Ten of my favourite spring songs

The other day, looking at the stats page for this blog, I saw that somebody had arrived at Dustedoff as a result of searching for spring songs. I don’t know which post they ended up at, but it reminded me: spring is here in Delhi, and I’ve never yet done a post on songs about spring.

Spring in Delhi

Spring means many things to me. I had never really paid attention to spring as a child, but when I was nearly ten years old, my father got transferred to Srinagar, and spring in Kashmir was glorious. After four months of cold, snowy, slushy weather, the snowdrops would start poking their way up through the snow, heralding the thaw. And then, succeeding them, would come the other flowers: dozens of varieties of daffodils and narcissi, hyacinths, irises, tulips… and the fruit trees would burst into flower. A pale froth of pink and white, the occasional tree covered in blossoms of deep pink.

I saw three springs in Srinagar, and they have lived with me all these years. Spring is Delhi is not quite so beautiful, but it’s still my favourite season. The gardens are full of flowers, the red silk cotton is blooming, and there are—paradoxically enough, unless you realize that the trees are preparing for the summer ahead—leaves being shed. There’s birdsong in the air; Delhi’s signature bird, the noisy barbet, is calling.

So, ten songs about spring. Basant, or bahaar, as it is known in Hindustani. For this list, I imposed some restrictions on myself. Firstly, the synonym for spring—basant, bahaar, etc—should actually be present in the lyrics. Secondly, the word (especially in the case of bahaar, which can also refer to scenery or enchanting environs) should specifically refer to spring itself. (Accordingly to Platt’s Urdu dictionary, bahaar can refer to two closely related terms: either spring, or a ‘flourishing’. In the course of my research for this post, I’ve realized that when used in the plural—bahaaron, bahaarein, and so on—the term generally implies ‘flourishing’, rather than spring.) This is why songs like In bahaaron mein akele na phiro or Rangeen bahaaron se hai gulzar China Town don’t make the cut in this list: they’re not about spring, per se. Also, the word should be used in the literal, not the metaphorical, sense: so Aaye bahaar banke lubhaakar chale gaye doesn’t fit, because the word ‘bahaar’ is being applied to an individual, not to the season.

Here goes, then, with ten songs from pre-1970s films that I’ve seen:

1. Saanwle salone aaye din bahaar ke (Ek Hi Raasta, 1956): For me, this is the quintessential spring song. Everything about it is so completely evokes the essence of spring: the music is frothy and light, the picturisation—a little family off for a picnic, cycling through pretty countryside—and, most importantly, the lyrics. Lyrics which talk of buds blooming, of a koel calling by the riverside. Of a papiha, of clouds. Or flower-filled gardens. Of spring and joy and love.

Saanwle salone aaye din bahaar ke, from Ek Hi Raasta
2. Suno sajna papihe ne (Aaye Din Bahaar Ke, 1966): One of the usual symbols of spring (and of the monsoon, interestingly) is birdsong, and the song of the papiha (the hawk cuckoo) is—like the song of the koel, both mentioned in the previous song—is a sign of spring. A film whose title includes the word ‘bahaar’ had better have at least one song about the spring, and this one—which includes all the usual spring motifs: the papiha, the wind, the flowers, the gardens—ticks all the boxes. Not to mention that Asha Parekh and Dharmendra look gorgeous. I just wish that the flowering fruit trees and obviously Himalayan views of the first couple of frames had been sustained through the rest of the song (which seems to have been picturised in the Deccan, if I’m not mistaken).

Suno sajna papihe ne, from Aaye Din Bahaar Ke
Still, a nice spring song. And lots of eye candy, the artificial flowers notwithstanding.

3. Dekho ji bahaar aayi (Azaad, 1955): Like the monsoon, the spring also appears to be a season that’s conducive to romance: all those flowers, the cool breeze, the fact that the chill of winter is gone yet the heat of summer is still a while away means that the weather’s at its best and the land is at its most beautiful. What better than spring, and to enjoy it with one’s beloved? So here’s the first of a few songs that will follow this theme: it’s spring, the gardens are full of flowers. Come, my beloved; come to me. The picturisation of this song isn’t great—you can’t see too much evidence of spring, since this is obviously an indoor set rather than the outdoors—but Meena Kumari is her radiant best, and the song is lovely.

Dekhoji bahaar aayi, from Azaad
4. Aaja aayi bahaar dil hai beqaraar (Rajkumar, 1964): Following in the footsteps of Dekho ji bahaar aayi is this one. It’s a very different song, though, from the Azaad one: instead of the lovelorn heroine being all by herself, here she (a beautiful Sadhana) is surrounded by lots of sahelis, the entire jing-bang floating along on circular rafts adorned with fake flowers. The choreography is atrocious, the costumes rather gaudy, the music getting a bit shrill at times—but it’s still not a bad song. (Frankly, for me just about anything with Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana is fine).

Aaja aayi bahaar, from Rajkumar
5. Din hain bahaar ke tere-mere ikraar ke (Waqt, 1965): Yet another song which emphasizes the link between spring and romance: the beauty of spring, the wonderful weather, is the perfect time to fall in love. In this case, the song is all about a dilemma: the young couple (played by a very handsome Shashi Kapoor and a lovely Sharmila Tagore) are in love, but while the rich girl is urging her beloved on to romance, he’s pulling back: there are too many burdens on him, too many worries and too much adversity, to let him succumb.

As far as picturisation goes, you wouldn’t think this song has anything to do with spring—the lake and its shore, while scenic, doesn’t look especially spring-ey—but the music and the eye candy makes up for it.

Din hain bahaar ke, from Waqt
6. Deewaaana mastaana hua dil (Bombai ka Babu, 1960): I’m taking a bit of a liberty with Deewaana mastaana hua dil, because the last verse of this song refers to the saawan, the monsoon, with its lowering clouds—and there’s a mention earlier, too, of dark clouds dipping to touch the singer’s body… but the picturisation is so very spring, what with the flowering trees and the new leaves and the lambs: I can’t help but think of this as a spring song. (The fact that it does mention “Jaane kahaan hoke bahaar aayi” does seem to vindicate my stance on this). A beautifully picturised and rendered song, and with lovely music. Plus, there’s the interesting background to the lyrics: the heroine is rejoicing in that her long-lost brother has finally returned home (like the spring, coming once again)—only, she doesn’t know that this stranger isn’t her brother at all, but the man who killed him. And who is now falling in love with her.

Deewaana mastaana hua dil, from Bombai ka Babu
7. Chham-chham naachat aayi bahaar (Chhaaya, 1961): While Chham-chham naachat aayi bahaar is a stage performance and therefore can only show spring through a profusion of artificial flowers, that’s about the only drawback I can see to this song when it comes to its suitability for a post on spring songs. The music (by one of my favourites, the brilliant Salil Choudhary) is matched by Lata’s excellent rendition; Asha Parekh’s dancing is excellent (and she’s particularly beautiful here, in what was one of her earliest films). And the lyrics, about spring arriving, dancing; branches bursting into bloom; leaves waking up and appearing—so very much a paean to spring.

Chham-chham naachat aayi bahaar, from Chhaaya
8. Aayi jhoomke basant (Upkaar, 1967): And, for a change, a song not just about spring, but about the North Indian festival that is a celebration of spring: a song about Basant Panchami. Focusing on the yellow that is symbolic of Basant Panchami and spring—the yellow of flowering mustard, of rippling dupattas and cheery turbans—Aayi jhoomke basant is about love, but not just romantic love (though that, inevitably, does find expression), but also love for the land and for one’s people.

Aayi jhoomke basant, from Upkaar
9. Baaghon mein bahaar hai (Aradhana, 1969): Oddly enough, the song in Aradhana that describes spring—Gunguna rahein hain bhanwre, khil rahi hai kali-kali—does not actually mention bahaar or basant. This one, a much more light-hearted, teasing love song, does mention spring: it’s spring in the gardens, the buds are bursting into flower. No, there’s not a sign of spring anywhere in the picturisation, but a cute Farida Jalal and a handsome Rajesh Khanna make this a delightfully frothy little song.

Baaghon mein bahaar hai, from Aradhana
10. Aaiye bahaar ko hum baant lein (Taqdeer, 1967): And, to end this list, another spring song with Farida Jalal in it—a younger, even prettier Farida Jalal who, along with her family and friends (including Jalal Agha), sings of love—but love, not for a special person, but for humanity. Spring, she sings, should be shared: this bounty, this beauty, should not be hoarded. A metaphor for wealth in itself, and happiness: share it with those less fortunate, and you will be blessed.

Aaiye bahaar ko hum baant lein, from Taqdeer
Interestingly, Taqdeer had two songs with the word bahaar in them: this one, and the much better-known Jab-jab bahaar aayi aur phool muskuraaye (which appears in three versions: a male solo, a female solo, and a duet). Jab-jab bahaar aayi, however, has only a passing reference to spring, and in none of the picturisations is there even the tiniest hint of spring. Which is why Aaiye bahaar ko hum baant lein gets that slight edge over the other song when it comes to inclusion in this list.

Which spring songs do you like?

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118 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite spring songs

    • So glad you added Aayi bahaar aaj – a favourite of mine, but since I restrict myself to songs from films I’ve seen, I couldn’t include this. I was hoping someone would – it’s such a nice song.

      • This is one song my father used to hum. I was looking for this song and glad this was first in the comments section. I do miss my father .

    • The picturisation of this song is the prototype for Badal Jaye Agar Mali! And it seems to me that the rythmic schemes of both are slightly look alike

        • Dear Madhulika, I follow your writings regularly. This is the first time I am writing to you. I just want to suggest a beautiful song by Lata Mangeshkar ” Ek to Ye bahaar….” from Daku Mangal Singh starring Dara Singh and Mumtaz. Though Mumtaz looked beautiful, Dara Singh looked a bit stiff. Nevertheless, the song is lovely. It is available in YouTube. Would you please check it?

          • Monami, thank you so much! Both for writing, and for telling me about this song. When I read your comment, I thought “No, I haven’t heard this song,” but when I began listening to it, I realised I had heard it, but had forgotten all about it. It’s a good song, and Mumtaz looks so very pretty.

  1. Lovely post and songs.
    Some spring songs I like that come to mind immediately:
    1. O sajna barkha bahaar aayi -Parakh
    2. Baharon mera jeevan bhi sawaron – Akhri Khat
    3. Baharon phool barsao – Suraj
    4. Badal jaye agar mali – Baharen phir bhi ayengi

    • Thanks, Simplegal.

      Incidentally, O sajna barkha bahaar aayi isn’t a spring song at all – it’s very decidedly a monsoon song. No question about it. The bahaar word in that is the ‘flourishing’ I’ve mentioned in the introduction to my post – in this case, a flourishing as a result of the rain.

      As for Bahaaron mera jeevan bhi sanwaaro or Bahaaron phool barsaao, I wouldn’t include either of them in a ‘spring songs’ list, because in both cases, the bahaar being referred to is more likely ‘flourishing’ than ‘spring’. Badal jaaye agar maali fits right in, though – lovely song, too.

  2. Really nice selection. Although here it is more like dull, grey & wet…

    My favourite spring song & real pick-me-up is non-filmy, but it is 100% on spring throughout. No lover metaphors or anything. Hope you like it too.

    • Thank you, Bawa! I didn’t think I had heard Lo phir basant aayi before (and in fact, when I hear the words, they don’t seem familiar), but opening music reminded of some Hindi film song…I don’t remember which one, now. This song is very nice, though, and such lovely descriptions of spring – so very evocative!

      P.S. Sorry, WordPress has been acting up again! I saw both your comments had inexplicably gone into moderation. Since the other one was pretty much like this, I deleted that. Hope you don’t mind.

      • I hoped you would delete, as I couldn’t do it myself.
        I heard this song when it first came out (on PTV), in a whole series dedicated to Mallika Pukhraj & Tahira Syed.
        Music is familiar, probably “inspired”, but I have never been able to tell by which song. Glad you appreciate the lyrics too!

      • My guess is that it sounds familiar since the other song you are thinking of is probably in the same raag – which I believe is “bahaar” (surprise surprise). The song that immediately comes to mind is the stanza “Kaahe ghaTa me bijuri chamke” in “Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya”. I am not very knowledgeable about which raaga is which, so I apologize if the raaga is not “bahaar” but perhaps some variant of it.
        Here is the song from “SuvarNa sundari” – the bahaar portion I think begins at 2:07 or so.

        • Thank you, sangeetbhakt! Yes, that sounds like a likely inspiration. While I like Kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya, I’d never paid very close attention to it. so I would never have been able to guess on my own. Thank you, by the way, for adding another brilliant spring song – this is lovely, such a good description of the season.

  3. Lovely list!
    Like all of the songs in your list.
    But I think the Taqdeer song, aaiye bahar ko ham baant le is new for me, though it sounds somewhat familiar. Farida Jalal looks so pretty and Jalal Agha looks so good.
    Some of my bahaar songs which I like:
    dekho mausam kya bhaar hai

    bagon main bahar aayi from Mom Ki Gudiya

    jhule me pawan ke from Baiju Bawra

    yaad kiyaa dil ne from Patita

    o paradesiyaa pyaar kii bahaar leke from Bahar

    Going thorugh the bahaar songs I know that many are barkhaa bahaar, which wouldn’t have fit here and that many of the left also just compare the bahaar with something. Remaining true to your motto have posted only “the spring has come” songs. :)
    Therefore don’t know if the following song fits in:
    ye kaun aayaa ke mere dil ki from Baazi

    Thanks for the list!

    • Thank you, Harvey! Glad you liked the songs. :-) Have you watched the Konkani film Nirmonn (1966), by any chance? Taqdeer was the Hindi remake of that, down to the director (A Salaam) and the picturisation of at least the ‘main’ song – Jab-jab bahaar aayi in Hindi and Claudia in Konkani – which are almost exactly the same, even the camera angles. I have no idea if that’s the case with this particular song, but that might be an explanation. Total shot in the dark, of course!

      Of the songs you’ve listed, I especially like Dekho mausam kya bahaar hai (wanted to include it, actually, but I haven’t seen Opera House yet), Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum, and Jhoole mein pawan ke. Baaghon mein bahaar aayi isn’t bad, but I don’t like the male voice.

      Yeh kaun aaya is a lovely song, though I agree that it probably doesn’t fit here – metaphorical, I think.

      • Well, to tell you the truth, I haven’t seen any Konkani film. And Goanese Konkani is totally different from the Mangalorean Konkani we speak at home. But it’s totally interesting, what you say there. Will look it up soon.
        The male voice in baaghon me bahaar aayi is Anand Bakshi. Not a reason to like it but an interesting piece of trivia.

        • Ah, yes. Now I recall you mentioning earlier too that Goanese Konkani is totally different from Mangalorean Konkani – I remember there was this movie called Amchib Noxib which I’d asked you about, mainly because of a fabulous song in it which I like a lot.

          That’s Anand Bakshi singing?! Wow. Never knew he sang playback. We live and learn. Thank you for sharing that trivia!

  4. Wow, Quite a coincidence, just a couple of days back, my husband was wondering if you or anyone had done a top 10 song list on Spring and I told him that you would have! (There doesn’t seem to be any season you have missed :-P)

    Coming to the list, lovely lovely songs, and one of them was ‘new’. Had never heard the Saanwle Saloni song from Ek hi raasta. It is quite sweet. Out of the ones you have listed, my favourites are Deewana Mastana hua dil, Chham Chham nachat aayi bahaar and Din hai bahaar ke.

    One of my favourite bahaar songs is the Rafi-Suraiyya duet Shaam-e-bahaar aayi – another song about spring and love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJp0KHG09uE
    Another spring song that came to my mind – not sure whether I like it very much. -Mera Pyaar bhi tu hai (Saathi). I do not like Rajendra Kumar and this movie, from what I remember, was quite a pain. But the song is all about love and is likening the beloved to the onset spring. –

    And the one song that I invariably think of, when I hear the word Bahaar – Bahaar Banke woh muskuraye (Apne huye paraaye). Guess this is the quintessential song for me – flowers blooming, girls out on a picnic, playful, teasing and joyous. This is the song of spring and love. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqNx5lHqrIw

      • I didn’t miss it, actually. ;-) What I wasn’t able to see was Bahaar banke woh muskuraaye; for some odd reason, I got an error message that the video wasn’t available in my country!

        So here it is:

        …though I have to admit I wouldn’t include it in this list (despite its being a nice song), because bahaar is used in a metaphorical sense: I think she’s referring not to the spring, but to her lover.

    • That is a coincidence indeed, Harini! (Though, actually, this is only the second season I’ve done – monsoon and spring). Makes me wonder, though: could one find enough good summer songs for a post? I don’t think India tends to really celebrate the summer: it’s just so scorching a season, no? But winter – yes, there could be some songs there (I can think of one from Teen Deviyaan).

      But, coming to the songs you’ve suggested: Yes, I do like Shaam-e-bahaar aayi (everything about is great – the music, the singing, even the visuals).

      Oh, I agree about Mera pyaar bhi tu hai. I hate Saathi, and Rajendra Kumar is, in any case, not a favourite of mine. And I definitely do not like the song. ;-) Besides, I don’t think it would really fit my rules for this post – the bahaar here is metaphorical, isn’t it?

      • Actually, it is surprising that there are so many songs about spring, considering that in most parts of India there is really no spring season to speak of – it is just a transition from not-so-hot season to hot season. But spring as a concept has a strong attraction – perhaps that’s why it is used as a metaphor in so many songs.

        • Interesting observation, and quite true. I think it’s mainly the north which has a spring, though except possibly for the Himalayan region, even in the northern plains, spring is usually pretty short.

          But then, a lot of our lyricists and film makers were originally from the north, so it may just be that they held on to traditions they were familiar with, even after settling in Bombay. Maybe. Plus, as you point out, the entire concept is so very attractive.

      • Tagore has actually composed for all seasons including summer !
        In hindi film music I can only think of Gulzaar Saab’s: ” ya garmiyon ki raat ko purvaaiyan chalein..thandi , safed chadaron pe jaage der tak..taaron ko dekhte , chat par pade hue..

  5. :) Spring has ‘officially’ landed up here in the Northeast. Only, Mother Nature knows naught of human calendars, and we are still at below-freezing temperatures. (And the day it officially turned ‘Spring’, we got snow!). Just to cheer me up, I was making a list of, you guessed it, ‘Spring’ songs. Of your list, Saanwli saloni aaye din bahaar ke, Aaja aayi bahaar, Din hai bahaar ke, Baaghon mein bahaar hain, Dekho ji bahaar aaya, and Aayi jhoomke basant were on my list as well. I did have Bahaaron mera jeevan sanwaaro because the picturisation is of Spring, so I assumed she was addressing Spring in the song. And Shaam-e-bahaar aayi. I also had Aayi jhoomti bahaar from Insaniyat

    This one, from Alif Laila

    and this one from
    Doctor on my short list:

    (p.s. My tulips, daffodils, crocuses and lilies-of-the-valley are all buried under layers of frozen snow.)

    • Why am I not surprised that you had a spring songs post lined up? :-D And why am I not surprised that our posts share 50% of the songs?

      Here in Delhi, it’s suddenly started to turn so warm (already 32 degrees Celsius) that the Met Department is predicting an early onset of summer. And to think only last week we were covering blankets… crazy weather, this city has.

      Aayi jhoomti bahaar and Aayi bahaar aaj are two spring songs I really like – would’ve included them if I’d seen the films. I don’t recall having heard Bahaar aayi khili kaliyaan before, but it’s a nice song, too. Thanks for sharing these, Anu!

    • Humse na poochho koi pyaar kya hai is a lovely song, isn’t it? Really, really nice. :-) I wish it were being sung to someone more worth it than Kishore Sahu!

      P.S. And the song needn’t describe nature to be part of the list! Better if it does, but not a problem if it doesn’t.

    • Perfect! I haven’t seen Basant Bahaar, though I’ve heard of it, of course, and the songs – I was hoping someone would contribute some fitting song from that film. :-) (Not that it’s a given that a film with a name like that would have a song about spring – the Shammi Kapoor-Nutan Basant had no songs about spring).

      This is such a wonderful song. Am listening to it all over again. Bliss!

  6. and pukaarta chal hoon main gali gali bhaar ki from mere sanam

    interesting how many bahaar songs are picturised on asha parekh

    • “interesting how many bahaar songs are picturised on asha parekh

      I was thinking the same thing!

      I had Pukaarta chala hoon main on my long list too, then dropped it (regretfully, because it’s one of my favourite songs) because I thought the spring reference was very incidental, it seemed to me. But am more than happy to see it here!

    • If you read the introduction to my post. I’ve specifically mentioned this song as an ‘invalid’ one because bahaarein is almost certainly used in the sense of ‘flourishing’ rather than ‘spring’.

  7. and though this doesn’t have basant or bahaar , the song is about spring like few others..celebrating spring..so taking the liberty of posting here..rut aa gayi re from Earth.. two link though because one has interesting ‘Basant Mubarak’ and other the song more clearly

      • Heh. Yes. But still, even in this, he’s somewhat better than he got in the late 80s and 90s – he’s unbearable in some of those films he did with the likes of Sridevi and Jayaprada.

        • Very true. Sorry for digressing from the theme of this post, but somehow in my mind the period in which Jeetendra was one of the major heroes of Hindi cinema coincides with the decline of Hindi film music. One would be hard pressed to list 10 nice songs in which Jeetendra featured.

          • I agree with that, but only to some extent, because I am not absolutely clear about what period one would consider Jeetendra to have become a major hero. If the 80s, then yes: that was a horrible period for Hindi film music, If the 70s (which I generally think of as Jeetendra’s peak), then not quite. I do like a lot of songs from the 70s, and Jeetendra was in several which I like (such as Goriya kahaan tera des re and Haal kya hai dilon ka). And, one of my absolute favourites from the 70s features him: Musaafir hoon yaaron.

  8. and though not a favourite this sog does describe bahaar…nindiya se jaagi bahaar from Hero

    though why should koel sing malhaar in bahaar is beyond me !

    • “though why should koel sing malhaar in bahaar is beyond me !

      That might be because bahaar seems, sometimes, to be used as a synonym for monsoon too. That’s the case in Deewaana mastaana hua dil as well – there’s mention of the koel and papiha and the clouds there (plus, O sajna barkha bahaar aayi seems to definitely reinforce the idea that the monsoon is also a ‘spring’ of sorts – probably because it rejuvenates the land?).

      This might be an interesting tie-in to Vinay Hegde’s comment about why spring should be so popular a theme for songs even though much of India hardly sees spring. Perhaps many of the song writers actually have the monsoon in mind?

  9. Interesting list Madhu. I agree with some of the other comments. The spring and monsoon are often mixed up in songs because in many parts of India, there really is no spring season per se. That is perhaps why some of the songs refer to rain and interchange vasant with sawan which, as I understand, are two distinct seasons.

    My personal favorite is Bagon main bahar hai by Rafi, Lata. Aaye bahar banke lubha kar chale gaye. you listed as non-qualified but what a song!

    The banphool song mentioned by ak is also one that I like (minus the video of course)

    There’s one song from 1953 movie Surang (picturized on Shashikala) that might fit the bill. The song is sung by Asha Bhosle – Mast Bahar Hai Pyar hi Pyar Hai (music – Shivram Krishna, Lyrics – Shewan Rizwi). Song is a light one, has reference to koyal and papiha but then talks about “Sawan ki bahar” which is not Vasant. Does anyone care?

    :)

    Told you about the interchangable Vasant and Sawan…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vi_4huinTs

    • “That is perhaps why some of the songs refer to rain and interchange vasant with sawan which, as I understand, are two distinct seasons.

      I wish I’d read your comment before I replied to AK, Ashish, because this was pretty much what I wrote too, in my comment! Yes, I do agree with that – bahaar (possibly because it also means ‘flourishing’?) seems to be arbitrarily used for both monsoon and spring.

      Aaye bahaar banke lubhaakar chale gaye is a gorgeous song. :-)

      Thank you for that lovely song from Surang (that’s Sheila Ramani, by the way, not Shashikala). Let’s put this in the same category as Deewaana mastaana hua dil (which also has that reference to monsoon).

      • Thanks for the correction, Madhu.

        AK also mentioned Pukarta Chala Hoon Main which is another favorite of mine.

        While we discuss the most upbeat seasons (I am so ready for it!), I will throw out this beautiful piece – rather off-topic. I love Ustad Ahmad and Mohd Hussain’s “Mousam Aayenge Jayange”. It doesn’t specifically address vasant but it certainly is a wonderful expression in general for the four broad seasons in India.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qur9ilP7948

  10. Like Anu, we had snow on the first day of Spring in Virginia so I’m hoping your post acts as talisman and brings Spring to us. “Saanwale salone aaye din bahar ke” is the perfect song to kick-off the fun – love it. The first song that came to my mind when I though of Spring was “bahar aayi khili kaliyan” from Alif Laila that Anu posted and the second was this joyous ‘basant” one from Angulimal.

    • Trust you to come up with a song that absolutely fits the bill, and which I’ve never heard before, Shalini! Aayi aayi basant bela was new to me, and so completely spring, down to the picturisation. (I love the fact, by the way, that the lyrics refer to – not the papiha or koel – but the bulbul. And the peepal’s leaves turning yellow. A very observant lyricist at work, there…

  11. For the last few days,I have been humming “dekho ji bahar aayi” for no reason because outside the windows is all snow. As Anu and Shalini have mentioned, spring is far from happening in Northern US. Your post is most welcome at this time. I do like all the songs you have listed, specially “sanware salone aaye”. I ended up watching the movie years ago just for that song. Some other songs that came to mind, are already posted, specially ” aayi aayi Basant ki bela” that Shalini posted.
    Here is one welcoming Basant Ritu. “Vasant hai aaya rangeela” from Stree.

    Another ” aaya basant sakhi” sung by Parul Ghosh. It is a stage song and it starts at 1:36, there is dialog at the beginning.

    BTW, the surang song posted earlier by Ashish is picturized on Sheila Ramani.

    • Yes, the Northern US seems to be having a really bad time! My niece is in Providence, so we keep getting regular updates. I do hope spring (the real one, not the merely official!) comes to your part of the world soon. Here in Delhi we seem to be headed well into summer now!

      Thank you for those two songs. I thought I didn’t recognise either from just the names, but on listening to them, I realise that I have heard the song from Stree (and like it). The one from Basant I wasn’t familiar with. What does interest me is that in both these songs basant is referred to in the masculine, whereas in most other instances, I’ve heard of basant as feminine.

      • I think, when they refer to Basant as basant ritu, it becomes feminine because ritu is feminine. So is bahar, so basant bahar is feminine. You wont hear basant aayi. I am looking at it grammatically, but poets take their own poetic liberties.

        • Whatever happened to the first para of my reply :( I had written that you should visit us sometime. Your niece is here and so is Anu, Memsaab and Shalini. There might be more of your readers here in Northeast. It would be nice.

          • Ok, There goes my theory :) so much for learning grammer ! aayi jhoomke basant begins with everything feminine i.e. peeli peeli sarson…. etc so aayi fits better, as I said there is always a poetic licence.

            • I realised later that that’s not the only example of basant being used in the feminine. It’s also there in Malika Pukhraj’s song Lo phir basant aayi (which has been added in the comments), plus a couple of others. Like this one, Ab aayi basant bahaar from Saugandh:

              I guess it is a question of poetic licence, there’s no hard and fast rule about the gender assigned to it.

    • Basant actually is celebrated in the Indian Subcontinent, From whatever little i know it is celebrated with much kite flying in Punjab (especially Lahore). It is also celebrated in Shanti-Niketan and Basant Panchami we all know :)
      I think in the earlier periods of Indian History, around the time of City States ad the Mauryan empire and till later, Basant was a big celebration, and a festival whole city participated in. Later it might have morphed into what we undetsnd as Holi today (still a public /on -the-street festival)
      Some movies have
      Following is a song from Amrapali , which talks of a Mangal Tyohaar

      And this song from Utsav..which talks of ‘madan rang’

      perhaps these are instances of celebrating spring :)

  12. I lost my comment while going back and forth to youtube, hence a second comment to include: “aayi basant Ritu aayi”

    This song is a medley of seasons, interesting picrization from ” jhanak jhanak payal baaje” only the beginning refers to Basant Ritu.

    • Lovely! I must admit I prefer Ritu vasant aayi from Jhanak-jhanak Paayal Baaje to the first song. Even though I haven’t watched Jhanak-jhanak paayal baaje, I like its songs a lot. And this particular one is superb. :-)

      • Frankly, I heard “aayi basant Ritu aayi” for the first time today. I was looking for aayi aayi basant ki bela, copied the link and then noticed Shalini had already posted it. This song showed up in the side bar ( similar title words ). The lyrics were appropriate, thought why not. There is one more song sung in a darbar setting about basant that I can’t recall. If i do, I will post it.

  13. Neeru’s mention of the wonderful “ritu basant aayi” from Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje” reminded of another seasons-based raagmala – the Hamdard masterpiece, “ritu aaye ritu jaaye.” The mention of “ritu basant bahar” occurs towards the 2:06 minute mark:

    While on “basant” , I love this appropriately festive one from Subhadra Haran:

    • Pee bin soona jee gave me gooseflesh! Beautiful. Thank you, especially, for that. :-) I had never heard Aaya basant hai aaya (i didn’t even know there was a Hindi film called Subhadra Haran, but liked it a lot. Such celebration!

    • Yes, it’s very different from even what became popular in the 50s, no? Let alone in the past couple of decades. Amazing, actually, how swiftly trends in film music change – faster than themes in cinema, I think.

  14. Lovely list, and I love all the songs you have mentioned here, other than the one from Taqdeer, which I don’t remember hearing until now. I also love the Pankaj Mallick song, which my grandfather used to sing, and I heard it long before I knew what bahaar meant. I love spring, especially when the new leaves start appearing on the trees. They have such a tender green color to them that even unpoetic (is that a word? Doubtful) people like me would love to burst into song, but alas! my singing would scare the birds away! I have two mockingbirds building a nest in a holly shrub just outside the garage, and every time I step out, they fly away, one to the trees across the street, while one stays on the roof, near the nest, watching me. I would love to get close to the nest but I don’t want to break the eggs since I don’t know how sturdy the nest is, so I just look at the birds, tell them that I mean them no harm and move away from that place.
    Most of the songs I thought of have already been posted, but here’s one, which talks of bahar, but is filmed indoors and I haven’t listened closely to the lyrics but she does talk of bahar and how she is dancing like the flowers on the branches (my translation robs the description of its beauty!): Aayi bahar mere angna mein aali …

    • What a sweet song, Lalitha! Thank you. I hadn’t heard it before, but fell in love with it even before the singing started – the music itself is so ebullient, so very spring. :-)

      I loved your description of the trees (yes, that ‘froth’ of new green leaves is something I love too!) We used to see it on a mulberry tree near our previous house. Now that we’ve shifted, we have a peepal tree outside our house, and a different spring foliage – a gorgeous pinkish-red. Lovely! There are babblers on this tree, and pigeons, occasional crows – plus green pigeons on a nearby red silk cotton. And elusive green barbets in the other trees around.

  15. A good list as always, and there are so many more in the comments! It has taken me too long to get to this post, and it will take me a while longer to look at and listen to so many songs… I am surprised, though, that no one listed the first one that always pops into my head (unless I missed it somewhere)…

    • I must admit I’d completely forgotten about Aayi bahaar aayi from Aarzoo, even though I have heard it before. It’s a nice song, Richard; thanks for adding it! (Ooh, and Dilip Kumar looks totally droolworthy! :-))

  16. Apart from all the wonderful list & the other lovely bahar songs heard ages ago, you can add two more songs which really need to be dusted off :
    1. Ye baharon ka sama, chand taron ka sama … picturized on Dev Anand & Geeta Bali.
    2. Aayi bahar mere angna mein aali … from Dekha Pyar Tumhara, sung by beautiful Baby Naaz as adult heroine Naaz.

    ( Does your blog allow to attach pictures ?)
    Thanks.

    IPS PAHWA.

    • My blog does allow pictures to be attached, but it needs some fairly complex (as far as I am concerned!) coding, so I generally don’t do it. But if you have the picture uploaded elsewhere, somewhere that’s public, you can just add the URL in your comment so people can check it out.

      Aayi bahaar mere angna mein aali does qualify for this list, but I think the bahaaron mentioned in the first song you wrote about is more a reference to ‘flourishing’ than ‘spring’. (See the introduction to my post).

  17. If it has not been discussed above, there’s one melodious Lata song from film Panchayat,
    Aayi Aayi Bahar
    Aaj Re,
    Karke Solah Singar
    Aaj Re …
    Beautifully composed by Iqbal Qureshi with excellent work on organ, One longs to listen to it again & again.

  18. Posting here something that has nothing to do with films. But it’s so beautiful, and so connected with the post topic, I couldn’t resist the urge to share it with y’all.

    • Ustad Ali Akbar Khan was a class apart, wasn’t he?

      And this is:

      (a) excellent music
      (b) raag bahaar, therefore connected to spring; and
      (c) recorded in the 60s

      Barring the ‘film’ element, all boxes ticked! So I’d say it certainly deserves a place here in the comments. :-) Thanks, Abhik.

  19. Love all the songs in this list except for the Upkar and Taqdeer numbers. Of course my fav spring number, like many others, is ‘Aayi Bahar aaj aayi’ from Doctor (1941). Great song and a great film too. Ahindra Choudhury and Pankaj Mullick were superb in that film.

    P.s: Sanwale salone song was later adapted in Telugu in the film Kumkuma Rekha, which was a remake of Ek Hi Raasta. Here goes the telugu song-

  20. Excellent list! Makes me feel that ‘bahaar’ has really come :) Songs #2,#3, #4 ,#5,#6,#7 and #9 are my top favorites. ‘Deewaana mastaana hua dil’ is the song I did like the most as it has a situation different from usual movie songs.”Aaja Ayee Bahar” is also my all time favorite :)
    It looks as if Asha Parekh has the most of the ‘bahaar’ songs filmed on her :)
    The song which I could think on the theme of bahaar is Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee (1971) title song(don’t know if it suits the above criteria)

  21. Lovely post! You could have also kept Sawan ka Mahina that’s really a beautiful Spring song.
    While going through the various posts of your blog I came to few new suggestions for you-
    1.Songs with Good Camera Work-Saqiyaa aaj mujhe and Waqt ne kiya
    2.My favourite Kids songs-Dadiamma Dadiamma ,Nanhe munne Bacche
    3.Philosophical Songs-Sansaar se bhage phirte ho,Duniya banane wale.

    I want to ask you a question that what does ‘Dustedoff’ mean??

    • Thank you! Yes, I had completely forgotten about Saawan ka mahina; it’s not one of my favourite songs, but it fits right into this post.

      I already have a philosophical songs list in the pipeline – there’s a problem there of far too many songs, and so many of them so good. But I will give it a shot. :-) I have also had a list of children’s songs pending for a while now, but after Anu did her lists, I don’t think I can match up (but I’ll try).

      I really like the idea of a ‘good camera work’ list. The two songs you have mentioned are brilliant examples. I can think, offhand, of a couple of others that should certainly be there. Will do!

      ‘Dustedoff’ was meant to refer to ‘the dusting off’ of the dust that has accumulated on the films of the past. :-)

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