Ten of my favourite ‘Man Sings, Woman Dances’ songs

Sometime back, I was watching Dil Hi Toh Hai, and for the first time, actually paid attention to the scenario and picturization of the classic Laaga chunari mein daag. Raj Kapoor, in disguise, plays a classical singer who prides himself on singing such complex tunes that no accompanying dancer can match him. That sparked off a memory: the situation in Madhuban mein Radhika naache re is similar—it’s a faceoff between a singer (a man) and a dancer (a woman).

And that led to memories of other songs, all with a similar setting: a man singing, a woman dancing. A good enough theme for a post, I thought—especially as I could think of some superb songs that would fit right in. I only had to set down some rules for myself, and these (besides my usual one of including only songs from pre-70s films that I’ve seen) would be that in each of these songs, the man shouldn’t dance, and the woman shouldn’t sing.

Also, the man must be physically present in the picturization of the song (which is why the popular Tu hai mera prem devtaa doesn’t feature in this list, even though I like it).

Man sings, woman dances

So, without further ado, my pick. These are in no particular order, though my favourites tend to be at the top (with one exception, song #10).

1. Laaga chunari mein daag (Dil Hi Toh Hai, 1963): Since this was the song that sparked off this idea, it might be appropriate to begin this post with Laaga chunari mein daag. A brilliant song, beautifully sung by Manna Dey (and with interesting lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, who takes it from the more obvious innuendo-riddled superficiality to a mystic level where he equates the singer’s spirit with the chunari that has been soiled by the glamour of the world). Raj Kapoor—who was exceptionally knowledgeable about music—puts in a convincing performance as a classical singer, but the dancer (supposedly played by Padmini Priyadarshini; I’m not sure) ends up breaking her ghungroos and having to admit defeat.

Laaga chunari mein daag, from Dil Hi Toh Hai

2. Madhuban mein Radhika naache re (Kohinoor, 1960): How could I not include this song? If I were to actually assign spots on this list to every song here, Madhuban mein Radhika naache re would top the list. I love this song. I love it uninhibitedly. Naushad’s music is fabulous, Mohammad Rafi is sublime—and Dilip Kumar, or so it’s said, took special lessons to ensure he was able to play the sitar correctly for the frames in which he’s shown to be playing it. Kumkum, of course, is a delight to watch: so lovely, so skilled a dancer, so graceful and yet energetic.

One of those classic songs that is reason enough in itself to watch the film of which it was a part.

Madhuban mein Radhika naache re, from Kohinoor

3. Yeh zulf agar khulke bikhar jaaye toh achcha (Kaajal, 1965): And, in a complete change of space and feel, a far more intimate song. Instead of an audience, the man sings to—who knows? The tawaif at whose kotha he has come, and who is dancing for him? The glass of wine in his hand? The wife whom he loves in his own selfish way? Himself? The Vaise toh tumhi ne mujhe barbaad kiya hai (“Truth to tell, it is you who has ruined me”) can be applied to each, all quite appropriately.

I’m not a Raj Kumar fan, but he manages the angst and the near self-loathing in this song well. Helen is her usual lovely self, and the music—and Rafi—are mesmerizing.

Yeh zulf agar khulke, from Kaajal

4. Dil deke dekho dil deke dekho (Dil Deke Dekho, 1959): Shammi Kapoor, in one of his biggest hit films, plays a drummer, while Asha Parekh is the girl who’s vowed vengeance on him for—or so she thinks—having jilted her friend. Our heroine, therefore, joins the troupe of dancers for the evening’s entertainment where our hero is playing and singing, all with the intention of bashing him up at the end.

Not much of that is shown in the song itself, but it is somewhat unusual to see Shammi Kapoor—one of the very few Hindi film actors of his time who was a naturally good dancer—sitting sedately at the drums and not doing any dancing at all. All the dancing is done by extras (Meena Fernandes is one of them, from what I can see), with Asha Parekh joining in after the vocals are over.

Dil deke dekho dil deke dekho, from Dil Deke Dekho

5. Hai kali-kali ke labh par (Lala Rookh, 1958): In a film that starred Talat Mahmood, it’s hardly surprising that all the songs in a male voice were sung by him—all except this one, which (ironically enough) seems to be the best-known of the songs of Lala Rookh. Sung by Rafi, this one’s a lovely song with a definitely Middle Eastern lilt to it. A host at a small dinner party, entertaining his friends with a dancer (supposedly played by Radhika, the younger sister of Kumkum), is told by a friend that this mute dance is boring. So, to oblige, he provides a song. In praise of the dancer’s beauty and charm, a serenade that’s very pleasing, and goes well with the choreography of the piece.

Hai kali-kali ke labh par, from Lala Rookh

6. Kya se kya ho gaya bewafaa tere pyaar mein (Guide, 1965): For someone who was no good as a dancer (and perhaps that’s why he’s only lip-synching to all these songs, not even attempting to dance), Dev Anand has featured in several of these I-sing-you-dance songs. Here, in what most people (not me) regard as one of his greatest films, he derides the woman he loves and accuses her of being unfaithful (never mind that he was the one who forged cheques in her name). In a dream sequence-like setting, against coloured lights, his beloved dances, along with a troupe of others. It’s an interesting mirror (down to the tune, which is simply a slower version) of the song which directly precedes this one, Mose chhal kiye jaaye—the woman’s point of view.

Kya se kya ho gaya, from Guide

7. Shivji bihaane chal paalki sajaaike (Munimji, 1955): Dev Anand again, and again on stage. I toyed with this song for a long time: should I include it? Should I not? The woman (Ameeta) does dance here, but she’s not the only one dancing—there’s also Sachin Shankar and his troupe, enacting the part of Shiv and his cohorts as they go to Shiv’s wedding with Parvati. Finally, I figured that there is a man singing (but not dancing), and there is a woman dancing (but not singing), so technically—according to my criteria—this fits.

And what a song Shivji bihanne chale is is. The lyrics, the music, Hemant’s rendition, the dancing: all are topnotch. I am not a fan of devotional songs, but this is one I make an exception for. I could listen to it, watch it, again and again.

Shivji bihaane chale, from Munimji

8. Naache mann mora magan (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen, 1963): Another song with a stage setting, and a public performance. Asha Parekh is the girl who is in love with Pradeep Kumar, and doesn’t realize that the ‘ugly’ but exceptionally talented and tormented singer played by Ashok Kumar is his rejected, abandoned-long-ago brother. Or that he is in love with her, even though he’s well aware that she doesn’t love him, and never will. Yet, she can feel empathy for this man, so rejected by society—and so this performance, where he (on his own insistence) sits in darkness while singing a song that is ironically all about happiness and light, while she dances in the pool of light at the other end of the stage. An interesting symbolism shines through both in the cinematography as well as the lyrics of the song, when considered against the tragedy that marks the singer’s own life.

Naache mann mora magan, from Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen

9. Chali gori pi se milan ko chali (Ek Hi Raasta, 1956): From the stage to a very different setting: a home, and a young woman—a wife and mother—practising dance. (I like the fact that the picturization highlights the domesticity of the scene: the entry, even if brief, of the dancer’s child, who returns from school and interrupts the performance by doing a little dance of his own).

Unlike several other songs featuring dance practice at home (Jaa tose nahin boloon Kanhaiyya or Jhanan-jhanan baaje bichhua are examples), where the dancer also sings, this one is more realistic: the dancer focuses her energies on dancing, while her ustad—who sits on the side, only occasionally lifting his hands in gestures—does the singing. Hemant is brilliant here, almost reminiscent of Manna Dey.

Chali gori pi se milan ko chali, from Ek Hi Raasta

10. Jaan pehchaan ho jeena aasaan ho (Gumnaam, 1965): Before I launched into this list, I wrote that the songs I liked best were grouped at the top—with one exception. And that’s this one. All the other dances on my list are primarily Indian (or, in the case of Hai kali-kali ke labh par, Middle Eastern) in origin.

Not this.

This is the exception (remember that Dil deke dekho, while the song itself is fairly ‘Western’, is accompanied by a dance that’s a sort of hybrid Bollywood one, with the dancers in what seem to be faux tribal outfits). Laxmi Chhaya burns up the dance floor in her shimmery gold dress and with her headache-inducing head-shaking, while Herman Benjamin lip-syncs to Rafi’s vocals. A delightfully peppy song, so very Western (in a Hindi film way) that it’s probably become the one Bollywood song the West best recognizes, appearing everywhere from Ghost World to the Heineken ad, to the video game Far Cry 4, not to mention a definite resemblance in terms of visuals in White Lies’ There goes our love again.

(It’s interesting to note that Herman Benjamin—a superb dancer and choreographer—doesn’t really dance in Jaan pehchaan ho. He sways and moves a bit, even comes on to the dance floor, but that’s about it: he’s basically the singer here, not a dancer).

Jaan-pehchaan ho jeena aasaan ho, from Gumnaam

And, because it is one of my very favourite songs, but doesn’t technically really qualify for this post, a bonus song:

11. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye (Kaala Paani, 1958): Unlike the dancers in the preceding songs, Nalini Jaywant in this one doesn’t rise from where she’s sitting until a third of her guest’s song is over. And even otherwise, her dancing is really not dancing, just some gentle swaying while she sits (in contrast, Meena Kumari’s ustad in Chali gori pi se milan ko chali ‘dances’ more while seated). Nalini Jaywant’s character perhaps cannot even bring herself to get up and dance, she is so entranced by the man who’s sitting in front of her and singing. A self-professed shaayar, he has scoffed at her poetry and been challenged to show her how well (or not, as she suspects) he can put together a verse. And he does, with impressive results.

Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye, from Kaala Paani

Which songs would you add to this list?


105 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite ‘Man Sings, Woman Dances’ songs

  1. Madhu, this is a very good list, as always (although, unfortunately, the video for the first one is blocked here in the U.S.). And, by the way, it is interesting to think of the variations that can occur within this basic scenario (as you did)…

    The first scene and song that I thought of when I saw the title was one that’s a little different from most others – because the man is not really singing to or for the woman who is dancing; in fact, he’s not even paying attention to her, but to someone else, who is just standing there. And she is not very pleased about that.


    • Thank you, Richard! I’m glad you liked this list. The theme appealed to me almost as I was watching Dil Hi To Hai, and after that, the songs just seemed to pop into my head – so many variations, as you say, so many different settings in which a song like this is played out.

      I should have remembered Tu kahe agar (especially as Anu reviewed Andaaz just a few days back, and that reminded me of the film). Interestingly, just yesterday, I was looking at my post of ‘male pianist’ songs, and realized that there aren’t too many songs (at least not among the ones I like) where a woman dances while a man plays the piano. There are several where he’s singing to a woman who’s just present, or in some cases, where the woman does the singing, but that’s about it. So this one is special in that respect as well…


      • Here you go – man singing/piano/party/woman dancer (drum roll) to a ghazal!
        Very famous ghazals, geets by Mehdi Hassan (some resung by other such as Ghulam Ali) often started out in life as a song in a Pakistani movie.


        • I think I’ve heard Khuda kare ke mohabbat mein yeh maqaam aaye as a rendition by Mehdi Hassan, but this is certainly the first time I’ve seen this. Thanks! Always good to see cinema-related stuff from across the border.


          • It’s Mehdi Hasan singing – he was THE playback singer for a long long time.
            Then in his live concerts, cassettes he would give more classical renderings of the same songs.
            Baat karni mujhe mushkil, rafta rafta woh meri, zindagi mein toh sabhi etc all first appeared in films


            • Hadn’t realized that. It did sound a bit like his voice, but I have to admit the only voice of Mehdi Hassan that I’m more familiar with is from his later years – from the 80s or so, when I first began to hear his songs on cassettes.


  2. A very interesting theme. One of those themes which seems rare to start with, but once you start recalling, throws up plenty of examples. One of the earliest songs in this category, I think, is “Jhoom jhoom ke nacho” from Andaz

    I like this one too – “Payal wali” from Ek Raaz


    • “One of the earliest songs in this category…”

      Maybe, but my Andaz song was earlier than your Andaz song! LOL

      First two comments, seven minutes apart…and they contain two different songs from the same film. How often does that happen?


    • I love Paayalwaali dekhna – thank you for reminding me of that!

      And, I echo Richard in this: what a coincidence that the first two people to comment on this post – within just 7 minutes of each other – should post two songs from the same film. Offhand, I can’t even think of another film with more than one song which would qualify for this post.


      • The other remarkable fact about Andaz was that it had five, yes five songs with Dilip Kumar on the piano. In four of these he himself is the singer, while in the fifth one he only plays the piano (Nargis and Cuckoo sing). He must have become an expert piano player by the time he finished shooting for Andaz !


        • even though I’ve seen Andaaz a couple of times, I hadn’t realized that there are actually so many songs with Dilip Kumar at the piano! I wouldn’t be surprised if he did become a pretty good pianist by the end of it, considering he seems to have been pretty conscientious (if one uses Madhuban mein Radhika naache re as an indicator) about things like that.


  3. Very nice post Madhu didi. Loved all the songs. A very innovative idea for a post.. :)
    Two songs I thought of were ‘Akhiyan sang akhiyaan laage’ from Bada Aadmi and ‘Chhed diye mere dil ke taar’ from Raagini (1958). Both are semi classical songs I think. ‘Akhiyan…. ‘ is based on Raga Malkauns I think. It was composed by Chitragupta.


  4. I had to come back, because I just realized that there was another song that absolutely should not be ignored. It fits the category more conventionally – but it is pretty great.


    • Ah, yes. I like Manzil wohi hai pyaar ki a lot, too. I’d forgotten Vyjyanthimala actually danced in it.

      Subir Sen was such an underrated singer. A pity they didn’t give him more songs to sing.


  5. Very interesting post, dear Madhu!
    Very interesting post, dear Madhu!
    Since men in 50s and 60s were hardly encouraged to dance, I thought there would have been many songs to choose from. The problem is thought, that the female dancers were highly encouraged to sing while dancing. :)
    I like all the songs in your list. ALL!
    Some other songs, which I think might qualify.

    radhike tune bansuri churayi from Beti Bete

    Sunil Dutt does come on the floor and sway aa bit but he doesn’t really dance so I think, this should qualify

    Same is the case with the next song
    matwali naar from Ek Phool Char Kaante

    koi nahin hai kahin from Kinara is not from your blog-period but the song is good. One can of course raise the question if the dance suits the song, but hey, we are watching Hindi film songs.

    manzil wahi hai pyar ki from Kathputli


    • Thank you, Harvey! I’m so glad you liked this list. :-)

      “The problem is thought, that the female dancers were highly encouraged to sing while dancing. :)

      Which is so unrealistic, no? Dancing can be pretty strenuous (unless you’re doing a somewhat sedate ballroom thing – the sort where people basically wrap their arms around a partner and shuffle around vaguely), so trying to sing – properly – would be pretty difficult, I’d think. Of course, some singers do seem to do it on stage, in live shows and so on, but I don’t know how easy it is.

      I had never seen Radhike tune bansri churaayi, though I’ve heard it. Nice song, and it’s a welcome addition to another theme for which I’ve been trying to compile a list. :-)

      Matwaali naar thumak-thumak was on my long list, but I dropped it because I thought Sunil Dutt was doing a fair bit of dancing. More because there were other songs I liked more.

      Koi nahin hai kahin isn’t a song I like, though I liked Kinara a lot, and I liked Naam gum jaayega a lot.

      Richard has also linked to Manzil wohi hai pyaar ki; it’s a lovely song. I wish I’d remembered it!


      • “Dancing can be pretty strenuous, unless you’re doing a somewhat sedate ballroom thing”
        It is! If you are doing something like dil ki girah khol do or something like that, then its okay. But if you are doing a pawan diwani, you need all your breath for dancing or for singing. you can’t have both. Yeah, Hindi films and all…

        “welcome addition to another theme for which I’ve been trying to compile a list.”
        Very curious as to what it’ll be

        Kinara DOES have good songs

        “Richard has also linked to Manzil wohi hai pyaar ki; it’s a lovely song.”
        20 minutes! Just 20 minutes! :( ;)


        • “Very curious as to what it’ll be

          Someday. :-) It arose from a comment Carla made on one of my earlier posts. I still haven’t been able to get together 10 songs I really like, but hopefully I will.


  6. shammi kapoor forever any day any time. i liked him for a change not dancing but sitting. i loved gori pi k milan ko chali. dev anand was not a dancer at all. laga chunri mein daag is epic. Raj kapoor expression, hand movements , singing with ease even taals. its sheer delight.


  7. i always wonder why ameeta never became a successful heroine . she played second lead in mere mehboob. i wish she was more successful.


    • … and she acted in several fairly popular films, such as Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Aab-e-Hayat and Munimji (and she was in one of my favourite films, Dekh Kabira Roya. She was pretty, but perhaps there was something that just didn’t let her make it to the top bracket.


    • Thank you!

      I couldn’t remember Bechain nazar betaab jigar until I began listening to it – and then I remembered that I’d seen this many years ago on Chitrahaar. Lovely song, but there’s no woman dancing there… or am I missing something? Is one of those ‘men’ actually a woman in disguise?


  8. Many of the songs, which I thought, would suit here have either the female charcter singing few lines or the make character joining in the dance
    And I have images swirling before my eyes of songs, which might suit the situation, but I can’t remember the songs. :(
    FEw which then did suit here are the ones below

    tere naina talash kare jise from Talaash

    not one of my favourites, but
    dhal chuki sham -e-gam from Kohinoor

    kisne chilman se mara from Baat Ek Raat Ki

    He sings and the chorus dances
    khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat from Teen Deviyan


    • Tere naina talaash karein jise was new to me! What a nice song.

      The song from Kohinoor too isn’t one of my favourites (actually, I am so biased in favour of Madhuban mein Radhika that I tend to forget the other songs of the film – though Do sitaaron ka zameen par hai milan and Pyaar ki dekho jaadugari are both nice).

      I had Kisne chilman se maara on my shortlist, but dropped it, because it seemed to me, when I watched it closely, that Johnny Walker did a little too much dancing towards the end of the song. In hindsight, I suppose Herman Benjamin does as much in Jaan-pehchaan ho, so I suppose this should qualify. :-)

      Had completely forgotten about Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat! Lovely song. Thank you very specially for that, Harvey!


      • Well, if you liked and approved of khwaab ho tum ya then you’ll surely welcome
        dil ke jharokon me tujhko from Brahmachari
        I know the parody of the song has spoilt it for you, but I like it anyway. If the parody does anything, it makes the original dearer to me.

        By the way there surely are some good songs out there, where a lady sings and another lady is dancing to it. How about a list on that?

        But I think there are hardly any songs, where a woman is singing and a man is dancing to it in Hindi films.


        • Dil ke jharokhe mein tujhko bithaakar did occur to me – after I’d posted this list (in any case, as you point out too, I don’t like that song much, so even if I’d remembered it before I posted the list, it would still not have made it). But thank you for posting it, anyway!

          I hadn’t seen Kar gaya mujhpe jaadoo earlier, though I am familiar with the song, and love it. But is Nimmi’s character the only one who’s singing? It seems to me as if both Nimmi and Kumkum are singing… which makes it a female duet, not a ‘one woman sings, another dances’ one. (Incidentally, last evening, I realized I should do a post on that too – think of ‘Great minds think alike!’ :-D)

          That’s probably going to be a tougher one; I’ve thought of several songs, but they’re coming to me slowly.

          As for a woman singing and a man dancing… don’t think I’ve ever come across anything like that. I’d be curious to know if anybody remembers one.


          • P.S.

            “As for a woman singing and a man dancing… don’t think I’ve ever come across anything like that. I’d be curious to know if anybody remembers one.

            I found one. :-) In Jab raat hai aisi matwaali, there’s a brief period during which a male dancer dances to Nigar Sultana’s singing. Mostly, though, it’s women dancers.


            • Re: woman sing man dance; try chunari sambhal gori, Asha Parekh is almost stationary while singing, Hero Rajesh is stationary and does NOT sing, Anwar Hussein does the dancing and a little singing. And pre 70’s as well :)

              Surely there must be a Shammi song where he dances (& probably sings) but thje woman is stationary. Trying to find one, have not found it yet :)

              Would Are Yaar Meri count, even though the female dances & sings. Dev clearly almost never danced, so we are on safe ground here.
              Almost all Dev songs could be man sings woman dances :)


              • “the man shouldn’t dance, and the woman shouldn’t sing.

                That’s one major criterion for the songs I listed (and if I were to someday do a post – which seems very unlikely right now – of ‘woman sings, man dances’ – I’d use the same criterion there). Both the songs you’ve suggested are duets – the person dancing also sings, even if only a little.


              • Yes! Gori-gori raat hai, taaron ki baaraat hai fits right in! Thank you for that, Richard. :-) Hmm… I wonder if one could actually end up with ten songs that fit the ‘woman sings, man dances’ theme.


      • Does “Khwab ho tum” strictly qualify? There is not one dancer, but multiple ones – male and female (including the Nepali man who was a regular extra in many movies of that era)


        • Well, if my post could include Jaan-pehchaan ho and Shivji bihaane chale (both of which have multiple dancers), then why not? Because – as I mentioned when describing Shivji bihaane chale – my basic criterion is still met: there is a woman dancing, and there is a man singing. The only difference between those two songs and Khwaab ho tum, I think, is that in those two songs, there’s a very recognizable actress doing the dancing, whereas in Khwaab ho tum, it’s a lot of extras.


  9. I was going to post Khwab ho tum, but I see Harv has beaten me to it. :)

    So here is one by Raj Kumar (alas for you). He is being quite ‘participative’ with the dancers but not dancing.


    • I had Jhanak-jhanak tori baaje paayaliya on my longlist! In fact, I was pretty certain that I would put in in the final list too, but when I watched it closely I came to the conclusion that he was ‘dancing’ too much for it to qualify. Of course, people’s interpretations of what constitutes dancing and what does not differ, so I’m happy you put this song here, Ava.


    • I have to admit, the only time I watched Bobby was when I was less than a year old. ;-) And while I’ve heard Main shaayar toh nahin dozens of times, I don’t remember ever having paid much attention to the picturization, Nice!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 3 more songs come to my mind , although I won’t be able to post the links for the songs .
    – PARASMANI film Mohammad Rafi song ‘ Raushan tumhin se duniya raunak tumhi jahaan ki salaamat raho ‘ . It’s sung onscreen by Mahipal and heroine Geetanjali dances . Quite a popular song even today .
    – TEL MALISH BOOT POLISH film song of manna de ” baat takat thak thak gaye naina pal pal chhin chhin pade na chaina ” sung onscreen by Chandrashekhar where heroine Kum Kum dances. Although Lata also sings along.
    – JAANE ANJAANE film song by manna dey ‘ Chham chham baaje re payaliya ‘ where Shammi Kapoor sings and Leena Chandavarkar dances .


    • Thank you very specially for Roshan tumhi se duniya – I wish I’d remembered that! Lovely song. Here it is:

      I tried looking for the song from Tel Maalish Boot Polish on Youtube, but couldn’t find it. In any case, I would think if two people are singing, that would not meet the criteria of the list…

      And here’s the song from Jaane-Anjaane, which I also like, but which – because it’s from beyond the time period I blog about – I omitted.


  11. An interesting post. Between the OP and the comments, a fairly comprehensive and excellent collection. Lovely tunes, a lot of them classical-based.

    Yeh zulf agar khulke bikhar jaaye toh achcha is one which appeals to me more for the poetry ( it can count as one of the best filmi ghazals, IMHO). The music director has done justice to the lyrics by keeping the music fairly simple, and not letting it overshadow the words. And what heartfelt rendition by Rafi!

    Matwaali naar, mentioned by Harveypam, isn’t a song I’m greatly fond of, thanks to Mukesh (though he’s among my favourite singers). Even to my untrained ears, he has always seemed a touch out of his depth when singing classical-based songs.

    Btw, re #9 (Chali gori pi se milan ko chali), it’s sung by Hemant Kumar, not Manna Dey.


    • Thank you. Yes, a lot of the songs are classical or semi-classical, aren’t they? Probably because this is the sort of situation that is often best exemplified in the classical male singer accompanying a classical female dancer. And I agree with you about Yeh zulf agar khulke having brilliant lyrics, and justice has been done by not having them drowned out by overpowering music.

      Thanks for pointing out that error. Will correct it right now.


  12. This is what happens when I don’t see your post until a day after you post it! All the songs that I remember that fit the theme have already been added. :(

    Love all the songs in your list, Madhu, and it’s a lovely theme. :) Looking forward to the mystery theme that you mentioned in your comment to Harvey.


    • “Looking forward to the mystery theme that you mentioned in your comment to Harvey.

      It’s an interesting – and unusual – one, but I think it’s probably a long way off still, because I’ve not even been able to find enough songs to come up with a longlist yet!


  13. I am echoing Anu’s sentiments above. I just checked your blog a couple days ago, and here missed out on this one. However, the idea is to enjoy the music and songs you posted. Lovely, all of them ! The comment section also lists some wonderful songs. Some songs, you hear a lot (audio), unless you have seen the video, it does not occur to you that there is a dancer involved. BTW, may I ask why the rule of songs only from the movies you have watched ?

    The Tail Malish song mentioned by Bhagwan Thavrani would not qualify because KumKum sings too. However, it’s a lovely song showcasing KumKum’s superb dancing skills.


    • Thank you for the appreciation, Neeru, and for posting Kanha jaa re teri murali. Yes, this wouldn’t qualify, but it’s a lovely song nevertheless, and Kumkum is such a great dancer.

      As for my self-imposed rule of including only songs from films that I’ve seen, it’s mainly arbitrary, no more. But it sometimes comes in use, because there are times when a song, seen on its own, may give a completely different idea, whereas if you see it in context of the film, you realize that it means something absolutely different (Manzil wohi hai pyaar ki is a case in point). Or, there are times when knowing the background – of the plot and so on – helps you appreciate a song much more. For instance, in the case of Hum aapki aankhon mein is dil ko basaa lein, which is chockfull of symbolism that indicates the entire relationship between the two people, even outside of the song. The same, too, with most of the songs of Pyaasa, especially Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye and Jaane woh kaise log thhe jinke.


    • Yes! I was wondering when someone would use that clue and post Jaane kahaan dekha hai! :-) I had that song in my longlist, but didn’t like it enough to finally include it, but it certainly fits.


  14. This one from Ragini, probably qualifies 50 percent. He sings, she dances but only towards the end. His singing makes her want to dance ( from the scene it appears she is not supposed to dance ? ) man mora baawra. Kishore Kumar singing in Rafi’s voice.


  15. I like the title of this post, reminds me a bit of the “man proposes, God disposes” adage. :-) Lots of wonderful songs posted, here’s one that I like that hasn’t been mentioned.

    Rangoli sajaao re (Rangoli, Kishore sings, Vyjantimala dances)


    • Oh, yes! Absolutely. :-) I used to be besotted with this song when I was a kid. Loved it with all my heart and wanted a dress like Hema’s when she’s dressed all in white.


    • I have a horrible memory when it comes to songs from this film – I kind of blotted the entire film out of my mind, so I end up not even remembering the songs. Though this song is actually not a bad one.

      The music is such a blatant rip-off of Ennio Morricone’s, isn’t it? :-D In the beginning of the song, at least.


        • It was one of those 5.45 on Sunday Doordarshan movies. I remember, that was the time when there was only one channel to watch, so we watched just about everything. And the Sunday movie was sacrosanct; even though my parents often gave up and went off to attend to other chores or just read or whatever if the movie was no good, my sister and I insisted on sitting and watching all of it, no matter how terrible. Jal Bin Machhli was frightful. There’s one memorable dance by Sandhya in it, where she writhes around like a snake, but the rest of it was painful.


    • A slight slipup in the linking, there. Here’s the correct song:

      … and it’s a lovely one. Thank you, Neeru! (Incidentally, I also like Piya main hoon patang very much).


  16. I may add another song from Dil Deke Dekho, ” bolo bolo Kuchh to bolo” . A very sweet song by Mohammad Rafi , beautifully composed by Usha Khanna with excellent accordion work by Enoch Daniels ( I guess ). It’s been very popular song of the yesteryears & continues to be my favorite even today. Shammi Kapoor , oh so handsome & debutant Asha Parekh so innocent, so gorgeous! And there’s an effigy dancer also if you want more reasons.

    IPS Pahwa.


    • I do like Bolo bolo kuchh toh bolo, but I think we’re stretching it a bit when it comes to the man not dancing – because Shammi definitely begins dancing towards the second half of the song, when he’s with the other dancers.


  17. Was looking for this song that is more recent and still fits the criteria because as pointed out in this blog, usually in the golden era of hindi film music, leading men were not quite the ‘dancers’, unlike later when it became almost mandatory to dance.
    so here is Jo geet nahin janma from a 90s movie, Sangeet. An ok ok song given the times it is from


  18. Madhu,
    Excelent post. This is a very novel theme and you have given some of the best songs one could think of. I would have added songs from Andaaz, but Richard has beaten me to it. This leads me to another thought. How about the man plays the flute or the been and the woman dances?


    • Thank you, AK! That’s an interesting idea for a post, too. Offhand, I can only think of three songs (one which doesn’t feature a flute or been but a shehnai), but I’m sure some research will throw up more…


  19. Nice list. However I think ‘Dil deke dekho’ is a bit unfit for this list as there is a Man singing and Women and not Woman dancing. Yes, Asha Parekh has danced in that song but for very short duration. Will ‘Tere naina talash kare’ and “Kanha ja re’qualify this list?
    What about a list of type ‘Woman singing and another woman dancing’ there are lots of song regarding this.


    • Both Tere naina talaash karein and Kanha jaa re have been posted by other commenters – and one commenter also pointed out that Kanha jaa re would not qualify, because the dancer also sings.

      And yes, in one of the comments, I’ve also talked about doing a post where one woman sings and another woman dances. Have been thinking about it, but have so far only come up with a handful of songs which I really like and which satisfy the criteria.


  20. What a unique topic! I am late to the party and have nothing to contribute as all of the ones I thought of (besides your list) are taken. Roshan tumhi se duniya was the first one that occurred to me but someone added it. Saw Biwi or Makan song screenshot in your post and was surprised not to see you mention and later I saw it was added as well. There is one song that I can’t remember where Dev (or could be dharam) is singing and a girl is dancing in the glass/bottle but I can’t remember the song..It was from a black/white movie so perhaps from the pre-seventee era.

    Padosan songs (Kehna hai or Mere Saamne Wali) could have been a twist to the theme – A man sings and another one dances/performs but Kishore took care of both parts. :)

    Was thinking about Mehmood’s “hum kale hain to kya huwa dilwale hain” but it wouldn’t qualify because he dances way too much..

    Very entertaining list. Great job!


    • Thank you, Ashish! I’m glad you liked this post. :-)

      I too had thought of Hum kaale hain toh kya hua, but realized (even without watching the song again), that Mehmood dances too much for it to qualify.

      “There is one song that I can’t remember where Dev (or could be dharam) is singing and a girl is dancing in the glass/bottle but I can’t remember the song..It was from a black/white movie so perhaps from the pre-seventee era.

      Hmm. I wonder which one. One I can think of that’s something like that is Ek ghar banaaoonga tere ghar ke saamne, but Nutan’s character doesn’t really dance in it, and she sings.


  21. So a very big aside from the post to carry on from my comment above in case anyone is interested

    Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Baat karni mujhe mushkil from the movie “Shirak-e-Hayat” (1968)

    Faiz’s Gulon mein rang bhare badlon bahaar chale from Farangi (1964)

    Munir Niazi’s Jisne mere dil ko dard diyafrom Sasural (1961)

    Qateel Shitai’s Zindagi mein toh sabhi pyaar kiya karte hain from Azmat (1973)

    Tasleem Fazli’s Rafta rafta woh meri from Zeenat (1976)

    Having singers with the calibre of Mehdi Hassan surely raised the bar of film music!


  22. I am late so obviously I have nothing to add here, I love your list and your readers have done the rest. BTW, I was wondering whether you have done a list of songs based on the theme of neend or neendiya, I went through your list and saw you hadn’t, give it a thought there are quite few lovely songs.


    • That’s an interesting theme, Shilpi! Yes, I can already (even without doing any research) think of songs about sleep (lots of lullabies, of course, but other songs too). Will do that sometime. Thanks for the suggestion!


  23. Wonderful idea.I liked almost all the song from your list too.There are other songs which would fit in this list-
    1.Matwaali naar
    2.Dhal chuki shaam-e-gham
    3.Tere naina talash
    4.Saaz ho tum (though I don’t like the song but the song fits the list).
    5.Radhika tune bansuri churayi.

    Thanks for posting this.


  24. Great informations..
    Very eager to know the unknown dancers some of them have been revealed here..
    Thanks for providing these precious informations..


  25. Enjoyed your post very much. There were some lovely songs to listen to and to watch. I thought of a Kannada song which I think would qualify. This is one of my favorite Kannada songs.
    The singer is the actual singer of the song P.B.Srinivas.


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