Doctor, Doctor: Ten songs about medical problems

It’s often struck me that there are a number of Hindi film songs that could well be interpreted to refer to medical problems. The omnipresent theme of romantic love in itself has enough substance for everything from insomnia to palpitations of the heart, giddiness, and whatnot. Bung in heartbreak (hah! Another medical problem?), and you can also tag on mental illness, in the form of depression. Of course, romance isn’t the only reason for problems concerning one’s health: betrayal, fear, family troubles—everything can be cause for singing about ailments concerning one’s heart, one’s liver, and sundry other body parts.

Here we go, then, with ten songs that could be construed to indicate medical problems. As always, they’re all from pre-70s films (with one song from a film on the cusp), and are in no particular order. My favourites, though, tend to be towards the top of the list.

1. Koi bata de dil hai jahaan kyon hota hai dard wahaan (Main Chup Rahoongi, 1962): This one’s obviously addressed to a cardiologist—though I’m guessing it might even indicate a case of indigestion. There seems to be a specific complaint of a flutter here (Dil par aisi kya guzri, ghadi-ghadi yeh ghabraaye), and an irritation (a ‘khalish’ in the ‘dil’). This is one doctor who seems woefully incompetent (even dangerous in his incompetency). He blithely dismisses the khalish as being all a part of falling in love (Jab ho khalish-si pehloo mein, samjho pyaar ne kaam kiya). Worse still, he doesn’t seem to know human anatomy too well: after having given an injection—‘teer chalaake’, so to say—he wonders whether the pain and the heart are in the same place after all.

Should be blacklisted, is what I say.

2. Nainon mein badra chhaaye bijli si chamke haai (Mera Saaya, 1966): Those symptoms—the darkness looming before the eyes, the flashes of what seem like lightning—sound ominously like an epileptic seizure in the offing. Our heroine tries to do some (rather lame) self-diagnosis, by claiming that she’s love-mad. Or (and this sounds like a case of being seriously deluded) the ‘queen of dreams’. I’d suggest seeing a neurologist or a psychiatrist. Better still, both.

In any case, instead of wasting her time telling her beloved to hug her, she should be instructing him to lay her on her side before the seizure hits.

3. Chadh gayo paapi bichhua (Madhumati, 1958): No confusion here about what the complaint is. It’s a clear-cut case (even the patient knows it) of scorpion envenomation. Considering 0.27% of scorpion stings end up being fatal, the heroine is taking it all rather lightly—she goes to a quack vaid at first, who seems to believe more in mantras than in medicine. The result, of course, is—nothing. It’s then that this nutty patient remembers her boyfriend is a doctor. Thankfully, apparently a really good doctor, because one look at him, and the scorpion falls off—presumably without having even got around to stinging the lady.

4. Neend na mujhko aaye (Postbox No. 999, 1958): Sunil Dutt seems to have featured in a lot of these songs. In this one, the third in the list, for a change, he’s not the one being appealed to for medical help. Instead, he’s one of a duo of sufferers: both insomniacs, complaining of not being able to sleep and of having some sort of problem with the heart—a murmur, perhaps? The good thing is, there are two of them, so they have each other for company. And, in what is probably an indication of a desire to self-medicate (or at least to spurn any formal medication?), they seem to think that singing is going to solve their problems. Good luck to them, I say.

5. Barkhaa ki raaton mein dil jalta (Shrimatiji, 1952): I love the beat of this song, the rhythm of it, and the gorgeousness of Shyama—but one can’t get away from the fact that, like Koi bata de dil hai jahaan, this one also seems to indicate a bad case of indigestion. In fact, considering that these symptoms—the heartburn, the restlessness, etc—come on during monsoon nights, I’m guessing this one’s a straightforward case of the Indian (especially North Indian?) love for celebrating rainy days with lots of garam chai and pakoras, samosas, and other fatty, spicy foods. What do you expect if not heartburn? The streaming eyes the lady’s complaining of may indicate, though, that this isn’t a simple case of mild indigestion that’ll go away with some judicious dosing with Hajmola or Pudinhara or whatever; it might just be acid reflux. Instead of dancing about and singing, she’d better be taking herself off to a proper doctor.

6. Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji (Mr & Mrs 55, 1955): Heartburn and indigestion—even an imminent epileptic seizure—are all bearable. Even the fainting fit brought on by someone’s jaadu in another song from Mr & Mrs 55 is all right. Everything pales in comparison to this: a liver gone missing. (Yes, even I wonder how our friend is able to stay alive without medical support in such a condition, let alone go dancing all about the office with his lady friend). Said lady friend, however, should be taking him off to the daaktar sahib instead of the jamaadar, I think. Or, if one is to be more realistic, to the cemetery.

7. Chaand phir niklaa (Paying Guest, 1957): Nutan’s tearful heroine here waits for her beloved (oddly enough, a lawyer, rather than a doctor, as the lyrics seem to suggest). And cribs about the bad attack of heartburn she’s suffering from (heartburn seems to be a common ailment among the lovelorn in Hindi cinema). This one, given its severity (sulagte seene se dhuaan-sa uthata hai, not to mention that bit about dam ghutta hai) may even be acid reflux. Poor girl; instead of sitting around and moping for her boyfriend, she’d be better off digging into a tub of ice cream.

8. Gulaabi aankhen jo teri dekheen sharaabi yeh dil (The Train, 1970): For this song, I have blog reader Ashish to thank—because when I did my post on ‘colour’ songs for Holi, Ashish mentioned Gulaabi aankhen in his comment, and remarked that it was an apt song to sing to someone suffering from conjunctivitis (which, as most of you might know, is commonly referred to as ‘pink eye’). Oddly enough, conjunctivitis—which I’ve not come across for several decades now—has suddenly hit my family, what with my daughter, my husband, and my mother getting it over the past month.

So Gulaabi aankhen it is: and Rajesh Khanna’s hero, from the way he cheerily waves his fingers about near his girlfriend’s eyes and then brings them to his own, doesn’t seem to realize just how infectious this problem can be. He does go overboard about how dangerous it is (calling it qaatil and all that), but any good ophthalmologist should be able to assure him that the common or garden variety of conjunctivitis is easily gotten rid of with eye drops, cold compresses, and gentle cleansing. Not fatal at all. Unless you slip and break your neck while doing all that vigorous dancing when your vision is impaired.

9. Kahin pe nigaahein kahin pe nishaana (CID, 1954): Another ocular problem, this time strabismus, more commonly known as crossed eyes. Bir Sakhuja looks more villainous than cross-eyed, but Waheeda Rehman’s character is probably so nervous about keeping him away from the fugitive she’s sheltering—while she quickly improvises lyrics to help said fugitive escape—that she’s probably not really thinking. Despite the flirtatious looks and all, this girl is tense enough to be careless about what she’s saying: she tells him outright that his crossed eyes are enough to kill her or at least drive her crazy. A bit drastic, I think—and a dangerous thing to tell a man with no compunctions about killing people.

10. Chheenk, meri jaan chheenk (Tum Haseen Main Jawaan, 1970): And, to end, the common cold. Helen, by 1970 a veteran of ‘cabaret’ songs, here appears as the jalpari who happily goes about passing on her cold to all the people sitting around watching her dance (if this was the US, she’d have been sued left, right and centre). She’s gotten soaked, what with having come through a fountain and all, but she’s blasé about it. Instead of ducking out gracefully and going back to the green room to lie down with blankets, a hot water bottle and a hot toddy, this girl decides to use her cold as a theme for a song. Her symptoms, and a possible cause, become part of the song: yeh aankhen rang bhari is an indication of just how red her eyes have become. The ‘Main garm-garm shola, tu thandi-thandi aahein’ seems to echo the common Indian belief that colds are brought on, not by germs, but by ‘garm-sard hona’, as they say in North India. Alternating heat and cold.

Why the spectators sit around and let her sneeze all over them is anybody’s guess.

There are plenty of other songs that could fit this list (I know, in fact, of several that I’d have liked to include, except that I hadn’t watched the film in question). Which ones would you add?

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60 thoughts on “Doctor, Doctor: Ten songs about medical problems

  1. You do come up with the most outrageous and out-of-ordinary themes. But, God bless you, they are wonderful for music lovers for, otherwise, we barely get to recall these great songs.

  2. A cross between epilepsy and cardiac aneurysm, would you say? This ‘new light’ meets his eyes, and promptly his heart starts to misfire.

    Aapke Haseen Rukh Pe (Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi, 1966)

  3. What a terrific idea for a post! I couldn’t tell where you were headed with this post, because I couldn’t remember any songs about real ail, but this was hilarious, especially when the liver goes missing. When I watched this song earlier, the thought did cross my mind that maybe if he found the liver lying somewhere under the desk, he would do some surgery on himself and put it back in, like the guy in Jim Corbett’s book, who stuffed the insides of his stomach back into the cavity. Gross, isn’t it? And yes Sadhana does need some serious medical attention and so does Meena Kumari. Lucky for them that they didn’t collapse by the end of the songs! Once again, this is a terrific post, second only to the one you had posted some years back,where you had talked about the various cures for diseases, as suggested by Bollywood.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Lalitha! I had lots of fun coming up with this post – I hoped I’d be able to find ten different ailments, but alas, no. Fortunately, others seem to have taken up the challenge, and done far better. :-)

      “he would do some surgery on himself and put it back in, like the guy in Jim Corbett’s book, who stuffed the insides of his stomach back into the cavity.

      Oh, yes. I’d forgotten about that incident. I don’t think Hindi cinema back then, even in a life-and-death situation involving being mauled by a tiger, would have shown even a hint of anything so gruesome… but I do remember that my sister and I, long before we had watched this film or even seen the song, used to wonder what would be happening in a song with lyrics like that. :-D

      “Once again, this is a terrific post, second only to the one you had posted some years back,where you had talked about the various cures for diseases, as suggested by Bollywood.

      I have to admit I’ve forgotten that one – are you sure I was the one who posted it? (Though I wouldn’t be surprised; my memory has really gone for a toss). I did, however, do this post on ‘crime songs’, several years back:

      https://madhulikaliddle.com/2012/03/27/crime-and-the-hindi-film-song-ten-examples/

  4. What a topic! How do you think of such outré subjects ? Hats off!

    Here are some from my side.

    “Charaagar har gaya ho jaise”, a ghazal by Ghulam Ali

    The baap of all broken heart songs: Saigal singing “Jab dil hi toot gaya”

    Thorn-pricks – “Kaanta laga”

    Life-threatening paediatric illness – “Chhoti si umar mein lag gaya rog”

    And here’s someone who asks us to take acidity & heartburn in our stride, not make a song and dance about it – “Dil jalta hai to jalne de”

    Learning disability – “Sab kuch seekha humne, na seekhi hoshiyari”

    Insanity – “Main paagal, mera manwa paagal”

    Cardiac massage – “Haath seene pe jo rakh do to qarar aa jaae”

    Vertigo & hypotension – “Sar jo tera chakraye”

    • Oops! There seems to be some problem with second and third song links. Let me try again.

      Jab dil hi toot gaya

      Kaanta laga

    • Hehe! I had a good laugh going through your list. Thank you so much, that was thoroughly enjoyable. Only one of these – Sar jo tera chakraaye – had been on my shortlist too. Chhoti si umar mein is especially inspired. :-D Too good.

  5. Madhu, you are GENIUS in terms of coming up with ideas for song lists. And this one both had me chuckling and racking my brains for more songs to add to the list. Hindi film music is rampant with ailments, both real and imagined – but they are often hidden deep within other pining and sighing and crying and whining. So these are sometimes harder to spot. Milind just posted a range of superb songs, some of which I immediately recalled. Some that are not there:
    a) Mere dil me halki si who khalish hai jo nahi thhi – by Lata from “Parasmani”

    b) Jalta hai badan – by Lata from “Razia Sultan”

    c) Jaagi badan me jwaala – by Lata from “Izzat”

    d) KaaNp rahi mai – by Asha from “Joshila”

    And just for the heck of it, I thought I would post this – an old favorite of mine with Peter Sellers playing an Indian doctor and Sophia Loren as his patient:

    • Thank you, for those songs! I’d thought heart problems (and, to a lesser extent, liver problems) seemed to dominate Hindi film songs, but there seems to be more fever around than I’d imagined!

      It’s ages since I heard Goodness gracious me – thank you so much! Fits right in. :-D

  6. Ha ha ha! Hilarious post, Madhu. :) Though I must cavil at your prescribing a tub of icecream for acid reflux. What a waste of icecream that would be!

    The lady is not just ailing, she’s dying. Perhaps what she needs is a mortician.
    Mohabbat ke maaron ka haal from Baawre Nain

    And here’s someone with a fever: Pyaar ke bukhaar ko from Izzat

    This is also serious stuff – losing consciousness. Bheeni bheeni hai meethi meethi hai from Nausherwan-e-Adil

    Another one losing consciousness; it seems to be contagious:
    Unse nazar miii ke mere hosh ud gaye from Jhuk Gaya Aasman

    • “What a waste of icecream that would be!

      Oh, believe me, Anu, not when you’re a sufferer! I was on a slew of medications for various illnesses a few years back, and all those medicines gave me a serious attack of acid reflux – so bad that it would bring on maddening headaches, even. My doctor did prescribe medication, but since I was already taking so many medicines, he said that I’d be better off eating ice cream than taking more medicines! And it helped, it really helped. :-)

      I’m a little ashamed that even though I’ve seen all the films from which you’ve suggested songs, not one of these occurred to me! That Izzat song, at least, should have been there on my list. Fevers are not so very common in Hindi film songs, are they? But this hosh khona business seems to happen at the drop of a hat.

  7. Another so very creative post! I love it.

    Thanks for crediting me with Conjunctivitis song… It also appears to be causing him alcoholism.. Buy one, get one offer in this song! :)

    Looks like the heartburn and insomnia are the two most popular diseases that are widely covered by our songs…

    Here are some less known diseases:

    1. (Forced) Short term memory loss – Chalo aek baar phir se ajnabi ban jayen hum donon

    2. Anxiety – Milo na tum to hum ghabrayen..

    3. Drinking Problems – Sharabi Sharabi mera naam ho gaya

    4. Loss of vision – Nazar aati nahi manzil

    5. Sunburn? – Pani Main Jale

    6. Finally many diseases (heartburn, irritatable eyes, heart turning into a stone, loss of vision) in one song. This guy badly needs to see a doctor – Seene main jalan akhon main toofan sa kyun hai

    • LOL! Ashish, delightful selection of songs. I’d been hoping someone would post Seene mein jalan aankhon mein toofaan: this man seriously needs to see a doctor really quick. :-D

      • This is so much fun. A few more..

        1. This almost feels like a conversation between a patient and doctor, except he is no doctor – Mujhe dard rehta hai from Dus Numbari..

        2. This is another one with multiple issues – Diya Jale Jaan Jale Raat din dhuan chale (it seems like a chain smoking addiction to me)

        3. Either tongue blisters or he is explaining his medical problems to a doctor – Zuban pe dard bhari

          • You can tell I am having so much fun with this theme. Some more:

            1. Dystonia (Involuntary movement disorder) or Parkinson’s disease – Idhar Chala Main Udhar Chala

            2. Patient requesting for doctor to not leave until he/she is out of coma – Thehriye Hosh Main Aa Loon To Chale Jaiyega

            3. Vague (undetectable disease) coupled with insomnia – Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai

            • Haha! :-D Yes, there seems to be no end to the songs that fit this theme. Good ones, Ashish – especially your interpretation of Thehariye hosh mein aa loon. Hilarious!

  8. One more, Madhu. Burns this time.
    Hum pyaar mein jalne waalon ki from Jailor

    Anxiety disorder: Main apne aap se ghabraaya gaya hoon from Bindiya

    Depression: Zinda hoon is tarah ke gham–e-zindagi fromAag

    Drowning: Majhdaar mein kashti doob gayi from Burzdil

    Insomnia: Beimaan tore nainwa from Tarana

    • LOL! I don’t think I’ve ever done a post where most of the comments made me laugh so much. Thank you! (Makes me think, though: the poor lyricists who wrote these songs must be writhing in their graves. ;-))

  9. This is so much fun! Laughed out loud at your “diagnosis”
    Enjoying your list and those in comments.
    Sometimes it’s the song itself that’s dangerous – even fatal

    • Thank you, Bawa! For the appreciation, and for the song – I hadn’t heard Eh mera geet kise na gaana before, but oh, dear. That is one unfortunate song, to kill off its singer!

  10. Madhu ji,

    Wonderful post. Each of the above songs probably would lead to multiple diagnoses. For instance, “Nainon mein badra chhaye, bijli si chamke haai” could be symptomatic of either cataract, or glaucoma, or retinal detachment! So, here are a few relatively purer cases of single afflictions (disclaimer: Except Madhumati, I have not seen these movies, and my diagnosis is based on words alone).

    Arrhythmia: Ghadi ghadi mera dil dhadke (Lata in Madhumati, md: Salil Chaudhary)

    Amnesia: Main kaun hoon, main kahan hoon (Rafi in Main Chup Rahoongi, md: Chitragupta)

    Prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces): Kaun ho tum, kaun ho (Mahendra Kapoor in Stree, md: C Ramchandra)

    Hallucination: Main jab bhi akeli hoti hoon (Asha in Dharmaputra; md: N Dutta)

  11. Great post with an unusual topic! Enjoyed it thoroughly. Some related songs that may make the cut!
    Yeh dard bhara afsana – Main hoom ik pagal premi, mera dard na koi jaana

    Ashiq hoon ik mehjabeen ka – pagla kahin ka

    and Bindu singing Dard-e-dil badhta jaaye – except this is from 1972

  12. oh madhuji
    u r just fabulous!
    what a topic!
    i never thought of these songs from thia angle.
    i couldnt control laughing, reading the post and songs posted by others!
    i liked it, rather loved it!
    but late to join……………………

    let me think………….
    Mujhe darde dil ka pata na tha from akashdeep

    may not fit exactly

    hay re hay neend nahi aaye…….
    has someone posted it?

    not my favourite, but fits here!

    and here is someone having lots and lots of complaints,,,,that she turns breathless telling them….
    a beautiful song by sunidhi from SUR
    dil mein jagi dhadkan aise

    • Thank you so much! You were among the people I was thinking of when I published this post, because I thought – being doctors – you might be able to contribute to it. :-) And you did, thank you! Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na thha was on my shortlist too: lovely song, and fitting.

  13. more………….
    foreign body in the eye with, insomnia
    meri aankhon mein bas gaya koi re

    and one more,
    its too sweet and too good song to make fun of,
    but its a funny theme after all!
    Zara Si aahat hoi hai…
    hallucinations.

      • yes,
        it could a symptom of alcoholism, or more serious one, brain ka Problem!
        vascular insufficiency, low blood supply to brain!
        HAHAHAHAHAHA
        OMG
        i dont want to make this post serious!
        and also…..

        one more song for conjunctivitis!
        for u and ashish.
        In Aankhon Ka Rang Ho Gaya Gulabi, from Ho maine payr kiya in Jis Desh Mein…………….

        • “vascular insufficiency, low blood supply to brain!

          That could possibly have been the cause of the tabiyat machalna in Dil par hua aisa jaadoo, I suppose? ;-)

          I had forgotten that line from Ho maine pyaar kiya. Fits perfectly.

  14. What a great idea for a post! You have certainly opened our eyes to the vast range of heart-related problems that need medical and other types of attention, as portrayed in Hindi songs. Here are a few contributions from me. In the first one, Johnny Walker’s tormentor and doctor is the same person (Tumhi ne dard diya hai tumhi dawa dena), while in the second one Nalini Jaywant is convinced that no one can diagnose her “dil ka dard” properly. Then there is Dev Anand (looking suitably glum) bemoaning the fact that his heart is very brittle and liable to break soon.

    “Tumhi ne dard diya hai” from Chhoo Mantar

    “Dil ka dard na jaane duniya” from Naujawan

    “Koi sone ke dil wala” from Maya

  15. Hahahaha- thank you, thank you, oh thank you! This post had me in splits. The sometimes dour analysis only accentuated your tongue in the cheek humour more. From the ‘I’m guessing this one’s a straightforward case of the Indian (especially North Indian?) love for celebrating rainy days with lots of garam chai and pakoras, samosas, and other fatty, spicy foods’ to ‘any good ophthalmologist should be able to assure him that the common or garden variety of conjunctivitis is easily gotten rid of with eye drops’ I couldn’t stop laughing. I expected a very serious post and was wondering where you are going with it- a number of songs went through my head like ‘Ruk jaa raat teher ja re chanda’ and ‘Tum pukar lo’. I thought maybe they will be situational. But I love your version more. And after reading the first song, ‘Jaane kahan mera jigar’ popped into my head and I was thrilled to see it on your list. Though I think that is more a case of being supremely careless- I mean, come on you lost your jigar?
    I don’t think I will ever be able to hear these songs with anything other than a loony grin- I am merry as a grig! :-D

  16. [Ok, I thought my earlier comment had been published but clearly not- so I have to re-type it!]
    Thank you, thank you, thank you super much for this post! It made me roar with the tears-from-eyes-pain-in-the-belly wala laugh! From ‘love for celebrating rainy days with lots of garam chai and pakoras, samosas, and other fatty, spicy foods’ to ‘any good ophthalmologist should be able to assure him that the common or garden variety of conjunctivitis is easily gotten rid of with eye drops’ there was not a moment that I did not guffaw or snigger :-)
    I have to admit I wasn’t sure where you were going with the post when I read the title. I thought of ‘Tum pukar lo’ and ‘Ruk jaa raat teher jaa re chanda’, believing it to be a post dedicated to situational medical songs! But your version is so much better, not to mention the sometimes dour language which makes it funnier. After reading the first song, I immediately thought of ‘Jaane kahan mera jigar’ and was delirious to see it on the list! Though I consider it to be a case of carelessness- I mean losing your liver? Oh come on!
    I am right now merry as a grig. I hope you do more of these posts, Madhu :-)

    • Thank you so much, Simrita! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I tend to go completely whacky now and then, and Hindi cinema – often unwittingly – offers up lots of scope for being nutty. ;-)

      Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji as an example of carelessness is a good idea! Yes, how?? Almost as bad as – no, worse than – Nirupa Roy constantly losing offspring in just about every film she worked in.

      Years ago, I did another post somewhat along these lines; it’s about crime in Hindi film songs:

      https://madhulikaliddle.com/2012/03/27/crime-and-the-hindi-film-song-ten-examples/

      P.S. As you can see, your other comment hadn’t completely disappeared – for some inexplicable reason, WordPress marked it as spam.

  17. Wow! This post is just brilliant. The theme, your explanation, the response…all are so wonderful. I too tried hard to remember some ailments and could come up with only two and that too caused in others rather than oneself,so I don’t know whether they fit the bill.

    1. Tum Chal raheho, Hum chal rahe hain…

    The heartburn that is caused not because of acidity or indigestion but when you see somebody following a fitness regime (even if it is as simple as taking regular walks) religiously.

    2. Barson Purana

    The ailment is mentioned once: Tera Lahu bana kyon pani? This is such an unusual medical condition that I couldn’t even find a medical term for it. But sounds very-very serious to me and something that entails an immediate visit to the doctor. However, we fatalistic Indians can only curse fate for it: Ye Kaisa Din Aaaya?

    Looking forward to more such brilliant posts.

  18. This post (including everyone’s comments) has been one of your most entertaining ones ever! Just shows the ambivalence one can have towards old songs – laughing at the silliness of the language, while simultaneously enjoying the melody and the mood evoked by the song. Here’s one more song I recalled – it seeks a cure for sleeplessness and the effects of ‘jadu tona’ on the heart

    “Ankhiyan bhool gayi hain sona” from Goonj Uthi Shehnai

    • Hehe! Akhiyaan bhool gayi hain sona is a good one! Never occurred to me. Thank you for suggesting that.

      Incidentally, since no-one has posted this, and it was on my shortlist, I may as well put it in myself. Jigar mein dard kaisa seems to indicate cirrhosis, or (at the least) some form of hepatitis. How this man manages to sing and wander around in his condition, I don’t know – a bout of jaundice laid me up so badly, I was pretty much flat on my back in bed for two weeks.

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