being the voice of a quietly (but very emphatically) defiant Arjumand Bano as she proclaims her disdain for wealth and power as against her love for Khurram. Very dignified, but very obviously sure of the power of her love.

6. Main teri nazar ka suroor hoon (Jahanara, 1964): A ghazal by Rajinder Krishan, portraying the doomed love of a princess for a commoner. Jahanara is in love with Mirza Changezi and he with her, but they know nothing can come of it because as a Mughal princess, she is forbidden to marry… but even if they are apart, he is still her love. Even if she has forgotten – “Tujhe yaad ho ke na yaad ho” (“whether you remember or not”) – he will always be in her heart, her “aashiqui ka ghuroor” (“the pride of her passion”).
(Okay, those translations sound weird in English, but the Urdu is vastly more lyrical).

7. Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam (Mere Mehboob, 1963): My father’s favourite parody of a film song is the one he and his friends concocted of this song: “Mera khoya hua rangeen pajama de de” (“Give my lost colourful pyjama back to me”).
It says a lot for the beauty of this song that despite that distorted version, the original (by Shakeel Badayuni) is still a favourite of mine. The ultimate love song, voicing the need for the beloved, desperately searching for her, praising her and his love for her – which woman wouldn’t melt?

8. Uthaaye jaa unke sitam aur jiye jaa (Andaaz, 1949): A Majrooh Sultanpuri ghazal. My first reaction on hearing this song years ago was “Why this ‘I-am-a-doormat’ attitude?” That is true to some extent – the recurring theme of bearing every cruelty with a smile, going on suppressing one’s tears (well, drinking them down, if one has to be literal) – is certainly doormat-ish behaviour. It is, however, also a sign of the helplessness of a woman who’s so deeply in love with the husband who suspects her of infidelity that she’s even willing to bear that for his sake.

9. Zinda hoon is tarah ke gham-e-zindagi nahin (Aag, 1948): A despairing ghazal, by the Urdu poet Behzad Lakhnavi. It manages to convey deep anguish and hopelessness in a way few other songs can do for me – even at the very beginning, that “Jalta hua diya hoon magar roshni nahin” (“I am a burning lamp that emits no light”) is a vivid reflection of the uselessness of the hero’s life after he’s lost his love.

10. Chalte-chalte yoon hi koi (Pakeezah, 1971): I find something surreal about this song and its background: a courtesan encounters a stranger – and that too only through a note he’s left in a train compartment, praising the beauty of her feet – and that chance encounter changes her life forever. Later, even when she’s back at her work, singing and dancing for a wealthy client, it is that stranger she’s recalling – and hoping against hope for another meeting before her life draws to a close: “Shab-e-intezaar aakhir kabhi hogi muktsar bhi; yeh chirag bujh rahe hain, mere saath jalte-jalte” (“This night of waiting will eventually be short… these burning lamps are dying out with me.”). A beautiful example of Kaifi Azmi’s work.

And, as a bonus, one of Hindi cinema’s most cynical ghazals – and one of my favourites too:

Tang aa chuke hain kashmakash-e-zindagi (Pyaasa, 1957): This one’s from the pen of the inimitable Sahir Ludhianvi, and from a film that featured some of his best lyrics. Tang aa chuke hain kashmakash-e-zindagi se hum is a recitation rather than a song, perfectly rendered by Rafi. The words are hard-hitting and bitter, the ghazal simmering with unhappiness – the unhappiness that life has bestowed on its writer: “Denge wohi jo paayenge is zindagi se hum” (“I will give that which I have received from life”).

Interestingly, the same ghazal was sung by Asha Bhonsle for the film Light House (1958). Both renditions are excellent, but I feel the Pyaasa version has a more haunting quality to it.

This was where this post was supposed to end. But I discovered – shortly before I published this – that Akhlaq Mohammad Khan, aka Shahryar, passed away on February 13 this year. He was the lyricist for one of the very few post-1970s films that had good ghazals – so, in tribute, a ghazal by Shahryar:

Justju jiski thhi (Umrao Jaan, 1981. Although Umrao Jaan had some superb ghazals, this one, with its dignified yet sorrowful looking back at a lost love (and a life only half-lived?), is in a class by itself.

RIP, Shahryar.


170 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Hindi film ghazals

  1. All these and so many more. There is a reason why Hindi films dominate the entertainment industry in India, they give us EVERYTHING. Qawwali, ghazal, sufiana, gaane, mujra, western dance, anything you wish for can be found in films.

    Excellent list, it is almost like a textbook on filmi ghazals. It reminds you of the ones that are missing – of course – you could not have had them all here. The purpose, afterall, is to showcase some excellent ghazals.


    • Thank you, Ava! Glad you liked the list. And yes – you are SO right about the Hindi film industry giving us everything. I was just thinking last night that one could spend a lifetime going through the huge corpus of Hindi cinema music, and not be be able to finish compiling a list of favourites.


  2. I’ve always felt this is a vastly underrated song … perhaps the movie put people off the song. However, the stoic detachment of “Humne jazbaat se daaman ko bacha rakhkhaa hai/raakh ke dher ne sholon ko dabaa rakhkha hai” is excellently expressed by Jagjit.


    • Was this a bad movie? I’ve never even heard of it. But am listening to the song right now, and I remember having heard it. Beautifully sung (of course), and wonderful lyrics too. I like that bit about “Humne tanhaayi ko mehboob bana rakha hai“, just before the line you’ve quoted.


  3. As Thandapani says, all these and so many more make the film ghazal genre so eclectic!! Some of my favourites are right here… wonderful wonderful post Madhu! Thank you so much


  4. Superb selections-simply superb. Well done!!

    “Rehte The” from Mamta is, according to me, one of the best lyrical efforts of Majrooh. Even “Dava tha jinhe hamdardi ka” I love “Hum Hai Mata-E-Koocha-O-Bazaar Ki Tarah”, which is his non-filmy work.

    (Sorry two are post 80’s)

    How about these-

    This IS my favourite-(altime favourite ghazal)

    Sublime lyrics by Sahir

    though,”Mujhe Yeh Phool Na De” is superb too.


    • Readers certainly need not adhere to my self-imposed rules for my posts, so your post-70s songs are very welcome, Karthik!
      I love all four songs you’ve posted, though I prefer the latter two. I wish Vallah Kya Baat Hai had been a better film – I loved the cast and the music – but the story was so incoherent, it was difficult to sit through. That’s one movie that’s best seen by watching all its songs on Youtube.


    • I love ‘phir chhidi..’ :) Madhu, you must have heard ‘koi ye kaise bataye’ from the film Arth. Again, this is quite heart-rending too. :( But it’s absolutely soul-stirring. And thankfully, a happy ghazal, ‘huzur is kadar bhi’ from Masoom. Both are fantastic. Of course, I realize they are more recent compared to the collection you have presented here. :)


      • I had forgotten Koi yeh kaise bataaye, though of course I’ve heard it, since I’ve seen Arth.

        Huzoor is kadar bhi is a lovely one! Certainly one of the nicest ghazals of the post-60s period.

        P.S. So you’re back after your wedding? Congratulations! I’d been waiting for you to return before I posted your prize post. WIll do that now, one of these days. :-)


    • This was a new one for me. Hadn’t heard it. Which movie is it from? Madan Mohan is among my favourite music directors, and he composed the music for some of my favourite ghazals, including some I couldn’t include because of my rule of not including songs from films I haven’t seen. Here is one, Saba se yeh keh do ke kaliyaan bichhaye, from Bank Manager:

      One of the most beautiful love songs sung by a woman on stage – I love the tenderness in the lyrics, and I like the fact that Madan Mohan has made the music very subdued and gentle, to let the words shine through. This song gives me gooseflesh.


  5. Very interestingly, you have chosen “Chalte Chalte”, but some of the verses of “Aaj Hum Apni Duaon Ka Asar Dekhenge” were very good.

    “Jaan Leva Hai Mohabbat Ka Samaa Aaj ki Raat
    Shamaa ho jayegi jal jal ke Dhuaan aaj ki raat
    Aaj Ki raat bachenge to Seher Dekhenge
    Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge,Zakhm-E-Jigar Dekhenge”


    • Yes, that’s another beautiful ghazal from Pakeezah – but I must admit to having blanked it out a bit! ;-) I hate the OTT scenario; am always slightly put off by it, what with her dancing on the broken glass and whatnot. So much that the memory of the visual even spoils it if I’m just listening to the audio. Weird

      But I agree, those words are superb. And the music, of course: wah.


  6. You set yourself a very hard task, but with brilliant results!!

    To keep in with your blog of keeping pre-70 (I am glad you made the exception for Shahryar), my also rans would include Talat singing
    Mohabbat hi na jo samjhe, woh zaalim pyaar kya jjane

    and Rafi’s
    Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye


    • Thank you, bawa!

      Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye was on my shortlist, and I did want to include it, but then decided (very regretfully, since it’s one of my all-time favourite songs!) to exclude it, since I’d just used it in another list, the ‘Ten Situations, Two Heroes, Twenty Songs’ one.

      But, since we’ve mentioned it, why not put it in here, so people who’re visiting this post can enjoy it again (I will listen to it too, all over again!):

      And here’s the link to Mohabbat hi na jo samjhe:

      That’s another beautiful one – in any case, Talat was especially great when it came to ghazals (with the ‘traditional’, slow and gentle type of music).


      • Sachinda had had rendered many Ghazals before Benazir, a muslim-themed movie. But there was an element of shock for he being selected for such a movie.
        His compositions, rendered so ever melodiously by Lata, then matched the likes of Madan Mohan or Roshan or Naushad, till then considered very stong in this type of genre.
        Even SJ also have presented some excellent Ghazals – Teri zulfon se judaai to Nahin Maangi Thi for Jab Pyaar Ksis Se Hota Hai is one example.


    • My sister (who knows her Ghalib), told me the two basic ways of identifying a ghazal without driving yourself nuts about the more technical intricacies:

      1. It’s divided into two-line shers (couplets), each of which is independent in itself. That’s why with classic ghazals, you’ll often find variations floating around – because some singers leave out some shers.

      2. The end of each sher rhymes. So, in the case of Yoon hi koi mil gaya thha, “chalte-chalte” rhymes with the end – “dhalte-dhalte” and “jalte-jalte” of the other shers.


    • Yes, even I have to sometimes look up specific words. Sahir’s ghazals are at times difficult to understand completely (some of his ghazals from Pyaasa, for instance, but you can generally understand the gist of the words, if not every single word.

      Dikhaayi diye yoon is a beautiful ghazal, literally a classic.


          • A ghazal does not have a set theme as such, just the couplets and the rhyming words. A nazm can be long or short, but it always has a central theme. The rhyming is also not necessary. It is an older form than the ghazal. It can be descriptive, for instance of an event or a person, or an elegy, etc.
            Here is one of my favourite nazms of all time (sorry for butting it into a ghazal post!)


            • Thank you, bawa – both for the explanation, and for the link. It’s been years since I’ve heard Abhi toh main jawaan hoon. I’d never paid much attention to the words before, but am doing so now… excellent.


  7. Oh that’s lovely. So many gazals under one roof/post :)

    But it’s now difficult to just roll out ghazals in case they aren’t. So it will take some time before I tally what I ‘think’ is a gazal with it’s definition before posting here.


  8. You have done very good justice to this tough task. I know you didn’t leave out “Rang Aur Noor” from Ghazal (1965) intentionally, but this would be in top 10 Ghazals.


    • Yes, I left out this one because (as I’ve mentioned) the songs I’ve listed are from films I’ve seen – and I haven’t seen Ghazal. I’ve heard this ghazal loads of times, of course, but I’ve never really liked it much – mostly because I don’t care for the tune. But I’m now listening carefully to the words, and they are beautiful. :-)


  9. Wonderful list as alway, Madhu. Most of my favourites are here, and I’m glad you added the Umrao Jaan one. Rang aur noor is a particular favourite, but I see Shashi has added it to the list, and Karthik has added its female version. :) There is a beautiful one from Sarfarosh, well beyond the timeframe of your post (also a very good movie, so if you haven’t seen it, please do) called Hoshwaalon ko khabar kya.

    Have to rush now, but will come back to wallow in these songs. :)


    • Anu, Hoshwaalon ko khabar kya is a wonderful ghazal – and Sarfarosh was a good movie.

      Though my most vivid memory of it is pretty hilarious… If you remember the climax, there’s this scene where Aamir Khan and Nasiruddin Shah are facing off. Very tense scene, entire movie hall is in utter silence, waiting to see what will happen next. One of the actors yells something about “Haraamzaada“. Entire audience absolutely quiet – you could hear a pin drop. And then a high, childish voice asks innocently: “Mummy, haraamzaada kya hota hai?“. That was the end of the tension in the hall. Everybody was too busy laughing to pay much attention to what happened after that. :-D


  10. Ok,ok, the eeriness returns!!!

    Only today, while travelling by bus (I travel a lot by bus nowadays), I was thinking of posting a couple of lines as my FB status msg – “shab-e-intezaar aakhir kabhi hogi muktsar bhi…” I just love these two lines in particular, in what is an outstanding song.

    I swear I’m coming to this blogpost only now. So it is an amazing coincidence. Like Bogart (Rick) in Casablanca would say “Of all the amazing lines of poetry in all the amazing songs of Hindi cinema, she chooses my two lines to post on her blog”;-)

    Must have been really tough to pick just 10 out of a guldasta of so many good ghazals (even if you have a pre-70s cut-off period). But all the ghazals picked by you are just outstanding, as are the others added in the comments.

    Would you consider “hum intezar karenge tumhare qayamat tak” from Bahu Begum as a ghazal? I quite like this song – both versions.


    • The Anu-Madhu ‘soul sisters’ thing seems to be getting infectious! Join the gang. ;-)

      There’s something so achingly evocative about “Shab-e-intezaar aakhir kabhi hogi muktsar bhi” – a certain longsuffering patience about those words. Absolutely awesome.

      I’m re-listening to Hum intezaar karenge tera qayamat tak:

      Seems to me to be a ghazal. It splits neatly up into rhyming shers, and though they are related, they could also be sung independent of each other, since each is complete in itself.


  11. What about this one? One does not normally Shankar-Jaikishen with ghazals, so this came as a pleasant surprise to me when I first heard it and discovered that it was SJ. I’ve read that this was after Jaikishen’s death and was written as a tribute to him by Hasrat Jaipuri.


    • Oh, beautiful song. It’s not a very well-known one, and it’s been years since I heard it. Lovely words, and great music too.

      It’s odd that people associate (or don’t) music directors with ghazals, rather than associating lyricists with ghazals; I suppose that’s a result of the commonly held notion that a ghazal has more to do with its music than with its words. S D Burman, after all, composed the music for Tadbeer se bigdi hui – which few people recognise as a ghazal.

      Anyway, here’s another beautiful ghazal (both in terms of music and words) for which the music is by Shankar-Jaikishan, Hain sabse madhur woh geet jinhe, from Patita:


  12. Back again after a very hectic day, and after spending some time wallowing in your list (Madhu, you kept me from getting any other work done!)…

    A very unusual ghazal from Ek Nazar: Majroohsaab‘s version of an old Mir Taqi Mir ghazal.

    A lovely number from Ek Kali muskaaye Na tum bewafa ho written by Rajinder Krishen.

    One of my favourite ghazals fromLal Qila: Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon

    And this one from Gumraah :Saahir’s Aap aaye to khayal-e-dil-e-nashad aaya

    I think Koyi sagar dil ko behlata hai from Dil Diya Dard Liya would also fit (even though I’ve always hated it for its whining, the lyrics are rather poignant :)

    Before I end up choking your comments :) I’ll stop with one of my favourite ghazals from Arth.


  13. Ghazals! Now at least I know some of the basic definitions of this form of poetry. Thanks for the link. Mr. Avachat has described it very nicely.

    I am surprised to see that you chose aah ko chahiye before nuktacheen hai gham-e-dil. I am saying this because you sang the latter on the radio.

    Rehte thhe kabhi is an old favourite of mine. Such sublime verses! Sadness and grief put in such words can become addictive.

    Yoon hasraton ke daag is another old favourite of mine. It is exactly the lines ghar se chale thhe hum, which always striked me as so original and ironical. Love this play of words. Lovely!

    I had never looked at hum se aayaa na gayaa in its verses. The line preceeding daag jo tune diya makes the last line more striking: sab chale jaate hai phir dard-e-jigar jaataa hai. People leave you in alone in the loneliness and even this pain goes away, but the scar which which you have left on my heart will have its effect on my life forever.

    I heard jurm-e-ulfat long time back in the late 80s or 1991. At the very first hearing I was fascinated by the defiant nature of this ghazal (at that time I didn’t know it was one).

    “Okay, those translations sound weird in English, but the Urdu is vastly more lyrical”
    Lost in translation, eh? It happens to me everytime I try my hand at translation. I liked the line: tere dil me bhi main zuroor hun, tujhe yaad ho…

    “Mera khoya hua rangeen pajama de de”
    No wonder he is wearing white! ROTFL

    “Why this ‘I-am-a-doormat’ attitude?”
    I love this attitude in songs. Laced in Urdu, they make the whole masochism very attractive.
    yahin hai mohabbat ka dastur ai dil, woh gham de tujhe tu duaen diye jaa.
    (this is the rule of love, though he gives you grief you shower him with good wishes)
    It is interesting to see that one hardly ever knows if the person to whom it is addressed is male or female.

    Zinda hun is tarah makes me want to slit my wrists.
    hontho ke paas aae hansi kya mazaal hai
    dil kaa muamla hai koi dillagi nahin
    (a smile dare not come near my lips, it is matter of love and not a joke)
    With such an attitude towards love…

    Chalte chalte is a song whose magic instead of waning with time is growing on me.
    I understand most part of it, but what does the poet mean with
    jo kahi gai hai mujhse, woh zamana keh raha hai
    ke fasana ban gai hai meri baat talate talate.
    The poet say ‘the world as it has been explained to me’, which means he/she doesn’t accept this world view. He/she beleives that there are other ways to see it.
    So to say the world with its rules and ways is telling me that my encounter, which I was going to just brush away as slight one, is developing to become a story”
    Does it mean that the poet is not sure of his/her feelings?

    As for my fav ghazals from hindi films, i will have to go through all the comments and see what tohers have been contributing so that I don’t repeat it. You have covered most of them, though I wouldn’t put zinda hu from Aag in my list.

    Thank you Madhu for this fine list of ghazals and also for clearing up what ghazal is.


    • Thank you, Harvey! Glad you liked the list – and thank you for taking the time for giving your comments on each and every one of them. That is so encouraging!

      LOL about him wearing white pajamas – now I must draw that to my father’s attention! I’m sure Papa will be very amused when he hears about that. :-D

      Zinda hun is tarah makes me want to slit my wrists.” Hehe!! Yes, I can understand. I just wanted to see also, when I was listing the songs, how many different flavours of life can be depicted in ghazals. There’s very tender love, self-sacrifice, defiance, cynicism, philosophy – and this one from Aag is probably the ultimate in despair. But there’s something about the music and the words that does make one shudder…

      That’s an interesting interpretation of Jo kahi gayi na mujhse from Chalte chalte…. As far as I can remember, the actualy words are:

      Jo kahi gayi na mujhse (not ‘jo kahi gayi hai mujhse‘) woh zamaana keh raha hai,
      Ke fasaana ban gayi hai meri baat talte-talte

      In which case I’d interpret it to mean that “What I’ve not been able to say (i.e, the love I’ve not been able to express), the world is now saying – that my yearning has become a fable (or a fantasy, unlikely to ever find fulfillment), it has been delayed so long…”

      Basically talking about the futility of her love? Knowing that she’s in love with a man she doesn’t even know, will never meet again – and whom, even if she did meet, she would not be able to express her love to, since she’s a tawaif?

      I don’t know. Maybe somebody out there has another explanation for this.


        • It happens to all of us!

          BTW, on a related note, here’s a song from which I’ve never been able to correctly figure out the meaning of one line. This is Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag, from Anarkali:

          The “Raakh ban chuki hai aag” can be interpreted two ways. It can either mean literally that ‘ashes have turned into fire’, or it can be interpreted as a poetic way of saying just the opposite – that the fire has become ashes.

          I’ve been intrigued by this a long time. But the previous line – “Jaaoon kahaan ke door tak jalta nahin hai koi chiraag” seems to suggest disappointment and despair, which could imply that the fire is dying down and dwindling into ashes.


          • Oh Madhu! I had always thought it was ‘the fire has turned to ashes’. You are right it can be interpreted in both ways.
            “Jaaoon kahaan ke door tak jalta nahin hai koi chiraag” does seem to suggest disappointment and despair, which could imply that the fire is dying down and dwindling into ashes. At the same time it can mean that although the hopes (chirag) have died out, the ashes of longing have caught fire again.
            The context though suggests the former interpretation. But the latter interpretation can’t be wiped away jsut like that.
            That was an interesting thing.

            A similar thing is with dil cheez kya hai aap meri jaan li jiye.
            I strongly believe that it means ‘leave alone my heart, you can even have my life’. But all the same I just can’t convince myself that it can’t also mean ‘you better understand what my heart is made of’. That would give it a very sly spin.

            Now this gives me a idea for post theme.


            • Now this gives me a idea for post theme”.

              Can you imagine, I read through your entire comment, and this was the line on which I thought I had to respond immediately. Yippee!!! :-D

              Ah, I had never noticed that bit about Dil cheez kya hai, aap meri jaan lijiye. But, if you look at it closely, grammatically, it should mean ‘‘leave alone my heart, you can even have my life’, since the correct Hindustani equivalent of ‘you better understand what my heart is made of’ would be Dil cheez kya hai aap mera jaan lijiye’ – the dil being assigned the masculine gender in Hindustani.


              • “Yippee!!! :-D”

                nanhi kali mere sapne ki, tumhare explanation ke kheeza ne murjha diya
                bade bade khwab dekhe the humne, tumhare Hindustani
                well-versedness ne jagaa diya

                Like in every shairi and lover’s disappointment, the accusation in the verses above is totally baseless. :-)


  14. What an amazing effort. The best thing about your posts, especially the prized ones, are that they instigate such interesting conversation amongst your follower, that it adds ‘chaar chand’ to the topic of discussion.

    I meant to add ‘Dikhayi diye yun’ from Bazaar as I was reading your top 10, but then I noticed it was only covered in the comments. It is an absolute beauty and I can never get tired of listening to it. Its one of those rare songs whose picturization does not reduce ethereal quality of the melody.

    I would like to nominate another of Khaiyaam’s saab’s gems, “Tum apna ranjo gham, apni pareshani mujhe de do” from Shagoon sung by his other half Jagjit Kaur. You get the feeling that your worldly troubles are draining away as you enjoy the captivating voice and the simple yet comforting words.

    Looking forward to your next post eagerly.


  15. I first thought your post and the comments have listed all my favourite ghazals. But more and more keep coming to mind, and here are some of them-
    (I THINK they are all ghazals)

    From Anarkali, Mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai jo samjhaayi nahin jaati
    Written by Rajinder Krishen (?)
    Chale aao chale aao, takaaza hai nigaahon ka
    Kisi ki aarzoo aise to thukdaayi nahin jaati

    From Aarti, Aap ne yaad dilaaya to mujhe yaad aaya
    Written by Majrooh

    From Jahan Ara, Kisi ki yaad mein, duniya ko hai bhulaaye hue
    Written by Rajinder Krishen

    From Bahu Begum, Duniya kare sawaal to hum kya jawaab dein
    Written by Sahir

    From Footpath: Sham-e-gham ki kasam
    Written by Ali Sardar Jafri / Majrooh (?)


  16. Shaam-e-gham ki kasam is one of my favourite ghazals. I would have undoubtedly listed it if I’d seen Footpath – but, since I have my self-imposed rule about only including songs from films I’ve watched, I had (regretfully) omit it.

    Thank you for the other songs you’ve listed too – some beautiful ones there that I’d forgotten about. Duniya kare sawaal and Mohabbat aisi dhadkan hai are especially wonderful. So melodious, and with such good lyrics too.


    • I had been initially a little indecisive between choosing this one and Yoon hasraton ke daag, both from Adalat (and both excellent ghazals), but then Yoon hasraton ke daag won. Probably because this one had a happier version, so conversely it makes me sadder!


  17. Bravo Madhu ! Damn Soothing post….Your list and the comments additions has come up like an Ghazal Encyclopaedia for one and all. I hope you’re missing out on Mr Jagjit Singh’s ones….They are good too…

    Looking forward for more such analysis.


    • Thanks, Gaurav!

      I intentionally left out Jagjit Singh’s ghazals, because this blog focuses exclusively on pre-70s films. There are occasional mentions of later films (for instance, as in the case of Shahryar’s ghazals for Umrao Jaan), but not otherwise.

      You’ll see, however, that some other readers have linked to some excellent Jagjit ghazals.


  18. Well I tried the simple way of finding 2 rhyming lines and I found every other song had ryming lines, and I thought, these can’t all be ghazals!!

    So I did a somewhat detailed study of the link, and came up with this suraiya’s ghazal. It does have a long ‘beher’ (at first it made me think it ‘wasn’t a ghazal because of the length)

    hawa udakar layee sawan ke sapne dil laga tadapne, OO aaja sajan apne
    pankheru ne hain pankh phailaye door nagariya ud ud jaye, beete din yaad dilaye O meri uljhi lat ne dil laga tadapne, OO aaja saajan apne

    errr…the second line is a longer ‘beher’ :-(

    but the ‘radif’ “apne” seems to be in place and so do the ‘kaafiya’ with philaaya, jaaye, dilaaye


    Please, tell me not it’s no Ghazal!
    Here it is.


    • I’ve just been listening to that (nice lilting song, by the way), and I think it’s a ghazal. I am not absolutely sure, since I lay no claims whatsoever to being an expert – in fact, I didn’t even know till a few months ago (when my father told me about Tadbeer se bigdi hui… being a ghazal) that a ghazal referred to a particular rhyme scheme, rather than a style of music.


  19. Oh, this one was very easy. Bahadur Sha Zafar’s ghazal as sung in Lal Quila.

    Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon
    na kisi ke dil ka qaraar hoon
    jo kise ke kaam na aa sake
    main woh ek musht e gubaar hoon
    Na to main kisi ka habib hoon
    Na to main kisi ka raqeeb hoon
    Jo bigad gaya woh naseeb hoon
    Jo ujad gaya woh dyaar hoon
    na kisi ki aank ka noor hoon

    mera rang roop bigad gaya
    mera yaar mujh se bichad gaya
    jo chaman khiza se ujad gaya
    main usi ki qatle bahaar hoon
    na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon

    You have got me sooo interested that I can’t be satisfied till I have listened to the details of every line :)


      • To make amends here is one by KL Saighal.
        I thought one cannot ignore him where ghazals are concerned. As a kid I couldn’t stand his singing, but today I really find his voice rich.

        duniya main hoon duniya ka talabgar nahin hoon
        bazaar se guzra hoon kharidar nahin hoon

        zinda hoon magar zist ki lazzat nahin baqi
        har chand ke hoon hosh main hoshiyar nahin hoon

        Is khaanay e hasti se guzar jaaonga belaus
        saaya hoon faqat naqsh e divaar nahin hoon

        Great lines!!


    • No problem, even if Anu had already posted that one! It is a beautiful song, and to actually be able to hear something that had originally been written by Zafar himself… well, it does remind me that even if the Mughals came to a sad end, at least their last emperor was a good poet, even if he was only a ruler in name.


      • Bahadur Shah Zafar is widely regarded as the author of this ghazal, but this is a myth. This song was actually penned by Muztar Khairabadi, who also happns to be Jaan Nisaar Akhtar’s father.


        • That is a surprising piece of news; didn’t know it – in fact, even in Urdu poetry archives across the net, Zafar is credited with the poem. But now that you’ve pointed me to the name of Muztar Khairabadi, I’ve had a look… we live and learn.


          • Actually there’s some kind of controversey.

            To me the sentiments expressed are very much Bahadur Shah Zafar who wrote his ghazals when exiled in Rangoon. That’s why his shers cry out to his lost land which he’ll never see. The controversey is in the para which commonly goes as;

            padne faatiha koyi aaye kyon
            koyi chaar phool chadaye kyon
            koyi aake shama jalaye kyon
            main woh bekasi ka mazaar hoon

            The line missing is;
            “Zafar” koi ashq bahaaye kyon

            I don’t know where it would fit.
            The second sher of seems wrong with the ending ‘hoon” instead of ‘kyon’ so perhaps it fits after the third line as;

            padne faatiha koyi aaye kyon
            koyi chaar phool chadaye kyon
            koyi aake shama jalaye kyon
            “Zafar” koi ashq bahaaye kyon
            main woh bekasi ka mazaar hoon

            The last line harks back on the ‘hoon’ ending.

            This is based on a vague memory when my father would be going ‘wah’ wah’ over the shers of this ghazal. I could be wrong, but I have always taken it as Zafar’s and need solid proof of any other author’s claim to it.
            My memory was stirred when I found a link with someone else saying the same thing.


            • I’ve also asked my sister to see. Since she is a historian of 19th century Delhi, with access to a lot of otherwise inaccesible material, she may be able to find more accurate information on who the author of those lines actually is.


              • Dusted off ji,
                This is a very controversial point only in India.That too because of info provided in Wikipedia.In Pakistan or the other muslim countries,it is no issue at all,as it is accepted as a Ghazal by Bahadur shah Zafzr.
                Habib Wali Muhammad is a very senior and highly respected pakistani Ghazal singer.
                He was born in Rangoon in 1921,where he studied and grew up.In his college he used to sing Ghazals.He secured a MBA from Suracus university.Then he came to Bomabay and stayed for 10 years learning classical music.Then he migrated to Pakistan.His actual family name is Tabani,a business family.He too is a big businessman.He never pursued a singing career of Ghazals.
                He however sings Ghazals in many functions.When he was in Rangoon,he had researched Zafar’s poetry and confirms that this is his Ghazal.
                He makes it a point to sing this ghazal in every programme,emphasizing that it is written by Bahadur shah Zafar.
                His this Ghazal is available on You tube with his initial comments about Zafar.
                -Arunkumar Deshmukh


    • That’s a lovely song from Amar, Karthik. Had forgotten all about this one.

      I’ve also just been listening to Aankhon mein humne aapki:

      Yes, certainly sounds like a ghazal to me. Nice song – and I remember liking this very much at one time. I watched this movie when I was a kid (and didn’t really understand it), but I liked the songs and I thought Shabana looked so pretty in the fairytale princess outfit in this song, I wanted one for myself! LOL.


  20. I wanted to contribute “Rang Aur Noor Ki”, but I read the link where this song is axed from the list of ghazals. So not really knowing how to identify one, I shall just enjoy all the songs posted here.


  21. I think what I’ve enjoyed most is learning how many cheery, upbeat ghazals there are. In my profound ignorance, the word’s long been linked to me with a sombre spirituality, and it’s wonderful to finally learn that it’s about FORM, not content. Thank you all!


  22. Another lovely ghazal – from a classic Urdu poet – which is more a rendition than a song in Hindi cinema. This is Raat yoon dil mein, written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, from Jaanwar:

    Utterly romantic!


  23. What a mouth watering post, and what a shame that I can’t even sit down to listen to the songs, or even read the whole post properly! I just skimmed through and found so many of my favorite songs here. My Dad came home from the nursing home, not that he is better, but because it doesn’t look like he is going to get a whole lot better, and everyone feels it is better for him to be happy at home than sit in a place where he is not making much improvement nor is he happy. That has meant that my sons are also here, with one son’s family – so I have no time in between medications, cooking and cleaning. I am snatching these few minutes before starting breakfast because everyone is getting ready for the day! So, DO, even though your post is so tempting, duty calls, so I am off to the kitchen once again! Maybe tonight will be my time to sit and listen! Until then, alvidaa! (Since my knowledge of Urdu and everything else is minuscule right now, I hope that is right!)


    • Oh, Lalitha – don’t say alvidaa; there’s something very final about it. Instead, let’s just say khuda haafiz (may God protect you) till we see you back again. I can understand how busy you must be right now, but hang in there, and chin up!

      Take care, and I do hope your father gets better soon. *hugs and prayers*


  24. Another Zafar ghazal as sung in Lal quila.

    Lagtaa nahin hai dil meraa ujday dayaar mein
    kis ki bani hai aalam mein naapaayedaar mein

    kah do in hasraton se kahin aur jaa basein
    itani jagah kahaan hai dil-e-daagdaar mein

    umr-e-daraaz maang kar laaye they chaar din
    do arzoo mein kaT gaye do intezaar mein

    kitnaa hai bad_naseeb “Zafar” dafn key liye
    do gaz zamin bhi na mili kuu-e-yaar mein


    • Yes, that’s another nice song from the film. The songs were the only thing I liked about Lal Quila. It was such a disappointment, otherwise. :-(

      That famous sherumr-e-daraaz maangkar… made me smile because a comic Urdu poet had come up with a parody of this:

      “Murge churaake laaye thhe jo chaar ‘Popular’,
      Do aarzoo mein kat gaye, do intezaar mein



  25. Your Tadbeer se biddi hui taqdeer example had me racking my brain to think of more such examples ie ghazals that aren’t obviously ghazals.
    It wasn’t easy all, but I got these.
    (Sorry to clutter up your comments)

    This beautiful Kishore-Asha duet from Funtoosh was written by Sahir and is certainly a ghazal-

    Woh dekhen to unki inayat, na dekhen to rona kya
    Jo dil ghair ka ho uska hona aur na hona kya

    Very familiar Majrooh song from Teen Deviyaan, sung by Kishore Kumar again

    Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat, kaun ho tum batlao
    Der se kitni door khadi ho, aur kareeb aa jao

    Ok, this one is a ghazal even at first listen, but anyway: Talat’s voice, Shakeel Badayuni’s words, from Babul

    Husnwalon ko na dil do yeh mita detein hain
    Zindagi bhar ke liye rog laga detein hain

    Next a Rafi-Asha duet from a film called Batwara, written by Majrooh.
    The song on YouTube seems to be a censored version. What we hear on radio is different.

    Yeh raat yeh fizayen, phir aaye ya na aayen
    Aao shama bujha ke hum aaj dil jalayen


    • That’s a lot of work you’ve put in, Sunny! Thank you for all those examples of ghazals which don’t ‘sound’ like what most people assume ghazals should sound like. :-)

      I remember Yeh raat yeh fizaayein – the uncensored version I think went “…kehta hai zulf kholo, ruk jaayega savera, while the ‘cleaned up’ version went …kehta hai kuchh na bolo, ruk jaayega savera. My sister and I had recorded the song from Chitrahaar when we were kids, and used to love it. Long time since I heard it. A very special thank you for that!


  26. @Arunkumar Deshmukh

    Thank you for this information. T
    Here’s the link to this ghazal by Habib Wali Muhammad.

    And he sings;
    ‘ZAFAR’ koi ashq bahai kyon

    It would seem the line;
    Koi aake shama jalaye kyon – is not at all a part of this Ghazal.

    While providing good information, Wikipedia often becomes agenda ridden.
    This family is perhaps trying to hijack this ghazal (Javed Akhtar seems to be a descendent), and the ‘proof’ was burnt in a fire in the press of the publisher of his poems in 1947 :-D


    • I always use Wikipedia only when I’m looking for quick – not necessarily 100% accurate – information on anything. If any actual research has to be done, Wikipedia can be really rather unreliable. So in a case like this, I’d take what Wikipedia says with a pinch of salt.

      the ‘proof’ was burnt in a fire in the press of the publisher of his poems in 1947” :-D :-D



  27. No entries from Hum Dono so far? Guk! Kabhi khud pe, kabhi haalaat pe comes to mind rather easily, but I have some doubts whether it sufficiently conforms to the formal requirements of the ghazal. “Baat pe rona aaya” repeated several times, for one thing. So perhaps “Main zindagi ka saath” might be a better candidate:

    I’d like to make one more suggestion, a song I came across on some radio programme the other day, and instantly fell in love with it. The language is not the heavily Persianised stuff most people associate with ghazals, but merely the strong, simple plainspeak that made Shailendra such a formidable poet. Incidentally, for those interested in these things, the music’s simplicity is deceptive. It is set to an esoteric compound-raga called Tilak Shyam, a creation of the music director himself (a certain Pt. Ravi Shankar). “Jaane kaise sapnon mein” from Anuradha (1960):

    Apropos of “Mere mehboob”, I feel I must share this post from a blog some friends and I run. The title and the exceedingly clumsy translation are mine, the post is not. It was written by the late Kalyan Mukherjea, a mathematician of repute and an accomplished classical musician. Needless to say, the tenor of the post is entirely in keeping with the dignity and seriousness these two highly specialised disciplines demand:



    • Yes, oddly we all seem to have missed mentioning Hum Dono, though Kabhi khud pe kabhi haalaat pe was on my initial longlist of songs for this post.

      I love Jaane kaise sapnon mein kho gayeen ankhiyaan too – a good example to prove that a ghazal needn’t be even in Urdu at all, let alone highly Persianised Urdu.

      Am off to read that post now – if I can find the time. I see it’s rather long!


    • Okay, now I have to move back a step and say: it wasn’t that long, and the that delicious end would have anyway made up, even if it had been too long. :-D

      Delightful bit of writing, Abhik. Thank you for sharing that!


  28. Ok, I am adding my favourite”modern” (70s+) ghazal. As I cannot find the video clip`as silmed on Smita Patil, I am posting this wonderful live version from DD.
    It was also fabulous for using an unusual voice and not the usual 123 of playback singing. Chhaya Ganguli


    • Oh, lovely, bawa. It has been a long, long time since I heard this one – I’d forgotten all about it. I love the words, and I agree that Chhaya Ganguli’s voice is unusual – there’s a certain depth to it which is refreshing compared to the often shrill voices of most female playback singers.

      Thank you!


  29. Ghazals at #1,2,3, 7 are my abso-absolutely favorites, not forgetting “tadbeer se..” and “tang aa chuke hain..”. Lovely post!!! “rehte they kabhi jin ke dil mein..” is so heart breaking and is topping my playlist these days.


    • Thank you, Punya! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. And Rehte thhe kabhi jinke dil mein is I think one of the best songs of betrayal and sorrow that I’ve heard. Great words, superb music, and of course beautifully sung.


  30. Firstly, this is an excellent post. Liked the selections.
    ‘very few post-1970s films that had good ghazals’- that is not entirely true.There have been numerous Ghazals specially in the 80’s ‘art films’.
    Rishi Kapoor is one man who acted in few muslim socials which flopped, hence the ghazals in them became obscure.
    And ofcourse Jagjit Singh who has close to 50 filmi Ghazals to his credit.
    Here are a few :-
    1.Teri Yaad Dil Se Bhulane Chala Hoon – Hariyali Aur Raasta – 1962
    2.Mile Na Phool To Kaanto Se Dosti Kar Li – Anokhi Raat – 1968
    3.Milti Hai Zindagi Mein Mohabbat Kabhi Kabhi – Aankhen – 1968
    4.Mohabbat Ki Raahon Mein Chalna Sambhal Ke -Uran Khatola – 1955
    5.Woh Zindagi Jo Thi Ab Tak Teri Panaahon Mein – Neel Kamal – 1968
    6.Hum Dard Ke Maaron Ka Itna Hi Fasaana Hai – Daag – 1952
    Post 70s
    1.Kabhi Kisi Ko Mukammal – Ahishta Ahista – Bhupinder Singh -another singer who has sung many Ghazals in films post 70s.
    2.Dil Hoom Hoom Kare – Rudaali
    3.Chitthi Na Koi Sandesh – Dushman – Jagjit Singh
    4.Sansar Ki Har Shay Ka Itna Hi Fasana Hai – Dhund – 1973
    5.Tere Pyar Ki Tamanna, Gham-E-Zindagi Ke Saaye -Tawaif – 1985
    6.Dushman Na Kare Dost Ne Woh Kaam Kiya Hai – Aakhir Kyon – 1985
    7.koi fariyaad – tum bin- 2001
    8.Badi Nazuk Hai Ye Manzil Mohabbat Ka Safar Hai -Joggers’ Park – 2003


    • Thank you, Chris – and for that list of more ghazals. Of the post 70s ghazals you’ve listed, my favourite is Sansaar ki har shay ka – I love that one. Plus the Rudaali one and Kabhi kis ko mukammal jahaan.


    • Not to nit-pick, but as posters have been discussing what is a ghazal or not. An example of what is NOT a ghazal is “Chitthi Na Koi Sandesh”, just a poem/song, rhyming going AAB for the refrain, and AABB for the verses.

      Dil Hoom Hoom Kare also does not seem to be in ghazal form, again more a poem/song.


  31. contd.
    9.Tumko Dekha To Ye Khayal Aaya -Saath Saath – 1982
    10.honton se choo lo tum – prem geet – 1981 (note the lyrics)
    11. o maa tujhe salaam – Khalnayak – 1993 (again note the lyrics, not in Urdu)
    and this one
    guess the composer?
    Many of Guzar’s films have ghazals in them as well.

    I noticed that most of the songs in this post have actors you don’t like. Isn’t it?


    • I noticed that most of the songs in this post have actors you don’t like. Isn’t it?


      I happened to remark on this to a friend who’d sent me a mail. I think the reason is that back then, very few songs were actually bad. You’d have so-so songs, good songs, fantastic songs… so there was a good chance that you could be a pretty sloppy actor (or not very popular) and still get good songs. Of course, in the case of Rajendra Kumar, that wasn’t the case – even though I personally don’t like him, he was hugely popular.


    • @Chris, sorry again, Neither “Honton se chhoo lo tum” nor “O Maa tujhe salaam” are ghazals.

      They are lovely songs though!

      @dustedoff: totally agree about so many of the songs being so good that even sloppy actors got a chance to mouth some immortals!


  32. Just listened to “zikr hota hai jab qayamat ka, tere jalwon ki baat hoti hai” (My Love – 1970). I guess this qualifies as a ghazal? I know you’re not particularly fond of Mukesh but just watching this video (with a lovely Shashi/Sharmila emotional setting) and listening to the beautifully crafted, if simple, lyrics, I got quite fond of it.


  33. Excellent list of Ghazals. Now I know what I was missing so far. Thanks to Anu Warrier’s blog, from where I got the link. But in this list, I wonder why is one of the classics of Ghalib, Dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai not there? I think that ghazal single-handedly busts the myth that Ghazals are for the classes, not for the masses. I would also put songs from Gazal, esp rang aur noor ki baarat…


    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this list.

      As to why Dil-e-naadaan tujhe hua kya hai or the songs of Ghazal did not figure in this list, let me quote from my introduction to the post:

      All are from films I’ve seen, and no two ghazals are from the same film.”

      I’d already listed Aah ko chaahiye from Mirza Ghalib; and I haven’t watched Ghazal.


  34. Your ghazal post has lit a match. Today I put on one of my old CDs and when this one came up, it was like “How could I have forgotten this!!!!”
    Anyway, post 60s, but a beautiful ghazal sung by Manna Dey: he is such a brilliant singer.


    • I am rethinking as to whether this is really a ghazal, despite it being in a collection of ghazals. Seems like even Recording companies are not too expert about the genre!


    • I hadn’t even heard this song before. Wonderfully sung, of course, but also poignant lyrics…

      As for whether recording companies themselves know what are ghazals and what aren’t, I doubt it. They probably are under the (fairly common) impression that a ghazal must conform to a particular style of music and rendition, irrespective of lyrics.


      • Aavishkar was a good film, supposedly not for children, so despite the fact that the family “chachaji” got his first film singing break in it, I was not allowed to go and see it. The song Jagjit & Chitra Singh got their break was with “Babul Mora” of K L Saigal fame, although I remember my sister saying they were all disappointed because it was just a background song and not filmed on the lead pair.

        As to ghazals, I have been looking at all my book collections of them (my Dad gifted me many by the main poets some years ago) and the main thing is that it has to be couplets and of the same length, meter etc. There can be no difference in the length and structure between the what is used as a refrain (usually the first sher), and the rest of the “verses”.

        So “Hasne ki chah” is not a ghazal, and neither is “Aaj hum apni duaon ka asar dekhenge”.

        I agree that the most common confusion seems to be classify anything sung in classical/light classical style as a ghazal.


  35. This song/ghazal may have been mentioned in the comments here but if so, I apologise for repeating it. Just heard it today – and it’s AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME! :-)

    Here’s the clip. I’ve intentionally put in a clip here that has the dialogues preceding the song – these are lovely in their own right! Nadira and Motilal – just superb!

    Now I want to watch the film!!!


    • Raja, you may finally have solved a mystery that has been niggling me for years.

      When I was quite small – maybe about 10 – I saw a song on Chitrahaar, and liked it very much, because there was something very ethereal about it. It sounded absolutely beautiful, but I’d never heard it before. And I never saw it again.

      All I remembered of it was that it was black and white, and featured Nadira sitting in a rowboat, wearing a billowy white shirt and black pants. I tried looking through Nadira’s filmography, trying to figure out which film it could’ve been – I thought it would have been in the 50s – but with no luck.

      Finally. Thank you so much!

      By the way, yes – the dialogue before the song is fantastic too. They’re both such superb actors. I want to see the film too, now.


  36. Sorry for commenting so late! But found this post as I was browsing the archives and almost started screaming with joy! I have just hopped-skipped and jumped through the loooong post + replies but I will keep coming back to this again and again! Such a treasure trove of all the wonderful ghazals. Thanks a ton Madhu.

    I got hooked on to ghazals when I was in std. 8 and we were learning all the different types of poetry in grammar (Unlike many people, I loved my grammar classes! Too nerdy for words…).

    I loved this type of poetry very much and we had such good examples to learn from my mother tongue “Marathi” in the text book! Then I moved onto Hindi-Urdu ghazals and bought a dictionary of Urdu-Marathi-English to better understand all the nuances of ghazals penned by Sahir-Rajendra Krishna-Majrooh. (Had to look up the meanings of Sahir and Majrooh also :)))

    I think I will make a compilation of all these jewels for my i-pod.


    • I’m so glad you liked this post, Anjali – though, knowing the nuances of poetry (which a lot of us who commented didn’t know, completely), you’ll probably realise that some of the songs mentioned in the comment aren’t actually ghazals. But, still – most are, and nearly all of them are amazing songs, anyway. Enjoy!


  37. A good collection of ghazals in the post and the comments. Though not confirming to the imposed rules in the post here are some of my favorites (other than the ones already listed) —

    1. Ruke Ruke Se Kadam – Gulzar / Lata / Madan Mohan / Mausam (1957)

    2. Hum Hai Mata-e-Koocha-o-Baazar Ki Tarah – Majrooh Sultanpuri/ Lata / Madan Mohan / Dastak (1970)

    3. Zindagi Me Jab Tumhare Gum Nahi The – Sudarshan Faakir / Anuradha & Bhupinder / Jaidev / Dooriyan (1979)


  38. This was another enthralling post Madhuji, time well spent! Just going through the posts and songs lists, I learnt so much and also heard many songs I hadn’t listened to in ages.

    I’m not sure if it’s been pointed out and apologies for the spanner in the works, but Mere Mehboob Tujhe isn’t a ghazal, it’s actually a nazm. True, Shakeel preferred writing in the ghazal form and is credited as the most prolific ghazal writer in HFM, but for Mere Mehboob it had to be a nazm. Two points, firstly Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Mujhse Pehlisi Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang; Shakeel I sense, is presenting his twist on the same theme, a common practice amongst contemporaneous poets. If I’m correct, Shakeel would’ve had no choice but use the nazm structure to provide a fitting rhetorical response to Faiz ’s lauded poem. If you listen carefully to Noor Jehan’s rendition of Mujhse Pehlisi, you can hear the music of Naushad’s Do Sitaaron Ka Zameen Par in parts. I’m sure Naushad and Shakeel would’ve been aware of this too. Ergo, the whole saga comes full circle with the repartee Mere Mehboob Tujhe. Secondly, although the ghazal has many qualities, the structure of two lines of equal meter per couplet and rules around kaafiya and raadif restrict the poet where the work is a lengthy monologue on a singular theme. In Mere Mehboob the protagonist is a hopeful appellant who humbly pleads for one more encounter and Shakeel tells us all the reasons why this would be a good idea. This would be difficult to achieve using the structure of a ghazal, whereas the nazm allows the poet to set out his stall by defining the scene, mood and sentiment via the imagery of words and phrases. The modern ghazal isn’t as finicky about meter and can go beyond 20+ syllables per line. However, in such instances I feel the ghazal loses its’ charm and universality. Furthermore, it sounds cluttered and also too many words can confuse the message. Conversely, Dil-e-Nadaan Tujhe Huwa Kya Hai with just 10 syllables per meter transcends time and can hold relevance for anyone who has loved. We’re not told the context or the small details of the situation. It could be a pleasant feeling or a painful one. The sentiment of the couplet is understood through the prism of our own experiences and hence we readily empathize with the intentionally undefined emotional state of the poet.

    I get the feeling you’re into film trivia like myself so I thought I’d mention this; the ghazal Rehte The Kabhi was written by Majrooh when he was expelled from the leftist leaning Progressive Writers Movement. Majrooh was a long standing member of this prestigious guild of Urdu writers which included many intellectual giants of the Indian Subcontinent like Sahir, Firaq, Majaz, Faiz and Josh. Majrooh’s commitment to the cause was beyond doubt considering he’d even spent time in prison during the late 1940s, on account of his leftist writings. Success in the film world made Majrooh a rich man and though there was no ostentatious exhibition of wealth he didn’t exactly hide it either. Coming to meetings in a chauffeur driven car wasn’t helping his cause and did nothing to enamour him to members of the group, who were struggling to grind out a living. Soon, this group became quite vocal in meetings and there were murmurings demanding Majrooh’s expulsion. They finally got their way through a show of hands and Majrooh was ejected from the forum. A dejected Majrooh put pen to paper and the end result is Rehte The Kabhi! The magic lies in the manner Majrooh has written the ghazal employing the plural context which leaves it to the recipient to decide whether this is the dignified complaint of a crushed admirer or if the protagonist is addressing a group of his detractors. Considering this anecdote, it gives an entirely alternate meaning to the following sher:

    Daawa Tha Jinhein Humdardi Ka Khud Aake Na Puchha Haal Kabhi,
    Mehfil Mein Bulaaya Hai Hum Pe Hasne Ko Sitamgaaron Ki Tarha…


    • Ouch. I honestly hadn’t realised Mere mehboob tujhe was a nazm and not a ghazal – thank you for pointing that out, and explaining the interesting context. It made for absorbing reading!

      And that anecdote behind Rehte the kabhi: made my day. I had no idea. But it made me think how emotions can apply similarly to different situations: betrayal, whether it’s in one’s political life or personal, can engender the same feelings of bitterness.


  39. This blog ended up being a bible of filmi ghazals for me :) My heart always lightens up when i see so many passionate folks discussing ghazals. Aren’t ghazals the pinnacle of poetry and lyrics?

    Coming back to the blog…did u notice that most top ghazals are not duets…something in its form and concept makes it more suited for a solo performance. In that context would like to pose a question on what might be Top Ten Duet Ghazals…Was glad to see “Aapne yaad dilaya toh mujhe yaad aaya” in that context.

    There might be a treasure load of filmi ghazals if we look at the pakistani film industry as well.

    P.S. Though most songs from bazaar are simply brilliant i would want to add “Dekh lo aaj humko jee bhar ke…” for its vivid imagery and the rustic voice of Jagjit Kaur :)


    • Thank you! Glad you liked that.

      I agree with your observation about ghazals usually being solo performances. I hadn’t paid attention to that aspect, but now that I think of it, it does hold true – most of the best ghazals are not duets. Offhand, really, I can’t think of any – I’m not familiar with the one you’ve mentioned, or even with the Jagjit Kaur ghazal you’ve mentioned later in your comment. Must go and check them both out. :-)


  40. Thanks alot for posting ..i m a PhD student working on the topic “Ghazal gayaki ki samajik Dasha ”
    i shall be very thankful to u if u help me to provide me the link n pages about ghazal gayki
    thank you once again

    Santosh kumar kashyap


  41. Pingback: Quora

  42. soory to say but mere mehboob is not actually a ghazal.I would like to add the song”hum hai rahi pyaar ke” from nau do gyarah.


  43. It has been an absolute pleasure to see this list. I am obviously very late to the Ghazal party! Ghazals are my favorite as they have usually best of both worlds (music and lyrics)..

    Your list was great and I loved the additions as well. A few I am adding a few which are also my favorites though these were not as popular. Both of these are Kaifi Madan combos.

    1. Movie Naunihal (1967) – Mohd Rafi / Kaifi Azami / Madan Monhan – Tumhari Zulf Ke Saaye Maine Sham Kar Lunga

    My favorite lines – Nazar milaai to poochhunga Ishq ka anjaam | Nazar jhukaai to khaali Salaam kar loonnga

    2. Movie Hanste JHakm (1973) – Lata Mangeshkar / Kaifi Azami / Madan Mohan – Aaj socha to aansoon bhar aaye (Don’t agree with the visuals though)

    I hope both of these qualify as Ghazals


    • Ashish, I’m so sorry I couldn’t reply to your mail about this earlier – I have been very busy these past few days, and whenever things get too much, the first to suffer is my e-mail correspondence. If it counts for anything, my top task on today’s to-do list was to reply to you. :-(

      Lovely songs, both the ones you’ve suggested. I agree about the visuals for the second one – Priya Rajvansh is one of those actresses who always irritates me. The only film in which I found her tolerable was Haqeeqat, where her prettiness outweighed her irritating diction. Plus she didn’t have a huge role, so she was bearable.


      • Madhu,

        No need to apologize. I totally understand how hard it must be to be on top of all modes of communication plus your writing and your day job. :)

        I just happened to be on the same page on this computer that I haven’t used since wordpress refused to load my comments a week or so ago, and I just clicked submit and it accepted it this time :)

        I had recently heard about Priya Rajvansh’s murder that took place in 2000 for which Chetan Anand’s sons were convicted of. That is so sad. I just couldn’t believe how tragic the end was.

        Change of topic – Here’s one more ghazal (I think) that I love from Dev Anand’s House No 44. Hemant Kumar/SD Burman/Sahir Ludhiyanvi – Teri Duniya main jeene se to behtar hai ki mar jaayen.


  44. Hello Everyone
    for the last few months i checked this ghazal but didn’t get any thing into my hand can anyone tell me bout this ghazal

    Thanking you
    Anuj Khanna


  45. hello,
    this was again a very nice article.
    i knew a little bit about the structure of ghazal!
    but the page about the details of ghazal, made my knowledge updated.
    thanx for it.
    as usual i liked the post very much.
    i could not go thr the entire thoughts, but read a few with interest and was thought provoking!
    i am posting a few ghazals from old hindi films
    hope u will like and enjoy the songs!

    to start, a famous ghazal by ghalib, sung by many, but being a film song based theme, i’m posting the one sung by g m durrani from ghyal.
    u must have guessed it already!

    hazaron khwahishen aisi


  46. posting a few more ghazals…………..
    hoping I’m not repeating the songs……..

    rehene laga hai dil mein by Begum Akhtar from roti

    mere liye jahan mein by noor jahan

    ek anokha gham ek

    i dont know whether u like noor jahan or not.
    but the songs r really nice, though sad ones!


  47. badnaam mohhabat kaun kare from dost 1944

    a few from anokha pyar
    mere liye woh gham e intezar chhod gaye by lata

    Ek dil ka lagana baki tha by Lata

    both r grand favourites

    now both songs by meena kapoor

    this is from the original movie
    the records are by Lata, but on screen sung by meena kapoor


  48. few more…………………

    mohhobat mein aise zamane bhi aaye

    yeh hasarat thi by rafi

    again my favorite

    dhadkate dil ki tamanna ho

    in first few lines nimmi has lip sync on suraiya’s voice, kind of play back by suraiyya!

    tera husna rahein

    i think u dont like vishwajit, so only audio for u for this song!

    door reh kar na karo baat

    sadhna being ur favorite, vdo for u
    u must have seen it of course!
    she is my favorite too…………………


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