When I compiled my list of Khwaab/Sapna songs, I had it in mind that ‘dream’ songs could be interpreted in different ways. As songs with a synonym for ‘dream’ appearing in the lyrics (plenty of these, as was to be seen in the comments for my post). As songs that appear as dream sequences. And, finally, as songs that are actually dreamt. People fall asleep and, in their dreams, a song plays out.
That’s it. Besides my usual criteria (pre-70s songs, from Hindi films that I’ve seen), the only other condition is that this song should be part of a dream dreamt by someone actually sleeping. Not a daydream, not a figment of someone’s imagination.
Here goes, then, in no particular order.
1. Pyaar hua hai jabse (Abhilasha, 1968): While the Rafi hit Waadiyaan mera daaman pretty much became the sole reason for Abhilasha not sinking without a trace (even the Lata version of the same song didn’t do well), Abhilasha wasn’t terrible. And it did have this fairly good song, which is picturized as a dream. Nanda’s character has fallen head over heels in love with Sanjay Khan’s character, and he appears in her dream, too—in a dance sequence that’s oddly reminiscent of Humdum mere maan bhi jaao, what with the lone woman dancing with a group of masked men, of whom one is her lover (with the difference, of course, that in Mere Sanam, Asha Parekh’s character was finding Biswajit more pesky than anything else at the time). Sanjay Khan is definitely easier on the eye than Biswajit, but why are those dancing extras doing calisthenics? Because the hero is an armywallah? (is that too the reason for the cardboard tank and the men all saluting?)
Whatever. Listen to the song, which has a delightfully peppy feel to it.
2. Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar (Junglee, 1961): From one of my favourite films comes this lovely little song (and yes, it is little, at just one verse long, besides the refrain). Shammi Kapoor’s character, having incurred the wrath of his tyrannical mother for having dared to fall in love with a girl whom Ma believes is ‘fallen’, sleeps a restless sleep. The girl he adores, and whom he’s had to win back from her anger by singing to her, comes to him in his dream—and singing, too, the same song that he had sung to her awake. You will do me a favour, says my heart—let me say it: I have fallen in love with you; let me stay always with you. Shammi Kapoor and Saira Banu look so fabulous in this that I’ve always wished this song were longer, so that I could feast my eyes on all that pulchritude for a bit more.
3. Akeli mat jaiyo (Akeli Mat Jaiyo, 1960): Akeli Mat Jaiyo was one of those films that started off being fairly entertaining, then descended into a mind-bogglingly confusing, confused mess, what with Rajendra Kumar in a double role (one with a ventriloquist’s dummy as bosom buddy), various conspirators surrounding a title and corresponding wealth, and just general mayhem. It did, however, have a lovely Meena Kumari, and some great music by Madan Mohan. In the title song, Meena Kumari’s character, deeply asleep, dreams that she wakes up to find that all the dolls decorating her room have come alive. As she makes up her face and gets ready to go meet her love, these dolls dance and coax her not to go. It isn’t safe. But go she does, to meet the man she loves—and he, after some flirting, goes off, making the dolls’ prophecy come true.
Besides the good music and rendition of this one, I like the picturization: the special effects are done surprisingly well, and Meena Kumari in light-hearted mood is always a joy to watch.
4. Ghar aaya mera pardesi (Awara, 1951): The gigantic Natraj. The massive Shakti (is that her? Or am I recognizing this idol incorrectly?) The spiral ramp climbing into nowhere. The clouds. The dancers. The twinkling branches of stars. The spectacle. Awara’s Ghar aaya mera pardesi is probably the most iconic of dream sequences in Hindi cinema, and with reason: the sets and the entire composition is spectacular, from the dreamy romance of the first half to the darkly nightmarish retribution and violence of the second. But yes, besides being a dream sequence, it is also a dream: Raj Kapoor’s character sees it.
5. Yeh kisne geet chheda (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhein, 1963): In a film where the male protagonist (played by Ashok Kumar) was a classical singer, it’s hardly surprising that the top songs—the brilliant and achingly beautiful Poochho na kaise maine raat bitaayi, for one—were all of a classical bent. But there were also songs of a more popular style, as in Yeh kisne geet chheda, where two young lovers go traipsing about the countryside, singing of their fascination for each other, talking of how the other’s charms have unmanned them. Asha Parekh is lovely, and the song is a melodious one. All part of a dream—the heroine’s.
6. Paanch rupaiyya baarah aana (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, 1958): A mechanic ruled by his tyrannical brother-cum-boss tries desperately to recover dues from a gorgeous theatre artiste whose car he repaired. In all the farce that ensues, he ends up falling asleep in the back of her car (without her knowledge). And he dreams. You’d have thought that with a woman as luminous as Madhubala, any man would dream of wooing her and having his love reciprocated. Which Kishore Kumar’s nutty character does—to some extent. Because, like a hilarious stuck record, he keeps returning to his old refrain: give me back my five rupees and twelve annas, or my bhaiya is going to thrash me. A delightful song, and it’s obvious that Madhubala is enjoying all this looniness as much as Kishore is.
7. Maine bulaaya aur tum aaye (Apne Hue Paraaye, 1964): A man ends up marrying the shrewish sister of the woman he really loves. And, though he doesn’t commit adultery, he still cannot get over his feelings for his old sweetheart—and she cannot, either. When he goes to meet her, calling as a brother-in-law and old friend, no more, he happens to doze off while waiting for her to cook him some food. Unlike me (who’d probably have dreamt of food in a situation such as this), he dreams of her—of them together, surrounded by giant lotuses and billowing curtains and wisps of mist, with her singing a song of love. A pretty little dream, but that’s all it is, as he knows well enough when he wakes up suddenly because his cigarette has burnt down and scorched his fingers.
8. Aaja re deewaane (Razia Sultana, 1961): One thing most ‘historical’ Hindi films tend to conveniently overlook is that raja-ranis generally have such large and ever-present entourages that it’s pretty much impossible to expect them to go singing and dancing around with their loved ones. Razia Sultana (even though it got its protagonist’s title wrong—Razia was known as Sultan, since ‘Sultana’ is the title accorded to a Sultan’s consort or daughter; Razia was a Sultan or ruler in her own right) was different. The romantic songs here did not have Nirupa Roy (as Razia) or P Jairaj (as Malik Altunia) doing the singing themselves—there was a way around it. In Dhalti jaaye raat, for example, two commoners expressed the royal couple’s feelings; and in Aaja re deewaane, Razia dreams of waiting for her beloved. She dances through a garden, searching for him—and finally, there he is.
9. Dhak-dhak-dhak jiya kare dhak (Sazaa, 1951): While it starred two of my favourite actors—Dev Anand and Shyama (though Shyama wasn’t the leading lady; an especially morose Nimmi was)—Sazaa wasn’t a memorable film. Its main claim to fame, for me, is the beautiful Tum na jaane kis jahaan mein kho gaye. Sazaa, however, also had a bunch of lesser-known but not bad songs (were there ever any songs in the Hindi cinema of the 1950s that actually hurt your ears?). One of these was a ‘dreamt’ song. Dev Anand’s character lies sleeping when the mute girl who loves him (has loved him, for many years)—played by Nimmi—comes in and gently rests her hands on his head, tousling his hair. And he begins to dream, of her. Of them together, in a dream-like setting, with a garland, a bevy of dancers and a woman singing a love song.
10. Main tujhe pukaaroon sanam sanam (Sanam, 1951): Dev Anand again, and again from a 1951 film—but a film which managed to be rather more progressive than most other films of that era. Here, he stars opposite Suraiya (whose father, a public prosecutor, is played by KN Singh). Our hero is a fugitive from justice, wrongly accused and wrongly jailed, but a fugitive nevertheless. And when the public prosecutor’s daughter gives him refuge in her house, an assumed identity, and eventually her heart, both of them know that this is not going to be an easy romance. Even in her dreams, the heroine—though she starts off imagining a glorious meeting with her beloved—ends up with that happy dream shattered by the arrival of her father as the villain.
A nice enough song, but Dev Anand’s look here, dressed as a Mughal or Rajput or something along those lines, never fails to crack me up.
What songs would you add to this list?