Ten of my favourite romantic duets

One would’ve thought a blog dedicated largely to old Hindi cinema would milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth; after all, the number of old Hindi films that didn’t feature a romance of some sort, of some duration, can almost be counted on the fingers of one hand. True, the romance may end in tragedy; it may come up against one obstacle or the other; there may be misunderstandings galore—but romance and Hindi cinema did go hand in hand (still do, to a large extent). So a Valentine’s Day-themed post is pretty much de rigueur.

This year, after having dilly-dallied and wondered whether I should try a ‘romantic songs’ list, I decided I should. And, oddly enough, all the romantic songs that kept occurring to me—the ones which immediately popped into my head and kept playing—were of Shammi Kapoor lip-synching to Rafi. Too easy. So I decided to go a different route: ten romantic duets (yes, there’s still a good bit of Shammi Kapoor here, but not completely).

Romantic duets

My criterion for these songs (besides the fact that they should be pre-70s duets, from films that I’ve seen), was that the romance should be of the knee-weakening sort: not teasing songs like Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji; not roothna-manaana songs like Achhaji main haari; not I’ll-stalk-you-till-you-relent songs like the countless ones featured on just about every screen couple there is.

No; pure, outright romance. Nothing to adulterate the headiness of being in love, of being confident, too, that one’s love is returned. Without further ado, therefore, my favourite romantic duets. These are in no particular order.

1. Deewaana hua baadal (Kashmir ki Kali, 1964): Having started off by saying that all the romantic songs (not necessarily duets) that occurred to me ended up being picturized on Shammi Kapoor, let me go ahead and begin this post with a duet that’s picturized on him. In a film that had one great song after the other—and songs, too, that ran the gamut from fast-paced folksy to drunken despair—there were two wonderful duets. One was Ishaaron-ishaaron mein dil lene waale; the other was this. There is nothing about Deewaana hua baadal that I don’t like. OP Nayyar’s music is sublime; Rafi’s and Asha Bhonsle’s voices are perfect; and SH Bihari’s lyrics—that barson se khizaan ka mausam thha, veeraan badi duniya thhi meri always charms me—are lovely. Add to that a handsome Shammi Kapoor, a lovely and demure Sharmila Tagore, fruit trees in bloom and two shikaaras on the water… it doesn’t get more romantic than this.

Deewaana hua baadal, from Kashmir ki Kali

2. Udhar tum haseen ho idhar dil jawaan hai (Mr & Mrs 55, 1955): When I was young, the Guru Dutt films I’d seen had always made me regard the actor as more a character actor than the quintessential hero: a man most suited to a song like Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye or Dekhi zamaane ki yaari.

And then I saw Mr & Mrs 55, and more specifically, Udhar tum haseen ho idhar dil jawaan hai. There’s so much romance in this song, not just in the lyrics and the music, but also in the quiet dreaminess of the dusk, the wind ruffling Madhubala’s hair. The very presence of the gorgeous Madhubala would go a long way in making any song romantic, but this one (unlike a lot of the more playful or frothy romantic songs picturized on her) is in a different league altogether. This is a woman who’s come to the realization that the man who married her for what she thinks are purely mercenary reasons is actually not a bad person—in fact, she has, willy-nilly, fallen in love with him. The combination of shyness and invitation in her demeanour, his increasing confidence—both make for some amazing chemistry.

Udhar tum haseen ho, from Mr & Mrs 55

3. Hum jab simatke aapki baahon mein aa gaye (Waqt, 1965): There is something about Kashmir that makes it almost synonymous with romance (or at least, did, back in the golden age of Hindi cinema). So much so that even in a film that wasn’t set in Kashmir, one song is picturized in what is obviously a Kashmir setting. And what a song! A lovely, softly romantic one about how simply entering the welcoming embrace of the beloved is enough to make all one’s dreams come true. How his love, surrounding her, fills her with joy, lights up her life. And so it is for him, too.

Again, one of those songs that ticks all the boxes: great music, lovely voices (yes, even though I’m not a Mahendra Kapoor fan, he’s not bad in this), and so much eye candy. And the lyrics: how very loving and sweet is something like Hum apni dilpasand panaahon mein aa gaye (I have [by coming into your arms] come into my favourite refuge).

Hum jab simatke aapki, from Waqt

4. Aap yoon hi agar humse milte rahe (Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena, 1962): When the theme for this post first occurred to me, one of the first films (not songs) that came to mind was Ek Musaafir Ek Haseena—because this film had some of the most romantic songs from the 60s: beautifully picturized, with lovely music and great lyrics. Sadly, my favourite (Mujhe dekhkar aapka muskuraana) is a solo, but this duet isn’t far behind.

On the surface of it—with the music, especially, which is rather more frothy and light than one would expect of a dreamy love song—this is a teasing song. A song in which the man challenges the woman: if you keep meeting me thus, you will fall in love with me. He knows, however—and she knows that he knows—that she is already well and truly in love with him. What it turns into, then, is an avowal of love. Thinly disguised as a playful song, but a song, really, of being in love. Joy Mukherjee and Sadhana are wonderful in this one.

Aap yoon hi agar, from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena

5. Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase (Manzil, 1960): Along with Shammi Kapoor, one of my favourite romantic heroes of the 50s and 60s is Dev Anand. So debonair, so charming, and with so many wonderful songs picturized on him. One of the actresses (along with Waheeda Rehman) with whom I thought Dev Anand shared an especially good onscreen chemistry was Nutan: they are amazingly convincing in all the films they’ve done together, all the way from Paying Guest to Tere Ghar ke Saamne.

And here is one, often sadly overlooked when it comes to not just Dev Anand’s films, but also Dev Anand’s songs. From the forgettable Manzil, a memorable song which begins with the recitation of a poem and then segues into a stunner of a song, in the voices—blending, separating and going their own ways, then coming together—of Rafi and Geeta Dutt. I love the music and the lyrics, and the picturization fit both perfectly: the quiet affection of these two, their level of comfort with each other, the magic of the night. Lovely.

Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase, from Manzil

6. Dil tadap-tadapke keh raha hai (Madhumati, 1958): Tumse meri zindagi ka yeh singaar hai, jee rahi hoon main ke mujhko tumse pyaar hai (You adorn my life; I live because I love you) she sings. And he says that without her, the spring is not the spring; because he’s waiting for her, even the flowers cannot be said to have truly blossomed. Gul nahin khile, ke tera intezaar hai.

In one of the most stellar scores of the 1950s, Salil Choudhary brought in some absolutely sublime music—all the way from one of Hindi cinema’s funniest songs to one of its most anguished. And, in between, one of its most achingly romantic. Dil tadap-tadapke is lilting and lovely, and the cinematography, the pine trees and the mountains, the lovely Vyjyanthimala as the shy Madhumati, coming to meet the ‘babu’ she has fallen in love with—romance all the way.

Dil tadap-tadapke keh raha hai, from Madhumati

7. Kora kaagaz thha yeh mann mera (Aradhana, 1969): The blockbuster Aradhana, though its primary romance ends in utter tragedy, uses that romance as the basis for some memorable romantic songs, all the way from the serenade Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu to the steamily erotic Roop tera mastaana. There’s also Gunguna rahe hain bhanwre, but for me, the best of the lot is this sweet and melodious song about how an empty life, a heart as blank as a sheet of clean paper, can be brightened and changed by the appearance in it of a loved one.

SD Burman’s music is gentle and lilting, never letting the orchestration overwhelm Kishore and Lata’s voices, but act as a frame for them. And the picturization follows the same rule: the faces of an impossibly handsome Rajesh Khanna and a beautifully dimpled Sharmila Tagore remain the focus, even though the landscape against which they’re shot—lovely snowcapped peaks, deodar woods, flowers, even a herd of sheep—is equally picturesque.

Kora kaagaz thha yeh mann mera, from Aradhana

8. Na jaane kahaan tum thhe na jaane kahaan hum thhe (Zindagi aur Khwaab, 1961): Zindagi aur Khwaab was one of those films that’s a long cry of pain and morbidity from beginning to end. It gives you a good idea of why Meena Kumari got dubbed the ‘tragedy queen’, and had little to redeem it—except for this song.

Na jaane kahaan tum thhe is the one highlight of this melodrama: a song that, for the few minutes it plays, makes this seem like a film worth watching. Manna Dey has always been a favourite of mine, and here he’s at his best with Suman Kalyanpur, to a wonderful tune by Dattaram—and the picturization is really quite nice too. See the shy sweetness in Meena Kumari’s eyes, or the tender way in which Rajendra Kumar looks at her. Or the fact that though it’s set in a garden, they never prance and dance or race about, hand in hand: all the movements are slow, gentle, the very embodiment of romance.

Na jaane kahaan hum thhe, from Zindagi aur Khwaab

9. O nigaah-e-mastaana (Paying Guest, 1957): Along with Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase, another Dev Anand-Nutan romantic duet which is among my favourites. My initial thought had been: should this qualify as a purely romantic song? Isn’t it more playful, more teasing? But it isn’t, really, when you look closely, listen closely. Because the lyrics are all about being so deeply in love that the absence of the beloved becomes unbearable; that the solitude of the night is utterly romantic and thrilling; and that the very sight of the sweetheart’s intoxicating eyes is enough to make one’s heart go completely haywire.

And the picturization. Dev Anand was never handsomer (though I wish he’d been wearing a shirt in this song), Nutan is radiant, and the sweetly charming way in which they move about on the rooftop is delightful.

O nigaah-e-mastaana, from Paying Guest

10. Raat ke humsafar thakke ghar ko chale (An Evening in Paris, 1967): I began this post with a duet featuring Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore; I’ll end it within another. Also a Shakti Samanta film; also a song set partly on water; also a locale almost synonymous with romance: exotic Paris, rather than our own beautiful Kashmir Valley.

Raat ke humsafar, however, has a different quality of romance to it when compared to Deewaana hua baadal:  there is, in the lyrics, the expressions (especially the eyes) of the two actors, and the very setting—night in Paris—a somewhat more erotic vibe (despite the fact that An Evening in Paris makes much of its heroine Deepa’s oh-so-proper ideas about what is permissible and what not). These are two lovers, heading home late at night, tired from the excitement of the day, relaxed and comfortable in their relationship—and so obviously looking forward to the future…

Raat ke humsafar, from An Evening in Paris

Which are your favourite romantic duets?

If you want to listen to all these songs, here’s the playlist I created: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2NcsVcorK4H_CdFQ9pLHjEFX1QElW98o

 

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121 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite romantic duets

  1. very nice list, out of these I would arrange my favourite as –
    1) Dil tadap tadap ke
    2) Hum jab simat ke
    3) Aap yun hi agar (another romantic song from the same movie, Tumhe mohabbat hai humse)
    4) O Nighae mastana
    5) Deewana hua badal
    6) Kora kagaz tha
    7) Udhar tum haseen ho
    can’t arrange the remaining as I haven’t heard them now.

    • Mine are in no particular order, because I don’t think I would be able to accord any rank to these songs.

      Do listen to the other three as well and let me know what you think.

      • my favourite is dil tdap tdap k keh raha hain. tumsay meri zindagi ka yeh singaar hai ji rahi hu main ki mujhko tumsay pyaar hain. totally feminine expression. have seen ladies singing this line with so much happiness. love vjyantimala blushing. in raat k humsafar. i started laughing when i see shammi moving his head in his usual style. shammi my favourite . what an energy on screen.

        • Yes, it’s hard to beat Shammi Kapoor when it comes to sheer energy. Though I think he could also carry off the slow, romantic style very well – as in Hum aur tum aur yeh samaa or Ae gulbadan ae gulbadan.

  2. Wonderful & of course timely post!
    Kora Kagaz (Aradhana) is a stand out for me & often overlooked in a film full of attention grabbing super hits (this is far more subtle & loving than the lustful roop tera mastana) & the magnetic Rajesh Khanna.

    A couple of other romantic nuggets that instantly spring to mind are ‘mere dil mein aaj kya hai’ (Daag)…again Rajesh & Sharmila, although not a duet & the date may not fit your given criteria. Also love ‘dhum bhar jo udhar mu phere’ from Awara….the moonlight & sublime chemistry between Raj Kapoor & Nargis ramps up the love quotient.

    • Thank you, Nishi! Glad you liked the post. Yes, I agree that Kora kaagaz thha yeh man mera tends to get overlooked, even though it’s really such a more subtle and loving song than the more in-your-face ones.

      I have to admit I don’t particularly like Mere dil mein aaj kya hai (the music doesn’t appeal to me, though the lyrics are lovely). Dum bhar jo udhar moonh phere certainly fits the bill, though my lack of enthusiasm for Raj Kapoor is a major factor in my not putting it in my absolute favourites. ;-)

  3. What a delightful post, Madhu….well, the first song that came to my mind was Deewana hua badal and the second – Raat ke humsafar. And I am so pleased that they both are very much there…:-)
    Funnily the only two songs from your list that would not feature in my list (if I were to ever make one) are – Udhar tum haseen ho and Kora kaagaz tha ye man mera. Also I would have Main pyar ka raahi hoon instead of Aap yun hi agar humse…

    One song that did come to my mind, though it does not really fit in as a romantic duet per se is Chhupa lo yun dil mein pyar mera (Mamta) – love as devotion and worship – but well, I love it..

    My favourite romantic duets are actually in Tamil – mostly Ilaiyaraja numbers from the late 70s and 80s. here is one from Nizhalgal (1980) – Poongathave Thal Thiraiva (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFmRBOTzc44) And then there is Ninaivo Oru Paravai from Sigappu Rojakkal (1978) picturised on Sridevi and Kamal Haasan (remade in Hindi as Red Rose starring Rajesh Khanna). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR-3IoaON6g

    • I love Chhupa lo yoon dil mein pyaar mera. No, not really a romantic song, but a song of a very deep love. A sort of tragic love song, yet not completely tragic… hard to assign a feeling to it. Beautiful.

      As you can probably guess, I hadn’t heard either of the Ilaiyaraja songs – have just finished listening to them, and yes, they are wonderful, both of them. I’m not a fan of either Sridevi or Kamal Haasan, so the first song gets my vote over the second one when it comes to sheer visuals. ;-)

  4. Very good post. Songs Ai chand zara chhup jaa from Latt Sahab and the Gumnaam song Jaane chaman both from SJ are contestants here both full of romantic flavour and also the Halaku duet Aja ke intezar mein which was superbly tuned and rendered.

    • Thank you! Incidentally, both Aye chaand zara chhup jaa as well as Jaan-e-chaman shola badan were on my shortlist for this post. I dropped the Laat Saheb one because I already had two Shammi Kapoor songs on my list, and there were other songs I liked more. Jaan-e-chaman shola badan I dropped because (a) Sharda’s voice really grates on me; and (b) the picturization always surprises me – all those graves and ruins, and these people are singing a love song and getting really steamy! Somehow it doesn’t go together. :-)

  5. A very nice selection indeed. But it is difficult to select ten out of legions of romantic songs
    Gaata rahe mere dil. Sau saal pahale muje tumko pyar hai tasveer tere dil mien
    All dev anand duets deserve to find place .then of course the list would be dev anand romantic duets. Your list accommodated all romantic heros of that time.
    Thank you

    • Thank you, Epstein! So glad you liked the selection. :-) Gaata rahe mera dil was on my shortlist, but since I already had two Dev Anand songs on it, I decided the post shouldn’t become a Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor-dominated one! Sau saal pehle did occur fleetingly to me, but childhood memories of a silly parody – Sau saal pehle Dev Anand ganwaar thha, gadhe pe savaar thha, aaj bhi hai aur kal bhi rahega – have somehow stopped me from appreciating the romance in that song. :-D

      • Wonder what was the genesis of the parody you are referring to – Dev Anand could be called many things but not “ganwaar” by any stretch of imagination

        • I’ve always wondered about that, too, because Dev Anand is the last person I’d term ganwaar! I think it was purely for the purposes of rhyming – not much else rhymes with sawaar.

  6. When I got the email about this new post of yours, my first reaction was, “Oh, no!” I’ll lay out my reasons presently, but they’ve nothing whatsoever to do with you, Madhulikaji. You write wonderfully, and especially on the subject of these old films and their music, with a touch of the sublime. Reading the post has only reinforced my opinion about your writing.

    No, my dismay (if that’s the right word) was brought about by the fact that this is a category where almost every lover of the songs of the golden era will have differing favourites and clashing views. In that period, at least 75% of the film songs could safely be considered “romantic”, and that’s probably a conservative estimate. That amounts to a huge number of songs. To select just ten from those is a difficult challenge, and it’s more or less guaranteed that no two persons will select the same songs. Why, my own choices change from day to day, even hour to hour. So I’m not even in agreement with myself most of the time. :)

    Having said that, you’ve selected some very nice songs indeed, though perhaps with an inherent leaning towards the sixties, with two from the late fifties, and one from 1955 tossed in. My bias would probably lead to a list (if I made one) filled with more songs from the early fifties.

    Secondly, there’s so much material available that the list should be of the ‘Top fifty’ in order to do justice to the creators of all those wonderful songs. ‘Top ten’ simply isn’t enough!

    Anyway, kudos on another good blog-post. This time, I won’t add any songs, for if I start, I may not be able to stop.

    • “almost every lover of the songs of the golden era will have differing favourites and clashing views.

      Which is why I judiciously name my posts “Ten of my favourite…”. Each of the words in that title implicitly spells out something:

      1. These are just ten of the songs in this particular theme that I am fond of. There could be more, but right now, these are ten.

      2. They’re my favourite. Not anybody else’s.

      3. They’re my favourite. I’m not saying they’re the best or the most popular, or anything of that sort. Just my own personal choice, so I don’t expect anybody to agree with them completely or even halfway.

      (Incidentally, rather like what you write in your comment, I change my mind too – when I look back at some posts I wrote years ago, I end up disagreeing with myself. I’m sure if I come back to this post a few years down the line, I’ll have a different take on them. Some songs might have given way to others by then).

      Thank you, and I’m glad you liked the songs. :-)

    • I always think of Haal kaisa hai janaab ka as more playful than anything else, no? Yes, romantic, but in a teasing, playful way. Not exactly what I was looking for, as I’ve mentioned in the introduction to this list.

  7. The ones that came off the top of my head (i.e. the ones we used to belt out as teenagers – even then we were fond of “old songs”), and that were not on your list
    – Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum
    – Pyar hua ikraar hua hai
    – Sau saal pehle mujhe timse pyaar tha
    – abhi na jayo choddh kar

    • Abhi na jaao chhodkar and Aaja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum were on my shortlist, but eventually didn’t make it to the final. As for Pyaar hua ikraar hua hai… I might’ve liked it more if it hadn’t featured Raj Kapoor (and that too in his tramp avatar). Besides which, that song has been so done to death, it grates on my nerves now. And Sau saal pehle… ah, that horrible parody I learnt during my schooldays has robbed it of all the romance in it. :-D

  8. That’s a very nice compilation Madhu didi. I loved all the songs. One song which melts my heart everytime I hear it is ‘Pyaas kuch aur bhi bhadka di jhalak dikhla ke’ from Lala Rukh(1958) sung by Talat Mehmood and Asha Bhonsle. It’s so melodious! Another favorite of mine is ‘Tasveer teri dil mein’ from Maya(1961). Do these fit into your criteria?
    But very nice post didi :-)

    • Thank you, Rahul! So glad you liked this list. I like Pyaas kuchh aur bhi bhadka di (in fact, Lala Rukh is a particular favourite of mine – I really like that movie a lot). Tasveer teri dil mein is lovely too; both songs fit right into this theme. :-)

  9. I was sifting through some songs yesterday, trying to pick ONE that I would choose as the MOST romantic and settled on Raat ke hamsafar. It is a very unusual song which does not sing praises about the beloved, just seems to celebrate togetherness.

    I love all the other songs in this list and want to post a song from post 70s to add to the variety. Full of beautiful writing by Makhdoom and lovely tunes set by Khayyam.

    • Oh, yes, Ava. Phir chhidi raat baat phoolon ki is lovely! Really nice, thank you.

      And you’re so right about Raat ke humsafar – it does celebrate togetherness, and there’s a sort of ‘I’m confident enough of your love that I don’t need to keep praising you all the while’ tone to it. :-)

  10. Your no 1 is mine too! Deewana hua badal is just such a poetic rendition of romance. I would have somehow tried to fit in Abhi na jao chhod kar (from Hum Dono), also Mujhe jeevan ki dor se (from Asli Naqli), coincidently both picturised on Dev Anand and Sadhana. This is just by way of additions, so many of my all time favourites are on this list already that I’m not complaining.

    • To be honest, these songs aren’t in any specific order, so Deewaana hua baadal‘s position at #1 is really more accident than anything else! Though, having said that, let me also say that if I were to put these songs in any order, it would probably still end up being #1, so we agree on that!

      I have somehow never really been able to warm to Tujhe jeevan ki dor se – a good song, but not a favourite. Abhi na jaao chhodkar was on the shortlist, but eventually got nudged out.

  11. Great selection of romantic duets – though of course it is very challenging to narrow down the super-category of romantic duets to just ten songs. Here are some of my favourites:

    Dev Anand (along with Shammi Kapoor) tends to dominate romantic songs of the 50s and 60s,

    Another supremely romantic song – yes, it is technically a duet and not a solo, just like “O Nigahen Mastana”

    One small complaint – by excluding teasing songs like “Jane kahan mera jigar …”, you have barred many Jonnny Walker duets, which are so romantic in their own way!

    • Oddly enough, my love for Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum has waned over the years since I was in school. Back then, I used to love that song; now – possibly a result of familiarity breeding contempt? – I don’t like it as much.

      Dil pukaare aa re aa re is lovely. But, as you’ll see from the songs I’ve chosen, I also mention the picturization as being an important part of the experience – and Vyjyanthimala’s horrible cotton wool-encrusted saree just puts me off that song!

      Yeh mera prem patra padhkar… hmm. I don’t especially like that song, but the lyrics are lovely and evocative.

      “One small complaint – by excluding teasing songs like “Jane kahan mera jigar …”, you have barred many Jonnny Walker duets, which are so romantic in their own way!

      My blog, my rules. :-) Maybe someday I’ll do a post on teasing love songs.

  12. Madhu, what a delightful post. I like the idea of pure love, unadulterated by all the trappings. Of your list, Ye nighaahein mastana, Raat ke humsafar, Aap yunhi agar … are my particular favourites, though I liked every single one of them.

    Apart from these, I love these for the sheer romance in them:

    Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum from Patita
    Nain mila nain hua baawre from Tarana
    Isharon isharon par from Kashmir ki Kali
    Phir na keeje gustakh nigahi ka gila from Patita
    Do sitaron ka zameen par from Kohinoor

    • Thank you, Anu! Glad you liked the post. :-) Of the songs you’ve listed, Do sitaaron ka zameen par hai milan was on my shortlist too, as (you may have guessed) was Ishaaron-ishaaron mein dil lene waale. As I mentioned to another commenter, for some reason I can’t fathom, my childhood obsession with Yaad kiya dil ne kahaan ho tum has waned a lot. I used to adore that song as a child – perhaps I listened to it a little too often, and familiarity bred contempt! It’s still a nice song, but I find myself not liking it as much as, say, Phir na keeje meri gustaakh nigaahi ka gila… that’s such a lovely song!

  13. By the time I came to comment, many of the songs I wanted on my list were already mentioned by others in their comments. Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum, Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum etc etc. I am not sure if anyone is mentioned this one – Chalo dildar chalo. It’s from my favourite movie.
    But now at least I have a play list as I study. Also, you had to have two songs picturised on Sadhana, didn’t you? I am surprised you didn’t make a special mention of it in your post! :-)

    • Chalo dildaar chalo was on my shortlist, too – I eventually dropped it because the picturization doesn’t impress me very much. And, as you can see from my list, the effect of the picturization plays a part in my selection of the songs – it’s not just the music and the lyrics.

      Yes, it did cross my mind that Sadhana appears in two of these songs. If I’d retained Abhi na jaao chhodkar (which was on my shortlist), she’d have outstripped Shammi Kapoor and Dev Anand! :-)

  14. I lost my comment and list twice… boo hoo. But Here are a couple of add ons, since a few that I would have added have made their way here already, like the Patita songs. And I do want to add that I appreciate the adds almost as much as the list Madhu posts
    – Ankhon mein kya ji from Nau Do Gyarah
    – Theheriya hosh mein aa loon from Mohabbat Isko Kehtein Hain
    – Tasveer teri dil mein from Maya
    – Dheere dheere chal from Love Marriage

    Links below


    My list is Dev heavy, but I think (like a lot of people here) the romantic (and just a wee bit naughty and wistfully fun) genre was captured by Dev Anand, Shammi Kappor and Shashi Kapur.

    • I agree with you about Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor being really good at the romantic genre – they were masters of the art! I know, if I were to come up with a list of romantic male solos, these three would probably merit a list each of their own.

      I’m not very keen on Dheere-dheere chal or Tasveer teri dil mein (not that I dislike them, though, I hasten to add). But Thehariye hosh mein aa loon and Aankhon mein kya ji totally get my vote! Love those songs (in fact they were on my shortlist).

      • I agree, I sequenced them in order of my fondness for them…. the chemistry in Ankhon mein kya ji is palpable and probably reflects the real life romance between the two that was at its peak during the shooting of the movie, I believe. And with Thehariya hosh mein aa loon – I just love the intoxication of love that the song evokes.

        • “And with Thehariya hosh mein aa loon – I just love the intoxication of love that the song evokes.

          So true! I would have definitely included the song if I’d watched the film (which is one of those crazy, completely arbitrary rules I impose on myself). :-)

  15. A great way to start out Valentine’s Day here in the US :-) You picked some lovely songs, but what got me excited the most was the picking of “Na jaane kahaaN hum thhe” – I am very fond of the song, but the picturization is one of my absolute favorites. Amazing how Meena Kumari manages to show all the feelings without actually looking like she is acting at all in this scene. Minimalistic for the most part – OUTSTANDING.
    I have a few others that I would like to add to the list:
    An unusual love song for me is one where the guy is almost not responding. Between Asha’s voice and Sadhana’s beauty, the scene is another favorite of mine. People usually pick the duet version, but that feels overdone to me. Yes, this is not technically a duet, but it does start with Rafi singing a bit – that’s my story and I am sticking to it :-)

    Another one that I love is unusual since neither of the characters actually want to mention their love. Unfortunately, I could not find the video.

    A song whose picturization is lovely for the setting but nothing unusual is this one – but what a composition and ethereal singing.

    Somebody already mentioned both “Yeh mera prem patr paDhkar” and “Thehriye hosh me aa looN”.

    And given your love for Shakeela, I was surprised not to see this one:

    • Lovely songs, Madhulika. I go along with your choice, but I do agree with one blogger “Abhi na jaao chhodh kar” could have been on the list.
      You’ve mentioned Kashmir being an important protagonist in some of these songs. Kashmir had been exploited properly by the film-makers of the 60’s , it looks glorious in the movies of that period, the lush greenery, the Dal lake, the riotous colours, the lovely flowers & gardens. But somehow in the post 90’s films like “Mission Kashmir”, “Fanaa”, “Haider”,”Fitoor” & others it looks gloomy & monchromatic & dull !

      • As I mentioned elsewhere, Abhi na jaao chhodkar was on my shortlist, but didn’t make it to the final list – and this is my favourites list, so it’s really a little odd for people to tell me what should appear on my favourites list! :-) I am more than happy, however, to see what other people have on their lists.

        I think the current depiction of Kashmir in Hindi cinema is more to do with its perception in the public mind and eye. In the 60s through to the early 80s, it was associated with beauty and romance and escapism (quite literally, if you look at films like Junglee, Kashmir ki Kali, Mere Sanam, Aarzoo, etc, where people ‘escape’ their everyday lives in the plains and go off to Kashmir, inevitably to fall in love). Now, the only thing that people seem to think of when you mention Kashmir is terrorism – and that colours (or leaches out the colour from) its depictions in contemporary cinema.

    • Thank you for those songs. I had forgotten about Kashti ka khamosh safar hai – it was only well into the song that I realized I had heard it before. Nice song. I also like Dukh aur sukh but have never thought of it as a romantic song – the primary sentiment there, I think, is more about offering comfort than anything else.

      As for Ek shahenshah ne – it’s never impressed me. Neither has Neend na mujhko aaye (despite my love for both Shakila and Sunil Dutt, it’s a song I find irritating – the music just doesn’t appeal to me). But if I were to put in a Shakila song, it would be this one: Ae saba unse keh zara, from Ali Baba Chaalees Chor. It was on my shortlist, but got dropped because Mahipal doesn’t really float my boat as a romantic hero. If Shammi Kapoor or a dashing young Dilip Kumar had been in his place, this song would’ve been on my list.

  16. Perfect list for Valentine, thanks! If I made a hindi list, I suppose it could be the same. But there are some songs that I like a lot (I’m not sure that they would be among the 10 but obviously should be in long list)
    Not well-known song from Paras. It could challenge Roop tera mastana in the erotic sense. And it is very unusual to listen such Mukesh:)

    From not included duets I like Pyar Hua Ikraar Hua from Shree 420 and Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar from Hum Dono (they are already mentioned) and Isharon Isharon Mein (which you surely mentioned), Tum Jo Hue Mere Hamsafar from 12 O’Clock, and Mujhe Kitna Pyaar Hai from Dil Tera Deewana.

    And in this case I can’t help and should add at least three bengali duets:)

    Ei to hethay Kunjo Chhayay from very funny movie Lukochoori which has a lot of Kishores – twins on screen and singer off-screen:)

    A bit preppy but I think it can be qualified: Ei Poth Jodi from classic Uttam-Suchitra romantic hit Saptapadi

    And one of the sweetest love song, Ke Prothom Kache Esechi from the movie Sankhabela.

    • I hadn’t heard Tere hothon ke do phool in a long time, Anna! I remember this used to be very popular once upon a time – when I was a child, it used to be played on radio very often. :-)

      Thank you, especially for those three Bengali songs. I loved all three of them a lot, especially Ke prothom kaache esechi – so gentle and romantic and dreamy. Really, really nice. Just watching and listening to it gave me gooseflesh! Thank you.

  17. If your intent was to make us swoon, Madhu you’ve succeeded – and how! Many of my favorite have been mentioned by you and other commenters, but since there is almost an endless supply of romantic songs in Hindi songs, here are a few more.

    Mujhe pyar ki zindagi denewale – I find it to be a very “grown-up” love song. There is shyness but no simpering.

    Gumsum sa yeh jahan

    And because one must have Shammi:

    • Shalini, thank you for those songs! I had been really torn about including Gumsum sa yeh jahaan – it’s a favourite of mine, but I’d listed it in a previous Valentine’s day post on ‘romantic songs in different moods’, and thought I shouldn’t repeat songs. So glad you put it in here. :-)

      And I’m so glad to see Mujhe pyaar ki zindagi denewaale – I’ve never seen it before, but the picturization is good. The song, even by itself, is a lovely one.

      Somehow, Dil Tera Deewaana is one of those few Shammi Kapoor films which never appealed to me – not even the songs. I don’t much care for Duniyawaalon se door.

  18. What a treat!

    “a memorable song which begins with the recitation of a poem and then segues into a stunner of a song, in the voices—blending, separating and going their own ways, then coming together—of Rafi and Geeta Dutt. I love the music and the lyrics, and the picturization fit both perfectly: the quiet affection of these two, their level of comfort with each other, the magic of the night. Lovely”

    This to me is the quintessential romantic duet song! The exact words as you describe “was that the romance should be of the knee-weakening sort”- fit perfectly, in every respect, in my opinion.

    Most of the songs in your list resonate with me really really well. Thanks for creating the playlist – that makes it so easy to enjoy these lovely songs.

    Here’s a few of my own:
    1. Phir Miloge Kabhi Is Baat Ka – Rafi/Asha/OP – Movie (Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi – 1966)

    2. Tum Jo Huwe Mere Hamsafar – Rafi/Geeta/OP – Movie (12 O’ Clock – 1958)

    3. Kali Palak Teri Gori – Lata/Kishore/RD – Movie (Do Chor – 1972)

    4. Karwaten Badalte Rahe – Kishore/Lata/RD – Movie (Aap Ki Kasam 1974)

    • Thank you, Ashish! Both for the appreciation, as well as for the songs. :-I keep forgetting Phir milogi kabhi – such a nice song, but somehow the only song from Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi which remains in my mind is Yehi woh jagah hai. Tum jo hue mere humsafar was on my shortlist too, but I eventually dropped it.

      And Kaali palak teri gori is a little teasing, I think? (In any case, Dharmendra’s totally wacky outfit robs it of much romance for me!) Cute song, though.

      As for Karvatein badalte rahe… as for my feelings towards that song, my father has to blame for me bursting out laughing every time I even think of it. Years ago, it was showing on Chitrahaar, and as soon as the words Karvatein badalte rahe saari raat hum came on, my father said, “Kyon? Khatmal kaat rahe thhe, kya?

      So, yup. Romance goes flying out the window. :-D

      But it is a good song. :-)

      • Ha! That’s funny indeed. I used to say something similar on the “Kachhua Chhap Agarbatti” ad (very old ad) where a dancer is dancing and mosquitoes kept bothering her until the agarbatti comes to her rescue. I would say, “well, she was dancing because of the mosquitoes and the agarbatti just ruined her dance now”.. :)

        Jokes aside, the lines in Karwaten badalte rahe that highlight the song, for me are:
        “Ruth jayen ham to tum hamko mana lena sanam
        Door hon to pas hamko tum bula lena sanam
        Kuchh gila ho to gale hamko laga lena sanam”.. .

        • I remember that agarbatti ad. :-) Fun interpretation, that!

          Yes, I agree with you about that verse in the song: it’s so full of love, so confident in the love of the beloved (which is ironic, actually, considering the way the film plays out… rather like Wafa chaahta hoon in Dhool ka Phool).

          • Very ironic indeed! I wonder if the lyricists are in the loop of the entire story-line or they are just given situations. Considering the time of this movie (1974), I would think Anand Bakshi may have written that on purpose only to be completely ignored by the character Rajesh Khanna played in the movie!

            • I should think lyricists are probably given the entire storyline – if a film maker is really serious about a film, I would suppose that would make sense. I definitely think the Dhool ka Phool song is meant to be ironic.

      • Here’s one more that I love – Patta Patta Boota Boota – Rafi/Lata/LP/Majrooh Sultanpuri – Movie – Ek Nazar (1972)

        I love the way Amitabh and Jaya are so infused with love and each other. – One of the very few songs in which I think you can sense the intimacy between the two. The lines below are sung with so much passion – you can feel it:

        Koee kisiko chahe, toh kyun gunah samajate hain log
        Koee kisee kee khatir tadape agar toh hasate hain log
        Begana aalam hain sara, yaha toh koee hamara
        Dard nahee pahachane hai…

          • One of my all time favorite romantic song – Sung by Rafi and Lata (music Madan Mohan) from Movie Chirag (1969) – Teri ankhon ke sivay duniya main rakha kya hai…

            • I like this song a lot, but the version that I like is the happy one – this one:

              It was on my shortlist, too, but though it’s technically a duet (since she sings one line right at the end), I thought that was a bit of a stretch and that it would qualify more as a male solo than a duet. Either way, a beautiful song.

  19. Oops, I lost my comments, very nice songs on your list. I do like raat ke hum safar a lot. I will just add one, I want to go find the Dilip Kumar, Madubala song, not sure if it is a duet, will post if it is a duet.

    Chand zard zard hai from Jaali Note.

    • Oh, dear, Neeru. Sorry about that – you don’t seem to have much luck with my blog! :-(

      I have to admit to not much of a fondness for Chaand zard-zard hai. Odd, I know, considering Madhubala and Dev Anand both feature in it – there’s just something about the music that doesn’t appeal to me.

      I am curious which Dilip Kumar-Madhubala song you meant. Even if it’s not a duet.

      • Well, that turned out to be a Bharat Bhushan, Madhubala song. Main soya akhiyan meeche.. MD is same O.P. Nayyar and Madhubala does not look that great in it. So skipped it. I was mixing up the song and the scene.
        Hope you like this one.

        • Okay, I have to admit I am not a fan of Tere sadqe balam either! But that’s no problem – we can agree to disagree, and tastes are so subjective, aren’t they?

          Talking of Madhubala and romantic duets, here’s one which had been on my shortlist, but eventually didn’t make it: Chaand sa mukhda kyon sharmaaya, from Insaan Jaag Utha.

          • I DO love this song, just did not think of it . Initially no matter which song I thought if, was already listed. Amongst Rajj Kapoor songs, I like phir na Keene meri gustakh over many of his songs with. Nargis, perhaps it is Khaiyyam’s music.

            • You took the words out of my mouth, Neeru – Phir na keeje is one of my favourite RK songs, and it’s probably a result of the music (and the lyrics) for me. Khayyam was superb. All the songs in Phir Subah Hogi were memorable.

      • No problem. :-) While we’re on the topic of romantic songs sung in boats, here’s one which totally fits the bill. It features a young Mumtaz and a rarely-seen-as-hero Sudhir. If I’d seen this film, this song would definitely have been on this list. Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai, from Pyaas (aka Apni Ghar Apni Kahaani).

    • Ei sundaro swarnali wasn’t something I’d heard before. Such a beautiful song – I can understand only the odd word here and there, but it does seem to epitomise romance. So what if it’s not a duet. ;-)

  20. romantic songs from hindi films can clog up the internet i suppose :)
    so here are a couple that was the first to pop into my mind …i will stick to RD :) (and ideally Gulzar and Kishore)
    and the very urban, domestic settings of these songs…Romance in the everyday life

    Aapki aankhon mein kuch from Ghar

    Tumse milke from Parinda

  21. oof cant stop….though neither RD (but SD ) nor urban (but still a sort of slice of everyday life) ..romance of a married couple, beautifully captured (and Dev Anand again)

    Ai maine kasam li from Tere Mere Sapne

  22. Great list, not just because the songs are great to listen to (though i must admit that i don’t care much for no.3,8 & 9), but because all these songs are very very well picturised. Superb song picturisation is one of the hallmarks of that period of hindi cinema. In today’s times, apart from a few, most directors don’t have a clue on how to picturise a song. Talking of picturisation, it is quite interesting to see that, while seven directors have a song each to their credit, Shakti Samanta seems to be in a class of his own with 3 songs to his credit!! Among music directors, the same goes for Nayyarsaab & Burmanda too.

    Outside of this list, i am very fond of these songs-

    Yeh kisne geet chheda from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen

    Aha rimjhim ke yeh pyaare-pyaare geet liye from Usne Kaha Tha

    Koi bata de dil hai jahaan from Main Chup Rahoongi

    Tujhe jevan ki dor se from Asli-Naqli

    Two more from the 1970s-

    Jhilmil sitaron ka aangan hoga from Jeevan-Mrityu

    Saara pyaar tumhaara maine baandh liya hai aanchal mein from Anand Ashram

    And as usual i am cheating with 3 bengali songs :P-

    Aro dure cholo jai

    (the first video is out of sync though)

    Nir chhoto khoti nei from Indrani

    Champa chameli from Antony Firengee

    • Thank you! I like all those songs, except Tujhe jeevan ki dor se, and Yeh kisne geet chheda has never been one I’ve been able to warm to.

      By the way, could I request you to please include the name of the song and if possible the name of the movie before adding the Youtube link? The problem is that a lot of videos vanish off Youtube thanks to copyright issues, so it may well be that someone visiting this blog and seeing your comment after a few months may not know which song you’re talking about unless you specifically mention it. I’ve edited your comment for the time being and put those in. Thanks.

  23. You just reminds me my old days when me and my wife went to cinema hall to watch Guru of romance Shammi Kapoor’s movie. Thanks a lot for reminding my old days. I have a blog where I also write about bollywood industry. You can check it out and give me feedback if you get time. This is my blog: http://sultansongs.in/

    • Oh, yes, the title song of Tere Ghar ke Saamne is a very sweet. But I think it’s more playful and teasing than anything else – which doesn’t quite fit the theme of my post, does it? (but since you haven’t read the post, you wouldn’t know that – I set down a simple but strict criterion regarding the songs I’d include).

  24. Wow! Loved the collection! Ye nayan dare dare from Kohra? And, how can one forget the ultimate romance by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan in Mughal-e-Azam? Prem jogan ban ke… Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. I had a vinyl record of the original thumri by ustad, on which this song was based. Prem ki maar kataar…

    Mere dil me hai ik baat, by Manna Dey… Well, I don’t remember many now, but once I click the ‘Post Comment’ button, the songs will come rushing in my mind like a mountain river and will wash me away! :D

    A very beautiful post!

    • Thank you so much! Glad you liked the post. :-)

      Yeh nayan dare-dare and Prem jogan banke are both lovely – but they’re solos. This is a post of romantic duets.

      I love Mere dil mein hai ek baat is a nice song, too. I like it more than the other Postbox 999 song which was so popular, Neend na mujhko aaye.

  25. Congratulations! I think, I would never have been able to make this list. NEVER!!
    And such an impressive list as well.

    Deewana huwa badal makes one feel so much deewana, it is totally infectious, just like deewana, mastana huwa dil, but I think, one shouldn’t be putting the latter in the romantic duets list, since that love is sibling love, at least from one side.

    Udhar tum haseen ho is lovely. It is like ye raat ye chandani in duet. But I should say, my love for this song has waned a bit over the years. But still like it.

    Waqt songs are not my cup of tea. Somehow Ravi’s songs for the Chopras (Gumraah etc.) around that time sound the same to me.

    When I started reading this article, I was hoping that you’d included aap yuhin agar. Have loved it since my childhood and my fervour for it has remained the same.

    Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase is ROMANCE. It gives me that butterflies in the stomach feeling. That reminds me of theriye hosh me aa loon, which I absolutely love.

    Dil tadap tadapke…, SIGH!
    Bimal Roy had mostly solos in his films I think, or am I overlooking something?

    Kora kaagaz thha yeh mann mera is nice.

    I like na jaane kahaan tum the is sweet. Rajendra Kumar reminds me though of another duet filmed on him, which I love, dhadakne lagi dil ke taaron ki duniya from Dhool Ka Phool.

    Pre-internet, I never could really catch, if it was o nigaah-e-mastana or do nigaheen mastana, totally overlooking the fact, that one is singular, the other plural. :D

    Raat ke humsafar has just never come down from my popularity charts!

    Has anybody mentioned ye raath bheegi-bheegi and aaja sanam madhur chandani me ham? Anu must have.
    Tasveer tere dil ki from Love Marriage is also on of my favourites and so is aahaa rimjhim ke ye pyare-pyaare from Usne Kahaa Tha
    Some more:
    abhi na jaao chhod kar from Hum Dono
    Soch ke gagan jhoome from Jyoti
    uff kitni thandi hai ye rut from Teen Deviyaan

    • I am so glad you liked the post, Harvey! (and that you liked most of the songs – I think the only one we really disagree about is Hum jab simatke aapki… I like most of the songs of Waqt; the telephone song is meh, and the title song is somewhat dreary, but the others are okay – and for me, Aage bhi jaane na tu is in another realm all by itself. What a fabulous song!)

      I hadn’t noticed it before, but yes, it does seem as if Bimal Roy favoured solos (or sometimes one lead voice and a chorus) over duets. Interesting thing, that…

      Okay, is it O nigaahein mastaana or O nigaah-e-mastaana? We seem to think two different things, so I’m still not sure. :-D

      Yeh raat bheegi-bheegi, Aaja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum and Abhi na jaao chhodke were on my shortlist too. All lovely songs! I’m okay with Tasveer teri dil mein, but somehow have just never been able to like Uff kitni thandi hai yeh rut.

      And,,, because you mentioned one song that I adore, and would have had in my list if I’d seen the film, here’s the video of it. Sochke yeh gagan jhoome:

      What a dreamily gorgeous song this is. I was going to wait a few more days to see if anybody would mention it; if nobody had, I would’ve put it into the comments myself. :-)

      • Of course it is ‘o nigah-e-mastana’, if it were nigaahen (plural), the adjective would have had to be mastane, wouldn’t it?
        Thanks for posting the video to the song, sochake gagan jhume.
        “the telephone song is meh”
        In fact, that is the only song, which I really like from that movie, though I love the lyrics of aage bhi jaane na tu a lot.

        • I think if the word were nigahein, then the corresponding adjective would be mastaani. But poetic license, zindabad!

          I love the lyrics of Aage bhi jaane na tu a lot, as well!

  26. Apart from the overtly romantic heroes like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor and Dharmendra, the Emperor Shahjahanesque Pradeep Kumar also featured in several nice romantic duets:

    “Mujhko tum jo mile” from Detective

    “Yeh mausam rangeen samaa” from Modern Girl

    “Saaz-e-dil chhed de” from Passport

    So did Bharat Bhushan:

    “Do ghadi woh jo paas” from Gateway of India

    “Ae sanam aaj yeh kasam” from Jahanara

    Here’s one with Ajit (of Loin fame):

    “Dekho mausam kya bahar hai” from Opera House

    Some rare romantic duets of Shammi Kapoor from his earlier films:

    “Kehta hai dil tum ho mere liye” from Mem Saab (Meena Kumari and Shammi make a fabulously unusual pair)

    “Chori chori ek ishara” from Basant

    “Mujhe kitna pyar hai tumse” from Dil Tera Deewana

    A couple of lovely gems from obscure films (unfortunately the video is unavailable):

    “Do dil dhadak rahen hain” from Insaaf

    “Halke halke chalo sanware” from Tangewali

    • Do dil dhadak rahe hain is one of my favourite songs, but I couldn’t include it here because I’ve never seen the film (and that’s one of those rules I impose on myself) – so glad to see you included it in your comment! I like the other songs, too. Mujhko tum jo mile was on my shortlist, but I dropped it because while it sounds absolutely gorgeous, I don’t really like the picturization much – Mala Sinha (usually an actress I like) makes some very exaggerated faces in it).

  27. An unusual romantic duet is “Deewana mastana hua…” from Bambai ka Babu. Apart from being a very melodious song, it is one-sided – in the sense that while Dev Anand is singing with romance towards Suchitra Sen in his heart, it is not clear who she is singing for, because at this point in the movie, she is under the impression that Dev Anand is her brother !

    • This is one of the songs that I’d shortlisted. It’s an interesting song in that – if you don’t know what the movie’s about – you may well think it is a romantic duet, not just a one-sided romance. It’s only if you know the story of the film do you realize that it’s only him who’s singing of romantic love; sh (probably) is just revelling in the joy of spring and youth and her happiness at her ‘brother’s’ return.

  28. Had to come back to this post after a few months. I realized that I somehow forgot to mention this song which in my opinion one of the most romantic songs – Baad Muddat Ke Yeh Ghadi Aayi…

    1964 Movie Jahan-Aara – Music Madan Mohad – Lyrics – Rajinder Krishan – Singers – Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur

    Also, check out the version Suman sang with Sonu recently. She still seems to have the same great voice, even after these many years (50 years or so)

    • Lovely, Ashish! Yes, I love this song too (wonder how I keep forgetting about it – I tend to remember Jahanara only for the Talat solos). And that performance with Sonu Nigam is astounding; if I hadn’t watched it, I wouldn’t have realized it was Suman Kalyanpur singing: she sounds so young. Frankly, even though she is younger than Lata and Asha (I think… not sure about Asha?), her voice is much better preserved.

      Thank you for that.

      • Suman was born in 1937 (Dhaka, Bangladesh prior partition), compared to Asha (born in 1933) and Lata (born in 1929) per Wiki..

        No doubt Suman got way less popularity/opportunity than what she deserved. Her voice seems to have remained sweet for such a long time (this recording with Sonu was uploaded 5 years ago, which means she was about 75 when she sang this song). Perhaps her voice resemblance with Lata hurt her more than it helped.

        Based on the many books I have read, I believe Mohd. Rafi sang many songs with Suman during the sixties during the period when there was a disconnect between Rafi and Lata that lasted many years.

        For those who doubt her abilities should listen to her (bollywood) version of Come September (movie Hindustani).. She was definitely a gifted singer who was deprived of her fair share of success.

        That was a huge detour… apologies..

        • No need at all to apologize! I found that interesting reading. I’ve always liked Suman Kalyanpur’s voice, and have always got the feeling, too, that she often got the short end of the stick. She did sing some very popular songs, but how many people can offhand name ten songs (or five, or whatever) that they know to have been sung by her? I know I can’t, and I feel ashamed about that.

          Actually, I am of the opinion that once Lata and Asha came to the top, other female singers who had ‘conventional’ voices – like Kamal Barot or Sudha Malhotra – didn’t stand a chance against them. The only ones who could carve a niche for themselves were Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum, who both had very unusual voices (and who course had a head start on the sisters). Just my opinion, though…

          • Another name that comes to mind is Runa Laila. I liked her voice a lot as well. Very unique style of singing too. The list of talented singers is long though they all got drowned in the end..

            Some of the songs that Suman sang resembled with Lata so much that people may not have realized that they were NOT sung by Lata. Here are few examples – Mere Mehboob Na Ja, Aaj Ki Raat Na Ja, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Itna Hai Tumse Pyar Mujhe, Thehariye Hosh Main Aa Loon, Na Tum Humen Jaanon.. I bet many people can’t tell the difference between Suman and Lata.. That is why I think resemblance with Lata was more of a curse than cure for Suman.

            • Yes, I used to like Runa Laila a lot, too (in fact, one of my favourite renditions of Laal meri pat is hers.

              So true re: Suman Kalyanpur’s voice resembling Lata’s too much for her own good. To the list you’ve provided, I’ll also add Na tum humein jaano – such a beautiful song, so beautifully sung, and how many people realize it’s not Lata or Asha?

  29. I am a great fan of pre 1970 songs and your posts provide interesting facets of this melodious period besides evoking nostalgia of the pre-TV era when radio Ceylon and music systems constantly blared these songs in my home.
    Although it is very difficult to pinpoint 10 ‘most’ romantic duets, your choice seems to be biased towards ‘visualization’ effects and preference for debonair and suave heroes. I would prefer at least one Raj Kapoor /Nargis duet from ‘Chori Chori/Aawara/Shree 420’ and other like ‘Aha Rhimjhim ke ye pyare pyare’ from ‘Usne Kaha Tha.’ Maybe the trampish Raj Kapoor or the rustic Sunil Dutt in these songs does not appeal to you! For me the feeling of romance is evoked more by composition, melody and lyrics of the song than by visualization. Maybe because I have ‘heard’ these songs more I have ‘seen’ them. I grew up listening to these songs in my teens and later years. It was only after YouTube that I got to see the videos of many of the songs I liked, and believe me it was often a great disappointment to find the visualization not matching to the expected standards of the song. I therefore believe that music should be listened and not watched.

    • “Although it is very difficult to pinpoint 10 ‘most’ romantic duets,

      …which is precisely why I make it very clear in the introduction to these songs that they’re my favourite romantic duets, not the best. And yes, I do think the visual element has something to do with it (not all, though, since in that case, at least two songs – Na jaane kahaan tum thhe and Dil tadap-tadap ke keh raha – would not have featured in the list, since I don’t like Rajendra Kumar, and Dilip Kumar in Madhumati didn’t look that great.

      We all have our own preferences and opinions; these are the songs I like, and I do think that – at least when it comes to film music – the picturization can play a role in making one remember the song with even greater affection. On the other hand, a song that is horrible in terms of music, lyrics and rendition cannot be redeemed by picturization, no matter how good.

  30. My dear Madhu, I haven’t written for a long time, because I was seriously ill last month. I suffered from a life-threatening stroke, fortunately the Lord Jesus thought fit to leave me with no residual paralysis or speech defect. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. So, I must take this opportunity to thank you for your brilliant posts which I always enjoy. You, Madhu and Anu are like daughters to me. I’m 63 years old (though I look 20 years younger!), for the last 41 years I suffered from no illness and the last time I had a fever was in 1974 during my medical internship. My wife, Zelma, and my daughters Mitali (24) and Ashna (21) have taken excellent care of me. I hope you’ll continue with your brilliant posts. Sadhana and Shammi Kapoor have been my favourite actors and you have been very kind to them.
    The best of health and happiness to you and your family, always…

    • Thank God you are not suffering from paralysis or slurring! I have seen, far too often, what a stroke can do to people, so there is certainly a lot to be grateful to God about, for sparing you that. Take care, take rest, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers! God bless.

  31. Its a fabulous list, but you would have made my day if had included “Mujko apne gale lagalo” from “Hamrahi”. I don’t know why I find every list of favorite duets incomplete without this song.

    • Yes, as audio goes, that’s a lovely song, too. Unfortunately the visual really puts me off – I am not a fan of Rajendra Kumar’s, and Jamuna is irritating. I wouldn’t put it in my top ten, at any rate – even if only for the audio.

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