Ten of my favourite Roshan songs

Sometime last month, I discovered that one of my favourite music directors would have celebrated his birthday centenary this year. Born Roshanlal Nagrath on July 14, 1917, in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), Roshan played the esraj for All India Radio, Delhi for about 10 years (during which he also composed music for various programmes) before moving to Bombay to try his luck in the world of cinema. Roshan’s career as a music director took off fairly soon afterwards, with the resounding success of the score of Baawre Nain (1950); he went on to compose music for over 50 films until his death in 1967.

If I’d known in July that it was a hundred years since Roshan’s birth, I’d have compiled this list and posted it back then as a tribute. But, what’s done is done—so, to mark the hundredth year of his birth (if not the exact date), ten of my favourite Roshan songs. As for all my song lists, these are all from films that I’ve seen. In Roshan’s case, since he passed away in 1967 and all the films for which he composed were released at the most within the next couple of years, my old rule of ‘from pre-70s cinema’ doesn’t need to be applied. But yes, I have stuck to another rule: no two songs are from the same film.

Here goes, in no particular order:

1. Na toh kaarvaan ki talaash hai—Yeh ishq ishq hai (Barsaat ki Raat, 1960): I am wary of applying the term ‘best’ to anything and anybody: it’s so subjective, I think. Most romantic song? Funniest song? Best ghazal? I steer clear of all those appellations. With one exception—I think Na toh kaarvaan ki talaash hai is the very best qawwali ever in Hindi cinema. There are many others that are good, even excellent, but there is none that is quite in the same class as this qawwali (and the one into which it segues, Yeh ishq ishq hai).

Sahir’s lyrics are superb, and Roshan puts them beautifully to music, using a range of voices—Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle, Sudha Malhotra, Mohmmad Rafi, SD Batish, and others—musical instruments, and rhythmic clapping, to create an unforgettable qawwali that clocks in at twelve minutes but never palls. Yeh ishq ishq hai, especially, has some brilliant variations in tempo and tune, making it even more interesting than Na toh kaarvaan ki talaash hai.

2. Baar-baar tohe kya samjhaaye (Aarti, 1962): Roshan scored the music for several films starring Meena Kumari, Pradeep Kumar and Ashok Kumar (as you’ll see when you read the rest of this list). Aarti was one of these, and while it wasn’t a film I liked all that much, it did have some great songs. I had a hard time choosing between Kabhi toh milegi kahin toh milegi and Baar-baar tohe kya samjhaaye, but finally settled for the latter, because it incorporates such an interesting twist. It starts off all fast-paced and folksy, very much the street performance by a dancer in a village—and then turns into a gentler, romantic (yet still playful) song sung by two people deeply in love. Beautiful, and also very well put together in the film: well-picturized and well-acted, besides, of course, being beautifully sung.

3.  Jurm-e-ulfat pe (Taj Mahal, 1963): Like Barsaat ki Raat, Taj Mahal was one of Roshan’s most standout films: both boasted of a score that was stellar, not one song that could be considered a dud. Taj Mahal, for instance, had the very romantic Paaon chhoo lene do and Jo waada kiya woh nibhaana hoga, as well as the teasing, fast-paced Na na na re na na haath na lagaana and the qawwali Chaandi ka badan sone ki nazar. More than those, though, it’s this quiet, contained song that impresses me: Roshan uses music in a very subdued way to let Lata’s voice (and Sahir’s gently defiant lyrics) to shine through. My only complaint is that this song is so short: it deserved to have been longer.

4. Mann re tu kaahe na dheer dhare (Chitralekha, 1964): Another song from a Pradeep Kumar-Meena Kumari-Ashok Kumar film, and (like Taj Mahal), a historical. Chitralekha had some beautiful songs, of which this one is easily my favourite. The lyrics are from Sahir, whose collaboration with Roshan, while not often recognized as much as his association with SD Burman, produced some memorable music, and the voice is Rafi’s. While this song does have a lot more instrumentation than (say) Jurm-e-ulfat pe, it’s all controlled, all carefully built up to complement the lyrics and the voice. That is one of the things I like a lot about Roshan: his ability to control the instrumentation, and not let it take over the song.

5. Chhupa lo yoon dil mein pyaar mera (Mamta, 1966): Mamta was an excellent showcase of Roshan’s versatility as a composer: on the one hand, it had two very different styles of love song: the romantic yet somehow fatalistic Rahein na rahein hum, and the more playful In bahaaron mein akele na phiron. It had the bitter ghazal, Rehte thhe kabhi jinke dil mein.

And it had this beautiful song about a romance that can now never be but which has been allowed to turn into a more platonic love. The lyrics conjure up an image of a love that is sacred, to which a sanctity is accorded: a love that must be hidden away, like the lamp in the inner sanctum of a temple. Roshan’s music, with that gentle tinkling of finger cymbals, echoes the feel of a temple—and the overall softness of the music, coupled with two very appropriate voices (Hemant’s and Lata’s) is sublime.

6. Laaga chunari mein daag (Dil Hi To Hai, 1963): If you’ve heard Roshan’s many qawwalis and ghazals for films like Taj Mahal and Barsaat ki Raat, you might be tempted to think him only good at that style of music. But Roshan was as versatile as he was brilliant. Here, in what many consider among the best Hindustani classical songs to appear in Hindi cinema, he uses raag bhairavi to create an unforgettably impressive song. Sahir (again!) weaves a song that has several layers: the literal, and the metaphorical (on two levels: that related to love, and that which equates the entire relationship to that of the soul and the world). Brilliant lyrics, and Roshan’s music—rich, layered, dazzlingly complex—do justice to them.  As does Manna Dey, who is superb here.

7. Hum intezaar karenge (Bahu Begum, 1967): Bahu Begum included two versions of Hum intezaar karenge: a duet (Asha Bhonsle and Mohammad Rafi) which is romantic and happy; and a solo (Rafi) which is sad. Both are beautiful songs in their own way, with good lyrics, and Roshan doesn’t play around with the base music too much, just sobering the tempo down a bit for the sad version to make it more restrained.

The duet, one of those classic ‘songs of waiting’, is a particular favourite of mine. Lilting music, rippling and light, two wonderful voices. Roshan pretty much makes the garden setting come alive just through the music.

8. Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal se (Anokhi Raat, 1968): The very last film for which Roshan composed (with his wife, Ira Roshan, being associate composer), Anokhi Raat had some good songs, all the way from the rueful Mahalon ka raja mila and the resigned Mile na phool toh kaanton se dosti kar li, to the ‘phadakta hua’ Meri ber ke ber mat todo. And there was this, one of those philosophical songs that seem tailor-made for the soulful voice of Mukesh.

While the lyrics (Indeevar’s) are thought-provoking and poignant, Roshan’s music plays a major part in giving life to this song. There’s a rustic feel to it (very appropriate, given that the singer and the milieu is in the rural countryside), and the chorus, adding those ‘hayi-re’ and ‘ho-ha’ sounds in between, adds to the effect.

9. Dil jo na keh saka (Bheegi Raat, 1965): Yet another Pradeep Kumar-Meena Kumari-Ashok Kumar love triangle. Bheegi Raat was based on An Affair to Remember (which was a copy of Love Affair): a time-tested (and rehashed ever since, too) tale of two lovers separated by what seems like infidelity on the part of the woman, only to turn out to be supreme self-sacrifice.

The best-known song of Bheegi Raat, Dil jo na keh saka, is (like Hum intezaar karenge) in two versions: the female one is an erotic, slow, quietly happy song, while the male version is—despite being angsty and bitter—fast-paced rather than brooding. One of Rafi’s best songs, I love the way Roshan lets him sing full-throated and high, with the swelling notes of the wind instruments (trumpet? Sax? I have no idea) to match.

10. Main dil hoon ek armaan bhara (Anhonee, 1952): And, to end this list, a song from one of Roshan’s early films. Raj Kapoor, who starred in the film (Baawre Nain) that shot Roshan to fame, also starred in Anhonee—as a young lawyer who falls in love with a wealthy girl, who (unknown even to herself) has a half-sister who looks uncannily like her. At a party, the young hero, called upon to sing a song (and expected, by the snooty company, to disgrace himself) ends up surprising everybody—and impressing the woman he’s falling for.

Instead of Raj Kapoor’s more usual ‘voice’, Mukesh, Roshan chose to use Talat for this lovely little song. Unlike a lot of songs that use a piano onscreen but have precious little piano to be heard in the song, this one has the piano well in evidence in the song itself, especially in the interludes. The result is something that’s a great cross between a romantic serenade and something a bit more peppy: the quintessential ‘happy’ party song.

Which songs would you choose for a Roshan list?

Happy birthday (or birth centenary year, really), Roshan Sahib! May your songs live on forever.

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111 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Roshan songs

  1. I remember Laga Chunari mein Daag and Dil Jo na Kahe because Dad was listening them on radio and sitting to enjoy them. I loved the songs. Your post makes me remember Talat Aziz who nurtured a soulful voice and the Anhonee song picturized on Raj Saab. Thanks for sharing the songs of this great composer Roshan and except a few, don’t know of his rich repertoire music.

    • Thanks for the comment. Yes. Roshan’s repertoire was quite amazing – worth exploring better. I am happy to see that some of the people who are connoisseurs of old Hindi film music have posted some Roshan songs that are new to me, below – I am looking forward to discovering more of his work.

  2. Madhu, there are some great songs in your interesting write-up, and I am sure you know more about Roshan than I do. But you didn’t mention a Roshan soundtrack that I’ve listened to numerous times, Neki Aur Badi, from 1949. I downloaded this a few years ago from somewhere, and I turned it into a homemade CD, which I still listen to during many commutes and work assignments :) . I know very little about the film and I can’t translate most of the lyrics (and have found no English subtitles), but I find the music to be utterly charming, and I greatly appreciate the frequent presence of both Rajkumari and Amirbai Karnataki (two great singers who faded from Hindi film soundtracks not too long after this one – for reasons that I think we all know).

    I don’t have a clear favorite among the songs from this film (I think they’re equally good), but I’ll pick this short and sweet one sung by Amirbai (doing playback for Madhubala – too bad I couldn’t find an actual film clip).

    • Thank you for this one, Richard! I must admit I have never heard – or at least not as far as I remember – the songs of Neki aur Badi, though I have heard of the film (possibly because it appeared on Roshan’s filmography which I checked up on when researching this post?) Chaand hansa aakash pe was nice: thank you for introducing me to that.

  3. One special aspect of almost all Roshan songs is the use of flute. You will hardly find any of his songs where it is not played in ample measure and to a melodious effect as an independent instrument. Just check the 10 songs cited by you !

  4. I love this song composed by Roshan. Apart from a very fresh Nutan and beautiful rendering by Asha Bhonsle, this is the first song being choreographed by Saroj Khan, and she was very young then, hardly in her teens.

  5. You have chosen a handful out of a plethora of melodies composed by Roshan. Commendable post from you. I am in complete agreement with your views regarding Jurm-e-Ulfat Pe. It’s my favourite too for the same reasons and my complaint too about it is also the same, i.e., it’s too short.

    • I am so glad you liked this post – and especially Jurm-e-ulfat pe. That song is one of my favourites, irrespective of anything else. It’s featured in my Lata list, my Sahir list, now my Roshan list. And probably will keep cropping up every now and then, in some list or the other… such a brilliant song.

    • I love Garjat-barsat saawan aayo re. Since I restrict myself to only one song per film in a list like this – and there was no way Na toh kaarvaan could’ve been left out – I had to omit this. If this was from another film, it would definitely have been on the list. Thank you for this! I’m listening to it all over again.

    • “This song has always had a harrowing effect on me.

      Same here. Swapn jhare phool se always shakes me up. Great music, also great lyrics. That Kaarvaan guzar gaya ghubaar dekhte rahe gives me gooseflesh.

      • Kaarvaan guzar gaya is probably and justly Gopal Das Neeraj’s most famous poem. It was quite a rage even before it was used in this film. The lyrics and the powerful imagery (of the poem, not the picturisation in the film) create a powerful and lasting impact.

  6. Many has forgotten Rajkumari Dubey, the lady with the beautiful voice. She maintained this voice even after reaching septuagenarian age. Roshan utilised her in this song, and it is one of the most popular songs rendered by her.

    • Yes, Rahe na rahein hum is a lovely song. For me, however, its precursor makes Rahe na rahein hum pale in comparison. Tera dil kahaan hai, composed by Roshan (and inspired somewhat from SD Burman’s Thandi hawaaein lehraake aayein) is, for me, a more subtle and more beautifully quiet version.

      I would have included this song in this post if my previous song list (come hither songs) hadn’t already included it – that would’ve been overkill, I thought.

  7. hello Madhuji,
    a good post and nice song selection….
    I would add the songs from
    Naubahar- Dekho ji mera jiya
    My most favorite from the movie. so peaceful and soothing!

    Madhu- bata do koi

    Heera moti- o bedardi aa mil jaldi

    Deep jalata rahe- 1959- dekho ji ras le gayo- Asha

    • Thank you – both for the appreciation, as well as for the songs! Lovely selection. For each of these, before I began listening, I thought I hadn’t heard these before. But except for Dekhoji ras le gayo, I had heard all of them, though all so long back that I’d forgotten them. So good to hear them again!

  8. also, songs from Malhar………….all of them
    My favorite is
    Dil tujhe diya the By Mukesh, posting audio for better sound quality

    Dil E Beqarar soja from Raagrang

    Tum ek baar meri- Babar

    and not to forget his O P style hungama in Wallah Kya Baat Hai
    Khanake To Khanake kyun- asha rafi

    and EK To Surat Payri Asha rafi

    • Ek toh soorat pyaari was on my shortlist, but didn’t make the cut, eventually. But such a cute song! Thank you, especially, for the Raagrang song. Talat is one person for whom I have a particularly soft spot: I am always happy to listen to his songs. :-)

  9. Madhu,
    Roshan is among my top favourites. I can hardly limit myself to one or two songs. Since I do not impose any restriction of having watched the movie, my must-
    include will be:
    Lata Mangeshkar
    1. Ae ri main to prem diwani
    2. Bahe ankhiyon se dhar mera jiya beqaraar
    3. Dheere se gagari utaar re
    4. Raat ki mehfil suni suni
    Rafi
    1. Aaj ki raat badi shokh badi natkhat hai aaj to tere bina neend nahi ayegi
    Mukesh
    1. Teri duniya mein dil lagata nahi
    and so on..
    AK

  10. Madhuji, I fully agree with you about Na to caravan ki talaash being the best qawaali in Hindi films ever. As to the rest of your list, they are all wonderful songs, as are those posted in the comments. Which appeals more is subjective, and varies for each of us.

    Here are a few from my side (with apologies for any repetitions):

    Lata’s “Ae ri aali piya bin” from Raagrang. A beautiful rendition.

    Lata, “O aasmaan ke baasi”, Aaghosh (1953)

    Lata & Sudha Malhotra, “Baasuriya kaahe bajayi”, Aaghosh (1953)

    Lata, “Do nainon ne jaal bichhaye”, Sanskaar (1952)

    Asha Bhosle, “Prem lagan man mein basa le”, Sanskaar (1952)

    Lata, “Dard-e-dil tu hi bata”, Jashn (1955)

    Lata, “Aa ke ab aata nahin dil ko qaraar”, Mehbooba (1954). (I particularly love this one.)

    Lata & Sudha Malhotra, “Kahin door koyaliya gaaye re”, Baaraati (1954)

    Lata & chorus, “More baalama, more saajana”, Rangeen Raatein (1956)

    Lata, “Dil bhi tera, hum bhi tere”, Taksaal (1956)

    Geeta Dutt, “Jhoom jhoom ke, jaam choom ke”, Coffee House (1957), a western tune.

    And, finally, here is a lesser-known lori of Roshan’s, “”So ja so ja re mere pyaare”, from ‘Sanskaar’.

    • Thank you for all those songs! Only a couple of them were familiar to me, so this was a series of discoveries for me. I especially loved Jhoom-jhoomke jaam choomke, because of its somewhat unusual style, castanets and all. Coffee House is a film I’ve looked for before on Youtube as well, without success; this tempts me to give it another try and see if I can find it.

  11. Dear Madhuji,

    One hesitates to comment on your Blog as your knowledge base is indisputable . But I had read somewhere that ROSHAN was one of the last students of Ustad Allauddin Khan when he was teaching at the Music Academy in Almora being run by Ravi Shankar (distinct from the Dance Academy being run by Uday Shankar) and it was under the Maestro’s tutelage that he became adept at playing the Eshraj . Later when Ravi Shankar closed down the Academy , Roshan sought admission at the Morris College of Music at Lucknow . (It is said that during the Interview, the Principal suddenly rang the bell and asked Roshan to identify the note , which he did and was immediately selected ).

    To the best of my knowledge , he joined the Lucknow AIR as Staff Artiste and it was here that he met his wife to be IRA MAITRA , who was also a Staff Artiste , specialising in Rabindra Sangeet . They married in 1948 and soon after shifted to Bombay where he worked as Assistant Music Director . It is said that the Musical Duo of Husnlal-Bhagatram put up the Nagraths in their garage/outhouse of their Bungalow in Versova . Rakesh Roshan was born here in 1949 .

    Ira was a Playback singer in her own right and here is a duet with Lata Mangeshkar from the Film “Anokha Pyar” , Music by Anil Biswas :


    ( Ai Dil Meri Wafaa Mein ……)

    With warm regards

    PARTHA CHANDA

    • “your knowledge base is indisputable

      Oh, please! Absolutely not. Even I am painfully aware that I know only a fraction of what far more knowledgeable bloggers – AK from Songs Of Yore or Anup from Mehfil Mein Meri – do. But I am always happy to learn more, and that comment of yours was extremely enlightening (besides, of course, containing some very interesting trivia). Thank you so very much, also for the song – I don’t remember having heard this one before (and I didn’t know Ira Roshan was a playback singer).

  12. I seem to have come late to this post. :) What a lovely post for an unassuming composer. Most of the songs on your list would be on mine (if I were making one), and for much the same reasons.

    My pick from Bahu Begum would have been Duniya kare sawal toh hum kya jawaab de, which :I would have changed.

    Other Roshan favourites:
    Saari saari raat teri yaad sataayein from Aji Bas Shukriya
    Khayalon mein kisi ke from Baawre Nain
    Phool gendwa na maro from Dooj ka Chand
    Garjat barsat bheejat aailo from Malhar
    Kaarvan guzar gaya from Nai Umar ki Nayi Fasal
    Khuda-e-bartar from Taj Mahal
    … amongst so many others…

    Thank you for this post, Madhu. I’m suffering from migraine, but am listening to one song after another – so soothing…

    p.s. I didn’t want to clog your blog up with videos, but can’t summon the energy to hyperlink them. Could you do the needful, please?

    • Anu, if you’ve got a migraine, lie down and get some rest! Don’t, at any rate, be on the Net. Bad girl. :-( I hope you’re feeling all right now. *big hug*

      Some lovely songs you’ve suggested, there. The only one I don’t really care for is Saari-saari raat teri yaad sataaye; for some reason I’ve never been able to warm to that song.

  13. Commenting on your post after ages, Madhu!

    Lovely list :-) Some of the songs you have mentioned are absolute favourites (Chhupa lo yun dil mein, Mann re tu kaahe and Oh re taal mile)

    At least 5 of the songs would definitely feature in my list, if I were to make one for sure.
    Instead of Laaga chunari mein daag from Dil hi to hai (1963), I would have picked the song that was never probably never picturised and has gone missing – Yun hi dil ne chaha thha rona rulana.

    I would also include Khayalon mein kisi ke (Baawre nain) and Tera dil kahan hai (Chandni Chowk). Funnily, I had not seen Tera dil kahan hai, despite being very fond of the number, up until recently when you included it in your Come hither wala post :-)

    • Harini, good to see you back! Glad you enjoyed this post. I had forgotten all about Yoon hi dil ne chaaha thha (if I had ever known about it; that is a definite possibility, as well). It is a beautiful song; thank you for it. Am embedding it here just in case anyone else wants to hear it as well:

      Tera dil kahaan hai was on this list – not just the shortlist, but the pretty-much-final one, all written up and all, but I realized that, since I’d put it in the ‘come hither’ songs list just a fortnight back, it might be a case of overkill (though, personally, I could hear it all over again, again and again). Glad you mentioned it. I like Khayaalon mein kisi ke too.

  14. I think I might have popped a vein had Dil Jo Na Keh Saka been excluded :) The intense fast-paced orchestration, the sky-high voice and above all, Majrooh’s lyrics – “Saagar uthaao, dil ka kisko gham hai? Aaj dil ki keemat jaam se bhi kam hai!” – Wah! Wah!

    Lovely list, overall. Personal favourites are, of course, bound to differ in some cases. “Baar baar tohe kaa samjhaye” is a bit too… traditional for my taste. My favourite from that soundtrack would be the soulful “Aap ne yaad dilaaya toh mujhe yaad aaya”.

    • Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed this list, despite the presence of Baar-baar tohe kya samjhaaye. ;-) It is a bit traditional to start off with, I think, but then becomes somewhat more interesting. Of course, as you say, tastes are bound to differ.

      Saagar uthaao, dil ka kisko gham hai? Aaj dil ki keemat jaam se bhi kam hai!

      I have to share a childhood anecdote here. When I was a kid, a lot of the Urdu I learnt was learnt through Hindi cinema of the 50s and 60s (which, of course, had plenty of Urdu). Not always a reliable way of learning a language, since much of it was governed by context and could lead to very incorrect suppositions. When I heard this line for the first time, I thought it meant the Hindi saagar (which, of course, means ‘ocean’), and was very puzzled. ‘Lift the ocean’? How?

      • I never made that mistake. But I think I must have assumed the correct meaning simply by putting two and two together. The word is also used in “Yeh jo mohabbat hai” in similar context – “Toote agar saagar, naya saagar koi le le / Mere khuda, dil se koyi kisi ke na khele”. Maybe I correlated it with the meaning of “Sheesha ho ya dil ho” to arrive at the correct assumption.

        Talking about misjudged lyrics, I have my own embarrassing confession to make. For a long time, I did not get the meaning of “Garibon ki suno, woh tumhari sunega / Tum ek paisa doge, woh dus lakh dega.” I kept thinking along the lines, “If I give a paisa to a poor man, how is he going to repay me with ten lakhs?” It was much later that I got corrected in public, much to my embarrassment.

        • I love that anecdote. Yes, if someone’s so poor that he’s grateful for a paisa, where on earth is he going to find ten lakhs?

          One of the best examples of childhood misinterpretation of lyrics came to me from a friend (who is now, ironically enough, a botanist): he thought Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko gulaab kehte hain was Chaman ke phool bhi tujhko julaab kehte hain. Why anybody, in the context of a garden, should mishear gulaab as julaab is beyond me, but it’s funny nevertheless.

  15. Another gem from Roshanji, this song always fascinates me, though very underrated. Movie “Bheegi Raat, beautifully sung by Rafi Sahab.

  16. What an absolutely amazing talent! This is a great list to commemorate Roshan’s birth centenary. To me, Roshan is among the top three music directors who produced so many beautiful songs that I can’t get enough of them. His soft and soulful music perhaps is a reflection of his divine personality,

    Your list includes my very favorite ones (Man Re Tu Kahe Na, Chhupa Lo Yun Dil Main, Dil Jo Na Keh Saka).

    I also absolutely agree with your assessment of “Na To Karwan Ki Talash”. Here’s a bit of trivia that you may already be aware of. Apparently given the length of the quawwali (12+ minutes) and the number of singers plus musicians, it took them a straight 24 hours to complete the song (in one go) to Roshan’s satisfaction. Can you imagine the commitment to perfection? No wonder this one has been timeless favorite of so many.

    Second trivia is about the song “Khushi Khushi Kar Do Vida” from Anokhi Raat. Apparently the tune was composed but Roshan died before the recording could take place. It was recorded with guidance from Roshan’s wife Ira, and other friends. Needless to say everyone was teary by the end of the recording. I never paid much attention to this song until I heard of this trivia and ever since it gives me goosebumps.

    One of my favorite Roshan song is “Ab Kya Misal Doon” from Aarti. I know you have already included the other song from Arti so perhaps this didn’t make the list. Also another song (Aapne Yaad Diliaya) from Aarti was already listed in comments. This movie was packed with great songs..

    • Ashish, thank you for that trivia. I did know that it took many hours to record Na toh kaarvaan ki talaash hai (it shows, doesn’t it? I think it’s simply flawless – there’s nothing there I’d want changed). I didn’t know that bit of trivia about Mahalon ka raja mila. Another beautiful song.

      Oh, and thank you for Ab kya misaal doon. Lovely!

  17. Hum Jage Jag Soye re aali- rangeen raatein

    Bahot aasan hai- rangeen raatein

    Both are my favorites. some songs from the movie have been posted already.
    also,
    Tu hum ko dekh from zndagi aur hum,

    a few favorites from the same movie.
    matwali muraliya baji

    Ja Re Ja Meri Chhod Chunariya

    also, songs from Warrent 1961 where Roshan gave a chance to young Anand Bakshi for the lyrics.
    Nainon mein kyun aan base

    and this one by Anand bakshi
    hothon pe hansi palkon pe haya by Lata

    • Thanks for these. I was familiar with the songs of Rangeen Raatein since I’ve seen the film, but most of the others were new to me. One which I already knew (I think someone else posted it? Or maybe I knew it from elsewhere) is Tu humko dekh – lovely song.

  18. If i may ask you, you have not included roshan’s early songs, i mean 1950s
    only anhonee song is there.
    Roshan songs from that period are also pleasant and excellent to hear.
    Just out of curiosity!

    • The answer to that lies in the title of this post. Ten (not twenty, not fifty) of my (not anybody else’s) favourite Roshan songs. At no point in this post am I suggesting that these are Roshan’s best songs, at no point am I saying that I want to acquaint my readers with all of Roshan’s songs. Besides, ‘pleasant and excellent to hear’ are subjective. What you find pleasant and excellent may not be my idea of the same, and vice-versa.

      It’s not as if I don’t like Roshan’s songs from the 50s; it’s just that I don’t like them as much as a lot of his songs from the 60s.

      If it’s any comfort to you, Tera dil kahaan hai was also initially on this list, but was dropped only when I realized that having it on the previous list (come-hither songs) might make it a bit of overkill.

      • I didn’t want to tease u or irritate you.
        I just asked bcoz, i was curious.
        I personally like his songs from 1950s more than 60s.
        but of course, as u said it’s completely subjective.
        There is no question about being the songs ‘Best”
        All can come out with their favorite tens, which would be completely different with only one to two overlapping songs.
        That period of Roshan’s career is not well known to all, so I asked so……
        Don’t misunderstand!
        I will do a post on his early 50s songs, which I’m sure you will enjoy!
        :-)

        • No, I don’t misunderstand. :-) It’s a perfectly valid question. And at least you aren’t using the accusatory tone which so many people resort to when asking me how I could have ‘forgotten’ so-and-so song. I remember a man who went absolutely ballistic and ripped me apart for not aknowledging that Bahaaron phool barsaao was one of the best songs ever. His contention was that a recent BBC poll had listed that as the most popular song (chosen by NRIs in London).

          Ho-hum. Such is life as a blogger.

          Please do the 1950s Roshan post. I would like to read (and listen).

            • and how horribly people react to things like ‘Best’ song or ‘Most Popular Song’ by SO and So.
              Everyone should understand about the tastes being different for each individual.
              To handle them would be a difficult task,
              OMG

              • Yes. That’s one of the risks of blogging – some people just refuse to understand that this is your blog and these are your opinions, and that it’s perfectly valid for two people’s opinions to differ. :-) I try to convey that message whenever anybody gets ballistic, but if they still refuse to listen, I finally ignore them.

  19. Thanks for this magnificent post. Great to know that I share my birthday with him.
    I always thought that he is the most talented and the real star in the Roshan / Nagrath family. He seems to have dealt with only Gems.
    You Said this was a Top 10 list but have very cleverly made it a favourite 30/40 songs list by mentioning songs you did not consider. And what Gems you have left out !!
    Thanks once again

  20. A post on my favorite music director, I may never leave this page. :-) Needless to say, I love every song in your list, Madhu, save “dil jo na keh saka.” Lata’s version is so ethereally beautiful that I find Rafi’s version jarringly strident.

    You would think given all the songs that have been mentioned, there’d be nothing left to put forth, but that would be underestimating my love of Roshan’s music. :-)

    A few songs from Raag Rang have been mentioned already, but my absolute favorite from this treasure of a soundtrack is this joyful, lilting Lata Mangeshkar solo:
    Yehi bahar hai duniya ko bhool jaane ki

    This poignant bidaai song is a superb example of Roshan’s unparalleled knack for selecting and utilizing a diverse range of voices.
    Aaye sajna hamar leke doliyan kahar – Taksaal/SD Batish, Laxmi Shankar/Prem Dhawan

    And finally this fun Asha number that shows that Roshan could shake a leg with the best of them. :-)
    Nikolasa, nikolasa mere sang jhoom le – Bedaag/Asha/Shakeel Badayuni

    • Shalini, you made my day. :-) Not just with the appreciation, but with the songs. Nikolasa I had heard before but forgotten about; but what really blew me away was Aaye sajna hamaar. So good!

  21. Oh dear! Why do you post such a wonderful post when I don’t have the time to sit and listen to the songs? My favorites are all there, and many others, some which I don’t recognize, and some I do, and I want to sit and listen, but alas, we are headed to visit the grandchildren (and the sons) this Friday and I have to make chocolate chip cookies, fudge brownies, some Diwali sweets and snacks (for the sons), and I have to do some shopping (for the grandson, who wants some toys!). Can you find a way to add on some hours to the days, so that I can do all this, while trying to finish crocheting hostess gifts in between?
    On the other hand, I think I will try to listen while I am in the kitchen, so I will come back in a couple of days (or more) and add some songs (if there are any left after all your readers have added their favorites!)

    • Hehehe. But you seem to be having so much fun, Lalitha! :-) That sounds lovely – it must be so wonderful to be able to spend time with your grandchildren. And you can always come back to this blog later and listen when you have time (though I think the idea of listening when you’re in the kitchen is a good one). Enjoy! (and, Happy Diwali in advance to you and yours).

  22. Once, in a special ‘Jaymala’ program on Vividh Bharathi, RD Burman related an anecdote about him listening to a conversation between Roshan and his father SD Burman. Roshan was visiting them and he tells SD Burman ‘Dada, i have used the meter from your song Tandee Hawayen in a recent song that i composed ‘Rahein na rahein hum” They go on to talk about this and RD Burman is so impressed that he decides to use the same meter in a song many years later ‘ Sagar Kinare’.
    It was wonderful to hear such anecdotes on such radio programs and it adds color to on our favorite songs and their memories. Your blog and the knowledgeable comments from this community you have created invokes the same nostalgia. Thank you for that.

    • You know, there’s a problem with this anecdote. I don’t know who it is whose memories are faulty, but there is a gap here. Because, more than a decade before he composed Rahein na rahein hum, Roshan had used exactly the same tune in Tera dil kahaan hai in Chandni Chauk. I’ve linked to the song in another comment above, but will embed it here as well. As you can see, this is obviously the same tune (and in my opinion, better rendered, since it’s softer and more seductive).

      I have a feeling that because Rahein na rahein hum is so well-known (compared to Tera dil kahaan hai) it was easy to inadvertently – or deliberately – overlook the earlier song.

      Thanks for adding that, though. And for your appreciation!

      • Wow this song was great!! Thank you! That kind of makes a fibber out of pancham :) It still is a lovely story, if only because we usually get so many stories of rivalries and bitter breakups. It is refreshing to hear about great musicians sitting together and discussing without envy, their songs being similar (over a cup of chai, i am guessing). Warms your heart :)
        I am new to your blog and havent gone through all the earlier posts yet, but it sounds like a great topic that you would do total justice to – music directors recycling their own tunes but changing the mood. Like Salil C. reworking his Chemeen song ‘Sagara’ to ‘bhag mei khali khili’

        • Glad you liked the song. It’s one of my absolute favourites. :-) I don’t think Pancham was deliberately fibbing; he may just have got his facts wrong. After all, Tera dil kahaan hai is a pretty obscure song. I wouldn’t be surprised that RDB didn’t know about it. Incidentally, even Saagar kinaare wasn’t the first time RDB himself used this particular tune; well before Sagar came around, he had used the tune in Humein raaston ki zaroorat nahin hai:

          That is a very interesting topic for a post, and one I have been thinking of doing. I even did some preliminary work on it, especially in the field of Bengali and Hindi film music (and yes, Salil makes a prominent appearance there, too!). If you want to listen, here’s a link to my playlist:

  23. These two Roshanji songs topped Binaca Geet Mala in the year 1960 and 1963 respectively.
    Zindagi bhar nahin bhulegi woh barsaat ki raat—Barsaat ki raat
    Jo wada kia woh nibhana padega—Taj Mahal
    Ab kia misal doon— Aarti, stood at third position in 1962
    Dil jo na keh saka—Bheegi raat at fifth position in 1966.



  24. also, songs from chandani chowk……….

    behek chale mere nainwa..

    and banno ke haath bhari mehendi by mangeshkar sisters.

    lata-asha-meena chorus

    humein ae dil kahin le chal by mukesh

    Shailendra wrote for roshan in early 50s for many films, but the songs were not hits, though meaningful and good.
    chandani chowk also has some songs by shailendra and others by majrooh.
    the combo of majrooh-roshan and sahir-roshan were huge hits and are always remembered…………………

    • Yes, I’ve heard all of these (since I’ve seen Chandni Chauk). The one song from the film which I simply swoon over is Tera dil kahaan hai: so absolutely wonderful. The rest are good, but nothing compared to that as far as I am concerned. :-)

  25. hello ma’am,
    Myself : possibly most youngest reader of your blog .
    i have a request actually recently i happened to watch the movie ANUPAMA
    i got so …..( no words ) with sharmila tagore’s portrayal
    actually her poignant moves and smile
    especially the song KUCH DIL NE KAHA is so so adorable.
    can you please tell me what is the mood of this song ?
    REQUEST:
    CAN YOU PLEASE UPLOAD THE SONGS OF SUCH MOOD
    *** ESPECIALLY some of LATA MANGESHKAR restrained vocals..

    • Hi there, glad you liked Sharmila Tagore’s acting in Anupama – it’s one of my favourite films of hers. I would describe the mood of Kuchh dil ne kaha as wistful.

      I don’t upload songs, sorry. Maybe you should check out Youtube?

  26. Not sure anyone mentioned this gem, what a lovely song, sung effortlessly by Rafi Sahab, from the movie “Dadi Maa:.

    Do someone know the name of onscreen actor?

    • I hadn’t heard Jaata hoon main before, or not that I remember. Good song, thanks for that. I think the actor is Kashinath Ghanekar – maybe someone else can confirm this.

      • Yes, that’s Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar, and that film was one of the worst weepies I’ve had the misfortune to see. The song “Usko nahin dekha humne kabhi” just about made it bearable.

        • Heh! Thankfully, the only film of Kashinath Ghanekar’s I’ve seen is Pathlaag, which was pretty good.

          I wonder why so many of these ‘relations’ films – Chhoti Bahen, Badi Bahen, Bhabhi, Bhai-Bhai, Do Bhai, etc – are so painfully melodramatic. There is stuff like Majhli Didi, of course, but the majority of these are hard to sit through.

  27. Have come in late on this thread – so was a bit surprised that no one has mentioned this early Roshan hit (unless I missed it):

    Bade armaanon se – Malhar

    Here are a few songs from the second half of the 50s – quite a barren period for Roshan, before the revival started by Barsaat Ki Raat

    Duniya ki nazar hai buri – Agra Road

    Un se rippi tippi – Agra Road (with yodelling by Rafi)

    Salaam-e-hasrat qubool kar lo – Babar

    • Lovely songs! Yes, I am surprised that nobody posted the Malhar song; that had slipped my mind too (but I’ve not seen the film, so it wouldn’t have made it to my list). Salaam-e-hasrat qubool kar lo was on my shortlist, but didn’t make it to the final; I love the song, though – it was the reason I watched Babar.

      Agra Road too was considered, especially for Unse rippi-tippi ho gayi, and for this battle-of-the-sexes waltz, O mister o mister suno ek baat:

  28. Madhu ji:

    Thanks for this wonderful post on one of my top favourites. The comments above included some gems I had not heard before. Roshan seems to have been everyone’s favourite: uncontroversial, churning out a reasonably wide range of consistently high quality music that was both popular and commercially successful. Every singer who sang for him and every lyricist who wrote for him had some of his/her iconic songs composed under his baton. Let me add couple of my favourite numbers:

    Kaun rang mungwa (Suman and Sudha in Heera Moti)

    Chhun chhun baje payal (Lata in Humlog)

    Apni Nazar se unki Nazar tak (Mukesh in Humlog) (did this song ‘inspire’ “Kahata hai joker”?)

    • Thank you! Glad you liked the post, and that description of Roshan – is spot on. Very well said.

      Thanks also for the songs. Especially for Apni nazar se unki nazar tak – I hadn’t heard that one before, and it certainly does sound too much like Kehta hai joker for it to be a coincidence…

  29. Any of Roshan’s song that one may add here would be undeniably a fitting tribute to the maestro of melody.

    I seek to add two of my choices:
    Mehfil Se Uth Jaanewalo, Tum Logon Par Kya Ilzam – Dooj Ka Chand

    and
    Chand Takta Ahi IDhar Aao Kahin Chhup Jaaye – Dooj Ka Chand

    • Thank you for these songs. I have heard of Dooj ka Chand, but wasn’t really familiar with its music (I don’t think I can name any songs, offhand, from the film). These were nice, very melodious.

  30. Somehow I missed this post.
    Brave Madhu! Ten favourite songs by one single composer is indeed a hard task.
    I make this task a little lighter for me and list ten favourite albums (in alphabetical order) by Roshan.
    Aarti (1962)
    Aji Bas Shukriya (1958)
    Anokhi Raat (1968)
    Bahu Begum ( 1967)
    Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)
    Bawre Nain (1950)
    Chitralekha ( 1964)
    Dil Hi To Hai (1963)
    Malhar (1951)
    Mamta (1966)
    Roshan was an amazing composer, how sad, that he had to leave us so soon.

    • That’s a great list of albums, Harvey! Two of them I’m not very familiar with (Malhar, Aji Bas Shukriya, though I have heard one or two songs from them. If I were to compile a list of my ten favourite Roshan albums, I’d almost certainly include Taj Mahal in it – I thought it had fabulous songs.

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