Ten of my favourite ‘Unusual Singer’ songs

By which I mean:

(a) That it’s the person who’s lip-syncing to the song (and not the playback singer) who’s unusual…

(b) and unusual because the actor in question is a well-known face, but doesn’t usually lip-sync to songs.

The idea for this post arose because of this wonderful post on Ashok Kumar’s songs, over at Ava’s blog. Ava drew attention to the fact that Ashok Kumar—one of the stalwarts of Hindi cinema, and with a pretty long stint as hero, too—rarely lip-synced to songs. In the post, another similar example was pointed out, in the case of Balraj Sahni: also a major actor, also a ‘hero’ in a lot of films, yet a man who didn’t lip-sync to too many songs.

That set me thinking of other people, other actors and actresses, who have rarely ‘sung’ songs onscreen. Not that they’re otherwise unknown; this is not a case of ‘Who’s that lip-syncing?’, but a case of people one generally doesn’t associate with doing too much singing onscreen. The leads of films (barring exceptions like Ashok Kumar or Balraj Sahni) are invariably excluded, because most songs end up being picturized on them. Major comedians, like Johnny Walker, Rajendranath, and Mehmood, also often had a comic side plot and a romance of their own, which allowed them to ‘sing’ often enough in films (have you ever seen a film that featured Johnny Walker and didn’t have him lip-syncing to at least one song?) And the dancers—Helen, Kumkum, Madhumati, Laxmi Chhaya, Bela Bose, et al—may appear in a film for only five minutes, but you could bet those five minutes would be a song.

Which leaves us with the somewhat more unusual people, the actors who played non-comic roles, character actors. Not stars, not dancers, not comedians. The Manmohan Krishnas, the Lalita Pawars, the other not-often-seen-‘singing’ characters. Here, then, are ten songs that are picturized on people not usually seen lip-syncing. As always, these are in no particular order, and they’re all from pre-70s films that I’ve seen.

1. Basti-basti parbat-parbat (Railway Platform, 1955): Manmohan Krishna. Manmohan Krishna, kindly and avuncular old gentleman of Hindi cinema, usually played the quiet and sweet (and often impoverished) father, uncle, grandfather. A lot of his roles required him to be a sort of male version of Leela Chitnis: put upon, having to plead, generally distressed. Not the sort of situations in which anyone would be keen to do much singing, even of sad songs.

In Sunil Dutt’s debut film, however, Manmohan Krishna not only appears (as a mendicant), but also sings one of the most famous songs of the film, a song that plays as the credits roll, and which continues after the credits. Plus, it appears at a later stage in the film as well. A philosophical song about the ephemerality of life.

2. Eent ki dukki paan ka ikka (Howrah Bridge, 1958): Om Prakash. Compared to Manmohan Krishna, Om Prakash was rather more versatile when it came to being cast: from the hero’s sidekick to the hard-hearted and greedy seth, from the naïve brother-in-law to the canny crook: he played just about every role there was besides that of the lead. He did appear onscreen, singing, in a handful of songs—but not enough to be billed as one of those actors who often had songs picturized on them. Here, in one of the classic suspense thrillers of the 50s, he acts the tonga-wallah who employs an interesting method of alerting the stowaway in the back about danger: he sings of the city they’re driving through—Calcutta—and warns of the dangers that lurk beneath its façade of charm and sweetness.

3. Sanam tu chal diya rasta (Maya, 1961): Agha. Agha, who acted in comic roles in lots of films across the 50s and 60s (and till well into the years after, too) never quite managed to make it into the same league as Johnny Walker or even Mehmood—which meant that even in films where he had a sizeable role (often as the hero’s buddy, with a girl to woo), he rarely lip-synced to songs. (Note the qualifier, ‘rarely’: this was the man who lip-synced to the cynical Andhe jahaan ke andhe raaste in Patita). Here, Agha is more his usual style: cheerful and funny as he defies his girl (played by a pretty Helen, who matches him when it comes to mischief and clowning around—just as he tries to shake a leg, too). A delightful little song set in a chawl, with all the neighbours looking on indulgently.

4. Jaaoon kahaan bata ae dil (Chhoti Bahen, 1959): Rehman. Like Balraj Sahni and Ashok Kumar, another of those actors who inexplicably have very few songs to their credit to which they’ve lip-synced. Compared to Mr Sahni and Mr Ganguly, Rehman of course acted the hero in far fewer films, but he’s played important roles in a lot of films, including roles (for example, in Jaanwar, Chaudhvin ka Chaand, Chhalia, etc) which one might have thought would have allowed scope for a song or two. But no; Rehman lip-syncs to precious few songs (Toot gaya haaye toot gaya from Maghroor is another I recall)—but more than that one, I like this classic sad song, for which Mukesh sings playback. Rehman, as the man who’s realized, a little late, that his jealous and conniving wife has caused his family to break apart, sings of his distress and angst at her betrayal.

5. Rakh lo khidmat mein (Rustom-e-Hind, 1965: Tuntun. Considering that probably the greatest classic comedienne of them all began her career as a playback singer—and a highly successful one at that—it seems odd that Tuntun has very few songs picturized on her. She does sing (and very beautifully, though without any instrumentation) Murli bairan bhayi in Solvaan Saal, but that seems to be about it. This song is an exception—and an insult (? In what condition was Tuntun’s voice by 1965?) to her, because while she’s lip-syncing to it onscreen, the female part of Rakh lo khidmat mein is sung not by Tuntun/Uma Devi, but by Minoo Purushottam.

6. Lapak-jhapak tu aa re badarwa (Boot Polish, 1954): David Abraham. Another well-known and very familiar face, yet precious few songs that he’s lip-synced to. Raj Kapoor’s Boot Polish, however, was a film that gave David several songs to ‘sing’ onscreen. This, a beautifully rendered classical-based song (sung by the master of classical music, Manna Dey) is the only one David’s character, John Chacha, gets to sing solo—to a bunch of fellow prisoners in the lockup. Lapak-jhapak tu aa re badarwa is an odd song, because the picturization, the situation, and part of the lyrics are supposed to be comical (I don’t find baldness especially funny), while the music, the singing, and some of the words are all pleasant, beautiful—and certainly not funny.

7. Ek chhoti si naukri ka talabgaar hoon main (Naukri, 1954): Iftekhar. Not quite as irrevocably slotted as the eternal policeman (not as much as Jagdish Raj, at least), Iftekhar did usually end up playing roles that required a certain gravitas. Policemen, of course; but also lawyers, doctors, army officers, priests—most of them men not inclined to do much singing (or have the time for it). In Naukri, however, one of his earlier films, Iftekhar played an unemployed man, who, along with Kishore Kumar, is staying in a boarding house and spending much of his free time trying to get a job. Here, while Kishore sings most of the song, Iftekhar joins him for a while in a light-hearted attempt at sending a message along with a job application.

8. Chunri sambhaal gori (Bahaaron ke Sapne, 1967): Anwar Hussain. While not anywhere in the same league as his vastly popular sister Nargis, Anwar Hussain was a familiar face through the 50s and 60s, and even throughout the 70s, having worked in hit films like Guide, Asli-Naqli, Humraaz, Raat aur Din, and so on. Rarely, though, did he get the chance to lip-sync to songs. But here he is, in a classic song from Nasir Husain’s most unusual film, Bahaaron ke Sapne. Interestingly, Rajendranath—another of those comedians who got to ‘sing’ quite a bit onscreen—is here, dancing along with Anwar Hussain, but it’s Hussain who actually ‘sings’ (in Manna Dey’s voice, for one of the singer’s best duets).

9. Nanhi kali sone chali (Sujata, 1959): Sulochana Latkar. Sulochana Latkar, besides working in Hindi cinema (and that too some of the biggest films from the 50s and 60s), also acted in Marathi films. She was by no means just the quintessential mother or middle-aged wife; she was probably almost as ubiquitous in a certain kind of role as were actresses like Leela Chitnis or Nirupa Roy. Surprisingly, then, she got little chance to ‘sing’ in Hindi films. This is one of the exceptions, and what a wonderful little song it is. A young mother lovingly pats her baby to sleep, singing a lullaby that also carries to the poor little low-caste orphan whom the family has willy-nilly taken under its wing. Soothing and lovely.

10. Chowpatty pe kal jo tujhse (Afsana, 1951): Jeevan. Of the top actors known for being slotted as villains, there are few who didn’t have songs picturized on them. Men like Ajit and Premnath, who started off as heroes before graduating to playing villains once they were past their prime, have umpteen songs to their credit from their heyday. Pran, the quintessential villain, had several songs picturized on him as a villain (think Aake seedhi lagi and Dil ki umangein hain jawaan), and many more—among them some landmark songs like Kasme vaade pyaar wafa—later in his career.

Not Jeevan, who while he played the villain in many, many films, is not one I remember as being the suave, song-singing type. Jeevan usually played the somewhat more ‘traditional’ villain: the greedy lala, the crooked munshi, the zamindar with the whip. Here, too, though he has his bodi firmly in place, he’s also dressed in suit and hat, and he’s singing a nutty song about how seeing a pretty girl on Chowpatty made him forget all about his paani-puri. What’s more, he’s dancing, and with none other than Cuckoo herself. A delightful song, and Jeevan shows a side of him rarely seen.

Which songs would you add to this list?


218 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite ‘Unusual Singer’ songs

  1. Such an interesting topic which got me thinking. Except for the couple of songs that Pran sang as ‘character’ actor later for Upkar and Zanjeer, I just could not visualize him singing on the screen and looking comfortable- shown in Munimji – where he is definitely not singing. Came across a song from Khandan (1946) with him as hero with Noor Jehan – and holding (awkwardly) some sort of a flower.


    • Thank you for this, Nishi! It had me grinning, because Pran looks such a spring chicken here – he’s so young and really rather gawkish.

      Pran, however (as I’ve mentioned in the description for Jeevan) doesn’t really qualify for this list, because he’s had several songs picturised on him, especially in his later films, from the 70s, for example (note: I haven’t said that the songs should be picturised on the actor being in a starring role). Besides Yaari hai imaan (and the songs I’ve already mentioned), Pran has lip-synced to various songs in films like Bade Dilwaala, Adhikaar, Majboor, etc… so he does have a fair number of songs to his credit.


      • A man of all seasons Manmohan Krishan, check his rare ghazal :
        A beautiful ghazal penned by Ali Sardar Jafri, rendered by Manmohan Krishna for Khwaja Ahmed Abbas’s award winning film Shehar aur Sapna. Dilip Raj, son of P Jairaj was the hero, while Surekha Parkar (remembered for Dheere dheere machal e dil e beqarar in Anupama) was the female lead.

        2 more songs sung by him from Afsar 1950 namely (on YT)
        Jhat Khol De Kiwad Pat Khol De
        Sadhu Ke Ghar Chokariya Do



          • This is so fresh in our minds still, classical stuff filmed on Shaikh, he appeared in many films with Dara Singh

            Humein To Loot Liya Milke Husn Vaalon Ne – Ismail Azad Qawwal – Al Hilal [1958]


            • Oh, yes. This was one of the highlights of the film. But I’m not sure this would really qualify for the post – it’s not as if this man is readily recognizable to people. The point of the post is that the actor should be a very familiar face.


  2. Another nice theme. I have more to add, but thought I would send this out before I started my day. Since you mentioned Lalita Pawar in your intro, here is a song that I am very fond of, picturized on her in the film “Parvarish”.


    • I hadn’t come across Jhoome re jhoome re before, so thank you very much for that! Lovely, and Lalita Pawar is so good in this.

      Incidentally, when I mentioned Lalita Pawar in the introduction, the song I was thinking of was the female version of Thandi hawa yeh chaandni suhaani. I later dropped that song from the list, partly because it’s too short a piece, and partly because the camera never gets close enough to show her lip-syncing to the song. For what it’s worth, though, here is the song:


      • Just catching up on the comments. When I posted the Lalita Pawar clip from “Parvarish”, I did not watch it again – just went from my old memory of the scene, found it on YT and put the link here. After seeing your comment, I went back and saw it now – you are right – Lalita Pawar is indeed so good in this scene. I vaguely recall liking the film – have not seen it about 25 years, but the story remains. It is an interesting twist on the Sujata story is my recollection. Every song in this film is either above average or superb. Probably one of Dattaram’s first solo ventures as MD (maybe the first??) and he pulled out all the stops. If you have not seen the film, I would recommend it – standard disclaimers apply here since I have not seen it in so many years :-)
        Back to Lalita Pawar, it is amazing how some actresses get so typecast that it is hard to see them in a different role. I always am fascinated by the secondary actors and actresses – the kind of people you have chosen to highlight in this thread. Not all of them were unknown, but they were people who did not quite make it as heroes and heroines. Actresses like Lalita Pawar, Helen, Sulochana, and later Bindu, Aruna Irani. All of them did have their turns as heroines in a few films, but it did not last. And actors like Ajit, Pran, Sujit Kumar, etc. I believe Sujit Kumar was a hero in Bhojpuri films. There were of course actors like David, A K Hangal, Nasir Hussain, Leela Mishra, Dina Pathak who seem to have come into films playing older people.
        Just random musings triggered by this post.


        • I agree with you re: Lalita Pawar being so typecast (along with some others) that seeing them in a different way is so difficult.Fortunately, thanks to some directors – notably, Raj Kapoor among them – Lalita Pawar did get to play some unusual and sympathetic roles as well. Her Mrs D’Sa in Anari is a character one can’t help but love.

          Seriously, where would cinema be without these secondary actors and actresses?

          (Talking of Leela Misra: I finally found a film in which she isn’t old and plump). Shehnai (1947) does have her playing mother to four grown-up girls, but a fairly slim and relatively young Leela Misra).


          • Agree DO :) secondary actors in my opinion played as big role as the main lead actors, I for one always looked who the secondary actors were and this is way back in late 50s when I started the phillum watching mania. And here
            the young Leela Mishra in the mega musical Anmol Ghadhi 1946, it is on YT….


  3. Nice theme Madhuji,
    I lost in thought to think about more such songs.
    And as Milind ji has said, manmohan Krishna has sung songs himself.
    He also has sung some duets as well if I’m not mistaken.
    Right now I can think of one song for on him
    Manmohan man mein Ho tumhi from kaise kahoon.


  4. There’s a song picturised on Sajjan in Saiyyan – Us paar is deewar se jo rehte hain. Rather unusual to see him hopping around. :)

    Would Amjad Khan count? Like Manmohan Krishna, he’s had a few (very few) songs that he lip-synced to, on screen. Here’s one from Yaraana.


    • Anooo, you made my day with the Sajjan song! Such a delight. :-) He’s really putting his all into that prancing around, isn’t he? I think he actually pretty handsome, in a rakish sort of way.

      Amjad Khan would certainly qualify. Thank you for that song.


      • Ápropos Sajjan, off-topic, he was also an occasional lyricist/poet. Talat Mahmood has sung a few of his non- film songs. Off the top my head, the one I like best is the soft, wistful, “Phir pyar kiya, phir roya , kya tadbeerein kaam karein jab apna naseeba soya”, with a tune to match by Anil Biswas.


      • Another find, catch Amjad Khan (comes quite late in the song), from Ladaaku 1981 Babuji Itna Khayal Rajhna Mere Tale Ki Chabhi.

        I think there is also a duet, sung on Amjad Khan and Jagdeep in this movie, will try to clip this out and share. I can not find on YT.


  5. I think rehman also has some songs in pardes 1949 and ek nazar 1951.
    But the songs are very less no doubt.
    So still he fits ur theme.
    A well known song from ek nazar is ‘mujhe pretty nagriya Jana hai’ a duet by Lata Rafi.


  6. Madhu,
    Nice list. But how could you forget Sudhir (of Jaichand fame in ‘Deewaar’) who has the honour of lip-syncing the best Rafi-Madan Mohan song?
    Main ye sochkar uske dar se chala tha.

    Sudhir also had this great Mukesh song from ‘Umar Qaid’:
    Mujhe raat din ye khayal hai

    We tend to forget that Jagdeep lip-synched some outstanding songs in ‘Bhabhi’.
    Chali chali re patang meri chali re

    I think Ajit too is a very good candidate for your list. He played romantic hero in several films giving him opportunity to lip-synch many great songs. Here is one from ‘Opera House’:
    Dekho mausam kya bahar hai



    • I didn’t ‘forget’ Sudhir, AK. It was more a question of him not really fitting the brief, as far as I was concerned, because the people in this list are people who are very popular, who did dozens (sometimes hundreds) of films, yet are almost never seen lip-syncing to songs. I really doubt if too many people would be able to put a name to Sudhir just by looking at him (not saying he’s not a familiar face, but still…) That said, besides these two songs you mention, he also lip-synced to the lovely Jigar mein dard kaisa from Pyaas.

      Jagdeep had several songs picturised on him, not just in Bhabhi, but in several other films too. Chal uda jaa re panchhi is of course the iconic one.

      “I think Ajit too is a very good candidate for your list. He played romantic hero in several films giving him opportunity to lip-synch many great songs.

      I think there seems to be a misunderstanding here. The point of this post is that the person in question must be a very well-known, familiar actor but should not have too many songs to which they’ve lip-synced. So Ajit completely fails on that count. ;-)


  7. I was wondering if we can think of Rajkumar.
    He has lip sync on very less no of songs.
    I can say may be 5 to 7.
    Not sure though.
    Let’s see what others say about it!


    • Hmm. Let me think – offhand, I can think of Hiya jarat rahat din rain, Ghoda pishori mera, Aaja tujhko pukaare mera pyaar, Yeh duniya yeh mehfil mere kaam ki nahin, Chhoo lene do naazuk honton ko, Yeh zulf agar khulke bikhar jaaye toh achha, Aaj is darja pila do, Jo guzar rahi hai mujhpar… and I haven’t even started on some of his other films.

      No, I don’t think Raj Kumar would qualify. :-)


  8. One more on Dhumal
    From pyar ka bandhan

    He sings with Johny walker in the voice of balbir.
    Also I remembered a tanga song picturised on Raj Kumar from the same movie.


    • I had come across Sambhalkar ishq farmaana when I was researching this post, but didn’t include it since I hadn’t seen the film. Thanks for posting it!

      Yes, Ghoda pishori mera is a good song. :-)


  9. Oh my God! That reminds me, I have to do a post on Balraj Sahni songs as well. I need the services of Harvey pronto.

    What a crying shame Tuntun never got to lip sync to her own song. That Jeevan-Cuckoo song is a real find. I never thought I would catch Iftekar singing- so out of his usual character.

    Lovely post, Madhu. So interesting. I will add my favorite song by a rare singer, Sujit Kumar. His ‘hero-like’ mannerisms are really cute.


    • Exactly. Also some good songs in Dholak, plus the beautiful Aaja ke intezaar mein from Halaku. Too many songs, really, for him to qualify for this post (and I’ve not even mentioned songs from his later films as a hero, like Tower House and Marine Drive).


  10. What a wonderful theme. That is true, there are so many actors and actresses, mostly character artistes, who hardly get a song to sing.

    Manmohan Krishna is sort of everybodys favourite right. Did he ever play a bad person. (spoiler ahead) except for Bees Saal Baad (spoiler end)?
    For me, whenever I think of Manmohan Krishna, I think of ‘tu hindu banega na mussalman banega’ from Dhool Ka Phool. But my favourite song of his surely ‘manmohan man me ho tumhi’ from Kaise Kahoon, but he doesn’t get to sing much there. And what a pity, this song remains unfinished as well.

    Om Prakash got to sing two lovely songs composed by R. D. Burman, which I like a lot. They are not in your time period. They are lovely nonetheless.
    aayo kahan se ghanshyam from Buddha Mil Gaya, which appears in bits and pieces throughout the film. The second one is o mrignayani from Rang Birangi.
    There is another R. D. Burman song, which he sang and which does fall in your blog period and that is ‘meri patni mujhe satati hai’ from Pati Patni.

    Yes, I also can’t recall many songs, which are filmed on Agha or for that matter on Rehman too. Although the latter must have had his share of songs in 40s, when he got roles as the hero of the film. But don’t ask me for any, I can’t recall any at the moment.

    I consider it as a big offence on part of the Hindi film industry to have neglected poor Uma Devi as a singer and I just can’t recall any other song, which was filmed on her. Even the one you mention here is quite new for me.

    When I think of David songs, the one which comes to my mind is nanhe munhe bachhe tere from Boot Polish, but the one which I love is lapak-jhapak! Absolutely wonderful song!

    When you mentioned Iftekhar, I was picturing in my mind him singing a song…, and no, it doesn’t work. Not at all. As a man enjoying a song, yes; singing, no.

    I would have thought, that Anwar Husain must have got some songs to sing, the ones of the sort of thelawala songsl, but God, I can’t recall any. The one, which you have chosen is a beautiful one. Love it. Love the contrast between the two rhythms given to each singer.

    Nanhi kali sone chali is such a beautiful lori. True, Sulochana Latkar got really very few songs to sing in Hindi cinema. In the Marathi films, where she often had leading roles, she got many songs to sing.

    Thanks for introducing me to this funny song filmed on Jeevan from Afsana. It is also nice to see Cuckoo in it. When I think of Jeevan songs, the only song, which comes to my mind is ‘yun chaal chalo na matwali’ from Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya.

    Lalita Pawar is also somebody, who got very few songs to sing, I think, in her later part of her career, when she took up character roles. An evil mother-in-law doesn’t get much songs to sing, I think, though she also had some benign roles as well. One song, which is also a lullaby, is ‘jhoome re jhoome re’ from Parvarish. In her roles as a leading lady, she must have even had to sing herself.

    Did Nazir Hussain ever get to move his lips to any song? He surely must have scored a few. I can’t recall any. Wonder if anybody else has.

    Thank you for the lovely post, Madhu!


    • Harvey, as always, such a pleasure to read your comment. :-) You have so many interesting things to say. (And to introduce me to – I hadn’t known Jeevan had lip-synced to Yoon chaal chalo na matwaali).

      Lalita Pawar, as I mentioned to someone else here, was one of the first people I thought of, because I remembered that she sings a female version of Thandi hawa yeh chaandni suhaani. As it turned out, it was a very brief song, not even one verse, just the refrain – and the camera never zooms in enough to show her lip-syncing.

      I really like some of the songs you’ve mentioned in your post – the Manmohan Krishna ones, Om Prakash, and David.

      Did Nazir Hussain ever get to move his lips to any song? He surely must have scored a few.

      I did a lot of research for this post (and for several other actors/actresses, too), and no, I didn’t come across any. There might be, though, for Nazir Hussain. Some rone-dhone waala gaana, I should think. ;-)


    • Regarding Jeevan, considering that he portrayed Naarad Muni in so many films, setting some sort of world record, he must have lip-synced at least 1 or 2 songs in that role. After all, Naarad carries a veena (I think) all the time & sings in praise of Lord Vishnu. Does anyone have information on this? I confess to not having seen many devotional films.


      • That’s a point… I have seen perhaps two or three devotionals, though I definitely recall Jeevan going around saying “Narayan, Narayan”. I wonder if any songs did come his way in those films.


    • While Manmohan Krishna was a prominent character actor who got few songs, ‘na tu hindu banega’ and ‘basti basti’ are disproportionately popular songs. Considering how I had always seen him as a kindly, humble, goody goody, saccharine, doormat, elderly, traditional type, I was shocked to see him sing the trendy ‘zindagi hai yo-yo’ as an urban scoundrel in suit-boot! It was a forgettable Dev Anand film.


  11. Wonderful post Madhuji! I wanted to mention Ajit in my favorite song ‘Chaman ke phool’ (shikari) but looking through the comments, many people mentioned other songs of Ajit and probably disqualified him for this list :) Who knew he could play roles without mona darling by his side :) And I still cant believe you were able to dig up an Ifthekar song! This is why your blog is so great.


    • Thank you so much! Yes, Ajit acted in several movies as the hero (including one of my favourite comedies, Dholak) so he doesn’t fit in here at all.

      The Iftekhar song was a surprise for me. I stumbled across it while watching Naukri and was really taken aback. ;-)


  12. @harveypam
    Manmohan Krishna played a bad guy in Sadhna 1958.
    I was kind of shocked to see him like that.
    But he has done his job perfectly well.


  13. Very interesting theme, Madhu.

    Some thoughts.

    1) A song that immediately comes to mind is “tu gaddaar sahi, tu makkaar sahi” with Ranjeet, Anwar Hussain, Iftikhar, Rammohan and Manmohan.

    2) Then there’s this song “gao senorita” I love – so much fun! And Ranjeet & Bindu are such a delight to watch!

    3) Then there is this song which doesn’t qualify because it’s not lip-synched on MacMohan but I couldn’t resist throwing it in here for his dancing. :-)

    4) Pran has been rightly disqualified but one of his early songs that comes to mind is “jisey dhoondhti phirti hai” from Sohrab Modi’s Sheesh Mahal (1950).

    5) Prem Chopra could figure in your list, couldn’t he? He had a few songs though, like the delightful “tum apni saheli” from the depressing Samaj Ko Badal Daalo (1970), the fun “London se aaya main” from Mr Romeo (1974), “aaj pila de saaki” from Doli (1969). And of course, songs of Shaheed (1965).

    6) Harvey has mentioned Buddha Mil Gaya for Om Prakash. One of my favourites is “ye duniya badi luteri” from Patang (1960).

    7) An Anwar Hussain song that comes to mind is “bachey mein hai Bhagwan” from Nanha Farishta (1969).

    8) And KN Singh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvMV7ZXPjzw


    • Good bunch of songs you’ve suggested, Raja. I had toyed with including Prem Chopra in my list, but most of the songs to which he’s lip-synced are from beyond the 60s, so that didn’t work for me.

      By the way, am I the only one who couldn’t really hear Gao Senorita? I checked the volume control, and my headphones – and I still can’t hear it. All other songs and video files play just fine.

      And, a very special thank you for the KN Singh song and dance! I had only heard of Badhti ka Naam Daadhi, and O gori maan zara is – well, so not what I expect KN Singh to be. :-D


      • I could hear “Gao Senorita” just fine.

        That tune, btw, is more or less exactly the same as that of a famous Konkani song, “Maze Rani Maze Moga” from the Marathi film Mahananda, composed by Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

        My first reaction on listening the opening bars of the Hindi song was to yell, “Copy!” but then I noticed the years of the two films and now I am not sure who copied whom. Maybe it is a folk tune and Panchamda and Panditji took it separately. Then if we throw in Pancham’s relationship with Panditji’s elder sister, then things do get very murky indeed.


        • This is very weird. I tried again, even by going to Youtube and searching the song out for myself. Still didn’t work. All I can hear is a faint hum and barely discernible words. Finally managed to hear it (not see it) on an audio-only file on Youtube.

          That’s an interesting insight into the song and its possible antecedents… thanks.


    • Thanks for reminding me of the song from “Aao pyaar kareN”. People may have known this – but one of my favorite parts in that song is seeing a very young Sanjeev Kumar as one of the 3 guys watching Joy Mukherjee and MacMohan dancing.
      And thanks for the KN Singh song – I had never seen the film though I knew the song. That is hilarious. I am sure KN Singh himself enjoyed the change of pace from his usual sinister one-eyebrow-raised look.


  14. Great idea.. i have had a similar (not very alike though) one in my head (with all songs thought out too) , so it was great to read this. So here is my two penny bit..
    Saeed Jaffery in Masoom singing Huzoor is qadar bhi na itra ke chaliye…


  15. Other one that comes to mind is Pyar Lagawat Pranay Mohabbat, from Chashm-e-baddoor with Ravi Baswani and Rakesh Bedi equal singing partners to Farooq Sheikh


    • I must admit I stopped watching too many films sometime in the early 80s. The 80s and 90s together would yield up less than fifty films that I’ve seen, so I have little or no idea of who among the non-lead actors and actresses had songs picturised on them. But yes, I can’t remember seeing Anupam Kher ‘singing’!


  16. And a Find !! Chanced upon this Reema Lagoo lipsynced lavani song from Askrosh (didnt even remember that the movie had any songs..!! so well did it blend into the narrative context !!)


  17. Is Dinesh Thakur a recognizable face? Then here is this song from Griha Pravesh , Logon ke ghar mein rehta hoon. Plus a bonus of Gulzaar Sahab on screen !


  18. What an interesting theme! And a fitting tribute to the “unsung” character actors who were such an integral part of Hindi cinema in earlier years. Some contributions from me:

    Here’s another song picturised on the versatile Om Prakash:
    “Chhuri ban kaanta ban” from Jaali Note

    Leela Chitnis (along with Nanda) – appropriately enough, a bhajan:
    “Naa main dhan chahoon” from Kala Bazaar

    This one has Dulari as one of the Baul singers (she appeared as a character actor in many movies later):
    “Aan milo aan milo shyam sanware” from Devdas

    Abhi Bhattacharya ( he specialized in rousing patriotic songs):
    “Hum laye hain toofan se” from Jagriti

    “Zindagi khwab hai” from Jagte Raho

    Roopesh Kumar (B Grade villain) – among others
    “O yaara dildara mera dil karta” from Aadmi aur Insaan

    Not sure if this one qualifies – here Mukesh not only sings the song, but (unusually for him) lipsyncs it also:
    “Chhoti si yeh zindagani” from Aah


    • A very good bunch of songs, and Dulari was one whom I’d toyed with including. I kept dithering about her qualifying for this post, and finally figured that she wasn’t as popular an actor as the others – in other words, how many people would recognize her? (and the point of the post is that the actor should be very well-known). But Aan milo aan milo is one of my favourite songs, so I’m happy to see it here.

      Na main dhan chaahoon is also a huge favourite of mine and would have made it to this list if I hadn’t realized just how many songs Leela Chitnis has lip-synced to. Enough, at least, to disqualify her for this list.

      Motilal is definitely not one of those ‘rare lip-syncers’: he’s had lots of songs, especially in early films like Ek Do Teen, Taqdeer, Mastana, etc.

      The Mukesh song doesn’t work here at all, I’m afraid…


  19. Got a few more songs for your list. I hope they qualify.

    I can’t recall Mukri moving his lips to any other song. I myself discovered this one only by chance.
    tazaa dahi le lo from Dak Ghar (1965)

    Dulari is one actress, whom I remember only as the kind or jealous neighbour roles. One keeps on forgetting that she had bigger roles to her credit in her earlier roles. I particularly love this song. One of the reasons is the way English words are used in the song all of which are supposed to reflect some fashionability. Although the song seems to be a show down between Indian and ‘firangi’ ways of life, it shamelessly plays with all cliches and still let both of them be. Moreover C. Ramchandra’s music is so hummable and ‘danceable’. Simply lovable!
    aana meri jaan from Shehnai (1947)

    Dhumal got most probably more roles than Kumud Tripathi in Hindi films. Both of them get to ‘sing’ this lovely duet. If I remember right they are both high on some ‘ganja’.
    phir wahi dard hai from Apradhi Kaun (1957)

    Krishan Dhawan started as hero in his earlier films, I think. His most prominent role, though which I can remember is of the inspector in Baazi in juxtaposition to Dev Anand’s role of a criminal and both vying for Kalpana Karthik’s hand. So, I presume, in his hero roles he surely got many songs to sing, but when I think of his songs, I can only think of this delightful song from Teesri Kasam. I love the camaraderie between the men here. One more aspect of the song, which I like is Raj kapoor in a side role here. I am not a big fan of his, but whenever I watch this song, my respect for him grows. How many leading men of his times would have agreed to be a part of the song without being given a prominent role in it. He accompanies the song playing that small instrument and as a part of the chorus putting his all in it. Not only in one or two frames but throughout the song. Hats off to him!
    chalat musafir moh liya re from Teesri Kasam (1966)


    • Chalat musafir moh liya re was on my shortlist, but I ended up not including it because I thought not too many people would be able to put a name to Krishan Dhawan’s face, even if they recognised the face. But a lovely song, and a really good movie as well. One of the very few RK movies that I’ve liked (moreover, in which I’ve liked his acting). Thank you for this, Harvey.

      The Mukri and Dhumal and Kumud Tripathi (would he qualify as a very popular and well-known face? I don’t know) are great finds! Dulari, while the song is good, I’m not sure about – again, because (like Krishan Dhawan) I’m not sure too many people would be able to identify her, even if they recognise the face.


  20. Madhu,

    Fantastic topic and great selection of songs! I was quite amazed at Iftekhar song. Never thought the two can go in one sentence. Though I think I have seen Rehman in a few songs. The one that was quite popular was Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (Lip Syncing to Mukesh’s voice)


  21. Anup Kumar had a couple of really good songs picturised on him in Dekh Kabira Roya. Of course, he was the hero (sort of) in that film. Here is a song he lipsyncs to in Prem Pujari:
    “Yaaron nilam karo susti” from Prem Pujari

    Asrani probably lipsynced to a few songs later, but here is one from the 60s:
    “Zindagi hai kya” from Satyakam


    • Hmm. Anoop Kumar had never occurred to me. He has lip-synced to several songs (in Dekh Kabira Roya, Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, Junglee, etc, but yes, probably not enough to disqualify him from this post. Asrani, yes: that is a real find. I don’t remember him lip-syncing for many songs.


      • In his own film Salaam Memsaab (1979) Asrani (main hero) has lip synced a number of songs, solo and duets.Incidentally there is a duet by Rafi Saheb and Bhupinder ) filmed on him and Ranjeet ( Na Sharab se koi vaasta),
        Asrani also Directed another movie of his, one lip synced song amongest others is….Machua Machua,- Hum Nahin Sudhrenge 1980.All can be found on YT.


        • I didn’t know that. Something like Bhagwan in Albela? I mean, the one reason I didn’t include Bhagwan in this list (though he would perhaps have fitted otherwise) was because of all the songs he ‘sang’ in his own film, Albela. I suppose if you’re starring in your own film, gaane gaana toh banta hai. :-)


          • If I were to expand your thread to include songs sung by an actor in a film where he is not the hero :-) here is a rare but hilarious find of a song picturized on Bhagwan in the film “Lucky Number”, music by none less than Anil Biswas. For some reason, I remembered this as being picturized on Asit Sen, but when I found the song on YT, I realized it was Bhagwan.


            • There could be an entire post on songs picturised on leading actors who aren’t the heroes/heroines in the films from which the songs are taken. Geeta Bali in Mujrim, Rajendra Kumar and Shashikala in Dharmputra are among the rather more stellar names that come to mind. :-)

              Khatmal aan baso khatiyan mein had me giggling. Hilarious!


  22. I don’t think this been posted yet, Haal Chaal Theek Thaak hai from Mere Apne, with Danny, Paintal, Dinesh Thakur , Vinod Khanna (ofcourse) and two other gentlemen whom i don’t recognize. Lore has it that they were all fresh FTII graduates then.


  23. This one features the comedian Sunder. Don’t know if he has lipsynced to many songs
    “Main jaan gayi tujhe saiyan” from Howrah Bridge

    Does anyone know of a song lipsynced to by Rashid Khan (a character actor/comedian who acted as Dev Anand’s sidekick in many 50s movies)?


    • Super! I did wonder if there were any songs picturised on Sundar (whom I find very funny, by the way).

      No idea about Rashid Khan having lip-synced to any songs. The only film I can recall offhand in which I’ve seen him in a fairly large role was Ek Phool Chaar Kaante, though of course he’s in lots of films across the 50s and 60s.


  24. Did Manorama have many songs picturised on her? I am not all that well-versed with pre-70s Hindi cinema, so I am asking.

    If she didn’t, this one from Dus Lakh qualifies. Om Prakash is there for company as well:


      • Hei DO,
        I was always here, Swarint aka Ashwin Bahl, it is all me :), anyway this qualifies I wonder ?, medley song from Ek Phool Do Maali 1969, you have the super artists Manorma,David, Brahmachari and Shabnam lip syncing.

        And I presume you had this wonderful number on Balraj Sahni in your song list/write up from same phillum……….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsiufnfBgQc

        Another trivia is that the MD Ravi sang the title song ‘ Kismet ke khel nirale’……

        All songs were hit, still are :), cheers


        • Goodness, I hadn’t known swarint was you! Chhupnewaale saamne aa? :-D

          Thanks for the songs – I’d completely forgotten the medley, though Tujhe suraj kahoon I remembered. Didn’t want to put in any Balraj Sahni songs here, since I knew Ava would be doing a post on him (and she and Harvey have, just a few days back… good one).

          Thank you for that last song. I had no idea Ravi sang that!


          • It is said that Ravi came in the industry to become a singer,
            but afterwards changed his mind for composing music instead!
            (may be Hemant kumar advised him to do so)
            He also has a written a good number of songs himself.
            quite a good number I guess! and many of them are meaningful and worth listening to.
            At least adequate enough to have a post on the topic


  25. Once again, , an example total out-of-the-box thinking, Madhu. Two examples I can think of are: Aadmi musafir hai from Dus Lakh and Unke khayal aaye to from Lal Pathar, both lip-synched by actors barely recognised. I hope you agree.


    • I agree with the actors of those two songs being barely recognized – but that isn’t the point of this post. :-) (For a post that fits barely recognized actors, see the ‘Who’s That Lip-Syncing’ post I’ve linked to in my introduction to this post). This posts focusses on very well-known faces – Rehma, Om Prakash, Tuntun, Iftekhar, Jeevan, et al – but who didn’t get to lip-sync to too many songs.


  26. Great post on an unusual topic. Really loved your write-up and also all the comments from others & the additions.
    I hope this 70’s song qualifies, it is a duet with Dilip Kumar as the primary & Om Prakash as the support. This is one those rare songs Kishore sang for Dilip; and I am not sure who sang for Om Prakash.
    I am not sure if Om Prakash ever got to sing a duet; and that too with a very established & popular superstar hero :)


    • Saala main toh sahib ban gaya used to be a huge favourite of mine when I was a little kid. :-D And, would you believe it, I’ve never seen it till now, so didn’t know it featured anyone other than Dilip Kumar?

      Thanks for this, Samir. Glad you liked the post.


    • I don’t think of Shailesh Kumar as one of those very well-known faces, but then, that’s my opinion.

      The Shammi song is a great find! So appropriate. :-) I seem to recall her lip-syncing in a song with Johnny Walker, but can’t even begin to remember which movie that was. Or if my memory is playing tricks with me and it wasn’t her after all.


      • Talking about Anwar Hussein, I was have been hunting for AAWAAZ 1956 full movie and guess what I found, Anwar Hussein in full form with solo Kishoreda backed song with Maruti and Nazir Hussein, rare to see all 3 in the same frame, anyway check this peppy number here

        we have Anwar Hussein again in a duet with Rafi Saheb and Balbir (Anwar Hussein lip sync) , here



        • Wow! These songs are such a find. I especially loved Ara ram tara ram – what a delightful song, music as well as lyrics. And the picturization, of course. :-) Thank you for these. So good.


    • Yer spot on, indeed we had wonderful pair of Johnny Walker and Shammi here

      Musafir Khana – Thoda Sa Dil Lagaa Ke Dekh by Rafi Saheb and Shamshad Begum
      just wonderful….:)


  27. hello,
    I dont know whether anyone mentioned this one or not!
    Yoon has has ke na from Dr Vidya
    it has Helen & Prem chopra

    Has prem chopra any songs to his credit?


    • Someone else has also mentioned Prem Chopra in the comments, along with some songs he’s lip-synced to; most of them are from the 70s. I knew of those (such as London se aaya bhai chhaila with Shashi Kapoor) and since they didn’t fit into my timeline, I skipped them. This one is a good example! Thanks.


  28. Oh yes one of my fav movies with all Ganguli brothers has Anoopda singing in Rafi Sahebs voice

    Band Mutthi Lakh Ki from Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi 1981,

    ably backed by other greats Mannada and Kishoreda. I had a VHS of this phillum and unfort lost the print due to humidity. So far not seen any other print, if any one can share it, please do. Thanks


      • You can say this was a sequel to Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Veena was replaced by Nirupa Roy in Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi. it was fun musical movie, being a Kishoreda fan I would never miss it. I call it a feel good movie ! Check this hilarious number

        and in this number see the similarities of Babu samjho ishaar from Chalti Ka Naam Zindagi

        There was a slower version of the above number, was played quite a bit when Kishoreda died.


    • Haal chaal theek-thaak hai was also suggested by ak. I suppose Paintal would qualify – Danny has too many songs to his credit, and I wonder how many people would think of Dinesh Thakur as a very well-known face (though I may be alone in this opinion, since my knowledge of 70s cinema is woefully inadequate).


  29. The versatile Tun Tun, check her in this Punjabi movie:
    Sapni (1963) (Punjabi) – Sun Pengiya Ve – Mohd.Rafi, Shamshad Begum & Surinder

    btw was handsome Prem Chopra a candidate for this post ? if yes here he is, same film:

    and this


      • Sorry about that single link, but here simplify a wee bit.The jukebox has nine songs so
        click on
        – Sun Pengiya Ve – Mohd.Rafi, Shamshad Begum & Surinder to see Tun Tun singing.
        -Chann Chadheya Te Mit Gaye Hanere – Mohd Rafi, Asha to see Prem Chopra duet
        -Lai Chal Naal Sapere – Naagan Hoyi Bas Tere – Part1 – Mohd Rafi – Asha Bhosle to see Prem Chopra duet

        You can delete my previous post with the links so it does not confusion. Thanks


  30. Oops sorry duplicated link, power/link break happened thus the mess,kindly see the full link, it has the songs I just mentioned above on Tun Tun, Prem Chopra, thanks…


  31. Was reviving old memories and came across this song on Om Prakash, a lovely film….
    Neki Tere Sang Chalegi Baba from Ansoo Aur Muskan 1970, sung by Mahendra Kapoor
    here it is ( I checked back here and think this is not mentioned earlier !)……..



  32. It has been a while we had this wonderful post, so in case this is dupe please ignore.
    I just watched/revived a Ruritanian romantic epic film, Raj Tilak released in 1958 and here we have Agha and Jagirdar singing-

    Bum Bholanath Bum Bhola. by Manna Dey and for Jagirdar it is Narendra Chanchal’s voice or is it Vinod ?

    And another one filmed with Agha.Shammi, Jagirdar and Padmini-
    Chalna Sambhal Ke Jee – Asha Bhosle, Mohammed Rafi, Vinod



  33. ooops sorry seems link for above post came for all songs from Raj Tilak, so for sake of good order here it is individually ( hope correct this time )…




    • Thank you, glad you liked this post!

      I had thought of Jagdeep, too, but he actually has quite a few songs that feature him. Also from Bhabhi, there’s one version of Chal ud jaa re panchhi; several songs in Barkha, one really nutty one in Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari, and others.


  34. This song from “Johar Mahmood in Goa” was a superhit song, don’t remember any other song from this movie. Its known for this song only.


      • I saw this film on big screen in Nairobi when it was released, and there were quite a few songs which were played over and over again in our local radio station, for eg pls see these links…..

        Na koi raha hai na koi rahega:


        Akhiyon ka noor hai tu akhiyon se door hai tu:

        this peppy number

        Kuchh bhi kahein yeh duniyawaale;

        and the fab pairing of
        Mar Gayi Allah – Shamshad Begum, Kamal Barot

        finally this duet

        Dheere re chalo



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