Ten of my favourite Sunil Dutt songs

A couple of months back, amidst a discussion on one of my posts, fellow writer (and fellow Sahir Ludhianvi fan) Karthika Nair and I got involved—as we are apt to do—in talking about Sunil Dutt (who, coincidentally, has appeared in a number of songs written by Sahir). I realized then that I’d never compiled a list of my favourite Sunil Dutt songs. This, despite the fact that he is one of my favourite actors.

Sunil Dutt (June 6, 1929- May 25, 2005)

Good-looking, very versatile, and just generally extremely watchable, Sunil Dutt (born Balraj Dutt, on June 6, 1929) started off as a radio announcer on Radio Ceylon, and debuted in cinema opposite Nalini Jaywant in Railway Platform (1955). In the nearly 50 years he appeared in Hindi cinema, Sunil Dutt acted in some of classic Hindi cinema’s biggest entertainers (Waqt, Mera Saaya, Humraaz), some of the most unusual and experimental films (Yaadein, where he was the sole actor), and some of the most path-breaking, daring films (Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke, Gumraah).

So, to mark what would have been Mr Dutt’s birthday, a compilation of ten of my favourite Sunil Dutt songs. This was a tough list to create, because my favourite Sunil Dutt songs run the gamut from solos (in which he lip-synchs to the song) to duets, to songs where he’s primarily sung to (as in the classic Tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao). I finally decide to pick one type of song: the solo, in which Sunil Dutt’s character is the one doing the singing. All these songs are from films I’ve seen, and no two songs are from the same film.

1. Chalo ek baar phir se (Gumraah, 1963): Considering this post was sparked off by a discussion about Sahir and Sunil Dutt, it seems appropriate to begin the list with a Sunil Dutt song written by Sahir Ludhianvi—and what a song. Chalo ek baar phir se brims with the anguish, the frustration and helplessness of a man trying to cope with the fact that the woman he loves—and who still loves him, too—has had to marry another man. On the surface, this is a song that speaks of putting the past behind, of forgetting a relationship that now can never be. In reality, it is quite different, because both the singer and the woman he sings to know that it’s difficult—if not impossible—to do that.

As good as the music and the lyrics are, so is Sunil Dutt’s acting: he begins the song in a ‘just-singing-a-song’ way: a guest performing to entertain his host and hostess. Smiling, relaxed (though his ex-lover probably knows him well enough to recognize the pain beneath the surface). That pain does come into his face later, especially at the critical moment when a distressed Mala Sinha puts her head on Ashok Kumar’s shoulder: the anguish on Sunil Dutt’s face is so very clear at that point, even though he rallies around and again slips into the garb of the genteel guest right after.

Chalo ek baar phir se, from Gumraah
2. Jalte hain jiske liye (Sujata, 1960): From a piano song to a telephone song—and the quintessential telephone song. And, from the bitter and still-passionate ex-lover to a sweet, gentle man offering his love to a woman whose caste is held against her, even by her own foster mother.

The beauty of this song is in many things: its music, its words, Talat’s incomparable singing, Nutan’s acting—and, though often overlooked, also Sunil Dutt’s acting. Watch in the first verse, for instance, the earnestness in his face as he sings: as if he’s trying to be absolutely word-perfect, not one note out of place, focusing on his song and yet also addressing that girl he loves, who’s listening at the other end of the line. Then, as the song progresses, he begins to relax—not just physically stretching out, but also smiling more easily, letting himself feel more comfortable, more confident that she’s liking his song…

Jalte hain jiske liye, from Sujata
3. Aapke pehloo mein aakar ro diye (Mera Saaya, 1966): Sadhana’s character(s) got to sing all the top songs of Mera Saaya—from the title song (even though it had Sunil Dutt playing the piano) to a song that was written from the point of view of a man, Nainon waali ne. This tragic song was the exception: a bereaved husband grieves for the wife suddenly snatched away by death. It is in memories of her that he tries to find solace, but it is those very memories, too, that add to his pain.

Aapke pehloo mein ro diye, from Mera Saaya
4. Mere saamne waali khidki mein (Padosan, 1968): And, a change from all the romantic/tragic/serious songs that have gone before (or somewhat. Mere saamne waali khidki mein, while a romantic song if you only go by its lyrics, is nuttiness itself). My sister always says that she finds it hard to believe how someone like Sunil Dutt—handsome, a major leading man, and so very successful as the typical hero—could have agreed to take on the role of the plain, dumb (yes, I wouldn’t even call Bhola simply naïve; he’s definitely dumb) would-be brahmachari who falls for his pretty neighbour. But then, that’s why I call Sunil Dutt versatile.

A delightful song, and Sunil Dutt’s adas—as he hugs the pillow, or pretends to be affronted—are hilarious.

Mere saamnewaali khidki mein, from Padosan
5. O meri baby doll (Ek Phool Chaar Kaante, 1960): And, before I move on to the rest of the songs on this list, another song that showcases Sunil Dutt’s prowess as an actor. In Ek Phool Chaar Kaante, he’s the hapless young man who falls in love with a girl—the ward of four uncles, each of whom has it firmly in his mind that the beloved niece will marry a man who shares that particular uncle’s passion. Sadly, all the uncles have very varied passions in life: yoga, religion, rock and roll—and our hero, in his attempt to get into the good books of all these uncles, finds himself acting in four different avatars. A fun film, and Sunil Dutt is super.

In O meri baby doll, he sets out to woo his lady love (and, actually, impress her rocker uncle, played by Johnny Walker). Sunil Dutt certainly lets his hair down here, and shows he can shake a leg. Perhaps not as well as Shammi Kapoor, but better than a lot of others!

O meri baby doll, from Ek Phool Chaar Kaante
6. Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha (Chhaaya, 1962): With a tune based pretty faithfully on part of Mozart’s 40th Symphony, Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha appeared in two versions in Chhaaya. One was a duet, the happy version (or, to be more precise, happier compared to the second version, since even in the first version, Sunil Dutt’s character dissuades the woman he loves, warning her away from loving him). This version, the sad one, is a solo, sung beautifully by Talat, and picturised on a very handsome Sunil Dutt (aside: Chhaaya, purely from the point of view of aesthetics, was a great film—it had a really radiant Asha Parekh, and Sunil Dutt looked drop-dead gorgeous). And his acting is, as always, excellent: that restrained unhappiness throughout the song is so very palpable.

Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha, from Chhaaya
7. Jab dekh liya toh chhupenge kahaan (Chiraagh, 1969): Only about seven years after they worked together in Chhaaya, Sunil Dutt and Asha Parekh co-starred in the tear-jerker Chiraagh, a melodrama pretty much akin to the (invariably Nutan-starring) films that Sunil Dutt acted in around the end of the 60s. Coincidentally, like Chhaaya, Chiraagh too had one song that appeared in two versions, a happy one (technically a duet, since Asha sang one line) and a sad one, sung by Asha.

Also in the film was this song, the sort of faintly stalkerish one that one tends to associate with Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, or Biswajeet: hero sees heroine, immediately falls for her, and makes no bones about letting her know. Here, Sunil Dutt’s character doesn’t actually sing his song to the lady in question, but to himself and his bosom buddy (Mukri), reassuring them both that his love will be his. A very good song of the Pukarta chala hoon main style, though sadly underrated (and Sunil Dutt, in my opinion, far outshines Biswajeet).

Jab dekh liya toh chhupenge kahaan, from Chiraagh
8. Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo (Humraaz, 1967): Humraaz ranks as one of my favourite Sunil Dutt films: it’s a good, suspenseful entertainer (and pleasingly unpredictable)—and it has fabulous music. As in Gumraah, here too Mahendra Kapoor got to sing playback for some superb Sunil Dutt songs, including Kisi patthar ki moorat se and Na moonh chhupaake jiyo. And Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo, a beautifully melodious and romantic song picturised against a backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas, with a thoroughly wooden Vimmi as Sunil Dutt’s character’s ladylove.

The more I look closely at Sunil Dutt lip-synching to romantic songs, the more I realise that this man could give favourites like Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand a run for their money when it came to oozing romance in all its many forms—from affection to teasing playfulness, to desperation and aching longing, to just sheer ‘I-can’t-live-without-you’ness.

Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo, from Humraaz
9. Yeh waadiyaan yeh fizaayein (Aaj aur Kal, 1963): Sunil Dutt sings to another pretty lady—though, this time, the song is not really a romantic one. There is tenderness, and each verse sings praises to some feature of the lady—her face, her hair, her feet—but the purpose of the song is not to merely charm the wheelchair-bound beloved, but to get her out of that wheelchair. Nanda is shyly lovely, and Sunil Dutt manages to be both gentle as well as encouraging as he goes about trying to get her to stand up.

Yeh waadiyaan yeh fizaayein, from Aaj aur Kal
10. Rang aur noor ki baaraat kise pesh karoon (Ghazal, 1964): In a fairly boring, humdrum sort of film that—despite the combined talents of Madan Mohan and Sahir Ludhianvi—didn’t have terribly memorable songs, there was this one. Sunil Dutt plays Ejaz, the young poet invited by an unscrupulous and gloating acquaintance to sing at his wedding. The intention is spiteful; both Ejaz and the bridegroom know that the bride is Ejaz’s sweetheart, who has (seemingly) jilted Ejaz in favour of the other man.

What follows is Rang aur noor ki baaraat, a song of many moods, all of them superbly reflected in Sunil Dutt’s face during the course of the song. There is deep pain and hurt, of course, because the woman he loves has left him; there is, also, as is to be expected, anger at her betrayal. There is also, however, Ejaz’s love for the woman, which is sincere enough to wish her well even though it hurts him. Complaint, serenade, congratulations—all come together here.

Rang aur noor ki baaraat, from Ghazal
Which are your favourite Sunil Dutt songs?

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111 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Sunil Dutt songs

  1. This one I must remember to listen to, every now and then, Madhulika. I really liked Sammy Kapoor very much, but Manoj Kumar was some other stuff really. It is difficult not to like his songs really; I hold so many good memories associated with them.

  2. In my blogging days, I’d often thought of making a Sunil Dutt song-list, but never came to it, thus am really happy that you did it now. Like him as a actor very much.
    Many of his good songs from good/famous films are mostly duets, so I think it must have been hard to leave out all those beautiful duets from Post Box 999, Sadhna, Usne Kaha Tha and others.

    chalo ek baar phir se has such beautiful lyrics, but it is spoilt for me because of MK’s voice.

    I think I’ve never met anyone, who doesn’t like jalte hain jiske liye. Such beautiful lyrics, such sublime music and top it all Talat’s voice. Suhaan-allah!

    I like aapke pehloon me, but not a big fav of mine. Rafi, though I just love his voice, puts on his mannerisms her a tad bit too much for my taste. Many people love him for that.

    mere saamnewale khidki is a big phenomenon, a cult song, isn’t it? But I prefer the more subdued kehna hai from that movie.

    Love it, that you bring in o meri baby doll!

    Hmmm… ! itna na mujhse tu pyar badha! Just love it!

    If only MK hadn’t sung tum agar saath dene ka. I think, I’ve to get over my MKphobia, I’m letting him spoil too many songs for me. :D

    yeh vaadiyaan is such a nice song!

    I won’t say much about rang aur noor ki baarat, I’ve been disagreeing with you too much on this list.

    You know Mukesh is not my fav but I love ram kare aisa ho jaaye from Milan

    Not many know this one, but I like it a lot, koi mujhse puchhe from Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke

    So if he could do an Elvis, so could he move his lips to hindustani (semi-)classical

    The song matwali naar tumak tumak is also on the same lines, but he looks like a clown with his wig in it. So won’t mention it.

    Thanks for the list, Madhu! Enjoyed reading it.

    • Go on, Harvey, do. Disagree on Rang aur noor ki baaraat too. :-D Of all the songs I’ve posted, this is the one I like the least. I mean, if somebody asked me to drop one song from the list, this would be it.

      Okay, I’ll call it quits by disagreeing on one song you’ve suggested – Kehna hai. Somehow, that’s one song that has never appealed to me. By the way, Koi mujhse poochhe was on my shortlist – it’s a nice song. But I eventually found it a bit too flat and boring, not the sort of tune that I’d remember.

      “but he looks like a clown with his wig in it.

      LOL! I don’t know if you ever saw a particular post I wrote on this blog – that was in the very early days, maybe among the first ten posts here – in which I mentioned what brahminy mynahs are locally called in the Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary: Sunil Dutt mynahs – because the little crest of black feathers on their heads look like Sunil Dutt’s hairstyle (no, not the clownish wig, but like you see him in more modern roles).

  3. Excellent post! Song #1 to #10 are all my favorites.Especially “. Rang aur noor ki baaraat kise pesh karoon “, ” Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha”,”. Aapke pehloo mein aakar ro diye ” and “. Chalo ek baar phir se”.Some of my favorite songs on Sunil Dutt are—–
    Chand Sa Mukhda Kyun Sharmaya– Insaan Jaag uthaa

    Maine Dekha Hai Ki Phoolon Se Ladi Shaakhon Par – Waqt (1965)

    Ehsaan Mere Dil Pe Tumhaara Hai Doston – Gaban

    & Tu Husn Hai Main Ishq Hoon – Hamraaz

    P.S.- On the topic of “Aapke pehloo mein aakar ro diye” here is a video of song in MadanMohan’s voice, with introduction by Jagjit Singh.

    • I had no idea there was a Sunil Dutt (rather, Waheeda Rehman, since his character doesn’t do any singing… right?) version of it; the only one I’m familiar with is the one with Helen. I suppose it’s time I got over my aversion to daaku dramas and actually watched Mujhe Jeene Do.

  4. This is a gorgeous list, Madhu. I am so thrilled to see ‘O My Baby Doll’ here. I think this song was preceded by my favorite Iqbal Singh song, Beautiful baby of Broadway.

    Sunil Dutt looked good and acted well. He was a perfect hero, good height, handsome looks, good movie choices (usually).

    Ghazal was one weird movie. I actually ordered its cd because I thought it would be something good. Most times I was just rolling my eyes. I liked Rehman in it though. And as you say, despite the presence of Sahir and MM, the music is not top notch. I like a couple of songs in it, Nagma O sher and this one. Though the endless repetition of ‘pesh karoon’ in the movie made me want to tear my ears out. Strangely, the famous Sahir poem ‘Taj Mahal’ had a lackluster tune.

    • Yes, I remember Iqbal Singh singing Beautiful Baby of – (I thought it was Bombay, not Broadway). Whatever it was, it was great fun. I remember my sister and I had recorded that song once when it came on Chitrahaar, and used to really like listening to it now and then. Iqbal Singh wasn’t just a good singer, he was also a pretty nifty dancer.

      Hehe. I finished watching Ghazal earlier this week. Will post my review of it next week, perhaps. Then we can compare notes (I agree, though, with what you say about it being a ‘weird movie’. Oh, yes). Fortunately, I found it on Youtube, so watched it for free instead of having to waste money on it.

      • I always hear that as Broadway. :D I have read it as Bombay as well. Does not matter!

        I was going to suggest that you write about Ghazal! Goody! Now I will wait for it.

        • I’d been planning to set that review aside and post it somewhat later – to avoid Sunil Dutt overkill (can there be such a thing?), but maybe I’ll post it next week itself. Shubh kaam mein der kaisi – even if I’m able to stop one person from watching Ghazal, I will feel I’ve done my good deed for the day. ;-)

  5. Great compilation of Sunil Dutt songs – one of the most wholesome heroes of Hindi cinema. The only song I would add is “Chhodo kal ki baatein…” from Hum Hindustani – not mouthed by Sunil Dutt but picturised on him. Yes, its full of Nehruvian propagandist cliches but I find it very stirring – one of the best patriotic songs

    • Yes, Chhodo kal ki baatein is on my list of favourite patriotic songs (I’d compiled that a few years back). I really don’t mind the Nehruvian propaganda, actually, considering when the film was made – it fits into the period very well. I wanted it for this post too, but had to (regretfully) discard it, since Sunil Dutt’s character doesn’t actually sing it.

  6. What a lovely list, Madhu, full of all the songs I absolutely love. (And I will take great umbrage at Harvey (and you! Et tu, Madhu!) disliking Rang aur noor ki baraat kise pesh karoon.) *grin*

    Sunil Dutt has been one of my favourite actors – as you said, he is eminently watchable. (He always reminded me of a particularly earnest puppy.) My favourites from your list are: Chalo ik baar phir se, Jalte hain jiske liye, Tum agar saath dene ka, and Aapke pehloon mein aake ro diye apart from Rang aur noor.

    I love this Talat solo from Chhaya.

    And this one from Chirag:

    This one is a pleasant tune, from the lesser known Nartaki; MD : Ravi

    And I like this as well – not as a standalone song, but as a situational one: (SD is so playful here.)

    Thanks for giving me a an hour of listening pleasure, Madhu. The list really is lovely.

    p.s. You should really follow this up with a post on his duets – he has such lovely ones. :)

    • Thank you, Anu! I’m glad you liked that. :-)

      I had completely forgotten Aankhon mein masti, even though it’s so lovely; somehow the most enduring song for me from Chhaaya remains Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha. As for Zindagi ke safar mein akele thhe hum and Nainonwaali tere nainon ne – oh, both good songs (and I have a particular fondness for the former), but I haven’t seen either film. :-(

      As for the song for Chiraagh – not, technically, a solo, since Asha Bhonsle does sing one line towards the end of the song. But never fear; I have another post lined for later this month, and this song is there. It’s a beautiful song, and the primarily Sunil Dutt version is better than the sad one.

      A Sunil Dutt duets post would be delicious. My mouth waters at the very thought! Will do.

  7. Engaging list, DO.
    Happy Birthday Sunil Dutt.
    I love the songs on the list but not the Mahender Kapoor ones. They lyrics are fine, but never took to MK’s voice. Such a pity because he sand quite a number of songs for Sunul Dutt.
    The list also brings out wide the variety of roles that he did. From bhola to Ejaz.

    Jalte hain jiske liye is of course the iconic telephone song, and I like the description you’ve given about Sunil Dutt’s expressions. The concentration on his face in the beginning always made me think he’s trying to look normal singing into a phone :-)

    Thank you for reminding me about the existence of the chiraag song. It is really really a lovely song, with girls on bicycles. I’d quite forgotten about it.

    What a handsome actor he was. I think he really looked good as a daku in Mujhe Jeene do. Talking of dakus, I love this song from Mother India. It is such an unbelievable combination of soft harmonious melody and a prankster mischievous actor. Love his expressions to go with arre duniya jo chahe samjhe…

    • You and Harvey seem to be in the same boat when it comes to Mahendra Kapoor, pacifist! He isn’t anywhere as much of a favourite of mine as Rafi or Talat or Hemant or Manna Dey, but I don’t mind him in the songs of Gumraah or Humraaz. (Hah! For once, I’m being the more tolerant one). In fact, here’s another song from Gumraah, where I really like his voice: Yeh hawa yeh fizaa aa bhi jaa:

      I’d toyed with putting this on my list, but it’s already been on several lists of mine, so decided to give it a break. :-)

      I somehow don’t much care for the songs of Mother India, so Na main bhagwaan hoon slipped my mind. Good song, though – and I see what you mean about his expression!

  8. A great selection from amongst so may to choose.
    That still has left enough room for the readers to chip in……
    Here are some more from my side:
    Phoolon Se Dosti Hai – Dumiya Jhukati Hai – http://youtu.be/At82RTPfAU4
    Main Kaun Hun, Main Kahan Hin – Main Choop Rahungi – http://youtu.be/NkGLLxqmMMs
    And two very ggod songs, filmed on Sunil Dutt :
    Zindagi Ai Zinagi – Zindagi Zindagi – http://youtu.be/oe041m1mn4Y
    Eka Samay Pe Do Barasaatein – Jhoola – http://youtu.be/YDn9iPGgupA
    SD’s name must scrollled as one of the most path-breaking film-makers too – Yeh Raaste Hai Pyar Ke, Mujhe Jeene Do, Reshma Aur Shera, and, of course (a rare first ever one-actor film) Yaadein.

    • “SD’s name must scrollled as one of the most path-breaking film-makers too – Yeh Raaste Hai Pyar Ke, Mujhe Jeene Do, Reshma Aur Shera, and, of course (a rare first ever one-actor film) Yaadein.

      Yes I have mentioned some of those in my post. :-) I really like some of the songs you’ve listed here, especially Ek samay pe do barsaatein. Very, very nice song. As far as Duniya jhukti hai is concerned, I must admit that for me, Gumsum sa yeh jahaan eclipses every other song for me. That is perhaps one reason I should tak up Anu’s suggestion and do a Sunil Dutt duets list!

  9. Wonderful! The only other song I could think of has been posted by Pacifist, so I will try to think of another!

  10. Sunil the perfect husband material, Shammi kapoor and Dev Anand were good for courtship:)
    I like the topics you pick, you give us all good scope to add songs, all your songs are of different genre and great, except meri samne wali khidki that is not my type of song I would prefer kehna hai.My favourites Jalte hai jiske liye and Rang aur noor ki
    I still have some songs to choose inspite of so many of them gone for eg; Zindagi Ke Safar me aleke and zulf lahrai teri
    I will add two songs, itni haseen itni jawam raat from Aaj aur kal

    and the second one not very well known but special for me becasue at a very young age, listening from a distance I had predicted that this song was sung for Sunil Dutt, the song is Dil mera tumhari adayen le gayi from Gauri,

    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. And your comment about Sunil Dutt being excellent husband material is interesting, especially as it got me thinking: he did play the husband (not merely the lover who gets married at the end of the film) in a lot of films: Mera Saaya, Chiraagh, Khaandaan, Ek Hi Raasta, Humraaz, Yeh Raasta Hain Pyaar Ke… and others.

      I do like both Itni haseen itni jawaan; really lovely song. The one from Gauri is nice enough, but not quite up my street.

  11. What a splendid post, Madhulika! I just relished every bit of it – from the most perfect of beginnings (“and what a song.” You said it!) to the prevalence of songs penned by Sahir (very high on my priority list, as you know :-)) to what I’d opine is Majrooh Sultanpuri’s most memorable, tender ballad (Jalte hain jiske liye is the epitome of romance – and the acting is heartbreakingly effective and layered, as you point out). You made my week – and brought oxygen to my weekend (stuffed to the gills with the dreariness of filing tax returns)! And opened my eyes to the marvel that’s “O meri baby boll (oh, the man could rock!) – this one, I hadn’t ever seen. Sunil Dutt was very versatile, wasn’t he? I always felt he wasn’t given due recognition as an actor.

    I tend to agree wholeheartedly about Ghazal. The whole film played out in such high pitch, I mean, its emotions are so noisy (and Meena Kumari was unfathomably annoying here, not just the character but her dramatics) that it’s difficult to engage with their lives and crises. And I do think a lot of the songs work better as poems. But “Rang aur Noor” does showcase Sunil Dutt’s quiet expressiveness. My favourite poem from the movie (also a solo picturised on SD) is this one:

    Sahir at his coruscating, subversive finest, bless him!

    By the way, there can be no such thing as a Sunil Dutt (from before the blustering-ruffian-with-the-golden-heart-epoch) overdose. So I do unequivocally second all the fellow-readers who are clamouring for a Sunil Dutt-duets post. How wonderful will that be!

    • PS: Oh, Mujhe Jeene Do is a really, really fine film. Very intelligently written and directed, with a cast that does justice to the story, and a beautiful score by Jaidev (with another wrenching lullaby penned by Sahir):

      • Oh, yes. Lovely lullaby. Sahir did write some pretty hard-hitting lullabies, and not the usual sweet ones, either… possibly a reminder of his own rather skewed childhood, with his mother having to bring him up pretty much on her own?

        I should certainly watch Mujhe Jeene Do one of these days.

        • That’s so true! Most of his lullabies are like precision-missiles launched at society (which is probably why I had a hard time with Bachche man ke sachche … it was so un-Sahir-ly sanctimonious, even though it too was lobbed against adulthood). You are right, I think Sahir had no illusions about childhood being some kind of protected realm or peaceful haven, he probably saw insecurity and vulnerability terribly close at hand (interesting, isn’t it, that his lullabies are almost always delivered by the mother-figure? I mean, Hindi cinema does have male lullabies too, but I can’t recall a single one written by Sahir, can you?).

          My favourite comes from fag end of his career, the tough-as-tungsten yet unbearably moving Tu mera saath rahega, munné from Trishul. The mother is so exacting (main tujhé dood na bakshoongi, tujhé yaad rahé) – a far cry from the “Mera chanda hai tu” songs – yet, it rings so true (she does raise him on her life-blood), it’s heart-wrenching and yet empowering. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

          • Oh, yes, Karthika – Tu mere saath rahega munne was the song in the back of my mind when I wrote that comment! Probably the most scathing of Sahir’s lullabies. And I agree: I can’t think of any Sahir lullabies picturised on men, either. Always the woman, and invariably singing a song that’s bitter and not at all the fairies-and-flowers-and-sapnon ki duniya style. There’s also Tu mere pyaar ka phool hai ya meri bhool hai from Dhool ka Phool, another good song, but hardly one of those utterly syrupy lullabies.

        • Yes you certainly must, it would be wonderful if you post a review. Remember we had this interaction regarding Police Superintendent Quinn, my father’s character was inspired by Quinn and you told me your father had worked with Quinn, so we both have a connection with the film. See it and post a review, this a request from one of your readers that is yours truly.

          • I think your article about the film – especially all that trivia (and I remember that discussion we had about Mr Quinn!) – was what first made me eager to watch Mujhe Jeene Do, Shilpi. I have put it on my list, now – let’s see when I am finally able to get hold of a copy to watch (and, more importantly, when I am able to watch it! So much to watch).

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Karthika! It is quite a coincidence that so many of the songs that I like and which have been picturised on Sunil Dutt were written by Sahir… Not to mention songs which featured Sunil Dutt but didn’t have him doing the singing (one of my favourites in that type is Aage bhi jaane na tu, which often has its words overlooked but which I think actually does have excellent lyrics – a fine philosophy).

      I really like the poem Taj Mahal, but somehow I wasn’t very impressed by its rendition in Ghazal: I’ve heard far more memorable music from Madan Mohan…

      • Yes, the songs in Ghazal are surprisingly milquetoastish, considering the immensely talented team that helmed them… maybe they were on autopilot (I mean, the story can’t have inspired much creative passion!).

        Oh, Aage bhi jaane na tu is *such* an unforgettable song (for so many reasons – from the lyrics to the music to AB’s rendition – you had called it “the quintessential crooner number”, if I remember right – to the way it’s been shot and how it’s positioned in the narrative). Sunil Dutt did have some remarkable numbers sung to him, didn’t he (and Tum mujhe bhool bhi jao comes to mind, immediately! And Tu chanda main chandni from Reshma aur Shera – wasn’t that written by Kaifi Azmi?)

        • Tu chanda main chandni always gives me gooseflesh. This song is just so hauntingly lovely – the lyrics, the music, the rendition, the picturisation. It ticks all the boxes, just as Aage bhi jaane na tu (which, by the way, is one of my favourite examples of a song that doesn’t cause the story to come to a grinding halt while the song plays out – in fact, a lot happens during the song).

          maybe they were on autopilot (I mean, the story can’t have inspired much creative passion!)

          Hehe! Well said, and I tend to agree. :-)

          • “Hauntingly lovely” describes it perfectly. What a song! And what wealth of emotion and beauty it contains…

            Yes, Aage bhi … does act as act as one of the narrative pivots of the film, doesn’t it? So many things come together during the song.

  12. Well I guess it was too good to be true, if you are wondering what am I talking about, it is about us having almost the same tastes. Yes it is not possible to always agree on everything so here I am who does not consider Sunil Dutt much of an actor. What I did like about him was his physique. Those days stars did not bother with six packs and eight or the Lord knows how many packs. I find gym made bodies of today highly artificial. I call them designer physique. Sunil Dutt’s was natural and what’s more he did not put an ounce of extra weight right till the end.
    How about some trivia? Maybe you know this already, all the same I am sharing it. Gumrah was based on Kamini Kaushal’s life, at least that was the buzz at the time. Kamini Kaushal was married when she was having this affair with Dilip Kumar. Like Mala Sinha in the film Kamini Kaushal was compelled to marry her departed sister’s husband. We used to read all this in the film magazines those days and it seems the Chopra brothers were sort of inspired and they thought up this story, of course adding a great deal of fiction to the fact.
    Going by your rules I had a tough time selecting a song, all the Suni Dutt songs that I like are duets and the solo songs are on your list and on the list of your readers, so here is mine from Usne Kaha Tha. I won’t say it is a favourite but it has a nice, earthy with a boisterous tone.

    • Goodness, Shilpi! I had no idea Kamini Kaushal’s life had been the basis of Gumraah. Even given that they must have taken some poetic license with the story, the very basis of it is quite unusual. Thank you for sharing that bit of trivia.

      I don’t mind the song from Usne Kaha Tha, but for me the most memorable song from that film is a lovely little duet – more reason for me to compile a Sunil Dutt duets post! By the way, one thing that especially impresses me about that film is the very authentic feel of it – it manages to convey a Punjabi village very well.

  13. Nice list DO, though I am no fan of Sunil Dutt. Never a great Hindi film fan, I encountered Mr.Dutt in his long haired days towards the end of his career and was not impressed. Then I saw Padosan which I liked even less possibly because it had Saira Banu. I am happy you mentioned slower version of Itna na mujhse to pyaar bada. Sadly it seems we are fated to only remember the seven measures of the first movement of Mozart’s 40th in both Salilda’s adaption and Mozart’s original and neglect both Salilda’s variations from the original tune and his choice of harmonies. and Mozart’s amazing exploration of the circle of fifths in the first movement.The slower version has some lovely interludes and the prelude to the song has some lovely flute pieces that I cannot seem to locate on youtube.. In addition there is some interesting string work during the antara itself. In the title music of this film Salilda also gives us a whiff of Beethoven’s Fur elise but it is played on the flute.

    Staying with Salilda and Sunil Dutt, this song is picturised more on Vyjayanthimala, though SD gallops along on the side. Lovely accordion played I think by Y S Moolkay and usual unobtrusively melodic flute pieces.

    • Thank you, SSW! I’m glad you liked the post. Ad I can sympathise with you for not caring for Mr Dutt too much – if the first film of his I’d seen had been that 36 Ghante ( or 24, I’ve forgotten), I probably wouldn’t have liked him much either. As it was, for a long time, the only Sunil Dutt films I’d seen were of the likes of Waqt and Mera Saaya, so I was a confirmed fan by the time I got around to watching his later films – which I now tend to push into the attic of my memory.

      I’ve forgotten the title song of Chhaaya, let alone its resemblance to Fur Elise. Must check it out later today when my net speed is a hit better.

      • Actually I remember tolerating 36 Ghante. It satisfied a young boy’s need for blood and gore . There was the minor matter of women in such movies, they should have been removed, but the presence of Ranjit I suppose made such things necessary. I think it was Zakhmee that I disliked. It had Asha Parekh singing “Jingal bale jingal bale jingal …” and some horrible kid in a frilly white frock, the very appearance of which would make strong men shudder.. To rephrase Oscar Hammerstein writing for the Gollum
        ‘Orrible kids in frilly white frocks
        Nasty and smelly like old gym socks
        Shrieking and lisping like Violet Elizabeth Bott
        Ah we don’t like these things precious, yes we do not.

        I meant the title music of Chaaya. Not the song. Here..

        Listen to the small flute piece starting at 0:21. The start of Fur Elise. And then see how Salilda works on the original melody with the strings and flute just a little later. Again at the very end at 2:22 a brief snatch of the original melody again.

        • It had Asha Parekh singing “Jingal bale jingal bale jingal …” and some horrible kid in a frilly white frock, the very appearance of which would make strong men shudder..” LOL!! Brilliant description. :-D And equally brilliant is that rephrasing of Some of my (un?)favourite things. Thank you – I needed that laughter.

          Ah, I see (hear?) what you mean about the title music of Chhaaya. I do think Salil Choudhary manages to work the melody into the rest of the tune very well.

  14. Excellent 10 solo songs filmed on Sunil Dutt. If you don’t have the barrier for duets (some of them discussed above), the duet from “Duniya Jhukti Hai” filmed on Sunil Dutt & Shyama, ” Gum sum sa ye Jahan, ye sham ye sama” can be included in the list. The voices were lent by Geeta Dutt & Hemant Kumar. A sweet melody indeed.

  15. hanks for great post Dustedoff. I love Sunil Dutt! He’s one of my favourite actors from this period. My favourite song from the list is probably #8 tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo (I always love watching him in Humraaz scream “Iagoooo! Iagooo!” lol) with #4 closing in a close second.

    It’s so nice taking a break from work and reading/watching these songs.

  16. Nice list indeed. Ita a pity Gumrah and Hamraz songs spoilt by MKs voice, must be B R Chopra’s Rafi conflict a reason. However two songs which I terribly missed are Teri Ankhon ke siwa-Chiragh and Mubarak ho sabko-Milan

    • We shall agree to disagree about Mahendra Kapoor’s voice re: the songs of Humraaz and Gumraah! While MK doesn’t rank as high as Rafi or Hemant on my list, I do like some of his songs a lot – and the ones in those two movies are, as far as I’m concerned, his best.

      Teri aankhon ke siva is, technically, a duet and not a solo. And I must admit I’d forgotten Mubarak ho sabko – somehow, I’ve never much cared for the songs from Sunil Dutt’s later films with Nutan.

  17. I’m neutral on Sunil Dutt and my opinion of him depends on the movie and his role in it – like him in some and not in others. I have the same mixed take on the songs in your list – love a few (jalte hai jiske liye, itna na mujshe and meri samane wali) and don’t care for a few (chalo ek baar, tum agar saath, aap ke phelu and rang aur noor). On the last song from Ghazal, I confess to throughly enjoying the movie and loving the rest of the soundtrack. It’s my guilty pleasure “melodrmatic” movie. I feel like the movie *knows* it’s ridiculous and is giving the audience permission to laugh at the antics on screen. Or, perhaps it’s just my love of Rehman talking.:-)

    Anyway, here’s my SD contribution from a movie and a performance I disliked, but the song is decent.:-)

    • I’d never even heard of Darpan, let alone seen it. Bujha do deepak is nice, though. Thanks for warning me off the film!

      As for Ghazal, we shall discuss it further when I post my review. ;-) We seem to have diametrically opposite views about that film.

  18. I am sure that this 70’s Sunil Dutt Asha Parekh duet is not what either you or Anu intended to see, however this is perhaps the only well-known song not yet posted —

    Liked all your 10 songs, and several posted by others.

    A great post on Sunil Dutt, he was an actor I always kind of watched with respect (don’t know why). Almost every other actor (apart from Ashok Kumar) I can spoof, but for some reason not Sunil Dutt. A litle curious considering he hammed away in the 70’s; Zakhmee, Geeta Mera Naam, Heera, Shaan, Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye, 36 Ghante et al.

    • I must admit I’ve never seen Heera, but Main tujhse milne aayi is very famous (not that I’m saying I like it much – it has that somewhat screechy and not always pleasant sort of tune that Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji made their own, especially in the latter half of the 60s). Talking of well-known songs of Sunil Dutt (not solos) that haven’t been posted yet, there’s Sawan ka mahina pawan kare sor:

      Not a song I like, but there’s no denying it’s very well-known, I think.

  19. Dustedoff,
    As usual a memorable list. My favourites:

    1) Saawle salone aaye din bahaar ke (Ek Hi Rasta)

    2) Chaand jaane kaha kho gaya (Main Chup Rahungi)

    3) Aaha rimjhim keye pyaare pyaare (Usne kaha tha)

    4) Sambhal ke karna (ek phool chaar kaante) – Waheeda ji looks great in this song. What do you say?

    Not surprisingly Sunil Dutt had great songs..

    – Ravi

    • Yes, all lovely songs, and two in particular – Saanwle salone aaye din bahaar ke and Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare-pyaare geet liye are among my favourites. But since these aren’t solos, I couldn’t put them on my list. :-)

  20. Hello Madhulika
    This was a well-written piece. I agree with Shilpi that Sunil Dutt was not a great actor – sometimes his acting was more artificial and made-up. I did not like him in Padosan. I also agree that after the 70’s he kind of relegated himself to action roles. There are very few solos of him that I remember. I am fond of ” Aha rimjhim ke ye pyare” with Nanda which was based on a Hindi short story – Usne Kaha Tha and which introduced Indrani Mukherjee to Bollywood in 1960.
    “Teri ankhon ke siva” and the songs of Hamraz are legendary. But Sunil Dutt was good in the 60’s movies like Insan Jag Uta, Chaya and Hum Hindustani. I think Asha Parekh was his leading lady in most of his movies and the interesting thing was that they acted in different periods right through the 60’s and 70’s. [Chaya in 1962, Hum Hindustani in 1964, Chirag in 1969, Zakhmee in 1978, Heera in 1972 etc]. His pairing with Vjayanathimala and Sadhana was good too.

    Yes, I too read that Humraz was based on Kamini Kaushal’s life and her alleged affair with Dilip Kumar. It appears that there was so much animosity between Saira and Kamini that during the shooting of “Admi aur Insan” [1969], both actresses were not on talking terms with each other despite the fact that they played mother and daughter in the flick. But look at Kamini Kaushal – she seems to be getting younger and younger with passing years – she recently appeared in a soft drink ad with Baby Farida who is now all over the small screen.

    From the time Dutt started producing movies, his financial troubles started increasing. His brother Som Dutt whom he introduced in “Man Ka Meet” with Lina Chandavarkar and Vinod Khanna did not click. The failure of “Reshma Aur Shera” wiped away his fortunes. So much so that when he made “Nehle Pe Dehla” most of the shooting happened in his Pali Hill bungalow and Saira who is his padosan in real life, used to get ready and come to the sets through the terrace of her bungalow.

    But none can deny that he was a gentleman actor who could have been a great character actor but his entry in politics put an end to it, His brief roles in “parampara”, “fasley”, “laila” did nothing to add to his allure.

    • Thank you!

      I have to admit I have seen very few of Sunil Dutt’s films from the 70s, so my enduring image is of the Sunil Dutt of films like Sujata, Chhaaya, Humraaz, Hum Hindustani and Mera Saaya (and, not to be forgotten, Waqt). That said, I can’t bear most of those terribly melodramatic family dramas he starred in (mostly opposite Nutan) in the late 60s – Khaandaan, Milan and so on.

      I had no idea Baby Farida is now on TV! I should watch TV, I guess – I don’t even know what she looks like.

  21. I recently read the novel – Gaban by Premchand. It was a typical Premchand novel but the ending was a bit bizzare, unimaginative and lack lustre. Too preachy at times. If possible can you review the movie for me? Yes I like the song – Ehsaan Mere.
    Sadhana played the role of the fiesty Jalpa in the movie and Sunil Dutt played the husband so bewitched by his wife’s beauty that he could not say no to her unreasonable demands. The movie is not known much so may be it was a flop. Can Shilpi throw some light on this please…

    • Ah, yes. I’ve had Gaban on my to-watch list for a while, but I’ve been waiting till I get the time to read the book (which is in my to-read pile!). I always like to do that, if I can, when I have access to the book a movie is based on: it’s an interesting exercise to figure out how good (or bad) an adaptation is.

      So yes, someday I will review Gaban. Let’s see when I can get around to it….

  22. Namste Madhudi…Kaise ho? Back after a long time and i see i have missed much.

    Back to this post, Sunil Dutt happens to be one of my fav Heroes. Infact he is my third favorite Bollywood hero after Dev Anand & Rajesh Khanna. And on sheer acting ability, i rate him above my two favs, 3 Kapoor brothers & Amitabh Bachchan! Dutto babu, as my father says is terribly underrated.

    Your song list is pretty similar to mine though i would have included ‘Teri Ankhon ke siva’ in place of the other Chirag song and included ‘Ankhon mein masti sharab ki ‘ or ‘Ansu smjhke kyun mujhe’ instead of ‘Itna na mujhse tu pyar badha’.. Somehow never liked Itna na mujhse!

    And yes i love Ek Phool Chaar Kaante..Such an entertaining film and Sunil Dutt is soo good.. Pity that the film flopped,while its terrible remake years later ‘Dulhan Hum Le jayenge’ starring Salman Khan became a big hit.. All this makes me wonder if Indian Movie-going audience genuinely lacks in common sense?

    • Raunak, good to have you back!

      Yes, ‘Dutto Babu’ (I like that appellation) was terribly underrated. I don’t know why his name is never counted among the top actors of Hindi cinema – possibly because he never got slotted into one type of role? (Not the tragedy king like Dilip Kumar, or the ‘lovable tramp’ – which I detest – like RK?) He was so very versatile, and perhaps that was what stopped people from realising what a very good actor he was.

      I had no idea Ek Phool Chaar Kaante was remade with Salman Khan. Eww. The original was such a rollicking film, so much fun – I wonder what people can have been thinking to have liked the remake? But of course, not many people actually know about the original…

  23. A very enjoyable post, what I like about your lists is the limitations you put yourself through :) your own doing of course and yet come up with such wonderful songs. Add to those from the comments and the reader is treated to some great music and dicovering songs that one may not have heard or forgotten with time. Chodo Kal ki Baaten turned out to be a background song, but Naujawano Bharat Ki Taqdeer Bana Do from Kundan (1955) is picturised on him. Sung by Rafi, music is by Gulam Mohammad.

      • I had heard so much about Sohrab Modi, , Jailor had a song I like, hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ko,( Geeta Bali in pensive mood ) and Sohrab Modi caught my curiosity. Sorry to say I neither liked Sohrab Modi’s character, nor his dialog delivery. Then hunting for the Sunil Dutt song above, I came across Kundan, Sohrab Modi again, thought will give him one more try, why dismiss someone with one movie. I remembered the movie after a few minutes of watching that I had seen this before but never finished watching it. This time I got through a little more of it, but still could not finish the movie :(

        • I’ve just read the synopsis of Kundan on IMDB, and realise I haven’t seen it. I must’ve been mixing it up with another film. I haven’t seen Jailor either, though I’ve seen several other films that either were directed by Sohrab Modi or featured him (or both). Personally, I don’t much care for him as an actor – far too theatrical for my liking. But I’ve enjoyed some of the films he directed. Nausherwan-e-Adil was good, as were Raj Hath and Mirza Ghalib – and most of them had absolutely fantastic songs.

  24. Hi, Came across this accidentally today. Sunil Dutt was one of my favourite actors, but then I have watched him primarily in the pre-1965 phase (before he started doing those weepy tearjerkers and started showing up in weird wigs!). Havent seen him in much of his later movies. Lovely list, btw :-)… though I would have included Aansoo samajh Ke Kyun Mujhe (Chhaya) and Tere Aankhon Ke Siva (Chirag) instead of Rang aur Noor Ki Baarat kise Pesh Karoon (GHazal) and Mere Saamne Wali Khidki (Padosan). While Padosan was a light and a good watch, I didnt like Sunil Dutt one bit in it. Again, thanks! I heard Chalo Ek Baar phir se again – what a song. While I am not a fan of Mahendra Kapoor, I love this song of his and also Sansaar Ke Har Shay Ka from Dhund… (Guess its more to do with Sahir’s lyrics and Ravi’s music rather than the singing!)

    • Thank you! Glad you liked the list. :-)

      Sunil Dutt’s character in Padosan was irritating, wasn’t he? Totally not it. I also thought the film was fun (though I think I’m not as appreciative of the film now as I was when I was a kid – I’ve become more politically correct, I suppose!) but there really weren’t any characters in it whom I was rooting for, now that I come to think of it.

      Oh, I love Sansaar ki har shay ka. Such a beautiful, beautiful song! I am not a Mahendra Kapoor fan, but he does have a few songs which are really lovely, and that is one of them. Plus the songs he sang for Ravi.

      • You bet! Both Sunil Dutt’s character and Saira Banu’s character were irritating – she screeched a bit too much I thought. I know what you mean about not being as appreciative of the film now than before :-) Dont remember when I watched Padosan last… dont have the patience for that.

        Oh yes, some songs of MK are lovely.. There is an old MK-Asha-Kamal Barot song I heard again today after ages. Dhadka Toh Hoga Zarur (from CID 909). Hmm, you have now provided me the topic of my next post on my recently revived post. Thanks! :-)

        • Ooh, I love Dhadka toh hoga dil zaroor! I’ve never seen the film, but I discovered the song years ago on Chitrahaar and happened to record it – so heard it again and again and again. :-)

  25. Sunil Dutt to me was in his best form when he played negative roles. Mother India and Mujhe Jeene Do and later in Gumraah, Geeta Mera Naam, 36 Ghante and other action flicks of 70s. I also liked him in Heera. I liked him only as a toughie.

  26. This one’s way off your timeline. I had heard it at the neighbourhood cassette shop when I was in school, then forgot about it, and rediscovered it just now after twenty years or so. A must-share, I’d say Kishore at his most restrained, understated.

    Yun neend se woh jaan-e-chaman – Dard Ka Rishta (1982)

  27. Sunil Dutt is one of my favourite actors. Thank you for putting together this list! I preferred his films from the late 50s and early 60s, too, though I did like a few of his later films. I’m probably one of the few people who liked his character in Padosan!

    • Glad you liked the list. :-) I don’t mind Sunil Dutt’s character in Padosan – he’s so whacky and nutty. My sister and I have, ever since we were teenagers, always been very impressed that a leading man with looks like Sunil Dutt’s could have consented to play such an idiotic-looking simpleton. I can’t imagine some of the more obsessed-with-their-looks actors doing that role. Says a lot for Sunil Dutt.

  28. All song is fabulous but my favourite Chalo ek bar fir se…& Tum agar saath dene ka vada karo……. such a great song.Khubsurat lamho ki khoobsurat yaadein.

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