Ten of my favourite Mumtaz songs

Happy 70th birthday, Mumtaz!

I have gone through phases when I’ve been very fond of a certain actor, only to later start disliking them. Or vice-versa. Dev Anand, for a while, I could watch in anything (until I discovered his post-Johny Mera Naam films, and began disliking him even in some of his earlier films). Mehmood I was fond of as a child; now, it’s only the rare film where I like him. Balraj Sahni I found boring when I was a kid: for many years now, he’s been an actor I admire immensely.

Mumtaz (born in Bombay, on July 31, 1947) is one of the exceptions. I have adored Mumu ever since I can remember. From that gorgeous smile to that cute little button nose, to those dancing eyes: I have never not loved Mumtaz. Initially, I remember loving her just for the fact that she was so very pretty and vivacious; later, when I saw films like Khilona, I realized just how good an actress she is, too.

So, in celebration of the 70th birthday of one of my favourite actresses, ten of her songs that I like. Although Mumtaz had some great songs picturized on her during the 1970s (in films like Loafer, Chor Machaaye Shor and Jheel ke Us Paar), since my blog confines itself to pre-70s cinema, that’s what I’ve stuck to here. As always, these songs are all from films I’ve seen.

1. Aajkal tere-mere pyaar ke charche (Brahmachari, 1968): When Shammi Kapoor hits the dance floor, it’s actually pretty tough for an actress sharing the same space to be remembered. Offhand, if I think of actresses who’ve held their own dancing alongside Shammi, I immediately think of Asha Parekh in Aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera, Helen in O haseena zulfonwaali—and Mumtaz in Aajkal tere-mere pyaar ke charche. In her iconic orange sari—draped in a style that came to be known as the ‘Mumtaz sari style’—Mumtaz is fabulous. She’s as peppy and frothy as Shammi, and for once, it’s the actress I’m looking at, not Shammi. And such a delightfully foot-tapping number too.

2. Zindagi ittefaq hai (Aadmi au Insaan, 1969): Saira Banu was billed as the heroine of Aadmi aur Insaan. For me, she pales into insignificance in comparison to Mumtaz. Not just because Mumtaz was the one who lip-synced to the best song in the film, but because Mumtaz was, from the very first moment she appeared onscreen, exquisitely stylish. She oozed oomph; her clothes were stunning, her hairstyles were fabulous, and her character was an interesting one. Here, in a philosophical song about the ‘coincidental’ nature of life (a philosophy her character espouses throughout the film), Mumtaz is the undoubted focus of the party. She’s gorgeous and bold in a classy way, and there’s a certain Who-gives-a-damn-about-the-world air about her that I find very attractive.

3. Yeh hai reshmi zulfon ka andhera (Mere Sanam, 1965): I will admit that Mumtaz doesn’t look her best in this particular song: those slightly curly tresses aren’t especially pretty, and that body-hugging gold-and-black striped outfit is unflattering—it wouldn’t have suited Mumtaz in her later years when she was much more svelte, and it’s almost embarrassing here, when she’s still fairly chubby. But despite these drawbacks (not to mention the presence of Biswajit, not a favourite of mine), this remains a classic Mumu song. She manages to convey a seductiveness that I would not have expected to be a successful attempt given the circumstances.

4. O matwaare saajna chhalak gaya mera pyaar (Faulad, 1963): Mumtaz’s career had an interesting trajectory: a slow but consistent beginning (as a child artiste, graduating to a heroine of B-grade films); a mid-career rise to recognition, with supporting roles in films like Saawan ki Ghata, Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi, Mere Sanam, etc) and finally as heroine—sadly, for too few years—in big films like Khilona, Sachcha-Jhootha, Loafer, and Apradh.

One major part of her early career consisted of a series of faux historical-action films she starred in opposite Dara Singh (sixteen films in all, according to most sources). Most of these films had little to recommend them in the way of story or coherence, but they had a young and pretty Mumtaz, and often some good songs. O matwaare saajna is an example: a melodious and romantic song with a lovely Mumtaz and a muscular Dara Singh, she looking demure and shy as she sings of her love for him.

5. O meri maina tu maan le mera kehna (Pyaar Kiye Jaa, 1966): For me, Pyaar Kiye Jaa ranks as one of the best Hindi comedies of the 50s and 60s: it’s hilarious, and it has some fine performances from a great ensemble cast that included Shashi Kapoor, Kalpana, Kishore Kumar, Mehmood, Om Prakash—and Mumtaz. As a village belle who is ‘discovered’ by an aspiring film maker (Mehmood, in one role where I actually find him pretty amusing) and groomed to be his heroine, she shows a real flair for comedy. Here, in a song I love, Mumtaz and Mehmood show off their dancing skills. Mumu is pretty, she’s cute, and she’s so very watchable.

6. Bindiya chamkegi churi khankegi (Do Raaste, 1969): Mumtaz in an orange sari, again. But a very different Mumtaz from the one who sizzles in Brahmachari: in Bindiya chamkegi, churi khankegi, she looks the traditional bhartiya naari to the T. There are flowers in her hair, paayals on her ankles, bangles on her wrists, a bindiya on her forehead—all carefully calculated and aimed at distracting the lover who’s trying so hard to get some studying done for his upcoming exams. I don’t especially like the music of this song, but Mumtaz is lovely, and Rajesh Khanna’s acting—his reaction to her song and dance—is so very apt! There’s that initial resistance, the half-wish that she would leave him to study; and then, the growing interest and the final capitulation.

7. Humein toh ho gaya hai pyaar (Mere Humdum Mere Dost, 1968): By the mid- and late-60s, Mumtaz was acting in A-grade films, including several (Pathhar ke Sanam, Sawan ki Ghata, Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi) where she played the third wheel, occasionally just merely irritatingly clingy when it came to the hero. In Mere Humdum Mere Dost, however, though her character does fall in love with a man who loves another (and there’s a birth secret involved here…), she backs off gracefully. Here, clad in a blingy crimson-and-gold sheath dress, she does a song and dance, telling him how she’s crazy about him, never mind whether that love is requited or not. In reality, though, this is all a ploy to help him escape a bunch of thugs.

8. Tik tik tik mera dil (Humjoli, 1970): And, a song from the cusp of the decades. Interestingly too, an item song, before they became so common in Hindi cinema. Humjoli’s lead actress was Leena Chandavarkar; in the story, her character falls in love and when her sweetheart realizes that it will be better for her (or so he thinks, as is usual in Hindi films) to be separated from him, he contrives to put up a farce—by performing a romantic song-and-dance with a gorgeous girl at a club. Much as I like Leena Chandavarkar, I do think Mumtaz is miles ahead of her in the looks department: she’s so pretty and so effervescent. Plus, that outfit is pretty eye-catching.

9. Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai (Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani, 1968): I’ll admit that in this case, at least, it’s the sheer beauty of the song—the tune, the lyrics, the rendition—that played a large part in its being on this list. But I will also admit that if the actress here had been someone else (Vimmi? Kalpana? Priya Rajvansh? Saira Banu?), I may not have liked this song so much. In a change from the effervescent, dancing and energetic Mumtaz of almost all the other songs in this list, here she’s tranquil, calm, singing softly in a dreamily romantic song under the moonlight. This was an especially good Mumtaz film for me, too, even though her role was fairly limited: her character’s romance was probably the most beguiling I’ve ever seen, and Mumtaz did total justice to the role.

10. Dhadka toh hoga dil zaroor (CID 909, 1967): Mumtaz was unfortunate enough to spend a good bit of her career working—even as heroine—in films that may have starred fairly big names, but were forgettable. CID 909, as the name suggests, was a convoluted and incoherent spy film starring Feroz Khan as the eponymous CID 909, with Mumtaz as the daughter and assistant of a scientist who’s invented a crucial formula (for peace, with FORMULA emblazoned across the top of the file, easily identifiable by enemy agents). What CID 909 could boast of was some fine music (courtesy OP Nayyar)—and Mumtaz, pretty and stylish as always. Here, our heroine abandons her bouffants and chic slacks to disguise herself as a gypsy, singing and dancing to a peppy song, teasing her lover. Infectious and delightful, and Mumtaz steals the scene from her fellow danseuse and Feroz Khan.

Happy birthday, Mumtaz, and thank you for your films!

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67 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Mumtaz songs

  1. hello madhuji,
    a very nice and enjoyable post on Mumtaz.
    I like many of her songs.
    The ones u have mentioned, are my favorite too…………….
    mainly o matwre sajana from Faulad.
    The song that i can add is
    Aaj koi pyar se from sawan ki ghata,
    The opening itself of the song is so refreshing……..

    secondly………………
    allah yeh ada from mere humdum…..

    I used to dislike this song , but i once heard it completely and loved it ……
    now its the most favorite from that movie.

    then khilona….
    sanam tu bewafa ke naam se

    a mujra song, again by LP.
    L P were on their topmost form in first ten years….. till 1973, according to me.

    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked this post. Of the songs you’ve suggested, Aaj koi pyaar se and Allah yeh ada were both on my shortlist, but eventually didn’t make it to the final cut, so I’m especially glad to see them here. :-)

  2. While I cannot fault your choices, I do feel that you should have made an exception in her case. call hera late bloomer or whatever…
    How could you not include
    Jai jai shiva shankar
    Gore rang pe itna
    Le jayenge le jayenge
    The eye popping bikini scene followed by the song in Apradh.
    Just a few that come to my mind immediately.
    Only four of your songs would come into the longlist of Mumtaz’s best and may be two would make my shortlist ( and probably yours!)
    Come on rules are meant to be broken. you may compile a part II restricting to post 70 songs of Mumu or a combined top 10 for her career and then we would get talking.
    or at least jot down songs that you would have included had the rule not been in place.
    Mumu really worked her way into stardom and cine goers hearts. No two ways about it.
    Happy birthday mumtaz!

    • “How could you not include
      Jai jai shiva shankar
      Gore rang pe itna
      Le jayenge le jayenge

      Because this is a list of my favourite songs? Nowhere in this post have I claimed that these are Mumtaz’s most popular songs. They are just ten of my favourites – and I will admit that I do not like (no matter how popular they may be) most of the songs that were picturised on her in the 70s. Le jaayenge le jaayenge and Aye maine kasam li might be the only two songs of hers from the 70s that I would have included in this post if I had decided to bend my rule (there’s a reason for that rule and for the existence of this blog – the reason being that I find the 50s and 60s to be the period that suits me most).

      So, no. No part II. No point in a part II that consists of two songs.

      • Ok. Peace. Let us say our tastes diverge here. May be the reason is I was forced to see the Rajesh Khanna movies that my sister liked and I found Mumu to be the one and only reason that made me sit through them at that age. May be my fondness of the seventies songs is due to that.

        • Ever since I can remember, my father used to be turning on the radio to listen to old Hindi film songs, or playing them on LPs – and his taste was very decidedly in favour of SD Burman, Salil Choudhary, Madan Mohan and OP Nayyar. As a result, both my sister and I ended up liking those particular composers too. The only major 70s composer I really enjoy is RD Burman -people like Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji don’t usually float my boat.

  3. This is a song close to my heart. The song is voluptuous, but Mumtaz as per the demand of the situation, is wearing white and no seductive style or step. But it still makes the song seductive because of Mumtaz

  4. Mumtaz again in a different form – that of a housewife expecting their child. So different from her usual frolicking avatar

  5. Madhu…..This is a lovely post. I like all the songs you listed. And of course, Mumtaz looks great in the songs. I remember watching Sikandar-e-azam and was astounded when Mumtaz made her first appearance in the movie. She looked fabulous and sported a hair-style that was different. Dara Singh was the hero and the song Yeh bharat desh hai mera was a big hit.
    I also remember a peppy number from the film sung by Mumtaz – O mere yaar O dildaar.

    • Thank you, Ravi! Glad you liked this post, and thank you for this song. It’s so peppy and Mumtaz is – as always – so good. I’d never seen this one before, though I have a feeling I’ve heard it.

      • Have not been caught up on your posts for a while Madhu. So some Mumtaz songs that would be on my list (not limited by decade as you are in your blog) are already mentioned in the comments but in some cases video not provided:
        1. the absolutely superb “Ae maine kasam li” from “Tere mere sapne”. Just noticed that a link to the video of “Ae maine kasam li” is not here. So here it is. SD’s use of the cycle bell in the beginning, both their singing, Mumtaz looking gorgeous as a traditional housewife, the tune – there is nothing to dislike here IMO.

        2. “Kaanchi re kaanchi re” from “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”

        3. “Jai jai shiv shankar” from “Aap ki kasam” where Mumtaz is SUPERB, I personally like Rajesh but found him annoying in this one.

        4. and this obscure song from “Sikandar-e-Azam”
        Of course in true Hindi film style, Mumtaz is supposedly dressed as a man in this last song – cannot imagine anybody believing that :-) I don’t recall the circumstances – been years since I saw this film. As an aside, all I remembered of this film (after a Doordarshan viewing back in the 80s) was a very majestic Prithviraj Kapoor, the song “JahaaN Daal Daal par sone ki” and that there was a really nice song picturized on Mumtaz – did not know the lyrics, not sure about the singer. I searched for this song for years (in the pre-youtube, pre-web days) before I found a managed to record a bad copy of it from a video-cassette.
        Thanks for reminding me of the song from “Apna ghar apni kahaani”. Such a lovely song – and I cannot believe I completely forgot all about it till I saw this post.

        • Glad to have you back, sangeetbhakt! And thank you for the songs – I must be the only person around who doesn’t like Jai-jai Shiv Shankar, but I do love both Ae maine kasam li (a particular favourite of mine) and Kaanchi re kaanchi re. I have never been able to find Sikandar-e-Azam, but of course Jahaan daal-daal par sone ki was pretty much part and parcel of any patriotic day celebrations on Doordarshan back when I was a kid… heard a lot of that. The Mumtaz song came as a refreshing discovery. :-)

          I will be reviewing Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani soon. That proved to be a fairly entertaining film, and it had two superb songs – Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai and Jigar mein dard kaisa.

  6. Thanks Madhu, for another great topic. Mumtaz is also one of my favorites. Here is one song from a movie that transitioned her from B to A grade movies – with Dilip
    Balam tere pyar ki thandi – Ram aur Shyam

    • Thank you, Nishi! Baalam tere pyaar ki thandi aag was not just on my shortlist, I’d even written it up and taken a screenshot of it. It was only at the last minute that I decided to replace it. I’m happy to see you posting it, because it is a lovely song. :-)

  7. Thanks madhuji.I would like to add my some .. favorites of MumtajYUNHI TUM MUJHSE PYAR KARTE HO 2. FROM TERE MERE SAPNE..HAN MAINE KASAM LI..THODA HAMARA THODA TUMHARA…3. FROM HARE RAM HARE KRISHNA..KANCHARR KANCHA.. FROM..v s yekkelli

    • Some lovely songs there, Vishwanathji. I especially like Aye maine kasam li and Kaanchi re kaanchi re. Yoon hi tum mujhse baat karte ho is nice, though not one of my absolute favourites.

  8. Lovely post for a lovely actress, Madhu.

    From your list, Ye reshmi zulfein, Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche, Chand bhi koi deewana, O meri maina are particular favourites.

    My picks would also include: Tauba ye matwali chaal from Patthar ke Sanam, Sajna o sajna from Rustom-e-Hind, Keh rahe hai ye aansoon from Jheel ke Us Paar, Karvatein badalte rahe from Aap ki Kasam and Motiyon ki ladi hoon main from Loafer. Some of these are beyong your cut-off period, though.

    (Could you link the songs? My net connection is horrible.)

    • Glad you liked the post, Anu! Yes, Mumtaz was such a lovely actress, wasn’t she? Beautiful, talented, and with something just very lively and likable about her. :-)

      Of the songs you’ve mentioned, Tauba yeh matwaali chaal I had toyed with including, but shot down because I did want (even though I didn’t specifically mention it) songs in which Mumtaz actually lip-syncs to the song. Sajna o sajna was on my shortlist too, but didn’t make it to the final cut.

      Karvatein badalte rahe is a nice song, but all the liking I had for it went flying out the window when my father, years ago, commented (Chitrahaar was on, and this song was playing), “Kyon? Khatmal kaat rahe thhe, kya?” :-D

  9. I quite like Mumtaz too. My favourite among these is Zindagi itefaaq hai from Aadmi aur Insaan. She just walked away with that film. And I find her adorable in Ye Reshmi Zulfon ka, puppy fat and all. Leena Chandravarkar tried to copy her iconic Brahmchari look in Preetam and fell flat on her face. Thanks to you, I discovered, Chand bhi koi deewana hai. What a soft romantic number. Sudhir really had some nice songs picturised on him.

    • I agree with you about Mumtaz ‘walking away’ with Aadmi aur Insaan. Very well put – she certainly did! It’s been a long time since I watched Preetam so I’ve completely forgotten what Leena Chandavarkar looked like in that… perhaps just as well.

      ” Sudhir really had some nice songs picturised on him.

      He did. And he was superb in this film with Mumtaz. They formed one of the most adorable couples I have ever seen in Hindi cinema.

      • After reading your comments about ‘beguiling romance’, I am intrigued enough to watch her movie with Sudhir.

        Here’s Leena, looking like a bad copy of Mumtaz in Preetam

        • I will be posting a review of Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani sometime within the next couple of weeks. (I must warn you, though, that both Sudhir and Mumtaz have very small roles – they are not the primary characters).

          Goodness, how had I forgotten this song? That is really blatant copying – and yes, Leena Chandavarkar just doesn’t swing it the way Mumtaz did!

  10. a few more
    Chaho to jaan lelo from CID 999

    the songs from this movie are delightful and i like most of them. She does looks gorgeous in the song.

    Husna iqrar karein from Tarzan comes to delhi
    i think this is one of her earlier films, a low budget or B grade , whatsoever one wants to call it!
    Music by Dattaram, Lyrics by Anand bakshi
    I find this song really melodious, and sweet.

    • Chaaho toh jaan le lo was on my shortlist. I was debating over whether I should include it or Dhadka toh hoga dil zaroor… then settled for the latter, because I like it more. A waste of good music, on a film which was so incoherent and just basically blah.

  11. I would like to know where “Haan maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya” from Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti stood in your shortlist.

    • It wasn’t on my shortlist – mostly because I completely forgot about that film. Offhand, too, the only song from that film I remember is Yeh kaun chitrakaar hai. Am just listening to Haan maine bhi pyaar kiya again (haven’t been able to find a video, so am having to make do with an audio). It’s a little so-so for me…

  12. This year, for this day, I was expecting a post something like ‘Ten of my favourite MEENA KUMARI songs’ since her birthday falls on Aug 1 and there isn’t any post on your website dedicated to her. Any way may be some other day or next year.
    As for Mumtaz, she is among the pretty faces of the Indian Cinema. Some of my favourite Mumtaz songs are
    1) Aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche – Beautiful song, cute dance.
    2) Chori chori chupke chupke from Aap ki kasam
    3) Sanam tu bewafa ke naam se – She has danced well in that song.
    4) Aaj koi pyar se.

    • Yes, I like Meena Kumari a lot too – I must dedicate a post to her someday, especially as she had some lovely songs picturised on her. Thanks for reminding me of her, and thanks for the Mumtaz songs you listed.

  13. wasn’t it Mumtaz running behind Sandya in ‘pankh hoti to ud athi re’ from the film Sehara?

    A beautiful actress, and a great selection of songs, made my day!
    Girish Vaidya

  14. I like both these songs from Loafer, Koi shehri babu and Main tere ishq mein ! In fact my mom has a saree which is exactly like the one Mumtaz wears in Main tere ishq mein (just a different colour) and it was apparently called a Loafer Saree in the stores then :)

    • “t was apparently called a Loafer Saree in the stores then :)

      I didn’t know that! Wow. :-D Mumtaz seems to have been, when it comes to fashion, as iconic as Sadhana was.

      I like Koi sehri babu, such a peppy song. Makes me want to dance.

  15. and an absolute personal favourite , the melody as well as an extremely stylish couple :) (dont miss super-short shorts of Mr Khan :)
    Tum mile pyar se from Apradh

  16. another lovely song, Dil ki baatein , dil hi jaane from Roop Tera Mastana , a stylish composition with colour coordinated lead pair :) move over Johar !

  17. Personally, I never liked Mumtaz as a heroine (and consequently her songs). I feel she lacked the grace and elegance of the contemporary heroines, and hence more suited for roles as a vamp or side-heroine. However, as you often say, this is ‘my’ personal choice and need not be a popular opinion.

  18. I’m with you on the enduring love for Mumtaz. As you said, she’s always watchable. I think you’ve compiled a great list of songs that chart not just her career evolution, but the diversity of her roles. “Zindagi iteffaq hai” and “chand bhi koi dewaana hai” make my favorites list as well and I couldn’t agree more with your descriptions of the songs.

    Here’s a song from early in her career that doesn’t get mentioned much but which I’m rather fond of:
    Ab der ho gayi vallah – Rustom Sohrab

    • Thank you, Shalini! I’m glad you liked the songs – and, especially, I’m glad that you like Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai. It’s a shame that song is so little-known.

      And thank you for Ab der ho gayi vallah. I had briefly toyed with the idea of putting this in too, but then dropped it. But it’s a lovely song, anyway. :-)


  19. Hi,
    My favorite will also be her last song before she retired and that is from the movie, “Prem Kahani”.
    She looked gorgeous, best acting and those eyes when she recited this song – the revenge!
    Sashi Kapoor & Rajesh Khanna couldn’t beat her period!

    Thank you

    • “Sashi Kapoor & Rajesh Khanna couldn’t beat her period!

      Nobody could, when she hit her stride, in my opinion. ;-) Honestly, Mumtaz is one of those few women who I think has an amazing screen presence – I keep looking at her when she’s in a frame.

      I don’t especially like this song, but she shows her acting skills very well here.

  20. Was watching some Qawaalis on you tube and came across these featuring Mumtaz and Aruna Irani. The lead was Kum Kum – who by the way is one of my favorites as well!

    Husn wale husn ka anjaam dekh

    and
    Qawaali ki raat hai (Kehne wale tu bhi keh de)

    • Thank you for these! Qawwali ki Raat had some good songs; I haven’t seen the film (if I remember correctly, Kamaljeet – Waheeda Rehman’s husband – was the hero, and he’s not a favourite of mine).

      I like Kumkum too. She has the same sort of pep that Mumtaz does. Sadly, she ended up being in several films where she was obliged to be all weepy and melodramatic. I loved her in films like CID and Pyaasa, though: such a breath of fresh air!

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