Ten of my favourite Khwaab/Sapna songs

Some months back, I was listening to a music programme on the radio, and heard a song I hadn’t heard for ages: the title song from Dreamgirl. Once upon a time, a six- or seven-year old me used to love Kisi shaayar ki ghazal, not just because it sounded good, but because to me, Hema Malini, in all those frilly, frothy dresses was just—oh, gorgeous. This time, I heard the song with a warm sense of nostalgia; and it struck me that dreams have been, for a long time now, an important part of Hindi cinema. And of Hindi film songs.

For one, there are several songs which are set completely in people’s dreams. The heroine (or the hero) goes to sleep and dreams of singing a song along with the beloved. Then, there are songs which fit the very specific cinematic style known as the dream sequence: a dream which does not require anybody to be really asleep (though some of the best dream sequences in cinema history do involve people who are asleep). In a dream world, there can be little semblance to reality: special effects, grand backdrops, feats that people would not achieve in real life—all come to the fore, and are celebrated, in dream sequences. Look at Ghar aaya mera pardesi, for instance.

And then, there are the literal ‘dream songs’, songs which talk about dreams. Dreams in which the beloved features, dreams about a rosy future alongside the love of one’s life. (It’s interesting that dreams, in the context of Hindi film lyrics, almost always seem to refer to happy dreams, never nightmares. Those dreams may be shattered, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t wonderful to start with).

But, to get on to the post itself. Ten songs, each of which features a synonym for dream (khwaab, sapna, swapn, etc) in the first two lines of the song. These are in no particular order, and are all from pre-1970s films that I’ve seen.

1. Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat (Teen Deviyaan, 1965): This song comes in at the top of the list simply because it was the first song that came to my mind when I thought of doing a ‘dream songs’ post. Dev Anand’s character (also called Devdutt, the actor’s real name) sings a song at a party. The ultimate in ambitious serenades, Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat addresses a mysterious woman—whom the singer never positively identifies, leading to some smugly confident misunderstandings on the part of two ladies—and asks her if she is a dream, or a reality. Who is she? Flesh and blood, substantial? Or not? Beautifully romantic lyrics, fabulous music, beautifully sung by Kishore Kumar, and very well-picturized.

2. Rulaake gaya sapna mera (Jewel Thief, 1967): Also a Dev Anand film, but one which is diametrically opposite from the frothily romantic Teen Deviyaan. And this song, sung by a despondent Vyjyanthimala, playing a mysterious woman who insists that the protagonist is none other than her fiancé, is a far cry from Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat. This singer rues the dream that has left her weeping. A dream, perhaps, of joy and love, which—when her eyes have opened—she has found to have vanished. A khwaab, not haqeeqat. The last song to have been written by Shailendra, this is a lyrical, touching one.

3. Phaili hui hain sapnon ki baahein (House No 44, 1955): And, before I move on to other actors, one more song from a Dev Anand film, even though he doesn’t put in an appearance in Phaili hui hain sapnon ki baahein. Instead, this is sung by Kalpana Karthik’s character, a young woman in love who wanders through the woods, singing an invitation to her absent lover to come and join her. Our dreams have spread their arms for us, she sings. Come, let us go forward. Where your paths lead, there too is my destination; come, let us walk away into the distance. Sahir Ludhianvi, known more for his angsty revolutionary poetry, here proves again (see Parbaton ke pedon par, or Pighla hai sona door gagan par) that he was also exceptionally good at describing nature. And, as he does here, using the beauty of nature as a backdrop for romance.

4. Mere sapnon ki rani kab aayegi tu (Aradhana, 1969): Another of those quintessential serenades. Rajesh Khanna, playing the dashing air force officer, is en route to Darjeeling in a jeep driven by his colleague (Sujit Kumar) when, driving alongside the Toy Train, our hero falls head over heels in love with a total stranger whom he sees on the train. He takes the opportunity (it’s a long journey, after all, many hours longer even than the few minutes Mere sapnon ki rani occupies) to sing her a song. The refrain is a question: the queen of my dreams, when will you come? As the queen of his dreams simpers and smiles, he goes on to add both incentives and ultimatums. Why she should become a part of his reality, rather than being merely a part of his dreams.

5. Toote hue khwaabon ne (Madhumati, 1958): This is the sort of song that helps reinforce the popular image of Dilip Kumar as the King of Tragedy: a man with tears brimming in his eyes, singing for a lost love, for shattered dreams. Not that Madhumati was anywhere close to being as much of a tragedy as (say) Devdas or Deedaar; this was much more, all the way from romance to supernatural to comic. But yes, Toote hue khwaabon ne certainly ranks right up there as one of Dilip Kumar’s most memorable songs, as his character goes about grieving over the death of the village girl whom he loved so deeply. With her sudden death, he has, just as suddenly, been left bereft and inconsolable. His shattered dreams remind him: dil ne jise paaya thha, aankhon ne ganvaaya hai (she whom the heart had found, is now lost to the eyes).

6. Jaane kaise sapnon mein kho gayeen akhiyaan (Anuradha, 1961): A young woman in love celebrates her love by singing of the effect it has had on her. What dreams are these, she wonders, that have turned her world upside-down? She is awake, but her eyes have fallen asleep (to sleep, perchance to dream? Of the beloved?) The song’s primary motif is that of her eyes: her eyes which now can see nothing except the face of the man she loves, her eyes which dream of him, whether he is absent or present, whether she is awake or asleep.

7. Tere-mere sapne ab ek rang hain (Guide, 1965): Dev Anand seems to have acted in more than his fair share of films that featured ‘dream songs’. Here he is again, this time lip-synching to a song that, while romantic, has a touchingly comforting feel to it. As Raju, the tourist guide who has fallen in love with the neglected and repressed wife of an ambitious archaeologist, he sets out to assure Rosie of his love for her. Our dreams are coloured alike, he sings; wherever our paths will lead us, we will walk side by side. Her reaction is worth watching: the sad disbelief slowly giving way to assurance and to a reciprocation of his love.

8. Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya (Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, 1968): Rajendra Kumar, also a tourist guide like Dev Anand’s Raju in Guide, has just driven his girlfriend to the airport, a scary drive at breakneck speed to get her there in record time. Now, having seen her off, he relaxes—in the most idiotic of ways: by singing a song and flinging his arms about as he drives back (with, of course, disastrous consequences). The song, however, is a good one, a celebration of his love. Who is this who has come into his dreams? Who is this who has filled his heart?

9. Raat ne kya-kya khwaab dikhaaye (Ek Gaon ki Kahaani, 1957): One of the few songs in this list which isn’t strictly about romance. Talat Mahmood, singing playback for himself a song written by Shailendra and composed by Salil Chaudhury, bemoans the shattering of an illusion. What beautiful dreams the night had spun, what hopes it had given rise to; all have shattered with the passing of the night (an interesting inversion of the otherwise common trope of the night giving way to dawn and new hope). All those dreams were false, he realizes; the truth is bitter and nothing like what he had imagined.

10. Zindagi khwaab hai (Jaagte Raho, 1956): And, to end: a tribute to the link between life and dreams. What is life, after all, but a dream? asks Motilal’s happy (but philosophical) drunk. What is true in a dream, and what is false? He answers his own question in the very next breath: everything is true. In a dream, and in life. You follow your instincts, you take the path you want to, irrespective of what the rest of the world thinks. That is where happiness lies. A philosophy that is beyond the comprehension of the wide-eyed and desperately thirsty villager who watches from the sidelines. Is this a dream for him? Or is his life a nightmare from which there is no escape?

Which songs would you add to this list? Remember, this isn’t about songs picturized as dream sequences (unless the lyrics also include, in the beginning, a synonym for ‘dream’), or for songs that are picturized as a result of someone dreaming. But songs that include a synonym for ‘dream’ in the first couple of lines.


118 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Khwaab/Sapna songs

  1. Lovely songs and a lovely post Madhu. My fave is this gorgeous number from Dilshan Ek Raat Ki. Sapno me agar mere…. so beautiful, na? Sorry can’t post link as my granddaughter is sleeping in my arms. 😀


    • “my granddaughter is sleeping in my arms.

      That is so adorable! I can just imagine. :-) Glad you liked the post, Ava – thank you! And for the song (someone else has posted it on your behalf).


  2. Lovely, dreamy post! You have listed some of my favorites here, actually all my favorites here! It is surprising how Dev Anand has featured in so many of them.

    Here are a couple more songs about dreams:

    Waheeda is remembering the dreams of her childhood.

    Kishore Kumar says that Meena Kumari fills his dreams and his sleep, she fills his life.


    • “Meri neendoN me tum” is a lovely song. Such an unusual pairing of singers – Kishore and Shamshad – and that too singing a romantic duet.


  3. May consider
    Mere Sapne mein aana re Sajna- Raj Hath,
    There are two songs that have a stanza each about dream
    – Hum aap ki ankhon mein – Pyasa. [ hum aap ko kwaabon mein la la ke satayenge]
    – Tum to dil ke taar chhed kar -Roop Ki Raani Choron Ka Raja
    [Tum ko need aayegi……
    Yeh toh kehdo ek baar kwaab mein to aavoge ]


    • The Raj Hath song qualifies, but not the others – as I’ve mentioned in the post, my criterion for songs was that the synonym for dream should appear in the first couple of lines of the song. They’re both good songs, though.


  4. What a delightful topic. There are so many songs with Sapna/Khvaab that it becomes that much more difficult deciding which to pick and which to leave. Some of the ones that I remember

    Do chamakti aankhon mein – Geeta Dutt – Detective 1958

    Jhukti ghata gaati hava – Dhool ka phool – 1959

    Mera sundar sapna beet gaya – Do Bhai – 1947

    Sach hue sapne tere – Kaala Bazaar – 1960

    My most favorite sapna song – just outside the 1970s rule is from Anubhav 1971.


  5. So many lovely songs fit the bill – and as you pointed out, they range in emotion. ThanDapani has already pointed out this one – posting the link since she could not:
    1. SapnoN me agar mere by Lata in “Dulhan ek Raat ki” – Madan Mohan
    (what a beautiful composition)

    2. Swapn jhare phool se by Rafi in “Nai umar ki nai fasal” – Roshan
    (powerful poetry by Neeraj)

    3. Bhool jaa bhool jaa sapne suhaane bhool jaa by Lata, Talat in “Rajdhani” – Hansraj Behl

    4. Mere khaaboN me khayaaloN me by Lata, Mukesh in “Honeymoon” – Salil Chowdhury
    (This youtube video splices it with a Bengali song with the same tune by Hemant)

    5. Ae maine kasam li by Lata, Kishore in “Tere mere sapne” – S D Burman
    (one of my absolute favorites – Dev Anand again)

    6. Kal ke sapne aaj bhi aana by Lata in “Aadmi” – Naushad
    (lovely composition, beautifully sung)

    7. Sapna mera TooT gaya by Asha in “Khel khel me” – R D Burman
    (LOVE this song – except for when Asha talks in the middle)

    8. Jeevan hai ek sapna by Asha, Kishore in “Honeymoon” – Usha Khanna
    (I guess if you have a film called “Honeymoon”, it always has a song about “sapna”)

    Lots more that I can add – but will stop here.


    • Lovely! Several songs there that I had wanted to put in my list but didn’t, either because they didn’t fit in my time period (Sapna mera toot gaya – which, like you, I wish didn’t have that portion where she speaks, but which I love otherwise), or those whose films I haven’t seen (Swapn jhade phool se and Mere khwaabon mein khayaalon mein).

      Incidentally, several months back I’d come across this same version of Mere khwaabon mein khayaalon mein which you’ve posted, and I thought the Bengali version was nicer than the Hindi one. The Hindi one is good, but I think there’s a certain something to the Bengali one which puts it just a notch higher.


  6. Lovely, dreamy post!

    Here are some more songs, and I just realised that some of them are really very sad :(

    Sapna ban sajan aaye (this one is happy!)
    From Shokhiyan

    Talat singing for Dilip Kumar in Shikast, Sapnon ki Suhani duniya ko

    Geeta Dutt stinging, music by SD Burman
    Mera sundar sapna beet Gaya

    Sapne mein Sajan se do batein-
    Maybe this song wasn’t used in the film (Gateway of India), I can’t find a video

    Lata, Shankar-Jaikishen, Madhubala, Shailendra
    Mere sapne mein aana re (nice, effervescent song!)

    Kal ke sapne aaj bhi aana (
    Waheeda, Naushad, Shakeel


  7. Anand (1971) just missed the cutoff – I really like the song
    Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune
    But really, all the songs in this list are superb! Lovely listening to and seeing them again. Thank you ..


    • You know, if I’d been really desperate (if I hadn’t been able to find enough songs from before 1970, basically), I’d have definitely included Maine tere liye hi. It’s a great song – but I already had more than 10 songs from the 1950s and 60s, so (regretfully) decided I’d drop that one. Glad you mentioned it!


  8. What a lovely post, Madhu! When I first saw the title, I wondered whether they were ‘dream sequences’ but quickly realised they had to be about the literal word. Dev Anand seems to have had so many ‘dreamy’ songs, no? Half your list is populated by songs from his films. :)

    Let me add:
    Sapne suhaane ladakpan ke/ from Bees Saal Baad
    Mere khwaabon mein khayaalon mein from Honeymoon

    Past your time frame, but talk about a dream within a dream!
    Ek din sapne mein dekha sapna from Golmaal
    Sapna mera toot gaya from Khel Khel Mein
    Suramaii akhiyon mein nanha munha ik sapna de jaa re from Sadma
    Phir wohi raat hai khwaab ki from Ghar
    Raat kali ik khwaab mein aayi from Buddha Mil Gaya
    Dekha ek khwab toh ye silsile hue from Silsila

    I think I’ll stop for now! Thank heavens I hyperlinked the songs instead of bogging your page down with videos. :) [And I hope I haven’t mucked up the links.]

    Thanks for that list, Madhu – I love all the songs on it.


    • And I love the songs you’ve suggested, Anu! Lovely, lovely ones (thank you, especially, for putting in Phir wohi raat hai – it immediately transported me back to 2000, when I used to work in an ad agency, and one of our creative guys, a very talented graphic designer, used to sing this song beautifully. We had a tiny room where just about everybody used to congregate to work, and he would suddenly burst into song).

      Mere khwaabon mein khayaalon mein and Sapne suhaane ladakpan ke were on my shortlist – the former couldn’t make it to the final list because I haven’t seen the movie (and can’t find it anywhere), and the second because – well, I don’t like it as much as the others. :-) Dev Anand does seem to have more than his fair share of dream songs!


    • I am kicking myself for forgetting to add “Phir wohi raat hai” in my list in the comments section. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the song and the scene. I recall seeing the film as an early teen – something about Vinod Mehra’s expression and the picturization of the scene made it seem like how an ideal loving relationship should be. Have not seen “Ghar” since then – wonder if the older me would feel the same way. Strange how certain visual images get forever associated in the brain with an emotion.


      • Oddly enough, I have never actually got around to watching Ghar – and even Phir wohi raat hai, I first watched only a few years back, because I went actively looking for it on Youtube. Really such a wonderful song.


  9. Another ‘khwab’ song that I used to love in my college days, but it is a little past your cut-off date. It is from Buddha Mil Gaya (1971)


  10. Hi Madhu, nice post..here are some I recall
    1)Tere khayalon mein hum…tere hi khwabon mein hum from Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1964)
    2) Main to ek khwab hoon from Himalay Ki God Mein (1965)
    3) Tere khayalon mein, tere hi khwabon mein from Meri Soorat Teri Ankhen (1963)
    4) Maine ek khwab sa dekha from Waqt (1965)


      • Thank you! I am wondering how I forgot Main toh ek khwaab hoon! Should’ve remembered that one, in particular. Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai was on my shortlist, but decided to omit it, since I wanted to include it in another, related, post.


  11. I so enjoyed this post! Many faves to be found, and, alas, even more films to add to my perpetually growing to-watch -list ;-)
    Only exception is Tere Mere Sapne – by no means can I bring myself to like “Guide”. I LOVE the book and it’s realism and sanity and good sense of humour, but while watching the film my jaw dropped in utter disbelief…oh, these horrible changes in characterization of all three protagonists. And this song is so…oily…Shudder…That’s an unpopular opinion I guess, but yes, it’s possible to dislike even a Rafi song under the given circumstances. Worst thing: it sticks in your ear for hours : D
    As for personal faves: they have already been mentioned in previous comments. I love the songs from Do Bhai and Kala Bazar.
    And maybe someone can provide me with song texts and translations for these? (I came across the lyrics of Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya some time ago but can’t find them anymore. I remember they were very poignant and moving.) That would be awesome :))


    • Manuela, you’re not the only one re: Guide. I too have always failed to like that film. I watched it several years before I read the novel (I had to study it in school), but despite the fact that the film made a hash of the novel, I just didn’t like the film itself.

      What I did like about Guide was its music. Every song. I don’t care for the visuals, but there’s not a song in the movie I don’t like as a song – just the audio.


      • I wonder how a Satyajit Ray “Guide” would have looked like? Sigh…
        However, the first version of “Guide” (with dialogues in English) is said to have been more faithful to the book. Also Waheeda Rehman won the best actress award at the Chicago Film Festival for it, thus becoming the first Indian actress to receive an award in the US. (Although nobody told her about it and she wasn’t present.)
        Being a big fan of hers, I’d sell half my soul to watch this version, but it is absolutely nowhere to be found.


        • I hadn’t known Waheeda Rehman won an award for The Guide. Interesting. I do remember reading about the film in Sidharth Bhatia’s Cinema Modern: The Navketan Story, and Sidharth had obviously seen the film… I wonder where he got hold of it. Probably somewhere in some American film archives. I don’t know if there are any versions floating around in India, at least…


  12. Dream songs being fairly common in Hindi films, this list was bound to be eclectic. It could also be lengthened like Hanuman’s proverbial tail.

    As Mr. Rajagopalan has mentioned above, “Khwaab ho tum” is a Kishore Kumar song, not Rafi.

    Here are a few more.

    Zindagi khwaab hain tha humein bhi pata
    Chhoti Chhoti Baatein 1965 Mukesh Anil Biswas Shailendra

    Sapna ban saajan aaye
    Shokhiyaan 1951 Lata Jamaal Sen Kidar Sharma

    Sapne mein sajan se do baatein
    Gateway of India 1957 Lata Madan Mohan Rajendra Krishna

    Sapnon ke sheesh mahal mein
    Simla Road 1969 Suman Hemmady Usha Khanna Asad Bhopali


    • Yes, there’s no end to the list of songs that fit this theme. Loads of them, and some really nice ones. Sapnon ke sheesh mahal was new to me. Nice.

      I’ve corrected that typo, thanks for pointing it out.


  13. Quite a few songs that came to up to my memory have been covered here above.

    Two of my additions to this illustrious compilation:

    Main To Ek Khwab Hun – Himalay Ki God Mein

    Maine Dekha Tha Sapno Mein Ek Chandrahaar – Gaban


  14. Liked the theme .
    Let me add three very nice old songs .
    1) Raat mohe meetha meetha sapna aaya re – Tamasha 1952 – Geeta Dutt
    2) Jeevan sapna toot gaya – Anokha Pyar 1948 – 2 versions – Lata / Mukesh
    3) neend hamari khwab tumhare – Nai Kahani 1943 – G.M.Durrani

    All the three songs r there on You tube.Do listen nd enjoy the melody.

    Looking forward for such new nd interesting themes Madhu G.


    • Thank you so much! Yes, Sapne suhaane ladakpan ke was also on my shortlist, but didn’t make it to the final cut. It still remains part of the post, though – the introductory screenshot is from this song. :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A lovely theme for a list-post!

    One of the reasons why there are no songs on nightmares or that even they are mentioned, maybe that there is no word for a nightmare in Hindi (or for that matter in any of the Indian languages, that I speak). This would make it necessary to put it in two words, like ‘bhayanak sapna’, which makes it a bit cumbersome to put in lyrics, I can think. Like in ‘maine dekha ik sapna’ from Samadhi (1972) would be a bit bumpy if it was ‘maine dekha ik bhayanak sapna’.

    A song on similar lines is also ‘koi ladki mujhe kal raat sapne me mili’ from Seeta aur Geeta. Both are composed by Pancham

    The first song, that came to my mind, when I read the title of your post was also khwab ho tum ya followed by meri sapnon ki rani. Nice to see both of them on your list. I also like rulake gaya sapna mera, phaili huyi hain, jaane kaise sapnon me, tere mere sapne, and zindagi khwab hai. I particularly love the lyrics of zindagi khwab hai. Is it from Shailendra?
    Many of the songs, which I love have already been mentioned.

    Thanks for the entertaining post.


    • Thank you, Harvey! Glad you liked this post. And yes, I agree that bhayanak sapna is too clunky a word to appear in lyrics. Bura khwaab might be marginally doable, but not much, I guess.

      And thank you for Koi ladki mujhe kal raat sapne mein mili, especially! I love this song. :-)


      • Hindi & Marathi both have the word दु:स्वप्न for nightmare. But I can’t recollect ever having heard them used in a song.


        • For Hindi, at least, I think that’s possibly too Sanskritized a word to appear in either lyrics or dialogue – though I’ve probably come across it in classic literature.


  16. Oh God!
    My post on similar lines dealing with the dreams would get published on Saturday. A coincidence. But fortunately its central theme is a bit different.
    Still a few songs do overlap,
    I think you will enjoy the post.
    I completely enjoyed this one, all songs are lovely, too wonderful. I remember you mentioning about it a few months back. It wasn’t complete then.
    I am so late to join here, all my other favorites are already mentioned by others.
    (a bit disappointed ☹️)
    Chalta hai, kabhi Na kabhi aisa bhi hoga.
    May be I can add some later songs, though crossing the timeline.
    Mere khwabon mein jo aaye from DDLJ
    Mere khwabon mein tu from Gupt
    I don’t think you will like the latter.


    • That’s a coincidence! I look forward to reading your post whenever it’s published. :-)

      And yes, you’re right, I don’t like the song from Gupt. The DDLJ one is a bit better, but still not one of my favourites.


  17. Great songs on a great theme. Rajesh Khanna’s ‘mere sapno ki rani’ in Aradhana will for ever be the greatest ‘dream’ song for me, along with ‘kora kagaz’ and ‘roop thera’ ever green songs. We will never see such compositions and music ever again!!

    The 60s and 70s were the ultimate in hindi cinema music era. They will never be able to catch up with that talent now.
    Girish Vaidya


    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the songs.

      “The 60s and 70s were the ultimate in hindi cinema music era.

      I would add the 50s to my opinion of Hindi film music. For me, some of the best songs ever date to the 50s – even, very specifically, to the year 1957.


      • Hi
        Yes, indeed 1950s too. They had talent and great voices!!

        Thanks again for the great list of songs.

        Girish Vaidya


      • First, really excellent post, well-written, well-researched, and made better by the comments (Dare I say, all of this is expected).
        Next, I really have nothing to add; not even a 70’s Dev :)

        But, I have seen Dev talk about “1957”, and particularly SD Burman’s music in 3 1957 movies — “Pyaasa”, “Paying Guest”, & “Nau Do Gyaarah”; as probably the best Hindi Film Music ever by a music director.

        Would you agree ? If not, what would be your alternatives.


        • Yes, I agree about those three films as being stellar examples of great music in 1957. The others I’d add to the list are Tumsa Nahin Dekha, Naya Daur and Dekh Kabira Roya, all of which had one great song after another. There were several other films (Kabuliwallah, Bhabhi, Kathputli and Do Aankhen Baarah Haath among them) which also had pretty good music – in fact, at least one major hit in each case.

          Incidentally, Akshay Manwani also remarked on 1957 being a watershed year in Hindi cinema. He was talking from Nasir Husain’s point of view, since it marked the release of the first film he directed, but he also pointed out the year as being the high point of several other directors, including Vijay Anand and Guru Dutt.


  18. I was disappointed when I discovered, much later of course, that ‘Kaun hai Jo sapno mein aaya’ was lifted from Elvis Presley’s Marguerita. Having first heard the song in the common TV room at my boarding school, it had quickly become a favourite. I still like it; both Rafi and Elvis have their own charm.


    • Hehe. Same here! I like the Hindi version a lot, so it was disappointing to find that it was copied (and fairly faithfully, too). But still, I like both versions. And Rafi is an all-time favourite of mine (as is Elvis, really).


  19. And I do ignore the movie and enjoy this song a lot ..makes me feel even sadder as to the lack of good outlets that someone like RD had to face in his career in the 80s ..
    Roz Roz aankhon tale from Jeeva


  20. Hindi films are often escapist fare so it’s not surprising that they have so many songs on the subject of dreams. And you have some of my favorites – phaili hui hai, khwaab ho tum, zindagi khwaab hai – in your list. Other favorites have been mentioned in the comments but here are two that I really like that haven’t come up yet.

    The first features a woman living her dream. Incidentally from a movie starring Dev Anand even though he’s not in the song itself.
    Yehi hai mere sapno ka sansar – Ferry(1954)/Hemant Kumar/Rajendra Krishen/Ratna Gupta

    And in the second, a man mourns the shattering of his dreams.
    Sapno ke sheher hum banayenge ghar – Ahsaas(1979)/Bappi Lahiri/Ravindra Peepat/Kishore Kumar

    Just remembered one more:
    Mehtab tera chehra, kis khwaab mein dekha tha – Aashiq(1962)/Shanker-Jaikishen/Shailendra/Mukesh-Lata


    • Thank you, Shalini!

      I should have remembered the Ferry song – it’s one of those Dev Anand films which struck me as fairly offbeat, for Dev Anand (though of course he did work in several fairly offbeat films in his earlier days).

      Hearing Sapnon ke shehar after ages – unless I’m mixing it up with another song with a similar tune. I’m confused now. It does sound very familiar.

      Mehtab tera chehra was new to me. Nice – though I prefer to listen to it, not watch it. ;-)


  21. So far only Hindi songs have been mentioned, it seems. Allow me to diverge a bit and present you this classic Marathi song from the film Aamhi Jaato Amuchya Gaava, composed by Sudhir Phadke and voiced by Phadke and Asha Bhosle:

    I remember seeing this film long ago. It is a copy of the American film We’re No Angels but well adapted. Suryakant, who was known for playing macho roles, did a rare comic role in this.


    • As you’d probably have guessed, this was new to me.

      Talking of macho actors in comic turns – I am a sucker for those. Well, a sucker for good comedy, all said and done. Now I wish I could get hold of a subbed copy of this.

      I shall end this comment before I go off into another round of griping about how sad it is that so few old regional language films are subtitled…


  22. Diverging even more with language but still staying within this blog’s preferred timespan, here is arguably the candidate for the greatest English pop song ever made – “In Dreams” (1963) by the inimitable Roy “The Big O” Orbison.

    This song had a sequel 25 years later, which was apparently, and appropriately, composed in sleep by Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2. It eventually became “She’s a Mystery to Me” and recorded by Orbison in 1989.

    The music video was directed by none other than David Fincher who would go on to become one of the hottest film directors of the 90s… and is even today.


    • Why have I never heard this song before? (Though I have certainly heard – and liked – Roy Orbison). Lovely song, thanks for this.

      And since you’ve taken the plunge and gone to faraway shores in search of dream songs, here’s one. Out of my dreams from Oklahoma!:


      • That was some great dancing. I am familiar with the title music of Oklahoma! but had never seen any of the songs till now.


        • Oklahoma! had great dancing throughout and some pretty good songs (the title song being my favourite, despite that illogical reference to a ‘hawk making lazy circles in the sky’ at night) – but it was really pretty so-so in the story department. Hollywood has rarely made musicals that integrated a good story with good songs.


  23. Posting again with video embeded.
    Stretched my memory to find two songs not yet listed :
    1. Sunil Dutt narrating his dream – over phone – to Sadhna; from film Waqt (1965)

    2. Mala Sinha describing the futility of dreams woven by us – from movie Nai Roshimi (1967). The theme is similar to Talat Mahmood’s song ‘Raat ne kya kya khwaab dhikahye_ _ _ _


    • GG has actually mentioned (though not embedded a video of) Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai. :-)

      Sapne hain sapna kab hue apne – I’m surprised nobody listed that so far! Thanks for it.


  24. I can’t resist posting this lovely but little heard Asha-Rafi duet from an equally obscure movie.

    Aankhen hamari ho sapne tumhare ho – Mere armaan mere sapne/N. Dutta/Rajendra Krishen/Asha Bhonsle-Mohd Rafi


  25. If English songs too are allowed in your post, the following song of Cliff Richard should find a place here.

    It was one of my favourites during my school days.


    • Theme for a dream reminded me that when I was in school, every Wednesday (I think) in the afternoon there used to be a radio programme of Western music – old stuff, not whatever was current in the 80s – which was always centred round a theme. And the theme once was dreams. I should’ve remembered that! (Or maybe I did, subconsciously). Thanks for this.


        • If one were to define “ambiguous” as you have above i.e. hints at same-sex relationships – and that too with song, it would be a pretty short post. Indian cinema has never been very comfortable with this theme. The recent song “Binte dil” from “Padmaavat” is another exception that would fit the theme – but long after this blog’s time-period.
          But if the definition of “ambiguous” were to include hints as extra-marital liasons – even though they do not actually happen – there are a few songs that could fit the bill. “Doosra aadmi” and “Rang Birangi” come to my mind immediately. Though this would be quite a specific theme :-)


            • I agree with sangeetbhakt about a post like that – especially if it’s a song list rather than an essay – being probably woefully short. I did start writing, some months back, a list of songs that depend a lot on context to be appreciated, because if you don’t know the context, you might have a completely different idea of what the song is supposed to mean. For instance, the other day, I was listening to a ‘Top 100 Romantic Songs’ countdown on radio, and Husn ke laakhon rang featured on that. If you’ve only ever heard the song, you might think it’s romantic (more seductive than anything else), but if you know the context – even if you just watch the song – you’ll know the situation is actually just the opposite of romantic.

              Unfortunately, I couldn’t get very far on that list (but then, I haven’t really got down to it) – just a couple of other songs besides this example.


  26. The following is not a dream song, but everybody’s dream! I believe that this is one of the most romantic and the best picturised song of all times (the scenes smoothly alternating between Kashmir and Netherlands).

    I wonder why nobody has mentioned it yet. It crosses your barrier of 1970, but so do some of the other songs listed above.


  27. Here’s a beautiful non-film one from one of my favourtite singers, Jagmohan Sursagar.

    Mujhe na sapno se behlayo (1945):

    “Roz mere sapne mein aana
    nit nit roop naya dikhlana….”


  28. Beautiful list, Madhulika. Contributions from other readers are also commendable.

    Just making a small contribution – composed by Manas Mukherjee, father of famous singer Shaan.


  29. Three others which miss your cut-off date, though the first one (Manmandir, 1971) does so barely

    Ai Meri Aankhon ke Pehle Sapne:

    “Hum Na Samjhe the baat itni si
    Khwaab shishe ke, duniya pathar ki [Gardish, 1993, perhaps Jackie’s best movie]

    S.P. Balasubramaniam again in Chor Aur Chand (1993)

    “Sapno mein aana…”


  30. 11. Sapne suhane ladakpanke.
    12. Manzil wohihai pyaarki Rahi badal Gaye Sapnoki mehafil hum tum naye.
    13. Sapno mein merry koi aaye jaaye.
    14. Merry sapno mein aanaa re sajana.


  31. My observation is that those of us that love these old songs are either dead or dying. The population of us is fast reducing. I test people in the under 50 and under 40 groups and they have vaguely heard of Talat, Mukesh etc and forget Saigal and Shamshad. ‘Sing latest songs’ is their mantra. The latest songs as in zero poetic content, stupid beats, over-electronified.
    This kind of sentimental discussion sounds soppy and irrelevant this day and age unless you are 65+. Not many!


    • Not necessarily 65+ (I am 46, and have been this devoted to old Hindi film music since as far back as I can remember). :-) And you will be glad to know that my daughter, who is 5, lists – among her favourite songs – Sar jo tera chakraaye, Gumsum sa yeh jahaan, Dekho mausam kya bahaar hai and others of that vintage.

      But yes, I think we are the exceptions. By and large, people know very little about old Hindi cinema or its music. Most new music so vapid and artificial that it’s instantly forgettable, as far as I’m concerned.


      • I’m also in late 30s. Actually will complete 40 soon.
        And I’m into old film songs for a long time, more than ten years.
        But as you say, Madhuji, we are the exceptions.


        • Yes. I end up being so irritated when I do a Google search for ‘old Hindi film songs’ (add whatever qualifier – romantic, devotional, whatever theme) and find the results mostly confined to the 90s onward! Same thing when we’re going anywhere by Uber – the playlists in the cabs almost never ever have anything older than perhaps even this decade, if that.


  32. Main to ik khwab hun,is khwab se tu pyar na kar.
    Tute hue khwabon ne hum ko ye bataaya hai, dil ne jise paya tha ankhon ne gwanya hai.


      • Hardly anyone left to listen to these old fogey songs. Even people in their 50’s have no clue of the beauty of the lyrics and the melody of songs made with live bands without excess electronics. Now the songs are composed entirely on a computer. Mehfils where these old songs you used to centerpiece are a thing of the past as everyone is riveted to their phones watching YouTube. Those wonderful social gatherings around a live music program now draw yawns from people. And we used to spend hours listening to 78 rpm records and marvelling at the poetry and the vocal talent!
        Hey people you gotta keep up with rave hip talent of Guru Randawa — who the heck is he?

        Well let’s enjoy our time with these old songs in faceless forums like this cause you won’t be meeting too many people who remember or care about Talat Rafi Mukesh Hemanta manna da Saigal Kanan Devi Nurjehan Lata jagmohan p. Malik and all those many others discarded like used tissue by today’s idiot sycophants of 3rd rate music.


        • I am one of those people that listens to all the singers that you mention and have a huge collection of old hindi songs. Yet, I think you are being extraordinary harsh on people who do not listen to these songs. Musical tastes change with time. Even among people who listen to this music, there are those who love the 60s but do not care for music from the 30s and 40s. It is not about being discarded but being forgotten – which is normal.
          The same dismissive opinion you have of today’s music could be held by them about the music of yesteryear that you love. What you would term of simplicity of orchestra could be seen as an absence of it. What you see as emphasis of the voice could be seen as a lack of a “whole” song. What you see as the nostalgia of the scratchy LP could be seen as poor recording quality. I have tried to have people enjoy some of the older songs and they just cannot relate to the style, the singing.
          Let us not forget that our grandparents (and maybe parents) thought that the Rafi/SJ/Shammi Kapoor songs were total junk. I remember reading somewhere that the song “Chori chori meri gali aana hai bura” from “Jaal” was considered cheap and complete trash. While many of us old-timers love that song.
          And let me also add that I am an unashamed fan of a lot of today’s songs by Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar and Vishal Bharadwaj. I am sure there are many other composers whose songs I am omitting.


          • I agree with you, sangeetbhakt. While I am devoted to the music of the 50s and 60s (not so much the 40s or the 30s, and I think by the late 60s, lots of films had perhaps just one good song – if that – and the rest forgettable)… I do not think all music nowadays is terrible. I think the 80s was a dreadful decade (though not without the odd good score here and there), but since then, things have improved. Yes, I far prefer the charm of old-school orchestras, but that doesn’t mean that all electronically produced music is awful. I agree with you about the composers you’ve specifically mentioned; I also like Shantanu Moitra’s music.


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