Ten of my favourite ‘Songs in praise of Sadhana’

When Sadhana passed away at Christmas and I finally got down to thinking what tribute I’d post, the first thing that came to my mind was: a list of Sadhana songs. My favourite ten songs. Then, I realized that I had too much other work to get through (besides being none too well), and that a short piece requiring more heart and less research might be more doable. So that was what I did.

Sadhana

Just as well, perhaps, because otherwise Anu and I might have ended up with mirror posts. Her Sadhana songs list had pretty much all the songs I’d have selected, barring a couple. But I did want to remember Sadhana through songs (she featured in some wonderful songs: some of my favourites, in fact). Then I remembered something that had struck me several years back, when watching Is rang badalti duniya mein: how many songs there are that serenade Sadhana. Yes, a hero singing in praise of the heroine—her beauty, her charm, her overall peerlessness—is nothing new. But there are romantic songs that don’t go on and on about the charms of the loved one.

However, rather like Waheeda Rehman, Sadhana seems to have featured in a fair number of songs that, while being romantic, also lay a lot of emphasis on the irresistibility of the lady. This post, therefore. Ten songs, all (barring one) from pre-70s Hindi films that I’ve seen, and all in praise of the character Sadhana’s playing. Some are male solos (like the very first song on the list); others are duets, which start off in praise of Sadhana, before she joins in.

In no particular order:

1. Is rang badalti duniya mein (Rajkumar, 1964): This, since it was the song that sparked off this idea in the first place, seems the appropriate one to launch this list. And what a song. Rafi’s voice oozes dreamy romance in every syllable, Shammi Kapoor is at his restrained, most romantic best—and Sadhana is, despite a costume that I don’t particularly like, gorgeous. (So beautiful, in fact, that I can watch her and Shammi Kapoor intently enough to almost not notice that patently artificial set, swinging plastic vines and all). Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics say it all so well: she is so beautiful, so perfect and so irresistible in every way that she will tempt all. Not just the big bad world, but God himself. And her own lover’s pounding heart.

Is rang badalti duniya mein, from Rajkumar

2. Bahut shukriya badi meherbaani (Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, 1962): “Kahin dil yeh mera yeh taareef sunkar tumhaara bane aur mujhe bhool jaaye?” (“What if my heart, listening to your praise of me, should leave me and become yours?”) is how Sadhana’s character responds to the song Joy Mukherjee’s amnesiac army officer sings to her. And praise it is, praise of the highest order: because he thanks God for having let her come into his life. Not just because she has rescued him, but because of who she is, of what she is: beautiful and charming, brave and resourceful and sharp-witted… and he hopes that if he, the musafir, should be separated from her, God will ensure that their paths cross again.

Bahut shukhriya badi meherbaani, from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena

3. Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam (Mere Mehboob, 1963): While my father came close to spoiling this song for me by constantly singing a parody of it—“Mere khoya hua rangeen pajama de de” (“Give me my lost colourful pajamas”)—I must admit to being especially fond of it nevertheless. Mere Mehboob is one of the very few films in which I’ve liked Rajendra Kumar; it had great music, and Sadhana was lovely in her role as Husna. This song has to be a stellar example of the songs in praise of Sadhana: how much more evidence does one need of the effect of this lady, that a man who hasn’t even really seen her face—just a glimpse of her eyes, a fleeting moment when their hands have touched—is so completely smitten by her? He sings about her nargisi aankhein; the rangeen nazaara that she had allowed him so briefly to view. He sings of her mehki hui zulfein, her marmari haath; he talks of how, if his desperate searching for her is fruitless, he will be lost forever.

Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam, from Mere Mehboob

4. Chhalke teri aankhon se sharaab aur zyaada (Aarzoo, 1965): Her eyes are intoxicating, her lips are like roses. Her presence itself is such that the love-struck lover’s heart goes into a mad tizzy, beating faster than he could ever have imagined.

Aarzoo, like Mere Mehboob, starred Rajendra Kumar opposite Sadhana, and had a bunch of songs that, to some extent or the other, praised Sadhana. The most appropriate, perhaps, in terms of lyrics would be Ae phoolon ki raani, bahaaron ke mallika, which sets her on a pedestal, proclaiming her the queen of flowers, the empress of spring—the very embodiment of all that is beautiful. Then there’s Ae nargis-e-mastaana, which calls her (and a poetic term, this!) ‘a free-spirited narcissus’.

And there’s this, sung by the disguised lover, at a party. She (and the friend beside her) are the only ones who know whom the song is actually addressed to; everybody else thinks the ‘old gentleman’ is singing for his long-dead, much adored wife. With all that near-worship of the lover’s beauty (“Allah kare zor-e-shabaab aur zyaada”—“May Allah grant that your beauty grow greater”), it’s hardly surprising that the gathered company should think so.

Chhalke teri aankhon se, from Aarzoo

5. Gaal gulaabi kiske hain (Love in Simla, 1960): Another party song where Sadhana’s character is serenaded—but a very different one from Chhalke teri aankhon se. Sadhana, in her very first Hindi film role, is the tomboy who undergoes a makeover (supervised by her grandmother) and becomes the belle of the ball—in the process also falling in love with, and being loved by, her cousin’s fiancé.

This song is a veritable litany of Sadhana’s beauty: rosy cheeks, intoxicating eyes, dark glossy tresses, radiant complexion, the one whom the breeze kisses as it flows. “Dekhke jisko chaand jale” (“The one whom even the moon, when it sees her, envies”)… in short, pretty much the epitome of female pulchritude. And while the other people at the club might suggest the names of other women as contenders, the singer knows who really is all of that.

Gaal gulaabi kiske hain, from Love in Simla

6. Do akhiyaan jhuki-jhuki si (Prem Patra, 1962): Before this list turns into one of ‘Mohammad Rafi singing playback in praise of Sadhana’, a song by Mukesh, from one of my two favourite Sadhana films (the other one being Woh Kaun Thi?). Shashi Kapoor, as the young doctor who, having (literally) bumped into a medical student and then spent several hours on night duty with her, realizes he’s in love. Or at least attracted. Even if it’s only still mere attraction, there’s no doubting his admiration for her: for the demure eyes, the lashes shyly lowered; the lehraati zulfein; her lips, more delicate than buds. Yes, a lovely lady—and one who does think of him, too.

Do akhiyaan jhuki-jhuki si, from Prem Patra

7. Gore-gore chaand se mukh par (Anita, 1967): Another song sung by Mukesh. This one is very specific: the entire song is devoted to the beauty and the character of Sadhana’s eyes. Bright eyes, “inse qayaamat dhaanewaali aankhen hain” (“eyes that will wreak havoc”—with the lover’s heart). Without these beautiful eyes, everything is dark and bleak—and, while one pair of eyes is pretty much like another, there is something special about this set of eyes, so beautiful and in so lovely a face.

A sadly ironic song, in that Sadhana’s health problems had already begun to affect her looks, especially the beauty of those eyes. The somewhat pronounced bulge of them was still to come, but you can see that the eyeliner is perhaps used with a little too liberal a hand in an attempt to disguise that hint of imperfection.

Gore-gore chaand se mukh par, from Anita

8. Zaroorat hai zaroorat hai (Manmauji, 1962): The very first line of this song puts me off—that requirement of the shrimati being one who is eager to do ‘seva pati ki’—makes me grit my teeth in annoyance. That’s not all Kishore Kumar’s exacting character wants out of a wife, either: he has an entire list ready of all the qualities that the lady must possess.

What helps reduce the annoying MCP-ishness of much of the song is the realization that this man is, quite obviously, telling his sweetheart that she is the one he wants, because she has all the qualities. “Haseen hazaaron bhi hon khade, magar usi par nazar pade” (“Let there be a thousand beauties standing, but she is the one who’ll attract attention”), he says. He praises the tresses caressing her fair cheeks; her adas; the fragrance of her very breath; the rose amongst the flowers. Perfection itself. And he hopes she will agree to be his.

Zaroorat hai zaroorat hai, from Manmauji

9. Poochhe jo koi mujhse bahaar kaisi hoti hai (Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayi, 1971): The third film in this list which has Rajendra Kumar serenading Sadhana. He was pretty long in the tooth by this time, and her beauty was also suffering the ravages of illness, making this one of her last major roles as a lead. (Despite the fact that her face isn’t as gorgeous as it once was, it’s worth noting that Sadhana’s figure—shown off nicely in that short skirt—is pretty enviable. Not too many actresses of her age, in that era, could have pulled off something like that).

And this is all about how wonderful she is. This admirer thinks the world of her. She is the spring, she is beauty. Her hair are the dark, looming clouds. She is intoxicating; she is a hoor, a fairy straight from paradise.

Poochhe jo koi mujhse, from Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayi

10. Nainonwaali ne ek matwaali ne (Mera Saaya, 1966): And, to end, a song with a difference. This one is sung by Sadhana’s character herself—but it’s proxy; she’s singing it on behalf of her husband, whom she deems incapable of singing an original song (“Chori ke sher hain,” she teases him—“your verses are stolen”—when he praises the sweetness of her voice and her beauty). So she takes over the task of voicing all his feelings, of putting into words what he would have said. That her eyes hold him captive; that her grace and innocence have won his heart. “Naaz-o-ada se chaand ke aage ghoonghat jab sarkaaye, chaand tadap par uske gore kadmon par gir jaaye” (“When she, in her beauty and elegance, lifts the veil off her face, the moon itself heaves a sigh and collapses at her fair feet”). Yes, this may not be modesty itself, but the man seems to agree.

Nainonwaali ne ek matwaali ne, from Mera Saaya

Which songs would you add to the list?

Oh, and: Happy New Year, everybody. I hope this year is a wonderful one for each of you: healthy, happy, safe, fulfilling.

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48 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite ‘Songs in praise of Sadhana’

  1. Rofl at Rangeen Pajama. My brother was adept at spoiling songs. Cannot blame your father really, the song really ruled the airwaves and was heard ALL THE TIME. This must have prompted him to spoil it.

    This is a lovely theme. I love all songs of Arzoo, hence I will add the other one that I love so much. And Harvey hates so much ;)


    Artist: Mohammed Rafi

    • Yes, the very fact that the title song of Mere Mehboob was so popular must have prompted my father and his friends to ruin it, too. He was, despite his love for Hindi films and their music, very adept at ruining lyrics whenever it was possible. There’s that one too about Mere saamne waali khidki mein ek phata pajama latka hai… God knows why this preoccupation with pajamas!

      I must admit I’m not very fond of Ae phoolon ki raani – there’s something about the music that doesn’t appeal to me much – but it’s not a bad song. And it fits right into this theme. Thanks for that.

  2. What a lovely post, Madhulika. You really made my day. I love all those songs. Though my own personal favourite is “Lag ja gale”, (yours too, perhaps, but it won’t fit in here). Sadhana looks beautiful in all your screen-caps, including the tribute post.I hope you get well soon.

    • Yes, Lag jaa gale is not merely my favourite Sadhana song, but one of my favourite songs, irrespective of anything else. It’s simply stunning. But, as you pointed out, it doesn’t fit the post. Glad you liked this list, and thank you both for the special appreciation of the screen caps (I took a lot of care to pause at just the places where I thought she looked loveliest!), and for your wishes. I am much better now.

  3. Thanks for posting the list of these beautiful songs, I have not heard some of them and I will do that soon. As for me, ‘Ae phoolon ki rani’ is my personal favourite song/video of Sadhanajee, she was incredibly cute and young in that song and that smile was killer.

  4. A beautiful tribute! Glad you included “Nainonwali ne”. It’s one of my favourite Sadhana songs – her impishness shines through. Another song in praise of Sadhana that I really like is Mehbooba Teri Tasveer from Ishq Par Zor Nahin – slow, soft, lilting – the kind of song at which Rafi excels.

    • Ah, I haven’t seen Ishq Par Zor Nahin. Is it good? I do like Dharmendra, so that (besides Sadhana) is a plus for me, but I was wondering if the film itself is worth watching.

      • Haven’t seen it either so can’t help you there. Sorry! I was actually searching for Rafi’s songs picturised on Dharmendra (quite a few of my favourites there) and chanced upon this song

      • “Ishq par zor nahin” IS a good movie. It’s a re-make of the 1961 movie “Shola aur shabnam”.I believe Ramesh Saigal wanted to make this 1961 movie with Sadhana and in colour, but colour stock was expensive then, so Saigal re-made in 1971. The first 3/4ths of the movie is good . Sadhana has acted splendidly in it, she has a bold role in it, engaged to Biswajeet but carrying on an affair with Dharmendra, who she really loves. And Sadhana, though maturer, looks very beautiful in many scenes. The songs are nothing to write home about, however, and the ending is long-drawn & garish, but watch it for Sadhana.

        • Two scenes in “Ishq par zor nahin” are Really worth re-watching. Sadhana is a rich girl, engaged to Biswajeet , a magnate’s son , but she’s in love with the poor helper, Dharmendra. One day Biswajeet suggests a visit to Dharmendra’s house..Sadhana asks Dharam to show her his room, there on the doorstep she suddenly grabs his shirt hard , yanks him into the room , says in a low voice “Shaam ko usee jagah milna” (or some such thing) then in a voice loud enough for others to hear she declares “Eh Mister, tumhara ghar to bada acchha hai !” In a later scene Dharam pleads with her to leave him alone , he keeps saying , “Main ek gharib aadmi hoon, mujhe pareshaan mat karo”. Sadhana flares up & says, “Tum ik patta gale main bandh kar baith jao aur us pe likh do —-‘Main. Ek, Ghareeb.Aadmi. Hoon’;shaam tak bahut paise mill jayenge”. !!! Sadhana’s brilliant in the bold scenes. Yet she often snubs Dharmendra giving him the cold-treatment when he doesn’t co-operate.The middle part off the film keeps you on tenterhooks-will their affair be found out ? Sadhana looks flawlessly beautiful in the song “Ye dil diwana hai” and “Main to tere rang rati” in which she wears blue contact lenses.

        • Ah, okay. I’ve seen Shola aur Shabnam (didn’t like it much, but then, it wasn’t a very well-made film, either – poor scripting and overall forgettable). Interesting that it should have been made all over again with Dharmendra once again! I must see it, especially after reading those interestingly unusual scenes you’ve described in your other comment.

  5. Just a few days ago, I wrote in response to a comment that I was tempted to another list of ‘Songs to Sadhana! :)

    As in your case, it was Is rang badalti duniya mein that brought that theme to mind, and I’d mentally ticked off Mere mehboob mujhe, Bahut shukriya badi meherbaani, Do ankhiyaan jhuki jhuki, and Ae nargis-e-mastana. (You chose Chhalke teri aankhon mein..) I loved your other choices as well, even if I’m not too fond of Zaroorat hai zaroorat hai, and for the same reasons as you.

    Thank you for reminding of songs that I hadn’t heard in a while.

    • This is creepy in the extreme. :-) My first response when I read this comment of yours was “Imagine!” and then “Yes, well. Not surprising.” Will it surprise you if I admit that I’d actually included Ae nargis-e-mastaana at first, even written up the description of it (including a reference to the fact that there’s the narcissus motif both here and in Mere mehboob mujhe. Then, listening to Chhalke teri aankhon se, I thought that one dwelt more heavily on her beauty than did Ae nargis-e-mastaana

      Hope you’re better, Anu.

  6. That’s a great idea for a tribute to Sadhana. Another song that meets your criteria is “Ek but banaaonga…” from Asli Naqli with Dev Anand as the pujari.

  7. Wonderful tribute to a lovely artist! Thank you Madhu. I like the songs from your list, especially “is rang badalti…”

    My personal favorite is from 1960 movie Parakh (Gira Hai Kisika Jhumka) – Music-Salil Chaudhary, Lyrics-Shailendra, Singer-Lata Mangeshkar. There are many songs of Sadhna in which she looks stunning. In this particular one, I loved the simplicity that decorated her.. Music is outstanding and the voice couldn’t be sweeter, in my opinion..

  8. As I said on Anu’s blog, when I think of Sadhana the song that comes to mind is one To her rather than by her, so here once again is “mujhe dekh kar aapka muskurana” from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena. :-)

    As a bonus, here’s another song not exactly in praise of Sadhana, but desirous of her company – “door rehkar na karo baat” from Aamanat.

    • Yes, I think more than the songs ‘sung’ by Sadhana, I remember songs sung to Sadhana.

      Mujhe dekhkar aapka muskuraana, after Is rang badalti duniya mein, was the second song that came to my mind. I actually went and watched/listened to it all over again, only to realise that it didn’t – at least to my mind – have much in the way of praise of Sadhana. More like a recounting of the effects of love on her.

      Which was why I didn’t put it in. Regretfully, since I simply adore that song.

      I like Door rehkar na karo baat too, even if it doesn’t exactly fit either.

  9. Lovely post! I am really feeling very sad for Sadhana.There was nobody to look after her when she was ill.
    It’s a great tribute to Sadhana ji.May her heart rest in peace.

    • Have been looking at movies and songs of Sadhana recently. Can you point me to when her eyes start to show the thyroid effect (was it grave’s eyes?). I believe the movie Badtameez shows her with both beautiful eyes as well as the thyroid effect. Seems like the movie took a long time to make… If it were in today’s times, would plastic surgery have solved for it?

      • Somewhere around 1966-67, I would think. Because if you see her in Waqt (1965), she’s still stunning all through. Whereas in Anita – 1967 – you can see definite signs of her illness setting in. It’s been a long time since I watched Budtameez, so I don’t recall how she looked in various scenes through the course of the film, but since that’s 1966, it should be about that time.

        No idea if it was Grave’s eyes (though it may have been a not too severe case), or whether plastic surgery could have helped. Maybe a doctor would be able to explain.

        • Yes, Sadhana did have Graves’ disease, or hyperthyroidism ,which makes the eyes bulge horribly. There was no cure for it at that time, so she was put on steroids which make the face puffy. She went to Boston for treatment and it did some good & she was back on the tracks again. It was in “Arzoo” that her face started showing signs of the illness especially towards the end of the movie & in some close up shots in between the song “bedardi balma” that were interspersed later. In the rest of the song she looks good enough to eat.The signs of the disease also showed in some scenes of “Budtameez” that were shot later. In “Waqt” , as you say ,Madhu, she looked gorgeous throughout. No, plastic surgery couldn’t have been done to the eyes, but , yes, during this time , I’m sure she did have plastic surgery done to her nose, which she thought was broad , but was actually charming. (She said in an interview after her first film “Love in Simla” — ‘ Mr. Nayyar loved my nose, he said you could land a helicopter on it ! ‘ ). She had one of the earliest nose jobs done in Hindi cinema, if you look closely in her later movies her nose had become thinner & her voice slightly nasalized. Later other actresses had nose-jobs done, like Sridevi, Koena Mitra & I think Shilpa Shetty, some of them with disastrous results.

          • Yes in Badtameez, there are some scenes where she shows anger / shock towards Shammi on her face and if you still the image, you can clearly see that her eyes are too big / coming out of the socket.

            Feel very sad that she must have lost out on some movies in 67-68 (I read about “Around the world”) somewhere, and once you have a break no one ever comes back easily

          • Thank you for clarifying that for us. I hadn’t realized she’d had a nose job done, but now that you point it out, I can see that her nose does look definitely thinner in later films. She didn’t really need it.

  10. It is said that Katrina Kaif got her hair coloured red for the movie “Fitoor” & hairdressers came from the U.K to do it & it cost Rs.55 lakhs just for this ! Yet her hair looks artificial & not worth the money. Sadhana’s hair in “Tere pyaar mein dildaar” looks much a much more gorgeous red and natural too, perhaps it was ‘Clairol’ or may be she was a natural red-head. The link’s here:

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