Ten of my favourite boat songs

Some of you may know that I’ve recently returned from an exhilarating time at the Bangalore Literature Festival—one of the highlights (at least for a cinema fanatic like me!) of which was that I got to meet Nasreen Munni Kabir. (And was introduced to Farhan Akhtar, and met Sidharth Bhatia, and got to get photographed within the same frame as Gulzar… but that’s a different matter). Nasreen Munni Kabir and I actually shared a cab for the two-hour trip from the airport to the hotel, and spent most of it chatting about all things cinema. I told her about this blog, of course, and happened to mention that among the most popular posts seem to be song lists.

Which reminded me: it’s time for another list. And because this popped into my head while I was travelling, I decided to do another ‘sung in transit’ list. But because I’ve already done car songs (not to mention ghoda-gaadi songs and train songs), I’m going the water way this time: with boat songs. The criteria here (besides my usual ones, of the films being all pre-70s ones that I’ve seen) are:

(a) The singer(s) should be on the boat for at least three-fourths of the song’s duration
(b) All types of boats are allowed—shikaras, rafts, motorboats, ships, anything. Moving or not.

On a boat in London

Here we go, then, in no particular order.

1. O pardesi chhora chhaila gora-gora (Savera, 1958): To begin with, a relatively little-known song, but one that’s utterly infectious in its sheer joie de vivre.
Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar, she a widow and he a sort-of-sadhu, are going downriver in a rowboat, painfully aware of their undeclared (but forbidden) mutual attraction, when they pass a large sailboat—and get to see and hear this peppy love song of a girl talking about the pardesi she loves so much.

The inimitable Sheila Vaz, Herman Benjamin, Abe Cohen & Co. come together in a song that combines some fairly traditional ‘Indian’ elements (the costumes, some of the dancing, especially Sheila’s) with some distinctly Western ones (the watches on the men’s wrists, the madcap hooting in the background, the men’s dancing)—and without seeming incongruous. Absolutely addictive.

O pardesi chhora, from Savera
2. Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra (Kashmir ki Kali, 1964): Another love song on a boat (a shikara, to be precise), and with loads of eye candy around. Shammi Kapoor is his usual handsome self; Sharmila Tagore is pretty as a picture (even if not blue-eyed and blonde as the lyrics suggest); and Kashmir is—well, perennially beautiful. This song, compared to O pardesi chhora, is on a more lavish scale—the man doing the serenading is on one boat; the serenadee is on another (her own flower-laden boat), and the impressively large cast of extras each dance on their individual shikaras. And Shammi ends the song in style.

Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra, from Kashmir ki Kali
3. Din hain bahaar ke (Waqt, 1965): Sharmila Tagore again, just a year after Kashmir ki Kali, and with another of the Kapoor brothers, Shashi. Din hain bahaar ke, however, is a very different song from Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra, because here it’s she who’s doing the serenading and the “come on, let’s fall in love” stuff, while it’s he who’s trying to put her off (for more practical reasons than mere coyness). The boat here is one of those mostly-stationary (though it does move a bit in one of the shots) that tilts a little too close to the water when everybody on board is dancing rather too vigorously.

Din hain bahaar ke, from Waqt
4. O mehbooba o mehbooba (Sangam, 1964): May as well make it a ‘Kapoor brothers’ hat trick, right? (Which makes me think: Raj, Shammi, and Shashi, between them, actually have a fair number of boat songs to their credit, though some, like Hum ko toh jaan se pyaari, or Aasmaan se aaya farishta, or Deewaane ka naam toh poochho, are only partly picturised on boats).

But, back to O mehbooba o mehbooba. Raj Kapoor’s character in Sangam isn’t one of my favourites (he’s too oblivious, too selfish, and downright stalkerish in places), and this song reinforces all of that—he literally grabs the poor heroine away from the man she actually loves. Despite that, this song features in this list, simply because I like the music, and the scenery—all that mist, fake though it may be—does look pretty. As do the wooded shores and the lake itself.

O mehbooba o mehbooba, from Sangam
5. Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi, 1960): A party raft makes its sedate way down palm-fringed canals, as the staff of a hospital celebrate the wedding of their star doctor. And the heartbroken heroine, who has lost the man she loves, puts on a brave face and tries to congratulate the newlyweds. The happy face is just a veneer, though, and it slips every now and then. Poignant, lovely, and memorable.

Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh remains one of my favourite songs, irrespective of setting, theme, actors, anything. The music (by Shankar-Jaikishan), Shailendra’s lyrics, Lata’s rendition—all couldn’t be improved upon. Meena Kumari is expressive as always, and though the ‘boatishness’ of Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh tends to get overlooked at times (the group being on a boat isn’t one of the abiding features of this song), this qualifies—and resoundingly.

Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh, from Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraayi
6. Hue hain tumpe aashiq hum (Mere Sanam, 1965): Quintessential OP Nayyar, and quintessential Kashmir-from-a-boat song. While Asha Parekh’s headgear doesn’t especially impress me (nor, really, does her outfit), I love the music and the scenery—and the fact that the two leads aren’t surrounded by a lot of gawping onlookers. Also, Biswajeet seems to be driving the motorboat all on his own, which, considering the fact that he gets up now and then to flirt with Asha, and clap, and prance about, is quite a feat.

Hue hain tumpe aashiq hum, from Mere Sanam
7. Us paar saajan is paar dhaare (Chori Chori, 1956): Back to the Kapoors, even though Raj Kapoor, the hero of Chori Chori, doesn’t appear in this song. Nargis does, but only briefly, as she tries to swim across the river and ends up taking the help of a passing boat—one of several making their way along the water, with women dancing and singing on board while the men row (rather unconvincingly, I may add). The folksy feel of this song and the excellent picturisation make this one of the first songs that occurred to me when I thought up this list.

Us paar saajan, is paar dhaare, from Chori Chori
8. Maanjhi chal o maanjhi chal (Aaya Saawan Jhoomke, 1969): My lists usually end up with more 50s songs than 60s ones, but this one’s turning out to be an exception—because the 60s did have some great boat songs. This one, for instance. Unlike a lot of the ones listed so far, this isn’t a romantic song, but one offering comfort and hope. The lyrics echo the similarity between life and a boat ride (“tan hai naiyya toh man patvaar hai”—“if the body is the boat, the mind is the oar”), and the music ripples and gurgles appropriately. Plus, one of the best picturised boat songs, what with those lovely coconut trees, the ducks swimming along, the bubbling wake of the boat… perfect.

O maanjhi chal o maanjhi chal, from Aaya Saawan Jhoomke
9. Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thhi (Khamoshi, 1969): Rajesh Khanna had, like the Kapoors, his fair share of boat songs (Chingaari koi bhadke and Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho baalma were on my short list for this post too). This one, in my opinion, beats the others hollow. The cinematography—passing boats, the Howrah Bridge, the buildings on the shore—is superb, but equally so is Hemant’s music, Gulzar’s poetry, and Kishore’s rendition. And the turmoil in Waheeda Rehman’s face, the blissful joy in Rajesh Khanna’s as he sings of a love he does not know is just one-sided.

Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thhi, from Khamoshi
10. Kuchh aur zamaana kehta hai (Chhoti-Chhoti Baatein, 1965): I began this list with a little-known boat song, and I end it with another. I first watched Kuchh aur zamaana kehta hai when I was about 12 years old, and soon forgot which film it was from, or even what the words were. All that I remembered was that it featured Nadira, wearing a billowy white shirt and black pants, sitting in a boat and lip-synching to a slow and very melodious song. This one, which I was reintroduced to a year or so back, and recognized immediately.

This song’s lyrics (by Shailendra, a favourite of mine) are stellar (“Go basti hain insaanon ki, insaan magar dhoonde na milaa”—“this is a settlement of humans, but searching did not yield a single human”). Meena Kapoor’s singing, sweet and poignant, is haunting. And Nadira and Motilal make an unlikely but likeable pair in a film that was somewhat unusual, to a point.

Kuchh aur zamaana khta hai, from Chhoti-Chhoti Baatein
Which are your favourite boat songs?

160 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite boat songs

  1. Lovely post, Madhu.
    And a great selection of songs – I love the first and the last songs in particular.

    Lots of other boat songs I can think of – but I want to get one in before somebody else does. :-)

    Wo dekhen to unki inaayat. Absolutely LOVE it!


    • Lovely song, Sidharth! This song did come to my mind after I’d got my post ready, but then decided to skip it and go with the list I’d already made.

      Incidentally, this was the only film song that featured as a poem in my Hindi text book when I was in school. I hadn’t seen Jaal then, so came home very excited that we had a poem by Sahir Ludhianvi in our text book – only to realise, years later, that it was actually a song.


    • No problem, Sidharth. It didn’t get embedded, but one could click through to the video on Youtube.

      Since we’re on a Dev Anand roll, another song that I’d toyed with briefly in my long list was Pyaar mohabbat ke siva yeh zindagi kya zindagi from Pyaar Mohabbat:

      …but I dropped it. Not very melodious, and Saira Banu’s wig makes me see red.


  2. Another lovely post Madhu.Thank you .
    “rulaa ke gayaa sapna mere” from jewel thief should also have made in to the list?
    Both Dev and Vyjayanthi the lead pair of the movie are in the Boats during the entire time of the song. May be there are other valid points for non inclusion


  3. Lovely list with lovely songs, Madhu, and I heard the first and last songs for the first time today! I love Yeh chand sa roshan chehra and Ajeeb dastaan hai yeh … , Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi … is too emotional for me, and I prefer these two songs for Rajesh Khanna, both of which you have mentioned already:


    Raja has already mentioned my favorite Dev Anand in a boat song!


    • Thank you, Lalitha! Yes, both of these are nice songs, aren’t they? Though I must admit Jis gali mein tera ghar doesn’t really appeal to me as much as Kishore’s songs from Kati Patang. And Chingaari koi bhadke tends to be too maudlin for my taste…


  4. Great collection of songs. My personal favourite would be ‘Pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana’ sung by Rafi for Shashi Kapoor on a boat (Jab Jab Phool Khile – 1965). Another song where I like the tempo and rhythm is ‘Yunhin tum mujhse baat karti ho’ with Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz gyrating in a large boat, watched by Vinod Khanna. This is from Sacha Jhuta released in 1970, so I am not sure this would have made your pre-1970 cut.


    • Thank you! Yes, Pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milaana had occurred to me too, but I dropped it – I thought there were other songs better than that one. :-)

      Yoon hi tum mujhse baat karte ho is a lovely song too. And even though it released in 1970, I’d include it in my list, because I usually make exceptions for 1970, or even up to 1971-2, if the film in question has a distinctly 1960s style to it (think Pakeezah). By that account, Sachcha-Jhootha would count, because it always seems late 60s to me (in any case, if it released in 1970, it must have been filmed in 1969 or so).


  5. And ignore everything else but the boat in this song and the fact it is RD at a time when no one wanted him …… And it is very hummable (if you just listen to it and don’ t picturise it)


    • And the fact that it is unlikely that anyone else will post this :)
      Reposting the link as the one above seems fragmented ..

      ( or please cut and paste the URL )


        • I have very mixed feelings about this one. As you do mention, this is a song you shouldn’t watch – the picturisation is really pretty terrible (in an era when fashions anyway were frightful; and Krishna Kumar – it was him, wasn’t it? – wasn’t my cup of tea). On the other hand, this is one song from the 90s that I really like for the music, and for the very good ‘singing in parts’ towards the end of the song – you don’t come across much of that in Hindi film music, even in its golden period.

          Thank you for this, AK! Very enjoyable. :-) (And yes, I only listened to it, couldn’t bring myself to watch it).


          • yes i agree… very well sung this song..and even more poignant for the fact that 80- part of 90s were such a miserable decades for film music and that we had RD and he did not have enough work !


  6. *Sighs with happiness*

    Your post and the comments reminded me of such lovely boat songs. I am bad at remembering things, so cannot list any right now. My favorites have been listed anyway.


  7. Another beautiful list.! And as always, some gems in the comments section as well. My favourites from your list are Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra, Maanjhi chal o maanjhi chal and Woh shaam kuchh ajeeb thhi.


  8. To think I refrained from doing a boat song list because I thought Harvey and Ak had exhausted that theme! And here you come along and add so many, many lovely songs in your own inimitable style, Madhu!

    My favourites from your list are Ajeeb dastan hai yeh, Ye chand sa roshan chehra, Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi, O re maajhi…

    My picks would be:
    Naiya teri majhdhar from Awara (Papaji, for a change)

    A not-so-well-known Geeta Dutt number from Veer Babruvahan

    Not from your time period, but this is a lovely song from Uphaar

    A Lata song from Senapati:

    This is not a song, but I couldn’t resist. Shammi Kapoor, Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Faiz Ahmed Faiz…

    And now I will stop. :)


    • “And here you come along and add so many, many lovely songs in your own inimitable style, Madhu!

      Thank you, Anu! That’s really sweet of you. :-) Harvey, though (if I remember correctly) had restricted his boat songs list to one which actually mentioned boatmen, right? So, since I didn’t do that, I probably widened the scope a bit.

      Naiyya teri majhdhaar had been on my shortlist (and I had a hard time pushing it off; a hunky Premnath is hard to discard in favour of a not-so-nice RK in Sangam)! The Geeta Dutt song and Le chal khevaiyya were new to me. Both good songs.

      And oh, I am so glad you put in Raat yoon dil main. It wouldn’t have fitted my list, because it isn’t strictly a ‘song’, as you say, but it’s so lovely and so utterly romantic. This one is part of a list-in-progress that I have somewhere on my laptop. :-)


  9. I am cheating a bit nowadays, I am not attending to my blogs, I am even more or less off the net, why? Well I am busy watching all the Durga Puja celebrations on television, the most comfortable way to do so, no crowds and no need to negotiate the traffic. I am checking my mail though and I saw your new post and how could I not add my contribution to this subject? Both are my favourite songs.
    sun mere bandhu re from Sujata— Shilpi

    machalti hui hawaa from Ganga Ki Lehren. This one begins on the shore but moves to the mighty Ganga.


    • Ah, Shilpi. :-) What lovely songs you’ve posted! A writer friend of mine, commenting on my link to this post on Facebook, had also mentioned Sun mere bandhu re, and I have to admit that it’s a beautiful song. So haunting..

      This is the first time I’ve seen Machalti hui hawa. Have heard it many times before, though – a good song.


  10. Maddy, I can only think of one song – Chupke se sun….iss pal ki dhun….and I love it! :) And I really like a couple of songs from your list….especially…yeh chaand sa roshan checra and ajeeb daastaan….


    • Jaimala, thank you for commenting! :-)

      That’s a lovely song you suggested. For once, a rather more recent song (compared to the rest on this post…) that I do like a lot. And the scenery is so gorgeous, too.


  11. Lovely post , like all the songs, except Oh mehbooba.
    I second your sentiments for ajeeb dastan hai yeh and kuch aur zamana kahta hai. can never get enough of those songs.
    there are many boat songs that come to mind but will post a relatively unknoun song from Tulidas


  12. Great songs have been posted here. The very first song, woh dekhe to unki inayat is outstanding. Thanks for posting. Two songs (one alas, without a video)

    (kashti ka khamosh safar hai–This has got Kishore and Waheeda, if I am not mistaken) and the second

    (Pocket maar–yeh nai nai preet hai) This video is available on youtube


    • Thank you! I’d never seen (or even heard) Kashti ka khamosh safar hai, but it’s a beautiful song.

      Yeh nayi-nayi preet hai had been on my longlist too, but if you notice, less than half the song is on the boat – after that, they get off and the rest of the song is filmed on land. So it doesn’t fit my criterion. Even if only one verse had been sung on land, I’d have accepted it.

      Talking of on-water-and-land songs, this is one particular boat song that I especially love. I haven’t seen the film, but the song is simply sublime. Most of it happens in the boat; just the last verse is sung on land:

      Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai, from Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani (aka Pyaas):


    • Thank you, coolone160! :-)

      The first song that anyone suggested in a comment on this post (not here, though, but on Facebook) was the one from Amanush. So very poignant.

      Saawan ka mahina qualifies in all respects, except for the fact that I’ve never been a fan of that song. Don’t know why – I just don’t much like it.

      Oh, but I do adore Raat ke humsafar. Such a fabulously romantic song! Except – just one verse on a boat? Doesn’t qualify. ;-)


  13. Madhuji, HMV should have hired you in place of Sanjeev Kohli! Here are two from Nadia ke paar (1948), MD: CR.

    More raja ho le chal nadiya ke paar (Rafi & Lalita)

    Kathwa ke naiya banaihe malahwa (Chitalkar, Lalita, P Chander & SL Puri)


    • “Madhuji, HMV should have hired you in place of Sanjeev Kohli!

      Canasya, you are too sweet! Thank you so much – you just made my day. :-)

      I’ve been listening to the Nadiya ke Paar songs. Very nice. I remember I borrowed this film from my father a couple of years back, but the second VCD didn’t work, so I never watched more than about an hour of the film.


  14. Madhu,
    This is a great list. Wo sham kuchh ajeeb thi, Kuchh aur zamana kahta hai, Ajeeb dastaan hai ye are all time great songs in any classification. Ye chand sa roshan chehra and Hue hain tum par ashiq hum are also my great favourites.

    When I did a post on ‘naiya’ songs, my criteria was that the word should occur in the lyrics, because the word is not only beautiful, it also lends itself to some deeply mystical metaphors. If in addition the song is also picturised as a boat song, the impact is stunning. Let me add one such song from the film ‘Majhli Didi’ by Hemant Kumar:

    Umariya bin khewat ki naiya


    (Now that you have another AK, you may need a system to distinguish between the two.)


    • Umariya bin khewak ki naiyya… even the words are so evocative. Thank you for that, AK. I loved it, and Hemant is of course an old favourite of mine.

      PS. And as for two AKs, now I’ve got wise (the first time, I did think it was you!) Now if you’ll just stick to signing as ‘Songs of Yore’, there won’t be any confusion. ;-)


    • “(a) The singer(s) should be on the boat for at least three-fourths of the song’s duration

      While Meena Kumari’s character is on the boat, the actual singer isn’t. So – despite the fact that this is a great song – it wouldn’t count.


  15. Good list , Agree with with ‘Maanjhi chal O maanjhi chal’ having one of the best picturisations of a boat songs.
    My suggestions:
    from ‘Rajkumar’ (1964)

    from ‘Hum Hindustani’


    • I’d forgotten about the existence of Maanjhi meri kismat ke. Nice song, and it ticks all the boxes.

      As for Aaja aayi bahaar, I wouldn’t put it on my list, strictly, because Sadhana and her friends are actually on their ‘flower boats’ (or whatever!) for only about 2/3 of the song. After that, they’re in the water, not in their boats.


  16. since chupke se sun from Mission Kashmir has been mentioned… this is another one ..similar and on and off aboat..but very real !

    As i said, 10 best shikara songs :-)


  17. Oh, this one is fun! I may come back with more comments, but first, have to send some favorites…

    Can’t understand why this one hasn’t been posted by anyone yet… Or did I just not see it? :)

    Another favorite, from across the border:

    This song is only half on a boat, but the boat part is very important!

    I guess I am really cheating with this one, because the boat scene takes up much less than half of the song…but it may be the most beautiful boat scene ever filmed.


      • I’ve – of course – heard this song loads of times, but I’ve never seen it before, so I hadn’t known it was a boat song.

        Incidentally, Rehman has lip-synched to a few songs, among them the fairly well-known Jaaoon kahaan bata ae dil from Chhoti Bahen. Plus, there are songs picturised on him in films where he was the hero, like Maghroor (1950).


    • Richard, your enthusiasm warms the cockles of my heart. :-)

      And, yes, nobody had posted More saiyaanji utrenge paar. I’d completely forgotten about that song, too – somehow the only songs I tend to remember from Udan Khatola are the title song and O door ke musaafir. This one’s lovely, too, though.

      The Chhoo Mantar song was new to me (not surprisingly, considering I’ve seen only one Pakistani film so far. Must make amends).Chalo chalein re sajan dhire-dhire was another one I hadn’t heard before – a really lovely song, this one.

      As for Dil ne phir yaad kiya: you’re welcome to cheat all you want! After all, I had toyed with putting Aayega aanewala on this list on the strength of that verse where she’s rowing out on the river. I had to give up on that because I figured it would be pushing things too far.


  18. Ah, a list!! And a lovely one at that :-)
    Quite a few are my favourites. Of course, ajeeb dastaan hai yeh, and the first one O pardesi chhora, hue hain tum pe aashiq hum, tareef karoon kya uski are all so wonderful. So is the last one. Raja gets the points for coming up with that song. I only vaguely remember the first part about murgi jaisi taangein :-D (bad bad Dev).

    After reading I thought Ah, now I’ll post the gorgeous song from Pakeeza chalo dildar chalo, and my spirits rose as comment after comment didn’t mention this song, and just when I was so sure *bam* there it was!! Hehe

    So here’s one from Jhoola


    • That murgi jaisi taangein had me in splits too! :-)

      Where on earth do you manage to get hold of these little-known songs, pacifist? I’d never heard or seen Husn ki naav. Good song – so pleasing and picnicky, if you know what I mean.


      • >Where on earth do you manage to get hold of these little-known songs, pacifist?

        hehe I have the DVD from Induna. It was on their list, and Sunil Dutt/Vyjayanthi pair is a good one. In addition there’s Salil Chaudhary’s music. He’s not his usual self, though a couple of songs are quite melodious.


    • This one gets my vote totally! The movie was pretty good, and Taaron ki zubaan par hai mohabbat ki kahaani has been a favourite of mine since long before I actually even saw the film. :-)

      Now I have such a pile of “oh-I-wish-I’d-remembered-this” songs building up, I should probably do another boat songs list!


  19. I don’t know if this qualifies. It’s definitely on a ship, and has to be moving because they fish Guru Dutt out of the sea. :-D Film Baaz 1953


    • Oh, whether or not the boat is moving makes no difference – that wasn’t a criterion. So even if the ship is standing still, it doesn’t matter.

      It’s been so long since I watched Baaz (I saw it as a kid, back in the early 80s), I’d completely forgotten what songs it had. This one is so nice. Geeta Dutt, anyway. Has to be a good song. :-)


    • True, Kho gaya hai mera pyaar is very well picturised, and a good song even otherwise. Though it had good music, I thought Hariyali aur Raasta was too melodramatic – which is why I end up forgetting most of its songs. :-(


  20. Always wanted to write the 100th comment :-D

    From Ashoka. Quite liked the film (he’s the grandson of CGM after all LOL)
    Love the picturisation. Music seems very AR Rahman, but it isn’t.


  21. Nice Theme, Madhu! Reminds me of my maajhi list.
    o pardesi chora is such a lilting song. Sad, that it is not so well-known, for that matter the film itself.

    I was very surprised to see o mehbooba from Sangam! For me Raj is at his irritating best in this song and the film as whole.

    The last two songs are my favourite too! Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi reminds me ver ymuch of another baot song, which I’m sure others also have mentioned, thus won’t give the link here, chingari koi bhadke from Amar Prem.

    Since I came late, most of the songs, which I would have liked to mention are already here.

    I will just mention two songs from my boatman list.

    from Baazi

    This one I just can’t resist putting in.


    • Thank you, Harvey! O mehbooba is on my list because, frankly, I put on my list songs that met the criteria and sounded good to my ears. Even though RK is being a complete jerk in the song and throughout the film, I like the sound of the song itself. And, as I mentioned, the lake and the mist are really quite pretty…

      I’m glad you posted Naav badhaa le maanjhi. When Raja and Sidharth posted their comments with Dev Anand songs, I thought “I should have a look at the songs of Ferry; there might be one there.” (It’s been so long since I watched the film, I’ve completely forgotten its songs). Lovely song, this one.

      Good lord. I’d never seen Patli kamar nazuk umar before. And don’t want to see – or hear – it again! :-D


  22. Since nobody’s posted it yet, here’s another song that was on my shortlist. It’s shot partly on land – the last verse is ashore – but the rest is in a rowboat. Ae chaand ki zebaayi from Chhoti si Mulaqat:


    • Yes, Harvey. I would never have left out Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai – I love that song so much! Regrettably, I haven’t seen the film, so it wouldn’t qualify for my list. But I’ve added the song in one of my comments, above. :-) Thank you for adding it again – this is one song I can listen to over and over again!


  23. Hasn’t anyone posted this ‘un yet? Surprising, because it, along with ‘Yeh Chaand Sa Roshan Chehra’, was the very first song that came to my mind. Maybe that’s because of Talat more than anything else; am a bhakt of his.


    • And here’s another song I should slap myself over the head for. How could I have forgotten Pyaar par bas toh nahin??! Utterly beautiful song.

      And yes, though I began as not much of a Talat bhakt, I have become one over the past couple of years. Such an absolutely mesmerising voice.


  24. I see that others (especially AK) have picked up the 70’s mantle :), and have even progressed to an 80’s song that even I was hesitant to add (the Feroz & Vinod from Dayavan) :)
    I still have a few up my sleeve —
    1) YADOB (Yet another Dharmendra on Boat)

    2) Since your rules specified all types of boats/ships; did you ever contemplate an aircraft carrier ? 70’s Bollywood did so, with an unusually decent song; although I am not sure if the Indian Defence Dept. OK’d it :)

    3) This one has Vinod & Amitabh in a classic Manmohan Desai 70’s film Parvarish. It starts with both V & A on a boat, and shortly later, both leave this boat; thereby raising the possibility of non-compliance with your 3/4th time on boat rule.. Manmohan Desai must have foreseen this, and promptly transports both of them (by different means) to another boat, and by the end of the song brings them back to the original boat. Such devotion to a rule to be specified in the future has to be applauded :)

    Now if only you had relaxed this 3/4th criteria at least for a Shammi Kapoor song, you could have had —

    Hopefully, all your future stringent rules are not applicable to Shammi songs :)

    Loved this post, and all the songs.


    • Samir, I was waiting and hoping that you’d turn up with a clutch of 70s boat songs. :-) AK beat you to it, but I should’ve known you’d still have some up your sleeve! I’d never seen Har koi chaahta hai before – a song filmed on an aircraft carrier is indeed unusual. Dil toh dil hai was on my long list, but I didn’t like the song enough to include it. And no, Shammi Kapoor or whatever, rules are rules. :-) Aasmaan se aaya farishta is, for me, not strictly a boat song – I think he spends too much time just dangling in mid-air for that.

      Shammi, in fact, also divides his time between water and land in Humse na poochho hum kahaan chale from China Town:


  25. Great collection!! Boat songs always fascinated me and still do…one of my favorites, which I don’t think has been listed above is a rare but beautiful number from Dil Aur Mohabbat, composed by O.P. Nayyar sahab – with Joy Mukherjee and Sharmila Tagore on screen…wonderful rhythm…dreamy number…typical, vintage Nayyar with his trademark beats!!


    • Lovely! I have seen Dil aur Mohabbat and should’ve remembered Kahaan se laayi ho meri jaan, but I didn’t – so am particularly glad you posted this. It’s such a wonderful song, so quintessentially OP Nayyar. :-)


  26. Great list Madhu!Very nice selections.A few of them were an automatic choice if I am right.
    My favourites are “Milti hai zindadi mein mohabbat” from Aankhen and this-
    which is the great Kuvempu’s take on life. the boat is compared to life.


    • Thank you, Karthik! Both for the appreciation, as well as for Doni saagali munde hogali – that was new for me. Had never heard it before. It really gave me gooseflesh, it was so absolutely beautiful.

      Milti hai zindagi mein is for me more a garden song than a boat song, actually… if I remember correctly, the singing in the boat doesn’t take up 3/4 of the song.


    • Yes, Shilpi posted that in her comment. (I know, I know… so many comments, I’m not surprised you’d missed it). :-)

      Anyway, here’s another song that I remembered after I’d posted my list. It probably wouldn’t have made the cut anyway, since I don’t like it as much as the others, but for what it’s worth… a song on a houseboat, Yeh sama sama hai yeh pyaar ka:


  27. Madhuji,
    Nice post. Enjoyed the selection of boat songs, especially the songs 2, 7 and 9. I do not remember listening to the 1st song earlier. Since I entered the field late, I found most of the songs, that I would have liked to post, are already there. Here are two Hindi songs and One Bengali songs. I hope they fit into your criterion.

    Shaam dale jamuna kinare by Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar, Pushpanjali (1970), music Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics Anand Bakshi

    Zindagi Pyaar Ki Do Chaar Ghadi Hoti Hai by Hemant Kumar, Anarkali (1953), music, C Ramchandra, lyrics Rajinder Kirishan

    Amai Dubaili Re by Manna Dey from Bengali film Ganga (1960), music Salil Choudhury,


    • Thank you, Venkataramanji! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      I have seen Pushpanjali, but years ago – and I’d forgotten all about its songs. Shaam dhale Jamuna kinaare was therefore a very pleasant reintroduction to the film. Beautiful song (and Manna Dey, of course, is a particular favourite of mine).

      And how could I have forgotten that Zindagi pyaar ki do chaar ghadi was picturised on a boat? Such a famous song, but I’d forgotten its picturisation.

      Amar dubaili re was a new song for me – I hadn’t heard this one before. It’s lovely, thank you for that. I really like these songs based on folk tunes. This one sounds very familiar to me… isn’t it the same tune as Ganga aaye kahaan se?


  28. A wonderful topic DO and the high number of responses illustrates it’s one which many of your visitors also find intriguing.

    I’m late to the party once again and to my utter dismay songs I would have listed have all been snapped up! Anyhow, here are two from my side, but I don’t think these would make your list as one is from an unreleased 1960s film and the other hails from 1974. The first is from Picnic (circa 1963-4), starring Guru Dutt and Sadhana, which couldn’t be completed due to GD’s unfortunate passing. The second is from My Friend (1974) and stars Rajeev and Prema Narayan. The composer is Naushad Ali, who adapted Ustad Rais Khan’s hypnotic recurrent sitar piece from Pakeezah (Aap Ke Paon Dekhein, Bauhut Haseen Hai…) as the tune’s base. For your perusal, I’ve also included a link to Ustad Rais Khan’s beautiful rendition.

    Kitna Rangeen Hai Yeh
    Mohammed Rafi & Asha Bhonsle

    Naiyya Meri Chalti Jaaye
    Mohammed Rafi

    Anar Anar (Dhun)
    Ustad Rais Khan


    • I’m glad you posted the song from Picnic, Samir. I’ve seen it before and was thinking of it just the other day, wondering if anyone would post it. I do wish the film had been released – I’d have liked to see Sadhana and Guru Dutt together.

      I’ve never even heard of My Friend, let alone having heard Naiyya meri chalti jaaye. Not a bad song, though I must say Anar anar sounds far better. :-)


  29. And here’s yet another song on a boat (a flower-bedecked raft)> Bhola-bhola mann mera, from Jhumroo:

    I remembered this only the other day, long after I’d posted my list. I guess this one would have displaced a song on the list. ;-)


  30. If you did’nt put the restriction of the 3/4th duration of the song on boat , the song ” Tum chal rahe ho, hum chal rahe hain” from Duniya Na Maane would have certainly appeared in your top 10 list . Beautifully composed by Madan Mohan, none other than Lata ji & Mukesh could sing this song so melodiously. The prelude & interludes are amazing.


  31. Madhu G , U had a chat with Nasren Munni Kabir in Ur Banglore trip.
    Few months back , I read a book written by her on Wahida Rehmaan . It is in the format of an interview.It is a very good readable book.

    Now let me jump into the ” Boat ”
    1) The all time hit song of ” Pakeezah ”
    ” Chalo dildar chalo , chand ke paar chalo ”
    2) Hrithik Roshan’s popular no. from ” Kaho na pyar hai ”
    ” Pyar ki kashti mein hai ”
    3) One of the earlier films of Parveen Babi ” Dhuyen ki lakir ”
    ” Teri jheel si gehri aankhon mein ”

    I m adding here a very rare boat song from film ” Amar Jyoti ” directed by V. Shantaram in 1936.Child artist Vasanti begins the song in her own voice nd then we can see the graceful Durga Khote .

    Nd another one from ” Do Behne ” ( 1959 ) picturised on Chand Usmani , begins with a sweet ” aalap ” by Lata.


    • I remember the Do Behnen song! Nice one, though it didn’t make it to my top ten. I’ve read several reviews of Amar Jyoti, but haven’t watched it… must do that sometime.

      Thanks for these songs and for the book recommendation! Will keep that in mind.


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